metrics & data

Do true cost economics spell finito for the Milan design scene?

Few artefacts embody so much mental, but also material energy, as a high design furniture from Milan. Will this sector be viable when the true social and environmental costs of industrial production start to be charged, rather than hidden? Well maybe, and maybe not: my lecture is followed by a debate. Thursday 8 October, Design […]

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Metrics and Aesthetics (cont.)

I can understand why Enrico Giovannini, Chief Statistician of the OECD, is so pleased with with his new visualzation tool, the

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Are toxic assets a reprieve for the biosphere?

Last October I first saw this splendid inverted pyramid chart (this version has been smartened up) and put it next to another diagramme about programmed trading. I nicknamed the combination image a “Toxic Sludge Machine”. “Where we’re at now” (I wrote then) “is that systems designed to “streamline” the market have been spewing out financial […]

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Sins of emission (2)

The Guardian says today [Friday] that the (G20) summit’s biggest loser may have been the fight against climate change. “Hundreds of billions were found for the IMF and World Bank, but for making the transition to a green economy there is no money on the table”. The Guardian quotes diplomatic sources to the effect that […]

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Sins of emission

An unlikley climate change alliance has emerged: China and Christian Aid. Both argue that countries should take responsibility for their aggregate greenhouse gas emissions to ensure fair play as nations strive to halve global emissions by 2050. He Jiankun, a professor from Tsinghua University, says today that developed countries, which are home to just 20 […]

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Look at the big numbers, not at the small numbers

I’m waiting eagerly for my copy of a new book to arrive, recommended to me by Patrick Beeker: Sustainable Energy – without the hot air. Its author, David McKay, Professor of Natural Philosophy at Cambridge University, has responded to an urgent global challenge: how to make sense of the conflicting claims and information bandied about […]

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“Metrics and Aesthetics”

I contributed this text to an event called Green Platform at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. ] Introduction: measuring what matters “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others”. Groucho Marx could also have been talking about environmental standards. Our world is awash in eco information, but starved of meaning. Hundreds of […]

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It’s mad, but it’s not complicated

I imagine you’re having the same experience that I am? All around me, people are figuring out that the money situation may be mad, but it’s not complicated. As the Big Dipper of financial bloggers, Ilargi, writes today, for example: “Stocks are plummeting once more all around the world, and if you think that trend […]

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So what exactly, I wondered, is the Baltic Dry Index? And is it a good thing, or a bad thing, that it is plunging downwards at the fastest rate since records began etc etc? These turn out to be two good questions. The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), I discover, measures the freight rates of raw […]

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