Archive for March, 2015

France Leads Again!

Friday, March 20th, 2015

France has log been a leader in finding and using alternatives to Carbon combustion, and also in legislating against potentially dangerous extraction schemes such as fracking. And now that solar technology has become cheap enough to make sense in many contexts, France appears ready to back it with legislation rather than bribes.

But in the article France Says New Roofs Must Be Covered In Plants Or Solar Panels (at ThinkProgress), ends with a weaselly remark that “France has lagged behind other major European countries like Germany, Italy and Spain in solar power development. As of last summer, France had just over five gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity, accounting for around one percent of total energy consumption. Germany has nearly 40 GWs installed. France is heavily reliable(sic) on nuclear power for its energy, and nuclear generation in 2012 made up about 83 percent of the country’s total generation.” So Germany’s solar effort, being about 8 times that of France, displaces about 8% of its Carbon combustion – which France has beaten by a factor of ten by going nuclear. Some laggard!

Finland Understands Fairness in Punishment

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Finland, Home of the $103,000 Speeding Ticket — The Atlantic.The clearest case for this is in cases where there is a fine or jail time option. Why should the poor suffer loss of a much greater fraction of their entire lives than the rich for the same offence? But total assets should figure in as well as current income, and the same principle should apply to corporate wrongdoing – with the penalty being conversion to the state of a fraction of total equity (including voting rights) comparable to whatever the jail term for the same crime would be for a guilty individual as a fraction of an average expected lifetime.

How to Live Like a Stoic

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Massimo Pigliucci has a new blog about his experience of following a “stoic” philosophy.
My goal in following Massimo is not to become a Stoic but just to get a better understanding of what it means, and in particular how the attribution to Stoics of faith in the Logos squares with the often expressed idea that they didn’t hold to an objective moral law.
As one who strives to live “according to positive values” but “reject the idea of an objective, universal and unchanging moral law”, I don’t see any contradiction there. But given how often people claim to see one, I will be interested in leaning more about how the classical responses to that perception compare to my own. (more…)

Many Worlds Links

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

In case this OneTab shared tabs page doesn’t last here is my local version of the links.