Friday, July 08, 2016

Stuff I Recently Found Interesting

(I will probably add to this list today and tomorrow.)

From the Department of We-Will-Pay-For-Climate-Change-One-Way-Or-Another: Miami-Dade Could Ask Developers to Pay for Climate Change Costs. Georgetown University law professor J. Peter Byrne says:
"If that discourages the developers from building, that's OK. They can try to build it in a manner or location in which there's less climate harm," Byrne says. "We don't view it as really draconian or a severe regulation.... If I had to guess, I'd say this would become a fairly common tool in the future.""
By the way, the long-term linear trend in sea level at Key West is, I find, 2.4 mm/yr. (The global average is now 3.4 mm/yr.) But it's accelerating upward, and it's the nonzero acceleration that dominates projections. (12 months ago SLR was 3.3 mm/yr. But the El Nino is probably to a higher than average recent of rate of SLR, because the accelertion of the entire Aviso dataset is now 0.037 mm/yr2. That seems tiny, but the difference between the quadratic and linear projections to the year 2100 is 17 cm. (Forewarned: I might be doing nothing but numerology here; I'm certainly not doing physics.)

America is becoming Afghanistan: a brutal comment in the NY Times.

This says the recent flooding in West Virginia was a 1000-year event. They were the third deadliest floods in West Virginia. I don't know how to adjust that for improvement in infrastructure and the capabilities of emergency response.

Stupid: The US Senate just voted to require labeling of foods containing GMOs. The House is expected to pass it as well. 107 Nobel Laureautes just sent a letter giving Greenpeace grief for their unscientific anti-GMO stand.The left can be just as anti-science as the right (GMOs and fluoridation of drinking water immediately come to mind).

"Evolution May Have Moved at a Furious Pace on a Much Warmer Earth":
University of North Carolina researchers show that rates of spontaneous DNA mutation could have been 4,000 times higher than they are now, thanks to a hotter planet billions of years ago. (Newswise)

Also from Newswise: "Warming Pulses in Ancient Climate Record Link Volcanoes, Asteroid Impact and Dinosaur-Killing Mass Extinction"

Question: Why do the police have to ask for registration and insurance in this day and age? Why isn't the information immediately available via car-computer or a simple phone call after they stop someone and go back to their patrol vehicle?

I'm not exactly sure what this means, but on first glance it doesn't sound good: "...'around a third of all developed-country government debt—or more than $7 trillion, in terms of market value—is now trading at negative yields,' meaning that buyers are willing to pay more for these bonds than they will eventually get back if they hold them to maturity."


David in Cal said...

I suspect the negative yields relate investors anticipating inflation in their own country's currency. E.g., an American investor might feel that the Swiss franc will hold its value better than the US dollar. That is, he's worried about the risk of future US inflation. He thinks the Swiss franc will be more stable than the US dollar. So, this investor buys Swiss government bonds. These bonds have a negative yield in Swiss francs. However, if this investor is right about future US inflation, these bonds would have a positive yield in US dollars.

David Appell said...

If it were fears of US inflation, wouldn't yields on US bonds be bid upward? But the US 10-yr govt bond rate has been declining for a few years now:

This article puts it down to global economic uncertainty:

David in Cal said...

"If it were fears of US inflation, wouldn't yields on US bonds be bid upward?" That's an excellent point. And, even 30-year US bonds are paying only slightly above 2%.

It makes sense that global economic uncertainty could cause money to flee to the (perceived) safest plance. I find it noteworthy that Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Netherlands, and France are apparently considered the safest places to invest money, while the US isn't even on the list. It wasn't long ago that in times of uncertainty, the US was considered the safest (or closed to the safest) places to invest one's money.

If we had another chart showing not only which country's bonds are selling at a negative yield, but also showing which country's investors are buying which country's bonds, perhaps we could do a better analysis.


David Appell said...

Good point about Switzerland and safety.

JoeT said...

From the Newswise link:

"Two University of Michigan researchers and a Florida colleague found two abrupt warming spikes in ocean temperatures that coincide with two previously documented extinction pulses near the end of the Cretaceous Period. The first extinction pulse has been tied to massive volcanic eruptions in India, the second to the impact of an asteroid or comet on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula."

Why would the Chicxulub asteroid lead to a warming spike?

David Appell said...

Good question. I don't know.

David Appell said...

I'm sorry. Sometimes I just can't keep up with all the questions. I'm trying to also earn a living, if you could call it that. (I often can't anymore.)

JoeT said...

David, don't feel obliged to respond to every question or issue that someone raises. The good thing about your blog is that there are a number of very knowledgeable people who read it. Maybe someone else may know why there might be an Antarctic temperature spike due an asteroid strike. I found the article especially interesting because it lends support to the idea that the Deccan traps played an important role in the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs.

Enjoy family and friends. Concentrate on your work. The blog can take a back seat. However, many like myself, appreciate it because you bring up subjects that don't get discussed elsewhere, you analyze data and most important, you discuss physics and don't put up with bullshit..