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UCD-STAFFORDBEER  November 2009

UCD-STAFFORDBEER November 2009

Subject:

Re: The Next 100 Years (CSIRAC)

From:

Nick Green <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 26 Nov 2009 21:27:28 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (268 lines)

Thanks Stuart. It has tied down von Foerster's contribution for me.

But Frank's point about greater energy consumption per capita is well made. 
At least everyone is focussed on low energy solutions these days.

It seems churlish to go on about the misperceived evils of carbon dioxide 
but not inappropriate now America has made a decision to get involved- to 
adopt the Precautionary Principle.

Few physicist friends seem impressed by the science behind Global Warming. 
Now Freeman Dyson can be added to that list. Pask had no time for the 
Greens' "claptrap" as he was heard to say once. At the time I was happily 
working on a contract for Greenpeace to improve electrical chemical analysis 
methods and the "clouds are the thing" position came out of precipitation 
and albino discussions. Recall also in the sixties, based on astro/geo data, 
climatologists had us entering a new ice age. Today some say ice cores show 
temp increase preceding CO2 increase.

Tremendous irony, though, for vegetarian pacifist friends who see their 
campaign for conservation taken up by the military to produce a solar from 
space solution (as per the Next 100 years scenario). Friedman will have 
beamed microwaves as the means of transmission (which may heat the 
atmosphere to some extent). For work in space surely a space elevator is the 
real answer. It might heat less and calculations on a tapered cable show 
perfection of long carbon nanotubes, as current costing fashions dictate, 
may not be necessary. All I can say is thank heavens this work is all in 
public.

Incidentally Pask's "no causality can be proved within circularity" can be 
made tractable in considering the products of concurrent homeostatic 
processes. Applicable design rules from his theory haven't emerged yet.

Best

N.

PS
One of Lovelock's famine cards is the decrease of productivity in a warm 
ocean. We now know most biomass is microbial and sub microbial. Considering 
the facile exchange of DNA at this level surely an adaptation in the primary 
food chain would not be long in coming if needed.


--------------------------------------------------
From: "Stuart Umpleby" <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 10:29 PM
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: The Next 100 Years (CSIRAC)

> Heinz von Foerster published an article on world population in Science
> magazine in 1960, 8 years before Paul Ehrlich's book The Population
> Bomb.  It generated a VERY entertaining exchange of letters in
> Science.  See
> http://www.gwu.edu/~umpleby/world_population/index.html
> Currently world population is growing at about 80 million a year.  The
> Economist recently had a cover story saying that growth rates are
> declining rapidly.
> Heinz's point was that about 2026 will be a time of instability in the
> relationship between human beings and the environment.  According to
> the World 3 model from the Club of Rome (1972), about 2025 will mark a
> transition from rising to falling world population.  I have heard
> people in Washington, DC, say that the Club of Rome models are invalid
> because their predictions did not come true, but the turning point is
> still 15 years (approximately) in the future.  I think the models have
> held up pretty well.
>
> On Wed, Nov 25, 2009 at 5:14 PM, Frank Wood <[log in to unmask]> 
> wrote:
>> Hi Nick,
>> someone whose name I can't remember has had his writings on 
>> overpopulation
>> revived and people now are listening to him.
>> Birth *rate* might be declining but unfortunately that the population is
>> still rising. And the means more and more resources being used up and if 
>> you
>> subscribe to the greenhouse gas stuff then that means more humans 
>> emitting
>> co2 more livestock to feed those humans which means more methane being
>> produced and so on. It doesn't seem that those authorities have keyed the
>> above factors in.
>> Frank
>> On 25 Nov 2009, at 20:57, Nick Green wrote:
>>
>> Hi Russell, Doug, Frank
>>
>> Well happy birthday to CSIRAC. Of course joules per bit were enormous 
>> then
>> and we are working on the single electron transistor .i.e everyone is
>> working on low power if only because batteries cannot improve much and
>> everybody wants long life viable mobile devices.
>> On population people are saying that birth rate decline is pretty well
>> universal but freedom of choice in this is denied by the Pope and Muslims
>> which is certainly not politically correct. As it happens nobody, even 
>> the
>> devotees, pays much attention to them on this but there is an
>> unsustainable fuss about it. Note also some authorities are comfortable 
>> with
>> a world population of 1000 billion. We don't all live in Japan or 
>> London -
>> recall Marchetti "A check on the earth-carrying capacity for man"- given 
>> out
>> at Cwarel Isaf 2? Didn't somebody once say we could all live on the Isle 
>> of
>> Wight if suitably packed?
>>
>> On Enron, Doug check out SuperFreakonomics- apparently they were open 
>> about
>> what they were doing within financial reporting laws anyway. The Big Six
>> auditors are right - nobody understands company accounts. Lay's 25 year
>> sentence in high security (i.e. vicious prison) seems excessive to Levitt
>> and Dubner.
>>
>> But take this on board. CO2 has had a bad rap. It's regarded as a poison.
>> It's not: it's the basis of all the food we eat. So eat more and save the
>> planet? Water and clouds are far more influential on climate and your own
>> CSIRO sustainability group  found a small increase in cloud cover would 
>> put
>> climate back in recent range. On air conditioning hmm- there are better
>> ways....
>>
>> Trouble is we don't understand cloud homeostasis. Recently CSIRO reported
>> aerobacter aerogenes (a bacterium from tree leaves) might be important in
>> seeding clouds for rain.
>>
>> But you are right Russell this is nothing to do with Friedman's  The Next
>> 100 Years. No climate wars just trade wars and the superstitions of the 
>> poor
>> exploited by a frightened risk averse elite. There may be many faults in 
>> his
>> approach one is that he doesn't factor in improved education and
>> control from the web (where luck is not the product of propitiating the 
>> Gods
>> but measuring the variance) or improved (democratic) accountability. Also 
>> in
>> the robotized wars Friedman forecasts (Turkey vs Poland, Japan vs 
>> America)
>> casualties will not be high.  Fanciful maybe, fascinating certainly but 
>> we
>> must consider possible scenarios. Homeostasis is a stern mistress and, 
>> says
>> Pask, because of the circular nature causality cannot be proved. A naive
>> science reduces us to superstition but at least we get a familiarity with
>> the tools of good science.
>>
>> Best
>>
>> N.
>>
>>
>> From: Frank Wood
>> Sent: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 6:56 PM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Re: The Next 100 Years (CSIRAC)
>> Not to mention that overpopulation is and will be a major cause of
>> environmental degradation.  But of course it's non PC to talk about
>> population control.
>> Frank
>> On 25 Nov 2009, at 12:00, russell_c wrote:
>>
>> Nick
>>
>> I'm not sure this is on topic, but this CSIRAC story (below) came through
>> today and caused me to reflect on a comment (by Staford I think?) that 
>> "they
>> will find the cause" to a major US power outage (a $2.50 relay?).
>>
>> Why are we blaming climate change causes on CO2 when the energy increases
>> have a lot to do with the complexities related to power station upgrades
>> needed for PC proliferation, building air-conditioning capacity 
>> increases,
>> flat plasma screens and additional housing demand due to family break 
>> down
>> etc.
>>
>> In respect to heat and power production -- are there any estimates of the
>> energy generation involved in the growth of ICT and Internet over the 60
>> years from when this machine came to be? (there is a picture with the 
>> story)
>>
>> Is this technology phenomena equally the cause of climate change and can 
>> it
>> be somehow statistically correlated to CO2 increases?
>>
>> Russell
>>
>> Australia's first 'iPod' marks 60th birthday
>>
>> "The CSIRAC - Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research 
>> organisation
>> Automatic Computer - is housed in the state's museum and has today been
>> granted heritage listing as part of its birthday celebrations.
>>
>> It is the first computer ever to be made in Australia; the fourth 
>> computer
>> ever to be made in the world; and the only first generation computer that
>> remains intact. . . ."
>>
>> http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/11/25/2752781.htm
>>
>>
>> [snip]
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For more
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>>
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For more
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>> Working Environment (MCWE) go to: www.platformforchange.org METAPHORUM 
>> eList
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>> information go to: www.metaphorum.org For the Metaphorum Collaborative
>> Working Environment (MCWE) go to: www.platformforchange.org METAPHORUM 
>> eList
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>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>>
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For more
>> information go to: www.metaphorum.org For the Metaphorum Collaborative
>> Working Environment (MCWE) go to: www.platformforchange.org METAPHORUM 
>> eList
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>> Archive of CYBCOM eList available at -
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>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>
>
>
> -- 
> Stuart Umpleby, Research Program in Social and Organizational Learning
> 2033 K Street NW, Suite 230, The George Washington University,
> Washington, DC 20052
> www.gwu.edu/~umpleby, tel. 202-994-1642, fax 202-994-5284
>
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
>
> For the Metaphorum Collaborative Working Environment (MCWE) go to: 
> www.platformforchange.org
>
> METAPHORUM eList Archive available at - 
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>
> Archive of CYBCOM eList available at - 
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> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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