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Messages - Sebastian Jones

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1
Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: January 15, 2021, 01:08:58 AM »
Alberta is Canada's most American province.
It reliably elects conservative governments (except when the regular right wing internecine wars rip the Party apart).
It is far and away the largest fossil fuel producer in Canada, and is the single biggest impediment to Canada achieving its climate commitments.
In recent years an otherwise undistinguished blogger called Vivian Krause concocted a conspiracy theory that radical environmentalists were being funded by a sinister cabal of American interests to shut down Alberta's oil and gas industries so that American O&G could reign supreme.
She got considerable traction in the fringes of Alberta's right wing during a period when they were out of power (subsequent to a split between the far right and the extreme right).
When a federal politician moved back into provincial politics and re-united the conservative factions into the currently reigning United Conservative Party, he did so partly by swallowing whole the conspiracy theory, under the assumption that the centrist party that had been in power was insufficiently enamoured of fossil fuels and thus fellow travellers to the foreign funded radicals.
To fulfill an election promise, the new Alberta government funded a public inquiry into 'Anti Alberta Energy Activities', apparently blind to the unfortunate associations between the name of this inquiry and the anti commie inquisition in America in the 1950s.
This public inquiry spent a lot of money commissioning reports that were intended to back up the conspiracy theory.
Today an Albertan law professor who had been asked to review these reports - by the Inquiry- released his take on the reports.
As one might expect, the conspiracy theories did not stand up to scrutiny.
Alberta's fossil fuel industries continue to decline despite this and other (E.G. changing land use designations so that the Rocky Mountains can be turned into open pit coal mines) initiatives.
https://ablawg.ca/2021/01/14/textbook-climate-denialism-a-submission-to-the-public-inquiry-into-anti-alberta-energy-campaigns/

2
The politics / Re: The Trump Presidency
« on: January 14, 2021, 06:35:25 PM »
Dear Tom,
You wrote:
'be cause & gerontocrat:
I notice that the most cogent arguments you can make against my linked article are, basically, to foam at the mouth
.'
While it is true that you have engendered a certain amount of gnashing of teeth and foaming at mouths, the reasons do not include acknowledgement and frustration by the devastating strength of your argument.
Indeed, quite the opposite.
I draw to your attention the concept of Logical Fallacies, linked here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies
In the interests of saving time, I direct you to the fallacy of 'False Equivalence:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_equivalence

Equating BLM protests against extra judicial killings of an identified group with a mass insurrection based on anger against a legal election is an example of a false equivalency.

It is an easy trap to fall into, one that you are regularly ensnared by, but the moderators of this forum have wisely requested we do not take it up with you.

Regards,
Sebastian

3
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: January 13, 2021, 01:46:03 AM »
Canada has considerable pharmaceutical and virological expertise:
'Canada has been a global leader in vaccine development before. In the middle of the last century, public labs in Ontario and Quebec provided the ability to produce them here at home. Toronto's Connaught Laboratories played a key role in developing the polio vaccine in the 1950s, for example.'
Canada lost its facilities during a period of austerity minded governments. The current pandemic has led us to realize this was a short sighted and ultimately expensive action. So, Canada is now building its capabilities back up.
Ultimately it aims to have the capacity to produce up to a billion doses a year, and thus able to help supply vaccines to the world in general.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/vaccine-development-production-in-canada-1.5868398

4
A site I like to check regularly to watch snow cover is https://www.natice.noaa.gov/ims/
It appears to have gone off line.
Does anyone know of an alternative site?

5
Regarding the notion that the (half hearted, much ignored and sporadically enforced) 'lockdown' causes more harm then the virus:
358,000 dead people would probably disagree.
The millions who are likely to suffer long term disabilities would probably disagree too.
Much of the world has totally blown its response to this pandemic, mostly by conflating economic and physical health.
America is in a league of its own.
Ending all Covid spread reduction measures would probably  have little effect now that so many are sick and dying.

6
The politics / Re: Brexit...
« on: December 22, 2020, 06:42:47 AM »
Nice variation Etienne!

So, a question: did Brexit actually just happen yesterday?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/21/covid-chaos-disrupts-kent-ports-as-europe-travel-bans-take-hold
Nah, it's just a dress rehearsal: The Continent just sealed itself from the UK in the hopes of preventing the spread of a more infectious variety of Covid-19.
But it must feel like Brexit.

7
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: December 15, 2020, 05:00:31 PM »
The linked article addresses how Hawaii leveraged its physical and social attributes to keep Covid infections low, how it requires - and enforces- quarantines on arrivals to its airports.
I've yet to see a similar analysis of Alaska, the other isolated state with no land border (it does of course  border on Canada's Yukon, but that border has been closed to all but essential traffic since March).
However Alaska has taken a classic Red State approach to the pandemic, relying on personal responsibility over regulations, with predictable results.
Hawaii ranks in the bottom 3 states for infections per head while Alaska is rapidly climbing the table and is currently 26th, ahead of Texas and Florida.
Another similarity between the states is that they both have significant Indigenous populations that vividly recall the toll that previous epidemics took.
When the book on America's Covid pandemic response is written, these two states will provide an interesting case study of varying approaches.
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/12/states-coronavirus-travel-restrictions-quarantine-hawaii/617321/

8
Consequences / Re: Floods
« on: December 03, 2020, 08:24:25 PM »
Haines is a small town in the South East of Alaska and is accustomed to receiving storms coming in off the N. Pacific. The area's infrastructure is designed with massive precipitation events in mind.
But, close to a foot of rain in a day has overwhelmed the place's capability.
Roads have collapsed, homes flooded or swept out to sea by a landslide.
People are still missing.
https://www.alaskapublic.org/2020/12/02/as-record-rains-drown-southeast-damage-appears-worst-in-haines/

9
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: November 22, 2020, 04:58:09 AM »

I want to see an Armada of enormous flywheels - bigger than the London Eye stretched across the urban landscape.


Great idea! All those weirdo birders would not have anything to complain about because if a bird hits a flywheel rotating at barely subsonic speeds, it simply vanishes!

10
The politics / Re: The Alt Right
« on: November 09, 2020, 04:49:00 AM »
Good old Wikipedia:

The alt-right had various ideological forebears.[39] The idea of white supremacy had been dominant across U.S. political discourse throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. After World War II, it was increasingly repudiated and relegated to the far-right of the country's political spectrum.[40] Far-right groups retaining such ideas—such as George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party and William Luther Pierce's National Alliance—remained marginal.[41] By the 1990s, white supremacism was largely confined to neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan (KKK) groups, although its ideologues wanted to return it to the mainstream.[40] That decade, several white supremacists reformulated their ideas as white nationalism, through which they presented themselves not as seeking to dominate non-white racial groups but rather as lobbying for the interests of European Americans in a similar way to how civil rights groups lobbied for the rights of African Americans and Hispanic Americans.[42] Although white nationalists often officially distanced themselves from white supremacism, white supremacist sentiment remained prevalent in white nationalist writings.

It also gives 2008 as the date the term was invented.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alt-right

11
Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2020
« on: November 09, 2020, 04:41:44 AM »
Unless that sinner in NOLA that Tor mentioned has mended their ways, I imagine ETA will soon settle on a course for the Louisiana coast.

12
The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: November 09, 2020, 03:54:18 AM »
BTW, now that the election is over, will this thread be closed? There may be postmortems for weeks or even months, so I would think it should stay up awhile at least.
Ideally it will simply fade away, die a natural death. If it still needs to be open come Jan 20th, America will be in real trouble.

13
Consequences / Re: Forests: An Endangered Resource
« on: November 08, 2020, 06:39:23 AM »
{SNIP}
The study does say this "Once the trees attain a specific size, every new incremental increase in their diameter causes a significant additional increase in their overall carbon storage capacity."  Again, this is trivial, but the real question is how much new carbon a big tree actually sequesters every year versus smaller trees.

Not arguing for cutting down big trees, but this study isn't saying much.

Big trees sequester significantly more carbon than small trees.
There have been plenty of studies demonstrating this somewhat counterintuitive fact.
There is a Nature per from 2014, but I cannot find it just now, but at least one of these articles refers to it.
https://news.mongabay.com/2019/05/tall-and-old-or-dense-and-young-which-kind-of-forest-is-better-for-the-climate/
https://theconversation.com/big-old-trees-grow-faster-making-them-vital-carbon-absorbers-22104
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/how-old-trees-help-climate-1.4252888
https://science.time.com/2014/01/15/study-shows-older-trees-absorb-more-carbon/

Of course as trees senesce their ability to uptake carbon falls and in stands full of old and dying large trees, carbon sequestration is slower than a newer stand.
https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_gtr931/pnw_gtr931_050.pdf

14
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: November 08, 2020, 05:49:32 AM »
Went to the Vigil Mass, just got back.
A member of the staff came down with covid. There had been a meeting shortly before. Masses will be held with additional precautions for two weeks, and all other activities are back online again.
Can you do Mass over Zoom?

15
The politics / Re: Biden’s Presidency
« on: November 08, 2020, 05:00:55 AM »
In reply to your opening question Tom, I'd say not. He can walk and chew gum at the same time; he can form a competent COVID team and bring America back into Paris both.
Ironically, in America, Covid is so out of control that nothing short of a Melbourne style lockdown will work now, and there are too many Covid deniers in America for that to work (how weird is it that the country with far and away the worst epidemic has any deniers at all?), so Trump's waiting for a vaccine to miraculously heal it may be the best strategy now.

16
The politics / Re: Elections 2020 USA
« on: October 31, 2020, 09:00:09 PM »
You could be right, but I hope you're wrong. In any case I wonder if you will revisit these predictions after the election?
BBR's Trump blow out win predictions are, I hope, as accurate as his predictions of an impending glaciation centred in Quebec/Labrador.

17
Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: October 30, 2020, 05:51:49 AM »
You gotta watch it


Yes.
It's not as if I have not followed this story for 15 years almost daily, but this little video really brings it home.
3/4 of the ice in the Arctic has melted away.

18
The rest / Re: The off topic off topic thread
« on: October 18, 2020, 08:34:59 PM »
Sebastian, I am no expert in any academic field. I am no academic although I have a Bsc physics background (without a title, without 'honours' which is my goal, see R.P.Feynman's interviews with whom I deeply agree about almost everything).

The things you state are interesting and some I have read before but never with links. Could you please provide some links?

kassy, indeed. Cats in living nature just catch and eat their prey. There is an enormous difference between domesticated animals and living nature animals. More than people assume. Animals in nature have some kind of culture; an upbringing in living nature by their living nature mother cat; not born in captivity; not fed by humans; not learned to live with this large prey animal and are part of ecosystems. Perhaps I can think of more later :).

Here is a quick link, with references, to infanticide in animals. A good place to start.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infanticide_(zoology)

19
The rest / Re: The off topic off topic thread
« on: October 17, 2020, 06:16:26 PM »
Thank you very much SimonF92, I'll read those links. Nice.


kassy, if you mean domesticated cats, those are not living nature. That's exactly the bias I mentioned above.

Weasels are notorious for going on killing sprees, even when there is no possibility of getting to eat everything they killed. Wolves are also known to high grade the best bits from Caribou when the killing is easy. Typically, predators do eat what they kill because it is so difficult and dangerous to kill something. However, when circumstances allow, killing to excess is very common.
Lions and bears and several other species regularly commit infanticide, they do so not for food but to eliminate genetic competition or to stimulate oestrus.
In fact there are so many examples of wildlife killing for purposes other than for sustenance, that I was not serious in my initial response.
I did not know you were an expert in the field.
I admit I am not.

20
The rest / Re: The off topic off topic thread
« on: October 16, 2020, 06:11:50 AM »
What do you mean by that?
I do not like your response to a major discovery of mine. Perhaps you don't understand it but then you shouldn' react like this.
Is this because you think you are 'higher' than me? Or a better scientist?

Are you a bully perchance?
Oh, I'm terribly sorry Nanning, I really meant no offence. I could perhaps have inserted a wink emoji to indicate I was not being very serious.
Perhaps I did not really understand your post, in which case I should have said so.
As it happens, I think the rule you describe is more aspirational than fundamental.

21
The politics / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: October 15, 2020, 06:22:49 AM »
Climate change is responsible for half of the Great Barrier Reef being lost, study warns
https://www.foxnews.com/science/climate-change-is-responsible-for-half-of-the-great-barrier-reef-being-lost-study-warns
(SNIP)
...... the rest of the article could have been printed in the Guardian. Is this normal for Fox News?


Hmmm. Not abnormal. Fox is divided between Opinion, which tends to be seriously right wing and often unhinged, and hard news, staffed by people that take journalism seriously.

22
Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: October 15, 2020, 06:08:26 AM »
"We did this"

Ummm, didn't we 'do' climate change as well.

And...how much do you know about the deep history of the Great Plains? Are  you familiar with the Sand Hills, for example? And with what happened the last time the earth was at it's current 1C above ~19th century temperatures?
I'm not familiar with the term 'deep history', let alone the deep history of the Great  Plains. I thought the Sand Hills were formed during the last glaciation. But, apparently, they are related to warm periods. Please educate us.

23
The rest / Re: The off topic off topic thread
« on: October 15, 2020, 05:46:11 AM »
I have discovered a fundamental rule of living nature:

           If you kill a lifeform on purpose, you have to eat it.
'Discovered' or invented?

24
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: October 08, 2020, 01:14:15 AM »
The physician who led the successful war against Smallpox has written a scorching five page letter to the head of the CDC laying out how the CDC has plummeted from the pinnacle of global health to a scattered and ignored and marginalized creature of an incoherent government.
He concludes by calling for the resignation of the CDC head as the best way to begin the healing process.
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/7222830-Foege-Letter.html

25
Policy and solutions / Re: Nuclear Power
« on: October 08, 2020, 01:04:47 AM »
Poland has been a notable laggard among its E.U. peers when it comes to carbon emission reductions.
It has finally concluded that action is required but has chosen a particularly dumb and expensive route to getting off coal.
It plans to spend $40B in building the first of a series of 1-1.6GW nuclear plants.
It will also spend slightly less on 8-11GW of offshore wind.
The least expensive, easiest, quickest sources of renewable energy- onshore wind and PV are not included in the plan.
https://www.reuters.com/article/poland-coal/update-1-poland-to-accelerate-coal-phase-out-spend-billions-on-renewable-and-nuclear-energy-idUKL8N2G51U6

26
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: October 05, 2020, 06:08:24 AM »
That Hitoshi piece is interesting, thanks!
Hear hear!
This article explores the same theme (of course) and provides some strategies for managing the virus.
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/09/k-overlooked-variable-driving-pandemic/616548

Back casting to identify super spreaders.
Learning to live with an endemic pandemic.
I still think that we could have eliminated it- maybe we still can, if we want to.
Some places, mostly isolated places, have avoided or eliminated it.

27
Consequences / Re: The Holocene Extinction
« on: September 16, 2020, 02:56:32 AM »
I really did not need to read that Vox, but I knew all along it was true. The evidence just keeps piling up. While still mourning the rapid deterioration of the Yukon River salmon runs, today we learn that a protected (federally listed as endangered), caribou herd in a national park in Canada has been extirpated because park managers value tourism revenue over preserving endangered species.
We do not deserve this beautiful planet.
https://www.rmotoday.com/lake-louise/jasper-caribou-herd-wiped-out-of-existence-2713961

28
The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: September 15, 2020, 12:55:47 AM »
Scientists Find Gas Linked to Life in Atmosphere of Venus
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/sep/14/scientists-find-gas-linked-to-life-in-atmosphere-of-venus

Phosphine, released by microbes in oxygen-starved environments, was present in quantities larger than expected

Astronomers detected phosphine 30 miles up in the planet’s atmosphere and have failed to identify a process other than life that could account for its presence.
..........................................
The presence of even a few parts per billion of PH3 is completely unexpected for an oxidized atmosphere (where oxygen-containing compounds greatly dominate over hydrogen-containing ones).

Twitter, at least one corner of it, has been noting that penguin guano can emit phosphine, and that maybe penguins colonized Venus....
However, given the terribly hot conditions, it is more likely that Pernese dragons have been visiting, and leaving traces of Firestone.
https://pern.fandom.com/wiki/Firestone

29
Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: September 11, 2020, 08:55:27 PM »
Alaska's Salmon Are Getting Smaller
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/08/shrinking-salmon-alaska-fish
.......

E. P. Palkovacs, et.al., Recent declines in salmon body size impact ecosystems and fisheries, Nature Communications, 2020
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-17726-z

As a commercial salmon fisher on the Yukon River (in Canada) since 1984, I, and all other fishers, have been acutely aware of this phenomenon since the 1980s.
Because we, both indigenous and non-indigenous fishers alike, typically had low levels of academic qualifications, our observations were resolutely discounted and disparaged by fisheries scientists for years and years.
We are still being ignored: It has always been obvious to us that the prime driver of the loss of the larger salmon has been size-selective fishing, undertaken of multiple salmon generations.
And yet, in this article, fishing is not identified as a driver because they had insufficient data.
They could have set a precedent and asked fishers.
Fishers selectively harvested the largest salmon for all the reasons that the largest salmon are identified as being important in the article.
This effect on salmon size is, in human life terms, permanent.
We have not only literally decimated the stocks, we have driven a permanent phenological change.
We could so easily have taken action, and fishers did, on multiple occasions, propose fishing methods to reverse the trend, before it was too late, but the proposals were not deemed sufficiently science based.
Unlike the scientific management that is driving the stocks to extinction.
We call it #ManagingToZero.

30
Pretty clear from that chart that Great Lakes ice cover is in a long steady decline.

What chart?
The chart in post 75 by Wdmn.

31
Judging from this summer's ice movement, the last of the arctic ice will be in the Beaufort.

32
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 31, 2020, 08:15:29 AM »
(USA) Zalets and Padilla at usatoday: 90% of hospitalizations have preexisting health problems

"nearly 90% of adult patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the US had one or more underlying diseases. "

"most common were hypertension (49.7%), obesity (48.3%), chronic lung disease (34.6%), diabetes (28.3%), and cardiovascular disease (27.8%). These conditions were even more prevalent in deceased COVID-19 patients, according to data released by Louisiana, New York and New Jersey."

https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/2020/04/15/coronavirus-risk-90-patients-had-underlying-conditions/2962721001/

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6915e3.htm

94% of deaths have contributing conditions:

"he top conditions contributing to deaths involving coronavirus disease:

    Influenza and pneumonia
    Respiratory failure
    Hypertensive disease
    Diabetes
    Vascular and unspecified dementia
    Cardiac Arrest
    Heart failure
    Renal failure
    Intentional and unintentional injury, poisoning and other adverse events
    Other medical conditions"

https://fox8.com/news/coronavirus/new-cdc-report-shows-94-of-covid-19-deaths-in-us-had-underlying-medical-conditions/

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm

sidd

This is Fox News doing their propaganding thing to undermine the seriousness of Covid.

To me, 6% of the deaths happened to people who were perfectly healthy. That is troubling, not something to feel good about.
Yes, and the deniers-here is now trumpeting that 94% of Covid deaths reported were not in fact Covid deaths at all, and that the death  number in the U.S. should therefore be only 6% of the latest number (about 187K), i.e. only 9,000 or so. Of course, to believe that, you have to accept a massive conspiracy of thousands of MDs and epidemiologists....

33
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 30, 2020, 01:51:42 AM »
I mostly go to Worldometer https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ for daily Covid stats.
I recently noticed that (to use today's figures) they have recorded 18,323,793 cases with an out come, i.e. patients either recovered or died. Of these 18 odd million people, 17,478,273 recovered and 845,520 died. In other words, 5% of casualties died. Is this the Case Fatality Rate that many have spoken of up thread? Or the Infection Fatality Rate? or something else entirely? 5% fatality seems to be much more deadly than most statistics I have heard.
Ummm, maybe this should go into the Stupid/Smart Questions thread...

34
Permafrost / Re: Permafrost general science thread
« on: August 28, 2020, 12:22:59 AM »
I've read a tiny bit about "retrogressive thaw slumps"  and was aware of how fast a multi-meter thick area (volume) of recent permafrost can mobilize, flowing into streams or the sea ("mud flows," we used to call them). 
........................


The one on Peninsula Point formed as the Laurentide ice sheet was retreating, so the ground was freezing but there was loads of subsurface meltwater flowing and freezing too. it may have been up to 20 m thick at one stage.

The number and growth of thaw slumps are crazy. This study from the nearby Banks Island, showing a 60 fold increase in their numbers since the mid 80s

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09314-7

I have some cool pics and animation of the slumps too. I'll post them up tomorrow if I get the time. You can literally watch them developing just standing there.

We have a community science thaw slump monitoring project on the Dempster Highway- the road that leads (most of the way) to BFTV's study area.
I'd love to read the entire paper, is there a way to get it out from behind the paywall? SciHub does not have it yet.

35
Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: August 27, 2020, 11:43:24 PM »
I attended an annual US hydro conference a few years back. 4 years ago? ........One thing they all agreed on was building new dams in the US was a nonstarter. ........
 

Just in case we need an example of new large hydro that is not needed, not viable, not affordable, and, it appears, not even possible, we have Site C on the Peace River in British Columbia, Canada. Yet nonetheless, it proceeds. At least for now.
https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2020/08/24/Horgan-Folly-We-All-Pay/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_content=082520-2&utm_campaign=editorial

36
Thanks FreeGrass, for drawing our (mine anyway) attention to this really interesting idea. I am one of the CCS sceptics, simply because I don't think most Carbon capture and storage schemes will really permanently store carbon- pumping CO2 into oil fields to wring the last drops of petroleum out is the most common method touted, with zero guarantee that the CO2 will stay down there.
So, a method that locks carbon into a solid stable form is far superior.
Will it work? Maybe!
What could go wrong? Haha! Lots, of course- I can just imagine getting the sums wrong and over achieving and sucking CO2 levels down to 180ppm.....BBR's vision of re-glaciation could even come true!

37
Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: August 27, 2020, 02:28:58 AM »
I'd like to commend BornFromTheVoid on their stunning 3 day slow gif upthread. It is mesmerizing to watch the ice drift and fade, almost like being there in real (but sped up) time. Clearly you have taken a tremendous amount of time and considerable skill and talent to produce this. I don't want to be greedy, but this is exactly how I'd like to view retrospectives of melting seasons.

38
Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2020 melting season
« on: August 22, 2020, 07:37:17 AM »
Pearscott: I really appreciated the GIF of the Nares and N. Greenland. The fast ice breaking off in N. Greenland and floating off- down the Nares?- was particularly compelling.

39
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 21, 2020, 09:43:55 PM »
Adding to the illustrations of just how infectious this virus can be is the report contained within this article about Alaska, where a 99 out of 135 employees of a fish processing plant are infected.
https://www.ktoo.org/2020/08/21/covid-19-cases-grow-at-north-slope-oil-fields-anchorage-pioneer-home-as-state-confirms-86-positives/

40
Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: August 21, 2020, 07:09:49 AM »
Firefighters are in short supply in California as the state continues to face hundreds of fast-spreading blazes.

SNIP
The difficult job is made even harder this year by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Many of the incarcerated laborers relied upon to fight fires are out of commission due to outbreaks in prisons across the state. Prisoners are crucial in the state’s fire response plan, fighting fires in exchange for wages as low as $2 per hour and reduced sentences.

SNIP

Really? Americans have penal labour battalions fighting fires? Do they work in chain gangs? Or individual ball and chain set ups? Are most Americans OK with this?

41
The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: August 19, 2020, 07:55:16 AM »
Oops.  :o

A car-size asteroid flew within 1,830 miles of Earth over the weekend — the closest pass ever — and we didn't see it coming
Quote
A car-size asteroid flew within about 1,830 miles (2,950 kilometers) of Earth on Sunday.

That's a remarkably close shave — the closest ever recorded, in fact, according to asteroid trackers and a catalog compiled by Sormano Astronomical Observatory in Italy.

Because of its size, the space rock most likely wouldn't have posed any danger to people on the ground had it struck our planet. But the close call is worrisome nonetheless, since astronomers had no idea the asteroid existed until after it passed by. ...
https://www.businessinsider.in/science/news/a-car-size-asteroid-flew-within-1830-miles-of-earth-over-the-weekend-the-closest-pass-ever-and-we-didnt-see-it-coming/articleshow/77603002.cms

To place how close this is into some context, Low Earth Orbit, where most man-made objects orbit, is anywhere below 1,200mi. So, had it's approach path and speed been different, it could have been captured by Earth's gravity and become a new moon!

42
The post-solstice weather pattern shows that this year the snowfalls have been occurring more thoroughly through summertime across highest elevations, and the map is supported by the Canucks and EOSDIS. There are likely substantial areas at highest elevations in NE Eurasia, the Himalayas, and the NW Rockies that retained snowcover through summer 2020.
OTOH, it appears we dodged the impending glaciation centred in Labrador/Quebec again; all the snow there seems to have melted. Phew!

43
Arctic sea ice / Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« on: August 14, 2020, 03:27:53 AM »
Would the closure of the passage be related to the garlic press sending ice down the channel between Victoria and Prince of Wales islands? I think this ice flow was what trapped Franklin's ships, but I  suppose we shall never know that for sure.

44
Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: Greenland 2020 Melting Season
« on: August 12, 2020, 04:42:33 PM »
What is the large black splotches on the webcam ice? Rock/dirt on the bottom of the glacier? In that case I didn't realize the valley was so shallow. Or is it just a dirty ice layer of the glacier?
I would say this is dirty old ice and not the bedrock beneath it.
You can zoom into the photograph by clicking on it:
https://www.foto-webcam.eu/webcam/freya1/
This is almost certainly dirt (silt) left behind by water that had pooled on the glacier until it suddenly drained away.

45
The rest / Re: Pareidolia
« on: August 09, 2020, 08:14:49 AM »
https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=382.0;attach=279778;image

Nellie the icelephant , anyone ?
Yes...especially with the N. polar eye!
However, judging by the modest ears, it is probably a mammoth.
Perhaps the ice cap is signalling a looming extinction.

46
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 09, 2020, 08:00:34 AM »
Is this projection right? Tune in next winter:
A Second Wave of Covid-19 Cases and Deaths This Winter
https://covid.us.org/2020/08/07/a-second-wave-of-covid-19-cases-and-deaths-this-winter/
Quote
... And I’ve come to a conclusion: Covid-19 is seasonal. It is like the human coronaviruses that cause colds, in which the number of cases in winter is much higher than in summer. And this means that the number of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. in winter will be much higher than July.

I came to the same conclusion. We are likely going to have a dreadful winter in the US and Europe with an uphill struggle Sisyphus would envy
Yes, we are struggling with distancing in summer when we are outside a lot. It will be tough to keep the bug from spreading when people are indoors most of the time. Perhaps the South of the U.S. will do better, given its mild winters.

47
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: August 09, 2020, 07:57:56 AM »
Tracking the Real Coronavirus Death Toll in the United States

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/05/05/us/coronavirus-death-toll-us.html

Quote
Nationwide, 200,700 more people have died than usual from March 15 to July 25, according to C.D.C. estimates, which adjust current death records to account for typical reporting lags. That number is 54,000 higher than the official count of coronavirus deaths for that period. Higher-than-normal death rates are now widespread across the country; only Alaska, Hawaii, Maine and West Virginia show numbers that look similar to recent years.
Alaska, Hawaii, Maine are all in the bottom 5 states for number of infections, W. Virginia is 9th least.
I suspect that is affecting the stats in the short term. While I'm not sure about the rest, my neighbour state of Alaska has an out of control epidemic of community transmission, so it would not surprise me if the death rate jumps soon.

48
The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: August 06, 2020, 07:59:02 PM »
Early Mars was covered in ice sheets, not flowing rivers, researchers say

...
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200803120154.htm

Hmmm. Eskers? If Mars were once covered in an ice sheet, and rivers flowed under the ice, one would think there would be other evidence of this ice- moraines probably and eskers for sure. The article did not rule this out. Maybe nobody looked yet....

49
Arctic sea ice / Re: "Smart" and "Stupid" Questions - Feel Free To Ask
« on: August 06, 2020, 07:02:52 AM »
What will happen to Northern Hemispheric weather when the Arctic Sea ice melts completely?
As Oren indicated, nobody knows for sure, but, stick around and you'll be among the first to know.

50
Obviously conspiracy theories, forms of denialism and pseudo-science do show up on the Forum from time to time.

If a thread gets too wacky, I ignore it for a while until it settles down, or the contributor gets banned.

I've not used the ignore button that I've heard suggested as a tool, but if our excellent moderators should prove unable to control a wild poster, I'm prepared to do so.

I voted NO, I don't want to see crazy stuff on here. The story of the ice is crazy enough for anyone.

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