Saturday, July 12, 2014

What Kind of Man

More on doing what you love/are good at, even if nobody is really noticing:

What Kind of Man from Kamau Bilal on Vimeo.

The Joy Found In Doing Something Well

Bill Simmons has a very enjoyable piece about LeBron going back to Cleveland, his place as one of the greatest basketball players ever, what makes him so great, and why the move makes sense in that light.  Here's a sample:
I have caught LeBron in person maybe 50 times. My favorite night happened in Game 4 of this year’s Eastern Conference finals against Indiana, right after Lance Stephenson stupidly challenged him. LeBron said he didn’t take Lance’s buffoonery personally, only we knew that he did. Unlike Jordan or Kobe before him, he didn’t respond by dropping 50.
Instead, he strolled onto the court, figured out exactly what the Heat needed, then gave them exactly that for three incredible quarters. There wasn’t a single moment, for two solid hours, when anyone thought Indiana had a chance. His numbers weren’t mind-blowing: just 29 points and nine rebounds through three quarters. But he dominated the proceedings in every conceivable way. You never forgot he was out there, not for a second. He made the correct basketball decision every time, even something as simple as “I should push the pace right here” or “I’m just gonna assume that Norris Cole is in the left corner even if I can’t see him, so I’m going to throw a 50-foot pass over my head to that spot and hope he catches it.” He didn’t waste an ounce of energy. Over everything else, his efficiency was positively eerie.
During the third quarter, I texted a friend that “this was an all-time non-signature signature game, he’s made like 13 incredible plays.” Almost on cue, the man made two more, including an insane full-court push that finished with a reverse dunk in traffic. Like Magic before him, LeBron loves playing at home — loves seeing the arena covered in white, loves looking out at the fans after big plays, loves stomping around and screaming and feeding off the noise. He’s been great at basketball for years and years, but now he’d figured out the sport itself. He reached that final level. This was art. This was genius plus performance.
In an underrated movie called Six Degrees of Separation, Will Smith plays a scam artist who infiltrates the lives of four different wealthy families in Manhattan. He insists on cooking dinner for one of those families and makes them an amazing meal. Later, when the wife (played by Stockard Channing) is trying to convince Smith’s character to give himself up to police, he remembers that dinner and says it was the greatest night of his life.
You guys let me use all the best parts of me, he tells her.
That’s how I felt about LeBron in Game 4 of that Indy series.
I went into work this morning, and read this while I was killing time.  Then I went out and took a walk around the shop to see if there were any problems or screw ups I might have to deal with before I left for the day.  As I was going back toward the office, I stopped and talked to one of the weld inspectors.  He is the guy who gets called out to do the important fixes when things are screwed up, whether it is cutting apart bad weld jobs and fixing them, or cutting holes for bearings when the pre-programmed holes don't work out.  But most of his day is spent keeping the other welders working, looking at drawings and helping get those guys' work set up, then inspecting their work to see if it meets our quality standards.  He told me that this morning he was actually in a booth welding.  When he first said it, I thought maybe he was making the point that it was somehow crazy that things were so disordered that he wasn't doing his job, but instead doing somebody else's work. That's because normally our conversations center around how insanely chaotic our workdays are. Then he made the comment that it was so nice being in there by himself, turning off the radio, and just welding.  I think he used the word peaceful to describe it.  I was immediately reminded of the above article.  Clearly, he really enjoyed just welding-being there by himself and doing what he does very well.  That made me think about what I would consider the skill which I do best (which obviously isn't writing).

[Warning: major nerd content and much inane bragging after the jump]

Bastille Day Weekend Links

Here are some stories that caught my eye this week:

The Enormous Ship That Submerges Itself to Carry Entire Oil Rigs - Wired

How A Lucky Run In Vegas Saved FedEx - Priceonomics

Bird decline 'smoking gun'for pesticide's effect - BBC.  Interesting.  We'll see if the hypothesis holds up.

America Will Likely Close Out 2014 as the World's Reigning Oil Champion - Slate.  We'll see how long that lasts.  The forecasts I've seen show production peaking by 2020, but I'll be surprised if it lasts that long.  Meanwhile, actual world crude production probably already peaked, while condensate and natural gas liquids are increasing.

Secrets of the Creative Brain - The Atlantic

Oligarchy Blues - naked capitalism

Some Worry Traffic Issues Will Stem Texas' Growth - Texas Tribune.  I'm sure private enterprise will rise to the infrastructure challenge, for a steep price.

The Power of Maps, Past and Present - James Fallows.  This link to old USGS maps is awesome, if you are a map geek like me.

Satellite data shows livestock emitted more methane than oil and gas industry in 2004 - PhysOrg.  Eventually, there will be pressure to cut down on meat consumption.

Positively un-American tax dodges - Fortune.  When Fortune is calling you out for being corporate scum, you definitely have more than just an image problem.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Waves of Grain

Waves of Grain from Keith Skretch on Vimeo.

A little explanation:
Images by Keith Skretch
Sound by Ennio Morricone, "The Big Gundown"
To create this strata-cut animation, I planed down a block of wood one layer at a time, photographing it at each pass. The painstaking process revealed a hidden life and motion in the seemingly static grain of the wood, even as the wood itself was reduced to a mound of sawdust.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What A Difference 210 Years Makes

It tells you how bad parts of the world are that 33.5% of the world population is still working in agriculture. And you don't have to go back over two centuries to find a time when life was tough:
Imagine if you were born in 1900. You'd have a 23% chance of dying before age 20 (a 13% change before age 1). You'd have a 38% chance of dying before age 45 (see first two graphs below).
Compare that to kids born recently. You'd have about a 1% chance of dying before age 20, and about a 4% chance of dying before age 45. A dramatic change over the last century.
How would this effect your behavior? If you were born in 1900, you'd want to get married early, and have plenty of children. If you were born recently, you'd probably take your time - get married later, have fewer children - and education would be more valuable (because you'd probably live longer).
So we'd expect to see more young people stay in school, and more older people stay in the work force - and that is exactly what is happening.
Some people look at these trends and worry about supporting all the old people. To me, this is all great news - the vast majority of people can look forward to a long life - with fewer people dying in childhood or during their prime working years.
13% chance of dying by age 1, and 23% chance of dying by age 20? Wow. Yep, things aren't too bad.  At least until we cook ourselves.

Field of Dreams To Be Immortalized in Butter

Well, not quite immortalized.  Des Moines Register:
The "Field of Dreams" will now be immortalized (at least until it gets mooshed up and stored for next year's sculpture…) in a field of butter.
The Iowa State Fair announced that the butter cow will be sharing her refrigerated stall with a sculpture that "features elements from America's favorite past-time of baseball and the rural Iowa landscape" and celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Iowa-based feature film.
While there's no doubt that butter is pretty much one of the best inventions ever, the iconic butter cow and her butter compatriots have not always been universally appreciated. Last year, an animal rights group snuck in to the John Deere Agriculture Building and vandalized the old gal with blood-red paint. But quick-thinking fair folks capitalized on the publicity and created "Butter Cow Security" T-shirts.
And butter Michael Jackson never even made it on to the 40-degree stage. People weren't crazy about the King of Pop's alleged sexual misconduct with children and the idea of sculpting MJ was nixed in favor of the less controversial Neil Armstrong (still got a moonwalk in there though).
"Field of Dreams" is probably a safe choice though. It seems unlikely that the movie that gave us baseball, father-son reconciliation and "Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa," all in two hours will foment any anti-butter-sculpture revolution.
Well, that gives me something to look forward to in the first week of August.  Also, for a bonus, historical butter cow and lard sculpture photos.  One of my favorites:

Bigger Failure: War on Terror or War on Drugs?

Afghanistan is at the nexus of each.  Check out this chart:

Now, it's true that the total amount of opium produced in Afghanistan has declined from its 2008 peak. But, according to the UN, that's because of "plant diseases and bad weather" — not the war. There's more land devoted to poppy cultivation, but it's less productive because of natural conditions. Drug eradication doesn't appear to have much to do with it.
Why has the campaign against opium failed so epically? There are plenty of reasons, including widespread Afghan government corruption and the fact that 95 percent of poppy cultivation happens in the country's insecure, Taliban-filled southwestern provinces.
But the most important one is the most basic — Afghanistan runs on opium. Opium-related activities make up half of the country's GDP; the legal economy depends on its proceeds to function. As Fabrice Pothier, the director of the Carnegie Endowment's European branch and an expert of the Afghan drug trade, explains in an absolutely staggering passage, opium is more than 50 times as important to Afghanistan as cocaine is to Colombia.
We suck at running our own country, why in the fuck do we think we can run other countries?  We've got our own religious zealots fighting against the civil rights of our citizens.  We provide by far the greatest market in the world for the products of poppies.  Let's stay out of the nation building game and worry more about dealing with addiction here.  Try to adjust the demand side of the equation, not the supply side.  From news reports, heroin is extremely cheap and widely available.  Why in the fuck are we halfway around the world trying to limit production?  Also, to answer the headline of the post, both "wars" are unwinnable bullshit, so it is  probably a draw.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Closer

Mike Edel's The Closer from Mike Edel on Vimeo.

Here's a little information about the song:
Mike Edel's The Closer
Created by: Mike Edel, Jorge R. Canedo Estrada, Henrique Barone, Thanat Sattavorn, Cesar Martinez, Breno Licursi
Funded by: Public Records and Telus

Get 'The Closer' on iTunes:
Get 'The Closer' + Mike Edel's entire discography on Noisetrade:
In Alberta, on the plains north of Calgary, the winters are long and cold they bite with big white teeth. These rural, simple and hardworking people sit patiently by their fires and wait for summer, a summer that is always short and hot.
When I was 6, I would jump into the backseat of my dad's pickup truck as he would drive my brother, Jamie, all over the country to his baseball games. I loved baseball. I loved baseball almost as much as them. I would stand beside my friend Ryan and we would watch the game and watch our brothers and look through the chain link fence with our young keen eyes. We saw the balls, the strikes, the out's and the coach's walk to mound; but what we waited for was the foul balls.
If a foul ball flew over the fence, Ryan and I would sprint like outfielders to track it down in a race that was always even because we both got our fair share of foul balls as far as I can remember. With the ball in one of our gloves, we would saunter over to a little white shack that always needed a paint job and the old Mrs. Claus looking lady at the concession stand would hold out her big soft hand and we place the ball into it like we were at a carnival. With her other hand she handed us a quarter. We would hand it straight back to her for 2 licorice's and chew them all the way back to the chain link fence. I loved baseball.
My dad also loved baseball. He would be the guy that sat on the bleachers holding one of those baseball scorebooks, the one with the coils all down one side and with a thousand little baseball diamond pictures inside where he would translate the game into this picture language. He must be really good at remember pictures because he would keep the score in this book game after game, and there were lots of them, and now at 67 years old he still remembers all these plays in the baseball game. My brother hit a triple down the right field line to drive in 3 with the bases loaded in Oyen to win a Provincial game. Another time, with runners on first and second Jamie caught a line drive, stepped on second and overthrew the neighbor kid (Shawn Gorr) at first only to cover the bag and get all 3 outs by himself.
My dad remembers this.
I wrote a song called The Closer. It's a story about a pitcher in a small town, a lot like the one I grew up in, who is pitching a perfect game into the 9th inning. But his mom runs onto the mound and tells him that he needs to leave the game because his dad has had a farming accident. So the coach brings in the closer with a 2-0 lead in the 9th inning. He gives up a walk. Then a single. Then a home-run. They lose the game 3-2 in the 9th.
I think that sometimes we think that these small moments in small towns don't matter, but the truth is that they do.
The baseball diamonds, and the hockey rinks and the community centers are the theaters where life takes place for these people. They are the stages that hold the metaphors for the joys and the tragedy's of simple life. Everybody comes in the heat of a short summer and sits there, cheering and groaning and feeling joy and heartbreak together. And they all love baseball.
Yeah, I wouldn't have picked up all that nuance without the explanation.  But hey, who can argue with summer, rural life and baseball.  Only Communists, that's who.

Investors Battle Neighbors In Texas Water Wars

Men's Journal:
They've been saying it in Texas since the first Anglo planters dug their crude canals for pecan trees: Whiskey is for drinkin'; water is for fightin'. Except that even then the canard rang hollow: Water is for stealing. In the 1860s, U.S. troops drove native tribes off their eons-old oasis, Comanche Springs, enabling settlers to transform the Chihuahuan Desert into a delta of produce farms. A compact was struck among the Panhandle's growers to share the water fairly among each other. But in Texas, "common interest" is happy talk for socialism and never stands the test of avarice.
In the 1950s, along came Clayton Williams, an oil and cow magnate who dug dozens of gas-fired wells on his ranch and drew all the water out of Comanche Springs. His neighbors, rightly outraged, sued in three courts – and lost to him each time in landmark trials. The courts said Williams owned every last drop he could suck from the caves beneath his soil, and tough luck for his fellow landsmen with shorter straws. That law, called "rule of capture," defines Texas' approach to problem solving. It honors the state's right to control its surface water, but grants absolute ownership of below-ground water to whoever owns the land above it. The owner of that water can largely do what he likes – hoard it, waste it, or sell it at profit – even if it bankrupts his next-door neighbor and tanks the ecology of his county.
Williams' win was great news for tycoons and oil extractors, exalting the claims of the big ranch owner over the greater good of his townsfolk. Sixty years later, when surface water is dying and Texas can't support the population it has, let alone the people still coming, it has emboldened a new cast of cutthroat investors, including Clayton Williams' son, Clayton Jr. Claytie, as he's called, is an oil-and-gas scion who could easily have been invented by Molly Ivins. In 1990, he ran for governor and was ahead by double digits in all the polls. Then he wisecracked that women being raped should "just relax and enjoy it."
Like his father, he's monopolized the springs in Pecos County, pumping 41 million gallons a day to water his cattle and telling a reporter, "It's my land, and I have the right... If I didn't pump water, [the land] wouldn't be worth anything."
In 2010, he decided to double down, making a deal with a utility company in Midland, Texas – his firm would build pipelines to send Pecos County water 100 miles away to that booming oil town. Shortly thereafter, oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens struck a deal to pipe groundwater, for $103 million, to 11 cities, including Lubbock and Amarillo, replacing the depleted Lake Meredith. Like Williams, Pickens drew from a depleted source: the Ogallala Aquifer in West Texas, which sat below land he owned or to which he leased the water rights. One of the world's great underground bodies, it irrigates crops in eight states, brings drinking water to millions, and, for decades, was presumed to be boundless. But in Texas, the drain has been so rapacious that levels in the Ogallala have dipped hundreds of feet, bottoming out completely in shallow sections.
To stem some of the damage done by the rule of capture, and to protect the state's reserves from men like Williams, Texas created local groundwater boards to regulate sales to outside parties. In Williams' case, the system worked: His deal was voted down by the county board. Not so with Pickens and his Mesa Water holdings, which won local board approval to sell water to the 11 cities. Pickens made out grandly at the expense of the Ogallala, while hiking up future water costs for residents; groundwater is much more expensive than surface water, as it must be pumped farther and treated twice, not once. "It'll be on your water bill and mine," said Norman Wright, chairman of the Canadian River Water Authority, which struck the deal on behalf of the 11 municipalities and took out bonds to pay Pickens' price.
The whole article is fascinating.  The great migration of population to the desert southwest in the 20th and early 21st century was one of the dumbest things people could have ever done (although all the building in Dubai has to rank pretty damn high).  Now that we are cooking ourselves in our own emissions, those folks are going to have to pack up and leave because they don't have water to drink.  Then we'll see whether Texas can afford to exist without water AND without income taxes.  Also, Rick Perry is a stupid jackass.  I like this quote:
"I'm up at four in the morning seven days a week, trying to catch enough to keep my oyster plant going, while the governor's out braggin' about the 'Texas Miracle.' We don't need more people, 'less they're bringin' some fuckin' water. What we need's a real miracle: two months of rain."
We've got the water, but I sure don't want the people.

Update: Dow Chemical also battles for water in Texas:
When Dow Chemical, one of the largest manufacturers of chemicals and plastics in the world, announced a multibillion-dollar expansion on Texas’ Gulf Coast last summer, Gov. Rick Perry had yet another example to add to his list of explosive economic growth on Texas soil.
“Texas continues to attract companies looking for the best opportunity to expand or relocate because of our low taxes, smart regulations, fair courts and predictable workforce,” Perry said in an August statement on Dow’s expansion, for which the governor’s incentive fund had provided $1.5 million, on top of a $1 million grant the year before.
But this success story has been underscored by a tense struggle over water, which Dow needs to keep production afloat, and which is in short supply in Texas amid the state’s debilitating drought and its water users’ increasing thirst.
The manufacturing giant is by far the largest user of water from Texas’ Brazos River, which also supplies farmers, cities and other industries along its 900-mile stretch from northwest Texas to the Gulf Coast. Dow is also the river’s oldest user, giving the company priority over all others. And as the Brazos’ water supply diminishes, Dow’s claims to its flows have pitted it against farmers, cities, power plants and local water authorities.
Conservationists and wholesale water suppliers alike warn that in a booming state that’s been slow to address its long-term water needs, companies looking to relocate to Texas could see Dow’s experience and reconsider. They also say that companies in Texas could engage in expensive battles with agricultural and other water users, including fast-growing cities — and that the state is not prepared to accommodate all of its conflicting water demands.
Things are going to get really interesting in Texas.  Who needs planning and zoning when you don't even have water?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Kern River Oil Field Makes Unique Source of Irrigation Water

The 115-year-old Kern River oil field unfolds into the horizon, thousands of bobbing pumpjacks seemingly occupying every corner of a desert landscape here in California’s Central Valley. A contributor to the state’s original oil boom, it is still going strong as the nation’s fifth-largest oil field, yielding 70,000 barrels a day.
But the Kern River field also produces 10 times more of something that, at least during California’s continuing drought, has become more valuable to many locals and has experienced the kind of price spike more familiar to oil: water. The field’s owner, Chevron, sells millions of gallons every day to a local water district that distributes it to farmers growing almonds, pistachios, citrus fruits and other crops.
It is one of the more unusual sources of water, one whose importance has increased in a year when the drought has forced farmers to fallow fields and bulldoze almond orchards. The water is pumped out of the same underground rock that contains oil; after the two are separated, the water flows through an eight-mile pipeline to Bakersfield’s Cawelo Water District, which this year will rely on Chevron’s water for half of its supply, up from an average of a quarter. The district sells it exclusively to farmers for irrigation and reduces its salinity by blending it with water from other sources.
760,000 barrels of water a day produced, compared to 70,000 barrels of oil.

Canada Sees Impact of Climate Change

Scientific American covers a new report released from Natural Resources Canada on the measured impacts of climate change in Canada:
Between 1950 and 2010, Canada's average air temperature over land warmed about double the global average, or about 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The country as a whole has become wetter, while sea levels on the country's coasts rose about 21 centimeters between 1880 and 2012.
The impacts are apparent in Canada's north, the report says, where melting permafrost and glaciers are changing the landscape quickly. "Glaciers in Yukon have lost about 22% since the 1950s," the report notes. Lake ice—critical for activities such as ice hockey—may decrease in duration by roughly a month by midcentury, according to scientists.
Earlier this year, Canada's insurance industry reported that 2013 was the costliest ever because of claims from extreme weather, with losses rising above $3 billion (ClimateWire, Jan. 22).
On the other hand, climate change may help some food production and industries that can benefit from northward expansion such as maple syrup developers. "Total biomass of production from wild, capture fisheries in Canada [are] expected to increase due to climate-induced shifts in fish distributions," the report states.
It appears the biggest temperature changes will occur nearer to the poles, which is bad news for glaciers and sea ice.

USDA Expects Record Corn Crop

Two years removed from a devastating drought that damaged crops and sent prices surging, farmers will see yields rise 4.1 percent to an all-time high of 165.3 bushels an acre, government data show. Rising grain output in the U.S., the world’s largest producer, is keeping global food prices in check while boosting profit for meat producers including Tyson Foods Inc. and makers of sweeteners and ethanol including Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM).
Futures have tumbled 21 percent since the end of April on the Chicago Board of Trade, slipping into a bear market on July 3. Prices today reached $4.0725, the lowest since Jan. 10. The Bloomberg Commodity Index of 22 raw materials dropped 3.5 percent over the same period, while the MSCI World Index of equities advanced 4.4 percent. The Bloomberg Treasury index gained 0.3 percent.
Corn’s slump may worsen once the harvest starts. In separate reports, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said June 23 that prices will drop to $4 in six months, while Rabobank International said July 1 the grain will average $4.07 in the fourth quarter. Dan Basse, the president of AgResources Co. in Chicago, predicted a drop as low as $3.50.
As of June 29, 75 percent of the crop was in good or excellent condition, compared with 67 percent a year earlier and the highest at this stage of development since 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. After low temperatures delayed planting this year, the arrival of warm, wet weather accelerated plant development in June with about 5 percent already reproducing this week, up from 3 percent in 2013.
Most of the corn around here looks very good, but some of the corn that went into wetter soils looks pretty ugly.  A couple more decent showers and most of this corn will be made.  If we see $3.50 on the board, things are going to get pretty ugly for folks around here.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

NASA Photo of the Day

July 5:

M106 Across the Spectrum
Image Credit: X-ray - NASA / CXC / Caltech / P.Ogle et al.,
Optical - NASA/STScI, IR - NASA/JPL-Caltech, Radio - NSF/NRAO/VLA
Explanation: The spiral arms of bright, active galaxy M106 sprawl through this remarkable multiwavelength portrait, composed of image data from radio to X-rays, across the electromagnetic spectrum. Also known as NGC 4258, M106 can be found toward the northern constellation Canes Venatici. The well-measured distance to M106 is 23.5 million light-years, making this cosmic scene about 60,000 light-years across. Typical in grand spiral galaxies, dark dust lanes, youthful star clusters, and star forming regions trace spiral arms that converge on a bright nucleus. But this composite highlights two anomalous arms in radio (purple) and X-ray (blue) that seem to arise in the central region of M106, evidence of energetic jets of material blasting into the galaxy's disk. The jets are likely powered by matter falling into a massive central black hole.

Do You Miss George W. Bush?

I keep seeing that question on Facebook, but Calculated Risk takes a look at job creation under the last six presidents and helps answer it.  Umm, no:

TermPrivate Sector
Jobs Added (000s)
Reagan 15,360
Reagan 29,357
GHW Bush1,510
Clinton 110,885
Clinton 210,070
GW Bush 1-841
GW Bush 2379
Obama 11,998
Obama 213,477
1Seventeen months into 2nd term

Ironically, it is only under President Obama that public sector employment has decreased.  The only net jobs created under George W. Bush were in the public sector:

TermPublic Sector
Jobs Added (000s)
Reagan 1-24
Reagan 21,438
GHW Bush1,127
Clinton 1692
Clinton 21,242
GW Bush 1900
GW Bush 2844
Obama 1-713
Obama 2142
1Seventeen months into 2nd term

That kind of undermines the meme of Obama's recession and the ever-growing government.  Don't expect most Republicans to notice.

The Chemistry of Fireworks

The State of the Union

Politico Magazine features three great pieces looking at the challenges facing the U.S., especially inequality and climate change.  Here's the closing of a piece by Joseph Stiglitz on how the 'good times' weren't all that good, but were better than they are now:
Yet I am, perhaps, naive enough to believe it is not capitalism alone that is at fault: It is, even more, the paralysis of our politics and the banishing of any progressive thought from a debate that still pretends the No. 1 problem is government. I have spent my career as an economist second-guessing markets, demonstrating their imperfections, and yet markets can be a powerful force for increasing standards of living for all. But we need a balance of the kind we achieved in the middle of the 20th century, when government was afforded a progressive role. Otherwise, I fear, we will permanently scar ourselves with the rigged economic and political system that already has done so much to create today’s inequality.
When I was growing up in Gary during its own smog-choked “golden age,” it was impossible to see where the city was going. We didn’t know, or talk, about the deindustrialization of America, which was about to occur. I didn’t realize, in other words, that the rather grim reality I was leaving behind was actually as good as Gary was ever going to get.
I fear America could be at the same place today.
In another piece, Nick Hanauer resumes his role as Cassandra for the 0.01%, warning that there will be mobs in the streets if the ultra-wealthy don't take action to lessen inequality:
The most ironic thing about rising inequality is how completely unnecessary and self-defeating it is. If we do something about it, if we adjust our policies in the way that, say, Franklin D. Roosevelt did during the Great Depression—so that we help the 99 percent and preempt the revolutionaries and crazies, the ones with the pitchforks—that will be the best thing possible for us rich folks, too. It’s not just that we’ll escape with our lives; it’s that we’ll most certainly get even richer.
The model for us rich guys here should be Henry Ford, who realized that all his autoworkers in Michigan weren’t only cheap labor to be exploited; they were consumers, too. Ford figured that if he raised their wages, to a then-exorbitant $5 a day, they’d be able to afford his Model Ts.
What a great idea. My suggestion to you is: Let’s do it all over again. We’ve got to try something. These idiotic trickle-down policies are destroying my customer base. And yours too.
Finally, Jedediah Purdy discusses inequality and climate change, and gives one of the scarier bits of information which seeks to answer those who question why we are playing with fire when it comes to climate change:
The other was the new set of U.N. reports on climate change, which confirmed, yet again, that the problem is real and accelerating. Happy developments like President Obama’s new greenhouse-gas rules and California’s pioneering climate legislation amount to spitting in the wind. Half of the total greenhouse-gas emissions in human history have happened just since 1970, and, growing at 2 percent a year, annual global emissions are set to double between now and 2050. (emphasis mine)  Everything hard, from drought to floods to disease, is going to get worse, and, like all natural disaster, it’s going to be hardest on those who are already poor and vulnerable.....
Climate denial is structural as long as the economy’s everyday feedback system, the price system, treats fossil-fuel emissions as free. We are running a carbon deficit that there is no way to repay. Like any unsustainable debt, our carbon deficit makes the borrowers feel richer than they really are, until it falls due and they are suddenly poor again—plus interest. We are greatly inflating the level of industrial activity the Earth can afford, ecologically speaking.
All three pieces are well worth reading, although they are rather depressing.  The most important part is that they are at least being discussed.