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Author Topic: Adapting to the Anthropocene  (Read 73207 times)

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #300 on: August 22, 2017, 06:34:33 PM »
As I am suggesting the use of mindful wisdom as a preferred path for adapting to the Anthropocene, I provide the attached quotes from the Buddha:
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #301 on: August 22, 2017, 06:37:49 PM »
As I have indicated that I believe that the 4th Industrial Revolution (possibly with a technological singularity circa 2047) is also in our collective future, I provide the following quotes from Steve Jobs:
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #302 on: September 03, 2017, 08:08:58 PM »
Clearly, climate change has influenced human evolution and just as clearly, evolution will be part of humanity's adaption to the Anthropocene:

Title: "How Humans Are Shaping Our Own Evolution"

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/04/evolution-genetics-medicine-brain-technology-cyborg/

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/04/are-we-evolving-illustrations-stand-alone/#technology-versus-natural-selection

Extract: "In our world now, the primary mover for reproductive success—and thus evolutionary change—is culture, and its weaponized cousin, technology. That’s because evolution is no match for the speed and variety of modern life.

“DNA was left in the dust by cultural evolution,” he says, “but now it’s catching up.”"

See also:

Title: "Did Ancient Climate Change Ignite Human Evolution?

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/did-ancient-climate-change-ignite-human-evolution/

Extract: "How drying forests and lightning may have turned fire from a primal threat into a life-sustaining object of reverence"

&

Title: "Climate Effects on Human Evolution"

http://humanorigins.si.edu/research/climate-and-human-evolution/climate-effects-human-evolution
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

miki

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #303 on: September 03, 2017, 08:14:15 PM »
I thought I would drop this here. Business and government will have to adapt, after all.

http://www.earthandwatergroup.com/climate-change/link-between-stronger-science-and-climate-litigation-risks-new-report/

Nature Geoscience‘s publishes ‘Acts of God, human influence and litigation‘ – a report, co-authored by Earth & Water Law Partner Lindene Patton, which looks at how developments in attribution science impact legal foreseeability of extreme weather events and the duties of built environment professionals, business and government in the face of a changing climate.

"The science of extreme weather attribution is improving rapidly, and is making important predictions about future weather events.  This means the legal duties of those responsible for keeping people, the built environment and the natural world safe are changing too.  Identifying the human influence in events once only understood as ‘acts of god’ will reshape the legal landscape, meaning governments and businesses could be sued if they don’t take action to protect people from floods, heatwaves and other foreseeable climate change risks."

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #304 on: September 05, 2017, 03:59:23 PM »
The linked open access reference illustrates how quantum information science is not only about AI but can also be used for de-cloaking stealth technology:

La Heras et al (2017), "Quantum illumination reveals phase-shift inducing cloaking", Scientific Reports 7, Article no. 9333, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-0850-w

http://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-08505-w

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6roucho

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #305 on: September 05, 2017, 06:45:46 PM »
AbruptSLR, I think there's a great deal of philosophy you may be missing out on, which has nothing to do with theology. As Anne says, most of western philosophy (including metaphysics) has the objective of being rigorously empirical; of making real statements about the world, and of defining what form those statements can meaningfully take. Much of the stringency of the scientific method has its roots in the rigours of formal philosophical discourse. Wittgenstein [or Karl Popper] might be a better starting point than eastern mystics.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 07:19:22 PM by 6roucho »

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #306 on: September 05, 2017, 09:46:35 PM »
AbruptSLR, I think there's a great deal of philosophy you may be missing out on, which has nothing to do with theology. As Anne says, most of western philosophy (including metaphysics) has the objective of being rigorously empirical; of making real statements about the world, and of defining what form those statements can meaningfully take. Much of the stringency of the scientific method has its roots in the rigours of formal philosophical discourse. Wittgenstein [or Karl Popper] might be a better starting point than eastern mystics.

6roucho,

Certainly I have a lot to learn; however, from what I know about Popperism; while I support its emphasis on empirical verification, it seems to me that it downplays the use of inductive logic too much.  Popper was a man of the 20th century, but our current 21st century problems and information science can make good use of holographic theory (which I suspect you mistake for eastern mysticism) together with inductive logic to tackle 'wicked problems' (see the first attached image), like climate change.

In this regards, the linked video, and associated pdf & second attached image, illustrate holographic entanglement theory:

Title: “A New Perspective on Holographic Entanglement by Matthew Headrick”



See also:

http://people.brandeis.edu/~headrick/talks/NewPerspective.pdf

The holographic universe can be interpreted conceptually using String Theory in twelve dimensions (i.e. F-Theory), where lower order dimensions (like the four dimensional time-space continuum of common day experiences) can be taken as the boundary entangled with a higher order bulk (such as the event horizon of a black hole considered in Matthew Headrick's video & pdf).  Furthermore, in my opinion entanglement can be taken as the condition of interacting with the higher order bulk through an imaginary interface/boundary on which classical information appears (see the third image).  However, this interaction is dynamic resulting in a dialectic process such as illustrated in the fourth attached image.  I will discuss this gestalt further in my next post.

Best,
ASLR
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #307 on: September 05, 2017, 09:49:01 PM »
As a follow-on to my last post, the linked videos present talks by John Preskill that discuss how quantum information science could help to understand a holographic universe:

“"Quantum Computing and the Entanglement Frontier" John Preskill, CalTech”



&

"John Preskill: Quantum information and spacetime (I)"



&

“John Preskill: Quantum information and spacetime (II)”



The four images illustrate how quantum information science can be used to holistically correct for errors in an entangled holographic universe by correlating the bulk with the boundary information/operators.  This paradigm will be very useful in quantum computing and in AI development in the coming few decades.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #308 on: September 05, 2017, 10:11:02 PM »
For those interested in holography, the linked reference provides more background:

M.P. Benowitz (2017), "Universal Theory of General Invariance"

http://vixra.org/abs/1708.0190
&
http://vixra.org/pdf/1708.0190v1.pdf

For the abstract see the first attached image

Extract: "Through the introduction of the Principle of General Invariance, three additional quantum mechanical postulates have been put forth. Postulates I & II propose entanglement and holography arise from an underlying noncommutative structure between spatial positions and directions. Postulate III proposes an observationally motivated field equation governing these noncommutative degrees of freedom. The solution to this equation yields a coupled system of equations of state, describing the thermodynamics of the vacuum. To great surprise, these equations predict the existence of the vacua Mon and Mooff. These so-called atoms of spacetime reproduce the observations of the ^CDM model of cosmology { bringing dark energy, dark matter, inflation, and gravitation into a single unified framework. Finally, (and most importantly) we've designed a relatively simple and inexpensive table-top experiment to falsify such extraordinary claims."

The second attached image illustrates how in this holographic model virtual particles formed out of fluctuation of the vacuum are entangled when they are formed.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

6roucho

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #309 on: September 06, 2017, 10:47:42 AM »
AbruptSLR, no: as a [sometimes] working mathematician, I do know the difference between holographic theory and eastern mysticism. I make far bigger mistakes than that, as in my previous dumb comment to you. :-)

But I take your point. I'm not positioning philosophy relative to science, but as as a necessary part of it. Popper doesn't downplay empiricism: he considers its limits. Without epistemology, we'd lack part of the formal language necessary for understanding what true statements mean. Without the language to define proof, how can we have proof?

So, in that sense, we do still need the 20th century.

There's a lame undergraduate joke that "Even Karl Popper gets up in the morning." That's a reference to Popper's [rigorous] disproof of inductive logic. It isn't possible to prove anything by induction, even if induction is useful. Like many useful tools, understanding its limits is a necessary precursor to using it, since otherwise we might feel we've proved things we haven't.

What the joke means is that even though we can't prove the sun will rise tomorrow, simply by reference to a large set of data, it probably will. And probability, in the end, is all we have to go in in the physical sciences. Observing a thing five times doesn't mean it will happen a sixth time, even if we understand all the reasons. One day, that electron [or table] *will* tunnel through that wall. All we need is sufficient time.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 11:43:14 AM by 6roucho »

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #310 on: September 06, 2017, 04:18:37 PM »
All we need is sufficient time.
Perhaps you do not appreciate the differences between the teachings of the Buddha and eastern mysticism. The Buddha taught that there is no magic in the universe, yet to reach the ultimate empirical truth he taught that one must transcend the illusions of time and space (as proven by holographic theory), using the recursive application of: deductive logic, inductive logic, the reduction of entropy, concentration/focus/effort/work and letting go of preconditioning; all of which underpin the scientific method.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 05:36:26 PM by AbruptSLR »
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #311 on: September 06, 2017, 06:46:17 PM »
The linked article (& associated open access reference) describes a new path forward to develop a general purpose prototype silicon quantum integrated circuit by 2022, with a general purpose commercial quantum computer to follow shortly thereafter:

Title: "Radical New Quantum Computing Design Invented"

https://www.rdmag.com/news/2017/09/radical-new-quantum-computing-design-invented

Extract: "Engineers at Australia’s University of New South Wales have invented a radical new architecture for quantum computing, based on novel ‘flip-flop qubits’, that promises to make the large-scale manufacture of quantum chips dramatically cheaper – and easier – than thought possible.

The new chip design, detailed in the journal Nature Communications, allows for a silicon quantum processor that can be scaled up without the precise placement of atoms required in other approaches. Importantly, it allows quantum bits (or ‘qubits’) – the basic unit of information in a quantum computer – to be placed hundreds of nanometres apart and still remain coupled.

“What Guilherme and the team have invented is a new way to define a ‘spin qubit’ that uses both the electron and the nucleus of the atom. Crucially, this new qubit can be controlled using electric signals, instead of magnetic ones. Electric signals are significantly easier to distribute and localise within an electronic chip.”

Tosi said the design sidesteps a challenge that all spin-based silicon qubits were expected to face as teams begin building larger and larger arrays of qubits: the need to space them at a distance of only 10-20 nanometres, or just 50 atoms apart.

“If they're too close, or too far apart, the ‘entanglement’ between quantum bits – which is what makes quantum computers so special – doesn’t occur,” Tosi said.

At the other end of the spectrum are superconducting circuits – pursued, for instance, by IBM and Google – and ion traps. These systems are large and easier to fabricate, and are currently leading the way in the number of qubits that can be operated. However, due to their larger dimensions, in the long run they may face challenges when trying to assemble and operate millions of qubits, as required by the most useful quantum algorithms.

“Our new silicon-based approach sits right at the sweet spot,” said Morello, a professor of quantum engineering at UNSW. “It’s easier to fabricate than atomic-scale devices, but still allows us to place a million qubits on a square millimetre.”

In the single-atom qubit used by Morello’s team, and which Tosi’s new design applies, a silicon chip is covered with a layer of insulating silicon oxide, on top of which rests a pattern of metallic electrodes that operate at temperatures near absolute zero and in the presence of a very strong magnetic field.

At the core is a phosphorus atom, from which Morello’s team has previously built two functional qubits using an electron and the nucleus of the atom. These qubits, taken individually, have demonstrated world-record coherence times.

Tosi’s conceptual breakthrough is the creation of an entirely new type of qubit, using both the nucleus andthe electron. In this approach, a qubit ‘0’ state is defined when the spin of the electron is down and the nucleus spin is up, while the ‘1’ state is  when the electron spin is up, and the nuclear spin is down.

“We call it the ‘flip-flop’ qubit,” said Tosi. “To operate this qubit, you need to pull the electron a little bit away from the nucleus, using the electrodes at the top. By doing so, you also create an electric dipole.”

The UNSW team has struck a A$83 million deal between UNSW, telco giant Telstra, Australia’s Commonwealth Bank and the Australian and New South Wales governments to develop, by 2022, a 10-qubit prototype silicon quantum integrated circuit – the first step in building the world’s first quantum computer in silicon."

See the associated reference:

Tosi et al (2017), "Silicon quantum processor with robust long-distance qubit coupling", Nature Communications 8, Article no. 450; doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00378-x
 
http://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-00378-x
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― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #312 on: September 06, 2017, 08:42:59 PM »
Here is a June 2017 Wired article about the SF Bay Area effort toward providing general purpose commercial quantum computers in the next five plus years:

Title: "The Quantum Computer Factory That’s Taking on Google and IBM"

https://www.wired.com/story/quantum-computing-factory-taking-on-google-ibm/

Extract: "No company is yet very close to offering up a quantum computer ready to do useful work existing computers can't. But Google has pledged to commercialize the technology within five years. IBM offers a cloud platform intended as a warmup for a future commercial service that lets developers and researchers play with a prototype chip located in Big Blue’s labs. After a few years of mostly staying quiet, Rigetti is now entering the fray. The company on Tuesday launched its own cloud platform, called Forest, where developers can write code for simulated quantum computers, and some partners get to access the startup's existing quantum hardware. Rigetti gave WIRED a peek at the new manufacturing facility in Fremont—grandly dubbed Fab-1—that just started making chips for testing at the company's headquarters in Berkeley.

But for now, the quantum computing chips in existence are too small to do things conventional computers can't. IBM recently announced one with 16 qubits—the components needed to build a quantum computer—and Google is gunning for around 50 qubits this year. Rigetti has made chips with 8 qubits; it says the new fab will speed up the experimentation needed to increase that number. No one knows for sure, but it’s estimated you’d need hundreds of qubits or more to do useful work on chemistry problems, which seem to be the lowest-hanging fruit for quantum computers."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

6roucho

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #313 on: September 07, 2017, 12:35:22 PM »
All we need is sufficient time.
Perhaps you do not appreciate the differences between the teachings of the Buddha and eastern mysticism. The Buddha taught that there is no magic in the universe, yet to reach the ultimate empirical truth he taught that one must transcend the illusions of time and space (as proven by holographic theory), using the recursive application of: deductive logic, inductive logic, the reduction of entropy, concentration/focus/effort/work and letting go of preconditioning; all of which underpin the scientific method.
Maybe I don't. I consider some of the teachings of the Buddha to be eastern mysticism, since they include unprovable metaphysics, such as reincarnation.  I also consider some of the ideas of my my own religion [Taoism] to be mysticism, although somewhat less so, since Taoism rejects the unprovable.

That doesn't mean *all* of the teachings of Buddha are mysticism. It's easy to find elements of both religions that align with [and predate] modern physics.

I have no problem with mysticism, as long as we recognise it as such, and we're sufficiently rigorous about how we allow it to inform us about the nature of reality. There's undoubtedly a spiritual realm. How and where is crosses the Real is a valuable question.

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #314 on: September 07, 2017, 03:08:30 PM »
6goucho, good  points. But there are those who claim that most of the what you call 'mysticism' in Buddhism are not core to the philosophy/religion, and are in a way accretions. See Buddhism without beliefs:

https://www.amazon.com/Buddhism-Without-Beliefs-Contemporary-Awakening/dp/1573226564
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #315 on: September 07, 2017, 04:51:40 PM »
6goucho, good  points. But there are those who claim that most of the what you call 'mysticism' in Buddhism are not core to the philosophy/religion, and are in a way accretions. See Buddhism without beliefs:

https://www.amazon.com/Buddhism-Without-Beliefs-Contemporary-Awakening/dp/1573226564

wili,

You are correct as the Buddha never taught a religion nor 'mysticism'.  It is disingenuous to hold the Buddha to task because subsequent generations do not fully understand (i.e. misinterpret) what he taught.  For example, the Buddha taught that time is an illusion, so reincarnation cannot mean what 6roucho is implying what it means.  The Buddha's teaching appear to be paradoxical to those who live within pre-conditioned bubbles, in much the same way as people living in a 4D time-space continuum would find that M-theory would stand for Magic-theory.  Indeed, Popper taught about the dangers of inductive logic, but each morning he applied inductive reasoning to trust that the floor would be there when he got out of bed in the morning.

Best,
ASLR
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 06:22:10 PM by AbruptSLR »
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #316 on: September 08, 2017, 06:30:12 PM »
The linked article indicates that Microsoft's use of Majoranas to produce general purpose quantum computers is making rapid progress:

https://www.scientificcomputing.com/news/2017/09/quantum-detectives-hunt-worlds-first-quantum-computer

Extract: "Scientists at the University of Sydney are entering a new phase of development to scale up the next generation of quantum-engineered devices.

These devices will form the heart of the first practical topological* quantum computers.

Dr Cassidy said that building these quantum devices is a "bit like going on a detective hunt".
"When Majorana fermions were first shown to exist in 2012, there were many who said there could be other explanations for the findings," she said.

A challenge to show the findings were caused by Majoranas was put to the research team led by Professor Leo Kouwenhoven, who now leads Microsoft's Station Q in the Netherlands."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #317 on: September 09, 2017, 05:17:33 PM »
I have previously discussed the works of Dacher Keltner in this thread, and in the following reference he teams with Alan Cowen to categorize the number of self-reported emotions identified by people:

Alan Cowen & Dacher Keltner (2017), "Self-report captures 27 distinct categories of emotion bridged by continuous gradients", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1702247114

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/08/30/1702247114.abstract

Significance
Claims about how reported emotional experiences are geometrically organized within a semantic space have shaped the study of emotion. Using statistical methods to analyze reports of emotional states elicited by 2,185 emotionally evocative short videos with richly varying situational content, we uncovered 27 varieties of reported emotional experience. Reported experience is better captured by categories such as “amusement” than by ratings of widely measured affective dimensions such as valence and arousal. Although categories are found to organize dimensional appraisals in a coherent and powerful fashion, many categories are linked by smooth gradients, contrary to discrete theories. Our results comprise an approximation of a geometric structure of reported emotional experience.

Abstract
Emotions are centered in subjective experiences that people represent, in part, with hundreds, if not thousands, of semantic terms. Claims about the distribution of reported emotional states and the boundaries between emotion categories—that is, the geometric organization of the semantic space of emotion—have sparked intense debate. Here we introduce a conceptual framework to analyze reported emotional states elicited by 2,185 short videos, examining the richest array of reported emotional experiences studied to date and the extent to which reported experiences of emotion are structured by discrete and dimensional geometries. Across self-report methods, we find that the videos reliably elicit 27 distinct varieties of reported emotional experience. Further analyses revealed that categorical labels such as amusement better capture reports of subjective experience than commonly measured affective dimensions (e.g., valence and arousal). Although reported emotional experiences are represented within a semantic space best captured by categorical labels, the boundaries between categories of emotion are fuzzy rather than discrete. By analyzing the distribution of reported emotional states we uncover gradients of emotion—from anxiety to fear to horror to disgust, calmness to aesthetic appreciation to awe, and others—that correspond to smooth variation in affective dimensions such as valence and dominance. Reported emotional states occupy a complex, high-dimensional categorical space. In addition, our library of videos and an interactive map of the emotional states they elicit (https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/emogifs/map.html) are made available to advance the science of emotion.

See also:

Title: "Scientists discover there are 27 different emotions"

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11920286

Extract: "While it was originally thought we feel just six emotions, researchers at UC Berkeley found 27 distinct human emotions and have displayed them on an interactive map.

In addition to happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and, disgust, they also determined confusion, romance, nostalgia, sexual desire, and others to be distinct emotions …

The 27 emotions humans feel
Admiration
Adoration
Aesthetic Appreciation
Amusement
Anxiety
Awe
Awkwardness
Boredom
Calmness
Confusion
Craving
Disgust
Empathetic pain
Entrancement
Envy
Excitement
Fear
Horror
Interest
Joy
Nostalgia
Romance
Sadness
Satisfaction
Sexual desire
Sympathy
Triumph"
« Last Edit: September 09, 2017, 05:45:14 PM by AbruptSLR »
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #318 on: September 09, 2017, 05:40:26 PM »
I note that the development of compassion via Mettā-panna would be helpful in adapting to the Anthropocene:

Title: "Compassion Is Better than Empathy"

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-clarity/201703/compassion-is-better-empathy

Extract: "… too much empathy can be debilitating. When we become too distressed about the suffering of others, we don’t have the cognitive and emotional resources available to do much to help them. Having compassion, a cognitive understanding how they’re feeling, is better for our own well-being and the well-being of those in need.

The idea that there can actually be too much empathy can be traced back to early  Buddhist teachings. Instead of focusing on empathy to the point of draining ourselves emotionally, Buddhism teaches the practice of compassion …

By deliberately imagining yourself, your loved ones, people you feel neutral about, and even people you dislike, experiencing happiness and freedom – you make the world a kinder place. Research in Loving-Kindness meditation shows it builds emotional resilience and meaningful social connections which can help you respond to challenges with compassion."

See also the linked Wikipedia article entitled: "Mettā"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mett%C4%81

On a related matter, I believe that 'western' philosophy tends to focus too much on the battle between 'good' and 'evil'; while these words express pre-conditioned concepts that can be better dealt with by breaking them down into more fundamental 'truths' as illustrated by the two attached images relating the pre-conditioned concept of 'evil' to its more fundamental relations to the lack of empathy.

Edit: Regarding the first image, Gilbert was the psychologist for the tribunal at the Nuremberg trails.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2017, 07:36:50 PM by AbruptSLR »
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #319 on: September 23, 2017, 06:35:59 PM »
The linked article illustrates how information theory/science/technology can be used to help make capitalism more sustainable:

Title: "An AI Hedge Fund Created a New Currency to Make Wall Street Work Like Open Source"

https://www.wired.com/2017/02/ai-hedge-fund-created-new-currency-make-wall-street-work-like-open-source/

Extract: "Wall Street is a competition, a Darwinian battle for the almighty dollar. Gordon Gekko said that greed is good, that it captures "the essence of the evolutionary spirit." A hedge fund hunts for an edge and then maniacally guards it, locking down its trading data and barring its traders from joining the company next door. The big bucks lie in finding market inefficiencies no one else can, succeeding at the expense of others. But Richard Craib wants to change that. He wants to transform Wall Street from a cutthroat competition into a harmonious collaboration.

This morning, the 29-year-old South African technologist and his unorthodox hedge fund, Numerai, started issuing a new digital currency—kind of. Craib's idea is so weird, so unlike anything else that has preceded it, that naming it becomes an exercise in approximation. Inspired by the same tech that underpins bitcoin, his creation joins a growing wave of what people in the world of crypto-finance call "digital tokens," internet-based assets that enable the crowdsourcing of everything from venture capital to computing power. Craib hopes his particular token can turn Wall Street into a place where everyone's on the same team. It's a strange, complicated, and potentially powerful creation that builds on an already audacious arrangement, a new configuration of technology and money that calls into question the market's most cherished premise. Greed is still good, but it's better when people are working together."
« Last Edit: September 23, 2017, 06:49:26 PM by AbruptSLR »
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #320 on: September 25, 2017, 04:45:30 PM »
Commercial quantum computing is preparing to gear-up later this year:

Title: "Microsoft makes play for next wave of computing with quantum computing toolkit"

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/09/microsoft-quantum-toolkit/

Extract: "At its Ignite conference today, Microsoft announced its moves to embrace the next big thing in computing: quantum computing. Later this year, Microsoft will release a new quantum computing programming language, with full Visual Studio integration, along with a quantum computing simulator. With these, developers will be able to both develop and debug quantum programs implementing quantum algorithms."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #321 on: September 26, 2017, 06:42:03 PM »
The linked article discusses a new technology that may shortly be able to solve certain class of wicked problems more efficiently than quantum computers:

Title: "Scientists sprinkle "magic dust" of light and matter for faster supercomputers"

http://newatlas.com/magic-dust-polariton-supercomputer/51495/

Extract: "Supercomputers rely on a "brute force" approach to solve problems, performing billions of calculations very quickly until they arrive at the optimal solution. Quantum computers are emerging that could exponentially speed up this process by performing far more calculations simultaneously, but even they still work on the same principle. But a completely new system has the potential to outperform all of those, using a "magic dust" made of both light and matter as a beacon to highlight the solution directly."

See also:

Berloff et al (2017), "Realizing the classical XY Hamiltonian in polariton simulators", Natural Materials, doi: 10.1038/nmat4971

http://www.nature.com/nmat/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nmat4971.html?foxtrotcallback=true

Edit, see the related article entitled: "'Magic Dust' Made From Light And Matter Could Power Supercomputers of The Future".

https://www.sciencealert.com/next-gen-supercomputers-could-run-on-magic-dust-made-from-light-and-matter

Edit 2, see also:

Title: "New type of supercomputer could be based on 'magic dust' combination of light and matter"

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170925111344.htm

Extract: ""We are just at the beginning of exploring the potential of polariton graphs for solving complex problems," said co-author Professor Pavlos Lagoudakis, Head of the Hybrid Photonics Lab at the University of Southampton and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, where the experiments were performed. "We are currently scaling up our device to hundreds of nodes, while testing its fundamental computational power. The ultimate goal is a microchip quantum simulator operating at ambient conditions.""
« Last Edit: October 15, 2017, 05:39:41 PM by AbruptSLR »
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #322 on: October 03, 2017, 08:02:11 PM »
The linked article concludes that "… even if a society as a whole has trouble adapting and falls apart, the more flexible segments of that culture can still survive."

Title: "How Vulnerable Are Societies to Collapse?"

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2017/09/28/how-vulnerable-collapse/#.WdPLxU3fOrQ

Extract: "In each of these archaeological cases, it wasn’t the changing climate in itself that brought about suffering but rather each society’s response to the challenges. “There is no such thing as a natural disaster,” says Dugmore. “There are only natural hazards and human vulnerabilities.”

Can our societies adapt quickly and adeptly enough to deal with the pressing problems we face? The answer to that question might lie in how flexible a given culture is in dealing with change and at what point its people choose to act—or not.

There are some worrying signs of inflexibility in today’s world, Hegmon notes. Our nation-states are so large that relocation is not really an option. And we are perhaps overly reliant on large-scale infrastructure like the U.S. electric grid.

Many who benefit personally from the continued burning of oil and coal—from oil giants to car-engine manufacturers—are resisting attempts to shift to an economy based on renewable resources.

… even if a society as a whole has trouble adapting and falls apart, the more flexible segments of that culture can still survive."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #323 on: October 04, 2017, 07:07:15 PM »
It looks like quantum computers will need to have more than 50 stable qubits before they can reach the 'quantum computational singularity':

Title: "Scientists pinpoint the singularity for quantum computers"

https://phys.org/news/2017-10-scientists-singularity-quantum.html

Extract: "Research groups at leading universities and companies, including Google, Microsoft and IBM, are part of a worldwide race to realise the first quantum computer that crosses into the 'quantum computational singularity'.

This represents a problem so complex that today's top supercomputer would take centuries to find a solution, while a quantum computer could crack it in minutes.

Now a team of scientists from Bristol have discovered that the boundary to this singularity is further away than previously thought."

See also:

http://www.nature.com/nphys/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nphys4270.html?foxtrotcallback=true
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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #324 on: October 08, 2017, 06:25:51 PM »
The linked reference uses cluster analysis and trait mapping to characterize the 'personalities of natural resource management, NRM, by Australia's 56 NRM organizations, with regard to the capability to help society to adapt to climate change.  Such methodologies are particularly well suited for more widespread applications using machine learning to better understand why scientific and policymaking organizations are having so much difficulty in addressing climate change, in general, in a timely manner:

Hobday, A.J., Doerr, V.A.J., Marshall, N.A. et al. (2017), "Adapting to climate change: the role of organisational personalities in natural resource management", Reg Environ Change, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-017-1227-0

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10113-017-1227-0?utm_content=buffer25824&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Abstract: "Preparing for climate change represents a significant challenge to environmental managers and is influenced by their ability to access and use the latest information. However, communicating and delivering adaption science across diverse stakeholder groups remain a significant challenge. We explore the utility of concepts from personality research to improve understanding of stakeholder capacity. Specifically, we defined eight potential climate-related personality ‘axes’ for natural resource management (NRM) organisations. We surveyed 80% of Australia’s 56 regional NRM organisations to characterise their traits in relation to these axes. Through cluster analysis and trait mapping, we defined six NRM ‘personality types’. These types were unrelated to external factors such as geographic location or land use activities. Rather, five organisational personality axes were important in defining personality type: where information is sourced, strategic skill sets for learning and reorganising, perceptions of risk and the ability to manage for uncertainty, perceptions of the role of NRM groups, and strategies for engagement. Identifying NRM personality type allows organisations to identify and capitalise on their strengths to target their adaptation efforts to maximise success. Organisations can also recognise what they might find most challenging and deliberately collaborate with other personalities with strengths in those areas. Finally, information providers can better understand how to tailor information delivery for improved knowledge exchange between research providers and organisations responsible for sustainability of natural resources, which enables stronger relationships and facilitates evidence-based decision-making."
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #325 on: October 16, 2017, 07:47:24 PM »
Previously in this thread I have noted that the technological singularity has been projected (by Ray Kurzweil) to occur in the 2045 to 2050 timeframe and also that I have projected that WAIS will have initiated its "main phase" collapse in the 2045 to 2050 timeframe.  In this post I note that under the Chinese Dream formulated by Xi Jinping, China currently plans to have an economy three times larger than that of the USA by the 100th anniversary of the People' Republic in 2049.

Thus I provide the following linked information for those who want to prepare for what I project to be a subsequent global socio-economic collapse in the 2050 to 2060 timeframe due to a combination of:

1. Culture shock associated with the technological singularity;
2. Climate shock resulting from both SLR and the ice-climate feedback associated with the main phase collapse of the WAIS; and
3. The shock of war/famine/disease resulting from the shock doctrine of global nationalist movements such as 'Make China Great Again' and 'Make America Great Again' (see attached image).

Title: "What Xi Jinping Wants"

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/05/what-china-wants/528561/

Extract: "China’s leader is determined to turn his country into “the biggest player in the history of the world.” Can he do it while avoiding a dangerous collision with America?

Xi is so convinced he will succeed in this quest that he has blatantly flouted a cardinal rule for political survival: Never state a target objective and a specific date in the same sentence. Within a month of becoming China’s leader in 2012, Xi specified deadlines for meeting each of his “Two Centennial Goals.” First, China will build a “moderately prosperous society” by doubling its 2010 per capita GDP to $10,000 by 2021, when it celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. Second, it will become a “fully developed, rich, and powerful” nation by the 100th anniversary of the People's Republic in 2049. If China reaches the first goal— which it is on course to do—the IMF estimates that its economy will be 40 percent larger than that of the U.S. (measured in terms of purchasing power parity). If China meets the second target by 2049, its economy will be triple America's."

&

Title: "Why China aims to be number one superpower by 2049

http://www.oxfordtoday.ox.ac.uk/features/why-china-aims-be-number-one-superpower-2049

Extract: "The seeds of world ambition are historical but it would be reckless to dismiss them, says Oxford analyst Tom Miller."

&

See also the linked Wikipedia articles entitled "Two Centenaries" & " Chinese Dream":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Centenaries
&
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Dream

Edit, see also the second attached image, and the following linked Wikipedia article on China's One Belt One Road Initiative:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Belt_One_Road_Initiative
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 08:53:50 PM by AbruptSLR »
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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #326 on: October 26, 2017, 03:17:45 AM »
It looks like gene editing is taking off sooner rather than later:

Title: "How scientists hope to treat diseases by editing our RNA"

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-rna-editing-repair-20171025-htmlstory.html

Extract: "Opening a new chapter in genetic medicine, scientists have devised a method of gene editing that can turn the protein-production machinery of certain cells on and off at will.

The technique, called RNA REPAIR, could one day treat diseases of the brain, muscles, liver and kidney, whose cells don’t readily yield to DNA-editing techniques such as CRISPR-Cas9.

The RNA REPAIR platform could also prove useful in treating cancer and auto-immune disorders — diseases in which dialing down the action of a given gene for a limited period of time might spell the difference between sickness and health.

The new work, published Wednesday in the journal Science, complements another gene-editing advance reported simultaneously in the journal Nature. That new “base editor” can correct single-letter mutations in DNA without splicing the double helix and causing unintended changes in the genome."


See also, Title: "New Science Could Sharpen Crispr's Gene-Editing Scalpel"

https://www.wired.com/story/new-science-could-sharpen-crisprs-gene-editing-scalpel/

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sidd

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #327 on: October 26, 2017, 11:07:23 PM »
I must get a copy of this book. Prof. Chris Thomas argues that although species are dying out, new speciation is on the rise also.

“Virtually all countries and islands in the world have experienced substantial increases in the numbers of species that can be found in and on them,”

http://nautil.us/issue/53/monsters/is-the-modern-mass-extinction-overrated

But i don't know if has made the case that speciation outpaces extinction, in fact i don't know if he is arguing that at all. I must get a copy of the book.

sidd

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #328 on: October 27, 2017, 04:14:09 AM »
sidd, you might want to look at this review of the book:

http://therevelator.org/troubling-take-extinction/

particularly this:

No bacterium thought about how creating oxygen might affect its fellow early earthlings; nor could it do anything to change that. Cataclysmic seismology or a stray asteroid are even less likely to have thought about the literal impact of their actions. And no matter how ubiquitous the little bird from the Asian steppe has become, no sparrow thinks about its place in the natural order.

People do.

That’s exactly Thomas’s logical flaw. Calling human-caused change “natural” is dangerously reductive. Both in scope and speed, people are altering the planet in ways no other species does. We have changed the very chemistry of the Earth. We’re driving the extinction crisis
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

sidd

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #329 on: October 27, 2017, 05:00:48 AM »
I want to read the book for the evidence of increased speciation. That is new to me. As to whether we are in ecological crisis, I think that is what Prof. Thomas says is driving increased speciation.

But I want to see his numbers.

sidd

wili

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #330 on: October 27, 2017, 07:09:04 AM »
It sounds like it's more a series of anecdotes than a number-crunching exercise...and also a lot of wishful thinking and dubious philosophizing...but go ahead, get the book, or better, borrow it from a library...and get back to us.

Hotter planets can, eventually, lead to greater speciation, as far as i have read, because it is mostly smaller species that survive, and that means more places for more small critters to specialize...

But that takes some time, and there are many, many factors challenging the success of all such species now and for the foreseeable future...
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #331 on: October 27, 2017, 03:23:15 PM »
The linked article indicates that climate change is threatening the agrobiodiversity that is needed to protect our future food supply from disease and pests.  As this thread focuses on human adaption to the Anthropocene it is important to consider how fragile our food chain is:

Title: "The Sixth Mass Extinction of Wildlife Also Threatens Global Food Supplies"

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/sixth-mass-extinction-of-wildlife-also-threatens-global-food-supplies-21735

Extract: "“Huge proportions of the plant and animal species that form the foundation of our food supply are just as endangered [as wildlife] and are getting almost no attention,” said Ann Tutwiler, director general of Bioversity International, a research group that published a new report.

“If there is one thing we cannot allow to become extinct, it is the species that provide the food that sustains each and every one of the seven billion people on our planet,” she said in an article for the Guardian. “This ‘agrobiodiversity’ is a precious resource that we are losing, and yet it can also help solve or mitigate many challenges the world is facing. It has a critical yet overlooked role in helping us improve global nutrition, reduce our impact on the environment and adapt to climate change.”"

Also, it is not just the number of species that are affected but also the absolute number of population within those species that matter, as discussed in the following reference:

Gerardo Ceballos, Paul R. Ehrlich, and Rodolfo Dirzo (2017), "Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines", PNAS, vol. 114 no. 30,   E6089–E6096, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1704949114

http://www.pnas.org/content/114/30/E6089.abstract

Abstract: "The population extinction pulse we describe here shows, from a quantitative viewpoint, that Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe than perceived when looking exclusively at species extinctions. Therefore, humanity needs to address anthropogenic population extirpation and decimation immediately. That conclusion is based on analyses of the numbers and degrees of range contraction (indicative of population shrinkage and/or population extinctions according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature) using a sample of 27,600 vertebrate species, and on a more detailed analysis documenting the population extinctions between 1900 and 2015 in 177 mammal species. We find that the rate of population loss in terrestrial vertebrates is extremely high—even in “species of low concern.” In our sample, comprising nearly half of known vertebrate species, 32% (8,851/27,600) are decreasing; that is, they have decreased in population size and range. In the 177 mammals for which we have detailed data, all have lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges and more than 40% of the species have experienced severe population declines (>80% range shrinkage). Our data indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations, which will have negative cascading consequences on ecosystem functioning and services vital to sustaining civilization. We describe this as a “biological annihilation” to highlight the current magnitude of Earth’s ongoing sixth major extinction event."
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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #332 on: October 27, 2017, 03:30:08 PM »
I want to read the book for the evidence of increased speciation. That is new to me. As to whether we are in ecological crisis, I think that is what Prof. Thomas says is driving increased speciation.

But I want to see his numbers.

sidd
Scientists find new species every day. Does this mean that lots of new species are emerging? Probably not. The more a subject is studied the more is found out. There are probably thousands and thousands of life forms as yet unidentified.
Are there peer-reviewed studies demonstrating that increased speciation is occurring as opposed to more species being identified?
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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #333 on: October 27, 2017, 05:24:05 PM »
AI can now exceed human performance without learning from humans:

Title: "AlphaGo Zero Shows Machines Can Become Superhuman Without Any Help"

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609141/alphago-zero-shows-machines-can-become-superhuman-without-any-help/

Extract: "AlphaGo wasn’t the best Go player on the planet for very long. A new version of the masterful AI program has emerged, and it’s a monster. In a head-to-head matchup, AlphaGo Zero defeated the original program by 100 games to none.

What’s really cool is how AlphaGo Zero did it. Whereas the original AlphaGo learned by ingesting data from hundreds of thousands of games played by human experts, AlphaGo Zero, also developed by the Alphabet subsidiary DeepMind, started with nothing but a blank board and the rules of the game. It learned simply by playing millions of games against itself, using what it learned in each game to improve.

Both AlphaGo and AlphaGo Zero use a machine-learning approach known as reinforcement learning (see “10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017: Reinforcement Learning”) as well as deep neural networks. Reinforcement learning is inspired by the way animals seem to learn through experimentation and feedback, and DeepMind has used the technique to achieve superhuman performance in simpler Atari games."
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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #334 on: October 28, 2017, 11:29:38 PM »
While technological means of addressing climate change tend to be more transitory than systemic improvements; nevertheless, I thought I would note two technological means to help adapt to the Anthropocene:

First, I note that some researchers have suggested putting a dust/debris could in a Lissajous orbit (imagine a mirror image of the first attached figure) around the sun where it could be used to dim the intensity of solar radiation striking the Earth, thus partially compensating for global warming.  Here I noted that if such a plan were to be combined with asteroid mining (see the linked article), the valuable components of the asteroid could help to improve the economics of such a plan while the debris from the mining operation could be pulverized to help form such a solar shield.

Title: "What do we need to know to mine an asteroid?"

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170919092612.htm

Extract: "The mining of resources contained in asteroids, for use as propellant, building materials or in life-support systems, has the potential to revolutionise exploration of our Solar System. To make this concept a reality, we need to increase our knowledge of the very diverse population of accessible Near Earth Asteroids (NEA)."


Second, I think that rather then send people to a colony on Mars (as Musk is proposing) as a back-up plan to the existential risks of socio-economic collapse and of nuclear war, it would be more practical to invest in floating communities similar to that proposed by the 'Floating City Project' (discussed at the linked website), but to include submerge living areas that would protect against possible future radiation.  Possibly mining of offshore diamonds (see the second attached image, showing such an area offshore of South Africa) from such a floating community could help to improve its economics:

Title: "Floating City Project: A fresh start on a floating community by 2020"

https://www.seasteading.org/floating-city-project/

Edit: The third attached image shows the bathymetry offshore Southern Africa in the area of the kimberlite pipes; and the fourth image shows a conceptual semi-submersible platform capable of operating in such deep water with such a challenging MetOcean conditions.

Edit 2, see also:

Title: "Subsea mining moves closer to shore"

https://phys.org/news/2017-02-subsea-closer-shore.html
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 12:49:05 AM by AbruptSLR »
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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #335 on: October 29, 2017, 02:18:30 PM »
While I am on a roll about technological adaptations that society could adopt to better cope with the Anthropocene, the first two images illustrate that SIMTECHE working together with Nexant developed and demonstrated an economical process for separating CO2 from representative fossil fuel power plant emissions using CO2 hydrates.  The third image shows a phase diagram that indicates that such CO2 hydrates would be stable at pressures and temperatures below a depth of about 1,000 m almost anywhere in the ocean (the article discusses forming the hydrates directly in the ocean at depths below 1,500 m, but I think that it would be more economical to use the SIMTECHE process to pre-form the hydrates before sequestering them at depth).

The linked article discusses the sequestration of CO2 in hydrate form in the deep ocean

A.C.Chow, E.E.Adams, P.H.Israelsson, C.Tsouris (February 2009), "Carbon dioxide hydrate particles for ocean carbon sequestration", Energy Procedia, Volume 1, Issue 1, , Pages 4937-4944, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.egypro.2009.02.325

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876610209009680

Abstract: "This paper presents strategies for producing negatively buoyant CO2 hydrate composite particles for ocean carbon sequestration. Our study is based on recent field observations showing that a continuous-jet hydrate reactor located at an ocean depth of 1500 m produced curved negatively buoyant cylindrical particles with diameters ∼2.5 cm and lengths up to ∼1 m. Accordingly we performed new laboratory experiments to determine the drag coefficient of such particles and, based on the measured drag coefficient and the initial settling velocity observed in the field, have concluded that the reactor efficiency (percentage of liquid CO2 converted to hydrate) in the field was ∼16%. Using the dissolution rates observed in the field, we conclude that such particles would ultimately sink to depth below discharge of ∼115 m. We have also predicted the sinking depth of particles potentially produced from various scaled-up reactors and have shown that, for example, a 10 cm diameter particle produced with a hydrate conversion of 50% could reach the ocean bottom before completely dissolving.

In a real sequestration scenario, we are interested in following large groups of hydrate particles released continuously. We have previously shown that increasing particle size and hydrate conversion efficiency enhances the sinking of hydrate particle plumes produced by the continuous release of CO2 in a quiescent ambient, but that a sufficiently strong current will cause the entrained particles to separate from the plume and settle discretely. In the latter case, particles of different sizes and hydrate conversions (hence different settling velocities) will follow different settling trajectories as they dissolve. This particle fractionation, if employed deliberately, spreads the discharged CO2 in the down current and vertical directions, enhancing mixing, while turbulent diffusion helps spread the CO2 in the third direction. A numerical model that incorporates these processes is used to predict the downstream concentrations and changes in pH from such particle plumes in a ‘strong’ current. An extension of this model simulates hydrate particles that are released continuously from a moving ship. Because of the ship speed, such particles would never form a coherent plume, but the combination of particle fractionation and advection due to the ship motion produces excellent dilution of the discharged CO2."

Edit: The fourth image shows a representative concrete hulled tension leg platform that can be stationed in water depths of over 1,000 m to support such CO2 hydrate sequestering operations
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 02:24:11 PM by AbruptSLR »
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #336 on: November 07, 2017, 11:27:37 PM »
The linked reference indicates that fusing quarks can release more than eight times the about of energy as deuterium-tritium nuclear fusion.  While the very short lifetimes of the resulting heavy bottom and charm quarks is too short to sustain a chain reaction (such as that employed in a bomb); maybe someday someone will think of a way to extract useful energy without employing a chain reaction:

Marek Karliner & Jonathan L. Rosner (2017), "Quark-level analogue of nuclear fusion with doubly heavy baryons", Nature, doi:10.1038/nature24289

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature24289.epdf?referrer_access_token=O5kwdWIYrf9Jci6eN_2TRdRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0MwVq8cmHLuj5WCtSbfQ6pv5qW_5FS9B6KfsqxMVjIpKGsNlpMfjsuzJSXaWiJtYDvg5MByZU7iniH4NPkzrURmM11bRRLREnN3c4hLDnbedacpQ1TVCNo9qpZv6uWMrngnm4lY2r0-moIFXJObuEY1gtDhnO2o_DqH3CmjpQM_bXVHccZGiMPce3GBE-iRx_ePY7lVE3pdYMN1ur8X9kljV8jPaoQ2pqE_c6qJNFOkisHj6IsTb8ekjdPwjfyX2IE%3D&tracking_referrer=www.newsweek.com
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AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #337 on: November 08, 2017, 10:02:27 PM »
The linked SciAm article is entitled: "Will Democracy Survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence?", and asks questions about our changing 4th Industrial Revolution institutions that are worth thinking about before Machiavellian-types (think Russiagate) impose sub-optimal realities upon us all:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/will-democracy-survive-big-data-and-artificial-intelligence/

Extract: "We are in the middle of a technological upheaval that will transform the way society is organized. We must make the right decisions now

Everything will become intelligent; soon we will not only have smart phones, but also smart homes, smart factories and smart cities. Should we also expect these developments to result in smart nations and a smarter planet?

This all has radical economic consequences: in the coming 10 to 20 years around half of today's jobs will be threatened by algorithms. 40% of today's top 500 companies will have vanished in a decade.

One thing is clear: the way in which we organize the economy and society will change fundamentally. We are experiencing the largest transformation since the end of the Second World War; after the automation of production and the creation of self-driving cars the automation of society is next. With this, society is at a crossroads, which promises great opportunities, but also considerable risks. If we take the wrong decisions it could threaten our greatest historical achievements.

Under the label of “nudging,” and on massive scale, governments are trying to steer citizens towards healthier or more environmentally friendly behaviour by means of a "nudge"—a modern form of paternalism. The new, caring government is not only interested in what we do, but also wants to make sure that we do the things that it considers to be right. The magic phrase is "big nudging", which is the combination of big data with nudging. To many, this appears to be a sort of digital scepter that allows one to govern the masses efficiently, without having to involve citizens in democratic processes. Could this overcome vested interests and optimize the course of the world? If so, then citizens could be governed by a data-empowered “wise king”, who would be able to produce desired economic and social outcomes almost as if with a digital magic wand.

But one look at the relevant scientific literature shows that attempts to control opinions, in the sense of their "optimization", are doomed to fail because of the complexity of the problem. The dynamics of the formation of opinions are full of surprises. Nobody knows how the digital magic wand, that is to say the manipulative nudging technique, should best be used. What would have been the right or wrong measure often is apparent only afterwards.

During elections, they might nudge undecided voters towards supporting them—a manipulation that would be hard to detect. Therefore, whoever controls this technology can win elections—by nudging themselves to power.

What undesirable side effects can we expect? In order for manipulation to stay unnoticed, it takes a so-called resonance effect—suggestions that are sufficiently customized to each individual. In this way, local trends are gradually reinforced by repetition, leading all the way to the "filter bubble" or "echo chamber effect": in the end, all you might get is your own opinions reflected back at you. This causes social polarization, resulting in the formation of separate groups that no longer understand each other and find themselves increasingly at conflict with one another. In this way, personalized information can unintentionally destroy social cohesion. This can be currently observed in American politics, where Democrats and Republicans are increasingly drifting apart, so that political compromises become almost impossible. The result is a fragmentation, possibly even a disintegration, of society.

Perhaps even more significant is the fact that manipulative methods change the way we make our decisions. They override the otherwise relevant cultural and social cues, at least temporarily. In summary, the large-scale use of manipulative methods could cause serious social damage, including the brutalization of behavior in the digital world. Who should be held responsible for this?

In a rapidly changing world a super-intelligence can never make perfect decisions (see Fig. 1): systemic complexity is increasing faster than data volumes, which are growing faster than the ability to process them, and data transfer rates are limited. This results in disregarding local knowledge and facts, which are important to reach good solutions. Distributed, local control methods are often superior to centralized approaches, especially in complex systems whose behaviors are highly variable, hardly predictable and not capable of real-time optimization.

In other words: personalized information builds a "filter bubble" around us, a kind of digital prison for our thinking. How could creativity and thinking "out of the box" be possible under such conditions? Ultimately, a centralized system of technocratic behavioral and social control using a super-intelligent information system would result in a new form of dictatorship. Therefore, the top-down controlled society, which comes under the banner of "liberal paternalism," is in principle nothing else than a totalitarian regime with a rosy cover.

Collective intelligence requires a high degree of diversity. This is, however, being reduced by today's personalized information systems, which reinforce trends.

Our society is at a crossroads: If ever more powerful algorithms would be controlled by a few decision-makers and reduce our self-determination, we would fall back in a Feudalism 2.0, as important historical achievements would be lost. Now, however, we have the chance to choose the path to digital democracy or democracy 2.0, which would benefit us all

However, Big Nudging is not suitable to solve many of our problems. This is particularly true for the complexity-related challenges of our world. Although already 90 countries use Nudging, it has not reduced our societal problems - on the contrary. Global warming is progressing. World peace is fragile, and terrorism is on the rise. Cybercrime explodes, and also the economic and debt crisis is not solved in many countries."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #338 on: November 08, 2017, 10:23:36 PM »
Here is a follow-on to my last post:

Title: "Government-By-Nudge Is a Global Phenomenon"

http://bigthink.com/Mind-Matters/government-by-nudge-is-a-global-phenomenon

Extract: "Nudges, "choice architecture," social marketing and other non-rational approaches to government are a pretty significant development. After all, these policies replace explicit arguments ("you should get more exercise for these reasons") with hidden persuasion ("in our next building, let's hide the elevator and make the stairs really prominent?"). That's a major change for any democracy. Yet many people are unimpressed, because they think of these policies as a pack of First World Problems. We in the rich world hear of these policies when they're put in place to prompt us to eat less, exercise more, save money for retirement and otherwise act sensibly. How privileged we are to worry about such things, when people in less prosperous countries face beheadings, plane crashes, Ebola or the arrival of jackbooted thugs at 2 a.m. You might think most governments have more pressing things to do than use behavioral research to get citizens to become an organ donor. But if you think that, you are wrong, as this study reveals (pdf). Its authors found non-rational approaches to persuasion are now in use in a large majority of nations—rich, middling and poor."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #339 on: November 08, 2017, 11:04:46 PM »
The SciAm article reviewed by ASLR in post #337 is also referenced in a recent Mother Jones article, "You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot - And Sooner Than You Think".  These two together reinforce the coming reality of 40-50% unemployment, perhaps higher, by the early 2030s (not sure if the MJ piece is referenced elsewhere on the site, apologies if this is duplicative).

Just a personal observation on something that was touched in in the SciAm article: the leap from smartphones to smart homes, cities, etc.  First of all I view them as crude and silly, but I am as resistant as possible to things like Siri, and in-home devices such as Alexa.  I don't enjoy shouting at a device, but it's also a way for me to hold on to my humanity.  For now at least, it's a choice and a voluntary submission to AI when leveraging something like Alexa (which by the way, in 5 years will be seen as ridiculously rudimentary and archaic).  At some point, as AI overwhemes and matures, resisting will become both more difficult and create disadvantages or inconveniences.  So before that time arrives, we can remain as human as humanly possible, while still taking advantage of the obvious and less intrusive benefits of advanced technology.

Here's the MJ link

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/10/you-will-lose-your-job-to-a-robot-and-sooner-than-you-think/

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #340 on: November 09, 2017, 04:15:49 PM »
Richard Thaler just won the 2017 Nobel prize for economics based on his 'nudge' discussed in my two previous posts; which assumes that the general public tends to make 'irrational' economic decisions (largely due to how they deal with the uncertainties of complex situations) and need to be 'nudged' into rational behavior.  But as the first linked article indicates this approach at its best assumes that technocrats (liberal-democratic globalists) know better than the people how to handle decision making in complex situations, while at it's worse this approach can be hi-jacked by isolationist/nationalist populists (like Trump or Putin) to Machiavellian ends (such as stealing the US 2016 elections via covert AI spam-bots such as those used by both the Russians and by Cambridge Analytica, to help Trump will the 2016 US presidential election):

Title: "This year’s economics Nobel winner invented a tool that’s both brilliant and undemocratic"

https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/10/16/16481836/nudges-thaler-nobel-economics-prize-undemocratic-tool

Extract: "“Nudges” aren’t good for democracy.

Together with his co-author, Harvard Law’s Cass Sunstein, Thaler is responsible for developing and popularizing the notion of “nudges” as a policy tool. Over the past decade, policymakers around the world have taken up Thaler and Sunstein’s ideas, setting up government nudge units and other programs intended to guide people toward choices that are in their best interests. Nudging has become fashionable."

Thaler and Sunstein argue that nudging is a win-win. Unlike traditional regulation, it doesn’t force people to make choices that they don’t want to make. Yet unlike a “laissez faire” approach it doesn’t assume that people should be left to make their own choices free of outside interference. Instead, their approach structures choices so that people are going to be nudged into making the choice that is probably best for them. In Thaler’s description:

if you want to get somebody to do something, make it easy. If you want to get people to eat healthier foods, then put healthier foods in the cafeteria, and make them easier to find, and make them taste better. So in every meeting I say, “Make it easy.”

The problem — as Carnegie Mellon’s Cosma Shalizi and I have discussed elsewhere — is that government-by-nudging amounts to a kind of technocracy, which assumes that experts will know which choices are in the interests of ordinary people better than those people know themselves. This may be true under some circumstances, but it will not be true all of the time, or even most of the time, if there are no good opportunities for those ordinary people to voice their preferences."

See also:

Title: "Nobel prize in economics awarded to Richard Thaler"

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/09/nobel-prize-in-economics-richard-thaler

&
Title: "This headline is a nudge to get you to read about Nobel economist Richard Thaler"

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/9/16447752/richard-thaler-nobel-explained-economics

Extract: "The message of behavioral economics as a subfield, and Thaler’s work in particular, is sometimes summarized as “humans aren’t rational.” Economics has historically relied heavily on models of behavior where individual agents rationally pursue their goals, and so challenging that central assumption was crucially important, especially when Thaler’s most influential papers on the subject came out in the 1980s.

But “people aren’t rational” is, on its own, a pretty obvious point. The real contribution of Thaler and other behavioral economics researchers, like psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman (a 2002 Nobel laureate), was identifying specific kinds of irrationality that could be predicted and modeled ahead of time. Rationality was always a simplifying assumption in economic models, and even if that assumption is implausible, it’s hard to dislodge without different, usable assumptions to put in its place. Thaler and his fellow researchers helped identified durable biases that could be modeled and used to supplement a purely rational model of human behavior."

Edit:  As chaos theory uses strange attractors to help model complex systems, it is understandable how 'nudging' can be used to push irrational humans to take the easy route and fall into a strange attractor such as a political party (whether alt-right, right, moderate, left or alt-left).  The first attached image is provided to remind readers that right-wing parties and left-wing parties have been dialectally spirally around each other for centuries but now instead of converging towards a synthesis, they are currently diverging into 'culture wars' such as alt-right populists (like Trumpism) vs alt-left (like the globalist establishment/technocrats); which could bifurcate into either Feudalism 2.0 or Democracy 2.0 (or Technocracy 2.0) depending on the global out-come of the current 'culture wars' (e.g. 'othering' vs liberal-democracy), see the second attached image.  The outcome of this conflict can be modified by institutional changes as Thaler discusses in the SciAm article that I linked to a few posts ago, or else by improving the irrational human by the application of mindfulness.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2017, 05:44:39 PM by AbruptSLR »
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #341 on: November 10, 2017, 04:59:57 PM »
The linked pdf presentation is entitled: "40 years after Limits to Growth The World3 system dynamics model and it’s impacts", and it compares the World3 Limits to Growth (released in 1972) projections to data thru 2015 (see the first three attached images, where the solid curves indicate observed data and the dotted curves are the World3 projections).  In my opinion, it appears likely that alternate natural resources (fracking, etc) and the coming 4th Industrial Revolution will likely push the date for peak global human population out about 2050 when the 2017 UN projections indicate that the global population will be about 9.8 billion +/- 0.5 billion (see the fourth image).  By 2060, I suspect that the global population may drop into the 6 to 7 billion range and will continue to drop for sometime thereafter.  Unless things change from BAU behavior almost immediately, young people should plan accordingly:

http://www.wrforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Limits-to-growth.pdf

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #342 on: November 11, 2017, 07:26:56 PM »
In my last post I noted that young people might want to take action now that would help in a post-collapse society.  In this regards, I present the linked article that describes the 'Safety Net' initiative to try to preserve biodiversity while mapping how to responsibly help to feed a grow global population:

Title: "Mapping how to feed 9 billion humans, while avoiding environmental calamity"

https://news.mongabay.com/2017/11/mapping-how-to-feed-9-billion-humans-while-avoiding-environmental-calamity/

Extract: "Yesterday The Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation unveiled an ambitious plan to protect and connect 50 percent of the world’s land area as part of a broader effort to curb global warming, stave off the global extinction crisis, and ensure food availability for the planet’s growing human population.

The first step of the “Safety Net” initiative is to identify the best opportunities to protect and restore ecosystems that underpin human well-being and sustain healthy wildlife populations. That means incorporating data on variables ranging from species richness to climate trends to deforestation rates for every point on Earth’s surface."

See also:
Title: "Scientific Reticence: a DRAFT Discussion:

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2017/20171026_ScientificReticence.pdf
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #343 on: November 14, 2017, 05:08:41 PM »
As a follow-on to Reply #334 (see also #335) about floating cities, the linked New York Times article indicates that this technological approach to sustainability, addresses many political/socio-economic/governmental problems with our current land-based infrastructure:

Title: "Floating Cities, No Longer Science Fiction, Begin to Take Shape"

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/13/business/dealbook/seasteading-floating-cities.html

Extract: "… in 2017, with sea levels rising because of climate change and established political orders around the world teetering under the strains of populism, seasteading can seem not just practical, but downright appealing.

Earlier this year, the government of French Polynesia agreed to let the Seasteading Institute begin testing in its waters. Construction could begin soon, and the first floating buildings — the nucleus of a city — might be inhabitable in just a few years.

“If you could have a floating city, it would essentially be a start-up country,” said Joe Quirk, president of the Seasteading Institute. “We can create a huge diversity of governments for a huge diversity of people.”"
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

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Re: Adapting to the Anthropocene
« Reply #344 on: November 16, 2017, 12:33:25 AM »
As a follow-on to Replies 337, 338 & 340, the linked article indicates that for nudging to work effectively, the nudger should not only have 'skin in the game', but he/she should also be humble (to the point of realizing that there is no I, no me, no my).  Thus while classical psychology may have a limited record of success, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has had a much better record, and pure mindfulness meditation can lead to an end to systemic cognitive distortions (i.e. can bring an end to an individual's suffering).

Title: "Who Nudges the Nudgers?"

https://jacobitemag.com/2017/10/26/who-nudges-the-nudgers/

Extract: "Every ideology or political system is a mirror of sorts. If we hold the mirror of libertarian paternalism up to the world and gaze up at its reflection, what do we see? We see a world populated by irrational individuals, ensnared by all manner of cognitive biases—anchoring, the availability heuristic, status quo bias, herd mentality, etc. But, there’s hope! In this reflection—for it is a good reflection, perhaps slightly rose-tinted—we also see policy-makers benignly accounting for these biases and nudging citizens toward better ends—away from Big Gulps and penny stocks, toward mineral water and ETFs.

A funny thing happens, though, if you hold up two of these mirrors. The benevolent bureaucrats so beloved from the reflection of the solitary mirror now appear as if — gasp! — they too are subject to the same set of cognitive biases afflicting ordinary citizens. And it gets worse: in this double-refracted world, the bureaucrats are not so benevolent — in fact they are rather self-interested. And rather than nudging people toward The Good, they nudge in ways which flatter their favorite politicians; they nudge according to the dictates of their corporate backers; they nudge with an eye to what they think will look good in a research paper; they nudge, in short, in a way that is human.

The starting place, and impetus for nudging is a recognition that man is not homo economicus. What Thaler forgets is that economists aren’t homo economicus either. For there to be nudging, there must be not only be a nudgee but a nudger as well. And for the system as a whole to function, the interests of both parties must be aligned.

Effective nudging is thus a tall order. And given psychology’s abysmal track record, there is good reason to be skeptical.

Having seen the pitfalls of a naive reliance on bureaucratic science, we are now a position to explain the challenge of paternalism. What unites all the examples of regulatory failure is not their deviance from scientific consensus—quite the contrary. Nor does the failure stem from restricting individual liberty.

What dooms all these would-be paternalists is a lack of interest in the long-term success of their interventions and a lack of any natural bond of sympathy or understanding with those whom they are nudging. We can summarize both of these points by using the now-classic Talebbian formulation:  The problem is that paternalists have no skin in the game. That “skin” may be reputational (perhaps the esteem of one’s fellow nudgers) or it may be material (perhaps a payment tied to a particular outcome). But, it must be a real incentive. And that incentive must be aligned with the interest of society if the nudge is to succeed.

The mistake at the heart of the nudging mindset is the view that abstract knowledge is sufficient to govern, and that pure, detached rational deliberation is capable of producing such knowledge.

The question is not what a bureaucracy knows, but what the consequences will be if an intervention succeeds or fails.

When spelled out in simple terms, the logic of skin in the game seems unimpeachable.

There is no doubt the paternalists of the world will continue to note, register, count, price, admonish, prevent, reform, redress, and correct. But they should do so in a spirit of humility with their incentives aligned. Let this be their nudge."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson