Maurizio – Omnologos

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Archive for January 2008

China and the BBC Warming Bias

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Shameless self-promotion of my “China and the BBC Warming Bias” blog over at the “Omniclimate – The Unbearable Nakedness of CLIMATE CHANGE” site, in which I compare the BBC attitude towards reporting heatwaves vs snowstorms.

Very shortly:

July 2002: Chinese heatwave is caused by “the increase in vehicles on the roads, which raise street temperatures

One year ago: Warm, dry weather in north China “linked to climate change“ (page is chock-full of climate change links)

Today: “China is struggling to cope with its worst snowfall in decades” (not one climate change link in sight)

They didn’t even care to mention that severe snowstorms have affected the very areas that were experiencing “climate-change-related” drought last year…

For more thoughts on the AGW bias at the BBC:

Written by omnologos

2008/Jan/31 at 22:05:30

The Plus Side of Anthropocene

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A group of British scientists has proposed to rename the current geological era as the “Anthropocene“, to register the fact that human activities are transforming the world.

The proponents, and many pessim-environmentalists all too happy to jump on the Anthropocene bandwagon imply no doubt that the aforementioned human activities are negatively transforming the world. But that is by no means a given.

If humans are transforming the world it may be the absolutely obvious, and thus ethically neutral if not positive, consequence of the fact that we have evolved brains: and it would look silly to feel cold in winter and hot in summer. Cue the discovery of fire, and the invention of air conditioning. Analogously regarding teeth: who would want to have them pulled without anaesthetic? Cue the history of medicine and dentistry, including metallurgy. And so on and so forth.

Or alternatively: could the Anthropocene be just one of the signs that the Technological Singularity is really going to happen, thereby possibly transporting humanity to a completely new way of living?

Those are only thoughts, of course: perhaps the doomers and gloomers are right. Still, it’s important to remember that seldom a word contains negative connotations per se. Those are more often than not, in the mind of the beholder…

Written by omnologos

2008/Jan/30 at 23:00:19

Kill a Man One is a Murderer…

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…kill a million, a Conqueror (quote by Jean Rostand).

And so this had to come to pass: “Ban Ki-moon Condolences For Indonesia’s Suharto

Written by omnologos

2008/Jan/29 at 23:21:41

If I Were a US Citizen…

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…I’d be hard pressed to find any mainstream candidate sharing my views.

Now I know why neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton inspire me much enthusiasm 😎
Pick Your Candidate
Instructions: Go through each issue listed below and choose the stance you would prefer in a president. If a particular issue is important to you, select a different weight to the right. If an issue is not important to you, leave it as unknown/other. This site will attempt to match your views against the views of the US presidential candidates

Results and details of the answers below:

  • My Results

42 Kucinich
Disagreements: (4) ANWR Drilling, Kyoto, Guantanamo, Iraq, Troop Surge

32 Gravel
Disagreements: (4) No Child Left Behind, Kyoto, Guantanamo, Iraq Troop Surge

15 Edwards
Disagreements: (8) Death Penalty, ANWR Drilling, Patriot Act, Guantanamo, Iran Sanctions, Iran – Military Action, Iraq Troop Surge, Same-Sex Marriage

12 Richardson
Disagreements: (9) Death Penalty, Kyoto, Assault Weapons Ban, Patriot Act, Guantanamo, Iran Sanctions, Iran – Military
Action, Iraq Troop Surge, Same-Sex Marriage

12 Obama
Disagreements: (7) ANWR Drilling, Patriot Act, Guantanamo, Border Fence, Iran Sanctions, Iraq Troop Surge, Same-Sex Marriage

12 Clinton
Disagreements: (10) Death Penalty, ANWR Drilling, Kyoto, Patriot Act, Guantanamo, Border Fence, Iran Sanctions, Iran – Military
Action, Iraq Troop Surge, Same-Sex Marriage

11 Biden
Disagreements: (8) Death Penalty, ANWR Drilling, Patriot Act, Guantanamo, Border Fence, Iran Sanctions, Iraq Troop Surge, Same-Sex Marriage

10 Dodd
Disagreements: (9) Death Penalty, ANWR Drilling, Kyoto, Patriot Act, Guantanamo, Border Fence, Iran Sanctions, Iran – Military
Action, Iraq Troop Surge

-2 Paul 13/1
-6 McCain 15/1
-10 T. Thompson 7/14
-10 Giuliani 13/3
-13 Huckabee 13/5
-13 Brownback 14/3
-17 Cox 11/9
-30 Hunter 17/3
-31 Romney 16/3
-43 Tancredo 20/2

  • My Answers

Abortion Rights – No federal legislation banning abortion. SUPPORT/IMPORTANT

Death Penalty – States’ right to issue the death penalty. OPPOSE/IMPORTANT

No Child Left Behind – Maintaining the No Child Left Behind Act. SUPPORT/IMPORTANT

Embryonic Stem Cells – Legalizing research that uses stem cells derived from embryos. SUPPORT/IMPORTANT

ANWR Drilling – Drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. SUPPORT/MINIMAL

Kyoto – The US adhering to the Kyoto Protocol. OPPOSE/MINIMAL

Assault Weapons Ban – Reinstating the Assault Weapons Ban. SUPPORT/MINIMAL

Guns – Background Checks – More thorough background checks for gun ownership. SUPPORT/IMPORTANT

Patriot Act – Maintaining the Patriot Act. OPPOSE/KEY

Guantanamo – Maintaining a military presence at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. SUPPORT/MINIMAL

Torture – Torturing prisoners such as enemy combatants or suspected terrorists. OPPOSE/KEY

Wiretapping – Intercepting internet/telephone communications without a warrant. OPPOSE/MINIMAL

Citizenship Path for Illegals – Creating a path by which illegal aliens already in the US can become citizens. SUPPORT/KEY

Border Fence – Constructing a border fence between the US and Mexico. OPPOSE/IMPORTANT

Net Neutrality – Regulations to ensure that public networks treat all content, sites, and platforms equally. SUPPORT/MINIMAL

Iran Sanctions – Maintaining trade sanctions with Iran. OPPOSE/IMPORTANT

Iran – Military Action – Utilizing military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities. OPPOSE/IMPORTANT

Iraq War – Maintaining the current war with terrorists in Iraq. OPPOSE/MINIMAL

Iraq Troop Surge – The increased troop presence in Iraq. SUPPORT/IMPORTANT

Iraq Withdrawal – Withdrawing from Iraq. SUPPORT/IMPORTANT

Minimum Wage Increase – Increasing the minimum wage. SUPPORT/IMPORTANT

Same-Sex Marriage – Allowing same-sex marriage. SUPPORT/IMPORTANT

Same-Sex Civil Union – Allowing civil unions between people of the same sex. SUPPORT/IMPORTANT

Same-Sex Constitutional Ban – The creation of an ammendment that bans same-sex marriage. OPPOSE/IMPORTANT

Universal Healthcare – The creation of a federal, universal healthcare system. SUPPORT/IMPORTANT

Dennis Kucinich 48
Mike Gravel 43
Barack Obama 43
John Edwards 39
Rudy Giuliani 38
Hillary Clinton 36
Ron Paul 31
John McCain 24
Mike Huckabee 20
Mitt Romney 17

Written by omnologos

2008/Jan/25 at 21:43:36

Freedom? What Freedom?

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We do what is most convenient to us within the boundaries of what compels us.

It doesn’t work, the either way around: if our compulsions came second, we could then simply dismiss them. And we know we can’t.

Written by omnologos

2008/Jan/24 at 22:35:21

Posted in Ethics, Humanity

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Lessons to the World from Union of Otherwise Inconsequential Nations

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I wrote a few months ago: “As a sort of grass-root United Nations, the EU could then become the first gift to Humanity by a more peaceful, re-born Europe“.

And there it is: “Emulating the EU, countries join forces to speak with power and focus” (Stephen Castle, IHT, January 22, 2008):

“Europe’s attempt to weld 27 disparate nations into one bloc is being imitated around the globe, from Asia to Africa, as countries experiment with new ways to maximize influence.

[…] the European experiment with integration is being copied most successfully by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, [aiming for] a single market by 2015.

The African Union, conceived in 1999, while bigger and more unwieldy with 53 members, also borrows from EU structures, including its most influential bureaucracy, modeled on the European Commission and known as the AU Commission. The Latin American dream is to have something like the EU. […]”

There are some comments in the article along the lines of having a more centralized EU structure to achieve the goal of continental thinking.

I do not see that as a must: what is important, is for all the EU (and AU, and ASEAN) members to realize each of them is too small to be of any consequence compared to the Powers called USA, Russia, China, India, maybe even Japan.

Co-operative behavior will then be a natural consequence of that realization, without any need for cohercion.

I still believe that is the main reason why the British are reluctant to fully enter the EU: because that will mean them accepting that the days of the Empire are really a thing of the past.

Written by omnologos

2008/Jan/23 at 22:51:42

Posted in EU, Europe, International, Politics

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Wii: Unbelievable

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Head Tracking for Desktop VR Displays using the Wii Remote

Using the infrared camera in the Wii remote and a head mounted sensor bar (two IR LEDs), you can accurately track the location of your head and render view dependent images on the screen. This effectively transforms your display into a portal to a virtual environment. The display properly reacts to head and body movement as if it were a real window creating a realistic illusion of depth and space.

A couple of more projects are at Johnny Chung Lee‘s website.

Written by omnologos

2008/Jan/22 at 22:50:38

Posted in Technology

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