Category Archives: sociology

Greenwashing

Painted signage on the side of a delivery truck parked outside a neighbor’s home deliverying oil made me curious about this, so I checked out their Web site. Here is what I found: (To see larger figure, click on image … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropocene, being carbon dioxide, biofuels, bridge to nowhere, carbon dioxide, clean disruption, CleanTechnica, climate business, climate change, climate disruption, climate economics, economics, energy, environment, false advertising, fossil fuels, global warming, greenhouse gases, greenwashing, Hyper Anthropocene, regulatory capture, rhetoric, sociology, supply chains, the tragedy of our present civilization | Leave a comment

Cathy O’Neil’s WEAPONS OF MATH DESTRUCTION: A Review

(Revised and updated Monday, 24th October 2016.) Weapons of Math Destruction, Cathy O’Neil, published by Crown Random House, 2016. This is a thoughtful and very approachable introduction and review to the societal and personal consequences of data mining, data science, … Continue reading

Posted in citizen data, citizen science, citizenship, civilization, compassion, complex systems, criminal justice, Daniel Kahneman, data science, deep recurrent neural networks, destructive economic development, economics, education, engineering, ethics, Google, ignorance, Joseph Schumpeter, life purpose, machine learning, Mathbabe, mathematics, mathematics education, maths, model comparison, model-free forecasting, numerical analysis, numerical software, open data, optimization, organizational failures, planning, politics, prediction, prediction markets, privacy, rationality, reason, reasonableness, risk, silly tech devices, smart data, sociology, Techno Utopias, testing, the value of financial assets, transparency | Leave a comment

Polls, Political Forecasting, and the Plight of Five Thirty Eight

On 17th October 2016 AT 7:30 p.m., Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com wrote about how, as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s polling numbers got better, it was more difficult for FiveThirtyEight‘s models to justify increasing her probability of winning, although … Continue reading

Posted in abstraction, American Statistical Association, anemic data, citizen science, citizenship, civilization, economics, education, forecasting, information theoretic statistics, mathematics, maths, politics, prediction markets, sociology, the right to know, theoretical physics, thermodynamics | Leave a comment

Can the City of Boston adapt to and help mitigate climate disruption?

(See the major update at the bottom of this post as well.) (On “Less Science and More Social Science” at And Then There’s Physics) And Then There’s Physics is one of my favorite blogs discussing climate disruption and related policy … Continue reading

Posted in adaptation, anomaly detection, Anthropocene, Bill Nye, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, BNEF, bollocks, Boston, bridge to somewhere, citizenship, civilization, clean disruption, climate business, climate change, climate disruption, climate economics, climate education, climate justice, Daniel Kahneman, destructive economic development, economics, engineering, environment, finance, floods, forecasting, Gaylord Nelson, global warming, Hermann Scheer, Hyper Anthropocene, insurance, investing, John Englander, Joseph Schumpeter, Kerry Emanuel, MA, Massachusetts, meteorology, Minsky moment, nor'easters, organizational failures, politics, risk, sea level rise, sociology, statistics, supply chains, sustainability, the right to be and act stupid, the right to know, the tragedy of our present civilization, the value of financial assets | 6 Comments

“Holy crap – an actual book!”

Originally posted on mathbabe:
Yo, everyone! The final version of my book now exists, and I have exactly one copy! Here’s my editor, Amanda Cook, holding it yesterday when we met for beers: Here’s my son holding it: He’s offered…

Posted in American Association for the Advancement of Science, Buckminster Fuller, business, citizen science, citizenship, civilization, complex systems, confirmation bias, data science, data streams, deep recurrent neural networks, denial, economics, education, engineering, ethics, evidence, Internet, investing, life purpose, machine learning, mathematical publishing, mathematics, mathematics education, maths, moral leadership, multivariate statistics, numerical software, numerics, obfuscating data, organizational failures, politics, population biology, prediction, prediction markets, privacy, quantitative biology, quantitative ecology, rationality, reason, reasonableness, rhetoric, risk, Schnabel census, smart data, sociology, statistical dependence, statistics, the right to be and act stupid, the right to know, the value of financial assets, transparency, UU Humanists | Leave a comment

David Spiegelhalter on `how to spot a dodgy statistic’

In this political season, it’s useful to brush up on rhetorical skills, particularly ones involving numbers and statistics, or what John Allen Paulos called numeracy. Professor David Spiegelhalter has written a guide to some of these tricks. Read the whole … Continue reading

Posted in abstraction, anemic data, Bayes, Bayesian, chance, citizenship, civilization, corruption, Daniel Kahneman, disingenuity, Donald Trump, education, games of chance, ignorance, maths, moral leadership, obfuscating data, open data, perceptions, politics, rationality, reason, reasonableness, rhetoric, risk, sampling, science, sociology, statistics, the right to know | Leave a comment

David Suzuki on Agroecology

See Feeding humanity in a warming world. Dr Suzuki links University of California, Berkeley, Professor Miguel Altieri’s “Principles and strategies for designing sustainable farming systems“.

Posted in adaptation, agriculture, Anthropocene, argoecology, Buckminster Fuller, carbon dioxide sequestration, climate, climate change, climate disruption, conservation, consumption, David Suzuki, demand-side solutions, drought, ecology, environment, Epcot, extended supply chains, food, greenhouse gases, Hyper Anthropocene, Life Cycle Assessment, local generation, Miguel Altieri, optimization, quantitative biology, quantitative ecology, resiliency, Sankey diagram, sociology, Spaceship Earth, spatial statistics | Leave a comment

Climate Denial Fails Pepsi Challenge

Originally posted on Climate Denial Crock of the Week:
Stephen Lewandowsky specializes in conducting research that pulls back the curtain climate denial psychology. He’s done it again. Washington Post: Researchers have designed an inventive test suggesting that the arguments commonly used…

Posted in American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Statistical Association, card draws, card games, chance, climate, climate change, climate data, climate education, confirmation bias, data science, denial, disingenuity, education, false advertising, fear uncertainty and doubt, fossil fuels, games of chance, geophysics, global warming, ignorance, mathematics, mathematics education, maths, obfuscating data, rationality, reasonableness, risk, science, science education, sociology, the right to know | Leave a comment

“Solar power is contagious. These maps show how it spreads.” (from Vox)

Brad Plumer at Vox writes on take-up patterns of rooftop solar based upon a large dataset from SolarCity. The full article is available at the SolarCity site. Mr Plumer combines it with a report on other studies of solar adoption … Continue reading

Posted in Bloomberg New Energy Finance, BNEF, business, clean disruption, decentralized electric power generation, decentralized energy, demand-side solutions, destructive economic development, diffusion, diffusion processes, disruption, distributed generation, economics, electricity markets, energy, energy utilities, exponential growth, grid defection, investment in wind and solar energy, local generation, Peter Diggle, point pattern analysis, public utility commissions, PUCs, rate of return regulation, regulatory capture, sociology, solar domination, solar energy, solar power, SolarPV.tv, spatial statistics, statistics, stochastics, the energy of the people, the green century, utility company death spiral, zero carbon | Leave a comment

Of my favorite things …

(Clarifying language added 4 Apr 2016, 12:26 EDT.) I just watched an episode from the last season of Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled “Force of Nature.” As anyone who pays the least attention to this blog knows, opposing human … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropocene, bridge to somewhere, bucket list, Buckminster Fuller, Carl Sagan, climate, climate change, climate disruption, climate education, compassion, data science, Earle Wilson, ecology, Ecology Action, environment, evolution, geophysics, George Sughihara, global warming, Hyper Anthropocene, life purpose, mathematics, mathematics education, maths, numerical analysis, optimization, philosophy, physical materialism, physics, population biology, population dynamics, proud dad, quantitative biology, quantitative ecology, rationality, reasonableness, science, sociology, statistics, stochastic algorithms | 5 Comments

Sheila Widnall on the responsibilities of engineers: The COLUMBIA accident and its CAIB

Highly recommended. Always moving, at least for me. Engineering is a serious business: http://mit.tv/AjqL6n Engineers and their programs are embedded in organizational structures. These structures control the success or failures of the program. In dealing with high risk technologies the … Continue reading

Posted in citizenship, disingenuity, engineering, NASA, organizational failures, rationality, reasonableness, science, sociology, the tragedy of our present civilization | Leave a comment

seek the beautiful, and avoid “climate justice”

Some people along the coast of Massachusetts are missing out. No matter. After the homes are flooded and razed, because their parents and grandparents were too foolish and short-sighted to see what should be done, the kids will turn the … Continue reading

Posted in adaptation, Anthropocene, bridge to nowhere, Canettes Blues Band, Cape Wind, capricious gods, carbon dioxide, Carbon Worshipers, clean disruption, climate, climate change, climate disruption, climate justice, coastal communities, corporate litigation on damage from fossil fuel emissions, decentralized electric power generation, decentralized energy, demand-side solutions, denial, destructive economic development, disingenuity, ecology, economics, electricity markets, energy, energy utilities, engineering, environment, extended supply chains, forecasting, fossil fuel divestment, fossil fuels, global warming, greenhouse gases, greenwashing, Hyper Anthropocene, investment in wind and solar energy, liberal climate deniers, living shorelines, local generation, meteorology, microgrids, rationality, reasonableness, regime shifts, risk, Sankey diagram, Scituate, sea level rise, selfishness, sociology, solar energy, solar power, SolarPV.tv, Spaceship Earth, sustainability, T'kun Olam, temporal myopia, the right to be and act stupid, the right to know, the value of financial assets, Tony Seba, wind energy, wind power, zero carbon | Leave a comment

Lamar Smith: #1 Enemy of Science

Originally posted on Open Mind:
In a rebuke to the #1 enemy of science, Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has refused to comply with his attempt “to subpoena internal communications relating to a…

Posted in bollocks, citizenship, civilization, denial, disingenuity, perceptions, politics, sociology | Leave a comment

The Sounds of Wind

You, too, can power your house with wind. If in New England, check out New England Wind. (I think the above sound track sounds remarkably like the sound of the extraterrestrial intelligence signal from the movie Contact.) And the sound … Continue reading

Posted in clean disruption, investment in wind and solar energy, sociology, wind power | Leave a comment

Exxon knew, in detail

The Exxon Corporation (XOM) turned its back on its own evidence-based, scientific culture when it came to climate change. It’s a very sad story. There are now more parts available. (The above letter is reproduced from The New York Times … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropocene, carbon dioxide, civilization, climate change, climate disruption, denial, ecology, economics, environment, ethics, Exxon, fossil fuel divestment, fossil fuels, geophysics, global warming, Hyper Anthropocene, physics, rationality, reasonableness, risk, science, sociology | 3 Comments

Bob Inglis: “Energy optimists. Climate realists.”

Kudos. http://climateeye.republicen.org/ http://blog.republicen.org/ http://republicen.org/areyouen/ http://republicen.org/the-solution-element/ http://republicen.org/the-solution-element/realist-guide/ I’m not, by their definition anyway, a conservative. In fact, I’m pretty apolitical these days although I will do things like demonstrate. But it’s completely clear to me this problem isn’t going to get … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropocene, atheism, bifurcations, Bill Nye, bridge to nowhere, capricious gods, carbon dioxide, Carbon Tax, citizenship, civilization, clean disruption, climate change, climate disruption, compassion, conservation, consumption, decentralized electric power generation, decentralized energy, demand-side solutions, destructive economic development, ecology, economics, education, energy reduction, energy utilities, environment, ethics, finance, fossil fuel divestment, global warming, humanism, Hyper Anthropocene, ignorance, investing, investment in wind and solar energy, meteorology, new forms of scientific peer review, NOAA, oceanography, physical materialism, physics, politics, rationality, reasonableness, risk, science, sociology, statistics, sustainability, Tea Party, UU Humanists | 1 Comment

“Natural Gas Pipeline Replacement Programs Reduce Methane Leaks and Improve Consumer Safety”

Natural Gas Pipeline Replacement Programs Reduce Methane Leaks and Improve Consumer Safety Morgan E. Gallagher†‡, Adrian Down§, Robert C. Ackley∥, Kaiguang Zhao⊥, Nathan Phillips#, and Robert B. Jackson*†∇ † School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropocene, bridge to nowhere, citizenship, climate, climate change, climate disruption, consumption, economics, energy utilities, environment, fossil fuels, fracking, global warming, Hyper Anthropocene, investing, methane, mitigation, natural gas, pipelines, politics, rationality, reasonableness, risk, science, sociology, spatial statistics, the right to know | Leave a comment

“Ignorance is not a cultural identity to celebrate. “

From meteorologist Dr Dan Satterfield, from his blog post, “The Real Reason U.S. SAT Test Scores Keep Dropping“: Far too many Americans just don’t think education is important. They may claim they do, but when a state gives 250 million … Continue reading

Posted in Carl Sagan, citizenship, civilization, Dan Satterfield, economics, education, humanism, ignorance, mathematics education, rationality, reasonableness, risk, science education, sociology, Susan Jacoby | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

“Does Local Climate Information Stimulate Action?” | Tyndall°Centre for Climate Change Research ®

Does Local Climate Information Stimulate Action? | Tyndall°Centre for Climate Change Research ®. In an experiment, we asked people, who live in the U.S. state of Vermont, to what extent they care about other communities/people (self-transcendent values), or their own … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropocene, Boston Ethical Society, carbon dioxide, Carbon Tax, citizenship, civilization, clean disruption, climate, climate change, climate disruption, compassion, demand-side solutions, economics, environment, ethics, games of chance, geophysics, global warming, humanism, Hyper Anthropocene, ignorance, meteorology, sociology, temporal myopia, UU Humanists | Leave a comment

What’s Beef?

Originally posted on Open Mind:
https://youtu.be/Lf_CMw-docI Open Mind View original post

Posted in Anthropocene, bridge to nowhere, citizenship, civilization, climate, climate change, climate disruption, denial, disingenuity, education, exponential growth, fossil fuel divestment, global warming, humanism, Hyper Anthropocene, ignorance, obfuscating data, rationality, reasonableness, risk, science, science education, sociology, sustainability, Uncategorized, zero carbon | Leave a comment

“Allocating a 2° C cumulative carbon budget to countries”: Gignac and Matthews

Abstract Recent estimates of the global carbon budget, or allowable cumulative CO2 emissions consistent with a given level of climate warming, have the potential to inform climate mitigation policy discussions aimed at maintaining global temperatures below 2° C. This raises … Continue reading

Posted in adaptation, Anthropocene, Boston Ethical Society, bridge to nowhere, carbon dioxide, Carbon Tax, chance, chemistry, citizen science, citizenship, civilization, clean disruption, climate, climate change, climate disruption, climate education, climate justice, compassion, conservation, consumption, decentralized energy, demand-side solutions, destructive economic development, ecology, education, energy, energy reduction, environment, ethics, forecasting, fossil fuel divestment, fossil fuels, geophysics, global warming, humanism, Hyper Anthropocene, ignorance, investment in wind and solar energy, IPCC, meteorology, mitigation, open source scientific software, physical materialism, physics, population biology, prediction, rationality, reasonableness, risk, science, science education, scientific publishing, sociology, solar power, sustainability, temporal myopia, the right to know, time series, UNFCCC, UU Humanists, wind power | Leave a comment

Science Deniers

A good term, science denier, by Dan Satterfield. And assuredly the WUWT crowd is part of them.

Posted in Bill Nye, Boston Ethical Society, Carl Sagan, citizen science, citizenship, civilization, climate change, climate zombies, disingenuity, education, environment, geophysics, global warming, history, humanism, ignorance, investing, meteorology, natural philosophy, obfuscating data, rationality, reasonableness, reproducible research, risk, science, science education, sociology, temporal myopia, the right to know | Leave a comment

Links explaining climate change Kevin Jones liked

Kevin Jones asked me if I could put the links in a Comment on a post I made at Google+ in a collection or something for reference. I am therefore repeating the Comment with these details below. No one simple … Continue reading

Posted in Anthropocene, astrophysics, bifurcations, biology, bridge to nowhere, carbon dioxide, chance, citizen science, citizenship, civilization, clean disruption, climate, climate change, climate disruption, climate education, climate models, climate zombies, conservation, consumption, decentralized electric power generation, decentralized energy, demand-side solutions, dynamical systems, ecology, economics, efficiency, energy, energy reduction, environment, exponential growth, forecasting, fossil fuel divestment, fossil fuels, geophysics, global warming, history, investing, investment in wind and solar energy, IPCC, living shorelines, mass extinctions, mass transit, mathematics, maths, meteorology, methane, microgrids, model comparison, NASA, natural gas, NCAR, NOAA, oceanography, physics, politics, population biology, Principles of Planetary Climate, rationality, Ray Pierrehumbert, reasonableness, science, science education, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, sea level rise, sociology, solar power, statistics, temporal myopia, the right to know, Tony Seba, WHOI, wind power, zero carbon | Leave a comment

disruption to global electricity production during the next 25 years

I am a huge fan of Tony Seba’s writings and work, primarily because I am an engineer, and I simply cannot accept that the situation with the impending climate catastrophe is hopeless. Engineers are eternal optimists. Not everyone will be … Continue reading

Posted in adaptation, bridge to nowhere, carbon dioxide, Carbon Tax, citizenship, clean disruption, climate, climate change, climate disruption, consumption, decentralized electric power generation, decentralized energy, dynamical systems, economics, energy, engineering, environment, ethics, exponential growth, fossil fuel divestment, fossil fuels, fracking, global warming, history, investment in wind and solar energy, mathematics, maths, methane, microgrids, natural gas, politics, rationality, reasonableness, risk, sociology, solar power, statistics, stochastics, sustainability, taxes, the right to know, Tony Seba, transparency, wind power, zero carbon | 5 Comments

Excellent. With musings on religion and mass extinctions.

And sometimes, just sometimes, I can feel the same way about some religions. Now, it’s not that many aren’t doing good, and many aren’t getting people to realize that we have painted ourselves deeply into a climate corner, but it … Continue reading

Posted in art, atheism, Bill Nye, Boston Ethical Society, bridge to nowhere, Carl Sagan, citizenship, climate, climate change, climate education, climate justice, climate zombies, Darwin Day, denial, ecology, environment, ethics, fossil fuels, games of chance, geophysics, global warming, history, humanism, mass extinctions, Neill deGrasse Tyson, physical materialism, politics, population biology, rationality, reasonableness, science, science education, sociology, temporal myopia, the right to know, UU Humanists | 1 Comment

Climate Justice

December 2015 will see the definitive meeting of the UNFCCC COP 21 intended to set targets and commitments under the UN treaty establishing UNFCCC and the IPCC, one approved and ratified by the United States (*). Before then, a good … Continue reading

Posted in adaptation, Anthropocene, bifurcations, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide capture, carbon dioxide sequestration, Carbon Tax, citizenship, civilization, clean disruption, climate, climate change, climate disruption, climate education, climate justice, compassion, conservation, consumption, decentralized electric power generation, decentralized energy, demand-side solutions, dynamical systems, economics, education, energy, energy reduction, environment, ethics, fossil fuel divestment, games of chance, geophysics, global warming, history, humanism, investment in wind and solar energy, IPCC, NOAA, oceanography, physics, politics, population biology, rationality, reasonableness, risk, science, science education, sociology, temporal myopia, Unitarian Universalism, UU Humanists, zero carbon | Leave a comment

“Laudato Si”

Those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms … Clearly, the Bible has no place for a tyrannical anthropocentrism unconcerned for other creatures … The … Continue reading

Posted in citizenship, civilization, climate, climate change, climate disruption, climate education, compassion, ecology, economics, education, environment, ethics, geophysics, global warming, humanism, IPCC, meteorology, physics, politics, rationality, reasonableness, risk, science, science education, sociology, temporal myopia, Unitarian Universalism, UU Humanists, zero carbon | 1 Comment

“Time to take out the trash”

Originally posted on Open Mind:
Pope Francis is taking man-made climate change seriously. With a papal encyclical due soon, the trailer is Epic

Posted in carbon dioxide, Carbon Tax, citizenship, civilization, climate, climate change, climate disruption, climate education, compassion, conservation, decentralized energy, denial, ecology, economics, education, energy, environment, ethics, exponential growth, fossil fuel divestment, geophysics, global warming, humanism, investment in wind and solar energy, IPCC, living shorelines, meteorology, physics, politics, population biology, public transport, rationality, reasonableness, risk, science, science education, sea level rise, sociology, zero carbon | 2 Comments

On the Climate Club

But if the other advanced nations had a stick — a tariff of 4 percent on the imports from countries not in the “climate club” — the cost-benefit calculation for the United States would flip. Not participating in the club … Continue reading

Quote | Posted on by | 2 Comments

On the futility of speaking with (and working with) local politicians

I had a chat with a local politician yesterday, at a party of a mutual friend. It did not go well. Claire and I have been moving a sustainability agenda in town (and elsewhere!) for a few years, and have … Continue reading

Posted in demand-side solutions, environment, ethics, exponential growth, global warming, politics, rationality, reasonableness, risk, sociology, sustainability, transparency, UU Humanists | 2 Comments