Science

The Economist recently printed an article describing experimentation in the use of robots for agriculture, which included some interesting claims about potential environmental benefits: The company will offer its robots as a service. Tom will live in a kennel on the farm, where it will download data for the farmer and recharge. Dick and Harry […]

{ 0 comments }

One computer security concern is that various insiders — including hardware and software manufacturers, and governments which may compel them to comply — will build back doors into their products to allow the security to be compromised. Doing this is a terrible idea. A back door put in for government surveillance or police use is […]

{ 7 comments }

Don Braid is reporting on recent comments from Alberta premier Jason Kenney, presumably uttered in the hope of bolstering the chances the Trudeau cabinet will approve the Teck Frontier mine: “Over the next decades as we go through the energy transition, we all know that there will be a continued demand for crude,” he told […]

{ 1 comment }

Because the alternative is deep and rapid emissions cuts which countries are unwilling to implement, the IPCC now assumes that stabilizing the climate will involve heavy use of negative emission technologies: “between 100bn and 1trn tonnes of CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere by the end of the century if the Paris goals were […]

{ 1 comment }

The November 2nd Economist included an article with some interesting claims about lies, politics, and identifying deceit: But even in daily life, without the particular pressures of politics, people find it hard to spot liars. Tim Levine of the University of Alabama, Birmingham, has spent decades running tests that allow participants (apparently unobserved) to cheat. […]

{ 1 comment }

There are several reasons to be interested in the climate politics of faith groups. Some progressive ones like the United Church of Canada and the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have taken meaningful action by divesting. The pope’s Laudato Si encyclical may have an impact on billions around the world. Faith groups […]

{ 1 comment }

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysysk’s 2019 report says that the Ontario government’s proposed climate policies are insufficient to meet their (inadequate) target for reducing greenhouse gas pollution: The province estimates that its new approach will still meet federal reduction targets of 30 per cent below 2005 emission levels, or the equivalent of 17.6 megatonnes by […]

{ 0 comments }

Most of the history of astronomy consists of observing electromagnetic radiation from outside our planet. That includes the light which shines off the sun and reflects from bodies in the solar system, as well as radio waves produced by phenomena around the universe including pulsars. Now that we also have neutrino detectors and gravitational wave […]

{ 2 comments }

{ 1 comment }

An informative article by Peter Brannen in The Atlantic contrasts the plausible duration of the geological evidence of human civilization against the scale at which we normally designate geological epochs. It suggests convincingly that the idea of an Anthropocene epoch is misplaced: What humans are doing on the planet, then, unless we endure for millions […]

{ 0 comments }