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Preview: Fractals of Change

Fractals of Change

nothing great has ever been accomplished without irrational exuberance

Published: 2018-03-03T11:07:16-05:00


Proposed Alternative Town Meeting Resolution on Climate Change


Thursday I posted my reasons for objecting to the 350VT resolution proposed for Stowe and other town meetings. Far below is my proposed substitute resolution. Immediately below is a summary of the changes I am proposing. I changed the whereas clauses to make them more science-based. The call to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure including gas pipelines is removed since...

Renewables Are a Means, Not an End


Especially if the goal is to reduce greenhouse gasses. An organization called 350VT has caused an advisory item to be placed on the town meeting agenda for my town of Stowe and many other towns around the state whose first plank is to “Halt any new or expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, including but not limited to pipelines”. It also...

A Surprising Letter from David Koch


Recently we got a letter from David Koch. As you would guess, it is a request for support for Americans for Prosperity (AFP), which he co-founded. What I wouldn’t have guessed before reading is that there is nothing in the eight pages I disagree with and much which is compelling. Some of the letter could’ve come from the left as...

Software Nerd Goes Hard


Result works but isn’t pretty Q: How many programmers does it take to change a lightbulb? A: Can’t be done. It’s a hardware problem. I’m a software guy (58 years of programming) but I had a hardware problem. Closed the screen of my almost new laptop on my portable mouse while getting up from my airline seat. The screen was...

Protecting Civil Liberties


There is no way that the allegations in the Nunes memo, even if they are all true and there is no mitigating evidence which was withheld, exonerate the President from allegations that he or his campaign collaborated with Russians or that he attempted to obstruct justice. Conversely, what Trump did or didn’t do is not relevant to whether the Justice...

Vermont Trailers v. the Tanker from Siberia


In the recent winter cold snap, the LNG tanker GASELYS hooked up in Everett near Boston to discharge what’s assumed to be Siberian natural gas into the dangerously depleted pipelines of southern New England. The arrival was well reported as was the irony of an almost energy-independent US being dependent on gas from sanctioned Russian producers. Much more quietly, trailers...

Microsoft Is Uploading Files from Your Computer


You may be in breach of nondisclosure agreements. While setting up a new computer, I was horrified to see this default security setting: This says that documents you’re working on, spreadsheets, confidential presentations, personal pictures, clever algorithms, or anything else on your computer may be uploaded to Microsoft at any time without your knowledge. How does Microsoft decide what is...

The Wretched Refuse of Your Teeming Shore


There are two major reasons why we accept immigrants. One is purely selfish: some immigrants have skills or money to bring which will make America better. These potential immigrants can presumably be identified. It shouldn’t matter where they’re from or what their race or religion is so long as they are bringing something of value. We have various programs like...

Marijuana and the Constitution


It took the 19th amendment to the US Constitution to ban most manufacture, transport, and sale of alcoholic beverage in the United States. Why then was Congress able to ban marijuana and a host of other substances by simply passing a law? Good question and one worth addressing when this congressional prohibition is at odds with what most American apparently...

Marijuana and Congress


The haze of bipartisan Congressional hypocrisy is thicker than the air in a marijuana bar. I’m for legalization; it’s time for Congress to stop blowing smoke and start legislating. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug like heroin and proclaims it more dangerous than fentanyl and oxytocin (Schedule II), was passed by Congress in...

AT&T-Run Network Announces “Ruthless Preemption”


If you think this is some nightmare result of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voting to rescind the 2015 “Net Neutrality” regulations, think again. “Ruthless Preemption” is a feature of a so-far non-existent network called FirstNet for which the federal government has given AT&T a 25-year operating agreement, the exclusive right to sell FirstNet services to first responders, and lots...

The End of Net Neutrality Regulation COULD Mean the End of Last-Mile Oligopolies


Landline networks like the old phone system and the new(er) cable systems do lend themselves to monopoly or at least duopoly outcomes. Building these networks is both very expensive and requires myriad government approvals. Once a system is in place, it is hard for anyone to raise the capital to duplicate it. Even a network of wireless towers is hard...

America Not So Great


News about the new Lanzhou to Xian highspeed train in China made me sad. Service started this year with 35 roundtrips/day. Travel time is reduced from seven hours via the old train to 2.5 hours on the new train, which runs at 155 mph. I’m happy for people who travel between Xian and Lanzhou or make connections on this route....

Chinese View of US Tax Cut


Certainly the tax bill, which is now close to becoming law, is far from perfect. Just as certainly it has some things in it that needed to be done like lowering the industrialized world’s highest corporate tax rate, doubling the standard deduction for individuals, and wiping out many (but not enough) loopholes. It will increase the deficit if there is...

The Bicycles of Lanzhou


Lanzhou is a Chinese city , which you’ve probably never heard of , with a population of 3.6 million. It has a history: it’s here that the Silk Road crosses the Yellow River (on chained barges way back when). The Japanese never captured Lanzhou during WW2. It’s a major industrial city and a center of the Chinese nuclear industry as...

Vermont Shouldn't Let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good


State of Vermont In my last post I blogged that the world’s CO2 output is still rising despite various treaty commitments and huge expenditures on renewables. However, the US stands alone in having exceeded the emission reduction it would have been obligated to had we signed the Kyoto treaty. This accomplishment owes something to deployment of renewables but is largely...

Don’t let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good


Increased use of natural gas has so far been the most effective way to reduce CO2 emissions. Natural gas is an excellent complement to renewables for electricity generation since it can be used effectively at almost any scale to fill in when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. Not surprisingly, those who sell competitive sources of energy...

I want Judge Moore to be Guilty – That’s a Problem


Roy Moore shouldn’t be a US senator IMO; but he’s running for the senate from Alabama where I’m not a voter so my opinion doesn’t count. Until last week it looked like Alabama voters would elect him easily despite (or because of) the fact that he lost his job as chief justice of that state’s supreme court twice, once for...

Google Now a Target for Regulation


Headline in the Washington Post: Tech companies pushed for net neutrality. Now Sen. Al Franken wants to turn it on them. The time was – way back around the turn of the century – when all Internet companies believed that the Internet should be free from government regulation. I lobbied along with Google and Amazon to that end (there were...

The Zen of Bicycle Tire Changing


Mary and I just spent a wonderful five days biking down the coast of Portugal from Porto (from whence Port Wine gets its name) to Praia de Sao Pedro de Moel. Much of the ancient forest we cycled through had burned to a crisp in the last few months (more in a future post). The beaches were wonderful; the weather...