Every now and again a low target Kickstarter campaign catches the imagination and finds huge support. The Baubax jacket probably holds the record for an apparel project. With a few hours to go they're around $8.8 million .. They may have some production and distribution issues:-)
That’s not because of any particular theorem the 75-year-old Welsh native has proved, though over the course of a more than 40-year research career at Bell Labs (later AT&T Labs) he won numerous awards for papers in the fields of combinatorics, coding theory, optics and statistics. Rather, it’s because of the creation for which he’s most famous: the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences (OEIS), often simply called “Sloane” by its users.
This giant repository, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, contains more than a quarter of a million different sequences of numbers that arise in different mathematical contexts, such as the prime numbers (2, 3, 5, 7, 11 … ) or the Fibonacci sequence (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 … ). What’s the greatest number of cake slices that can be made with n cuts? Look up sequence A000125 in the OEIS. How many chess positions can be created in n moves? That’s sequence A048987. The number of ways to arrange n circles in a plane, with only two crossing at any given point, is A250001. That sequence just joined the collection a few months ago. So far, only its first four terms are known; if you can figure out the fifth, Sloane will want to hear from you.
A mathematician whose research generates a sequence of numbers can turn to the OEIS to discover other contexts in which the sequence arises and any papers that discuss it. The repository has spawned countless mathematical discoveries and has been cited more than 4,000 times.
On Sept. 2nd 1859, a huge coronal mass ejection (CME) slammed into Earth's magnetic field. Campers in the Rocky Mountains woke up in the middle of the night, thinking that the glow they saw was sunrise. Cubans read their morning paper in the predawn hours by the red light of the brilliant auroral display. Earth was bombarded by particles so energetic, they altered the chemistry of polar ice.
The geomagnetic storm intensified and electrified telegraph lines, shocking operators, setting installations on fire and taking the emerging Victorian Internet offline. Fortunately that represented most of technology sensitive to such events. Its cause was a huge solar flare witnessed the day before by British astronomer Richard Carrington. His observation marked the discovery of solar flares and created the field of space weather.
Studies suggest a similar storm would cause a $1 to $3 trillion dollars of infrastructure damage - including much of the electric grid - and require four to ten years for complete recovery. It is likely that most satellites in near orbit would be taken out. We talk about the technologies that impact us the most, but pull the plug even for a week and your mindset changes.
The question is how often do these huge CMEs happen? We haven't seen auroral displays of this magnitude since and our electrical and electronic infrastructure became increasingly more more vulnerable with increasing scale and complexity. Society managed to dodge a bullet. On July 23, 2012, a CME similar in size to the Carrington event was recorded. It wasn’t aimed at the Earth, so no problem… at least that time. One of the reasons for studying space weather is to provide an early warning system to prepare the grid for local space weather events. As the grid is redesigned some, but probably not enough, effort is going towards making it more robust to large geomagnetic storms.
Although the court’s decision on the Netherlands’ emissions reductions has been widely publicized around the world, the logic that the court used to conclude that the Dutch government had a duty to reduce its ghg emissions by 25% below 1990 by 2025 has received little media attention despite the fact that much of the court’s reasoning is potentially legally applicable to the responsibility of all other developed nations. And so, the reasoning in the Urgenda case could be used by proponents of stronger responses to climate change in other countries. Yet, as we will explain in this post, despite the fact if other courts apply the reasoning in the Urgenda to other developed nations, many developed nations including the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand would be required to increase their national ghg emissions commitments or INDCs, recent science on how much ghg concentrations in the atmosphere can rise without causing dangerous climate change supports the conclusion that the Dutch court mandated ghg emissions reductions target of -25% below 1990 levels by 2020 is still not stringent enough.
Much of the Court’s logic in its decision is relevant to the ethical issues that nations must face in developing climate change policy, even if the court’s reasoning in the Urgenda case is not directly legally applicable in other countries, After identifying the court’s legal reasoning in the bulleted paragraphs below, the significance of the legal reasoning for climate change ethics is identified in italics.
This post first reviews the Dutch Court’s logic that is relevant to how other nations should determine their ghg emissions reduction commitments under the UNFCCC, or INDCs. This is followed by a brief comment on the significance of the legal reasoning for climate change ethics.