It's darker here.


DTG: 08:17 Monday, 21 August 2023

While Donna Deegan's new mayoral administration holds the potential for rousing Jacksonville city government from its malignant torpor, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is in the hands of a Duval County Republican, the party responsible for decades of mediocrity.

It remains to be seen what Sheriff T.K. Waters' legacy will be, but early indications are uninspiring.

DTG: 08:13 Monday, 21 August 2023

We are going to have to reinvent the notion of insurance. The current model is unsustainable.

DTG: 10:26 Thursday, 10 August 2023

I thought this was worthwhile to read. A brief interview with a social scientist about climate science, denial, the future and Florida.

You Can't Go Home Again

DTG: 05:28 Wednesday, 9 August 2023

Tom Murphy of Do the Math offers some consolations of the pastoral life of the hunter-gatherer in the absence of modernity.

As an abstraction, I have little quarrel with him. But it's only an abstraction. Short of a collapse leaving humanity on the very edge of extinction, modernity, with all its flaws, is going to survive.

It's likely, almost to a near certainty, that this civilization, as a dynamic system, is in overshoot. It can't go on as it has. It's operating beyond the constraints of its environment. It will collapse. The machine stops. All human civilizations before have, why should ours be any different?

There may be some deus ex machina, in the form of an unanticipated technological breakthrough (like the Green Revolution, which perhaps only delayed the inevitable and made it worse in terms of scale) and unprecedented efforts in global cooperation; but that seems as unlikely as the return to Eden Murphy describes. For whatever comfort or hope that offers, I welcome you to it.

I think the best we can hope for is that we avoid a significant nuclear exchange, though I'm not optimistic about that. If there is a significant nuclear exchange, modernity will probably still survive if human beings do.

The 8 billion people currently living on this planet are supported by an advanced technological civilization, based on an economic system that is in overshoot. When the system fails, billions will die.

Not all at once, but fairly rapidly. Many violently, most through deprivation. Lack of food, clean drinking water, disease. The descent will be episodic though, punctuated catastrophe. The system will attempt to adapt after each episode, breaking up into smaller and smaller units, regional in nature.

My guess is that we'll bottom out in some form of feudal agrarian existence. Some elements of "high technology" will continue to function in ways that afford advantages to some groups over others as we near the bottom, which is how the feudal structure will return. Even when the utility power stops working, the guns run out of ammunition, oil and gas are no longer widely distributed commodities, knowledge will still be in books, and there will still be those who can read. And modernity will survive, and likely return.

Not anytime soon and likely in a diminished form as a lot of the low hanging fruit has already been plundered with regard to energy in the form of fossil fuels. Agriculture will survive. All the "-isms" will survive along with literacy. It won't be a hunter-gatherer existence. Hopefully knowledge of complexity and dynamic systems survives too.

Who knows? Maybe without the "advantage" of all that fossil fueled energy, modernity will evolve slowly, in a way compatible with planetary constraints.

But we'll never return to Eden.

Wave Power

DTG: 09:55 Monday, 7 August 2023

I was an ocean engineering major at the Naval Academy. I wasn't an outstanding student by any measure, but I got the degree.

There are things that stuck with me, one of them is "wave power varies as the cube of the height." That is, a wave that is twice as tall has eight times as much power.

Energy is the capacity to do work. Power is the rate at which work is done.

Most ocean waves are wind-generated, and wave height varies linearly with wind velocity. That is, a 10% increase in wind speed yields 10% higher average wave heights.

Wind speed is a function of energy in the atmosphere, temperature and pressure differences in various regions of the atmosphere. A warmer atmosphere has more energy, and so larger differences can occur, although on a global scale one might think that the average atmospheric temperature is equally greater, so the differences that drive wind would be relatively the same. But, it's complicated and they're not.

So this report came as little surprise to me.

The analysis revealed that in the era beginning after 1970, California's average winter wave height has increased by 13% or about 0.3 meters (one foot) compared to average winter wave height between 1931 and 1969. Bromirski also found that between 1996 and 2016 there were about twice as many storm events that produced waves greater than four meters (13 feet) in height along the California coast compared to the two decades spanning 1949 to 1969.

So (average winter Pacific northwest) wave heights have increased 13% since 1970. That means average wave power has increased 1.13^3, or ~1.44. That's 44%!

That's 44% more power to erode shorelines, move sand. In a rising ocean.

Shoreline erosion is taking place at a much faster rate than it has in the past. We can quibble about whether it's 20%, 30%, or 44%, but no matter what number you want to put on it, you have less time to "manage" shoreline erosion.

We have to move faster.

Damn the Torpedoes, Indeed

DTG: 10:41 Sunday, 6 August 2023

Heather Cox Richardson with a worthwhile history lesson.

Go Navy.

Uninsured Florida

DTG: 07:30 Saturday, 5 August 2023

I'm sharing this Washington Post piece with a "gift" link, so you can read it behind the paywall. It's about the state of the insurance market in Florida, and it's very troubling.

The "reforms" the legislature enacted last session mainly make it harder for homeowners to contest claims. Virtually all the reforms favor insurers, not policy holders.

Understand your risk before choosing to live in "the free state of Florida," owned and operated by the Republican Party for more than a generation.


DTG: 13:26 Thursday, 3 August 2023

Over on the marmot, I called this post "Bullshit."

It's about a report on Gate Petroleum working to get some re-zoning for its premiere resort properties, the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and the Ponte Vedra Lodge & Club.

The laughable quote in the piece was about them planning for what they'd "like to see out of these properties for the next 100 years."

That's a joke, because 100 years from now that property will probably be under water, or subject to flooding of such frequency that it'll be abandoned.

But Gate Petroleum isn't stupid, so I think there's more going on here, and this is what I think it is:

They're going to spruce the place up, add some additional units, likely built with an eye to becoming condominiums. They'll turn both properties into condos in about ten to fifteen years. Ideally soon enough that there will be plenty of suckers who will buy into them.

Getting that re-zoning done will be a key step.

Of course, the county will go along with it, because they likely stand to make considerable revenue on the purchase of each individual condo unit, and taxing individual homeowners.

In 30 years, it'll be clear that the property is in serious trouble, but it'll be too late for the condo owners, and the Peyton family will be sleeping on mattresses stuffed with cash, congratulating themselves on making bank unloading that white elephant.

You have to admire the vision.