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  •  I don't have the capacity to... (0+ / 0-)

    Do you? I don't understand all this techno-gobbledygook from climate scientists.

    It's not about knowledge - it's about trust.

    And the energy companies have done an outstanding job discrediting them and making them appear to want societal change because of a 'theory.'

    And it's also about pain.

    It's like spending cuts - everybody's in favor of them till it's THEIR program on the chopping block. Nobody wants to give up their cushy lifestyle in this country because of a little thing like AGW which won't show up for another few decades; let the kids handle it.

    I was watching a commercial for a program on Discovery about a family going through financial hard times', which evidently consists of things like telling their daughter that mom and dad can't afford expensive gymnastics lessons any more (my heart bleeds, BTW).

    When our society is this materialistic, you're not going to get people on board with the type of drastic change required to combat this.

    Scientists aren't going to win this battle with facts; enough people have been convinced their facts aren't really true.

    Time for another strategy.

    •  I feel I have the capacity to evaluate... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      ...but then I have a PhD and used to work for the EPA as a chemical ecologist :-P

      I will say that scientists, politically speaking, are even more naive than Democrats when it comes to the use of language and molding the message to influence the bewildered herd. By and large, we have very little incentive to "put it into laymans terms".

      Given Americans almost reflexive aversion to education or even the passing appearence of being interested in complicated stuff, it should come as no surprise that they are prey to bad faith over- simplification and misdirection*.

      For example, the term "theory" as used by scientists means "established fact"** The way "theory" is used in vernacular American it means "an idea that a scientist is testing" but for this scientists use the  word "hypothesis". You can see the genesis of the communications problem. Properly laymanized, Long Term Anthropogenic Global Warming is an established fact within the scientific community with a accuracy/precision akin to the Newtons laws, which is also an imperfect description of the nature.

      In reality the take home message is quite simple but many scientists seem to abhor reiteration and simplification. It is this simple, "Gasses released by human society have built up in the atmosphere which is now trapping more heat than it used to trap. As time goes on the average surface temperature will rise and lead to a set of predictable consequences".

      Having said that, I am not sanguine of humanities ability for long range planning in response to such long term actuarial threats, especially our slice of humanity which is bamboozled by the idealogy of the invisible hand. In fact, speaking evolutionarily, individual homo sapiens decision making has not yet adapted to the world of long range decisions.

      In a certain regard, this is why the centralized control of China may prove an advantage in the coming years. They will invest in solar, wind and more efficient energy. Hell they are doing it now and kicking US ass in generating more energy from higher efficiency cleaner coal burning plants. If we in the US continue to rely on individual initiative we will always wallow in the status quo. However, energy secretary Chu has the start of a way forward, constrained as we are by the idealogy of the invisible handcuffs, the only real way forward in reducing emmissions is to bring the Kilowatt hour cost down to that of coal fired KWH. Then the market will take off, but my fear is that China will dominate that market with more advanced technology, cheaper labor costs, indigenous rare earth and American silicon as raw material :-/ Why? Because relative to China, the US is spending peanuts...no peanut shells...on energy security and science education.

      So given my rambling diary length response, one wonders what you advocate as a potential non-fact-based strategy for scientists to impress upon Americans the direness of their situation?

      *This is not to say members of the herd are not capable of developing such analytical skills, one need only look at the proliferation of fantasy sports leagues to see that people have the capacity for sophisticated analysis.

      **One must realize that the details will fluctuate over time and that by it's nature Science holds all truth to be potentially falsifiable and therefore absolutism is viewed as a personal limitation.

      (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

      by Enterik on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 03:35:29 AM PST

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      •  I wish I knew (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Enterik

        Unless you get a charismatic guy like the late Carl Sagan or Asimov. I don't see anybody like that around.

        Even if they were, the right-wing would do everything in their power to discredit them.

        That's their strategy - and it's a very effective one. Scientists have the much harder case; all the right-wing has to do is to introduce a little doubt.

        •  So we're back to education... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko

          ...proper scientific critical thinking. The US is ranked 28th in math and science education, tied with Latvia! With this lack of critical thinking skills comes the easy confusion, convenient stereotyping and identity politics. Education is the one antidote to all of societies ails. When one looks at any problem education is positively correlated with those who do not find themselves in the state in question.

          Waiting around for a charismatic leader is like rolling the dice and as you know the house always wins in the long run. I leave it to you to figure out who the house is.

          (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

          by Enterik on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 06:20:31 AM PST

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      •  The US needs to get moving (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Enterik

        And get creative. The US has a significant lead in research and foundation companies are benifiting from clean energy projects eleswhere but good ideas come from anywhere so these advantages won't last forever so it's time to get with the program.

        I keep saying that

        If fear of getting left behind by China and India can get act as a positive irritiant to get the US moving then it proves some people are thinking and on is Energy Sec Stephen Chu who yesterday addressed the National Press Club video (C-SPAN) and presentation (PDF direct link) before releasing the 2010 PCAST Enery Technologies Report.

        Entirely possible.

        中国最美好的祝愿

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 08:31:35 AM PST

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        •  Energy Sec. Chu said we have a chance... (0+ / 0-)

          ...not a lead.

          人定胜天

          (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

          by Enterik on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 11:19:19 AM PST

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          •  I said the US has a lead (0+ / 0-)

            I track environmental R+D technology quite closely, and it's my opinion that overall, the US has a lead in research, but at this point is not making the best use of that, which I think is one point Dr. Chu is making.

            人算不如天算。

            That a famous but slightly obscure idiom so let me translate as "Man proposes, Heaven disposes".

            Harmony with nature is a smarter idea.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 07:09:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Let's agree then... (0+ / 0-)

              ...do to it's current lead, which is eroding quickly, America has a chance to lead the world in alternative energy development in the future.

              That given, how does the US maintain that lead, should we choose to strive for it?

              No doubt trade imbalances will allow China to buy and reverse engineer all US technological innovation then improve upon them and then kick our idustrial ass with rare metal market share, government subsidy, internal economies of scale and yes cheaper high tech labor.

              We should develop new, improved and maybe even cleaner technology to harvest energy for useful purposes. It is in our own best interest. But given the world wide economic system, I am having trouble seeing how the US can leverage the technological advantages we can generate into market share in support of the domestic economy.

              Hell, as we speak, big American alternative energy equipment producers are opening factories in China, this would be a great thing if they were expanding market share there, but I suspect the products will be imported to the US. If so, so much for a new jobs economy.

              (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

              by Enterik on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 07:35:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •   枯鱼之肆 n/t (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koNko

                (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

                by Enterik on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 07:43:42 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  朝三暮四 (0+ / 0-)

                  I won't name names!

                  What about my Daughter's future?

                  by koNko on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 09:48:08 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Perhaps I was not clear... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    koNko

                    ...Chinese is not my first language or even my second. The Chengyu is quoted...

                    枯鱼之肆

                    ...was meant to express my fear that such endeavors as we are discussing may come too late for the American economy and workers.

                    My understanding was that it meant "Dried Fish Market" as in Americans are like a fish flopping on the ground asking for water when a passerby says he is walking to the river and will be back later with some water for the fish, who then states, "I will be in the dried fish market by then".

                    Hopefully a misunderstanding of my intent was the source of the fickleness you sensed...

                    (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

                    by Enterik on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 10:11:52 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That's a correct use of the idiom (0+ / 0-)

                      Or to use the American idioms, a day late and a Dollar short, missed the boat, etc.

                      My response was a step back from there.

                      朝三暮四 (morning 3, evening 4) means to be indecisive or to constantly change direction and lose.

                      Sometimes, to succeed, you have to chose a direction to get going and then adjust course.

                      I think it's time for the US to prime the pump on cleantech industry and I see that happening (Obama is trying), but it would be good to speed things up a bit.

                      Toward that end, a little competition between nations can be good.

                      What about my Daughter's future?

                      by koNko on Thu Dec 02, 2010 at 03:24:17 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If only competition were unecessary... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        koNko

                        ...but then it's hard to get the bewildered herds moving at all, especially the American one...守株待兔

                        In China, competition is the general state of things, a lesson learned upon ones first set of placement tests for school.

                        Now let's end our conversation with the most general sense of agreement. Surely, we differ in the tone and detail of our positions, but those differences are not nearly as significant as the practical identity of what we propose for the direction and means forward.

                        Thus I will give you the last word after offering a quintessentially American holiday sentiment as my recommendation for what the US should do...

                        Put one foot in front of the other
                        And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
                        Put one foot in front of the other
                        And soon you’ll be walking out the door

                        You never will get where you’re going
                        If you never get up on your feet
                        Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowing
                        A fast walking man is hard to beat

                        Put one foot in front of the other
                        And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
                        Put one foot in front of the other
                        And soon you’ll be walking out the door

                        If you want to change your direction
                        If your time of life is at hand
                        Well don’t be the rule be the exception
                        A good way to start is to stand

                        Put one foot in front of the other
                        And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
                        Put one foot in front of the other
                        And soon you’ll be walking out the door

                        If I want to change the reflection
                        I see in the mirror each morn
                        You mean that it's just my election
                        To vote for a chance to be reborn

                        Sung by Fred Astaire in Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

                        (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

                        by Enterik on Thu Dec 02, 2010 at 05:27:19 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

              •  What makes you assume China reverse engineers (0+ / 0-)

                everything?

                I think if you a look and some of the leading researchers in green tech, you will find a fair number are Chinese, either in China or elsewhere, including the USA.

                However, I base my judgement of the US lead on the fact the US has, generally, better resources (China is catching up fast) and a more mature R+D culture that is more productive in terms of cycle-time.

                Why the US is trailing (or begining to) in some green manufacturing sectors is the US has no coherent policy and few incentives to promote green industrialization. This is not a rocket science problem but a political one/

                I actually credit Obama with doing as much as possible with the pittance of a budget he has to work with, for making some good appointments and for promoting an intellegent agenda.

                What I'd criticize, if anything, is a lack of creativity in approaching promotion of green industry and think Arnold Swartzenegger has the right ideas at this point, to to walk around the mountuian rather than try to tunnel through it.

                China did not develope greeen industry by accident; it has been working on it step by step for nearly 10 years and gone throught the cycle from political resistance, to seed projects to incubators to indusrialization.

                Along the way it has made numerus policy adjustments (I don't see any country gets this right in one shot) and now has well-developed poliy including some cases where it has taken a different approach.

                For example, power companies now have to beet some progressive quotas to diversify into clean energy and benifit from feed-in tarrifs paid by consumers - with the result that Chinese now pay more for power than Americans, and this, in turn, incentivises power conservation. That's a bit of a force fit, and in the begining people complained, but now most people at least accept it as fact and an increasing number are actually now supporters beause th case for clean energy has been made. 10 years ago, attitudes in China were no different than the US today, and I suppose other countries such as Germany went though the same excercise.

                So that is why I say "Very Possible", because if such battles can be won in China, I think the US can as well.

                One way to sell Green is to use "Green" ($$$) aka,business and jobs.

                Saving the world can be secondary until support gets to critical mass.

                "pragmatic incrementalist"? OK, I'll buy that.

                Just do it.

                What about my Daughter's future?

                by koNko on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 09:43:01 AM PST

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                •  Reverse Engineering is a tremendous bootstrap... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...if a product was not developed by the Chinese but is useful, expensive and complicated, one can expect a Chinese government to support a reverse engineering program. Such efforts expand the industrial base, the domestic economy, the export economy. It's a no brainer.

                  This is not offered to say that China does not develop technology itself nor that Chinese scientists and engineers are not themselves engines of innovation. Only that there is no sacrosanct product reserved to ensure US economic stability and competitiveness. There is nothing we can make that cannot be made elsewhere.

                  Again, this is not to say that the US and China should not go forward with such investments in their own interests as Chu Tzu says. It can only be a step forward for humanity.

                  积少成多

                  My only quibble is that such efforts are no bromide for American eocnomic woes, they may be necessary but definitely not sufficient.

                  (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

                  by Enterik on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 10:03:53 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  BTW (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Enterik

        Why would China import American silicon when cheaper silicon is manufatured domestically? Part of the reduction in the cost of solar cells in the past 3 years has been the ramp-up of pv grade silicon ingot prodution in China.

        In any case, pretty soon Si will no longer be a major fator in pv prodution and polysilicon coatings and glass or plastic substrate based technologies reduce of eliminate the demand.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 08:37:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just parroting Chu at that point... (0+ / 0-)

          ...in order to imply that the US is increasingly finding itself on the  value extracted, as opposed to value added, end of the production chain. In any event, as you say, China will bootstrap itself away from US exports which may be technologically obviated in any case.

          (-9,-9) pragmatic incrementalist :-P

          by Enterik on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 11:23:20 AM PST

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    •  You need to read more (0+ / 0-)

      A watch Fox News less.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 07:44:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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