we can fix climate change. will we?

We can do this. We should do this. If we we're to dumb to do this, well, think of it as evolution in action...maybe in a few tens of million years the next technological species to arise will get it right. As Krugman says, "All that stands in the way of saving the planet is a combination of ignorance, prejudice and vested interests. What could go wrong? Oh, wait."

Salvation Gets Cheap

But there is one piece of the assessment that is surprisingly, if conditionally, upbeat: Its take on the economics of mitigation. Even as the report calls for drastic action to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, it asserts that the economic impact of such drastic action would be surprisingly small. In fact, even under the most ambitious goals the assessment considers, the estimated reduction in economic growth would basically amount to a rounding error, around 0.06 percent per year.

What’s behind this economic optimism? To a large extent, it reflects a technological revolution many people don’t know about, the incredible recent decline in the cost of renewable energy, solar power in particular.

splitting wood with physics

I haven't done much wood-splitting, and some of the comments suggest that this approach would be less useful on the type of wood we're likely to be dealing with here in the U.S. Still, this is impressive.

Physics-exploiting axe splits wood in record time | News | Geek.com (@geekdotcom)

Splitting a log requires a surprising amount of force, but Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä has invented a new kind of axe that makes it much easier and safer.

...

The Vipukirves still has a sharpened blade at the end, but it has a projection coming off the side that shifts the center of gravity away from the middle. At the point of impact, the edge is driven into the wood and slows down, but the kinetic energy contained in the 1.9 kilogram axe head continues down and to the side (because of the odd center of gravity). The rotational energy actually pushes the wood apart like a lever. A single strike can open an 8 cm gap in a log, which is more than enough to separate it.

thug assaults older couple, get beat-down from entire bus

All too often people stand by and let violence happen. This wasn't the most subtle of interventions, but, sometimes it does my heart good to see someone get punched in the head.

Instant Karma: Fake Thug Tries Attacking Elderly Couple, Gets Jumped By Everyone On Bus (Elite Daily)

Footage has surfaced of a man starting a fight with an elderly couple on a bus only to be violently brought down by a group of passengers.

The video, shot somewhere in New York, begins with a man verbally abusing an older man with a cane and his wife, telling the old woman “F*ck you, bitch” and “You suck my dick, bitch.”

Bmore County speed camera vandalized

"The Baltimore County Police Department is asking for help from the public after one of its speed cameras was vandalized..." Can I help by buying the guy more spraypaint?

Baltimore County Speed Camera Vandalized, Police Say (Catonsville Patch)

The Baltimore County Police Department is asking for help from the public after one of its speed cameras was vandalized over the weekend, officials reported.

A citizen walking his dog in Towson between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Saturday near Thornton and Landrake roads noticed that the speed camera and lenses had been sprayed over with white paint, police said.

Adventure Time!

I dunno about the French literary theory bit, or the bit about Bellini, but I found Adventure Time on Netflix two months ago or so and love it. If you haven't seen it, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Maria Bustillos takes a long deep look behind the scenes.

It's Adventure Time

Adventure Time is a smash hit cartoon aimed primarily at kids age six to eleven. It’s also a deeply serious work of moral philosophy, a rip-roaring comic masterpiece, and a meditation on gender politics and love in the modern world. It is rich with moments of tenderness and confusion, and real terror and grief even; moments sometimes more resonant and elementally powerful than you experience in a good novel, though much of Adventure Time’s emotional force is visually evoked—conveyed through a language of seeing and feeling rather than words.

how an undergraduate architecture student saved hundreds of lives

If you've been to midtown Manhattan, you may have noticed the building originally known as Citicorp Center (now just "601 Lexington"). When it was build in 1977, its 59 stories made it the seventh-tallest building in the world. But what makes it especially noticeable is not its top, but its bottom. In order to preserve the property (though not the building) of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, the tower was built on stilts nine stories high.

The structural engineer did all the calculations, it was safe to do this. Except he got them wrong. A good wind could knock it over. That would quite possibly kill hundreds of people, maybe thousands...

Structural Integrity (99% Invisible)

According to LeMessurier, in 1978 he got a phone call from an undergraduate architecture student making a bold claim about LeMessurier’s building. He told LeMessurier that Citicorp Center could blow over in the wind.

The student [actually a woman, Diane Hartley] was studying Citicorp Center as part of [her] thesis and had found that the building was particularly vulnerable to quartering winds (winds that strike the building at its corners). Normally, buildings are strongest at their corners, and it’s the perpendicular winds (winds that strike the building at its face) that cause the greatest strain. But this was not a normal building.

LeMessurier had accounted for the perpendicular winds, but not the quartering winds. He checked the math, and found that the student was right. He compared what velocity winds the building could withstand with weather data, and found that a storm strong enough to topple Citicorp Center hits New York City every 55 years.

But that’s only if the tuned mass damper, which keeps the building stable, is running. LeMessurier realized that a major storm could cause a blackout and render the tuned mass damper inoperable. Without the tuned mass damper, LeMessurier calculated that a storm powerful enough to take out the building hits New York every sixteen years.

In other words, for every year Citicorp Center was standing, there was about a 1-in-16 chance that it would collapse.

bullying is forever

Too true. I don't want to get all weepy here, and all in all I'm doing ok, because I've been fortunate enough to have other factors more than balance it out. But I still find stuff in my head that I can trace back to shit that happened when I was ten years old. If you see it, stop it. Please. Just, stop it.

The Effects Of Childhood Bullying Can Last A Lifetime (Forbes)

A new study in the American Journal of Psychiatry finds what others had hinted at but not quite arrived at: That the effects of childhood bullying can last not only through adolescence and young adulthood, but also through middle age. Earlier studies had shown the negative psychological and social effects of bullying to be evident into a person’s 20s, but the new research tracked the psychological health and cognitive function of once-bullied kids till they were 50. And the effects of bullying – particularly of severe bullying – affected a person’s well-being in a great number of ways. All the more reason, the authors urge, to take bullying just as seriously as we would any other form of childhood abuse.

Santa Fe cop quits after being caught asaulting driver during traffic stop

Business as usual in the police state.

Santa Fe Cop Caught on Video Beating Taxi Cab Driver, Resigns Days Later (The Free Thought Project)

On March 30, Taxi Cab Driver Dawn Bourgeois was detained by Santa Fe Police Officer, Jose Gutierrez. According to an attorney hired by Bourgeois, what happened next is ‘disturbing.’

She committed no crime and certainly didn’t commit a crime for which he takes her to the ground, beat her up, black her eye, and they charge her with resisting or obstructing,” said Tom Clark.

cop tries to shoot pibble, shoots self instead

The dog's "owner" says he feels bad for the cop. I don't. Too bad he only shot himself in the leg. And that's a "large dog"? Ha. It is to laugh.

Instant Karma: Cop Shoots Himself While Trying To Shoot Friendly Dog (Video) (Americans Against the Tea Party)

A Riverside County Sheriff’s spokesperson said the deputy was serving an eviction notice at around 2 p.m. on Wednesday when a “large” dog tried to attack him. It was the usual story. “A dog came at the deputy in an aggressive manner,” Deputy Armando Munoz said. “The deputy...pulled his service weapon, shot one round, and injured himself in the leg.”

When a KNCB news crew arrived on the scene, they found a medium-sized pit bull named “Precious” not running loose in the street, but confined to a pen and playing with several kids. According to the dog’s owner, it was barking when the officer arrived.

right wing "Boats 'N Hoes" PAC shut down

Perhaps it was intended as a (stupid and misogynist) April Fool's joke of some sort?

PAC to Shut Down After Name Draws Furor, by Aman Batheja (The Texas Tribune)

A Texas political action committee called Boats 'N Hoes PAC will be just a memory by Thursday, according to the Republican political consultant who is the boss of the man who started it.

Houston consultant Allen Blakemore confirmed Wednesday evening that his firm’s bookkeeper, Shaun Nowacki, started the PAC, which is a reference to a song from the 2008 film Step Brothers....

... Nowacki filed paperwork with the Texas Ethics Commission to create the PAC on April 1 and named himself treasurer. The PAC has not filed any fundraising reports since its creation two weeks ago. It is the only PAC Nowacki is listed with on the Texas Ethics Commission’s website.

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