The other day I was a local place here, Nancy Jo's Burger's and Fries, ordering a chicken salad to go. A guy came up to me and said my car was parked too close to his car's door, which was in the adjacent parking spot, and I would have to move my car. Like a good guy I immediately went out and moved my car so he'd have room to open his door and get into his car. But then I came back in and noticed he was sitting in a booth waiting for his food with his family, planning to eat in the restaurant, while I was getting takeout and would be gone in a couple of minutes. This kind of annoyed me, and as our orders were announced at same time I took the opportunity to say to him that my car had been between the lines, and I got a little aggressive and said next time he'd have to crawl in the passenger side to get into his car. He said something and I said something over him, I don't remember what. I noticed he had a Christian cross hanging from his rear view mirror. He didn't even say thank to me for moving my car. This has stuck with me ever since, even though it's been about five days now and I told myself I was going to forget it.
Sunday, September 26, 2021
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Sunday, September 05, 2021
Earlier I pointed out the multiple errors of thinking in Oregon's Chuck Wiese's claim that the horrendous heat wave we had here in the Pacific NW at the end of June -- an unbelievable 117°F in Salem, Oregon, a maximum reading that was a full 39°F above the normal for that day (normal period = 1981-2010) -- was, he claimed, nothing special at all, just a regular heat wave with the sun in its sunlike position.
I found another huge error.
Needless to say, actual scientists concluded that anthropogenic climate change had a very significant role in such a huge heat wave anomaly.Chuck Wiese argued that it was just another heat wave but caused by orbital and solar parameters and a nominal increase in atmospheric CO2, calculated naively -- a claim easily shown to be B.S. by all the factors he chose to ignore.
But shortly after, as I was looking more closely at his claims, I saw a deeper error, which I haven't been able to write about since I was busy on an article. He considers atmospheric CO2 to be a blackbody, when it is anything but.
In his post on Ed Berry's site -- a place Wiese considers "publication," LOLz -- he presents this little argument:
What about atmospheric CO2? In 1981, the Mauna Loa CO2 level was given as 341 ppmv whereas today it is 416 ppmv. Calculating the change in radiative forcing from CO2 as a stand-alone constituent, the difference from 1981 to now is only 1.07 Wm-2. ( Watts per square meter ).This is just comical as physics, and let me show you why -- again, Wiese thinks atmospheric CO2 is a blackbody, which it is certainly is not. Bear with me through a few elementary equations.
Next, I took the mean temperature of the daily temperature delta or deviation, which was about 90 deg F and plugged that into the derivative of the Stefan Boltzmann equation, dF/dT which gives 6.45 Wm-2K-1 or 6.45 Watts per square meter per degree Kelvin.
Using this relationship, if CO2 acts alone as permitted in this special case, we get 0.963 Wm-2 with a ground emissivity of 0.9 divided by the rate of change of flux with respect to temperature or the 6.45 Wm-2K-1 number which gives 0.15 deg C or a possible contribution of +0.27 deg F. to the heating total.
Saturday, September 04, 2021
If food looks expensive in the grocery store, maybe this is part of the reason: the price of wheat is up 82% in the last five years. Up 32% just in the last 12 months.
Corn is up 46% in the last 12 months. I've read that here in Oregon the wheat crop this year has been ruined by the late June heat wave. I don't know about elsewhere. In May the Wall Street Journal wrote:
"Corn has been one of the sharpest risers in the broad rally in raw materials that is prompting companies to boost prices for goods and fueling concern among investors that inflation could hobble the post-pandemic economic recovery."
But it's paywalled. This May 31st article in a midwestern publication wrote (but also paywalled)
"The good news for farmers: Corn prices are on the rise, up nearly 70 cents in the past three weeks to their highest level in nearly three years. The bad news: That spike is largely because of heavy rain and flooding this spring that have hampered planting across the corn belt and stoked fears about a drop in production."
So it's only good news if you weren't flooded out.... Climate change's extreme weather? Of course, heavy spring rains and flooding have happened before -- it's the risk of farming. But these days you have to wonder.
Here's the chart for wheat:
|Market price of wheat|
Thursday, September 02, 2021
As long as the new Texas anti-abortion law remains in force, I will not be doing any lectures or events (in person or remote) in the state of Texas.— Michael E. Mann (@MichaelEMann) September 2, 2021
Texas shows us what post-democracy America would look like. Thanks to a series of actions by the Texas legislature and governor, we now see exactly what the Trumpified Republican Party wants: to take us to an America where women cannot get abortions, even in cases of rape and incest; an America where almost everybody can openly carry a gun in public, without license, without permit, without safety training and without fingerprinting; and an America where law-abiding Black and Latino citizens are disproportionately denied the right to vote.It still isn't clear that Trump, abetted by Mitch McConnell's theft of Supreme Court seats, won't yet destroy democracy in America, which effectively destroys America. The fascists smell blood. They are moral cowards who want more. They're determined to get it.
This is where Texas and other red states are going, or have already gone. It is where the rest of America will go, unless those targeted by these new laws — women, people of color and all small “d” democrats — rise up.
Monday, August 30, 2021
"There is no evidence of climate change scenarios that would render human beings extinct," Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State and author of "The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet" (PublicAffairs, 2021), told Live Science in an email.cc: Extinction Rebellion, Jem Bendell
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
I started reading Asimov's Foundation trilogy a long time ago, and only made it about a third of the way though. I wasn't as into scifi then as I am now, so I'm going to go back and give it another go. What I mainly remember is that the nuclear powered spaceships seemed rather out-of-date, scifi-speaking, compared to Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. (But maybe more realistic!) I once saw Asimov speak at a scifi convention when I was a graduate student at Stony Brook. But then I wasn't into scifi at all and I don't remember a thing he said. But I had read several of his nonfiction books when I was in high school and college, books with chapters where he would just riff about various planets and on comets and asteroids and the solar system and whatever came to his mind--and a lot always came to his mind!--which I always found interesting. So I wanted to see him in person.
Friday, August 20, 2021
I heard the perfect Covid quote today.— Angry Staffer (@Angry_Staffer) August 20, 2021
“If you don’t trust doctors and science to keep you from getting sick, why the hell are you clogging up hospitals trusting them to cure you?”
I saw a nurses post this morning asking a covid patient why she didn't get a vaccination. Because we didn't know what was in it. The nurse replied, I've used five different drugs on you in the last half hour, you never asked me once what was in it?— Faye Fellows (@cottage_orchard) August 20, 2021
So we can get rid is seatbelt laws now right? Because facial reconstruction is so good these days.— Michael j Spencer (@MichaeljSpence8) August 20, 2021
Lee Billings of Scientific American has a great, lengthy article on the "Decadal Survey," or Astro2020, the Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey. This report, which comes out every ten years and is a year overdue but is now in final peer review and supposed to be coming out sometime soon, sets priorities for US astronomical projects for the next ten years. It's so important towards determining which megatelescopes get funded that, as someone in the article says, it's sometimes called "the voice of God." As I'm currently writing a long article about astrobiology, I found it very clarifying and insightful.
Anyway, in terms of the Decadal Survey's impact on funding priorities, there's this interesting and revealing quote near the end of the article. "Tremblay" is Grant Tremblay, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution, then there's this wonderful (in its way) quote from a "Beltway insider."
Or rather the New Great Observatories can only happen if astronomers become more savvy at what Gaudi has termed “astropolitics.” “I’m utterly convinced a ‘New Great Observatories’ program with Lynx, Origins, and LUVOIR or HabEx—a ‘LuvEx,’ so to speak—could be done with a single phone call to the right person,” Tremblay says. “Because on Capitol Hill, it’s not about total cost—it’s about annual appropriation. A couple hundred million dollars a year added to NASA’s astrophysics line would suffice.”
Such hopeful speculations are not necessarily just wishful thinking. “We’re talking a 1 or 2 percent increase in real dollars to NASA’s budget to enable another Great Observatories program,” says one Beltway insider. “These are the perturbations concerted advocacy can create. Only about 30 senators are really involved in appropriations, and the annual discretionary budget of the federal government is running at about $2 trillion. So divide $2 trillion by 30 and then factor in the staffers working for each of those senators. You’ll find, perhaps to your horror, that anything much below about half a billion dollars a year is essentially left to staffers and lost in the margins.” Tremblay puts it more bluntly. “NASA does not really work for the Executive Office of the President,” he says. “It works for the 25-year-olds a few years out of college who serve on appropriations committees. A flagship mission—or a whole new series of Great Observatories—could be green-lit over lunch by some low-level staffer while they’re eating a burrito.”
Monday, August 16, 2021
This is just amazing -- it looks like sci fi, but it's real. Having read books like The Search for Planet X as a boy, its a real delight to see something like this later in life:
Pluto’s ice mountains, frozen plains and layers of atmospheric haze backlit by a distant sun, as seen by the New Horizons spacecraft.— Wonder of Science (@wonderofscience) August 15, 2021
Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI pic.twitter.com/aHJwCn1T5s