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Messages - Sebastian Jones

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Policy and solutions / Re: Aviation
« on: November 19, 2020, 04:02:40 AM »
You might be surprised to know that many million-milers are not super-rich, not even rich. Like this stringed-instrument guy I know, he used to be a player in an orchestra but that living is dead, and now he is privately trading violins and such, flying all over the globe to show, to buy and to sell, barely making ends meet in the process. A very weird life and very harmful for the planet, but certainly not rich.
There are also many people who fly for their job in marketing, sales or engineering, making a transatlantic return flight every two or four weeks. Certainly richer than the average human, but most are not considered rich in their own countries, and definitely not super-rich. I am familiar with more than a few of such people. Most if not all hate flying. Again, a ruinous lifestyle but one driven by making a living.
The main issue here is globalization, and the too-cheap cost of flights that does not take into account the environmental cost. If transatlantic or regional flights cost 4 times as much, you would not be seeing many of these flights, as it would not be economical to continue making a living this way. Then only the super-rich would be flying, and the above complaint would be more accurate.
What could actually make a big dent is Covid, that has taught all to do remote meetings and to find them acceptable, in fact much more productive unless an actual non-software product is to be demonstrated or transferred during the meeting.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Latest PIOMAS update (November)
« on: November 08, 2020, 11:46:29 AM »
Yesterday I posted below analysis in the comment and chatter thread because I wasn’t sure the length of it made it worth posting in this thread, but since first reactions were positive, here we go.
In the following I try to analyze some trends in volume growth during winter months. I worked from the following assumptions:

1. In 1979, at the start of the satellite era, the arctic was just getting out of a more or less stable situation regarding sea ice volume since it took some time until global warming was really making impact. By 1990 changes were well underway, so instead of taking 1979 as a starting point, I use PIOMAS volume data between 1990-2019. I think this is justifiable also because in climatology a three decade period is used as baseline.
Graphs depicting monthly volumes over these years show a pretty constant decline. See for example this graphs of april volume over the years (any other month would do as well, although october and november show a bit more variance in recent years):

2. Since september ASI extent is getting lower over the years, there is more and more open water to refreeze. So you would expect ASI volume growth (Vgrowth) between october and april next spring to increase. And also that this above average Vgrowth occurs mainly in autumn. Once the arctic sea is frozen over and ice has somewhat thickened, Vgrowth will probably resume more normal growth rates. Lately it has been taking us more or less to the end of the year until all high arctic seas are frozen over again.
This is indeed what you see when you compare the linear trendline in the graph depicting Vgrowth in the october-april period for example with Vgrowth between februari and april.

The linear trendline of Vgrowth in the october-april period has the biggest gradient and this gradient gets a bit smaller every month after that. If you put these gradients of the trendlines of Vgrowth from a specific month till the end of the freezing seasons (april) in a separate graph, it makes a good fit and corroborates nicely what is to be expected. Graph 4 is again for the 1990-2019 period.

3. Now for the main course and why this analysis may be relevant for this freezing season and ones to come. Many here on the ASIF regard 2007 as the year in which arctic sea ice extent and volume crashed in such a way that it brought about profound changes in sea ice state and dynamics. If this is correct and a threshhold was passed, then it makes sense to have a look at Vgrowth before and after 2007 separately.

Graph 2 above depicting Vgrowth between october-april indeed suggests something happened in 2007. As an extraordinary meltseason resulted in untill then unknown amounts of open water in september, Vgrowth in the following freezing season 2007-2008 was - rather unsurprisingly - at an all time high. The same can be said about the freezing season following the 2012 melt out. But interestingly, although there have been quite a few big melting seasons in the last decade, this effect of extra Vgrowth caused by huge swaths of open water in september, seems to be waning over the years. At least it looks like that when when you break up the 1990-2019 period in the time frames 1990-2007 and 2008-2019, see graph 5.

Admittedly, the 2008-2019 time period is short and the variance here is rather large. But lets first have a look at some other months-april freezing periods. This decline in extra Vgrowth over the 2008-2019 time frame clearly is most pronounced in autumn.

This is what you get when you plot the gradients of trendlines for volume growth in the different months-april periods:

There was a slightly positive trend in Vgrowth for any month-april period in the 1990-2007 time frame, but this is definitely not the case for the years 2008-2019. And especially not for the october-april, nov-apr and dec-apr freezing periods. This suggests that the extra refreeze in autumn is more and more being hampered by other influences such as extra heat uptake in summer, atlantification and higher air temperatures. Since trendlines of Vgrowth over the jan-apr and feb-apr periods are negative also, it seems that these influences extend into the deep of winter.

Of course the outcome of this analysis is strongly influenced by taking 2007 as a kind of tipping point. Maybe this is not justified. And maybe the period 2008-2019 is too short for trustworthy trendlines. But all-in-all the results are remarkably consistent. So maybe we should expect much lower Vgrowth and thus Vmax in years to come.

Save another shift in dynamics like in 2007, which could worsen things considerably and is possibly happening as we speak, the 2008-2019 trendline for Vgrowth from oct-apr will be back at 15k km3 in 2025 (graph 5), just as it was in the years 1990-2007. Add these 15k to the max. 5k probably remaining at the end of october 2025 and you get 20k km3 in april (the simple Vapr lineair trendline in graph 1 predicts 19,5k for april 2025). Since summer melt is around 18 ± 1,5K since 2007, it looks like fascinating and frightening times are at our doorstep.
It wil be interesting to see what the monthly volumes will be this freezing season, but it is difficult to imagine they will not contribute strongly to these downward trends in Vgrowth.

Consequences / Re: Forests: An Endangered Resource
« on: November 08, 2020, 08:20:57 AM »
Re: a Nature per from 2014



The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: October 30, 2020, 06:12:05 PM »
My analysis/predictions follow almost exactly along with bbr's above:

1. This is a re-alignment election, or a continuation of the inexorable demographic trends that were interrupted by Trump's improbable EC squeaker.
 - White non-university voters declining
 - Minority voters continuing towards outright majority combined with GOP's total rejection of these voters (Hispanic males being the only minor exception)
 - Younger voters mobilized by climate change (finally!)

2. Pandemic - adding an extra bit of revulsion for Trump that is driving turnout enthusiasm higher among Dems than would normally be expected for a bland white guy like Biden. Depressing GOP votes among the elderly, who are horrified at Trumps pandemic response (killing off your voting base - not a smart stable genius strategery).

3. Polls were close in 2016, within margin of error; pollsters adjusted their models to account for the errors; these adjustments are overcompensating, and missing the youth enthusiasm above. So the polls will turn out to be wrong in the other direction this time.

4. Florida is full of Floriduh Man! Always expect some gross ratfuckery there.

5. Ohio is going red, NC going blue, GA and AZ going purple, even KS, IA and TX starting the process towards purple. Continuing the trend, like VA and CO going from red to purple to blue. Once AZ, NC, and GA are solid blue, and TX is purple, there is no path for GOP to win the Presidency in the next few decades.

6. Electoral college blowout, but not quite as big as Reagan's, for Biden. Along with the largest ever popular vote margin (but almost certainly not the highest percentage margin).

7. Possible EC win by Trump with largest popular vote loss? Not at all likely. This is not 2016.

8. Election day violence by Proud Boys standing by?... very little, but extensive media coverage of any that does occur. Post election violence by GOP judiciary and DOJ attempting to disrupt the counting of all the votes? Yes, lots of it. Hopefully futile due to the large margins making it obvious that Trump lost big.

Its not often I agree so much with bbr, except for that one tiny bit at the end.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: October 30, 2020, 04:59:06 PM »
Insects are making inroads into protein sources for animal feed. Factories that can control growing conditions for insects are getting investments and a company in France is building a mealy bug factory that can produce 100,000 tons of protein feed supplements a year.
 We do not have reduction plants for fish meal in Calif. because we don’t allow fish to be used for fish meal. Replacing the protein supplied by fish meal with insect based alternatives would take pressure off wild fish populations.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: September 21, 2020, 03:23:31 PM »
As it's the end of the melt season, here's all the extent projections from March 1st to last week, using daily data from the last 20 years.
A pretty big file size, click to play.

Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2020
« on: September 14, 2020, 09:24:49 PM »
I made this lil graphic. Pls enjoy!!

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: September 02, 2020, 07:17:39 PM »
So I've been wondering if this is all happening because Greenland start functioning more as the pole? Will it become a trend that Greenland and North America will have a delayed spring (due to a shifting polar cell?), and does this cause the ice in the CAA and the East Greenland coast to last longer?
Shades of the tentacles of a certain reglaciation speculation tentatively sniffing at the melting season thread?

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: August 24, 2020, 08:15:56 PM »
No information at all today from Mosaic, get over it. Bow radar still not working ... does that mean they need it for operations like looking around more for a good floe? Mist and fog mean they cannot leave the ship because of the polar bear visibility issue.

At 15:00 though, the wx staffer put visibility at 96 which is 4-10 km but fully overcast at 8/8 and cloud deck 1 which is low, 50-100m overhead. Conditions are only noted 4x a day, not hourly like position, wind, and temperature. There is practically no wind, 1m/s (despite the storm that's been raging on the melt forum). Wind is measured from a mast 38m above sea level.

FoMo is back to hugs and cherished memories from yet another well-paid creature-comforted job-related cruise; Mosaic's main expedition page always makes me feel I've stumbled onto a private TikTok party link rather than public-funded climate change research site. In past decades, the Polarstern has always posted a detailed weekly ship log.

We do learn however that the Polarstern skipped town without retrieving all the expensive equipment left on dispersed Fram floes. However the chartered Russian icebreaker Akademik Tryoshnikov did manage to pick some of it up. The rest will sink to the bottom off Greenland's national park.

From wiki: Alexey Fyodorovich Tryoshnikov (Алексе́й Фёдорович Трёшников) was a Soviet polar explorer, the leader of the 2nd Soviet Antarctic Expedition and the 13th Soviet Antarctic Expedition and later a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. He was involved in defending the Northern Sea Route during World War II and participated in the 1948 Soviet expedition to the North Pole. Between 1954 and 1955, he was the leader of the North Pole-3 ice station in the Arctic Ocean.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: August 23, 2020, 12:14:18 AM »
I've done prison volunteer work off and on for over 25 years (and both of my parents have done some as well, so I have a few stories from them, too).  Although I don't recall meeting any firefighter (I think my dad did), I've heard about the pluses and minuses of working, and of working 'outside' (prison walls).  Prisoners generally suggest the positives are greater than the negatives.  Jobs like firefighting (I understand) only go to men and women with clean (recent years) prison records and individuals who want to do it.  This is not Southern States chain gangs busting rocks while in irons.

Private prisons:  that's a whole other kettle of fish.  I don't know much, but shivers...  :'(

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: August 21, 2020, 10:10:24 PM »

I am beginning to become worried that as ice is transported back into Lincoln Sea, it is going to be flushed into the Nares. The Nares is going to export a huge amount of ice into Baffin and the open water in Lincoln may keep growing through mid-September. The EURO portends something along these lines, IMO.

I've been literally mulling the EXACT same things. I'm sure you're aware, but even over the last 5 days export out of the Nares has been fairly impressive. There are just so many fronts which are under attack. I'm still in compete awe at the destruction above North Greenland.

Either way, to supplement your point and since I'm on my fancy work computer here's a gif to emphasize all of this:

Thats a good paper, i am glad to see they resolved the discrepancy noted in an earlier paper this year from Velicogna et al (ref 14 in the paper citd above ...)

The media have seized on this paper. Even bloomberg news have made a big thing of it.
Ingo tells me that he is inundated with media requests.

ps: High GIS mass loss in 2019? - You saw it first on this thread

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: August 21, 2020, 06:31:13 PM »
Thanks, Sebastian and interstitial!

California's inmate firefighters: 9 things to know
1. Inmate firefighters date back to World War II
2. There are camps in 27 counties
3. An average year yields 3 million hours in emergency response work
4. Inmates must earn the right to work in these camps
5. Certain crimes make you ineligible for the program
6. Inmates considered for fire crews go through training from Cal Fire
7. Inmate firefighters can still be employed by Cal Fire (after serving their time)
8. Inmate firefighters get paid for their labor with wages and credits
             yup, slave labor: only $2.90 to $5.12 per day, ... while fighting fires, inmates earn an additional $1 per hour
9. Inmate firefighters work 24-hour shifts alongside Cal Fire crews

Obviously, details at the link.

Antarctica / Re: Ice Apocalypse - MULTIPLE METERS SEA LEVEL RISE
« on: August 19, 2020, 07:50:05 PM »
The linked website provides a nice summary of the nature of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC).

Title: "About the ITGC"

Extract related to the attached image: "Thwaites Glacier (in darker blue) drains a vast part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, extending over 192,000 square kilometers, or 74,000 square miles—an area the size of Florida or the island of Britain. Each of the ITGC field projects, shown as red solid circles, has a principle geographic focus of their study, related to the processes they intend to study. The two modeling studies, PROPHET and DOMINOS are shown as open circles in orange. TIME is a study of how the boundary of the glacier evolves, and what the differences are between the slow-moving ice and underlying rock outside the glacier is versus the interior. GHOST is a traverse of the core of the glacier, looking at ice and bedrock characteristics with seismic and radar data. GHC will collect rock samples from either side of Thwaites Glacier to look for clues as to its recent past history—as will the THOR project, using marine sediments, bathymetric mapping, and oceanography. MELT and TARSAN both have a focus on the ice-ocean interaction at the point of contact between land, ice, and sea, looking at ocean circulation and rates of ice melt near the front of the glacier. SCO coordinates other projects."

The rest / Re: Peak Oil and Climate Change
« on: August 19, 2020, 01:26:40 AM »
Here is an insightful article on peak oil.

"So, the peak oil idea was based on solid theoretical foundations. The quote “when I have new data, I change my interpretation, what do you do, sir?” is attributed to John Maynard Keynes and one wonders why it was not applied to the peak oil theory. With new data in input on the consistency of the non-conventional oil resources, the theory could still provide useful information on the future of fossil fuels, but this was not done."

Yes, peaks have occurred in the past.  Prices peaked in 1979 and 2008.  Before COVID, crude oil prices (adjusted for inflation) were below levels from 1976.  Recent levels are lower, similar to 1990 levels.

Ugo Bardi is part of the group that discusses Limits to Growth and even ASPO:

which explains the points raised before the quote you gave:

These were serious problems, but it must also be said that the weakness of the theory ceased to exist when it was understood that the bell shaped curve is just a simplified version of the general theory of mineral depletion [33] based on the concepts developed first by J. Forrester [34] and by the authors of the 1972 “Limits to Growth” report [35] (For a modern version of these models, see the recently developed MEDEAS model at In short, the basis of the bell shaped curve is in the decline in the net energy of extraction, a concept often expressed in terms of “Energy Return On Energy Invested” (EROI or EROEI) [36,37]. So, the peak oil idea was based on solid theoretical foundations.

And if you look up the point of net energy, you will discover that it refers to Bardi's "Seneca cliff":

The term refers to Seneca's statement: "Fortune is of sluggish growth, but ruin is rapid."

The forum / Re: Forum Decorum
« on: August 18, 2020, 07:53:28 PM »
We should allow my ice age pet theory talk in every thread again so all of you can once again have a common enemy and stop fighting w eachother.  8)

I actually would like to be taken off moderation please // I think my posting has improved pretty dramatically but obviously my observations are impartial // often my posts contain timely information which is often reposted hours later to the detriment of discussion (i.e. Archimid's repost of the same COVID study today in that thread)

Arctic sea ice / Re: MOSAiC news
« on: August 18, 2020, 12:34:51 PM »
There is an occasional entry for ice state on the MET file with description of the codes
latest was 58/98
ci -- Concentration or arrangement of sea ice
5 -- Very close pack ice 7/8 to < 8/8 concentration
Si -- Stage of development
8 -- Predominantly medium and thick first-year ice with some old ice (usually more than 2 meters thick)
bi -- Ice of land origin
 / -- Unable to report, because of darkness, poor visibility or only sea ice is visible
Di -- Bearing of principal ice edge
9 -- Not determined (ship in ice)
zi -- Ice situation and trend over preceding 3 hours
 8 -- Ice under moderate or severe pressure

Ice Information: ci Si bi Di zi

ci -- Concentration or arrangement of sea ice

    0 -- No ice
    1 -- Ship in open lead more than 1 n. mile wide or ship in fast ice with boundary beyond limit of visibility
    2 - 5 Ice concentration uniform
    2 -- Open water or very open pack ice, < 3/8 concentration
    3 -- Open pack ice 3/8 to < 6/8 concentration
    4 -- Close pack ice 6/8 to < 7/8 concentration
    5 -- Very close pack ice 7/8 to < 8/8 concentration
    6 - 9 Sea ice concentration not uniform
    6 -- Strips and patches of pack ice with open water between
    7 -- Strips and patches of close or very close pack ice with areas of lesser concentration between
    8 -- Fast ice with open water, very open or open pack ice to seaward of the ice boundary
    9 -- Fast ice with close or very close pack ice to seaward of the ice boundary
    / -- Unable to report, because of darkness, poor visibility or because ship is more than 0.5 n. mile away from ice edge

Si -- Stage of development

    0 -- New ice only (frazil ice, grease ice, slush, shuga)
    1 -- Nilas or ice rind, < 10 cm thick
    2 -- Young ice (grey ice, grey-white ice) 10-30 cm thick
    3 -- Predominantly new and/or young ice with some first-year ice
    4 -- Predominantly thin first-year ice with some new and/or young ice
    5 -- All thin first-year ice (30-70 cm thick)
    6 -- Predominantly medium first-year ice (70-120 cm thick) and thick first-year ice (>120 cm thick) and some thinner (younger) first-year ice
    7 -- All medium and thick first-year ice
    8 -- Predominantly medium and thick first-year ice with some old ice (usually more than 2 meters thick)
    9 -- Predominantly old ice
    / -- Unable to report, because of darkness, poor visibility or only ice of land origin visible or because ship is more than 0.5 n. mile away from ice edge

bi -- Ice of land origin

    0 -- No ice of land origin
    1 -- 1-5 icebergs, no growlers or bergy bits
    2 -- 6-10 icebergs, no growlers or bergy bits
    3 -- 11-20 icebergs, no growlers or bergy bits
    4 -- Up to and including 10 growlers and bergy bits - no icebergs
    5 -- More than 10 growlers and bergy bits - no icebergs
    6 -- 1-5 icebergs with growlers and bergy bits
    7 -- 6-10 icebergs with growlers and bergy bits
    8 -- 11-20 icebergs with growlers and bergy bits
    9 -- More than 20 icebergs with growlers and bergy bits - a major hazard to navigation
    / -- Unable to report, because of darkness, poor visibility or only sea ice is visible

Di -- Bearing of principal ice edge

    0 -- Ship in shore or flat lead
    1 -- Ice edge towards NE
    2 -- Ice edge towards East
    3 -- Ice edge towards SE
    4 -- Ice edge towards South
    5 -- Ice edge towards SW
    6 -- Ice edge towards West
    7 -- Ice edge towards NW
    8 -- Ice edge towards North
    9 -- Not determined (ship in ice)
    / -- Unable to report, because of darkness, poor visibility or only ice of land origin is visible

zi -- Ice situation and trend over preceding 3 hours

    0 -- Ship in open water with floating ice in sight
    1 -- Ship in easily penetrable ice; conditions improving
    2 -- Ship in easily penetrable ice; conditions not changing
    3 -- Ship in easily penetrable ice; conditions worsening
    4 -- Ship in ice difficult to penetrate; conditions improving
    5 -- Ship in ice difficult to penetrate; conditions not changing
    6 - 9 Ice difficult to penetrate; conditions worsening
    6 -- Ice forming and freezing together
    7 -- Ice under slight pressure
    8 -- Ice under moderate or severe pressure
    9 -- Ship beset
    / -- Unable to report, because of darkness, poor visibility
  Lat  Long  YY-MM-DD  UTC     Wind       T(C)  N  h  VV  wwWW  ICE  Pnn(hPa)
  88.9  -35.9 20-08-18 09:00    5   60      0.9  7  5  98  0222 58/98 1024.1
  88.9  -35.8 20-08-18 08:00    5   60      0.8  /  /  //     ////    ///// 1024.1
  88.9  -35.7 20-08-18 07:00    5   60      1.0  /  /  //     ////    ///// 1023.9
  88.9  -35.6 20-08-18 06:00    5   60      1.0  7  5  99  4022 58/98 1024.1
  88.9  -35.4 20-08-18 05:00    4   60      1.7  /  /  //     ////    ///// 1023.8

Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: August 13, 2020, 08:13:11 PM »
Betteridge's law of headlines is an adage that states: "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no." It is named after Ian Betteridge, a British technology journalist who wrote about it in 2009, although the principle is much older.

Thorium solves none of the problems with nuclear power .

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2020 Sea ice area and extent data
« on: August 06, 2020, 06:10:17 AM »
I am overwhelmed and touched by the generosity of spirit of so many of you.

The fund has reached its goal.

I hope you will see me posting again pretty soon.

Thanks again,

Gerontocrat: Congratulations that you got a new laptop & it is great that you accepted the gift. The ASIF would not be the same without you!

An now, I invite everybody to think on Neven. He has been running this place and the ASIB for 10+ years. I don't know how much it has cost, but I am sure that it has been expensive to develop and maintain.

To donate, you have to go to Neven's ASIB and click on "Support & donate" on the circle on the right side.

Thanks! We are a great team!

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2020 Sea ice area and extent data
« on: August 05, 2020, 11:47:21 PM »
I am overwhelmed and touched by the generosity of spirit of so many of you.

The fund has reached its goal.

I hope you will see me posting again pretty soon.

Thanks again,


The rest / Re: Wildlife
« on: July 28, 2020, 11:13:16 AM »
" It is obvious to those who regularly work with animals that there is no sharp difference between how human minds and other minds work. Even second order thinking (thinking about thinking) which is horribly difficult to rule in or out in animals occurs on a spectrum, as we regularly observe in people."

Agree! And that gives us, people who work/live with animals enough perspective to look at those actually rejecting the fact of an animal mind, like those "scientists" at the end of the  XIX Century rejecting a mind and a soul in those
living in tribes in lost forests.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Image of the Day
« on: July 28, 2020, 05:25:33 AM »
today's storm:

Glen, that is pretty straight forward. Just click the 'Attachment and other options' below the input window. There you can choose a file from your computer to upload.

Generally, i would say it should be compressed (i.e. JPEG format).

A good way to compress images is to upload them to a website like There you can compress/convert to JPEG/scale/crop/etc.

If you have an image that is 500 pixels or below of canvas size, it will be displayed by the forum software as it is. If it's bigger, the forum software would shrink it and only show the full resolution if you click on it.

There is also a posibility to load pictures from an external source. In this case, you copy&paste the image link, select the link, and click the 'Insert Image' button (above the input window).

Hope that answers your question. :)

     Where are the instructions on how to post images to forum server?

The rest / Re: Wildlife
« on: July 25, 2020, 07:04:22 PM »
Where are arctic mosquitoes most abundant in Greenland and why?
Examining the population dynamics during the larval life stage of these pests


As larvae, Arctic mosquitoes feed on microbial biofilms that are attached to detritus, dead organic matter in the ponds. Using a food web approach, in May and June 2018, Dartmouth researchers investigated how variation in the food quality (bottom up approach), the predaceous diving beetle (C. dolabratus) (top down approach) and other conditions such as temperature and nutrients, affected the larval population. The study sample was comprised of eight different ponds between Kangerlussuaq, Greenland and the margin of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

To measure biofilm productivity, the team used "biofilm samplers," which were left in the ponds for the microbial material to accumulate. Arctic mosquito larvae had access to some of the devices as a food source while others were intentionally blocked off, so that the biofilm could not be eaten. The researchers looked at how much biofilm the larvae consumed and conducted a lab analysis of what the microbial community was composed of.

The researchers had hypothesized that Arctic mosquitoes do not make it to the larva stage because they either do not have enough to eat or they are consumed by the diving beetle. They were surprised by the results. The ponds with the best food quality had the lowest population growth rates, as the mosquitoes tended to overcrowd these sites. These sites had the highest hatching mosquitoes, resulting in intense competition for food and poor survival. In contrast, ponds with lower food quality had higher population growth rates. "Arctic mosquito populations appear to be driven by what they are eating rather than who is eating them," explained first author, Melissa H. DeSiervo, a graduate student in the Ecology, Evolution, Environment and Society program at Dartmouth.


Arctic sea ice / Re: 2020 Sea ice area and extent data
« on: July 17, 2020, 07:43:22 PM »
thank you very much for the tables and graphs. What would ASIF look like without your (and Juan's) precise and regular information?

The politics / Re: Economic Inequality
« on: July 17, 2020, 06:58:33 PM »
Or post to ´The Problem with social media´.

I hate how the annual dentist congress pollutes my geology feed. *erosion*

The politics / Re: Economic Inequality
« on: July 14, 2020, 05:33:43 PM »
It´s about the system and what it wants to do. Actually housing the homeless is cheaper then pölicing them.

Of course this does not mean you can help everyone at once and there will always be outliers.

I actually ended up homeless and it took a while to get back. Along the way i met many people which were all different. Some were not actually interested in getting a house at all. It might be being used to a different life for too long.

Although i could never understand that. First time they gave me a key and i could lock a door again and outside was suddenly outside again i just cried.

Some people have different safe spaces but if you safe all the easy cases you have more resources (people figuring out what to do with them) for the special ones.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: July 05, 2020, 09:28:52 AM »
Glad to see you back, Sam!  :)

Consequences / Re: Heatwaves
« on: June 22, 2020, 10:13:45 AM »
See the Permafrost General Science thread for more about the permafrost.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Image of the Day
« on: June 14, 2020, 04:21:09 PM »
Worldview, Novaya Zemlya.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: May 27, 2020, 07:51:01 PM »
The sea ice area in the Central Arctic Sea (which extends over 3.22 million km2 of ocean) has declined from highest in the satellite record on April 16 (#42) to lowest in the satellite record on the 26th May (#1).

Whether such strong sea ice area losses can be maintained from the current sea ice area of 3.03 million km2, is, of course, another story.

What this event does is underscore this - that as the volume of ice and durability of the pack decline, volatility in the metrics we follow will increase dramatically.  The physical metaphor I think of is a wobbling top about to fall over.

The fate of the ice year over year is more dependent on the whims of weather, even relatively mild weather, than it ever has been previously in human memory.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: May 15, 2020, 08:18:30 PM »
There's a whole lot going on in the Arctic right now...
That's probably why the man is looking so angry...

The politics / Re: Economic Inequality
« on: May 14, 2020, 12:56:00 AM »
YouTube clips are terrible material for a discussion forum.

I so agree to this. Especially when not mentioning what they are about or what their central thesis is. You can read more efficiently then watch because you can skip parts in a text and video not so much.

Also videos and memes might save you typing but leave other people guessing (or scrolling past it).

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 15, 2020, 07:16:38 AM »
Dear oren, earlier you wrote that you find it easy to not touch your face (If I remember correctly). I admire you for that discipline because I find it rather difficult. Almost every day I fail one or more times but it's getting better. Where I used to pick up crumps from my plate with my finger, I now dive with my face on my plate and suck the crumps directly in my mouth. You should see me go. Those crumps have no chance of escape.
For touching buttons I think it is very handy to have long fingernails such as I do.

I have had a runny nose for most of my life which gets 'worse' with lower temperatures. I think it might be an advantage because nothing is coming into my nose; it gets flushed out. So it might be that even when I put my finger in my nose, the virus doesn't stay there because of the mucus flow. Most mucus goes into my handkerchiefs and I never touch my mouth with them.

Question: Does someone know how a virus can get transported from the eye or nose to the throat/larynx? (where it finds the right receptors)

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 31, 2020, 06:52:53 PM »

I know this us useless and I am wasting my breath.

Please stop being a racist.


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 27, 2020, 09:53:20 PM »
Worldometers reporting Italy posting 919 deaths today, eclipsing previous daily high of 793 six days ago.

After shutdown begins the infection chains are mostly broken except for home infection. Hopefully, this is the last wave before the quarantine yields the expected results. I pray they are using as many masks as possible and have a good plan to restart the economy while testing and quarantining like crazy.

Looking at the data — self isolation is NOT working.

Quarantine, real quarantine is required.


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 27, 2020, 02:38:26 AM »

If you should overstate the danger that CV19 presents, then more people might choose to self isolate, avoid risks to themselves and others, and possibly lead longer, healthier lives.

What's the downside?

Perhaps the generations that grew up on Horror Flicks where crowds ran screaming from Godzilla, or where elderly alcoholics sped their motorhomes recklessly across Pahrumpian Deserts to escape emaciated Martian Marauders, now believe that the great unwashed will inevitably, and foolishly panic when faced with sobering news.

Politicians have come to fear that any 'leader' projecting a less than rosy outcome will lose his or her favoured position at the trough. Sycophants posing as "experts" repeat the party line lie so often that it's common knowledge that the millions of once projected dead have been transmuted into millions of asymptomatic, possibly infected, but nonetheless unaffected, workers. All eagerly chomping at the bit for the opportunity to return to the treadmill just in time for their Easter Holiday Vacation, and the Traditional Easter Dinners where relatives gather together in mass and give thanks to the Wise Incumbents who lead them so successfully during these trying times.


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 25, 2020, 12:19:58 AM »
Quick update here since many of you were very helpful and caring earlier - I have thankfully been given paid administrative leave for 2 weeks starting tomorrow after work (also due to Inslee's order). So now I will perform social distancing to my best abilities.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 23, 2020, 05:53:03 PM »
One sad and important issue to take into account with some of the poor, African nations are their increased rates of HIV. That in conjunction with covid 19 really paints a bleak picture. I really fear for that entire continent as well as India. When this is all said and done, I won't be surprised if Iran loses close to 10% of its population, which is horrifying.

It seems like once a country hits its breaking point, the death rate spikes soon thereafter.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 23, 2020, 12:24:22 AM »
Don't be daft.  "Printing money" is done by a process called "quantitative easing."  The process can be reversed just as easily and quickly as it's instituted. 

I don't want to hijack this thread with a diversion into macro-economics. And I'm no expert. But no, QE is not synonymous with "printing money." QE is a program of buying bonds by the fed.  It has "traditionally" been (since the fiscal crisis of 08/09) the purchase of government bonds. There is now talk of extending it to munis and even corporate bonds.  It cannot be unwound as easily as it starts because abruptly stopping QE causes instability in the bond markets.  There are many other ways the Fed and the Federal government can increase the money supply, inject liquidity and "stimulate" the economy.  For example, a Universal Basic Income (UBI) has nothing to do with QE.

I continue to think that the gang here that believes these tools can work in perpetuity and without limit are not correct.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 22, 2020, 07:49:39 PM »
Hair Furor is on top of it.

It would be great to have an updated version of this with all the inane things said in the last 10 days or so.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 20, 2020, 11:57:12 PM »
Trump will be pleased . The USA is ready to overtake Iran in the next 24 hours . Within a week China too should be in the rear view mirror . America will have the numbers .. the biggest numbers .. b.c.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 19, 2020, 09:59:12 PM »
Just got word that no matter what, the office will remain open. Unless someone dies in our office we will continue to work. Good to know where america's priories are.

I'm sitting at my desk like: guess I'll just die

Can you take mental health days off? Do Americans even get mental health days?
I see that there have been 3584 new cases in America, so far today, with no report in from Washington..

Nope...immediate job freeze and any leaving is considered "job abandonment." I'll be thankful I have a job and will just wait and see how many deaths end up occurring here.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 14, 2020, 12:12:27 AM »
As made perfectly clear in the post, it's not my list nor my advice. There are some items in there worth considering and others that are harmless. Primum non nocere ... Dr. Robb seems in compliance.

pietkuip ... I gather you are a MD/ Ph.D with an extensive publication record in coronavirus research and clinical treatment of infectious disease? Or just another anxious / panicked internet denizen with zero scientific background in anything halfway relevant?

Perhaps you found it really scary to read that in his opinion "there will be NO drugs or vaccines available this year to protect us or limit the infection. Only symptomatic support is available."

I am not looking for advice myself as we live out in a remote desert on a gated and patrolled 60,000 hectare property that came with a 1950's concrete underground bomb shelter complete with a steel hatch and ceramic air filter, not that there's a need to go inside.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 10, 2020, 01:13:24 AM »
^ Good luck, Sebastian ( and to your family)


DARPA Races To Create a "Firebreak" Treatment for the Coronavirus

When DARPA launched its Pandemic Preparedness Platform (P3) program two years ago, the pandemic was theoretical.

Today, as the novel coronavirus causes a skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases around the world, the researchers are racing to apply their experimental techniques to a true pandemic playing out in real time.

In the P3 program, the 60-day clock begins when a blood sample is taken from a person who has fully recovered from the disease of interest. Then the researchers screen that sample to find all the protective antibodies the person’s body has made to fight off the virus or bacteria. They use modeling and bioinformatics to choose the antibody that seems most effective at neutralizing the pathogen, and then determine the genetic sequence that codes for the creation of that particular antibody. That snippet of genetic code can then be manufactured quickly and at scale, and injected into people.

... Jenkins says this approach is much faster than manufacturing the antibodies themselves. Once the genetic snippets are delivered by an injection, “your body becomes the bioreactor” that creates the antibodies, she says. The P3 program’s goal is to have protective levels of the antibodies circulating within 6 to 24 hours.

... DARPA calls this a “firebreak” technology, because it can provide immediate immunity to medical personnel, first responders, and other vulnerable people.

However, it wouldn’t create the permanent protection that vaccines provide.

Robert Carnahan, who works with Crowe at the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, explains that their method offers only temporary protection because the snippets of genetic code are messenger RNA, molecules that carry instructions for protein production. When the team’s specially designed mRNA is injected into the body, it’s taken up by cells (likely those in the liver) that churn out the needed antibodies. But eventually that RNA degrades, as do the antibodies that circulate through the blood stream.

"We haven’t taught the body how to make the antibody,” Carnahan says, so the protection isn’t permanent.

Jenkins says that all of the P3 groups (the others are Greg Semposki’s lab at Duke University, a small Vancouver company called AbCellera, and the big pharma company AstraZeneca) have made great strides in technologies that rapidly identify promising antibodies. In their earlier trials, the longer part of the process was manufacturing the mRNA and preparing for safety studies in animals. If the mRNA is intended for human use, the manufacturing and testing processes will be much slower because there will be many more regulatory hoops to jump through.

Moderna was involved in a related DARPA program known as ADEPT that has since ended. The company’s work on mRNA-based therapies has led it in another interesting direction—last week, the company made news with its announcement that it was testing an mRNA-based vaccine for the coronavirus. That vaccine works by delivering mRNA that instructs the body to make the “spike” protein that’s present on the surface of the coronavirus, thus provoking an immune response that the body will remember if it encounters the whole virus.

Moderna Ships mRNA Vaccine Against Novel Coronavirus (mRNA-1273) for Phase 1 Study

... even if they have a potent antibody or mRNA ready for manufacture by the end of April, they’d have to get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. To get a therapy approved for human use typically takes years of studies on toxicity, stability, and efficacy. Crowe says that one possible shortcut is the FDA’s compassionate use program, which allows people to use unapproved drugs in certain life-threatening situations.

Gregory Poland, Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group ... compassionate use shortcut would likely only be relevant “if we’re facing a situation where something like Wuhan is happening in a major city in the U.S., and we have reason to believe that a new therapy would be efficacious and safe. Then that’s a possibility, but we’re not there yet,” he says. “We’d be looking for an unknown benefit and accepting an unknown risk.”


Something to consider and watch for:

These therapies/vaccines are being developed by the military at tax-payers expense. Will these companies forget who funded them if and when their products come to market and doubly profit off the taxpayers?

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 09, 2020, 07:25:00 PM »
The WHO has as much choice about this as you or me. They must remain civil while trying to convince the tyrant of his foolishness.

I agree with the WHO that this is not a pandemic yet, not even close to a pandemic. The potential for a pandemic is most certainly there especially with the US doing I don't know what, but we can still stop this before another Wuhan.

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: March 08, 2020, 10:11:27 AM »
A UK supplier I got my PV panels from is testing a new battery, my intended use is for domestic scale static storage of solar & wind generation. I've asked some follow up Qs:

Hi Iain

For the new Long Life Lithium we are testing units which are 24V 80Ah and 24V 120ah and can be run with upto 4 in parallel.  So that would give you 320Ah or 480Ah.

Pricing on these is looking like it will be around
24V 80Ah - approx £1450+vat each
24V 120Ah - approx £2150+vat each

Mega Long Life LTO Lithium Battery 25,000+ Cycles
Latest Battery Technology
Low Temperature Performance -50c to +60c
Super High rate discharge 10C Fast Charge 4-5C
Long Cycle life 25,000 100% DOD cycles (thats over 60 years of daily discharge!)
Still 80% of initial capacity after 25,000 cycles!
High round trip efficiency (RTE): >95%.
Extremely Safe - resistant to mechanical abuse without risk of fire or explosion, low-risk energy storage in any application.

Would these be of interest to you?

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 07, 2020, 10:55:04 AM »
Continuing on from #1993 and #2020, covid-19 viral activation and invasion of lung pneumatocytes has unusual and undesirable features that reflect rapid recent evolution of its genome.

The research action centers on the spike protein because it seems to have acquired aggressive new properties from a specific upstream 12-base insertion (creating a 4 amino acid furin-like cleavage site motif) that greatly facilitates adhesion to the ACE2 receptor which facilitates fusion (mediated by a downstream spike domain) with the host cytoplasmic membrane, the entry point of viral RNA into the cell interior where it reproduces.

There are 182 complete covid-19 genomes as of today being studied with both wet lab and dry lab (bioinformatic) approaches. NextStrain collects all these and presents them as a branching phylogenetic tree that grows every day and sometimes gets rearranged.

This tree clusters closely related covid-19 genomes the same way that your desktop organizes related files into a nested folder hierarchy but using advanced statistical methods such as maximal likelihood models that have been under intense algorithmic development for half a century. However these trees can be made under many different assumptions and parameter sets. A tree that aligns amino acids (rather than nucleotides), eg those from the upstream half of the spike protein, might give a rather different topology from a whole genome nucleotide tree.

On the data side, the 182 genomes are mostly not the ones we want: the early ones. Many are just chains of descendants: A in Wuhan gave it to B in Milan and C in Vatican City, B gave it to D in Austria and E in Spain, C gave it to F, G and H in Dubai with 0-2 mutations at each step along the way. The real information lies in more covid-19 genomes from Wuhan but not descended from A.

This is useful early on in a pandemic for the tracebacks and self-quarantining that buy some (mostly squandered) preparedness time but as Sam documents above, that train left the station a month ago.

Molecular biologists want the genomes from the very earliest stages of viral spread in late Nov 2019 for five principal reasons:

-1- to work out the ancestral genome that first crossed the species barrier.
-2- to determine the carrier species because it may harbor many other coronavirus strains.
-3- to determine what adaptive changes took place that caused covid-19 to spread so virulently.
-4- to better understand mutational processes in covid-19 and future properties may evolve.
-4- to resolve whether mutational gain/loss of nucleotides represents an insertion or deletion.

However the epicenter of spread, which is not necessarily the epicenter of origin, has been bulldozed to the ground, its entire stock of wildlife incinerated and its infected denizens cremated without any genetic sampling. Under the circumstances, the focus was eradication; public health mandarins would hardly be bowing to requests for viral agent preservation from scientists.

Prior to the outbreak, Wuhan had two institutes (not one) collecting coronavirus genomes from wild bat populations and requesting isolates from other virology labs around the world, for example the Manitoba, Canada BSL-4 facility.

Assembling such a resource makes research sense in a country like China with strong science and a costly history of viral outbreaks in both livestock and humans. For its part, the US maintained a massive collection of anthrax strains until the FBI autoclaved the entire set after a rogue worker mailed a weaponized one around.

In summary, only a few of the 182 genomes originated early on in Wuhan but because of privacy considerations neither preprints, GenBank annotations or GISAID metadata make clear if any of the people were affiliated with the two corona virus laboratories.There is very little specific clinical information about the eight original ICU patients that triggered the ophthalmologist's alert. We don't know if any of the covid-19 genomes represents the transmitting patient with acute angle glaucoma.

Regardless, the genomes at NextStrain fall into two early-diverging clades (strains) that split early on and never later hybridized (through RNA recombination). These were noticed back in February and denoted L and S clades (for distinguishing mutations that affected leucine and serine codons). The topology of that branch of the tree has been stable ever since.

The original authors were careful to say of the two strains, the L type “MIGHT be more aggressive and spread more quickly”. However nobody since has honored that cautionary statement. Because of transmission chains, subsequent internal mutational divergences in both clades, and lack of healthy human volunteers, this idea is very difficult to pursue. Note that every node on the tree defines, through its descendants, its own clade or strain.

The NextStrain tree is unrooted, meaning that deep ancestry is not indicated by outgroups (closely related corona and other viruses). This is so bizarre that other researchers immediately added a variety of outgroups and recomputed the tree to see which of L and S is closer in genomic sequence to the first covid-19 to escape its initial animal host. And that the 'more ancestral' sequence is said to be the smaller clade, S. That needs to be revisited now that the data set is so much larger.

The phylogenetic tree unambiguously resolves the upstream spike protein mutation as an insertion. This was correctly inferred in the ‘uncanny’ preprint where it is called the 4th ‘HIV’ region. That’s not entirely off the mark but it’s better called the putative gain-of-function furin-like cleavage site resulting from the new four basic amino acid motif.

This preprint was withdrawn by author request; it was not retracted (shame on you FAS) and could conceivably resurface after massive revisions. It never mentions weaponization. The pdf is still offered at biorxiv; there’s a good discussion of its myriad problems too by others in the field:

To date, there’s still no good explanation for how the furin-friendly insertion arose in the spike protein. Some of the better spike protein analysis is provided in the links and images below. 21 Jan 2020 discovery of furin site (in Chinese) images and structural analysis AC Walls et al French paper on furin site real furin motifs are longer GISAIS metadata for 93 genomes RNA recombination remdesivir L and S clades early paper

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 05, 2020, 06:18:07 PM »
What's a Pandemic Bond?

Here you go Sebastian:

The Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (abbreviated as PEF, and also known as Pandemic Bonds) is a financing mechanism to assist with the management of a pandemic outbreak. It is provided by the World Bank, which raised the majority of the money by issuing bonds, which can be seen as a type of catastrophe bond. Additional money is provided by donations.

Link >>

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