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Messages - JD

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Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: June 27, 2020, 01:37:55 PM »
I agree with what Neven said about using this year as a baseline.  There is a saying I like - "you need to kill a plant 3 times before you learn how to grow it".  It was certainly true for me!

For building up the soil, it is worth thinking about what you are trying to achieve.  Most people think about gardening in terms of soil chemistry - i.e. you need to get the right nutrients into the soil so the plants have the food to grow.  A better way is to think about gardening in terms of soil biology.

The foundation of soil biology are the bacteria and fungi.  Oversimplifying, the bacteria are what create the nitrogen cycle and the fungi are what create the mineral cycle, and together they create soil structure.  Teaming with Microbes is a great book about this, and Dr Elaine Ingham is a great person to watch on YouTube  The great thing about gardening with biology is that you don't need to buy any fertiliser as your fungi will provide all the minerals from what is already in your soil.

Weeds love soil with no fungi.  If you dig soil, you kill the fungi so you make the soil much more attractive to weeds.  This may be the reason you have so many weeds.  Even if you did not dig the soil, the previous people may have done so and the fungi has not had time to recolonise the soil.  I do all my gardening no-dig and have almost no weeds.

Most vegetables and all fruits like a 50:50 ratio of fungi to bacteria.  If your soil has recently been dug, you will need to do some work to get the amount of fungi to increase. 

The quickest way to change the soil biology is to make a fungal dominated compost (50% green matter (e.g. grass cuttings), 40% brown woody matter (wood chip is great for this) and 10% manure).  Make it in a batch, turn it at the end of weeks 1, 2 and 3 then leave for another 3 weeks and you will have wonderful compost for your garden.  Mine reaches a temperature of 70C and stays at that temperature for the first 10 days, which kills all the invasive weeds.  Just spread it over the top of your soil - don't dig it in.  You don't need a lot of compost - the idea is to seed the biology, sort of like like a probiotic yoghurt, rather than provide nutrients.

If you don't have the material to make a fungal dominated compost, a good alternative is to cover the soil with wood chip, but it does take more time before it is effective.  This is best done at the start of the wet season (i.e. in Autumn in the UK) so the wood chip is wet enough to rot (i.e. be eaten by fungi).  It also provides a good mulch for your soil which will reduce evaporation so you won't need to water as often.  Again don't dig the wood chip into the soil, just leave it on the top.  At the start of the next growing season you can rake the wood chip into paths and have clear soil to sow into.

Good luck!

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 22, 2020, 04:21:34 PM »
Based on the data here the US and most European countries are following the Italy pathway.  The best fit seems to be the number of deaths doubling every 2.5 days for the first 20 days then dropping to doubling every 5.25 days after that.

No obvious departures from that pathway for the countries listed below.

Days since
first death


deaths on day


Country Status
10 2.5 18 69
11 2.5 24 93 Germany (yesterday 23, total 84)
12 2.5 31 124 Netherlands (yesterday 30, total 136)
13 2.5 42 166
14 2.5 55 221 United Kingdom (yesterday 66, total 233)
15 2.5 73 295 US (yesterday 82, total 307)
16 2.5 98 392
17 2.5 130 522 France (yesterday 207, total 562)
18 2.5 172 694
19 2.5 228 922
20 2.5 260 1,182
21 5.2 297 1,479
22 5.2 339 1,818 Spain (yesterday 345, total 1,720)
23 5.2 387 2,205
24 5.2 441 2,646
25 5.2 503 3,149
26 5.2 574 3,723
27 5.2 655 4,378
28 5.2 747 5,125 Italy (yesterday 793, total 4,825)
29 5.2 852 5,977
30 5.2 972 6,950
31 5.2 1,109 8,059
32 5.2 1,265 9,324
33 5.2 1,443 10,767
34 5.2 1,647 12,414
35 5.2 1,878 14,292

Ken Feldman:  Like Tom, I see ASLR's posts as trying to understand what possibility we have of climate change proving far worse than generally accepted.  Clearly that does not mean it definitely will be far worse, but it does show that there is more than zero chance of it being far worse.

Your charts of human CO2 emissions based on stated policies suggest that the emissions will flatten, but will remain at roughly the current levels, i.e. CO2 will increase linearly. 

As a simple thought experiment of what this might imply for the future climate, I looked at the CO2e data from NOAA  Pre-industrial was 275 and CO2e was 496 at the end of 2018.  Taking the values for the last 10 years of CO2e and projecting them to 2100 with a simple linear projection I get a value of 778 for CO2e (assuming CO2e increases linearly if CO2 increases linearly)

778 is 1.5 doublings above pre-industrial.  At 3C per doubling this gives 4.5C temperature rise and clearly into the catastrophic territory for the impact on human civilisation.  So based on your charts I would say catastrophic climate change looks possible and even likely.

ASLR's posts have documented lots of issues that indicated this 4.5C projection may be too low. 
  • Climate sensitivity may be 5C per doubling, which would give a 7.5C temperature rise, way into catastrophic territory. 
  • CO2e in the atmosphere may increase at a faster rate than recently, even with the same CO2e emissions from humans (reduced %absorbed by the oceans, increased CO2e from permafrost melting, etc.) so the simple linear projection may be too low, again moving us way into catastrophic climate change territory.

So I can't see the point of worrying whether RCP8.5 is feasible or not, when it is clear that we have the potential to cause catastrophic climate change with our current policy.

ASLR: Thank you for all the hard work you do!

Consequences / Re: Floods
« on: November 25, 2019, 10:51:01 AM »
The person who runs the site, WebHubbleTelescope, seems very reticent about making forecasts with the data. Reading between the lines, I think it is because he is still exploring the underlying physical rationale for the model so does not want to make predictions before that understanding is sufficiently robust. 

I think if you go through the posts there is probably enough information to build the model in excel and you could do your own forecasting.  Maybe there is more in his book too but I have not read it.

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