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Unforced Varations: Aug 2012

Filed under: — group @ 2 August 2012

Once more with feeling…

571 Responses to “Unforced Varations: Aug 2012”

  1. 201
    J Bowers says:

    Some light reading for the weekend?

    * Carbon Dioxide Enrichment Inhibits Nitrate Assimilation in Wheat and Arabidopsis. Bloom et al (2010).
    * Sharply increased insect herbivory during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. (Currano 2007)
    * Insects Will Feast, Plants Will Suffer: Ancient Leaves Show Affect Of Global Warming.
    * Grassland Responses to Global Environmental Changes Suppressed by Elevated CO2. (Shaw 2007)
    * Photosynthetic inhibition after long-term exposure to elevated levels of carbon dioxide. (DeLucia 1985)
    * Insects Take A Bigger Bite Out Of Plants In A Higher Carbon Dioxide World.
    * Crock of the Week – Don’t it make my Green World Brown
    * Food for Thought: Lower-Than-Expected Crop Yield Stimulation with Rising CO2 Concentrations
    * Widespread crown condition decline, food web disruption, and amplified tree mortality with increased climate change-type drought
    * Temperature dependence of growth, development, and photosynthesis in maize under elevated CO2 (PDF)
    * Global scale climate–crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming
    * Europe-wide reduction in primary productivity caused by the heat and drought in 2003
    * Nitrate assimilation in plant shoots depends on photorespiration
    * Grassland Responses to Global Environmental Changes Suppressed by Elevated CO2
    * Climate change, interannual weather differences and conflicting responses among crop characteristics: the case of forage quality (Seligman & Sinclair, 1995)
    * Climate change, plant diseases and food security: an overview – Chakraborty & Newton (2011)
    * Historical Warnings of Future Food Insecurity with Unprecedented Seasonal Heat – Battisti & Naylor (2009)
    * “Shredded Heat” – Crop Failure and Climate Change
    * Increased crop failure due to climate change: assessing adaptation options using models and socio-economic data for wheat in China – Challinor et al (2010)
    * Russia’s Heat Wave Wilts Crops
    * Russia swelters in heatwave, many crops destroyed

    The ideal temperature for crops would appear to be ~30C +/- 5C, with a maximum of ~40C before crop photonythesis loses efficiency due to stomata closing to avoid too much evaporation, and the enzymes involved denature.

  2. 202
    flxible says:

    “… guaranteed as a group but not individuals, 10% more profit …”
    “Everyone in the supply chain gets a 10% raise …”

    “Phase the feeding at the trough out, and you’ve got a new, healthy, environmentally-friendly system.”

    Don’t the first 2 negate the last? We need to phase out humans feeding at the trough.

  3. 203
    Jim Larsen says:

    It ain’t just those evil cows!

    Some folks studying trees in Connecticut noticed that their cores sometimes spat and sputtered. Seems the trees get infected and damp rot from the inside out, building up pressurized methane. In their area, CO2 sequestration’s effectiveness was reduced 18% because of the phenomenon.

  4. 204
    Edward Greisch says:

    194 Patrick 027: The water supply for the city of Ramsar, Iran is a well which delivers water in which radium is dissolved. Ramsar is the most naturally radioactive city that I know of. ~31,000 people live there. Ramsar residents get in the neighborhood of 10 rems/month. Book: “Radiation and Reason, The impact of Science on a culture of fear” by Wade Allison.

    Professor Allison says radium dial painters often licked their paint brushes. The radium stays in bones. Those who got enough radium to get more than 10 rems/month got bone cancer. Those who got enough radium to get 10 rems/month or less did not get bone cancer. The radium exposure was long term because radium stays in the bones for ever. There is a threshold just over 10 rems/month.

    10 rems/month is a lot of radiation. It would be very difficult to drink that much radium. “Marcellus Shale is 8 to 32 times background.”
    but the background is only 0.350 rems/year = 0.029rems/month
    So I take it that Marcellus Shale water would give you 0.93333 rems/month maximum if you could drink that much. You can’t get cancer from the radiation in the shale gas.

    Benzene is a much more efficient way to get cancer if that is what you want. Fracking fluid contains benzene.

  5. 205
    SecularAnimist says:

    Jim Larsen wrote: “Can you imagine how bad the economy would be today if fracking hadn’t come along and saved us?”

    Are you asserting that fracking “saved” the economy?

  6. 206
    Susan Anderson says:

    I’m sure many of you are paying attention to the sterling job Neven is doing on continuing to cover the evolving situation in the Arctic, which looks like a game changer to this amateur. Various items linked here:

    I would not be at all surprised to see a feature in the New York Times on this this Sunday. So far, the news has hung around the periphery of a few good people in the more progressive part of the blogosphere.

    Somebody mentioned having other things to do and how much time this all eats up. True for them, and at the moment I cannot help thinking the Arctic is a kind of anti-climategate where the point of the wedge of the reality-based community is entering the discussion.

  7. 207
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comments by Jim Larsen

    — 10 Aug 2012 @ 10:03 PM
    You say- “The population problem is much like the ozone problem. It’s “solved” but getting over the effects from past sins will still cause problems. We’re going to 10 billion, and then we’ll slope down, until we stop dying.”

    I think that this statement is a rather cavalier dismissal of the death of a great many humans from starvation and war.

    — 11 Aug 2012 @ 12:01 AM:
    Work through your just-so story. Cut production of animal protein to 10% but maintain the same profit as the 100% plus add a 10% profit increase, over what was made on 100%, and what you get are prices so high that there is no market. The corporations that produce food are not dumb and they are a very powerful influence on government. The problem is the same as with the big corporations that are making big profits from fossil fuels, they want to continue making big profits regardless of consequences.


  8. 208
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Edward Greisch #204,

    there is no nice way of saying this, but I suggest you acquire some more, eh, skepticism before believing what someone writes in a book.

    Here is an article by one of those involved in the Argonne research referred to:
    Dose-response relationships for female radium dial workers: a new look. Look especially at Tables 1 and 2 rightmost column, how small were the number of cases that this study was based on. And look at Figure 1: the curve bending down again for high doses. Do you believe that?

    One problem that epidemiologists are well aware of, is the weakness of so-called ecological studies, where lumped values of dose and incidence are regressed, without accounting for confounding variables, such as age, smoking/non-smoking, and other life-style factors. The “treshold” result from this paper is just not very convincing. And note that for the head carcinoma data, the linear-no-treshold model fits just fine (chi-square = 0.22).

    Here is an Book review of Allison’s book. Note especially

    Prior to the publication of his book he has not, to our knowledge, published any research papers in the field of radiation protection or the biological effects of ionizing radiation

    …whereas the review’s first author has published on this very subject in The Lancet!

    I am by no means an expert on radiation biology, which is why I take seriously the views of those who are. It has served me well in climatology, and I suggest the same is appropriate here.

  9. 209
    Spike says:

    I was interested to see the work being done at the University of Arizona on improving solar PV output from solar farms.

  10. 210

    #191 Wili great thanks for the link. So far so good, Arctic sea ice has melted pretty much as I expected, the Pole is in real danger of being exposed was it not for clouds, but apparent spontaneous melting of remnant 1st year ice is still possible. Surface temperatures near the North Pole are very warm, far far away from the -11 C for refreeze. This is make or break wide open weeks, 2007 extent minima is being seriously challenged, again despite the clouds. Contrarians really suffer evidence malnourishment if they continue on their dumb and dumber crusade, if they don’t understand what is going on their predictions will fail even more spectacularly. Correct Science has not failed to predict well, but still lacks PR savvy. Of which I know someone who has a lot of it by the bucket loads;
    I have met Jeremy Clarkson ,

    he is a swell British guy, he was curious about Climate change and asked questions while in the Arctic, someone with his e-mail should send him wili’s link:

    The ice-scape has changed dramatically even within the last few years since he drove around multi-year ice obstacles on their way to the old 1996 magnetic North Pole location from Cornwallis Island with cool Toyota Monster trucks.

  11. 211
    Radge Havers says:


    “You may have a point about imprecision, but that is no excuse for some people twisting words around to obcure their meaning.”

    Now Dan, come on. Let’s think about this. People trying to make sense of your foggy generalities is NOT twisting your meaning, since you meaning isn’t apparent to begin with.

    If you’re not willing to think through the implications of what you’re saying, others will do it for you. Think about it. It could save you a lot of unnecessary tap dancing.

  12. 212
    David Lewis says:

    @27 re: Anderson paper on ozone and thunderstorms

    It was an Anderson experiment that NASA flew into the ozone hole over Antarctica in 1987 that nailed what was happening. The result was that negotiators were able to beef up the Montreal Protocol so that we can now say most of the offending ozone depleting chemicals are practically banned.

    Anderson is preparing another experiment in collaboration with David Keith, a leading geoengineering researcher. Anderson: “if we see what we believe we will see, it will eliminate the possibility of people doing this”, i.e. one of the geoengineering Plan B‘s, the proposal to mimic a volcano, the scheme Crutzen pointed to in his pioneering paper that called for research into geoengineering, will have to be ruled out.

    David Keith doesn’t seem to think Anderson is right – he claims the concentration of ozone depleting chemicals is declining and will decline as the decades go by, which will counterbalance the increasing concentration of water vapor Anderson says triggers the reactions he’s concerned about.

    The thing is, Anderson is the ozone expert, not Keith. In all the quotes from all the articles I can find Anderson doesn’t mention the concentration of chlorine and bromine in the stratosphere, i.e. what Keith is saying is declining. What Anderson’s concerned about is that extra water vapor and if the civilization adds sulphate. Anderson is concerned about triggers for the reaction he’s worried about, not the concentration of what is triggered.

    Over Antarctica when this reaction gets going it wipes out all the ozone at certain levels in the stratosphere where it occurs. Because natural forces also transport Cl and Br into the stratosphere the fact that the concentration of ozone depleting chemicals are declining now may not matter. I.e. the limiting factor isn’t clear.

    Questions that come up for me so far:

    what about the Susan Solomon finding in 2010 that water vapor was declining in the stratosphere?

    Why did Crutzen originally propose adding sulphate to the stratosphere? Crutzen knows as much about ozone chemistry as anyone on the planet. Is it Crutzen’s view that the threat climate change presents outweighs the threat of the potential ozone depletion Anderson is concerned about?

    Is the water vapor Anderson’s observed really new, i.e. are the storms driving it into the stratosphere more powerful already, or did they just miss this in the past?

    Anderson says his concern is that sulphate even if added by a civilization feeling its existence is threatened might have to be ruled out. So, what about a big volcano? If stratospheric water is elevated by climate change and a big volcano goes off at that point do we all have to keep out of the sun for a few years until the volcano sulphate settles out of the stratosphere?

    What about the crops?

    Ozone II. The new reality. Just when you thought it was safe to walk out under the Sun…. (the theme from Jaws is playing in the background….)

  13. 213

    I am more confident the Cirrus clouds play a major role with respect to temperatures, having equally recently observed Cumulonimbus tops disintegrate into the mysterious black aerosols, I am more and more convinced about the black dusk horizon streaks being CCN’s in great quantities.

    This prompted me to ponder on Richard Lindzen’s “Iris effect” , which may exist in another form linked with ENSO or the greater world wide Thundercloud system injecting CCN’s in the lower stratosphere. This means that ENSO makes GT surface temperatures warmer by two ways, heat exchange from ocean to air, and by injecting more
    CCN’s in the Stratosphere, in effect closing the “Iris” by creating more cirrus clouds. This has been observed locally, a greater study of world wide Cirrus extent vs ENSO variations must be done…

  14. 214
    Jim Larsen says:

    “Don’t the first 2 negate the last? We need to phase out humans feeding at the trough.”

    I don’t think so, but the example isn’t meant to be robust and I won’t waste folks’ time defending or explaining or adjusting. The point is:

    If you are in a position of political strength, then tax a product to decrease its use. If you are weak, then toss cash at folks to not produce. Paying farmers to leave land fallow is a precedent.

    You want less CO2 from oil? Pay Exxon or defeat Exxon.

  15. 215
    MARodger says:

    Susan Anderson @206
    The news-worthiness of this year’s Arctic melt is possibly muted in the media by thoughts of making loud predictions of a record-breaking year just in time for the melt to slow to a halt.

    We are at 5.41 Mkm^2 Extent with the record 4.26 Mkm^2 set in 2007 (JAXA daily figures). A journalist is going to have to convince his editor that 1.15 Mkm^2 melt is going to happen before the freeze starts up again.
    That’s a lot of melt. Especially as this year’s lead over 2007 is only 0.12 Mkm^2 and only arrived on the back of last week’s cyclone.

    An astute journalist would pick up on the Sea Ice Area figures. This year the ice is far more spread out than previous so while Extent is half-a-length ahead, this year’s Area is far more dramatic. It is 0.57 Mkm^2 ahead (CT daily figures) of the record year, 2011. We are at 3.15 Mkm^2 with the record 2.90 Mkm^2. That 0.25 Mkm^2 gap in context: today the drop was 0.05 & yesterday’s 0.14. We are days away from breaking the Sea Ice Area record a month before the end of the melt season. Now that is going to get into the media, but probably only after it happens which the numbers suggest will be by mid-week.

  16. 216
    Joe Cushley says:

    Sorry Wayne. Jeremy Clarkson might have asked questions, but he won’t have been too bothered with your answers…

    He is not a swell guy, he is a nasty, reactionary, lying, anti-scientific ass. His followers revel in the epithet ‘petrolhead’ and he is their king. He makes a living promoting conventional car use and ridiculing hybrids and electric cars… and is prepared to lie in the cause…

  17. 217
    Jim Larsen says:

    205 Secular “Are you asserting that fracking “saved” the economy?”

    No. I asserted that such is probably a common belief amongst those who vehemently disagree with you. I considered adding an aside (at the expense of the future?).

    207 Steve Fish said, “I think that this statement is a rather cavalier dismissal of the death of a great many humans from starvation and war.”

    I was attempting to counter the impression that feeding the poor just makes them reproduce. “until we stop dying” referred to life extension tech, not calamity. Even at a low birth rate, if we all live 500 years, the population will soar again.

    Here’s a great TED talk. The graphics are stellar. He discusses religion, but you can ignore that if you like. He shows how we have already reached “peak child”. There are fewer children each year than the past, so in one frame of reference human population is already declining.

  18. 218
    Jim Larsen says:

    Oops, wrong word. Peak child but then a plateau, not a decline.

  19. 219
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 197 Edward Greisch – okay, thanks for the clarification. Part of my/the reaction to your earlier statement regarding preservation of the species was due to it seeming to be proposed as an end, whereas I now see you say it is a means to an end, which makes much more sense to me. That said, whenever one knows of that end, it is usually helpful to highlight that, rather than the means to achieve it.**

    On altruism too much/not enough – is this based on comparison to the ‘normal’ behavioral tendencies, or a calculation of what achieves the greatest GDP/capita, longest lifespan, greatest health, highest standard of living, highest concentration of dopamine in the brain, greatest overall accumulation of knowledge and art, most fun, most love, most interesting, the greatest satisfaction with life with least regrets, the happiest ending of the story, least population falling under some threshold value of any of these things, world that would least dissapoint, etc.?


    Human culture is continually created and modified as long as humans exist. Yes.

    Without humans, there is no human culture. Yes, although aliens could (perhaps highly unlikely, which is something to consider, too) stumble upon the artifacts and reconstruct something of it, but it’s not the same as a living culture… (Why that? The individual dies regardless of the species.)

    The argument over culture vs the survival of the species “Homo Sapiens” is therefore moot and vacuous. It comes back to the fact that we must stop GW to protect both human culture and the species “Homo Sapiens.” This is an ethical argument. Since protecting culture is automatic upon protecting the species, no separate argument for culture is needed unless you want to protect a particular culture. Protecting a particular culture is unlikely to work through a population crash.

    In some sense I/’we’ do very very much want to protect a particular culture. I want medicine and the variety of wonderful food crops (not the supermarket-tomatoes, the good tomatos) to continue, I want people to continue (and gain access to) the various comforts and joys of modern life (to an extent that can be sustainable, which I want to have increased with better technology and efficiency), while protecting nature for ourselves and our progeny if not just because.

    I don’t want a dark age where science is lost, etc. I want a culture that encourages a good ethics/morality, not a (in no particular order here) homophobic, sexist, racist, unfree, enslaving, xenophobic, jingoistic, militaristic, genocidal, anti-science, anti-art, anti-intellectual, poverty-stricken, ‘I got mine jack’, fear of left handed, fear of red heads, fear of tomatoes, fear of potatoes, children as property, mistreatment of those with disabilities, critical-thinking-crushing, female circ—–ing, whitch-hunting, albino-hunting, unforgiving, stoning, whipping, making fun of the different, everybody has to wear their hair the same way, marriage as a business activity, hazing, loveless, have to resort to eating turpentine and other people and digging through your own ____ to get food – … culture.

    Evolution never stops. Evolution has no set direction. Evolution’s future cannot be predicted.” Yes and no. Yes more in the long term, although I wonder if a sort of weather-v-climate issue may arise in what can and can’t be predicted. No set direction, of course.

    ** Individuals will die (apparently). There is something which absent fantastic future technology that may break physical laws, is not recoverable. I can’t be you, you can’t be me. Each individual must be their self. It would be best prima facie for this to last as long as possible for each individual, and average quality of life means little to the individual, so equality/fairness is an issue. Progeny or continuance of the species (or any other inteligent sentient beings who are able to play the role) and it’s growing cultural inheritance may be sought as a substitute for immortality, along with a continuation of one’s body of work or the work itself, that the life one had may be had again by others in some reworked version, and that their is a legacy for each, though it will disperse and fade to the background with time, as each generation must be granted the right to live for itself and cannot be burdenned with the accumulation of ancestors or other’s desires, even when those desires were not unjust or out of ignorance, but the way to better ensure those desires are met is to want for them what they would want for themselves.

    Humans, having a vivid awareness of past and future to great distances, and intergenerational relationships, would be traumatized upon living up to/through an extinction or anything near it, and so would be with an extinction of culture (as distinct to a transition to a new, better culture, although perhaps therein lies a reason for the trouble in making progress and an unfortunate stumbling block for accepting new diversity).

    However, the already dead would not technically be harmed in any way that they would find out or feel, presumably, so far as I know (though it could still be said that they would be harmed, or perhaps the issue is a matter of precedent, that it would harm future generations to think their wishes will not come to pass?)

    The continuation of the species is a means for the ends of the individuals. (While a species cannot exist without individual members, it can exist with different members as others die, at any given rate, and even if not, it deserves attention.) What those are means for, I won’t bother to speculate here.

    Re Secular Animist – final thoughts before I start typing out some physics equations…

    (PS earlier (in my 192, re Chris Korda section) when I refered to something being brown, just to be clear, it was not skin color but shirt color, and not any brown shirt (because I have worn a brown shirt and didn’t mean anything by it) but the one that is a symbol of a horrid ideology.)

    About preserving nature: humans are natural; technically anything we do will be natural (including deciding to save the planet or not, and whichever government we have), so preservation is automatic. Of course we can view the boundary of nature as being in different places. We could say it is the non-human earth, leaving both us and asteroids as the interlopers. The orbital cycles are regular enough it could be argued, in personification perhaps, that the Earth is used to it and it is part of its expected environment.

    I don’t mean to assume that humans have a monopoly on either inteligence or sentience. But we are quite special in that regard. However with great power comes great responsibility (did I just quote “Spiderman”?) (Kennedy said something very similar, though – to whom much is given, …). We should be nice to the animals. At the same time, we are animals – we breathe, we eat, we have instincts, we have trichromatic vision (not that all animals have this (many are tetrachromatic), or instincts (sponges)) – and we can enjoy this (perhaps more so than others) and it can bother us (perhaps more so than others, and especially since cultural evolution has taken us to an environment in which we are not so well adapted biologically) … but anyway, this is why I don’t prima facie have a problem with eating meat, however I wouldn’t excuse all methods of obtaining it. Etc. use of animals in general (?). At the same time we are not gods and it would be to much of a burden for us to care for all life in the same way with the same intensity that we care for ourselves or other similarly inteligent sentient beings if they should ever show up (not that you ever indicated otherwise). We may hold some animals in special regard (apes, dolphins, cows, swans, horses, hummingbirds, butterflies, baby penguins, kangaroos – sometimes for aesthetic or traditional reasons but anyway…). But generally we let wildlife go on in a state of nature and may sometimes participate in the natural affairs as animals – our responsibility as people would be to do it sustainably and without unnecessary harm – and perhaps with limited extent. Without going against that, we could protect that state of nature for nature’s sake.

    Just some thoughts.

    Re Chris Korda – quickly:

    different ways of establishing a CO2eq tax rate that may converge toward the right answer or at least serve as a double-check (ideally they should lead to the same, maybe with some exceptions):

    1. bottom up evaluate the economic value of the harms. Seek maximize either global net GDP or that value per capita.

    2. establish some threshold standard of living (include access to parks and natural areas, ability to sustain constitutional democracy, etc.) you want everyone to have (at least), figure out what the requirements (economic and ecological) of that are, determine an optimal CO2 trajectory, set tax rate or other policy in order to achieve it.

    3. set a safety threshold (2 deg C), etc. (for risks to ice sheets, ecosystems, government collapse, food production) – top down.

    … Sorry, I think I had this better thought out before I started typing it (they seem to be blending into each other, and some of the bottom up stuff requires information from top down stuff and vice versa?). But I really should move on now.

  20. 220
    Patrick 027 says:

    “trichromatic vision ” – most of us, sorry, didn’t mean to … okay.

  21. 221
    grypo says:

    Well it appears the entire world is now utterly confused about what is good and what may be bad about the Hansen paper. I blame violent video games.

  22. 222
    Chris Korda says:

    [edit – OT]

  23. 223
    Chris Korda says:

    SecularAnimist @183:

    I am most concerned about “saving” the Earth’s biosphere

    Saving the biosphere is a laudable goal, but the question stands: what are we saving the biosphere for?

    The biosphere is ephemeral. Bacteria will ultimately inherit Earth, and witness its destruction. This is arguably just, since bacteria are the most adaptable, the most abundant and have been here the longest. Even within your body, bacteria grossly outnumber your cells. To say that we exist in symbiosis with bacteria is a charitable interpretation. It’s more accurate to say that we exist at the behest of tiny but exceedingly powerful and numerous organisms which are completely indifferent to our fate.

    If we’re saving the Earth for bacteria, we needn’t bother, because they don’t need our help. It’s we who need help, along with our fellow apex predators. There’s an ethical argument that other organisms enjoy existence as much as we do, and therefore have intrinsic value and an inalienable right to exist. This is closely related to arguments previously advanced for universalism and civil rights. In the 20th century many nations became sufficiently enlightened to extend intrinsic value to all human beings, regardless of their race, color or creed, at least in theory. In the 21st century we’re in the process of adding sexual orientation to the list, and non-humans could well be next.

    Most civilized people support animal rights to some extent, but few would accept that plants also have rights, let alone bacteria. Obviously humans relate to mammals most easily, because we’re biologically so similar to them. People can easily tell that their cat or dog is asleep, bored, or in pain, but they’re less likely to identify with the internal states of non-mammals. Are we saving Earth for mammals then? E.O.Wilson would surely object, “What about ants?”

    If we’re saving the biosphere for its intrinsic value, then we have to face not only its impermanence, but also its incompatibility with many aspects of human society. Should we all become vegans? Many think so. Are we willing to abandon our machines, shrink our population, and worship nature as our aboriginal ancestors did? Or embrace Jainism and avoid harming even insects? Very few would go this far, but people are increasingly aware that we can’t continue to have everything our way, that urgent choices need to be made.

    For better or worse, humans run the show at the moment. The blade of natural selection that normally trims away failure is temporarily blunted. We routinely nourish organisms that otherwise would fail, and exterminate organisms that otherwise would succeed. In other words, we play god, by deciding what lives and what dies. Playing god is the essence of being human, and we’ll keep doing it until we tire of it, or wreck things badly enough to be forcibly demoted. We need to be honest, and admit that we’re primarily saving Earth for ourselves, so that the cultural odyssey in which we’ve invested so much time and energy can continue.

    Saving culture is not merely a technical problem. It’s not just our ingenuity, but our honor and integrity that are being tested, our willingness to make sacrifices for progress towards shared goals. Our aim is more than survival: it’s to survive with dignity, while upholding our commitments to hard-won truths and principles. If we’re saving Earth at all, we’re saving it for future generations, so that they can fulfill our ambitions, by building a wiser and more enlightened society.

  24. 224
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re my 219 – last part
    – you don’t need to figure out the economic value of ecosystem services directly – if you just include ecological factors in economic models you can measure climatic effects by the economy. Ideally this would include such things as the ability to find organisms, genes, substances in nature to use in medicine, food production, etc, as well as the value of nature videos, ecotourism… However, except in so far as people’s free time usage and benefit feeds back into their economic productivity and wealth, etc. (it will – think property values), this will miss some things that are important to people, mainly perhaps the unpaid aesthetic and unpaid recreational uses.

    Re 2nd to last part – I meant to say also that: You can’t (quite, usually) go home again, in regards to the Holocene. Change is inevitable (see what Edward Greisch said about evolution and culture). But we needn’t hurry it along (except when it serves some purpose such as transitioning to clean energy, or correcting an injustice, etc.). Our descendants may get to enjoy vastly different conditions (which hopefully will come about with an easy pace most of the time, or might be purposefully managed that way (let the inevitable happen but artificially pace it)?), but this is to some extent a one-way path, so it makes since to linger when possible. The Holocene’s fate may already be sealed but the anthropocene can be made more or less similar.

    And there’s other things I’ve thought of but there’s no need to say them (and for some reason I’m tired now. Philosophy can be fun but sometimes calculus is more relaxing, frankly).

    PS I’ve been reading the comments on the Arctic storm. Just didn’t have anything to contribute.

  25. 225
    Jim Larsen says:

    Quote: “More people and more wealth correlates with a cleaner environment. Julian Simon said this in 1994, and it is still applicable today.” – now think about the ‘more people’ bit.

    A and B results in C. A absent B results in ? And how does A cause B, as I think was implied previously? I’d say even a saint has limits and your discourse with DanH is so poisoned that nothing but goop could possibly result unless structural changes are made.

  26. 226

    216 Hi Joe, in person Jeremy was a very nice person, not because he has a huge audience, he was also dynamic and made an intelligent last minute organization decision while in the Arctic. , I dont think he is like the majority of contrarians. Contrarians don’t go around asking questions like “is Global Warming happening?” they just shoot their intellectual selves constantly by neglecting evidence proving otherwise. I don’t write to convince the choir.. I am also a big fan of Monbiot, he did well criticizing the automobile critics! But to be fair Top Gear has really put down to pasture many petrol cars. All and all the Top Gear folks could make a startling discovery by returning to make the same adventure.

  27. 227
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Chris Korda — 11 Aug 2012 @ 3:15 PM:

    Sociobiology is not related to my area of interest, but I have read some interesting bits in Science News about ants, social wasps, marmots, and such, and really don’t think that this has much to do with eugenics. Many of your references are a bit old. Check out this article by Edward Osborn Wilson (one of the primary founders of this research area) and David Sloan Wilson (unrelated, I think). These two guys are pretty good scientists (an understatement).

  28. 228
    Dan H. says:

    B is the main point in the argument. I contend that B without A will cause C (cleaner environment). I cannot say about A wihtout B, but I suspect the outcome would not be favorable. I did not make the comment about A causing B, so you would have to ask the commentator how he felt that would occur.

    Bottom line: increased wealth has historically resulted in decreased hunger. As wealth as increased further (some would say past a critical point), concern for the environment has increased. Historically, once basic needs are met, other societal concerns are tackled.

    [Response: Or not. Easter Island, Akkadian civilisations, Ancient Pueblo culture, the Mayans, etc…. – gavin]

  29. 229
    J Bowers says:

    @ 226 Wayne Davidson.

    Top Gear deliberately knobbled an EV during a show to make it look like it wasn’t up to much. Decide from that what you will. You’d probably find Monckton is a decidedly nice chap in person.

  30. 230
  31. 231
    Jim Larsen says:

    [Response: Or not. Easter Island….

    Or the great wealth allowing us to toss out hugely powerful computers every couple of years. Fortunately, the campfire-style recycling of heavy metals is done by poor countries, so with “proper” accounting, wealth still coorelates to a clean environment.

    Dan, perhaps one could say wealth won’t abide a degraded local environment, but out of sight, well, then it becomes a debate, and generally dollars have an unfair advantage in such a discussion. A dollar would say, “As long as the poor don’t die in numbers sufficient to support a lawsuit, there’s little downside to their passing.”.

  32. 232
    Unsettled Scientist says:

    The east coast of the USA got hit with the second derecho of this Summer a couple weeks ago.

    Ryan Brenizer caught this striking image of NY under the storm system

    I don’t think I’d ever heard of a derecho before this Summer, so I dug up this page on the climatology of such storms. A derecho is a line of intense thunderstorms that produces a large amount of wind damage over a long distance. To be an official derecho, the line of storms must travel at least 240 miles and contain wind speeds over 58 miles per hour in concentrated areas.

    About Derechos – Part of the NOAA-NWS-NCEP Storm Prediction Center web site

    As we are now able to attribute the increase in extreme weather events to our changing climate, it is striking that there is only a tiny portion of the US that might see 2 derechos in a season once every 3 years. This occurred in a region that usually sees one such storm system every 4 years.

  33. 233
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 223 Chris Korda – “The blade of natural selection that normally trims away failure is temporarily blunted. We routinely nourish organisms that otherwise would fail, and exterminate organisms that otherwise would succeed.” – I wouldn’t put it that way. From an outsider’s perspective, we are a new part of the environment of any other species, and it may or may not adapt to us (or be fortunate enough to already have such traits). I imagine (not entirely seriously) that flowers might evolve to be pollinated by young children who like to run through the fields of flowers with their arms out. Some would suggest (perhaps for the purpose of being bold?) that our grain crops have domesticated us.

  34. 234
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re/cont. celestial mechanics my comments @
    Re/cont. from my 45, 48, 50-51, 54, 57-58, 62-63, 70-71, 139, 187

    Outline of future comments

    A. physics and math refresher 1, including orbits, inertial frame of reference, fictitious forces and tides.

    1. Rolling motion (easy)
    1a. trochoids, body and space cones
    1b. torque on a spherically symmetric body

    2. Chandler wobble (easy and hard)
    2a. physics refresher 2: Angular momentum, rotating reference frame, Euler equations, constant L and K ellipsoids
    2b. The Tennis Racket Theorem, the geometry of True Polar Wander and Chandler wobble – rigid case
    2c. Chandler wobble with elastic/inviscid and plastic/viscous responses
    2d. Body and space cones of the Chandler wobble, and what actually is the true rotation period, anyway?
    2e. Implications for precession

    Intermission (maybe a link to xkcd?) :)

    3. tides and tidal torque – basics (somewhat mathematically intensive)
    3a. The shape of the equatorial bulge, the shape of the equilibrium tidal bulge
    3b. tidal torque
    3c. components of the tides
    3d. tidal torque in an orbit

    4. Precession of an oblate spheroid (approximately, Earth) (mostly easy, actually)
    4a. precession following a trochoid with cusps; precession with curtate and prolate trochoidal paths (moon and sun, and hypothetical cases)
    4b. precession if the moon were held at a fixed point; precession as a revolving torque field
    4c. precession conserving angular momentum
    4d. precession as a point revolving around a moving pole – the 18.6 year and longer obliquity variations, orbital resonance

    5. long term evolution (first part is not too hard, I don’t know about the second part yet)
    5a. tidal drag and obliquity – also, the analemma
    5b. ‘climate friction’

    B. supporting derivations if anyone wants them and if there’s time

    This should be fun. (It probably sounds more complicated than it is.)
    PS do I need to download anything to do LaTex, or … how long does it take to learn it … oh well, I’ll just make the best of what I can do. That’s motivation not to get too bogged down in the equations.

    PS no relativistic stuff. I wouldn’t know where to begin, frankly.

  35. 235

    “You’d probably find Monckton is a decidedly nice chap in person.”

    Judging by the video I’ve seen, he *is* quite charming with his supporters–pleasant, funny, apparently genuinely attentive. Yet if you are a foe–“foe” being someone who disagrees with his stated ideas–you will be called a thug, or compared to a broiled prawn, or some such.

    Such is human nature, sometimes–that’s one reason ad hominems are considered fallacious.

  36. 236
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 209 Spike – thanks, that’s interesting!

  37. 237
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    I’m going to call it, not that I have any great desire to nagivate the NE and NW passage coz I’ve just over a bad flu and it still is a bit chilly up there…but the ring route is open for business yet again, only thing to worry about is a bit of slush here and there. The ice extent graph is taking a dive again..looks very much as though we’ll post another arctic summer record. Tipping point?..what tipping point!

  38. 238
    Edward Greisch says:

    [edit – OT even in open threads]

  39. 239
    Edward Greisch says:

    219 Patrick 027: Preservation of our species, Homo Sap, is an end. All of culture can and will be re-created if the species continues. The situation is too dire to worry about fine points. You don’t get your choice. You don’t get to survive into the new era. Nobody can predict who the survivors will be.

    Too much altruism: Some people have so much altruism that they are self-destructive. Trying to save foreigners by letting them immigrate when doing so will result in the demise of your own descendants, for example. That is the case now. It doesn’t matter how you re-arrange people on the surface of the Earth, 4 Billion will die. Or whatever the number is. You can’t change that fact. You can’t decide who will die. You will surely die if civilization collapses.

    “Evolution never stops. Evolution has no set direction. Evolution’s future cannot be predicted.” is a standard LAW of modern biology. Extinction is forever.

    There is no time left to care about future technology. There is only time to limit the population crash enough to preserve some remnant of order.

    [T]he already dead, by definition, cannot have wishes. They are dead. There is no “afterlife.”

    Patrick 027, I see a great deal of wishful thinking in your comment. You have not yet understood the finality of what is about to happen. GW will end the current era. If we are lucky, and take extreme action now, there will be a new dawn. Climate change DRIVES evolution, but not in the direction anyone expects.

  40. 240
    Ray Ladbury says:

    OK, I think Chris Korda has Godwinned the thread by equating social biology–a reasonable field of study–with eugenics–a discredited pseudoscience.

    Chris, your position is based on logical fallacy. You insist on debating your opponents by tying them–however tenuously and indirectly–to ideas/movements that are discredited or unpopular. Well, Chris, your logic was discredited by the frigging ancient Greeks.

    I guess casting aspersions on character is easier than thinking.

    [Response: This is all off-topic. No more please – gavin]

  41. 241
    John E. Pearson says:

    Patrick 027 said:

    PS do I need to download anything to do LaTex, or … how long does it take to learn it … oh well, I’ll just make the best of what I can do. That’s motivation not to get too bogged down in the equations.

    You should down load TexShop. If you do that, I’d be happy to send you a draft of some manuscript that is written in latex. My gmail address is firstnamemiddleinitiallastname. The easiest way to learn LaTex is to modify an existing document. Lamport’s book is a pretty good reference. I never use it anymore. Google usually will answer any latex question that I have. If you are thinking of entering equations on RC with latex that is another matter. A year or two a go Gavin told me (us) how to do it and I tried it and thought it was too hard. I would argue that that is the consensus view since no one writes latex on RC. There are some mathier sites that have an easy to use way to enter latex.

  42. 242

    229 J Bowers, Monckton is a highly specialized joke making the Lords look like clowns. TG didn’t like electrics because of their range, likely causing them to act up a scene, it is of course not nice to exaggerate an intent, but they are in the business of showing, something Climate experts need to get better at, and of course without the spike causing name catching memory giving made up scene.

    235 Kevin, so true, but he allows himself a passion to exaggerate to a vast audience, fabricate even delude himself, because he thinks he is right, there must be a word for that, outside of Don Quixote or poty.

  43. 243


    [Response: This is all off-topic. No more please – gavin]

    And now for something completely different… ?

  44. 244
    J Bowers says:

    Wayne Davidson — “TG didn’t like electrics because of their range, likely causing them to act up a scene, it is of course not nice to exaggerate an intent, but they are in the business of showing”

    No mate, that was outright deception, not showmanship. I saw the episode, and then I found out what they did. I actually really liked Top Gear regardless of the who and what-about, but I’m right off it now as they simply can’t be trusted. They deliberately ran the car down and then made it look as if the car had run out of juice after so many miles. If Top Gear wasn’t the BBC’s biggest selling show worldwide then heads may have rolled.

  45. 245
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 241 John E. Pearson – thanks. I’ll stick to what I know for now.

    (Re 239 – 1st 2 sentences contradict; I say no more)

  46. 246
    Susan Anderson says:

    Can’t help thinking as I watch the Olympic closing ceremony that it embodies so much of why our civilization (if you could call it that) is flirting with endgame. All very amusing, but if you look at the front page, for example, of the BBC, it is competing with a catalogue of catastrophes.

    It has become OK to get through the day by ignoring reality and embracing fantasy.

    Well, way OT, but each time I see an expensive and energy-intensive spectacle trying to outdo the previous of its kind, I think if all that energy could be spent doing something, anything, real, it would help.

    Almost noone wants to think about it, so they don’t.

  47. 247
    Susan Anderson says:

    re my previous, would you call that a choice? I don’t.

  48. 248

    I agree J Bowers, acting is fiction!

  49. 249
    tamino says:

    Re: #246 (Susan Anderson)

    I disagree. I see the Olympics as a celebration of excellence for its own sake. Perhaps the most hopeful aspect is that it’s not fantasy — it’s a demonstration that reality has more good possibilities than we usually believe.

  50. 250
    J Bowers says:

    @ 248 Wayne Davidson. They’re not actors, they’re journalists.

    “Let’s just stop and think for a moment what the consequences [of global warming] might be. Switzerland loses its skiing resorts? The beach in Miami is washed away? North Carolina gets knocked over by a hurricane? Anything bothering you yet?” — JC.