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Showing posts from November, 2014

Interstellar

Kip Thorne has written a book on the science of the movie: The Science of Interstellar. But I still have some scientific quibbles. For example: If NASA could produce the ranger and lander craft that navigate through big gravitational fields and land on and return from planets with gravitational field comparable to Earth, how come it took years and a three stage rocket to get out of Earth into orbit? Also, maybe instead of spending all their special effects budget on making black holes realistic enough for Kip, they could have made their planets slightly less cheesy than the Star Trekie ones they used.

Libertarian Fable Meets Human History

There is a certain libertarian fable, invented or popularized by Bryan Caplan, that goes like so: Suppose there are ten people on a desert island. One, named Able Abel, is extremely able. With a hard day's work, Able can produce enough to feed all ten people on the island. Eight islanders are marginally able. With a hard day's work, each can produce enough to feed one person. The last person, Hapless Harry, is extremely unable. Harry can't produce any food at all. Much of human prehistory resembles this situation in several critical respects. When hunters started killing large game, one or a few hunters out of a larger group might, on any given day, produce many more calories of available food than the whole rest of the group combined. Out of the ten or so adult male hunters in a typical band, one may be consistently quite a bit better than the others - almost an Able Able. Given the accidents of existence, there may also be a Hapless Harry in the group. Caplan …

For Shame

Man is the Only Animal that blushes. Or needs to.......................Mark Twain, Following the Equator.Mark Twain's witticism poses a fundamental question for evolutionary biology: What was the circumstance that impelled and produced this unique adaptation? Darwin himself thought deeply about it, and wrote letters to naturalists around the world to ask if people everywhere did in fact blush - they do. Humans are also unique in their extra-familial generosity, or altruism. Christopher Boehm draws a straight line between these behaviors, and believes that they connect directly with our ability to cooperate in large groups. The evolutionary pressure against altruistic behavior, whether it involves giving money to support some child in a different country or going to war to defend your country, are huge. Free riders: cheaters, draft dodgers, etc.,(the Dick Cheneys, George W. Bushes, et. al.) get a big advantage out their free ride. Without active suppression of free riding, lar…

The Easterner: Part II (Repost)

Guagina made her way elegantly across the hardwood floor. Even with her thong and pasties covered with the fawn and blue track suit, she was impressive, 5' 11" in bare feet, plus three inch heels topped by a cloud of flame red hair. She was on a delicate diplomatic mission. The bar was empty, except for her, Lefty the one-armed barkeep, and Les. A few days in the humid atmosphere of the bar had allowed the cowpies to absorb water, beer, spit, and tobacco juice, and they were beginning to support ecosystems of their own. Lefty was losing his shirt, but at the moment was more concerned about his remaining limbs. Gaugina wasn't making any tips either. "Hey Les, what's up with Britt?" "She's still in El Paso. She's got the money to bail her Mom out, but Grandma wants to wait while Marjean detoxes a bit." OK, Killer hadn't bitten her head off. She delicately broached the subject of Super-Conformal field theories. Les responded immedi…

Under-represented

Recently there has been a spate of articles and other interest in the fact that Asians need a lot higher SAT scores, on average, to get into Harvard than whites. In effect, there seems to be a quota, about 15%, for Asian students. This is reminiscent of similar quotas for Jews a half century ago. If one looks at the population of students with the highest academic performance and test scores, there are a lot more Asians and Jews than their proportions in the US population. Caltech, perhaps the only US university in this class that practices race blind admissions, has a student population that is about 40% Asian. Harvard claims 20% Asian for 2013, 12% African-American, and 13% Hispanic. Hillel, the Jewish student organization, says that 25% of the Harvard undergrads are Jewish. If we take all these statistics at face value, that leaves 30% for others, most of whom must be non-Hispanic, non-Jewish whites, who are consequently drastically under-represented compared to their propor…

The Easterner: Repost

I noticed recently that Lumo had me blacklisted from his blog, so I thought I might repost this legend from our mutual past: The slight, exhausted man steps off his bicycle on a dusty Las Cruces street. His bike tires are flat and encrusted with goatheads. So is his hair. He looks like he has ridden the last 800 miles through a duststorm. He has. No matter. He is on a mission of vengence. He speaks to the first man he meets: "I'm looking for a pig." "No hablo Ingles." He tries again on the next guy, a wiry guy in a Stetson and cowboy boots. "Sorry, this is cattle country. Cattle and goats." "A Capitalist Pig." Stetson: "We don't hold much with Communists here boy. You sound like one of them European Commies. Just what is your business here anyway, and do you have a green card? What's your name anyway? The avenger tells him. Boots and Stetson: "Shit! I can't pronounce that, much less spell it. Ho…

Downtown: Astro FOTD

The center of our galaxy is a happening place - besides the resident kinda-sorta Super Massive Black Hole (3 million solar masses or so, but a piker compared to those in the big elliptical galaxies) - there is a very high density of stars, rampant recent star birth, and dusty clouds of gas. We can't see this stuff in the visible, as only about one visible photon in a trillion makes it way through the dust to us, but other wavelengths penetrate better. It's a starry starry night there, as stellar density is a million times greater than in our neighborhood. On a dark night, a person of good eyesight on Earth can see about 7000 stars - if you were in the galactic nucleus, you could see millions. A nice place to visit, perhaps, but you wouldn't want to live there. O supergiants are bound to go supernova soon, and the radiation from the BH and other hot stuff would make the place pretty uninhabitable.

The Alpha Male

Christopher Boehm talks about a cave painting from the early Holocene: What we see in one is a cluster of ten male archers who seem to be rejoicing in something they have just done as they expressively wave their bows in the air. Lying on the ground some yards away is an inert human male figure who looks almost like a porcupine,62 with exactly ten arrows sticking in him. That’s all we know for sure, but some speculation is possible. First, ten archers suggests a band of perhaps forty, which would be a bit larger than average today, but well within the central tendencies already discussed. Elsewhere in Spain, two similar depictions show three and six archers, respectively, so the overall average would be about six, which seems to be right at the average for contemporary foragers—even though with such a small sample size, this is merely suggestive. Second, with the killings done unanimously and at short range, this would appear to be an instance of execution within the band, rather…

Social Coherence

A week ago or so Lee asked the following question: So just for fun, do you care to speculate about what the evolutionary basis for strongly held beliefs in humans may be? Social coherence? It doesn't seem to me that strongly held beliefs need to reflect some sort of underlying reality in order to accomplish whatever their evolutionary role is.This question has been percolating in my head, and I have communed with Boehm's Moral Origins, and I'm now ready to speculate. Hunter-gatherer communities, the essential proto-human societies spend a lot of time and energy in social talk, talk devoted to discussing and propagating how people are behaving and should behave. This talk performs the central function of defining and enforcing moral communities - the shared systems of belief and behavior that make possible the extraordinary human capabilities for cooperating in large groups. A good case can be made that the existence of these moral communities is the fundamental differe…

The Cosby Show

It surely looks like the cultural icon is a serial rapist. At least I can't see any plausible alternative explanation for the combination of the long string of accusations against him and his response to them. It disappoints us, but it shouldn't surprise us. The examples of men, and yes, a few women, abusing their power for sexual aggression continue to accumulate: Priests, rabbis, teachers, coaches, entertainers, athletes, executives. At lehree recent US Presidents have been accused of rape, not to mention numerous foreign leaders. In some ways these victims are victims not just of their predators but of pervasive myths that our society has persuaded itself of - myths that were generated in order to redress some old grievances. Not so many generations ago it was widely assumed that women alone in a world of men were chickens in a fox coop - or goldfish in the piranha tank - and that a woman alone needed a chaperone. Feminists quite rightly complained that such rules we…

Peter Woit Reviews The Imitation Game

And he's not best pleased.The final high profile production, one promoted at the Silicon Valley ceremony, should be The Imitation Game, a film based on the life of Alan Turing, to be released on November 28th. I had the chance to attend a preview screening last night, featuring a Q and A with the film’s screenwriter. The short version of a review is: go to see this is you like watching Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley perform, but if you want to know anything about Turing, avoid the film and spend your money instead on a copy of the new edition of Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges.Turing is one of the most important people in the development of computer science and big chunks of mathematics, and a fascinating and tragic figure. His true story is extremely interesting, so it is, as Peter says, a shame that they made a boring and trite fictional story instead of the real and fascinating story.

Rape Camp

Your smart and talented daughter turns eighteen, so it's time for college. Should she go to the Ivy League rape camp that costs a nice Mercedes/yr to attend or the the State U version that can be had for a Ford Fusion/yr? OK, it's not quite that bad, but Jed Rubenfeld argues in the NYT that US colleges are doing a terrible job at preventing rape and getting worse at it. How many rapes occur on our campuses is disputed. The best, most carefully controlled study was conducted for the Department of Justice in 2007; it found that about one in 10 undergraduate women had been raped at college. But because of low arrest and conviction rates, lack of confidentiality, and fear they won’t be believed, only a minuscule percentage of college women who are raped — perhaps only 5 percent or less — report the assault to the police. Research suggests that more than 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by a relatively small percentage of college men — possibly as few as 4 percent — who…

Moral Communities

Not so long ago, I thought, and likely wrote, that a hunter-gatherer society would be perfect for the libertarian - no laws, no government. Boy was I wrong. Actually, such communities are governed by very strict moral codes, inculcated by the community, and enforced, if necessary, with the ultimate sanction. A fundamental pillar of these codes is one that would offend every libertarian impulse - mandatory sharing of some crucial goods and resources. A key fault line in certain moral debates in modern society - for example, gay marriage - is controversy over the impact of changing the rules. Conservatives claim, for example, that gay marriage fundamentally undermines traditional marriage. Progressives mostly consider this claim ridiculous, arguing that it couldn't possibly affect anybody but those involved - namely, gays who would like to marry. Even though I take the progressive point of view on marriage, I think that the conservatives are fundamentally right as to the effe…

Astro FOTD: Taking Out the Trash

Image
Stars seem to be born in clusters of several hundred or more stars, out of clouds of cool dust and gas with 1000 or so solar masses. This process usually leaves a lot of left over dust and gas, as in the Pleiades cluster:

The Pleiades were born 100 million years or so ago, with the largest stars having recently become blue giants. Notice all the dust reflecting their light.  This is good evidence that the cluster did not produce any stars that have become supernovae - yet anyway.  If it had, they would have swept all that dust (and gas) out.  The largest, brightest stars are about 5 solar masses, probably too small to go super, unless they are part of a binary and go the Type Ia route.

Germans in Fantasy Land

Paul Krugman quoting Wolfgang Munchau: German economists roughly fall into two groups: those that have not read Keynes, and those that have not understood Keynes.Krugman adds: Munchau tells us something I didn’t know, that Ludwig Erhard “once tried to explain the Great Depression in terms of cartels.” In the German economics mindset, there is only microeconomic distortion; macro problems, even in the middle of Europe’s second Great Depression, don’t exist. How does this end? We have to keep pounding on the issues, and I’m reasonably sure that Draghi and co get it. But with the largest player on the European scene living in a fantasy world, the best guess has to be that nothing much is done until there is complete political crisis, with anti-European nationalists taking over one or more major nations.

Energy, Civilization and the Climate Pessimists

Few things a less rewarding than arguing with people you mostly agree with. Global warming is a good case in point. For those who think it is a major menace, and I'm certainly one of them, urgent action is required. Unfortunately I also believe that many of the Cassandras of AGW have highly unrealistic views of the difficulties and costs involved, views which cause them to advocate for fake solutions that have almost zero chance of working. The rise of human civilization, the very fact that makes us a profound menace to the planet, is intimately tied to and dependent upon our ability to command more and more energy. The only obvious strategy for combating carbon emissions is to increase the cost of fossil fuel energy relative to alternatives. The easy part, decreasing the cost of some alternatives is only progressing in a few areas, like solar and wind. Others like nuclear are held back mainly by reasonably based but mostly hysterical fear. The hard part, increasing the co…

Terence Tao on Colbert

Terry Tao was on The Colbert Report the other day - I'm not sure why. Tao is one of the most distinguished living mathematicians as well as a famous prodigy (he scored a 760 on the Math portion of the SAT at age eight). He and Colbert discussed twin primes, cousin primes, and sexy primes though not much light was shed. At one point during the discussion of primes, after a few twins had been mentioned (5-7, 11-13) Tao said the number twenty-seven, and stopped. He didn't say anything about the number twenty-seven, which of course is not prime, but the mere mention reminded me of the legend of the Grothendieck "prime", fifty-seven. Grothendieck, the story goes, had been teaching a class where he had been talking about "consider a prime" when a student asked for an example. Well, OK, the story goes, Grothendieck picked 57. (Which, of course, is 3 x 19.)

Grothendieck

Peter Woit reports that Alexander Grothendieck, one of the greatest mathematicians of the Twentieth Century, has died at age 86. He has links to a number of stories about Grothendieck - here is a fragment of a superb one by Grothendieck's friend and colleague Pierre Cartier:Grothendieck’s journey? A childhood devastated by Nazism and its crimes, a father who was absent in his early years and then disappeared in the storm, a mother who kept him in her orbit and long disturbed his relationships with other women. He compensated for this with a frantic investment in mathematical abstraction until psychosis, kept at bay through this very involvement, caught up with him and swallowed him in morbid anguish. Grothendieck is difficult to categorize. Like Carl Friedrich Gauss, Bernhard Riemann, and many other mathematicians, he was obsessed with the notion of space. But his originality lay in deepening of the concept of a geometric point.1 Such research may seem trifling, but the metaphy…

Old King Coal

Eli Rabett has taught me a lot about global warming, so I hate to quibble with his analysis of economics and the climate future, but I do think he has some wrong ideas here: http://rabett.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-montreal-solution.html Mostly I think he wants to bash Lomborg and others who say the world can't afford to deal with climate yet - mainly because the poor countries need coal and other ceap fossil fuels for development. Eli: First, climate change underway today mostly hurts the poor. It is clear that any assessment shows that the countries that are going to be most hurt by climate change are the poorest countries. Every attempt at an integrated assessment model, the IPCC reports and more shows this. By opposing immediate action on climate change Lomborg, Pileke (sic) and Ridley are hurting the poorest.The proposition, I think, does not follow from the premise. The rich nations of the world all developed their economies using cheap energy from coal and later, other f…

A Forthright Democratic Challenge

A Forthright Democratic Challenge The Democrats have been strongly and rightly criticized for not having a program to sell in the 2014 elections. The Republicans have been pushing pretty much the same program for the last half-century – government is the problem, and low taxes are the cure. They haven’t been especially consistent in applying these principles, but they have been consistent in advocating them, especially for the past 35 years. The Democratic Party response has been an uncertain trumpet indeed. Much of the Party has been focused on the claims of special interest groups whose agendas are remote from or inimical to those of many other Americans – Blacks, Gays, immigrants, environmentalists and single urban women. They have been paralyzed by the conflicts between the demands of those groups, who form the base of Party, and their conflicts with the priorities of other Americans. Moreover, the hoped for future of the Party among the young doesn’t vote. There is no par…

Retirement

One disadvantage of retirement is that I no longer get holidays off.

The Store

I stopped at my local Big Box to pick up some peanut butter and paper towels. Cost me about $200.00 I might have gotten some gas - cheap today - and a few other things that weren't on my list.

Those Good Old Days

Were politics more civil in the good old days? Rick Perlstein on the Republican Convention of of 1976 (Ford vs. Reagan): The vice president of the United States had spotted a Mormon preacher from Utah who’d invaded the space of the New York delegation and was bearing a “Reagan Country” sign. “With an adolescent grin on his face,” said Texas Monthly, Rockefeller snatched the offending sign from the minister’s hands. ... The Utah Reagan leader, Douglas Bischoff, chased after Rockefeller to retrieve his placard. He and New York GOP chairman Rosie Rosenbaum scuffled. Rockefeller claimed to have overheard someone say “if he didn’t get that sign back he was going to rip out the phone”— and, presently, the white phone connecting the New York delegation to the Ford command trailer in the parking lot was indeed ripped out while the chairman held the receiver to his ear , surrounded by a crush of reporters attempting to overhear him. “I want that man arrested!” Rosenbaum yelled as Bischo…

The Student: Galaxies

My current book in my Astrophysics self-study is Galaxies in the Universe by Sparke and Gallager, 2nd edition. It's aimed at advanced undergrads, so probably appropriate for a aging physicist who worked on atmospheric problems for 30 years. It's a pretty good book, I think, but occasionally frustrating for the autodidact. The big problem is a certain carelessness about numbers and a few other details, especially in the problems. An unfortunately not atypical example can be found in problem 1.19, where one is asked to compute some effects of neutron lifetime on Helium abundance. A crucial intermediate step is computing the time at which the radiation is cool enough for deuterium to survive. The problem helpfully adds that the value one gets should be 365 s (after big bang). If one uses the equations found in the book, one gets a bit less than 349 s - not a big difference, but way to large for using equations without any error bars. It's small enough, and large enoug…

It's Complicated

Ideas in science are often pretty simple. The details of the facts supporting these ideas rarely are. Like ancient civilizations, religions, and primitive cultures, modern science has constructed an elaborate cosmology. Modern cosmology, for example, has constructed a detailed picture of what was happening in the universe 13 billion plus years ago, when it was less than a millisecond old. Why should we take this cosmology, or any science, more seriously than the various myths aforementioned? The answer of science is that the scientific cosmology is supported by an intricate web of measurements, predictions, retrodictions, and interrelationships which are remarkably consistent, not only with each other but with the whole structure of modern physics, from thermodynamics to quantum field theory. That web is complicated, and nobody can comprehend it without extensive and detailed study. It's probably worth noting that perfect consistency is an ideal that is never perfectly achiev…

Last Days of the Roman Republic

For those who miss Clinton and Bush, 2016 promises fulfillment of your fantasies. There is a very plausible prospect of a Clinton (Hillary) vs. Bush (Jeb) election two years hence. Pessimists could see in this a reprise of those last days of the Roman Republic when the great families of the oligarchy competed to get their clients to Consulship and other positions of power, while the great political families competed to sweep away each other and place themselves in and above the oligarchs. Even optimists have to find the prospect depressing. As Barbara Bush reputedly said: "Can't any other families take this job?

Some Time Ago

One ten-thousandth of a second after the big bang, to be more precise. It was hot, but had just cooled down to the point (one trillion degrees K) where photo-production of proton - antiproton pairs stopped happening, so that protons and antiprotons could annihilate faster than new pairs were formed. Oddly, but fortunately from our point of view, there was roughly 1 extra proton for every billion proton-antiproton pairs. We, and everything we see or touch is made out of those lonely extra dancers at the ball. Things were closer together then - more neighborly, one might say. The Andromeda galaxy was then about as close to us as Mars is now. Mars then was about as close to us as the diameter of the period at the end of this sentence. Of course there was no Mars, or Andromeda galaxy, or any star or planet then - just elementary particles rushing madly to and fro.

Michael Tomasky has a Point

From his Daily Beast article:People don’t vote against their interests. They vote for their interests as they see them. And right now, working-class and blue-collar whites think the Democratic Party is just implacably against them. Of course I don’t think it’s true that the Democratic Party is implacably against them. I think they just think the Democratic Party is implacably against them, and part of the reason—not the whole reason, but part of the reason—they think the Democratic Party is implacably against them is that Democratic candidates in red states have no idea how to tell them they’re on their side.He doesn't discuss the why of this, but the culture wars are surely part of it. It would be easy for a white working or middle class person to conclude (not especially inaccurately) that the modern Democratic party is dominated by an urban elite concerned mainly with advancing the interests of single urban feminists, illegal immigrants, poor blacks, and homosexuals - and alm…

Blowing It

I was angry with the obtuse campaign the Democrats ran. Goldie Taylor in an aptly named, How the Lame Democrats Blew It, The Daily Beast: It’s not that the Republicans won the Senate. The Democrats lost it, by being afraid to have a strong message and motivate their voters.

More on the Gender Gap in Colorado

One comment that I heard or read this AM caught my eye - something about Mark Udall, the losing incumbent in Colorado, being criticized for his relentlessly one one campaign. Apparently it was all about abortion rights. But he had no choice, the reporter added, he ran exactly the campaign the numbers said he had too. If true, what a moron. No wonder he lost and richly deserved to lose.

Guessing Game

With Republicans firmly in control of Congress, will they feel some pressure to do something, or just stick with the do nothing obstruction that has apparently served them so well. I'm guessing that the latter is strongly favored, especially with Obama likely to continue his wimpy approach to everything. Specifics: Climate action: dead, dead, dead, gone. Big pro-climate action spending failed to move the needle an iota. Immigration: A lot of Republican voters are going to be mad as hell if anything like immigration reform happens. Most likely result is a bunch of non-reform immigration bills that get vetoed. Obamacare: probably not repealed but quite possibly crippled - maybe with an assist from the Supremes. The Wars: If Obama has any sense, he will force Congress to vote on a series of war powers acts. I don't expect it. The Surveillance State: What surveillance state? Nothing to see here. Nobody here but us chickens. Move right along. Job creation: More tax…

Gender Gap

The Republicans have won big, and I doubt that that portends anything good for the country, but that is a problem for another day. The gender gap has been big in the news for several elections and this time it was huge. There is an enormous gap between the way men and women voted. In some Senate elections, women went for the Democrat by 10% while men went Republican by twice that percentage. Democrats are going to have to think long and hard about how they lost men so utterly. It's early, but most are blaming Obama. If Clinton's musical instrument was the saxophone, and George W's the air guitar he famously played while New Orleans drowned, Obama's has got to be the uncertain trumpet. No drama Obama has been the invisible man in recent months, and his cerebral style looks more and more weak and vascillating. He probably would have been better off rejecting that Nobel Peace Prize that he got so prematurely.

Men Behaving

Badly, of course.* A woman recently spent a long day walking around New York, accompanied by surreptitious camera and microphone. She got a lot of catcalls, attracting some feminist and other outrage, together with various musings on it all. "It's not about sex, it's about power" is a feminist standard sound bite. Aside from the fact that power is mostly about sex - something like 8% of Asian men are descended from Genghiz Khan or his immediate family, I seem to recall - I really don't think that's correct. If you really want to know what catcalling is about I suggest you contemplate the Lily of the Field, arrayed in all it's glory, or, for a phylogenetically closer example, the Peacock, prancing with his magnificent tail. Flower, tail and catcall are all forms of sexual display, designed to attract attention. Of course humans have a bit more behavioral flexibility than Lily or Peacock, so the forms of such sexual display vary. If you've go…

Jon Stewart: Republican Secret Agent Man

I very much doubt if Jon Stewart, in his personal self, is Republican or conservative. But I suspect that his show has made him a sort of secret weapon for Republicans in the South. Stewart loves to make fun of those quaint and silly Southernisms of guys like Lindsay Graham and Mitch McConnell. I figure that every time he does that, he gets them about a 2% uptick in their vote. A lot of the Southern vote has always hinged on famously wounded Southern pride, and hearing that sort of thing from a liberal New York Jew has got to sting. It's not really that funny either, and Graham and McConnell offer lots of more substantive satirical targets - targets that don't rely on cheap ethnic humor.

The Slammer

Jon Stewart had a guest discussion the US incarceration rate. Our vast prison industrial gulag is unrivaled in scale in the world. Even police states put fewer people in prison. This situation is relatively recent - US prison population has exploded by a factor of roughly eight since 1973. Stewart and his guest mentioned the superpredator and three strikes hysteria, but mainly focused pm the racial. Disproportionate imprisonment rates for blacks are a significant fact, but racism was not invented in the 1970s or 80s in the US. One non-negligible factor has been the rise of the private prison. Despite housing a relatively small proportion of total inmates, their very existence creates a potent political lobby to keep incarceration rates high. The state institutions have some similar incentives. Many inmates, including many serving life sentences, have been convicted of relatively minor crimes, including drug possession and petty theft. The cost of this vast prison state withi…

The Vote

It doesn't look good for the Democratic party and it probably is even worse for the country. Well, I voted a few days ago. It hurt me, but I voted for two Republicans. They appeared to be slightly less crooked than their Democratic counterparts. Lesser of two weevils. Otherwise, I went Democratic Party. Unfortunately, in a couple of the most important races the Republican is likely to win. Susanna Martinez, our governor, has the advantages of incumbency, support from Sarah Palin and the likes of the Koch Machine, and her Hispanic heritage and name. Her opponent lacks notable electoral virtues, except for the name he shares with his father, a popular former governor. Our US Representative is the execrable Steve Pearce, a made guy in the Republican right wing, thoroughly dishonest guy, and advocate of every idiotic policy of the Oil Oligarchy. His opponent is little known, underfunded, and a less than brilliant campaigner. So that’s another vote of mine that is unlikely to…

Sky is Falling - Ho Hum

The UN panel has come out with another prophecy of climate doom. In the US, at least, it has been met with a giant yawn, when it has been noticed at all.There are a few reasons for this, one of which can be attributed to human nature - we aren't designed to worry about the long term future, especially when we need to worry about more pressing matters like how to pay next month's rent. Another is the disinformation campaign conducted at considerable expense by the fossil fuel industry and its political pawns, who in the US now include the entire Republican Party and many of the Democrats. Finally, and not insignificantly, the blame goes to Jim Hansen and many other climate warriors who did so much to reveal the climate change problem but then called "Wolf" too early and often. Twenty years ago we were bombarded with with warnings of dramatic and rapid changes in global temperature, as well as associated changes like more and worse tropical storms. These things mo…

Well, That Was a Dumb Shaggy Dog Story

I saw Gone Girl. At least that saves me the trouble of reading an idiotic book.