Sense Of Entitlement 101 – Oil Producing States

Sense of Entitlement 101 –

OPEC States Want to Be Paid if Pollution Curbs Cut Oil Sales:

For all its prosperity, he said, Saudi Arabia will still need help in developing new industries and job sources for its growing population.

Mr. Sabban said a large coalition of developing countries was ready to reject the treaty language if industrialized nations rejected the idea of compensating countries whose economies were harmed.

Saudis Seek Payments for Any Drop in Oil Revenues:

“It is like the tobacco industry asking for compensation for lost revenues as a part of a settlement to address the health risks of smoking,” said Jake Schmidt, the international climate policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The worst of this racket is that they have held up progress on supporting adaptation funding for the most vulnerable for years because of this demand.”

Translation:

If you don’t want what we have, for the good of the world we ALL live in, I want to be compensated so that I’ll still be fucking rich without having to work for another source of wealth.

If it is all about using the money for diversification, then pray tell why when they were already bringing in so much money from oil over the years, they didn’t use that wealth to plan and diversify then.

In the context of Singapore:

Hey World, because you guys stopped shipping stuff, Singapore’s economy is hurt because our port is underused. You guys need to compensate us for loss of income because of your decision to stop shipping things.

I also have a product which because you do not want, I must be compensated for.

All joking aside though, a business model where you get paid when people don’t buy what you’re selling is pretty awesome business if you can get it..

Metafilter discussion here.

Some further thoughts:

The problem is really about politicians trying to get countries to do a group hug, but every single one of them wants to actually walk outside the circle and fuck the other politicians in the ass.

The truth is, countries should just be responsible global citizens within their own boundaries.

Industrialized countries once committed the current sins of developing countries, sins which allow them to be where they are now, which is industrialized. Developing countries aspire for that status, and it is naive at best to assume they will give those aspirations up by not taking the way previously taken (damn the consequences) and hubris at worse for politicians from industrialized countries to think they have the right to bully developing countries into towing the line.

The truth is, the cost to the environment is difficult to be measured and rarely factored into the cost of development. The best way going forward is not for industrialized countries to say do this instead of doing that (which was what we did, but please forget about it) but for those who already have the ability (i.e. industrialized nations) to create financially cheaper ways that are also just as effective as the old way for developing countries to get industrialized (although frankly, that might not be the best goal around) and progress without harming the environment.

Additional Notes:

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:

Leaders from around the world will gather in Copenhagen in December 2009 for the latest talks held on implementing a 1992 treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The goal is a climate treaty that would go beyond the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a climate change agreement that set emissions targets for industrialized nations. Many of those goals have not been met, and the United States never ratified the accord.

Although the United Nations has held a big climate meeting each year since 1995, the 12-day gathering in Copenhagen is extraordinary for many reasons. The emissions reduction commitments that countries made under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol expire in 2012. And while the Bush administration was seen by many countries as an obstacle to achieving a global accord, President Obama has declared that he wants to be a leader in environmental issues.

A 200-page document, which serves as a starting point for treaty negotiations, outlines proposals for cutting emissions of heat-trapping gases by rich countries and limiting the growth of gases in the developing world. It also discusses ways of preventing deforestation, which is linked to global warming, and of providing financing for poorer nations to help them adapt to warmer temperatures.

But many environmental advocates and politicians suggest that not enough has been done to winnow down those options. Representatives of poor countries complain that developed nations have not made an adequate commitment to reduce their emissions.

The United States and China jointly produce 40 percent of the world’s heat-trapping emissions.

The United States never joined the 1997 Kyoto accord, the first major attempt to limit emissions in a global treaty, partly because quickly developing and increasingly competitive countries like China and India were not required to set emissions reduction goals of their own.

China and India, meanwhile, have said that the industrialized world, which has been responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions to date, must commit to far deeper cuts before negotiations at Copenhagen can succeed.

A show of resolve by the United States about doing its part to combat global warming is considered critical to the outcome of the Copenhagen talks. Yet the prospect of action by the United States Senate on climate change appeared dim before the Copenhagen talks, with Congress mired in the fight over health care and Democrats divided on climate change measures.

Regardless of Congressional action, the Obama administration announced in early October 2009 that it was planning new rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from hundreds of power plants and large industrial factories.

Good or bad, any climate agreement that comes out of the December meeting will bear Copenhagen’s name. And the tenor of the meetings is likely to reflect Denmark’s sober brand of environmentalism. The government has proposed new fines to keep activists in check during the meetings – $2,000 for breaking through a police cordon or wearing a mask during demonstrations.

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What Happens When Your Husband Stops Loving You

This is a story of how a wife dealt with a husband who said he stopped loving her:

It’s a story about hearing your husband say “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him.

Although it may sound ridiculous to say “Don’t take it personally” when your husband tells you he no longer loves you, sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do.

Instead of issuing ultimatums, yelling, crying or begging, I presented him with options. I created a summer of fun for our family and welcomed him to share in it, or not — it was up to him. If he chose not to come along, we would miss him, but we would be just fine, thank you very much. And we were.

And, yeah, you can bet I wanted to sit him down and persuade him to stay. To love me. To fight for what we’ve created. You can bet I wanted to.

But I didn’t.

I barbecued. Made lemonade. Set the table for four. Loved him from afar.

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I Don’t Get These People Who Have Lived Beyond Their Means

I don’t get this.

You got the finance people who lent money to those who cannot possibly have a reasonable recourse to repay in the future. Fine.

What I don’t get is how people can default on loans and then weasel out of playing the full sum of money they owe while trying to make it look like it is all the finance people’s fault.

I mean, for these people to have the money in the first place, someone had to contribute it. It could be from investors in financial products or people who were saving.

They took the money and lived the good life. Some of the people who invested and saved are wiped out or lost enough to make the next few years of their lives unbearable.

You say we are all in the same boat.

I say, Fuck you.

When I was saving and ‘investing’, you were taking out money and living the good life without any reasonable recourse to pay. Now you weasel out and clam to be my brother/sister in suffering.

I haven’t lived the good life. You have.

It is not that I don’t have sympathy for those who might be suffering from the current crisis. I do. I’ve been there and I know it ain’t pretty. But the sympathy is gained based on how you got to this point. For those who saved and saved but got wiped out because they were using the wrong bank, my heart bleeds together with you.

For those who overextended to live the good life and now want to claim sympathy, Fuck you.

Update: I’m pissed because at the end of the day, a lot of decent and frugal people are getting fucked by a whole bunch of other people who won’t be suffering with us or who lived the good life and now want to be just like us without any consequences to their earlier actions. You do the crime, you got to do the time. In a world where this doesn’t happen, think carefully about whether you want to bring children into this world – a world where values are whacked.

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The End Of The World Is Here

Large Hadron Collider

Image from The Big Picture.

I’m going to grab tons of beer tonight and drink them while I pawn noobs in DOTA. Why? Because the end of the world is near. Maybe.

From the New York Times:

In the lawsuit, filed in March in Honolulu district court, Walter Wagner, a retired radiation safety expert who lives in Hawaii, and Luis Sancho, a Spanish science writer, contended that the Large Hadron Collider could create microscopic black holes that could wind up eating the Earth, or other dangerous particles known as strangelets — a sort of contagious dead matter — or so-called magnetic monopoles, which could catalyze the destruction of ordinary matter.

Pictures of the Large Hadron Collider here.

More links here and here.

Wikipedia entry here.

An interesting question that has been asked – how much power should we give scientists to do the things they want to do if they themselves may not fully understand the consequences even though their theoretical calculations seem to indicate everything is safe.

Think the shit that happened in Spiderman 2. I also vaguely remember there was a similar storyline in the Marvel universe where a scientist tried to build a window into the beginning of time and actually caused the destruction of the universe.

Oh well … Only in the movies, comics and books. Right?

Right?

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Some Of The Best Moments In Olympics History

The awesome online curator Jason Kottke has put together a post covering some of the best moments in Olympics history here. I was never one to follow the Olympics. I don’t even remember ever watching an opening ceremony in its entirety. However, this year, for some reason, things were different as I waited eagerly to see Liu Xiang’s race and followed Michael Phelps historic campaign, Federer’s quest for redemption and Dara Torres‘ participation in the Olympics.

The gymnastic performances and diving events also got my attention. From Kottke’s post, four awesome routines from the past.

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Jon Stewart Is Possibly The Most Trusted Man In America

I learned of Jon Stewart only when he started hosting The Daily Show. The New York Times has an article on him here. Some excerpts and my thoughts below:

MR. STEWART describes his job as “throwing spitballs” from the back of the room and points out that “The Daily Show” mandate is to entertain, not inform. Still, he and his writers have energetically tackled the big issues of the day — “the stuff we find most interesting,” as he said in an interview at the show’s Midtown Manhattan offices, the stuff that gives them the most “agita,” the sometimes somber stories he refers to as his “morning cup of sadness.” And they’ve done so in ways that straight news programs cannot: speaking truth to power in blunt, sometimes profane language, while using satire and playful looniness to ensure that their political analysis never becomes solemn or pretentious.

I actually find the show the most informative for current affairs. Plus it challenges you to think whenever consuming any form of media.

I became aware of the power that comedy, parody and satire have when I was studying Blazing Saddles by Mel Brooks during my American Film History class – it is this power that The Daily Show wields so adeptly.

Sidenote: The two modules I enjoyed the most when in NUS were ‘American Film History’ and ‘Film and History’. I’m an Engineering graduate and to be honest, it was only when i was taking the cross-faculty modules that I felt I was being challenged to think independently, differently and critically. The Engineering modules were only about the answers and the steps to get there without much appreciation for the steps and the reasons behind them.

Sorry. I digressed.

Anyway, more excerpts:

“In some respects, the heavier subjects are the ones that are most loaded with opportunity because they have the most — you know, the difference between potential and kinetic energy? — they have the most potential energy, so to delve into that gives you the largest combustion, the most interest. I don’t mean for the audience. I mean for us. Everyone here is working too hard to do stuff we don’t care about.”

Mr. Stewart’s comedic gifts — his high-frequency radar for hypocrisy, his talent for excavating ur-narratives from mountains of information, his ability, in Ms. Corn’s words, “to name things that don’t seem to have a name” — proved to be perfect tools for explicating and parsing the foibles of an administration known for its secrecy, ideological certainty and impatience with dissenting viewpoints.

He’s the Jersey Boy and ardent Mets fan as Mr. Common Sense, pointing to the disconnect between reality and what politicians and the news media describe as reality, channeling the audience’s id and articulating its bewilderment and indignation. He’s the guy willing to say the emperor has no clothes, to wonder why in Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “It’s 3 a.m.” ad no one picks up the phone in the White House before six rings, to ask why a preinvasion meeting in March 2003 between President Bush and his allies took all of an hour — the “time it takes LensCrafters to make you a pair of bifocals” to discuss “a war that could destroy the global order.”

While he possesses Johnny Carson’s talent for listening and George Carlin’s gift for observation, his comedy remains rooted in his informed reactions to what Tom Wolfe once called “the irresistibly lurid carnival of American life,”

“Jon’s ability to consume and process information is invaluable,” said Mr. Colbert. He added that Mr. Stewart is “such a clear thinker” that he’s able to take “all these data points of spin and transparent falsehoods dished out in the form of political discourse” and “fish from that what is the true meaning, what are red herrings, false leads,” even as he performs the ambidextrous feat of “making jokes about it” at the same time.

“We often discuss satire — the sort of thing he does and to a certain extent I do — as distillery,” Mr. Colbert continued. “You have an enormous amount of material, and you have to distill it to a syrup by the end of the day. So much of it is a hewing process, chipping away at things that aren’t the point or aren’t the story or aren’t the intention. Really it’s that last couple of drops you’re distilling that makes all the difference. It isn’t that hard to get a ton of corn into a gallon of sour mash, but to get that gallon of sour mash down to that one shot of pure whiskey takes patience” as well as “discipline and focus.”

this was after 9-11:

He talked about feeling privileged to live where you can “sit in the back of the country and make wisecracks.” And he talked about “why I grieve but why I don’t despair.”

Singapore has lots of problems. But we also have got a lot of things right. The question that I think needs to be asked is this – is the current environment one where the people who really care know within themselves that things can get better, that there is hope and despair is replaced. More specifically, do we have the conviction that if any sort of shit hits the fan, we will be able to deal with it with stoic resolve.

In fact, Mr. Stewart regards comedy as a kind of catharsis machine, a therapeutic filter for grappling with upsetting issues. “What’s nice to us about the relentlessness of the show,” he said, “is you know you’re going to get that release no matter what, every night, Monday through Thursday. Like pizza, it may not be the best pizza you’ve ever had, but it’s still pizza, man, and you get to have it every night. It’s a wonderful feeling to have this toxin in your body in the morning, that little cup of sadness, and feel by 7 or 7:30 that night, you’ve released it in sweat equity and can move on to the next day.”

You know something – reading some the posts that are linked by Singapore Daily is my catharsis machine because some of the writers are indeed funny and biting in their commentary of Singapore and the shenanigans that occur. However, it doesn’t seem to be enough. Something is missing and I think Singaporeans need our own Jon Stewart.

This is the link to this post-9/11 speech. This was the clip that made me start to admire him.

The view from my apartment was the World Trade Center…Now it’s gone. They attacked this symbol of American ingenuity and strength and labor and imagination and commerce, and it is gone., but you know what the view is now? The Statue of Liberty. The view from the south of Manhattan is now the Statue of Liberty. You can’t beat that.

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New York Times Article On Trolling

The New York Times has an interesting article on trolling.

Updated: Weev from the NYT’s article responds here. You learn something new everyday, today, I learned of a new perspective on history and gosh, this is an insightful one.

From the NYT:

Technology, apparently, does more than harness the wisdom of the crowd. It can intensify its hatred as well.

He proceeded to demonstrate his personal cure for trolling, the Theory of the Green Hair.

“You have green hair,” he told me. “Did you know that?”

“No,” I said.

“Why not?”

“I look in the mirror. I see my hair is black.”

“That’s uh, interesting. I guess you understand that you have green hair about as well as you understand that you’re a terrible reporter.”

“What do you mean? What did I do?”

“That’s a very interesting reaction,” Fortuny said. “Why didn’t you get so defensive when I said you had green hair?” If I were certain that I wasn’t a terrible reporter, he explained, I would have laughed the suggestion off just as easily. The willingness of trolling “victims” to be hurt by words, he argued, makes them complicit, and trolling will end as soon as we all get over it.

Does free speech tend to move toward the truth or away from it? When does it evolve into a better collective understanding? When does it collapse into the Babel of trolling, the pointless and eristic game of talking the other guy into crying “uncle”? Is the effort to control what’s said always a form of censorship, or might certain rules be compatible with our notions of free speech?

One promising answer comes from the computer scientist Jon Postel, now known as “god of the Internet” for the influence he exercised over the emerging network. In 1981, he formulated what’s known as Postel’s Law: “Be conservative in what you do; be liberal in what you accept from others.” Originally intended to foster “interoperability,” the ability of multiple computer systems to understand one another, Postel’s Law is now recognized as having wider applications. To build a robust global network with no central authority, engineers were encouraged to write code that could “speak” as clearly as possible yet “listen” to the widest possible range of other speakers, including those who do not conform perfectly to the rules of the road. The human equivalent of this robustness is a combination of eloquence and tolerance — the spirit of good conversation. Trolls embody the opposite principle. They are liberal in what they do and conservative in what they construe as acceptable behavior from others. You, the troll says, are not worthy of my understanding; I, therefore, will do everything I can to confound you.

But while technology reduces the social barriers that keep us from bedeviling strangers, it does not explain the initial trolling impulse. This seems to spring from something ugly — a destructive human urge that many feel but few act upon, the ambient misanthropy that’s a frequent ingredient of art, politics and, most of all, jokes. There’s a lot of hate out there, and a lot to hate as well.

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Digging Your Way Into Debt

New York Times has an article about Americans getting into debt.

What is smelly is this:

But behind the big increase in consumer debt is a major shift in the way lenders approach their business. In earlier years, actually being repaid by borrowers was crucial to lenders. Now, because so much consumer debt is packaged into securities and sold to investors, repayment of the loans takes on less importance to those lenders than the fees and charges generated when loans are made.

Guess who are buying those bad consumer debt in the form of securities?

Retail investors and indirectly, the people who save.

When the securities go bad, those who sell it owe you nothing. But they can come after you for your loans and interests.

Hmmm…

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Instead Of Just Renovating A House, Designer Creates An Amazing Scavenger Hunt

This is just so amazing. I’m sure the kids were inspired beyond measure. Article is here.

The apartment is quite attractive and perfectly functional in all the typical ways, and its added features remained largely unnoticed by its inhabitants for quite some time after they moved in, in May of 2006. Then one night four months later, Cavan Klinsky, who is now 11, had a friend over. The boy was lying on the floor in Cavan’s bedroom, staring at dozens of letters that had been cut into the radiator grille. They seemed random — FDYDQ, for example. But all of a sudden the friend leapt up with a shriek, Ms. Sherry said, having realized that they were actually a cipher (a Caesar Shift cipher, to be precise), and that Cavan’s name was the first word.

via:metafilter

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