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Comment: Re:Transnistrina (Score 1) 133

by goodmanj (#49652703) Attached to: 28-Year-Old Businessman Accused of Stealing $1 Billion From Moldova

There's one problem with Ukraine "fixing" Transnistria: The region is full of ethnic Russians who loved the old Soviet Union, and are being supported by Russia to be a pain in the ass. In short, it's a prototype of Ukraine's Donetsk and Crimea problems. And that's more problems than Ukraine can handle right now.

Comment: Transnistrina (Score 1) 133

Hmm. This guy just grabbed 1/6 of Moldova. Transnistrina, a rebellious province of Moldova that Moldova technically owns but can't govern, is about 1/6 of the country. So rather than prosecuting him, Moldova could just give him Transnistrina in exchange for the $1 billion and wish him good luck with that.

Comment: Re:Bit to belabor the obvious (Score 1) 372

by goodmanj (#49639387) Attached to: Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach New Monthly Record

Who in their right mind situates an atmospheric sampling site in the middle of a chain of active volcanoes ?

People who understand CO2 better than you. Kilauea volcano emits a fair amount of it, but much less than the seasonal uptake and release of an entire continent's worth of trees growing in the summer and dying off in the winter. To minimize the effect of plant seasonal cycles, you want to be as far away from deciduous forests as you can get. In the middle of a giant lava field in the middle of the biggest ocean on the planet is a pretty good choice. South Pole would be a better choice, but Hawaii is cheaper to get to. Plus they serve mai tais.

Comment: Re:"The Polar Bears will be fine" (Score 1) 372

by goodmanj (#49638847) Attached to: Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach New Monthly Record

The people you call "alarmists" are a diverse group, and many of them do not support the in-your-face "you must do XYZ" prescriptive solution to CO2 regulation. Take me for instance. I don't want to force you buy new light bulbs: I don't trust government to pick and choose the right way to lower CO2 emissions. I just want to put a big hefty tax on every ton of fossil fuel carbon as it comes out of the ground. That cost will be passed on through the economy, raising the price of things in proportion to their CO2 consumption; the tax money raised would be returned to the people however you'd like: lower income taxes, free health care, whatever.

I don't want to force you buy new light bulbs. I want to make you *want* to buy new light bulbs to save money. But if you like your light bulbs and would rather save money (and CO2) some other way, that's totally OK with me.

Comment: Re:Meh (Score 3, Informative) 372

by goodmanj (#49638599) Attached to: Global Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach New Monthly Record

Your post has some basis in scientific facts, but misrepresents their implications.

The CO2 peak is a fairly narrow range of infrared, but it's right at the wavelength that the Earth emits most strongly. To say that it's unimportant is like a traffic reporter saying that 99% of the roads in a city are wide open, only the main freeway is gridlocked, so no big deal. What matters is the fraction of total outgoing energy that CO2 prevents from escaping, which is roughly 20%. Keeping in mind that zero blockage would correspond to a global temperature of -18 C / 0 F, and 50% restriction would give a temperature of +30 C / 86 F -- 20% is a big deal. Just going from 20% to 25%, which is what we're looking at, is also a pretty big temperature shift.

Water vapor is a major greenhouse gas, but human emissions of it do not change the amount of it in the atmosphere for three reasons. First, the tight feedback you mentioned (the Clausius-Claperyon relation) means that any extra water added immediately falls out as extra rainfall. Second, human emissions of water vapor via combustion amount to 2 gigatons per year, or a global layer or liquid water 4 microns thick -- utterly insignificant next to the natural evaporation and rainfall of about 1 meter per year. Third, you mentioned increase in paved surfaces that would "catch rainwater", but precisely the opposite happens: water drains quickly off pavement and into rivers and sewers, while natural soils remain moist for longer.

That's not to say that water vapor's role as a greenhouse gas is unimportant: if temperature rises for any reason (including from CO2 greenhouse effect), the Clausius-Claperyon relation allows more water vapor to enter the atmosphere, amplifying the warming.

The upshot: water vapor is a major greenhouse gas, but that doesn't call the role of CO2 into question: instead it amplifies the importance of CO2.


Comment: Re:So what? Feel free to move into a cave. (Score 1) 186

by goodmanj (#49631571) Attached to: The World's Most Wasteful Megacity

But more to the point, defining "city" as "the central part with the skyscrapers" is not useful, because an insignificant number of people live there -- much less than 10%, in the case of New York.

When we're talking about densely populated cities, it's not the condo towers that are important: it's square miles of four-story walk-ups. That's true in London, New York, Tokyo, everywhere.

Comment: Re:So what? Feel free to move into a cave. (Score 1) 186

by goodmanj (#49631495) Attached to: The World's Most Wasteful Megacity

When TFA is talking about megacities, it's discussing conurbations and greater metro areas, not just the city proper. Tokyo+Yokohama+Chiba+etc, New York+White Plains+Newark+Bridgeport, and London out to at least the M25.

The locally-defined boundaries of the city proper have very little to do with how people live in it. The fact that South Chicago is inside city limits and Elizabeth, NJ is in a different state doesn't change the fact that they're both lower- and working-class heavy industry neighborhoods on the edge of their metropolitan area.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!