Climate Change

March 22, 2012

“Beginning in mid-March, however, its various offices began issuing bulletins that sounded slightly shaken. “There’s extremes in weather, but seeing something like this is impressive and unprecedented,” ”

“It’s hard to overstate how impossible this weather is—when you have nearly a century and a half of records, they should be hard to break, much less smash.”

There’s nothing much that needs to be added to this:

90 Degrees in Winter: This Is What Climate Change Looks Like

http://www.thenation.com/article/166917/90-degrees-winter-what-climate-change-looks

/ This is amazing /. “Mother” trees sharing nutrients and water with daughter trees.

For young trees, “increased survival was associated with belowground transfer of carbon, nitrogen and water from the old trees.”

Yet another reason never to clearcut. We shouldn’t need reasons for avoiding such an obviously destructive act, but unfortunately, logging companies want money. Clear cutting is fast and easy compared to judicious pruning, and then replanting a natural forest in the gaps rather than a one-species orchard.

Interesting: a healthy forest, like a healthy society, depends on both age and youth, diversity in its population, sharing resources, and those with experience and skill helping those who lack either or both.

What we keep learning about our world, about  life of all sorts, including ourselves, never ceases to astound me. And yet there is so much left to learn.

I appreciate the importance of this post from / Cosmic Variance / on our real knowledge of the basic laws of physics. We need to remember how much we already know. That knowledge gives us the tools to learn more. I include / this link / to Sean Carroll’s follow-up article because of this sentence: “Today we think of ourselves and the stuff we see around us as made of electrons, protons, and neutrons, interacting through gravity, electromagnetism, and the nuclear forces. A thousand years from now, we will still think precisely that.”

The joy of discovering and understanding something that was not just a mystery, but completely unexpected yesterday — that is one of the greatest joys we can experience.

Mermaid Wisdom

April 14, 2011

This gave me a smile today. Touched with sorrow, but still a smile.

‘Rhymes With Orange’  http://www.arcamax.com/newspics/18/1829/182942.gif

Nuclear Skepticism

April 4, 2011

I repeat: to be a skeptic is to ask questions; seek answers from reputable sources; and make decisions based on that accumulated, verifiable evidence while still being open to new information.

To be a skeptic is not to be a naysayer, a denier, or a knee-jerk reactionary. It is not to accept without thought or question, nor is it to ignore evidence.

Once again / George Monbiot / addresses failings in critical thinking that severely damage credibility of people who, as recognized spokespeople, must be held to a higher accountability. If you are going to talk in public about an issue, you *must* be well-informed. (his two previous posts address his repeated and unsuccessful attempts to get Helen Caldicott to provide references for her so dramatic statements.)

People trust their chosen leaders. This is an unfortunate but absolute fact of human nature. And if leaders lie, as almost all seem to do, in pursuit of their chosen agenda, people make foolish choices. Global warming will not go away because people trust greedy, manipulative leaders. And nuclear power must be considered intelligently, not in the obscuring cloud of fact manipulations.

We must teach people how to question intelligently and how to recognize reliable sources.

We are running out of options in too many areas. Humanity may survive the coming crises and the wars and devastation that will accompany them, but wouldn’t it be better if we found ways to prevent the worst disasters? We won’t, not without cooperation and reason.

Where are the leaders and the people who seek reason, not power and emotion?

People clamoring to decommission nuclear plants is a ‘hot’ topic as the drama in Japan keeps unfolding. George Monbiot has been exploring how nuclear energy compares to other sources for safety. Not a pretty picture, considering where so much of our electricity comes from.

His posts, in order:

http://www.monbiot.com/2011/03/16/atomised/

http://www.monbiot.com/2011/03/21/going-critical/

http://www.monbiot.com/2011/03/31/seven-double-standards/

And a tangential post on oil, tyranny, torture, and Western blind eyes:

http://www.monbiot.com/2011/03/14/oil-and-trouble/

I am conflicted.

This is an issue that evokes all the worst-case ‘what if?’ syndromes. What if a nuclear power plant exploded close to an urban area? What about the incredibly long-term consequences of nuclear contamination in an environment?

And yet, I am aware of the arguments that make nuclear power a sensible (?) choice.

George Monbiot has written extremely well on this topic. I refer you to his latest post / here /. Be sure to check out the references.

I have seen several graphics on the topic of comparative safety of power generation; I like / this / one. Very simple. Very clear. Accompanying another good article.

The multiple layers of human and environmental cost from coal power plants are horrifying.

If I have to make a statement of personal opinion, I would say spread things out as much as possible. Go green wherever you can. Governments should heavily subsidize research and development of cheap and efficient solar, wind, wave, geo-thermal, and hydro-  electric generation. Where those sources cannot generate enough power to meet the need, perhaps nuclear is the best option. But keep looking!

P.S. The (?) seems to be my code for rampant indecision.

Hubris

March 17, 2011

The king ruled the land and all who dwelt in it. As he walked the golden sands at the edge of his realm, he saw the ocean was creeping ever closer. “You cannot have my land,” he shouted. “I am ruler here. What I say is law. Even the beasts of the fields and the birds of the air must bow to my judgment. Cease your motion. Come no nearer.”

The king stood in fury and might. He had ordained that nature should follow his decree.

And nature… Did Not.

The king got wet feet.

The republicans sat in the house and decreed “There is no global warming. Nature herself must bow to our decree.”

And the republicans, and all who dwelt under their arrogant, stupid rule…

Got hot.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/03/15/next-up-for-congress-repeal-the-law-of-gravity/

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2011/03/17/u-s-public-on-global-warming-been-there-done-that-no-big-issue/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/mar/17/deadly-heatwaves-europe?CMP=twt_fd

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