Monday, September 13, 2021

Schrödinger's Dog

So a few days ago I was out walking in the morning. On the Beaumont trail behind the apartments heading for the Beaumont Parkway crossing, there was a little old woman pushing a baby carriage coming the other way. So what was in the carriage? A baby or a dog? For a woman that age, I would estimate both were equally likely.

As we passed, I did not turn and look. I did not collapse the wave function. I have no idea which it was. And if Penrose was right (probably not) and there are quantum tubules in our brains helping to create consciousness such that my decision not to look may have had a quantum component, does that mean that the baby/dog states both currently exist?

Of course, the woman was looking at the carriage interior the whole time. So she collapsed the wave function. So it was definitely a dog or a baby and not a quantum superposition of both.

Not sure I have blogged it, I'll mention it again: maybe the whole "observer collapsing the wave function" thing is a consequence of the fact that we are living in a simulation, and the simulation does not bother to compute and render things that no one is looking at. I'm totally not sure if that has any explanatory value or not. But maybe it does imply that once 1 observer collapses the wave function, it is collapsed for all observers. Seems intuitive, I guess.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Gnomon Is An Ireland

The horrible pun of the title comes from my high school classmate Steve Stansbury. The 1st book we read in AP English Senior year, Fall 1967, was James Joyce's "Dubliners". 1 of the stories used the word "gnomon" and Stansbury punned away. [Note that the title of Joyce's 1st novel "A Portrait of the Artist as Young Man" was the inspiration for the title of this blog.]

4 & 1/2 sci fi books to capture.

1st, "To Hold Up the Sky", by Cixin Liu, 2020, 421 pages, 114k words; a collection of 11 short stories. As with his "3 Body Problem" novels, Liu has a very different (Chinese) feel from most sci-fi I read. More energetic? More awe-filled? Very enjoyable stories.

2a, "Infinite Detail", by Tim Maughan, 2019, 296 pages, 80k words. I really did not care for this book. I think I gave it 2 stars, and I will not link to it, as I would recommend that you not buy it.

Post-apocalyptic - Internet bad, so destroy the internet. But maybe it will be replaced by a peer-to-peer system, incorruptible because ??? The author details why he thinks the Internet is so bad that it must be destroyed, but IMO he has completely misdiagnosed the problem. Capitalism is the problem, not the Internet.

One can even imagine a FaceBook that was not the current disaster of propaganda and misinformation if capitalism was removed from the picture. It can be done, look at Wikipedia. I was surprised recently to find out that Wikipedia is a European creation much more than a US one - 2/3 of the Wikipedia editors are European. Yet again the Old World socialists lead the way ...

2b, "Ghost Hardware", by Tim Maughan, 2020, 64 pages, 17k words. 3 short stories set in the "Infinite Detail" universe, providing backstories for the characters of the novel. The stories were even less likable than the novel. The 1 where teenagers playing a smash-and-grap online game trash a sporting goods store was totally mean-spirited and nihilistic. Ugh.

3rd, "The Hidden Girl and Other Stories", by Ken Liu, 2020, 470 pages, 127k words; a collection of 19 short stories. There is 1 3-parter. This is a fabulous collection, a lot of post-singularity stories, and some stories with humanity-at-the-end-of-time kind of cosmic themes. A really enjoyable read.

4th, "Gnomon", subtitled "A Novel", by Nick Harkaway, 2018, 875 pages, 238k words.

The reason for my opening pun reminiscence. This is a fabulous novel. 4 threads - no, 5 threads - no, ??? threads - that all come to overlap and flow together in a fascinating manner. A satisfying conclusion, and I was not surprised at all then the author violates the 4th wall at the end. The last 2 sentences in the book:

I am Gnomon.

From this moment, so are you.

Nice! This was the best sci-fi I have read in a good while. It reminded me a very little of maybe "Cloud Atlas" - but much more coherent and well-done. This novel probably could be considered literature rather than genre if you care about such things.

Looking up Harkaway on Wikipedia, his real name is Nicholas Cornwell, son of David John Moore Cornwell - pen name John le Carré. Le Carré died in 2020, hopefully he read it and was rightfully proud of son for this novel.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Bats

I love sitting on our back patio and watching the bats feed in the dusk.

Our backyard is inclosed on 3 sides by trees and on the 4th side by the house. I think it makes a bug bowl for the bats to feed in.

I have never seen fewer than 2 bats. Tonight there were 3. A few weeks ago, there were 4, and I actually captured a pic:

Usually they seem to fly independently of each other. Occasionally they seem to fly as a pair.

A few weeks ago, there were 2 bats flying together. 1 looked like it was following the other. Then the trailer sped up, bumped into the leader, and darted ahead. "Tag, you're it!" I have no idea if that is what was going on, but that was my snap judgement at the time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Disappointment and Its Opposite

I was greatly looking forward to "We Are Satellites", by Sarah Pinsker, 2021, 418 pages, 113k words. I had really enjoyed her short story collection, reviewed here.

I wound up being very disappointed with the book. 2 main reasons:

  1. There was way too much domestic fu, and it was boring. Too many conversations at the kitchen table, making supper, snuggling in bed.
  2. I found the overall plot implausible. That a consumer device installation which involves brain surgery would not be totally vetted by the FDA I don't believe - or not yet anyway. Plus, the young male protagonist's inability to communicate his problems with the tech to anyone again just did not ring true to me.
Oh well, better luck next time.

I was pleasantly surprised by "Children of Time", by Adrian Tchaikovsky, 2018, 591 pages, 160k words, and its sequel "Children of Ruin", 2019, 567 pages, 154k words. In the 1st 1, religious terrorists destroy most of a terraforming mission to another planet. But, uplift nano-machines survive & instead of working on monkeys, work on hunting spiders! Yay, intelligent spiders, FTW! Not for the arachnophobic, I guess.

Then in the sequel ... uplifted octopuses!!! What could be better? A very different model of mentation. Plus, bonus, intelligent slime molds, with atomic level storage replacing DNA! And they get to meet the Humans & spiders! And in the end ...

At times the narratives seems stretched out & disjointed, but, with action taking place over 1000s of years, this is probably appropriate. Again, a surprisingly enjoyable read.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Lots

Well, this post is long delayed, behind the last 2 posts on the climate crisis & MMT. It's nice to be getting caught up.

#1, "Mythago Wood", by Robert Holdstock, 2003, 331 pages, 95k words. I suspect this was a cheapie from BookBub. So, virgin growth forest somewhere in rural England has magical powers: it instantiates corporeal instances of archetypal figures from the subconscious of humans living near it. A bad parent father & his 2 sons of course fixate on the warrior-princess Guinevere & succeed in creating several instances of her. I don't think you could write something more masturbatory if you tried. I won't be continuing with the series, LOL!

#2, "The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories" by Susanna Clarke, 2008, 243 pages, 66k words. 8 short stories set in the universe of "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Morrell". In general charming and, given Clarke's know issues with chronic pain which greatly limit her output, I was very appreciative to get to read these. And, again, "Piranesi" was 1 of the best books I have read in the last few years.

#3, "The Iron Dragon's Mother" by Michael Swanwick, 2019, 402 pages, 109k words. Swanwick was 1 of my favs Back In The Day. "Vacuum Flowers" was totally iconic when it 1st came out in 1987. This story is not bad, faerie overlapping with the mundane world, lots of plot, yak yak yak, etc. But, a bit too feudal for my current tastes.

#4, "The Once and Future Witches", by Alix E. Harrow, 2020, 555 pages, 151k words. What a great read! Totally conflating the women's suffrage movement of the early 20th century with a movement to restore women's witchcraft to public life! I'm so proud of Harrow, a fellow Kentuckian, who I believe lives in Madison County, 30 or so miles SE of me. How has no one else ever remarked on the fact that witches instantiate most effectively as trios of sisters: the 3 witches in Macbeth, in Cinderella, in Hocus Pocus! Oops, I have 3 daughters!!! A really great read, I was sorry when it was over.

#5 & #6, "The Dreamblood Duology", by N.K. Jemisin, 2016, 948 pages, 257k words. The original 2 novels were "The Killing Moon" and "The Shadowed Sun". A very unique mythos, with a monkish sect which has a few different flavors who manage life, health, dreams, and death. A very compelling read.

#7, "Robot Artists & Black Swans", by Bruno Argento (aka Bruce Sterling living in Turin (Torino) Italy), 2021, 311 pages, 84k words, 7 stories. This is a totally great collection of stories. I really wish Sterling were more productive, he has written so much groundbreaking SF over the last 35 years. And he actually follows me on Twitter, FTW, thanks Bruce! 1 thing I love about this collection is that several of stories have quantum endings: is the cat alive or dead? It doesn't matter! IT DOESN'T MATTER! What a great storyteller!

#8, "Little Brother", by Cory Doctorow, 2008, 399 pages, 108k words. I bought this in hardback several years ago (so I could pass it on), I think that contributed to my just getting around to reading it. What a great book! I read it in 1 day, I totally haven't done that in a while! Teenagers vs the fascist Department of Homeland Security - who are you going to root for? Kudos, next up "Pirate Cinema". Doctorow is indeed the Bard of the Revolution! Preach it!

Yay, caught up on blogging books read! What can I get caught up on next?

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

My Latest Mad Scheme

My last post was my review/summary of Bill Gates' book "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster". As I mentioned there, throughout most of the book, he kept talking about "how much this would cost", and "how expensive this is", and "Green Premiums" (cost differentials). And as I mentioned in that post, the whole time, I'm like, "wait a minute - MMT sez, worrying about costs is stupid. Money is software. The Fed can print as much as it wants."

At the end of the post, I proposed the following:

I kept having this thought as I approached the end of this book: how about we put 2 grad students to work and rewrite this book making the following changes: 1 grad student tallies how much everything costs - pretty much just as a thought experiment (Gedankenexperiment).

Meanwhile, grad student #2 identifies what the resources involved are, and where there are potential shortages thereof. We then know what we REALLY have to worry about trying to avoid a climate disaster. The other, the $$$, is BS.

OK, so now we've got the 2 grad students' data. What do we do with it? Why, we use it to support My Latest Mad Scheme, of course!
  1. We clone both grad students for every country on earth. The clones replicate the computations for every country on earth.
  2. We total up all the $$$ that are required to save the planet from the climate crisis for every country on earth. This total we call "$$$NeededToSaveThePlanet"
  3. The World Bank creates a "Save The Planet" GL account.
  4. Every country in the world with their own fiat currency computes their share of $$$NeededToSaveThePlanet from the following chart, taken from this Jan 2020 article.
    I think that this is fair - current wealth is probably fairly proportional to a country's share of CO2 that is in the atmosphere.
  5. These countries then direct their central banks to create their share of the $$$NeededToSaveThePlanet and put it in the World Bank "Save The Planet" account. They do not create any entry for these $$$ in their national accounting or debt. This is something that the world will share together. As far as their national accounts are concerned, it is if these $$$ never existed.
  6. For countries without fiat currencies, the fiat currency countries pick up their share, proportionally. The ECB covers all the EuroZone countries.
  7. We then solve the climate crisis. The world spends from this account as is needed. If it runs short, all the contributing countries contribute again proportionally. What do they care if they do this? It is not going against any of their national account balances. Their Fed equivalent just creates a $$$ amount & places it in the World Bank "Save The Planet" account and forgets about it.
    At 1 point I thought, withdrawals are based on a country's population. But this is wrong, population doesn't matter. What matters is past, current, and future CO2 produced. But again, who cares? When the $$$ run out, the printing presses roll! MMT, FTW!
  8. Grifters & other deviant capitalists (they're all just trying to make a buck, i.e., practice capitalism) will of course be a problem. We fund as much % of $$$NeededToSaveThePlanet as is needed to identify and remove from circulation the grifters. And, regardless, if they screw the $$$ #s up, we just PRINT MORE $$$.
So, that's the easy part. Let me repeat it - let me shout it out loud: THAT IS THE EASY PART! [And I think Bill Gates will still be worth > $100B after we do it. So, come on Bill, get on board! MMT FTW!]

The hard part is the resources. And tallying and computing the resources required.

And I think the even harder part is the tech: the 19 technologies Gates identified as being needed to save the planet.

But, following the flow above, we don't have to worry about funding the research for new tech. Just print the damn $$$. And keep our fingers crossed that most of the 19 techs Gates indentified (1 of which was nuclear fusion) are NOT like nuclear fusion, which has been 40 years away for the last 70 years.

OK! Climate crisis averted! Thank you in advance for all your hard work saving the planet! And remember, cost is no obstacle! There is no cost too great, no amount of meaningless $$$ we cannot create, if we can save the human race from extinction!

You're welcome!

Monday, May 31, 2021

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster

"How to Avoid a Climate Disaster", is a recent book by Bill Gates, 2021, 275 pages, 74k words. It is subtitled "the solutions we have and the breakthroughs we need". It has an Introduction, 12 Chapters, and an Afterword.


[Well, I finished this book in early April, and I have waited too long to write this review. In the meantime, Bill & Melinda Gates have announced they are divorcing after 27 years of marriage, possible driven by Bill's ties to sexual offender Jeffrey Epstein. Other tales of bizarre, entitled sexual practices by Bill are also circulating.

Meanwhile, among others, our previous author Cory Doctorow has called out Bill for his priorization of intellectual property rights (aka maximizing corporate profits) in the handling of the COVID-19 vaccine: talking Oxford University out of giving their patents to the world for free and instead giving them to AstroZeneca; and heading the to-date toothless vaccine charity program COVAX.

Professionally, I have disliked Bill Gates and Microsoft going back to the 1980s. Microsoft's monopolistic practices (make it child's play to pirate Word and Excel until they have driven WordPerfect and VisiCalc out of business, then start harping on intellectual property) were rightly busted by the Feds. Then W took office and it all went away. The complete lack of security in MS-DOS and early Windows still plagues the computer industry today.

Oh well. On to the review. I suspect I will be making short shrift of it.]


The introduction is titled "51 Billion To Zero". 51 billion is "is how many tons of greenhouse gases the world typically adds to the atmosphere every year". That the 1st 2 words of the book represent a number tells us that Gates is going to take a quantitative approach to this topic.

Gates gives us the motto of his foundation: "Everyone deserves the chance to live a healthy and productive life". This is a similar sentiment to the George Orwell quote which is my pinned tweet: "Either we all live in a decent world or no one does". So this is a good sentiment.

Gates also introduces us to Vaclav Smil, the Czech-born expert on ecology, particularly focusing on energy.


Chapter 1 is titled "Why Zero?". It lays some scientific groundwork.

Hotter air can hold more moisture, and as the air gets warmer, it gets thirstier, drinking up more water from the soil.
Gates calls out the danger of heatstroke, recalling the horrifying scenario that opens KSR's "The Ministry For The Future":
In the regions that are most in jeopardy — the Persian Gulf, South Asia, and parts of China — there will be times of the year when hundreds of millions of people will be at risk of dying.


Chapter 2 is titled "This Will Be Hard". Right at the time then the developing world can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel in getting lifestyies somewhat like the developed West, we realize that the light is the headlight of the onrushing train of the climate crisis. Gates states that

The best books I have read on this topic are Vaclav Smil’s Energy Transitions and Energy Myths and Realities ...
This is a pretty strong statement:
Unless we move fast toward zero, bad things (and probably many of them) will happen well within most people’s lifetime, and very bad things will happen within a generation. Even if climate change doesn’t rank as an existential threat to humanity, it will make most people worse off, and it will make the poorest even poorer.


Chapter 3 is titled "Five Questions To Ask In Every Climate Conversation". The 5 questions are Gates' "mental framework" for understanding the climate crisis. They are:

  1. How Much of the 51 Billion Tons Are We Talking About?
    These are great numbers to have - the numbers are probably the book's greatest strength.

  2. What’s Your Plan for Cement?
    Who knew that cement (which holds concrete together) was such an environmental disaster?
  3. How Much Power Are We Talking About?
    Another great table.

  4. How Much Space Do You Need?
    And another great table.

  5. How Much Is This Going to Cost?
    Gates defines the term "Green Premium": how much more does the green, i.e. no CO2 emitted, solution to a problam cost than the current, presumably fossil fuel-based, solution.

    [I found myself at a disadvantage throughout these discussions - I think MMT has ruined me. Because once you start thinking in MMT patterns, the question "how much does it cost?" immediately triggers the MMT truism, "cost doesn't matter - only the availability of resources does". I'm going to try to put that aside for now and just address it at the end.]

    Meanwhile, Gates puts the "Green Premium" concept to use:

    Looking at all the different premiums, we can decide which zero-carbon solutions we should deploy now and where we should pursue breakthroughs because the clean alternatives aren’t cheap enough.


The next 5 chapters discuss in turn the 5 "things we do" listed in the 1st box above.

Given it's foundational nature, electricity generation ("How We Plug In") is discussed 1st. Clearly energy storage for renewables is 1 of the critical technologies that must be improved. Gates also is an advocate for (and investor in) nuclear power. I also believe that nuclear power should be vigorously developed.

It would surely be a lot easier to "avoid a climate disaster" if nuclear fusion power generation had been developed at any time in the last 70 years. This is a place where science and technology have let us down.

Gates provides many computations and estimates of the Green Premiums associated with activities and objects within these 5 domains.


Chapter 9 is titled "Adapting to a Warmer World". Gates raises an interesting point about the developing world - that helping them adapt to our warming world is more important than reducing their miniscule carbon footprint.

Please don’t take away vaccine money and put it into electric cars. Africa is responsible for only about 2 percent of all global emissions. What you really should be funding there is adaptation. The best way we can help the poor adapt to climate change is to make sure they’re healthy enough to survive it. And to thrive despite it.
Gates introduces us to CGIAR. Per Wikipedia, "CGIAR (formerly the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research) is a global partnership that unites international organizations engaged in research about food security." Gates is apparently a leader of the Global Commission on Adaptation.


Chapter 10 is titled "Why Government Policies Matter". Gates begins by talking anecdotally about the creation of the EPA as an example of government addressing environmental issues. Other successful government projects:

  • Electrification;
  • Energy security - pursued after the Oil Embargo of the early 1970s;
  • Economic recovery - as was done after the Great Recession of 2008.
Gates lists 7 "high level goals they [government] should be aiming for." I think these section headers could have been a lot more explanatory.
  1. Mind the Investment Gap ...
  2. Level the Playing Field ...
  3. Overcome Nonmarket Barriers ...
  4. Stay Up to Date ...
  5. Plan for a Just Transition ...
  6. Do the Hard Stuff Too ...
  7. Work on Technology, Policy, and Markets at the Same Time


Chapter 11 is titled "A Plan For Getting To Zero". Gates divides the elements of "the my plan" into 2 categories:

  1. expanding the supply of innovations; ...
  2. accelerating the demand for innovations.
Under the 1st branch, Gates details 19 innovations we need - quite a laundry list.
  • Hydrogen produced without emitting carbon
  • Grid-scale electricity storage that can last a full season
  • Electrofuels
  • Advanced biofuels
  • Zero-carbon cement
  • Zero-carbon steel
  • Plant- and cell-based meat and dairy
  • Zero-carbon fertilizer
  • Next-generation nuclear fission
  • Nuclear fusion
  • Carbon capture (both direct air capture and point capture)
  • Underground electricity transmission
  • Zero-carbon plastics
  • Geothermal plastics
  • Pumped hydro
  • Thermal storage
  • Drought- and flood-tolerant food crops
  • Zero-carbon alternatives to palm oil
  • Coolants that don’t contain F-gases
Gates states that "To get these technologies ready soon enough to make a difference, governments need to do the following:"
  • Quintuple clean energy and climate-related R&D over the next decade. ...
  • Make bigger bets on high-risk, high-reward R&D projects. ...
  • Match R&D with our greatest needs. ...
  • Work with industry from the beginning.
Gates subdivides the second branch, the demand side.
The demand side is a little more complicated than the supply piece. It actually involves two steps: the proof phase, and the scale-up phase.

...

The proof phase is a valley of death, a place where good ideas go to die.

...

Governments (as well as big companies) can help energy start-ups make it out of the valley alive because they’re massive consumers. If they prioritize buying green, they’ll help bring more products to market by creating certainty and reducing costs.

This leads to the demand side list of goverment to-dos [I guess his editor didn't notice the lack of parallelism in these section headers]:
  • Use procurement power. ...
  • Create incentives that lower costs and reduce risk. ...
  • Build the infrastructure that will get new technologies to market. ...
  • Change the rules so new technologies can compete. ...
  • Put a price on carbon. ...
  • Clean electricity standards. ...
  • Clean fuel standards. ...
  • Clean product standards. ...
  • Out with the old. ...
Gates discusses the roles appropriate to various levels of government:
The federal government ... collects most tax revenue, which means that federal financial incentives will be the most effective at driving change.

...

Two things are clear. First, the amount of money invested in getting to zero, and adapting to the damage that we know is coming, will need to ramp up dramatically and for the long haul. To me, this means that governments and multilateral banks will need to find much better ways to tap private capital. Their coffers aren’t big enough to do this on their own.

Second, the time frames for climate investment are long, and the risks are high. So the public sector should be using its financial strength to lengthen the investment horizon—reflecting the fact that returns may not come for many years—and reduce the risk of these investments. It’ll be tricky to mix public and private money on such a large scale, but it's essential. We need our best minds in finance working on this problem.

State and local governments also have their role to play, via state legislatures and agencies, and city councils and municipal agencies.


Chapter 12 is titled "What Each Of Us Can Do". Gates provides to-do lists for our different roles in society.

  • As a Citizen ...
    • Make calls, write letters, attend town halls. ...
    • Look locally as well as nationally. ...
    • Run for office. ...
  • As a Consumer ...
    • Sign up for a green pricing program with your electric utility. ...
    • Reduce your home’s emissions. ...
    • Buy an electric vehicle. ...
    • Try a plant-based burger. ...
  • As an Employee or Employer ...
    • Set up an internal carbon tax. ...
    • Prioritize innovation in low-carbon solutions. ...
    • Be an early adopter. ...
    • Engage in the policy-making process. ...
    • Connect with government-funded research. ...
    • Help early-stage innovators get across the valley of death. ...
Here's the last paragraph of the book (not counting the Afterword on the COVID-19 pandemic):
I’m an optimist because I know what technology can accomplish and because I know what people can accomplish. I’m profoundly inspired by all the passion I see, especially among young people, for solving this problem. If we keep our eye on the big goal—getting to zero—and we make serious plans to achieve that goal, we can avoid a disaster. We can keep the climate bearable for everyone, help hundreds of millions of poor people make the most of their lives, and preserve the planet for generations to come.


This book is a quick read, and chock full of facts and figures. Thanks Bill! Kobo says it takes 5-6 hours to read, I strongly recommend that you do so. Meanwhile ...


At the start of Chapter 11, Gates states:

In energy, software, and just about every other pursuit, it’s a mistake to think of innovation only in the strict, technological sense. Innovation is not just a matter of inventing a new machine or some new process; it’s also coming up with new approaches to business models, supply chains, markets, and policies that will help new inventions come to life and reach a global scale. Innovation is both new devices and new ways of doing things.
To me this totally begs the question: what about innovation in our basic society, our basic economy, our basic monetary system? Particularly on the issue of money, we saw in Chapter 11 Gates talked about playing fast and loose with $$$ moving between governments, banks, and private capital - "We need our best minds in finance working on this problem". But he still is worried about investment and ROI.

I guess it goes back to the title of Naomi Klein's 2014 book "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate". In Chapter 2 Gates admits that the climate crisis might represent "an existential threat to humanity", but then when it comes to addressing the threat, he takes pretty much a "business as usual" approach to the crisis.

Note, just to make sure we are all on the same page, "an existential threat to humanity" means that the human race could completely die out, could become extinct, could be totally wiped from existence.

What if "business as usual" is not enough? What if we need a "This Changes Everything" approach?

But of course Bill Gates is not going to go there. Why? Because he is 1 of the richest men in the world. So, by and large, he's really pretty OK with the status quo just as it is now. Capitalism, A-OK. Free markets everywhere, even when inappropriate, A-OK. And modern money theory (MMT), which says, money doesn't matter, only resources do?

LOL, probably the main purpose of money is to keep the rich people rich, and the ultra-rich even more so. So of course he's going to take a "business as usual" approach. [snark]He's in the finest 1st class suite on the Titanic, but he's still got to hold onto that privilege, and the power to abuse women and underlings that comes with it.[/snark]

I'll repeat a statement from Chapter 11:

To me, this means that governments and multilateral banks will need to find much better ways to tap private capital. Their coffers aren’t big enough to do this on their own.
Government "coffers aren't big enough"??? MMT completely disagrees - any government with its own fiat currency has infinite coffers of money. Gates probably knows that, but, again, that's not something 1 of the world's richest men is going to admit to.

Part of the reason that this review wound up being so late was that I was ruminating on My Latest Mad Scheme, which will be revealed in my next post.

But before that, I kept having this thought as I approached the end of this book: how about we put 2 grad students to work and rewrite this book making the following changes: 1 grad student tallies how much everything costs - pretty much just as a thought experiment (Gedankenexperiment).

Meanwhile, grad student #2 identifies what the resources involved are, and where there are potential shortages thereof. We then know what we REALLY have to worry about trying to avoid a climate disaster. The other, the $$$, is BS.

What does the book read like then?


[Updated 2021-06-01 2:18 pm]

1 thing I meant to mention and forgot: why aren't insurance companies being more activist in the face of the climate crisis? The continuing worsening of natural disasters is surely costing them $B or 10s or 100s of $B. I would think at some point it will become existential for them. Why aren't they acting?