Monday, July 08, 2024

Warning About Blogging

Blogger was abandoned by Google a few years ago, and lately it's been getting worse and worse. A lot of problems. It's becoming so bad it may have to be abandoned soon. Just much more trouble than solution.

I'm not going to try to port all this to, I guess, Wordpress. Too much hassle, if it worked even a bit.

I don't have the enthusiasm anymore anyhow.

Bradbury Quote

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

Ray Bradbury

I don't think he wrote this in his book Fahrenheit 451. I guess perhaps in an interview about it.

I just read 451°F two years ago. Never read it when I was younger, or was made to. Should have been much earlier. A good book that ended in a way I hadn't anticipated.

Did you know he wrote this book in 9 days? On a typewriter he rented by the hour at a local university?

Friday, July 05, 2024

Where US Coastal Land is Sinking

-4 to -6 mm/yr in a few places. Some less all across the Gulf Coast, and in many places along the Atlantic coast.

Friday, June 28, 2024

Biden Lost Market Share (Big-Time)

The PredictIt betting market on the US presidential race:

"...Will Not Be Able to Show Their Faces"

Thomas Friedman with some pretty sober words in today's NY Times (free link):

"But if he [Biden] caps his presidency now, by acknowledging that because of age he is not up to a second term, his first and only term will be remembered as among the better presidencies in our history. He saved us from a second Trump term, and for that alone he deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but he also enacted important legislation crucial to confronting the climate and technology revolutions now upon us.

"I had been ready to give Biden the benefit of the doubt up to now, because during the times I engaged with him one on one, I found him up to the job. He clearly is not any longer. His family and his staff had to have known that. They have been holed up at Camp David preparing for this momentous debate for days now. If that is the best performance they could summon from him, it’s time for him to keep the dignity he deserves and leave the stage at the end of this term.

"If he does, everyday Americans will hail Joe Biden for doing what Donald Trump would never do: put the country before himself.

"If he insists on running and he loses to Trump, Biden and his family — and his staff and party members who enabled him — will not be able to show their faces."

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Debate Notes (PS: Yikes)

  • 6:04 pm Pacific Daylight Time - Jesus, Biden sounds old. His voice isn't clear, he sounds almost sick. Not a good look sound.
  • 6:11 pm - Trump says "we're like a third world country." {ludicrous eye roll}
  • 6:15 pm - Trump says "every legal scholar" wanted Roe v Wade repealed (viz., abortion policies returned to the states). Massive lie. He says "they take the life of the baby after birth." Another massive lie. 
  • 6:18 pm - Trump again says "every legal scholar" wanted Roe v Wade repealed. 
  • 6:22 pm - Did Trump just call him "Brandon??"
  • 6:25 pm - Trump: "We're literally an uncivilized society."
  • 6:26 pm - Biden: "Everything he just said is a lie." That's more like it.
  • 6:31 pm - Biden: "I've never heard so much malarky in my life."😉
  • 6:40 pm - Trump makes January 6th sound like a peak instance of America in the world.
  • 6:46 pm - Trump: "Joe could be a convicted felon as soon as he gets out of office.... This man is a criminal.... I did nothing wrong."
  • 6:49 pm - Biden: "This guy has no sense of American democracy."
  • 6:52 pm - Biden has a powerful line: "40 of 44 of his top cabinet officials have refused to endorse him this time." 
  • "6:59 pm - Trump says "cost of food has doubled, tripled, quadrupled."
  • "7:02 pm - Trump is very obviously avoiding talking about climate change. Now he says he wants "immaculately clean water and clean air." He either doesn't understand climate change at all or prefers to lie about it. Or some/any combination of both.
  • Biden says: "He just doesn't know what he's talking about," by he says it weakly, with a very thin breath. Just not a good look. Where is the Biden who gave the State of the Union address in March??
  • Trump has the nerve to say, "Everything he says is a lie."
  • Trump says he just won "two club championships" in golf. LOLOLOL
  • Biden: "You're a whiner... You're such a whiner.... Something snapped in your last time." Funny. 


If I had to score this, in terms of both content and quality, I’d say Trump 60% - Biden 40%. I don’t like that at all, but to me Biden came across as old, kind of frail, and faint. It didn’t help that he often slurs his words, and occasionally starts a sentence that then meanders off into nowhere. His voice is gravelly and that sounds old. Trump gave almost no coherent replies, his words seem to follow a mind stuck in a washing machine. He was full of hyperbolic statements, and seemed to avoid giving any data or figures at all. He just doesn’t have a grasp on information of that sort.

My guess is that the majority of the public is going to decide that Trump “won.” Biden just sounded weak. I’m sure the transcript would show Biden winning, but that’s not how this will be judged. I guess it never has been since JFK vs Nixon. 

A pundit on CNN says Democrats are “in panic…it started minutes into the debate.” Questions if they will go to the White House and ask Biden to step aside. Another says “the panic I’m hearing from Democrats is not something I have heard” before. “Concern there has been some real damage done.”

Now I’m worried Biden can’t win this. I though before this he probably could, but now he simply doesn’t look like he can serve another four years. Trump did look like he could. 

Another: “this was an unmitigated disaster for Biden.”

Last election Biden said he would only serve 4 years. He should have kept his promise. Let Gavin Newsom run (he’d beat Kamala Harris). Newsom would stand up directly and forcefully to Trump. Sure Newsom has a lot of baggage, but certainly not as much as Trump. Newsom would battle. Biden seems like he can’t. And Trump didn't look like an angry ape.

What do you all think?

Thinking about it more, I would say Trump 75% - Biden 25%. That bad. Biden may have just lost the election, and handed it to an incompetent, dangerous, buffoon.

China's Returned Lunar Capsule

Here is China’s Chang’e-6 re-entry capsule, containing about 2 kg of lunar regolith. Landed in inner Mongolia. Just surprised how burned up/beat up it is....

PS: Until today I thought "regolith" referred specifically to lunar material, but learned it is any loose material above a bedrock.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

More Haj Deaths

Now over 900:

Death toll from heat at hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia passes 900.... Temperatures hit 51.8°C in Mecca, Islam's holiest city, on Monday, as 1.8 million people took part in the annual reported dead so far to 922.... According to a Saudi study published last month, temperatures in the area are rising 0.4°C each decade. Last year more than 200 pilgrims were reported dead, most of them from Indonesia.

Source: Le Monde, yesterday

Update: CBS News now saysCBS News now says 1,081.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Haj Heat

“At least 562 people have died during the [2024] haj, according to a Reuters tally based on foreign ministry statements and sources. Egypt alone has registered 307 deaths and another 118 missing, medical and security sources told Reuters, as temperatures at times soared past 51 degrees Celsius (124 Fahrenheit).”

from “Climate change threat hangs over haj pilgrimage as hundreds perish in heat,” Reuters 6/19/24.

Friday, June 14, 2024

11 Extreme Cooling Events Over the Holocene

I wrote an article for

"Uncovering the prolonged cooling events of the Holocene,", 6/13/24.

They were all caused by a group of volcanic eruptions over a short period of time (~decades) augmented by the ice-albedo feedback. Just like the Little Ice Age. The paper gives this graph for the 200-yr moving average of NH surface temperature of the last 6,000 years:

There were no prolonged natural warm periods.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

I read the news today, oh boy

Here's what I posted last night, then accidentally deleted:

Here's what they wrote (it's still up):

While London was experiencing 32C (89.6F) a year ago, temperatures were around 16C (60.8F) in the capital on Tuesday. Similarly Cambridge had temperatures of 30.3C (86.5F) on June 11 2023, and 15C (59F) on the same day in 2024.

Of course, half of 32°C (=305 Kelvin) is 152.5 K, which is -121°C.

Notice their claim is bollocks in Fahrenheit. 

I wonder how many editors this article past through before publication. Not one caught this. Probably they never even heard of Kelvin nor understands what it means. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Just Some Items I Find Interesting

I've been collecting these as I find'em:

The mass of all asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is equal to about 3 percent of the Moon's mass.

A spaceship could travel outward through the asteroid belt likely without seeing any asteroids at all.

The magnet strength in MRI machines ranges from 0.5 - 3.0 T (Tesla).

The Earth's magnetic field on the surface ranges from 22 and 67 μT (microteslas). That's a ratio (MRI/Earth) of about 50,000.

Your hat size is the circumference of your head, in inches, measured just above the ears and across your forehead, divided by π. In other words, it's the diameter of your head for that ring. Not sure what metric countries do. Not gonna look it up now.

Americans spent $4 B on pet insurance last year.

Last summer the water temperatures off Miami reached as high as 101°F (38.3°C).

Medicare [US medical care for seniors] loses $60 billion a year to fraud, errors and abuse. OMG.

It used to be that humans emit 100-200 times more CO2 than do volcanoes [Gerlach 2011], but recently that range has been revised to 40-100. Still a lot more. [Don't know the paper for the latter range yet, but will try to find it, as deniers frequently say something like one volcano emits more CO2 than humans have in their entire history.

{Yes, I had a post up before this one about a very dumb headline error made by The Telegraph, but I accidentally deleted the text and am not going to rewrite it. It's about the third file I've botched in two weeks, saving a short file on top of a large one, etc. One file was about 5,000 words and represented eseveral hours of writing. I hope these are just coincidences and I'm not entering into dementia.}

So far, the smart money is on ignorance for the destruction.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Trump "Doesn't care," Just Wants Their Vote

As usual, who knows what he meant. I doubt even he does. His audience laughed.


Wednesday, May 29, 2024


That's 126.1°F. From Agence France-Presse (AFP) 

Temperatures in India's capital soared to a national record-high of 52.3 degrees Celsius (126.1 Fahrenheit) on Wednesday, the government's weather bureau said.


Neighbouring Pakistan has also sweltered through a week-long heatwave, which peaked at 53C (127.4F) on Sunday in Mohenjo Daro in rural Sindh province.

An online calculator for wet bulb temperatures only allows values up to 50°C. Needless to say that's above the critical value of 35°C where humans can't cool off by sweating: the wet bulb temperature for 50°C at 5% humidity is 33°C, and at 99% humidity it's 49.7°C. So 53°C is trouble no matter how dry the air is.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Surging Heat Deaths in America's Hottest City

Phoenix, Arizona. 

Maricopa County in Arizona includes Phoenix and Tempe, and holds 62% of the state's population. From an interesting article from Politico:

This represents a 1000% increase in 9 years. An average increase of about 20% per year (slope/average). From the article:
Almost half of the victims last year were homeless — 290 people. Twenty died at bus stops, others were in tents, and an unrecorded number of people were found on the pavement, prone as if on a baking stone. More than 250 other people — who tended to be older, ill or unlucky — died in uncooled homes, on bikes or just going for a walk.
I lived in Tempe, Arizona for a year and a half in the '90s. Winters were perfect. Summers were tough. Summer temperatures routinely hit 110°F (43°C), and often approached 115°F (46°C). One day it hit 122°F (50°C). As I think I've written before, they had to close down the airport because airlines did not have performance charts on their aircraft above 120°F. Just as bad were nights, when it could be 100°F (38°C) at 10 pm. Air conditioning everywhere. (I don't like living in air conditioning; I feel too cloistered. By the end of summer I'd have cabin fever.) But in the middle of the day in the summer I would ride my bike to the university to attend classes or work at a part-time job, because my girlfriend used my car to go to her job in Phoenix. No way I could ever do that today, or would risk doing it.

It would be brutal for someone who is homeless and try to sleep at night at these temperatures, and be unable to escape such temperatures 24/7. 
Last summer, there were about 117 cooling centers at libraries, community centers and churches throughout Maricopa County. But none of the centers in Phoenix were open overnight, when temperatures often remained above 90 degrees. Of the 17 centers operated by the city, just one was open Sundays — and only from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Many private and public centers don’t allow pets, a rule that pushed some people to stay in the stifling heat with their dogs, according to surveys conducted by the county.
The County Medical Examiner recorded 645 heat-related deaths last summer. Nearly 400 of them occurred in Phoenix, where half of all deaths were among the unhoused. One-third of all heat-related 911 calls in the city occurred outside of “regular business hours,” when cooling centers were closed.
Cooling centers closed during the hottest part of the day. That's just insane. Blame it on funding that the city, state and federal governments don't want to spend. All because these people are homeless and don't matter to them. There is some hope:
Phoenix will operate two overnight cooling centers in the downtown area. In addition, three libraries will have respite centers with 50 beds each that will be open until 10 p.m. All the sites will be open seven days a week from May through September. Visitors will be steered toward services such as energy assistance, mental health, homeless shelters and substance abuse treatment programs.

“We are surging resources to these locations in the hopes that it helps people get out of the heat, but also get out of unsheltered homelessness,” Hondula said. “We are trying to solve the upstream challenges in addition to the immediate lifesaving mission.”
Or maybe not:
Not everyone in city leadership appreciates that plan. Though the City Council recognizes heat as a danger to residents, some members have questioned using city resources to protect the homeless.

At a February meeting, multiple councilors noted that libraries and senior centers have seen budget cuts, and said it wasn’t fair to open them to homeless people.

Councilman Jim Waring expressed disbelief that the program would lead to homeless people getting treatment for addiction or mental heath issues. The cooling initiative was taking resources away from tax-paying families, he said.
Jim Waring, perspiration-free:

Monday, May 27, 2024

Copernicus's Pulse

Copernicus Climate Change Service now has a page that is essentially a real-time snapshot of global climate: 

Looks like this:

Edit, next day;

Only thing is, is that frankly, rather than the temperature I'd much rather see the anomaly.

Same for the Maine Climate Reanalyzer. No one thinks in terms of the nominal temperature, they think in terms of an anomaly. And show the latest number, not just a graph. 

I completely missed the big button at the top of the graph, on its right, that lets you see anomalies instead! Duh. My bad.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Global Warming Over Land Now up to 3°F

According to NOAA

Anomalies relative to 1850-1879.
(But the amount of warming doesn't depend on what baseline is chosen.)
This includes 2024's anomaly through April.
(3.0°F = 1.7°C)

You can play games with trends and find that the maximum linear trend (ending in 2024) is the period 1964-2024, equal to 0.58°F/decade, with a corresponding change of 3.46°F (1.92°C).

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Falcon compared to Stealth Bomber

Probably an old picture, but new to me, and cool.

Falcons can fly up to 390 km/hour (240 mi/hr). Fastest animals in the world. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Interesting Paper (on the Greenhouse Effect)

Here's an interesting paper on longwave (infrared) radiation in the Earth's atmosphere:

Does Surface Temperature Respond to or Determine Downwelling Longwave Radiation? L. R. Vargas Zeppetello, A. Donohoe, D. S. Battisti, 19 February 2019.

It's open access. 

Here's the abstract:

Downward longwave radiation (DLR) is often assumed to be an independent forcing on the surface energy budget in analyses of Arctic warming and land-atmosphere interaction. We use radiative kernels to show that the DLR response to forcing is largely determined by surface temperature perturbations. We develop a method by which vertically integrated versions of the radiative kernels are combined with surface temperature and specific humidity to estimate the surface DLR response to greenhouse forcing. Through a decomposition of the DLR response, we estimate that changes in surface temperature produce at least 63% of the clear-sky DLR response in greenhouse forcing, while the changes associated with clouds account for only 11% of the full-sky DLR response. Our results suggest that surface DLR is tightly coupled to surface temperature; therefore, it cannot be considered an independent component of the surface energy budget.

What this means, I think, is that you can't calculate forcings just from greenhouse gas concentrations with something do simple like this for temperature change. 

ΔF ∝ ln(C/C0) and then ΔT ∝ ΔF 

where C is atmospheric CO2 concentration and C0 is some baseline value. 

I know I've done this in the past.

Anyway I just discovered this paper so I haven't read it yet. I'm looking forward to it. I don't know how or if this affects climate models. I'm guessing not, since they deal with radiation physics (etc.) from first principles. 

Thursday, May 09, 2024

Cost of Wildfires (USA)

Maybe this doesn't matter because the numbers are so low, but the real per capita cost of wildfire suppression in the US has increased by a factor of over 4 in 40 years:

That's only 4% per year, in real (inflation-adjusted) money. Probably not enough that anyone will care.


I hoped for more meaningful results. Sorry.

Saturday, May 04, 2024

"Why does it matter for healthcare?"

"Imagine if you paid for an airplane ticket and then got separate and inscrutable bills from the airline, the pilot, the copilot, and the flight attendants. That’s how the healthcare market works. In no other industry do prices for a product vary by a factor of ten depending on where it is purchased, as is the case for bills I’ve seen for echocardiograms, MRI scans, and blood tests to gauge thyroid function or vitamin D levels. The price of a Prius at a dealership in Princeton, New Jersey, is not five times higher than what you would pay for a Prius in Hackensack and a Prius in New Jersey is not twice as expensive as one in New Mexico. The price of that car at the very same dealer doesn’t depend on your employer, or if you’re self-employed or unemployed. Why does it matter for healthcare?"

Elisabeth Rosenthal, An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back (book)

Personally, I don't think there is any "taking back" of the American healthcare system. Too many people are making too much money off of it the way it is, several trillions of dollars a year, and they have great lobbyists. I'm thankful for Obamacare, which is the best insurance I've ever had. I've purposely kept my income below its limits in order to get free healthcare. That's much more valuable to me than earning more, even though it's kept me in mild poverty. But forces are starting to catch up, and I'll never, ever be able to retire. I'll have to work until the day I die. Or, at least, the day before I die. Don't say healthcare doesn't matter. I went about 12 years without it in the '00s to the '10s, only later discovered I had a tumor that had been growing the entire time. I was able to have surgery once I got on Obamacare. Fortunately, it was benign, but still affected my bloodstream and my bones. Had two cares of surgical charity care during that interval worth about $150,000, one of which kept me from imminent paralysis from the neck down. And I don't think politicians from either party give a fuck at all. They're too busy soliciting campaign donations from the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry and the medical industry, all of whom have many billions with which to bribe congresspeople. And that's exactly what it is.

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Playoff Hockey Is the Best

Here's awesome article about controversies in NHL playoffs. It might be paywalled, and I apologize if it is. 

My Pittsburgh Penguins didn't make the playoffs this year, again, so I'm rooting for the Boston Bruins against the Toronto Maple Leafs (sorry Canadian readers), because I watched them a little when I lived in New Hampshire, went to a game once, and they're a storied and classy organization. And because I'm fond of their captain, Brad Marchand, aka "The Rat." He's calmed down a little since he became captain this year. A little. He's very good and makes a pest of himself to the other team. He's only 5'9", 182 lbs and the kind of guy you definitely want on your team and the kind of guy you don't want to face if you're playing against him.

UAH: Warmest Month Ever in their Records

UAH just measured April to be the warmest month in the lower troposphere in their record, which begins in Dec 1978: 1.05°C relative to Jan 1991-Dec 2020:

Every decade UAH changes their baseline to be the latest three decades; I don't know why, maybe so the anomalies look smaller. Relative to their first decade, 1980-2009, this month's anomaly is 1.18°C. 

The linear trend of their entire dataset is now 0.15°C/decade, making their total warming 0.68°C. That's far below RSS's measurement of lower troposphere temperature change for the same period, which is 0.22°C/decade for a total warming of 0.99°C. 

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Warmest April on Record least according to the ERA5 reanalysis. On Substack Zeke Hausfather gives some graphs:

But it's getting cooler as the El Nino declines:

2024 already looks probable to be the warmest year on record, after 2023 was already the warmest year in the records. 

There are more graphs on his post (their substack is called "The Climate Brink," written with Andrew Dessler), mostly about ocean temperatures.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

More About Gas Prices

So I was playing more with the gasoline data. I added two more lines:

  • yellow line is the latest price
  • green line is what I call the "reverse average"; for any point on the x-axis, it's the average price (adjusted for inflation) from that point to the latest point. 

Got it?

Then here's the graph. It shows that the current price of gas, $3.67/gallon, is quite consistent with the average (inflation adjusted) price over decades, which has averaged between about $3.20/gal and $3.85/gal. 

It shows that the current price is equal to the average price since about 2002. Inflation adjusted. Hard to complain about that, unless your income doesn't increase as fast as inflation does. (For freelance writing it definitely hasn't. Hence I'm trying to leave and do something else. But I might be too old. I am probably too old to do anything that is both interesting and pays well, ever again. Washed up.)

Of course, people don't compare today's price of gas to what it was in 1990, but this helps them see that maybe they should before complaining. (And believe me, I like to complain as much as the next gal.) In any case, it shows the current price of gas is lower than the approximately 10-year period from 2005-2015. 

Gas prices started to rise after Hurricane Katrina and never really recovered. I think this is exactly what Bush Jr and Cheney wanted, one way or the other. Both had strong ties to the oil & gas industry. 

🐧 Top Five Goals

My team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, sadly missed the NHL playoffs this year. They had a thrilling comeback in the last ten games but fell short due to lackadaisical play in the early and mid-season. Too many leads given up and slow skating, perhaps because of age--the Penguins were the oldest team in the league, with three definite Hall of Famers and two others likely to get in as well. Alas. 

But there were some thrilling moments nonetheless. Here are the top five goals of the season, according to Penguins public relations. Number one is one of the rarest plays in sports (much rarer than a hole-in-one in golf, for instance). I saw it live when watching the game. It's only happened 17 times in NHL history, which began in 1917.

Price of Gas is not High

If you correct for inflation, the average price of gasoline in the US is about the same as in 2005 (when it bumped up due to Hurricane Katrina). And it's lower than the price during about half of the 2010s. And in real terms it's lower than the day I remember filling up my car, after being out of town right after Katrina, and was shocked to come home and see $4/gallon at the station. [For some reason I remember it was cool and dusky, with darkness enveloping the place. I don't remember many other times I got gas. This was back in New Hampshire where you have to pump your own gas; that probably contributed to my recollections.] 

'Course, fuel prices are a significant component when calculating inflation, so maybe this isn't very surprising. Anyway, people who vote for a president based on gas prices need to rethink. The president can't do much about the price of oil (hence price of gasoline) anyhow. The sharp dip in 2020 when Trump was president is because of reduced demand during the first year of the pandemic, but people who vote strictly on the price of gas probably don't get that and think that if Trump is elected gas will go back to $2+/gallon. 

Data sources:
price of gasoline (TWIP)
inflation (CPI-urban)

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

This is Why Hockey is the Best Sport

Tonight the Pittsburgh #Penguins played their last game of the season. Despite an amazing charge at the end--they were 6-1-1 this month (wins-losses-overtime losses). Yesterday they were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by just one point (a half a win) and would have no postseason play.

But tonight, their definite last game of the season, they played Jeff Carter, a big 6'4" center known as "Big Jeff Carter" who once starred for the Los Angeles Kings. He's now 39, and was widely expected to resign at the end of this season.

And he did so tonight. All the players fromm the NY Islanders, who played the Penguins tonight and are moving ahead to the playoffs, lined up and shook his hand and patted him on the shoulder or neck and had something to say to him:

I have never seen another sport where this happens. Not baseball, not football, not basketball. Maybe it's happened. I haven't closely followed these sports (never basketbal, but I did try to follow the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team as a kid and the Pittsburgh Steelers at a teen into my early 20s), but I never this kind of sendoff for any player in those sports.

I've only been watching hockey seriously since spring 2018. I had a brief spell in New Hampshire in spring 2005 when the Boston Bruins wre in the playoffs and I watced intently for the first time. But since spring 2018 I have been watching closely. And, yes, the players play hard, but it really does seem that in the end that they are all in one faternity.

I wish I played but I never had the chance. But it's been great watching the genius of Sydney Crosby of the #Penguins, a star since he was 7-years old (seriously--that was the first time he appeared on "Hockey Night in Canada," a kind of weekly bible of the sport.

In any case, Crosby still does great things at age 36, and plays an amazing game up-and-down the ice. Someday he'll go out too, but not next year. This summr he'll be skating hard near his hometown of Cole Harbor, Canada. Jeff Carter will be going back to Los Angles, rich, floating in the glow of a career well done. Very many new players will be trying to get into the NHL, so they too can revel in its traditions and history. I like that, in a world that is now always changing too fast.

Hip Eclipse Clip

I've seen a couple zoomed-in pictures of solar flares during last week's eclipse, but this is the best I've seen so far:

100x zoom on the solar eclipse
byu/ArchontheWings ininterestingasfuck

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Last 30 Years If....

Top left and clockwise: Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton and dBarack Obama

This didn't happen, because, of course, US's Electoral College, whereby the president is elected by votes in the electoral college, not the popular vote. A candidate wins all of a state's electoral college votes if he wins the popular vote in that state. The number of EC votes a state gets is proportional to its population, except each state gets at least three, regardless of its size, because every state has two senators and at least one House representative. Accordingly, a candidate can win the popular vote in the country but lose the electoral college voting. This happened with Bush Jr in 2000 and Trump in 2016. 

Small states have disproportionate power. For example, Wyoming gets the same number of senators as does California, even though California has 66 times the population that Wyoming does. 

And here's the thing, we can NEVER get rid of the Electoral College. That would take a constitutional amendment, which to be approved must get 2/3rds of votes in the House or Senate or by a constitutional convention called by 2/3rds of the states. But getting 2/3rds is impossible because the smaller states would never agree to either process because it would dilute their national power.

The Electoral College is a deep flaw in the Constitution and has given us some deeply flawed presidents. 

It also means ones vote for president only counts if you live in a "swing state." If you live in a state where the outcome is essentially determined by the nature of the population--for example, Oregon is [very, very likely] going to vote for the Democratic candidate no matter what, so the Democratic candidate will get all that state's EC votes, so everyone in the state who votes for a Republican has a vote that doesn't count, nor really do those who vote for the Democrat because lots of others are so the EC result is already obvious. Accordingly, candidates focus all their campaigning attention on the few swing states, of which there are only about ten now. 

It's all very frustrating. In my opinion, the Electoral College is a fundamental design flaw in the Constitution, as is the wording of the Second Amendment (on guns). And we'll never get rid of either. 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Said Doc....

"It has always seemed strange to me,” said Doc. “The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”

-- John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Spike in Tube Ties and Vasectomies

In the US. From "Changes in Permanent Contraception Procedures Among Young Adults Following the Dobbs Decision," JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), April 12, 2024: 

Conservatives in America want to outlaw abortion, but they also want more babies being born. Go figure.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Recordbreaking Atmospheric & Ocean Heat is Unexplained

 From the NY Times:

Gavin Schmidt of NASA GISS has an article in a recent issue of Nature about how scientists can't explain the recordbreaking temperatures seen in the last nine months (or so), and about why that's a problem. I don't think it's paywalled. He wrote that he doesn't think it's a decrease in aerosols (which cool the planet), as James Hansen has been speculating in recent months. Gavin writes:

Much of the world’s climate is driven by intricate, long-distance links — known as teleconnections — fuelled by sea and atmospheric currents. If their behaviour is in flux or markedly diverging from previous observations, we need to know about such changes in real time. We need answers for why 2023 turned out to be the warmest year in possibly the past 100,000 years. And we need them quickly.

I don't understand how teleconnections could cause an increase in global heat. Regional, sure. But the entire planet? How does that work?

Monday, April 08, 2024

The Solar Eclipse From Here #eclipse2024

We were slated to get a peak solar eclipse of 22.4% blockage. Instead we got this:

The nice thing about the 2017 total eclipse here in Oregon was that it happened in August, and in summer here pretty much every day has perfectly blue skies.

Hope the weather is better elsewhere in the path of totality (and outside it, too).

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Player's Respect for Injured Referee

There was a scary but touching moment in yesterday's Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game. A referee and a Tamba Bay player collided head-on and blind, and both went down on the ice. The player, Haydn Fleury, stayed down for a while but got up and with assistance skated to the locker room entrance, holding a bloody towel. But the referee, Steve Kozari, stayed down and needed to be taken off on a backboard and stretcher.

The moment was also touching, because as he was being wheeled off the ice, the arena was silent and all players from both benches came onto the ice to look on and give him their respect. I've never seen such a thing in any sport, but I don't know a lot about hockey culture so perhaps this is a standard response. The only thing I can compare it to is lacrosse, where all the players on the field take a knee when a player from either side is down. At first I thought this let them take a rest, but my nephew, an all-conference defenseman, told me they do it out of respect.

The players come on the ice at about the 2:45 mark. Kozari is expected to make a full recovery.

Penguins won, 5-4, and are on an amazing comeback in their attempt to make the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Countries That Have Uncoupled CO2 Emissions and Economic Growth

They used to say this couldn't be done.

Though I would like to see the same numbers if you count production and service these countries have outsourced to other, less wealthy, more polluted countries, both in terms of CO2 emissions and economic productivity.


Monday, March 18, 2024

Things Are Listening

I just asked Siri (my iPhone) "when was Memorial Day in 1996?"

She gave one of these "here are some options, check it out" useless responses so I quickly typed into Google on my PC's browser "Memorial Day" and before I got any farther the first autofill it gave me was "1996."

Is that a coincidence? Of all the years before now it went to 1996? I don't think "Memorial Day 1996" could have been in my browser's history. But I've been writing about some things that went on around then so maybe it was. If not, it seems weird and uncanny and I don't like it, even if I know it was all done without any human intervention and no actual human behind the curtain cares what I was searching for.

Friday, March 08, 2024

POP cp When I Was Born

Just calculated that, when I was born, US population was only 54% of what it is today. 

World population was 38% of today's.

Not really sure why, but these numbers make me kind of nostalgic and kind of sad.

Thursday, March 07, 2024

The Greenhouse Effect Strikes Again

From an article about ice fishers in New England having to pull their bobhouses off the ice earlier than in the past:

“I had to help pull out a bob-house out that fell in three years ago,” said Cutter, adding that a friend had built that house with a glass roof, which ended up turning it into a heating greenhouse that melted a hole in the ice beneath it.

Thursday, February 08, 2024

BREAKING: Michael Mann Wins Defamation Suit, Awarded Over $1 million

$1 in compensatory damages from Steyn, $1 M in punitive damages.

$1 in compensatory damages from Simberg, $1 K in punitive damages.

NY Times

Michael Mann, a Leading Climate Scientist, Wins His Defamation Suit: The researcher had sued two writers and their publishers for libel and slander over comments about his work. The jury found “spite” and “deliberate intent to harm.”

“The six-person jury announced its unanimous verdict after a four-week trial in District of Columbia Superior Court and one full day of deliberation. They found both Mr. Simberg and Mr. Steyn guilty of defaming Dr. Mann with multiple false statements and awarded the scientist $1 in compensatory damages from each writer.

“The jury also found the writers had made their statements with “maliciousness, spite, ill will, vengeance or deliberate intent to harm,” and levied punitive damages of $1,000 against Mr. Simberg and $1 million against Mr. Steyn in order to deter others from doing the same….

“In 2021, Judge Irving, along with another D.C. Superior Court judge, decided that the Competitive Enterprise Institute and National Review could not be held liable. The publishers did not meet the bar of “actual malice” imposed on public figures suing for defamation, the judges ruled, meaning employees of the two organizations did not publish Mr. Simberg and Mr. Steyn’s posts knowing them to be false, nor did they have “reckless disregard” for whether the posts were false.

“Dr. Mann’s attorneys have indicated that they will appeal this previous decision.”