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Messages - wili

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Policy and solutions / Re: A reference personal carbon budget
« on: June 13, 2019, 09:06:51 PM »
nanning, if you have a specific counter proposal, please present it clearly.

Sniping at word choices is not particularly helpful.


Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: June 12, 2019, 06:26:58 AM »
GSY wrote: "The only way to capture it effectively for electricity is with a panel manufactured with fossil fuels..."

Of course, that has been the case mostly so far, since we live in a society largely powered by ff. But that doesn't mean it is necessarily the way things necessarily have to be in the future.

Having said that, the human project has proven to be massively destructive to the rest of life on earth and to the systems that support it. Ultimately, we need to reduce the amount of power that feeds this planetarily destructive force, even if the sources of that power seem relatively benign.

Just a late night (for me) thought to throw into the mix.

Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2019
« on: June 11, 2019, 03:45:54 AM »
Sidd wrote: "... intensity of the largest ones is increasing..." Yes, that's my understanding of it, and also as I recall that is what the latest models predict for the future.

Bruce--insightful and well said, as always! :)

Consequences / Re: Hurricane Season 2019
« on: June 11, 2019, 12:38:32 AM »
"...there will be an increase in intensity, but not necessarily an increase in the number..."

That's my understanding of the current science, but I'm be happy to look at any new studies that say otherwise.

I do wonder whether we are conflating hurricanes and cyclones, here. (Mostly North) Atlantic hurricanes are more subject to the destructive (to hurricanes) effects of windshear, as I understand it. Pacific and Indian Ocean typhoons/cyclones are less likely to be so affected, so they are likely to increase both in intensity and frequency.

But again, I haven't looked at the very latest science on this. Are there new developments?

I have been more or less obsessed with feedbacks since I first understood their significance. These are a good start for this region. For now, I'll just also point out that more open water in the Arctic allows for bigger waves to form, which in turn can more easily churn up whatever ice (or slush) is left.

The larger amplitude waves may also lead to churning of that lower strata of warmer, saltier water up toward the surface. Both of these processes of course melt more ice, creating more open water, allowing for bigger and bigger waves...

We are probably mostly now past this stage, but I suspect that a few years ago, a 'flash melt' event we had was exacerbated by the fact that some old ice as it broke up formed icebergs, some of which went down to considerable depths. When high winds hit the top of these, their much deeper and bigger sub-sea bodies would sway back and forth, churning that deeper, warmer strata up toward the surface.

This is just my theory, and we now will see very little of this, except from icebergs calved from glaciers, since nearly all of the thick old ice is now gone.

Science / Re: 2019 Mauna Loa CO2 levels
« on: June 08, 2019, 05:25:59 AM »
Thanks, as always, vox.

Note that a lot of that extra CO2e amount (beyond CO2) is from methane, and it turns out a lot more of that methane is from industry than we thought, like two orders of magnitude worth:

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: June 08, 2019, 04:55:37 AM »
Of course, many/most of these are already feeling the effects, in some cases quite severely.

And of course this is just in the US

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: June 02, 2019, 10:46:51 PM »
A touching memorial, sorry for your loss, Tor.

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: June 02, 2019, 06:25:47 PM »
To a certain extent this thread is like an chemist, a farmer and a compost manager (around here called 'organics recycler') arguing about the meaning of 'organic.'

The word 'nature' (along with its adjectival form 'natural') has many and sometimes overlapping meanings. It was originally, as 'natura' used to translate Greek φυσικός (whence 'physics') to mean every thing that exists (though etymologically they mean 'what is born' and 'what grows,' respectively).

For some time now, 'natural' has regularly been used to mean 'outside of direct human influence.'

The term 'natural' also has been very widely used in marketing with no official meaning (unlike 'organic' as applied to edibles and potables), purely for its vague associations with wholesomeness.

There are other meanings and associations of this word, too. It would be helpful if people would start by clearly specifying what meaning of 'natural' they are starting from. Otherwise, we will be engaged in endless tail-chasing, which some may find fun, but I personally find rather tedious. :)

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars Part Deux
« on: May 24, 2019, 11:35:08 PM »
Sig quoted (without citing):

"The sun provides more energy to the earth in one hour than the world currently uses in one year."

This reminds me of the glowing statements pro-hydrogen-powered car people used to make about how hydrogen--it is the most abundant element in the universe.

Entirely true, and entirely irrelevant.

We are already using a huge portion of Net Primary Production (40% according to a study a few years back, iirc), that is the energy that is available to nearly all living things through photosynthesis. How much bigger of a portion should we take, while depriving the rest of life on the planet their share?

ETA: Digging around a bit, I see more recent calculations put the number closer to 25%, but that represents a doubling over the last century. (And note that this study is 6 years old. Anyone have any more current data?)

ETAA: OK, I may be going down a bit of a rabbit's hole here, but this more recent paper seems to say that adding marine to terrestrial Human Appropriation of NNP comes to 37 %, but maybe I'm missing something here?

"...25% of terrestrial NPP...
∼13% of marine NPP..."

But perhaps these should be averaged, after they have been weighted according to total NNP in each realm?

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: May 24, 2019, 11:21:04 PM »
Well, even in the US, 12% of households were considered food insecure as of 2017.

I see these folks every day at our soup kitchen/community meal. And I'm in one of the least food insecure states in the union.

Developers Corner / Re: Test space
« on: May 24, 2019, 08:02:37 PM »
Hear! Hear!

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: May 24, 2019, 12:57:37 PM »
 ;D ;D ;D ;D

We're really getting meta- meta- here! :)

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: May 24, 2019, 12:39:26 PM »
w wrote: "By calling it semantics you mean to denigrate it"

It's true that this is often how this word is used, but as a linguist, I am using the term strictly to mean that semantics is the branch of my field that this falls into. If I wanted to denigrate it, I'd call it 'sophistry,' which is what a few of the arguments here do indeed verge on.

Yes, it verges on many other areas, as semantics always does.

But can we agree that 'nature' is a word, and that we are discussing the meaning of that word (and its opposite) wrt humans. (And can we please drop the 19th century sexist use of 'man' for human...please?)

But speaking of word meanings, w asks "why is this one bad?" I guess I would like w's definition of 'bad.' Is there anything that s/he considers to be truly 'bad'?

 If not, then, yes, knowingly driving much of life on the planet to permanent extinction isn't 'bad,' if nothing is. But if anything fits the meaning of 'bad,' I would say that this is it. :)

And if you really want a discussion of metaphysics, perhaps you could enlighten us on which type of metaphysics you are coming from: Pre-Socratic, Aristotelian, Sāṃkhya, Vedānta, Buddhist, various European Medieval varieties, Kantian...I have some passing familiarity with some of these and others, having read some of the texts in the original languages, but perhaps you have your own variety? Is it influence by one of these (that you know of)?

And no, Sleepy, of course I'm not offended. 'Natural' is most mis-used and over-used in the commercial realm, where it truly has no meaning beyond its feel-good associations that they are trying to exploit.

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: May 24, 2019, 05:46:09 AM »
Sooo, we'd be super-natural??!! Cool!

Obviously, the whole thread is basically about semantics: What do we mean by 'natural.'

We can define it to mean 'everything' and then it becomes rather redundant...why not just say 'part of everything' rather than 'natural.'

But really, one could argue that coming up with the very definition (as it has generally been used in the last 200 years or so) of 'natural'--something apart from humans--is what has made us 'unnatural.'  We are unnatural, because we have defined nature as what is outside of humans.

 That's been our 'story' (or mythology, if you will), and we've been sticking to it! :)

Realizing the untenable nature of such a definition can be a step toward reconnecting humans with the world, I suppose, just as realizing the contradictions inherent in capitalism can be a step toward rejecting that ideology in part or in whole.

But I'm not sure our discussion here has moved anyone in that direction (though it was perhaps part of getting Lurk self-banished, which is some kind of accomplishment, I guess! :) )

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: May 24, 2019, 01:33:38 AM »
"I'm sure the bacteria were as oblivious about the changes they caused as we are."

Except...we're not...

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: May 24, 2019, 12:36:43 AM »

Thanks for the clarification, and...good assessment!

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: May 23, 2019, 11:24:52 PM »
nanning, all of Lurk's posts seem to have been scrubbed from the forum, except where others quoted parts of them...hmmmm...

He doesn't even show up on my 'ignore' list.

Musta really crossed some line! :o

You might want to avoid these sites, then, Tor:

But yeah, a lot of beautiful country up there.

Neven wrote: " I'm glad I left the Netherlands years ago. The country seems to be awash in nationalistic pride. If only people could get this excited about solving climate change."

Do I recall correctly that you are now in Austria? Seems a bit more nationalistic than the Netherlands (even after the recent resignation of the nationalist far-right vice chancellor). It's pretty hard these days to find countries where nationalists don't have a prominent place.

Also, may I ask which town or area you were from? My daughter just moved to Utrecht and likes it very much.

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: May 19, 2019, 05:12:32 PM »
At every moment we are physically becoming the environment around us and the environment is becoming us. It's also called breathing. :)

And even if you hold your breath, the pores in your skin are still 'breathing,' atoms of O2 becoming physical parts of our bodies, CO2 leaving our bodies to become part of the larger world.

I think if people (especially those in power) spent some time every day meditating on this irrefutable fact, we might be able to get to a different relationship with our surroundings, which are actually ourselves.

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: May 19, 2019, 05:12:40 AM »
"All a big strike of climatic luck..."

But was it,  ultimately, 'luck,' in the positive sense, anyway?

All those and many other factors converged to give us modern industrial society, the most powerful planet destroying mechanism that we know of.

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: May 18, 2019, 09:09:02 PM »
It does look like ag of various sorts did develop independently in a number of places, but that probably had as much to do with the long, relatively mild (until recently) inter-glacial period we've been in as it did with physiological developments of humans.

I'm not sure if we can know whether the domesticity of fire and the development of languages had several origins. It seems likely, but I'm not sure it's provable at this point. Links to evidence either way would be most welcome.

The development of language itself likely caused major shifts in the "physiological characteristics of the Homo species," our inability to breath and swallow at the same time (beyond the age of 6 months or so), for example.

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: May 17, 2019, 02:47:22 AM »
Well, at least I get to be 'partially correct'! Yeah me! :)

I'm not sure what definition of mythology is here, but I suspect that if you looked a bit deeper, you would find what you might consider 'mythology' lurking behind many of our words and much of what we say, including in scientific and (especially) philosophical circles.

I'm not sure it can be avoided, in natural language, anyway. 

The rest / Re: It is an ancient manuscript ...
« on: May 17, 2019, 02:42:08 AM »
Not likely a hoax, or it would have to have been a very clever one indeed--since statistical analysis shows some patterns that match up with what would be expected in a natural language.

One odd bit is that there are characters that never occur internally in words. I suspect these are short hand symbols that actually represent morphemes--common prefixes and suffixes in whatever language we are talking about. But who knows?

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: May 16, 2019, 10:11:18 PM »
North Korea has become unlivable for other reasons, of course, but this can't be helping:

North Korea has said it is suffering its worst drought in 37 years

    ...the UN said that up to 10 million North Koreans were "in urgent need of food assistance".

    North Koreans had been surviving on just 300g (10.5 oz) of food a day so far this year, the UN report said.

    In the 1990s, a devastating famine is believed to have killed hundreds of thousands of North Koreans.

    There is no indication as yet that this drought will be as severe, but it follows a slew of warnings about poor harvests and crop damage across the country.....

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: May 16, 2019, 09:55:17 PM »
Words are what they are used to mean. Through much of its history in English, at least, the word 'nature' and 'natural' where used as a contrast to humans, the latter generally being the opposite of 'man made.'

We have to, at least, acknowledge this history, it seems to me, if we want to now redefine these terms.

Otherwise, it is like a modern white racist pointing out the fact that race is a construct, then saying that, therefore, he can't be a racist...even as he goes on to continues his bigoted words, thoughts and actions.

The rest / Re: Is Man the "Unnatural Animal?"
« on: May 15, 2019, 04:41:14 AM »
"..."naturalness" ceases to be meaningful ..."


Pollan talks 'pretty,' but ultimately his argument is just a mixture of sophistry and rationalizing.

Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: May 10, 2019, 09:59:41 PM »
mag wrote: "...none of the direct effects of climate change cause by humans has the potential for extinction..."

none has even the potential??

I'm not sure how you can say that with confidence. Most studies I have seen show that global civilization is not compatible with teperatures 3 - 4 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.

Once global civilization collapses, most of what we now consider civilization will also collapse. In the mean time, as a neighboring thread points out, more and more place become functionally uninhabitable for humans and for the crops and livestock humans depend on.

So pretty soon you are down to a few pockets of humanity struggling to make it in this new, extremely harsh...and every harsher, in ever less predictable ways...environment.

But you are 100% sure that there is 0 chance that humans will survive this and probably much worse? Seems kind of ... subjective?? wishful??? I'm looking for the right word...

Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: May 10, 2019, 06:47:06 AM »
TM wrote: " lot don't realize it..."

Just admit that you have no freakin idea what you're talking about. All you have are your prejudices about the left and about the young that you are eager to project out there into the world. But it just reveals you as an old hollow fool. (As are we all, by the way.)

Policy and solutions / Re: Extinction Rebellion
« on: May 10, 2019, 03:43:17 AM »
"...I suspect a lot of the Extinction Rebellion protesters are..."

tm 'suspects' this based on what evidence?

Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: May 08, 2019, 06:33:55 PM »
This is getting pretty far off topic (which is fine with me on this bore me to tears), but I do wonder if mag thinks that British English is somehow unchanged from the earlier forms of the language (Shakespeare, Chaucer...Beowulf), while all the change has only happened on the American side. Most his judgments about their relative merit strike me as...rather subjective. Which is fine, as long as you acknowledge them as such.

Getting a bit off topic perhaps, but as I understand it. But a major reason that poor people have lots of kids in many parts of the world is for security in their old age, and because there is no guarantee how many will make it past infancy. UBI (especially if accompanied by universal basic health care, including reproductive healthcare, and women's rights, including rights of choice, and to an education...) could go a long way in assuaging the kinds of fears that drive people in such precarious positions from having (or attempting to have) multiple kids.

Generally, most of the countries with the lowest birth rates tend to be those where most people have the most economic security, while most of the countries with the highest birth rates are those where most people are not very economically secure.

But perhaps others have different perspectives, or stats with links?

Walking the walk / Re: When was the last flight you took?
« on: April 18, 2019, 05:13:04 PM »
Neven wrote: "Clothes will always be a problem, even though we buy almost everything second-hand."

We do too. Unfortunately, our main source for used clothes locally just closed shop :/

I was surprised to see that my biggest carbon footprint wrt clothing was my shoes. Basically none are made locally or even in the US, so there's the transport issue. And they're heavier than most other individual pieces of clothing. I also have weirdly wide feet (sextuple E!) so can't easily get them used, even if I were so inclined.

But I try to mostly focus on the big contributors (flying, diet) and worry proportionately less about the minor ones (clothing, straws, etc).

I think flying for job should partly be counted toward the people who own the business and use its service. But yeah, if your job requires a lot of travel (and so many do), one might want to look for a different job eventually. I probably lost my last job partly because I wouldn't fly to conferences to hear talks I was not interested in and give talks no one else was interested in.

Walking the walk / Re: When was the last flight you took?
« on: April 18, 2019, 05:50:35 AM »
"What that lifestyle looks like deserves more attention than ICE verses EV "

I agree (as usual, with you). That whole discussion bores me to tears, when it doesn't infuriate me. And I bought an EV more than ten years ago.

I too find I am driving more than I wish, since my urban farm is a couple miles from my home, and various heavy materials need to be transported...and, I'm getting old, fat and lazy :/

Walking the walk / Re: When was the last flight you took?
« on: April 18, 2019, 01:46:10 AM »
The last holiday flight I took was the summer of '03 to Paris. There I witnessed first hand the first major event that could very reliably be directly attributed to GW--the deadly heatwave that killed tens of thousands in France and Europe in just a few days. I had been thinking of giving up flying before then, but that really helped me decide. I had committed myself to one other event that required flight the next year, but I haven't flown since, and have pretty much given up any long distance (beyond ~10 miles) travel powered by fossil-death-fuels. I don't really miss it, and feel much more locally focused now.

The rest / Re: Climate change activists should not fly
« on: April 16, 2019, 08:43:49 PM »
Nice one, Neven.

Saying, "Well, I am not a climate change "activist" (though I am a bit of a prolife activist)." is basically saying I'm so obsessed with controlling women's bodies that I can't really be bothered with trying to help save all complex life forms on the planet.

The rest / Re: Empire - America and the future
« on: April 08, 2019, 05:56:36 AM »
"The Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries. "

Soooo, people get lambasted here for citing established news sources, but Koch-founded rightwing think tanks and other rightwing propagandists are just fine with everybody (not to mention RT, etc)? Really?

I'm just trying to understand the rules, here. What kind of a site are we trying have here, exactly?

Walking the walk / Re: Top climate-friendly actions
« on: April 07, 2019, 12:18:43 AM »
Top actions are non-actions--mostly stop consuming:

"We’re gobbling up the Earth’s resources at an unsustainable rate"

Arctic sea ice / Re: Are 3 dimensions better than 2?
« on: April 06, 2019, 04:56:46 AM »
Since we've entered the field (dimensions?) of romance, may I point out that Edwin Abbott managed to create romance in two dimensions (though the third eventually intrudes):

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is a satirical novella by the English schoolmaster Edwin Abbott Abbott, first published in 1884 by Seeley & Co. of London. Written pseudonymously by "A Square",[1] the book used the fictional two-dimensional world of Flatland to comment on the hierarchy of Victorian culture, but the novella's more enduring contribution is its examination of dimensions.

But in romance and in ice dimensions, quality is at least as important as quantity. :)

The rest / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: April 02, 2019, 09:16:52 PM »
Thanks for the clarification.

The rest / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: April 02, 2019, 08:58:01 PM »
Sidd, the one you most recently posted, from "The American Conservative"

The rest / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: April 02, 2019, 02:57:14 PM »
sidd, what's worth reading about it? It's just another tired rehashing of the standard, rightwing conspiracy theories.

The rest / Re: The Media: Examples of Good AND Bad Journalism
« on: April 02, 2019, 02:38:50 PM »
KK, think what?

Any article that talks about fake journalism that doesn't start with the utterly consistent falsehoods coming out of Faux News is simply right wing propaganda. And lo and behold, a quick search reveals that the author is...surprise surprise...a right wing propagandist!

It isn't hard most of the time to figure this shit out. I guess mostly people don't because they're too lazy, perhaps? Or just don't care?

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency
« on: March 24, 2019, 06:47:39 AM »
"Talking points distributed by the Republican National Committee encouraged Trump's allies to stress that "after two years, millions of taxpayer dollars, and multiple congressional investigations confirming there was no collusion, it's good this report has finally concluded." "

So nice to see that some here are staying so well on script! :)

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency
« on: March 23, 2019, 06:17:03 PM »

Obviously, no more indictments are going to come directly from Mueller, since his report is done. But lots of other spin offs are going to continue.

Talk about buying into the media hype...sheesh!

Arctic sea ice / Re: Latest PIOMAS update (March mid-monthly update)
« on: March 19, 2019, 02:41:10 PM »
Thanks tons, as always, for these amazing graphs and maps.

To me, the decadal average graph tells the clearest big-picture story of the of where we've been and where we are going.

The rest / Re: Who should be the Democratic nominee for President in 2020?
« on: February 21, 2019, 03:57:15 PM »
As long as there is both an obscenely enormous gap between the haves and the haven'ts, and as long as Citizens United stands, there is no chance we will have anything like a real democracy. Even then, there will be lots of class, race, gender, and other structural impediments to gaining democracy.

Policy and solutions / Re: BAU until they peel my cold dead hands from it
« on: February 19, 2019, 05:05:18 AM »
ger, thanks for the post about Rabaul. I was surprised to hear how very few people died, and how well the well-prepared-for evacuation went, even though there wasn't a lot of time before the warning and the eruption.

I have a feeling there is some kind of lesson in there for us, but I'm not quite sure what it is...

Policy and solutions / Re: BAU until they peel my cold dead hands from it
« on: February 19, 2019, 05:02:06 AM »
Arch wrote:
If the plan is to collapse our world to save the world, then we should all expect to be part of the population reduction. We should not think for one second that "we" will survive while "they" will die...

Indeed, if one were to plan some kind of magic reduction in world population to reduce the severity of the now inevitable catastrophes coming our way, the best place to start would be the richest 20% of the world population, who do about 80% of the consumption and so of the ecological destruction. I'm quite sure that would include just about everyone on this board.

One can't 'quickly' reduce population in a humane way, if by 'quickly' means "in less than a decade or two." And we do need rapid reduction to zero and beyond of ghg emissions. The only thing that can get us close to there in 5 - 10 years is, as you say, lots more efficiency, even faster build out of alternative energies, but also great reduction of consumption, especially 'non-essential' consumption. Ultimately, these could also be viewed as essentially kinds of efficiency--in most cases, it is not efficient to feed 7.3 billion people on high-meat diets, not to zip them around the world on airplanes...

But back to population...the humane way to reduce population is, of course, to insure women's rights and their free access to education and to healthcare, including contraception and abortions. This has been shown to not only reduce on average the number of new births, but also leads to women having their first (and often only) child at an older age, and of course spacing generations out further can have a dramatic impact on reducing the total population. And of course you get the added benefit of happier women and a more just society as icing on the cake (or really maybe that's the cake below the icing!? :) )

Making gentle voluntary euthanasia more widely and easily available, as they have done in The Netherlands, I hear, could also be an important component. This also brings with it less horrific final days, and less money wasted hopelessly trying to keep dying people alive while making their last days a terror.

But nearly all these approaches fly in the face of the goals of growth-based capitalism. For this and other reasons, many people see that as one of the biggest obstacles to moving forward (not that socialism by itself is any guarantee of a green economy).

What is and is not politically possible is not really anything that anyone can very accurately predict. Few people could have accurately predicted the timing of the fall of Apartheid or of the Iron Wall, and few, even of his supporters, really thought that Trump would win...

There are stirrings among young people that I find hopeful, but of course the time is way past late.

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