gbear605

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The rationalist community's location problem

I suspect that the confederate flags and guns were a poorly specified way to say "Republican." Obviously there are some Republicans who are part of the community, and even more conservatives in general, but a significant portion of the community is gay and trans, two groups that are often discriminated against in more conservative areas of the USA. That portion of the group seems to be even more prevalent in the Bay Area community. The concern, to me at least, is not difference of thought, but rather being discriminated against.

Covid 9/17: It’s Worse

Hm, when I was making the excluding-2020 graph I was intending to include 2019 as well, but it might have been taken out accidentally. 

Covid 9/17: It’s Worse

That makes more sense - there would be more land on fire, but the fires would be weak fires, not the destructive fires that we're getting now.

Covid 9/17: It’s Worse

Huh wild. I guess I have heard about redwood trees surviving forest fires, so that makes some sense, but man those'd be some big fires.

Covid 9/17: It’s Worse

Looking at the acres of forest burned over the last twenty years

It's been going up significantly over time - the trend-line goes from about 500k acres in 2000 to 1.5M acres in 2020, making me doubt a regression to the mean. Even excluding 2020, the trend-line goes from less than 500k acres in 2000 to about 1.1M acres in 2019. I'm expecting more years like this one in the future, although hopefully not quite as bad.

(data from Wikipedia)

Covid 9/17: It’s Worse

Per the Wikipedia page this year more than 3% of the state has burned (and it's continuing to burn), and thus a good deal more than 3% of the forestable land area has burned. Unless all the forests burned every 20-30 years, this would suggest that this year was significantly more than the historic average. Given that the past decade has averaged about 1 million acres, and the state is about 100 million acres, and not all the state is able to be forested, I'd guess that the last decade's averages have been at least around the historic average if not more.

Covid 9/17: It’s Worse
The bigger point is that once again we have two distinct versions of ‘scientific consensus’ about what’s going on with these fires.

Perhaps it's all my filter bubble, but what I'm hearing democrats say is that the issue is caused by a history of mismanagement combined with climate change. After all, the mismanagement hasn't changed significantly over the last twenty years, but the fires have gotten significantly worse over the last twenty-thirty years. The people I know who have lived in California for the last fifty years have talked about how until the mid-90s, they didn't hear about wildfires at all, and since then it's significantly gone up. Looking at the list of twenty largest fires since 1932, ten are since 2010 and an additional seven were between 2000 and 2010. Only three were before 2000. Graphing the acres burned over time since 2000 shows a clear increase, and that remains even if you remove this year's fires.

Obviously there's more time for brush to accumulate, but as other comments have mentioned, the fires burning have removed some of that brush, taking away fuel, so that's likely close to a wash, and I doubt that it could explain an increase of 3x on the trend-line.

Overall, climate change seems like a necessary cause for these fires, even if not a sufficient one. Of course, the mismanagement is also a necessary cause - and I've certainly seen plenty of left-leaning leaders blaming California for that - but keeping both causes in mind is important, especially when one issue is local to California and the other issue is global.

Why haven't we celebrated any major achievements lately?

My understanding is that the permanent damage occurs to much of the same degree in people who don't show any symptoms (and are of course, not treated).

Against boots theory

I always interpreted "The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money." as saying that this is one way that the rich become richer. I don't think anyone doubts that rich people either have higher income or start with a lot of money. But then they also have these structural advantages that help them be "so rich." The "ghetto tax" is one place, but then there's everything else - less stress, for instance, or being able to pay for education. Boots theory isn't just spending less money, although that's what he describes, but every place where rich people are able to become richer because they have more money to start out with.

A Brief Chat on World Government

You both seem to be assuming that competitive pressures from other governments is what causes current governments to be stable. However, that seems pretty unlikely to me. I doubt the US government would be significantly different, even if there was no ability for other governments to compete with the US at all (eg. no migration, no trade, no military). After all, how does the US government currently compete? Obviously with the military, but the US government isn't becoming less corrupt to avoid being out competed with the military. Aside from that, migration seems to be the main way, and if anything the US government attempts to be less fit in that regard.

The forces that keep it stable are rather entirely internal. Similarly, a world government would be kept stable through the forces of politics - presumably some form of democracy.

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