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Journal Journal: A geeky, Catholic, pro-life plan to reduce GCC

They tell us global climate change is caused by atmospheric carbon. Based on plant ability to sequester atmospheric carbon, I suggest the following methodology for sequestering carbon away from the environment for long periods of time.
  1. Plant native, drought resistant, edible plants on every available surface with sun. They need to be native and drought resistant because they will only be watered with rain.
  2. Have lots of babies. At least 10 children per family, whenever possible

Comment Re:I still LOVE Uber (Score 3, Interesting) 105

breaking rules is fine as long as the reward exceeds the penalty.

The word you're looking for is 'capitalism'.

I guess so, though I think the real issue is that business people basically think of these laws the same way a hockey player thinks about the rules of hockey. Sure, you're not supposed to hook another player, but you're going to end up hooking sometimes because that's how the game goes, and sometimes even if you're caught the reward is big enough that it's considered a "good penalty". In this context people like Kalanick are basically hockey pests, people who succeed by their ability to skirt as close to the edge of the rules as possible.

Or perhaps they think about things like fraud, false advertising, and ripping off employees the way we think of traffic violations. You're not supposed to speed, but everyone does it to some extent.

I'm not sure what has to be done to make politicians and companies take law-breaking companies seriously, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

Comment Re:I still LOVE Uber (Score 2) 105

I'm glad that the vigilance of the media compels Uber to work harder to be a scrupulous and ethical company, but the series of critical stories seems a bit like a negative campaign or mob mentality dog-piling, without noting how Uber continues to improve the lives of millions (by increasing the efficiency of people traveling between places, and improving rider experience (with driver ratings, and full routes and driver info indicated in receipts, and tracking drivers for accurate pick-up estimation), reducing drunk-driving rates because of truly convenient service).

I feel like the overwhelmingly positive aspects of Uber are not often part of the commentary, and so these revelations often seems to be considered without a reasonable sense of overall perspective.

I'm sure there's some level of astroturfing going on, after all Uber does have enemies, but I think there's also a lot of fire to go with this smoke.

The thing to realize with Uber is that their business is built on breaking the law, specifically Taxi regulations. Now you can make defences for their strategy and the unethical nature of taxi regs, but when your business is built around breaking rules it gets baked into your company's DNA.

Uber is going to keep committing ethical missteps because it's a company that's learned that breaking rules is fine as long as the reward exceeds the penalty.

Comment Re: Louisiana is one big sinkhole (Score 1) 306

Government doesn't actually have to set the price. They just cap the availability and an auction process sets the price. Cap and trade ends up being more flexible and responsive to market conditions than a flat rate pollution tax.

\

And most importantly, cap and trade allows for unlimited opportunities for rent seeking.

The government can manipulate the auction results via supply or reserve tranches of credits, (effectively at cheaper prices) for some nationally important industries or exempt small emitters (like you and your car) while requiring large emitters like an airline or rail conglomerate or a electrical utility to purchase the credits each year.

Exaclty, the advantage of cap and trade to facilitate rent seeking is what makes a Pigloviant tax on fossil carbon politically infeasible. A carbon tax is not corruptible enough.

Comment Re: Louisiana is one big sinkhole (Score 1) 306

1) So who sets the prices? Any governmental price controls on any commodity (which carbon credits are) means there is no free market involvement.

1a) If the government sets prices, it is nothing more than a de facto regulatory scheme dressed up as commodity.

But without the complexity of the alternatives, the opportunities for rent seeking are limited although this benefit is the very thing which makes this solution unattractive to politicians; they are all about rent seeking. Pigloviant taxes are a way to account for negative externalities and one of the few places where government can play a constructive role.

2) Enforcement? Good luck with that.

Gasoline taxes? Good luck with that.

3) What's to keep government from requiring individuals (in addition to businesses) to buy these things, as a form of consumption tax?

What prevents the government from doing that now?

A carbon tax is exactly that; a tax on fossil carbon which will become carbon dioxide. It only has to be be taxed once in the production and consumption cycle.

4) I thought we all got out of the business of selling indulgences back when Martin Luther showed up?

Most of our taxes are effectively indulgences. Why would you think otherwise?

What is the difference between a sin tax and any other tax? Nothing, there is no difference. The government taxes productivity, savings, income, profits, and cigarettes because it considers them all to be bad.

Comment Re:Correlation is not causality (Score 1) 218

Or more directly, they're healthy enough to bike to work.

I agree that exercise contains huge health benefits, but there's also a huge selection bias at work. Seriously unhealthy people probably can't handle the rigours of cycling to work.

Usually if you read the study you will find that they have already figured this out and measure it, these kind of simple objections are often accounted for.

My bad, from reading the parent comment I assume this was just reporting the correlation, and made no attempt to adjust for confounders. But glancing over the actual study they did (though there's always the question of how effected the correction was).

Beside that the percentage of people that can handle a 20-60 minute bicycle commute is so large that it doesn't really matter, everyone I know can handle it with a few exceptional exceptions.

I'm assuming a lot of stuff about this discussion though, I've not read the study nor the article, but similar papers on the subject usually have this in their models so...

I'm not so certain about that. There's about 40 people in my workplace, which skews fairly young. I can think of at least 3 whom would be seriously challenged by such a commute, mostly due to obesity.

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