Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Daily Goulash

A definite read: Kerry Emanuel on low-probability "tail risk" climate change impacts, at the Yale Forum

Ken Caldiera was on KQED today talking about geoengineering, and three of the call-in questions were about chemtrails.... (Click here if you haven't heard about this particular bit of lunacy from the conspiracy theorists.)

Oh, yeah, now there are Hillary shoethrowing truthers, too. 

Let's just call this the age of the "truth truthers."

This is good: an article in Business Insider about Google's advanced projects, one of which was a space elevator, says Google abandoned it because "the team did find one material that could work, carbon nanotubes, but no one has successfully made a perfectly formed carbon nanotube strand longer than a meter." Duh, space elevator enthusiasts have known this since, almost literally, the day carbon nanotubes were discovered in the early 1990s....

All that Asian pollution may be making Pacific storms stronger. Haiyan?

"...roughly 1,550 volcanoes that have erupted in the recent geologic past."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has endorsed a revenue-neutral carbon tax: "Reducing emissions, especially from power plants and vehicles, remains a priority. Technology can help with that, but probably the best way to push that technology is to impose a revenue-neutral carbon tax. Such a tax would encourage the fossil fuel industry to search for other ways to provide energy; the money could be used to reduce the deficit or as rebates to taxpayers."

Here is a mnemonic for the decimal expansion of π, where the number of letters in each word is the digit: "How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics. All of thy geometry, Herr Planck, is fairly hard...:" [3.14159265358979323846264...]

Did you know the Bible says π = 3? Here is I Kings 7:23 (King James Version): "And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about." (π = circumference/diameter = 30 cu/10 cu = 3.)

In junior high school we were taught to use 22/7 for π, and it wasn't until 10th grade trigonometry that I realized that was just an approximation, and not until I was a freshman in college until I realized it can't be expressed as a fraction in any case. Duh.


J Melcher said...

The bible is of course not at all scientific. Now (I don't want to use the word "but" here) it is worth noting that the value of 3 compared to the accurate value of "pi" is within five percent. Which is to say that were "pi" the true value of some physical quantity masked in a wash of noise (such as transient climate response to a doubling of CO2) and if the statistical model of that same quantity estimated the value to be "three", the statistical confidence in the model should also have a p-test value of less than five percent, and we should accept that the science is settled and use the value of "three" as a basis for planning our big projects.

5% ain't all that far off, in other words. Or, if you like, the estimates of climate scientists are no better than the math skills of wandering nomads of several thousand years ago, take your pick.

David Appell said...

The bible is of course not at all scientific.

Yes, that was my point exactly.