29 de fevereiro de 2016

Os riscos da 4ª revolução industrial não são do domínio da ficção científica

Os riscos desta revolução industrial, muito reais, têm de ter, mais do que tudo, uma ampla resposta política - não poderão contar com soluções que emerjam do mero funcionamento estrutural da economia (dos mercados); não que se possa arredar - o texto não fala disso - a possibilidade que daí venham, da economia, de modo endógeno, alterações importantes para uma nova solução de equilíbrio sócio-económica e política, que integre o impacto da quarta revolução industrial (riscos e benefícios) e a manutenção da progressiva melhoria sócio-económica do conjunto da população: por exemplo, não se percebe em que medida haverá um novo perfil de oferta de trabalho, diversificado, diferente e, quantitativamente relevante, que ajude a política na conformação do trajeto para aquele novo equilíbrio.

"While it would of course be nonsensical to advocate a halt to technological progress, there is a pressing need to flesh out the scenario of a radiant digital future with an analysis of its impact on society and the world of labour, in order to anticipate the effects. The digital revolution, left to its own devices, risks creating more top-of-the-scale jobs for some, and mini-jobs or unemployment for the rest; more freedom for the few, more servitude for the many; more prosperity for the privileged, more precarious conditions for the masses.

It is a scenario that can be avoided if the political and economic actors can agree to join forces and to invite academic, cultural, social and trade union stakeholders into the debate."

Here Are The New Social Risks Of The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Desigualdade versus um crescimento económico insatisfatório, insuficiente, para os pobres e classe média

Leitura fortemente recomendada.

"The question of whether high inequality today bodes well for future rates of income growth and poverty reduction has recently acquired added relevance because of the slowdown of growth in rich countries and simultaneously rising inequality. The relationship between inequality and future growth has been extensively researched but, unfortunately, the results have proved to be inconclusive. We argue that by looking at the growth of average incomes (or GDP per capita) important heterogeneities are being overlooked. The question we should be asking is: how do individuals at different rungs of the socio-economic ladder fare in societies with different levels of inequality? This is precisely what two of us have done in a recent study."

Inequality harms economic growth for the poor

28 de fevereiro de 2016

Apesar das boas notícias de Al Gore - eu gostei de as ouvir - o meu verdadeiro receio é que, o que está expresso a bold abaixo, se venha mesmo a confirmar

"Comment of the Day: Graydon: Current Links: "The thing about the Nick Stern climate article...

...is that it's uselessly pollyana-ish by talking about economic percentages and not food. Climate-driven disruption gets you, not in the sea level or the air conditioning bill or the change in energy source, but in the farming; either you get hungry or a large hungry group shows up unwilling to starve for your convenience. This is an immediate concern, not a future concern. (That is, there are place in the world where this is already happening.) We do not have 'this century' to get to zero net carbon; we have a lot less time than that. We might have negative time. We are way, way into existential threat territory on this already."


 2016 Toon 9

2016 SkS Weekly Digest #9
2016 Poster 9

O futuro poderá ser melhor do que estávamos a perspetivar, há anos atrás, diz Al Gore, neste vídeo da TED

 Que grande Presidente Al Gore teria sido, e que grossas chatices teriam sido evitadas.

The case for optimism on climate change

Leituras sobre a Europa

The new nationalism: Eastern Europe turns right | Prospect Magazine

Jeremy Corbyn: the politician who never grew up | Prospect Magazine

27 de fevereiro de 2016

A parte Norte de Plutão

 Astronomy Picture of the Day
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.
Northern Pluto Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Institute
Explanation: Gaze across the frozen canyons of northern Pluto in this contrast enhanced color scene, imaged last July by the New Horizons spacecraft. Currently known as Lowell Regio, the region has been informally named for Percival Lowell, founder of the Lowell Observatory. Also famous for his speculation that there were canals on Mars, in 1906 Lowell started the search that ultimately led to Pluto's discovery. Pluto's North Pole itself is above and left of center in the the frame. The pale bluish floor of the broad canyon on the left is about 70 kilometers (45 miles) wide, running vertically toward the south. Higher elevations take on a yellowish hue. New Horizon's measurements have determined that in addition to nitrogen ice, methane ice is abundant across northern Pluto's Lowell Regio.

25 de fevereiro de 2016

The number that fascinates physicists above all others:

"It is the fine-structure constant denoted by the Greek letter alpha. Paul Davies explains."

Sobre Piketty

Brad DeLong descreteia sobre o livro de Piketty, Capital no Século XXI (2013), principais pontos, críticas (as boas e as menos boas). Interessante e uma boa súmula das questões que o livro levantou e levanta. Leitura recomendada.

The Melting-Away of North Atlantic Social Democracy

Comentário de Krugman a esta notícia: "It's a very strange world"

Justice Scalia spent his last hours with members of this secretive society of elite hunters

A coisa é até simples de perceber; exige é que se tenha (que se queira) o modelo de explicação adequado.

Explanação do problema português atual, de modo claro, eficaz e eficiente - enfim, porque razão a tragédia existe, as suas causas primeiras, isso só, lateralmente, é abordado. Leitura recomendada. O comentário mais curioso, a modos como encriptado, é o contido na última frase.

Não Há Almoços Grátis - A tragédia - João César das Neves - DN

24 de fevereiro de 2016

Números interessantes

Um excerto, mas convém ler o artigo na totalidade. O artigo é de

" To understand why the problem confounds policymakers, it is helpful to compare the world’s two largest economies. The United States is a liberal democracy with a market-based economy, in which the factors of production are privately owned. China, by contrast, is governed by a political class that holds democracy in contempt. Its economy – despite decades of pro-market reforms – continues to be defined by heavy state intervention.

But despite their radically different political and economic systems, the two countries have roughly the same level of income inequality. Each country’s Gini coefficient – the most commonly used measure of income equality – is roughly 0.47.

In one important way, however, their situations are very different. In the US, inequality is rapidly worsening. In 1978, the top 1% of the US population was ten times richer than the rest of the country. Today, the average income of the top 1% is roughly 30 times that of the average person in the remaining 99%. During the same period, inequality in China has been declining."

The Inequality Puzzle

Não estamos, mesmo, preparados para o que aí vem.

A subida do nível do mar será de 1,3 m em 2100, se não houver surpresas desagradáveis, digo eu, nomeadamente, do lado da Gronelândia e da Antártica Ocidental.

"Sea levels will rise by a much 4.3 feet (1.3 m) by 2100 if humans continue to emit at current rates. That figure could be reduced to as low as 0.8 feet (0.24 m) if humans peak and then reduce carbon emissions in the coming decades.

Achieving such reductions won’t be an easy feat. Countries from around the world agreed in Paris last December to try to keep average global temperatures from rising more than 3.6°F (2°C) by 2100. Even if that goal is achieved—some are rightfully skeptical—sea levels are still expected to rise far beyond 0.8 ft (0.24 m). That could erase low-lying island countries like Kiribati and affect coastal cities on the Atlantic coast of the United States."

Why We're Not Prepared for The Coming Decades of Sea Level Rise

23 de fevereiro de 2016


Eu, como qualquer outro entusiasta destas coisas, sempre soube que haveria maneiras de irmos mais rápido a todo o sítio out there (enfim, para já, na vizinhança solar) - não estava era à espera que houvesse, tão à mão de semear, uma alternativa não-nuclear tão prometedora.

Olhem, algo sobre o orçamento que é informativo e não barulhento no mau sentido

A análise é de Pedro Romano, economista, com o blogue Desvio Colossal (de que recomendo, vivamente, a leitura) - é uma análise bem informada (mais técnica no blogue) e equilibrada (entenda-se, não sectária, o que é algo importante nos dias que correm).

Desigualdade versus Liberdade

É um ponto de vista interessante:

"Inequality doesn’t just reduce freedom for workers. It reduces freedom for business owners too.Will says this is because countries that want to tax and redistribute must have a healthy economy, which requires business freedom. I suspect that there are two other mechanisms at work.

One is that many of the rich have no interest in economic freedom. They want to protect extractive institutions and the monopoly power of incumbents from competition. They thus favour red tape, which tends to bear heavier upon small firms than big ones. This, I suspect, explains why inequality and unfreedom go together in Latin America, for example.

Secondly, people have a strong urge for fairness. If they cannot achieve this through market forces, they’ll demand it via the ballot box in the form of state regulation. As Philippe Aghion and colleagues point out, there is a negative correlation between union density and minimum wages: minimum wage laws are more likely to be found where unions are weak. Regulations, in this sense, are a substitute for strong unions – and, I suspect, a bad substitute because they are more inflexible."

Detrás da poeira duma galáxia vizinha...

 See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Astronomy Picture of the Day
A Supernova through Galaxy Dust
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA);
Inset Image: Howard Hedlund & Dave Jurasevich, Las Campanas Obs.
Explanation: Telescopes around the world are tracking a bright supernova that occurred in a nearby dusty galaxy. The powerful stellar explosion was first noted earlier this month. The nearby galaxy is the photogenic Centaurus A, visible with binoculars and known for impressive filaments of light-absorbing dust that cross its center. Cen A is featured here in a high-resolution archival Hubble Space Telescope image, with an inset image featuring the supernova taken from the ground only two days after discovery. Designated SN2016adj, the supernova is highlighted with crosshairs in the inset, appearing just to the left of a bright foreground star in our Milky Way Galaxy. This supernova is currently thought to be of Type IIb, a stellar-core-collapse supernova, and is of high interest because it occurred so nearby and because it is being seen through a known dust filament. Current and future observations of this supernova may give us new clues about the fates of massive stars and how some elements found on our Earth were formed.

21 de fevereiro de 2016

Um testemunho sobre questões de decência, discriminação e racismo

Interessante: a experiência de um médico sikh no Reino Unido, e a sua reflexão quanto às questões do racismo. Leitura recomendada. Um excerto:

"I landed at Heathrow on 26th January 1991 with three pounds in my pocket and a turban on my head. In my head were Oxford spires, Bertie Wooster, Pink Floyd, Sir Humphrey Appleby from Yes, Minister and the Marylebone Cricket Club—as well as a firm conviction that I would feel at home. I was heading for Hounslow in west London to get some cash from a family friend before going to the General Medical Council (GMC) offices near Great Portland Street to register, and finally to Lincoln to start work as a junior doctor. At Heathrow, I asked an elderly lady how to get to Hounslow, admitting that I only had £3. “Don’t worry love, you will get there and still have change left for a drink.” Paradise: where women you have never met call you “love.”

The GMC office was tricky to find. Outside the tube station, I asked directions from a group of youngsters who snarled: “Fuck off.” Disheartened, I turned to a man rushing somewhere. He looked at my creased paper with the GMC address and phone number, rang the number on his brick-sized mobile phone to find out where it was and walked me to the front door.

Lincoln was trickier still. Flat, everyone white, and not a turban or dark skin in sight. Walking back the first evening from a corner shop, I was stopped by three young men. Tattooed and aggressive, they wanted to know if I was aware that their country and my country were at war. They thought I was Iraqi. They were in no mood for lessons in geography, religion or culture; my pleading that I was a Sikh from India was of no interest. As they started to push and shove me, a group of women across the road came over. They were nursing students and one of them had seen me earlier that day trying to find my way round the hospital accommodation. One of them shooed the guys off with language that would do a seasoned sailor proud. I was close to tears. She took me to her flat, made me the most welcoming cup of tea I have ever had, and said: “Don’t mind those dickheads, love.” Love, again
I was bewildered..."

Is Britain a racist country? | Prospect Magazine

19 de fevereiro de 2016

Já ouviram falar dos irmãos Kochs?

Leitura instrutiva. Só para titilar o apetite:

"Jane Mayer’s remarkable new book makes it abundantly clear that the Kochs, and the closely connected group of billionaires they’ve helped assemble, have spent thousands of times that much over the past few decades, and that in the process they’ve distorted American politics in devastating ways, impairing the chances that we’ll effectively respond to climate change, reducing voting rights in many states, paralyzing Congress, and radically ratcheting up inequality.

In this election cycle, for instance, the Kochs have publicly stated that they and their compatriots will spend $889 million, more than either the Republican or Democratic parties spent last time around. According to a recent analysis in Politico, their privatized political network is backed by a group of several hundred extremely rich fellow donors who often meet at off-the-record conclaves organized by the Kochs at desert resorts. It has at least 1,200 full-time staffers in 107 offices nationwide, or three and a half times as many as the Republican National Committee. They may be the most important unelected political figures in American history.

As a result, Jane Mayer’s Dark Money—a detailed accounting of their rise and rise—is absolutely necessary reading for anyone who wants to make sense of our politics. Lay aside the endless punditry about Donald’s belligerence or Hillary’s ambition; Mayer is telling the epic story of America in our time. It is a triumph of investigative reporting, perhaps not surprising for a journalist who has won most of the awards her profession has to offer. But she had to cut through the secrecy that these men have carefully cultivated, unraveling an endless list of front groups. And she had to do it despite real intimidation; apparently an arm of what some have called “the Kochtopus” hired private investigators to try to dig up dirt on her personal and professional life, a tactic that failed because there wasn’t any. She’s a pro, and she’s given the world a full accounting of what had been a shadowy and largely unseen force."

The Koch Brothers’ New Brand

18 de fevereiro de 2016

Olhar por cima do muro para terreno que nunca iremos trilhar, mas, a ver se se percebe alguma coisa ...

Muito interessante. Uma primeira parte muito pedagógica, e acessível; depois, não tanto. Uma reta final que se vai acompanhando. As perguntas e respostas dão alguma informação sobre buracos negros que não sabia. Enfim, para quem gosta destas coisas, e numa de aprofundar o nosso nível de ignorância, vale a pena ver.


Uma dúvida essencial

Nesta parábola de João César das Neves o que me, ainda, levanta dúvidas não é a adequação do acidente do Titanic como imagem evocativa do que se passou em Portugal, no período do pré-ajustamento, e na primeira fase do ajustamento - é a interpretação das razões que explicam o comportamento da oposição, máxime, do partido Socialista em todo o processo. Isso, é, ainda, para mim, nebuloso: tratou-se, trata-se, de expedientes políticos, de taticismos "casuísticos", ou, mesmo, da real convicção política do processo de ajustamento, no seu todo, ter sido um erro? Esta é uma das questões políticas mais determinantes que Portugal tem neste momento, e muito em particular, a esquerda (não da esquerda à esquerda). Por exemplo, António Vitorino, ouvi-o eu dizê-lo, na TV, que não havia dúvidas que o ajustamento tinha sido necessário. Se António Vitorino o diz, essa é, a convicção do PM? Não sei responder.

Não Há Almoços Grátis - Titanic - João César das Neves - DN