Here are some of the things I mentioned last night:
Abridged talk by Dawkins (there is a longer one, which I will try to dig up).
That book on physics:
A very good book on modern philosophy:
Lisa Randall on Charlie Rose:
January 31, 2008
No Science, No progress
Our PM recently fired the National Science Advisor and closed the post. The fact that there is no scientist advising the head of Canada is pretty frightening. All progress is because of science. Even social movements are usually thanks to science (printing press, radio, sanitation…); so if we are not putting science at the top of our agenda, what are putting up there?
This conservative government scares me. It’s nice to know we have an un-charismatic scientist named Dion in the wings.
January 28, 2008
Homes and Offices of the Future
Housing is the solution because it is compoundable. People who live in healthy homes, lead healthier lives and demand healthier policies from government. Hopefully, such innovative building standards will become part of the building code.
And Amory Here:
January 11, 2008
China’s Faux Pas
China just announced that they were putting a price halt (read control) on petroleum, water, and some food products. See: http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/01/09/business/yuan.php
This is a serious error on their part, and it will hopefully be short lived.
The benefits are:
Temporary political stability.
Consumption of these resources continues to rise, putting more pressure on the local environment and eventually on the politicians. De-coupling resource prices from market prices becomes very dangerous when the resources are dangerously close to running out.
For example, water tables in China are dropping at an astounding rate, and without strong reductions in consumption through prices (and taxes), cities will need to start importing water and people will suffer. Notably, China is so desperate for water that they will build a Canal from the South to the North to bring water, at a tremendous financial and ecological cost.
Two options for the development of environmental regulations exist:
1 People only start to ‘sacrifice’ quick wealth for the environment when they have enough wealth to live well (and other ways of making money). It is thus in our global interest for societies to become wealthy so that they become more environmentally friendly.
2 The other path towards environmentalism is when the price point of resources (set by the market of government) forces society to adapt. If we interfere with the price-point in negative fashion such as making gasoline artificially cheap, then we are retarding resource efficiency improvements.
By artificially reducing the price of resources, you are slowing down the progressive evolution of Chinese society towards environmental sustainability. And how long can you hold back 1.3 billion people?
January 9, 2008