Discussion on “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” Toastmasters speech

Thank you for taking the time to visit this blog post about the presentation on “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” that I delivered at the EPFL-Unil Toastmasters Club on August 29th 2017.

I would also like to thank Alex Epstein for the new information he has working on for the past 10 years, information that inspired me and allowed me to broaden my views.

This is the link to video on YouTube, with the slides embedded in the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOdWTRMCWI8

Here are some useful resources in order to grow your knowledge in the way Alex Epstein and I think about the importance of energy and human flourishing.

The blog post with the introduction to my speech:
http://lucaberta.com/mcff-intro

My speech on January 5th 2016 on the amazing decline in climate-related deaths from 1900 to 2010:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b25j5O2C99o

Alex Epstein guest of the Glenn Beck Show, a very good interview:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqHB0X_r_Kw

Alex Epstein speech at Google, a fundamental inspiration and source of content for my speech:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6b7K1hjZk4

Alex Epstein guest of The Rubin Report on the Climate Change Debate:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJmL9hRrpIQ

Alex Epstein’s book on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Moral-Case-Fossil-Fuels-ebook/dp/B00INIQVJA/

The website of the book, where you can also download for free the first chapter:
http://www.moralcaseforfossilfuels.com/

Any feedback on my presentation, my ideas, and the reference model created by Alex Epstein which I also endorsed in my presentation is more than welcome. Please feel free to discuss it in the comments below or on Facebook.

Introduction to “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” Toastmasters speech

Many of you know that I am a passionate Toastmaster, and that I spend a fair amount of time in Toastmasters-related activities, including preparing and delivering speeches at different Clubs in the Area I manage, as Area J2 Director, in District 59.

I have been wanting to deliver the final project of the “Technical Presentations” Advanced Manual for a while, and finally the time to do it has come. I am very excited about the speech that I will deliver in my home Toastmasters Club, EPFL-Unil Toastmasters on Tuesday August 29th, with the meeting starting at 19:00.

The title of the project is “Enhancing a technical talk with the internet”, and this blog post also serves as an introduction to the speech I will deliver.

The speech title is “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels”, exactly like the title of the book written by Alex Epstein and published in 2014.

This book had a very strong impact in my personal development in the energy field, a field I knew something about, but not anywhere near the depth and perspective which Alex’s book allowed me to develop. It has truly been a life-changer for me, and I will highlight some of my experiences and considerations during the speech.

I am fully aware that for some people just the simple idea of having the words “moral” and “fossil fuels” in the same sentence makes up for a big cognitive dissonance, so my challenge will be to challenge your knowledge and biases, such that you will be better able to respect and maybe understand my point of view, which very much mirrors that of Alex Epstein, a person I consider a role model for me.

I will leave you with a teaser of what the book is about, to create even more expectation about the speech. Or to enrage you even more against fossil fuels. Or both. It doesn’t really matter.

The only thing that matters is to have your brain fully engaged, and to respect the views of people, especially when they are very different than yours.

After all, it’s far too simple to be in agreement with those who share your same ideas. It’s not even fun.

Episode 1 of the Toastmasters video blog

Today is July 1st 2017; this is a very important date for us Toastmasters, as it marks the beginning of the new Toastmasters 2017-2018 year.

This year will be full of activities for me, as I will engaged as the Vice President of Education for my home Club, the EPFL-Unil Toastmasters Club in Lausanne, Switzerland, repeating the good experience I had last year.

I will also take a new role, this time a District 59 role, that of Area Director for Area J2, serving four Toastmasters Clubs in Canton Vaud, the area of Switzerland where I live since 2012.

This is a new and interesting challenge for me, and since communication will play a very important role in all my future Toastmasters activities within my Club and Area, I have taken the additional challenge to start a new video blog which I strive to publish on a weekly basis moving forward.

Here is the very first short episode of my new video blog, enjoy!

P.S. Yes, I realize that I said “year” instead of saying “day” just at the very beginning of the video… there is definitely a lot of room for improvement, but hey, at least I started!

@johanknorberg in “Power to the People”, a must see documentary on energy

Yesterday I came across a very good link to the “Free To Choose TV” website, which I had never heard before. And what a great positive surprise this was!

This website hosts many different documentaries on topics I like such as economics and economic inequality, energy, freedom and history.

The documentaries are all free to watch, and in fact the website links to the YouTube videos which are free to be linked directly to, for easier consumption of the content on any device.

This evening I had some spare time, and I decided to watch the energy documentary “Power to the People” written and conducted by Johan Norberg, who currently works at The Cato Institute.

Norberg is the author of the book “Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future” which was also featured in a very interesting book presentation event at Cato.

What I did not know is that Norberg had also worked in the energy field by creating the documentary “Power to the People”, which is a must-see for anyone who is interested in understanding more about energy, not only on the technical domain, but also for the economics involved with energy harnessing, production and distribution, and the impact of energy poverty on the communities which to this day still do not have access to electricity.

The documentary has a very negative view of the infamous German “Energiewende” and its damaged imposed to the society, including the loss of private and historic property due to increasing need to rely on lignite coal in Germany, after the inexplicable decision to shut down perfectly healthy nuclear power plants there due to a tsunami on the eastern coast of Japan.

Do yourself a favour. Watch it. You will understand energy a whole lot more than what you do today.

Is Sweden a Socialist Utopia? @DrMaxham with @CarlSvanberg

The latest episode of the Yaron Brook Show has been hosted by Amanda Maxham, a speaker which I happen to know already from her speeches on GMO and past hosting of the same show, during the frequent travels of Yaron Brook.

Amanda was also a guest of Alex Epstein’s “Power Hour” podcast when Alex Epstein slightly changes course from energy to cover GMOs, one of Amanda’s topic of research, which she covered also in this paper, also referred to in the podcast object of this post.

Today’s show topic was the myth of socialist scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Denmark, which are mistakenly used by the left as proof that socialism works, and that it brings wealth and good lifestyles in the countries where socialism is applied by the ruling coalition.

The discussion is quite interesting, and focuses on the many memes which circulate on social media, falsely portraying a mythical socialist society where things work well.

Except that neither Sweden nor Denmark are socialist countries.

They are very much mixed economies, with a high social cost due to fairly high taxation, which has rendered being an entrepreneur in such countries almost a nightmare.

This is confirmed in many different ways by the guest of the show, Carl Svanberg, who is a Swede, so he knows a thing or five about his country, and about the many companies which have fled or shut down since the country turned more toward socialism in the 1980s.

IKEA was mentioned a number of times during the show, but I should add something which was probably not known to Amanda not Carl.

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, has lived here in Switzerland from 1976 until 2014, and at age 88 he decided to return back to Sweden. And IKEA’s holding company, Inter IKEA Holding SA, is based in Luxembourg, a famous tax haven in the center of Europe.

This is yet another proof of the fact that rich people “vote with their feet” and are able to have a better life in freer countries such as Switzerland, and can move the center of their assets in other countries where the fiscal burden is lower.

The final part of the show is also very much worth listening to, as it’s focused on Amanda’s strongest topic, genetic engineering.

If you like flowers, you have to listen to it. And if you like research on plant genetics and some history, you’re in for a treat.

Sometimes it’s not too bad to be missing Yaron during his travels!

 

The two US Presidential candidates roasting each other

This US Presidential campaign has been truly remarkable, mostly in a bad way, with lots of foul play and needless rudeness from both sides.

We are finally getting closer to the vote on November the 8th (yes, remember, it’s November the 8th, not January!) and thankfully the debates are over. But we will see more drivel coming from left and right, that is for sure.

Last Monday October 17th though there was a different opportunity for a fierce conflict between the two candidates, this time not as a debate, but rather with two separate speeches at a charity dinner in New York City, where both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were present.

Trump spoke first, then Clinton spoke immediately after.

The two videos have been published on YouTube, and what is amazing to notice is that Trump’s speech has had more than 4 times the viewers of Clinton’s, were are talking more than 2 million views for Trump, and little more than 500 thousand views for Clinton as of today.

Hillary vs Donald

Donald Trump’s speech is here.

Hillary Clinton’s speech is here.

Both speeches are very much worth watching, as they have been used by the two candidates to keep beating each other up, in many different and creative ways, even sometimes with a lot of humour, yet a very serious humour.

I will leave it to my readers to decide which one of the two candidates was more convincing and compelling. I have my views, and maybe the difference in the number of views of the two speeches can also tell a tale.

One thing is for sure. We should all be very happy that this campaign will soon be over. Either way, we will have a President of the US which will be leading a very divided country, and she or he will not have an easy job at hand.

@seiercapital Lars Seier Christensen on Ayn Rand’s new revolution

Lars Seier Christensen is one of the founding members of Saxo Bank of Denmark, a very successful financial institution he created with his partners, and ran using Ayn Rand’s Seven Virtues as a guiding beacon, with great success. He left Saxo Bank at the beginning of 2016, to form his one-man investment company, Seier Capital.

On September 29th 2016, in New York, the Ayn Rand Institute held a fund-raising dinner during which Lars Seier Christensen was the keynote speaker.

The whole speech is very much worth reading, but the final part of his remarks gave me goose bumps, as they are oh so very true:

If we don’t succeed in changing the values and direction of at least the next generation, I fear the full prediction of Atlas Shrugged will become reality – and while that may hold some promise for the distant future, it is not something that I think people of my age feel like going through if we can avoid it.

We need a revolution. A revolution of rationality.

Yes, we need a whole lot more rationality. Something which seems to be very much absent in politics on a worldwide basis, as of late. Sadly so.

The full text of his speech can be found here.

And if you have not yet read “Atlas Shrugged”, I urge you to invest some time to read it. Now.

Yaron Brook speaking at The Ayn Rand Institute Revolution Dinner, New York 2016-09-29
Yaron Brook speaking at The Ayn Rand Institute Revolution Dinner, New York 2016-09-29

 

 

@yaronbrook on poverty and @PovertyINC #PovertyINC

One of the podcasts I keep listening to regularly is “The Yaron Brook Show”, with subtitle “Radical for Capitalism”, a view that I very much share with the Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute.

In the latest episode of his show, he tackles the issue of poverty, and he does so by using the documentary “Poverty, Inc.” as a common thread throughout the whole 1-hour long show, very much worth listening to.

I have already watched “Poverty, Inc.” as I had discovered it thanks to an event at the Cato Institute in early April, and I immediately ordered the DVD which I received in May.

I really liked the movie, and the harsh critiques against the business of charities and NGOs worldwide, which today are a huge industry, in a lot cases fueled by a lot of taxpayers money. It is clear that in a lot of cases the political decisions taken by the states and companies active in charity are doing more harm than good in the longer term, and the movie does an excellent job at providing hard facts to support this view.

In fact, in most cases what charities and NGOs do, after an initial benefit provided following the event which causes the intervention (earthquake, famine, civil war, flooding), is to simply damage the local economy to a point where there is no way out other than keeping the leash with those who now provide the “welfare”.

Of course no charity or NGO will work against their own interest, and so their aim is NOT to solve the poverty issue, but rather to keep it the way it is, so their existence can be further justified moving forward in time, and thus many years after the earthquake in Haiti, you still have hundreds of NGOs active there, because the local economy has been destroyed precisely by the handouts given by charities and NGOs!

Talk about a conflict of interests there…

The movie is a must-see in my opinion, as it will open your eyes on one more bad thing caused by the action of those who just want to feel less guilt and keep writing checks and donating huge amounts of money, rather than really solving the poverty issue.

Poverty which, without anyone’s intervention, has already been decreasing rapidly in many parts of the world, thanks to Capitalism, as Yaron Brook reminded us all some time ago.

And this is why we should all be strongly push in favour of Capitalism, and not against it. Because it’s thru Capitalism that we can get rid of poverty.

Here is the movie trailer:

The continuous growth of @humanprogress in the world @CatoInstitute

The Cato Institute hosted a briefing from the Human Progress project last week, and has published the video of the event online.

The event title is quite clear on what has been going on in this world: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy: The Cato Institute’s HumanProgress Project”.

There are in fact many reasons for being very upbeat and happy of the developments we are witnessing on this planet, especially in the last 50 years. This image tells it all:

The event video will open your eyes on many truths which the catastrophists do not want you to know about. Enjoy the view!

http://www.cato.org/multimedia/events/dont-worry-be-happy-cato-institutes-humanprogress-project

After the video, proceed to the HumanProgress.org website and browse the data, and create the views you prefer. I am convinced you will be surprised by how good things are in today’s world.

And the good news is, there is always room for improvement!