Friday, April 23, 2010

Facebook has gone rogue

You can tell Facebook has gone rogue. After they began leaking information that their user had marked "private," they have now elected to leak this information to any websites you visit.

They require everyone to go through contortions to opt-out, and when you finally reach the button, it is labeled:
Allowing instant personalization will give you a richer experience as you browse the web. If you opt-out, you will have to manually activate these experiences.
You can tell from the turn of sentence that Facebook has been handed over to the marketing department, and that these individuals do not have your best interest at heart. Bastards.

After you uncheck the box, Facebook will reach for an excuse to continue leaking your information, and interpret your friends' non-opting-out as a permission to leak your information on their behalf. Facebook's message continues:
Please keep in mind that if you opt out, your friends may still share public Facebook information about you to personalize their experience on these partner sites unless you block the application.
In order to maintain you sense of inconspicuousness, you have to turn off acquaintance leaking as well.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Catastrophic Rapid Climate Change

According to Krugman's excellent summary of the consensus amongst economists is that avoiding catastrophic rapid climate change would cost 0.03 to 0.09 percent point of growth per year until 2050. In other words, the annual to 2050 would be 2.31 percent, instead of 2.4 percent. That is very small indeed. Put another way, it would cost 775$ per household over 40 years, which is about 20$/year. And at 2.66 persons per household on average, solving the problem cost a whole 7.26$/year. It's about the price of the Starbucks latte you took Jan 17st, plus the price of the one from Aug 23rd.

Let's do a cost/benefit analysis. If we maintain the status-quo, and proceed as usual and burn all the coal available on this planet, the temperature goes up by 11F (see the question-and-answer section at the end of the talk.) New York becomes Mississippi and Mississippi becomes unlivable. If we burn all the coal, we return to the temperature on the planet before the coal was made, 55 millions year ago. It was the time of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, a "slow" event, with a gradual warming spread over 20'000 years time, that nevertheless resulted in a mass extinction.

Meanwhile, we human have sufficient coal-fire power plants deployed to get that kind of change done in 100 years. Go us!

So, to complete this cost/benefit analysis, I ask you, how much is your planet worth?