Sunday, January 29, 2012

China Carbon Plan

In its newest “12th Five-year Plan on Greenhouse Emission Control” China has set its new goals of reducing carbon emissions in the next five years and called for pilot programs that aim to promote a low-carbon economy.  The newly released Plan aims to reduce China’s carbon intensity – the amount of carbon emitted per unit of GDP – by 17 percent by 2015, compared with 2010 levels. Energy consumption intensity by GDP will also be reduced by 16 percent during the same period.
China is also quickening its pace with regards to industrial upgrades, vowing to restrict high energy consuming industries while developing services and strategic emerging industries. By 2015, the newly added value of services and strategic emerging industries will take up 47 percent and 8 percent of China’s GDP, respectively, according to the Plan.
The shortage of experienced carbon trading designers and administrators could become another concern.
“We need people who know environmental science, as well as economics. There are very few people in China with those qualifications,” Zhang said.
The good news is that China has decided to include greenhouse emission measures into the government statistical indicators system, and ordered pilot cities to establish dedicated funds that ensure financial support for the implementation of the new program. Foreign companies and individuals with knowledge in the related field will likely find a new “blue ocean” during China’s transition to the low-carbon age.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Government Regulations

We need regulations that create demand for public goods and services.  For example, a cost to the utilities was installing pollution equipment on coal plants to reduce acid rain in the NE states.  The public good was the environmental benefits of not harming the forests and water with acid rain.  The cost was $8 to $9 billion however the benefits were jobs, health and economic growth worth ten times as much.

The same is true of global climate change.  America needs regulations that create demand for reducing the CO2 going into the atmosphere and removing CO2 from the atmosphere. The cost of this will affect the oil, gas and coal industries, utilities and consumers.  The benefits include job creation, entrepreneurs innovating and improving the environment to reduce drought, improving access to fresh water and food.  This will result in economies growing while reducing debt.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Good News and The Bad News

The bad news is that Conservatives and their Republican politicians have created Bad Science. Before the Tobacco Industry started defending smoking, there was only science. Since the 1950s, business and industry have been fighting against any attempt to use science to make them change what they are doing. They use every possible type of fallacy ( to discredit science and scientists.  They even published a resource book to help others use their tactics called “Bad Science: A Resource Book.” 
The good news is that science historians have documented this conspiracy in the book “Merchants of Doubt.”  They have shown that the demand for scientific proof is always a fallacy to delay and cause inaction.  The authors show that Conservatives are attempting to paralyze the federal government in order to protect America from communists and socialists, who are not a threat and in fact the enemy is inaction.
Science is not fair or unfair, debated or not debatable, Science is not individuals working alone, not based on competition and not biased toward liberal or conservative ideology.  Science is not political or religious.  Science is not based on opinion or ideals.
Modern science is a process of cooperation and collaboration.  Scientific ideas must be supported by evidence that must be independently verified and validated.  Scientific ideas must be judged by a jury of scientific peers.  Science fights against inequity.  Science fights against injustice.
For example, the fight against Acid Rain is described in “Merchants of Doubt” (page 103).  The cost of air pollution control was between $8 and $9 billion while the benefits were estimated from $101 to $119 billion - more than ten times higher than the costs.  Pollution prevention is a public good and not dealt with well in the market price of goods and services.  Competitive forces don’t provide sufficient justification for the long term investment required because there is a lack of demand.  Government creates demand when a regulation is established.
There are other methods besides regulation that economists support, especially those supporting Conservative policies.  However empirical evidence shows that regulation provides the strongest and most long-lasting stimulus for entrepreneurs.
There is no such thing as bad science, there is only science.  America needs more regulation to reduce pollution and promote the common welfare.  Environmental regulations will create jobs and grow the economy.

1 Bad Science: A Resource Book, 26 March 1993. Bates Number (BN): 2074143969. Legacy Tobacco Documents Library.
2 Oreskes, Naomi, and Erik M. Conway. Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. New York: Bloomsbury, 2010. Print.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Zombie Brain

I know why you behave the way you do. Stress turns your brain into a zombie brain.
I know how you can stop stress from turning your brain into a zombie brain.
Practice proper breathing so that you learn to relax when you are in a stressful situation.

At first, you might feel light headed, slow down, breath normally.  Then practice again. Repeat.
First, while lying down on you back, with one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest, begin to breath.  Notice your chest.  Try to breath by only moving your stomach.  Practice this.

Second, practice proper breathing while sitting down. 
While pushing your stomach out, inhale through your nose.  Count to 4 slowly or 8 rapidly.
While pulling your stomach in, exhale slowly through your mouth.  Count to 4 slowly or 8 fast.
Repeat twice or four times.
Repeat twice each day, morning and evening.

You can practice proper breathing in the car when you are alone.

Teach your body to relax to avoid the consequences of stress that make people zombies.


How to seek enlightenment
Imagine your twin, separated at birth, growing up in a secluded, secular world.  Your twin is your age and looks like you.  However your twin has just now learned about religion and is open to learning more.  Your twin begins to practice the religion they are taught.  They pray, sing, read and engage in social activities with others of their religion.  What happens to their brain and mind?
Prior to about 1990, science had little understanding of the neuroplasticity of the brain.  During most of the 20th century, the general consensus among neuroscientists was that brain structure is relatively unchangeable after a critical period during early childhood. This belief has been challenged by new findings, revealing that many aspects of the brain can be rewired even into adulthood.
The aphorism, "neurons that fire together, wire together" - "neurons that fire apart, wire apart,” captures how the brain changes with learning.  Your twin begins to rewire their brain as they practice their new religion.  They do this by learning words and what they mean, by learning songs, by praying and by engaging their emotions and senses in social activities with others of their religion.  They learn and as they learn their brain is rewired.
They have an epiphany. They are born again.  They feel enlightened.  They begin to experience life in a completely new way.  Naturally they want to share this experience with others.  But because what happened to them was all in their brain, no one saw it happen and therefore others don’t believe.  Also, your twin tries to describe what happened so that others can follow the same practice and get to the same place.  However, very few others are able to replicate your twin’s experience.
Your twin was able to rewire their brain because they engaged all of their senses, all day, every day in their practice.  In the beginning, they were uncertain and did not believe or have faith that an epiphany would happen.  They hoped for enlightenment but knew that might not happen.  They were told about people feeling born again.  Only by fully engaging and committing their life to daily practice were they able to achieve their dream.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Fourth Turning 2020

The Fourth Turning 2005-2025
By Richard Turnock
January 19, 2012
The next great catastrophe will become a major event in America’s history like the Revolutionary War, Civil War and WWII.  About 2020-2025, the next great catastrophe will end the Fourth Turning that started about 2005 as predicted in “The Fourth Turning” by Strauss and Howe.
If we stand back and analyze the current situation, we might be like someone in 1932 trying to predict what will happen from 1940 to 1945.  No one could have predicted Pearl Harbor or Germany invading France.  However, there are hints and trends that become apparent using the vast information resources and global awareness available now.
The Occupy movement has changed the narrative in many ways to highlight the key factors that will contribute to the buildup to the next great catastrophe.  First, Occupy is a learning organization that functions differently than our traditional public education system.  The concept of a General Assembly implements transformative learning theory (defined by Jack Mezirow) for adult learning.
The NYCGA creates a process and procedures that use prior interpretation to construct a new interpretation of the meaning of each person’s experience in order to guide future action.  What counts in this learning process is what individual learners want to learn.  Participants have the opportunity to reflect and write or talk about their experience in order to create meaning.  The NYCGA blocks out power relationships by not having a formal leader and creates a more democratic experience that supports transformative learning.
Second, the Occupy movement’s focus on inequity and injustice connects them with revolutions and the overthrow of dictators worldwide while taking action in America using nonviolence.  Occupy has staked out a space in society separate from traditional organizations such as political parties, unions, corporations or NGOs. Occupy wants to change the policies, laws and governance to fight against inequity and injustice.
Conservatives continue to fight against communism and socialism.  Every policy proposed by Democrats, Occupy or liberals is labeled as a step toward socialism.  Every action taken by Occupy is labeled as a step toward communism.  Conservatives are going to win some battles over the next ten years but they are going to lose the war.  Conservatives will be discredited and labeled as focused on the past at a time when America needs to unite around a common goal to deal with the reality of 2020-2025.
America is beginning to move away from supporting competition, individual rights, free market economy and corporations with the same rights as people because these values and beliefs will not be used and useful during the great catastrophe of 2020-2025.  America needs a society based on cooperation and collaboration to fight against inequity and injustice in America and on a global scale.  To do this America will need to change policies in public education, energy, environment, global security and every other aspect of culture and society.
Around 2020, a catalyst will ignite a catastrophe and America will respond by uniting to cooperate and collaborate in a fight to save civilization.  In my opinion, catastrophic weather events and rapidly rising sea levels due to global climate change will trigger a mass migration of hundreds of millions of people worldwide.  This will cause governments to collapse and lead to significant consequences for America.  This seems to me to be the most likely scenario.  Global climate change has a decade long delay from when CO2 enters the atmosphere until the greenhouse effect stabilizes the average temperature of the atmosphere at a new, higher temperature.
The dynamics of climate change will result in a rapid rise in the average temperature of the atmosphere as we approach 2020 and everyone will be surprised at how fast the weather changes to destabilize the food supply, limit access to fresh water and flood land near the oceans.  The dynamics of global climate change increase the volatility of weather events causing for example, in the Pacific NW of America, warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers.
2011 marked the 15th consecutive year with a national average temperature for the year above normal, with much of the warmth coming from increases in nighttime low temperatures. Measured against the 20th-century records, 2011 would find itself in a tie as the second-warmest year on record. Data from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) also show that the proportion of the country affected either by extremely dry or extremely wet conditions in a given year has expanded.
The actions we take now that put CO2 into the atmosphere will be the tipping point around 2020 that will lead to the next great catastrophe.  Actions everyone can take now and leading up to 2020 include but are not limited to:
  • practicing cooperation
  • practicing collaboration
  • practicing talking about inequity in America
  • practicing talking about injustice in America
  • practicing net zero carbon footprint
Conservatives will continue to resist changes by fighting against an enemy from the past that no longer exists as a threat.   Conservative beliefs and values in the individual, free market economics and small government are the direct result of the fight against communism and socialism after WWII.  Conservatives are yelling into the wind of the present and future that is blowing their words away with the reality of income and wealth inequality, immigrant and gay/lesbian injustice, and public education and health care inequity.  Soon they will be yelling for security for protection from the consequences of global climate change.
By 2020, cooperation and collaboration will be the skills most useful for survival.  Individual effort, competition and materialistic goals will be punished.  The economy, political parties and governance of America will be transformed in order to deal with the new landscape from rising sea levels, warmer atmosphere and displaced people. America needs to practice cooperation and collaboration to fight against inequity and injustice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Conservative Myths

Conservatives (Republicans) believe:

The free market system, competitive capitalism, and private enterprise create the greatest opportunity and the highest standard of living for all.  Free markets produce more economic growth, more jobs and higher standards of living than those systems burdened by excessive government regulation.

These ideals are myths.  The free market system does not exist in the real world.  The American economy is a "mixed economy" that balances laws and regulation with competition based on the availability of capital from investors.  Private enterprise has only profit as a goal and not the highest standard of living for all.  The inequity of incomes and wealthy, that is the focus of many protesters, activists and citizens, are the consequences of weak regulation and the private financial enterprises making a profit to benefit the top 1% while 99% of Americans struggle.

Free markets do not create jobs.  They destroy jobs by maintaining a focus on increasing profit by increasing productivity (fewer man-hours per output) and reducing costs (lower wages and fewer benefits).  In a free market, companies go bankrupt and workers loose jobs.  In a free market, the standard of living does not go up for everyone.

Conservatives are still fighting the war against socialism and communism.  Any environmental law or regulation, healthcare for everyone or public education equity are attacked as socialism or communism.  The real world is a different place than what conservatives imagine in their quest for an ideal that will never exist.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Myths and Reality: Competition and Education

Myth #1
Competition is the engine of a free market economy that creates jobs.
Cooperation and collaboration are the fundamental elements of economic expansion to create jobs.  Contracts between businesses require negotiation to find common ground for authorization.  Contracts between businesses require cooperation to implement.  Continuous improvement in logistics, products and services requires collaboration between businesses.  New products and services require cooperation and collaboration within a business to bring ideas to market.
There is no such thing as a free market. There is always government regulation by federal, state or local agencies.  Businesses are always seeking ways to gain a competitive advantage over rivals using regulation. Competition destroys jobs by putting other companies out of business and increasing productivity (fewer jobs per output).
Myth #2
Choices in education create improved outcomes for students.
Competition in K12 and higher education by private, for-profit companies and charter schools increases inequity in student outcomes.  There is no scientific evidence that non-public education alternatives, for the majority of students, increases outcomes because the only correlation with improved outcomes is socio-economic status.
NCLB law and other federal and state education policies implemented in the last 20 years to increase choice and privatize education have increased inequity of outcomes for students.  Students with low socio-economic status continue to experience low test scores except in a few focused and well organized continuous improvement projects.