Impossible carbon conundrums. A poem on being wet.
An impossible carbon conundrum. A haiku on being wet. Zoroastan philosophy. Fringe theatre. A genius moral philosopher, more philosophy! Going down the longest slide in the world.
An impossible carbon conundrum
A haiku on being wet
Abortion healthcare outcomes
A genius moral philosopher, more philosophy!
Going down the longest slide in the world.
Links: Climate (drought, IPCC), Machine learning paper, Writing blog Prize (1K for thinking about the future); where are the Londoners?, Stripe Management; how a mechnical watch works.
I love this haiku.
To me it echoes stoic and samurai philosophy, perhaps mostly famously* narrated in Ghost Dog (!* at least for Hollywood), with Samuel Whittaker:
There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.
This is a quote written down from the words of Yamamato Tsunetomo, a samurai in the 1700s in the hagakure (Way of the Samurai)
Yamamato – I guess – might have been aware of Buson; or the ideas derived separately.
The idea applies to life. I very much have this when adventuring with JP.
Randomness *will* up-end us. Like the rain, it can not be prevented.
Even more so, knowing rain is coming, and having all the anti-rain defences – we will still get wet.
This is true for markets and investments. A recession is coming. We will be wet. Even with hoods.
I love the imagery of being soaked and wet as well. I can visualise it.
This week, I do think in response.
The sun rains down
My wet clothes
Have to dry
Current policy puts us on course for a 2c to 3c world.
Most economists argue we need to grow wealth to lift people out of poverty.
Most companies (and their owners) want to grow to produce more value and wealth.
Most also want to live in a decent environment (so adapt/mitigate the rose of climate change).
These wishes are hard to reconcile and come together through the lens of asking companies what to do.
Should you bind most companies to absolute carbon scope 3 emissions reductions (to head to a 1.5c – 2c world),
These are absolute reductions in the use of their products and services
(for instance, the yogurt pots of Unilever; powering petrol cars of oil companies; the heating of building of gas companies)
of which mostly those companies have no/limited control (the choice to buy/waste yogurt and its pots, or drive cars is on the demand/consumer/customer side of the equation) – even if it will damage company cashflows ?
Or, do you need to press ahead with systems change, innovations that can put the world on a 2c world.
Does binding a company, impact the demand-side of the equation ?
This increasingly is going to be the conundrum for those advocating absolute emissions cuts (particularly scope 3)
vs those arguing a relative measure – carbon intensity – is fair with an adequate focus on innovation and policy.
That’s also not forgetting those – in rich nations – who argue we can adapt the way out of the biggest impacts, and that we should be focused (more or equally) on other impact areas like health and women’s rights.
The sustainability people at companies know this tension. Some investors also do. I think most policy people must know this as well. At least through the lens of a company, I’m not hearing a consensus answer.
I was hoping to avoid Roe vs Wade – my letter is often not about the Current Thing – but this FT analysis caught my eye – because healthcare is always my thing.
The likely very negative health outcomes for women (and in particular poor, non-white women) was very sobering.
On a brighter note, I gave a reference for someone’s US green card and she recently was awarded it. I’m typically in favour of immigration as way to increase positive impact in the world. This is a small but pleasing step.
We ended up touching on Zoroastrian philosophy. This is “right thoughts, right words, right deeds”.
But I also learned that some Zoroastrians have a reputation for being Leftfield energetic thinkers and doers (maybe think Freddie Mercury) and there is a tradition when in your marriage ceremony that you compete to throw rice. The one who throws the rice first is judged to be the dominant person in the relationship going forward!
The idea of
Do what you say, and,
Say what you mean…
Seems a powerful concept when so much signalling and doing is at odds with one another. Zoroastrianism is one of the worlds oldest religions (especially monotheism).
I’m preparing for a podcast conversation with philosopher, Larry Temkin. A friend told me Temkin is a genius.
So it means I have to seriously read his major works of writing.
In this book Larry Temkin examines the concepts of equality and inequality, and addresses one particular question in depth: how can we judge between different sorts of inequality? When is one inequality worse than another? Temkin shows that there are many different factors underlying and influencing our egalitarian judgments and that the notion of inequality is surprisingly complex. He looks at inequality as applied to individuals and to groups, and at the standard measures of inequality employed by economists and others, and considers whether inequality matters more in a poor society than a rich one. The arguments of non-egalitarians are also examined. Temkin's book presents a new way of thinking about equality and inequality which challenges the assumptions of philosophers, welfare economists, and others concerned with these notions on a practical as well as a theoretical level.
In choosing between moral alternatives -- choosing between various forms of ethical action -- we typically make calculations of the following kind: A is better than B; B is better than C; therefore A is better than C. These inferences use the principle of transitivity and are fundamental to many forms of practical and theoretical theorizing, not just in moral and ethical theory but in economics. Indeed they are so common as to be almost invisible. What Larry Temkin's book shows is that, shockingly, if we want to continue making plausible judgments, we cannot continue to make these assumptions. Temkin shows that we are committed to various moral ideals that are, surprisingly, fundamentally incompatible with the idea that "better than" can be transitive.
And the trigger for my podcast: Being Good in a World of Need - which was published this year, based on a 2017 series of lectures, which in turn were triggered by a dinner with Nobel economist, a couple of the greatest moral philosophers, and a billionaire…. Wow. What a dinner!
He covers the philosophy of how (or not) one might go about making positive impact or simply doing good. Especially with a view as to the negative impacts of international aid.
He also dismantles expected value and utility theory with respect to moral and ethical choices.
Aside from his critiques of utilitarianism, I’m also interested in asking him the moral dilemma in art.
When an artist has criminal or horrible views / politics but might create great art ? What does philosophy say ?
Any other thoughts or questions let me know.
I managed to catch an hour of work in progress theatre (at Camden People’s Theatre, Broken Bridge). London fringe theatre is a small art form in the scheme of things, but I still have a soft spot for it. My intuition is that art is worth supporting, and that’s one reason I am no where near a full EA / utilitarian.
Partly because her life experience is so different from mine and partly because what she commented on about losing faith and thinking rationally has stayed with me.
Aella: My upbringing was pretty anomalous even among other Christian homeschoolers because my dad was a professional evangelical Christian, so we were a little bit more focused around the intellectual defense of the Christian faith than other people. I do think that part of me losing faith was genetics, I think that I just got born with a weird brain that is more disagreeable and more open than most other people which is more likely to change your mind, I guess. And a lot of the people, the friends who I was brought up with, the majority of them are still very Christian and still in that life. So for me, I think I was abnormal, I think that my dad specifically tried very hard to instill good thinking in us. As far as he could, he was quite smart and taught us logic stuff. Some of my earliest memories are him playing logic games with us as kids; he'd be like, does a monkey have, or does a cat have two legs? And I'd be like, no, he has four and my dad would be like, yes, the cat has two legs and four, just stuff like that to make sure that our thinking was crisp and precise, so like four years old, I was child and so I think that did help to some degree. There's some question everything, I remember having that from a very young age being taken by the concept that there were other Muslim kids because the Muslims were the worst for us.
…There are other Muslim kids being raised, very similar to the way I was and they were devoted Muslims. And I feel exactly the same way that they do, so how do I know that my faith is true and theirs isn't? I have to cling to something beyond my sensation about this, like my conviction because I think that was helpful. Part of the weird brain thing is being very interested in the way things feel for other people and checking to see if that is the way that I also feel and that was also vital in losing my faith because somewhere in my brain, I had this constant awareness that this might be wrong and I think that's something that a lot of Christians don't have and I was very lucky to end up with that.
…(Me) That's fascinating; you were given the seeds through all of that questioning to unpick your faith. Well, what would you say to others who might be on the verge of losing their faith?
I felt a wave of compassion and sadness for that. Losing your faith is so hard and I respect it because you're losing a lot. It's losing your comfort and your sense of direction and morality in society and it means so much. I think it's better on the other side of it, but if I had to say I'm sorry that you have to go through that, would be my feeling,
But at least for you, it's better on the other side, even though it could be painful going through it.
Aella It's terrifying, it's scary, but it's great. I swear, at least for me, it's great; some people have more trouble than I did, some people have less but it can be great…
And here’s O going down one of the longest slides in the world.
I learned about mechanical watches. Really well done article.
John Collison @collisionPatrick shared this note internally about the Financial Connections/Plaid kerfuffle. Glad to put it behind us, and I'm look forward to continued vibrant competition in fintech (which customers benefit from!) in the future. https://t.co/LOnlGIPDdq
Where have the Londoners gone?
My friends ML paper:
Writing blog Prize: