Friday, July 30, 2021

Email Notifications Going Away?

I received this notification from Blogger:

I honestly don't know much about this.... I guess some of your are getting a notification about new posts to this blog via email via this Feedburner? Now it's going away I guess.

I don't know how to fix that, I'm sorry.

But this blog must have an RSS feed (?), so hopefully you can get an email notification via that. I really don't understand RSS, so I'm sorry, I can't help you. But I hope you keep reading somehow....

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Steven Weinberg 1933-2021

Word is that the amazing physicist Steven Weinberg passed away yesterday at the age of 88. 

Peter Woit has more.

Weinberg was a giant in the field of theoretical physics, making fundamental contributions in unifying the weak and electromagnetic interactions. He also wrote a few textbooks, one, on general relativity and cosmology, which I once learned a lot from, and still look in occasionally to verify something. (It's rather dated now.) During graduate school I went into Manhattan with a couple of friends to see him speak, probably it was at Columbia University, but I don't remember what he talked about now. We just wanted to see Weinberg. 

Notably, Weinberg left Harvard in 1982 to go to the University of Texas at Austin. He must have gotten a very good deal, because it wasn't the kind of move you typically saw then, leaving such a prestigious university to go out west to a state school. 

Weinberg is well known for a quote from his very popular book The First Three Minutes about the Big Bang:

“The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”

Yeah.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Summary Judgment for CEI In Michael Mann Defamation Suit

Haven't digested this yet and won't get to it until later, but I'll put this here now. Comments welcome.

Reason.com: DC Court Grants Summary Judgment for CEI In Michael Mann Defamation Suit

Trailer for "Dune" Remake

Here's the trailer for the remake of Dune. Looks really good. I wasn't into sci-fi when the book came out, although I bought it and had it on my bookshelf for years -- it's either permanently in some box, now too smelly to read, or I donated it before some move or another. And I just could never get into the original movie by David Lynch, though I tried more than once. But this looks like it has potential. In theatres and on HBO Max in the US October 22nd.
 


There was an earlier trailer last September:

 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Fires in Siberia

One million hectares = 2.47 million acres = 3,861 sq miles = (62 miles)2.

By contrast Oregon has so far lost about 400,000 acres to fires this year. And yet it's already the 4th-worst year on record.

Cloud Feedback Amplifies Global Warming, and a Few More Things

Just a few things I noticed today: 
  • "Invitation to ETI" is a Web site inviting extraterrestrial intelligence to establish communication with a group of 100 scientists: http://ieti.org/ . Nothing yet but many hoaxes.
  • This is important and once more reinforces that the cloud feedback to climate change is positive, that is to say, causes more warming:
"Global satellite data shows clouds will amplify global heating," 7/19/21 

The paper is:

"Observational evidence that cloud feedback amplifies global warming," Paulo Ceppi and Peer Nowack, PNAS July 27, 2021 118 (30) e2026290118; https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2026290118 

from the abstract: 
"We show that global cloud feedback is dominated by the sensitivity of clouds to surface temperature and tropospheric stability. Considering changes in just these two factors, we are able to constrain global cloud feedback to 0.43 ± 0.35 W⋅m−2K−1 (90% confidence), implying a robustly amplifying effect of clouds on global warming and only a 0.5% chance of ECS below 2 K."
  • Finally:

Monday, July 19, 2021

'Freedom Day' for the Virus or for People?

Here's how COVID looks on England's "Freedom Day." Looks more like freedom for the virus instead of for the people. It's exerting its rights in the US as well, which aren't even spelled out in the Constitution! Who says freedom isn't free?

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Chuck Wiese Explains It All

Well, of course he doesn't, but he does try to explain the recent Pacific Northwest heat wave without, of course, invoking manmade climate change, which he doesn't buy, but it's a hilarious case of numerology, so let's have a laugh.

In this case, over on Ed Berry's blog Chuck pulls numbers in from all over the solar system to figure that Portland's monster hot day in 2021 of 116°F wasn't really any worse than previous high temperatures in 1965 and 1981, writing,

On August 8th, the total surface radiation is 2.0920000 x 10^7 Jm-2 and likewise, over a 14-hour solar day gives an average surface solar insolation of 415 Wm-2. The difference between these two numbers is substantial at a whopping 46 Wm-2!

But this difference is mitigated some due to the elliptical orbit of the earth around the sun which between June 27th and August 8th adds an additional 8 Wm-2 of solar insolation to TOA or 6 Wm-2 to the surface at the perpendicular angle to the atmosphere. With the noon solar angle of the sun calculated at 60.49 degrees above azimuth on August 8th, that reduces those values further at Portland’s latitude to 5.2 Wm-2, with the final difference in solar radiation being 40.8 Wm-2 further reduced to 36.72 Wm-2 with a surface emissivity of .9. This is still quite substantial.

If we divide this difference into the rate of change of flux with respect to temperature of 6.45 Wm-2K-1 given above, we get a surplus temperature of 5.69 deg C or 10.2 deg F compared to the earlier heatwaves of record on July 30, 1965, and on August 8h and 10th of 1981. Add this to these old records of 107 deg F and you get 117.2 deg F. That comes within 1.2 degF of what the new all-time high-temperature record is that was just set for Portland at 116 deg F yesterday.
Even though some of these numbers are given to only one significant figure, like 8 Wm-2, Chuck somehow comes up with a temperature good to four significant figures, 117.2 F.

But let's overlook that for a moment. While Chuck is carefully (kinda, sometimes, sort of, maybe, well not really) keeping track of forcings to an accuracy of 0.01 Wm-2, let's look at all the Wm-2 he's not keeping track of:
  • differences in CO2 concentrations above Portland itself, which he assumes are just the annual difference in the global number ("What about atmospheric CO2? In 1981, the Mauna Loa CO2 level was given as 341 ppmv whereas today it is 416 ppmv."), but of course we know it's much more complicated than that, varying by time of year, day of year, hour of the day, etc. A difference far larger than his 0.01 Wm-2, and even much higher than this.
  • What about the other greenhouse gases too -- methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, all the dozen other or so? Chuck says they don't matter, even 40 years later.
  • Any difference in total solar irradiance, where the Sun is in its solar cycle? Not according to Chuck.
  • What about pollution over Portland's temperature sensors, aerosols that can lead to cooling? Completely ignored.
  • The urban heat island effect? Has it increased in the decades since the earlier records in Portland? Not according to Chuck. Or perhaps he didn't even think about it.
  • Anything I haven't though of? Probably.
In other words, Chuck came up with an answer that was close enough for his purposes, and then ignored all other factors that might get in the way of the conclusion he wanted to reach, which was that global warming had nothing to do with Portland's heat wave -- a conclusion experts (which Chuck is most assuredly not) from World Weather Attribution have concluded.

Actually, this phenomenon, where scientists stop working on a problem when they reach the conclusion they had in mind, is a real, existing problem, for both theoreticians and experimentalists. It probably has a name, which philosophers and such might know about but scientists, who actually work in the field and are actually guilty of the problem, don't (as is usually the way). 

Except Chuck Wiese isn't a scientist, and never has been.

But here he's guilty of the problem nonetheless. Very guilty. 

Punishment: Read and work-through all of Pierrehumbert's textbook, or Dessler's, from cover to cover, to learn about all the many forcings. By the new year. Write a book report no shorter than 5,000 words. Publish on Ed Berry's blog.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

An Obviously False Claim from Cliff Mass

In his blog post supposedly showing that the recent Pacific Northwest heat wave had no relation to global warming, Cliff Mass displayed this chart of "Average number of days with temperatures above 99F in" Washington or Oregon and claims it has "no trend":

Yeah, right. Do you think maybe the rest of his post might suffer from such sloppy thinking? You have to wonder.

Gavin Schmidt caught Cliff on this on a comment on the RealClimate blog here. Tamino also gives it to Cliff here. After that Cliff gives up. Clearly there was some pretty sloppy thinking in his blog post.



Thursday, July 08, 2021

The Destruction of Lytton, British Columbia

Here's a overhead photograph of the destruction from the wildfire that swept through Lytton, British Columbia, Canada on June 30th, the day after it reached 49.6°C (121.3°F), the hottest temperature recorded in the recent Pacific Northwest heat wave. Almost like there was some cosmic plan. Via The Guardian.

What a lovely little town. Was.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

"Virtually Impossible Without Human-Caused Climate Change"

Here's the press release from World Weather Attribution about their study just out showing that the recent Pacific Northwest heat wave "was virtually impossible without human-caused climate change." 

There's a link to the study on that page as well.

Here's the NY Times article about it. 

They estimate this was about a 1 in 1,000 year event, but say it was so rare it's difficult to say for sure. 

This is where it gets interesting:

There are two possible sources of this extreme jump in peak temperatures. The first is that this is a very low probability event, even in the current climate which already includes about 1.2°C of global warming — the statistical equivalent of really bad luck, albeit aggravated by climate change. The second option is that nonlinear interactions in the climate have substantially increased the probability of such extreme heat, much beyond the gradual increase in heat extremes that has been observed up to now. We need to investigate the second possibility further, although we note the climate models do not show it. All numbers below assume that the heatwave was a very low probability event that was not caused by new nonlinearities.

[First, I wish scientists would stop using the word "nonlinear" when communicating with the public or journalists, because I wonder if either of them understands what it means. But that's a subject for another time.] 

The second possibility -- which I take to mean that the climate system may have passed some tipping point -- is most intriguing. Because if so, it means we don't know for sure what might be ahead. More events like the recent heat wave? Deep cold events? I don't know, heavier precipitation events, does anybody know? I think that's what's so worrisome, that this Pac NW event blew the records away by such large jumps it simply looks too strange and suspicious. 

Also

Also, this heatwave was about 2°C hotter than it would have been if it had occurred at the beginning of the industrial revolution (when global mean temperatures were 1.2°C cooler than today).

That's 3.6°F, meaning 117°F would have been 113.4°F. Still pretty bad and still a record.

Looking into the future, in a world with 2°C of global warming (0.8°C warmer than today which at current emission levels would be reached as early as the 2040s), this event would have been another degree hotter. An event like this – currently estimated to occur only once every 1000 years, would occur roughly every 5 to 10 years in that future world with 2°C of global warming.

So 117°F would be 118.8°F. In the Pac NW. Every 5 to 10 years. Does this include the possibility such a heat wave might happen in Arizona or Saudi Arabia or India? What would be the maximum temperature there. Because that sounds scarier.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Names and Addresses

"The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses."

-- Utah Phillips, labor organizer, folk singer, story teller, poet (1935-2008)


COVID19 In US and Blogger's Ineptitude

I was going to put up a post about an increase in COVID19 cases in the US, with an accompanying graph, but Blogger's rendition of the graph is so ridiculously lousy it's almost useless. Look at this piece of crap:



How embarrassing, Google. Just to save a little space on your servers? Embarrassing to me as well. If you're not going to allow presentation of decent illustrations, what's the point of having a blogging platform at all?

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Pac NW Heat Wave Deaths Up to 604

This article from the Associated Press provides new information:



The Ocean Was On Fire

Perhaps you saw that yesterday the ocean was on fire:
Actually it was in the Gulf of Mexico near the Yucatan peninsula, and a ruptured gas well owned by Pemex, a state oil company of Mexico. They put it out a few hours later.

Nothing is getting very surprising anymore.

Here's a closeup:

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Overwhelming Empathy

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Don Jr. High as a Kite

Yeesh. Didn't this guy have presidential aspirations, and don't some Republicans support him? This was originally posted to Rumble on June 19th.

Monday, June 28, 2021

46.7°C

Beyond ridiculous. An all-time record, beating yesterday's 113°F. However
But a major cooldown is coming, and Salem residents should be able to feel it by this evening. By 8 p.m. Salem’s temperature is forecast to be in the 80 degree range and by Tuesday morning temperatures could be as cool as the low 60s.

Wet Bulb 35

"Wet Bulb 35" was what Kim Stanley Robinson labeled it in The Ministry of the Future, where his book opens with an episode of such temperatures killing millions of people, setting the stage for the climate crisis finally creating deep anger and a commitment to drastic action in many people.

Here's more from The Telegraph's article:



Here the humidity has been in the 20-25% range and wet bulb temperatures have only been around 70°F (21-22°C).

Wanting to Get Wobbly

I like this, from an article about the third-place finisher, Alicia Monson, at the Women's 10,000 meter run to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, held in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday in searing heat. (The top three finishers go to the Olympics.)

Sunday, June 27, 2021

43°C at 7 pm

43°C here where I live at 7 pm.



Heat as the Present Natural Calamity

This morning as I was leaving the window at the my drive-through coffee shop, the girl said, "Good luck today," which was new.

There's a feeling like a hurricane or other natural disaster is bearing down.

At 3:18 pm it's now 111°F. Supposed to go to 113°F.

This is really crazy. I've only ever see such temperatures in Tempe, Arizona, where I lived for a year and a half in the 1990s. Not even in New Mexico. And I don't have air conditioning here. So far I'm surviving with cold showers and fans, but it's still not pleasant. But it doesn't feel dangerous indoors. Right now the relative humidity is only 19%, so the wet bulb temperature is only 71°F (22°F), far below the death threshold of 35°C. I haven't heard of any deaths yet, but that was of yesterday -- today it's 6-7°F higher, but a little less humid. And residences/apartment buildings here aren't made of brick, which I believe was a big factor in the Chicago heat wave of 1995 that killed 739 people, because the buildings didn't cool well down at night.

Perhaps it's time the government subsidized air conditing units for the poor, and the electricity to pay for them.

Here's an interesting map of the degree of the heat dome over southern Canada and northern western US. You can notice the jaggly coast of British Columbia on the left edge of the 4-sigma bubble, and the straight US-Canadian border is right near the bottom of the same bubble. So it says Oregon is only in the 2-sigma range, which surprises me because our normal high for today is 78°F, and we're going to be 35°F above that. (?)

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Think the Insurrection is Done? Not by a Long Shot

A call for the execution of those who honestly counted the vote in the 2020 presidential election. No kidding:

Thoughts

It's supposed to be 108 deg F here in Salem, Oregon on Sunday. It would be a record for June. I don't have air conditioning -- I read somewhere today that 1/3rd of residences in Portland don't -- and so far have gotten along OK with fans, even when it's been above 90 F for a few days (though it was a bit tough in the late afternoons). But 100+ F is going to be difficult, no doubt about it. My Weatherbug app is calling for 105 F on Saturday and 107 F on Sunday.

Wow, look at this piece of pure fascism:
TALLAHASSEE — In his continued push against the “indoctrination” of students, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed legislation that will require public universities and colleges to survey students, faculty and staff about their beliefs and viewpoints to support “intellectual diversity.”

The survey will discern “the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented” in public universities and colleges, and seeks to find whether students, faculty and staff “feel free to express beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom,” according to the bill.
Republicans are the most dangerous group in America right now. And DeSantis is considered a leading candidate for the 2024 Republican candidate for president, even, I just read somewhere, polling above Trump.

Hockey: One thing I've noticed is that crowds at the NHL semifinal playoffs have been loudly singing the national anthem, in both the US and Canada. But especially in New York where the Islanders play. (US crowds are much larger than the Canadian crowds, due to greated pandemic restrictions still in Canada.) Somehow I think it's related to the pandemic ending.

Everyone says it, but it's true: there is nothing like playoff hockey. Every second of the game is such a battle. The puck is battled for no matter where it goes -- every movement results in a real fight for possession. I don't know of any other sport where every second of the game is such a battle between players. The intensity is an order of magnitude (in some units) above regular season play. The referees call almost no penalties, so it's often a free-for-all. All the playoff series are best of seven, so there's plenty of time for the development of team and personal animosities. Plenty of bad blood gets developed. Half the players have scraps or stitches on their face, and who knows what other injuries they're playing with. (Yet there are surprisingly few of the classic drop-the-gloves fights.) It's really something else.


I haven't confirmed this:

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

COVID-19 Herd Immunity

The Washington Post has a nice, short video on herd immunity for the coronavirus -- what it is, whether we can reach it, what happens if we do not. If we don't it's possible probable the disease will rip through the unvaccinated population, for whom it will be difficult to have much empathy (except for those who, for medical reasons, are unable to be vaccinated, such as the immunocompromised, who will suffer because of the thoughtlessness of the unvaccinated). But there remains the possiblity that new variants may arise in the unvaccinated population that will be able to infect even the vaccinated population. So we see how the unevolved "vaccine hesitant" are playing with a fire that could burn all of us down. Perhaps a better term is "vaccine stupid" or "vaccine don't-give-a-shit." Harsh, but people will suffer and people will die because of their ignorance or whatever twisted point they think they are trying to make about freedom or liberty, when in fact they're just proving the opposite -- true freedom and true liberty happens in a community, in a society, one where people look after one another and hold a responsiblity to the community, to others. You'd think we'd all know this after 10,000 years of civilization, but some people are extremely slow learners, it seems. Perhaps they need to be mandated into the present.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Norman Rockwell Sketch on "Mississippi Burning" Killings

I never knew this, but Norman Rockwell became socially liberal in his older years and the sketch below is an example. But it seems he never painted it. According to another Beschloss tweet, Rockwell was told by some of his editors at the Saturday Evening Post magazine that he wasn't allowed to portray blacks as anything other than servants.

The title of my post comes, of course, from the 1988 movie Mississippi Burning, starring Gene Hackman, about the FBI's search for the bodies of the murdered young men and for those who killed them. A great movie if you've never seen it.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Pig with Nicholas Cage - Trailer

Nicholas Cage looks for his lost pig in the Pacific Northwest, and apparently some degree of redemption in Portland:



Looks as wild as you'd expect from him. Opens July 16th in theatres.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

"The Trick," a Movie About ClimateGate

The BBC is making a movie about Climategate, a "thriller" about the computer hacking scandal, to be titled "The Trick." Somewhat of a double entendre there.
The Trick will tell the story of how Professor Philip Jones, director of climate research at the University of East Anglia, found himself at the eye of an international media storm after leaked emails which suggested climate change researchers had exaggerated claims about the severity of global warming....

It led to Norwich scientists receiving death threats and one of the most rigorous scrutiny processes in UK academic history that ultimately found the research to be watertight.

The new film will chart the unjustified persecution of Prof Jones, to be played by Line of Duty and The Crown star Jason Watkins, and the fierce support as he fights to exonerate himself of his wife Ruth, to be played by Victoria Hamilton.
Phil Jones suffered greatly during Climategate, personally, and reportedly at one point even considered suicide. This "thriller" is exactly what he doesn't need.

You may recognize the actor playing him from his recent role in the popular Netflix series "The Crown," where Jason Watkins played the weak, uninspiring socialist Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

Let's see how badly the BBC -- who of course was part of the story -- gets this wrong for the sake of dramatization.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

On Stealing the 2024 Presidential Election

This is from Jay Rosen, a prominent journalism professor at New York University, as mentioned in today's NY Times column by Ross Douthat, "Are We Destined for a Trump Coup in 2024?"

Personally it's difficult for me to see it coming to that. Trump looks more insane unhinged every day, is apparently obsessed with the recounts going on and convinced he'll be reinstated by August (which is beyond insane, into utterly delusional), and will be in enough legal difficulties by then that even all the Republicans afraid of him will breathe a little. But what do I know. Douthat writes.
In February, seven Republican senators voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial; just a few weeks ago, 35 House Republicans defied him and voted for the Jan. 6 inquiry. Even in a future where the G.O.P. takes back the House and the Senate in 2022, any attempt to overturn a clear Biden victory in 2024 would require most of the Republicans who cast these anti-Trump votes to swing completely to Team Let’s Have a Constitutional Crisis, with someone like Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski casting the decisive vote. Which is imaginable only if some transformative political wave hits the Republican Party in the meantime — and barely so even then.

Then keep in mind, too, that in the event of a Biden-Trump rematch in 2024, Biden, not Trump, will enjoy the presidency’s powers; Kamala Harris, not Mike Pence, will preside over the electoral count; and Trump will be four years older, unlikely to run a fourth time, and therefore somewhat less intimidating in defeat. In that landscape, it’s at least as easy to imagine him going more limply into the good night as it is to imagine top-to-bottom G.O.P. enthusiasm for the Great Coup of ’24.

Which, again, does not make the worriers unreasonable; it just makes their we’re all doomed attitude seem extremely premature.
What do you think?

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Video Clip of the Tank Man, and More

This clip is so much more than the singular image, and its initial seconds of the long, intimidating line of tanks rolling gives a sense of how much courage it took for this man to step in front of the tank line. Amazing that after all this time he's still unknown, but somehow, in the best sense of the mysteries and subtleties of history, wonderful too that he is. Everything doesn't need to be known.

On the other hand, here is a frightening image of what these tanks left being in terms of broken people and bicycles:

The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

"The more I learned, the more conscious did I become of the fact that I was ridiculous. So that for me my years of hard work at the university seem in the end to have existed for the sole purpose of demonstrating and proving to me, the more deeply engrossed I became in my studies, that I was an utterly absurd person."

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Naked Anti-Semitism

Here's more of the filth of the Republican party, inspired by Marjorie Taylor Greene's comment that having to wear a mask on the floor of the House of Representatives is akin to the Holocaust. Unbelievable. This is the smile of rank bigotry and stupidity. Her name is GiGi Gaskin.

Matt Gaetz Advocates Killing Leaders in Silicon Valley

Matt Gaetz, the Republican Congressman from Florida who may soon be in trouble for allegedly paying women for sex, allegedly sleeping with a minor and allegedly transporting her across state lines, had this to say (not allegedly) Thursday night in Georgia:
Of course he denied it Friday morning by claiming, as they always do, he was taken out of context. I wonder if the insurrectionists and their ilk got the "context."

Thursday, May 27, 2021

David in Cal

Last night I finally got fed up with David in Cal's racism and asked him, in no uncertain terms, to leave.

The topic was Trump's labeling of the COVID-19 virus the "China virus" and the "Kung flu," already racist which has resulted in thousands of attacks on Asian Americans in the US, to which David in Cal wrote

"Most of the attacks on Asian Americans were perpetrated by black Americans." 

This statement is pure racism. No proof whatsoever, but far more than that, it injects race into a topic for which race is utterly irrelevant. The race of those attacking Asian Americans over COVID-19 is irrelevant. Trying to imply that the race of the attackers is meaningful, that it matters to this problem, that it needs to be entered into the discussion, is exactly what racists do. 

David in Cal was once a decent contributor to this blog. Then he turned to Trumpism and in recent months many of his comments have bordered on racism. This one was, as far as I'm concerned, beyond the pale, and I have asked him to leave. I will delete his future comments as soon as I see them. He tried to sneak another one in a few minutes ago and I deleted it. He has become a troll who has infected this blog, repeatedly making claims without evidence, such as about election fraud and now this, and is now persona non grata. I've never done this before but have never before encountered someone of such ill intent. That this a Trumpist shouldn't really be surprising, I'm sorry to say. They have infected the Republican party and are out to devour America. But not here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Today's Climate Wins

Today was a pretty big day in climate activism, with real wins, right out of The Ministry of the Future by KSR, but I'm just not up for blogging. Sad, I know. You can read about them in a million other places, but I have nothing new to add. But you can discuss them in the comments if you'd like. Sorry.

1) Chevron investors demand emission cuts

2) Dutch court tells Shell to cut emissions by half

3) Exxon shareholders buck the company and elect directors demanding climate action.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Conservatives Are So Ridiculously Stupid

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Sid, Yet Again

By now there's an expression: "Sidney Crosby doing Sidney Crosby things." This is another one of them, from yesterday's playoff game against the NY Islanders:

Best 200 ft player in hockey. Best captain in hockey. Best playoff player in hockey. Watch him while you still can. Go Penguins.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

"Unhinged"

Stephen Richer is the Maricopa County (Arizona) Recorder, a Republican, heading up the county elections department:


PS:

BTW, the La Nina is Over, But....

I didn't realize this until the other day, but the 2020-2021 La Nina is now finished, and has been for a couple of months now.



However, there may be another La Nina this fall, according to the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) at Columbia University:


So 2021 is going to be a relatively cool year globally, and already has been -- this graph is from James Hansen's monthly email missive:


In the past we might have heard the usual crap about "global warming is over," but I can't see anyone falling for that now. The public discussion really has changed. But 2021 won't be a record warm year. 

Friday, May 14, 2021

Marjorie Taylor Greene is Crazy and Perhaps Even Dangerous

I was going to post something about MTG, but now I realize I'm not interested in writing it up. I'm not interested in much these days. She stalked and taunted Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even before she (MTG) was a congresswoman. Extremely immature and childish and of course no Republican will care, since they are now all cultish cowards. 
 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Censored Tweets by India

India required Twitter to remove at least 52 tweets critical of its response to COVID, and Twitter complied. (The tweets are still viewable outside India.) Here are two of them:

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Astonishing India COVID Trend

From yesterday's the NY Times, who write that India is now seeing about half of all new global cases, and deaths there are being undercounted and may be 2 to 5 times what is being reported.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Anecdote About Kevin

From the very good book Lightspeed: The Ghostly Aether and the Race to Measure the Speed of Light by John C H Spence. Funny if you know a little physics.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Wow - Initial Arrest Report on George Floyd

Here is the initial report from the Minneapolis Police Department on the arrest of George Floyd. Except for smartphone it's likely this horrific racist murder would have gone largely unnoticed and unpunished.


Via The NY Times, who has more about it

(Will you ever believe the police again?) 

They also interview others who Derek Chauvin abused when he arrested them, and note that "Minneapolis Police Use Force Against Black People at 7 Times the Rate of Whites."

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Three Cheers for the Guilty Verdicts

But instead of focusing on Maxine Waters, as Republicans try to divert attention from the real issue, how about three cheers for the guilty verdicts against Derek Chavin. 

For a day at least something went right in America. 

Finally a racist cop has been prominently convicted and will likely be put behind bars for a long time, sending a much needed message to police everywhere in America that wanton, racist violence will not be tolerated, and members of your own force can no longer be counted on to turn their head and pretend nothing happened. 

It's just one verdict, but it's a start, and it will only add strength to the BLM movement, the fight for voter rights and what everyone now sees as a racist system -- a racist country -- still in place 75 years after Jim Crow -- a renewed realization in part thanks to the clumsy, arrogant racism of the clumsy, arrogant troll Donald Trump. This verdict accompanies the good start Biden had gotten off to -- with solid leadership, popular programs and real hope, much to Republican's annoyance, as they're left lying to try to create controversies like Maxine Waters, with absolutely nothing to offer Americans but negativity, anti-science, nativism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and racism. Trump has so poisoned them they've lost the cognitive faculties to recognize it anymore. Bring on New Deal 2.0, a program about democracy as much as economics.

Terrorism??????

Wait a minute. This from Maxine Waters is what is being called terrorism?


(Via Breitbart). Republicans are truly out of their freaking minds. She's calling for people to march in the streets, a First Amendment right. There is nothing in her statement that calls for violence. Nothing. 

This unadulterated lying, this attempt to twist language for political purposes, this disregard for the truth, is disgusting and dark and leading to dangerous place -- more dangerous even than January 6th. And Republicans are now all in. This is shameful, as if they care anymore.

PS: The jury was (rightly) sequestered, so there was no possibility she could have influenced them.

About Maxine Waters


Note: McCarthy voted against Trump's impeachment.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Crosby Scores, Equipment Manager Gets the Assist

Watch the players mob the equipment manager afterward:

Friday, April 16, 2021

Will Smith

"Racism isn't getting worse. It's getting filmed."

- Will Smith

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Defense Expert Owned in Derek Chauvin Trial

 This happened today at the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd:

Oops! I wonder how much he was being paid by the defense. I hope they stopped payment or asked for their money back.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Right- vs Left-Wing US Domestic Terrorism

The Washington Post has an interesting/disturbing article on domestic terrorism trends in the US, and who's responsible. The number of incidents are up sharply in the last five years, and it's almost entirely from the extreme right-wing: 




I'm not going to try to characterize where these terrorists come from, by ideology -- they're dangerous, perhaps mentally ill men, very likely white, who for some god-forsaken reason have access to weapons soldiers carry into war zones. Republicans are morally responsible for them, for their refusal to pass sensible gun regulations, and those who vote against those regulations all have serious blood on their hands and their souls. (I wish I believed in souls, it would be useful here, but I don't.) 

I'm not convinced the easy access to guns in America -- serious guns -- and the kind of trend above, and the Republican's push into fascism in the face of their terror of losing power due to demographic trends -- isn't going to lead to a dissolution (viz. crackup) of the U.S. in a few decades time, maybe even sooner. Add climate change and income inequality and (despite Biden) the lack of an adequate social net and affordable and universal healthcare system, and I'll even throw in the potential failures of the Ogallala and California Valley Aquifers and snowpack failures and early melt leading to water shortages in the Colorado River and Pacific Northwest...well, the world usually finds a way to squeak by. But not always, not without some significant and lurching change. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

What a Save!

Casey DeSmith of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Perhaps unique.

Friday, April 09, 2021

Republicans and Corporations


Background: "Why Republicans want corporations to end all criticism of their war on voting rights," Robert Schlesinger, NBC News, 4/7/21.

More: Here's what's really going on, I think. Republicans see their voting base shrinking as whites become an ever smaller percentage of the US population, and they're terrified of extinction. They see voter suppression as a key strategy in maintaining power, so they have to tell corporations to shut up about it (while still expecting corps to donate to them). But corps don't want to alienate their customers -- as the NBC News article above quotes, counties that voted for Biden account for 70% of US GDP. Republicans have to become more and more extreme, even fascist, to retain any kind of power, because they can't appeal to the wealthy (their traditional base) and the working class at the same time. They have to maintain the illusion of the Big Lie, that massive voter fraud took place in the November 2020 election, to justify all their voter suppression laws and efforts they're now putting in place in states around the country, and to keep their white, rural, gun-toting angry conservative base riled up. It's so convoluted and messed up and they're tightening a knot around their own neck all the time. Hopefully not around the country's neck at the same time, but I'm not sure about that.     

Monday, April 05, 2021

America Needs Some Better Americans

A comment from a Canadian on Saturday's column in the NY Times by Nicholas Kristoff, "How Do We Stop the Parade of Gun Deaths?"


A sad but true indictment. Of course, we all know who these Americans are.

All these Americans must die so the gun fetishists can have their 20 guns each and their assault weapons and pretend to be navy seals. So the gun industry can keep their profits rolling selling guns and ammunition. (Almost 40 M guns were sold in America last year.) Because a minority of citizens in the US can control what the country does -- the Democrats in the US Senate represent 41,549,808 more people than do the Republicans, even though the seats are split 50-50. "Republican Senators Haven’t Represented a Majority of Voters Since 1996." Journalist and columnist Eric Black writes

Few, if any, other “democracies” have anything this undemocratic built into their systems.... the arguably least democratic feature of the Constitution, is the only thing in the whole document that can never be amended.

Friday, April 02, 2021

The Stupid Lies of Lars Larson and Chuck Wiese and Ed Berry

Ed Berry, a PhD in physics from before the Standard Model, who has now abandoned everything he every learned to become an idiotic climate denier, continues to publish the worst in global warming bullshit, like this piece of moronic juvenility from someone named Tom V. Segalstad:

There is then indeed a paradox that CO2, "The Gas of Life", is now being condemned as the evil "polluting" gas, a gas which will be a threat to people's living on Earth, through a postulated "Global Warming".

This is too stupid to spend any time on, and not because of its many grammatical mistakes. 

Instead I want to recount a recent private email correspondence I had with Dr Berry about a month and a half ago, when the illustrious climate-denying Mr Chuck Wiese BS hyperventilated on the radio show of Lars Larson, who is terrified to have any other opinion on his show except the anti-science one, about how James Hansen has, essentially, always been full of shit. This coming from a man, Wiese, who has a mere bachelor's degree in meteorology, has never done or published any research in his life, claims that CO2 doesn't cause global warming, but admits that the world is warming but he doesn't know why, but it's definitely not CO2. Yet he has the nerve to denigrate James Hansen.

Instead he brought up the illustrious work of Dr Ed Berry, who, Wiese says, has proven that only 18 ppm of atmospheric CO2 is due to humans. 

Not that Berry has ever published such a thing. He hasn't. He's afraid to submit his work to any real journal, or, if he has, is afraid to say when it's been rejected. No doubt it will soon be published by the Zambian Proceedings of the Colonial Council of the University Chemical Pact, and Berry will claim a clear and overwhelming victory.

I asked Berry how, if only 18 ppm of man's emissions since the start of the industrial revolution has gone into the atmosphere, where has the rest of these emissions gone? He replied something about the number of layers in the IPCC models, as if the IPCC even made climate or carbon models, which they don't. Which was a nonanswer anyway. I asked him again, and there was silence. Indeed, I think it has never even occurred to him to ask this question, let alone try to answer it. Nor has the illustrious Mr Chuck Wiese B.S.

And how fucking stupid is that? These people don't even know how to do the simplest science. Yet Lars Larson is putting them on the radio before something like 1-4 M people (Lars once told me; I think it's 1 M for his Oregon-Washington show and 4 M for his national show), misleading every single one of them. And he doesn't seem the least bit concerned about it. Larson claims he's an ex-journalist who uses journalistic methods on his show, but that's a complete joke. He's just a Trump toady willing to lie if he thinks it advances his ideology one small step. And bald-faced liars like him and Wiese and Berry are ruining America. Does anyone there even care???

First Vax Dose

Yesterday I received my first shot of Pfizer's COVID vaccine.

I have to say, the system here in my county, Marion in Oregon, was the most smooth, efficient and impressive I could conceive of. I was scheduled in a large, cavernous building at the county fairgrounds here, 10 minutes from my home, plenty of parking, lots of people but no waiting at all. I walked up, they took my temperature and asked the regular questions. I was quickly moved to someone who checked me in (I had done all the e-check in online, so it went very smooth), I went to one of about 10 socially distanced lines, and maybe 8-10 minutes later I moved up to a very pleasant women from the National Guard, whose regular job was in surgery at a local hospital here and who had been on duty since January, I got the jab from her, then waited in the designated waiting area for 15 minutes, then left. 

It was all so organized and smooth I was completely impressed. I literally could not have asked for better, and thank god the free market wasn't in any way involved to sell my data or profit off me or insist I sign up for this or that. I want to thank my state government, the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon National Guard, and any employees of Salem Health and any volunteers involved in this collective effort that led to a utterly flawless experience. I am so happy I was able to receive this vaccine now. My second shot is on the 22nd. 

I don't want to ever hear a thing another goddamn thing about government not being able to do anything competently. This has not been my experience at all, especially in Oregon, where I always get a ballot in the mail on time, where I have always gone to the DMV (Dept Motor Vehicles) and had a pleasant experience, where I have had state-assisted health care assistance when I have needed it, and where I don't know what the hell people are complaining about.

My only reactions to my first dose were a small headache for about an hour, a brief sweating episode, and a weird skin marking last night that's now mostly gone:


I'm happy Donald Trump paid for this vaccine (like what president wouldn't, duh), and thrilled that Joe Biden got the ball rolling with, now, about 3 M doses per day. Thank god Biden won -- he is saving thousands of lives daily, while Trump's incompetence and utter lack of empathy was killing thousands of lives daily. Thanks too to Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, whose banning of Trump from Twitter's platform did as much to preserve American democracy as, perhaps, American voters themselves. Dorsey deserves many awards. Trump has been emasculated, castrated, and fed his own genitals. He is nothing now but a terrible memory, forever destined to be the most atrocious president in American history, so bad he almost doesn't fit into consideration with the rest of them, but stands out as a rigid anomaly, a rotten cancer in a long family of people who meant and tried their best. I think Trump has already been quarantined in American history, caged off as a sick anomaly, exactly the opposite of everything he ever hoped to be. Of course he will not be coming back in 2024 -- Trump fades more into a forgotten pit of hell every day, despite his desperate attempts to stay relevant -- a flag the other day he will form a social network, a Web site statement a couple of days ago. All ignored by everyone but newshounds, and ignored quickly even by them. Everyone is glad he is swimming in piss and will not be upset if he drowns there, along with his repulsive kids.

NOW the Jobs are Growing

Hmm, notice anything about the massive rebound in job growth last month in the U.S., and just who might be responsible? (The recession started in Feb 2020.) What a turnaround....


via Catherine Rampell at WaPo.

Monday, March 29, 2021

The Ministry of the Future

I loved Kim Stanley Robinson's The Ministry of the Future and recommend it to anyone who is interested in the subject of climate change.

I mean that broadly -- anyone interested in and concerned about climate change and how the world will be affected by it, is going to deal with it and how it will address it. So not just sci fi readers, or climate fiction readers, or KSR fans -- everyone. Robinson is full of ideas about what the future might bring, and he's worth listening to. If I were teaching a class on how we should deal with climate change, I might well assign this book to my students, it's that thought provoking. 

The book covers the period from about 2020 to 2050, when the shit of climate change really hits the fan. I'm not going to cover the book in detail -- it's too large. The "Ministry of the Future" is (and this is clever) a UN-formed agency tasked with representing the interests of those not yet born. This happens in the wake of a serious climate catastrophe that takes place in the beginning of the book that I won't reveal here, but which looms over everything that happens after, that makes some (at least) treat the issue as a war. 

I think this is perhaps my biggest takeaway from the book. We know -- we know -- what the future will be if we continue on our current emissions pathways. So do politicians. So do oil executives, coal executives, gas executives, business executives, the wealthy of all stripes. They know, these few thousands of people, or tens of thousands on top. But they are actively choosing to exploit climate changing assets for the sake of their own wealth -- actions that will change the climate for untold billions, harm untold billions, alter the lives of untold billions for the unforeseeable future.   

Why is this allowed?

In the book, some people decide that it will no longer be allowed, by any means necessary. These people will no longer be allowed to gain obnoxious wealth at the expense of billions now and tens of billions, if not hundreds, of the future. So they, the climate criminals, begin to covertly be eliminated, in their homes, their businesses, their private planes are brought down, their mountain retreats are flushed. Entire units of trained assassins in "black" groups make this their priority until the message gets through. It's not ever clear who is training these black groups, or who sponsors them, if anyone does. Is it the Ministry of the Future? Not officially. No one knows, not even those at the top. Everyone prefers it that way, and looks the other way. Because the tactic works.

Is it too much? 

The other most interesting idea in the book is carbon quantitative easing. Basically, the Ministry of the Future convinces the major central banks of the world -- the US, Europe and China -- to give a "carbon coin" to anyone who sequesters a metric ton of carbon. (One small mistake in the book is that Robinson often confuses a ton of carbon with a ton of CO2.) How do they do this? They simply create the carbon coin out of nothing. It exists on a market and can be exchanged at any bank for any currency. It is traded on markets and its value fluctuates like any currency. How do the central banks afford to do this? By creating money in their computers! That's what quantitative easing is. That's what they did in the 2009 financial crisis. That's what central banks do all the time. They create money in their computers and send it to banks to loan. Look at the M2 money supply. It isn't the whole story because money is also created that never makes it into circulation, such as excess reserves. By no means do I pretend to understand all this, but I'm glad those in charge do. I keep trying to understand it but haven't found the right book yet. KSR more or less posits that the carbon QE doesn't lead to inflation, without putting forth a real argument. Or any argument. But then, QE or QE2 after 2009 didn't lead to inflation either, after many people predicted it. This is Paul Krugman's hobby horse, which he loves to ride, while spitting in the face of the inflationists, who, he points out over and over again, were wrong. 

I won't give away the ending of the book, or say much more. I also need a new keyboard (having typed most of this several days ago), so can't go any further now. I highly recommend the book.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

"China Doesn’t Respect Us Anymore — for Good Reason"

"At last week’s Alaska meeting between America’s and China’s top diplomats, Chinese officials made it quite clear that they no longer fear our criticism, because they don’t respect us as they once did, and they don’t think the rest of the world does, either. Or as Yang Jiechi, China’s top foreign affairs policymaker, baldly told his U.S. counterparts: “The United States does not have the qualification...to speak to China from a position of strength.”

"Surprised? What did you think, that the Chinese didn’t notice that our last president inspired his followers to ransack our Capitol, that a majority of his party did not recognize the results of our democratic election, that a member of our Congress believes that Jewish-run space lasers cause forest fires, that left-wing anarchists were allowed to take over a section of downtown Portland, creating havoc for months, that during the pandemic the U.S. printed money to help its consumers keep spending — much of it on Chinese-made goods — while China printed money to invest in even more infrastructure, and that gun violence in America is out control?"

-- Thomas Friedman, "China Doesn’t Respect Us Anymore — for Good Reason," New York Times, 3/23/21

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Mann v Steyn Dismissed

The court case of Mann vs Steyn has apparently been dismissed. You can read a heavily biased account by an idiotic climate change denier here.

I don't see any need to go over this. The hockey stick is true. It has been confirmed many times now. It is required by basic physics, and can be proved in a tweet.

Mann has gone on to become one of the most important, recognized and honored climate scientists on the planet, while Steyn remains a Rush Limbaugh wannabe, another cheap purveyor of hate and division. The moral verdict is clear.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Musk

"I hope to die on Mars, just not on the landing."

- Elon Musk

Blogging is still light, due to my finger splint. Another week at least. Except for small stuff like this. Hope everyone is well. Feel free to discuss anything at all in the comments.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

The Axe

"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us."

Franz Kafka

Friday, March 05, 2021

National Vaccination Trends

Thought I'd look at some recent vaccination rates:
 

The US is now, in just 6 weeks, at twice the rate as when Trump left office, but no acceleration. The UK is, sadly, beginning to backtrack, and Ireland and Canada are making some much needed gains. I'm surprised Germany is so low for, you know, an economic powerhouse.

Sorry if I missed any reader countries.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

The Ministry for the Future

A short post to say that, belatedly, that if you're interested in the many dimensions of the climate change issue, you have to read The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. Speculative sci-fi set in our near future, it is chock full of ideas -- scientific, social, economic, cultural, political, policy, activism, and more -- and is exciting in all these dimensions. 

I'm about 40% of the way through, so please don't give any spoilers in the comments (also in consideration of other readers). I was on a wait list to buy this -- a splash ad I saw a few months ago said it was the most important book of 2020. Seems it so far to me. Actually, with this and the collection of his earlier work, I think Kim Stanley Robinson should be awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature.  

--
PS: Couldn't get new blogger to decently position a picture of the book's cover. Apparently too much to ask. Hooray for Google software updates, supposedly improving mankind one bad release at a time. (Friend of mine: "They're an advertising company, not a software company.")

Monday, March 01, 2021

Littlefinger

Blogging may be slight this week as I dislocated a little finger when I rolled an ankle and fell on the street while getting the mail. Stupid. I let the ER doctor pull it back into place without any pain meds, figuring it would be quick and easy. Took about 5-7 seconds and was quite painful, but I didn't squeal.

The dislocation was on the lower knuckle of the little finger, with the upper bone getting jammed back and around. Ring finger is stiff an swollen too. Hurts like a mother now. [Does that expression come from a reference to childbirth?] Typing's not impossible, just slow -- in a splint. Hope your day was better. Be best. 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

"The Trump Storm Is Over -- Act Like It"

I found this comment on a NY Times op-ed last week. I don't remember which article and it doesn't matter; the comment stands on its own, and strikes me as very wise and intelligent. Trump is already fading and emasculated; Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, may have done more to save American democracy than anyone since FDR beat Hitler. Republicans don't seem to stand for anything right now, just against things, and what they are against isn't very smart -- pandemic relief (supported by about 70% of Americans), facemasks and democracy itself. Their face is now dominated by dolts like Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI). Greene clearly didn't come to Congress to serve the public, apparently lacks all empathy, and is predictable and boorish beside. Ron Johnson bought his way into office and apparently isn't smart enough to understand how embarrassing his ridiculous conspiracy theories look to anyone who can think. This is the Republican party, bereft, lost without Trump, the worst president in US history, and can't even keep the lights on in Texas while people, including children, die. What a callus clown show, while Biden has quietly and very competently taken charge and is making a real difference in life in America (more later), moving forward, as the NY Times commenter suggests, as fast as possible.