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Showing posts from October, 2017

Climate Game

All written work will be graded on the basis of mechanics (spelling and grammar), good argumentative writing skills (clarity, conciseness, effective use of evidence), and incorporation of the scholarly literature and valid data as grounds for your arguments. For all assignments, but especially for the final paper, you should cite readings from the syllabus and in-class activities, as well as external sources as necessary, in supporting your arguments. Final Team Paper Write an 8- to 12-page, single-spaced paper analyzing the forces that shape the development and adoption of a currently available technology (e.g., electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, smart electric metering, nuclear power, fracking). We expect you to: Analyze your technology from at least two social science perspectives (e.g., economics, history, sociology, political science) and two levels of social aggregation (i.e., individual, household, firm, nation or another level) identifying the various actors it may affect. …

Class notes and homework 10/24/17


A Manuel Castells in Wikipedia

This blog post is simplified cliff notes of Abbate's book. Sue Greenwood quotes Abbate and outlines the information, but doesn't give her opinion about the book. 

C McKim, J. 2001. Review of Inventing the Internet by Janet Abbate. Canadian Journal of Communication, Vol. 26:1

Joel McKim feels Janet Abbate falls short in her intentions to focus on the narratives of use concerning the internet instead of the common narratives of production. If she had in fact achieved her thesis I would be interested in reading the book for a better understanding of how the internet is affecting our world today.

Janet Abbate's book is accessible there, for further details, if intere…

Lecture 10

Lecture 9

Hi Larry,
This was an interesting lecture. The class has changed tact to the decision making aspect - more social science than science. I'm also experimenting with uploading my written notes rather than typing directly onto the blog while listening to the lecture.

Class notes and homework 10/17/17

Class Notes

Who invented the microprocessor?  Ted Hoff 
When and where did this invention take place?  Intel, 1971
What is the Internet?  A large number of independent networks connected through computers or other electronic devices. The information available is limitless and ever changing. 
What is the relationship between internet-based information technologies and innovation?

The internet can provide a place to express and store ideas and information that can be accessed by like-minded people or businesses. This enables collaboration and automation of information or developing projects providing a collaboration to facilitate new developments in a faster and more efficient manner.

could you please write about, in a 3-5 sentences, what the genetic engineering revolution is including a thesis / argument in the first sentence. ("My thesis is that the genetic engineering revolution came about because ..." or ... or ... ) ... 
The genetic engineering revolution came about bec…

Class notes and homework 10/10/17

Class Notes


What is the Network Society for Castells?
the social structure is organized around electronically processed information networks.

What are Networks?
electronically processed social movement

What is Society for Castells?
society is found in networks. if not geographically it is possible to find others of general thought in a network. individual countries have to think globally to progress.

Lecture 8

Derived Demand
The demand for energy is derived from what it does for you.
Solving for the demand for electricity as a function of its price
Capital is important in the production of most energy services
Capital and energy are complements - increasing the price of one decreases demand for both
There has been enormous progress in technologies for energy services - auto technology advanced 2.6%/year, 1980-2006
Making lighting more efficient would raise the demand for lighting
Making cars more efficient makes driving cheaper, and should increase driving
Making lighting more efficient raises the demand for electricity.
CAFE standards may have increased the demand for gasoline - Rebound effect - the price of gasoline goes up, people drive less. Cars get cheaper to drive, people drive more.
In the long run, expect more change. More flexibility
The demand for electricity is a function of the price of electricity and the efficiency of lighting
Most energy-transforming and energy-using capital…

Class notes and homework 10/03/17

What is information technology?
Application of computers to store, study, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data or information.
Anything stored is data, but it only becomes information when it is organized and presented meaningfully.
The study, design, development, application, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems.

What came about as a consequence of its development?
New ways to store data.
Effects on society are pervasive. Allows us to do things in a way we could never before.

Who did it?
20th century - Information revolution
1947 - transistor invented - Bell Labs
manipulate information through technology
repeat signals in smaller and more integrated ways.

late 50's - intergrated circuit chip
programable, expandable

1959-62 - Chips developed
semiconductor prices fell 85%
production increased

1971 - invention of microprocessor - Sharp - Ted Hoff
computer in a chip

Gordon Moore - Intel - Speed

Lecture 6

Climate Change Agenda
How would a global Czar (which economists like to assume) construct an efficient global climate policy – considering only total costs/benefits/risks?

Without a Czar and even without a world government, can the nations of the world (YOU!) agree to a reasonable, if perhaps not fully efficient, climate policy?

What Do We Know?
Global Mean Temperatures are Rising
Apparent slowdown in recent years likely reflects La NiƱa conditions plus a solar radiation minimum

Why is this Problem Hard? Time-Scales
Emissions of CO2 have a half-life (not from exponential decay) of around a century
The earth is not in equilibrium with respect to current GHG concentrations; it takes lots of heat to warm the deep oceans, lots of time to diffuse
Thus even if GHG emissions were cut sharply, concentrations would remain high & climate change would continue, with a variety of known and unknown damages, for decades
Decisions thus involve time-scales of centuries: the Czar must decide how …

Lecture 5

What determines which energy technologies are in use?
Durable capital
Replace something that is capital intensive to another thing that is capital intensive

Technically best choices from technologies available?

Probably not: different rich countries make different choices – French nuclear, EU v. US rail & transit systems

Surely incomplete: What determines rate/direction of innovation and thus the set of available technologies at any time?

People make choices – individual & collective – not always “optimal”; the market just coordinates

History: culture shapes individual & collective choices

Chinese failure to exploit massive advantages in many areas

Dutch/Danish decision to retain reliance on bicycles

Main focus today: three ways past energy decisions shape future ones -- versions of path dependence

Cost of durable capital is important in many energy technologies/systems

Big changes in policy regimes often very disruptive – hence rare

Rational policy inertia (decades)  inert…

Lecture 4

Why are there governments?
get their legitimacy because they fallow a certain fair process
goals that are pursued are popular goals

But what about governments of Henry VIII, Ivan the Terrible, the Khymer Rouge, Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, etc.?
Some government don’t have noble goals, but they all have goals.

Elements of functional governments
A near monopoly on the use of force within some territory

Functional legitimacy – people are generally willing to accept policies/decisions without the use of force

Perhaps because they come from a process perceived to be fair or divinely endorsed, or because they serve popular goals

Or to some extent because order & stability are always valuable and the costs of disobedience or attempted revolution are perceived to exceed the likely benefits

Functioning states generally have both a set of policies (law, regulations, unwritten rules) and a process (open or secret) for changing them

The market v. the political world

Individuals pursue self-in…

Lecture 3

In 1970, President Nixon Signs the Clean Air Act, Creating EPA
Why are we discussing this anti-pollution policy in a class on energy?
energy is the source of the pollution
energy policy is made because of environmental policy

Interesting NAS estimates of 2005 “unpriced consequences ” of energy use (externalities):
coal-fired power plants: $62 billion
gas-fired power plants: $749 million
transportation: $56 billion ($36 billion light-duty, $20 billion other)
electric vehicles (coal) worse than diesel worse than gasoline or corn ethanol

Numbers are computed from people dying - wage premiums for risky jobs

Is it sensible to estimate, ethical to use such $ values of (statistical) lives, sickness?
No. Smoking would be low numbers because people die sooner

Was the 1970 Clean Air Act Necessary? Sensible?

Why not just give property rights?
Coase Therom - clean it up anyway

Why can’t assignment of property rights work in general?
The lower cost of cleaning up is the best assignment of property…