Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Idiocy from Ed Berry, PhD

What can you even do when climate deniers won't agree to the basic rules of arithmetic??

Ed Berry is a physicist who earned his PhD back in the Mesozoic era. From Caltech, no less. He now lives in Montana as a mountain man, battling long-horned sheep for food, coming into town once a year for saltpeter and a ballot.

Ed is a hard core climate denier. (And, naturally, a hard core Trump supporter.) So hard core he doesn't care when he makes basic, boneheaded mistakes -- because, you know, one never admit error when a bear is charging at you, or someone who understands the science.

Q: How much has atmospheric CO2 increased since the pre-industrial era?

A: That's an easy calculation, right?

pct chg = change/initial_amount = (408 ppm - 280 ppm)/280 ppm = 46%.

That's simple, clearly.... But not in Ed's denier-land. This is from Ed's blog:

30%?? Whoa.... That's just a dumb arithmetic error. It comes from calculating

change/final_amount = (408 ppm - 280 ppm)/408 ppm = 31%

which is obviously NOT how to calculate a percentage change. You and I learned this in 5th or 6th grade. So did Ed. It's a trivial, arithmetic error.

But one that mountain men will not admit to. Ed is so much of an uber denier that he can't even admit to a simple arithmetic error, can't say, Oops!, you're right, let me fix this and go on.

Now, what can you do when a denier won't accept arithmetic?? I have no idea.

It's all part of Ed's Big Misunderstanding -- he writes, "Why human CO2 does not change climate." He's so sure of this, of course, just as he's sure that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is 30%, even though every 6th grader knows better. He's submitted a paper somewhere (he won't say where), and is proud that after 4 months it hasn't yet been rejected. Remarkable!

Sorry, but I don't accept PhDs in physics misunderstanding the basic science behind global warming -- the Earth emits infrared radiation, and the atmospheric GHGs absorb it. Rejecting that is bad enough. But claiming that our HUGE emissions of CO2 aren't piling up in the atmosphere -- somewhere -- that's is just, I'm sorry, pure stupidity. Dumb. Ignorant. Idiotic.

But what can you do when deniers won't accept the basic rules of arithmetic? Where do you even start?? Beats me....

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Fulgarite - When Lightening Strikes Sand

Via National Geographic

Obamacare Has Bent the Cost Curve

monthly health care costs - Altarum Institute
monthly inflation: Fred CPI-U

That Arctic Has Been Astonishingly Warm

This is an astonishing graph:

The Arctic is currently about 17°C (31°F) degrees above normal. The baseline (green line) is the 1958-2002 average. 

If that were happening where I live, today's high would have been 86°F. Normal high (1981-2010) for Salem, Oregon today is 53°F.

Reflecting this, Arctic sea ice has already reached a record low for the year, 2.5% below last year's record low. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Cool Integral

From KarlMagnus Petersson‏ on Twitter:

In the same way, you can show (I think) that

which is also cool, but not as cool, since "3" is not as cool as "e."

Note: 1/3 < 1/e. This makes sense, since for 0 < x <1, sqrt(x) < cuberoot(x) < fourthroot(x), etc.

Note II: Speaking of e, one of my best friends, a colleague in graduate school (we had the same advisor, and have gotten even closer since), once wrote a paper that contained the number e^e, which I think is about the coolest thing ever published in physics. I wrote about it here for Physics World.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Global Warming in Ursula Le Guin's 1969 Novel "The Left Hand of Darkness"

The science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin recently died (she lived in Portland, Oregon for decades), and since I hadn't read anything by her I thought I better get started. So I picked The Left Hand of Darkness, her breakthrough book published in 1969. She was on the ball, because even then she knew about CO2 and global warming. Here she writes about her fictional planet of Gethen.
Eskichwe rem ir Her hypothesized that the volcanic activity in N.W. Orgoreyn and the Archipelago has been increasing during the last ten or twenty millennia, and presages the end of the Ice, or at least a recession of it and an interglacial period. CO2 released by the volcanoes into the atmosphere will in time serve as an insulator, holding in the longwave heat-energy reflected from the earth, while permitting direct solar heat to enter undiminished. The average world temperature, he says, would in the end be raised some thirty degrees, till it attains 72°. I am glad I shall not be present. Ai says that similar theories have been propounded by Terran scholars to explain the still incomplete recession of their last Age of Ice. All such theories remain largely irrefutable and unprovable; no one knows certainly why the ice comes, why it goes. The Snow of Ignorance remains untrodden.
It's interesting that she associated CO2 warming with the Ice Ages, as science did for a good while back then, I think, while it grappled with understanding the Pleistocene.

More Humor from SpaceX

(Besides the orbiting red roadster, I mean)

Saturday, February 03, 2018