Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

In the online world, it seems like there are two big things happening right now:

- Neural networks / ML (eg GPT-2) Definitely nowhere near its potential for being applied to a wide variety of areas. Find a niche you like and apply there.

- Security / Privacy (eg Telegram) Rapidly growing demand pretty much everywhere. Bonus points if you can make your product great for standard users and at the same time hackable/customizable for people who want to do that. Capitalize on both legs of the pareto distribution.

That all being said, if you are ambitious and talented without an all-consuming passion for software, I highly recommend you find something you can work in hardware. Since the '70s or so most industries have been basically frozen, besides computer hardware/software. Yet in the meantime materials science and engineering design has advanced considerably, both of which form the basis for innovation in new technologies. This is why SpaceX was able to build components for 10-100x cheaper than the leading suppliers in the early 2000s.

I work at a startup in nuclear fission, particularly because this tech is at <1% of its potential right now. The same could be said for many other areas.

Here's some ideas you might find interesting, that I think could work in the next decade or so: - Supersonic air travel - Electric air travel - Nano/micro-scale metallurgy and materials for industry - Biological materials - Gut/microbiome - Genetic engineering - Nuclear fission / fusion - Carbon capture - Cross-laminated timber (CLT) for construction - Indoor farming / optimizing farming in general - Synthetic meat / meat alternatives




The most pressing problem for humanity is global climate disruption. Arguably, working on anything that doesn't help there is not just wasted effort, but actively harmful.

Wind, solar power, energy storage still have huge room for improvement.

Direct solar or wind -> liquid fuel will be essential to adapting fast.

Windmills can drive production of liquid ammonia on farms (needing only air and water inputs), for use directly as fertilizer and fuel, without need for a grid attachment and without blocking sunlight needed for the plants. Ammonia is not a very dense fuel (e.g. terrible for aircraft), but that doesn't matter for farm machinery.

Direct solar -> hydrogen has been demonstrated, with bio-reaction for hydrogen + CO2 -> liquid fuel suitable for aircraft. Direct hydrogen-fueled aircraft are feasible, and more efficient than with kerosine, but the design cycle is too long.

Wind turbines will be wearing out as the blades erode. No-moving-parts screens might be the next generation, extracting power by releasing ions to be carried away from an electric field. The old towers will still be useful, and the rare earths can be mined out for other uses, probably vehicle motors.

Batteries are a very material-intensive storage medium. Underwater air storage does not need exotic materials or tech, and the pressure at depth makes the strength of materials needed minimal, other than piping.

We need to replace huge amounts of refrigeration equipment with versions that don't rely on HFCs, and get the HFCs incinerated. One gram of HFC traps as much heat as 2500 g of CO2, and lasts centuries in the atmosphere. Once vented, it cannot be recaptured. Ammonia-cycle systems need to be made safe enough for general use, and HFC versions outlawed.

Without massive progress in the next decade, civilization will probably collapse by 2035.


“Without massive progress in the next decade, civilization will probably collapse by 2035.”

This is deathcult type rhetoric which has no scientific basis whatsoever.


With a more scientific approach, the IPCC[1] models show we could see mass migrations between 200M and 1.5B due to climate change before the end of the century. Not a total collapse, but the collapse of a dozen of countries due to unsustainable heat and drought.

[1] https://www.ipcc.ch/apps/njlite/srex/njlite_download.php%3Fi...


Yes, this is much more accurate of our best predictions.

Bjørn Lomborg says[1] by the end of the century, climate change left unchecked will only lower the global GDP by a 2-4 percentage points of what it would have otherwise grown to, which is going to be 300-1000% higher than today. So basically, best case scenario 980% GDP growth, worst case 288% GDP growth.

This shows climate change is a problem, but it's too slow to cause a global catastrophe by 2100.

Even better news, I'm very confident it will not be left unchecked, in fact I think we can get to net-zero emissions by 2040 or so.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QyXduteiWE


This is an interesting answer. Somebody says there will be hundred millions of people fleeing their then uninhabitable countries (which will lead to millions of death, just look how many people drown in the Mediterranean see each year now, and how the European population is more xenophobic year after year). And you answer saying GDP will be fine!


You're right, GDP growth does not outweigh deaths. However I don't think the primary issues caused by climate disruption will be human deaths, but instead the loss of assets in compromised areas. Humans will relocate, and lose a lot of wealth, but why would they die en mass?

> fleeing their then uninhabitable countries ... which will lead to millions of death

I'm not sure if this is true, actually. What is true is that millions of people every year die due to air pollution, but this isn't climate change, it's just our present pollution.

There's like ~50 million deaths per year if I recall correctly, and I'd be very surprised if more than 0.1% of that is caused by climate change. At least 5% of it is due to pollution, though, and I think probably more like 10%+


> Humans will relocate, and lose a lot of wealth, but why would they die en mass?

What a wonderful world you live in. Do you genuinely believe it's that simple?

What do you think happens when 1 million people move from one country to another? They do not simply relocate, they are parked in camps (if you want current examples of that look at the Rohingya people, or Syrian refugees in Lebanon) until they can go back home, as you can guess the sanitary situation of these camp is more than precarious (cholera is a big threat for instance). With climate change, their will be no way back, and it's not going to be one million of people, but hundred millions.

What do you think would happen if a country, let say Italy for instance, had to park 10 million people in camps for years? Don't you think people in camps would eventually revolt violently to get out? What would Italians do then? Don't you think European countries would anticipate this outcome and just block refugees from entering, shooting the one trying to? Because it's already in the political agenda of most far-right parties here in Europe, and most of them are not that far from power (Salvini and Orban and just the first of a long series coming…). Due to the fight against illegal immigration, there already been thousands (around 17 000) of death in the Mediterranean see since 2014. And you can be sure it's not going to be better when all central Africa is uninhabitable …

And when people fleeing their countries are not accepted (as in “parked”) in neighboring countries, they just wander in the wild until everyone is dead. That happened for instance to people fleeing Rwanda to Congo.

Large scale population migration are incredibly difficult, and they almost always go wrong, and least a bit. Expecting 1 to 10% of the refugees dying isn't that pessimistic. From the figures discussed earlier, that mean between 2 and 150 million death. Which comes in the same ballpark as the biggest humanitarian disaster of the 20th century…


I feel you're conflating two different types of migration, and the issue isn't nearly as big as your 150 million deaths figure.

Almost all countries have ample space that will still be habitable for their entire population in 2100, even if climate change is left unchecked.

Those that don't represent a small portion of the global population, certainly less than 500 million people. I grew up in Botswana, and I know that "all of central Africa is uninhabitable" is not a likely outcome anytime soon. Most of Africa is actually really good land to live in, and will continue to be fairly good through the century.

In any case, Italy does not need to "park 10 million people in camps". Italy is a tiny country in terms of land area, so why would they need to take so many? Russia and Canada alone could easily fit a few billion immigrants each if global warming is really severe in a few centuries.

The notion that the only solution to climate change is to move everybody into already crowded places doesn't seem to have a base. We can solve the migration problem with or without moving people into Europe.

Anyways, my core point here is (a) we won't need to deal with this migration anyways, because we will solve climate change way before it becomes necessary, and (b) even if we didn't lower our emissions, I'm confident we can solve the migration problem without millions of deaths.


I'm less confident that a mass migration wouldn't result in millions of deaths. An example might be the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. Only 14 million displaced, yet an estimated 200k-2 million deaths and another 2 million people missing[1]. In many ways, this planned displacement was a more favorable scenario than a chaotic climate refugee situation.

If we don't have a good answer to the relatively simple refugee migrations now (eg. Central America, Syria), then I have extreme pessimism that we will be able to manage a larger-scale, persistent event. Whereas with economic + political refugee situations we can always hope to resolve the root cause, with climate change it is simply the new normal.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partition_of_India


> Russia and Canada alone could easily fit a few billion immigrants each if global warming is really severe in a few centuries.

Russia absolutely isn't going to do that, and who's going to pay to move them across the Atlantic to a country that they're not allowed to immigrate to?

I'm kind of leaning the other way: millions of avoidable deaths is the "normal war" situation, even if we magically solved climate change tomorrow.


Oh interesting, so you pretend to know how Russia will act in 100 years from now. Interesting science you got there!


> Almost all countries have ample space that will still be habitable for their entire population in 2100, even if climate change is left unchecked

That's a really dubious one. There's multiple issues with global warming, drought and desertification being one of them (and it probably will not affect a whole country) but the second one is just the max temperature the human body can, withstand especially with high humidity. When this threshold is passed, you can have thousands of people dying at the same time in your country. When every summer, heatwaves take a few of your neighbours you start reconsidering how nice your country is.

Remember, we're going to have more than a 2°C increase in mean temperature by the end of the century, and maybe 4°C. 4°C is the difference between now and the last ice age when the whole Europe was covered by huge glaciers.

Also, many people live near shores, which will be damaged frequently as the see level rises… How would India, who have a borderline genocidal tendency (fantasised mostly at the moment buy still frightening) against Muslims nowadays, react to the massive arrival of Bengali people coming from Bangladesh after a typhoon destroyed their land?

> Italy is a tiny country in terms of land area, so why would they need to take so many?

Because that's where they arrive… I'm not speculating when I talk about Italy, this is happening right now (not 10 millions, but hundred of thousands).

> Anyways, my core point here is (a) we won't need to deal with this migration anyways, because we will solve climate change way before it becomes necessary, and (b) even if we didn't lower our emissions, I'm confident we can solve the migration problem without millions of deaths.

Regarding (a), you should probably read this https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emissions_budget

Regarding (b), I admire your confidence, but it sounds delusional in regard of the whole human history.


> drought and desertification

This is an issue, but increased atmospheric carbon and the latitude land distribution of the Earth probably means desertification will be net-negative for at least a while. (I don't have a source for this, but I recall reading that we have more trees today than ever in history?) Keep in mind, carbon is what plants eat.

> When every summer, heatwaves take a few of your neighbours you start reconsidering how nice your country is.

This is also a good point, but once again, there are also people who die from cold. I've been living in Toronto for the last year, and there are many people who die of cold in the winter every year, mainly the poor and elderly. It's not clear that global warming is net-negative at the moment for extreme temperature related deaths.

> we're going to have more than a 2°C increase in mean temperature by the end of the century, and maybe 4°C

I don't agree with this. This might be true if population+QoL growth continues and our emissions per capita stay at today's levels, but that won't happen. Like I said, we are going to fix CC by mid-century, and mean temp increase above pre-industrial levels will be less than 1.5°C by 2100 - not 4°C above today's levels.

> Because that's where they arrive

This is a different type of migration. Nobody is migrating internationally because their country is uninhabitable due to climate change, because there are no such countries today.

> About (a), you should probably read this...

Thank you, I'm aware of what's necessary to accomplish this. We are well on our way. If it wasn't for funding and regulatory limitations, I'm pretty sure we could be net-zero by 2028 just based on the technologies we have in development today.


Desertification is currently increasing: https://www.un.org/en/events/desertification_decade/whynow.s...

> more trees today than ever in history?

Depending on how big you count history this sounds really implausible.

> carbon is what plants eat.

A slogan commonly repeated by global warming denialists, because it's true but highly misleading. Plants also primarily require water, and the temperature rise dries out a lot of places.


> Depending on how big you count history this sounds really implausible.

History := the recorded past (in this case I mean the last few hundred years)

> Desertification is currently increasing

Okay, you're right about this based on the link you sent. In my head I was considering arctic regions / tundra as desert as well, as their recent forestation rate is much faster.

> temperature rise dries out a lot of places

This is true but it also causes other places to become more humid. Higher temperature climate has more liquid water + more entropy ==> more active water cycle on global average. (This is a gross oversimplification but my point is that the increase in temperature is an increase in chaos, and so water that is currently frozen somewhere will be moving around.)

--

The important idea to note here is that we can't just ask "does global warming cause more X"? Because the answer can be yes in some areas and no in others, and an increase in X somewhere does not mean a net increase globally.


Best current evidence is that the plants whose growth rate is limited by carbon dioxide availability, and so grow faster with higher CO2 concentration, are parasitic vines. Others are limited by other factors.


cultural conflicts are the issue. There may be space in Italy for another 30 million inhabitants but soon you will have Muslims fighting Catholics (and getting slaughtered). That's a humanitarian disaster in my book


That's a big part of the problem. Policy makers have a tendency to care more about GDP than about people. As long as the numbers look good, people are mere statistics.

Rich countries are in a better position to mitigate the effects of global warming and climate change than poor countries. Rich people will be better able to insulate themselves from the effects that do occur in their country than poor people do.

Imagine New York is about to flood. Rich New Yorkers will probably already have a house somewhere else. The poor ones won't. And they can't afford to buy a new house if their current one becomes worthless. Their jobs are also more tied to the city than those of rich people. Moving Wallstreet will cost a lot of money, but that money is there.


Rich countries do indeed adapt better to climate change than poor, but the point about GDP is to show that in the future all countries will be rich countries (compared to the present).

If wealthy nations today can adapt to rising sea levels, and today's poor countries will eventually become just as wealthy, why will they be unable to adapt as well?


Rich countries are, visibly, adapting to increasing migration by adopting increasingly fascist governments. Is there any objective reason to expect this trend to reverse, as migration continues to increase?

Please explain your reasoning.

There is no reason to believe that countries that are becoming uninhabitable will become wealthy at the same time. The people who are best positioned to create wealth are exactly those who flee first.


If the history of the last 40 years of "climate debate" teaches us anything, then that it will not only be left unchecked, but it will become worse. There is absolutely no reason to be optimistic about CO2 emissions on a global scale.

If zero emissions by 2040 is a realistic scenario, then we have to create the foundations of this development now. What we do instead is: lackluster regulations in Europe, active denialism and in the US, expansion of the oil- and gas industry in Russia and increased coal production in China.


> There is absolutely no reason to be optimistic about CO2 emissions on a global scale. > we have to create the foundations of this development now

We are. The company I work at aims to eliminate ~60% of global emissions ourselves and provide the economic basis for the other 40%.

The only major section of global emissions that doesn't seem to have an obvious full solution is concrete production, which I'm sure we can offset with sequestration, and reduce with wood-based CLT construction.

Every other major component of emissions has a solution that is in active development right now, or already available and in the process of adoption. I think there's plenty of reason to be optimistic.


> The company I work at aims to eliminate ~60% of global emissions ourselves

Well, nobody could accuse your company of having small ambitions!

When its website consists of little more than a few sweeping "We will [...]" statements and a lot of "This page is missing", though, you'll perhaps understand if some people are a little sceptical.


Yeah we're updating that at the moment, the site isn't a big priority so we don't have anybody full time on it.

Will be fixed in a week or so.


By the way, Bjørn Lomborg is an unreliable and often misleading source. Why? See for yourself multiple examples of quality analysis with actual scientific sources. Highly recommended: [1] https://youtu.be/9FQX1u-aqrA [2] https://youtu.be/hwMPFDqyfrA

And that's analysis of Bjørn Lomborg's work by those who actively support pragmatic, cost-effective, and often 'conservative' solutions to environmental problems and climate change. Examples: [3] https://youtu.be/D99qI42KGB0 [4] https://youtu.be/6fV6eeckxTs


Bjørn Lomborg's education is in political science and statistics. His analyses, while occasionally thought-provoking, are opposed by the vast majority of actual working climate scientists. He has gotten a lot of attention by simply being a climate contrarian.


The same implication could be made about climate scientists, who are not trained in geopolitics or economics. I don't think it's fair to box people in based on their education, and also, there isn't any degree which really qualifies you fully to discuss the geopolitical and economic impacts of climate science.


> The same implication could be made about climate scientists, who are not trained in geopolitics or economics.

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. I would take a climate scientist's opinion of macroeconomic trends with a grain of salt, to say the least.

PhD's are a deep dive into a very narrow field of study. They are most definitely not a "universal expert" certification.


404 Not found


Sorry for the broken link, Google URLs on mobile are a mess. Here's the link : https://www.ipcc.ch/apps/njlite/srex/njlite_download.php?id=...


URL doesn't work


I just wish there would be a way to hold these doomsday preachers responsible. In the end they will all shrugg it of with that smirk of 'oh back then we didn't know better'.


I am glad they took the responsibility in the 1850-1870 to not burn/chop down most of the forest in Norway. A lot of the places still don’t have trees because of wind and to much water in the ground.


Considering we can't hold big oil accountable for burrying the lede on climate change, and electing to spread lies and cause confusion instead, I guess that's fair.


If you know how to manage involuntary migration of 100M-2B population from newly uninhabitable land to established sovereign territory without triggering global thermonuclear warfare, do speak up.


The governments in those countries have enough resources to buy enough land in colder areas for all their people. Would definitely be economically disadvantageous for the migrant nation, but there's no reason it needs to cause "global thermonuclear warfare"


I see that you have very little acquaintance with politics as it is practiced.

What we see happening in the US, with the small amount of migration occurring so far, is spending $billions on building walls.


With the way things are going ww3 will be about water. It’s easy to imagine half of Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia to pack and move as a whole.


Can you expand on what you mean by this? How will water cause a war? Do you mean freshwater access?


Global warming will melt ice caps and flood the world. Or global warming will evaporate water and dry the world.

One thing is sure. Global warming, water and world war three. /s


> flood the world

No, there isn't nearly that much water.

> will evaporate water and dry the world

How would this work? Either the water is on the ground or it is in the air, neither case is a dry world. Where would all the water go to "dry the world"?


When the large fraction of the world population that depends on seafood for their protein loses that input as ocean acidification crashes fish nurseries, do not expect them to adapt peacefully.

So, will WW3 be about access to living space, fresh water or protein? Or all three at once?

Not a great choice.


> The most pressing problem for humanity is global climate disruption.

I don't believe most would agree here. There are a lot of problems humanity faces, and humanity is a lot of different people. Those still living in extreme poverty today probably don't care about our worries of climate disruption.

> Arguably, working on anything that doesn't help there is not just wasted effort, but actively harmful.

Why is this?

> Direct hydrogen-fueled aircraft are feasible, and more efficient than with kerosine, but the design cycle is too long.

This is really interesting but doesn't strike me as true based on my background. Do you have anything I could read regarding? I would be very interested

> Without massive progress in the next decade, civilization will probably collapse by 2035.

This I really don't agree with or understand.

I'm very worried about emissions, but I don't see why civilization would collapse any time soon, if at all. 2035 is very soon.


> Those still living in extreme poverty today probably don't care about our worries of climate disruption.

Tell that to 100Million people in poverty in Bangladesh that will become climate refugees if the sea level rises in any meaningful way.

In the west, sea-side living is a privilege for the richest. And sea level rise is mostly ignorable with the virtue of new seawalls.

In the developing world, the most poverty-stricken are the closest to the water, and nobody will be funding solutions for them.


Also have a look at Zimbabwe where climate change is already seriously compounding existing problems. The poorest are hit the hardest.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/13/health/climate-change-zimbabw...


You're right about those people, but I'm not talking about them. There are people living in extreme poverty today who won't even be alive anymore by the time sea level rise causes a problem.

Who are we to claim that climate change is the most pressing issue facing humanity, when much of humanity faces unrelated life threatening issues?


You're looking at humanity through the lens of an individual. The reality is that the threats to people in extreme poverty are not going to threaten humanity as a whole.

I am defining humanity as the progression and prosperity of the human race. Climate change could ultimately threaten the entire human race. It could even result in extinction in the worst case scenario.

I disagree with the comment that because of this, all minds should be focused solely on this issue, and that all other problems should be ignored. But the reality is that a small subset of humanity living in extreme poverty does not pose an existential threat to civilization or the human species.


Only a small percentage of the population lives in extreme poverty today, yes.

But even a smaller percentage deals with significant issues due to climate change, today. The changes thus far have been excessively inflated, and may be net-positive so far.

You're right about the worst case scenario, GHG emissions could in theory lead to Earth becoming like Venus or somewhere in between the two where the atmosphere is bad enough to cause the end of humanity. But this is extremely unlikely and might not even be possible with the sum of our economically accessible fossil fuel reserves.

In reality, it seems there is still a threat of huge increase in poverty due to some WW3 type event, or a superbug global plague, or something like that.

I think it's unfair to weigh climate change above poverty at the moment, even for the overall prosperity of the human race.

In fact, I think climate change will end up being much worse for the rest of life on Earth than humanity. We have the advantage of being able to plan and react in advance, so we will probably be fine for a long time to come, but most plants and animals might go extinct.


Humanity is not facing extinction, even if we indulge in global thermonuclear war.

Comfortable civilization will vanish, for at least centuries, taking with it food security, education, and high-tech industry. We will retain iron scrapping. We might keep dentistry, in luckier pockets.


There are people who are alive today, and who won't be next year because of extreme weather events tied to climate change.

And that's before getting into real live issues to do with water rights, habitation, crop resilience to changing weather patterns, energy access and usage. These issues are likely to spark wars in our lifetime (if they haven't already.. Syria and the Arab Spring was tied to crop failures and high food prices). And these issues disproportionately affect the poor living today. Entirely aside from rising sea levels which will compound the damage


I'm not sure this is true, at least not on net.

Do you have any scientific evidence showing a net global increase in extreme weather events in the last several decades?


It is true. "New data show that extreme weather events have become more frequent over the past 36 years, with a significant uptick in floods and other hydrological events compared even with five years ago, according to a new publication" https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180321130859.h...


Have you even looked out the window, lately?


Not all areas experience extreme weather. Where I live, there's basically no extreme weather ever.


Lucky you. That experience does not generalize.


> Those still living in extreme poverty today probably don't care about our worries of climate disruption.

No doubt about it. At this point it's probably a better idea to start preparing for the changes rather than stopping them, unless we somehow manage to achieve some magical global unity around a single goal.

> I don't see why civilization would collapse any time soon

Civilizational collapse is a slow process. I doubt the people of the later stages of the Roman empire felt their society collapsed. It's more likely they simply experienced slowly decaying infrastructure as maintenance was neglected, social unrest, and the absence of the advantages we get from a large centralized authorities, all in a span of many decades.

I'm not saying that it's happening, or not happening -- It's just that you wouldn't know until it's happened.


> At this point it's probably a better idea to start preparing for the changes rather than stopping them

Yeah, this is probably best practice for people in regions that are projected to be left mostly uninhabitable / with severe barriers to life. This won't really be too much of a problem even if climate change is left unchecked, as Bjørn Lomborg says[1], it will only cost us 2-4% of GDP by end of century.

> Civilizational collapse is a slow process. I doubt the people of the later stages of the Roman empire felt their society collapsed.

I'd like to point out an important note: the guy said civilization would collapse, not a civilization. I'm not sure if you mean the same thing he does, but civilization itself has never, in history, collapsed, even during the plague and fall of the roman empire. We've been pretty much A-okay on a global level since 12,000 years ago.

You're definitely right about individual states, and it is almost certainly true that several countries may end up collapsing due to climate disruption, but not the big ones and probably no time soon.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QyXduteiWE


> Yeah, this is probably best practice for people in regions that are projected to be left mostly uninhabitable

I'd go as far as arguing that _everyone_ should prepare for what's coming. All of us will be affected, be it directly or indirectly, through things like the (most likely) inevitable refugee crisis, or increased food prices and lower standards of living.

> but civilization itself has never, in history, collapsed

I meant individual civilizations and not civilization itself, although I read the original comment as something happening to "our" civilization and not all of them. Total collapse of civilization itself would require something cataclysmic happening on a global scale, and that the effects of said event are so severe that all of humanity fail to restore itself within the time span of several generations.

Some of the more alarmist reports about global warming are indeed pointing at that scenario, although it's more likely that progress will be slower, and that humanity as a whole will be able to adapt in the long run.

Regardless, I am convinced that even if we were talking about the actual end of civilization itself, it would not necessarily be evident to us until it was too late.

The fact that there are alarm bells ringing about the climate now is an indicator of climate changes being either:

a) survivable for humanity as a whole by doing what we can to prevent it and prepare for what happens if we fail

b) the end of the world and it's too late to do anything

This turned darker than I planned. :D


> All of us will be affected

Actually, I'm pretty sure places like Greenland, Canada, Russia etc. will be mostly positively affected. I'm mostly concerned about the changes to the ocean when it comes to affecting all humans. The unfortunate reality is that unchecked global warming will probably lower food prices and increase standards of living in many places that are already rich, while causing destruction in places that are already relatively poor.

> alarm bells ringing about the climate...

The third option you left out is that the alarm is overinflated. With an issue as controversial as climate change, you can be almost certain that both the alarmists and skeptics are both wrong, and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Also, I really don't think the end of the world is a realistic result of climate change. If you really want something to worry about, there are always meteors, gamma rays and the potential for nuclear war, superbugs, or biological WOMD.


Global thermonuclear war is a likely end stage, as fascists are swept into power in reaction to mass migration from the tropics.

Sane governmental response is a fantastic assumption. The orange baboon, along with present counterparts in Russia, Brazil, India, China, Turkey, Indonesia, Hungary are just a hint at what is to come.


I don't think the people terrible enough to launch nukes all other the place are in the position to do that. If the last 70 years are any indication, people don't tend to nuke other people.


There are nukes in Pakistan, India, Israel, Russia, other former Soviet countries, China, and US, all under increasingly fascistic rule. The orange baboon has publicly entertained using them just for dramatic effect. What do you imagine will restrain them as tensions resulting from mass migration, collapsing harvests, and desertification continue to grow?


Hey, with a bit of luck we'll get a nuclear winter which will counter global warming. -.-


You are being excessive.

First, why do you assume they would migrate north and not further south?

In your model do you expect people to move in or out of Australia, South Africa, Chile, etc. ?


Maybe because most of the land is in the north? This is not rocket science.


How does that change anything? Humanity could fit into a small island with the population density of dt Tokyo. There is plenty of land up, down, left and right.


> The third option you left out is that the alarm is overinflated.

I agree. I intended that to be implied as a possibility for the first option. Bad things will most likely happen, but it's unlikely that it's THAT bad.


> it will only cost us 2-4% of GDP by end of century

The projections suggest that it's much cheaper to avert climate change than to deal with the consequences, and much less painful.

If we can afford to lose x% of GDP dealing with the problems, why can't we spend less than that to avoid the problem, and avoid a huge amount of human misery and ecological collapse in the process?


> why can't we spend less than that to avoid the problem

We can, and we are. That's why I do what I do.

You're absolutely right, it is much cheaper to avert climate change than deal with the consequences. It's also necessary to transition to sustainable energy eventually because we will run out of fossil fuels regardless of what happens with the climate.

The solutions to climate change are being worked on right now by many talented people around the world. I'm confident we will reach the IPCC SR15 1.5 degree Celsius goals.


We aren't, and we won't. Coal and oil usage are still increasing, and the US is increasing its subsidy for them. Russia, China, and India are still building new coal-fired power plants. Fascist representation in governments is increasing worldwide.

Action is falling far short of what would be needed to cap temperature rise, and there is no motion toward greater enforcement.

Any developments in fission could only have substantial effect decades after events will overtake them.


> Any developments in fission could only have substantial effect decades after events will overtake them.

We only need 2 decades to fix the energy part of emissions, and the IPCC has given us 3.

> and there is no motion toward greater enforcement.

Enforcement isn't needed to get to net zero emissions. It's profitable long term to swap to clean energy and electrified vehicles and appliances, they're more efficient. Also fossil fuel abundance will eventually drop to the point where prices rise.

Free markets will solve our emissions problem, I'm not sure why you are worried about enforcement or the type of governments when it comes to this.


Gdp is a imaginary number madeup by economists using mg outdated pre computer methods. Gdp will break down under climate change. Heat causes discomfort, toxins cause mental illness. Your great America capitalist machine cant even stop mentally corrupted children from shooting their schoolmates. Wake up.

Egyptians lasted for 5000 years before christ was born, their civilization had expired completely during the rise of rome.

our modern society requires (depends) on specialization. It is not good at adaptation.

Our brains principally stopped evolving 50000 years ago. We're still learning how to use them and enhance/repair our bodies.

Gdp is 100 years old. We're not using gdp for anything in a ClimateChange multiple species foodchain collapse. Capitalism is 150 years old.

We probably aren't even using money in 100 years. A quantum supremacy machine has broken bitcoin satoshi blocks. Elons neurAlink connected by starlink allows us to communicate telepathically. If his hypermind doesn't build it by that time then mine will. Cheers.


Dear friends,

Ahem.. Humans have only had rationale thought for the last 50000 years. We are classified as Greater apes.

Destabilized governments run by extremists and nuclear weapons. Trumps usa deny Climate change. Fuch koch.

It was a good run. Unchecked climate change toxins from unchecked reactors exploding, blabla caused by heAT triggering rising water tables.. Godzilla.

Its a Multi species collapse. Nothing humans have ever experienced. Nothing mammals have ever experienced. Stfu and join r/extinctionrebellion


Civilizational collapse has more often been sudden than gradual. Previous collapses have been local or regional. The world is much more interdependent today.


Such ridiculousness in posts like these. You want to stop climate change? That effort needs to include China and India, which between the two, are good for much of climate changing exhausts. You want truly renewable energy, with high yields and limited need for resources, go nuclear. Oh that's right, our climate zealots, who would have you punished for using your internal combustion engine auto, are afraid of nuclear, so that's off the table. Is climate change real? Yes. But stop with the sensational Green New Deals and the banning of air travel and such. Start with China and India.


You are from US, right?


It's not like climate change is or should be our only concern. Not doing anything against any of humanity's problems could be considered a harmful waste of time and talent maybe.


I agree 100% with you on this. I think the idea that talented people have a moral obligation to spend their time trying to solve humanity's problems or advance our consciousness and curiosity should be much more widespread. Look at where all the ivy league grads are going. It's kind of sad to see.


> The most pressing problem for humanity is global climate disruption.

Our climate and ecology are certainly at risk, but I think the biggest threat in the world right now is the rapid rise of fascist China. They're challenging the notion that free speech and democracy are required for capitalism and economic gain.

China has grown so emboldened under President Xi that they're no longer content to just alter or buy out our media companies. They're flat out dictating marching orders to Western organizations and asking for employees that oppose their mandates to be fired. They're kidnapping foreign nationals and holding them hostage on trumped up charges. They've grown beyond stealing our ideas - now they're trying to supplant them.

That doesn't even begin to capture the things they're doing within their own borders. Surveillance state, social credit, travel limitations, Uyghur detention camps, supposed organ harvesting, Hong Kong / Tibet / Taiwan, ... In China it's actually 1984, and they're teaching the world that it works. If they win this battle, I worry we might wind up facing similar prospects in our future.

> Without massive progress in the next decade, civilization will probably collapse by 2035.

That's a little bit overblown. Want to make a bet on longbets.org? I'll happily donate to a green cause.


Everything you fear about the rise of fascist China was far worse under the USSR in the latter 20th Century, and in fact far worse in China during that time too.

I’m not intending to downplay the impact on minorities within China, or their growing global influence. It’s just that what China is doing is fundamentally the same category of human and national behavior we have seen for 100 years. Relatively speaking, it is less destructive than what came before. We must address it but the tools to do so are available and obvious.

It pales before the threat of climate change because that is a new category of threat to global society.

Why? Because water, food, and real property are fundamental to the health and economies of all nations, and climate change will create massive unfunded changes to those. It’s one thing to have an aggressive nation on the world stage a la China. It’s quite another if hundreds of millions of people need to migrate and have no money to do so. The latter is well within the realm of possibility given what we know about climate change.


What is the point of the human race surviving if it turns into some 1984-like dystopia with cameras in my house making sure I pledge allegiance to Emperor Xi's portrait every morning or my social credit score plummets?

Give me the climate (or nuclear) apocalypse, instead, please.


Humanity never had a point. It just is. Humans will survive everything imaginable, in much reduced numbers.

There were once 100M people in the Amazon basin, wiped out by plagues brought by Europeans 5 centuries ago. A few survived. The trees growing in unchecked in the depopulated Americas reduced CO2 enough to cause a mini ice age.

That won't be enough to bring down temperatures in the next collapse because the CFCs and HFCs won't go away. But at least the oceans will get less acid.


>> Without massive progress in the next decade, civilization will probably collapse by 2035.

> That's a little bit overblown. Want to make a bet on longbets.org? I'll happily donate to a green cause.

"If civilization collapse by 2035, I vow to donate 3 flints and 10 sticks to a green cause."


> If civilization collapse by 2035, I vow to donate 3 flints and 10 sticks to a green cause.

Exactly.


> Our climate and ecology are certainly at risk, but I think the biggest threat in the world right now is the rapid rise of fascist China. They're challenging the notion that free speech and democracy are required for capitalism and economic gain.

That is exactly my main concern in the modern age also. Other countries are already interested in China's technology: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-23/sixth-world-internet-...

'Countries looking to crackdown on dissent and the spread of information — like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, Laos, Serbia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — have already signed up to China's "digital silk road".'


A long time ago I had a chat with hacker about IP over short wave radio with PGP encryption... his hypotheses was one could do encrypted long range communication via IP that could never be stopped and would be tough to decrypt. Does such a system exist today?


You probably could do that, but then hiding the equipment required is a major challenge and in places like China will come with stiff penalties.


> They're challenging the notion that free speech and democracy are required for capitalism and economic gain.

Well this notion is simply not true, these two things are tangentially related at best.

You sound like ‘because they demonstrated against my beliefs, they need to be shut down’. Not for this reason, there are plenty of other reason to pick from.


> Without massive progress in the next decade, civilization will probably collapse by 2035.

This is a joke not backed by any scientific consensus or evidence. Maybe some more instability in some countries, but nothing close to the collapse of civilization.


When I see charts showing the temperature raising at exponential rate like this one

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_temperature_record#/med...

I find it very hard to deny that something bad is going to happen eventually. Because whatever is the phenomenon that is pushing the temperatures up, I see no reason for it to stop.

So massive disruption in a near future is a reasonable hypothesis, rather than a joke.


The most pressing problem for humanity is poverty. But I agree that working on natural energy is crucial to solve it.

We need to provide energy to the network of machines that will produce the basic supplies to cover humanity's fundamental needs.


I agree completely. If we can make energy ~10x cheaper, I think we can eliminate poverty globally up to a pop of around 50 billion or more.


HFCs are already being phased out in favor of HFOs (though you could certainly argue that this should be happening more quickly), is there a strong reason to go for ammonia based systems over HFO?


Thank you, the atmospheric half-life of HFOs is short enough to make it a viable alternative to ammonia as a refrigerant. However, the existing stocks of HFCs, in installed systems, is enough to match, if vented, the heating from all the CO2 currently in the atmosphere.


At least we will not have to worry about Y2038 then..


>Here's some ideas you might find interesting,

To expand on your key ideas: it looks pretty comprehensive but if you're interested in making the world a better place as well, have a look at 80,000 hours [1]. They've been thinking about this question for at least 8 years and it's quite extensive. They have a simple quiz that might also be an interesting starting point [2].

[1] https://80000hours.org/key-ideas/

[2] https://80000hours.org/career-quiz/#/


Hey luc4sdreyer, thanks for the link! I'm about to graduate college soon and I find the 80000hours website extremely helpful. Randomly encountering this site is one of the best thing that happened this week, thank you very much!


> That all being said, if you are ambitious and talented without an all-consuming passion for software, I highly recommend you find something you can work in hardware. Since the '70s or so most industries have been basically frozen, besides computer hardware/software. Yet in the meantime materials science and engineering design has advanced considerably, both of which form the basis for innovation in new technologies. This is why SpaceX was able to build components for 10-100x cheaper than the leading suppliers in the early 2000s.

I honestly feel like reading this is a moment that I will l recall in about 8 years and think: "Damn, I wish I listend to that comment about hardware from johnmorrison".


How do we act on it, instead? (not being a dick)


General answer:

Become a specialist, or drive funding/regulatory pushes towards these new hardware technologies. Figure out what you see as the barriers to their commercialization, then figure out what component of that problem you'd love to work on, and become an expert in that.

My biased answer:

If you're in the position to spend a lot of time learning and experimenting with new stuff (e.g. a highschool or uni student), I'd recommend becoming an expert somewhere along the liquid fueled fission reactor stack. Chem eng, nuclear eng, rare earth extraction, uranium extraction, working with molten salts, working with liquid metals, anything like that.

If all goes well, I'll be needing people in just about every specialization there.


Being a specialist isn't enough. You along - no matter how good you are - are not enough. Either you need to control enough money that you can hire many specialist (Elon Musk with SpaceX), or you need to convince someone with money that is the right path. The skills for each of these are people skills not technical. Either way you will spend all your time in management activities so technical skills are not worth learning (beyond enough to understand what is feasible).

If you want to focus on technical skills, then you need to find a specialty that someone with good management skills will think important so that you can work with many other experts to develop things.


Companies that change the physical world require a lot higher specialist:founder ratio. There is enough capital and ambitious managerial types around, what we really have a shortage of is specialists in new technical areas.


How does a former software engineer get into nuclear tech? What specific skills and positions would be required?


Well, there are engineers needed to develop new CAD / sim software to better model liquid nuclear fuels. That basically would require you to have a very good understanding of software engineering + fluid mechanics, nuclear physics, thermodynamics and chemistry


Thank you. I'm part-time studying applied maths to be able to work on something like that one day.


Great! Feel free to update me in the future :)


I love how you say you're working on fission because it's at <1% of its potential. That's a really wise perspective.

> If all goes well, I'll be needing people in just about every specialization there.

How far along are you in the Oak Ridge guys' elaborately detailed Molten Salt Reactor development program plan from 1974 [1], as far as it's relevant? If parts of it are irrelevant, how significant are the things you have to do that they didn't?

[1] https://www.osti.gov/biblio/4227904


There are some things that have become irrelevant for now, particularly the need for a stellite alloy. Most of the things we are doing differently from ORNL in our division for thermal MSRs is based on the progress in materials and CAD since the winding down of the ORNL MSRs.

There are a lot of promising mostly mix-able design choices in MSRs that have become apparent in the last few decades, so we are never fully committed to a particular set.


As someone using ML in production at scale, it's not the sophistication of the models themselves, but all the "boring" operational stuff around them.

- Keeping them fed with clean, high quality, low latency feature data.

- Understanding the impact of an ML intervention on the overall system or business process, in aggregate and for all the relevant subpopulations.

- Understanding why scores may be drifting. These are very challenging alerts to investigate.

- Resource efficiency at very high QPS or in mobile contexts.


+ Running constant live experiments on actual traffic to make sure it continues to do what you think it does.


>- Security / Privacy (eg Telegram)

But Telegram offers just as much security and privacy as Slack.


1. They are vey different. Those who arent aware of the large differences shouldn't comment as if they are they are subject experts. Telegram might be full of holes but it is a very different thing to Slack. (I use both for different things.)

2. I have my own issues with Telegram (the refusal to introduce sustainable funding, pushing of crypto currencies, possibly also marketing it as more than it is) but except that there's a lot to like about it and I think it is a decent starting point if someone with strong cryptographic skills wants to start with a decent client and go ahead to provide something better (either introduce e2e-encryption or improve, document and provide some way to verify the current solution.)


[flagged]


This is getting tiresome and I don't think I'll move ryanlol, but for everyone else:

One big difference between slack and Telegram is that Slack can and will give my data to the administrator at work if they ask for it.

ryanlol seems to be thinking only about the last hop from their data center to the device. In practice security is about a whole lot more than just checking of the coolest boxes: WhatsApp for example has had e2e encryption for a while now all while uploading every last message of every conversation to datacenters that are easily accessible for anyone with an American subpoena.

That is totally OK, I'm posting this from my old account and I don't have anything to hide from American authorities but hardly compatible with what certain people here think that just because something is e2e encrypted then it safe and good.

So why is Telegram bulletproof. That was a trick question : it isn't. But we should stick to the facts instead of trying to tear down a strawman.

Re the rest of ryanlols post: as I've mentioned before most people here don't understand Russian, yet ryanlol keep posting old Russian posts. I don't know why.


>The big difference between slack and Telegram is that Slack can easily give my data to the administrator at work if they ask for it.

Sure, that's perfectly fair. With Slack you have to trust Slack and the admins of your workspace (which could very well be you!), with Telegram you have to trust Telegram but don't get workspaces.

>Re the rest of your post: as I've mentioned begore most people here don't understand Russian, yet you keep posting old Russian posts.

It's hardly unreasonable to assume that people in 2019 have access to translation software, I also think it'd be presumptuous to directly link to a machine translated version.


> With Slack you have to trust Slack and the admins of your workspace (which could very well be you!), with Telegram you have to trust Telegram but don't get workspaces.

Small modification:

With Slack you have to trust the admins (which is most often not you) as well as Slack.

With Telegram you have to trust Telegram.

I trust none of them much but there's still a difference. Also as far as I am aware Slack has never ever pointed out if they encrypt their data at rest which leads me to guess that they don't do it.

But hey, we almost agreed here.


E2E encryption is kind of a fucky thing, some suggest it is fundamentally impossible for central web services and even mobile / desktop apps. Basically, if there is a third party involved in the code besides Alice and Bob, the two can never guarantee E2E encryption.

Web part is simple, as there are countless ways you can get malicious code delivered from what you think is the correct, safe, web server.

Same concept applies to app store / desktop program updates, but with a slightly slower and more difficult attack prospect.

Anyways, Telegram does seem to have the best encryption of any major service, and it's what we use at my company for almost all internal communications.


>E2E encryption is kind of a fucky thing, some suggest it is fundamentally impossible for central web services and even mobile / desktop apps

"some suggest" How about you actually name some competent people who suggest this?

>Basically, if there is a third party involved in the code besides Alice and Bob, the two can never guarantee E2E encryption.

Oh, this is a downright insane, dishonest argument. Perfection is impossible, so we shouldn't even try!

>Anyways, Telegram does seem to have the best encryption of any major service, and it's what we use at my company for almost all internal communications.

Why do you think this? This is such a fundamentally ridiculous claim, I find it absolutely fascinating that someone might arrive at this conclusion.


> How about you actually name some competent people who suggest this?

As I don't remember the name of everybody I read about, it would take significant effort to go find the source.

It's much simpler to prove the concept logically:

Any time you're communicating on a service provided, programmed, and updated by at least one third party, it is fundamentally impossible to guarantee E2EE without being omniscient of what they're doing.

This is simply because the unen/decrypted data is in the software at some point in time, and the third party controls the software.

> Oh, this is a downright insane, dishonest argument. Perfection is impossible, so we shouldn't even try!

I did not say or imply this in any way, and no it is neither an insane nor dishonest argument, it's just a consequence of allowing a third party to control your data.


An upvote for that just to prove that we can agree as long as we stick to the facts however harsh they are.


Two words: Signal Protocol


It's an american development by a company that refuses to release actually open software. Perhaps it's good in theory! As far as I am aware there is no open implementation of it and it is also inside a problematic regime and therefore just as suspect.


Signal clients are released aa open source as far as I am aware and mathematics doesn't care about what regime it is developed under.

You guys will normally find me defending Telegram here but the more important point is that we should stick to the facts even if they go in favor of "the other side".


I have not to date found anything that allows me to build a client myself and subsequently actually use it. Never mind the server, which is about as opaque as they come.

This isn't about Telegram advocacy, it's about how I keep reading "Signal is so good!" even though the devs have a very bad attitude to anyone asking about reproducible builds. When they are that hostile they do not earn trust, so it is mystifying to me that people seem to love them so much.


The clients are available under GPLv3.


Yeah, the Kremlin backed startup that was already caught shipping blatant backdoors is so much better https://habr.com/en/post/206900/


1. The man behind Telegram cannot even safely visit Russia after people with friends in high places stole his previous startup there or so the story goes.

2. As have been pointed out before, while this is really bad if true, but you are pointing to something that happened extremely early in the development of Telegram and later fixed (and as I've mentioned before you keep throwing a link to an old Russian post in a forun where most people have never read a word Russian. I'll add this time that it is almost as you don't want anyone to read it.)


>1. The man behind Telegram cannot even safely visit Russia after people with friends in high places stole his previous startup there or so the story goes.

Yeah, exactly. That's how the official story goes. However in reality he seems to often visit the country he is supposed to be in exile from https://tjournal.ru/tech/52954-durov-back-in-ussr https://lenta.ru/news/2017/03/20/durov/

It's also very well documented that Telegram was developed in offices shared with the same startup that was supposedly stolen from him, https://theoutline.com/post/2348/what-isn-t-telegram-saying-... https://twitter.com/bershidsky/status/910169626989953024 https://twitter.com/ChristopherJM/status/910186197598838784

Unfortunately the western press doesn't really care about Telegram or the Durovs so we don't really have heaps of high quality journalism to count on.

>but you are pointing to something that happened extremely early in the development of Telegram and later fixed

I'm not convinced that this is something that can be fixed. Sure, they removed the backdoor they added but does that really fix the organization?

I think it's utterly irrelevant that this backdoor was added and removed a while ago, the Telegram team hasn't significantly changed since then.

>I've mentioned before you keep throwing a link to an old Russian post in a forun where most people have never read a word Russian

I don't read Russian either, but I have no problem reading this post with google translate (or yandex translate if you'd like) and I assume that you too have access to this amazing technology.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: