"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Not the Obligatory Spencer Post

Satellite-derived fire sites today. (click image for higher resolution.)

Sorry if I'm not in the thick of the soap opera this week.

We are kind of sliding into a full blown catastrophe around these parts. It seems not quite timely to be playing paranoids and nerds right now.


David B. Benson said...

Sudden climate change?

Steve Scolnik said...

"paranoids and nerds":
Another former GoogleNope™ bites the dust!

Doug said...

For us remote gawkers, the Austin American Statesman is doing a yeoman job of covering the fire story.

Houston Chronicle features some remarkable video of smoke plumes from Bastrop as seen from the ISS.

Adaptation is not really supposed to mean burning or drowning but that's what it'll include if too many folks try to brush our mess under the rug. Our dustballs are conservative and will escape.

Jay Alt said...

You have more important things to attend to now.

Pangolin said...

Defensible space around rural buildings is a pretty nerdy concept but it saves homes and lives. Remember not to use power tools when it's dry and quit cutting by 10 am.

This is a concept that people in other states besides California need to learn and get militant about.

Doug said...

Yes to Pangolin's remark. Attention to a number of details moves odds in favor of survival. Spark arresting metal cloth in eave vents or (better) roof-wall transitions that don't trap heat, covering windows with metal shutters, (many homes apparently ignite inside first, depending on what's just behind windows), keeping flammable garden accessories and plantings away from the house, etc. Once you're aware of these things they seem like plain common sense, difficult to forget.

On the other hand, this episode is a hint at what happens to places that are relatively marginal for human habitation, should conditions change for the worse just a little bit. In the case of Texas we're trading energy for space, as anybody who has noticed the universal ambient tinnitus of air conditioning compressor noise in the wee hours of the morning in Houston can attest. "Straining to stay comfortable" is the phrase that comes to mind. How hard do we want to work for that?

We're told that the equation of cost for space in Texas is due for a change; whatever the balance of causes, this summer in Texas ought to be considered a teachable moment in terms of our approach to maintaining our presence there.