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Recent Activity CO2 levels continue to rise in Hawaii. Thus either the world statistics on fossil fuel use are not correct or we are in a positive carbon feedback or some combination of the two. Economic statistics are not very reliable.
Is the $1.25 real or nominal value?
I can agree with the scaling as long as it is a logarithmic. Average knowledge is extremely low. We scored 24th in science on the last PISA test. On the latest OECD skills test our adjusted score for literacy was 20th of 22 countries, numeracy was last(22nd). Also lowest in problem solving in technology rich environments. We are an anomaly in the OECD.
Toggle Commented Oct 17, 2013 on Knowers/Thinkers at Question Everything
Bruce, 3% of the households have 38% of the discretionary income. The lowest 60% have 3% of the discretionary income, this includes the bulk of the middle class. In the last 20 years only jobs in the lowest quarter of labor skill have grown and the bulk of that is in the lowest decile. I expect this trend to continue independent of jobs keeping up or not keeping up with population growth. Part time jobs are becoming more prevalent.
Steve in the last paragraph should read Bruce, sorry
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2011 on Happy Autumnal Equinox at Question Everything
George and Bruce both make valid points. 3 years ago I wrote a 550 page economic log of the US economy from 2002 to 2008. I discovered many things in the process, including that total system wide (on the books) debt had been increasing at a faster rate than GDP since the 1970s. I thought it was a big deal when we reached less than a buck of new gdp per dollar of marginal debt. Now I realize that the way our fractional reserve monetary systems operate it allows for debt increase as long as it pays the interest cost of the new debt (not payback of principle). A decrease in the net delivered energy per capita does slow the real economy. However GDP also includes bads as well as goods so that in theory the GDP can grow (at least for a while) even as the goods side of the ledger shrinks and median wages shrink. Eventually (absent recapitalization of banks off record by the Fed) credit issuing institutions will issue credit at a rate faster than the economy can pay back the interest and by then savings (deferred consumption) and equity will cease to exist for almost all. Steve, could you rephrase or explain your 6th to the last paragraph? thanks
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2011 on Happy Autumnal Equinox at Question Everything
Dear Tiite Baquero, I would like to point out that the planetary net productivity appropriated by the current human biomass should not be compared to the same used by the social insects. Additionally we provide food to ouselves with a generous helping of old sunlight. Things that can not go on forever wont.
Toggle Commented Jun 2, 2011 on Two Scenarios at Question Everything
George, Bravo for your courage in writing this staggering essay. Lets hope humans or stocastics selects for more sapience for the next interbottleneck period. Even is sapience reduces a trait such as ambition, agressiveness, discount rate or risk taking that would not be a bad thing. We may use slightly more calories as a trade off. Thanks for your work. Larry
Toggle Commented May 20, 2011 on Two Scenarios at Question Everything
George, I like your musings and feel that you have woven a wonderful tapestry of the highest levels of thought. I read Why Some Like it Hot on the coevolution of genes and human food culture. I have read much by Gary Paul Nabhan as I enjoy economic botany I am not sure however once the fossil fuels are gone and the uranium and thorium that we will ever have the energy to visit other planets never mind other solar systems, If we can develop net energy fusion that could be a game changer. We could then possibly explore emergent properties on other worlds!
George, As an aside, I just obtained a used copies of Third Chimpanzee by Diamond, The Mating Mind by Miller, and Moral Minds by Hauser. I have previously read The Blank Slate by Pinker and The Moral Animal by Wright which are all books tangential to the bottleneck subject. (I was blessed to be able to spend some time in used bookstores in Harvard Square recently!!)
George, An extremely difficult post, Kudos for your brave thoughts on the conundrum. Nemesis makes some realistic volleys. I think the weakest part of your thesis is that we will be able to correlate sapience with a structure via morphology, that we will be able to test for sapience reasonably accurately, and that we will find alleles in our population that code for the more robust sapience all within a time frame that is liable to be short or too short. This project could take many years due to minimal funding or research may be prevented. Perhaps a quick and dirty marker could be found with say a .5 correlation in a decade or less? The wise would still most likely have to be protected by a warrior class for at least some time. Perhaps a stronger case could be made for an even less desireable process towards a caste system with the genetic eusapians as the Brahmin class? thanks for your efforts on the difficult subject of the "4 horsemen" Perhaps you could convince Spielberg to do movie on this "sci fi" subject? The coming bottleneck would have to be portrayed reasonably accurately and a team of scientists and moral authorities could group think answers to the dilemma. I do know a Hollywood producer if you get a rough script...
Good job George, Unpleasantries are hard. Could you follow up with a graph with time scales and human numbers assuming a mean US lifestyle, Mean Western European and Mean Chinese lifestyle in current energy terms? I am sure we can also become more efficient if we try but could we support .5 billion at US standards with our present technology assuming that we do not overharvest water and end our net topsil loss as a species? there is a small posibility that we could have net energy fusion within 50 years or so. Then it could be ramped up but still we would have to be careful stewarts of the net primary productivity of the earth
Toggle Commented Feb 19, 2011 on Past the Point of No Return at Question Everything
Thank you George! Your research and posts are valuable. I do hope that sapience will be selected for more in the future. I wonder how much of the decrease in loss of life by war as a percentage of the population is just because of the one time shot of easy energy?
Toggle Commented Jun 4, 2010 on A Heartfelt Thank You at Question Everything
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Jun 3, 2010