Posts

Notes: energy, local government, open, social enterprises

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 The other COP was last month: https://twitter.com/UNBiodiversity/status/1448189233026437120 I enjoyed the Talking Politics episode with Jason Bordoff , on the energy transition. The scale of the big changes needed and how challenging it is to see how they could be made quickly - outside the shift in consumer choices side of things - is fascinating. Jason notes that we cut emissions with pandemic lockdowns, but that carbon emissions need to reduce by more than they did in 2020, every year for 10 years.  Affordability of energy is a real tension too, as gas and oil necessarily get more expensive.  Microsoft has been striving to go carbon negative; it did an RFP for a huge volume of negative emissions, and found very few indeed met its criteria for good quality removal ( Nature article ): First, the supply of solutions capable of removing and storing carbon viably is a tiny proportion of that needed to reach global net-zero emissions by 2050 (which is an anticipated 2–10 gigatonnes of

Notes: shortages, skills, startups, short-termism

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Turns out there's shortages of random items in the US as well as the UK. Matt Stoller writes about why, identifying 5 factors - monopolies manipulating price and supply, a lack of interoperability so products can't be substituted, machinery which can only be repaired by one company, infrastructure monopolies that are vulnerable to shocks through location or optimisation for efficiency at the cost of resilience, and power buyers cutting out other purchasers. There are shortages in everything from ocean shipping containers to chlorine tablets to railroad capacity to black pipe (the piping that houses wires inside buildings) to spicy chicken breasts to specialized plastic bags necessary for making vaccines. Moreover, prices for all sorts of items, from housing to food, are changing in weird ways. Beef, for instance, is at near record highs for consumers, but cattle ranchers are getting paid much less than they used to for their cows. ... The lack of resilient supply chains

Summer-notes: maps and data and pandemic bits

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OpenStreetMap is considering moving out of the UK . Yes, it's an international project. But the actual legal bit which processes money and holds assets etc is in the UK. Database rights changes with Brexit, and administrative challenges, plus the loss of EU lobbying power, are all driving a possible change. It's hard to be a modestly sized global non-profit these days - even modest levels of paperwork such as we have in the UK are a heavy load, and on the finance side are especially tricky for rotating volunteer boards from around the world.  There's a quest-based Android app where you can improve OpenStreetMap data in your area! Makes it much easier to find places where the data could be better, and fix things up - StreetComplete .  Or you can help map areas elsewhere to support humanitarian relief work with the MapSwipe app. But there's still no national open data for rights of way in the UK . This might explain why people don't use them so much - although the Or

Summer-notes: physical stuff

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The internet and metaverses and things may be exciting, but you still need stuff, and it has to move around.  https://twitter.com/EytanBuchman/status/1430574930161242114 (The thread around that tweet explains some of the factors why goods might be more expensive or slower to arrive). Weirdly there's been more fuss about the lack of milkshakes in fast food restaurants than this -  https://twitter.com/globalhlthtwit/status/1431829158179622912 A fascinating thread on the life of an HGV driver, from someone who switched career into it. There are a lot of factors deterring folks from driving (and the hours/conditions make the roads with trucks on seem even scarier). The suggestions at the end of the thread for better minimum pay, limited working hours, and a shift of liabilities seem reasonable.  Cars have grown a lot. I think they are longer, too - at electric car charging stations, especially the new, bigger plazas such as Rugby services, it's amazing how few of the cars actually

Summer-notes: institutions, trust

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A fun find (from 2017) - the King's Fund video description of how 'the NHS' works in England . I remember in 2015-16 piecing together much of this at Doteveryone. Still astoundingly complex, and so little known. (Six and a half minutes of video just for a whistlestop tour...) There never was a Labour party "red wall," writes David Edgerton . Highlights mine. The period from 1945 into the 1970s was without question Labour’s moment of success. Not only did it win elections, but it transformed British society. But over the last half century, as Labour’s halted forward march went into reverse, its vote share fell and oscillated wildly. ... At the national level we also need to distinguish clearly between what share of the overall vote a party gets, and whether they win. In 1935 Labour got 38% of the vote but only 25% of seats. In 2019 it got a lower share of votes but a higher share of seats. The perversity does not end there: although Labour was more popular