Links for the Week Ending 12 January 2014

  • A segment on 60 Minutes bashing Cleantech entitled the Cleantech Crash has caused a lot of controversy around the web. I will just say a couple of things. First, biofuels, the woeful under-performers, are not the only thing in Greentech; successes in electric cars, wind and solar have been many. Second, the development of fracking technology took many decades, went up a lot of dead ends, and has cost a lot of tax-dollars through government support (see here). Grist has a good response to 60 Minutes here, and Robert Rapier of the blog R-Squared Energy, a contributor to the programme, has the backstory of how the segment was made here.
  • With floods in the UK and freeze in the US, now is a good time to revisit a Skeptical Science post explaining the jet stream (here), whose recent volatility is the likely driver of all the turmoil. Ironically, Australia has just finished its hottest year on record (here) and has had a record-shattering start to 2014 as well. Ditto Argentina (here).
  • I’ve been talking a lot about technology munching jobs recently, and am intrigued that this issue is popping up in the most unexpected places. Adam Jones in the management section of The Financial Times tells us how technology and globalisation are creating lives for white collar workers of angst and alienation befitting a Bruce Springsteen song. In the face of such burgeoning job insecurity, he advises the middle class to detach their identities from their jobs if they wish to avoid the psychological damage suffered by blue collar workers of the Springsteen-land rust belt in the 1970s and 80s.
  • I if you were to read only three non-academic articles on the subject of technology and job destruction they would be these: 1) Martin Ford’s “Could Artificial Intelligence Cause an Unemployment Crisis” (yes, we have a crisis), 2) David Rotman in the MIT Technology Reviews’s “How Technology Is Destroying Jobs” (could perhaps be a crisis), and 3) Ben Miller and Robert Atkinson’s  “Are Robots Taking Our Jobs, or Making Them?” (definitely no crisis).
  • I did a post a couple of months back on the Red Queen syndrome with shale gas production (here). Here is Rune Likvern writing over at Fractional Flow on the same theme but with respect to tight oil.

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