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What will substitute for the nearly one billion metric tons of fossil fuels destined for non-energy uses—above all for the synthesis of ammonia and plastics? How can we eliminate more than half a billion metric tons of coke used in iron-smelting blast furnaces?

If the consensus climate models are right, then maintaining the past rates and modes of global economic growth is incompatible with staying within tolerable temperature limits through —but we have no realistic plans to do away with incessant growth. In any case, rapid and drastic departures from those practices are not possible with our current technical capabilities, and they would only worsen existing global inequalities.

I never make forecasts, but I wish I could be around in to see how the global civilization resolves this existential dilemma—or how it fails. The views expressed are those of the author s and are not necessarily those of Scientific American. Vaclav Smil is a Czech-Canadian scientist and policy analyst.


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The Inspection Paradox is Everywhere

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Paradox Technology measures how employees manage 12 paradoxical pairs of behaviors, each of which relate to an important core value. All of the Harrison Paradoxes relate to leadership and have a great impact on the organization which can either create a positive culture or a dysfunctional culture.

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For example, self-confidence can be a great strength for a leader but if it is not balanced with considering other ideas, self-confidence becomes dogmatism which stifles innovation and causes employee turnover. Conversely, leaders who are receptive to different ideas without having confidence in their own views will lack clarity and decisiveness which leads to confusion amongst the team. Harrison Paradox Technology is embraced by organizations world-wide as the best means to determine leadership capability and job performance by providing a reliable map of the paradoxical balances that make or break leaders.

Paradoxical Leadership Technology Are strong traits really strengths? How Paradox Works Every trait can be a strength or a derailer depending if the trait is balanced by another seemingly opposite paradoxical trait. Why People Have Difficulty Changing People who are imbalanced in a paradox tend to demonize the trait in which they are weak. Harrison Paradoxes Are Core Values Paradox Technology measures how employees manage 12 paradoxical pairs of behaviors, each of which relate to an important core value.

You are more likely to see drivers who go too fast or too slow, and less likely to see safe, reasonable drivers like yourself. A final example of the inspection paradox occurred to me when I read Orange is the New Black , a memoir by Piper Kerman, who spent 13 months in a federal prison. Kerman expresses surprise at the length of the sentences her fellow prisoners are serving.


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  • She is right to be surprised, but it turns out that she is the victim of not just an inhumane prison system, but also the inspection paradox. If you arrive at a prison at a random time and choose a random prisoner, you are more likely to choose a prisoner with a long sentence. Once again, a prisoner with sentence x is oversampled by a factor of x.

    But what happens if you observe a prison over an interval like 13 months? Using data from the U. Federal Bureau of Prisons , I estimate the actual distribution of sentences for federal prisoners, as would be seen by a judge, the biased distribution as seen by a one-time visitor, and the partially-biased distribution seen by a prisoner with a month sentence.

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    Figure 5 shows the three distributions. But short-timers are less likely to be observed than lifers. The distribution seen by a short-time prisoner is only modestly less biased than the view of a one-time visitor.

    Paradox

    The mean of the actual distribution is 3. To a month observer, the mean is about 10 years. The dataset I used for this example is a snapshot of the prison population in July I took that into account in the calculations. In summary, the inspection paradox appears in many domains, sometimes in subtle ways. If you are not aware of it, it can cause statistical errors and lead to invalid inferences.

    But in many cases it can be avoided, or even used deliberately as part of an experimental design.

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    I wrote about relay races and prison sentences in my blog, Probably Overthinking It. The code I used to analyze these examples and generate the figures is in this Jupyter notebook , which is in this repository on GitHub. And you can run the code yourself on Binder. The figures and numbers in this article are based on random sampling and some assumptions I had to make about the distributions, so they should be considered approximately correct. He is a runner with a maximum 10K speed of 8.

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