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Comment: Where, when, what-- (Score 2) 358

by Geoffrey.landis (#48918121) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

In central mass north of Worcester I have gotten 3 feet and it is continuing to fall. There is so much snow I have no where to put it.

The inaccuracy in the prediction seems to be not about the magnitude of the storm, but about how far south it would hit (and, in particular, whether it would hit New York City).

Nice discussion of the various models' predictions here:

Comment: Re: Maybe Einstein gets the last laugh afterall? (Score 1) 81

by Geoffrey.landis (#48884697) Attached to: Quantum Computing Without Qubits

Einstein made essential contributions to quantum mechanics, and yet he objected to many of its implications. His objections have been shown to be wrong.

To the contrary, his "objections" consisted of pointed out consequences of quantum mechanics that seemed paradoxical, but, as experiment showed much later, were completely real. Einstein is the "E" in "EPR", and the implications of the EPR paper pretty much is the foundation of quantum computing.

Comment: Impossible to change (Score 3, Insightful) 360

by Geoffrey.landis (#48836561) Attached to: NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

I'd say that instead of falsifying data NASA and NOAA need to start being honest.

The difficulty is that once you decide that you can selectively ignore facts because of a huge conspiracy to falsify data, it becomes impossible for any amount of information to ever change your mind. So, the NASA data is falsified? And, the NOAA data, that's falsified too. And the University of East Anglia, of course. And the Berkeley data-- that was done specifically to address the problems people had with the NASA and NOAA data-- That's faked too.? How about the Japanese data? Also faked? The Australians-- fake too?

Once you conclude everything that disagrees with you is fake, your opinion is incontrovertible-- since nobody can confront it.

Comment: Re:call me skeptical (Score 1) 360

by Geoffrey.landis (#48836445) Attached to: NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

Right; there are both positive and negative feedbacks.

If you really want to know about the various climate feedbacks, try the summary in section 8.6 ("Climate sensitivity and feedbacks") of the the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: (the section starts on page 629)

Comment: Re:call me skeptical (Score 1) 360

by Geoffrey.landis (#48834827) Attached to: NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

Im saying that 20 of those 30 years didnt see any warming.

If you want to claim this (nonsense), you should at least back it up with some links, so we can add the involved web sites to our kill files.

you would ignore data that contradicts your beliefs???

It would be helpful here if everybody pointed to a common data set, so we all knew that we were talking about the same thing.

Here's the NASA-NOAA, showing NOAA (in blue) and NASA (in red) 's values for average temperature since 1880:

You can see the "hiatus" in the far right of the graph: the curve to right of about 2000. If you blow up just this portion of the graph, and leave out everything to the right of 1998, you can make a graph which makes it appear that global warming has stopped.

So: the deniers look at this graph and say "warming stopped in 2002". People skeptical of the deniers say "There's a clear upward trend with random fluctuations; there's nothing statistically significant in the data after 2002; it's well within the range of variation in the record."

Or, you can say "There's a clear long-term rise. However, superimposed on that long-term trend are shorter term variations; these shorter term variations are also data, and the study of the causes of these variations may be a valuable subject for research."

Comment: Re:Trends versus Data Points (Score 3, Informative) 360

by Geoffrey.landis (#48834283) Attached to: NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

Earth's weather is almost entirely determined by Solar activity (or lack of same in the Maunder Minimum)

The link between solar activity and weather is discussed in great detail in the IPCC Working Group 1 report, with voluminous references to the literature; have you read it? You can find it here: The analysis is chapter 2.7, Natural Forcings, section 2.7.1 "Solar Variability."

and large volcanic eruptions.

Another effect discussed in the same report: section 2.7.2 "Explosive Volcanic Activity"

The key point is that we measure the sun, and we record volcanic activity. There haven't been changes in the sun or in volcanic eruptions that are sufficient to account for the temperature trend.

Krakatoa is the last big eruption which caused a large drop in northern hemisphere temperatures as I recall.

The 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption was an important event, because its effects were well measured.

Comment: Re:Hey NASA... (Score 4, Informative) 360

by Geoffrey.landis (#48834107) Attached to: NASA, NOAA: 2014 Was the Warmest Year In the Modern Record

instead of making questionable measurements of the planet, why don't you figure out how to build a decent space vehicle? Which is your raison d'etre.

One of them. NASA was established by the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. In the list of what NASA was established to do, the first item is:
  (1) The expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;

(building space vehicles was number 3 on the list)

Comment: Altitude [Re:Methane compared to CO2] (Score 1) 202

Good points, I would also add that methane is lighter (MW 16) than air (average MW = 29) and that which doesn't degrade will rise far enough above surface to not have as much of an impact.

In terms of greenhouse warming, it doesn't make much of a difference what altitude it's at. Slightly less pressure-broadening of the spectral line, I guess.

Comment: Re:Jurors (Score 4, Informative) 303

Ambiguity is safer for the defense, not the prosecution. The prosecution has to demonstrate that a crime occurred and how that crime was carried out, beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot describe, beyond a reasonable doubt, how the crime was conducted then the prosecutor will probably fail to get a conviction.

No, that's not true-- formally, they have only to show that a crime occurred. (That's called corpus delicti-- which, despite popular misconception, does not require a corpse.)

However, what they do have to show is how they know that the defendant is the one who did the crime. If understanding how they know this means they need to explain an internet investigation unmasking Tor anonymization, they may very well need some technical explanations.

Comment: Methane compared to CO2 (Score 3, Informative) 202

Methane doesn't last long in the atmosphere

>that '25 times as powerful as CO2' statistic is its equivalent over a 100-year period

Not according to the references I can find.

"...methane is a potent greenhouse gas, as well as a significant byproduct of using natural gas — advocated by many as a “bridge” to a lower-emissions future. But a direct comparison between methane and carbon dioxide, the most abundant greenhouse gas emitted by human activities, is complicated: While the standard figure used for emissions trading and technology evaluation says that, gram for gram, methane is about 30 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2, scientists say that’s an oversimplification.

''As reported in a paper published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, authored by MIT assistant professor of engineering systems Jessika Trancik and doctoral student Morgan Edwards, this conversion factor (called the global warming potential, or GWP) may significantly misvalue methane. Getting this conversion factor right is challenging because methane’s initial impact is much greater than that of CO2 — by about 100 times. But methane only stays in the atmosphere for a matter of decades, while CO2 sticks around for centuries. The result: After six or seven decades, the impact of the two gases is about equal, and from then on methane’s relative role continues to decline."

Or, if you prefer Wikipedia as a source:

Comment: Re:Um, what? (Score 1) 69

by Geoffrey.landis (#48807057) Attached to: The Strange Story of the First Quantum Art Exhibition In Space

So if I understand the summary correctly (I give myself a 50/50 chance on this), they're basically sampling random noise off of a CCD and claim that eventually it will produce the Mona Lisa?

No, worse than that. They're not taking random noise (it's an unpowered CCD array). They're saying that maybe a different CCD array is receiving the same photons, because if you measure one ccd array, some of the photons it sees might have hit the unpowered one. ...And the random noise that they're not taking isn't making any images, because the energy of cosmic background radiation isn't high enough to produce an electron hole pair in a silicon CCD.

"If you want to eat hippopatomus, you've got to pay the freight." -- attributed to an IBM guy, about why IBM software uses so much memory