Posts Tagged ‘Xenophon’

Antarctica Heat Records. A Consequence Of Hubris?

April 1, 2015

WE KNEW OF NUCLEAR MELT-DOWNS. WHAT ABOUT HUBRIS MELT-DOWNS?

Hubris melting down world security, including Antarctica. Five national heat records were beaten since the start of 2015.

Including the one in Antarctica, last week.

The poles are where heat records are going to be achieved the most.

Why?

Planetary warming is concentrated there. If the temperature goes up two degrees Celsius overall, it will get up TEN degrees Celsius at the Poles. Or so I claim. (Right now we are up officially only .8 degree Celsius, in the global average.)

NASA explains why climate change is warming the poles of our planet faster than the rest this way: “energy in the atmosphere that is carried to the poles through large weather systems.”

That is true, but does not explain the big picture.

500 Kilometers South Of Esperanza Base, Lemaire Channel.

500 Kilometers South Of Esperanza Base, Lemaire Channel.

[Antarctica has 70% of the World’s sweet water.]

The big picture of why the poles are warming up so fast is proven by history, and explained by simple physics. The history of the last five million years, basic thermodynamics, biology and celestial mechanics. It’s etched in stone.

Five millions years ago, the planet was warm. The global CO2 level was the same as now. The global sea level was much higher (30 to 40 meters higher). Then the Central America isthmus closed down, thanks to all its volcanoes. This modified currents worldwide. Or, at least, so went the theory that reigned for thirty years. But now doubts have surfaced; the isthmus between the Americas may be much older than previously thought.

In any case, a few million years ago, Earth’s orbital parameters changed: the inclination of the Earth on the ecliptic (the plane in which its rotation occurs) diminished. That implied colder summers, hence the persistence, thus built-up, of ice at the poles.

Glaciations are all about the peak temperatures, in summer (the rest of the year does not count: ice melts mostly in the warmest two months).

The Arctic became colder, as it got colder in summer. Ice gained, shutting down the CO2 within the ocean with a cold water lid. So CO2 levels in the lower atmosphere collapsed… Down to about 280 ppm. That increased the cooling down. The ice gained further… Until it went so south that it melted in summer.

The planet ended up with two very white, snowy and icy poles, reflecting a lot of light back to space. Earth got equipped with two immense refrigerators. This is the environment in which our species evolved (although there were a few transient spikes even warmer than today, for as inclination over the ecliptic became momentarily pronounced, with torrid summers that made ice melt; the present warming is different, as it is Anthropogenic Green House Gases driven; particularly nasty volcanism could drive the CO2 up, but did not happen in the last five million years.)

Now we are back to Pliocene CO2 levels, 5 million years ago. With these levels of CO2, so much infrared radiation gets trapped close the ground, that the refrigerators are bound to melt. Another reason is that the warm CO2 blanket tends to unify the temperature.

Another way to look at it is that the temperature of the equatorial regions is an average of 25C. The average temperature of the planet is 15C. The average temperature within Antarctica goes from -10C (Coast) to -60C (Interior). Say it’s minus 45C (the official estimate).

If the CO2 blanket is thick enough, the poles will roughly get as warm as the rest.

There will be a lot of inertia: when an ice cube melts in water, the water stays around freezing during the process.

The warmest temperature recorded on the continent of Antarctica occurred on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, when the mercury shot up to 63.5°F (17.5°C) at Argentina’s Esperanza Base on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Shown below:

Esperanza Base, Antarctica: the Glaciers Even Appear To Be Melting

Esperanza Base, Antarctica: the Glaciers Even Appear To Be Melting

[Glaciers that are melting are thin at the margins, and convex… Just as above on the left and center.]

The previous record was 63.3°F (17.4°C) set just one day previously at Argentina’s Marambio Base, an island just off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

I am warming up to this subject. (And I did not even mention the relationship between obesity and rising CO2 that some researchers have recently suggested. C02 rose around 30% in 60 years…)

According to satellite data, researchers from the University of Southampton in the UK, found that sea level rise around the coast of Antarctica over the past 19 years was 8 centimeters (3.15 inches).

Average sea level rise was 6 centimeters (2.36 inches).

Why the difference?

Last summer, in Nature Geoscience, the specialists explained that melting glaciers create an outflow of sweet water. As it is less dense, it floats above the salted water, according to Archimedes Principle.

This will only accelerate melting.

Up north, on February 25, 2015, Arctic sea ice extent reached its annual maximum extent. It was the lowest, and earliest, ever.

Humanity would seem to be in a fascinating state of denial. But not really. After all, maybe only 2,000 individuals lead the world.

Those individuals, who Obama calls the “leaders” (what else?) can only adopt Louis XV of France’s utterance: ”Après moi, le déluge”. (After me, the flood.)

Indeed those leaders are different creatures. Those who are so much greedier for personal power that they end up dominating billions, can only be blinded by it. They have more power than anybody before. More power than any tyrant ever had before.

Contemplate Benjamin Netanyahu: he could fry Iran, with Israeli H bombs. That has got to make him dizzy. And he leads only six million Israeli Jews (who make 75% of Israel’s 8 million).

Now think of Putin, with 24 times more subjects, and more than 8,000 nukes.

Then contemplate the senseless wars the Greek city-states were making to each other. Everybody was allied, and enemy, of everybody else, and often in very short order (weeks). Meanwhile the “King”, namely the emperor of Persia, was busy making the mess messier, with the tremendous money, power and influence at his disposal.

This fibrillating, bellicose frenzy went on and on. Until the plutocrats from the north, the Macedonians, whose wealth rested on horses and gold mines, swooped down.

We could easily fall back in a similar state.

It was the inability of Athens to impose a sustainable empire that caused the war panic in Greece. The war itself was launched by Sparta’s anxiety for the rise of Athenian power (said Thucydides, 24 centuries ago). Sparta’s socio-economic model, ferocious racist exploitation (of the Helots) was failing. Athens’ global trade was winning.

But, too sure of her strength, Athens mismanaged the war (in several dimensions: ethically, strategically, tactically, diplomatically, epidemiologically, etc.).

Result? 23 centuries of eclipse of direct democracy. And counting. Direct Democracy has been re-installed only in Switzerland. Now the stakes are higher. Western Europe is at peace… All too much.

The Main Stream Media have put everybody to sleep. Regularly the media, in turn, publish articles of Matt Ridley. An excellent writer, with a PhD in biology, author of many best sellers in life sciences, Matt Ridley returns to the Wall Street Journal to to argue against clean energy rapidly scaling up, and the science linking the year 2014’s record heat, widespread extreme weather with carbon pollution.

Lord Ridley is a parody of plutocrat. Not only he sieges at the Chamber of Lords, he is a “coal baron” with a revenue from a coal mine on his family estate of six million dollars a year. Yes, he is a major corrupt banker too.

Such people mold world public opinion, as their friends in the MSM give them the means for propaganda. See Lord Ridley’s Rule.

Because they did not have even enough elements to get angry, let alone fight our corrupt leaders, and take over their so-called leadership, our supine populations will soon have to fight the flood. And a real one.

And that will come with a Greek situation, the war of all against all (whom Xenophon related in his Hellenica, the primary source for Greek history from 411 BCE to 362 BCE, the explicit continuation of the History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides).

The war of all against all may have already started. See Obama desperate to strike a deal with his friends of the instant, in Iran and Russia, while others (notably France) want an exemplary accord, and hang tough. Well, France is right. The last thing we need is nuclear weapons all over, while the global flooding accelerates.

Patrice Ayme’

Better Thinking: Off Base!

July 12, 2013

I THINK, THEREFORE I JUMP:

Paul Krugman is not amused by those who want to box him in, and rightly so; say he in “Fields of Expertise”: “One of the more annoying kinds of comment that pops up sometimes on this blog is the complaint that I’m violating some kind of principle whenever I write about anything that isn’t strictly economics.”

The concept of “economy” and the coining of the word, was authored by Xenophon. Xenophon, a golden youth, a child of the rich, was a student and friend of Socrates. He took part in military campaigns, rather as a dilettante and detached observer (he admits). However, when a Greek army found itself leaderless and isolated in the middle of Mesopotamia, he was elected general (!) and did his job superbly.

The Greek army was surrounded by uncountable ferocious enemies. The Persians of Ataxerxes II had proven themselves treacherous beyond belief. After the Greeks had been victorious, during a negotiation, the Spartan overall commander Clearchus and all other Greek senior officers were assassinated by the treachery of the Persian satrap Tissaphernes. (Middle Eastern perfidy has a long history!)

It was high time to think different. General Xenophon did the unexpected; instead of heading west towards Ionian Greece, as Ataxerxes expected, he led the army north, across deserts and what is now called Kurdistan. The mountains were severe, and the Kurds, not amused. However, after treasures of ingeniosity, and ferocious combat, the Greeks pulled through and reached the Black Sea.

Xenophon wrote down this history in Anabasis. Ah, yes, because Xenophon was also a historian. Anabasis means: going up! Or literally; off base! Off base, that is, leaving behind lower dimensions, acquiring higher ones.

Anabasis got the Greeks thinking that maybe the problem of Persia could be solved by conquering the whole damned thing. (Something the fascist pseudo-Greek Alexander so called “The Great” would soon implement, after being taught by another Athenian philosopher from the same tribe, Aristotle: many of the greatest philosophers ever knew each other personally!)

After returning triumphantly to Athens, Xenophon thought of philosophical matters, at the creative level. He got the idea of economy: house (eco) management (nomy). Thus he formally founded a field that had been central to civilization for millennia. Xenophon saw the need. It detached, to some extent, a field of study, making the claim it was partly dimensionally independent  from politics and customs. The veracity of that axiom has been demonstrated since.

Xenophon was an immensely courageous, creative and intelligent man, as his military exploits demonstrate. That’s what it takes to distinguish a concept of importance, previously unobserved, or deemed unworthy. This is the essence of the philosophical method.

So what is philosophy? Guessing what was not guessed before. How? By thinking so broadly, or so extradimensionally that one can see, or imagine connections and concepts that were never seen before. Who is cut for it? The smartest. What are the consequences? Encouraging thinking to go across frontiers that were never even imagined before.

How did we get to have a house and manage it? How did we come out of the cave that way? Because we exerted off base thinking. So the title, of the seven book volumes of Xenophon of his adventures as a general, Anabasis, is actually symbolic of the entire civilizational condition. Charles Quint, another admirable leader of mankind (for the human, and far sighted way in which he treated American natives) may have been inspired when he chose the motto:“Plus Oultre!”

We are living in a science fiction world. Why? because anything is possible. not just technologically: watch the USA having secreted a secret surveillance court making so called “secret laws”. Watch the sulfur of the Secret State Police (GEheime STAat POlizei: Gestapo). Contemplate the consequences if the world economy, which is energy dependent, broke down: no more than two billion people, at best, can be supported by the local economies.

Reading Sci-Fi is relevant to understand what is happening, and, more importantly, what could happen. Specialists, like woodpeckers do what they do well, pecking an overspecialized field of expertise and their brains, or academic careers, are well insulated from shocks.

But geniuses they are not. So keep on broadly thinking, professor Krugman, economics is everywhere, even when we look up to the stars, as we have to. Where we have to go. Be it only if we do the math!

And let the ants do their special things, as they get crushed by the weight of what is for them incomprehensible wisdom on its way towards unimaginable horizons!

Economics is vast, vaster than has been guessed so far. It contains all of physics. And more; all of human behavior, all of human imagination.

Take a particular case: Krugman, and others, have been lamenting that the Republicans in the USA are self destructive, because they want to reduce programs for the poor. And poor, old, voting whites are the main beneficiaries of these programs. So Krugman thinks the danger is limited. However, doing so, he neglects a big chunk of human evolutionary psychology that has consequences, not just on the soul, but on economics.  

One should never underestimate the power of run-away propaganda to hurt those it seduces. There is, deep down in man, born in the evolution of domination, a self destructive streak. Neoconservatives or neofascists exploit it. They may be crazy, but that only reinforces their appeal.

Anabasis, freeing oneself of the base, is the symbol of the human condition, and, a fortiori, civilization. When the mind is flat, the world is flat. It takes more than eyes to see the world. It takes a mind. And it better look up, to make up what was not there before.

***

Patrice Ayme