[Haskell-cafe] How are we helping ? Climate Strike / Earth Strike fri 20, fri 27

Richard O'Keefe raoknz at gmail.com
Sun Sep 22 11:01:55 UTC 2019

Recommendation 1:  Primum non nocere.
How do you know whether you are doing harm or not?
You have to study.  You have to study multiple sides, bearing in mind
at all times that you may be
wrong, they may be wrong, and their facts may be fictions, and so may yours.
I have collected and read over 8000 pages of papers on climate, and as
a result, I am not impressed
by the climate strikes.  In my country, the government already
devoutly believes in climate change.
We have an actual Minister for Climate Change.
In my city, most of the candidates for the upcoming local body
election proclaim their belief that
Something Needs to be Done, and I will be very impressed if any of
them actually has an idea.
The climate strikes will certainly achieve nothing *here*, and let's
face it, unless and until you get
the Big Two (China and India) to do something, the climate strikes
will be ineffective posturing that
accomplish nothing for the world as a whole.

Recommendation 2: In this mailing list, you're talking to people who
love programming.  There are
some exceedingly impressive people here.  Those of us with computing
skills who are sincere in
their fear of climate change and equally sincere in their desire to do
something constructive
should, well, do something constructive.  Here I point to the people
who keep on making Haskell
a better and better language for parallel programming, making Haskell
a serious candidate for
at least supporting supercomputing.  As one specific example, the
supercomputing project I was
involved with, until my government decided to pull out, was seriously
planning to do a major
component of the system software in Python.  Python has many virtues,
but it would be nice to
use a language in which mistakes are more quickly detected.  I also
point to the people who were
making Haskell a usable DSL for GPU crunching.  We *desperately* need
good tools for
supercomputing.  I should point to clash-lang.org here too.  I would
suggest that by making it
easier for people to move demanding computations to FPGAs and thereby
reduce the amount
of electrical power needed, any one Clash person has done more for the
planet than any hundred
climate strikers.

Did I mention that I have three Global Circulation Models on this machine?
Of course they have serious problems matching the behaviour of the
actual planet.
But is that because they have the physics wrong (I was at a talk by a
physicist who believed he
had found why the Antarctic is gaining ice, contrary to predictions,
for example) or because the
code is wrong?  Let me put it this way: climate modelling code tends
to be written by physicists,
not by software engineers.  They are extremely intelligent people, but
they have a higher
tolerance for unbeautiful code than I do.  I gave a talk earlier this
year "Why HPC needs SE"
and I was able to find more horrid examples (not all from GCMs, but
some of them were)
than I had time for.

Are you on this mailing list and wanting to do something real about
climate change?
Then try to get your skills used to improve the craft of
supercomputing and climate modelling.
Alternatively, there will be a lot of work needed on climate
monitoring.  Try to get your skills
used to improve climate monitoring.

I spent a couple of weeks earlier this year helping to write a grant
proposal for a precision
agriculture/climate monitoring project.  We got through round 1; I'll
hear about round 2 at the
end of the month.  THAT will help with the environment whatever the
climate does.

Recommendation 3:  Put climate change activities on things like
Change.Org and SumOfUs.
(Both of which send me stuff.)  That is a much more effective way to
reach an audience.

On Fri, 20 Sep 2019 at 06:06, Simon Michael <simon at joyful.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
> There's world-wide "strike" event, to raise awareness and stimulate climate action, happening tomorrow and also on friday 27th. Some folks will observe one, the other, both, or the whole period between.
> We probably don't all share the same awareness or even concern about climate change.. but this is changing rapidly.  I wanted to start a discussion and figure out something we could do to support these events.. earlier. But I'm working, preparing for a trip, etc. etc. and "ran out of time". I'll send this now at least. If the site goes green or something, this is the reason.
> Re the sep 20 and sep 27 events:
> Thanks to Open Collective, for their leadership and blog post: https://blog.opencollective.com/digital-climate-strike
> hledger's opencollective, though we're not really using it yet, is opted in for tomorrow: https://opencollective.com/hledger
> Origin and recent history of this event: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_strike_for_climate#'Intergenerational'_Global_Climate_Strikes_in_September_2019
> There are probably a bunch of "home" sites for this, here are two:
> https://www.fridaysforfuture.org
> https://www.earth-strike.com
> Going forward:
> I think "How are we helping?" is a standard question every individual, project, institution should be answering.
> For the hledger project, I've had a few ideas for a long time but haven't managed to manifest them yet. Looking into the near future, some days it feels like working on hledger is a waste of time. Probably many of you can relate.
> If you are working on anything in this direction I'd love to hear more.
> Best!
> -Simon
> PS I ran out of time even more for crafting a mail to haskell-cafe; cc'ing this anyway.
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