Vegard Skjefstad

www.vegard.net

Menu Close

Tag: Politics (page 1 of 10)

Why Deepfake Technology Must Be Banned

On Friday, Samsung revealed that they are now able to create deepfake videos from a single photo. With that came another good reason why the technology must be banned.

Imagining seeing a politician in a viral video saying something absolutely outrageous. In today’s political landscape that shouldn’t be too hard. But in this case, it’s totally out of character for this particular opposition politician. What they are saying is incriminating, morally reprehensible, and an obvious political suicide. What the hell!? You can’t vote for this person now!

The problem with the viral video is that it isn’t real. Even though it looks authentic, it’s a fake video. It’s created by the current political leader’s campaign office, doctored to quickly spread false rumors about the opposition. And it works. They fall like a rock in the polls. Even if the video is later debunked as fake, the damage is irreversible. The video continues to spread like wildfire across the internet. It’s not only popular on niche political sites, but on main stream social media sites as well. And even if they know the video is fake, the main stream sites refuse to remove it.

If you think that this is a thing of a dystopian alternate future, I’m sorry to report that this is the present.

Read more

The Oil Fund: How Norway’s Dirty Money Should be Used

Let me tell you how Norway should use it’s big pile of dirty Oil Fund money.

Norway was traditionally a land of farmers, fishermen, loggers, and miners. Our industry was mostly based on processing these natural resources, and towards the end of the 1960’s Norway’s GDP was comparable to that of Greece.

Today, Norway is one of the wealthiest countries in the world per capita. We also score consistently well in the World Happiness Report, and in general, Norwegians live a carefree, good life.

There are many reasons this change happened. First and foremost, Norway is located in a relatively quiet and stable part of the world. The population of Northern Europe is for the most part of the same ethnicity. We’re also on the same frequency in terms of political and religious views. The wealth is relatively evenly spread among the population, and our part of the globe is usually spared of the most devastating natural disasters. Without armed conflicts fueled by ethnic violence or religious nonsense, and without the need to rebuild the country every time it’s ruined by a natural disaster, we’ve been able to focus is economic growth.

In 1969, Norway got a major boost on it’s way to the top of the prosperity food chain. The Ekofisk oil field was discovered in the North Sea, and Norway joined an exclusive club of oil producers. The country went from an economy mainly based on processing renewable resources, to one exploiting non-renewable oil and gas resources. I’m not saying Norway wouldn’t have been were we are today without the Ekofisk discovery. Our Scandinavian neighbors are proof of that. Sweden, Denmark, and Finland all have a generally happy population, and a high GDP.

But the black gold sure helped.

Read more

Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offsetting used to be a thing. Then it was not a thing. Now it’s a thing again. But what is carbon offsetting, and does it have any effect at all?

Let’s start with the “what”. A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. There are currently two different carbon offsetting schemes: The EU compliance market, and the UN Clean Development Mechanism.

In the EU mandatory compliance market, governments and industries in the union have to buy carbon offsets to comply with the caps on the total amount of CO2 they are allowed to emit. The market has a fixed number of carbon offsets available. To reduce the total EU greenhouse gas emission, that number is gradually decreased every year. Less carbon offsets means that those available for purchase will become more expensive. In turn, this means that it will be increasingly more expensive to pollute within the EU. At some point it will then be sensible, not just from an environmentally friendly point of view, but also from an economical perspective, to replace polluting industrial processes with greener ones.

The other carbon offset market, the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is voluntary. Using the CDM, individuals, companies, and governments can purchase carbon offsets to mitigate their own greenhouse gas emissions. The money raised from the sale of carbon offsets is used to fund environmentally friendly projects around the world. As an example, if a German citizen purchases carbon offsets to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions caused by personal air travel, that money can potentially be used to build a solar power plant in India.

Read more

The Case Against Nuclear

Many people are touting nuclear as the ultimate solution to the world’s energy problems. But why do they always seem to conveniently forget the technology’s flaws?

First of all, let me get one important thing clear: I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert on this fairly complicated subject. But it really doesn’t feel like you need to be one to see some of the issues with nuclear being portrayed as a massive silver bullet.

We have a problem that needs to be solved: The world’s energy usage is ridiculously high – and increasing. As poor countries climb out of property, their energy usage goes up. For many of these countries, the main source of energy is coal. In fact, many countries built coal plants like mad in the beginning of the 21st century.

Unfortunately, coal is bad for everyone, and so we need to find less lethal alternatives to stay alive.

Read more

Feeding The Addiction

My stash of energy drinks is about to run dry. There’s no top up-trip to Sweden in sight. In desperation, I turn to shady1, online stores.

We’re certainly enjoying the good life here in Norway. But living costs are high, and pretty much everything – except for diapers – is more expensive than across the border, in lovely Sweden. We live about an hour from the nearest Swedish shopping mall, so every now and then we throw the kids in the car, and go there to stock up on candy, meat, soft-drinks. And in my case, those precious energy drinks.

How much we actually save by going to Sweden to shop, I don’t know. If you factor in the price of gas, the emotional cost of the constant fear of the kids barfing in the back seat, and the guilty feeling from all the lethal exhaust the car spew out on a trip that’s not strictly necessary, we might not be saving a single รธre on the expedition.

But I digress. The point here is that it’s been about half a year since the last time we bolted across the border, and I’m down to my last 5 cans of sweet, sweet energy juice. There’s a crisis looming on the horizon!

Read more

Copyright © 2000-2019 www.vegard.net | Privacy Policy | Statement of Audience | Hosted on vbox4.vbox-host.com