DAILY DOSE: Switzerland’s climate change trickery; Sanctimonious voices at COP27.

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NOT QUITE RIGHT.

Climate change news is everywhere you look these days thanks to COP27 (love it or hate it). The level of sanctimonious proclamations are at an all time screeching high with European countries leading the chorus. But everything isn’t as it seems. Per the New York Times,

Switzerland, one of the world’s richest nations, has an ambitious climate goal: It promises to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

But the Swiss don’t intend to reduce emissions by that much within their own borders. Instead, the European country is dipping into its sizable coffers to pay poorer nations, like Ghana or Dominica, to reduce emissions there — and give Switzerland credit for it.

Here is an example of how it would work: Switzerland is paying to install efficient lighting and cleaner stoves in up to five million households in Ghana; these installations would help households move away from burning wood for cooking and rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

Then Switzerland, not Ghana, will get to count those emissions reductions as progress toward its climate goals.

Sneaky. https://nyti.ms/3FV6Gex


DO AS WE SAY…

More on the sanctimony in Egypt. This time from the Associated Press,

World leaders are making the case for tougher action to tackle global warming Tuesday, as this year’s international climate talks in Egypt heard growing calls for fossil fuel companies to help pay for the damage they have helped cause to the planet.

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres warned Monday that humanity was on “a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator,” urging countries to “cooperate or perish.”

He and leaders such as Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said it was time to make fossil fuel companies contribute to funds which would provide vulnerable countries with financial aid for the climate-related losses they are suffering.

It’s all lip-service. Very few governments will hold fossil fuel companies responsible for anything. If they don’t want to share drilling revenue, they need access to their products at the best price. https://bit.ly/3tcOzcl


PIRACY IN THE INDIAN OCEAN.

The high seas remain a place where anything goes. Going by a recent article in The Wire Science, the Indian Ocean is a place particularly perilous when it comes to piracy. The long-form article reads like a thriller. It’s worth your time. Here’s a taste:

On a clear September 2012 afternoon in the middle of the Indian Ocean, far from the coast of Somalia, the crew of a traditional Arab boat called a dhow is tending to their fishing nets when four much larger commercial longliners close in. Armed guards on each longliner appear on deck.

With no chance to escape and a temperamental engine slowing them down, the 20 or so crew members from the dhow leap into the water as bullets begin to shower the ocean around them. The attacking ships jostle for position, and guards on a second ship take over shooting. One of the men in the water clambers back aboard the dhow and manages to restart the engine. He tries to flee, but two of the longliners block his path. The other two catch up, and all four longliners ram the wooden ship to splinters, throwing the man back in the water.

Pakistani security guards firing AK-47s and Kalashnikovs from one of the longliners pause when they hear the remaining victims crying out in Urdu, a language they understand: “We are not pirates,” say the fishers, presumably recognising they’ve been taken for some of the Somali marauders responsible for more than 780 piracy attacks over the previous four years. At that point, the longliner captain hands off steering to his first engineer and heads to the deck, grabbing a gun from a guard and shooting at the men in the ocean who are still alive, clinging to wreckage from the dhow.

Click the link. Keep reading. https://bit.ly/3DKG3WS


AMERICA? WHAT AMERICA?

A revealing article by Nature surveys a number of post-docs about the appeal – or in this case, the lack thereof – of studying and working in America. It doesn’t sound good.

Nature spoke to five researchers who shared their thoughts on why they’ve chosen not to pursue positions in the United States. The reasons ranged from legislative decisions that block a woman’s right to an abortion in many states, the frequency of mass-shooting events (586 so far in 2022), the high cost of insurance-based health care, persistent racism and the rise in hate-crime violence, spurred by COVID-19’s emergence in Asia and divisive culture wars.

There’s no arguing with their concerns as they’re all valid. One has to wonder how long the United States can remain competitive when highly skilled and qualified people would prefer being someplace else. https://go.nature.com/3WFfCux


A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME.

Artificial intelligence has the potential to upend everything we know. Or not. A recent article looked at whether AI generated art qualifies as Art. Per Smithsonian Magazine,

When it comes to creativity, is artificial intelligence a powerful new tool or an existential threat? A San Francisco gallery is taking on this question in a new exhibition: “Artificial Imagination” features eight artists who used A.I. image generators to create the pieces on display.

The artists’ methods vary: Some fed their A.I. tool of choice phrases to generate their entire piece, while others created illustrations or sculptures based on the tool's recommendations. The show is on view at bitforms’ West Coast gallery through the end of the year.

From robots that make their own art to image-generation tools that mimick history’s greatest painters, A.I. is quickly permeating creative spaces—and generating lots of questions. Is it a medium or a method, a tool or a technique? And does an artist fully own their art if they didn’t design the technology themselves? As the quality of A.I. art rapidly improves, these conversations have never been more timely.

“Machine-learning programs that can produce sometimes jaw-dropping images from brief text prompts have advanced in a matter of months from a ‘that’s quite a trick’ stage to a genuine cultural disruption,” writes Axios’ Scott Rosenberg.

Once the Singularity occurs, AI Art will just be Art. Right? https://bit.ly/3zWOFIO

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

IMAGE CREDIT: European Parliament.


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