Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Gee, golly whiz. Democrats can have a candidate from Delaware or Vermont or Massachusetts.

Recent headlines have indicated that the three leaders in the primary race for the Democratic Party nomination for President are Joe  Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. I know it's early and I shouldn't let it bother me. But the map above illustrates why this is troublesome.

According to Wikipedia:

    The Association of American Geographers divides the Northeast into two divisions: "New England", which consists of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut; and the "Middle States", which consists of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Similarly, the Geological Society of America defines the Northeast as these same states but with the addition of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

In other words, the three candidates doing best in the polls represent one region of the United States. And not only that, they don't represent the most populous states in that region such as New York or Pennsylvania.

What's even more problematic is that in the recent polls they're the preferred choice of 60% of Democrats at about 20% each  - Biden, Sanders, and Warren.

Then the headline to right appeared. I have two problems with that headline. First California is not "left-leaning."

Two candidates in the Democratic contest are from California - Kamala Harris and Tom Steyer. Steyer is a billionaire idiot. Bay Area Congressman Eric Swalwell threw his had into the ring, but already has pulled it out. Harris is the only Californian that has a chance based on current polls. But as the only candidate to win statewide elections in California - for Attorney General and for U.S. Senator, she has far too much executive experience for people who think Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would make a good President - the President, an executive, not a legislator.

All of which raises an interesting question about that headline. What "left-leaning" California??? Historically, our Legislature, Governors, and courts have behaved in a "progressive" fashion trying to provide such things as an education and health care for the children in our communities. As noted here we are making a significant effort at some cost to deal with Climate Change. And we don't pretend not to know that post-Mexican-American-War California is an occupied portion of Mexico.

Still, I suppose Biden's problem in California is his attitudes are well to the right of our last Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (read When a Good Public Education Becomes a Constitutional Right).  And like Trump he doesn't drink, at all, not even California wines.

If you look at the map at the top you might note that Biden's Delaware only cast 53% of its vote for Clinton in 2016. Delaware is not "right-leaning" but its population's political outlook is most certainly far less progressive than California's.

The fact is Joe Biden was born in Pennsylvania, adjacent to Delaware. He spent 10 years there as a kid, then moved to Delaware where he has lived for the past 66 years. That certainly indicates a pretty narrow living experience if you look at the map above.

While Bernie Sanders has lived the last 51 of his 77 years in Vermont, at least he lived in New York where he was born and Chicago where he went to college. And, of course, he lived in a Stalinist kibbutz in Israel (no, not just one of the many communist ones, but a Stalinist one).

Warren, of course, was born in Oklahoma City and lived in Oklahoma through high school. Over her 70 years she also has lived in Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and, of course, Washington, D.C. At least she has lived west of the Mississippi River in Republican states.

But the real question here is can't Democrats find some candidates who don't represent tiny states in the Northeast? And how about finding some candidates who have, within their states, through leadership established policies they've advocated. Good grief. Vermont has not implemented significant policies advocated by Bernie like tuition-free college. What has Bernie accomplished in his 77 years? And Warren. She's got vast detailed policy proposals. Are they based on some policies implemented due to her political successes over her 70 years? And Biden is 76. It's known as Obamacare, not Bidencare.

In the meantime, as the Amazon forests burn and Greenland's glaciers disappear, this headline appeared last weekend Democratic National Committee votes against allowing 2020 candidates to participate in Climate Change debate.

As a Californian ...well... this is a little hard to take...

...because what it means is that our politicians are used to dealing with much more complex situations. California is geographically huge, with the highest and lowest places in the Continental 48 States, an extensive coastline with complex oceanic habitats, etc.  We have the largest population with about 40 million people, 39% of whom are Hispanic, 37% Non-Hispanic White, 15% Non-Hispanic Asian, 5% Non-Hispanic Black, 4% Other; we have more Hispanics than any other state, more Asians than any other state, and we have more Hispanics that the total population of any other state and more Non-Hispanic Whites than the total population of any other state; our Non-Hispanic Asian population and our Non-Hispanic Black population each far exceed to total populations of Delaware and Vermont.

So not being impressed with the 70+ years of experience of the three candidates is where I have to be. In fact 37-year-old Pete Buttigieg has more government executive experience than those three, along with military experience (yeah, the President heads the military not equal pay policy making),  and offers more coherent informed answers to questions.

Andrew Yang, 44, a private sector executive who lacks government experience, offers some good insight into the future the others do not and stated bluntly to Politico senior staff writer Michael Kruse “We are basically fucked,unless we un-fuck ourselves, systematically and collectively.” If you're interested in someone talking about what will matter over the period of 2021 to 2029 (two Presidential terms)  read The Surprising Surge of Andrew Yang.

Yang has, of course, proposed a universal basic income of $1,000 a month to balance 21st Century job displacement due to automation and technology. Bernie Sanders criticized that saying a jobs guaranteed program would be better. ""There are an enormous amount of work that has to be done all the way from child care to health care to education to rebuilding our infrastructure to combating climate change to dealing with our growing elderly population," Sanders explained.

Yang tweeted back:

Bernie ignores the facts that money in our hands would 1) create hundreds of thousands of local jobs and 2) recognize and reward the nurturing work being done in our homes and communities every day. He also assumes that everyone wants to work for the government which isn’t true.
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) August 27, 2019

Those of us who administered funds from The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act  (CETA) of 1973 which designed to train chronically unemployed and under-employed workers and provide them with jobs in the public service know that it doesn't really address long-term problems and is marginal even in terms of short-term impacts. People need to learn to work in the private sector. Sanders' idea is to reinvent the square wheel.

Yang's basic income idea is currently being tested in Stockton, California, as explained in What would a universal basic income mean for America? Stockton thinks it has the answer. It's an idea being implemented at the urging and direction of 29-year-old Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. Skeptics abound, but not 44-year-old Yang nor 37-year-old Buttigieg.

It's going to take a new kind of thinking if we want to give our children and grandchildren a chance in an economy dominated by artificial intelligence (AI) functioning in a world struggling with the turmoil of Climate Change.

Democrats need to start looking at candidates who can offer that new kind of thinking. They aren't going to be 70-year-old+ politicians from the tiniest states of the Northeast. Take another look at that map. It's a big country full of younger people out there.

Biden, Sanders or Warren? This is who the majority of Democrats currently want to lead them into the future of the 21st Century??? Or are they allowing their hatred of Donald Trump to completely overpower any rational judgement?

Thursday, August 15, 2019

"Wishcycling" - The American Way of embracing environmentalism in the face of Climate Change?

The front page story in today's LA Times which had the sub-headline As recyclables market collapses, California faces hard choices is truly frustrating.

Three decades ago, around 1990, some of us thought we had put enough planning into management of the solid waste stream that recycling would become a successful ratepayer/taxpayer supported California industry employing thousands of workers.

Of course we didn't know at the time that Steve Jobs would introduce the first iPhone in 2007. And we didn't know, but should have, that people would be willing to pay $100± month for their "smart" phone service and payments on the phone but would go absolutely bonkers if someone suggested they pay an extra $30 a month to recycle their waste.

You have to acknowledge the creativity reflected in this quote:

    “The Chinese ban and everything else in the last couple of years made us realize we are living in a pretend world of ‘wishcycling,’” said Roland Geyer, an industrial ecology professor at UC Santa Barbara.

Wishcycling. What a clever reference to the "wishful thinking."


For a generation of American boys this fantasy about the American Way which would save humanity was first heard on the radio in 1942 and then came to TV (black and white) but somehow we never made this WWII propaganda into much of a reality.

Maybe Gavin Newsom can turn "wishcycling" into that recycling industry (which we thought we were creating in 1990) as part of...

Thursday, August 8, 2019

No focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for a dynamic and evolving workforce is why Silicon Valley tech workers are immigrants

The next generation of technology will depend upon what is known as Artificial Intelligence (AI). China has a plan - the “New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan” released in 2017 - is discussed by The New York Times in Beijing Wants A.I. to Be Made in China by 2030.

In September 2018, nearly a year ago, an Inc. Magazine article China Is Leading in Artificial Intelligence--and American Businesses Should Take Note told us:

    A.I. isn't just another tech trend. Within a decade, all technologies--from everyday business to genomic editing--will in some way touch A.I. Today, China is poised to become its undisputed global leader, and that will affect every business.
    Under President Xi Jinping, China has made tremendous strides in many fields, but especially in A.I. Businesses and government have collaborated on a sweeping plan to make China the world's primary A.I. innovation center by 2030, and it's already making serious progress toward that goal...
    It's true that China has failed at times to deliver on similarly bold investments. (The development of China's high-speed-train network had a history of death and catastrophe.) That may be why we haven't taken Chinese A.I. startups, researchers, and government initiatives as seriously as we should. While we shouldn't expect--or want--the U.S. government to model China's example and dictate A.I.'s future, public and private sectors should coordinate on educating leaders about A.I. and writing policy that helps A.I. businesses thrive.

But China has had a problem as noted by the MIT Technology Review in China’s path to AI domination has a problem: loss of talent to the US. Fortunately for China, the American white nationalists that control the Trump Administration in 2018 began systematically to solve that problem for China as explained in (listed in chronological order):
The last article listed above from Bloomberg, U.S. Targeting of Chinese Scientists Fuels a Brain Drain, describes the impact:

    It was a big opportunity for a small research university. In 2013, Xin Zhao, a prize-winning Ph.D. from the College of William & Mary, landed venture funding to commercialize some of the school’s patented nanotechnology. Zhao’s startup rented space nearby, hired local graduates and agreed to fund $1 million of new research at the Williamsburg, Virginia, campus.
    “It was what everyone wants to see—a success story of a university spinout,” says Jason McDevitt, the school’s director of technology transfer.
    Six years later, Yick Xin Technology Development Ltd. is up and running, but not in Virginia. The company’s R&D and new patent registrations—the lifeblood of any technology startup—have moved to China. The planned William & Mary spinout left the U.S. after federal agents hounded its founder, Zhao, for two years, and prosecutors accused him of trying to smuggle a robotic arm from Florida to a university in China that U.S. officials had linked to the nation’s top nuclear weapons lab. The charges were dismissed in December 2017—but Zhao, shaken by the ordeal, gave up his U.S. research operations.
    The 44-year-old applied physicist’s struggle to clear his name, extricate himself from a persistent undercover sting and overcome a 2016 arrest shows how America’s heightening cold war with China presents risks for ethnic Chinese scientists working in the U.S. He’s among a growing number who are leaving behind their families and taking their skills and business opportunities to—where else?—China.

The Chinese situation provides a background which makes it clear that having tech research and development personnel is critical to the future success of the country. But the Trump Administration problem isn't limited to Chinese immigrants nor even mostly related to university research. It is threatening America's continuing tech leadership as indicated by the headlines below...
...and as explained in the first article in the list:

    Last year, researchers at the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonpartisan think tank, studied the 87 privately held American start-ups that were then valued at $1 billion or more. They discovered something amazing: More than half of them were founded by one or more people from outside the United States. And 71 percent of them employed immigrants in crucial executive roles.
    Collectively, these companies, which include householdish names like Uber, Tesla and Palantir, had created thousands of jobs and added billions of dollars to the American economy. Their founders came from all over the world — India, Britain, Canada, Israel and China, among lots and lots of other points around the globe.
    In 2011, an immigration reform group, the Partnership for a New American Economy, found that more than 40 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants. For the newest members of the Fortune 500, many of them technology companies, the rate of immigrant founders was even higher, the organization said.
    That should come as no surprise if you are familiar with the origins of the most iconic companies of the last few decades. One of Google’s founders is an immigrant from Russia, and its current chief executive is an immigrant from India. Microsoft’s chief executive is also from India. EBay and Yahoo were started by immigrants. Facebook’s largest subsidiaries, Instagram and WhatsApp, were both co-founded by immigrants. Apple was started by a child of immigrants.

The challenge for Trump's people would be to list the red state rednecks with similar accomplishments in 21st Century technology. There must be some. Right?

Trump's people are taking advantage of a large population of Rust Belt white folks who essentially experienced little or no "STEM education" meaning an inadequate background in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. As explained in a U.S. Department of Education December 2018 Report:

    In an ever-changing, increasingly complex world, it's more important than ever that our nation's youth are prepared to bring knowledge and skills to solve problems, make sense of information, and know how to gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions. These are the kinds of skills that students develop in science, technology, engineering and math—disciplines collectively known as STEM. If we want a nation where our future leaders, neighbors, and workers have the ability to understand and solve some of the complex challenges of today and tomorrow, and to meet the demands of the dynamic and evolving workforce, building students' skills, content knowledge, and fluency in STEM fields is essential. We must also make sure that, no matter where children live, they have access to quality learning environments. A child's zip code should not determine their STEM fluency.

As a The Atlantic article on getting more kids to take AP calculus or AP statistics explains:

    The Harvard study found that it's extremely rare for students who don't take their first algebra course in middle school to go on to take Advanced Placement (AP) calculus. The College Board's AP program includes two calculus courses: AB and BC, the latter covering more material.
    The traditional progression to AP calculus begins with algebra and continues with one year of geometry, a second year of algebra, and a year of pre-calculus. HCPSS students typically take AB before they take BC. So if you assume a student takes BC her senior year, and count backward, you'll find that she should really take algebra in seventh grade.
    Sure enough, the Harvard study found that students who take algebra in seventh grade are much more likely to take BC calculus. The study also found that students who take algebra in middle school were likely to be white, Asian, and affluent, and that standardized test scores in middle school tracked the same disparities that emerged in third grade.

This reflects what we already know - the white and Asian affluent will, on average, become more affluent. And those affluent kids coming out of college in the near future are not going to replace the STEM educated immigrants working for Intel or Microsoft on AI systems, immigrant workers that will be lost to Trump politics, immigrants needed to compete with China on the future of AI.

It seems not only is Trump's America in denial about the future of the nation in terms of Climate Change, it seem to be in denial about needing immigrants to compete economically.

What is frustrating about this is that the Public Policy Institute of California in June 1999 Research Brief titled Silicon Valley’s Skilled Immigrants: Generating Jobs and Wealth for California explained all the reality that has continued for 20 years, offering the chart to the right. But we forget or are in denial.

Or maybe we fail to understand just how much creativity is involved in the design of a device system because it involves STEM rather than music and dance. It is hard to understand because in the U.S. broad cultural recognition rarely comes from having STEM talents.

It is simply true that being a reality show host, no matter how weak your STEM skills, will get you enough recognition to become President.

Perhaps it is time to start reminding our fellow Americans that both their own near-future and their grandchildren's long-term well-being will dependson today's adults becoming better informed. But Donald Trump is President, so....

Monday, August 5, 2019

They literally think differently from us. And their patience with Trump's economics just ran out.

What if you were told that there are people who think differently than you - literally think differently.

A 21st Century study indicates that a group of humans view the world differently. The study tracked eye movements and learned that, when shown photographs, individuals in Group A paid more attention to the object in the foreground of a scene, while individuals in Group B spent more time studying the background and taking in the whole scene.

Interestingly, another study used brain imaging to see which parts of the brain were active while people did simple math problems. Individuals in both Group A and Group B used their inferior parietal cortex, which is involved in quantity representation and reading. But those in Group A showed activity in a language processing area of the brain while Group B used a brain region involved in the processing of visual information.

Finally, earlier 21st Century studies have established that when speaking and reading their native languages in both Group A and Group B the left side (hemisphere) of the brain is active, but Group B also use the right side of the brain.

The native language - the language learned in childhood - people in Group A speak is English. The native language people in Group B speak is Mandarin.

If you didn't already know it, the Chinese think differently from us. And by that, I don't mean they have different opinions about the acting in "Spiderman: Far from Home", I mean the way their brains process interactions with the world around them and the people in their lives is different because of 20,000 years of continuous linguistic and cultural evolution.

In previous posts here, the importance of 4,000+ years of China developing a culture and language quite apart for European influence has been mention. It was mentioned in the context of Americans working to gain an understanding of a culture that, like all third-world cultures, has had no significant good experience with European-based cultures unless you think being invaded in the 19th Century is a good experience.

There is absolute no possibility that Donald Trump or most of the American farmers and other rural Americans understand this. And now their ignorance is about to bring the world crashing down on them.

For instance, that 10% tariff Trump is going to levy beginning in September will impact such companies as Apple. That would mean that a widget bought by Apple for $1.00 would cost $1.10,  10% more because of the tax paid to Trump. By adjusting their value of their currency downward relative to the dollar, that widget will cost Apple 91¢ which after Trump's tax of 9¢, would again cost Apple $1.00. (Actually, they didn't drop the yuans-to-dollar ratio that much, but rather will just let it slowly adjust as Trump keeps up his bellicosity.)

On the other hand, despite what appears to be an announced temporary halt in U.S. agricultural products, China will permanently quit buying from those U.S. farmers - end of subject, it's not negotiable. They will have to contract to buy those products elsewhere from a reliable source to feed their people.

Sadly, the behavior of the United States government in the past two years has reinforced in China a choice to fully embrace its long established cultural traditions while dismissing the culture of constant conflict, violence, and daily change created by the extremely short 400 years of American history.

What has happened is that Americans think there is a trade war going on between China and the U.S. Plus we think there are some "tensions" over Taiwan and the South China Sea.  But those things are the outward manifestations, symptoms of what has happened as far as the Chinese are concerned based on a big picture look at America's priorities.

China has rejected us. In a symbolic sense it could be said it has been decided that 1.4 billion Chinese people will just have to get along with Hauwei phones, which unfortunately for us are the best value in the world's smart phone market.

Oh, and a footnote. China has already indicated counter-measures to U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper's plan to locate ground-launched, intermediate-range missiles in Asia within a few monts. The irony is that from China's standpoint the U.S. threat is comparable to the Cuban missile crisis.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Woodstock was a generational handoff, from the-not-so-Silents (who led the '60's) to the Boomers

Yeah, Woodstock - the gathering - is 50 years old. That fact is hard to miss if for no other reason than a proposed 50th repeat has been cancelled.  But even the Charles M. Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa offers an exhibition (click on the image above) since the bird is also old.

Many times confusion about the generations surrounds the 60's. Woodstock in 1969 really was a generational hand-off.

From Wikipedia: "Baby boomers (also known as boomers) are the demographic cohort following the Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. The Baby Boom generation is most often defined as those individuals born between 1946 and 1964."

For reasons that defy history, the preceding generation, born 1928 to 1945, is called the Silent Generation.

While there were some performers at Woodstock who were Boomers, a quick look tells us most were Silents such as:

Richard Pierce "Richie" Havens - 1/21/1941
James Timothy Hardin - 12/23/1941
Joan Baez - 1/9/1941
Joseph Allen "Country Joe" McDonald - 1/1/1942
John Benson Sebastian - 3/17/1944
Keith "Keef" Hartley - 4/8/1944
Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson - 7/4/1943
Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia - 8/1/1942
Tom Fogerty - 11/9/1941
John Fogerty - 5/28/1945
Doug Clifford - 4/24/1945
Stu Cook - 4/25/1945
Janis Lyn Joplin - 1/19/1943
Sly Stone - 3/15/1943
Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend - 5/19/1945
Roger Harry Daltrey - 3/1/1944
Grace Barnett Wing Slick - 10/30/1939
Paul Lorin Kantner - 3/17/1941
John Robert (Joe) Cocker - 5/20/1944
Joseph Allen "Country Joe" McDonald - 1/1/1942
Alvin Lee - 12/19/1944
Richard Clare Danko - 12/29/1943
John Dawson (Johnny) Winter III - 2/23/1944
David Clayton-Thomas - 9/13/1941
David Van Cortlandt Crosby - 8/14/1941
Stephen Arthur Stills - 1/3/1945
Graham William Nash - 2/2/1942
Neil Percival Young - 11/12/1945
Paul Vaughn Butterfield - 12/17/1942
Jimi Hendrix - 11/27/1942
A 2016 post here discussed this. I'll repeat it.

I was born one year too early for me to be a post–World War II Baby Boomer according to the standard definition. So most of my life I felt confused about whether I was a Baby Boomer or a member of the Silent Generation.

The Silent Generation. Hmmm. Where did that term come from???

In 1951, a Time magazine article was written in which the children of the generation were described as unimaginative, withdrawn, unadventurous, and cautious. Time magazine used the name "Silent Generation" to refer to these individuals. The name has been there ever since.

Yeah, but no. I think there something grossly wrong with that.

I my opinion a 20th Century Golden Generation consists of those born between 1936-1945.To name a very few of the many unimaginative, withdrawn, unadventurous, and cautious Golden Generation who are excluded from the Baby Boom Generation:
The Beatles  (born 1940-1943), Pope Francis (1936), Janis Joplin (1943), Al Pacino (1940), Madeleine Albright (1937), Wilt Chamberlain (1936), Patrick Stewart (1940), Bob Dylan (1941), Jimi Hendrix (1942), Tina Turner (1939), Abbie Hoffman (1936), Grace Slick (1939), Jerry Garcia (1942), Jerry Brown (1938), Antonin Scalia (1936), George Carlin (1937), Robert De Niro (1943), Joan Baez (1941), Arthur Ashe (1943), Lily Tomlin (1939), Dionne Warwick (1940), Ted Turner (1938), Ann-Margret (1941), Jane Fonda (1937), Nora Ephron (1941), Hunter S. Thompson (1937), Simon and Garfunkle (both 1941), Anne Rice (1941), John Irving (1942), Barbra Streisand (1942), Stephen Hawking (1942), Alice Walker (1944), Cheech & Chong (1946 and 1938), Erik Clapton (1945) Colin Powell (1937), Joyce Carol Oates (1938), Penny Marshall (1943), Joe Namath (1943), Muhammad Ali (1942), Diana Ross (1944), Diane Sawyer (1945), Jim Morrison (1943), and The Rolling Stones (1936-43).
Generational confusion about the '60's Revolution both in politics and in culture exists because of the mislabeled Silent Generation.  In 1963 the members of Golden Generation were ages 18-27. The oldest Baby Boomers were 17, the youngest weren't born yet.

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, both born in 1941, are of the Golden Generation. It was Baez who sang "We Shall Overcome" at the 1963 March on Washington and and in December 1964, led six hundred people in an antiwar demonstration in San Francisco. Dylan released "Blowin' in the Wind" in 1963 and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" in 1964. Muhammad Ali may have become the most famous Vietnam draft resister when in April 28, 1967, he refused the draft. They were not Boomers. These were revolutionaries, not silent observers. Now it appears someone has to protect the revolution.

Asserting this does nothing to help the Millennials and the generations that follow who face Climate Change. For the most part, we Silents ran out of energy by 1969 and dropped the ball by failing to recognize what Al Gore was telling us in the late 1970's. In 2014 Silent activism leader Joan Baez, reflecting too many of us, said:

    “I’ve never been an optimist, not since I was 15. I’m a realist, which I think is much closer to pessimism than optimism. This world is f**king falling apart, and I don’t think it even matters who’s quibbling with who.
    “Global warming’s going to get us and that’s going to be it. That’s something I don’t want to say around young people, but what I can say is, ‘Little victories and big defeats,’ because if we recognise what it is we’re up against we can still function and be decent and compassionate and do for others. Maybe that’s the best that can happen right now.”

But by 2017 Baez appeared in the Pathway to Paris Concert for Climate Action and this year in an interview she noted: "We have to depend on the young – they unite about climate change. We adults don’t know how to deal with it."

Obviously, handing off the political revolutionary responsibility to the next generation in 1969 - essentially actually becoming "silent" - was a mistake. Or was it? We didn't win much in the '60's other than to create something called a "hippie" culture.

Except maybe the 1964 Civil Rights Act?

Friday, August 2, 2019

As Climate Change Black Death surrounds us the Democratic Debates were depressingly irrelevant

The Democratic Debates were depressing. The perennial health care issue?1 Trump's deliberately created border uproar?2 Really???

Climate Change, the only socioeconomic issue threatening us all, did get a bit of attention. But Montana Governor Steve Bullock raised the question : "Are we going to actually address climate change? … Or are we going to give people a better shot at a better life?” He then said: “You can do both.” (Actually, you can't as AOC's Green New Deal is a dream bordering on a lie.)

Then Bullock went on: “Let’s actually have the scientists drive this,” he said. “Let’s not just talk about plans that are written for press releases that will go nowhere else if we can’t even get a Republican to acknowledge that the climate is changing.”

Well, let's look at what the scientists, engineers, and other smart folks are saying (click on the image below to read what the best and brightest have to say):

Yes, they are telling you "the battle to curb carbon emissions is losing ground," and that the adaptation technologies are "for living on a  hotter more dangerous planet" where there will be suffering with both "winners and the losers."

It's all reflective of what scientists are seeing - continuing reports indicating things are worse than anyone thought in 2018 when as reported here in As the midterm election approaches we should be in great fear of Climate Change. Why aren't we?:

    In May a collaborative research team from China published a new analysis that found that most of the models projected an increase of 4°C as early as 2064.
    Under the direction of the Trump Administration the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with the cooperation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Year 2021–2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks projecting a near worst case scenario, a 4.387°C (7.876°F) global temperature rise since 1880 by the year 2100.

Focus on that 2064 projected year, just 45 years from now. My grandchildren will be over 60.

Their parents and their grandparents (including me), the generations that could have done something about Climate Change, will be dead.

Greeting all of us, that MIT Technology Review cover says:

"Welcome to Climate Change"

The fact is that since the beginning of this millennium those of us on the planet Earth have been living through the early impacts of Climate Change.

Truthfully, I should just ignore what's going to happen between now and 2064. I can emulate most of the American politicians - I'll fret over Trump's border immigration policy ...or is it Obama's... or maybe I can be honest and blame it on Congress which is where the blame belongs.

In fact Congress is where almost all the blame for immigration and interstate commerce policy belongs under our system federal legislation, not blathering Presidents and Presidential candidates. And I know that many, if not most, of the folks enjoying the Democratic debates have no idea who their Representative in Congress is.

Anyway, in that MIT Technology Review are a good selection of articles to bring you up to date on the science and engineering of the climate crisis. Plus there is the discussion of the unavoidable suffering that is going to occur.

Included in that discussion is an article by Roy Scranton, author of the 2018 book We’re Doomed. Now What?: Essays on War and Climate Change and the 2015 book Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization. Click on the image below to link to the article:

It's a long article. So to give you a feel for the article, here are excerpts:

    The fantasy version of apocalypse always begins with the longawaited event—a missile launch, escaped virus, zombie outbreak—and moves swiftly through collapse into a new, steady state. Something happens, and the morning after you’re pushing a squeaking shopping cart down a highway littered with abandoned Teslas, sawed-off shotgun at the ready. The event is key: it’s a baptism, a fiery sword separating past and present, the origin story of Future You.
    Catastrophic global climate change, however, is not an event at all, and we’re not waiting for it. We’re living it right now....
    In September 2018, the secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, gave a speech warning: “If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change.” The months following saw the US government crippled by a fight over whether to build a wall on the southern border to keep out climate change refugees, news that greenhouse-gas emissions have not decreased but in fact have accelerated upward, and a populist revolt in France sparked by opposition to a gas tax.
    n the first weeks of 2019, new scientific reports appeared suggesting that we may have passed the point of no return....
    Imagine 2050. I’ll be 72 years old. My daughter will turn 33. Wide swaths of now-inhabited coastlines and equatorial jungles and deserts will likely be uninhabitable, either underwater or too hot for humans to live in. People all around the world will likely have seen countless local and regional climate disasters, lived through major global economic shocks and catastrophic crop failures, and become used to random acts of violence as angry and sometimes starving citizens act out against increasingly repressive governments struggling to maintain control. In response to all this political, environmental, and economic instability, anxious populations will likely have traded their freedom in exchange for promises of safety, while security forces built more walls and nations began to fight over once-abundant resources like potable water.
    If the political and social ramifications of global warming are anything like what happened during the last major climate fluctuation, the “Little Ice Age” of the 17th century, then we should expect a similarly horrific succession of famines, plagues, and wars. Historian Geoffrey Parker estimates that second-order effects of 1 °C global cooling that started around 1650 may have wiped out a third of the human population. Records from parts of China, Poland, Belarus, and Germany indicate losses of more than 50%.
    This was not the apocalypse I grew up with. It’s not an apocalypse you can prep for, hack your way out of, or hide from. It’s not an apocalypse with a beginning and an end, after which survivors can rebuild. Indeed, it’s not an “Event” at all, but a new world, a new geological era in Earth’s history, in which this planet will not necessarily be hospitable to the bipedal primate we call Homo sapiens. The planet is approaching, or already crossing, several key thresholds, beyond which the conditions that have fostered human life for the past 10,000 years no longer hold.
    This is not our future, but our present: a time of transformation and strife beyond which it is difficult to see a clear path. Even in the very best case—a swift, radical, wholesale transformation of the energy system upon which the global economy depends (which would entail a complete reorganization of human collective life), coupled with massive investment in carbon capture technology, all occurring under the aegis of unprecedented global cooperation—the stressors and thresholds we confront will continue to put immense pressures on a growing human population.
    ...Despite decades of failure, a disheartening track record, ongoing paralysis, a social order geared toward consumption and distraction, and the strong possibility that our great-grandchildren may be the last generation of humans ever to live on planet Earth, we must go on. We have no choice.

The article has much more content, all of which is equally cheerful.

Keep in mind that this is the MIT publication's update on Climate Change, a review of recently gleaned information science and engineering folks are working with. The last issue with a cover focused on Climate Change was 2016's January/February issue. It was a primary subject in the edition, but there was no focus. Indeed, it offered a hopeful theme that "It's too late to stop climate change from happening. but we can begin to limit the damage and slow it down." About 10 months later Donald Trump was elected President and the world began its slide into nationalism which is resulting in Climate Change denial, or at least a refusal to act to limit impacts.

On the subject of "suffering" in addition to Scranton who has been warning folks for awhile now,  they've included:
  • an article "The coming migration catastrophe" which projects, as just one example,  that by 2050 climate change is expected to turn 1.7 million Mexicans into migrants;
  • an article "Pipe dreams" that explains how Climate Change is already tipping India into a water crisis.
And finally, this edition includes a fiction piece as they are trying desperately to stimulate us at the emotional level so that we might actually see some of the serious discussion of the slowly moving climate apocalypse, discussion that recognizes that it is now a slowly moving climate apocalypse. Consider these beginning lines from Hugo, Nebula, John. W. Campbell, Compton Crook, Theodore Sturgeon, and Michael L. Printz awards winner American science fiction writer Paolo Bacigalupi's A Full Life:

    By the time Rue reached 15 she had begun to mea sure her life by her many moves, the parchment of her life torn into fragments, each one reducing the integrity of the whole. Each small leaf then folded. Folded and shaped until it became surreal origami. Tear here. Fold there. This part became a house, burning down. Tear here, fold again. This shred became a rusty diesel truck, driving south. Tear again. Fold. This bit became an apartment building, without a roof.
    Tear here. Tear again. Make a casket.
    Keep tearing.

And so I wonder why anyone under the age of 50 is paying attention to an argument over the details of "Medicare-for-All" or thinks migration from Central America and Mexico is ever going to be manageable when because of Climate Change impacts it is likely to become unimaginable. Is nobody listening???

To borrow from Roy Scranton, despite decades of failure, a disheartening track record, ongoing paralysis,and the strong possibility that our great-grandchildren may be the last generation of humans ever to live on planet Earth, apparently we must go on not addressing our failed socioeconomic order geared toward consumption and distraction, pretending that the issues of the day are student loans and health care co-pays.

I would apologize for those decades of failure that began in the late 1970's when Al Gore and a few others brought the matter clearly to our attention. But good grief, in 2019 (except for activists) those under 50 seem to want to pretend that "greed is good" as my generation did.

It is worth noting that the latest Climate Change focused MIT Technology Review reflects a realization about social sciences. We humans in groups
  1. will not set aside our immediate wants to save humanity from a slowly evolving apocalypse with unclear and unequal future impacts mostly on people not yet alive;
  2. will regress within those apocalyptic conditions, lapsing into warfare, violence, and cruelty in the name of protecting our own, an attitude that underlies the appeal of nationalism and tribalism.
What Americans do not yet understand is that we do not constitute a single group within which nationalism would naturally apply, but rather geographic regions within which group affiliations may be adequate to substitute for nationalism, though frequently in the form of tribalism. This was seen during the Great Depression/Dust Bowl years - the underlying truth of Grapes of Wrath.


  1. Do Democrats really not know that nearly 85 years ago the original Social Security measure contained  publicly funded health care programs.  Attacked by the American Medical Association as "compulsory health insurance", Democrats ended up removing the health care provisions from the bill in 1935. Congress then passed our first Social Security legislation. (You've heard of it, Congress. Right. The only folks in Washington, D.C., that can create such a program - not any President!)

    Soon precursors to private HMO's and other insurance began to be introduced by hospitals and doctor's groups which were offered to employers. In the 1940s Congress passed legislation that supported the new third-party private insurers. (You've heard of it, Congress. Right. The only folks in Washington, D.C., that can create such a program - not any President!)

    About Congress and health care. President Harry Truman called for universal health care as a part of his Fair Deal in 1949 but strong opposition and a Republican Congress prevented that.

    Lyndon Johnson led an overwhelming Democratic victory in 1964. The Democratic Party picked up 37 seats in the House and 2 seats in the Senate, thereby capturing veto-proof supermajorities in both chambers. The best the Democratic Congress could do was Medicare covering old people who are a high risk for private insurers and Medicaid covering people too poor to buy private insurance anyway. Eight years later the disabled were added to Medicare.

    This is the way it has been. Do Democrats think Bernie and company's Medicare-for-All discussed in the debates has any chance in Congress where the only folks in Washington, D.C., that can create such a program work. When Democrats had supermajorities in both the House and Senate and Lyndon Johnson was President, that could not be accomplished.
  2. Regarding the migration crisis at the border, the abuses are not the crisis as they are simply administrative decisions any President could stop. However, the fact remains that Climate Change already is impacting the viability of Central America and parts of Mexico as places for humans to live. As noted by the U.N.: "Throughout human history, migration and climate have always been connected, but in the modern era, the impacts of the man-made climate crisis are likely to extensively change the patterns of human settlement." None of the 20+ Democratic candidates are even close to having a solution to this because it is part of the Climate Change crisis not some border issue.

The 21st Century Climate Change Black Death is happening now.
                                                                                                          If you're new to this blog here's the link to the listing of the 30+ previous posts in the Blog regarding Climate Change and the Environment.

This post is a part of a series:  climate change black death surrounds us