July 31

BotP is in fairly good shape. The whole simulation engine turns over and generates (mostly) solid results. There are still a number of tiny problems: acid rain doesn’t fit in right and is poorly integrated into the system; the effects of taxes are not directly factored into the emissions they tax, affecting only the source. For example, if you raise the tax on sulfur dioxide, you get less coal production, because coal burning makes lots of sulfur dioxide. But the simulation doesn’t do anything to encourage use of better sulfur-dioxide scrubbing equipment, which would make coal cleaner. 

However, I choose at this point to step back from the whole thing and look at the big picture. I was hoping to get it done in just three months, but that admittedly optimistic goal shall not be achieved. I’m now hoping for October 1, four months, but I’m not optimistic that even that deadline can be achieved. There’s just a lot of slow drudgery that must be slogged through before this thing is ready to ship. For example, I’ll need to compile a list of references about the claims I make in the simulation.

Of the many things that need to be done just yet, here are the top items on my list:

1. Beef up the text explanations of each of the factors. They’re pretty skimpy.
2. Add more background information.
3. Build the history feature, which will show, for each factor, a graph of its value over the course of time.
4. Continue hand-tuning the simulation.
5. Include the economic costs of some of the environmental insults. For example, climate change will impose huge costs upon society.

I’m definitely feeling tired of tuning, which has occupied me for the last week. Tuning is a pain: run the simulation, check numbers, identify numbers that are off the mark, examine the equations and their coefficients, modify as necessary, repeat. Of course, changing one number can affect many other numbers, so it’s a long job.