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Jon Lawhead
Works at University of Southern California
Attends University of Southern California
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Jon Lawhead

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"More to the point: Have you ever brought someone else to such agonizing levels of ecstasy that they released every possible fluid out of every possible orifice in one symphonic orgasm? No. You haven't."
Like, everything. Started with vomit and just got worse. <i>She lost control of everything</i>.
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So much gold in that article. So. Much. Gold.

Who is the specialist to whom you turn when someone gets so drunkenly aroused at Christian Grey that he or she evacuates every bodily fluid?
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+Sakari Maaranen

I was thinking of the term in a narrower sense.

I agree with what you said. 
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I love Tyler Vigen!
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Here's a report on a brand-spanking-new model intercomparison project looking at the impacts of stratospheric aerosol release on the global climate. It's using a completely new data set, too. Here are some thoughts.

     They ran the simulation from 2020 to 2099, with a short and steep ramp-up and ramp-down of aerosol release near the beginning and end of the range (respectively) to simulate a relatively rapid start and stop (I guess they're optimistically supposing that we'll have this all wrapped up by 2100). They assumed a maximal 4x CO2 concentration (!!!) over pre-industrial levels.

The interesting novel consequences, as I see them:

* This tactic reduces the "extreme temperature and precipitation changes" compared to control model runs with the same CO2 increase and no SRM. That seems important, since the rate at which some of this stuff changes is at least as important as the absolute change in some cases, at least with regard to adaptation and other social planning. Rapid changes are hard to deal with, and a really quick change might be more damaging overall than a slower change with a higher absolute magnitude.

* There's a significantly larger change in overall radiative response (and an associated slowdown in the hydrological cycle) compared to other kinds of SRM. I guess they mean something like the "space mirror" approach here. We already knew that reducing incoming solar radiation wholesale would yield different results than reducing surface radiation via aerosols (because of uneven atmospheric heating and evaporation), but this looks like the most specific and significant quantification of that prediction that I've found.

The efficiency of the cooling effect resulting from sulfuric aerosols drops rather alarmingly as the amount of those aerosols in the atmosphere increases. The more of these compounds there are up there, apparently, the larger the average particle size becomes. This suggests a natural limit for the effectiveness of this technique, which is really important--we can't rely on this forever without the side-effects ramping up to unacceptable levels. Even if everything works out ideally, this is not a permanent fix: the more GHG we put out, the less effective this will be.

*  Even this simulation didn't include a lot of small-scale stuff, like inter-layer transport of aerosols within the atmosphere. Since those are important for things like cloud formation, it seems plausible that the estimates of precipitation impact here aren't entirely correct.

This all seems relevant for the project that I'm pursuing, especially considering the fact that there's no mention of the ways in which this might constrain other viable policy options. Given the explicitly short/medium-term effectiveness of this strategy, we'd need to have something else cooking while we're implementing it--preferably a strong mitigation strategy. However, implementing this plan will engender all kinds of complications for popular mitigation strategies, it seems to me. More grist for the mill.

#geoengineering   #climateengineering   #climatechange   #climatescience  
A new Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) experiment designed for climate and chemistry models. S. Tilmes1, M. J. Mills1, U. Niemeier2, H. Schmidt2, A. Robock3, B. Kravitz4, J.-F. Lamarque1, G. Pitari5, and J. M. English6 1National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, ...
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This is why we can't have nice things, philosophy.
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Oh man that was a good one.
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"The Wearable Tomato resembles a mechanical backpack that, with the push of a button, dispenses one of seven medium-sized tomatoes in its reserve.

'We wanted to find a way in which tomatoes can be consumed at sport scenes, so we developed this robot to make this food more mobile,” said Shigenori Suzuki, a researcher for Kagome, speaking to the Guardian.'"
If you’re like me, halfway through a typical long run you get a yearning that’s both thirst and hunger. The only thing that can satisfy it? An ice-cold tomato.
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LOL. For my long runs I'll stick with fresh medjool dates for energy and my 3 ice cubes in a tiny ziploc bag (which after an hour turn into the perfect amount of cold water). Total weight about 300g. 
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Climate Engineering, Complexity, and Policy Interactions

I've started a small side-project that is designed to be submitted as a commentary (something that's sort of like the scientific journal's equivalent of an op/ed) to Nature's climate change journal.  It's a call for closer interdisciplinary collaboration between climatologists and social scientists in the evaluation of geoengineering proposals.  In the same way that a thorough analysis of the global climate as a complex system involves attending to the ways in which various sub-systems of the climate influence and constrain one another's behavior, it's vitally important that we think about the ways in which different climate-related policies might influence and constrain one another.  These policies will not be implemented in a social vacuum, and the emerging consensus is that geoengineering would be best employed as part of a multi-faceted strategy that also involves mitigation and adaptation focused strategic elements.  Analyzing individual proposals in isolation will give us an incomplete picture of both their feasibility and possible effectiveness--a potentially dangerous oversight.  

In particular, I'm thinking about how something like a stratospheric aerosol program to manage solar radiation might interact with programs involving a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system.  Implementing both of these programs simultaneously would create significant complications that wouldn't be present if either was implemented individually.  If we're taxing units of carbon emitted, or issuing credits for ameliorative efforts that offset emissions, that opens the door to practices that are worryingly exploitative, considering some of the likely side-effects of aerosol-based geoengineering.  

For example, consider the possibility that the United States undertakes an expensive, large-scale aerosol emission program to decrease the warming effect of fossil fuel emissions.  Should they be credited in a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system for that?  Intuitively, it looks like they should.  However, such an emission (in addition to cooling the planet) is very likely to have significant hydrological impacts in certain regions around the world, increasing or decreasing rainfall and water runoff in various places.  If the US emission cools the planet but (say) cuts rainfall in northern Africa by 30%, how are we to work that into our calculation?  Should the northern African nations that are impacted be issued "carbon credits" in light of the negative impact geoengineering has on them?  What's the conversion between decreased rainfall and units of emitted carbon?  Is it even possible to put those effects on a single unit scale?  How do we account for the fact that the United States would, in that scenario, reap both the rewards of a cooler planet and a carbon carbon tax credit, while simultaneously avoiding any of the negative consequences of such a program?  Can all that be balanced into a reasonable and equitable system of carbon exchange, or must we come up with an additional system of credits to account for it?  If we must do that, how much might it increase the bureaucratic overhead of implementing both programs, and who is to adjudicate the "exchange rates" between the two?

As far as I can tell, no one has really thought through these potential complications before, and they're likely to significantly increase the political and ethical difficulty associated with a multi-pronged approach to climate change.  I think this stuff needs to get on our radar sooner rather than later, as it's going to seriously complicate the business of assessing different policy proposals.  Getting a thorough and complete assessment of all this is going to require very close collaboration between climate scientists, social scientists, and (probably) philosophers--a collaboration that has been rather anemic so far.  The tendency to see these geoengineering proposals in a decontextualized (or minimally contextualized) way is potentially disastrous.

Thoughts, anyone?

#geoengineering   #climateengineering   #climatescience   #climatechange  
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Just had lunch with the climate modeling guy that I'm working with here at USC, and he's extremely excited about this. He's put me in touch with some of the people with the IPCC who wrote their assessment of geoengineering just so that we can be sure that this is all fresh ground that hasn't been trod before. He quite rightly points out that:

"Finally, I see fascinating issues of how to attribute these changes. Say India implements SRM, and Pakistan complains that its agricultural yield diminished because SRM both reduced photosynthetically active radiation and triggered a drought, leading to soaring food prices and perhaps a famine. Can we be sure SRM did it? Couldn’t there have been a drought without it? How do we apportion the blame? How do we evaluate the economic and human prejudice, and (as you ask) who will adjudicate the battle? Beyond the political/economical/legal dimensions lurks the fundamental question of how to attribute changes in a complex system to external (and in this case, intentional) modifications. It’s generally taken for granted that we can, but what if that argument has feet of clay?"

Another worrying wrinkle here that I haven't seen discussed.
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California is on the verge of closing the "personal belief" loophole for public school pre-enrollment vaccinations. About time. 
Last Thursday, a state law was introduced that would eliminate the "personal belief" exception to California's vaccination law. Political analyst Melissa Griffin Caen has more on the proposed law.
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Jenny McCarthy's son most likely has Landau–Kleffner syndrome. His symptoms are not consistent with autism; he has frequent seizures and EEG anomalies, neither of which are usually associated with autism. Moreover, autism is not "curable"--it's the result of morphological differences in a number of brain regions that accumulate during early development. It's not the kind of thing you can cure. 
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Spent all afternoon working on an extended abstract for some conferences.  I read the call for submissions as asking for 2,000 words or under, so produced something about that long.  When I went to submit it, I saw that it was actually 2,000 characters.  Sigh.

Anyway, the extended one turned out pretty good, and it's more than a skeleton of what the paper will end up being, so here it is.  Feedback welcome.

Short abstract: 

The global climate is a complex system.  Among other things, this means that a complete analysis of the climate as a whole involves attending to the ways in which various geophysical and biological subsystems influence and constrain one another's behavior.  This fact is widely appreciated.  Less widely appreciated is the fact that climate policy design and analysis involves very similar considerations.  Global policy initiatives like climate engineering will not be implemented in a social vacuum, and the emerging consensus is that climate engineering would be best employed as part of a multi-faceted strategy that also involves mitigation and adaptation programs. In light of this, it is vitally important that we think about the ways in which different climate-related policies might influence and constrain one another before we begin to implement any significant global policy. 

While feasibility analyses and impact studies exist for many proposed climate engineering programs, very little attention has been paid to the ways in which such programs might interact with and constrain other international and national climate policies.  This paper explores this “interaction problem” from an interdisciplinary perspective, focusing on a detailed hypothetical case study in which a solar radiation management by stratospheric aerosol injection program is combined with a global system of economic carbon credits.  The conjunction of these two programs raises practical, theoretical, and ethical concerns that don’t appear when either policy is considered alone, and which might significantly alter the effectiveness and feasibility of both programs.  This incomplete picture, arising from analyzing climate engineering proposals in isolation, is a potentially dangerous oversight as we move closer and closer toward possible implementation.

#geoengineering   #climateengineering   #climatechange   #climatescience   #complexity   #philosophy  
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Helpful feedback is helpful.
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A great loss indeed. 
Ray Bradbury, author of The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, contributed to science fiction a highly distinctive voice; the now departed Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek's Mr. Spock, also contributed to science fiction a highly distinctive voice.
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That's exactly what I was talking about. Computational + name of your discipline is the way it's being used. Computational Anthropology, Computational Social Science.
There are a bunch of groups working on different approaches. There was a talk that got three of them together at AAAS. "Innovation in Science, Historic Perspective" Nadya Bliss gave a nice introcudtion of the math and the discussant was Manfred Laubichler who talked about the Max Planck effort to digitize all their records to determine why they are successful in creating innovative centers. Deborah Strumsky presented on using patent records to track the combinatorial process since it accounts for 50% of patents. She looked at geographic concentrations of social networks and how innovation accelerates among highly connected groups.
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Welcome to Star Trek Week(s) here at SFAM! I’m going to try and do one comic for each of the five live-action Star Trek TV series. So come on back Wednesday for more trekky goodness! Oh, and Leonard Nimoy, feel better — we still need you.
Welcome to Star Trek Week(s) here at SFAM! I'm going to try and do one comic for each of the five live-action Star Trek TV series. So come on back Wednesday for more trekky goodness! Oh, and Leonar...
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Education
  • University of Southern California
    Postdoctoral research, 2014 - present
    Foundations of climate modeling and geoengineering.
  • Columbia University
    PhD, 2014
    Philosophy
  • Columbia University
    MPhil, 2012
    Philosophy
  • UC Berkeley
    BA, 2003 - 2007
    Philosophy
  • Columbia University
    MA, 2010
    Philosophy
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Male
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Single
Other names
Reality Apologist, Cyber Samurai, Dr. Dilettante, Entheogenic
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Tagline
"I'm not an expert on anything, but I can improvise."
Introduction
I completed my PhD in philosophy at Columbia University in the spring of 2014, and I'm now a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Southern California, with a joint appointment in the philosophy and earth science departments.  I'm interested in the foundations of complexity theory, the philosophy of climate science, general philosophy of science, naturalism (broadly construed), and the philosophy of technology. My work has been primarily influenced by Philip Kitcher, Julien Emile-Geay, John Searle, David Albert, Yaneer Bar-Yam, and Daniel Dennett.

My research focuses on the emergence of complex behavior in deterministic dynamical systems. My dissertation explored issues in modeling the global climate, highlighting the differences—both methodological and conceptual—that scientists must confront in the move from modeling simple systems to modeling complex systems.  I'm currently working on projects centered on the foundations of climate modeling and the evaluation of geoengineering.
Bragging rights
Ta'veren; Ka-mai; Once flustered an Internet troll
Work
Occupation
"I'm not an expert on anything, but I can improvise."
Skills
Fabulous luck
Employment
  • University of Southern California
    Postdoctoral scholar, present
    Postdoctoral researcher in sustainability studies. I'm building an interdisciplinary project between the earth sciences department and the philosophy department. My research focuses on the mathematical signatures associated with impending catastrophic "tipping points" in complex physical systems, and the application of that work to the evaluation of geoengineering proposals.
  • Interdisciplined
    Founding Board Member, 2013 - present
    Developing the first-ever Google Glass massively multiplayer augmented reality game: Swarm!
  • Columbia University
    Philosopher's apprentice, 2014
    "The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age." -H.P. Lovecraft
  • The Cooper Union
    Adjunct Professor, 2012 - 2013
    I taught the first-ever courses in philosophy of science and philosophy of technology at one of the world's foremost science and technology colleges. Also, I agitated for revolution.
  • UC Berkeley
  • BN.com
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Columbia University
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Los Angeles, CA
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New York City - Black Rock City, NV - Reno, NV - Reno, NV - Berkeley, CA - New York, NY - Las Vegas, NV - Brooklyn, NY