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Mail 659 January 24 - 30, 2011
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January 24, 2011
This report is a lot more important than non-scientists might imagine: <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/11/science/11esp.html>. There has been a long debate in the statistical community about how you prove anything statistically. As is apparent in the article, the standard paradigm produces paradoxical results, but the Bayesian approach introduces subjectivity. The idea of using a non-informative prior distribution, while attractive, leads to other paradoxes. We don't really know how to prove a theory scientifically.
Beware the fury of the legions: <http://tinyurl.com/4ulh5u5>
You want it bad; you get it bad. <http://tinyurl.com/5s5wwes>
Market failure due to central planning: <http://tinyurl.com/5rg9drf>
I've seen a recent theoretical paper that suggests banks are too similar to each other in their investment decisions, creating a serious risk of systems collapse. Something like the following looks very appropriate: <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12257328>. BTW, my American investment counsellors believe the USA is past the worst of the economic downturn, but that Europe is for a double-dip recession due to its failure to maintain demand.
Why I use a Macintosh: Eccl 12:3 "those who look through the windows see dimly" (Crossan's translation).
---- Roland Dobbins
Just in case you missed this video of the ballista in action http://science.discovery.com/videos/what-the-ancients-knew-catapult-balista.html
The will to explore
You may already know about this site but, in case you do not here is the url:
Centauri Dreams is an astronomy and space travel site.
Today's entry is about the phenomenal durability of Voyager and the overall desire to explore space.
R. F. York
First Delta IV Heavy Launch from Vandenberg,
Lovely video of the first launch of the Delta IV Heavy from Vandenberg:
APOD: 2011 January 23 - Peekskill Fireball Video: Johnstown,
A fine video here of a fireball that broke into pieces on its way down:
“The Peekskill meteor of 1992 was captured on 16 independent videos and then struck a car. Documented as brighter than the full Moon, the spectacular fireball crossed parts of several USA states during its 40 seconds of glory before landing in New York.”
I remember once seeing a very bright meteor fall one night in upstate New York, south of Syracuse. It looked like it was coming down slowly, which means it was falling at an angle. These things are awesome.
Our Persian friends are going to have more trouble
with their self-expression and interaction.
A friend of mine who survived the rise of Khomeini once told me that "even God cannot help you if you are in Iran". The look in his eyes, and the tone of his voice, unsettled me.
Chinese Pianist Plays Anti-American Propaganda Tune at White House:
Nice one, eh?
Plucks out my beard, and blows it in my face... [but see View]
The Watts Up With That blog hosts this piece on metrology -- the science of measurement -- as applied to temperature measurements. <http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/22/the-metrology-of-thermometers/>
Since we had this recent paper from Pat Frank that
deals with the inherent uncertainty of temperature measurement <http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/20/
The guest post by Mark of Mark's View looks at concerns that:
Willis Eschenbach adds some observations about bias and error in measurements:
Fourth, if the errors are not random normal, your assumption that everything averages out may (I emphasize may) be in trouble. And unfortunately, in the real world, things are rarely that nice. If you send 50 guys out to do a job, there will be errors. But these errors will NOT tend to cluster around zero. They will tend to cluster around the easiest or most probable mistakes, and thus the errors will not be symmetrical.
Fifth, the law of large numbers (as I understand it) refers to either a large number of measurements made of an unchanging variable (say hair width or the throw of dice) at any time, or it refers to a large number of measurements of a changing variable (say vehicle speed) at the same time. However, when you start applying it to a large number of measurements of different variables (local temperatures), at different times, at different locations, you are stretching the limits …
Seventh, there are hidden biases. I have read (but haven’t been able to verify) that under Soviet rule, cities in Siberia received government funds and fuel based on how cold it was. Makes sense, when it’s cold you have to heat more, takes money and fuel. But of course, everyone knew that, so subtracting a few degrees from the winter temperatures became standard practice …
May not entirely answer, but at least addresses the questions you have. Maybe someone on the "inside" will take not of these concerns and describe, in Flesch-Kincaid 12-grade-level-or-lower English prose, how really and truly, honest injun, *are* addressed.
Surely someone among your readers has the required knowledge base and skill set?
I am not sure I believe a half degree accuracy, but it is certainly more credible than 0.1 degree. The "law" of large numbers requires a number of assumptions about the distribution of the population and the selection of the sample. I would first like to hear a discussion of the sample selection criteria and the determination of the weights to be assigned to each data source. I have not been able to find that.
From the San Diego Union Tribune this morning, and related to earth's temperature…jim dodd
With a deal announced in mid-January, Scripps Institution of Oceanography <http://topics.signonsandiego.com/topics/Scripps_Institution_of_Oceanography> has launched itself into a new era of measuring, one that might change how agencies and companies around the world respond to climate change. Click here <http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/Releases/?releaseID=1136> for details from Scripps.
The institution, part of the University of California San Diego <http://topics.signonsandiego.com/topics/University_of_California,_San_Diego> , has allied with Maryland-based Earth Networks to deploy 100 greenhouse gas sensors around the world in what they called the most comprehensive attempt of its kind. Click here <http://www.earthnetworks.com/> to learn about Earth Networks.
It’s familiar ground for Scripps, which was pivotal in raising concern about the issue when researcher Charles David Keeling <http://topics.signonsandiego.com/topics/Charles_David_Keeling> charted carbon dioxide in the atmosphere starting in the 1950s.
The five-year project, financed by the company, will cost about $25 million all aimed at tracking the most controversial gases on the planet at a regional or state scale instead of a global or continental level. Potential for advancing climate science and possible solutions entices scientists worldwide as they deploy a new generation of greenhouse gas measuring devices on Earth and in outer space.
Dr. Pournelle i was reading some of your thoughts on the delicate nature of the handling of the insane among us and had a rather disturbing idea. i apologize for my lack of writing skill, but the idea was this. clearly you don't want some one who is insane to own a gun. so you must determine if the purchaser of a fire arm is in fact sane. the trouble is, its not a far leap to make the very act of buying a gun a symptom of a deep paranoia. that is to say you are buying a lethal weapon in order to defend yourself from people you don't know and may not even exits because you feel threatened.
with a few skill-full twists and turns , you could almost completely bypass the 2nd amendment by saying any sane person can own a gun sure, but only crazy people would want to own one.. again my apologies for my poor writing, i hope i was able to get my point to you.
yours Shelby Poor
January 25, 2011
The embattled TSA--on the heels of a major lawsuit they lost--has another high-profile lawsuit to deal with. This one comes from the real Govenator. That's right, someone who actually was in the field and proved his mettle in the real world as opposed to winning the hearts and minds of the living room warriors of America. Jesse Ventura--former Navy Seal, former Mongol, and Governor--is filing a lawsuit against the TSA.
Infowars has the inside scoop because Jesse Ventura is close with the guys at infowars--and so are his son Tyrel and their producer for Jesse and Tryel's show on TruTV. I do not watch TV, but I am aware of the show. This suit could get interesting. http://www.infowars.com/ventura-strikes-back-with-lawsuit-against-tsa/
I suspect I will never see that show, but the lawsuit may be interesting. Someone should stand up to these petty tyrants. The TSA is trying to convert Americans from citizens to subjects. They are succeeding so far, and there seem to be no political remedies. We'll see.
How Public Unions Took Taxpayers Hostage
I guess the will to stay in office (power) is stronger than the will to carry out your oath of office.
I do not see why Civil Service employees should be allowed to participate in politics in any way, particularly through unions and automatic dues collection. The notion of Civil Service was to protect the bureaucrats from political interference. The theory doesn't work well, but under the Hatch Act it was a lot better than now. The alternative is political responsibility: the incoming political powers get to fire all the public employees and appoint their own. If they can't do that, and the public employees get to engage in politics, the result is both predictable and predicted.
UK Economy Contracts
--Harry Erwin, PhD
Cold weather in Russia
Some years back, the architect that designed our building returned from a trip to Moscow. The energy management systems employed there were very rudimentary--the tenant in the top floor of the apartment building opened his windows when he got too hot, while the downstairs people kept theirs closed. I wonder how this impacted the urban heat island effect. Temperatures may well have been colder in cities except for all the escaping heat. Perhaps this is still the case in Moscow. Another variable to account for when verifying temperature data.
An interesting experiment comes to mind...
When I emailed you the link on the Scripps Institute of Oceanology participation in the project to measure climate factors I was thinking of using the term "metrology", but I went with "measurement" -- figuring your readers would mostly not be familiar with an inside baseball word like metrology. I was amused to see someone else sent you a metrology article anyway.
Part of my undergrad physics curriculum at Vanderbilt University was Physics 220, a 1-credit course in lab metrology from whence I developed a strong interest in metrology itself…
Jim Dodd Santee, CA
I am an old Operations Research man; I was always more interested in the gory details than in grand theories. Enough good data will generate good theories; sloppy data generates another kind of theory.
"Blocking judicial review of this key question essentially says that the rule of law goes out the window if and when a major crisis occurs."
-- Roland Dobbins
Madness and guns
Like those poor schizoid paranoids at Waco. They armed themselves because they were afraid the government might attack and kill them all. What a pack of loonies.
I expect you have already seen this but just in case... -
Is Science Fiction Getting More Conservative? <http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2663043/posts>
In case it is not already obvious, I will add that my reply was spontaneous and first draft, and I suspect that is true for my colleagues.
During the Viet Nam War SFWA was bitterly divided, to the point of rudeness, and that lasted for some time, which probably gave many the impression that SF had moved leftwards. In those days military science fiction wasn't popular, and some of my early works including The Mercenary were credited with reviving an interest in military science fiction. Perhaps so, perhaps not, but I am pleased to be mentioned.
Anyway it was a short exchange of letters, and they seem to have edited this into something interesting. Congratulations.
SF becoming more conservative?
I read the interview of you (and others) in Pajamasmedia.
It occurs to me that while the answer to "is SF becoming more conservative?" is "yes", the question misses the point. It's not that SF is becoming conservative; it's that *conservative* is becoming *SF*. SF has always had a strong countercultural element to it--and, in modern times, strong expressions of individual authority and personal responsibility are countercultural...
-- Mike T. Powers
There has been a lot of SF that postulates "rationally organized" societies. Such as Heinlein's Beyond This Horizon. Heinlein was at the time he wrote that an Upton Sinclair Ham and Eggs Democrat, but still the libertarian streak comes through...
Science fiction has always been for individual achievement and personal liberty. Even the SF that came out of the communist world was.
I followed the link provided by R. F. York to http://www.centauri-dreams.org/ and found this: "No, it’s not systems reliability that’s the Achilles’ heel of interstellar flight. As always, it’s propulsion, and that other great imponderable: The will to explore."
Well, strictly speaking, the statement is correct. It IS propulsion. Or, more to the point, physics. Unless and until physics comes up with a 'warp drive' or its moral equivalent, we ain't goin' nowhere. At least nowhere outside the immediate, inner planet region of our solar system. We certainly are not going anywhere near another star.
Once they get outside (picking arbitrarily) Saturn, the only energy that our intrepid space travelers are going to have is the energy they brought with them. And no matter how you slice it, they are never going to be able to bring very much and certainly not enough to supply the needs of interstellar travel.
Come to think of it, Achilles heel may not be the most appropriate example of the obstacles to interstellar travel, unless Achilles was built along the lines of a millipede. While propulsion (neglecting warp drive) is ONE of the Achilles heels of interstellar travel, it is only one of many. EVERY SUBSYSTEM of a proposed interstellar vehicle, including its crew, is an 'Achilles heel' of interstellar flight. Given what we know about physics and physiology today there is exactly zero chance that the human race will ever migrate to another solar system, no matter how strong the 'will to explore'.
Make no mistake, the Pioneers ARE engineering marvels and they have produced science undreamed of by the design team (Just why ARE they slowing down faster than expected?). After all, they are only 35 years into their mission and they are already 16 light hours out. And nearly out of energy. Can interstellar tourism be far behind?
I do not think the prospects for generation ships is as bleak as you seem to believe. Fusion energy and anti-matter should be sufficient to get across ten lightyear gaps. Freeman Dyson once calculated that once antimatter drives were perfected it would take only a few million years -- an eyeblink in geologic time -- to settle the entire galaxy. (Assume 100 years to cross a 10 lightyear gap in a generation ship, then 1000 years to build a star-ship at the new planet (( after all we went from medieval times to now in that time)). Assume each new colony builds two generation ships before being exhausted by the effort. Apply this exponential... His conclusion is that there is probably one intelligent civilization per galaxy.
For a PDF copy of A Step Farther Out:
January 26, 2011
As soon as I finish constructing my Time Machine (Any Day Now!), I now know exactly, thanks to Bob Ludwick, what I will do first with my new toy.
I've got to get to Spain circa 1492 and stop the madness.
After all, if humans can't ever hope to get beyond Saturn because, paraphrasing Ludwick, "there's just no energy out there" (what are all those planets, moons and comets made of anyway, Fairy Stuff? Does E=mc^2 not work beyond the Saturnian Sphere?), how can that crazed Genoan navigator hassling poor Isabella back in 1492 possibly believe he can sail very far beyond the Pillars of Hercules and get anywhere?
Oh, sure, he can make it to the Islas Canarias, or even that new Terra Cognita of the Azores, but Just Do The Math- There are at least four-thousand leagues of open ocean between that remote outpost and the Indies!
I mean, Everything You need you will have to Already Have With You!
No replacing sails when storms tatter them to shreds. no refilling water fresh water casks once they run dry. Food goes stale, fuel for the stoves runs out. Starvation!
Think of all the things that can go wrong, each an Achilles Heel. Why, you'd need back-sup systems, and back-ups for the back-ups. Why, you would actually need to invent something called Engineering, and figure out how to Do Really Hard Things.
I mean, it's madness.
Somebody has to get back there and tell them to give up, and settle for developing a Really Good Society in their little corner of Eurasia.
After all, Pioneering is so, well, Last Millennium!
I made my reply a long to that a long time ago. Alas, it has been a long time since that attitude has been taught.
Have you read A Clockwork Orange by Burgess? It looks like these High School girls decided to go out for a bit of the old molokoplus (that is milk with drugs) to sharpen them up and get them ready for a bit of the old ultraviolence.
Another indicator of how sick we've become. I'll say this Jerry, I know that being older now isn't all that great with no COLA increases and the heavy medical expenses. I know there are abuses at nursing facilities and hospitals. When I am old, the generation that will be taking care of me will be worse than the one taking care of the old people of 2011. I think a change of locale will be in order when I get to be your age.
The kids are getting dumber and more violent, which makes them easier to dehumanize. Consider how many "creeps" view people from the third world. Words like "backwards", "barbaric", "undeveloped", "developing", etc. It's too bad, because these kids have probably screwed their lives up. Even if the juvy charges don't follow them around, they'll still be those kids that were there that night. I don't know that everyone is going to forget that any time soon.
I also don't know why the cashier bothered to be a cowgirl either. She makes minimum wage, I assume. Why would she get involved? Isn't that why businesses offer their little kickbacks to the police commission so they can put that little piece of paper on the wall entitling them to police protection?
This is a serious problem in this country--in my opinion. People identify way too much with their job. This woman identified with her job to the point of risking personal injury over meager wages and chemical foods.
If I were a Dark Lord of the Sith--or if I had a large company--I would want a minion like her. She's willing to risk death for less than 10 dollars an hour. Incredible.
When the barbarians are inside the walls, you must either send the Pope out to awe their king and make them fear civilization, or suffer being sacked. If you do not make the consequences clear, you will reap the whirlwind. Tribalists live on tradition and custom. Barbarians live on strength and conquest. Citizens live by rules. The three types of human civilization cannot coexist in equality in the same territory. Barbarians respect strength and fear retaliation; they have no other reason not to take what they can. They have shed the tribal customs, and they have not learned the self discipline of citizenry.
We have barbarians within the walls, and we do not require them to be citizens, yet we do not make them fear us. That is sowing the wind.
It may be hard lines on those barbarian kids, but for the sake of the rest of us I hope to kiss a duck that this incident shadows their lives for a long time, and all the others around them see those consequences. I doubt that will be the case.
As to the young lady in the picture, she is a citizen, and understood some of the implications of that. She is not a minion. Republics do not have minions. When Republics require minions, they are on the road to empire.
January 27, 2011
Possibly of interest for your readers - who may want to participate in the study.
STUDY OF INDIVIDUALS WITH HIGH INTELLECTUAL ABILITY
Purpose: Researchers have been attempting to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for intelligence and cognitive impairment. Although progress has been slow, some gene defects have been identified in individuals with cognitive impairment. However, it has been difficult to identify QTLs which can be replicated in subsequent studies. Some of the difficulty may reside in the populations utilized for the studies. Almost none has endeavored to study a cohort of individuals with high intellectual ability (HIA), those whose IQ is 2 SD above the mean (>130). Just as studies of individuals with cognitive impairment have led to an understanding of brain development and function, studies of individuals with high intellectual ability should be able to provide valuable insight into these areas.
Outline of Study: The proposed study of individuals with HIA will be conducted by researchers at the Greenwood Genetic Center. The study will apply current molecular and genetic technologies to ascertain variations in a person's genome. These variations will consist of either single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or copy number variants (CNVs; deletion or duplication of genetic material). Across the cohort of HIA individuals, an attempt will be made to identify SNP or CNV associations of significance.
Material Needed: Individuals interested in participating in the study would need to provide the following:
a. Signed consent for participating in the study. b. Responses to a questionnaire which would provide us with some necessary demographic (age, sex, race, IQ, etc.) and clinical (medicines, behavioral characteristics, handedness, etc.) information. c. DNA and RNA obtained using Oragene saliva kits provided by us.
Privacy: For the purpose of the cohort analysis, samples will be anonymized. However, if an individual desires to have individual information provided to them, this can be arranged.
Other Notes: Besides individuals, we are interested in enrolling families which have multiple HIA individuals. Such families would provide an invaluable resource for genetic studies of intellectual function which cannot be undertaken in a study of a large number of unrelated HIA individuals. This is a research project. Therefore, results will not be immediately available and final analysis of all the findings will likely take more than 2 years. Additionally, some of the analysis will be undertaken by scientists in collaboration with researchers at the Greenwood Genetic Center. It is hoped that funding for the study will be provided by NIH (National Institute of Health, US) and/or other private/public sources.
Contact: Individuals with IQ 130+ or families with multiple members having an IQ 130+ who are interested in participating in our study should contact:
Dr. Charles Schwartz, Principal Investigator Greenwood Genetic Center 113 Gregor Mendel Circle Greenwood, SC 29646 864-941-8140 ceschwartz [AT] ggc [DOT] org
Cindy Skinner, RN, Sample Coordinator Greenwood Genetic Center 113 Gregor Mendel Circle Greenwood, SC 29646 864-941-8115 cindy [AT] ggc [DOT] org
Subj: Charles Murray: How Can IQ Be Heritable for Rich Kids and Not for Poor Kids?
Links to, and discusses, Yet Another observation that it is much easier for environmental influences to decrease intelligence than to increase it.
APOD: 2011 January 26 - The Whirlpool Galaxy in Infrared Dust,
A sly look behind the footlights:
I am listening to an analyst now who is saying that every day this President has been in office, 2 billion dollars should have gone to small businesses--every day. And every day, that 2 billion has gone to fortune 500 companies. He said that small businesses provide 95% of new jobs. He said that stimulus money, by law, should be going to small businesses. Government is supposed to spend some of its money on small businesses, then we get some taxes back. I wonder why nobody ever talks about any of this? At least Bush II gave some money to the people. Obama is all about big business and that is all that he is about.
Want my prediction? Unemployment will go up, the economy will start to falter at the end of the first quarter, and the financial houses will continue to make record profits as the people take losses. I've seen this happen in third world countries, and it is happening here. I wonder when the general public will swallow their pride and admit what is happening so that we can do something about it? But, then again, maybe they have? We'll see during the next elections.....
Joshua Jordan, KSC Percussa Resurgo
State of the Union
After reading the view, I am compelled to comment. You mentioned what the President did not mention, but you left out something that he did:
Is there really another American in the room? It was
getting very lonely in here with all the panda hugging. Was Trump talking
about the stealth figher? Was he talking about how Hu came here and
disrespected our currency? Or was he talking about the anti-American music
played at the white house?
I found your comments that his image could get him re-elected disturbing. I find them disturbing because, as much as I do not want to agree with you, I must agree. Unfortunately, people want the appearance of wisdom and not the substance. We might as well be eating menus. When will people learn that you don't listen to what the liars say, you watch what they do.
I left out almost everything else he said, too. I had not time to do a content analysis of the speech. My conclusion remains: if the national election were held just after the State of the Union speech, Obama would be reelected. The speech was aimed -- excuse me. The target audience -- excuse me. The intended audience he wished to persuade were the Independents who had voted for him in 2008 and abandoned him in 2010; he gave them the speech they wished he had given in his first State of the Union, with American exceptionalism, and encouragement, and bits intended to buck them up. It was successful. As time goes on people will realize the lack of substance, the assumption that this is Lake Wobegon, the unreality of reliance on Green Energy to bail us out, and all the rest; as well as his failure to address issues of foreign policy. But that is for another time.
Congratulations on being the only American in the room. Sorry to have been disturbing.
January 28, 2011
After her call last week that the theme of the State of the Union should be a ban on extended "clips," I approached Peggy Noonan's essay today with more than a little trepidation. Instead, I found this...
An Unserious Speech Misses the Mark
The audience found it tiresome. Here's why it was irksome as well.
This is the take-away:<snip to end> I actually hate writing this. I wanted to write "A Serious Man Seizes the Center." But he was not serious and he didn't seize the center, he went straight for the mush. Maybe at the end of the day he thinks that's what centrism is.
And conversely, here's Victor Davis Hanson's column
Sobering, but not entirely without hope. Hanson says in part
I predicted this long ago, and Charles Sheffield and I wrote Higher Education in reaction to it, but Exile and Glory was written long before that. Back in the '70's and 80's when I was speculating that private companies like Westinghouse and General Electric would take over in technical education, there was more freedom -- and those companies hadn't been lured in to the "we don't need to manufacture anything, there's more profit in financial derivatives!" trap.
It is perhaps time and past time for the old intellectual order to end. What replaces it will be important. This is still America and we still have Americans. Perhaps some of them are waking up.
I don't wish to waste your time, but I recently started reading " Not by Fire but by Ice", by Robert Felix. I think Mr. Felix would be considered "fringe" by most, but I was intrigued after hearing him on the talk radio show " Coast to Coast", and so ordered this book. I was highly skeptical that anything of value was to be found, but after reading about three quarters of the book I am rapidly changing my opinion.
He speaks to the reasons behind the massive historical extinctions, including but not limited to the K-T dinosaur ending events and while comets or extra-terrestrial impacts are among the main contenders today, he maintains it was due primarily to volcanism. Massive volcanism causes ice ages and underwater volcanism is given as the reason for the general warming and acidification of the seas, and El Nino in particular ( he indicates the group and location of the volcanoes responsible.) He gives plausible (at least to me) explanations as to how and why the ice ages come on so quickly.
These enormous bouts of volcanism he maintains are linked to magnetic pole reversals, which in turn are caused by our planetary journey through the galactic plane which is why they seem to be so periodic. The mainstream view of pole reversal is of course that they are benign and cause no great disruptions, Mr. Felix presents a pretty detailed argument as to why this view is incorrect.
All of this and much more is pointed out with seemingly a great deal of documentation which when taken one piece at a time is unrelated, but when woven into this "explanation" is quite convincing or if not convincing then very eye opening!
I was curious as to whether you had read any of this material, and if so what was your "take". I must admit that I have no expertise in these areas, but am, as a fairly well read layman, familiar with the things he is speaking about and his ideas as to what has happened seem to "fit pretty well."
He has a web site:
which is just a smattering of things he talks about in his book, it does however give a flavor as to what he thinks is going on.
I sometimes listen to Coast to Coast, and George Noory is a friend, but of course I keep a supply of salt handy just in case. I have heard Mr. Felix, but I have not read his book. I have long thought that too little attention has been given to the Earth's interior temperature by the standard climate models, and I have seen enough evidence of variable underwater volcanic activity to remain interested in finding more data. I have not found much. It seems clear to me that the El Nino La Nina cycles are as important to temperate zone climate as CO2. We know the Earth is warming and has been since the Little Ice Age. I don't think we know how much, and I am quite convinced that we don't really understand why or how that warming is distributed.
Whether Mr. Felix is on to something or not, I would think that there would be massive side effects on interior temperature by drifts and shifts of the Earth's magnetic pole. Surely that interaction with the solar wind will have some energy effects. There is also the steady addition of energy from radioactive decay and gravitational settling. These are going to be very large effects. If any of them are expressed through deep underwater volcanism, then it seems inevitable that those will cause changes in currents. Warming the oceans is not trivial, and the climate models do not, so far as I can tell, have very good theories on just how some warming in the upper atmosphere by CO2 results in ocean temperature changes. The energy transfer is postulated, but I do not think it is well explained.
Note that I and the climate scientists I know or used to know have always thought that Ice Ages require energy: large masses of water must be shifted from sea to land for glaciers to form, and that takes energy and lots of it. It has to come from somewhere. It has happened in the past, long before industrial CO2, and the Earth is at this moment in a remission from an Ice Age, a so-called Interglacial Period. Note that the glaciers came and went long before human activity could have affected them (at least so far as we know). I said all that in A Step Farther Out, which was written at a time when Schneider and Meade were concerned with the return of the Ice. (I actually took the picture of Schneider and Meade that was used on his book on the subject.)
My take so to speak is that this is probably worth the time for someone better versed in the state of the art in gological science than I am to look at the hypothesis with an open mind. I know of two hypotheses in geology in my time, Wegener's Continental Drift and Bretz's Missoula Floods, which subjected their discovers to scorn and ridicule by the consensus of the geology "profession", and were later found not to be nut case notions but substantially true although incomplete. Wegener's theories revolutionized the whole "science". I say "science" because the reactions of geologic "scientists" were anything but what we would think of as scientific. I don't have the expertise to evaluate Mr. Felix's notions, but my back of the envelope calculations hint to me that there might be enough energy involved in magnetic pole shifting to have a significant effect on biosphere climate. Note that I said might: there may not be enough energy, in which case the question is probably moot, and even if there is that doesn't demonstrate the truth of the theory. On the other hand I have for most of my life wondered if we really understood the heat transfers from the interior of the Earth to the biosphere, and whether those might not have something to do with the Glacial Periods.
I have always thought that the essence of science was Ted Sturgeons' dictum: "Ask the next question." And while I know that sometimes the next question is absurd, often the absurd causes some rethinking and the discovery that we don't understand things as well as we thought we did. That's my view of Global Warming and CO2. I don't dismiss those as trivial or unimportant; I do think we don't know enough to bet trillions on our theories, and we ought to do what it takes to learn more. Learning more to me means getting more and better data, and looking at its implications, not spending time denouncing people who don't accept the 'consensus' view.
January 29, 2011
Mid-Atlantic Ocean temperatures peaked in 1998
Cooling since then 'not caused by climate change'
Posted in Environment <http://www.theregister.co.uk/science/environment/> , 26th January 2011 15:52 GMT <http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/26/>
The water temperature in the subtropical Atlantic Ocean has cooled down since 1998, oceanographers report. Measurements since 1957 had shown a rise of more than ¼ of a degree up to that point, but between 1998 and 2006 the ocean stopped warming and cooled by 0.15°C in the same area.
The measurements of sea temperature were carried out along the parallel 24.5 degrees of latitude north of the equator running from the African coast to the Caribbean by Spanish government oceanographers. The oceanographers used a network of "Argo <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argo_%28oceanography%29> " instrument buoys and survey vessels. The scientists describe the cooling as "unusual".
"The ocean's natural variability mechanisms are more significant than we thought," says Pedro Joaquín Vélez Belchí of Spain's Canarian Oceanography Centre.
In the opinion of Vélez Belchí and his colleagues, the drop in temperature seen in the mid-Atlantic cannot be put down to climate change – in particular they don't consider that meltwater from glaciers or the polar cap is responsible. If that had been the underlying cause, a corresponding temperature drop "should have been observed clearly in the areas close to the North Pole", he says – and none was.
Rather, the oceanographers consider that the cooling may have resulted from wind-driven alterations in the circulation of water.
"Changes in the global structure of winds in the north Atlantic cause oscillations on the ocean's surface layer which can be felt up to 2,000 metres deep," notes Vélez Belchí.
Outline details of the research were announced <http://www.agenciasinc.es/esl/Noticias/La-temperatura-del-agua-en-el-Atlantico-subtropical-disminuye-por-la-accion-del-viento>  by the Spanish Foundation of Science and Technology (FECYT) yesterday, ahead of a further expedition intended to glean more data. A study by Vélez Belchí and his colleagues was published <http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2010JPO4410.1?journalCode=phoc>  in the Journal of Physical Oceanography recently. ®
Tracy Walters, CISSP
I would think that the ocean temperature is a very important part of "the temperature of the Earth". I do not know the weights put on sea temperature measurements, or where the measurements are taken. Does sea temperature mean surface? Benthic? An average? And what of currents, and phenomena like El Nino that change surface temperature.
What the devil IS the temperature of the sea? We know the average temperature of the Earth, day by day or month by month, certainly year by year. What is the temperature of the sea for the corresponding time period? Do they track closely? How do we know them? I more and more find it curious that there is so little discussion of this.
If the sea is cooling is not it self evident that the Earth is cooling? I do not know how the Earth can be warming if the sea is not.
Obviously a cooling sea argues against the importance of volcanic heating of the seas. Or does it?
"Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as
the most popular format on Amazon.com."
On a related note, "This page provides links to where Indie [self-published] books are reviewed." http://www.simon-royle.com/indie-reviewers/
Live long and prosper h lynn keith
|This week:||Sunday, January
Egypt's Internet goes dark amid riots.
Yikes! Is this the future? Governments pressing a big red OFF button, on whim?
YouTube - Planets viewed from Earth as if they were at the distance of our moon
The Prophets of Davos
"...we have constructed vast bureaucracies that work on the premise that these forecasts will come true. The sheer idiocy of it, takes one's breath away."
This report has 6" or more. Fox said some places could get another 2'.
I'll note that 2% (of the Earth's surface -- which this storm will cover) of excess snow cover for a day costs the Earth about 1% of that day's expected solar heating through increased reflection.
That's how POSTIIVE FEEDBACK cooling loops get set up, I suspect...
Conversely, temperatures have moderated in the deep south, and the current batch is supposed to go north of us (while bringing rain and cooling back to seasonal temperatures). Still, I'll note that of the top six snowstorms in local history (north Alabama), three were between Christmas and mid-January (including this year's event at #3) and three between yesterday (29JAN and mid-March).
According to real-time data from Boulder, this year's sea ice extent is tracking the 2006-7 minimum within error (but ignores the recovery since then).
For comparison, see annual values for the past several
Looking at JAXA real time data at http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent_L.png, there was a deficit (within error) from late December to Early January, but the ice cover is increasing rapidly now. Comparing this chart and the NSIDC chart, one might conclude that the NSIDC chart is overestimating the current discrepancy by selection of comparison data. Current coverage is below the 2007 curve at this point in the year, but 2007's anomalous deficit occurred during late summer and fall of that year; current ice cover is tracking close to 2005 and 2010, and is above 2006 for this date. This point in 2007 was probably the highest relative coverage, in proportion to the median of the 8-year period, of the year.
Informally comparing data with the current thirty year air temperature record from satellite observations at drroyspencer.com,which shows a 0.2 C mean excess from 2002-2007, a brief dip to -0.2 C in 2009, and the current 0.4 C excess due to the just ending El Nino event, the JAXA data tracks as a modest mean decrease year to year 2002-2007, a start of recovery with the temperature drop in 2009, and a return to loss pattern in 2010 with the El Nino. As the El Nino is ending, one would expect recovery to begin again.
See also new posts at drroyspencer.com on clouds cover per se providing negative feedback.
Live long and prosper
h lynn keith
Sand down a rathole...
"Welcome to Central Falls. Motto: "The City with a Bright Future." Population: 19,000. Median household income: $22,000. Elevation: more than $80 million under water.
"...since Rhode Island's public employees received the right to collectively bargain in the 1960s, government unions have driven Central Falls into the ground."
Other random thought(s)
I've had the idea that a large part of the problem with society is that there's really no frontier where it's possible to just do things without the government being able to interfere effectively, whether due to distance or unwillingness of the locals to knuckle under (Whiskey Rebellion, moonshiners, etc.). In the Middle East, for example, Egypt was willing to shut off Internet access to prevent people from discussing ideas the government didn't like. Long term, that may be unproductive, but despotism isn't generally a long-term planning ideology, it's just personal power as long as the wielder's strong.
And for just that reason, I think that getting to space (private, competitive access to space) is needed if humanity isn't going to either blow ourselves off the map or enter a new age of despotism due to the greater levels of surveillance and control that can be exercised due to the digital revolution.
Just a thought...
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