Archive for March, 2016

No Market-Driven Solution?

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

British journalist Paul Mason seems to echo Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything in his claim that There Is No Market-Driven Solution To Our Climate Catastrophe

But although I am no fan of concentrated private capital I think both of them beg the question by overlooking the constraints that must inevitably be included in the definition of any market. These almost always are expected to include laws against theft and murder, and the solution to all environmental problems including climate is just to also include the prohibition of any permanent environmental impact. If “dumping” of wastes into the atmosphere and oceans was just flat out prohibited (with the onus being on any economic actor to retain and maintain control over any by-products of its activity) then the market would immediately favour whatever source of energy (or anything else) could be made most cheaply within that constraint.

(I am not claiming that this would be easy, just that it is quite independent of solving the problem of fair distribution of wealth and/or opportunity)

Saudi Oil Minister Gives Good Advice

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Suggests Canada, Others Will Have To ‘Get Out’ Of Oil

(He left off the word “consumption” but I’m sure that’s what he meant)

More Dangerous Even Than Muslims!

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

The Chronicle of Higher Education asks: Does Engineering Education Breed Terrorists? But I suspect that it’s more about whom the discipline appeals to than how they are trained

Some things that might attract a person to engineering (not necessarily applicable to all engineers, but strong enough to attract a non-representative sample into the profession):
-need for control
-attraction to systems with well-defined rules
-being more interested in things than in human feelings
-desire for ability to surprise by doing things that others can’t
-being committed to a campaign of terror and wanting the skills to carry it out
Need I go on? No one factor will explain all cases, but there are good reasons not to be surprised by seeing more engineers among the terrorists than say womens’ studies majors.

Of course the proportion of terrorists who are engineers is not the same as the proportion of engineers who are terrorists, but the 90 identified engineering terrorists are undoubtedly a larger proportion of the total population of engineers than the 500 of the full sample are as a proportion of the entire Islamic world. So perhaps Donald Trump should take note of the fact that being an engineer is a higher risk factor than being a muslim. And since we don’t know how to identify which is which, we should subject all engineers to special scrutiny in airports etc – at least until they agree to weed out their own bad apples – and maybe the only way for a country to be truly safe is to ban them from entry altogether and put ankle-bracelet location monitors on those that are already here.
Source: Does Engineering Education Breed Terrorists? – The Chronicle of Higher Education