Archives for posts with tag: facts

There is a problem with facts: There are just so many!

This page, https://www.justfacts.com/pollution.asp, is “Just Facts” pollution page.

Pollution is much less problem than most people believe. It was worth worrying about in 1970, but by the early 1980s, not so much. We are past silly now.

Did you know caffeine is toxic in high doses? You probably know that. It will take something like the caffeine in 300 cups of coffee, all at once to kill about half the adults who took so much. (In other words, coffee is quite safe.) Here is the kicker, you’d need more than 300 gallons worth (not cups) of glyphosate (ya know, Roundup) to have the same fatal effect. Yet, we worry about glyphosate use to keep us from starving to death.

Facts are important. People mostly ignore them anyway.

Here is another tidbit: Peanut butter has a very small, but definable potential to cause cancer. We all know peanut butter is safe; we eat mountains of it. Yet, PCBs are about a hundred times less dangerous than peanut butter. ūüėģ What? PCBs aren’t dangerous? No. PCBs are not worth worrying about at all, not at all. Still, we waste money and fear on it daily.

Honestly, EPA is the most dangerous thing in all the world, at least when it comes to pollution. The world will be a better place without EPA, and we could be rid of it tomorrow if we just had the gumption.

Too long ago to try to imagine, we humans took our most important step of existence; we became human. It is mind boggling to consider all that had to fall into place to get us that far, and so far still.

Somewhere around 10,000 years ago, we turned a corner that had more to do with climate change than our accomplishment. We benefited from global warming to such extent that not every waking moment need be expended in exertion or contriving to provide for the bare necessities of life for self and family.

With only a modicum of leisure, we started accomplishing remarkable things. We built monuments. We organized. We developed society and governance. Somewhere in there, we gained consciousness and the knowledge of good and evil, we internalized our limitations, our finitude, and in inexplicable ways, God breathed into us.

Sadly, we ignored that divine infilling, rudely, knowing both good and evil, we spent more effort in selfishness and evil than most anything else.

Still, we built.

We innovated and developed.

Somehow, some, only a few, grew beyond selfish spite and malice, and we advanced, sometimes with the help of selfless individuals, sometimes without regard to them.

Tragically, the world simply was a world of haves, and have-nots. The haves had things primarily as a function of power, power and status managed by social structure and supported on the backs of slaves. The situation held for millennia through countless circumstances, cultures, and peoples, held together by what may, though usually with violence underpinning. There are very few exceptions to point out.

Violence was our way. Subjugation of the majority by the powerful was simply the way civilization grew. Prosperity meant toil and misery for most, and a life of ease for the few.

Nearly 3,000 years ago, a spark of truth ignited in more than just a few individuals. It made little difference, and grew in only the hearts of a very few here and there. Regardless, it was seeping into culture. About 2,000 years ago, history turned. Truth took hold, and individuals began to value each other as having the breath of God within, and having some potential spark of truth in all. Everyone was considered of worth, not just the nobles or powerful.

Still, little changed. Though slavery was technically abolished for a while in most of the known world, it was still a situation of the haves and the have-nots, and the have-nots were the essential, subservient support of the haves. Of course, slavery returned with a vengeance, to sufferings untold.

Not long ago, in the mid-1700s, something changed. We developed technology that would replace the slaves and allow all to be free, and this development would facilitate the possibility that all could at least aspire to join the ranks of the haves.

We call that change the industrial revolution, but really, what is was, we learned to burn fuel and harness the energy of the burning to replace the burning of food in the bodies of the subjugated.

Here is the most important fact since: Readily available energy, electrical energy now-a-days, and transportation fuels are the key to the have-nots having enough. Poverty and slavery can certainly be lain at the feet of dictatorial monsters, but for most, it is directly resultant from lack of electricity and transportation fuel.

To be clear, I am equating fossil fuels with freedom. Conversely, I’m equating opposition to fossil fuels with homicide and enslavement.

Though our technological prowess will likely keep fossil fuels dominant in our quest for freedom and prosperity for all, we are running out, and it is getting harder and more energy intensive to extract these resources. We are already seeing diminishing returns. We must develop more efficient energy systems.

We have an alternative that we must pursue immediately while grave suffering can be avoided. Nuclear fission.

Eventually, we will use nuclear fusion, but that is not in our lifetimes. We will be suffering from lack of energy before fusion can fill the gap. Fission is today, uranium, plutonium, and thorium.

We can. We will. It is not a prediction. It is unrelenting reality.

We will suffer in blood and slavery if we wait too long.

I don’t appeal to the pipe dream of renewables. Solar power simply¬†is inadequate. Wind turbines are a grievous atrocity, causing harm in all.

Biomass burning, likewise, is harming far more than is admitted. Filth is the only word appropriate for most of it.

I cannot overemphasize how paramount is the importance of readily available energy, affordable to all and reliable.

While it is inarguable that Greco-Roman thought, and the life of Christ,¬†changed the world to truth, one simply cannot argue that the associated¬†culture and religion(s) are of critical importance. In less than four¬†centuries, the Christian faith affected the lives of over half of the¬†earth’s total population, but within a few more decades, the numbers that¬†could be called Christian dropped to roughly one-third of all humans, and it¬†has been between 20% and 40% for the several centuries since. The Greco-Roman culture cannot be¬†attributed either. It mattered, but it was not essential, not the key.

Truth mattered. Truth was the key. Greece, Rome, and Christians had no monopoly. They simply managed to make it a priority of the powerful. Thus, truth prevailed, but Christian theology gave rise to what Nietzsche so astutely foresaw. We had killed God. We had forgotten our divine attribute, and we were adrift. The blood of hundreds of millions attests to it. Our suffering for it is greatly diminished, but not concluded.

So, what?

What next?

We must stay focused on truth. We must individually take responsibility and not lose sight of our connectedness. We must not overemphasize individuality and individualism. Yet, we are individuals. Our identities do not reside in any group. Each individual’s identity can never be distilled to any externally quantifiable characteristic. It is a hard thing, a hard balance.

Still, the important part for humanity is energy. We are eliminating abject poverty and slavery with energy. We must have reliable electricity and available transportation fuel. Pushing for unreliable, unpredictable sources based on wind and sunshine is no better than trusting unicorns.

We are what we are. We fall, we resort to selfishness and violence when we don’t have better options. Our better options are afforded by readily available energy. Energy is the basis of freedom and incentives that allow cooperation and respect to flourish.

Energy, and freedom. It is the only possible means of advancement. The alternative is suffering, and eventually extinction.

 

First, if it seems to be trying to catch your attention by sensationalizing and instilling fear, be skeptical. I’m astounded how many fake news stories I’ve seen about things getting worse at Fukushima. No, they aint! One can no longer trust news sources. One must find multiple sources and evaluate each one. It is generally difficult. Do the hard work, or be duped. Sadly, fake news seems to be more abundant than actual factual reporting now.

Source: Radiation Levels Not ‚ÄúSoaring‚ÄĚ At Fukushima Daiichi | ANS Nuclear Cafe

In the late 70s, about the time I started driving, I sat in conversation with my mother, explaining how emerging electronic communications and information storage were going to revolutionize the world by making nearly all knowledge readily available to everyone; anyone who needed the knowledge would be able to access it in minutes, instead of spending days at the public library, as I had done a summer or two prior while researching wind-power and realizing even before my engineering training what a pipedream it was. (I rode my bicycle on those excursions.)

While my vision was significantly different from what the internet has become, the central tenet, readily available information and fact checking at a moment’s notice with easily afforded effort has become true beyond my wildest imaginings.

But has it made any difference?

When faced with a lack of knowledge, or¬†when someone challenges an opinion, nearly everyone appeals to whatever authority they find appealing at the moment. They spout something like, “The greatest minds on the subject disagree with you,” and they go merrily along without ever bothering to think, and, especially, without ever bothering to consider the correctness of the objection, never questioning whether or not they themselves might be wrong.

In the late 80s, I wrote a paper for a college writing class extolling the self-evident virtues of email systems that were coming into their own, at least on college campuses and at research centers.

I detailed why the near instantaneous written communications capabilities would let us all respond as quickly or as thoughtfully as was necessary to maximize understanding and minimize confusion. We could respond immediately to urgent information, or respond with thought and deliberation when emotion seemed to be obscuring clarity.

Of course, email, text, video chat, social media, all have all those qualities, with limits, but no one uses them that way.

I eventually learned there was no substitute for the KISS principle in email. Brevity and abbreviation are forced in texting and twitter.

Still, writing used to involve rather thoroughly stated points with detailed information. It still does, but instant communications muddles more than elucidates.

I find that nearly no one uses Facebook for anything substantial.

I don’t understand that.

Facebook has a significant flaw in its apparently random way it calculates who to show posts to, and how it picks what it shows. I don’t blame Facebook for developing and evolving those picking-algorithms per client preference. Of course, they must maximize the user experience to keep them and to keep growing, but it eliminates the effectiveness of Facebook as an actual communications medium.

It is good for keeping track of family, friends, and acquaintances, but it sucks for trying to coordinate most anything, since it cannot be relied on to transfer information to all concerned.

Facebook would follow us if we changed.

If we used Facebook to try to be substantive, and tried to actually communicate, Facebook would figure out how to facilitate.

Sadly, I think it will never be. The decades have taught me that communication is hard. None of us really care enough about it with most people to make the effort.

That is doubly true, and doubly sad, regarding our politicians.

Scott Adams is correct. We don’t care about facts, we care about emotional motivators, and politicians know that and take advantage of it. We all complain about negative campaigning, but every politician knows it works, either because they succeeded using it or lost because of it.

Well, the flow stopped. So, I end. Let’s all try to communicate better.

Especially, when discussing in social media, let’s try to consider context, not just some point we want to make in response to some small aspect of what was posted. Also, try not to take things personal, but never dismiss how much your words can actually hurt. (I too often find¬†I still need to work on these things.)

The article and the comments are worth reading and applicable to any debate. A commitment to truth is a commitment to all that is good–a commitment to life itself. ——————–

Readers may recall my original post, Nature‚Äôs ugly decision: ‚ÄėDeniers‚Äô enters the scientific literature. followed by Dr. Paul Bain Responds to Critics of Use of ‚ÄúDenier‚ÄĚ Term with thanks to Jo Nova, be sure to bookmark and visit her site Dr. Robert G. Brown of Duke University, commenting as rgbatduke, made a response that was commented on by several here in that thread. As commenter REP put it in the update: It is eloquent, insightful and worthy of consideration. I would say, it is likely the best response I‚Äôve ever seen on the use of the ‚Äúdenier‚ÄĚ term, not to mention the CAGW issue in general. Thus, I‚Äôve elevated it a full post. Please share the link to this post widely. ‚Äď Anthony

Dr. Robert G. Brown writes:The tragic thing about the thoughtless use of a stereotype denier is that it reveals that you really think of people in terms of its projected meaning. In particular, even in your response you seem to equate the term ‚Äúskeptic‚ÄĚ with ‚Äúdenier of AGW‚ÄĚ.

via A response to Dr. Paul Bain‚Äôs use of ‚Äėdenier‚Äô in the scientific literature | Watts Up With That?.

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