Sunday, January 3, 2010


Holy living fuck, he's the President of The United States... I think he looks dignified in that pic. And I think he's justified. He saved us from McCain/Whoever for 2012 (in more than one sense, and Palin would be on her third book tour or Oprah-Successor-show).

Those laurels are nice, Mr President- it's too bad that half our country is too whacked out on rightwing ideology that you can't try a little harder to do something about it.

Please see me on that final point at your earliest convenience.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Some Evidence

How do we know that global warming is ongoing? How do we know that it is caused by human activities?

The lines of evidence are numerous, and like a house which is supported by many pillars, the entire edifice is stable even if one or several might fail. This has not happened- the letter writer is spreading disinformation (whether he knows it or not) on a deadly serious subject. Satellite measurements starting in the 1970's have documented a drop in infrared radiation emitted from the Earth's surface out into space, along wavelengths absorbed only by carbon dioxide. Wavelengths absorbed by water vapor have remained relatively constant. This evidence shows that the enhanced greenhouse warming observed is due to excess carbon dioxide. Analysis of the carbon atoms in our atmosphere, compared to those in samples from before the Industrial Revolution, show that the isotopes (carbon atoms varying in the amount of neutrons in their nucleus) come from fossil fuels.

In 1940, for some time onward, the bulk of fossil fuel burning was "dirty" coal. This is the largest reason for the lack of observed mid-century warming. Burning coal not only releases CO2, but also sulfur dioxide. Tiny sulfur dioxide particles in the atmosphere cause cooling by reflecting light back into space.

One way people cloud the facts of this debate is by throwing in short term cooling trends. Climate is defined as weather averaged over time, the shortest time period for climate being 30 years, due to natural cycles such as the Solar Cycle and El Nino. 1998 was unusually warm due to a strong El Nino. Recently, the sun has reached the minimum energy of its cycle. Both of these together have caused slight cooling since 1998. However, the sun is on the upswing, and the lack of a strong El Nino means that the oceans have been absorbing heat, where it is out of sight, but not out of mind. Its effects will be felt in the future- prepare yourselves.

In response to this.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hometown Smackdown! Part II!

Did you know global warming scientists recently have been caught manipulating and suppressing data in one of the biggest scientific frauds of the century? The Gazette along with other like-minded media outlets must consider these global warming revelations no big deal because they’ve chosen to ignore or downplay this scandal for several months now.
A team of reporters at the Associated Press did an “exhaustive review” of the climate scientists’ e-mail stolen from the University of East Anglia in the UK and concluded that “the messages don’t support claims that the science of global warming was faked.” at the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Public Policy Center said: “Climate skeptics are claiming that they show scientific misconduct that amounts to the complete fabrication of man-made global warming. We find that to be unfounded….E-mails being cited as ‘smoking guns’ have been misrepresented.
In Climate Denier Gate (Stephen Schneider’s term for what the deniers call “Climategate”), “the private frustrations of a few climate scientists was turned into an ostensible plot by the entire climate science community in dozens of countries, hundreds of institutions, and hammered out over 40 years of peer reviewed assessment studies—as some kind of fraud.” Schneider says, “The big untold story here is how broken the 2009 media is for investigating the wrong folks and giving credibility to a non-event that changes nothing in climate science.”

I could easily cut and paste much more on the issue, but these are representative of the informed commentary.

Of course, the main problem is that uninformed commentary has a what seems like a hundred to one advantage on the issue. Why? Could it be that simple, comprehensible narratives about falls from grace are more appealing to most people than complex mathematical operations (the so-called "manipulation of evidence")? Who'd have thought that?
In the history of the last century, can anyone point to a large-scale scientific fraud of the nature alleged? I'm not aware of any comparable episode in countries where research is free of government interference. (No, government funding is not interference. You can write a grant proposal for whatever research idea you can come up with. We have a very good, very open review process which determines whether funding is granted). Of course, large groups of scientists have been wrong, seriously wrong, about issues within their area of expertise before. These issues have been resolved by examination of their work, not by scorched-earth smear campaigns in the media.

On the other hand, can anyone point to a campaign to discredit scientific research which indicated that the activities of an industry were harmful to human health and the environment, or which simply contradicted the dogma of people who, to borrow a phrase from one of the geniuses of our time, believe the same thing Wednesday that they did on Monday, regardless of what happened Tuesday? You'd have to be living in a cave in Antarctica to not know about the public relations wars over at least one of the following: tobacco, lead in gasoline and paint hexavalent chromium, the AIDS virus, various drugs pushed by pharmaceutical companies... the list is long.

So that's what it comes down to. You can believe that something which has never been seen before is happening now, i.e. that scientists worldwide have abandoned their tried and true methods and engaged in a conspiracy, thousands strong, for political power or money (regardless of the fact that either could be achieved by easier means) or you can believe that reactionary elements in the public, in collusion with corporate interests, are engaged in manipulating the views of government officials and average citizens to safeguard their "right" to harm and impoverish you, something that has happened with depressing regularity throughout the last century.

The Noughties Are Dead

Doghouse Riley is my muse on a hung-over morning:

Th' fuck are we supposed to remember about a Decade that began with Gary Condit and Terrorist Attacks and ended with Tiger Woods and demands for More Terrorist Attack nostalgia? And in which The Same Goddam Thing filled the space between those bookends? How do you talk about history, even fatuously, when everything that happens is now either discounted immediately or slowly backed away from in hopes nobody will ask questions? It's the Decade in which we pretty much decided officially to quit trying to solve problems, due to Problems' pesky habit of making us look at problems, and just see if the fishin' wasn't a little better once we floated downstream a tad.

The past decade was much less than the sum of its parts; vapidity, narcissism, cowardice, plastic turkeys and bulging codpieces, served on a bed of mixed brown and white war dead, and a complimentary mug of steaming hot spite. It gave us the notion that reality is out to get us and the observation that it's doing a damn good job of it. The only thing left to do at that point was to invent a new, more pliant "Reality Lite" to stand up next to the scarecrow in the field, a target for the slings and arrows of millionaire pundits and politicians who transport their red pick 'em up trucks to the rally on a semi, behind the stretch hummer with the wet bar, hot tub, and IV Fox News feed. This was the decade which gave us Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber and fucking Nickelback.

Gone, gone, gone. The sooner we can clear the rubble, the sooner we can build again.