Monday, January 28, 2013

The Lessons of History (1)

Will and Ariel Durant spent over fifty years completing the critically acclaimed series "The Story of Civilization," and were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction in 1968. 

Their short and charming publication "The Lessons of History" extracts lessons and insights from their lifelong research and presents them in highly readable essays.

A few sample chapter titles: 
  • History and the Earth
  • Morals and History
  • Character and History
  • Economics and History
  • Socialism and History
  • Government and History
  • Growth and Decay
The Economics and History chapter touches on how wealth becomes concentrated, and then distributed, over the centuries. Here is the closing paragraph:
We conclude that the concentration of wealth is natural and inevitable, and is periodically alleviated by violent or peaceable partial redistribution. In this view all economic history is the slow heartbeat of the social organism, a vast systole and diastole of concentrating wealth and compulsive recirculation.
That rings true.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

If someone told you the black line dots drive the red line...

The blue vertical lines are temperature extremes by year, in the US, since 1895.
The red line is the average temperature by year, in the US.
The black dots are atmospheric CO2 concentrations since 1895.

It's been hot. It's been cold. It's been mild, in between. 

Question 1: what's the trend? (please explain why you picked the starting point that you picked)

Question 2: does it look to you that CO2 levels are driving temperature up?

Question 3: does it look to you that CO2 levels are creating more temperature extremes?