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Comment: Re:"Support" != actually sacrifice for (Score 1) 284

by microbox (#48944637) Attached to: Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change
Revenue neutral carbon taxes have been successfully used to reduce the amount of dirty electricity being used (by raising the price of produce), and still leave home owners with more money in their pocket. They drive economic growth (energy innovation, home modernization, grid modernization), and they also cause economic harm (fossil fuel interests are losers). When you tally up the growth and harm, they come feakily close to zero. So, on average, it costs nothing, but Koch and Koch will need a new business model.

Comment: Re:"Support" != actually sacrifice for (Score 1) 284

by microbox (#48944621) Attached to: Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change
There are always winners and loser when incentive structures change. The real question is who is being subsized by the status quo, and is it fair. Fighting AGW will produce winners and losers but the consensus among economists it that it will have a negligble effect on overall economic growth. That means we can move away from fossil fuels and, on average, we will still be as rich in the future even if AGW is a hoax. If it isn't a hoax, then we will be a lot richer in the future if the USA still keeps all the naval bases and city facilities and property that are at sea level -- to name merely one certain economic downside of warming.

A revenue neutral pollution tax can be used to compensate the losers, other than the fossil fuel industry, who are enjoying huge negative externalities right now. No wonder Koch and Koch are spending so much money shaping political perceptions on the issue.

Comment: Re:"Support" != actually sacrifice for (Score 1) 284

by microbox (#48944601) Attached to: Most Americans Support Government Action On Climate Change
It is a fallacy that we must sacrifice much to fight climate change. The real alarmists are the economic alarmists. (Sure there are far left weirdos who use AGW as cover for their anti-capitalist economics, but their lunacy does not reflect the reality of the problem.) The consensus from economists is that a lot can be done with zero net effect to the economy. This is not just technology. We must change incentive structures that are already biased toward drawing down on fossil fuels. (Remember, we are not paying the true cost of our energy, for a lot of complex reasons.) The technology is already ready, with wind energy already having a total cost of ownership lower than coal. Solar is more expensive, for now, but will soon be cheaper. The only reason why we burn coal is because it is subsidized. Thus, pricing in the cost of pollution will lower the overall energy costs of the nation, and also drive economic growth. This is because most of the world is using revenue neutral taxes -- taking money from polluters and then creating incentives for housing and grid modernization. We already have more people working in renewable energy than in coal in the USA. Sure renewables do not supply reliable baseline energy, but that is a grid problem that is being solved by technology. You can look up the solutions if you are interested. The main obstacle in the USA is the nimby crowd. (The USA needs more high voltage transmission between parts of the country.)

Comment: Re:Fifth amendment zone of lawlessness (Score 1) 422

by tombeard (#48926563) Attached to: Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

FWIW, they are not just collecting metadata, at least not under the common understanding of collect. Remember the Boston bomber? One week after his arrest they were discussing having just listened to his families calls to overseas. They had the calls recorded, collected to everyone else, but didn't listen to them till after the bombing. They are wanting the ability to retroactively listen to everyone this way. Later they will do it proactively, but baby steps. With this understanding, the warrant process is worthless.

Education

Nobel Laureate and Laser Inventor Charles Townes Passes 73

Posted by samzenpus
from the rest-in-peace dept.
An anonymous reader writes Charles Hard Townes, a professor emeritus of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, who shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for invention of the laser and subsequently pioneered the use of lasers in astronomy, died early Tuesday in Oakland. He was 99. "Charlie was a cornerstone of the Space Sciences Laboratory for almost 50 years,” said Stuart Bale, director of the lab and a UC Berkeley professor of physics. “He trained a great number of excellent students in experimental astrophysics and pioneered a program to develop interferometry at short wavelengths. He was a truly inspiring man and a nice guy. We’ll miss him.”

The herd instinct among economists makes sheep look like independent thinkers.

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