Malcolm Gladwell talks about his latest book about understanding strangers. He talks about the TV show Friends, where it’s easy to interpret the words and gestures of characters — which is the opposite of real life. Some other shows which are easy to decode: Larry Sanders Show, Third Rock from the Sun, Brooklyn 99, Taxi. (all favorite shows btw). These shows have types and then have actors who give them unique and quirky qualities.
Here are two tweets which just astonished me:
- PAULA JEAN SWEARENGIN: It’s a fair assumption to think I have millions of dollars because I run for office. Most of our representatives come from privilage. I am a single mom and never made $25,000 a year in my life. Paula Jean Swearengin, who ran for US Senate twice in West Virginia. She ran against Joe Manchin in 2018 and then against Republican Shelley Moore Capito — losing both by substantial margins, but putting in enormous efforts both times. She was also featured in the Netflix documentary Knock Down the House (about how first time politicians ran political campaigns). She’s West Virginia’s version of Bernie Sanders, she’s a great speaker, and even though her main issue is opposition to coal, she embraces a lot of other progressive cause. I found out about her from a 3 minute speech she gave at a coal mine protest — which was one of the most remarkable political speeches ever. Perhaps it was her first political speech ever. Despite losing massively, she became a much measured and better speaker and capable of talking about policies and reading the room. Also, her volunteer staff punched well above their weight. She has learned a lot and I would love for Paula Jean to stay in politics. (Her twitter feed is always remarkable).
- SETH MACFARLANE: Tucker Carlson’s latest opinion piece once again makes me wish Family Guy was on any other network. Look, Fox, we both know this marriage isn’t working anymore. The sex is only once a year, I don’t get along with your mother, and well… I’ve been having an affair with NBC. This is certainly the case of biting the hand that feeds you, but it’s amazing and sad that MacFarlane lacked the insight to see a disconnect between his personal values and the values of the company which run his shows.
Thomas Geoghegan on that time I ran for Congress:
To my delight, the South Park people are contemplating buying the Casa Bonita Mexican Restaurant. They used it as the setting for the hilarious Casa Bonita restaurant episode. Totally worth it. I was looking up a South Park clip and came across this gem. Here is Cartman Bra being interviewed by NPR interview Julie Rovner. Would like to see that full episode without paying, but can’t find a way! Wow, here’s a 1997 interview of Trey & Matt on South Park with Jay Leno and an outrageous trailer to their comedy movie Orgazmo (which is pre-South Park!)
To my amazement, I see that they made another sick comedy in college called Cannibal — the Musical. It’s available for free on Youtube. I’ll admit, it never occurred to me when I was in college that college students could make passable movies — maybe I would have tried to make a few myself! (Instead I was writing plays and stories in creative writing classes).
An interior designer imagines and reconstructs the spartan set for the Honeymooners TV show. She also draws inspiration from famous movie sets.
Don’t ask me how I surfed to it, but here are interviews with people who survived the Titanic. Here and here. “An iceberg? I’ve always wanted to do see one!” The most amazing was the inteview with Frank Prentice who dived from the top before it started sinking. Two more interviews here. 16 minute interview from 1960 here. Here’s a 50 minute audio recording by survivors.
IPCC 6 just hit the streets today. Here’s a 42 page Policymaker’s Summary PDF (which is surprisingly hard to find on the ipcc site). Carbon brief gives a very interesting deep dive into IPCC6 . In particular I was interested in climate sensitivity (aka, what is the effect of doubling CO2 over preindustrial levels?) IPCC AR6 report gives a central estimate 3.0C, with a likely range of 2.5-4C and a very likely range of 2-5C. (Likely = 66-100% and Very likely = 90-100%)
Here’s a succinct summary of IPCC6 and climate scientist Gavin Schmidt writes several responses and analyses here and here. According to a guest article, the best estimate of when 1.5ºC warming might be reached in the AR6 report is around 2034.5 (the year on which the 20-year period 2025-2044 is centred), with lots of wiggle room. (More symbolic than important is when the North Pole will first have an ice-free summer, which could be happening any year now).
Climate sensitivity is a vital scientific question, but even more vital is how quickly will we be able to reduce carbon emissions? (“we” meaning “the entire world.”) I am very pessimistic at the ability of our country (and even developing countries) to reduce emissions. It requires a lot of capital and a lot more planning and political will to do this. My prediction (based on not a lot of study) is that the world will underdeliver on its goal by a significant amount — leading to the possibility that we may end up tripling our emissions — an almost unthinkable possibility). As a result, there may be a need to do “negative emissions” (figuring out a mechanism to remove CO2 from the atmosphere). Technology Review has the lowdown about what negative emissions are all about the tall price they exact in the future.
See also Emily Atkin’s cynical take on responses to IPCC 6 (one of which was sponsored by Chevron).
I have to say, I am not particularly impressed by Biden’s infrastructure plan — which has been watered down. Frankly, I’m surprised that carbon fee and dividend hasn’t been a centerpiece of any climate change legislation.
Just for kicks I will google my name and see what comes up. My blogposts no longer show up at top; instead I see lots of obituaries for various Robert Nagles around the country — and 2 wedding announcements! Apparently I am married either to someone named Medora or Alicia, take your pick. Still no TikTok vids about me (although there is one for Robert NAUGLE). Several Robert Nagles are dentists and real estate agents, but my favorite is the item on RATEMYPROFESSORS: “Robert Nagle is the worst professor I have ever had in my academic career. He knows very little about his subject and will brag about his 10 years experience of teaching a class incorrectly. I would avoid him at all costs, even if it means waiting until the next semester to take this class,” and “This professor does not like women!” Hey, with praise like that, it’s no wonder that my namesakes across the country are kicking the bucket! Just to be on the safe side, maybe I should consult a psychologist who specializes in my ailment.
Had an argument with my mother about which kinds of plastics can be easily recycled. Here’s a great deep dive by NPR into how oil and gas companies have sold the myth that plastics can be recycled (when in fact only categories 1 and 2 are easily recycled). This 2020 Greenpeace report (PDF) covers the material in even greater detail. Some materials are recycled at relatively high levels: more than two-thirds of paper and about a third of aluminum. But for plastic, the rate is just eight percent. Another 16 percent is incinerated. The vast majority of plastic — that remaining 76 percent — ends up in landfills. Here’s a screenshot from a PBS Frontline investigation: