Friday, June 15, 2007

First Principles

Is it possible that the Peter Principle applies to politics also? Is it possible that our elected leaders represent not the best of the best, but the best of the worst? Is that in fact the definition of the better of two evils? Looking at the presidential contenders currently available, can ANYONE really believe that in a nation of 300 million, THIS is the best we can do?

Frankly, absent a political job, most of the candidates couldn't get hired at Burger King. Mitt might be the exception to the rule.

Let us look at two issues: immigration and global warming. First, immigration. If ANY of the supporters of the current immigration bill would spend one day talking to people that actually, legally, immigrated to the United States in the 50s or 60's - like my parents - they would know that those people are overwhelmingly PISSED at the current bill. I have supported immigration since I was old enough to understand it. My parents benefited, as I have, from their presence here. However, they spent years working on getting citizenship. All they/we see now is a large group of people that think they deserve citizenship and their enablers.

If someone broke into a health club and said they just wanted to get fit, does anyone think the club owners would just say "Well of course, here is a membership, on us!"
Bally's reported today that 47 people caught breaking into their facilities would receive free memberships. Police applauded the move as a reasonable accommodation for people that had no where else to turn. Representative Dufus from the local district released a statement calling for police to stop weighing anyone accused of a crime. Bally's stated the memberships were warranted as no one else would sign up for them anymore.....
Global warming: Mars has warmed up about as much as the Earth over the last 20 years. I keep hearing that said in debates about global warming but it seems the only ones listening to it, are those saying it.

Fine, conceded, we are warmer now than 20 years ago. SO WHAT? It doesn't mean anything. Certainly not global catastrophe. I don't care what ANYONE says about climate change UNLESS they can tell me exactly what the impact on PLANT life will be in a warmer world. Because, frankly, we are at the top of the food chain and if warming HELPS the bottom of the food chain, we are going to be much better off.

And, will the people in the developed nations please get a life. Any more egocentric and I am going to start a mirror factory. The carbon footprint of the majority of the people of the world looks like a footprint in the dirt BECAUSE IT IS A FOOTPRINT IN THE DIRT. We can reduce carbon dioxide emissions dramatically if we just eliminated...oh.....4 billion people? You know...the increase in the population over the last 100 years?

We have been having really great weather here the last week or so. I have been able to spend evenings on the deck looking up at the stars. There appear to be about 12 people on the planet like they all think like I do that given the UNIVERSE, we are acting like a bunch of ants?


JC said...

Probably the reason noone is paying attention to the point about Mars warming is it has nothing to do with Earth's warming. It would only be relevant if the sun was getting warmer and causing global warming. Solar irradiance leveled out in the 50's and has been steady over the past few decades as confirmed by direct satellite measurements that find no rising trend since 1978, sunspot numbers which have leveled out since 1950, the solar reconstructions that shows irradience has been steady since 1950 and solar radio flux or flare activity which shows no rising trend over the past 30 years.

As for Mars, the planet has had massive planet darkening storms over the last 30 years that reduce the planet's albedo (reflectivity) which has a warming effect.

What will be the impact of global warming on plant life and agriculture? Increases in the frequency of droughts and floods will affect local crop production negatively, especially in subsistence sectors at low latitudes. Crop productivity will initially improve slightly at high latitudes then decrease as it gets hotter. At low latitudes, it's already decreasing. Water supplies both from rain and meltwater will decline.

Then there's other impacts that have an even more direct effect on humanity. Increases in malnutrition and consequent disorders, with implications for child growth and development. Increased deaths, disease and injury due to heat waves, floods, storms, fires and droughts. Increased frequency of cardio-respiratory diseases due to higher concentrations of ground level ozone related to climate change. Malaria mosquitos will be able to spread to regions where it is currently too cold to survive and breed. Many millions are projected to be flooded every year due to sea-level rise by the 2080s.

There are a few benefits to global warming and increased CO2 in the atmosphere. But if you line the positives next to the negatives, which is the better option is not a difficult choice to make.

tracy said...


Could you source that fount of knowledge?

And, I wonder how old you are, because in the early 70's, we were told - in terms very similar in tone to yours - that the coming ICE AGE was going to be devastating. Frankly (and here is were you can claim I jumped the shark or am impervious to facts) I am not interested in your ice core theories.

Excellant, logical, very well supported scientific fact has told us that we would be out of oil by 7 years ago.

With tens of years of data (and maybe hundreds or even a thousand years using interpretation) you are claiming to understand the climate of a biosphere that is 4 BILLION years old.

And frankly, your point about Mars lacks even that semblence of rationality.

I am not buying your apparent knowledge without a bunch of back up....

JC said...

You're completely right about asking for sources. Here's more info about the massive planet darkening storms over the last 30 years.

As for why the sun couldn't be causing the last 30 years of warming, Sami Solanki at the Max Planck Insitute compared solar activity & temperatures over the past 1150 years and found the correlation between solar activity and global temperatures ended around 1975. At that point, temperatures started rising while solar activity stayed level. This led him to conclude "during these last 30 years the solar total irradiance, solar UV irradiance and cosmic ray flux has not shown any significant secular trend, so that at least this most recent warming episode must have another source."

The ice age predictions in the 1970's were media hype with very little science to back it up. Any predictions of an impending ice age came from the popular press (eg - Newsweek, NY Times, National Geographic). As far as any actual scientific research, there were only a few studies on the subject that made cautious statements like "the climate will cool over the next 20,000 years" or one study that predicted if aerosol levels increased 6 to 8 fold (aerosol levels actually went down), it could trigger an ice age.

Contrast that with the scientific literature today. Science magazine did a survey of the 928 abstracts published in refereed scientific journals from 1993 to 2003 on the topic of climate change. 75% agreed with the consensus position (that global warming is man made), 25% took no position (eg - focused on methods or paleoclimate) and not a single study disagreed with the consensus position.

So global cooling predictions in the 70's amounts to unsubstantiated media hype. Today, there's an avalanche of studies and overwhelming scientific consensus on global warming. To compare cooling predictions in the 70's to the current situation is both inappropriate and misleading.

tracy said...

Dear JC

You're completely right about asking for sources. Here's more info about the massive planet darkening storms over the last 30 years.

I looked at this source and lo and behold, your claim is unsupported. First, they don't know why the dust storms occurred, but there is a possibility that increased temperatures could have done so - so rather than dust raising the temps, the temps could have raised the dust. Second, it notes the ice caps of Mars have changed dramatically in the last 4 years, not the last 30. What has happened in the last 4 years...some tipping point? It is unclear and certainly not discussed in the story.

Further, let me use your story to correct an opinion of mine - COMPUTER MODELS have determined a change in the Mar's surface temperature. There is no indication in the story that there is an FACTS that support the know, a history of temperature readings...

Your statement:
"As for Mars, the planet has had massive planet darkening storms over the last 30 years that reduce the planet's albedo which has a warming effect."

Maybe. That is your interpretation of the story, but I don't see it that way. The storms may have caused the temps to rise, they might even be accelerating the rise, but it is possible that the temperature rise is causing the storms in the first place.

I am looking at the second source and I have to check, but it seems the report uses the Mann datasets - haven't those been found to be full of errors? - maybe I am wrong, but I will follow up this comment with another by tonight.

JC said...

The Solanki study compared solar activity to several different temperature reconstructions. All the reconstructions showed high correlation with solar activity - interestingly, Mann's reconstruction showed highest correlation which I found amusing.

This whole "debunking of Mann" is a storm in a teacup anyway. Since Mann's initial study in 1998, there have been around a dozen proxy studies, analysing a variety of different sources including corals, stalagmites, tree rings, boreholes, ice cores, etc. The results all confirm the same general conclusion: although each of the temperature reconstructions are different (due to differing calibration methods and data used), they all show some similar patterns of temperature change over the last several centuries. Most striking is the fact that each record reveals that the 20th century is the warmest of the entire record, and that warming was most dramatic after 1920.

But forget the hockey stick - what's pertinent to the AGW debate is temperature records in the latter half of the 20th century. From 1950's temperatures were level or fell slightly, in keeping with solar levels. But in 1975, temperatures starting rising while solar levels stayed steady.

Re what caused Mars' dust storms, there are a number of possible causes. Mars has one of the highest orbital eccentricities of any planet in our solar system which causes much greater seasonal changes than on Earth. Atmospheric pressure fluctuates around 25% between summer and winter which would have strong weather effects. Around the winter solstice, CO2 freezes in the North Pole while the South Pole releases CO2 which causes big differences in atmospheric pressure across the planet. So Mars' weather is very volatile and doesn't require solar variations to generate a puff of wind.

Once the storms began, the reduced albedo has the effect of warming the planet which causes even more storms. So you get a feedback system which is why the storms have been raging for the last 30 years.

But I think the point you're getting at is a warming sun might have caused Mars' storms and hence also caused global warming. It's a very indirect way of trying to prove the sun is warming. A more direct way to determine solar activity is to look at sunspot numbers, satellite measurements, surface measurements of cosmic ray flux, flare activity or solar radio flux. All of these show no trend over the past 30 years where there's been a long term trend in global warming.

I'm not trying to prove AGW here - just emphasising the point that solar variations can't be the cause of Mars or Earth's warming.