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If you’re calm, you have no clue

I can’t stop boggling about an article I just read in the NYTimes. Its gist is that how much we want to spend now to stop climate change depends on how much we think it’ll cost in the future. You guess about that part. And then you get super-precise about which interest rate you’ll accept on it.

Think of it this way: Demanding a 5 percent return means that a dollar invested today should become at least $1.05 next year after inflation, and a little more than $1.10 the year after that. In 200 years it should be worth at least $17,292.58. Turn the logic around and we should spend $1 today to prevent climate-related damage only if it prevents damages of at least $17,292.58 two centuries down the road.

[If a lower return is acceptable, at] 2.5 percent, spending $1 today would be justified if it prevented merely $139.56 worth of damage in 200 years.

I’m just floored. Sitting here, opening and closing my mouth like a fish out of water.

Are you telling me that people capable of putting on their own socks in the morning honestly think they can figure out all the expected and unexpected consequences of global warming? The costs of the water wars, the costs of cracked foundations due to drought, the costs of new pests, new molds, new diseases, the costs of acid oceans wiping out world fisheries, the cost of runaway feedback loops that dump more and more greenhouse gases into the air no matter what we puny humans do at that point. And that list barely scratches the surface of what will happen on a warming Earth.

But these beaks sit there and think they can make a fine and dandy accounting of the complete unknown? That their only problem is deciding which interest rate to slap on it?

What is wrong with these people?


(Illustration: Punch, Oct. 4, 1884)

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Broadcom wifi, Nvidia graphics, and suspend on LinuxMint Debian testing/squeeze on an HP Ideapad S12

This is a notes-to-myself post so that the next time I need this info, I have some idea where to find it.

Broadcom wireless

Followed primarily the instructions on the Debian wiki:

sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-lpphy-installer

Installs everything nicely. Reboot for new settings to take effect.

But it still didn’t work. Solved here: In /etc/network/interfaces, comment out everything except “auto lo” and “iface lo inet loopback”. “allow eth0 hotplug” can also stay.
(All the other wireless-related lines were to fix other *old* problems….) If you haven’t futzed with that file in the dim, forgotten past, you’ll probably be fine with just the debian wiki instructions.

Nvidia graphics

Started in debian wiki:

Find out exact model of graphics card and check debian wiki links to lists of cards and which commands to use:
sudo lspci -nn | grep VGA
(S12 has Nvidia ION (Geforce 9400 M))

# aptitude -r install linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed ‘s,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,’) nvidia-kernel-dkms
“This will also install the recommended nvidia-glx package. DKMS will build the nvidia module for your system.”
However, there was no xorg.conf.d directory as implied under “X server configuration file”
So did not make a /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-nvidia.conf file as suggested.

Instead followed guide of proxima-centauri on lmde forums,
BUT left out “nvidia-kernel-dkms nvidia-glx” since those already installed. “build-essential” was already installed on my system.

sudo apt install nvidia-kernel-dkms nvidia-glx build-essential nvidia-settings nvidia-xconfig

When done, execute nvidia-xconfig in terminal.
sudo nvidia-xconfig

Then blacklist:
sudo echo blacklist nouveau > /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nouveau.conf

Then reboot for settings to take effect.

Some VGA resolution weirdness during bootup, but once booting is complete, looks fine.


Debian wiki says “hal” package conflicts with power management and isn’t needed anyway. Uninstalled, but still doesn’t suspend.

Then tried the following script of John Dias and brocktice to unload all usb modules and now it works. First ran lsmod (list modules) to see which usb drivers were active on my system (ehci_hcd and ohci_hcd).

Saved the following to /etc/pm/sleep.d/20_custom-ehci_hcd, then substituted “ohci” instead of “ehci” and saved to /etc/pm/sleep.d/20_custom-ohci_hcd

# File: "/etc/pm/sleep.d/20_custom-ehci_hcd".

case "${1}" in
echo -n '' > $TMPLIST
for i in `ls /sys/bus/pci/drivers/ehci_hcd/ | egrep '[0-9a-z]+\:[0-9a-z]+\:.*$'`; do
# Unbind ehci_hcd for first device XXXX:XX:XX.X:
echo -n "$i" | tee /sys/bus/pci/drivers/ehci_hcd/unbind
echo "$i" >> $TMPLIST
for i in `cat $TMPLIST`; do
# Bind ehci_hcd for first device XXXX:XX:XX.X:
echo -n "$i" | tee /sys/bus/pci/drivers/ehci_hcd/bind

Did not unload any other modules or do anything else. Note that the output of /var/log/pm-suspend.log made me think that 99video and 98video-quirks was somehow at fault, because they were suspended/resumed right at the sleep/wake point. But no. Apparently not.

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If you want to send a message to Syria, use the Post Office

Just for the record, I’m not much of a pacificist. Self-defense is the least-bad option after an attack. And I do believe that everybody has a duty to stop crimes against humanity wherever they occur. On my planet, the UN has a militia ten times the size of any nation’s army, because those are all so small, and stops criminal nations.

But we don’t live on my planet. We live here, where the rhetoric about Syria has so many layers of hypocrisy it looks like a sedimentary rock.

Governments tolerate all kinds of dictators. No way we’re suddenly all hot and bothered about Assad.

Chemical weapons are horrible. No question about that. But death by shrapnel is no picnic either. Nor is being buried alive in fallen masonry. Around 100,000 children, women, and men have died in the Syrian war. A recent 1500 of those were the awful chemical weapons fatalities. Now suddenly senseless painful civilian deaths are unacceptable? Where have we been the last three, four years?

While we’re on the subject of bombs, I’d just like to mention how badly they work as envelopes. Any messages they’re carrying get all shredded and come out unrecognizable at the receiving end. If you’re trying to communicate, bombs don’t.

And then there’s the Israelis and Saudis expressing chagrin about the US lack of action. They’d prefer to have that mess near their borders cleaned up. As a purely practical matter with no ethical dimensions, I can understand that. I can also understand wanting the 600-pound gorilla on your side. But shouldn’t they at least be saying, “We’ll send so many tens of thousands of soldiers and so many tens of billions of dollars. We know it’s our fight, too.” Instead it’s all about what a spineless piece of cheese Obama is because he hasn’t already done it with US lives and cash.

So, if I’m so smart, what’s my solution? Well, one, we (meaning people, humanity) go back some sixty years and don’t get rid of Mossadegh in Iran. After that, we don’t do another million and a half idiotic things in the intervening decades. We transition to solar power and energy efficiency. We provide scholarship money to every remotely qualified woman in the whole Middle East. If there even was an effective Taliban in that world, and if the US did have to go after them in Afghanistan, then afterwards the US would have concentrated all its energies on the “nation-building” Rumsfeld had no use for.

I know. We don’t have time travel. (Although we may get it sooner than peace in the Middle East.) In this world, I have no idea what I’d do if I was handed the current crap on a plate. There are no good choices because too many idiots have made bad ones. So, do I want military dictatorships or religious ones?



Update, Sept. 5. The Saudi government reads this blog? I just saw this: Kerry says Arab countries offer to pay for invasion. (Now, if only they’d take on board some of the other, more important messages I keep pushing here. Equality, for instance.) Update, May14, 2014.: The link for Kerry’s statement has vanished from the Washington Post site. Neither the Senate hearing nor the House unequivocally contains such a statement in the full transcripts.

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