New sci-fi tag

Despite my initial promise that this blog would not become a “jet packs and flying cars” type of future trends blog, some overt science fiction has crept in. I’ve now added a new Science Fiction tag which collects such posts onto a single page, and I’ve gone back and retrospectively tagged such posts.

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Liberty and the Golden Age of Science Fiction

Forthcoming soon an online course in: “Liberty and the Golden Age of Science Fiction” taught from an American libertarian right perspective. Looks like a bit of horror in there, too, judging by the book covers.

Those who listen to the Tom Woods Show podcast will already know about the school which is offering the course. He has a podcast about it here. Unfortunately it appears that the Liberty Classroom is an all-or-nothing recurring monthly fee, and a curious Brit can’t just buy access to this interesting new sci-fi bit of it and skip all the American history courses.

Bjorn Lomborg at The Long Now – .mp3 file now available

The .mp3 audio is now freely available for Bjorn Lomborg at The Long Now. The talk is called “From Feel-Good to High-Yield Good: How to Improve Philanthropy and Aid”. The “things to do” list starts at 17:00 minutes.

Bjorn Lomborg does cost/benefit analysis on global good. There are surprises when you examine what are the highest-yield targets in the domains of health, poverty, education, reduced violence, gender equality, climate change, biodiversity, and good governance. Reducing trade restrictions floats to the top: $1 spent yields $2,000 of good for everyone. Contraception for women is close behind, with a whole array of benefits. For health go after tuberculosis, malaria, and child malnutrition. For climate change, phase out fossil fuel subsidies and invest in energy research.

The vocal delivery is very very fast, and Bjorn’s microphone is also picking up distracting levels of sibilance. I found myself forced to load the file in Impulse Media Player to: i) reduce tempo (speed) to 80%; and ii) tweak down the sliders on the right-hand side of the graphic equaliser. Even then delivery is way too fast, given the type of content he’s trying to explain.

From the questions…

“We found one really good solution for corruption [in Bangladesh, via online eBay-like government e-procurement. After being tested for two years, we found] 12% less corruption…”.

African food-stress and climate change

A short article yesterday in Mail & Guardian Africa states that the current food-stress in a few districts in Africa are not caused by the global warming effect

“There is a myth in circulation which says that hunger in Africa is a climate phenomenon. It is really a myth, nothing else. Hunger, especially on the Horn of Africa, is man-made.”

I’m reminded of another report I read a while back. Its author stated that they frequently encountered African children being educated by westerners to “see” dangerous global warming everywhere around them, but that what the children were actually doing was attributing all sorts of perfectly normal natural rural phenomena to “climate change”.