Monday, February 20, 2017

A New Word: "ecomyopia"

"It is unlikely that the Anthropocene moniker has the symbolic power to correct ecomyopia, which the authors define as the tendency to not recognize, to ignore, or fail to act on new information that contradicts political arrangements, social norms, or world views...."

- "Ecomyopia in the Anthropocene," D.G. Casagrande et al, Anthropology Today, Volume 33, Issue 1, pages 23–25, February 2017.
Note the abstract ends with, "The global capitalist response to the Anthropocene will likely be to embrace technological hubris."

Friday, February 17, 2017

John Adams cp Donald Trump

"The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state: it ought not,
therefore, to be restrained in this commonwealth."
— John Adams, Massachusetts Constitution of 1780

Still More Ice Spikes

I don't know what it is about where I live now, but I keep getting ice spikes in my ice cube trays here.

Never have seen them anywhere else I've lived. But I like them. It's silly, but I feel like something special has happened whenever they show up.

(These are all the same ice spike.)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trump Only Play is Playing Everyone for a Fool

This morning I was driving for about an hour, spewing CO2 the entire way, and other pollutants as well, even daring to exhale, leaving rubber on the road, and I listened to most of Trump's press conference via an astonishing device that somehow plucks electromagnetic waves right out of the air.

It was flabbergasting, and frankly insulting that my country (let alone mine) has such a dick for a president. (And I didn't choose that word lightly.) Trump so clearly knows nothing, and covered it up by repeatedly lying throughout the press conference. And the dumbest part is that he thinks no one else knows he's incompetent and dishonest, viz. that his methods are working.

All while he's being laughed and exclaimed at, under their breath, by everyone in the room.

Instead of answering any questions, Trump would immediately shift to how terrible the White House leaks were -- during the campaign he loved leaks, especially about Hillary -- or moreso, how terribly "dishonest" the media are.

If only Trump spent as much time on governance as he does researching cable news ratings, he might -- might -- be passable as a politician.

But he can't even get this right, complaining about CNN, saying he's stopped watching, while clearly still watching what their shows say about him. And whining about the "failing" NY Times, while clearly stewing about everything they write about him.

The NY Times clearly isn't failing, and Trump's continued use of the word "failing" ambly reveals his insecurities about them.

So easy,

But the problem is deeper than this, I think.

Trump is attacking the very roots of society. Trump is actively -- for no other reason than his own selfish, authoritarian purposes -- attempting to label all media news as "fake news." Or at least the news reports he doesn't like, that don't portray him favorably.

Instead of confronting the reportage, as any mature person would, he just dismisses it as "fake" and immediately starts whining about the media. And those the words that fill up his press conference. Instead of talking about whether anyone on his campaign staff did talk to Russian officials, and WHILE THE RUSSIANS WERE HACKING John Podesta's emails -- he tries to make it about how "dishonest" the media is.

And he thinks this actual childish response somehow works.

I don't want a president -- or any representative -- who tries to play me for a fool. Trump is already the disaster most smart people thought he would be. Once people would have stormed the White House with pitchforks. Why are we who know better supposed to simply watch for the next four years while Trump assaults everything that is decent and values about this country?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Is CO2 a "Pollutant?"

Image result for samuel alitoPerhaps you are as tired of this question as I am.

Answer: Natural CO2 is not a pollutant. Anthropogenic CO2 is a pollutant.

Too difficult to understand?

Apparently it is for at least one member of the US Supreme Court: Samuel Alito.

According to Slate, here's what Alito said this past Saturday, at a keynote speech at the Claremont Institute’s 2017 annual dinner on Saturday night:
Now, what is a pollutant? A pollutant is a subject that is harmful to human beings or to animals or to plants. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Carbon dioxide is not harmful to ordinary things, to human beings, or to animals, or to plants. It’s actually needed for plant growth. All of us are exhaling carbon dioxide right now. So, if it’s a pollutant, we’re all polluting. When Congress authorized the regulation of pollutants, what it had in mind were substances like sulfur dioxide, or particulate matter—basically, soot or smoke in the air. Congress was not thinking about carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.
This is just dumb on a couple of levels.

First, as Mark Joseph Stern at Slate points out, EPA was the defendant in Mass v EPA 2007. The EPA didn't want to regulate CO2 -- Massachusetts sued them to force them to do so, under the Clean Air Act.

It's very strange that a Supreme Court Justice would not understand the basics of such a case that appeared before his court.

Morever: let's please start specifying clearly that anthropogenic CO2 is the pollutant, not all CO2, and certainly not the natural CO2 that existed in the atmosphere before the Industrial Revolution, about 280 ppm.

That's really all you have to say: anthropogenic CO2, from our burning of fossil fuels is a pollutant -- an unwanted substance with deleterious effects -- but natural CO2, existing before the Industrial Revolution, is not.

And no, Justice Alito, human breathing do not contribute to the CO2 problem. If it did, and likewise for the respiration of all other mammals, we'd be up to our necks in CO2 and probably would not exist by now.

Please, man, learn a little science.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

More from John Bates

John Bates:

"I knew people would misuse this. But you can’t control other people."

- Science, 2/8/17

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Yes, Salem, Oregon is Warming

Over a year and a half ago, there was a comment on a post of mine, "Why Very Warm Events are Exponentially More Probable in a Warmer World," about temperatures in Salem, Oregon, where I live, by Mark Albright of UW.

He gave this graph to show that temperatures in Salem, Oregon were in fact decreasing:
However, this graph is for the annual mean of the daily maximum temperatures. I can reproduce this trend from these data via Mark's site.

However, what if we look at the daily average temperature, defined as the average of Tmax and Tmin for the day? The result is quite different, with a positive trend:

The trend, since the record started in 1928, up until 2014, is +0.07 C/decade. Over the 30 years 1984-2014 the trend is +0.23 C/decade, easily positive and very worrisome. (It's equal to 0.41 F/decade.)

Anthropogenic global warming increases nightly minima more than it does daily maxima. So just looking at the trend in daily maxima can be misleading. Better to look at the trend in the daily average.

(note 2/13: corrected the label on the last graph.)