Saturday, October 28, 2017

“If we lose the Arctic, we lose the globe.” -- President Niinistö of Finland in Joint Press Conference with President Trump, August 28, 2017

St. Sebastian
Andrea Mantegna, 1490
Panel, 210 × 91 cm
Ca' d'Oro, Venice
The artist's intentions for the work are explained by a banderol spiralling around an extinguished candle, in the lower right corner. Here, in Latin, it is written: Nihil nisi divinum stabile est. Caetera fumus (‘Nothing is stable if not divine. The rest is smoke’).” -- Wikipedia
Which carbon arrows are we shooting right now into future humans?
Transatlantic flights? Meat-based diet?
Having children? Silence about oil companies?
Silence about U. S. Congress?  Silence about climate refugees?
Silence about 2000-year-old sequoias dying from drought?

Silence about an ice-free Arctic? President Niinistö of Finland said
“If we lose the Arctic, we lose the globe.”  

Last night I watched The Imitation Game about British codebreaker Alan Turing deciphering the Nazi's Enigma machine code.  The code was considered "unbreakable" because of huge obstacles including, as the linked Enigma video notes, "If you had 100,000 people with 100,000 Enigma machines, all testing different settings [ . . .], test a different setting once a second 24 by 7, it would take twice the age of the universe to break the code."  In other words, as multiple sources noted, it would take finding "one of these 15 billion billion settings."

However, Turing's team broke it using a "flaw" that no letter could be itself, and then invented the first computer which operated much faster than human minds. Jack Copeland, professor of philosophy at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, wrote in a 2012 article, "If U-boat Enigma had not been broken, and [World War Two] had continued for another two to three years, a further 14 to 21 million people might have been killed. [par break] Of course, even in a counterfactual scenario in which Turing was not able to break U-boat Enigma, the war might still have ended in 1945 because of some other occurrence, also contrary-to-fact, such as the dropping of a nuclear weapon on Berlin."

Very smart people recently told me there is no way humans are going to avoid abrupt climate breakdown.  We need modern Alan Turings to find solutions in the ever-decreasing time allowed.

The beautiful "flaw" (feature, not a bug) is conscience.  The Internet offers speed. Reducing carbon use is the goal. Robinson Meyer wrote in 2016 at, "The Average American Melts 645 Square Feet of Arctic Ice Every Year." An October 25, 2017 Guardian article cited IMF managing director Christine Lagarde: "'we will be toasted, roasted and grilled' if the world fails to take 'critical decisions' on climate change."  Regarding ice loss, here is a good summary.

Lines from The Imitation Game noted "Some people thought we were at war with the Germans— incorrect. We were at war with the clock." and "Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine."

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