Tag Archives: Hurricane Harvey

New House, New City, Nine Dots Prize, Global Challenges, and It’s That Man Again.

Solar Eclipse 2017 #4 by L3M35

I have been busy.

Recent events have included house moving and an un-winning of the Nine Dots Prize. Here in the USA, we’re all having a wonderful time care of Trump Enterprises and I suppose I should put in my pennyworth.

House moving

Every two years, we have moved. This time was from Daytona to St. Petersburg, Florida. This is a substantial improvement in the availability of culture and things to do. I will have to do without the Daytona Speedway, but I’ll manage.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge by Texx Smith

Sunshine Skyway Bridge by Texx Smith

A morning walk now has a view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, AKA the Scary Bridge, with its steep shoulders. Apparently, dolphins and manatees make an appearance by the dock, and I am getting to know the wading birds and fish who sometimes leap into the air.

St. Pete has all kinds of activities born of a diverse bunch of humans. Yesterday, I took my aged laptop to the mending shop. The proprietor had a back to me, so all I could see was a woman of a certain age with shoulder-length blond hair. When he turned around to talk with me, a bubble of laughter escaped me. She had the face, hands, and voice of a man and boobs.

Nine Dots Prize

I did not win: this fellow did. Good luck to him. There is more at TheBookseller.com should you need more information.

James WilliamsOxford student wins inaugural $100k Nine Dots Prize
Published May 30, 2017 by Natasha Onwuemezi
James Williams, a doctoral candidate researching design ethics at Oxford University and former Google employee, has won the inaugural $100,000 (£77,730) Nine Dots Prize.

I sulked for a day or so.

Luckily, I already had a replacement prize, and it was easy to act on my motto “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again”. It helps that the prize is much better funded at $5million in prizes and $1m for the top prize. The competition is called The Global Challenges Prize 2017: A New Shape. and is sponsored by The Global Challenges Foundation, founded by another Hungarian billionaire László Szombatfalvy.

This new project dovetails nicely into the overall H++ project. It diverted me from working on the theory side. In the nutshell, quite clearly, climate change is real, and mankind’s preparations for the problems it will bring is truly underwhelming. The Information Revolution has cut the connection between those with the resources to do something about it, and have proofed themselves against anything that may affect them personally, and the rest of humanity. The 99.99% are also not equally exposed: 10-year-old Amina in Sudan has the fear violence, famine, and suffers a lack of education which might have increased her horizons and her chances. Clair, another 10-year-old living in her brownstone in New York, New York is cossetted by her parents, a wealthy, concerned city and Michael Bloomberg who as mayor made progress proofing the city against extreme weather after Hurricane Sandy. The trick will be to reconnect the masses with the vast power of modern civilization and fix this. Things might turn out surprisingly well.

Trump, Trump, Trump

KKK in Charlottesville

KKK in Charlottesville

From the H++ perspective, the tale of the 45th President of these United States is informative and highly amusing. The US Congress seems to be competing with the Romanian oligarchy to prove who is most venal. The Republican Congress attempted to disband its Ethics Committee because presumably, it had no ethical standards to maintain. The Romanians tried to abolish corruption as a crime; again, presumably, it would be then known as business as usual.

Meanwhile, President Trump is well on the way to starting the second American Civil War. Some 80% of Republican voters would vote for him again. The legacy of the first American Civil War has broken loose, to become the disparate groupings of the Alt-Right. Luckily, Charlottesville was in late August, so the old ally of Law-and-Order, the weather will chill the rioting for now.

 

Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun

Solar eclipse 2017 by Wolfgang Strickling

Solar eclipse 2017 by Wolfgang Strickling

On Monday, Nature mounted the spectacle of a total eclipse. Most people who saw it were impressed. Even the news media stopped for the 2 minutes it took to happen.

 

Rex W. Tillerson - Davos 2009 - by Michael Wuertenberg

Rex W. Tillerson – Davos 2009 – by Michael Wuertenberg

 

Now, Hurricane Harvey is bearing down on Texas. Galveston is toast. I wonder how many CEOs of the oil concerns in Houston are at home today. According to a recent study from Harvard, 80% of internal documents in Exxon confirm that global warming is real, and 80% of their advertising describes global warming as a remote, unproven hypothesis, taking a leaf or two from the advertising created by the Mad Men claiming that cigarettes were good for your health.

 

 

The upbeat ending

Steven Pinker, psychologist, writer, and intelligent human, wrote a nice piece last year. He advises us not to be cynical, and use it as an excuse for inactivity, nor naively optimistic, which will only end in tears. Be rationally optimistic and recall the words of the Mahatma:

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

 

Coming soon: Eulogy for Steve, Prediction Watch starts with AI et al, the Accordion and Zydeco, Will You Kindly Stand Up.