Archive for the ‘Epistemology’ Category

When Denial Is Big Business.

October 18, 2009

HARD TO SEE WHAT YOU HAVE NO INTEREST TO SEE.

 

Naturally, a number of greenhouse deniers observe a decrease of global temps in the last 30 years. Here is the real global data:

File:Satellite Temperatures.png

The graph shows an increase of average global temperatures of half a degree Celsius in less than 30 years (this translates into many times that as the poles, and nearly no augmentation of temperature elsewhere; but the poles are the Earth’s icebox: demolish the icebox, and the rest will rot, with water all over you don’t want to have it).

Greenhouse deniers can look at a graph such as this one, and see a decrease. Nobody has said they were very bright. Actually, they are paid to be dumb. More exactly, they are paid more, and become more famous, the more they misinterpret the obvious.

As I explained in my post of May 31, 2009, a possible explanation for the plateau on the right is the decrease of the sun’s activity in the last 30 years, which works against the greenhouse effect. Watch the red line below:

 

File:Solar-cycle-data.png

For reasons unknown, a fluctuation of irradiance of the sun shows up as a rise of temperature 3 to 4 times greater than what one would expect from the straight input of solar energy: non linear phenomena are at work that we do not understand, but such is the fact.

Another fact, related, or not, is that, for reasons unknown, natural methane production went flat for 10 years.

After a moratorium of 10 years, methane’s density is picking up again. Methane came out of the Arctic ocean in 2007. What happened in 2007? 2007 had the warmest Arctic ocean ever.

In 2008, the ocean was a tiny bit colder, so the CH4 stayed put in the ocean, sort of, but it escaped instead from the tundra… Methane is, of course, as I explained before, the number one cause of worry: it has the potential of increasing global temperatures an inconceivable amount, in a few years.

Greenhouse deniers are well paid: they go on TV, etc. They have interest to deny the fact that the graph above is going up, from down on the left, up to the right.

The same happened when Galileo showed to his friends the cardinals, and his friend the pope, what could be seen in his telescope, namely mountains on the moon. The cardinals looked into the telescope, and they saw no mountains, no shadows of the mountains. Nothing.

The cardinals just saw a perfect sphere, as their forefathers from their institutionalized superstition had taught them the moon was. Why? Because they had a vested interest in the institution they were heading. A fortiori the same for little nobodies who would be nothing, if they did not claim absurdities as the truth.

Thus the greenhouse deniers see the graph above as slanting down, from left to right. They see what they have interest to see.

OK, there are important fluctuations in the graph above. But those are always observed, and have to be smoothed out, to observe trends. It’s the same as in the financial, or commodities markets.

Yearly fluctuations relate to sunspots (in ways not understood), or volcanic eruptions (Pinatubo, a volcano in the Philippines injected a gigantic veil of sulfates in the high atmosphere, decreasing solar heating on the ground enormously, and lowering global temps brutally by more than half a degree Celsius: volcanoes can do way, way worse; Tambora, a volcano that exploded in Indonesia in 1814, caused famine inducing frosts in Europe the following summer).

OK, back to 2009. From the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), October 2009:

“At the end of the Arctic summer, more ice cover remained this year than during the previous record-setting low years of 2007 and 2008. However… September 2009 sea ice extent was the third lowest since the start of satellite records in 1979, and the past five years have seen the five lowest ice extents in the satellite record.

NSIDC Director and Senior Scientist Mark Serreze said, “It’s nice to see a little recovery over the past couple years, but there’s no reason to think that we’re headed back to conditions seen back in the 1970s. We still expect to see ice-free summers sometime in the next few decades.”

The average ice extent over the month of September, a reference comparison for climate studies, was 5.36 million square kilometers…  1.68 million square kilometers (649,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 September average. Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 11.2 percent per decade, relative to the 1979 to 2000 average.

Sea surface temperatures in the Arctic this season remained higher than normal, but slightly lower than the past two years, according to data from Mike Steele at the University of Washington in Seattle. The cooler conditions, which resulted largely from cloudy skies during late summer, slowed ice loss compared to the past two years. In addition, atmospheric patterns in August and September helped to spread out the ice pack, keeping extent higher. 

… Only 19 percent of the ice cover was over 2 years old, the least in the satellite record and far below the 1981-2000 average of 52 percent. Earlier this summer, NASA researcher Ron Kwok and colleagues from the University of Washington in Seattle published satellite data showing that ice thickness declined by 0.68 meters (2.2 feet) between 2004 and 2008.”

As I pointed out in old essays on a generalization of mine of the Equipartition of Energy theorem, a rise in heat can be expressed in many other ways than heat. After all, heat which is microscopic dynamic energy, can be converted in other forms of energy.

As the heat goes up, new energy sinks can open up. This may explain why the temperature rises observed seem to plateau, with different plateaus in different places (a higher heat plateau was reached in Alaska a full decade before a similar one in Europe in 1998). In other words, although solar irradiance is enough to explain the recent global plateau in temperatures, it may not be a proof of a stagnation of the energy input from the greenhouse into the biosphere.

When in doubt, it’s best to assume the worst; that’s how our ancestors survived enough in the jungle to allow us to be around today. The worst is only natural: only fools, or the corrupt, would believe that a rise of Greenhouse Gases from 280 parts per million to 450 ppm (where we are today) is business as usual.

The block of ice known as Antarctica is unstable at 425 ppm.

***

Patrice Ayme.

***

P/S 1: Some will appreciate the facts and graphs above, but mourn the human touch. So here it is.

I was walking two days ago in a forest, where, as child, and that was not so long ago, there used to be a glacier. Now the glacier is an unbelievable 2 miles away, 2,000 feet up, and there are thousands of tall trees instead. Most of the heating is in the mountains, and at the poles. As the warming theory says it should be.

P/S 2: Venus, Earth and Mars surface temperatures are dominated by the evolution of their greenhouses. So it will be on all inhabitable planets. A greenhouse is as natural as an atmosphere. A problem we have now is that the only natural greenhouse gases are water vapor, H2O, CO2, and traces of CH4. Unfortunately, we have added other, much more potent, man made greenhouse gases to this mix.

MONEY CORRUPTS INTELLECTUALS.

December 17, 2008

MONEY, IN EXCESS, ALLOWS PAID INTELLECTUALS TO FORM INTO A CLASS, AND SERVE THE PLUTOCRACY.

USING PUBLIC MONEY TO FORM A SECRET SOCIETY. HOW INTELLECTUALS ARE ALLOWED TO TURN INTO A NEW CLASS OF STATE PRIESTS. OR IS THAT EVEN MORE RIDICULOUS?

***

Ever since Socrates’ ranting against the “Sophists”, the subject of the intellectuals thinking for money instead of thinking for intellectual superiority’s sake, has been of the highest intellectual lineage.

(Although Socrates mostly eschewed the problem, the massive failure of Athens’s intellectual class was the main cause of her catastrophic failure, and near annihilation, with enormously adverse consequences for democracy and civilization in the next 26 centuries. Just as the success of intellectuals, in generations preceding, had led to Athens’ superiority (in many dimensions) by the time of Pericles.)

The Internet has provided with a new twist in this debate. And that twist has provided excessive money with a new opportunity to exert its power.

Recently, only personnel of rich universities have been allowed access to scientific and intellectual research product. This is done by requiring the public to pay hefty fees to just have a glance at an article (see P/S 1).

It’s outrageous that scientific research would be withdrawn from public scrutiny and access. Most scientific research is funded by the PUBLIC. Thus the public ought to be the ultimate owner of the information gathered by scientists. In Britain, for example, the universities are now all public (Oxford and Cambridge are not private anymore). So it is in continental Europe. US universities, even private ones, are hugely financed by taxpayer money in various ways. To grab other people’s property for one’s profit is thievery. To do it to the public defiles and attacks the REPUBLIC (Res Publica).

Besides, science, and intellectual activities, are public utilities, thus should provide with public access, just like the high seas, the moon, or the air one breathes.

Should this grabbing of collective resources by a small self-selected elite and rich universities be allowed to go on, it is to be feared that a new priesthood will rise. Meanwhile, most of the public will get ever more ignorant, antiscientific, anti-intellectual, and resentful (of that new priesthood). New Dark Ages would be here. (Apparently, even the present administration has expressed alarm, and took corrective action in some biological areas.)

In a way, allowing only members of rich universities to have access to intellectual product, is similar to what happened at the criminal root of the present financial crisis: a small elite grabs for itself, and its personal enrichment, vast global, public resources. In the case of the financial crisis, money of the public deposited in banks was lent to the plutocracy to use as leverage in unregulated pyramid schemes involving the big and obscure concept of “derivatives” and “swaps”. Same idea; take public money, give it to a few to enrich themselves.

Enrichment can be financial, but also intellectual, or scientific. Capital does not have to be financial only.

Fairness and the equality clause of the republic are involved. Indeed, more globally the question is that, if it takes several hundred dollars to look at a just one issue of one journal financed by the public, who has that kind of money? Who has that kind of access? The plutocracy, those at the root of the world financial and economic mess.

As Obama claims that he wants to provide better Internet access to the population, one guesses that he means better access to information, and, in particular, to publicly financed information. So he should look at this injustice. The web is nothing if it is content empty.
***
Patrice Ayme
Patriceayme.com
****

P/S 1: Here is how Dr. Olivia Judson describes the access-to-intellectual product problem in the New York Times (December 16, 2008):
“One caveat. I say “access to information is easier and faster than ever before.” With respect to scientific information, this is true for people within universities, but not for those without them. One of the consequences of the scientific journals going digital is that it has become harder for members of the public to get access to original scientific information. It used to be the case, for example, that anyone could get permission to spend a day at the library at Imperial College; once there, they could read any of the journals on the library shelves. Now, subscriptions to the paper editions of many journals have been stopped — the journals are no longer physically there — and only members of the university are allowed access to the online versions. Some journals give free access, at least to back-issues; but many do not. Then, if you are not a member of a university and you want to read some articles, they may cost you as much as $30 each. I think this is a pity. Perhaps not many people want to read original scientific research; but somehow, it seems against the spirit of the enterprise.”

P/S 2: Some university professors from rich institutions are sure to scoff, and claim they are not responsible about university and journals’ behaviors. But of course they are. “Spondere” in Latin means to pledge. The most intellectually worthy should become conscious that  intellectual exploration is a civilizational class adventure in which the entire population of the civilization (in this case, Earth) is involved. By cooperating in a massive theft, they pledge back to that global organization of rich universities, plutocrats and for profit publishing tycoons… Instead of pledging back to the “People”, in other words, the public of the republican Constitution.

P/S 3: As we said, the failure of the intellectual class in Athens brought her failure. Socrates was trying to say this. Less well known, but even more drastic, was the failure of the intellectuals under the Roman empire of the Antonines (Gibbons’ apogee of imperial Rome, 138-180). They were probably, by far, the most paid intellectuals that ever were, and their influence was considerable. No large building could be inaugurated without a billionaire philosopher coming, highly paid by public authorities to give an edifying discourse. They had the ears of emperors (a tradition going back to the imperator Pompey the Great, who had his own top notch pet Greek philosopher). But those intellectuals also were like very expensive prostitutes, billionaires in charge of feeling good, and celebrating Roma as the best of all possible worlds, to the top dignitaries’ delighted ears. By reserving full access to top cultural information only to the rich, the present system insures the restriction of the elite’s selection only from a tiny reservoir of talent, insuring its long term mediocrity.

P/S 4: The interactions between a civilization and its intellectuals are always very close. Thus, as a kleptocratic plutocracy took command of world finance, if not the world economy, the intellectual sphere, far from guiding (as is its proper role), has been gaily emulating on its own silly scale. But the consequences are dreadful: increasingly high education has come to mean high access for the chosen few inside the USA.

***


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SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism