Archive for the ‘Climate Catastrophe’ Category

Physics Of Hurricanes: Force Six Hurricanes Someday Soon?

September 18, 2017

There is another powerful hurricane on the way in the Caribbean: Maria now already, category V and strengthening, will hit the large islands of Guadeloupe (population 500,000), Martinique (400,000), and Dominique (75,000) today. Steady winds up to 260 kilometers an hour (150 miles per hour) are already experienced, with gusts at 350 km/h. Meanwhile, long lasting hurricane Jose is still active, out there in the Atlantic ocean.

The physics of hurricane as usually depicted in the media shows what’s going on, but not fully, why it’s going on. Probably because those who write the articles have insufficient understanding. Let’s fill in the cognitive gap.

Overall, a hurricane works like a rotary thermal engine, with a warm source, the warm, moist ocean, and a cold sink (the icy stratosphere, up high). The warm moist air goes up, because it’s lower density than colder air.

The mechanism above depends only upon having a warm source and a cold source (known in thermodynamics as a “Carnot engine”). So one can have Polar Cyclones, or Cyclones on Jupiter (“Great Red Spot”)!

How does it start, why is it self-feeding? If the ocean is warm, many of these large clouds will rise, and dot the ocean. Now the overall rising of warm air creates a low pressure L in the center of a particularly active zone of storms (or “cells”). This is not, per se, exceptional: the entire tropical belt tends to be low pressure, just because the warm air rises more than colder air up north.

That phenomenon creates the trade winds, air from the upper tropical belt which rushes in towards the equator, the “inter-tropical convergence zone” (ITCZ). Because of the rotation of the Earth, the trade winds, which would just go straight south if the Earth didn’t turn, get deflected to the west.

Hurricanes have been piling up in September 2017, from lack of wind shear in the hurricane forming region… Six hurricanes in the Caribbean in 2 weeks… If this keeps up the question of evacuation of many islands arises…

Now let’s go back to hurricane formation. Three or four large cells in the ocean, if close by, will develop a particularly low Low L in the center of the formation. At that point, the cells will tend to gather towards that center. However, the cell closest to the equator will have a greater momentum to the east, thanks to the Earth’s rotation, and the one furthest to the equator, will deviate west. Thus a counterclockwise rotation (in the northern hemisphere) of the set of cells will appear. From conservation of angular momentum, the more the warm air rushes towards the center, the more it tends to rotate (the same effect which makes a skater rotate faster by closing her arms). Next, the cells will merge, a hurricane is formed.

Now the warmer the ocean, the more powerful the rise of air in the middle, the lower the Low L, the greater the rush of air towards the center, and thus the greater the rotating winds. And the greater the winds, the more warm, moist air can rush in from low above the surrounding seas, thus feeding the hurricane.

When part of the frontal edge of the hurricane touches land, or, worse, a mountain range, it loses power in that part (as the power comes from rushing warm, moist air), losing its low there. So naturally the hurricane steers towards areas which can feed it, avoiding large land masses and mountain ranges.

(Thus hurricane steering is reminiscent of how an elementary particle should be steered by the geometry in a future Sub Quantum Mechanics.)

In any case, the hurricane is a rotating engine, whose rotation brings in the warm moist air it uses as fuel. Thus, if the rotation can’t develop, the engine won’t start. And the rotation develops because of the unequal drag of the clouds depending upon how far the equator is (big word: Coriolis Force). In particular, if the clouds cells are astride the equator, they will be equally dragged, and no rotation will occur. Thus, there are no hurricanes around the equator itself.

(The energies involved are enormous: around a ten megaton H bomb every twenty minutes; nuking a grade 5 hurricane would have no effect whatsoever, but for augmenting a bit more the sucking action of the hurricane…)

What of the frequency of hurricanes? The scenario above supposes that the large storm cells can start to rotate. However, the greenhouse augments winds all over. Linear winds, not just rotating winds. It’s a question of equipartition of energy (spreading the energy around in all dimensions available).

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2008/03/08/the-equipartition-of-energy-theorem-should-be-applied-for-climate-change-and-predicts-wild-fluctuations-of-temperatures/

Those winds can, and will, shear thunderstorm cells… Just as Saharan sand can collapse them (so stronger trade winds also play against hurricane formation, at least in the Atlantic). Thus hurricanes will tend to form a more ferociously, but not more frequently. What will augment, though, will be the ferocity and frequency of linear storms, and many have ravaged Europe in the last decade.

So far, the Earth has warmed up one degree centigrade, from the anthropogenic greenhouse, since 1800 CE. Another two degrees seems baked in. In the Carboniferous (“Carbon-making”) era, 400 million years ago, the CO2 and the heat were greater. There is also evidence that pretty much all the continents had joined. Yet, there was moisture in the interior of said continents (because there were plants). Moisture, in the sort of climate we know now, should never have penetrated so deep. How come? Super giant hurricanes, obviously. So we can expect force six, or more, hurricanes in the future… It happened before.  

Patrice Ayme

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I FEEL, THEREFORE I AM

December 3, 2015

Descartes Cut Down To Size, Consciousness Extracted:

Concepts such as “consciousness”, “free will”, “sentience”, or (to sound learned) “qualia”, are often brandished, without connecting them to (what are called in Quantum Physics) “observables“.

I will try to correct this here. I will associate “consciousness”, “free will”, “sentience”, or “qualia” with something observable, namely unpredictability. This enables me to claim that even simple animals have emotions, consciousness, etc.

Yet my approach, unpredictability, provides with a measure (of consciousness, free will, sentience, qualia), thus does not put all species in the same basket (as the unpredictability a mind is capable of will vary; and not just vary as a number).

Approaching intelligence through unpredictability does not fall in the same excesses as Princeton’s Peter Singer and other in the “animal rights movement who claim (with the Nazis) that fleas and humans have equal rights (so we may as well treat humans as fleas).

The notion of “observable” was central to the birth of Quantum Physics, and still is.

Aplysia: Brainy, Thus Sentient, Conscious & Also Unpredictable

Aplysia: Brainy, Thus Sentient, Conscious & Also Unpredictable

Clever Enough to Become a Plantimal…

There are more than 3,000 species of “Nudibranchs”, these sea slugs, as their branchies are nude… Just when you thought you were safe from French. the particular one above steal genes from photosynthesizing algae it eats. Then it becomes solar powered. Science does not know how this works, because Obama prefers to finance his friend Elon Musk rather than fundamental research in genetics and solar power. TO SOLVE THE GREEN HOUSE GASES CRISIS, ONE NEEDS MORE FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH. NOW. Finance it with the 6,000 billions dollars given to fossil fuel plutocrats and their obsequious lackeys.

The notion of “observable” is central to Quantum Physics, and irritated Einstein, especially when Heisenberg pointed out that it was he, Einstein, who had introduced it in physics. It is no coincidence that I was driven to capture it for consciousness: it is central to science.

Quantum processes “behave” as if they were conscious of the environment at a distance. Einstein is unhappy in his grave: reality has turned into his worst nightmare. Poor Einstein was very much a Nineteenth Century physicist, he did not graduate to the new age of implicit wholeness.

Chris Snuggs: “As if” they are conscious. Does that mean they ARE conscious?

Patrice: Not an answerable question, because Quantum Processes cannot be interviewed. But I am sure that the feeling of consciousness is rooted in those Quantum Processes. Precisely because Quantum Processes behave as one could imagine elements of consciousness to behave: they are both unknowable and retrospectively determinable.

Chris Snuggs: “Does not “consciousness” need a brain?”

Patrice Ayme: First for the simple answer. What’s a brain? A set of neural networks. Aplysia has around 650 neurons.

A brain “thinks”. What is thinking? How do we know that an animal thinks? When it behave in a way we cannot always predict. Thinking manifests itself by the ability to make a (set of) neural network(s) behave UNPREDICTABLY.

Thinking is detected by the ability to go beyond (rote) learning, thus, to be unpredictable.

At least that’s what I claim. I claim this, because that’s the best I can… think of. What else?

Here is an example illustrating the preceding concepts. I met a giant sea turtle in the ocean. I knew it was thinking. How? because it showed a lot of initiative (especially for a supposedly stupid reptile).

First it determined I was no threat. It swam towards me. I could see its eye moving, inspecting me. I could not predict what it was going to do. It extended a vast flipper next to my fingers, we delicately touched. It was a sort of respectful handshake across 400 million years of evolution. I have been at the (very obscure, as it should be!) Sistine Chapel, at the Vatican, where God extents a finger to man.

This was much better. A flipper was extended, from turtle, to human. Then my reptilian friend slowly dove. I had done nearly nothing. The sea creature had created the encounter. Deliberately. Unpredictably.

Two days earlier me and the same turtle (it is particularly large, so I know it was the same one) swam on the surface in a particularly strong current, in the exact same spot, so it probably recognized me: sea turtles have color vision, and I am unmistakable with bright fluorescent orange and yellow shirt, pants and socks and giant bright yellow fins.

It is precisely because a human being, the world’s smartest animal, cannot predict the behavior of another organism, that we know that this organism thinks, is conscious, has sentience. The first time it decided to swim 5 feet apart, although I was all business, having trouble with the current, and not interested at that point by socializing sea monsters. My sole aim was to regain the beach, 400 meters away, past a sea cliff.

“Sentience” comes from the Latin sentientem (nominative sentiens) “feeling,” present participle of sentire “to feel”. The turtle was at the very least intrigued by my behavior the first time (‘crazy human swims against current pretending to be a turtle’), and was interested to inspect me some more.

In the case of three neurons, free will (or at least unpredictability) has been demonstrated. https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/…/three-neurons-free…/

The question of what is “consciousness” and how it can be determined to happen arises. That’s harder.

In “Surveiller et Punir” (mistranslated in English as “Discipline and Punish” instead of “Surveillance and Punishment”) Michel Foucault quoted at length the full execution of Damiens a religious fanatic who had pricked Louis XV with a knife. Foucault wanted to show how punishment changed. That gives me a justification to set-up my own gory scheme.

Descartes is famous for his “I think therefore I am”. What he was after was finding the simplest, most fundamental basis to start from. So doing, he made a huge mistake.

Indeed, one does not need to think to know that one is.

That can easily be shown by a thought experiment. Grab Descartes, tie him up on a table. The strength and number of bounds is important. Then take a rusty saw, and start to cut Descartes’ leg off. After Descartes puts in doubt your philosophical qualifications, he will start screaming. By the time you get to the sensitive nerves, next to the bone, his discourse will have lost any apparent method. At this point Descartes will not be thinking, but busy screaming his head off. Still, he would be fully existent, and feeling more alive than ever.

Thus sentience is more fundamental than thinking.

This shows, once again, that correct thinking starts with the correct feelings, moods, emotions.

This has many applications. When people extol Christianism, or Islamism, as if they were civilizations, instead of crazy superstitions with a very LETHAL Dark Side, one has to ask whether they set-up the mood of the Enlightenment.

When “leaders’ gather in Paris for the Green House Gas (GHG) crisis, are they aware of the correct emotion, the correct mood, that they should be infused with? Namely that they have only a few years to research the technologies which will allow to get rid of the GHG crisis, or an unprecedented holocaust, of the entire biosphere, may, or  will happen…

And will they be conscious that it will be their fault, and the fault of the 6,000 billion dollars of yearly fossil fuel subsidies they preside over, like the ecological terrorists they are?

This is an example of the following:

Verily, if you want to think right, you have to feel right. First.

Patrice Ayme’

Under Water

December 1, 2015

A Maui Native told me something stunning: when he was a teenager, the West Coast of West Maui was a wide continuous golden sand beach. Now that beach is gone, only small patches survive, between small rocky capes. He accuses sea level rise. The Native works for a taxi service, and he is scared that the sea level will take out the road which is the lifeline to West Maui. He is even scared sea level rise will soon cut Maui in two.

He showed me where the road was cut by the waves, during high tide, and I could see the makeshift barriers the government had installed, pathetically. He says the cutting of the road has become the principal threat to his employment (and to the massive tourist sector of West Maui). Traffic crawls at 5 miles an hour when the waves come in.

Sea level is very hard to estimate: it varies continuously. Yet, as I saw in Maui, and as I have seen in other coast, full grown trees of deciduous species are not capable to grow where waves batter. Seeing tree roots exposed by waves, as I found on the French Cote d’Azur, on a particular beach which I knew, but is now under a meter of water, demonstrate clearly that sea level rise is grossly underestimated.

All This Was A Golden Beach, Now It IS Under Water. West Maui Coast, Facing Lanai.

All This Was A Golden Beach, Now It IS Under Water. West Maui Coast, Facing Lanai.

A Qatari emits 33 tons of CO2 per inhabitant per year. The average Earth citizen emits 4.5 tons of CO2. Switzerland, 5.1 tons. The average in China is 6.5 tons, and 6.6 tons for a citizen of the European Union. Citizens of the USA emit, in the average, 16.1 tons (Canada and Australia do significantly worse).

48% of world CO2 emission is to produce energy and electricity. Transportation is only 23%, Industry 19%, and the rest, including home heating, only 10%.

Coal burning creates half of the world’s CO2 emission.

The inability to cut on greenhouse gases emissions is striking: they are still going up. One problem has been the crackdown on nuclear energy: for perhaps half the planet, right now, only nuclear energy can provide clean energy. Even Switzerland, full of mountains and thus endowed with vast amounts of hydro power, gets its good number from massive usage of nuclear energy (even though some of the reactors have been installed in locations which should have been completely excluded: where are the ecologists when needed?)

Yes, I said clean, when depicting nuclear power, and let no Fukushima or Chernobyl be brandished by the morally dubious, shrilly PC. Both nuclear accidents were caused by demented risks taken by foolish operators, and derelict surveillance authorities. Both situations were deeply insane, from putting reactors where super giant tsunamis have already struck, and not being ready after that happened, to using, in the case of the Soviet built reactor, hyper dangerous technology (graphite-gas), which should never have been built (such reactors are unstable under low power).

Not to do anything about the CO2 catastrophe is incomparably more demented than building nuclear reactors in every city (not that I recommend this!). It’s more demented, not just by orders of magnitude. One cannot compare the evacuations of a few zones left to wild animals (who are very happy), to the assured destruction of the biosphere. Once again, Fukushima happened because Japanese ecologists were out to lunch, and so was the government and the Tokyo Power company. And Chernobyl was the product of a dictatorship which had at least one way worse accident, and kept it hush hush.

Pseudo-ecologists have blocked stridently nuclear power (instead of insisting that it should be made safe, and how). Result? Sea Level rise has now doubled in rate relative to what it was 20 years ago.

United Nations predict a catastrophic rise of one meter by 2100. However that does not take into account the possible catastrophic collapse of Antarctica’s WAIS, Wilkes, and Aurora basins… which I anticipate. And melt massively they will, soon.

Some will smirk, and will suggest to wait until average of sea level rise are much higher than the recently registered 3.3 mm per year average. Yes, whatever. My little theory of sea level rise by catastrophic melting of Antarctica just got a timid support in the first official academic study of the subject. They admit that, instead of taking 10,000 years, catastrophic melting is only a few decades away. (I persist, and sign, that this is a ridiculous underestimate!)

Qatar is at 33 tons of CO2 per person per year. Let’s meditate what it means. That’s evil. And one evil leads to another: a consortium of British journalists just evaluated that the number of workers killed on the world cup stadiums in Qatar was in excess of 900 (yes, nearly a thousand). As we can see, enabling evil here, make it sprout all over (and yes, Qatar enables the Islamist State). Not doing anything impactful against sea level rise is enabling that rise. Thus, it is enabling evil. As average citizens are powerless, it’s our great leaders who are evil. They wanted the job, they got it, they give us hell, surely they won’t mind be called by their names?

The president of Ecuador, triumphantly re-elected, and a professional (USA PhD) economist, says that the climate catastrophe is NOT a technical problem, it is a political problem. The president of Senegal, a country at sea level, points out that there is no plan B, so the Paris Conference cannot fail.

And you know what the political problem is, at the deepest level of analysis? It’s the ultimate, the will to have evil rule. In one word: plutocracy. The will to have evil rule has no better friend than the CO2 catastrophe. As, first of all, it teaches people to live with catastrophe, and love it (as, earlier they were made to live with the bomb, and love it!)

And yes, it’s not as urgent, but even worse than the war against fascism in World War Two. Because there is a non-human operator involves, physics itself. As it is not as urgent, the frogs feel sleepy, instead of anxious. But they will get barbecued all the same.

Patrice Ayme’

Science: Progressing Wisdom

May 11, 2014

Abstract: Pseudo scientific considerations by one of the USA’s most famous pundits are demolished (with the help of Krugman). Science defines progress (all the more as it requires ever more conscience). An occasion is found to reveal that physics’ relativity theory is relatively old.

REASON IS NOT SPASTIC:

The continuity of science, or, more generally of natural observations, or even of the most atavistic wisdom, is not appreciated enough. To understand this is important: fast buck artists and the worst potentates, Caligula, Nero, or Putin style, and the most terrible errors of policies, says the lethally unsustainable energy or thoughts systems we are presently enjoying, generally relate from age old wisdom denied.

A particular example of this consists into dismissing the notions of scientific consensus, and scientific progress.

Extending Galileo's Relativity Experiments To Light

Extending Galileo’s Relativity Experiments To Light

Galileo had tried to determine the speed of light, but it was too fast. However, once one knows light is a wave, one realizes that, thanks to precision manufacturing, much can be done deep inside a ship, as Galileo used to.

An example I use all the time is that Buridan discovered inertia and used it for establishing the heliocentric system. In 1320 CE, two full centuries before Copernic… Copernic just studied Buridan’s theory. So what had happened in the meantime? The Catholic Church, with the collaboration of Louis XI (the encaging king), outlawed Buridan around 1470 CE. The truth came out, because greater Poland/Czech/Ukraine (at the time) was inimical to Rome’s religious fanaticism (so Buridan was mandatory in Cracow, where Copernic studied).

So reason is not spastic. It’s the active intervention of intellectual fascism that makes reason spastic.

DENYING REASON, A USA MAIN STREAM SPECIALTY:

Making reason spastic in appearance is useful to those who want to deny reason. Such as all those who depend for their comfort upon a small oligarchy holding the world in its talons.

Science, well done, is the temple of reason. Reason inconveniences plutocrats. This is why enormous propaganda, for decades, denied, in the USA, that evolution happened (something established by Lamarck and his colleagues before 1800 CE).

So it’s no wonder that one of the USA’s top gargoyles (festering at the Wall Street Journal and Fox) dismissed the global warming consensus. Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer is “not impressed by consensus.” Krauthammer is no dummy, he just plays one on TV. Like Goebbels, he has studied stuff. He is a trained psychiatrist.

Krauthammer appeared on Fox to heap spite on the Obama administration argument that the “97 percent of scientists who study this issue, who agree that climate change is real and it is the result of human activity.” The hammer of the Kraut retorted that:

“99 percent of physicists were convinced that space and time were fixed until Einstein working in a patent office wrote a paper in which he showed that they are not… I’m not impressed by numbers. I’m not impressed by consensus…These are things that people negotiate the way you would negotiate a bill, because the science is unstable…Because in the case of climate, the models are changeable. And because climate is so complicated,” Krauthammer continued, “The idea that we, who have trouble forecasting what’s going to happen on Saturday in the climate, could pretend to be predicting what’s going to happen in 30, 40 years, is absurd.

The answer to this is what I call “Catastrophic Logic” (which allows air travel). But let’s Krugman roll:

KRUGMAN: EINSTEINIAN EVOLUTION, NOT REVOLUTION:

“As Chait notes, this logic would lead you to dismiss all science — hey, maybe tomorrow someone will write a paper showing that the germ theory of disease is all wrong, so why bother with sterilized instruments in the hospital? But there’s something else wrong here — the complete misunderstanding of what Einstein did.

Yes, Einstein showed that space and time were relative concepts. But did he show that everything physicists had been doing up to that point was all wrong? Of course not — classical physics was an incredibly useful and successful field, and almost none of what it said had to change in light of relativity. True, Einstein showed that it was a special case — but one that applied almost perfectly at the speeds and accelerations we encounter in normal conditions

So if we had an Einstein equivalent in climate science, he or she would find that existing models were right in 99.9% of what they assert, even though under extreme conditions they might be misleading.

Or maybe the simpler way to put it is, Dr. Krauthammer, you’re no Einstein.”

To be fair about climate science, it depends upon too many factors to be precise beyond the fact we are for sure, lest we do a few things real fast, and real ferocious, that we are facing one of the greatest catastrophe for a few million years, or maybe all the way back to Snowball Earth, more than 600 million years ago.

Now to expand on what Krugman said.

RELATIVITY RELATIVELY OLD:

Einstein’s work in Relativity was such a puny advance to what was known before that, nowadays, Einstein is not viewed by competent historians of science as the main architect of “Relativity”.

It’s also why Einstein did not get a Nobel for Relativity, but for the idea that light travelled as photons (and other contributions to physics)… An idea I do not believe, by the way, to be 100% correct, although Einstein was close enough to explain the photoelectric effect with it!)

The inventor of the idea of Relativity is Galileo, who described it in great detail in the early Seventeenth Century. Galileo observed that, inside a cabin deep in a ship one cannot tell if the ship is moving or not. Galileo suggested in a long list, all the experiences one can think of. Observe the connection between new technology and new science: the ship itself is the (non-) accelerator of the 17C.

For a while, in the late Nineteenth Century, some physicists thought that light was not respecting Relativity.

However, when that was tested by American physicists Michelson and Morley with an interferometer, it was found that light could not detect absolute motion.

The mystery was explained when it was found by Lorentz and Fitzgerald that length contracted in the direction of very high speed motion. That the laws of electrodynamics (summarized and completed by Maxwell) did not respect normal space-time transformations was made amply clear by Poincare’, who proclaimed the “Principle of Relativity” (1904), after publishing the mass equal energy relation in 1900, and discovering the “Poincare’ group”.

Poincare’, the most famous mathematician, insisted that Lorentz get the Nobel Prize in physics. Later, Einstein resumed all this in 1905, starting from Poincare”s idea that the fact that the speed of light was constant was a fundamental law of nature (as the work of Einstein was published by Planck in German rather than French, Dutch, or English, it got great renown).

Thus Relativity Theory was fully in a continuity inaugurated by Galileo 400 years ago. Indeed.

SCIENCE DEFINES PROGRESS:

We still use the optics found by the Greeks, and, the idea of numerals, including the zero, was developed by them and the Indians.

Greek thinkers also discerned the idea of evolution, suggested we evolved from fishes, an idea Lamarck revived by ascertaining that apes were our direct ancestor (to the hatred of the church).

In truth, science is as old as our species. We always add new layers. That’s why we have to be suspicious when some come, and claim that all what we knew before is wrong (as the cackling Multiverse turkeys do with both physics and philosophy).

The progress the genus Homo has made, is, first of all, defined by the science we have. All the more as it requires an ever more sophisticated conscience.

Patrice Aymé

Why Europe Lays Supine

May 1, 2013

Abstract: The crisis in Europe is now worse than in the 1930s, in major countries such as Britain, or Spain. So how come, differently from the 1930s, revolutions are not wrecking the streets? The aging of the population does not explain all the torpor. Nor does the fact that Europe suffers from globalization, also known as ‘free trade’, and plutocrats make sure that the Plebs is not aware of what ails them, or even, that they suffer at all: the wealthiest profit from the unfolding catastrophe.

A  most subtle psychological mechanism is at work: Europe already tried something very bold, very virtuous, axed on the sustainable and, not only did it backfire, but it proved… completely unsustainable. A disabling injury joined by an insult to reason itself: no wonder Europeans feel too depressed to do anything about anything anymore.

Why No Panic Yet?

Why No Panic Yet?

***

EUROPEAN PLUTOCRACY: SUBJACENT TO MUCH.

I was reading newly published  conversations of Hitler with his generals. Marshall Edwin Rommel and Hitler, in May 1943, discussed the dislike that “plutocrats” (yes, “plutocrats”, that’s the word they used) had for any social tendencies found in Nazism. In particular Hitler expressed the revulsion he felt in Rome, in 1938, for Italian plutocrats, and the triple game they played, through their control of the military, and double faced diplomacy with Britain, playing everybody against everybody.

Italian plutocracy did not come out whole from WWII. A republic was installed, with a slightly modified version of the French revolutionary flag. The daughter of the king, the one that Hitler gave his arm to, in 1938, died in an extermination camp, victim of an allied bombing…

Fast forward to May 2013, 70 years later. The Dutch are hysterical with joy: they just nominated a new plutocrat to head the Netherlands, William-Alexander, worth at least 300 million dollars. His wife is particularly popular. She is doubly plutocratic; barely twenty year old, before even having an economy degree, she was an investment banker in Argentina and New York (the biggest banks made like bandits from Argentinean default); she is the daughter of another plutocrat, a minister of the dictator Videla (famous for having tortured, before assassinating them, more than 30,000 people).

The hysterical Dutch wear orange. My Mom asked me why. I did not know, but I was correctly suspicious. It turns out that William-Alexander’s family used to rule, more than six centuries ago, the city of Orange… In Provence, France. Unfortunately, for the plutocrats, France is now a republic, sort of, so the followers of William-Alexander are reduced to waving orange flags, instead of waging terror in Orange, as they used to. Of course, Orange was built as one the free cities of the Roman republic, and only later was stolen by the ancestors of William-Alexander.

Kleptocracy or plutocracy? The latter is more general than the former.

I visited a 17 centuries old cathedral, the Saint Sauveur cathedral in Aix en Provence, four centuries older than Islam. Part of the cathedral was built even before Constantine became emperor. Then Constantine, a major plutocrat, if there ever was one, greatly thanks to fiscal measures, imposed Catholicism… The breathing of millennia endows our minds beyond this Earth.

Christianity, like Islam, was instrumentalized. The Saud family is trying to pose as the guardian of pure and hard Islam, but it violates the very foundation of Islam according to Muhammad, zakat (basically an anonymous voluntary tax the pious rich are supposed to impose on themselves, a command of the Qur’an). The Saudis know that they thrive, as long as people think in a way that revere them on top.

***

WHO COMMANDS MAKE CIVILIZATIONS MORE OR LESS POTENT & CREATIVE:

That the free are more motivated was already pointed out by Herodotus (see the last essay). What makes the minds of civilizations? Sometimes the oligarchy fabricates thoroughly the minds of the Plebs. Such robots show little mental creativity, even when they are requested to have some.

Indeed, even where they are allowed to be mentally creative, they will tend to be afraid of crossing scarlet walls across the mental landscape. This explains why the Roman empire lost much of its mental creativity, once it became a dictatorship. Even in the arts of war: the adoption of new weaponry in the first seven centuries of the Roman military dictatorship was roughly zero, in sharp contrast with the Roman Republic’s constant introduction of new weapons (although Constantinople introduced a crucial new weapon, Grecian Fire, the Seventh Century equivalent of the nuclear bomb).

Sometimes the oligarchy is ejected by a new, larger oligarchy, or several variants, in quick succession: this happened in England in the 17C.  Sometimes the revolt is even larger, encompassing much of the middle class: that’s what happened in France in 1789. The American Revolution was still something else, as it was more of a civil war.

Who leads is who gives the minds to the commons. If only a few lead, little mind is to be had. The wider the leadership, the more mind for the commons. This explains why the French republic of 1792 was able to defeat the coalition of all European plutocracies that tried to crush her, including Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia. French research in new high explosives and superior artillery was crucial in defeating the invading Prussian army at Valmy in September 1792 (same story as Captain napoleon’s artillery defeated the British at Toulon, a few weeks later).

***

WHY EUROPE TOLERATES AUSTERITY:

The lack of vision in Europe is, colossal. And not just from the leaders, but also from the Plebs. But how come is austerity still proceeding apace? Why, as jobs are dying, not enough people are screaming for work? Is it just because the more people are out of work, the more stabilizers of the welfare state are at work?

The control of the EU by right wingers is still a fact, except, in appearance, for the French Socialists (but most elected socialists are right wingers in disguise). Many European leaders are tied to Wall Street.

This explains why Mario Draghi, ex-partner at Goldman Sachs, is still practicing the strong Euro policy (that takes away millions of European jobs; the Euro ought to be half the value it’s at, right now). That favors his masters on the other side of the ocean.

All these facts are known, but why no truly massive demonstrations? In May 1968, just because the state was too authoritarian, all of France went on strike, for a month (something similar happened in Czechoslovakia, and, in the USA, and LBJ declined to be candidate to the presidency again).

OK, people are older now, their anger hormones less in control.

Yet another fact is at work.  Europe made a giant effort, 25 years ago. Europe had two visions: the free market, “libre concurrence”, and ecology. Both visions have failed. The free market, it turns out mostly meant that banks were free to exploit the consumers and the states, and that plutocrats could live, tax-free, more powerful every year.

Many of those on the deep left said:”we told you so!” But even them have run out of critical steam. Indeed, they wanted to help the Third World, desperately. Now the Third World is helping itself with second, third, and actually, all servings. So what are European progressives going to say? Take jobs away from the Vietnamese, give them back to the French, who are paid twenty times more? Do they want to exploit the Third World, like the colonialists they used to criticize?

Sustainable energy is an even more painful subject, a wreck of European hopes and struggles. Ecological virtue has made European disadvantage even worse. Huge investments and efforts were engaged, great hopes raised, to curb the rise of the CO2. The rest of the world, led by the USA, refused to collaborate.
Thus, that vision has been a disaster. First, industrial production was delocalized in places that did not mind using the cheapest energy. Hence the global CO2 production was in no way impacted.

Secondly, European sanctions against energy production hobbled European industrial production and enabled those others, led by the USA, to get immense economic advantages, while the seas and temperatures rose, and Europe economic advantage sank.

British electricity prices have tripled in less than ten years. Even Germany, right now, having decided to get out of old fashion nuclear energy is finding the going tough, increasingly intolerably expensive. The French have wrecked their car industry by imposing tough CO2 standards.

Overall, because of Euro (and pound!) over-evaluation, the European economy has become uncompetitive (in spite of the German ‘success’, which is more appearance than reality).

Result? Now the Europeans are scared of any new vision, embarking in the many new ventures that really getting out of austerity would entail, lest something even worse comes about. They  suffer from a subconscious feeling that they did something uncomprehendingly, immensely bad, by showing too much initiative. Hence a dreadful determination to not go grandiose again. And thus the willing, collective wearing of the hair shirts.

This is why there is no explosion yet. And why the bought off right-wingers, the Barrosos, Rehn, Junkers,  German central bank head, and other austerians, keep on talking loud and strong. All the more as they have to disguise how wrong they were. And what better disguise for error than to keep on insisting that they were right?

And what of the USA? The sequester may bring a disaster: it’s pretty similar to what happened in Europe in the last few years.

When Roosevelt became president, he advocated to have no fear. Indeed one can hardly expand an economy when everybody is hiding below a rock.

***

Patrice Ayme

***

Patrice Ayme

Nuke Bad Comets

March 10, 2013

IT’S THE ONLY WAY (TO FULL EMPLOYMENT, AMONG OTHER THINGS).

Abstract: Appropriate use of technology is paramount, as civilization tremble, and the Earth turns into a gas chamber. The way drones have been used to kill extra-judicially in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, is deeply inappropriate. Yet, drones can be used very appropriately on a battlefield. But to use them to bomb millennia of Western morality, is definitively inappropriate. Our technology is turning us into gods, but we better be smarter than the Greek ones of lore. Remember what happened to the Greeks.

The way nuclear energy has been used has often been inappropriate. Yet, nuclear energy shortened up World War Two by several million deaths. Nukes could also save billions, should a bad comet suddenly appear.

Comet Pan-STARRS Visible This Weekend

Comet Pan-STARRS Visible This Weekend

The comet pictured above was detected by the Pan-STARRS telescope in Hawai’i. It’s a “sun-grazer” comet with an elliptic orbit of 106,000 years (so it’s predictable). Perihelion: .302 AU, March 10 (today!). So it is getting as close to the sun as Mercury gets periodically.

Guess what? By a troubling coincidence one such bad comet has precisely just surprised us. OK, it’s not coming for us, but how many of those are there out there? Obviously more than we thought.

Space faring nations with the appropriate technology, nuclear, military, electronic and ballistic, such as France and the USA, should make well financed contingency plans to prepare to engage such a giant object with a nuclear bomb upon very short notice. This is not trivial, because of the unusual speeds and energies involved. The technology would also allow to intercept “city killer” asteroid, even with only a few hours’ warning (after dialing down the megatonnage of the bomb).

Only nuclear energy would work to deal with large impactors, forget big tales for small children, about painting them blue or something. One does not deflect comets with brooms, or firecrackers, but with an explosive energy a million times greater than what Genghis Khan used. That we fortunately have mastered. If we are masters of our souls, we can be masters of fusion.

***  

A BIGGER BANG:

Cosmic warnings are piling up. On January 3, 2013, a comet was discovered. It’s called C/2013 A1. It is on a hyperbolic trajectory, and moves in a retrograde orbit. That means it may be extra solar, and should be leaving the solar system. Maybe it is coming from outside the solar system.

Comet C/2013 A1 is on a collision course with Mars.

October 2014?

October 2014?

Even The Economist, the rogue free market magazine I subscribe to, in “Hits Keep Coming”, thinks that the big governments’ program promoted by the present essay is a good idea, and would give something meaningful for NASA to do

A crucial articulation of the present Greater Depression is that people in Western countries are running out of meaningful things to do, as the plutocracy has deliberately robbed them of employment and power, thus meaning. This essay speaks of struggling against comets, but that will not happen, before a bit of class struggle.

C/2013 A1 is a completely different style of comet from Pan-STARRS. C/2013 A1 is hyperbolic, not elliptic. It means that the comet has so much kinetic energy that, should it not collide this something first, it will escape the Solar System.

C/2013 A1 will come so close to Mars that it may well hit it (comets, because they emit jets of steam, behave a bit like rockets: they can go sideways). Should C/2013 A1 collide with Mars, the event should be most remarkable.

The current estimate of the absolute magnitude of the nucleus M2 = 10.3 indicates a diameter from 10 to 50 km. Worse: the energy imparted is proportional to the square of the velocity, and that velocity is very high, much more than what is needed to escape the sun. C/2013 A1’s speed would be approximately 56 km/s by the time it approaches Mars. By comparison the Solar System’s escape velocity in the vicinity of Mars is 34km/s! The comet has more than twice the energy needed to go visit other stars.  

The energy of impact on Mars, should it happen, might reach the equivalent of staggering 20 billion megatons of TNT!

***

SPACEGUARD NEEDED:

We are lucky that C/2013 A1 is heading towards Mars and not Earth! One has to understand that big planets are for comets like honey strips for flies. They attract them.

That effect protects us. Jupiter is our existing Spaceguard system: it sucks in comets. Jupiter has 318 times the mass of the Earth, making it literally 318 times more attractive for comets (from the gravitation law that Isaac Newton reminded us a scientifically minded French priest had found earlier; often misattributed to Newton nowadays, in a spirit of manifest Anglo-Saxon, hence Wall Street-City of London supremacy).

Two large comets collided with Jupiter in the last two decades. That changed the mood among professionals.

Pre-Socratic philosophers would have been fascinated by all the understanding we have gathered on all these celestial bodies. They were already fascinated, as all this astronomy shook their metaphysics to the core. Before Socrates, it was thought that thinking had to do with learning about what was out there. (After Socrates-Plato-Pluto, it was thought the universe was all about what was in one’s heads. And, sure enough, within a century, plutocracy, Macedonian backed plutocracy, had won all over… Except the Roman republic. Who said metaphysics had no impact?)

In 466 BCE, Halley’s comet passed by for the longest time, 75 days. Simultaneously, an enormous meteor (perhaps associated to the comet) crashed into Northern Greece. A piece, as large as a wagon, landed on the ground and stayed a tourist attraction for more than 5 centuries. That shattered the ancient theories of the Greeks about the heavens. Anaxagoras’ science came to the fore.

The Greeks would  have been fascinated by Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9. Irresistibly attracted by the giant planet, that 15 kilometers diameter comet came too close to Jupiter. Shoemaker-Levy, quartered by Jupiter mighty gravitation, broke in 70 pieces or so, and went back to space. Still irresistibly attracted, the comet, now a train of comets of all sizes, hit the gas giant on its next pass. The pieces entered the Jovian atmosphere, making giant black impacts in it.

Each of the largest 7 fragments’ explosion was bigger than Earth herself. One explosion made a giant dark spot over 12,000 km across, and released an energy equivalent to 6 million megatons of TNT. That unreal succession of impacts into Jupiter in July 1994 blasted smugness about the stability of heavens to smithereens. Astronomer David Levy stated: “The giggle factor disappeared after Shoemaker-Levy 9”.

As the comet would pack 20 billion tons of TNT, something packing a few million tons of TNT may help Earth to negotiate with it. I want pacifists munching grass placidly in those vast, awesome Elysian fields in their heads, to meditate upon that.

***

JUST ONE SOLUTION. NUCLEAR ENERGY:

Nuclear energy, because of the basic reason that, by a factor of a million, nuclear energy is the greatest energy source we have. This is why the main problem of our civilization has become the problem of nuclear energy. How to use it appropriately, and not freak out.

If the comet were heading towards Earth we would be scrambling to put together a giant thermonuclear weapon. It could be done. The French republic, by itself, could do it, using in-house equipment. The chance of success, though would approach 100% if, and only if, one were to prepare well, in an international program.

Lots of Uranium 235, and Lithium 7, for a bigger bang, in the monster fission-fusion-fission thermonuclear device we would be hastening to prepare. One of several (because we would need back-ups). If we were really pressed for time, we could rigged together several conventional nuclear warheads, packed together to explode simultaneously. 

As NASA puts it in 2012: For non-technical reasons, this would likely be a last resort, but IT IS ALSO THE MOST POWERFUL TECHNIQUE and could take several different forms, as discussed in the report. The nuclear option would be usable for objects up to a few kilometers in diameter. http://impact.arc.nasa.gov/news_detail.cfm?ID=183

The efficiency of a thermonuclear explosion is augmented by an order of magnitude if it happens three meters below the surface rather than on contact, one centimeter above the surface. So NASA (2012) has proposed to extend the Nuclear Explosive Device with a frontal penetrator which would create a three meter crater. Easy computations show that, had the hyperbolic comet headed towards Earth, the interception speed would have been at least 80km/s, meaning that the thermonuclear fusion sequence would have to be started just before first contact.

Fast Electronics Required @ 80km/s

Fast Electronics Required @ 80km/s

Of the shelf H bombs could take care of comets a few kilometers across.

The power of nuclear devices is hard to fathom. The Castle Bravo device made a crater in the atoll reef. Although it was exploded 7 feet above the reef, the crater  had a diameter of 2 kilometers (6510 ft), with a depth of 80 meters (250 ft). It would have been much worse if it had been buried by 3 meters (five kilometers across, 160 meters deep).

For larger comets, a true bomb from hell would have to be devised: a fission-fusion-fission with a powerful third stage. A third stage is simply a Uranium envelope around the thermonuclear bomb. When it gets hit by “fast neutron” from the H bomb, it fissions in turn. The largest bomb ever tested, Tsar Bomba, over the arctic island of Novaya Zemlya, was 58 megatons TNT. It was deliberately made with NO third stage. (And the second stage may have contained some lead, instead of uranium.)

It’s not that a third stage is hard to make; it’s just uranium metal. But Soviet physicists computed that, with a third stage, Tsar Bomba would have been too powerful. The plane dropping the bomb and its parachute would have been destroyed, to start with. As it was windows were broken more than 1,000 kilometers away, in Finland and Norway. Because so little uranium was used, relative to the Lithium Deuteride fusion fuel, the mightiest bomb ever was also the cleanest, ever, at 97% pure fusion. (Fusion is cleaner because it fuses light elements to create slightly heavier, but still light, elements, and light elements tend not to be fission, or then not for long.)

By enriching the third stage tamper with U235, one could probably go beyond 200 Megatons (and such a tamper could be rigged around conventional warheads, too!).

Thus, contrarily to urban legend from luddites in denial, the largest thermonuclear bombs could take care of the largest comets.

Man-Made Fireball 8 Kilometers Across.

Man-Made Fireball 8 Kilometers Across.

The largest comets are 60% larger than the entire picture, if one uses the fireball as a measuring unit.

Even the largest comet would fragment and the pieces would rocket away. If done a few weeks before Earth impact, clearly all the pieces would miss (another rocket or two would be in back up, just in case).

***

BACK TO THE CATASTROPHE SCENARIO:

So let’s suppose again that C would be headed towards Earth instead of mars.

The next Ariane V would have to be modified hastily. Why Ariane V? First, that flight is already being assembled. It is Flight VA213, signifying the 213th launch of an Ariane from French Guiana since the family’s maiden liftoff in 1979. Its Automatic Transfer Vehicle, named Albert Einstein, would have to be modified with a booster, interception electronic package and basically a boom system in the front to detonate fast enough the nuke in the back, at the staggering speeds involved, so that the bomb can explode at 3 meter depth in the comet… 200 megatons against 20 billion megatons. Fun. Unreal reality.

In general, Ariane is the most dependable, most frequently launched rocket in the West’s arsenal. So it should be part of the quick reaction force to be assembled, as one would need to fling a hefty load.

***

IS IT ALL REAL?

When “experts” come, and talk about the frequency of impacts, the truth is that we do not have any idea what it is, up to a factor of ten, or more. It is certainly higher than what experts used to believe. three cometary impacts, or near impacts of comets on planets close to us in 20 years is a bad omen.

I was listening to National Public Radio where some scientist from John Hopkins pontificated that the asteroid strike in Siberia (which, a few tens of seconds off could well have annihilated a  major city) happened only every century. In truth, on land three impacts about ten times bigger are known in the last century. Scaling with the ocean, one gets nearly ten of these ten times bigger impacts. Not to say that this is the long term average: it could be a fluke. The same stupid guy was saying that, if we had only 6 months warning, we could not do anything.

And he works on preventing impacts! NPR said.

But what he forgot to say is that his program strictly uses the explosive technology Genghis Khan already had at his disposal. (And what happened? After a costly victory in Hungary, the Tumens had to turn back, them and their fancy black powder rockets.)

(Scientists should stop pontificating, or talk as if they knew, when they don’t, reserve that to the Pope.)

There may have been other impacts in historical times. Unrecorded.

Strange events happening in the Sixth Century, recorded by Chinese and Romans (the only civilizations recording anything reliably at the time) could be explained by impact(s) at sea. (Or then a large volcanic eruption, unidentified so far.) Those events, whatever they were, altered the climate.

Some will smirk, and ask to see the craters. Celestial bodies colliding with the Earth are not on any kind of trajectories. They are ruled by the sun, that is they tend to have trajectories similar to the Earth, but at an angle. So a typical impact will involve a low angle atmospheric entry, spreading death, fires, shock waves and devastation for thousands of kilometers. A crater will not necessary form (elongated craters have been found in Argentina). And remember, 2/3 of Earth is water.

Speaking of which, a proposed impact, the Mahuika impact, 1443 CE, off the south coast of New Zealand, would have been gigantic, typical of a mini comet 500 meters across. There is some evidence for such a cometary impact, from the existence of a crater, from Maori evacuation of the area, to suspected tektites, to suspicious ice cores in Antarctica, to megatsunamis, up to 220 meters high in the region (and 143 meters high in Australia). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahuika_crater

So much for these things being rare.

***

CHANGE THE MOOD ABOUT MOODS:

In recapitulation: learn to do what you can do about what matters.

Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, Nobel Laureate, etc. in Science Mag. editorial “Denial of Catastrophic Risks”, March 8, 2013: “In a media landscape saturated with sensational Science stories and “End of the World” Hollywood productions, it may be hard to persuade the wide public that real catastrophes could arise as unexpectedly as the 2008 financial crisis, and have a far greater impact. Society could be dealt shattering blows by the misapplication of technologies that exist already … we should be more concerned about events that have not yet happened but which, if they occurred even once, could cause worldwide devastation.”

What Rees is saying is that we should change MOODS. We should change our system of mood. Preparing for a comet impact, and how to defeat it would help to change the mood we have about moods.

We need to learn to deny our Denial of Catastrophic Risks.

And we learn to do something about catastrophic risks we have identified (I call this new way of thinking catastrophic calculus). Having an active Spaceguard program against asteroids and comets of all sizes and origins, hyperbolic or not, would be a good symbol of the new attitude we need to adopt. Besides, it would reduce unemployment, and push technology forward.  That’s appropriate.

***

Patrice Ayme

Violence Ends Worlds

December 22, 2012

PLUTOCRACY & MAN RUINED WORLDS BEFORE:
Mass destruction everywhere, all over, is how plutocracy makes the public violent and stupid, thus in synch with its rule.
Violence against people readily extends to violence against the environment, and reciprocally.
After all, one of the main reason to not hurt the environment is because, by doing so, people would be hurt. If one is willing to hurt people, one has one less reason to protect the environment. So ecologists should be concerned about the attitude to violence that people have.

VIOLENCE AGAINST THE ENVIRONMENT DID NOT START YESTERDAY, IT’S THE HUMAN THING TO DO. 50,000 years ago, Neanderthal applied the final solution to the Cave Bear problem. Cave bears and Neanderthals competed for the best real estate in Europe, caves. When Cave Bears had to do without caves, against their better instincts, they degenerated, and died off. There was even more a bear of a problem in North America.

Arctodus Simus: Guardian Of The Americas?

Arctodus Simus: Guardian Of The Americas?


The largest Polar Bear (Ursus Maritimus) ever was 1,002 kilograms (killed circa 1800). During the Pleistocene, which ended with the glaciation, 11,700 years ago, there were three gigantic bears: Arctotherium Angustidens in South America, Arctodus Simus in North America and the Cave Bear Ursus Spelaeus (the largest Ursus species) in Europe (that one was eliminated by 27,000 BCE). These bears are among the largest terrestrial mammalian carnivores that ever lived. The first two were dedicated meat eaters, and could reach up to two metric tons.

Arctodus Simus, long limbed, made for running, cruised as fast as 70 kilometers an hour. It could fight off Saber Tooth cats for the kills. Those giant bears specialized in terror supremacy. Those bears, and other terrible predators guarded the Americas (North America had more than half a dozen species of huge predators). That profusion of man eating monsters is why Australia, much harder to reach by sea, was invaded 40,000 years before the Americas. Those bears had only one thing to fear, man. They kept man off the Americas until man invented weapons advanced enough to kill them, and go south from Behringia, under the cover of climate change.

Why those ursine species did not invade Eurasia, whereas the European Brown Bears (“Grizzlies”) did invade the Americas seems rather mysterious, until one realizes that Neanderthals and their colleagues had long modified, and controlled, the Eurasiatic ecosystem. Grizzlies were compatible with man (and are delicious to eat), whereas the giant meat eating bears were not.
***

HUMAN INDUCED CLIMATE CHANGE: 11,700 YEAR OLD, EXPLODING NOW
After bioengineering many domestic animals, and creating new “cultivars”, or plant species (best example: corn), our ancestors had to cut trees… And kill lions. Studies have shown, and logic imposes, that lions and the like used to dominate the megafauna in total biomass, as a lion could survive on anything, from rabbit to elephant. American, and European lions were larger than the large North African lion (extinct for a century).

The end result was millions of cattle making methane, millions more than there would have been otherwise, and the climate warmed up relative to what it should have been (some specialists say that this Neolithic methane prevented a return of the glaciers to a great extent). More methane meant less glaciers, in turn more CO2 released through melting permafrost, etc.
This may explain why the CO2 density has been long out of control:

Homo Explodes CO2 Chart: We Are Now ~ 450 ppm!

Homo Explodes CO2 Chart: We Are Now ~ 450 ppm!

When people got to Australia, it was a massacre: the megafauna was quickly eliminated, leaving only kangaroos behind.
Conclusion: man has been violently modifying the environment for a very long time, we are in the Anthropocene.
***

WITHOUT PROGRESS, DELIBERATE, MEANINGFUL CHANGE, THE WORLD GETS OLD:
However, people did not get necessarily get away with it: in many places of the Middle Earth (Whatever can be reached from the Middle East within a few months of travel by Neolithic means, i.e. from Britain to India) cutting the trees accelerated, or even created desertification. Egypt is case in point (!). This was well known by the times of the Romans.
The Romans could see the mines getting exhausted, so they ran out of metals for their currency (currency crisis of the Third Century), and even for their weapons (metal crisis of the Seventh Century). After the Muslim attack, the Roman emperor came to Rome one summer to supervise the removal of metal from all the roofs of Rome to melt it, and make weapons of massive Muslim destruction.
Romanitas survived thanks to the metallic flame throwers of the Romans. Once, up to 2,000 Muslim ships were burned, as they sieged Constantinople. As late as the Tenth Century, a flame throwing Roman fleet coming from Constantinople, destroyed a Muslim fleet in the gulf of Saint Tropez, as a Frankish army, in a well coordinated pincer, eliminated the emirate Muslims had perfidiously established in Provence, so as to raid and ransom, all the way to Switzerland.

Meanwhile the Franks had invaded Eastern Europe, Rome’s unrealized dream. There the Franks got enough silver for making a currency again (China, having had drastic inflation & counterfeit from paper money would get silver for its own currency from Potosi, Bolivia, through the Philippines’ Spaniards, eight centuries later; paradoxically, by then the greatest European powers had reintroduced paper money for centuries, as their states were as strong as the 7C Tangs, who did use paper money!).

The cities of Sumer, at the root of (“Western”) civilization, were ecologically devastated. First there was salination (from too much sweet water usage), then deforestation in the Zagros and in the mountains around the Fertile Crescent caused an apocalyptic flood (the famous flood in the Bible). What had been civilization got covered by water, horizon to horizon.
Another famous (mostly) manmade disaster is the drought that put an end to the Mayan civilization. We now know that there was enormous environmental stress. The Mayans had run out of their preferred tree for construction: they used less and less mature specimen, until they had to switch to species that were not as good. The Mayans’ agricultural system depended upon the high technology of an enormous network of artificial lakes and canals. As the drought proceeded, that system failed, while war took over.
***

DARK FUTURE WITH COAL, THUS PERFECT FOR THE DARK SIDE:
Clearly a similar mechanism threatens us today: we need, desperately, more advanced technology. The only thing that can save the seven billions is more advanced technology, massively deployed. Thorium reactors are an obvious opportunity.
Right now, we do NOT have to proceed with coal. Anymore. British leaders were debating getting out of coal, exactly a century ago. Now leaders, everywhere, and especially the developing world, have decided to develop coal big time. In a few years, it will become, again, humanity ‘s main source of energy! Thus we will carry the sins of the Kyoto accord.
So what is going on? These leaders are actually plutocrats. They are not just leaders. They are rich, powerful, and nasty. They develop coal because they find natural to be nasty, as nastiness is the most distinctive quality that fostered their ascent. But it goes further than that. More nastiness deployed even makes them feel good about themselves, and the most developed quality they have, nastiness, showing them that nastiness is the force that moves the world.
***

THE DARK SIDE TOOK OVER ROME, PERFIDIOUSLY:
The fascist Roman empire imposed himself in a sneaky fashion. First there was a genocide against Carthage, one of the worst genocides known. It put an end to a civilization that was, in several ways, the world’s most advanced (in navigation and agriculture). Then the republican Greek city-states were exterminated (Corinth), or terrorized into abject obedience, after losing their independence. At that point, the plutocrats had to destroy the republic in Rome itself, and that is what happened in the following 130 years.
After this, the republic was not formally gone. Augustus did not make the mistake of his great Uncle Caesar, of violating tradition too far by making himself dictator for life (a notion all too close to the kings that Caesar had imposed all over Gaul, to the rage of the local Gallic Senates, causing in turn the great revolt against Caesar). Augustus called himself Princeps (First Man). First man in the Senate (and thus Rome).

Augustus’successors could only survive by augmenting the fascism, and the plutocratic index. The plutocrats around the emperor played a central role, and are always found in all tyrannies. Cultivating a small clique of “grands du royaume” buttressed the Princeps ( “grands”,as they were called in France: the Greats of the kingdom = plutocrats). These were of course the barons in England (with whom William conquered England, and their descendants) and the retinue of the “electors” in Germany (as the Frankish emperor was elected).

This was particularly obvious in the case of emperor Domitian (circa 80 CE), when we have actually reports of major conversations of the plutocrats around a dinner table, one of them the emperor, and they waxed lyrically that any of them could be the ultimate boss, and that those of their colleagues they had killed before, due to some conspiracies, had they not killed them, would naturally find their place again, and enjoy that meal with them.
The philosopher in chief, under Domitian, was Domitian himself, though. Those who disagreed with him, were, obviously, very bad, even dangerous, philosophers, and the sanction was death. Domitian exaggerated a bit, though. He rewarded some for their philosophy, and then eliminated them. Domitian progressively lost touch with his fellow plutocrats, so they send a professional assassin to have a picturesque fight to death with him in his bedroom.
Under the Antonine emperors that Gibbon admired so much, philosophers reached a pinnacle of power never seen before, or since. Most of them were Greek, some were billionaires, all said what the emperors, and the fascist-plutocratic structure supporting them, wanted to hear.
***

ROME & ATHENS CONTRADICTED THEIR RISE’S PHILOSOPHY, SO CRASHED:
A central tenet of the philosophy of fascist-imperial Rome was the exact opposite of what had allowed Rome to rise.
The rise of Rome was technological. Rome was first a melting pot, founded on equal opportunity. that equal opportunity made it an irresistible army, of citizens-soldiers, and that army, in turn, very pragmatically, favored technological innovation, by whatever means.
An example: Rome found itself at war with the greatest power in the western Mediterranean, Carthage. Carthage ruled the sea, her navigators had gone around Africa, and she brought, by sea all kinds of goods, from Black Africa, Gaul, Britain. Carthage ruled the seas, with the world’s most advanced ships.
The Romans captured one of them, and copied it . Within a few months, unbelievably, they built a fleet. The sailors were trained on the rocky soil, in fake triremes. They were declared sailors, and the Consul who had built the fleet, was declared to be an admiral. They sailed away. A Carthaginian fleet sank them all.
Never mind. The Romans built another fleet, paying more attention to detail. Soon they invented a device, the Corvus (=Crow), that could rotate around, and allowed to disgorge the redoubtable, hyper trained legionaries on the decks of the enemy. Carthage sank.
Amusing exploits. Demosthenes had incited Athens to engage in a private-public program to build a war fleet to fight Persia. That was done, and brought the tremendous victory of Salamis, just off the shore in Athens that ended up the efforts of the savage orient to conquer the West for 2,000 years. However, doing so, all the magnificent primary forest of Attica was razed, and never grew back, modifying irreversibly the climate, and making Athens even more vulnerably dependent upon Black Sea wheat. That is, Athenian food supply came from a very great distance, the kind of vulnerability many countries have nowadays. It forced Athens to conduct an aggressive military policy, constructing an empire that extended from Egypt to Byzantium and beyond.
In turn, that empire made Athens increasingly nasty. Within two generations, that nasty spirit, and its fragile far flung extent, became Athens undoing. Athens collapsed morally first, as she engaged in a pattern of war crimes (among them: attacking Syracuse out of the blue, annihilating an island’s population, etc.).
Here to define war crimes, I use Nuremberg, 1945. Some will say that I make an anachronism. However, not so. The roots of Nuremberg 1945 were planted 2,550 years earlier. Reading many texts of the period, and a century earlier, when republican, democratic Athens was created, is revealing. The Nazi like mood that seized Athens around 450 BCE, would have looked horrendous to some of the creators of its democracy (such as Solon), a century earlier, around 550 BCE (Solon was so disgusted by Athens after installing its democracy that he left for ten years to get better ideas, and visited Egypt, among other places).
Thus we see that, not paying attention to the ecology, even for the best reason (wasting Attica to build a war fleet to defend against fascist Persia), can lead to ill conceived, unsustainable empire (the Athenian empire rested on too small a population of Athenians), and then survived just by amplification of nastiness. When a besieged, starving Athens had to surrender to the coalition of Greek city-states, it’s (Persian financed) Sparta that saved it from the vengeance the other cities wanted to visit it with; some of its own medicine, annihilation.
That is why the moral drift in the USA leadership, ever since navy brass, and the dying Roosevelt became best friend with Ibn Saud, or blatant even earlier, when the USA declared Britain and France to be “belligerent” in 1939, and sanctioned them, is so dangerous. That’s how civilization dies.
Athens recovered, but not enough before the goons from the north, the Macedonians, the lovers of horse, Philippe and his son, with their own retinue of major plutocrats (Antipater, for example) could take over all of Greece.
Athens, and the other Greek city-states, ultimately rose successfully against Macedonia. But that was the help of Roman legions. By then the plutocrats were too powerful in the Roman Senate, and they made sure that the Social Revolution in Corinth was crushed. The new philosophy was sustainable fascism, plutocracy desired.
***

ROME COLLAPSED MORALLY FIRST, ECOLOGY FOLLOWED LATER:
So what happened under the Antonine emperors? The philosophers, and other Romans observed, as they said, that “the world was getting old”. Namely there were ecological disasters all over. The economy was becoming more difficult to operate, and command and control would be imposed within 150 years, as precious metals ran out. 300 years later, after the Franks had been unable to stop them, the vandals would seized North Africa, and so doing, starved all of Italy.
Could have Rome been spared that ominous fate? Well, yes, by more advanced technology, which could have been deployed (primitive steam engines existed, and Papin made a steam engine boat, in the 17th Century, using roughly the same metallurgical expertise; there is no doubt that the Romans could have made the same). But the Roman emperors deliberately blocked advanced tech.
The emperors, ill advised, thought that higher technology would increase unemployment.
That myth is entertained to this day. See Krugman’s December 9, 2012, editorial in The New York Times: Robots and Robber Barons. technology has taken a turn that places labor at a disadvantage… About the robots: there’s no question that in some high-profile industries, technology is displacing workers of all, or almost all, kinds. can innovation and progress really hurt large numbers of workers, maybe even workers in general? I often encounter assertions that this can’t happen. But the truth is that it can, and serious economists have been aware of this possibility for almost two centuries. The early-19th-century economist David Ricardo is best known for the theory of comparative advantage, which makes the case for free trade; but the same 1817 book in which he presented that theory also included a chapter on how the new, capital-intensive technologies of the Industrial Revolution could actually make workers worse off, at least for a while — which modern scholarship suggests may indeed have happened for several decades.
The debate is nothing new: Aristotle argued that, having no robots, civilization needed slaves, to do the work. The entire Greco-Roman civilization operated upon the bedrock of this completely idiotic assumption. And died from it.
So the emperors argued that, unemployment being a chronic Roman catastrophe, and people needing to work, the machines had could have alleviated work should not be constructed. That sorts of logic looks good, but it’s wrong at every turn. Unfortunately variants thereof presided to the making of the Kyoto Treaty.
All what happened was that Parthian arrows, fired from powerful double curvature composite Mongol bows, started to go through Roman armor, and that cataphracts terrorized the Roman army. Pathetically, in the end, the Romans adopted those military techniques… more than five centuries after suffering the devastating defeat of Carrhae from them.
What was the truth?
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UNEMPLOYMENT AS A PLUTOCRATIC DEVICE:
In truth, unemployment was caused directly by the plutocracy that ruled Rome, it was a deliberate strategy. Unemployment empowers plutocracy. An unemployed man is impotent, and feels completely unworthy: after all, he is no use whatsoever. How could he be trusted to make a revolution? Let alone to vote? Another advantage is that unemployment means that the plutocracy lives off globalization, distant workers, who do the job, but can be cut off anytime, and replaced by others safely. That is why Rome, and then Italy got increasingly deprived of employment and even army under the fascist empire, culminating with the removal of the capital to Byzantium, by Constantine, to make Constantine-polis, Constantinople. To make sure, Constantine also removed the entire Roman metaphysics and tradition, by imposing Christianity.
When the Franks took control, they decreased the fascist index (the kings were elected, and the function was not hereditary, and women could reign), and they decreased the plutocratic index (sons were supposed to inherit equally and daughters would do, if there were no sons). Then the Franks formally outlawed slavery (~650 CE).
Outlawing slavery, that is, cheap labor, meant technology and science had to advance. It did. Countless tech advances occurred within a few centuries: heavy draught horse, bioengineered protein rich beans, water and wind mills all over. Frankish architecture (now known as “Gothic”), hydraulic presses, gravitational and spring clocks soon followed.
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PLUTOCRACY IS BACK! IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME:
We are in a very similar situation nowadays, to the decay that corrupted Rome.
The plutocratic phenomenon has blossomed again. The banking sector has been taken over by bandits. This is very grave: in the Roman, Frankish, Tang, and other various Chinese empires, it was the state that created money. In the modern state, starting with the Italian republics of the Middle Ages, it has been the bankers that the state mandated to create money, through credit. So now the money creating system is corrupt, and the political, and even judicial class attached to them, is also corrupt.
Proof? All over the papers, everyday. Even inside the Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2012, the most incredible dialogues among plutocrats and crooks, about manipulating interest rates, and meeting back on their yachts to laugh it off, while exchanging 6 figures gifts.
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LARGEST PLUTO CRACTY EVER, LARGEST CRIME SYNDICATE, EVER:
Then there was the case of drug laundering by HSBC, a British based world bank. It showed the drug war is a very bad joke played upon the gullible public. Assistant Attorney General and longtime Bill Clinton pal Breuer is another of these plutocratic enabler who obviously expect to be well rewarded some more.
“Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who’s ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank…”
This is another case of international plutocracy at work, the largest criminal enterprise ever.
I say this after considering very carefully the involvement of JP Morgan, Henry Ford and company with various fascist movements, some of them genocidal, in the period 1920 to 1945; although the extent of genocide is lower, by an order of magnitude, so far, with WWII, with only a bit more than six millions or so assassinated in Africa, the intricacy, extent and penetration of world financial, economic, political and informational systems is unprecedented. (I have said this long ago.)
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IGNORING NUCLEAR ENERGY IS BEYOND GROTESQUE:
Nuclear energy is around one million times more energetic than any other energy source. So it’s the future, and it will allow to conquer the solar system, and go the stars.
Nuclear energy is intrinsically clean. It exploits decay, so its waste disappear quickly: nuclear waste becomes less radioactive over time. After 50 years, 99.1% of radiation is gone. This is in sharp contrast with coal. Arsenic, mercury and other chemicals that are stable, forever poisonous are released burning coal: under our eyes, the oceans and the Arctic are made too poisonous for life, and all what idiotic environmental NGOs can talk about is how bad nuclear is!
Well, if the Plutonium based 1950s nuclear tech is so bad, push for other nuclear technologies! Thorium comes to mind. But the first giant Thorium reactor will be ready in a decade or so. it will be made in China, of course.
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KYOTO, AN ERROR IGNORING THE MIGHTIEST ENERGY SOURCE:
The Kyoto accord decided that emissions of CO2 would be reduced after a while to 1990 levels. So far, so good. But then it was decided that the most developed countries, in other words, the West, would bear the burden, all the burden. On the ground that they caused the mess. In other words, those who set the fire would extinguish it, while those who did not could go right ahead with a new conflagration. The USA refused to ratify that unwise injustice. The Europeans, who have a long history of self flagellation, ever since they roasted most of the Jews, signed on greedily, and, glutton for punishment as they are, are suffering indigestion ever since. Now China emits three times more CO2 than all of Europe. And many times that in arsenic, mercury, etc.
Denmark gives renewable lessons to all, and depends more crucially on burning carbon than basically any other country. New burn factories are under construction. (On the positive side, this is self limiting, as most of Denmark will soon go below water, including all the Do-goodism.)
Why all the burning fires? Because of Kyoto’s most vicious flaw. Kyoto, and a later annex, Marrakesh, held that nuclear energy was an enemy. The Marrakesh Accords state:”Recognizing that Parties included in Annex I are to refrain from using credits…generated from nuclear facilities to meet their commitments under Article 3, paragraph 1″ .
However, this all hogwash. Out of say 100 different potential nuclear energy methods, the only one used is the military one, the U235-Plutonium cycle.
Conclusion? The do-gooders fanatically anti-nuclear ecologists are bringing back coal. Within a few years, after an eclipse of a 100 years, COAL WILL AGAIN BE the world’s main energy source. Most of the ecologists who were influential in the last quarter century should get their heads examined, because the return of coal is their work.
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NO PROGRESS, NO LIFE:
Fascist imperial Rome refuted technology. Thus progress. However any human society, since the Pleistocene is as if on a bike: it cannot stand still without crashing. Why? Because resources get exhausted, they always have, they always will (Malthus wrote nearly 5,000 years after Sumer flooded, from deforestation, so Malthus was right, but his were old news).
Technological progress is an ecological stabilizer.
Intelligence evolved because it enables to manipulate the world in a self serving way. In the war against the plutocratic phenomenon, what is in play is the meaning of self. And intelligence itself: the selfishness of the plutocrats is not just self serving, is afflicted with lethal shortermism. Why? because more is different.
Plutocracy is related to fascism, in particular intellectual fascism, where only a few ideas, a few moods, and a few people lead. That’s why Rome got increasingly stupid: any new intelligent discourse is specialized, it’s a techno (special)- logy (discourse). By refuting technology, Rome did not just refute progress, it refuted intelligence.
Nietzsche famously founded his philosophy on the “eternal return of the same”. Nothing could be more false; everywhere we look, however far in the past, long ago, in galaxies further than we can see, there is change, tremendous dynamics at works. We cannot go back to the past, we can only forge a sustainable future. And that means using force, and we have more force at our disposal than ever before, but, paradoxically, not enough yet to put the world on the right track.
Shooting at each other all day long to see who the good guys are, as the NRA and its fellow plutocrats are suggesting, is certainly not the way. Nor is the return to coal, more devastating than anything but outright thermonuclear war.
We are facing the greatest ecological and energy crisis ever, just when plutocracy is heating up. What to do? Full speed ahead with new technology, based in the deepest new science, and that goes all the way to throttle up in more advanced philosophy.
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Patrice Ayme

A PROFITABLE, LIFE SAVING TRUTH

December 10, 2009

 

WHEN ALL YOU DO IS WASTE, ALL YOU GET IS HATE.

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Abstract: Not content with pulling the strings of many disasters in the past, the American plutocracy seems determined to stay on a collision course with civilization. This time it wants to gas us all. I explain why, and how.

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PLUTOCRATS CLAP AND TREAD:

Short version of the essay below: We are facing a CO2 induced holocaust. Methane has started to bubble up in the Arctic. Methane has 100 times the greenhouse power of CO2 over 20 years. More than 1000 billion frozen tons of it are in shallow waters in the Arctic alone, ready to thaw.

The CO2 induced holocaust around the corner has been greatly orchestrated by those who were behind many of the disasters of the twentieth century, the USA based plutocrats. Those malevolent, profit obsessed creatures, brought us many evils from their early support for Hitler to the Great Depression, and exuberant support for Stalin or Muslim fundamentalism all the way to derivatives and the financial crisis of 2008. (Yes, you will not read this in conventional history books, they control that too!)

The USA is still the number one CO2 causing problem (when counting the USA production based in China). Its malevolent oligarchy has been dismissive of world opinion, foreigners, scientists, and the mother of all holocausts to come.

American financial traders propose to remedy all that hot air by, surprise, surprise, "Cap and Trade", a scheme concocted by Goldman Sachs and friends, nowadays at the very core of a worldwide exploitation scheme which predated upon the world throughout the twentieth century. We will show that it is definitively a -bad- joke, a determined effort towards the Nobel Prize in Impudence.

Indeed, "Cap and Trade" depends upon "Cap". Europe, remembering that the world war of 1939-1945 was in part caused by Hitler’s gyrations to get at Polish, Romanian and Caucasian oil, has long self flagellated with high taxes on energy which "capped" energy waste. Even then, the "Cap" in European "Cap and Trade" did not make much of a dent when "Cap and Trade" was finally introduced in Europe. Arguably it worked the other way, all too long (how is explained below).

If the "Cap" is too low, the carbon price will be too low too (as it is presently the case in Europe, hence worldwide). There is every reason to believe that Americans, who are unwilling to submit to the slightest self restraint so far about capping their CO2 extravagance, will not allow a significant "Cap" on CO2, since they are trained to get their flagellation from their financiers, only. However, it will cost them, because their financiers will make sure of that. So "Cap and Trade’ will be another tax from the poor to the hyper rich.

Americans ought to have a good look in the mirror. It is time to get serious. Goldman Sachs and its associates lead them to a "DOOM LOOP" (as the Bank Of England just said).

The USA was the nation of carbon burning, and got to the pinnacle that way (even helping the so called "Holocaust" along, see below). Time to let go, because the next holocaust is on the way, and it will not be a matter of just 100 million dead. This time the USA may be on the receiving end, too.

Time to let go, and it’s not just about CO2. All over, old, obsolete, unsustainable technologies, have to be scuttled ASAP to switch to renewable and sustainable technologies. Fortunately for the USA, this creation and deployment of appropriate, much more advanced technologies, could turn out to be HIGHLY PROFITABLE for the most advanced countries (including the USA).

Advanced technology is exactly what the doctor ordered economically. And it will introduce an element of dynamic stability… Because the root of the crisis is that obsolete technologies (including in finance) are all the way down to hell on the bell curve of their utility.

The oligarchy of the USA thinks the CO2 catastrophe is American business as usual: 1) cause a big disaster, 2) reap the juicy fruits of enormous evil unchained (I know Obama went to Oslo to say it ain’t so; we will partly address this below with facts which are usually carefully silenced). That catastrophic method has always worked in the past, it is hard to let go. But this time is not business as usual. What is being prepared is not your garden variety, habitual holocaust. We are not talking about exterminating a few tribes. Business as usual is terminated. Billions of us may get terminated.

It would be better if the USA did absolutely nothing about "Cap and Trade", rather than to try to institute another huge subsidy to Wall Street, while talking as if it fought CO2 production. It is time for the USA to face squarely the responsibility of its own plutocracy in the collapse of the entire biosphere its ineptitude is leading to.

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AMERICAN SELF DELUSIONS:

The truth is that the government of the USA has endangered the biosphere, ever since the senate of the USA voted 95 to 0 AGAINST the Kyoto Treaty (under Clinton). US Senators have to look at themselves in the mirror: they have been destroying the biosphere. We are a fraction from a holocaust, because of their hubristic ignorance.

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(From The Economist, December 2009)

So the average American citizen produces 24 tons of CO2 per year. By comparison, France pollutes with only six tons of CO2 per person, per year. And France does only that, with a welfare state, and a lower unemployment than the USA. So Americans cannot say they pollute more because they are richer. All evidence is that Americans pollute more, so they are poorer. We will explain why below… Yes, the Australians, and the Canadians, have no excuses either (but at least Australia has recently operated a U turn, since G. W. Bush’s Australian shepherd was voted out of office)…

As "The Economist" puts it, speaking about saving the planet: "It is all about politics. Climate change is the hardest political problem the world has ever had to deal with. It is a prisoner’s dilemma, a free-rider problem and the tragedy of the commons all rolled into one. At issue is the difficulty of allocating the cost of collective action and trusting other parties to bear their share of the burden…

The closest parallel is the world trading system. This has many achievements to its name, but it is not an encouraging model. Not only is the latest round of negotiations mired in difficulty, but the World Trade Organisation’s task is child’s play compared with climate change. The benefits of concluding trade deals are certain and accrue in the short term. The benefits of mitigating climate change are uncertain, since scientists are unsure of the scale and consequences of global warming, and will mostly accrue many years hence. The need for action, by contrast, is urgent."

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AMERICA WILL ALWAYS FIND A MARKET TO SELL YOU TO:

Since the US Senate voted for climate heating, and ocean acidification, under Clinton, a colossal part of the industry of the USA has been sent to China, allowing the American oligarchs to claim that they are not the world number one polluters. But they are just hiding behind smoke screens.

After long denying that there was something as a CO2 problem, the American oligarchs have now invented a new red herring that they hope to turn into a new "market" device to enrich themselves further. "Cap and Trade". Ever since America traded slaves, markets have been a sure way for American oligarchs to enrich themselves. They used to trade human flesh, now they trade hot air. They do what they can, as their freedom is always encroached upon.

James Hansen, the famous NASA scientist, has fired a well thought out broadside against "Cap and Trade". In an unfortunate, school yard spirited reply, Paul Krugman, an ex adviser of Ronald Reagan, took him on personally, arguing that Hansen "really hasn’t made any effort to understand the economics of emissions control."

Well, that’s arrogant and beyond silly: Krugman means Hansen is dismissive of the politics of emissions control, not its economics. Hansen actually proposed a detailed method to curb carbon burning. Krugman does not explain why future American style "Cap and Trade", led by the competent pirates at Goldman Sachs, will succumb less to the corruption that affected European "Cap and Trade".

Moreover, "Cap and Trade" is viewed in Europe, as a third order mechanism. First order are regulations (such as mandatory efficiency requirements, or the worldwide interdiction of some chlorofluorocarbons). Then in Europe come, in second order, behavior modifying taxes (such as high energy taxes, or carbon taxes). Last, and least, come in the carbon market. Based in Paris.

"Cap and Trade" should be viewed skeptically, especially in light of the fact that European "Cap and Trade" was, and is, managed by the carbon hating French, from Paris, whereas Goldman Sachs is supposed to dominate the American "Cap and Trade", from Chicago, the city of Al Capone, Jamie Dimon, and the notorious center of "Academics" Nobel Prize economics understood as man eat man, for profits, and for the best (the University of Chicago). That from the same Kafkaesque country where Nobel "Peace" Prizes bestow eternal peace with flying robots which kill all extremists, without any semblance of due process (also based at the University of Chicago law department).

Krugman wrote "An Affordable Truth" an editorial in the New York Times, purporting to claim that "History shows that cap and trade, a system specifically designed to bring the power of market incentives to bear on environmental problems, does work."

Here, too, we get no proof, no example. (Although Krugman shows that green building may come out of it; but, in all of Europe, there maybe two green buildings, one in London, one in Grenoble, in spite of all this Euro "Cap and Trade"). The power of some American economists’ naivety seems to know no bounds.

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"CAP AND TRADE": AN AMUSEMENT FOR FINANCIERS.

Krugman curiously, does not provide the one and only example of CO2 "Cap and Trade". Why is that? I will tell you. "Cap and Trade" finally works, supposedly, in Europe, after many years trying. It works a teeny tiny bit. It’s an amusement. But for several years it worked mightily, the other way, augmenting pollution: the polluters had claimed they polluted more than they actually did, when the "Cap" was fixed, so, when "Cap and Trade" started, they could pollute even more, while claiming they polluted less. Thus, joining insult to injury, they earned massive subsidies (for example a French giant chemical company such as Rhodia was able to do this, getting subsidies, by setting up a factory in… (North) Vietnam).

So "Cap and Trade" works: elementary, my dear Watson. But not the way Krugman claims it does.

One can say much more. Most of the European carbon burning reductions are due to massive taxes, and increasingly stiffer regulations. The pet politicians of the American oligarchs want "Cap and Trade" because, as NASA’s James Hansen put it in his own essay, "Cap And Fade", "Wall Street is poised to make billions of dollars in the “trade” part of cap-and-trade. The market for trading permits to emit carbon appears likely to be loosely regulated, to be open to speculators and to include derivatives." Yes, it’s the usual dog and pony show of the American snake oil vendors, so thrilling to American corruptocrats. There is no God but money, and Wall Street is its prophet.

This is so incredibly obvious that even "The Economist" recognizes it, insolently calling America’s approach "Cap and Tirade". Says "The Economist": "Much depends on the president. If he puts his back behind Waxman-Markey ["Cap and Trade"], America may get a weakened version of a second-best policy. If he doesn’t, America may get something worse—or nothing at all."

Well I say: let’s put Americans in front of their responsibilities. As the top polluters who ever were, it is high time for them to understand this. Maybe, then, they will do something about it.

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HIGHEST TEMPERATURES IN MILLENNIA, HIGHEST GREENHOUSE IN MILLIONS OF YEARS:

For motivation, here are global temperatures, and this is less than 50% of the CO2 problem (part of the rest being acidification):

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The New York Times

In case you want to know how the cooling that oiligarchs have claimed is happening, please learn that the 2000-2009 decade is the warmest ever. The CO2 EQUIVALENT GASES are at 430 ppm (of CO2 equivalence), although they never durably exceeded 300 ppm in the last 15 million years.

(By the way, I am fully aware that a recent article in Science claimed that some of Antarctica’s ice survived a transient excursion at 750 ppm or so. I am also aware that some geophysicists and climate scientists, even some of the world’s best, are financed by the carbon burning industry, hence their sometimes curiously convoluted utterances about climate change; Allegre and Courtillot in Paris being the worst examples that way.)

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Thank you USA! Big effort for you!

As the Economist Magazine puts it: "Forty years is a long time. Governments can agree to meet distant targets in the comfortable knowledge that they will not be held responsible for failing to do so. Shorter-term targets are therefore more important. The IPCC’s figures suggest the developed world should aim to cut by 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020…

The European Union is committed to a 20% cut, rising to 30% if the rest of the world promises significant cuts. It has a detailed plan for getting there, including lower country caps in its Emissions-Trading Scheme and regulations on car emissions. Japan’s new government has promised a reduction of 25% on 1990, but has revealed little about how it might manage that. Australia’s government struggled trying to get its legislation Canada’s emissions continue to grow.

Two weeks before the Copenhagen conference, Mr. Obama announced that America would offer a 17% cut on 2005 emissions by 2020—the figure in the Waxman-Markey bill. That’s around 4% below 1990 levels—well below the figure of 25-40% that is expected of developed countries…"

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AMERICAN CONTRADICTIONS. PRISONER OF THE PAST, AND OLIGARCHS:

It is mystifying, at first sight, that the USA has resisted so much to do anything about carbon burning. From its technological edge, to its abundance of sun over more than half of its territory, it would seem that the USA ought to lead in non carbon technologies. But that would be to forget how the present oligarchy of the USA got in its commanding position.

The USA was the original, proverbial "Saudi Arabia" of oil. Massive oil production started in the USA during the nineteenth century, not far from the East Coast, and in the Middle West. That is one of the main s why the USA gained comparative economic advantage on Europe (except for a few fields in Poland and Romania, grabbed by Hitler, and the Caucasus, European oil and gas has been deep under water in the North Sea). American strategists often loudly gloat about the USA being the Saudi Arabia of coal.

However, a point deliberately ignored by most US strategists, is that the USA is also the Saudi Arabia of sun and, also, of wind. So the USA would gain comparative advantage by developing renewables. So Krugman’s editorial, if it had addressed larger issues, should have been called "A PROFITABLE TRUTH". Verily, Gore did a disservice by calling the Carbon Burning Catastrophe an "Inconvenient Truth". If the USA reacted correctly to the Carbon Burning Catastrophe, it would turn into a "PROFITABLE TRUTH".

So why, then, if it is so profitable, is the USA so opposed to taking measures against carbon burning?

First, of course, carbon burning was the greatest advantage the USA had on Europe, it’s hard to let it go. The USA had oil, Europe had only depleted, obsolete coal. As the two largest navies in the world, the British and the French, switched to oil, they became dependent on overseas oil (when the USA was the number one producer of oil, by far, followed by the Caucasus, in the Russian empire).

Meanwhile, American plutocrats were free to arm Hitler with Texas oil, thus extending their wealth and influence. Hitler became their instrument. Using Texaco oil, Hitler conquered Spain. The same unashamed American plutocrats made a gala dinner in New York to celebrate France’s defeat in June 1940. (The American plutocracy’s hatred for France is long running.) Ah, such fond memories of the days of glory, it’s so hard to let go…

Secondly, if the USA is forced to let go of oil and coal, those who have dominated American politics for more than a century, will see they influenced capped and fading. Of course, it is hard for them to tolerate. So they finance the status quo as much as they can.

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THE USA WILL SUBMIT:

American politicians, and the error of their ways, are not all powerful. They only look so from inside the USA. Thanks to Obama, the Taliban will dispel that notion in the next few years, as the USA and NATO know an ominous defeat there that they were so anxious to demonstrate they could never suffer.

American politicians and their entangled oligarchs look all powerful to the likes of Krugman who laments that:"when economists deal with physical scientists, the hard-science guys tend to assume that we’re witch doctors with nothing to tell them, so they can’t be bothered to listen at all to what the economists have to say, and the result is that they end up reinventing old errors in the belief that they’re deep insights. Most of the time not much harm is done. But this time is different.

For here’s the way it is: we have a real chance of getting a serious cap and trade program in place within a year or two. We have no chance of getting a carbon tax for the foreseeable future. It’s just destructive to denounce the program we can actually get…"

OK, Krugman, Goldman Sachs has given you the program, it’s all you can get, let’s not be destructive… Well, sorry, the political system as presently found in the USA is destroying the planet, so we have to choose what we want to destroy: the planet, or corrupt American politics, as presently enacted.

The bottom line about "Cap and Trade" is that it puts a cap on pollution, maybe way higher than what the present pollution is. But in no way inferior. That is what happened in Europe. Otherwise there would be screaming, "Cap and Trade" would be a tax. (To tell the whole truth, "Cap and Trade" works a bit in Europe, precisely because there are all sorts of taxes and regulations there; but it is not the case in the USA; only Goldman Sachs there, and they are experts at paying no taxes, and getting money for nothing, including from the US government.)

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THE CATASTROPHE, OR WHY WE CAN’T SUBMIT TO AMERICAN PLUTOCRATS ANYMORE:

There is evidence, in the last two years, that the augmentation of sea level caused by the melting of continental icecaps went from .40 millimeter to .75 millimeter, a year (this is only part of sea level rise, which is now accelerating to 3.5 millimeters, per year).

It may not sound like much, but: 1) those icecaps in Greenland and Antarctica were not supposed to melt appreciably for decades, if not millennia. 2) it’s a quasi instantaneous doubling of the rate of melting of said supposedly forever frozen icecaps. it seems we are dealing with an exponential.

As I have argued before in "2 C IS TOO MUCH! (To Claim 2 degree Celsius Global Rise Is Safe Is Bad Science!)", the refrigeration system of the planet is the poles, or more exactly, the ice, congregating at the poles.

The rate of melting is at least (4 Celsius/.75 Celsius) higher there, so 5 or 6 times higher. One and a half degree up overall in global earth temperature would then mean (1.5 Celsius) (4/.75) ~ eight degrees Celsius of warming at the poles.

Nothing like a pretty picture:

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This the average temperature in Antarctica over the entire summer presently. The melt depends upon the summer temperature (how cold it gets in winter is irrelevant, this is the heart of the modern glaciation orbital theory of Milankowitch, which has been found correct through computer simulations).

From this picture, it is clear that a rise of eight degrees Celsius over the whole summer, from a global rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius, globally, would lead to the melting of the entire West Antarctica Ice Shield (WAIS) and the Antarctica peninsula. Sea level would go up at least six meters (at least 3 meters from the WAIS, 2 meters from Greenland, etc…)

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Figure 2: Time series of ice mass changes for the Antarctic ice sheet estimated from GRACE satellite data monthly mass solutions for the period from April 2002 to February 2009. Unfiltered data are blue crosses. Data filtered for the seasonal dependence using a 13-month moving average are shown as red crosses. The best-fitting quadratic trend is shown (green line). Let me spell it: it’s accelerating down to hell.

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IS AMERICA A WASTING PETRO REGIME?

Bottom line: the USA seems to be a lazy place, in the sense that Iraq or Saudi Arabia and various petro economies are lazy places. The USA, long the world’s top oil producer, and still the world’s top carbon producer (with its Chinese factories), has the oil country syndrome of having it all, and people there don’t try too hard: they let their sheiks do the heavy lift. By sheiks, read the Gold Man who Sacks, and the like. Those over lording exploiters get rich from the situation, rather than through the power of the People. At least so they hope. That’s why they send all the jobs to China.

The same class of exploiters who had a gala in New York when the Nazis invaded France, knew full well their reign was insured for decades to come. And it has been. Well, now, their time is up, because they have been sawing the branch on which they are sitting, namely the USA itself. Sawing the branch, and selling it to China.

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ONLY MORE ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY BECOMES US:

Heidegger, what used to pass for a philosopher among Nazis, bemoaned the role of technology. According to this blighted one, technology had hidden "being". The Nazis hated technology, and especially the Jews, who brought to them the science and the tech. They wanted to return to the trees, and various primitive superstitions Charlemagne had crushed (by cutting the sacred giant trees, precisely, just as Caesar had done in Gaul). When the Nazis understood that technology was the only thing that could save them, they reverted course, but it was too late (we were lucky they were so stupid: if they had mass produced the Me 263 earlier, only the atom bombs could have tempered their fascist enthusiasm…)

In truth, Heidegger had understood strictly nothing about the relationship of man and technology. In truth, it’s a symbiosis. The savage in the Amazon forest that Heidegger, as a Nazi, despised so much, should have planted his neurotoxin arrow into Heidegger, using forest high technology to subdue the dysfunctional tribal Nazi eradicator.

There is now plenty of evidence that man is intrinsically technological. Man evolved as a user, and creator of technology. MAN IS NOT HOMO SAPIENS, IT’S HOMO TECHNOLOGICUS. Indeed man is not always wise, but, when man is trying to be anti-technological (as the Nazis tried to), he is forced to run back to technology to save him.

It is a mathematical theorem. Many animals use tools, but man makes special discourses (techno-logy) about them. Man thinks, speaks, dreams and obsesses about technology. Man made technology, and technology made man. The great break in evolution, is not about sentience, it’s about becoming the creator of special discourses ("technologies"), whatever the special environments are. Even the hobbits found on Flores island, separated from the main Homo line for at least three million years, were highly technological.

And our present technology is running out of runway, it will never get enough speed to take off. And it will not change enough, and thus get enough speed to take off, except if helped by the governments. And it cannot brake either, and stop before the runway runs out. It’s too late. Einstein used to say that the Fourth World war would be fought with sticks and stones, but that was way too optimistic. It may just be fought with reverse transcriptase.

***

WHAT TO DO? FULL TECH AHEAD, AND LET’S CAP AND TRADE BANKSTERS!

Most importantly, eco-nomy is house-management. The economy is depressed, because it has been mismanaged. The house has been mismanaged. To move towards efficiency is the exact prescription needed. Why? Because the present technology we have is unsustainable.

The planet cannot support us, at this rate, in this way. We need a lighter footprint. Even agriculture, per se, as we have it, is unsustainable. (Agriculture uses too much phosphate, polluting the oceans, and will soon run out of phosphate, anyway.)

Our usage of the oceans is completely unsustainable. For example, fisheries are collapsing worldwide, because of overfishing and pollution, and in many countries, it is already a catastrophe.

Another example: groundwater, which is simultaneously depleted and poisoned. In a country such as France, where agriculture has been intensely practiced for more than 3,000 years, for the first time, the industrial agricultural methods, have caused ground and stream pollution, to such an extent that lethal algae are growing in the sea. The solution here, and mostly everywhere, is to deploy much more advanced technology, which often does not even exist on the drawing boards. Such invention and deployment will insure great economic activity.

For example, Hawai’i could not doubt produce electricity without burning carbon (as it does presently, all Hawaiian electricity comes from burning fuel.) The deep sea and surface waters temperature differences are so high in Hawai’i that it ought to be simple to build a natural Carnot engine exploiting that (a problem is barnacles, but new materials can solve this, in ships, and in pumps and tubes). Deploying such technology would insure great economic activity.

Still another example: the average jet right now uses 4 liters (a "gallon") per 100 kilometers, per passenger, Airbus superjumbo uses only 3 liters, and for the soon to be assembled Airbus 350 XWB, Airbus is targeting 2 liters per 100 kms per passenger. This depends upon new carbon composite materials, lighter and stronger, than the existing ones, which are already much lighter and stronger than steel. The first such large pieces were produced. Aerospace directly employs half a million people in France alone, constantly developing new technology that will change the entire economy. (Be it only because ever stronger and lighter materials can be used absolutely everywhere, from school buses to bridges.)

Ultimately, jet fuel will have to be made from algae, instead of fossil fuel. Fossil fuel creates CO2, algae absorbs CO2. The former is evil, the later is the excellent remedy the doctor ordered.

***

GOLD MAN SAYS: CLAP AND TREAD. OFF WITH ITS HEAD!

Obama’s USA, right now, intends to reduce emissions only with a "Cap and Trade" system. "Cap and Trade" was used, supposedly successfully, in the USA, to reduce acid rain. However, Europe controlled its acid problem without "Cap and Trade". Regulations can work better. After all, there are just regulations for toys, cars, house appliances and medical drugs. One does not do "Cap and Trade" with carcinogens. Why to do it with something even more dangerous?

Oh, we shall cap the number of slaves to one million, and then trade them? No, we shall not. Why? Because trading slaves is bad, that’s why. This is what happened in Europe: too many free pollution permits were given, well, for free. That was embarrassing. Europe was saved by its enormous pre-existing energy taxes and regulations.

The great advantage of "Cap and Trade", in the USA, is that it is a subsidy to the usual suspects, led, of course, by Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs, revealingly known as "Government Sachs", is the true government of the USA, motivated not by what the American people wants, but by the profit motive. "Cap and Trade" will make Gold Man richer, so Gold Man is all for it, so it will happen. What should progressives do? Well, denounce loudly but support meekly, because a bit of progress is better than none. At least, that is what Krugman advocates.

SELLING OUT:

Among many raging American "conservatives" Krugman has an extreme leftist reputation, but many of the policies he has advocated recently, or opinions he has presented, the elected leaders of the European right would reject with horror as intolerably right wing. An example is the zero interest rate policy, a lamentable give away to banks. Krugman supports it, in spite of its disastrous effects on the saving rate, American seniors, the dollar, stable currency rates, and the unfair cheapening of the USA.

So now Krugman, however unwittingly, has turned into a herald for Goldman Sachs (See the annex below on Gold Man Sacks and Cap & Trade). In "Unhelpful Hansen", a regrettable essay, Krugman opines that:

"James Hansen is a great climate scientist. He was the first to warn about the climate crisis; I take what he says about coal, in particular, very seriously.

Unfortunately, while I defer to him on all matters climate, today’s op-ed article suggests that he really hasn’t made any effort to understand the economics of emissions control. And that’s not a small matter, because he’s now engaged in a misguided crusade against cap and trade, which is — let’s face it — the only form of action against greenhouse gas emissions we have any chance of taking before catastrophe becomes inevitable."

Krugman insists that: "We have no chance of getting a carbon tax for the foreseeable future". Who is "we"? The USA or its delirious Senate? Or is it, as it should be, the planet itself? WE, all of us, have just one planet, one biosphere, and the USA, or more exactly the American oligarchs and plutocrats and their factories in China, are polluting it to death. The USA needs a carbon tax, and to delay the debate on such a tax is to delay the inevitable, and morally correct.

***

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ROOT OF AMERICAN EVIL:

In September 1939, Britain and France had enough with Hitler, so they declared war to him. The USA never did. The USA never declared war to Hitler. On December 11, 1941, Hitler declared war TO the USA. Why was America so supine? Because American plutocrats were collaborating with Hitler. Roosevelt was talking the other way, true: one calls that a cover-up. The reality this was covering up was massive collaboration of American plutocracy with Hitler. (An astute GM, owner of Opel, and a Jew hating Ford worked for Hitler, producing most of some of the types of vehicles Hitler’s armed forces used, while financially naïve American GIs battled them on the ground…)

When the French republic asked Roosevelt for help, the American president did not even send one bullet, but rushed in his recognition of the illegal Vichy regime.

What is happening now is something similar. A united Europe has declared war to the destruction of the biosphere by CO2 emissions. The USA did not. Instead, American plutocrats are collaborators in the destruction of the biosphere by CO2 emissions. Just as their plutocratic grand parents had interest, and found profit in collaborating with Hitler, they have interest, and find profit, in collaborating with the destruction of the biosphere. As usual in the American unconscious, they assume that destruction will bring profusion. This time, they are wrong.

Europe has found the hard way that destruction is not a friend. Europe has found that destruction of civilization has only negative outcomes. (Germany and Russia found this most recently, two generations ago.) Unfortunately, that destruction of civilization has only negative outcomes is not yet felt in the USA as the central and fundamental truth it is (that is why the USA supported Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Pakistani thermonuclear weapons).

Destruction has been the friend of the American English speaking colony, for 400 years, and even well before it was born. Indeed it is the French protestants who founded the first European colonies in the present day USA territory. Fort Caroline (the "Carolinas") were founded, and named, by the French (~ 1580). But then the Catholic fascist Philippe II sent an armada, with the order of killing the French down to the last baby. A hurricane prevented the arrival of a French relief fleet, and the American French colonies were destroyed, down to the last French baby.

Ever since, destruction has been the friend of English speaking America. Call that a lucky streak. But luck does not last forever.

The average American produces 24 tons of CO2 per person, the average French produces 6 tons. The French don’t live four times better, but close. It’s directly related. When all you do is waste, all you get is hate.

The rest of the world has implemented plenty of various taxes, for example on gasoline, etc. Even China has augmented enormously its gasoline tax in the last 18 months. Moreover, China has increasingly made its own stringent European laws on carbon emissions (although an electric car in China will emit 231 grams of CO2 per kilometer, whereas it would emit only 21 grams in France; American cars emit, in the average 333 grams, and the latest European regulations that have been decided will implement120 grams…)

France, not content with its formidable taxes on energy, is introducing a carbon tax, on top of them, January 1, 2010, in 2 weeks. If the USA will not listen to reason, it goes without saying that carbon taxation on imports could be used as a way to demolish the industry of the USA, or whatever is left of it. In any case, it will self demolish, because the longer it takes to adapt to a carbon free future, the more of a dinosaur it will be.

Praying at the feet of Goldman Sachs does not help. The rest of the world is increasingly fed up with the American attitude of doing as plutocrats tell them to do. And more importantly, so is the planet.

***

Patrice Ayme

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

***

Annex: Gold Man Sacks wants to Cap and Trade You:

After his money rising campaign to the naïve sheep known as the people, Obama’s greatest private contributor was Goldman Sachs, as a so called "moral person" (greater still was the collective gift of University of California employees, a public institution having social utility).

Via Green Hell (but using well known public facts):

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Olympia Snow (R-ME) have introduced a bill to make the Commodity Futures Trading Commission the sole regulator of the carbon market created by cap-and-trade legislation.
So does this mean that freebooting Goldman Sachs could be the de facto regulator of the carbon market?
Consider that:

  • The current chairman of the CFTC is Gary Gensler, formerly of Goldman Sachs.
  • Goldman Sachs is a part owner of the exchanges where carbon allowances would be traded.
  • Goldman Sachs has spent millions of dollars lobbying for cap-and-trade legislation in anticipation of making billions of dollars at the expense taxpayers and consumers.
  • Goldman has a special exemption from the CFTC to exceed the trading limits normally placed on commodity speculators. Not only was this exemption secret for 17 years, the CFTC recently had to ask Goldman for permission to release the letter to Congress!
  • Goldman Sachs employees are heavy contributors to the Democratic Party giving it over $4.4. million in the last election. Barack Obama received more than $997,000, Feinstein received $24,250, and Snowe received $17,000 from Goldman. All-in-all, this could result in a pretty decent return-on-investment for Goldman.

***

A Carbon Treaty Is A Win-Win For Everybody.

November 26, 2009

 

(Even Wall Street, but nothing is ever perfect…)

Is Obama warming up?

***

I was preparing a robust document about American deranged policy in Afghanistan, when it was announced that, to quote the New York Times, three hours ago: "At the international climate summit meeting in Copenhagen next month, Mr. Obama will tell the delegates that the United States intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions “in the range of” 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050…"

My approach to Obama is stick and carrot. At this point, it’s going to be carrot, since this sudden volte face about going to Copenhagen represents a laudable effort on his part to try to get out of the encroaching senility of American politics. The American policy relative to climate change has made even less sense than taking part in a civil war between depraved primitives in Afghanistan.

That U.S. policy, so far, is that of the ostrich, head firmly planted in the sand, but even an ostrich would not take that increasing heat.

Believing that burning 400 million years of carbon is a lethal situation ought to make economic sense, especially for American patriots. The USA has a gigantic scientific machine (still) at its disposal. By refusing to exert it on devising technological solutions to climate change, it has been forced it to stay stuck in bed, wasting its magnificent bode and eager mind. Instead, if the USA harnessed that gigantic scientific machine, and then hooked it up to legal constraints for improving technology, the USA would gain economic advantage. It is economics 101.

The main argument against the CARBON BUILD-UP is that, whatever the exact amount of the probability, the risk is too high. I called that the CO2 WAGER.

For a different perspective, here is a little vivifying memo for Obama, about the CARBON BUILD-UP. I was asked kindly by the blog "Learning From Dogs" to answer the following questions:

1. Is mankind having an effect on the atmosphere of this planet which will be harmful?

2. Is there any room for error in your answer to Q.1.?

3. CO2 levels in the atmosphere are higher than has ever been known by science.  Is that a correct statement?

4. Are the activities of mankind causing the increasing levels of acidification in the oceans of the planet?

5. Are the activities of mankind causing the rising sea levels of the planet’s oceans?

6. Is man-made global warming happening: yes; no; unclear?

7. Is there a rational argument for assuming global warming will threaten mankind’s existence on the planet?

***

 

Here are my answers:

1. Is mankind having an effect on the atmosphere of this planet which will be harmful?

Two degrees Celsius warming globally, planet wide, in the average, may mean twenty degrees Celsius warming at the poles, on current trends, extended linearly Thus Alaska would become  tropical. Amazingly, not only did it happen before, but it seems to be the Earth preferred climate.   Our present BIOSPHERE is not adapted to this though: crocodiles could swim to tropical Alaska, but where are all temperate and polar fauna and flora going to go?

2. Is there any room for error in your answer to Q.1.?

Not really: when the plane is going to hit the mountain, it does not matter whehter it is going a few degrees higher or a few degrees lower. The observed fact is that the poles are warming ten times faster than the rest of the planet.

Of course, when one tries to do refined science, one wants to mitigate raw data by a bit of theory. Thus, for example, more ice piles up in the dead center of Antarctica, because the air there, being a bit less frigid, can carry more water. Some people have argued that this effect would compensate by the melting at the edges of the icecaps. But actually the melting of the icecaps has accelerated from .45 mm per year to .75 mm per year in the last two years.

Indeed, aside from the piling up of more ice at the South Pole, from the warming, all other non linear effects induced by the warming ought to make the situation ever worse, quicker.

3. CO2 levels in the atmosphere are higher than has ever been known by science.  Is that a correct statement?

We use to know this for the last 800,000 years, by studying old air in ice cores.

Now new methods study various isotopes of various biological remains (for example Foraminifera fossils, and can be extended hundreds of millions of years.

It is correct that, for the last 15 million years, according to the latest (2009) research, CO2 concentration were limited to 300 parts per million volume (except for possible transient peaks; extreme volcanism can rise and lower CO2 quickly).

During the warmest geological eras CO2 was much higher, though. Those eras were much more extensive than the glaciated periods. and therein our tragedy: the planet as Homo has always known it was a glaciated planet. The climate has drastically cooled since shortly before the disappearance of the dinosaurs (See my TRAPPED IN SUPER TRAPS ). We are threatening turn back the heat of 100 million years ago, in 100 years.

4. Are the activities of mankind causing the increasing levels of acidification in the oceans of the planet?

Half of the increased, "anthropogenic" CO2, so far, has gone in the ocean, some reacting with water to make carbonic acid. The latest research suggests that plankton will start dissolving by 2100. A lot of CO2 was just dissolved, as in a carbonated soda, (e.g. Perrier), and may, and, most likely, will, come out if warmed up and shaken. This is now happening in the Antarctic ocean, which has been warming, while wind speed increased (hence more waves, and more shaking of the man-made Perrier… Actually Perrier is also man-made, just that way, by injecting more source CO2…)

5. Are the activities of mankind causing the rising sea levels of the planet’s oceans?

The ocean has been warming up, and thus it expands. The expansion is accelerating. There are evidence from diverse sources, including satellites, that the giant icecaps of Greenland and Antarctica are, overall, melting. Since some Antarctic temperatures have gone up 4.5 degree Celsius, if one ascribes that spectacular rise in temperature to man, as all the evidence points out to, then so it is.

6. Is man-made global warming happening: yes; no; unclear?

Some people have used disingenuous tricks with the temperature graphs, to pretend that the Earth has been cooling in the last decade. They typically start a straight line at a high point. A slowing down of the warming is arguable, short term, but it may be attributable to the coolest sun in a century, as I explained in SUN COOLING, STILL THE ICE WAS MELTING . If anything, it is to be feared that the warming will considerably accelerate in the next few years, as the sun becomes more normal.

There is also a subtle phenomenon at play, well known to physicists.

The warming is just a degree of freedom of the system in which increased energy is flowing, as the lowest part of the atmosphere warms. Warming can involve the oceans, or the ground itself. When one looks at the temperature gradient in the latter, by digging holes and measuring the temperature gradient, the signs of irresistible warming are blatant.

As the warming proceeds, something new happens: new dimensions open up, in which energy can flow. Thus, paradoxically, some effects that were blatant before can become less so, as the new sinks for the increasing energy open up. In particular, such effects could slow down the apparent warming, as they suck up the energy (this is how people cool by sweating: the heat energy is diverted towards evaporating water).

So looking only at a thermometer to gauge climate change is a mistake. So far, the temperature rise in the temperate and tropical areas has been tiny, but the effects in the polar areas, where the refrigerators and sun shades of the planet are, have been tremendous .If, and when those get demolished, all hell will break lose: the entire planet will become tropical, deserts will extend, continents will desiccate in the present tropics.

7. Is there a rational argument for assuming global warming will threaten mankind’s existence on the planet?

The problem is more global carbon than global warming per se. Global carbon threatens an imminent collapse of the food chain in the ocean. This has happened before, and was caused by volcanoes (which belch SO2 and CO2).

Mankind’s ongoing existence will then become a military problem, the revelation of a victor after most of humankind dies. Indeed, as the biosphere collapses, nuclear world war has a high probability of occurring.

The apparition of a victor is by no means certain. As the defeat of Britain and France in May-June 1940 showed, and the victory at Midway confirmed, one- time extraordinary events, not easily reproducible in war games, do happen in real war. So it is not clear that civilization will survive. For civilization to survive, the capacity to progress technologically has to be preserved, because we can’t go back, having destroyed the support system for the old technologies (and, if we destroy enough species, even a return to the Paleolithic will not insure the survival of the species, because there will be nothing to hunt).

In any case, if the Earth switches to its hot mode, it is clear that billions of people will die. Political leaders informed of this, and neglecting that forecast become accomplices of this incoming holocaust.

There is no choice. So Obama is right to go to Copenhagen, and he better come back with a drastic accord. Not only the planet, and mankind, but even the prosaic economic superiority of the USA will greatly profit. Short term.

Indeed the USA is not just the Saudi Arabia of poisonous coal, but also the Saudi Arabia of wind, and, even better, the Saudi Arabia of sun. God is probably American, so we may as well milk it.

Patrice Ayme

TRAPPED BY SUPER TRAPS

November 21, 2009

CO2 AND SO2 KILLED DINOSAURS. ARE WE NEXT?

***

In a nutshell: Contrarily to what is conveniently believed in the USA, the extinction of the dinosaurs was probably NOT caused by a giant impact from an asteroid, or comet. The impact was NOT explosive enough, not poisonous enough, nor cooling enough.

What killed the dinosaurs was super giant volcanism, a type that happens every 200 million years or so, the SUPER TRAPS. Super Traps correspond to catastrophic Earth core cooling events: giant burps from Vulcan itself. The most extravagant violence of the Deccan Super Traps 65 million years ago, happened within 300,000 years of the Yucatan impact (a sheer coincidence, as we will see). The fabulous extinction of 250 million years ago was caused by the even more gigantic Siberian Super Traps, and so on.

Super Traps offer a convenient model for the present greenhouse catastrophe. CARBON BURNING BEHAVES LIKE A MAN MADE SUPER TRAPS.

(No wonder that US scientists do not want super traps to have caused mass extinctions: it is not cool to be the bearer of extinction news, and attribute it to something that made their private and public sponsors rich!)

***

Introduction and abstract: SUPER TRAPS DID IT.

The disappearance of dinosaurs (and many related species) was NOT caused by an impact with a celestial body, I claim (although, clearly, that did not help!).

There was a sizable impact, true, around that time, but although it sadly caused the death of many, it is probably completely irrelevant to the total disappearance of so many species down to the last survivor, worldwide. How do you cool the planet for millions of years, with an object just a few miles across?

Well, you don’t. Still Earth cooled for millions of years afterwards.

The massive Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) extinction, just as the even more massive Permian-Trias (P-T) extinction, and all other massive extinctions of the last half billion years, were caused by a super massive volcanic event, a super giant blob of magma erupting directly from the boundary of the core of planet Earth (“lava lamp” style).

Such events are rare, every 200 million years or so, and are causality related to the Earth’s dynamo (magnetic records show). We call such super giant eruptions SUPER TRAPS (by contrast to smaller traps, caused by smaller and shallower plumes of magma, such as the most recent one, the Columbia event of 15 million years ago; those smaller traps are too small for worldwide extinctions).

SUPER TRAPS kill worldwide, and durably, by hyper massive infusions of SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide) and CO2 (Carbon Dioxide). So they provide an excellent model for the present anthropogenic CARBON BURNING CATASTROPHE (also known by one of its effects, “Global Warming”).

SUPER TRAPS provide an excellent model for what would happen if one injected the atmosphere with enough SO2. That, unbelievably, some American scientists, apparently not satisfied with the CO2 their country injects already, propose to do. They think it’s “cool“. Time for them to learn something new, from the past.

The present behavior of mankind smacks of the disappearance of dinosaurs, and other superb species depicted below.

It’s taken for granted in the USA that a bolide which crashed in Yucatan, Chicxulub, caused it.

This is convenient, be it only because Chicxulub smacks of the typical act of God, and the USA loves to believe in God: God worship, God trusting beats going to school, any day, and being responsible of one’s acts.

As I will show, the convenience goes beyond divine intervention: to see what really happened during the Super Traps eruption is all too reminiscent of the present burning all-the-carbon-that-ever-was catastrophe. The Super Traps catastrophes force to study the same mechanisms that are at play presently, in what may soon turn into a man-made hell.

There is overwhelming evidence that the massive extinction was not caused by an impact. To start with, the mathematics of the explosion are against having enough power to cause such a massacre, from that brutal excavation alone. Instead, another explanation offers itself, and that one keeps on giving, because it explains even more spectacular extinctions.

How do we know that super volcanism, the VOLCANISM OF SUPER TRAPS, on an unimaginably violent scale, bubbling straight up from Earth’s core, is the culprit of MASS EXTINCTIONS?

As I will show, a super traps eruption is a biosphere nightmare and catastrophe that constitutes, in several ways, a model for the sort of biosphere destruction we are presently engaged in. WE ARE GETTING TRAPPED IN MAN MADE SUPER TRAPS…

The impact theory has turned to comedy. To make the impact work nevertheless, in spite of its puny aspect, the more it has become obvious that it does not work at all. Fast food for thought seems an American tendency, a resultant of a school system that favors consensus (the way of the gregarious lemming) rather than argument (the way of the creative thinker). To demolish the impact theory can be done in a single argument: explosive power. It came from below, not above. But a reminder first on the impact theory of the disappearance of dinosaurs and their colleagues.

***

THE IMPACT THEORY IN A FRIVOLOUS LIGHT:

In the USA, a while back, Walter Alvarez, a geologist at UC Berkeley, went to see his dad, physics Nobel Laureate Luis Alvarez, up at LBL on the hill, and asked him how he could prove that dinosaurs disappeared because they had been struck by an asteroid. Alvarez junior wanted a proof of impact. Alvarez senior suggested to look at iridium, an element rare in Earth’s crust, but frequent in meteorites, he said. Notice the concept of “Earth crust” (= “lithosphere”): our entire argument is going to be that Earth is not just a crust, something that escaped the unconditional partisans of the space rock impacting the neighborhood.

Sure enough, an iridium layer was found, about 65 million years old, when the dinosaurs and other most advanced life forms suddenly vanished, and so the Alvarez team proclaimed victory: a massive asteroid impact had caused it, they said. (But all they had truly found, a certain and significant discovery, was more iridium than normal, in a layer!)

Then geologists proceeded to look for a crater. One was conveniently found, of just the right age, or so it looked at the time, in the records of geologists working for oil companies, in Yucatan… in one of the world’s top tourist areas. The popularity of Yucatan among geologists richly endowed with grants, became undisputed. (There are more recent impacts in Siberia, possibly less popular because they are adorned with fewer coconut trees in winter, without nice hotels at the ready to provide the weary academics with rest and relaxation. Besides, they… caused no extinctions.)

The Yucatan crater, soon dubbed the Chicxulub crater, is located near the town of the same name. Conveniently, Chicxulub is the rough translation of the Mayan for “tail of the devil”. The crater is 180 kilometers (110 mi) in diameter, making Chicxulub one of the largest confirmed impact structures in the world; the impacting bolide that formed the crater was up to 10 km (6 mi) in diameter. So far, so good.

***

THE CHICXULUB BOLIDE THAT STRUCK YUCATAN:

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Radar topography reveals the 180 kilometer (112 mi) diameter ring of the crater.

***

IRIDIUM: A PROOF WITH A GIANT LOOPHOLE:

Magnanimously, I will not insinuate that finding an impact in a tourist area is a measure of scientific bias. But to assume that an iridium layer can only be produced by a bolide is a grave logical mistake. Before deciding that something caused something else, one has to eliminate all other blatant alternative causes of that same something else. This, the Alvarez team did not do. It turns out that the Reunion volcano and the Hawai’i volcano both emit gases and dust enriched in hexafluoride of IRIDIUM.

These volcanoes are very special, especially the one of Reunion island, and we accuse it to be the real tail of the devil. Hawai’i is known as the Earth’s tallest mountain, relative to its basis (Hawai’i stands more than 10,000 meters above the sea floor it rises from) and the Reunion island is not far behind. Volcanically speaking, the Hawaiian volcano arises from a HOTSPOT (or “plume”). Hawai’i’s hotspot is smaller than the Reunion hotspot, geophysically and historically speaking. The Reunion hotspot gave rise to a volcanic ensemble that, viewed in its entirety, is probably the world’s most impressive, in the last 250 million years. It disintegrated part of India, and sliced right through a mid oceanic ridge. But there is more.

The Alvarez iridium rich layer, their proof of the importance of the bolide’s impact, is only a few centimeters thick around most of the planet, and upon that thin evidence, the elation of the partisans of the impact rested. When and where the Reunion super hotspot exploded in its maximal fury, the iridium rich layer is a METER THICK. On this observation alone, the case should already be closed: Reunion did it, not Chicxulub. But I will pursue, because many lessons are therein revealed. And many independent arguments will be made. Contemplating an eruption worth 1,000 to 10,000 Chicxulubs is instructive. Let’s contemplate:

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The 1,200-m-thick exposed section through the Deccan basalt pile at Mahabaleshwar, Sahyadri (Western Ghats) region. Grand! Photo by Hetu Sheth.

The Deccan Super Traps are really, really big, and very thick: this is just a tini tiny sample… The present area of directly observable lava flows is estimated to be around 512,000 km2 (197,684 sq mi). That is about the size of California, and just a fraction of the total mayhem. Some lava flows are 800 kilometer long (they are the longest on Earth, and were created in a few days).

***

COULD CHICXULUB HAVE CAUSED THE EXTINCTION?

The Chicxulub bolide penetrated the earth, and transformed its kinetic energy into heat. It became gaseous, and the gas exploded with immense force. How much? Well, Chicxulub had a volume of roughly 400 cubic kilometers. Very generously, one can suppose that it volatilized ten times its own volume in Earth’s rock (assuming, once again generously, an impact at a maximal 40 kilometers per second). So one ends up with 4,000 cubic kilometers of disintegrated, volatized rock.

What the Chicxulub partisans claim is that these exploding 4,000 cubic kilometers of rock killed the dinosaurs, down to the last one. Of course, it would be an immense massacre, if it happened today, and most large animals would die. Most of humankind would die. But exterminating species is another matter entirely.

***

By the way, Chicxulub did not just kill the dinosaurs, supposing it did. It would have also killed all the Plesiosaurs, Pliosaurs, and Mosasaurs, which were highly successful sea reptiles:

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(Typical Plesiosaurs on top, Pliosaur below, Mosasaur at the bottom.)

That deep fact puts the impact under water, logically speaking: the sea reptiles could endure colder temperatures, and they were protected from transient heat. Now the impact partisans argue that the dust of the impact, and the smoke of thousands of fires (started by re-entering incandescent material: tektites) caused a “nuclear winter”, and very cold temperatures. But the sea reptiles knew cold and dark (see picture above). Obviously something else decimated them to the last.

After the sea reptiles were exterminated, it took ten million years for sea mammals to re-enter the sea. Obviously, the condition of the sea was no good for very long. What could have caused badness to perpetuate itself for so long?

***

The Pterosaurs, the most accomplished fliers that ever were, also went extinct, at the same time as the dinosaurs and the sea reptiles:

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Size comparison of the two known Quetzalcoatlus species and a human being. (Some have said Quetzalcoatlus was a bit smaller...)

By the way, such enormous sizes are completely impossible for birds. The Pterosaurs used evolutionary tricks the avian dinosaurs known as birds never stumbled upon (such as variable geometry inflatable surfaces). Thus the largest flying Pterosaurs were at least ten times heavier than the largest flying birds (maybe 25 times heavier).

How could such incredibly superior creatures disappear? Just one hit from a bolide? 4,000 cubic kilometers of rock thrown about in a minute did it? All around the planet? Down to the last eggs? For creatures who were, it seems, partly carrion eaters, as some birds of prey are nowadays? And why did the birds survive, with a great wealth of species preserved?

(After the dinosaurs were killed, there was an age of birds on land; meanwhile, carnivorous mammals entered the sea, now that the sea reptiles were gone: the first whales appeared within ten million years.)

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WHAT KILLED THE DINOSAURS WAS THE COOLING OF THE CLIMATE, NOT THE BIG SPACE ROCK:

Now, of course, in the beginning, when the solar system was young, there were many enormous impacts. It is probable that life started several times on Mars, Earth and Venus, and got extinguished after giant impacts. And that life (bacteria) may have been thrown from one planet to another where a previous impact had extinguished it. One such impact, by a Mars sized planet, melted all of Earth, and the debris thrown in Earth orbit coalesced to form the Moon. Thereafter, Venusian or Martian life probably conquered Earth after it had cooled enough.

An impact with a big comet or asteroid could have caused a massive extinction: such objects can be 40 kilometers across, with 100 times the mass, and destruction of Chicxulub (the comet Hale-Bopp of 1997 had a diameter of at least 35 kms, and passed at 52 kilometers per second, giving it an explosive capability of 4.4 x 109 megatons, about 44 times the estimated energy of the K-T Chicxulub event).

Although apocalyptic, the Chicxulub bolide was in no way that enormous, that it could have wiped out all advanced life on Earth. And the fact is, the K-T extinction event wiped out only selected advanced animals, namely all those resembling dinosaurs.

Why? My answer: because dinosaurs were adapted to a warm tropical world

There were polar dinosaurs, when the poles were … warm, which they were until the end of the Cretaceous, precisely.

There is independent biological evidence, from closely looking at their respiratory systems, that dinosaurs did not have the advanced temperature regulation that birds (= avian dinosaurs) and mammals had (there were plenty of mammals under the “reign” of the dinosaurs, and they were evolving: antelopes differentiated before the end of the Cretaceous).

So the dinosaurs were not adapted to serious, even transient cooling. That’s why they died, and why mammals and birds, and animals that could burrow in mud or soil (turtles, snakes, crocs, lizards) did not.

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DINOSAURS DID NOT LIKE IT COOL:

Because the fact is, around the time when the dinosaurs died, the climate cooled down very seriously. And not just at the poles.

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Notice the COLLAPSE OF TEMPERATURE AT THE TIME WHEN DINOSAURS DISAPPEAR: IT’S THE FALL OFF THE GIANT PEAK ON THE LEFT (2/3 of the way into the “K”, “K” being for Cretaceous, from the German “Kreide” for chalk a translation of the French-Latin for chalk).

Now, of course, the partisans of the bolide impact then claimed that the bolide, which obviously did not roast most animals, fabricated a very violent winter (a sort of “nuclear winter”). The idea is that a lot of material was up in the air, obscuring the sun, and so it became very cold, etc…

Unfortunately for this simplistic little explanation, it does not explain why the sea dinosaurs got so cold they died off, just because of a cloud deck for a few months: the ocean has a millennial thermal inertia. (The ocean takes a 1,000 years to change temps drastically.)

Then the impact partisans went on a whole gymnastic to boost the damage they claimed the impact did, asserting that it struck in a very special place, which would have made a special cloud…

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THE REAL CULPRIT OF THE DEMISE OF DINOSAURS. THE DECCAN SUPER TRAPS:

The word “Traps” means big layered rock, and is of Scandinavian origin. The Deccan Traps, one of the largest such “traps” formed between 60 and 68 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous era. The bulk of the volcanic events occurred at the Western Ghats (near Mumbai) some 65 million years ago. This series of extraordinary eruptions may have lasted fewer than 30,000 years in total (as paleomagnetism reveals).

Before the Deccan Traps region was reduced to its current size by erosion and the drift and partial disintegration of India, the original area covered by the lava flows of basalt was of the order of 1.5 million km², approximately half the size of modern India. On a depth of 3,000 meters. That’s around 5 million cubic kilometers. Or 1,000 times the total imaginable maximal ejecta from Chicxulub.

Now remember, the ejecta from Chicxulub, ten times the mass of the bolide itself, was mostly made of rock, some of it incandescent, capable of starting fires, thousands of kilometers away, after going ballistic through space. But some of the ejecta was just plain rock and dirt, at normal temperature (that’s how impacts throw bacteria from planet to planet).

In any case, the Chicxulub ejecta was just rock, and mostly Earth’s own lithospheric rock (surface rocks, in other words). No big deal, this Chicxulub: a big excavation, gone nuts.

The Deccan traps were something all together different. We are not just talking liquid rock. When a volcano erupts, few people and animals die swimming in lava flows.

The most lethal, and far ranging part of a volcanic eruption, pertains to its gases. The gases are what propel the lava; there are always plenty. What I claim is that the gases released in the Deccan Traps caused the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event (which included the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs). Chicxulub did not have such gases associated to itself. Not at all. The real devil, as everybody knows, smells of sulfur. Reunion has sulfur. The bolide had none.

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CRAZY VOLCANIC GASES. EXAMPLE: THE LAKI ERUPTION IN ICELAND, SUMMER 1783.

During the Laki eruption, 15 cubic kilometers of lava came out of a meek 10 kilometers long fissure (now a few cute small lichen covered innocent looking cones can be observed along it). But gases, with a lot of sulfur therein, went all the way to Europe, hanging around ominously. The Laki produced up to an astounding 6 million tons of SO2 (Sulfur dioxide), per DAY. The temperatures went crazy in Europe: hot, then cold. For months.

Besides human industry and volcanoes, there are no sources of SO2 in nature. The excess mortality in Europe due to Laki seems to have been around 200,000 dead! From the gases. 200,000 dead from a small volcano thousands of kilometers away, having a small eruption.

The point is that the Deccan Traps were of a similar type to Laki, just way, way, worse. Iceland is above a hot spot, besides being astride the mid Atlantic ridge. Hawai’i is another example of hot spot. The Reunion hotspot is still something else.

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EARTH’S VOLCANISM ABSTRACT:

Volcanism is how the Earth cools down. Cooling happens in four ways (my own classification):

a) Conventional volcanoes. (Typically magma formed from light elements in a subduction zone.)

b) Plate tectonics. (Plates are the outside, cooling part of giant convection cells of Earth’s mantle. The plates cool as they are exposed to the atmosphere and space.)

c) Hot spots. (Hot material coming up through the mantle, as in a lava lamp. examples: Hawai’i, Yellowstone, many island chains.)

d) Super hotspots. (Same as hot spots, just so big they come straight from Earth’s own core.)

Thus the earth functions just as a boiling pot of a very thick soup. In such a pot, there are two ways heat is conducted from the bottom to the top: convection cells, and big bubbles coming up, straight through the whole mess (a problem heating tomato sauce in a microwave oven). The Deccan traps are of the later type.

Convection = Plate tectonics, Big Bubbles = Hotspots. Hawai’i is a hotspot, so is Easter island, Juan Fernandez island, Tristan da Cunha island, Yellowstone, etc… The hotspots are deeper in origin than the convection cells of plate tectonics, and they tend not to move that much relative to each other: the plates move above them (as the Pacific plate above the Hawai’i hotspot, at about 7 centimeters per year towards the north west).

Differently from a cooking pot, the Earth has a triple insulation system.

The super hotspots are the way to cool the core, directly. We know this, because massive plumes giving rise to massive traps occur every 200 million years or so. They are associated to the earth dynamo, in the liquid outer core. After the dynamo has been so quiescent, that there had been no more magnetic field inversions for at least 30 million years.

Then the dynamo gets active again, with plenty of magnetic field inversions, and shortly after, a super hotspot, a super plume, is released. The head of such a superhot spot is around 500 kms across, and can rise at one meter per year, through the entire mantle.

When the Reunion superhot plume reached the Indian island-continent, it pushed it from below: it was as a giant balloon of extremely hot magma; being so hot that it was much less dense, it pushed up, according to Archimedes principle (= “hydrostasis”). India, a continent made of light, solid, rigid material, as continents are, resisted for a while, bulging up by a full kilometer into a giant dome, before the hot lava and gases of the super giant plume broke through it, and flooded half of the Indian subcontinent with the Deccan traps.

This is no mean feat, because the lithosphere below a continent can be up to 200 kilometers thick (it is unlikely that Chicxulub could have broken through it significantly: the Siberian impact described at the end of this essay penetrated by a mile, and fractured rock nine kms deep).

The so called “Shiva” destruction off shore in India may be related to the fact that there can be NO lithosphere in an oceanic plate (for example between the Cape Verde islands (another small hotspot) and the Caribbean, the raw mantle is directly exposed to the ocean…) Thus, as part of the super plume broke through the oceanic plate, it was a different job there, dismantling the Seychelles (or so it seems).

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SUPER HOTSPOT CAUSES SUPER TRAPS, AND SUPER TRAPS CAUSE MASS EXTINCTIONS:

When a super trap erupts, it goes through a series of massive, brutal pulses of activity. The two main ones of the Deccan traps bracketed the K-T boundary (the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, when the extinctions occurred). During the main pulse, a layer as deep as an astounding 220 meters of thick lava came out within ten years (it seems: latest research, 2009). Some lava flows, the longest ever recorded, rushed east across all of India, and are at least 800 kilometers long.

Enormous amounts of deadly SO2 and CO2 gases pervaded the planet’s atmosphere, the former poisoning and acidifying everything, and occluding the sun, bringing a multi-year night, the second causing an enormous, lethal greenhouse, that quickly followed the volcanic winter, and filled up the ocean with carbonic acid (killing sea life).

Next, the gigantic basaltic lava beds reacted with the CO2 in the atmosphere, removing it, and the planet ended up with less of a CO2 greenhouse than before the traps, hence much cooler (over the next million years as the geological record shows). So it went: super cold, super hot, hyper acidic, long term cold. In a few years. Then repeat in the next pulse.

It’s a miracle birds and mammals survived. In the earlier Permian-Triassic extinction, caused by the even more gigantic Siberian traps, which covered maybe a third of the gigantic Eurasian continent with lava flows, at least 95% of animal species went extinct (250 million BP). Just as with the Deccan traps, there was a first massive traps eruption several million years before (more exactly 8 million years before).

There are many examples of this. Not just the disappearance of dinosaurs, and the extinctions 258 and 250 million years before the present. All traps coincide with extinction events, except the smallest and most recent of them all, the Columbia traps, which broke through the North American plate, 15 million years ago (this from the “Yellowstone” hotspot; some lava flows then went 100 kilometers, in one shot, though!)

The release of volcanic gases, particularly sulfur dioxide, during the formation of the traps, contributed to contemporary climate change. Data point to an average global fall in temperature of 2 °C during the eruptions. At least. Experiences with various volcanoes in the last two centuries show it could have been several times that.

The Tambora eruption in Indonesia in1815 caused the “year without a summer” of 1816, in Europe. Around Tambora, it was completely dark for four days. Tambora was of course teeny tiny and ridiculous relative to a traps event.

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THE DESPAIR OF THE IMPACTISTS:

When it became clear that the Chicxulub bolide was too small to extinguish so much, those obsessed by impacts searched for another impact. Plenty of them were found, but none of them coincided with an extinction. Chicxulub was the only one of the sort. So they argued the ground at Chicxulub was special (lots of limestone, thus lots of CO2 thrown up in the air). Now two thirds of impacts will happen at sea, so maybe a big impact disappeared in a subduction zone… Hope erupts, eternal.

Because the Deccan Super Traps loomed ominously in their future, and the Siberian Super Traps loomed ever larger, those obsessed by impacts argued that the Yucatan impact somehow melted, or broke, the other side of the Earth, creating the Deccan Traps (as if volcanoes needed impacts!) This is beyond silly. The traps had started millions of years before (although at a slower pace). Besides, continental drift shows that Yucatan and India were very far from antipodal then (Yucatan was in the middle of the present day Atlantic, and India was above the Reunion island)!

A recent variant of this is to argue that the tortured sea bed off the remaining piece of the Deccan traps is actually a super gigantic impact crater (!). The impactists even gave it a name: Shiva! But it is not because something drastic happened that it is necessarily a super giant bolide, landing just where the largest volcanism on Earth had festered for millions of years. Common sense should put limits to cosmic conspiracy theories!

And this is to forget the power of the Reunion super hot spot: it destroyed part of the Indian continent, forcefully separating the Seychelles islands micro-continent (these islands are indeed half granitic, which means they are made of continental crust; the continent in between got torn apart, and swallowed by the super hotspot, which also distorted the local mid oceanic ridge, while giving rise to a whole succession of islands finishing with Maurice and Reunion).

The impactists may say that the probability of Chicxulub coinciding with the Deccan Super Traps was low. But not that much. Let’s say a Chicxulub happens about twice every 100 million years nowadays (some may have happened, and be eaten in a subduction zone; besides we know of several giant impacts around 35 million years ago, in America and Siberia; one created Chesapeake Bay).

The worst pulse of the Deccan traps is roughly coincidental with the KT boundary, and was followed by the second most devastating pulse 300,000 years later. Chicxulub was also within 300,000 years of the largest Deccan pulse (supposedly).

The probability of a bolide impact happening during the Deccan traps is therefore 3%. Small, but not unbelievable. No other extinction was found sort-of coincidental with a bolide, all are simultaneous with super traps.

(And if one looks at the probability of a bolide impact during Super Traps (not just during an acute phase), it’s a minimum of 10%: ten million years for a Super Traps episode seems the rule. It’s higher if one observes that there were 4 bolide impacts in the last 100 million years, which is arguably the case; then the probability is as high as 40%!)

Before the K-T boundary, dinosaurs had been declining for a few million years (apparently the number of species would have been overestimated, because often the young looked very different from older individuals, and so were classified as different species; news from 2009).

The climate had been cooling (a cooling climate would have been devastating for dinosaurs, who had no time to evolve in warm blooded animals generating their own heat, as birds and mammals had evolved, over 180 million years).

The first, and smaller, Deccan pulse 2.5 million years earlier than Chicxulub (67.5 million years BP) has got to do with it: exposed lava beds absorb CO2. And enormous lava absorbs enormous CO2. The whole Deccan craziness was followed by a strong and persistent cooling, over millions of years, most probably for the same reason (absorption of CO2 by decomposing basalt beds).

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Conclusion: LET’S NOT GET TRAPPED!

Whenever one discovers a truth, there is often a larger truth behind it. Going from the particular truth to the general one is the meta process, central to thinking, also known as abstraction. (I claim it is central to neurobiological thinking.)

It is true that the dinosaurs disappeared in a catastrophe. But that catastrophe is not a one-time event; it keeps on coming back, every 200 million years or so.

The model of the impact simply does not work. Besides, even it worked once, it would have to work each time the magnetic field reversals stayed quiescent for dozen of millions of years previously, an unimaginable causality, for those who don’t believe in miracles they do not need.

Moreover, we are engaged in a man-made ersatz mass extinction, led by Washington (the USA, and its leading factory, China, produce more than 40% of the man-made CO2).

This time the CO2 is indeed man-made, not caused by Vulcan. To make it more hellish, American technologists and self described “Super Freaks” have suggested to compensate the man-made CO2 greenhouse effect by a man-made SO2 cooling effect, exactly like the natural work of Vulcan. (They propose to inject billions of tons of SO2 in the stratosphere, because it will allow Americans to drive SUVs, and burn all their coal, since “the USA is the Saudi Arabia of coal”: clearly, God wanted it to be burned!)

Science is just common sense, on steroids, applied to the labyrinth of reality. We are living in a scientific society. Although some of the leadership clings to superstition, even the superstitious ones cannot ignore science. Science is about what is. It is also a method. That method consists in applying common sense to reproducible facts, and check the models one makes from said reproducible facts against observed phenomena.

We are working very hard right now. Most of the planet’s workers are hell bound to reproduce right away, right now, many of the conditions that extinguished dinosaurs, pterosaurs, pliosaurs, plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, etc…

What kind of economy is that? This house (eco) is managed (nomy) poorly. But I would respectfully suggest we know enough to predict what is going to happen next, and it is useless to reproduce the same catastrophe before its time. We don’t need man-made super traps.

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Patrice Ayme.

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P/S 1: Institut Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), especially its paleomagnetic and tectonic units, have pushed for many of the ideas above about super plumes from paleomagnetism (most probably those units are the foremost in the world, and I say this although the Vincent Courtillot, who heads IPGP, professes to be skeptical of the anthropogenic CO2 greenhouse… I would not be surprised this has to do with some of the considerable, and considerably opaque financing of IPGP…But it is of good war, as one says. A careful listening to director Courtillot shows that he is so careful in what he says about the greenhouse, so anxious not to contradict it blatantly, that, obviously, he believes in it). Ever since the enormity of Siberian and Deccan Traps was known, and their coincidence with mass extinctions, many people, no doubt, drew the obvious conclusions.

Although I did arrive to the same conclusions independently about what really caused the disappearance of the dinosaurs, it was on more general principles (the purported impact was clearly insufficient in explosive power, poisoning potential, and long term, multi million year cooling capability).

P/S 2: Mr. Sheth (whose picture of the Deccan I used above) has claimed that the gigantic Deccan Super Traps would not be due to a super plume coming straight from the core. His arguments are unconvincing (they are contained within the data above, but he makes a bid deal about the fact that the Deccan Traps occurred over time). But, of course, super plumes or not, the volcanic events were large enough for a worldwide mass extinction (and the bolide was not).

P/S 3: Washington caused trouble before. The Chesapeake Bay impact crater was formed by a bolide that impacted the eastern shore of North America about 35 million years ago, in the late Eocene epoch. That crater is a mile deep (as deep as the grand Canyon), and about 100 kilometers across. Just as Chicxulub, it was revealed by oil geologists. There was a mass extinction around that time, as the temperature of the Earth fluctuated and cooled. That event came to be known as the “Grande Coupure” (French for Great Break, since French geologists discovered it).

Am I contradicting myself in these last few lines? Well, not really: the events 35 million years ago involved several impacts. There was an even larger impact in Popigai, Northern Siberia, plus another, again in Siberia, maybe one in Italy, and a secondary impact in America. Although complete guesswork at this point, it’s not impossible that Earth collided with a major comet then (the comet would have fragmented first maybe through a first low pass, as happened with Jupiter a few years back. Another possibility is a multiple body asteroid (those are frequent). Viewed the other way, this failed massive mass extinction proves the point about the K-T mass extinction not possibly being caused by just one 10kms body.

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