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Comment: This kinda sounds familiar...ah yes, I remember... (Score 1) 421

by sponglish (#38516354) Attached to: Melting Glaciers Cutting Peru Water Supply

IPCC officials admit mistake over melting Himalayan glaciers

The UN's climate science body has admitted that a claim made in its 2007 report - that Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035 - was unfounded.

The admission today followed a New Scientist article last week that revealed the source of the claim made in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was not peer-reviewed scientific literature – but a media interview with a scientist conducted in 1999. Several senior scientists have now said the claim was unrealistic and that the large Himalayan glaciers could not melt in a few decades.

In a statement (pdf), the IPCC said the paragraph "refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. In drafting the paragraph in question, the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly."

Comment: Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (Score 1) 900

by sponglish (#38507450) Attached to: America's Turn From Science, a Danger For Democracy

Wrong. To be worthy of the hullabaloo, AGW effects have to be catastrophic in nature, merely warming things up a degree in a century does not qualify as such.

We don't have reliable historic reconstructions of temperature and even the current data is suspect. Which leaves satellite data as our most reliable measure of what's going on with the climate.

AGW alarmists need to back off, be patient, and let us gather data for fifty years (until 2030) as an honest baseline of where the climate is going.

Comment: Re:Thorough and unbiased (Score 1) 650

by sponglish (#31696814) Attached to: House of Commons Finds No Evidence of Tampering In Climate E-mails

I accept as obvious the argument that mankind doubling concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere will result in warmer temps.

What makes me a skeptic is the AGW faithful arguing that doubling atmospheric CO2 will result in a global cataclysm. Even the IPCC admits that doubling CO2 from pre-industrial concentrations will only raise temps 1.1 degrees C, which, when you consider that the doubling takes about 150 years, is a negligible increase.

So it's absurd to predict, as many Catastrophic AGW proponents are wont to do, that forcings and feedbacks from so small a rise in temps can result in up to 10 degree C increases when equilibrium is achieved.

And experience shows how silly such dire predictions have been. In the 20th century, temps only rose 0.75 degrees C. Currently temps are rising at a rate of 1.3 degrees C per century. But since CO2 warming occurs logarithmically, at some point in the next decades, the doubling will attenuate to the point that its effect will be negligible, making it unlikely that we'll get even the moderate 1.3 degrees C by the time doubling occurs late in this century. It'll more likely be another benign rise of about 0.75 degrees C.

Comment: Re:Warming is not bad (Score 1) 650

by sponglish (#31692906) Attached to: House of Commons Finds No Evidence of Tampering In Climate E-mails

You want disaster? Try a 2 degree C warming across all our most important foodbelts! Even a minor, persistent decline in ecological carrying capacity will cause serious production issues.

Sure, a 2 degree C increase overnight would be catastrophic, but it's not going to happen because it can't. There simply isn't enough potential in the CO2 doubling to cause such a huge increase:

A doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere will, by itself, only raise temps by 1.1 degree C over the time it takes to double.

The doubling happens logarithmically, therefore most of the effect happens in the early stages. We've been into the doubling for more than a 100 years, but in the 20th century we only saw a 0.75 degree increase in temps. Currently temps are rising at 1.3 degrees C per century, which is very moderate, but even that increase will fall as effects from the CO2 doubling dwindle later in this century.

Any additional warming that results from the doubling will be from forcings and feedbacks duking it out until equilibrium is reached, which is likely to be in the range of 0.75 to 1.3 degrees C.

Comment: 2020 arrives, Big Brother WILL be watching you (Score 1) 461

by sponglish (#31170190) Attached to: FCC Proposes 100Mbps Minimum Home Broadband Speed

The telescreen that made it possible for Big Brother to constantly observe the population of Oceania never seemed practical when I first read the book back in 1975. How could you have that much bandwidth available for so many two-way video links, and who could possibly monitor all of them 24/7?

But now we've got computers for emotion, face, and voice recognition, so all you'd need is a few hundred techs to work the Automated Crisis Avoidance Machines run by the Department of Mental Health (soon to be a Cabinet-level position) and we could make sure everybody loves Big Brother, even in the "privacy" of their own homes.

If we only had the bandwidth...

Comment: Re:I think this is BS... (Score 1) 882

by sponglish (#28870613) Attached to: Rude Drivers Reduce Traffic Jams

Forgot one: Those who zip past the point where the merge is supposed to take place, using the emergency lane to jump a few cars further in line suffer from narcissistic personality disorder (i.e., generally contemptuous of others, lack a mature conscience and empathy, have a sense of entitlement, and take advantage of others to achieve their own ends).

Comment: Re:I think this is BS... (Score 1) 882

by sponglish (#28869815) Attached to: Rude Drivers Reduce Traffic Jams
I have a theory that merging brings out psychological flaws in people:

- Those who change lanes as soon as they see the Shift Left 1/4 Mile sign rather than waiting to merge at the point where the sign specified, suffer from a lack of assertiveness and poor self worth. An irrational fear of the "what if they won't let me into the left lane?!" variety causes them to avoid potential confrontation.

- Those stuck in traffic who resent drivers speeding along an empty lane to merge where the sign specified, and who take the opportunity to block merging traffic have a classic negativistic personality disorder (i.e., passive-aggressive plus mad at the world plus envious and resentful plus feeling cheated by life).

- Those who wait to merge until the lane ends so they can smoothly change lanes, alternating one car at a time in an elegant ballet of efficiency have healthy personalities when it comes to driving.

Comment: Re:It's so very odd..... (Score 1) 1376

by sponglish (#28770033) Attached to: Ireland Criminalizes Blasphemy

You bet your ass I'm going to try to figure out the meaning of it all, and I'm not satisfied with "you can't do this yet." In the end I may not be able to do it, but it is my right to try.

By all means, try. You might be the first person ever to prove that a deity exists. Odds are seriously stacked against you, but maybe your god will finally decided enough is enough and say a big hello to the world.

Only if you limit "serious attempts to understand the world around us" to "stuff we learn through application of something approaching the scientific method."

Yes.

None of this is intended to diminish the fruits of scientific labor, which are many and varied, or its continued practice. But I am inclined to believe that science is and shall remain incapable of answering at least one ("why are we here?") or two ("where did we come from?") of the big questions in a satisfactory manner. Did it make a fundamental difference in how you acted when you found out that your body is composed of cells, or that your brain functions through electrochemical waves? The latter was a big step in the scientific understanding of "why are we here," dealing directly with consciousness, yet it is powerless to explain the experience of "I am."

You keep mentioning our ignorance of the answers to the ultimate questions. We still have a million years to find the answers before accepting that everything is here thanks to an absentee landlord/superbeing. For all we know, life and consciousness may be aspects of normal matter, extending into a fourth dimension, or the "soul" may become part of a cloud of dark energy after death. Who knows? But I think we will eventually figure it out.

Comment: Re:It's so very odd..... (Score 1) 1376

by sponglish (#28762565) Attached to: Ireland Criminalizes Blasphemy

No, you're being pompous by asserting the ultimate questions in life have to be answered on a timescale that includes you and me. Stop thinking of yourself as the center of the universe and realize that the human race has only been seriously attempting to understand the world around us for a millennia or two. That's nowhere near enough time to say "we don't know all the answers, so it must have been god." I can't help what superstitions billions of people believe in, if they weren't susceptible to such, there'd be no Lotto.

Comment: Re:It's so very odd..... (Score 5, Interesting) 1376

by sponglish (#28758757) Attached to: Ireland Criminalizes Blasphemy

Before Newton, if you wondered why the planets didn't crash into the sun, you have to say "I don't know." After Newton, you'd say "gravity." That period of time between question and answer is not a free-zone for introducing supernatural beings simply because we haven't figured out all the answers yet. In a million years, assuming science has failed to find the answers to the ultimate questions (Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?) it may be time to think seriously about a Creator as the last option, but let's give it some time first.

Comment: Next step: Project Orion (Score 1) 71

by sponglish (#28691475) Attached to: SpaceX Boosts Malaysian Satellite Into Orbit

What we need is a bootstrap launch of Project Orion. Use the nuke propulsion to orbit the steel plates, shock absorbers and what-not needed to build a score of Orions in orbit. Then in short order we could have a fully equipped lunar base; a real space station in Earth orbit; and Orions heading out to Mars and the asteroid belt.

All it would take is one, or at the most two launches from Earth using the cleanest 20 kiloton bombs we can devise, and we could be on our way to building a generation ship to explore the nearest planet bearing stars.

Comment: Re:What's wrong with this town? (Score 1) 339

by sponglish (#28516455) Attached to: Of Catty Rants and Copyrights

Interesting summation! Considering that every megalopolis starts out as a small town, obviously there's a sliding scale in which your insular, conservative, self-important, close-minded, conceited, and delusional small town stops being insular and becomes liberal and self-loathing. The close-minded, conceited, and delusional aspects don't change.

Polymer physicists are into chains.

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