February 2008

An interesting article in New York Magazine discusses the development of lying in children. While one might superficially expect truthfulness to be the greater virtue, deception is highlighted as the more advanced behaviour: Although we think of truthfulness as a young child’s paramount virtue, it turns out that lying is the more advanced skill. A […]

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Energy Saving Day in the United Kingdom has produced no measurable results. While this is a blow to the “everyone recycle your used Coke cans and we will be fine” form of environmentalism, it is less surprising to people who have a sense of the scale of the climate issue and an awareness of the […]


Threat: words devoted to fighting it Climate change: 364 People taking away your guns: 594 Universal access to assault rifles and armour-piercing bullets should help us adapt to a changing climate. Maintaining access to both, with no pesky waiting periods, is something “we have a sacred duty to protect,” after all.


The decision of the British Columbia Attorney General not to prosecute 20 additional murder charges against Robert Pickton seems like a failure to strike the proper balance between the good use of government resources and the pursuit of justice. It has frequently been pointed out that had his victims been less marginalized members of society […]


The interim version of the Garnaut Review (mentioned earlier) includes a numberless graph illustrating what the principle of contraction and convergence in per capita greenhouse gas emissions would resemble: A few features are especially notable. The first is the relative trajectories in the opening years. States with very high per capita emissions, like Australia and […]


There have been a number of arguments here before about how excess can be justified: specifically, how emitting more greenhouse gasses than is sustainable per-capita based on the present human population can be morally justified. A new logical possibility occurred to me today: it is possible that we are already doomed. By that, I mean […]


This site is at its most interesting when there are active discussions ongoing involving multiple participants. Unfortunately, such occurrences are not as frequent as might be desired. The overall number of people visiting the site is generally pretty constant: around 100 to 120 a day. The level of discussion during any particular period, however, is […]


Canon’s point and shoot digital cameras have many features to recommend them. Among the most important is the intelligent design of the controls. Critical things like exposure compensation, white balance, and flash status can be altered intuitively. The single setting I change most often is probably ISO (the sensitivity of the sensor). You want it […]

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A particularly tangible sort of insurance policy is being initiated today, with the opening of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The underground facility is intended to protect the genetic diversity of plant species, in recognition of the risk that other seeds could be destroyed by a worldwide disaster. Eventually, the vault is meant to contain […]


This blog has documented a number of the most important threats facing fisheries and marine ecosystems, including over-exploitation, ocean acidification, harmful fish farming practices, invasive species, and climate change. A new report (PDF) put out by the United Nations Environment Program does a good job of summarizing all of these, as well as providing a […]