Mark Blyth – A Brief History of How We Got Here and Why

This lecture is part of the McMaster Department of Philosophy’s Summer School in Capitalism, democratic solidarity, and Institutional design https://www.solidaritydesign2019.com
This lecture sets out a brief history of two versions of capitalist software. The first drove the capitalist hardware during the period known as the Great Compression—1945 to 1980. The second did the same for the period many refer to as the era of neoliberalism—1980 to 2008. This lecture describes the bug in the system that crashed the first version of the capitalist software and the subsequent design of the neoliberal software. It also describes the bug that led to the 2008 Great Recession, landing us in the current transitional period that we might describe as the era of neonationalism or Global Trumpism. A key idea is that the emergence of contemporary populist politics, both left-wing and right-wing Trumpist variants, are attempts to rewrite the software of capitalism once again.

Bill Gates-Backed Carbon Capture Plant Does The Work Of 40 Million Trees

In Squamish, British Columbia, there’s a company that wants to stop climate change by sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. It’s called Carbon Engineering, and it uses a combination of giant fans and complex chemical processes to remove carbon dioxide from the air in a procedure known as Direct Air Capture. Direct Air Capture isn’t new, but Carbon Engineering says its technology has advanced enough for it to finally make financial sense. The company is backed by Bill Gates — but also by the oil giants Chevron, BHP, and Occidental. These partnerships will bring Carbon Engineering’s tech to market by using the captured carbon to make synthetic fuels and and help extract more oil from the ground. Will Carbon Engineering’s technology decrease the amount of CO2 in the air, or is it going to prolong our dependence on fossil fuels?

Nationalism vs. globalism: the new political divide | Yuval Noah Harari

How do we make sense of today’s political divisions? In a wide-ranging conversation full of insight, historian Yuval Harari places our current turmoil in a broader context, against the ongoing disruption of our technology, climate, media — even our notion of what humanity is for. This is the first of a series of TED Dialogues, seeking a thoughtful response to escalating political divisiveness. Make time (just over an hour) for this fascinating discussion between Harari and TED curator Chris Anderson.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.

“I’m not a climate change guy, but…”: Farmers reckon with new reality in the heartland

Walking over soggy lifeless crops, Brett Adams, a fifth generation Nebraska farmer, paused to catch his breath. Under the dark grey clouds of the Midwestern spring, he was forced to come to terms with an alarming reality: 80% of his farmland was under freezing floodwater.

In March 2019, record-breaking floods inundated America’s breadbasket, a region that’s also a key exporter of corn and soybeans to the world. Much of the Midwest was overwhelmed with floods as a result of torrential rains, frozen ground unable to absorb more water, heavy snowmelt, and a series of extreme weather events that culminated in a major winter storm—described by meteorologists as a “bomb cyclone.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency responsible for the management of the country’s levee systems, say they’ve seen record runoff in the past 15 years. This historic flood has made it clear that unpredictable weather patterns are getting more extreme. After massive flooding in 2011, the Corps had to repair five breaches. So far in 2019, they are dealing with 50.

“Our current goal is to close all the breaches by March of 2020,” said Matthew Krajewski, the Readiness Branch Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers. However, if the Corps were to update the levee to newer engineering standards — to help it withstand the rising flood levels predicted in the coming years — they would need funding approval from the U.S. Congress.

A recent report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that the U.S has seen the wettest 12 months on record, with an average of 38 inches of rain falling from July 2018 to June 2019.

Adams put it in personal terms. “When I was a kid,” he said, “an inch of rain, or an inch and a half of rain, was a big deal. Now it’s like we get four- or five-inch rains all the time, or six-inch rains, even. That was unheard of.”

“I’m not a climate change guy, as far as climate change, global warming, or any of that stuff,” Adams said. “But have I seen the weather change in, say, my 20-year farming career? Absolutely.”

In response to these troubling changes, some farmers in Nebraska are considering new solutions to keep their businesses afloat. One of those farmers, Graham Christensen, travels the country discussing a green farming initiative called regenerative farming.