skyfaller's recent activity

  1. Comment on DuckDuckGo goes carbon negative in ~tech

    skyfaller
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    I have traveled the opposite direction. I previously was cautiously optimistic about carbon offsets, but now I think they are at best a distraction and at worst a way to funnel money to the worst...

    I have traveled the opposite direction. I previously was cautiously optimistic about carbon offsets, but now I think they are at best a distraction and at worst a way to funnel money to the worst polluters.

    Conventional approaches to carbon offsets like planting trees have been shown to be ephemeral by the increasingly out-of-control wildfires burning down offsets at an alarming rate. Also, tree monocultures are not nearly as resilient as actual forests, i.e. not something humans can quickly create. Your best bet is preserving existing forests, which can't scale up. New technology is unproven and I don't believe it can scale enough to matter before 2050. It's not that direct carbon capture couldn't be beneficial to humanity, it's that we'll have to solve the climate crisis without it, or we won't have a chance to deploy it.

    But before we can even address the practical problem of how one offsets carbon, we must solve the systemic problem of incentives. Offset markets are a market for lemons, where meaningless cheap offsets will drive out good meaningful offsets, because it is much cheaper to do nothing and play shell games than to actually offset emissions. I discovered a local eco-friendly shop was offsetting their emissions with the specific fraudulent offset covered in this article: https://bloomberg.com/features/2020-nature-conservancy-carbon-offsets-trees/ TL;DR: The Nature Conservancy has been corrupted to sell carbon offsets for forests on land that were already nature preserves and were never going to be logged. I told my local shop this. They are still offering the same fraudulent offset in their shopping cart today, perhaps because they do not have the time to research and find an offset that isn't a lemon, or perhaps because plausibly non-fraudulent offsets would be too expensive.

    It's too bad that the only sustainability strategy DuckDuckGo discusses in this announcement is carbon offsets. I'm sure they mean well, but I'm not convinced that this accomplishes anything at all in the absence of other efforts to dramatically reduce emissions. Everything about our society must change, carbon offsets aren't a silver bullet.

    11 votes
  2. Comment on Where did the trend of disabling Javascript in one's browser originate from? in ~comp

    skyfaller
    Link Parent
    I also aspire to support older, simpler browser engines, and I have to say... how do you test with Opera Presto? Do you have an ancient copy of it running somewhere? Is that... safe? Where did you...

    I also aspire to support older, simpler browser engines, and I have to say... how do you test with Opera Presto? Do you have an ancient copy of it running somewhere? Is that... safe? Where did you get it? How do you install it?

    I've been able to install and test with NetSurf and Pale Moon, and I've been using those as representatives of simpler browsers, but even if I wanted to support old proprietary browsers (and I'm not sure I do, seems like encouraging people to browse unsafely), I don't know how I would run a copy of IE4. At least NetSurf is maintained, and if I leave Javascript turned off, that has to reduce the security risk.

    Here's a crappy work-in-progress blog post about how I try to use progressive enhancement with CSS to support simpler browsers: https://www.maximumethics.dev/blog/2021/09/progressive-enhancement/

    3 votes
  3. Comment on The Matrix Resurrections – Official trailer 1 in ~movies

    skyfaller
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    Here's what's not clear to me: Do I need to watch 2 and 3 before watching this movie? (I didn't see 3 after being disappointed with 2.) Is this some sort of reboot or continuity shift, like how...

    Here's what's not clear to me: Do I need to watch 2 and 3 before watching this movie? (I didn't see 3 after being disappointed with 2.) Is this some sort of reboot or continuity shift, like how some Terminator properties ignore Terminator 3?

    Neo seems to be lost in the Matrix again, with this talking to a psychologist and having to take the red pill again... how did this happen? He's known about the Matrix since early in the first movie. Did his memory get wiped? I don't understand what the situation is supposed to be at the beginning of the new movie.

    1 vote
  4. Comment on Moderators of hundreds of popular subreddits sign open letter calling on Reddit founders to do more to combat COVID-19 disinformation in ~health.coronavirus

    skyfaller
    Link Parent
    Is Tildes not a Reddit alternative? I recognize it's tiny, but I put effort into seeking it out because of the many flaws of Reddit, and it seems to be doing a good job with moderation so far....

    Is Tildes not a Reddit alternative? I recognize it's tiny, but I put effort into seeking it out because of the many flaws of Reddit, and it seems to be doing a good job with moderation so far.

    Every time I see more stupid behavior like this from Reddit, I spend a little more time on Lobsters, Raddle, Lemmy, etc... Maybe they're no threat today, maybe the real competition to Reddit doesn't exist yet, but complacency has killed many powerful companies in the past.

    6 votes
  5. Comment on Climate change: IPCC report is 'code red for humanity' in ~enviro

    skyfaller
    Link Parent
    Similarly to purely direct solar heating vs. some electric hybrid, I think that a slow cooker like the instapot adds significant complexity to a thermal cooker that can be very simple and...

    Similarly to purely direct solar heating vs. some electric hybrid, I think that a slow cooker like the instapot adds significant complexity to a thermal cooker that can be very simple and long-lasting. It's not just a question of energy use while cooking, it's also a question of embodied emissions, maintenance, and eventually e-waste.

    2 votes
  6. Comment on Climate change: IPCC report is 'code red for humanity' in ~enviro

    skyfaller
    Link Parent
    Oh man, I really wanted the predecessor to that solar oven that was purely solar, the GoSun Grill. I recognize that adding electricity as an option makes it significantly more flexible, but I...

    Oh man, I really wanted the predecessor to that solar oven that was purely solar, the GoSun Grill. I recognize that adding electricity as an option makes it significantly more flexible, but I question its effect on simplicity/durability/repairability. I wish I had assembled the money to buy it before they stopped selling it.

    Would love to hear more about your experiences with that model.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on Climate change: IPCC report is 'code red for humanity' in ~enviro

    skyfaller
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I mean, clearly the answer is no. In the developed world, even people living in energy poverty are currently living above the carrying capacity of the planet. The US and Europe will need to...

    I mean, clearly the answer is no. In the developed world, even people living in energy poverty are currently living above the carrying capacity of the planet. The US and Europe will need to dramatically change the way they live. It won't necessarily require them being less comfortable, so long as they are willing to learn new ways of doing things.

    My favorite example, because it's something I do regularly that has generally improved my life, is using thermal cookers / fireless cookers. You get your pot of food cooking, then throw it in an insulated container so that it continues cooking without further energy input.

    • You don't have to babysit the pot while it cooks, for fear of fire or children harming themselves
    • You can take it with you somewhere while it's cooking, e.g. to a picnic, it can be portable
    • It's especially great in the summer, because less cooking time means your kitchen heats up less
    • And of course it saves energy / reduces emissions

    All that's required is that you acquire one of these simple devices and learn to use it. I love the hi-tech Thermos Shuttle Chef because it's compact (yes, it's made by the same Thermos company you see in the USA, but for some reason only seems to be sold/marketed in Asia), but a simpler design like the Wonderbag is cheap enough the gov't could probably just give one to every household.

    It's not a sacrifice, it's a genuine life improvement. But it's not how the US or Europe currently lives (even though thermal cookers were popular until the 1970s in the US, after which they were thoroughly forgotten).

    4 votes
  8. Comment on Climate change: IPCC report is 'code red for humanity' in ~enviro

    skyfaller
    Link Parent
    I really think overpopulation is not something we should focus our attention on: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/9/26/16356524/the-population-question TL;DR: focus on womens'...

    What do you think about malthusianism and the idea that there are or will soon be too many people in the world to have appropriate living standards for all of them as it relates to climate change?

    I really think overpopulation is not something we should focus our attention on: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/9/26/16356524/the-population-question TL;DR: focus on womens' rights and economic inequality instead to get similar results without troubling eugenics overtones.

    12 votes
  9. Comment on PoW is efficient in ~finance

    skyfaller
    Link Parent
    POW will contribute to climate change even if it uses "green" energy, because some emissions are created even when manufacturing e.g. solar panels....

    POW will contribute to climate change even if it uses "green" energy, because some emissions are created even when manufacturing e.g. solar panels. https://solar.lowtechmagazine.com/2015/04/how-sustainable-is-pv-solar-power.html If we continue to increase our energy usage, we could spend our entire carbon budget simply building enough solar panels, wind turbines, etc. to meet our growing energy demands.

    To prevent climate apocalypse, we will have to reduce energy usage, as well as switching to green energy sources. There is no way POW will help with this process.

    13 votes
  10. Comment on Charm delivers Stripe's carbon removal purchase ahead-of-schedule in ~enviro

    skyfaller
    Link Parent
    I have a funny feeling that, if this becomes popular, then at some point in the future, some idiot is going to dig up this stuff and burn it.

    I have a funny feeling that, if this becomes popular, then at some point in the future, some idiot is going to dig up this stuff and burn it.

    1 vote
  11. Comment on <deleted topic> in ~life

    skyfaller
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    Responding only to your title, I think one major problem with wars is that you can't opt out of them. A lot of civilians would love to opt out of wars, but their choices are to live in a place...

    Responding only to your title, I think one major problem with wars is that you can't opt out of them. A lot of civilians would love to opt out of wars, but their choices are to live in a place fighting a war, or become a refugee fleeing to someplace else, which is far too disruptive to be considered "opting out" (will anyone even let you in?).

    The internet is a battleground in the "culture wars", with real effects in the physical world. Hate groups organize/recruit online and then kill people offline. Neutrality favors the oppressor, and ignoring these people won't make them go away (although deplatforming might, to some degree).

    Even civilians and soldiers on battlefields need downtime to try to escape the horrors of war in order to keep functioning. That's fine and good, and if you can find safe spaces online where you can catch your breath, excellent. Just don't confuse that with "opting out" of a war, the war continues to affect you regardless.

    11 votes
  12. Comment on Firefox 87 released in ~tech

    skyfaller
    Link Parent
    Thanks for mentioning LocalCDN, I wasn't aware of it. Unfortunate that Decentraleyes is still "Recommended" by Mozilla, but hasn't been updated in 5 months. If I always use Firefox with Strict...

    Thanks for mentioning LocalCDN, I wasn't aware of it. Unfortunate that Decentraleyes is still "Recommended" by Mozilla, but hasn't been updated in 5 months.

    If I always use Firefox with Strict Enhanced Tracking Protection, do you think I need LocalCDN? It's not that I don't want additional privacy if LocalCDN covers more stuff, it's that it adds another entity I need to trust, another icon in my browser, another extension to try disabling if a page isn't working...

    5 votes
  13. Comment on Firefox 87 released in ~tech

    skyfaller
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    Does anyone know how SmartBlock compares with the Decentraleyes add-on? Do they interfere with one another? Is Decentraleyes unnecessary now?

    Does anyone know how SmartBlock compares with the Decentraleyes add-on? Do they interfere with one another? Is Decentraleyes unnecessary now?

    5 votes
  14. Comment on The climate crisis is worse than you can imagine. Here’s what happens if you try. in ~enviro

    skyfaller
    Link Parent
    An alternate way of phrasing this is, an alarming number of people will oppose any attempt to save lives if it would inconvenience them personally, even if the life that might be saved is their...

    An alternate way of phrasing this is, an alarming number of people will oppose any attempt to save lives if it would inconvenience them personally, even if the life that might be saved is their own.

    I think it's important to remember that there are powerful forces encouraging that sort of short-sighted selfishness, that opposition to thought and expertise and facts, that denial of responsibility for others. Many of these people could be better people if they were not being brainwashed to be pawns for fascism. They are still responsible for their actions, and for falling for the con, but the context of right-wing media and culture needs to be remembered. Don't forget about who is benefiting from it all.

    7 votes
  15. Comment on The climate crisis is worse than you can imagine. Here’s what happens if you try. in ~enviro

    skyfaller
    Link Parent
    To be clear, while I think minimizing your carbon footprint can make you a more effective advocate for environmental policies, I don't think your individual lifestyle choices need to be a...

    To be clear, while I think minimizing your carbon footprint can make you a more effective advocate for environmental policies, I don't think your individual lifestyle choices need to be a priority. Do what you can when you can, and be kind to yourself. Without institutional and cultural support, many changes are too difficult for the average person.

    What is absolutely vital is to not give up on organizing with others to take action. You're right that governments will not do enough to stop this, unless we make them do so. The young people in Fridays for Future or Sunrise Movement will be suffering the effects of climate change after you are gone, and they are fighting tooth and nail. They haven't given up, and they need your help. Don't accept the casual murder of millions by those in power, hold them accountable.

    It may be hard to feel like you are part of a movement in the isolation of the pandemic, but I promise you, no matter what country you live in, if you join the movement for climate justice you will not be alone for long.

    13 votes
  16. Comment on The climate crisis is worse than you can imagine. Here’s what happens if you try. in ~enviro

    skyfaller
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    I think it's important and healthy to accept that some damage has already been done, and that we must begin efforts towards climate resilience and climate adaptation to deal with the inevitable...
    • Exemplary

    I think it's important and healthy to accept that some damage has already been done, and that we must begin efforts towards climate resilience and climate adaptation to deal with the inevitable effects of the emissions we've already produced.

    That said, I also worry about doomers encouraging society to give up and accept the continuing harm that our culture is doing now and in the future. Everything will change radically. The choice we face is whether to make intentional change to address the climate crisis and protect our children as best we can, or to abandon our descendants to their fate. A world with 4 degrees of warming would be very bad, but a world with 8 degrees of warming would be much worse. It could mean the difference between the collapse of civilization and human extinction, with no hope of doing better next time. Every little action we take matters... no matter how bad things get, we can try to prevent them from getting worse. (And never underestimate how much worse things could be.)

    17 votes
  17. Comment on The climate crisis is worse than you can imagine. Here’s what happens if you try. in ~enviro

    skyfaller
    Link Parent
    It's a bad idea. What makes you think that humans will engineer the planet in a responsible manner? What makes you think humans can understand the planet's systems well enough to intentionally...

    It's a bad idea. What makes you think that humans will engineer the planet in a responsible manner? What makes you think humans can understand the planet's systems well enough to intentionally engineer them in a way that doesn't produce horrific unintended consequences? I look at dams, at failed attempts to control flooding with storm drains, at efforts to control the Mississippi sinking the state of Louisiana, at people intentionally introducing invasive plants and animals, and I don't see many examples of humans successfully engineering their environmental sins away.

    My prediction is that geoengineering will result in repeated "she swallowed the horse to catch the fly" situations, where new geoengineering is required to undo previous geoengineering mistakes and overcorrections. That's if we are able to produce geoengineering technology that works at scale in time to affect the climate crisis.

    I also predict that geoengineering will happen at the expense of, and over the objections of, the poor and disadvantaged people of the world, and that it will be a disaster from a climate justice standpoint. If you float giant mirrors in space to prevent the sun from heating the planet, will everyone who lives in their shade be consulted? If their crops fail as a result, who will make them whole?

    Protect our old growth forests and rewild the planet, and stop trying to "fix" it. Don't do the damage in the first place, instead of harming the planet and then trying to buy your way out of the consequences.

    13 votes
  18. Comment on Reddit announces online presence indicators in ~tech

    skyfaller
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    Once upon a time I welcomed the addition of chat, in the form of interoperable Jabber. It was cool when LiveJournal added Jabber chat which could communicate with Google etc., it gave me a way of...

    Once upon a time I welcomed the addition of chat, in the form of interoperable Jabber. It was cool when LiveJournal added Jabber chat which could communicate with Google etc., it gave me a way of interacting with friends elsewhere without signing into a proprietary network myself.

    Adding proprietary features to walled gardens I read as a continued attack on the open internet. Use interoperable standards and make the web stronger, rather than forcing everyone into your app. I still don't like proprietary sites/apps when they use open standards and would prefer open source alternatives, but so long as they are committed to working together with others, I can consider them friendly competition rather than an opponent who must be defeated.

    2 votes
  19. Comment on What do you use for email? in ~tech

    skyfaller
    Link Parent
    I generally agree with this, but I have one caution: make sure you actually control your custom domain. I co-founded a non-profit and used its domain in my email address, but mostly stopped...

    I generally agree with this, but I have one caution: make sure you actually control your custom domain.

    I co-founded a non-profit and used its domain in my email address, but mostly stopped participating after losing an election to its board (and simultaneously my self-confidence). A few years later, the non-profit died. At some point in that process, my email address stopped working, which caused trouble with many of my online accounts, some which I have still not resolved after several years.

    I never used my personal domain names for email, but if I had I would have lost control of some of those too. I had my homepage's domain name registered with GoDaddy, but because that non-profit email address was my primary email address, GoDaddy could not notify me via email about my expiring domains. Domain name squatters immediately grabbed my homepage's domain and I still haven't gotten it back.

    Ironically my gmail address kept working through all of that drama, and if I hadn't used custom domains I would have been fine.

    10 votes
  20. Comment on The 100 Year Computer in ~comp

    skyfaller
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    [Apologies for pasting my comment from lobste.rs, but I think I arrived too late to that thread and I still want to have a discussion!] This post really captured my imagination, but the phrase...

    [Apologies for pasting my comment from lobste.rs, but I think I arrived too late to that thread and I still want to have a discussion!]

    This post really captured my imagination, but the phrase “heirloom computing” brought something rather different to mind for me from what the author proposes. To me, an heirloom must be beautiful and a timeless achievement of craftsmanship, so that people want to use it and preserve it for 100 years.

    Seems to me there are two ways to build a 100-year computer:

    • Make it extremely easy to repair and replace the parts, so your “ship of theseus” still functions 100 years later. Reminds me of a safety razor. Works fine indefinitely, as long as you keep replacing the razor blades regularly.
    • Build something indestructible, with as few moving parts as possible, designed to work as originally constructed for 100 years. Reminds me of a straight razor, which if you dispense with a folding handle can have zero moving parts, and works indefinitely as long as you keep it sharp.

    Both are significant design challenges, but I think building something where the original object is designed to function for 100 years is the more daunting. I struggle to conceive of a computer that could do it, it is so different from current designs.

    I think it would be easier to tackle peripherals first. I can conceive of a 100-year heirloom keyboard, for instance. It might use Hall effect switches, as the Keystone by Input Club intends to, featuring magnetic sensors instead of physical electrical contacts to last for billions of keypresses, theoretically ~20 times longer than conventional mechanical switches. (But I must admit that I didn’t back that crowdfunding campaign, preferring conventional mechanical switches that are easier to acquire/replace.) People still love well-crafted antique typewriters, and they still would work just fine for writing today. Datamancer “steampunk” keyboards look like they achieve the kind of beautiful craftsmanship I would want from an heirloom keyboard, but I’m not sure they have the durability or long-term planning required. (Can’t say either way, never having owned one.)

    When I asked my girlfriend what the most complex tool she can think of from 100 years ago that is still relevant, she suggested a sewing machine. When she was growing up, her family had multiple antique sewing machines that they used, including one that was built into a table so that the sewing surface was flush with the tabletop. The trick will be guessing what tasks will still be relevant in the future and designing a simple but reliable workflow that will remain usable. I think this may mean paring down the idea of a computer to its bare essentials.

    7 votes