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Stefan Seefeld

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"Three beliefs about globalization have propagated since the early 1980s. First, that globalization leads to a reduction in global inequality. Second, that high income growth among the richest will lift the incomes of the poorest. Third, that there is no alternative to rising inequality without turning our backs on trade and technology. The recently released World Inequality Report, the first research study to comprehensively examine wealth and income inequality trends across rich and emerging countries over approximately 40 years, dispels these notions."
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"Big Data" epitomising positivism of the 21st century:

"Big Data also has far-reaching consequences for the epistemology of science. It seems to be leading to a “new empiricism” where data is able to speak for itself, and there is no need for theory."
This essay could be seen as the continuation of the article on Pinker's approach. On the danger of a pure data driven methodology, on the danger of "correlation studies": red hair makes you drink beer and black hair makes you drink wine, if we follow a map of Europe.... Or maybe beer gives you red hair ?
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Very interesting article indeed. It's always instructive to compare how the same issues or events are reported in different media across the globe. This one is particularly worthwhile to look at from different perspectives, as gender stereotypes vary quite a bit between the places I care most about (Quebec/Canada, Germany, France), and so do the surrounding discussions.
Another taste of feminism, very worth to consider
The fact I hesitated to post an article presenting an alternative to #metoo proves that this movement has gone wrong.
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I have been working on a new build tool, "Faber", out of frustration with existing solutions, which I found either lacking in important features (notably portability), or way too complex and obscure (using ad-hoc domain-specific languages).
Faber grew out of "Boost.Build" whose features and conceptual design it tries to preserve, but mostly rewritten in Python. (The scheduler is implemented in C.)

At this point I'm able to compile (& test) a few Boost libraries with Faber (notably Boost.Python and Boost.GIL), but there is obviously a lot more that can be done.

Try it out and contribute !

In this blog I'm outlining a few specific techniques and design choices that allow faber-based build scripts to be portable.
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Content de voir de temps en temps des article un peu critique dans la presse locale. Merci +Sophia Mailloux.
Bien sur, il ne s'agit pas de refuser la technologie en générale. La vrai menace n'est pas les êtres sapiens synthétiques, mais bien la société qui perd (ou au moins ne développe pas) sa capacité de réflexion critique et créative.
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"No-one has the right not to be offended". Couldn't agree more !
Cheers to Streitkultur !
Restricting language to control the people's thoughts is an Orwellian dream endorsed by large swaths of today's political spectrum. It's obviously misled. It can't work but only lead to other forms of protest when the actual needs of the people are ignored. Rebellion nowadays is when a student votes the tories and maybe tomorrow for an even more extreme candidate! The politically correct censorship of novels, history, and language has gone too far.
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Don't say you weren't warned

15,000 scientists signed this letter. They're warning you yet again: it's time to stop fucking around and get serious.

World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice

Twenty-five years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists and more than 1700 independent scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences, penned the 1992 “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity". These concerned professionals called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.” In their manifesto, they showed that humans were on a collision course with the natural world. They expressed concern about current, impending, or potential damage on planet Earth involving ozone depletion, freshwater availability, marine life depletion, ocean dead zones, forest loss, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth. They proclaimed that fundamental changes were urgently needed to avoid the consequences our present course would bring.

The authors of the 1992 declaration feared that humanity was pushing Earth's ecosystems beyond their capacities to support the web of life. They described how we are fast approaching many of the limits of what the ­biosphere can tolerate ­without ­substantial and irreversible harm. The scientists pleaded that we stabilize the human population, describing how our large numbers—swelled by another 2 billion people since 1992, a 35 percent increase—exert stresses on Earth that can overwhelm other efforts to realize a sustainable future. They implored that we cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and phase out fossil fuels, reduce deforestation, and reverse the trend of collapsing biodiversity.

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of their call, we look back at their warning and evaluate the human response by exploring available time-series data. Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse. Especially troubling is the current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs from burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and agricultural production—particularly from farming ruminants for meat consumption. Moreover, we have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century.

Humanity is now being given a second notice, as illustrated by these alarming trends. We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats. By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere.

As most political leaders respond to pressure, scientists, media influencers, and lay citizens must insist that their governments take immediate action as a moral imperative to current and future generations of human and other life. With a groundswell of organized grassroots efforts, dogged opposition can be overcome and political leaders compelled to do the right thing. It is also time to re-examine and change our individual behaviors, including limiting our own reproduction (ideally to replacement level at most) and drastically diminishing our per capita ­consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and other resources.

The rapid global decline in ozone-depleting substances shows that we can make positive change when we act decisively. We have also made advancements in reducing extreme poverty and hunger. Other notable progress include the rapid decline in fertility rates in many regions attributable to investments in girls’ and women's education, the promising decline in the rate of deforestation in some regions, and the rapid growth in the renewable-energy sector. We have learned much since 1992, but the advancement of urgently needed changes in environmental policy, human behavior, and global inequities is still far from sufficient.

Sustainability transitions come about in diverse ways, and all require civil-society pressure and evidence-based advocacy, political leadership, and a solid understanding of policy instruments, markets, and other drivers. Examples of diverse and effective steps humanity can take to transition to sustainability include the following (not in order of importance or urgency):

(a) prioritizing the enactment of connected well-funded and well-managed reserves for a significant proportion of the world's terrestrial, marine, freshwater, and aerial habitats;

(b) maintaining nature's ecosystem services by halting the conversion of forests, grasslands, and other native habitats;

(c) restoring native plant communities at large scales, particularly forest landscapes;

(d) rewilding regions with native species, especially apex predators, to restore ecological processes and dynamics;

(e) developing and adopting adequate policy instruments to remedy defaunation, the poaching crisis, and the exploitation and trade of threatened species;

(f) reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure;

(g) promoting dietary shifts towards mostly plant-based foods;

(h) further reducing fertility rates by ensuring that women and men have access to education and voluntary family-planning services, especially where such resources are still lacking;

(i) increasing outdoor nature education for children, as well as the overall engagement of society in the appreciation of nature;

(j) divesting of monetary investments and purchases to encourage positive environmental change;

(k) devising and promoting new green technologies and massively adopting renewable energy sources while phasing out subsidies to energy production through fossil fuels;

(l) revising our economy to reduce wealth inequality and ensure that prices, taxation, and incentive systems take into account the real costs which consumption patterns impose on our environment; and

(m) estimating a scientifically defensible, sustainable human population size for the long term while rallying nations and leaders to support that vital goal.

To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual. This prescription was well articulated by the world's leading scientists 25 years ago, but in most respects, we have not heeded their warning. Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.


We have been overwhelmed with the support for our article and thank the more than 15,000 signatories from all ends of the Earth (see supplemental file S2 for list of signatories). As far as we know, this is the most scientists to ever co-sign and formally support a published journal article. In this paper, we have captured the environmental trends over the last 25 years, showed realistic concern, and suggested a few examples of possible remedies. Now, as an Alliance of World Scientists (­ and with the public at large, it is important to continue this work to ­document challenges, as well as improved ­situations, and to develop clear, trackable, and practical solutions while communicating trends and needs to world leaders. Working together while respecting the diversity of people and opinions and the need for social justice around the world, we can make great progress for the sake of humanity and the planet on which we depend.

Spanish, Portuguese, and French versions of this article can be found in file S1.


I have removed references above, to make the plea easier to read. You can find them here, along with the supplemental files:

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It's a fine line to walk, rejecting dualism without being reductionistic...
The death of "philosophical zombies."

Theoretical physicist Sean Carroll presents a convincing and seemingly air-tight case again the possibility of Chalmer's philosophical zombies.
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Another book to put onto my reading list for this fall !
We shouldn't fear technology. It does what we ask it to do. What we should fear (and change!) is what we are asking for. In this interview with the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, I talk about my new book, and make the case that we are already living inside an artificial intelligence, and we've told it to be hostile to humans. The book isn't out till October 10, but you can pre-order it on Amazon.
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