Tag Archives: News: Big News

Big News

Events that are happening currently, and persist for so long – as in years or decades – that we often forget that they are still happening and are still relatively new in our rapidly changing world. We ironically stop learning about these events because they are so ubiquitous to daily life that we assume we know more about them than we actually do.

I also present here anything I believe to be under-reported.

Global Carbon Transfer, and Evidence for Global Warming

Global Carbon Transfer

I have said before that we should call this concept we are all familiar with Global Carbon Transfer. That is what it is and always has been.

Global Carbon Transfer is directly measurable.

The term “Global Carbon Transfer” is completely accurate to what we are actually doing. We know that we are transferring carbon.

The name “Global Carbon Transfer” allows for consideration of other unknown effects that we have yet to identify that nobody even talks about.

We are transferring a lot of carbon from the ground to the atmosphere. This is an indisputable fact.

Simple Man’s Evidence for Global Warming

I personally believe that global carbon transfer is causing significant man-made global warming. Here is a list of the evidence that shapes my concept of the world, my personal observations that lead to my belief:

  • I learned in Physics class in high school in ~2001 that carbon dioxide reflects infrared light / heat more than the other more highly-abundant components of the atmosphere. This makes sense to me. It would be difficult to fake this, easy to confirm or refute. I put this under the heading of scientific fact.
  • We learned what the greenhouse effect is, and I have personally been inside both a hot car in the sun, and an actual greenhouse. Fact.
  • I have personally seen an equilibrium exhibit a large change based on a small increase in a catalyst. For example:
    • Milk goes sour if you drink from the carton.
    • I saw chemicals abruptly change color in chemistry class after just drops of liquid entering.
    • If I had drunk two beers this morning instead of two cups of coffee, my blood would have changed by less than one percent, but I would absolutely not have written this post.
    • Small change can yield big change.
    • Catalysts exist.
  • I have seen man affect the environment, both for good and bad. Some of these I didn’t personally see of course, but they happened:
    • Water quality in Columbus, Ohio versus Rio de Janeiro.
    • Chemical disaster in Bhopal, India 1984.
    • Smog in LA.
    • Scale of the Piper Alpha explosion in 1988.
    • Personal accounts of the reduction in litter in the United States following anti-litter campaigns in the 1970s.
    • Chernobyl of course, but that’s nuclear not chemical, a whole ‘nother level.
    • Urban sewage management, cities now versus 200 years ago.
    • Forests versus fields.
  • I see carbon entering the atmosphere that used to be in the ground from sources that are less than a century old. Sound ridiculous? It’s everywhere. Everywhere. Try not seeing it! We could not transfer more carbon if we started a campaign to transfer more. Everything we do contributes to carbon transfer, and is mostly new!
  • The earth is really really old. There has been a lot of time for plants live, absorb carbon dioxide, respire oxygen, die, and be buried in the ground. Let me repeat, really really old, and a lot a lot a lot a lot of time. A lot. There has been so much time in fact that I no longer view the air I breath as coming from “the earth in general,” but as being the breathed out breath of plants. Call me a tree-hugger, but it is an accurate concept, much more accurate than the “general earth air” idea that comes easy. The atmosphere is and always has been a product of life and vice versa. It is a two-way street.
Some more carbon numbers, click here.

What to Watch 24: Energy of an Industrialized Society – How Many Joules 3

How Many Joules?

  • 2,000 food Calories = 8.4 million joules = approximate energy usage of the human body in one day
  • One Tesla Model S battery charge ~ 36x this amount
  • One 2017 Honda Civic gas tank ~ 177x this amount
  • Typical furnace (100,000 BTU / hr rating) operating for 1 hour ~ 12x this amount
  • US energy usage per day (referenced in my post here) ~ 33.5 billion x this amount, or ~ 102x the US population*
  • Global energy usage per day (referenced in my post here) ~ 129 billion x this amount, or ~ 17x the global population*

*Relating the energy consumption of the modern world per person to the energy consumption of just the human body by itself is ambiguous, I realize. However, it puts in context the massive numbers that are constantly thrown around in the media on this subject, and consolidates the hype and various units into one unit.

https://nathanruffing.com/nates-numbers-hub-january-2017/ 

Start at How Many Joules 1

https://www.unitjuggler.com/energy-conversion.html

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

What to Watch 23: The Tesla “Gigafactory” – How Many Joules 2

Tesla’s Introduction Speech to the Gigafactory in Nevada, Elon Musk, 4 September 2014

How Many Joules?

  • Tesla Model S with large battery pack, 265 mile range = 306 million joules
  • 2017 Honda Civic 12.4 gallon gas tank,  (2017 best selling car in US) = 1,490 million joules
  • Energy from 1 barrel of oil (BOE unit) = 5.86 billion joules
Go to How Many Joules 3
Start at How Many Joules 1

What to Watch 14: Fusion Energy, 16 Minutes

1. Fusion Explained in a Nutshell by Kurzgesagt

2. JET, Joint European Torus, largest magnetic confinement fusion reactor.

  • JET is the current record holder for controlled fusion energy production by most measures. The record was set in 1997. See video.
  • Located in Oxfordshire, UK.
  • Annual budget 2014-2018 = 145.6 million euros ~ $175 million per year. Source.
  • Video is from 2014.

3. National Ignition Facility, was the largest effort at inertial based fusion.

  • The fusion ignition effort ended in April 2014, but is still one HUGE laser. Do not point this laser at your eye.
  • Located in California, USA.
  • NIF total cost was ~$3.5 billion. Source.
  • Video is from 2009.

4. More References

 

Click here for the historical context of fusion, fusion in the Cold War.

Click here to search fusion on this site.

What to Watch 13: Cryptocurrency 2, the Blockchain in Society and Pop Culture, 22 Minutes

The Blockchain in Society, We’ve Stopped Trusting Institutions and Started Trusting Strangers, Rachel Botsman on TED, June 2016

Blockchain in Pop Culture, Lovesong for Satoshi Nakamoto Whitepaper by “Bitcoin Girl” Naomi Brockwell, November 2015

Of Note

My Personal Conclusion on Cryptocurrency (For Now)

The idea behind Bitcoin is that you do not have to trust banking institutions. The transactions are verified by the technology / other users. I researched signing up for Bitcoin, and decided not to. The problem I found was in order to access the blockchain and “own” Bitcoin, you need a computer program to do it. The computer program is written by a coder and I am not going to take the time to understand the code. Therefore, instead of trusting an institution, I am trusting the coder who is the middleman who wrote the code. I actually trust both the banks and the coders (with a little research), but I do not have a reason to switch. The only advantage I see is that there is no tax trail, but I am not paying taxes on these transactions anyway. I don’t need a brand new currency in my life. Sticking with PayPal, Venmo, TransferWise, and dollars, for now!

What to Watch Must Watch: Amazon HQ2

Must Watch! Rob Morris, More Freedom Foundation, Amazon HQ2 Is A Scam, Feb 2018

Also: Beware the Tech Utopians

Click here for The Big Five, my post comparing the sizes of Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook to size the size of the US government.
  • $142.57 billion = Amazon’s annual revenue, ~ 2.7x the annual revenue of the city of New York.
  • $53.0 billion = city of New York’s annual tax revenue. (from NYC.gov)

Amazon’s latest post regarding the “competition.”

All Nate TV, click here.

What to Watch 3: 60 Hours of 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attack

60 Hours of 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attack, Fareed Zakaria (from 2008)

Interrogation and cell phone conversations:
  • First 3:50 is interrogation.
  • 5:00 – 5:20
  • 10:10 – 10:20
  • 11:20 – 11:50
  • 21:50 – 22:40
  • 22:50 – 23:30
  • 29:30 – 30:00
  • 31:10 – 31:30
  • 33:30 – 34:00
  • 34:30 – 34:50
  • 35:30 – 35:50
  • 37:10 – 37:50
  • 41:30 – 43:30
  • 44:10 – 48:00 terrorists’ final minutes.
  • 49:30 – End is more interrogation.
All Nate TV episodes, click here.

What’s Normal, We’re Not

We are truly different. Our everyday lives are different. America is more different from every other country than any other 2 countries are from each other. Here is how:

1. Consumer Culture

Goods are so abundant and cheap that producers systematically create demand with advertisements. The result is bright colors everywhere representing the well-organized system professionally designed to make us want stuff. This is so omnipresent in our culture that we don’t realize that it’s there. Our system of advertisement reaches around the globe now, and it stands out everywhere else it appears (McDonald’s, Coke, Viagra, etetera).

2. Cars

We each have one. We drive mostly alone. Carpooling is the exception. We park close when we can, pay to when we can’t. Cars are our status symbol for which we spend 6 months to 2 years up to a lifetime of income.

3. Strong Institutions and Rule Following

We trust our institutions. From the government to our universities even to our franchises and brands like Coca Cola and McDonald’s. They consistently tax us, educate us, make our favorite treats, always convenient parking, meet and exceed minimum service standards, and a free bathroom when you need it.

We trust institutions over people. We will invest our life savings in a faceless stock in the stock market, but are much more hesitant to invest in a local business whose owner we actually know.

We stop for traffic lights with nobody around. We pay our taxes. Corruption surprises us. The roads are straight, fast, aligned at perfect right angles. We drink alcohol in specific regulated places at specific times. Next time you walk down the sidewalk in Las Vegas and think it’s cool that you can carry a beer with you, remember, that’s the only thing really normal about Vegas!

Some of these things seem unrelated, but I don’t think so. We are unique in having a mostly stable government that is older than the population, and we accept its authority. Most of us arrived since the constitution was adopted in 1789. Name another country in the world whose current government is older than its people. Egypt or China? Mexico? No. No. No. Any South American country? No. Some theocracy? No, not like us.

4. Sugar as a Food Group

You notice it in the people immediately upon arrival at a US airport.

5. Security

You probably won’t be robbed at a US airport, bus station, or in most public spaces. America has never been invaded. We expect security. We expect our government to counter threats, and it does.

6. Air Conditioning

We don’t just air condition for some comfort and relief. We refrigerate our spaces. Nowhere else in the world I have ever been can afford to do this, or has buildings air-tight enough for it.

7. Television

 

For better or worse, our lives are different. We adapt everyday. Adaptation is so ubiquitous we aren’t even aware of it. We are living an experiment from which came many of the greatest improvements in our lives, … but it is an experiment. It has not run its course. The US accounts for just 6.6% of the land area of the world. It has been less than 200 years since the industrial revolution, out of more than 1 million years of human history. As a population, as a culture, we are shocked, adjusting, and changing. We will not live to see the conclusion. The only thing known so far is that we are not normal.

I live in the US, but mostly without the things on that list. It is liberating to at least identify the ways in which we are different. They are the stressors in our lives. To see people shop as a hobby, drive, follow conventions, sip sugar water, follow years’ and decades’ worth of TV series, and refrigerate their living space is like stepping into a hyper-modern future world. You might think I’m crazy, but the reality is: we are.

When I arrived in Germany in December 2008 to backpack for 2 weeks, my first time leaving the country, I was shocked at how un-shocking things were. People were people, living like people. No big deal. I arrived in Afghanistan in January 2011 for a deployment. I remember that of course, but the adjustment there mostly involved the job to do. After a half year there, the real shock was returning home. The colors! The information! Options! What to do?! That returning home shock doesn’t seem to wear off. I have left the country for 6+ months 5 separate times now, to Afghanistan, Japan, and Brazil. Each time I return, I am shocked by how shocking it is to come home.

Over the last year or so, I have spent a lot of time listening to history lectures from the Greeks through today (I recommend The Great Courses, available on Audible, they are awesome). I started with world history for a while, then recently listened to 2 sets of lectures on American history. The shock is the same when learning about history. There is no precedent for America, neither from distant continents, nor from the distant past. America is America. It stands alone.

America is different. America is far from normal. Travel. Travel anywhere in the world, and when you see normal for the first time, remember that you are seeing normal outside the US. Only when you return will you see what is truly remarkable and special. America.

The Big Five

I recently heard these five companies referred to as “The Big Five.” You have heard of each of these companies. You have done business with at least one of them (or you are in a coma of course).

If you are a person who considers single entities that are too powerful to be a threat, then these collectors of our information would be a threat. How do they compare in size to the US government?

Apple

$220.46 billion = annual revenue

Amazon

$142.57 billion = annual revenue

Google (Alphabet, Inc.)

$94.76 billion = annual revenue

Microsoft

$87.25 billion = annual revenue

Facebook

$30.29 billion = annual revenue

US Government

$3,200 billion = annual tax revenue

Comparison

The total revenue of the five companies combined equals just under 18% of the US government’s tax revenue. Apple’s revenue by itself is 6.9% of the US government’s revenue. They have not passed the government, but they are starting to be in the ballpark.

What They Know, Snapshot

Apple and Microsoft’s operating systems account for most of our computers. Google controls our internet searches, and Android, and YouTube, and many of our e-mails. Amazon knows what we buy. Facebook knows the rest.

What They Don’t Control

ICANN

Others