Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday Links

  • Trends in western wildfires: they've gotten much worse and will get worse yet.  The above is Fig. 11 from the report.  Anticipation of the long-term unpleasantness of this trend was a secondary factor in my decision to move east a couple of years back (the primary one being house prices). Of course nowhere will be immune from climate change - here in the east we are going to have to deal with more and worse storms, at an absolute minimum.
  • Greece: another kludge has been found in time.
  • Will Japan inflate away their debt?  Tim Duy thinks so.
  • New net-zero homes needn't cost more than a lot of conventional construction.
  • Some interesting speculations about why civilization didn't start earlier.  I find this a fascinating question that doesn't seem satisfactorily answered.  In particular, what were the key genetic differences that prevented Neanderthals evolving to civilized status during the Eemian? And why couldn't Homo Sapiens civilizations develop in tropical regions during the last ice age?  (Given that civilizations have tended to sprout like weeds all over the planet during the Holocene).
  • This is off-topic but I'm fascinated by the whole HP-Autonomy scandal.  HP's story hasn't made any sense to me from the start - they paid $10b for this thing but couldn't do enough due diligence to detect $5-$6b worth of accounting problems?  Doesn't that make them colossal screw-ups even in their own telling of the story?  Some shareholders apparently think so.
  • Heat-pump clothes-dryers on the way in the US?
  • New Cambridge University center on civilizational risk.


Aaron said...

I don't think interglacial equates to climate stability (as seen in the Holocene).


Nowhere for the last 400,000 years has a fuzzy stable band of temperature reigned as seen since agricultural civilization began. The Holocene probably represents a unique point in time when ocean currents setup in a way to stabilize temperature fluctuation within a band particularly suited for grain and cereal production.

brett said...

How is your hot water heater heat pump working?

Stuart Staniford said...

brett: I should write a post about it but so far, so great. The water is hot, and the noise is not a problem down in the basement.

Greg said...

FT Alphaville has an interesting story on a Citigroup study of employment trends.

In the USA, the 35-44 age group has been hit especially hard by the Lesser Depression, with employment down by 9% of the whole population in this age group (10.4% of jobs). The 55+ age group is seeing booming employment. The 60-64 age group is experiencing rising household incomes, in contrast to all other age groups.

As Citigroup says, quoted by Alphaville, this isn't good for the long run.

Kweksma said...


I have a fairly early model of the heatpump dryer. They use so little power that they can share an electric group with the washing machine (300-400 Watt). My machine has a filter just in front of the heatexchanger that needs frequent cleaning (weekly). Behind this filter is the metal grid heatexchanger. It gets clogged up with lint, and i clean it with a toothbrush several times a year because otherwise it restricts the airflow, and drying takes forever. Newer machines are appantly self cleaning, check this when you nuy one!

Kweksma said...

... and regarding HP...
I think it's time CEO's go back to school to learn the value of money. Seems they don't understand that 10 BILLION is 10 times one thousand times one MILLION. They shouldn't let them play with so much money and force them to use the money in the bank to DEVELOP stuff.

10 million would have been a good proce for a software company trying to earn a living with "searching unstructured data" (i.e. what GOOGLE does fairly well thank you).

Sorry for all the CAPITALS, I work there....

Stuart Staniford said...

Kweksma: what brand/model of dryer is that?