Skip to main content


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 af

Class notes and homework 10/24/17

Homework A Manuel Castells in Wikipedia Manuel_Castells B ABBATE, J. (1999) INVENTING THE INTERNET (PART ONE) by Sue Greenwood https://suegreenwood.wordpress .com/2013/04/04/abbate-j-1999- inventing-the-internet-part- one/ 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 .php/journal/article/viewFile/ 1202/1149 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

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 Homework 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 .

Class notes and homework 10/10/17

Class Notes Homework 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-us

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

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

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 Indiv

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 a