climate models and precautionary measures

given the density of the news surrounding the IPCC report and the dire implications of a report that leaves little/nothing to question as to the state of things this nugget from NNT, et al was a wry bit of commentary. We have only one planet. This fact radically constrains the kinds of risks that are appropriate to take at a large scale. Even a risk with a very low probability becomes unacceptable when it affects all of us – there is no reversing mistakes of that magnitude....

August 9, 2021 · steve ulrich

minnesota failings

some personally interesting elements from this NY review of books essay by jelani cobb. “In 2019 Minneapolis ranked, according to US News & World Report, among the best places in the US to live, but it was also among the cities with the worst socioeconomic disparities between black and white residents, with a $47,000 gap separating the median household income of the two groups—shocking even for the United States. Seventy-six percent of whites in the area owned their homes; only a quarter of blacks did....

August 8, 2021 · steve ulrich

it's time to stop burning dead dinosaurs

impressive study. the top line, even battery powered cars plugged into dirty electrical grids are better than burning gas. Results show that even for cars registered today, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have by far the lowest life-cycle GHG emissions. As illustrated in the figure below, emissions over the lifetime of average medium-size BEVs registered today are already lower than comparable gasoline cars by 66%–69% in Europe, 60%–68% in the United States, 37%–45% in China, and 19%–34% in India....

July 22, 2021 · steve ulrich

biz as usual limits growth

vice’s take on the club of rome’s limits to growth modeling from the 1970’s. there are a number of interesting take aways from the article. but the punchline is, we’re doing very little to align towards a sustainable model of operation, though it’s obviously within our power. this will quite likely require a massive shift (socially) in terms of what we value and a rewiring of our motivations. i wonder if late stage capitalism can make these changes....

July 18, 2021 · steve ulrich

don't take the bet

this new yorker article requires a bit of pause. there’s a fair amount to embrace within this and a tacit call to pause your most angsty reactions to the past 4 years. “Never play a guy at his own game; nobody makes up a game in order to get beat at it.” … He didn’t say as much as he might have or as many might have wanted....

July 12, 2021 · steve ulrich

america as a racist country

this does not speak well of us as minnesotans. To escape the circle of racism, Floyd moved to Minneapolis, Minn., where the Black poverty rate is more than four times the white poverty rate; where the Black incarceration rate is 11 times the white incarceration rate; where the Black-white income gap is second-to-last among the 100 largest cities in America. Had George Floyd done nothing but be white, he would have been living in the second-highest ranked state for opportunity, according to U....

May 31, 2021 · steve ulrich

the doomsday invention

I arrived before he did, and waited in a hallway between two conference rooms. A plaque indicated that one of them was the Arkhipov Room, honoring Vasili Arkhipov, a Soviet naval officer. During the Cuban missile crisis, Arkhipov was serving on a submarine in the Caribbean when U.S. destroyers set off depth charges nearby. His captain, unable to establish radio contact with Moscow, feared that the conflict had escalated and ordered a nuclear strike....

May 8, 2021 · steve ulrich

130 degrees

“For one thing, engineers have done their work and done it well. About a decade ago the price of renewable energy began to plummet, and that decline keeps accelerating. The price per kilowatt hour of solar power has fallen 82 percent since 2010—this spring in the sunny deserts of Dubai the winning bid for what will be the world’s largest solar array came in at not much more than a penny....

May 8, 2021 · steve ulrich