I use the idea of peak indifference to describe the moment when activists no longer have to try to convince people that a problem is real (the problem does that itself, by ruining ever-more-people's lives), and then the job switched to convincing people that it's not too late to do something about it (if the day you finally decide to take rhino population declines seriously is the day they announce there's only one rhino left, there's a powerful temptation to shoot that rhino and find out what it tastes like).
Ove Wired, Boing Boing contributor Clive Thompson (previously) asks whether we're at that point, and, if so, what can be done to avert the nihilism that so often follows from denialism.
That means the current political moment is incredibly interesting. Anyone who wants to deal with climate change may have only a brief window to sell the public on a plan. In his new book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, the writer David Wallace-Wells talks about the value of panic to pushing collective action; Doctorow says it’s the point “where you divert your energy from convincing people there’s a problem to convincing them there’s a solution.”
This is why the stakes are so high in the debate over the Green New Deal that Democrats recently introduced in Congress. The young environmental activists of the Sunrise Movement flooded DC this winter to push for a resolution. Six Democratic presidential candidates now support it in principle. And the Yale–George Mason survey found 81 percent of all Americans support the general concept, including—remarkably—57 percent of conservative Republicans. Clean energy policy “has a huge social consensus,” Leiserowitz notes.
We Might Be Reaching 'Peak Indifference' on Climate Change [Clive Thompson/Wired]
(Image: Alvaro Dominguez for Wired)
In Energy and Policy Considerations for Deep Learning in NLP, three UMass Amherst computer science researchers investigate the carbon budget of training machine learning models for natural language processing, and come back with the eyepopping headline figure of 78,468lbs to do a basic training-and-refinement operation.
There's no one way to solve the plastic waste problem, but in the packaged goods sector, an enormous amount of plastic is used in order to surround and protect simple solutions of some agent dissolved in water, from toothpaste to window cleaner to shampoo.
Paolo Bacigalupi's (previously) A Full Life is a new short story in MIT Technology Review that traces the hard young life of Rue, whose family has to move and move again as climate disasters destroy the places they try to make their homes: the water for their ecologically sound farm dries up, then Austin becomes […]
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