Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Future Today

Over at ATTP, Rachel, playing while Wotts is away, asks about community driven solutions to climate change.  Pekka misses the point in one comment (there are others in the thread which is worth reading, by Pekka and others)

Governments have had some role in those technologies as well, but what has made exactly these fields to grow at an exceptional rate, has not been the government. It’s worthwhile to ponder, what leads to the huge success of some developments, but not of the others. One factor is certainly that technology development has revolutionized data and signal processing, while most other technologies have not shown potential for anything comparable.
Eli was not as nice as he could be, pointing out that government is a vital player in anything that has to do with anything
Government had nothing to do with the coming of the railroads, road traffic or air travel. OK Pekka?
You could add electrical distribution networks and pipelines to that.  In this regard Eli would like to point to a map of the future today


More than there are gas stations inside the Périphérique.

48 comments:

turboblocke said...

The Vendee, a department in the west of France is rolling out a network of EV charging stations which are free to use this year. Only problem is that you need a widget to use them and because of security issues none have been distributed yet. Still at least they mean well.

turboblocke said...

BTW I think that your map is a bit out of date. Take a look at the chargemap.com site. It's difficult to see on my tablet, but it looks like there are over 600 within the Perif

Kevin O'Neill said...

In his lecture tour on 'Privatizing profit and socializing risk" Noam Chomsky spoke directly to the issue of free enterprise and the wonders of capitalism. I can't find the quote Chomsky used from Alan Greenspan, but every industry that Greenspan hailed as a wonder of capitalism was really a function of government investment/expenditure.

As Chomsky says in a later interview: "After World War II, most economists and business leaders expected that the economy would sink back to depression without massive government intervention of the kind that, during the war years, finally overcame the Great Depression. ..."

"...business was well aware that high-tech industry could not survive in a competitive free enterprise economy, and "government must be the savior," as the business press explained. Such considerations converged on the decision to focus on military rather than social spending. And it should be borne in mind that "military spending" does not mean just military spending. A great deal of it is high-tech R&D. Virtually the entire "new economy" has relied heavily on the military cover to socialize risk and cost and privatize profit, often after many decades: computers and electronics generally, telecommunications and the Internet, satellites, the aeronautical industry (hence tourism, the largest "service industry"), containerization (hence contemporary trade), computer-controlled machine tools, and a great deal more. Alan Greenspan and others like to orate about how all of this is a tribute to the grand entrepreneurial spirit and consumer choice in free markets. That’s true of the late marketing stage, but far less so in the more significant R&D stage. Much the same is true in the biology-based sectors of industry..."


Magma said...

You could add the development of the Internet and GPS to your list.

willard said...

John Oliver shows that governments have had some role in prisons as well, but what has made exactly these fields to grow at an exceptional rate, has not been the government:

http://youtu.be/_Pz3syET3DY

Steve Bloom said...

I think you're missing the point, Willard. While the industry is doubtless an economic driving force behind the continuing trend, government must approve every step taken (indeed private prisons continue to exist only at the sufferance of government), plus there remain the political (and economic) driving force of law enforcement (particularly prison guard unions, although for them privatization is an unintended consequence of pushing for larger prison populations)) as well as ongoing catering to the crime fears of the public. Perhaps more significantly, as the report points out the problem is rooted in draconian drug laws that were put into place years before there was any discussion of prison privatization. The key distinction with things like military spending and alternative energy is that ultimately there's no private market for prisons independent of government.

Steve Bloom said...

Just to add, that Oliver segment is just brilliant, so thanks much for linking it. I've subscribed so I don't miss any more of them.

Brian said...

I'll stick by my argument a year or two back that as the EV infrastructure grows, the ICE infrastructure will start becoming less and less convenient. They'll start losing some of those gas stations, mechanics will be less available/more expensive working ICE components, etc.

Fernando Leanme said...

I lived in a communist country when I was young. By the time I was 12 I realized communism was a complete failure, and quite irrational. I also found the lack if freedom, and the sheer terror they used to be a complicating factor, because I started daydreaming violent acts. So I decided I had better escape, which I managed to do the winter just before I turned 15 (I left alone, my family stayed behind). So. I guess I've been mentally conditioned to dislike anything which gives government power over our lives, because I've seen so much abuse.

Regarding the use if electric vehicles, as an engineer I'm trained into thinking about the long term supply chain. Are you planning on using lithium in all those batteries? And have you considered the overall cost?

I ask because I feel public transportation makes much more sense than those rich kid toys like the ones I see being sold by mr musk.

Anonymous said...

Fernando,

One of the speculations about self driving cars, is that when cars are self driving, owning them will no longer be advantageous ( they will come when one needs them ). That would reduce the number of cars. We'll see if it happens, but a car is something you own that sits idle most of the time.

Anonymous said...

That's rational, Anony, but we humans aren't. When I get into my car I'm entering a very personal space with my kids toys on the back seat and my wife's favourite CD in the player. It's an extension of my home with a familiar smell and mud from that great weekend we just had on the carpets (we're kind of messy but I'm a soil scientist so it's all research material to me).

Economically you're spot on and for some it'll be a clinching argument (for me too perhaps) but the personal-space thing sets the bar high. Mr Musk's next task, therefore, is to create "home-smell" spray-on "odourant" and "messy-bots" which mess up the car, precisely to your requirements, between deliveries.

"Daedalus" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daedalus_(Ariadne)) invented the "odourant" many years ago but the "messy-bot" is, I think, awaiting attention.

J Bowers said...

Pekka needs to take his iPhone apart and figure which parts were initially invented because of government funding. Pretty much all of it, including the algorithm that runs it. And next time Pekka needs Pepto Bismol he/she should say a quiet thanks to the government for inventing that little bay, too.

J Bowers said...

Oh, and OT, but Roger skillfully packs the polemic, Nixon godwins, straw men, dogwhistles, and outright misprepresentations into his piece at the Guardian.

Anonymous said...

DARPA is a pretty good model of inventions - prove a concept, write it up and then stop.

Unfortunately government policy ultimately means inefficient ( at best ) and unthinking ( at worst ) implementation that includes killing people by putting poison in their prohibited alcohol and giving people syphilis in the name of science.

And yes, before we sanctify gov, wars and genocides do tend to come from the government, even if they do so because of popular demand.

J Bowers said...

"And yes, before we sanctify gov, wars and genocides do tend to come from the government, even if they do so because of popular demand."

A line that hit every branch as it fell out of the stupid tree.

dhogaza said...

"DARPA is a pretty good model of inventions - prove a concept, write it up and then stop."

ARPANet was engineered, built, and deployed and actively used by academics many years before you ever heard of the word "network".

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Anonytroll would seem to want to blame government for every failing to which human flesh is heir.

Dude, war predates government. Genocide not only happened, it was sanctified by deities long before humans invented any sort of centralized gummint. Or have you not read the Bible (or the Quaran, or the Ramayana...)

Do you really think humans would have walked on the moon without a government committing to it? Do you really think the magic of the marketplace would have led to the electronics revolution without the involvement of government?

Dude, remind me to introduce you to reality sometime. You two have a lot to catch up on.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

A line that hit every branch as it fell out of the stupid tree.

Gulf of Tonkin you fucking fascist.

Maybe you weren't even born then.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Do you really think humans would have walked on the moon without a government committing to it?

And of course everyone is so grateful that our competent government employees are so committed to walking on the moon again with the SLS and Orion.

J Bowers said...

"Gulf of Tonkin you fucking fascist."

Well fuck you kindly for the 'fascist' label. A first, except perhaps when labelled an environazi by online dittoheads and our own Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

You're welcome. Gulf of Tonkin says it all, fascist. Except for maybe the invasion of Iraq. That turned out so well too. Now millions of women face genital mutilation.

A label you so richly deserve.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Coopersmith-U-S-most-take-honest-look-at-costs-5642237.php

If you nutjobs think that this so called civilization is going to last much longer with all the real problems you have plus billions of delusional fascists and religious nutjobs at every corner, I have a bridge in Brooklyn with a pair of white flags to show you. Even the Dutch were goosestepping like crazy yesterday and chanting to imaginary gods on global television. Very embarrassing.

The Dutch have not learned a damn thing from their experience here, and neither have you apparently.

Soon williard will be in here to minimize the damages of state sponsored war and call for a philosophical investigation of its roots, all the while glorifying himself as a benefactor.

Anonymous said...

Yet another very high level (and very scientific and technical) conversation at Rabett Runamuk

Carry on.

J Bowers said...

I'm still not getting why you think I'm a fascist. Perhaps a lucid explanation would encourage me to go and buy a Mosley outfit and vote Ukip instead. Oh I forgot, "ecofascist" was another, so you might have a point. But you do know I had nothing to do with Gulf of Tonkin, right? Really, I didn't. I'm also always looking out for Tony Blair so I can claim a Monbiot reward for a citizen's arrest. Still, I guess we all have our definition of fascist, and right now you're fitting Orwell's definition quite nicely.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Yet another very high level (and very scientific and technical) conversation

Nice boots and suits those Dutch were wearing out on the tarmac, and very well choreographed, dontcha think? Perfect lock step marching.

The world is crumbling around you and you won't even acknowledge it because you just can't see it.

Let's talk about street gangs in central America, Ronnie's legacy.

Carry on.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

I'm still not getting why you think I'm a fascist.

Because you called just bringing the subject up ... "stupid".

Frank says it can't happen here.

Eric Garner disagrees.

afeman said...

After thinking some time about which technologies have gotten pushed along from gummint crank turning and then hearing about the loans railroads got mid-19th century, and the same for canals before that, I'm now wondering what tech *hasn't* received significant support. Early automobile production? (Besides, you know, public roads.)

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

I'm now wondering what tech *hasn't* received significant support.

Inexpensive reusable launch vehicles? They tried with the DC-X but NASA killed it. The problem I along with many others are concerned with is that the government is no longer able to attend to such critical needs such as advanced technology development because of political corruption and the fact that they blew their financial wad on a couple of idiotic wars, and to hide that fact they continue to glorify said idiotic wars using modern fascist propaganda methods. Just turn on the TV.

It's scary. But they have now cultivated an entire generation of thugs the world over now. Cops, soldiers, gangs, politicians, you name it.

J Bowers said...

Okay, fair enough. Apologies.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Apology accepted. I do believe I've adequately sketched out my case here, but if you really want to see what is happening on this planet, just go watch any Hollywood produced CGI action flick.

And that's just the least of it. Kids don't have a chance in this environment, the outcome if more or less predestined at this point. It used to be just the churches and the schools screwing them up, now it is pervasive.

Anonymous said...

"Inexpensive reusable launch vehicles?"

Who are they selling launches to, again?

Anonymous said...

People like TLE have been around for millennia. We're still here despite that.

J Bowers said...

just go watch any Hollywood produced CGI action flick."

I disagree with that, it's too generalised. Elysium and The Lone Ranger immediately spring to mind, while Godzilla acts skilfully as a metaphor for the laws of nature which even my old mum and dad got. The Marvel films are fluff, and another CGI laden flick is Children of Men which couldn't be more antifascist.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Who are they selling launches to, again?

Well, the last one was to a commercial communications company. I guess you haven't noticed the global commercial airline industry. Such humble beginnings a whole hundred years ago. And now people think it's their god given right to be shuttled around the globe in the stratosphere in aluminum tubes near the speed of sound, and are outraged when something goes wrong. To be fair the government has contributed to the fantasy of a global commercial space flight industry through COTS, but it is well known that the only reason Griffin agreed to it was that it was mandated by law and he was confident that it would not work. Nevertheless they were able to kill off COTS-D, but Musk wisely shoveled his 'awards' into second generation engine development. And so now a fully commercial global spaceflight industry is guaranteed as long as civilization doesn't collapse.

People like TLE have been around for millennia.

All six of them, plus a few years.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

a metaphor for the laws of nature which even my old mum and dad got.

Right, and so we definitely need to continue that long natural history of predation and violence even though now were intelligent civilized beings using science.

Mum and dad must be so proud of you.

Anonymous said...

Thomas Elifritz is one of those people who throw words like "fascist" around without knowing what they mean.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Meaning never changes, just like civilizations never fall and nations last forever. Next you will be quoting the dictionary and insisting that English be the national language enforced by law.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Tommy,
Please, take your meds.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

I can't, my government has deemed such things illegal and has decided to arm the police forces, privitize the prisons and fill them with petty offenders in order to generate the revenue needed for their very existence and the weapons to propagate their authority over their citizens, and in order to execute discretionary wars of choice.

Such a cogent contribution to the discussion here and the subject of the future suddenly happening now. So do tell me more about how your government and NASA is contributing to the development of a commercial reusable space launch industry akin to the airline industry, with the regurgitation of Constellation.

Inquiring minds want to know. Quickly now, billions of lives and jobs are at stake here. Especially yours, since your life and your job is now utterly dependent upon the government and corporations just to exist.

J Bowers said...

"Right, and so we definitely need to continue that long natural history of predation and violence even though now were intelligent civilized beings using science."

I don't think you've seen the film. It serves as a metaphor for climate change very well. The monsters aren't even arsed about humans.

willard said...

> I think you're missing the point [...]

You can think whatever you fancy, Steve Bloom. My sentence was a poe of Pekka's. You know, the one to which Eli has replied at AT's, and is now expanding.

You're welcome.



Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

don't think you've seen the film.

I don't think you get the point. At all. Everything I've said to you continues to fly right over your head. Woosh. You're a fascist. People who continue to condone or enable fascism, people who tolerate fascism, are fascists. It was the same in NAZI Germany and it's the same now. Everywhere you look, goose stepping Dutch soldiers on the tarmac honoring dead corpses continue to glorify war and promote state sanctioned religion. Corporations pushing predation and violence on television everywhere you look, Hollywood profiting, churches exempted from taxes pushing nonsense onto the gullible, the pledge of allegiance to the state in our schools, it's all nonsense.

And you continue to defend it. Welcome to the future now. It's not going to end pleasantly for you people, trust me on that. And you will only have yourself to blame for the inevitable outcome.

Steve Bloom said...

AFAICT philsophy is to reality as military music is to music.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140723-immigration-minors-honduras-gang-violence-central-america/

Anonymous said...

TLE:

"Everywhere you look, goose stepping Dutch soldiers on the tarmac"

Goose stepping isn't fascist or Nazi. The Prussian Army introduced it and it was adopted by many European Armies, including the German Army after the unification of Germany under Bismark.

It is true that after Hitler took office, the German Army continued to goose step. There was no reason for them to stop doing so, after all.

So did Stalin's army.

"It's not going to end pleasantly for you people" - threats now.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Wow. Just wow. Since my comments are now being deleted all I can say is Lawrence Britt would be so proud of you. No reason to change. Funny.

Carry on. Your neurons are fused. I wouldn't want to continue to threaten your worldview with my comments on your blog forums.

J Bowers said...

"I don't think you get the point. At all. Everything I've said to you continues to fly right over your head. Woosh. You're a fascist."

Your conceit is imagining that nobody else "gets it" about the shift towards totalitarianism, but if you're trying to communicate with someone it's a good idea not to gush out streams of consciounsness expecting the target of your ire to either automatically "get it" or end up giving a toss, especially when labelling them as something they themselves thoroughly despise. Seriously, Thomas, the way you're acting makes me think you've been staring into the Abyss for a bit too long.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

the way you're acting makes me think you've been staring into the Abyss for a bit too long.

Your ignorance must be blissful.