Insights du Jour - 2015-08-10

  • At Reason, Ronald Bailey notes:

    Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency released the final regulations implementing President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan (CPP). The CPP aims to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from electric power generation by 32 percent by 2030. That would amount to cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 871 million tons per year below what was emitted in 2005. Of course, the goal of keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere is to reduce future warming. It is thus relevant to ask, just how much warming will the president's Clean Power Plan avert? The answer is, […]

    Answer at the link!

    Oh heck, I'll just tell you: -0.015° in the year 2100. (I believe that's Celsius. That would be -0.027° Fahrenheit.)

    The "Clean Power Plan" is all about political power.

  • Jen Rubin oft rubs me the wrong way, but she is on-target by quoting this Carly Fiorina response from "Fox News Sunday":

    What I would point out to Hillary Clinton is that every single one of the policies that she’s currently pursuing make income inequality worse. Exhibit A: income inequality under the Obama administration. Exhibit B: every liberal state in this nation. I spent 12 years in the state of California, a state that’s been ruled by liberals for a long time. And guess what you have: about 130 billionaires — good for them — the highest poverty rates in the nation, the exodus of middle class and destruction of industry after industry after industry. Income inequality is worse under progressive policies because progressive policies favor the wealthy, the well-connected, the big and the powerful.

    The knock on Carly is her lack of government experience, but why can't one of our "experienced" pols come up with such insightful and punchy rhetoric?

    More good Carly quotes at the link.

  • The illustrious Frank J. tweets all the analysis you really need to know about Hillary Clinton's "plan" for college finance:

    Gah! indeed. Instapundit has a followup observation, though:

    It’s a vote-buying scheme that also rewards the higher education industry, perhaps the Democratic Party’s largest source of donations and foot soldiers.

    Again: more about power-grabbing rather than good policy.

Ex Machina

[4.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

A pretty good movie for those who like R-rated material (according to the MPAA, "graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence") broken up with sophomoric discussions of artificial intelligence. That's me!

The movie's protagonist is young Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a fine programmer working for "Blue Book", identified as the pre-eminent search engine company in the world. He wins a work contest, and the coveted prize is to spend a week with the reclusive Blue Book founder, Nathan (Oscar Isaac) at his remote wilderness retreat.

But not is all as it seems: instead of just hanging out, Nathan tells Caleb that his purpose is to evaluate Ava, a robot who's the very latest AI development. Can she pass the Turing Test, showing that she has human-level intelligence?

But before Caleb can say "waitaminnit, that's not how the Turing Test is supposed to work" (and he does), we meet Ava (Alicia Vikander), who's not only smart, but beautiful, at least her humanoid parts. (See DVD box at right… no, your right.) And (once again) things are not what they seem.

The movie is a tad arty at times (for some reason I've become sensitive to this), but the script is clever and the acting is first-rate. (Both male actors, Gleeson and Isaac, are in the new Star Wars movie.) Isaac is really good, managing a complex character who's full of brilliance, deceit, charisma, arrogance, and megalomania. Special effects (mostly Ava) are very good. Scenery (even setting Ava aside) is pretty good too.