Everything I’ve learned about solar storm risk and EMP attacks, by Chris Said

Source: Everything I’ve learned about solar storm risk and EMP attacks, by Chris Said
RE: “An assessment of threats to the American power grid” | Energy, Sustainability and Society volume 9, by Matthew Weiss & Martin Weiss

When I read this paper, I was stunned. Is the risk of prolonged grid collapse really that high? And is it true that, just as the CDC failed to stockpile masks for a pandemic that we were all warned about, we are equally unprepared for a grid failure that could lead to societal collapse and mass starvation?

To answer these questions, I did some homework. I read congressional testimony, think tank technical reports, a book, academic papers, insurance company assessments, several industry technical reports, and multiple reports in the trade media. What I found was at times contradictory. Somewhat troublingly, both sides of the issue accused each other of bias from financial incentives. Overall, my view is that while some of the EMP and solar storm risk is overhyped, it remains a serious issue, and one of the main tail risks we should be preparing for.

My own view is that while the ‘mainstream’ view is probably correct, and while there certainly has been some fearmongering, I am philosophically aligned with the alarmists. The mainstream belief at NASA in 1986 was that the Challenger was safe. The mainstream belief at Chernobyl in 1986 was that the reactor core could never rupture. The mainstream belief on Wall Street in 2007 was that mortgage-backed securities were safe.

Now that we have seen our preparedness level for Covid-19, who are you going to believe: The people saying “Don’t worry, we have this unpredictable and complex system under control” or the people waving their hands and shouting “correlated risk!” I’m with the people shouting “correlated risk!”, even though they’ll probably end up being wrong.

Here’s How America Uses Its Land | Bloomberg

Source: Here’s How America Uses Its Land | Bloomberg, by Dave Merrill and Lauren Leatherby

The 1.9 billion acres of the lower 48 U.S. states categorized into pasture, forest, cropland, special use (including wilderness, parks, and military bases), miscellaneous (including rural residential, wetlands, deserts, and golf courses), and urban areas, at 250,000 acres per square.

 

What would this map infographic look like if the U.S. produced its power entirely from renewable energy sources?

The Earth’s carrying capacity for human life is not fixed | Aeon Ideas

Source: The Earth’s carrying capacity for human life is not fixed | Aeon Ideas, by Ted Nordhaus

Ultimately, one need not advocate the imposition of pseudo-scientific limits on human societies to believe that many of us would be better off consuming less. Nor must one posit the collapse of human societies to worry deeply that growing human consumption might have terrible consequences for the rest of creation.

But threats of societal collapse, claims that carrying capacity is fixed, and demands for sweeping restrictions on human aspiration are neither scientific nor just. We are not fruit flies, programmed to reproduce until our population collapses. Nor are we cattle, whose numbers must be managed. To understand the human experience on the planet is to understand that we have remade the planet again and again to serve our needs and our dreams. Today, the aspirations of billions depend upon continuing to do just that. May it be so.

Satellites see big fishing’s footprint on the high seas | The Baltimore Sun

Source: Satellites see big fishing’s footprint on the high seas | The Baltimore Sun, by Seth Borenstein (Associated Press)

Also/Alternative: Satellite images show big fishing’s footprint across the globe, by Seth Borenstein (Associated Press)

Five countries — China, Spain, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea — were responsible for 85 percent of high seas fishing.