Outline of a Climate Treaty that might actually work (in 365 words)

Today, the President of the United States (whom I admit I voted for in a key swing state) took the correct course to pull out of the hilariously ineffective and ridiculously unfair Paris Climate Agreement. Which, of course, left me wondering what would an actually effective and fair climate agreement look like? I think the following outline below which I came up with in a couple minutes will suffice to make everyone understand the necessary scope of a climate agreement that might actually work at achieving its stated aims.

1. Convene the top four emitters of greenhouse gasses (currently China, the United States, India, and Russia).

2. Make this a binding treaty, not an executive agreement, which every country of the original four must ratify within a year after the treaty’s negotiation for it to come into effect.

3. Get this treaty to state that each of the four countries must institute a carbon tax increasing by 20 U.S. CPI-adjusted dollars per ton of carbon dioxide every year from the treaty’s coming into effect and impose climate-equivalent taxes on all the other greenhouse gasses. Absolutely no source of greenhouse gasses should be in any way exempt.

4. The treaty should be designed with the intent of one country joining the treaty each year, in order from largest to smallest emitter of greenhouse gasses (i.e., Japan in 2018 followed by Germany in 2019 followed by Iran in 2020 followed by South Korea in 2021 and so on). This is to encourage countries to compete to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions before they even join the treaty. To encourage countries to join the treaty, a flat tariff on all goods and services exports, increasing by 20 percentage points each year, should be imposed by all the countries in the agreement on the countries that don’t join in the above-mentioned order.

5. Every ten years, there is to be a verification whether the treaty countries are actually enforcing the necessary tax(es). Cheaters are to be determined by a majority of countries within the treaty. They are to be punished by mandatory retaliatory tariffs levied by all the other countries in the treaty in proportion to the cheating country’s lack of enforcement it should have done by the treaty’s requirements.


Temperature Seasonality and Asian IQ and Work Ethic

I once read of a paper which attributed the birth of agriculture to increasing seasonality across the world. Amazingly enough, though I didn’t remember it, it was from Marginal Revolution over a year ago. So I know I was a reader of that blog at that time.

In any case, this post isn’t about the origin of agriculture. This post is about the mystery of Asian natural intelligence. Now, first, you must be acquainted with the reality of the situation: Japan, Taiwan (with most Taiwanese Chinese descended from migrants from Fujian Province), and Korea have the highest average IQs in Asia. In Southeast Asia, Vietnam does better than richer Indonesia and Thailand on the math PISA, this being strong circumstantial evidence of higher Vietnamese natural IQ. Fujian is one of the leading producers of double-cropped rice in China, the first crop being planted in March and harvested in June, and the second crop being planted in July and harvested in November. In Korea, only a single crop of rice is possible, planted in spring and harvested in autumn. Japan does have double-cropped rice.

Anecdotally, Laotians are laziest people in Asia. It is similar for Cambodians, even in regards to such a vital matter as food production. Their social outcomes in the United States are consistent with this. According to J. Malloy, the average achievement quotient of Vietnamese-Americans on Californian Standards Tests (with Californian Whites at 100) is 104, that for Cambodian-Americans is 95, and that for Laotians is 90. Curiously, Laotian IQ in Laos is also estimated by Malloy at 90, while Vietnam and Cambodia are apparently far behind their potential. Note that Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians in America are roughly equally unselected, judging by their High School completion rates.

I think I may have half the solution to the conundrum (though this does not even begin to touch on the mystery of India). On December 10, when I was supposed to be doing something else, I decided to glance on the Weather app on my WinBook TW700. The Weather app had its default location set to Hanoi. I looked at the app’s historical data section. I then thought of the vast difference in Vietnamese v. Laotian-American social outcomes, despite similar starting backgrounds for the first generation. How would the climate of, say, Vientiane compare to that of Hanoi?

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Note: precipitation shows basically the same pattern for both.

I then quickly checked some test cases: Fuzhou, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Jakarta, Delhi. The only obvious outlier was Delhi, and that question must be set aside for now.

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Note that the most populous island in the world has basically a constant temperature year-round. No wonder its PISA scores are so low.

However, what works for East and Southeast Asia here does not work for Europe. Albania has basically the same temperature seasonality as Fujian Province. However, the rain pattern in Albania is precisely the opposite of that in Fujian -driest when the temperature is hottest, wettest when the temperature is lowest. This surely makes a great difference in how Albanian and Fujianese intelligence was selected for.

Despite this evidence, I’m not sure quite in what direction it leads to. Looking at solar irridance in the case of Asia, as in the case of Europe, seems just as powerful as looking at seasonality.

Israel Finkelstein Paper on Late Bronze Collapse Four Times as Good as I Thought

Paper here.

Firstly, Finkelstein, Litt, and Langgut’s findings from the Sea of Galilee show that there was an intense dry period in Canaan between c. 1250 BC (when Hazor fell) and c. 1100 BC or just before (when Canaan experienced a baby boom). Secondly, the authors show that these findings can also be connected with the peak of the so-called “Minoan Warming” in this graph. Thirdly, the authors show that all the textual evidence supports their hypothesis that the 14th century BC was a wet period with no known major droughts while the 13th-12th centuries BC were a dry period with many known major droughts. The authors, however, show no real evidence of “economic and demographic decline” in Canaan in the Late Bronze IIB-III, which they claim occurred. Though Hazor, Bethel, and Shechem did lose their city-state status in the 13th century BC (Bethel later than the other two), I find the claim that either the population or economy of Canaan declined during the 13th century BC to be dubious.

Paradoxically, Finkelstein flip-flops again on the date of the beginning of Israelite settlement, placing it in the midst of the drought instead of, as he did in 2006, after the end of it. If cities like Megiddo, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Lachish, and Azekah could prosper in the Late Bronze IIB, so they could trade imported Egyptian grain with the nomads Finkelstein claims settled down during this era. It is doubtful that Israelite settlements in the Late Bronze IIB-III could survive the coercive power of Egyptian soldiers and taxmen. Like Todd Bolen and Israel Finkelstein in 2006, I see no evidence Israelite settlement predates the collapse of Egyptian rule in Canaan. In any case, it is impossible that “demographic decline” (which probably didn’t happen) could somehow spur a settlement boom in the highlands of Canaan.

Comments on a New PLOS ONE Article about the LBA collapse

Hat Tip: the good Jason Colavito.
The authors of this paper propose that a drought stretching throughout the Iron I was a major cause of the LBA collapse. I have written about this collapse and its causes here. According to a graph of Dead Sea levels I found, the low point of the Dead Sea in the second millennium BC was c. 1400 BC. I think climate can be seen as the primary explanation for the Early Bronze Age collapse and as a contributing factor to Canaan’s Middle Bronze Age collapse, but I did not think of climate as necessarily a cause of the LBA collapse before I read this paper. Let us look at the data collected by the authors. Figure 3 shows four graphs. The first graph shows that agriculture near Larnaca Salt Lake collapsed during LB IIB. The second graph shows that wood-burning around Larnaca Salt Lake was done often before the LB IIB, especially during the Amarna era, but became almost nonexistent during the 13th century BC. The fourth graph shows that Larnaca Salt Lake turned from a bay to a lagoon c. 1400 BC. None of these results contradict my previous hypothesis that climate was not an important cause of the Late Bronze collapse. It is the third graph, showing the climate around the Larnaca Salt Lake, as reconstructed from pollen samples, which demonstrates that the area around Larnaca Salt Lake became increasingly dry between the 17th and 13th centuries BC and remained in a dry state until the 9th century BC. Figure 4 shows how the authors designed their Principal Components Analysis to reconstruct the climate around the Larnaca Salt Lake.

The authors cite a paper reconstructing the climate around Gibala-Tell Tweini, Syrian Government-controlled territory, from pollen samples. According to Figure 6, this paper shows that a drought which continued to the time of Hazael began in the area in the late 13th century BC. Figure 6 also shows that farming ceased to exist in the area only between the late 12th (second Philistine invasion) to late 11th centuries BC and during the late 10th century BC, largely as a result of drought in the latter case and partially as a result of drought in the former.

Figure 5 shows evidence of drought during the Eastern Mediterranean Dark Age from two cores in the Nile delta, a core from Ein Gedi (seemingly contradicting the above-linked-to graph of Dead Sea levels), and a core from near Ebla. The Soreq cave core shows no evidence of any Eastern Mediterranean Dark Age drought and the core from off the coast of Ashkelon is irrelevant.

In short, until more evidence comes to light, it seems safe to say that at least a part of Cyprus and coastal Syria suffered prolonged drought throughout the Greek Dark Age, thus exacerbating the causes of the Late Bronze Age collapse in some areas.

Edit: judging from this source, I hypothesize that the Dead Sea was recovering after c.1400 BC due to decreased evaporation during a period of decreased precipitation and cooler sea temperatures.
Edit: this press release contains one blatant falsehood: “They found the abundance of marine plankton decreased around 1200 BC”.

A Graph of the Level of the Dead Sea Over Time With Some Archaeological Periods Indicated

Graph taken from http://gvirtzman.es.huji.ac.il/1024×768/publications/pdf/QR-Enzel-et-al.pdf
See Chronology page for explanation.
Note that the Palestinian climate began worsening in the 23rd century BC and continued to worsen well into 15th century BC. Yet, this period of climatic degradation began with the Three Hundred Years’ Anarchy (as I like to call the Intermediate Bronze Age), continued into a revival of Canaanite civilization between the 19th and 16th centuries BC, and ended with another period of destruction, anarchy, and an end to the vast majority of fortified settlements (the Late Bronze IA).
Also, I corrected the coordinates of the location of the Neolithic settlement of ‘Ain Ghazal, Jordan, on Wikipedia. You have only me to thank for this.
I have also added a Quotes page today.

Make Your Own Conspiracy Movie Within A Year, Get $, Dupe Millions of Credulous 20-Something Males

As we all know, conspiracy movies are all the rage these days (I’m not going to name any, you know what they are). Thus, I have decided to make a series of guidelines for any producer of conspiracy movies.

1. Be entirely unoriginal. Originality confuses you (not the viewer) and is unsustainable as originality breeds more originality. Eventually, if you are in any way original, you have to make up a claim every quarter-second just to make your story coherent. Don’t be original.

2. Make sure to have a conspiracy theory. The conspiracy theory must be made up entirely of pre-existing ones. It does not have to make sense. Indeed, making sense takes the novelty out of your conspiracy theory. Note: novelty to the viewer and originality are different things. You must remember this. The conspiracy in your theory must be made up of a very small number of people. Add in a few wealthy banking families into your conspiracy that had their best days c. 1900 AD (indeed, you are almost obligated to do so). Liberally use the liberally-used phrase “New World Order” to describe your conspiracy.

3. Talk negatively about the energy industry, pointing out some true facts and some untruths about them. Have promises of unlimited, cheap, and clean electricity. Make sure to either talk about pseudoscientists or have them talk in your movie. Portray them as brave mavericks persecuted by the establishment. Do not in any way suggest ‘the establishment’ might be right.

4. Talk about the bullshit that is fractional reserve banking. Instead of advocating hard money, advocate Congress-controlled inflation (or its equivalent). Complain about debt, not about over-expansion of the money supply. Make promises of unlimited prosperity if debt and restrictions on expansion of the money supply are eliminated and Congress (or its equivalent) has total control of the money supply. Pretend it is possible to print prosperity. Pretend the Federal Reserve System is a ‘private bank’ (ignoring the fact the Banks of the United States in the early 19th C AD were far, far more ‘private’-like). Pretend ‘private’ is a swear word. Make sure to have G. Edward Griffin in your movie complain about central banking (but not a monopoly over money production).

5. Complain about the erosion of the Values of the Constitution (no, not like that). Beardism is not recommended, though having the Founding Fathers be part of your conspiracy is A-Okay, as long as you don’t quote any Founding Father (except Hamilton, Madison, and Jay). If Jefferson is not to be treated as a saint, he should be treaded upon lightly. Remember, your conspiracy does not have to make sense.

6. Pick a 9/11 conspiracy theory and run with it. Add some actual conspiracies of the U. S. government to make your conspiracy seem plausible to the viewer. During this process, make Leftist tyrannies seem like joy-bringing fruits of all the wishes of the people. Ignore the Cold War. Pretend this book does not exist, or, at least, does not apply to every scenario of a revolutionary Leftist government (preferably, do the latter). Make sure to add plenty of untruths into your section on 9/11, especially about this publication.

7. Add the U.N., CFR, the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission into your movie as part of the conspiracy. Ignore the fact the U.S. Government freely ignores the recommendations of all these organizations when convenient. Ignore the fact the CFR YouTube channel is unmoderated (heck, even my YT channel is moderated as much as my blog). Make all (not-so-)secret meetings of powerful or ‘well-connected’ (though not always publicly prominent; you have to keep the element of novelty) people be viewed as somehow Constitutionally treasonous.

8. Pretend globalization is bad, criticizing managed trade agreements. Ignore the fact the world is richer because of globalization. Point out the real evil of poor governments being in debt, but blame the only the creditors, despite the fact there are two parties to every transaction. Mention the evil of GMO patents, but ignore the evil of all the rest of intellectual property (the controversy over which is more ideological than anything else).

9. You are free to integrate any kind of quackery into the movie at your choosing. The more divorced it is from reality, the better. Cancer quackery works best. Mention a few ‘Brave Maverick Doctors’. Castigate ‘the medical industry’ (this includes medical doctors/scientists whose research is entirely funded by the government) for not curing everyone’s illnesses with a panacea. Say they are in a conspiracy to ‘keep people sick’. Do not talk about s**llpo*, or if you do, deny it ever disappeared. Suggest (nay, boldly push) a(n entirely unoriginal) panacea. Say the conspiracy is ‘offering solutions to problems of their creation’. Make sure to integrate the food industry into your medical conspiracy.

10. You are free to talk about ancient megalithic architecture, though not to mention the terms ‘ropes’, ‘ramps’, ‘manpower’, ‘sand’, ‘centralized organization/administration’, ‘pulleys’, ‘hammers’, ‘cranes’, ‘sleds’, ‘saws’ or ‘chisels’ except in a dismissive manner. You are absolutely prohibited from using the term ‘quarries’. You are absolutely prohibited from discussing the ashlars at the Temple Mount. Pretend this megalithic architecture is the product of ‘ancient wisdom’, not necessity or despotism.

11. You are free to imply or suggest the (American) Government has far higher technology than it claims to have or does have. You are free to ignore physical possibility when discussing this technology. Bash Bush and Obama on their expansion of executive power and their assertive/aggressive/disingenuous/backstabbing/perfidious foreign policies. Always claim the U.S. military has done more harm than good since WW II.

12. You must imply the (American) Government has total power and does not know of the existence of a YouTube video with over a million views (again, your conspiracy does not have to make sense). Mentioning the Bush administration’s management of Katrina or failure to control the insurgents in Iraq is absolutely prohibited unless you integrate it into a plot for weapons manufacturers and ‘high business interests’ to make ever-larger profits. Mention ‘FEMA camps‘ as though they are a real possibility.

13. You are free to mention the idea the conspiracy you mention likes eugenics. Ignore this news story, or if you don’t (which is not preferable), mention it as a way the conspiracy you mention is planning to make the world’s population poorer (if so, ignore this graph). You may cast the continuing increase of the U.S. population in the same light.

14. Mention extraterrestrials or do not mention them. There is no in-between. If you mention them, make them a big part of your movie, either influencing the conspiracy or providing the free energy. You could sprinkle crop circles and the Roswell incident into your (wholly unoriginal) ideas about extraterrestrials.

13. You are almost obligated to mention Freemasonry, treat it as part of the conspiracy you mention, and look for even the slightest Masonic symbolism anywhere, anytime, and treat it as evidence of the pervasiveness of the conspiracy.

15. Mention a conspiracy to make anonymity illegal except for conspiracy members. Ignore the preponderance of anonymity on the Internet. Mention the ‘rise of the surveillance state’ while ignoring the hilarity of Google attempting to make every YouTube user use their real name (hint: no YT user who has allowed Google to know his/her real name hides his/her real name from the public). Ignore the fact sockpuppetry is almost impossible to prevent by any government.

16. Criticize the Roman Catholic Church-indirectly (you don’t want to offend a fifth of the U.S. population). You are free to use a few 19thearly 20th C AD cranks to argue that Christianity was made up by the grand conspiracy from paganism. If you don’t do that, you can at least argue that the Roman Catholic Church corrupted the True Message of Jesus (which should not be anything like what Jack Chick makes it out to be). Make sure to make New-Agery the religious ideology of your movie. Make sure to keep lip service to rationalism.

17. Make sure to use an implicit argument from authority by either quote-mining credible experts or allowing the opinions of discredited MA’s or PhD’s to be heard.

18. You are free to mention ‘sacred geometry’ as either connected with aliens, free energy, the wisdom of the ancients, or all of these combined. If you have no ‘sacred geometry’, at least have a ‘satanic geometry’ (which can also be used as a contrast to the ‘sacred’ variety) connected with the Freemasons. Pyramids are to be connected with hierarchy and the conspiracy.

19. Never be critical of David Icke.

20. Make sure you mention that the conspiracy also wishes to keep the environment polluted. In order to not alienate your AGW denialist audience, make sure to take either a neutral or dismissive stance on anthropogenic global warming. Imply fossil fuels cause more harm than good. Add some chemtrails and antivaccinism into your movie.

21. Pretend commonly-accepted government institutions exist for evil purposes. Do not recommend the abolition of Medicare, government road-building, or Social Security. Pretend government schools encourage dogmatism (even though APUSH teachers are notorious for openly challenging students’ most cherished patriotic beliefs). Pretend schoolkids learn less from the Internet than from government schools.

23. Last of all, if your movie contains too much common knowledge (e.g., smoking is bad), you’re doing it wrong. Novelty to the viewer is key to the success of your movie.

Stylistic Details:

1. Have a male narrator. A female voice may remind people of their mothers or teachers, which will possibly repel your predominantly male audience from continuing to watch. Females are often viewed as less rational than males. Avoid attractive female ‘experts’-adding these, especially early in the film, will make the YT commentators focus on these females’ breast sizes and will make them ignore your movie’s novelty.

2. Have music playing throughout the movie. As music is the enemy of rational thought, this will distract the viewer from noticing the falsehoods in your movie. When the supposed experts are talking, have at least some (preferably, a good dollop of) ominous music playing.

3. Make sure something on the screen is moving at all times. This distracts the viewer from noticing the falsehoods in your movie. Include at least one picture of computer-generated men in suits marching forward in neat rows and columns-this will institute a spirit of rebellion against ‘convention’ in most of your audience who are still watching your movie and will make them more likely to continue to blindly accept your movie’s claims.