links for 2009-12-01

  • The founder of the movement laments that the "tea party boat [has become] a wagon of whiners," and "a yelling fest for punch-drunk cynics armed with incoherent talking points." These paranoid, angry, spittle-flecked old white guys are such an embarrassment to conservatism (and America) that even the founder of their movement is disavowing himself from them.
  • A traffic light with a progress meter, so that you can turn off your engine or do whatever with the knowledge of how long it'll be until the light changes. I've been to some city overseas (Paris, maybe?) where they do this with some apparent success. My only concern is that it'd lead to people running the red on the other end of the light cycle.
  • How far has the American right sauntered into Crazytown? Even Charles Johnson, of Little Green Footballs, thinks they're a bunch of repressive, anti-science extremists that he wants nothing to do with. I've seen Johnson write some truly reprehensible things over the years, but I guess I've got to give him credit for drawing the line somewhere. His vision for an anti-fascist, anti-bigoted, feminist, pro-science, non-Islam-obsessed, president-supporting right is one that would bring the conservative movement back into having some modicum of acceptance among people with two brain cells to rub together.
  • New evidence shows that the Younger Dryas started in a matter of months, a couple of years at the most, after a North American lake burst into the Atlantic and stopped the thermohaline cycle. Previously it was thought to be a decade, a stunningly brief period. But *months*? That's amazing. If Greenland's ice sheet melts, we're right and truly screwed.
  • The African nation is preparing to make homosexuality punishable by death. Who in the world could support such a thing? Well, Rick Warren, for one.
  • Anybody who, two years ago, couldn't see that Dubai would soon collapse back into the hot sand was clueless or delusional. I cannot comprehend who these people who were still thought that their desert real estate investment would pan out.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

14 replies on “links for 2009-12-01”

  1. I read that article three times looking for any semblance of Rick Warren supporting the anti-gay measure. It wasn’t in there. Go figure.

  2. The quick plunge into an ice age by the freshwater lake was covered in “An Inconvenient Truth” by some guy, what’s his name, won a prize for something… ;)

    There are lots of different but overlapping currents/layers in the sea…salinity, temperature, oxygen/CO2 content, turbidity, etc. Submariners have been measuring these for years to use for tactical advantage regarding sound wave propagation, but their data could probably be obtained fairly easily to study conditions in the Gulf Stream as the Greenland Ice Sheet and the vast under-ice lakes it contains spill into the sea, and to contrast the new reading from those of past decades.

    Of course there is also the under sea-bottom methane pockets to consider…

  3. I read that article three times looking for any semblance of Rick Warren supporting the anti-gay measure. It wasn’t in there. Go figure.

    Yes, the summary was needlessly inflammatory and just plain wrong. The fact that a public figure hasn’t disavowed someone or something doesn’t mean that he supports it.

  4. I would think that the timer would only be visible to those waiting. One thing that I find confusing is the different amounts of time that a light stay yellow. It varies quite a lot as does the variance before the cross light turns green. If you really want to make an intersection safer, extend the amount of time between the red and the green.

  5. Yes, the summary was needlessly inflammatory and just plain wrong. The fact that a public figure hasn’t disavowed someone or something doesn’t mean that he supports it.

    Oddly enough, it was writing this blog entry that caused me to write the subsequent one, because this was so clearly a case of not what I was talking about. Except, now that I read the entire transcript from Meet The Press, I see that it’s actually about halfway towards what I was talking about. :) The linked article leads with a quote from Rick Warren saying: “As a pastor, my goal is to, to encourage, to support. I never take sides.” Which is a pretty stunning thing to say on the topic of whether gays should be put to death. Except that, reading the transcript, Michelle Goldberg took that entirely out of context. The question he was asked was about Obama. Not about Uganda. It’s totally misleading to use that in this article. So in that regard, this is far less clear-cut than the linked article presented it.

    But I say that it’s “halfway towards what I was talking about” meaning that this is not a case of a totally unrelated topic. Rick Warren claims to be (and there’s ample evidence showing that he’s) good friend with the President and First Lady of Uganda, and he has advocated for restrictions on gay rights in Uganda on a visit there. This is a issue with which he’s involved in a place where he’s involved with it, and he is in a powerful position to guide this process to a better outcome than state-led murder of people for the crime of homosexuality. His silence is awful, assuming that it indicates that he’s not doing anything behind the scenes. But silence is a very different thing than, when directly asked about the topic on a national TV show, declaring that he would “never take sides” on whether people should be killed.

  6. The critical phrase is this:

    “This vast pulse, a greater volume than all of North America’s Great Lakes combined,”

    That pulse STARTED with a vast amount of cold water. Not gonna happen like that from melting ice. Unless of course, the temps are in the 200+ deg range. In which case, none of us will be here to appreciate the resulting ice age. :)

    Stay sane.

  7. The concern, Jim, is the effect of inland melting. Frequently, the middle of a glacier will melt, and eventually the quantity of water bursts out in what’s known as a “glacial lake outburst flood” (aka GLOF, aka “jökulhlaup,” which is the Icelandic term). Sometimes it’s only ice that’s holding back the water, sometimes it’s an accretion of sand and rock that has washed downstream to dam the water. There’s a crazy, huge land formation in eastern Washington state, the name of which escapes me right now, that was formed in just such a manner. The English Channel was likely formed by a GLOF.

    Anyhow, the concern is that a GLOF would form—which would be a reasonable thing to expect—and hold back bajillions of square meters of water. We get years of melt (which would accelerate rapidly with standing water, since ice and water have basically opposite albedos), which then is released into the ocean all at once. The Younger Dryas resulted from Lake Agassiz releasing into the Atlantic via the Saint Lawrence River over the course of a year. (Perhaps not coincidentally, that’s approximately the same timeline in which the Younger Dryas got going.) It’s at this point where my knowledge falls short. If a quantity of fresh water on the scale of the Greenland ice sheet were released into the Atlantic in the same time frame, I think it’s fair to expect the same result. But what if it were released over, say, a decade? Would we still end up with a mini ice age, but with onset taking ten years, rather than one? What if it took fifty years? Still an ice age? I have no idea. I’d rather not find out.

  8. Hmm – unfortunately for your scenario, there’s
    1. no evidence that your scenario is presently happening
    2. both the Arctic and Antarctic have been exhibited greatly different melt patterns than would support the thesis
    3. the Lake Agassiz story is hypothesis – not established fact.
    4. the Arctic may have warmed stilghtly over the last century, but for all but a short period every year, the Arctic temps are below 32degF – IOW most Greenland ice lost is via sublimation – not melt.

    To answer your question – show me the evidence of a modern Lake Agassiz and I’ll agree that it “might” be possible to shut down the NAO that way IF the reease were sudden. Over a 10 year period? Doubtful.

    BUT – keep in mind that the NAO shut down some years ago WITHOUT that massive cold water influx. Nobody knows why. But there was no resulting ice age.

    Nor does anyone know why the NAO restarted itself about 2(?) years ago.

    Finally – the gatekeeper re: GW/CC on Wikipedia is William Connolley (sp) – a dedicated climate alarmist. Personally, I trust NOTHING that comes from there on the subject. I’ve caught them in too many lies, distortions, misinformation and ignorance. YMMV

    I’ll repeat – stay sane. And HYOH.

  9. Um. Jim, just to make sure we’re on the same page here: you don’t believe that global climate change exists, period, do you?

    Just a hunch. It was the “just a hypothesis” bit that tipped me off. For future reference, it’s not a “hypothesis,” it’s a “theory.” (Pick a paper, any paper, on the topic—never you mind about Wikipedia.) Science doesn’t trade in “facts”—there’s no such thing—just theories. Even gravity is a “theory,” but stuff still falls every time you drop it.

  10. Um – “theory” vs “hypothesis – go read the various abstracts. You’ll find several variations on the story. Plus – the dating methods are NOT exact. That, after all, is one of the points of contention that have destroyed the “hockey stick” – several times over in several different ways. Nuff said about that –

    Global warming/global climate change – same thing, just the name changed for political purposes.

    Sorry, but I do believe in it – just not in the over-hyped, data-cooked, politicized version that you’ve been fed by the UN, the media, the politicians – via the select group of so-called “scientists” who’ve promoted the idea of consensus on the subject. I’ll give you back a little “science” – consensus is NOT science, but religion. Next time someone says “consensus”, check your wallet.

    Climate change has been happening for several billion years – and will continue to happen for the next several billion years regardless of anything that humans do or don’t do. The idea that humans can stop a multi-billion year-old natural process is simply fraud. What’s being promoted right now as Stopping climate change” is nothing less than racial suicide.

    The earth has warmed in the last 150 years – obviously. That’s about when we came out of the Little Ice Age. You know – the one that those who are promulgating all the recent BS about how bad the warming is, are trying to deny. Prior to the LIA there was the MWP (which may have been 2-3 degC warmer than it is today) – and which those same people are also trying to “contain” – meaning deny.

    So – if it was warmer in the MWP and colder in the LIA
    (both of them with lower CO2 levels) – then 90% of what you’ve been told about present day GW/CC is pure BS. As is the “human influence” that’s been laid on as a guilt trip on all of us.

    Oh, yeah – for all the fuss and feathers – the earth has warmed – if ANY of the data is to believed – by less than 0.5 degC in the last 150 years. Not the unprecedented warming you’ve been told. BTW – the warmest decade in that time was NOT the 90’s – and certainly NOT the last one – but rather the 1930’s. CRU, GISS and NCDC were required to correct that BS story some years ago – and then they “readjusted” the past data to reduce the 1930’s to fit their favorite storyline. More lies. Did you know that GISS “readjusts” the past data EVERY month – as far back as 1880? Sound reasonable to you? Sounds like lies to me.

    Anyway – not to use too much of your bandwidth, what’s here is a fair start on where I come from:

    Just don’t assume that it’s ALL I believe – or that I agree with ALL of it. The subject is much too complex for that kind of simplification.

    If you have specific questions I’ll be happy to discuss them – this one was much too broad to be properly answered in this format.

    Have a good week

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