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2017-06-11

"BrexitExit" and the costs of Hubris

In the aftermath of the disastrous (for the Tory Government) 2017 general election (for clarity - the one in June ; I remember 1974 and the two general elections that year, and I'm not going to rule out a second one this year), the question of how badly the UK Government's team at the upcoming "Brexit" negotiation will be weakened is obviously of importance. On one side will be a team from the UK's DUP-CUP Coalition of Chaos, constantly looking over their shoulders to see if they're getting the sack this afternoon, and on the other side a team of professional negotiators with homes to go to and careers that won't be badly affected one way or the other by the result. It's not going to go the way that the Government  or their Brexit supporters want. And the deal that will be aimed at by the professional EU negotiators will be one that is so bad for Britain that it becomes an unavoidable question whether or not it is worth carrying on.
 The UK Government is going to have to try to exit from Brexit. Hence the tag "#BrexitExit".
At that point, one would expect - "require", even, since part of the charge of the EU government is to extend and enhance the EU - the EU negotiators to extract some political payment. If membership of a club is considered an attractive thing, then defectors must be punished, and punished publicly. 
I think one of the high probabilities of a demand for suspending Article 50 and ceasing Britain's efforts to leave the EU will be Britain signing up for the Euro.

The fact that this would be utterly repugnant to many of the political engineers of the whole Brexit debacle would, of course, be one of the motives for making this demand. There are swords which have not been fallen upon, and that is not an acceptable end point of the process. 

I'm also trying to remember an aphorism to the effect that "Those who the Gods wish to destroy [for their sin of hubris], they will first drive insane." [See footnote]
Boy, was PM Theresa May suffering a severe attack of hubris when she called the election, and now it's either Furies or Harpies that are keeping her awake at night.

Links : (submitted as comment/ idea to a journalist on NZZ, Neue Z├╝rich Zeitung) Back-link?

Footnote 1 : "DUP-CUP" Democratic Unionist Party is well known ; the official name of the Tories has always (well my political lifetime, at least) been the "Conservative and Unionist Party" ; normally Tories refer to themelves as "Conservatives", but when first toadying to the DUP, May started using the full name, and telegraphing what was coming by that wording.

Footnote 2 :  That phrasing actually seems to be from the 1870s by Longfellow, but the concept has been traced back via multiple re-uses to Sophocles' Antigone lines 622-624

that a man can reason the bad
into good, when a god
seduces his wit.

2017-04-12

What to do about global climate change?

Lots of BLAH but several things are clear :
- Climates are complex. Certainly more complex than we DO understand;  possibly more complex than we CAN understand (without using machines) ;
- People are in deep - ostrich mode (obvious from coverage) ;
- by combination, the two above mean that nothing will be done, until too late. (It may already be too late.)
Hence, the increasing interest in "geoengineering". But which of the many possible schemes to follow? Surely a more difficult, and important, question.

The first point is important. Many proposed schemes interfere with complex systems in complex ways. It is perfectly hard to predict the consequences. Another concern is the time LAG between action and effect and (not unreasonable ) concerns of overshooting the desired end point. Another reasonable concern is the plausible disproportionate effect of controls on people less responsible for the problem.
SO . . .  I see the simplest solution as
(1) change insolation, not the atmosphere. The atmosphere is just too complex.
(2) change the insolation in space
(3) add components  (and so effect) in small but simply additive increments.

My proposition: combine magnetic force propulsion with solar sail technology and the properties of the L1 Lagrange point.
- Orbital objects near L1 stay there with little station-keeping effort.
- This is an area around 1Gm (a million km) from Earth, on the Sun-Earth line.
- The Sun (and Earth) has a non-trivial magnetic field in the region of L1
- At L1 the area covered by the Sun is AROUND 1000km across. Area 750000sq.km.
- We have TRIED  (failed, not for relevant reasons) to launch a solar sail of around 100m diameter. 0.03sq.km
- To reduce insolation by 1%, 7500sq.km of blocking solar sail would be needed. That is a lot of launches, but not immense. Incremental improvements will increase effectiveness of each vessel and launch.



Update : Does the Earth's magnetic field extend out to a million km (L1)?