Economics

There are some comparatively convincing arguments for why fossil fuel divestment can’t do much to limit the severity of climate change, at least in terms of the direct effects from institutions selling their shares. One important one is that people buying and selling stocks, and the changing value of the stocks, doesn’t directly profit or […]

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Friday’s episode of “The Current” discussed the case of Michael Foster who — after warning the pipeline control centre to shut off the pumping stations — turned a valve to shut down the flow of bitumen through the Keystone pipeline in North Dakota. It’s a very self-conscious act of civil disobedience, with Foster sending video […]

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It’s rare to see an article on a news website speaking so directly to a current question of current scholarly interest. In 2012, Doug McAdam and Hilary Boudet published Putting Social Movements in their Place: Explaining Opposition to Energy Projects in the United States, 2000-2005, which generally encourages scholars of contentious politics and social movements […]

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The often-excellent NPR Planet Money podcast (which ran an earlier episode about “Freeway” Rick) had two notably engaging recent segments. One included an interesting account of the data-analysis-decision-action cycle in intelligence work, specifically when deciding if an assailant is an enemy counterintelligence agent or drug-addled mugger. The other discussed policy and incentive problems in the […]

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They stress the unknown future production levels from U.S. oil fracking as important for determining the future size of Canada’s oil industry. They mention this Jeff Rubin report: Evaluating the Need for Pipelines: A False Narrative for the Canadian Economy Abstract: The claim that additional pipeline capacity to tidewater will unlock significantly higher prices for […]

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A somewhat obvious rule of internet security to add to the first three: Against a sophisticated attacker, nothing connected to the internet is secure. Everything is internet now. You should probably worry more about being attacked online by your own government than by any other organization. Sensitive data about you is largely on the computers […]

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Sticky with humidity after 9pm, electricity demand in Toronto must be crazy right now. The Independent Electricity System Operator has data for the whole province: Back in April 2005, province-wide electricity use was 14,890 megawatts: 62% nuclear, 19.3% hydro, 13.5% wind, 4.6% gas. This connects to lots of climate change questions. Can we really afford […]

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It’s crazy how demanding web browsers have become. Both my main computers are somewhat old, but they can run modern 3D games at low graphics settings and perform computationally-intensive tasks like converting RAW files to JPG. Nonetheless, I find both my iMac and my MacBook Pro routinely struggling to run GMail in Safari, Firefox, or […]

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One way in which the lives of contemporary urban dwellers must differ from those of most people in the 250,000 years of anatomically modern human history is in not knowing our neighbours. In a small settlement in a time before widespread travel and privacy, you would probably know everybody. Now, many of us couldn’t pick […]

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I have written before about Norway’s awkward tension between wanting to be a responsible global citizen and wanting to continue to sell oil. Their ongoing election demonstrates the tension starkly. The Green Party, which may end up holding the balance of power in a divided legislature, opposes further hydrocarbon development. By contrast, a slogan of […]

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