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Comment Re:No, they didn't. (Score 1) 953

There's not a lot of deserts or ocean in the middle of France, and it's a fair distance from Antarctica.

I know a lot of people who live in cities have a very... provincial attitude about anything outside of their neighborhoods, but a lot of people actually do live outside of cities like New York or Paris. And almost all of the food in the world is grown outside of cities...

Comment Re:No, they didn't. (Score 5, Informative) 953

The thing about a modern fission-fusion device is that the fusion neutrons help "burn up" a lot of the primary. They've supposedly moved away from the heavy uranium tampers of the early weapons to help reduce fallout (while losing some efficiency), or have fine-tuned them so much that they're effectively being burned up completely in the detonation.

As you mention, part of it's that the fallout that's left disperses over a very, very wide area.

Comment No, they didn't. (Score 5, Insightful) 953

At least, they certainly didn't make a missile with that kind of damage potential.

While it could throw a single 40 megaton warhead, it would more likely carry a handful of weapons topping out at about 50 megatons, total. Maybe.

Which is a lot, but nowhere near big enough to "wipe out" a medium-sized country like France.

They could pretty much destroy up to 15 separate cities with 300 kiloton airbursts (if the MIRV systems gives them that much spread and control, which it probably doesn't), but everything in between would be effectively untouched, and with a single weapon, most of Paris itself would only be lightly to moderately damaged. Modern high-efficiency weapons don't drop a lot of fallout in air burst mode, so that's not a consideration.

If they used ground burst targeting, they could cause a lot of downwind fallout, but it would leave large areas untouched upwind.

Forty to fifty megatons sounds like a lot, but when you compare it with how big the world is...

Comment Re:Coral Bleaching (Score 1) 99

...except the article is pretty much full of crap.

Sure, the scientists they interview claim it was warm water that caused the bleaching - but that warm water was a massive HALF A DEGREE above normal.

The daily variance in temperature in pretty much every coastal water in the world is several times that.

It's like a news story about a huge, complicated ecosystem that tries to pin the cause on one thing, when it was probably several things happening at about the same time. Or, to put it in your terms, "there were forty people shot in Chicago last night - that guy must have been really busy!"

Comment Coral Bleaching (Score 0, Troll) 99

"93 percent of individuals reefs had been affected by a condition known as coral bleaching (which happens when the water is too warm)" ...or when the water is too cold, or when the sun shines too much, or when the corals die off from diseases brought in by ecologists who swim around the area while getting paychecks for goofing around on a boat in the tropics...

Comment Broken Windows Policing (Score 5, Insightful) 191

Enforce the laws on minor crimes, and major crimes go down. You don't have to be a hardass, or pick on anyone in particular, just enforce the common, everyday laws that help keep things working.

We know this works.

When people notice that nobody is enforcing the little stuff, they start assuming that they can get away with the larger crimes - and they're usually right.

The problem is that, after a few years of it working, everyone relaxes and thinks "hey, crime is down, we can slack off a bit," and it's okay, for a while. Then things start slowly getting worse again, and the "corrective measures" tend to be away from the policies that were in force a few years before, because "they stopped working."

Comment "This is Perfectly Rational" (Score 5, Interesting) 609

...according to someone who many or may not actually be rational about any given subject.

I've met a lot of high-reputation scientists and academics over the years, and far too many of them are pretty useless outside of their chosen profession. A significant number of them are pretty useless INSIDE their chosen profession, too - and those are the ones who would be talking the loudest about whatever government policies were in question. You wouldn't be getting Richard Feynman advising you about physics. You'd be getting that sociology professor who blathered their way to a doctorate setting everyone's social policy, with no way of stopping them.

Until we can figure out a way to rationally measure rational thinking, we'd be falling into the trap of believing "experts" who actually let their own self-interest control them.

Comment Re:Except it's not actual sea level rise... (Score 2) 287

No, Roviana is mostly handwaved - and the five islands that eroded away did just that: eroded. They didn't submerge to due the sea rising, they just disappeared due to wave action because of normal changes in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (which has not been tied to AGW in the real world), along with a few big hurricanes.

Roviana didn't experience as much loss because they're sheltered from the worst of the wave action. The islands that "disappeared" were on the side with both greatly increased wave action and a steep dropoff into deeper water (so the sand washed off of the shores would go away, rather than collecting in shallow water to be redeposited).

In pretty much the whole paper, when they talk about sea level increase, they really mean "relative" sea level increase, not absolute. Which really means subsidence in that region. In the islands with "low" tectonic uplift, the rate is claimed to be 1 mm per year - with an _error bar_ of 1.4 mm/year.

Comment Except it's not actual sea level rise... (Score 5, Informative) 287

Not climate change.

"Ten houses from one island were washed away at sea between 2011 and 2014"

Oddly enough, the Solomon Islands were struck by Tropical Cyclone Freda in 2012. What a coincidence. And they've lost five low-lying reef islands in the last 70 or so years. Out of ten THOUSAND islands in the Solomons.

Here's part of the paper's abstract:555

"Using time series aerial and satellite imagery from 1947 to 2014 of 33 islands, along with historical insight from local
knowledge, we have identified five vegetated reef islands that have vanished over this time period and a
further six islands experiencing severe shoreline recession. Shoreline recession at two sites has
destroyed villages that have existed since at least 1935, leading to community relocations. Rates of
shoreline recession are substantially higher in areas exposed to high wave energy, indicating a
synergistic interaction between sea-level rise and waves. Understanding these local factors that
increase the susceptibility of islands to coastal erosion is critical to guide adaptation responses for these
remote Pacific communities."

Actual story: "People built houses near the beach on islands that were being washed away in the first place, and we're going to blame it on the SIX INCHES of global sea level rise since the mid-1930s."

They also casually toss in the fact that the Solomons are very geologically active, and a lot of the sea level rise they refer to is RELATIVE sea level rise - in other words, the water didn't rise, the land sank - often by as much as three times the amount of actual sea level rise over time.

Comment Re:So, 3 parts per billion of ozone is a crisis... (Score 1) 84

Actually, what you claim isn't really true. They try to make it seem scary in the article, but there's a helluva lot of handwaving to get from "the ethane releases are causing big ozone issues."

The normal ozone concentration at ground level - worldwide - is about 50 parts per billion.

They make a big deal (the red color in the scale in the article) of THREE parts per billion from the Bakken area.

Do the math.

Comment Re:ethane + air + sunlight = ozone (Score 5, Informative) 84

The source is the article linked above. As in, the article you should have read before commenting.

"Ethane reacts with sunlight and other molecules in the atmosphere to form ozone, which at the surface can cause respiratory problems, eye irritation and other ailments and damage crops."

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