Cop26 is behind us

In 1992, the United Nations started a meeting of nations to “avoid dangerous climate change”. The meetings, to be held every year, are called United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The annual meetings are called “Conference of the parties”, (Cop) followed by the meeting number.  This year it was COP26.

Each country is supposed to provide promises aka targets to meet goals to hold temperatures in line with survival of our species. Those national targets are called “nationally determined contributions” (NDC).

In 2015, the Paris agreement committed to limit heating to an increase of 1.5C.

You can read more about “the facts” here:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/11/what-is-cop26-and-why-does-it-matter-the-complete-guide

Meanwhile, it appears that the NDCs from this year’s COP have failed to stay in line with the Paris agreement.  See this chart.

As David Attenborough said, there is “desperate hope” that we might still avoid disaster.

George Monblot said “Catastrophe is not a matter of fate, it’s a matter of choice.” 

AI is here to stay

The stream of consciousness flow below was generated after reading this article in The Guardian today. Some might consider this post a form of torture.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/oct/29/is-my-phone-listening-to-me-we-ask-the-expert

The idea that “We need to have control over who has this information and why. Data protection is a key battleground for human rights.” is as phony as a carbon tax. Someone or something (an algorithm somewhere) wants us to not actually eliminate the problem, but to instead talk about it more.

instead: don’t tax carbon, stop creating carbon.
instead: don’t control personal data, stop collecting it.

I have watched Google News present the same story different times of day but with different picture or headlines. The AI behind the scenes is learning which pictures or headlines produce the most interest (clicks).

Then there are the articles that AI writes itself. Those are getting to be more interesting than real opinionated news!

I have watched Google News present more articles about a subject I previously clicked on. In fact, I have to be careful that I don’t accidentally click on a subject I don’t like, or I will get more of it.

I have multiple devices. Google News follows me from device to device, learning from each one. The Google News on my Pixel phone really knows the most about me since it is a Google controlled environment. True, it really does try to help me sometimes. Pixel News (as I call it) even asks if a particular “card” is useful to me right now. Sometimes I lie! Shhh. I wish they had an option to say “not right now, but maybe later”. My iPad Google News App never asks what I like!

If I want “pure” News from Google, I have to use a computer at the office where I am a volunteer which does not have Google News in the Favorite list.

We have AT&T T-V. I am suspicious that AT&T is buying my data from Google. Why else would it suddenly start showing adds for Depends after I search for local urologists! And you should see the adverts for medicines that we are forced to mute. True, we are older people in this house, but how does AT&T know that without buying data from Google or Amazon or Facebook. I wonder if there are 3rd party data brokers.

Yes, AI is alive and growing.

Think about the stock market. Long ago Google made AI software routines available for free on the internet. Did you expect those hedge funds in NYC to ignore that? Hell no, they hired brainy AI programmers who downloaded the software for free and then set about developing AI systems that always go up. Markets generally cycle up and down. This old bull market should have cycled down a few years ago, but no, it just keeps going up (ever since Google uploaded those AI routines to Github). Some slick AI is helping to maintain the growth of the growth stocks. Think Tesla… it is just a freaking car company, after all.

You must realize that AI is behind this super ultra bull market.

I just wish my Pixel had told me this was going to happen. It tells me everything else I think I ought to want to know. Maybe I should ask in a nicer way?

Should I be concerned that Pixel News is now showing me articles about memory loss?

Should I be concerned that T-V News now presents some stories that first appeared in Google News?

Climate 1958 – 2021

“The other night I said science didn’t know about the effects of climate change when I was young. I was wrong, I was 15 when this was aired.  I might have even seen it!”

1958: The Bell Telephone Science Hour

“Wow. That’s terrible to know that someone knew that long ago and didn’t get the word out.”

“It wasn’t just one someone, it was a lot of someone’s. They briefed the White House about it and it was big news but everyone thought it would happen really far in the future. Then oil companies stepped in the 70s and started spreading false science. That clip is famous, I’ve seen it before in class a couple of times. I had just forgotten about it.”

Today in 2021.

2050: what happens if we ignore the climate crisis

COP26 is coming. Speak up now, next week will be too late. Contact your representatives.

Rainy day wonders

Sandy says some people don’t know how to go thru turnstile doors in the aquarium.

How did you learn to navigate them?  

What did Vincent Van Gogh do during a storm? 

Do they have atmospheric rivers in Iowa?

Do you remember your first elevator ride?  How do we learn to turn towards the door in an elevator?

Which way did you face in the first elevator that you rode in that had two doors?

The guy on TV talked about giving your kids lifetime memories by taking them fishing.  Humph, I don’t remember catching my first fish.

I do remember my first McDonalds burger!


Climate Strike – Sept 24

Fridays for Future

https://fridaysforfuture.org/

“Don’t let the bees follow the butterflies.”.

Even the Komodo Dragons may be going extinct, caused by our hands. This must stop. If you can’t march Sept 24, spend the day contacting your politicians and news media. Let them know we must do more NOW, not years from now.

#UPROOTTHESYSTEM

The COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, will take place from 31 October to 12 November 2021 in the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, UK.

Make ourselves heard! 🙂

cancel-culture and more

The new mini-series on Netflix named “The Chair” is really quite good. It stars Sandra Oh who portrays a college professor who gets caught up in cancel-culture’s impact on life in a university.  Perhaps I wouldn’t have understood if I hadn’t just  finished reading “The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth” by Jonathan Rauch. His book is primarily about truth within democracy and recent attacks on our society from the media, right wing pressure groups, lobbyists and even politicians.  I highly recommend it to anyone who values preserving truth and freedom within our democracy.   

Jonathan Rauch was able to finally explain clearly to me how it is that some “truths” that are supported by a majority of people can be ignored, run down, and voted out of existence by just a few.  Some of these truths cluster around the climate crisis, financial inequality, racism, jobs.  I have always blamed lobbyists, conservative media, evangelical religious groups, etc.. I have felt impotent and powerless when things that were obvious to me continuously were defeated. At least now, Rauch has helped me understand the mechanics of these many distortions of truth that are pushing our society towards the brink of autocracy and fascism.

The following is a portion of a paragraph quoted directly from his book.

“A field known as “public choice” concerns itself with the ways in which narrow pressure groups can out-organize and dominate much larger majorities. Consider American rice farmers. From 1995 to 2019, U.S. rice subsidies cost almost $17 billion. The benefits were concentrated on a small set of farms; two-thirds of the money went to the biggest 10 percent of the farms, each of which received an average of almost $1.3 million. You could be sure they were organized, resourced, and determined to defend their subsidy, and woe unto the legislator who would try to zero it out. Meanwhile, the cost was spread over the whole U.S. population. Rescinding the entire amount would have saved each of about 140 million taxpayers about $120 over the period, or less than five dollars a year: too little to notice, much less to organize against. lf a group opposing rice subsidies did manage to organize, the rice lobby would pull out all the stops to defeat it. But usually, as the economist Mancur Olson showed, the asymmetry between concentrated benefits and diffused costs is such that the majority interest does not organize at all. Over time, pressure groups accumulate, capturing resources which might have flowed elsewhere. If the process is not checked, entire economies and societies can calcify and rot.”

This example really affected me.  Many years ago, I watched my Uncle cry over losing his farm to big-business farmers and no one seemed to care.  Rauch’s book has a chapter with suggestions for us to resist, fight back, and defend the Constitution of Knowledge. I highly recommend that you read his new book. Understanding contains the beginnings of solutions.

Google Alerts

Google Inc. makes lots of tools available to people, some of which are not often talked about.  Besides Searching, my favorite tool is called ALERTS.  Simply put, you create a regular Google search and then have Google run it for you every day! The system will email you if it finds something matching your criteria from the past 24 hours (older stuff is ignored). The service sends emails to the user when it finds new results—such as web pages, newspaper articles, blogs, or scientific research—that match the user’s search term(s). 

To use Alerts, sign in to your Google account using the Gmail you want new discoveries to be sent to, then go to https://www.google.com/alerts .  Then create a search and save it!  That’s it. You can have multiple alerts, each one is treated individually.

Presumably you have previously tested your search! Alerts doesn’t validate a search, it just runs it. Here are a couple of searches that I am running daily:

“snorkel ai”

starlink OR spacex AND ipo

Yes, of course you can include genealogical searches too.  But remember, the results will be newly published stuff, not previously published. Try it, free it is.


“We were born at just the right moment to help change everything.” – Eric Holthaus


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