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Messages - Reginald

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The rest / Re: Wildlife
« on: September 27, 2020, 05:00:12 PM »
Brainiacs, not birdbrains: Crows possess higher intelligence long thought a primarily human attribute

STAT, By Sharon Begley, September 24, 2020

Whether crows, ravens, and other “corvids” are making multipart tools like hooked sticks to reach grubs, solving geometry puzzles made famous by Aesop, or nudging a clueless hedgehog across a highway before it becomes roadkill, they have long impressed scientists with their intelligence and creativity.

Now the birds can add one more feather to their brainiac claims: Research unveiled on Thursday in Science finds that crows know what they know and can ponder the content of their own minds, a manifestation of higher intelligence and analytical thought long believed the sole province of humans and a few other higher mammals.

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: What's new in Greenland?
« on: August 01, 2020, 03:37:25 AM »
There's a (paywalled) July 29 paper in Nature Climate Change: that might be of interest:

Past perspectives on the present era of abrupt Arctic climate change


Abrupt climate change is a striking feature of many climate records, particularly the warming events in Greenland ice cores. These abrupt and high-amplitude events were tightly coupled to rapid sea-ice retreat in the North Atlantic and Nordic Seas, and observational evidence shows they had global repercussions. In the present-day Arctic, sea-ice loss is also key to ongoing warming. This Perspective uses observations and climate models to place contemporary Arctic change into the context of past abrupt Greenland warmings. We find that warming rates similar to or higher than modern trends have only occurred during past abrupt glacial episodes. We argue that the Arctic is currently experiencing an abrupt climate change event, and that climate models underestimate this ongoing warming.

The rest / Re: Wildlife
« on: July 29, 2020, 04:39:39 AM »
If AST is correct, 300 million years of reptilian, avian, and mammalian evolution have allowed the self-model and the social model to evolve in tandem, each influencing the other. We understand other people by projecting ourselves onto them. But we also understand ourselves by considering the way other people might see us. Data from my own lab suggests that the cortical networks in the human brain that allow us to attribute consciousness to others overlap extensively with the networks that construct our own sense of consciousness.

The rest / Re: Wildlife
« on: July 29, 2020, 04:24:56 AM »
I also ran across this article about consciousness (finally one I can largely get behind!) that talks about how it may have arisen gradually over deep time, rather than only inhering in humanity and closely-related species.

The rest / Re: Wildlife
« on: July 29, 2020, 04:15:22 AM »
Two good books on the subject:

Divorce Among The Gulls


The Biological Basis of Human Behavior: Forging Links between Evolution and Behavior

Climate Change Is Affecting Us in Ways We Never Imagined

TruthDig, By Ilana Novick, January 3


While it remains true that increasing levels of dangerous gases have multiple impacts on our weather, a new study conducted by researchers in Sweden and Norway, and published in the journal Nature Climate Change, would upend the long-established narrative that daily weather is distinct from long-term climate change, The Washington Post reported Thursday. The study also implies that we’ve been underestimating the human impact on extreme weather events like storms, floods and hurricanes.


“This … is telling us that anthropogenic climate change has become so large that it exceeds even daily weather variability at the global scale,” Michael Wehner of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory wrote in an email to the Post. He called the study results “profoundly disturbing.”
Nature Communications

Climate change now detectable from any single day of weather at global scale
For generations, climate scientists have educated the public that ‘weather is not climate’, and climate change has been framed as the change in the distribution of weather that slowly emerges from large variability over decades1–7. However, weather when considered globally is now in uncharted territory. Here we show that on the basis of a single day of globally observed temperature and moisture, we detect the fingerprint of externally driven climate change, and conclude that Earth as a whole is warming. Our detection approach invokes statistical learning and climate model simulations to encapsulate the relationship between spatial patterns of daily temperature and humidity, and key climate change metrics such as annual global mean temperature or Earth’s energy imbalance. Observations are projected onto this relationship to detect climate change. The fingerprint of climate change is detected from any single day in the observed global record since early 2012, and since 1999 on the basis of a year of data. Detection is robust even when ignoring the long-term global warming trend. This complements traditional climate change detection, but also opens broader perspectives for the communication of regional weather events, modifying the climate change narrative: while changes in weather locally are emerging over decades, global climate change is now detected instantaneously.

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: What's new in Greenland?
« on: December 23, 2019, 09:26:00 PM »
Greenland’s Nearing a Climate Tipping Point. How Long Warming Lasts Will Decide Its Fate, Study Says

Past meltdowns occurred with temperatures only slightly higher than today's, suggesting the world is overestimating the ice sheet's stability, scientists say.

Inside Climate News, By Bob Berwyn, December 23

There's new evidence that, in past geologic eras, much of Greenland's ice melted when Earth's temperatures were only slightly warmer than today's, and that human-caused global warming will push the ice sheet past that tipping point in the next few decades.

Exactly how much of the ice melts, and how fast, depends in large part on how long temperatures stay above that threshold, scientists write in a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings are a warning that we are probably overestimating the stability of the Greenland Ice Sheet, said University of Bergen paleoclimatologist Ulysses S. Ninnemann, the study's lead author.


A low climate threshold for south Greenland Ice Sheet demise during the Late Pleistocene

PNAS, Nil Irvalı, Eirik V. Galaasen, Ulysses S. Ninnemann, Yair Rosenthal, Andreas Born, and Helga (Kikki) F. Kleiven, December 23


The Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) has been losing mass at an accelerating rate over the recent decades. Models suggest a possible temperature threshold between 0.8 and 3.2 °C, beyond which GIS decline becomes irreversible. The duration of warmth above a given threshold is also a critical determinant for GIS survival, underlining the role of ocean warming, as its inertia prolongs warmth and triggers longer-term feedbacks. The exact point at which these feedbacks are triggered remains equivocal. Late Pleistocene interglacials provide potential case examples for constraining the past response of the GIS to a range of climate states, including conditions warmer than present. However, little is known about the magnitude and duration of warming near Greenland during these periods. Using high-resolution multiproxy surface ocean climate records off southern Greenland, we show that the previous 4 interglacials over the last ∼450 ka all reached warmer than present climate conditions and exceeded the modeled temperature threshold for GIS collapse but by different magnitudes and durations. Complete deglaciation of the southern GIS in Marine Isotope Stage 11c (MIS 11c; 394.7 to 424.2 ka) occurred under climates only slightly warmer than present (∼0.5 ± 1.6 °C), placing the temperature threshold for major GIS retreat in the lower end of model estimates and within projections for this century.

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: What's new in Greenland?
« on: October 30, 2019, 03:43:39 AM »
Ancient soil from secret Greenland base suggests Earth could lose a lot of ice

Science, By Paul Voosen, October 29, 2019

BURLINGTON, VERMONT—In one of the Cold War’s oddest experiments, the United States dug a 300-meter-long military base called Camp Century into the ice of northwest Greenland in the early 1960s, powered it with a nuclear reactor, and set out to test the feasibility of shuttling nuclear missiles beneath the ice. A constant struggle against intruding snow doomed the base, which was abandoned in 1966. But Camp Century has left a lasting, entirely nonmilitary legacy: a 1.3-kilometer-long ice core drilled at the site.

The core, extracted by a team that included glaciologist Chester Langway, yielded a record of past temperatures that helped kick off studies of Earth’s ancient climate. And last week, dozens of scientists met here at the University of Vermont (UVM) to take stock of another gift from the core: mud from Greenland’s ancient land surface, serendipitously discovered in archived samples. New analyses of the mud suggest Greenland’s massive ice sheet was largely absent in a warm period during the past million years when the global climate was much like today’s. The samples likely have more stories to tell, UVM geophysicist Paul Bierman said at the gathering, which he organized to discuss recent results and plan further analyses. “There is a lot of new data, 90% of which seemed to be generated in the last 48 hours.”

The politics / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: October 30, 2019, 03:09:55 AM »
I watched this the other day:

It provides a nice history of the right's media efforts over the last century or so, and has a happy ending!

Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: September 19, 2019, 04:28:29 AM »
Just Days Ahead of Employee Climate Strike, Microsoft Announces Partnership with Chevron to Accelerate Oil Extraction

Gizmodo, By Brian Merchant, September 18

Mere days before Microsoft workers are set to walk out of their jobs and publicly call on their employer to reduce carbon emissions and sever its ties with fossil fuel companies, the tech giant has announced a major partnership with two of the biggest corporations in the oil industry. Microsoft employees have responded with a fiery statement condemning the partnership and calling on fellow employees to join them in walking out on September 20th.

Policy and solutions / Re: If not Capitalism... then What? And, How?
« on: September 07, 2019, 11:23:17 PM »
Less about replacement of Capitalism than about those running the system:

Counterpunch: Apartheid Had Always Been the Plan, By Kenn Orphan

Excerpt: Therefore, any New Green Deal, if it does not address the military industrial complex and its relation to the protection of capital, or is not thoroughly vetted and written by the poor, the working class, environmental activists and indigenous peoples, will only serve to save capitalism, albeit for a short time and for the very few, from the maw of its own insatiable greed. It will be a Ponzi scheme of privatization designed by the corporate, neoliberal ghouls and marketing strategists who helped create the problems in the first place.

Science / Re: The Science of Aerosols
« on: August 04, 2019, 03:28:22 AM »
Speaking of Aerosols, but not inside clouds.

Harvard creates advisory panel to oversee solar geoengineering project

Nature, July 2019

Scientists will inject particles of calcium carbonate into the atmosphere and study their effects on incoming sunlight.

Plans to test a technique that would cool the planet by blocking sunlight are one step closer to reality. Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has created an external advisory panel to examine the potential ethical, environmental and geopolitical impacts of this geoengineering project, which has been developed by the university’s researchers.

Known as the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx), the project would involve the release of calcium carbonate particles from a steerable balloon some 20 kilometres above the southwestern United States.

Louise Bedsworth, executive director of the California Strategic Growth Council, a state agency that promotes sustainability and economic prosperity, will lead the Harvard advisory panel, the university said on 29 July. The other seven members include Earth-science researchers and specialists in environmental and climate law and policy.

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