Isn’t it better to invest in clean energy and be wrong about the dangers of climate change than to do nothing and be right?

To be absolutely clear, the climate is changing, humans are the cause (primarily through the mass combustion of fossil fuels), and human civilization is responsible for the eventual outcome.
See: Global CO2 Summary — The Keeling Curve, Seasonal CO2 Cycles, and Global CO2 Distribution


Those who don’t believe that climate change is real (or think it is manageable) think the gamble is in the other direction. Switching the entire planet over to “clean” energy would cost about 20% of global wealth (to emphasize: wealth, not income!) — around £30 trillion. It would cost the United States about $5 trillion just for itself.

Furthermore, the beneficiaries of such infrastructure and investment would not exactly be the same companies which make up the current energy infrastructure. The existing companies (and countries, since many fossil fuel companies are state-owned) would face losses of up to:

  • $85 trillion in proven petroleum reserves
  • $31 trillion in proven coal reserves
  • $468 billion in proven gas reserves
  • > $5.5 trillion in annual industry revenue
  • trillions of dollars in capital, obsolete physical infrastructure, market capitalization, and equity

Yeah, we’ll still need some non-energy petroleum products, and if old-energy companies invested in the clean energy sector then they wouldn’t lose their entire market value. But people have a very hard time agreeing to claims that they (and millions of other people) should lose everything.



What happens if Trump quits now?

If Trump quits campaigning for president (because his campaign is insolvent/broke or for any other reason) weeks or months ahead of the election date in November, then what would that mean – for the country and for the presidency? Would it be like the later state primaries where voters could still tick a box for Rubio even though he wasn’t running anymore? What would it mean for the two-party system for one of the parties/choices to essentially have been seized and then squandered/demolished? Could Clinton even claim a proper victory/mandate if on election day she functionally/practically runs unopposed?

The billionaire’s political operation is running a record $45 million deficit.

however. He owes nearly all of it to himself.

Source: Will Trump’s Campaign Drown in Debt?

Infant Mortality

The ethical issues that come with crowdfunded healthcare

To choose one, though, also means to choose it over all the others.

Who, out of all the people who have shared their tragedy on the Internet, is the most deserving of money?

the most pressing ethical question surrounding medical crowdfunding is not the inequalities it illuminates, or how donors choose who to fund, or how sites choose who to host—it’s why the practice has become necessary in the first place.

Source: Is It Fair to Ask the Internet to Pay Your Hospital Bill? – The Atlantic


From comments:

Perhaps the phrase of most interest to me in the whole article was “necessary care.” Who defines it, and who should? And does an extremely expensive procedure with a middling chance of success for a child with an extremely rare genetic disease count? This question may reveal the true utility of crowdfunding campaigns–not that they pay for “necessary care,” but that they can be used to pay for extraordinary care that doesn’t meet any objective cost-benefit analysis. They’re an opportunity to say “help me because you love me/ sympathize/ find my story compelling,” even if the procedure can’t be justified as “necessary” in a way that means society as a whole should cover the tab involuntarily.

— Disqus commenter EBennetDarcy



In the 1850s, the infant mortality rate in the United States was estimated at 216.8 per 1,000 babies born for whites and 340.0 per 1,000 for African Americans
— Wikipedia “Infant_mortality” from Sullivan, A., Sheffrin, S. (2003) Economics: Principles in Action, Pearson Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-063085-3

That rate is from more than 1-in-5 to over a third of children born, dying before they turned 5 years old.

The US infant mortality rate at 6.1 is now called “a national embarrassment” by the Washington Post.
Our infant mortality rate is a national embarrassment – The Washington Post

The US Federal CDC lists the number of live births in the US as just under 4 million.
FastStats – Births and Natality –

With 4 million births and an infant mortality rate of 6.1, that works out to 24,400 children born last year dying within the following 5 years.

Finland has their rate down to 2.3 though, so we could presumably cut that figure to only 9,200. If we could save half of those (so 4,600 infants) for $250,000 each, then saving their lives would cost $1.15 billion dollars. At $1 million each the total cost would be $4.6 billion.

Paying for exceptional care for exceptional cases does cost an exceptionally large amount per case. However, *because* of their rarity, I don’t think this is as bad as it seems like at first blush/consideration (usually comparing such staggering figures to the annual incomes of normal people).

My opinion is that we can afford this, and should, and a national / universal / single-payer health system (through “insurance”, federally managed/administered, or whatever) would accomplish this. It would be a far better use of the funds than [insert government thing you don’t like here; I’ll pick the F-35].

A hundred and fifty years ago, the only option was “too bad, try again”. We can and should do better now, for everyone.

Is it possible to ‘steal’ work?

San Francisco taxi labor groups called for the eradication of car ride-sharing startups and the imprisonment of some of their members at a protest in front of City Hall yesterday. “We want to see these illegal cabs to go away. We want them to be ticketed, cited, arrested, if necessary. They should not be allowed as long as you have a regulated taxi force,” said Barry Korengold, President of the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association, who helped organize the protest.

Source: Taxi Groups Call For Eradication Of Rideshare Startups At SF City Hall Protest | TechCrunch


Is it possible to ‘steal’ work? Do you ‘own’ your job? Your customers? Your sales? At what point is a contemplated or incomplete transaction ‘yours”?

I like the concept that something must be “property” in order to be stealable. Is all property stealable, or is “is property” a necessary but insufficient precondition to “is stealable”?

Historically, it could be said that union shops — businesses which could only hire members of a specific union / businesses whose employees were forced to belong to a specific union and pay its dues — represented jobs “owned” by the union(s). Or is that a stretch?

What factors could/should be considered in determining if something is/could/should be “property”?


For the purpose of improving user security on a website / web application, would it be ethical to prevent users from selecting a password which is the same as that used to log in to their email address?

Q: How would a web developer/programmer know that the user had reused their email password?
A: Have a bot/script try to log in to the user’s email (they just gave you their address as well to sign up…) using the password they want to use on your website. If such a login is successful then discard the result and warn the user, preventing them from reusing the password. (And that’s why this is a non-trivial question of ethics.)


Does the increasingly digital nature of transactions affect popular tolerance of inflation and popular demand of cash denominations?


If I argue for a position and you agree with my conclusion, does it matter if you know who I am or why I want that conclusion? Why/Why not?