made the Davos Top 5 Global Risks in Terms of Likelihood.
Davos, the annual conclave of the hyper-rich and famously elected,
has also discovered Severe income disparity
and Water supply crisis, so maybe they’re becoming
However, in Figure 17 on page 25 they’ve got Cyber attacks
as an origin risk, along with Massive incident of data fraud or theft
and Massive digital misinformation. I think they’re missing the point,
which is the real origin risk is poor infosec, and the origin of that
is vendors like MSFT knowingly shipping systems with design flaws
and people and organizations running them while hiding such problems.
In many developing countries, the absence of surface-based air pollution
sensors makes it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to get even a
rough estimate of the abundance of a subcategory of airborne particles
that epidemiologists suspect contributes to millions of premature deaths
each year. The problematic particles, called fine particulate matter
(PM2.5), are 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, about a tenth the
fraction of human hair. These small particles can get past the body’s
normal defenses and penetrate deep into the lungs.
Even satellite measurements are difficult (clouds, snow, sand, elevation, etc.).
But not impossible:
Why it’s not good to depend on common sense for really big perils:
The models these companies created differed from peril to peril, but they
all had one thing in common: they accepted that the past was an imperfect
guide to the future. No hurricane has hit the coast of Georgia, for
instance, since detailed records have been kept. And so if you relied
solely on the past, you would predict that no hurricane ever will hit the
Georgia coast. But that makes no sense: the coastline above, in South
Carolina, and below, in Florida, has been ravaged by storms. You are
dealing with a physical process, says Robert Muir-Wood, the chief
scientist for R.M.S. There is no physical reason why Georgia has not been
hit. Georgias just been lucky. To evaluate the threat to a Georgia beach
house, you need to see through Georgias luck. To do this, the R.M.S.
modeler creates a history that never happened: he uses what he knows about
actual hurricanes, plus what he knows about the forces that create and
fuel hurricanes, to invent a 100,000-year history of hurricanes. Real
history serves as a guide it enables him to see, for instance, that the
odds of big hurricanes making landfall north of Cape Hatteras are far
below the odds of them striking south of Cape Hatteras. It allows him to
assign different odds to different stretches of coastline without making
the random distinctions that actual hurricanes have made in the last 100
years. Generate a few hundred thousand hurricanes, and you generate not
only dozens of massive hurricanes that hit Georgia but also a few that
hit, say, Rhode Island.
Sure, the Georgia coast doesn’t have any single concentration of wealth
But it does have a swath of wealth that could be taken down by a single storm.
And complacent owners who think it can’t ever happen,
people in Thailand didn’t believe
Smith Dharmasaroja before the 2004 Tsunami.
It wasn’t just the tornado in Brooklyn — the first in recorded history in
the borough — it was the huge quantities of rain that flooded basements
and stranded rail and road commuters from Mineola to Midtown.
Why are there so many wildfires in the U.S. west?
Cheatgrass grows where land has been disturbed by overgrazing:
So basically 20,000 public lands welfare ranchers have a death grip on
science policies applied to western public lands.
comment by kt,
July 17th, 2007 at 8:13 am
Why cheatgrass wins,
by Ralph Maughan,
Ralph Maughan’s Wildlife News,
July 16th, 2007
Hey, it could be worse!
Today was the hottest day in Serbia ever since the temperature has been
measured, 45 C [113 F].
If we we Serbs were truly interested in our survival as a nation, we’d
be scrambling to get some modern hardware for dealing with ecological
catastrophes. It’s been ten years since Milosevic sold off our forest
fire-fighting aircraft and pocketed the money.
This testimony summarizes several key actions that federal agencies need
to complete or take to strengthen their management of the wildland fire
program, including the need to (1) develop a long-term, cohesive strategy
to reduce fuels and address wildland fire problems and (2) improve the
management of their efforts to contain the costs of preparing for and
responding to wildland fires.
For cost-containment efforts to be effective, the agencies need to
integrate cost-containment goals with the other goals of the wildland
fire program–such as protecting life, resources, and property–and to
recognize that trade-offs will be needed to meet desired goals within
the context of fiscal constraints.
Somebody’s been paying attention to global warming and wildfires:
…the Association of Fire Ecology said climate change will limit humans’ ability to manage wildland fire.
“Under future drought and high heat scenarios,” the declaration reads, “fires may become larger more quickly and be more difficult to manage. Fire suppression costs may continue to increase, with decreasing effectiveness under extreme fire weather and fuel conditions. Extreme fire events are likely to occur more frequently.”
ActionBioscience.org: The figure "$33 trillion" was once projected as
the value of ecosystems globally. What do you think of this type of
Polasky: The $33-trillion figure refers to one of the earliest studies
that was done on the value of ecosystem services. The lead author was
Robert Costanza. He and his coauthors tried to get at the notion of how
we can establish on a global basis what the value of ecosystem services
is. They came up with a number 33 trillion [USD] plus or minus a few
trillion. There are a number of problems with the study. The most basic
one is the question of what you are talking about when you consider all
the ecosystem services of Earth. The entire system is our life support
system. So what is our life support system worth? You don’t really
have to have a scientific study in order to answer that question. The
real value of the study was not the $33-trillion figure, which who knows
what that means, but that it spurred people to focus on these issues.
Such values can be big, and the dollar value isn’t the only consideration.
There is a bit of risk in that we can’t do without the biosphere,
and some risk management is in order.
Even beyond that obvious non-dollar value,
there are further questions of species diversity and esthetics.
Do we really want to kill off an ecosystem when we don’t really know
what it’s doing for us,
and do we all want to live surrounded by concrete?
Chandler commented on Wildfire Precedents
about how some timber companies had mismanaged underbrush cleanup.
That’s probably true in some places, but
the details of the forestry and fire problems in the west and in the southeast
Fire is the usual method to clear underbrush in southeastern pine forests,
But not the kind of fires we’re seeing this year.