Entries from blogs tagged with “Creative Domain”
The people who want to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) don't understand the biosphere. Carbon and oxygen are two of the most important elements for biological life. 65% of the human body is oxygen and 18.5% is carbon. Plants are carbon structures with the percentage of carbon varying according to the type of plant.The CO2 oxygen cycle is critical to the functioning of the biosphere. Animals exhale CO2 which plants then use to produce the molecules such as sugars and starches that animals use for food. Plants release oxygen into the air which animals inhale and combine with the carbon compounds to grow or perform various body functions.CO2 is a major source of that carbon that provides the structure for plants. Absorbing CO2 through the leaves allows plants to use their roots for water and minor nutrients, particularly during the initial growth when they don't have extensive root systems. Some plants grow better as the amount of CO2 in the air increases. Some greenhouses use CO2 enrichment equipment to add CO2 to improve plant growth.Humans are already removing large amounts of carbon from the environment through such actions as construction of wooden buildings and making paper. Much paper and plant wastes are buried in landfills making the carbon unavailable to become part of plants.The combustion of fossil carbon fuels offsets the removal of carbon from the environment and increases the planet's ability to grow more plants. Adding carbon to the ground to replace carbon in harvested plants isn't as practical as adding carbon to the air in the form of CO2.Plants are normally thought of in terms of their biological function, but they have an inportant physics function. Plants are the original solar energy storage devices. Globally plants convert huge amounts of solar radiation into the chemical bonds of complex carbon molecules. This process reduces the amount of solar energy converted to heat energy.The molecules plants produce can be extremely long lived. If fossil fuels are ancient plant wastes as is commonly believed, the combustion of fossil fuels releases solar energy stored millions of years ago.Each CO2 molecule contains 2 oxygen atoms which are essential to animal life because animals breathe oxygen. Burying oxygen would reduce the amount available for humans to breathe and adversely affect human health.A better way to "get rid" of CO2 would be to encourage plant growth to return the oxygen to the air humans breathe. For example, power plants that produce CO2 could have attached greenhouses to recycle the CO2 into oxygen for humans to breathe and plants to convert to food or fuel. Kansas should encourage construction of the power plants Sunflower Electric has proposed rather than attempt to prevent construction.
Kansas Governor Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius has something more in common with the title character of "Gilligan's Island" than just her maiden name.The Professor on "Gilligan's Island" used his intelligence and knowledge to find ways to get the castaways off the island. Then, Gilligan would inevitably and inadvertantly sabotage the Professor's plan.Isaac Berzin may not be employed as a professor but he does have the academic qualification of a Ph. D. Dr. Berzin has developed a technology that allows coal powered electric plants to not only produce electricity but produce additional fuel. Incidentally,.Bob Metcalfe the codeveloper of the Ethernet is the interim CEO of the the company Berzin founded.http://web.mit.edu/erc/spotlights/alg-all.htmlFor someone like Gilligan carbon dioxide might be a pollutant. Berzin recognizes that CO2 is one of the raw materials used by the original solar energy devices such as algae to convert solar energy into the chemical bonds that bind carbon atoms to other atoms. According to Glen Kertz of Valcent Products algae can produce 100,000 galloms of oil per acre compared to 30 gallons of oil from corn and 50 gallons from soybeans. http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/04/01/algae.oil/Sunflower Electric's proposed power plant would use coal to provide electricity while producing the raw material that Dr. Berzin's technology would use to convert the abundant sunshine of the state "where the skies are not cloudy all day" into usable energy. The sun is our primary source of energy. Algae are very efficient solar energy storage devices. In nuclear energy a facility which produces nuclear fuel in addition to using it is called a breeder reactor. The Sunflower facility is the carbon fuel equivalent of a breeder reactor. Governor Sebelius claims to support the concept of renewable energy. So why does she oppose the renewable energy facilities Sunflower wants to construct? Could it be that she and the legislators who agree with her are no smarter than Gilligan?
Some people seem to believe that anyone who studies some physical phenomenon is a scientist and that anything a "scientist" says is to be accepted as if the "scientist" were a priest. J. Robert Oppenheimer once remarked "There must be no barriers for freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors" Empirical scientists use repeated observations and experimentation to study physical phenomena. Scientists attempt to provide approximate explanations for phenomena. Exact explanations may not be possible, that is unless someone can come up with the holy grail of physics the Unified Field Theorem.. A real scientist would produce experimental evidence to support a claim that CO2 could cause temperature increases instead of claiming that historical data can be interpreted to imply CO2 affects temperature. When dealing with complex situations real scientists set up experiments in which all but one factor is controlled so they can determine the effect of that factor. Real scientists don't expect to have their explanations automatically accepted. They expect to have to prove what they say is valid by conducting experiments and providing evidence. They accept the existence of physical "laws" which control and limit physical phenomena. They accept concepts like those in quantum physics, even if they don't seem to make sense, if there is evidence that they do. Niels Bohr "And anyone who thinks they can talk about quantum theory without feeling dizzy hasn't yet understood the first thing about it." Some climatologists aren't acting like empirical scientists. For example, they claim the existence of things like greenhouse gases that are not consistent with established physics such as the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Religious figures sometimes claim that physical laws can be ignored, but they typically suggest that a deity can perform supernatural feats. Scientists recognize that concepts come and go. Physicists have been debating whether light is a wave or a particle for two centuries. Each side has dominated at one time or another. They may think that those who disagree with them are misguided, but they don't call the members of the other side names like "denier" or "contrarian" like the believers in greenhouse gases do. These people who use such terms use them in the same manner religious figures use the terms 'heretic" and "infidel". The greenhouse gas believers believe that consensus is more important than evidence. Real scientists recognize that everyone can be wrong as 19th Century scientists were when they believed that atoms were the smallest particles of matter . Scientists don't vote on which explanation is the best. They develop evidence through experimentation and observation. Real scientists recognize that mathematical explanations are often complex and that throwing a bunch of numbers together and averaging them isn't likely to produce any meaningful result. Greenhouse gas believers think they can average global temperatures and get an exact explanation of the climate of every place on earth. The climatologists who claim to believe in greenhouse gases do not behave like scientists and thus are not scientists. A real scientist wouldn't provide vague explanations like "global warming is going to cause this or that". A real scientist would give specific explanations for climate in each area of the globe. The greenhouse gas believers use the term "global warming" as if it were some type of deity. If the weather is colder or warmer than usual the answer is the same "global warming did it."
Many climatologists misunderstand the theoretical physics concept of a black body model. They falsely believe that earth must radiate most of the energy it receives back into space.The black body model is a theoretical concept that can only be approximted in a lab by examining what is called "cavity radiation". It isn't a practical concept for climatology.A planetary black body, if one existed, would absorb all radiation received, become hotter and then convert the heat energy back into radiation.Substances are black if they absorb all radiation. White substances reflect all radiation. Transparent substances allow radiation to pass through. Substances that are transparent or reflective don't radiate well.A black body concept is a simple linear model that only looks at radiation and heat. A linear model can be represented by a relatively simple equation. Non-linear models require complicated equations that may be difficult to solve. Chaotic models may be difficult to represent with equations.For planetary objects the model can only apply to solids in a vacuum and to be fully applicable the solid cannot be reflective. The model cannot apply to planets with a transparent atmosphere because such planets are non-linear. Planets that also have liquid oceans especially a water ocean, are too chaotic to function as black bodies.For a planet with a transparent atmosphere the solid will still heat up after absorbing radiation, but a portion of the heat is transferred to the atmosphere through conduction. The heated air then rises drawing in colder air which is also heated. As the heated air rises the heat energy is converted to potential energy rather than radiation.Water is transparent to light which means it doesn't radiate very well. Water loses heat through conduction and evaporation instead. Conduction heats the air. Evaporation carries heat energy into the atmosphere as latent heat rather than by raising the temperature of the air or by converting heat to radiation.Earth's biosphere further prevents earth from being a black body. From a thermodynamics standpoint, plants are solar energy storage devices. They convert solar energy into the electron bonds that hold complex carbon molecules together. When animals eat plants they store part of the energy as body parts and convert some of the energy into heat part of which may be transferred to the atmosphere through evaporation of water on the skin or exhaling water vapor. Fossil fuels are believed to be plant parts that weren't eaten and continued to store solar energy.A planetary black body is a simple energy in energy out system. Earth's energy utilization system is far too complex for earth to function as a black body. The above discussion is an oversimplification of that energy utilization system.
I spent a lot of time on a dairy farm when I was a kid growing up in Wisconsin. Now living in Lawrence it is easy to become disconnected from agriculture. Rural Haskell County has a natural connection to Lawrence. It was named after Dudley Haskell of Lawrence. He was a congressman back in 1883. Haskell County is now represented by Congressman Jerry Moran. Representative Moran has two important deadlines this week. We all share a tax deadline with him tomorrow. The other deadline is passage of a farm bill by Friday. So why do I care and what is the connection to Haskell County? Well according to the Environmental Working Group Representative Moran's district ranks second in the nation in the amount of farm subsidies received from 2003 through 2005 (http://farm.ewg.org/sites/farmbill2007/cdlist.php). The amount is $1,315,979,151. That is billion with a "B". Haskell County was a recipient of $43.2 mllion of this amount. I have been to Haskell County but I never knew it was so wealthy. As I remember it is flat farm county with little population. The U. S. Census Bureau estimates the 2006 population as 4,171 folks. What a lucky group of people. Of course the Department of Agriculture does not send the checks to Haskell County. There are actually over 100 farm businesses receiving these subsidies. Farming in Haskell County can be a tough business with droughts, late spring freezes, snow, hail storms, : the list could go on. The kind of family farm that I spent time on as a kid would find tough going in Haskell County. They would deserve the subsidies. But wait a minute. Here is a list of the 8 top farm businesses in Haskell County and the amount they received in that 2003 to 2005 time slot reported by the Environmental Working Group. They don't sound like small struggling family farms to me.1Clawson Farm Partnership $2,202,507 2 Cox Farms $1,806,319 3Rooney Agri Business $ 908,518 4Brown Enterprises $ 720,731 5 Bryant Farms $ 666,205 6Garetson Brothers Partners$ 665,377 7 Kells Farm $ 549,252 8 Mclain Partnership $ 514,372
The U.S.Environmental Protection Agency needs to adopt regulations for human emissions of dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO). Last year the Supreme Court ruled last year that carbon dioxide (CO2) qualifies as a pollutant subject to government regulation under existing pollution control laws. The gaseous form of DHMO can produce more adverse effects than CO2. Some people refer to DHMO as dihydrogen oxide.Humans add DHMO to the air through various activities including combustion of hydrogen containing fuels such as natural gas and petroleum based fuels.The only alleged adverse affect of CO2 is that it supposedly causes increased atmospheric temperatures through a process that some physicists say doesn't exist. Some climatologists claim that CO2 causes adverse warming by trapping infrared radiation even though physicist R.W. Wood demonstrated in 1909 that trapping IR doesn't cause greenhouses to be warmer.DHMO is said to be more effective at trapping IR under the process that greenhouse gas believers claim is causing global warming which means it should qualify as a pollutant under the same criteria as CO2. DNMO comprises 2-4% of the atmosphere, but CO2 is less than 0.04% DHMO can cause climate changes even if the greenhouse gas warming process doesn't exist.One gram of the gaseous form of DHMO can melt almost 7 grams of ice which means adding DHMO to the air can increase the melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps. The same thermal characteristics that allow DHMO to melt ice allow it to prevent temperatures from dropping below a threshold. Scientists have long known that increasing the amount of DHMO in the atmosphere can keep the low temperature above freezing which can increase the melting of ice and prevent it from refreezing.The severity of flooding and hurricanes depends upon the amount of DHMO in the atmosphere. Severity of both increases with increases in the amount of atmospheric DHMO. Obviously, human DHMO emissions can increase the severity of floods and hurricanes and the EPA should regulate such emissions.DHMO can corrode metal and damage wood products among other adverse environmental effects. DHMO can adversely affect human health.Some people might argue that DHMO cannot be a pollutant because it occurs naturally in the atmosphere. The Supreme Court didn't find that claim important regarding CO2. Various natural processes put CO2 into the atmosphere including venting from the oceans and volcanoes. According to the Court's ruling in Massachusetts et. al. v. Environmental Protection Agency the law is so broad that it allows regulation of any chemical released into the atmosphere. DHMO qualifies as a chemical for the same reasons CO2 does.Plants need DHMO, but they also need CO2. Some greenhouses deliberately increase the amount of CO2 in the air to increase plant growth. The Supreme Court didn't consider the need plants have for CO2 to justify exempting it from government efforts to force the atmosphere to adhere to human law precisely regulating its content.For a further discussion of DHMO and its affect on temperature see my previous post on the subject.
Reporting on the issue of "global warming" demonstrates that often the only difference between reporters and prostitutes is that prostitutes understand what type business they are in. Many reporters are allowing themselves to be used by politicians and others to con the viewers and readers the reporters are supposed to be serving.30 years ago as a graduate student I took some journalism courses. At that time reporters were encouraged to get more than one opinion on issues and to avoid taking sides by reporting allegations as facts. A phrase like "according to" some source should precede or follow whatever claim the source is making.Many reporters willingly repeat the allegation that "greenhouse gases are causing global warming" as if it were an accepted fact instead of a subject of controversy. News stories will state that "CO2 causes global warming" without presenting any evidence to support the allegation. Those who support this hypothesis cannot provide evidence because the process doesn't exist.The situation is occurring in spite of the fact that it is easier for reporters to find alternate opinions than it was 30 years ago. In the 70's reporters had to contact other news sources and ask for other opinions. Today reporters can use internet search engines to find quotes from other sources, including experts who aren't well known, with just a few mouse clicks.Good reporters should be skeptical of their sources and recognize that people who willingly talk to reporters are usually attempting to gain acceptance for their points of view. Such sources may get away with misrepresenting the facts when reporters don't bother to check the validity of statements. Reporters who don't understand the issues they are reporting on are particularly vulnerable.Why should reporters who don't understand science be skeptical of the claims about "greenhouse gases causing global warming"?First, those making the claim admit that average temperatures only increased by 1 F (0.5C) (about 0.17%) during the entire 20th Century. Average temperatures can vary by more than that from one day to the next or from a shady area to a sunny area only a few feet apart.In an era when even priests and preachers can be crooks, there is no reason to assume scientists will tell the truth.Those scientists who believe in global warming sometimes claim that those who disagree are being paid to do so by oil companies, etc. If these scientists don't believe scientists as a group can be trusted to tell the truth why should reporters? Have reporters checked to see how many of those scientists who support global warming claims are being paid to do so.The scientist as con artist is an old movie plot that is based on fact. There have been recent cases of scientists being caught presenting false data to support their claims in addition to those who claim they can provide miracle cures for diseases.The claim that a minor atmospheric gas (0.036% of the atmosphere) can determine air temperatures sounds too much like magic to be taken at face value.Statements by global warming claimants about punishing those who disagree with them should raise a red flag with any real journalist who supports freedom of speech. Such statements made by individuals in authority positions can indicate fear that someone will find out they are wrong. Scientists who believe they are correct welcome challenges.If the idea of "global warming" is valid why do those who support it feel they have to exaggerate everything. Many of their claims sound too much like the traditional Hollywood disaster movie plot to be believable, particularly the claims of the great exaggerator, Al Gore.Journalists have criticized the U.S. military for "planting" stories about the Iraq conflict. NASA's Gavin Schmidt has been running an ostensibly private website supporting NASA's claims about global warming for some time. If the claim about global warming is valid, why does the government need to set up a propaganda site to plant information supporting the claim?S.. Fred Singer who was the first director of the National Weather Satellite Service has questioned claims about global warming for years. John Coleman who founded the Weather Channel recently called the global warming claim the greatest scam in history, but reporters ignore him because they have already made up their minds and aren't interested in facts. How many of those who call themselves journalists have bothered to check with these well known experts?Real journalists report both sides of controversial issues. Propagandists only present one side.Perhaps it is unfair to compare reporters to prostitutes. Prostitutes are professionals who are provide their services to those who pay them. Reporters who present only one side of an issue don't serve the people who pay them.
The evidence that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions won't cause an environmental calamity by raising temperatures continues to mount. Hungarian scientist Ferenc Miskolczi has discovered the greenhouse gas equation Arthur Milne developed in 1922, and is being used today by those who believe CO2 can cause "global warming", contains a serious flaw. Milne mistakenly solved the differential equation involved by assuming an infinitely thick atmosphere. Miskolczi was working for NASA at the time he discovered the flaw in Milne's equation and NASA suppressed his report which contradicted NASA's claims. That's right readers, presidents and foreign policy agencies like the Department of Defense and the CIA aren't the only federal agencies that suppress views that contradict the official department/agency position.Miskolczi resigned in protest, stating in his resignation letter, "Unfortunately my working relationship with my NASA supervisors eroded to a level that I am not able to tolerate. My idea of the freedom of science cannot coexist with the recent NASA practice of handling new climate change related scientific results."http://www.dailytech.com/Researcher%20Basic%20Greenhouse%20Equations%20Totally%20Wrong/article10973.htmMiskolczi rewrote the equations and the modified equations don't indicate a runaway greenhouse effect. His equations indicate a limit to any greenhouse effect. Thus even if there is a greenhouse effect it cannot do what the Rev. Al Gore of the Church of Global Warming claims it will do. http://images.dailytech.com/nimage/7493_large_miskolczi_03.JPGI haven't studied differential equations for a few decades, but I do remember that guessing at values for variables is sometimes used to solve differential equations because of their complexity. However, there are two values that should never be used, infinity and zero. These two numbers have special mathematical properties that make them unsuitable for this purpose. For example, you may remember learning that division by zero is impossible. However, there is one special case in which division by zero is possible, zero divided by zero. The test to determine if division is correct is multiplication. Zero multiplied by any other number is zero so zero divided by zero can be any number.In the real world it might be possible to have a zero amount of any commodity, but not an infinite amount. An infinitely thick atmosphere would also be infinitely massive, i.e. a super black hole. In an infinitely thick atmosphere it wouldn't make any difference what the gases were because the gravitational attraction would be so high that radiation would be unable to escape. Incidentally, when making temperature calculations the Kelvin scale should be used instead of the Celsius or Fahrenheit scales because both have arbitrarily chosen zero points. In fairness to Milne, his research dealt with stellar atmospheres rather than planetary atmospheres. Milne unsuccessfully attempted to develop a competing theory to Einstein's Theory of Relativity. If there are any negatives to CO2 emissions from the proposed electric plants in Holcomb, Kansas, increased temperature isn't one of them regardless of what our dopey Governor Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius believes. CO2 is essential for biological life because plants require it. For many plants adding CO2 is like adding fertilizer because higher CO2 levels improve their growth.
The idea that greenhouses stayed warm by trapping infrared radiation (IR) was popular among 19th physicists who also believed that atoms were the smallest particles of matter. Physicist R.W. Wood, who invented IR photography, decided to test that hypothesis in 1909 and discovered that trapping radiation was not a factor. Instead greenhouses stayed warm by preventing heated air from escaping. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_W..."There appears to be a widespread belief that the comparatively high temperature produced within a closed space covered with glass, exposed to solar radiation, results from a transformation of wave-length, that is, that the heat waves from the Sun, which are able to penetrate the glass, fall upon the walls of the enclosure and raise its temperature: the heat energy is re-emitted by the walls in the form of much longer waves, which are unable to penetrate the glass, the greenhouse acting as a radiation trap.""I have always felt some doubt as to whether this action played any very large part in the elevation of temperature. It appeared much more probable that the part played by the glass was the prevention of the escape of the warm air heated by the ground within the enclosure. If we open the doors of a greenhouse on a cold windy day, the trapping of radiation appears to lose much of its efficacy. As a matter of fact I am of the opinion that a greenhouse made of a glass transparent to waves of every possible length would show a temperature nearly, if not quite, as high as that observed in a glass house. The transparent screen allows the solar radiation to warm the ground, and the ground in turn warms the air, but only the limited amount within the enclosure. In the 'open', the ground is continually brought into contact with cold air by convection currents.""To test the matter I constructed two enclosures of dead black cardboard, one covered with a glass plate, the other with a plate of rock-salt of equal thickness. The bulb of a thermometer was inserted in each enclosure and the whole packed in cotton, with the exception of the transparent plates which were exposed. When exposed to sunlight the temperature rose gradually to 65 C, the enclosure covered with the salt plate keeping a little ahead of the other, owing to the fact that transmitted the longer waves from the Sun, which were stopped by the glass. In order to eliminate this action the sunlight was first passed through a glass plate.""There was now scarcely a difference of one degree between the temperatures of the two enclosures. The maximum temperature reached was about 55 C. From what we know about the distribution of energy in the spectrum of the radiation emitted by a body at 55 C, it is clear that the rock-salt plate is capable of transmitting practically all of it,while the glass plate stops it entirely. This shows us that the loss of temperature of the ground by radiation is very small in comparison to the loss by convection. in other words that we gain very little from the circumstance that the radiation is trapped.""Is it therefore necessary to pay attention to trapped radiation in deducing the temperature of a planet as affected by its atmosphere? The solar rays penetrate the atmosphere. warm the ground which in turn warms the atmosphere by contact and by convection currents. The heat received is thus stored up in the atmosphere, remaining there on account of the very low radiating power of a gas. It seems to me very doubtful if the atmosphere is warmed to any great extent by absorbing the radiation from the ground even under the most favorable conditions."Originally published in the Philosophical magazine , 1909, vol 17, p319-320. http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/wood_rw.1909.htmlIf greenhouses don't heat up by trapping IR than neither does the atmosphere and changing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere won't affect its temperature. Thus the CO2 produced by coal powered electric plants will not increase temperatures. In fact, by blocking incoming solar IR, CO2 might reduce solar warming of ground and water.
he Bush administration is once again forced to deal with a government agency planting information in the media. Two years ago the Bush administration got into trouble when reporters discovered that the Pentagon had been planting stories in Iraqi newspapers and even paying Iraqi reporters. More recently FEMA conducted a "news conference"in which the questioners were actually FEMA employees. Steve McIntyre is reporting on Climate Audit that NASA has been using one of its employees in apparent violation of NASA regulations to operate an ostensibly private web site promoting NASA's claims about an alleged "global warming" threat.http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2536The employee, Gavin Schmidt, claims to be operating the web site RealClimate on his own, but NASA provides him the income that allows him to do so.Schmidt is described as a climate modeler which is NASA's term for the glorified fortune tellers who claim they can predict what will happen in the distant future even if they cannot predict what will happen with hurricanes a few months in advance. NASA has financed studies of questionable scientific value such as one on the supposed affect of global warming on tornadoes.http://my.telegraph.co.uk/reasonmclucus/september_2007/bogus_nasa_study.htm One Florida business owner is attempting to sue those who falsely predicted an active hurricane season this past fall.Schmidt's supervisor at NASA, James Hansen, is a known advocate of the Al Gore's global warming religion. The site allows Schmidt to criticize those who question IPCC and NASA claims about climate without it being apparent that the government is behind the site. They can also use the site to criticize NASA director Michael Griffin for not accepting their alarmist claims. Democrats may have trouble taking advantage of the scandal because they support the claims of catastrophic climate change supported by Gore and Hanson.For those who don't see anything wrong with NASA's incestuous relationship with the RealClimate site, what would you say if a high ranking military officer still on the Pentagon's payroll were operating an ostensibly nongovernment site supporting the Bush administration's handling of the conflict in Iraq?
Are we all doomed? Is earth about to be absorbed in a manmade black hole? Will a strangelet turn the earth into "strange matter"?Walter Wagner and Luis Sancho are convinced that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will produce a minature black hole that will suck up the rest of the planet and are attempting to use the American court system to shut down the project. They have filed a lawsuit against the European Centre for Nuclear Research, or Cern, along with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the National Science Foundation.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2008/04/01/scibang101.xmlAlthough the U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over Cern, action prohibiting U.S. agencies from participating could stop the project.The concerns of Wagner and Sancho aren't new. Alarmists expressed similar concerns about the Brookhaven National Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) on Long Island, N.Y., in 1999. That facility began operation in 2000 and we're still here and, if theories about black holes are correct, we are not inside a black hole.The LHC is no more likely to destroy the planet than the RHIC. The ability of humans to destroy life as we know it other than perhaps with an all out nuclear war, is greatly exaggerated. We are more likely to wake up Mothra or Godzilla than we are to turn the earth into a black hole.We live in a age in which the movie industry likes to scare people with disaster movies. Unfortunately, people like Wagner and Sancho as well as Al Gore cannot separate the real world from the make believe world of the movies in which humans have the ability to create major disasters through very minor activities.The suit against LHC should be thrown out of court, but the lawsuit could succeed because American judges sometimes suffer from the delusion that they can decide scientific theories by listening to lawyers argue in court. Five scientifically ignorant U.S. Supreme Court Justices ruled in Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency et al . that the carbon dioxide humans and other animals regularly exhale through their normal breathing process is a air pollutant. This same carbon dioxide is essential for plant growth which in turn provides the food animals need to live.A comment to my previous post indicates some readers may not understand my concerns. I very much support empirical science. Unfortunately, some people who call themselves scientists don't understand what makes empirical science different from other intellectual activities. These individuals are behaving as if science were some form of religion."There must be no barriers for freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors" - J. Robert Oppenheimer
Earth Day was initiated in 1970. I am old enough to remember. There was even a time of the day that we were supposed to stop and do something regarding the environment. I was teaching in a small college and stopped class to play a couple of environmental songs by Pete Seeger. Almost 40 years of Earth Days! With a median age of 35 in the US, half of us have never known April without an Earth Day. This year it is April 22. What a concept. Set aside a day to celebrate and express concern for the earth. Just as Earth Day moved beyond an hour of the day to an entire day, the number of environmental concerns that have come to public attention since 1970 now require more than one day. April has become Earth Month and there is no shortage of events in Lawrence, nationally or internationally. Check out http://ww2.earthday.net/~earthday/ to see what is going on. Locally the Lawrence Sustainability Network has a list of events. Just go to their website and subscribe to their newsletter http://www.lawrencesustainability.net/One event that I will participate in is "Read-Out, Sing-Out, Speak-Out, Act-Out, Dance-Out etc on Earthcare". More than 100 people will come together on Saturday April 5 at the gazebo of Watson Park at 7th and Kentucky to perform. From 8 am to 8 pm your friends and neighbors will read, sing, act, speak or dance in 10 minute segments. Everyone will be celebrating the earth. There is only one ring at the gazebo but it should be quite a circus. Walk, bike or take the T downtown and join the fun.
Discussions on global warming often refer to 'global temperature.' Yet the concept is thermodynamically as well as mathematically an impossibility, says Bjarne Andresen, a professor at The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, who has analyzed this topic in collaboration with professors Christopher Essex from University of Western Ontario and Ross McKitrick from University of Guelph, Canada. It is generally assumed that the atmosphere and the oceans have grown warmer during the recent 50 years. The reason for this point of view is an upward trend in the curve of measurements of the so-called 'global temperature'. This is the temperature obtained by collecting measurements of air temperatures at a large number of measuring stations around the Globe, weighing them according to the area they represent, and then calculating the yearly average according to the usual method of adding all values and dividing by the number of points. "It is impossible to talk about a single temperature for something as complicated as the climate of Earth", Bjarne Andresen says, an an expert of thermodynamics. "A temperature can be defined only for a homogeneous system. Furthermore, the climate is not governed by a single temperature. Rather, differences of temperatures drive the processes and create the storms, sea currents, thunder, etc. which make up the climate".He explains that while it is possible to treat temperature statistically locally, it is meaningless to talk about a a global temperature for Earth. The Globe consists of a huge number of components which one cannot just add up and average. That would correspond to calculating the average phone number in the phone book. That is meaningless. Or talking about economics, it does make sense to compare the currency exchange rate of two countries, whereas there is no point in talking about an average 'global exchange rate'.If temperature decreases at one point and it increases at another, the average will remain the same as before, but it will give rise to an entirely different thermodynamics and thus a different climate. If, for example, it is 10 degrees at one point and 40 degrees at another, the average is 25 degrees. But if instead there is 25 degrees both places, the average is still 25 degrees. These two cases would give rise to two entirely different types of climate, because in the former case one would have pressure differences and strong winds, while in the latter there would be no wind.A further problem with the extensive use of 'the global temperature' is that there are many ways of calculating average temperatures.Example 1: Take two equally large glasses of water. The water in one glass is 0 degrees, in the other it is 100 degrees. Adding these two numbers and dividing by two yields an average temperature of 50 degrees. That is called the arithmetic average.Example 2: Take the same two glasses of water at 0 degrees and 100 degrees, respectively. Now multiply those two numbers and take the square root, and you will arrive at an average temperature of 46 degrees. This is called the geometric average. (The calculation is done in degrees Kelvin which are then converted back to degrees Celsius.)The difference of 4 degrees is the energy which drives all the thermodynamic processes which create storms, thunder, sea currents, etc.These are but two examples of ways to calculate averages. They are all equally correct, but one needs a solid physical reason to choose one above another. Depending on the averaging method used, the same set of measured data can simultaneously show an upward trend and a downward trend in average temperature. Thus claims of disaster may be a consequence of which averaging method has been used, the researchers point out.What Bjarne Andresen and his coworkers emphasize is that physical arguments are needed to decide whether one averaging method or another is needed to calculate an average which is relevant to describe the state of Earth.Reference: C. Essex, R. McKitrick, B. Andresen: Does a Global Temperature Exist?; J. Non-Equil. Thermod. vol. 32, p. 1-27 (2007).http://www.uoguelph.ca/%7Ermckitri/research/globaltemp/GlobTemp.JNET.pdf
Three groups attempt to foretell the future: prophets, fortune tellers (psychics) and science fiction writers. I've never read Nostradamus, but some people claim he predicted such 20th Century events as WWII. I have read some stories by H.G. Wells written about 1900 in which he predicted airplanes,super highways, television and even something similar to the Internet. Fortune tellers sometimes call themselves "psychics" to get people to believe they have some special ability, but they tend toward vague predictions about "meeting a tall dark stranger". Prophets sometimes claim they receive information from some deity. Science fiction writers merely speculate about what could be instead of trying to predict actual events. Scientists normally don't attempt to predict anything more than what will happen if you mix chemical A with chemical B or apply a force to an object. Astrophysicists do claim that the sun will eventually expand and become cooler, but that is in the distant future. They don't attempt to predict what the sun's exact output will be in future years except to state that the output will fluctuate. They have only recently developed equipment capable of measuring the sun's energy output other than by counting sunspots. It should be obvious that it is impossible to determine future earth temperatures without knowing how much energy the earth will receive from the sun. Climatologists who claim they can predict the future climate of the earth are nothing more than glorified fortune tellers. Predicting the weather even a day or two in advance is still not an exact science. They may be accurate more often than the average fortune teller, but they still make major misses such as predicting the 2006 and 2007 hurricane season would be very active instead of almost quiet. In 2006 they predicted that California would have a wet winter instead of a dry one. (L.A. Times Feb. 2, 2007)Those climatologists who claim they can predict climate years in advance are either ignorant or they are deliberately lying like the fortune tellers with their crystal balls, or whatever fortune tellers use today. The claim about having computer programs that can predict future climate is a lie, because computers lack the computing capacity to do so.
The antiquity of humans in the "New World" was something that perplexed prehistorians for much of the 19th century. During the early days of the United States, the going theory was that the natives (who many referred to as 'savages') were a population that came in and destroyed an earlier and greater civilization. The many eathworks and mounds that people were encountering as they explored further and further west were thought not to have been created by the current inhabitants. This earlier civilization that the natives were supposed to have destroyed was attributed, among other things, to the lost tribes of Israel. Finally, people realized, through archaeological and skeletal analyses, that the 'savages' and the Moundbuilders were one in the same.This realization led to further questions. The primary question was how long they had been here. Secondly, where they had come from? During the late 1800's, there was a concerted effort to determine the length of time that humans had been present in North and South America. The first site to suggest that humans did in fact exist alongside extinct Ice Age (Pleistocene) animals was the 12-Mile Creek site in Logan County, KS. The site was originally a paleontological excavation of extinct Bison antiquus (1/3 larger than modern buffalo). Within this bonebed, the investigators found what was undeniably a human-made projectile point. Realizing what they had, the investigator (Samuel Williston) returned to Lawrence and held a meeting to reveal what they had found. At the meeting, Williston passed the artifact around the room so that people could see for themselves. The point, however, never made it all the way around the room. The popular rumor is that a pharmacist's wife from Baldwin City, who was especially sensitive to the Biblical implications of the find, pocketed it. Paleontologist Larry Martin allegedly spotted the missing artifact at a garage sale sometime in the 1990's. He ran home to get some money, but the point was gone by the time he returned. Thus, the antiquity of humans in North America remained unsettled.Finally, in 1926 near the town of Folsom in NE New Mexico, a bison bone bed was excavated that settled the issue. An African American cowboy named George McJunkin had found the bones eroding from an arroyo after a flood in the early 1900's. Sadly, McJunkin was no longer around by the time his site was excavated. The excavators were recovering distinctively human-made stone tools in direct association with extinct bison. Ales Hrdlicka, a physical anthropologist who primarily studied skeletal traits, had issued a strict set of criteria that a site proving the antiquity of humans should meet. Many people visited the site just to see for themselves. It became the first unequivocal evidence that humans had existed alongside and had hunted extinct animals.Then, in the 1930's, another site in New Mexico, now known as Blackwater Draw, began producing these same artifacts--now known as Folsom points--in association with these same extinct bison. More importantly, however, human artifacts began turning up in layers below the Folsom materials--artifacts that were in direct association with extinct mammoths. These artifacts were name Clovis points, after the nearby town of Clovis, NM. Slightly prior to that, these same artifacts had been found with mammoth bones at the Dent site in eastern Colorado. Had the folks at Dent realized what they had, Clovis points, like Folsom and 12-Mile Creek, would have been named Dent points. Clovis and Folsom still stand as the names for both the distinctive projectile points and the people who made them.The Clovis and Folsom 'cultures' or 'complexes' has been dated at numerous sites through radiocarbon and accelerator mass-spectometer (AMS) dating of organic materials from archaeological sites. Clovis is generally thought to date between about 11,500-10,800 radiocarbon years before present. If one looks at it in terms of actual calendar years, this roughly equals about 13,400-12,800 actual calendar years ago. Clovis artifacts are found in every continental US state and from Canada southward to Mexico and Central America. Clovis-like artifacts have even been recoved from Venezuela at the Taima-Taima site. The Folsom people came immediately after the Clovis people, and lasted for about 500 years. Folsom points are found primarily on the High Plains from Canada south to Texas. Recently, researchers are beginning to realize that Paleoindians (the term archaeologists use for humans who were here during the Pleistocene or Ice Age) also utilized mountain environments.The debates surrounding how Clovis people first arrived here, or even whether they were actually the first to arrive, is a stinging debate within anthropology today. I will go into those various debates in later posts.For images of Clovis points (from a semi-scientific view) go here:http://lithiccastinglab.com/gallery-pages/2003novemberdrakecachepage1.htmFor a some images of Folsom points go here:http://www.smu.edu/anthro/QUEST/Projects/Folsom/FolsomPointsCAVO.htm
Empirical science and religion differ in some fundamental ways. Scientists look for questions to ask. Priests (preachers, rabbis, etc) just provide answers. Science has theories that are subject to change. In 1896, physicists believed that atoms were the smallest particles of matter. A year latter J.J. Thomson overturned this theory by reporting his discovery that atoms were actually comprised of smaller charged particles he called "protons", "electrons" and "neutrons". Later research demonstrated that Thomson's particles were comprised of even smaller particles. Religion has truths that are to be accepted without question. Those who question these truths may be treated as heretics. Real scientists encourage questions. They even ask questions about established theories including aspects of the Theory of Relativity and try to find ways these theories might be wrong. Stephan Hawking demonstrated what a real scientist does when he suggested he had been wrong when he suggested that information cannot escape from a black hole. Physicists have a model of the atom they are satisfied with, but that hasn't stopped them from checking to see if they might have missed something. They are currently colliding heavy nuclei to test the model.Religion gets its truths from prophets or deities. Science has to do things the hard way by conducting repeated observations and experiments. Science cannot verify theories about physical processes that cannot be examined. Some people who call themselves scientists want science to become a substitute for religion, or at least function more like a religion.. Some believe that science can provide an explanation for events in the distant past that is so accurate it cannot be questioned. Such a claim is illogical because insufficient information is available. For example, those who talk about greenhouse gases state they can precisely determine past temperatures by examining tree rings or ice cores. The width of tree rings depends upon availability of water and the amount of time temperatures are within the range the tree can grow in, not average temperatures. The religious fanatics of the greenhouse gas religion have been accused of practicing censorship of those who disagree with their doctrine. The subject of the origin of the universe and life on earth has traditionally been the province of religion. All the popular theories originated in religion. The idea that "all of creation" came from explosion of what modern scientists call a black hole comes from the Secrets of Enoch which may be the original source of the Genesis account. http://almightywind.com/enoch/enochsecret.html The idea of humans being related to apes comes from the ancient Tibetan religion. http://www.tibetan-buddhism.com/North American and other beliefs suggest one species could change to another form.Science can only deal effectively with the present. It cannot observe or manipulate the distant past to verify theories. The subject of the origin of the universe and life on earth is interesting and scientific studies of the present might provide useful information, but science cannot provide a definitive answer to the question of how the universe or biological life came to exist. Science can only say what might have happened.
http://worldonline.media.clients.elli... years ago I read that visitors to art museums spend an average of nine seconds viewing any individual work. I can't give you a reference, so don't quote me. Does anyone out there know the study? As an avid museum visitor I was horrified by this finding. Then I started observing my behavior and those around me. Try counting 1001, 1002, 1003, :. 1009 in front of a work of art. It really has to be engaging to grab that much attention. Perhaps this is due to my lack of knowledge of how to view art or our attention span related to the constantly changing television images.Last week I spent more than my allotted nine seconds per item viewing the sculpture of Martin Puryear at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. This exhibit of 45 of his sculptures that span 30 years of work is remarkable. These works of Puryear are mainly in wood and are deceptively simple in design. There are circles or loops that look like he went to a forest and found some vines or supple branches that he simply twisted into a form that I would love on my living room wall. Spending more than nine seconds with these works reveals much more complexity. On the other end of the scale is a work entitled 'Desire' that fills an entire gallery and measures nearly 10' x 20' x 24'. It is a spoked wheel with an axle that rests on a pillar. This work requires much more than nine seconds to grasp. It is surprisingly beautiful. On http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/puryear/index.html# Puryear says of this work that he is interested "in how things are made and how things are done." Me too. The skill required to use 5 different types of wood fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses is amazing. Standing in the gallery I could only imagine how it was designed and constructed. And time. This work was dated 1981. I imagine it took a good deal of that year to complete - perhaps millions of seconds.This exhibit goes through May 18 and is worth the drive to Fort Worth.
The evolution of the way child abuse is reported and investigated has helped many children and is now putting some at risk. Public policy has unintended consequences both positive and negative. The negative consequence that I am concerned with is the use of the child abuse and neglect reporting system to screen people who work with children. The way it works is that an agency submits a name of a prospective employee or volunteer to the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services and they report back any substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect attributed to that person. This is viewed by many as adequate to determine if a person is safe to work with children. It is no longer adequate. Many agencies go further than this limited screening but not all.Explanation of why this no longer works requires a brief review of how we got here. Child abuse and neglect have been part of human history and through the ages communities have responded in a variety of ways. It was only in the 1960s that states developed child abuse and neglect reporting systems when we determined that child abuse was a problem requiring state intervention. This starts with people reporting suspected abuse or neglect and professional staff investigating to determine if it occurred and if the child is safe. If there is evidence that the child was abused, the report is confirmed. If the child is not safe, foster care is the most frequent response. Day care licensing standards were a parallel development in Kansas and nationally. These legislatively determined standards include restrictions on who can work in a child care facility. Someone who committed an act of child abuse and neglect (KSA. 65-516) is specifically excluded from such work. The easiest way to determine if someone has committed such an act is to ask SRS to check their records.If someone is going to be deprived of their livelihood (a job) because a state agency said that they abused or neglected a child, how can we be certain that the person making the decision was correct? That question was addressed in federal lawsuits with some courts determining that the answer was to require a high level of evidence that abuse occurred for making such a finding (for example in the Northern District of Illinois in April 2001). Typically states used something like preponderance of credible evidence as the standard to make this decision. Kansas adopted the much higher standard of clear and convincing evidence in 2004. I could not locate their reasoning but I think that it related to depriving people of jobs based on a low level of evidence that abuse or neglect occurred.The result was a nearly 50% decrease in substantiated reports. In 2004 SRS investigated 15,840 reports of abuse and neglect and substantiated 3,878 (24.5%). In 2005 they investigated 14,146 reports and substantiated 1,954 (13.8%). The SRS website says that this rate is now 8.8%. There are now a lot fewer people with a record of a finding of abuse or neglect in SRS records. So when an agency only uses the SRS child abuse and neglect reporting system to screen volunteers they are less likely to find a history of abuse or neglect. Neither do they find out if the person has a felony conviction for a crime against persons. You need to check with the KBI for those records. If you are involved with an agency serving children in whatever role, ask how they screen volunteers. If they only use the SRS child abuse reporting system, suggest that they do better.
Flan is an elegant dessert that can be deceptively simple to prepare. Edith and I made flan last Friday evening when the Paraguayan Ambassador to the United States was in town. Ambassador Spalding was here for the annual meeting of the Kansas Paraguay Partners. This organization has promoted a variety of exchanges between Paraguay and Kansas for 40 years. This year's annual meeting coincided with an exquisite exhibition of Paraguayan art at the Mulvane Museum of Washburn University in Topeka. If you like art, drive over and take a look.Since our recipe was greatly modified through a Kansas Paraguay exchange, I began to reflect on its origins. According to Larousse Gastronomique the self proclaimed world's greatest culinary encyclopedia flan has been around almost forever. The Latin poet Fortunatus (530 690 AD) mentioned flan and recipes exist that go back to medieval cooking. The word flan comes from the Latin "flado" which is a flat cake. Thus it exists in forms that we would call a tart to the creamy rich custard dessert that many of us recognize. I have even seen recipes for asparagus or spinach flan. Most of us would call these quiche. Flan is often thought of as a difficult dish to make that has way too much fat from many eggs and cream or whole milk. While it can fit this description, this is where our Kansas Paraguay recipe exchange comes in. Our recipe started as a difficult to make overly fat confection. Then we had the pleasure of meeting Estelle Carrizosa from Asuncion Paraguay who shared her flan and recipe. Here is her recipe with our modifications.Preheat oven to 350 degrees (changed from Celsius)Melt Â¼ cup sugar in the dish that you will use to bake the flan.Put 6 eggs into a mixing bowl and beat (we use 3).Empty 1 can sweetened condensed milk into a mixing bowl (you can use the fat free variety).Fill the can with whole milk and add to the bowl (we changed this to skim milk).Add a little vanilla or even better try a liqueur such as Cointreau or Kahlua. Beat the mixture and pour into the baking dish that has the melted sugar.Bake in a water bath for 1 hour or until set.Let cool and turn out into a serving plate.Unbelievably this recipe loses none of its texture or richness if you use skim milk instead of whole or reduce the eggs. When we started reducing the number of eggs it maintained its custard texture and rich taste all the way down to 2 eggs. We settled on 3. You can also go one step further by using fat free sweetened condensed milk. The dessert flan seems to be a part of the culinary heritage of many countries around the world. What has been your international experience with flan?
As a victim of bullying a long time ago I know it is no fun. This was in the sedate 1950s before youth became so sophisticated and have so many more bullying weapons. I would not like to relive those years in today's schools or internet environment. There are many bullying stories out there. Feel free to share yours.As a former victim and child welfare advocate I was delighted to read in today's JW that Lawrence schools are expanding a bullying prevention program. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program is identified as the "Cadillac" of such programs. The next sentence says that this program has "proven to reduce disciplinary referrals and conflict among students." I recall reading a press release (http://www.news.uiuc.edu/news/07/0810bully.html) entitled "Bully-prevention options for schools too narrow and untested." This statement came from Dorothy Espelage a Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who is an expert in bullying. This is what she says about the program adopted by the Lawrence School District.The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, "is being presented as a model, as being effective in decreasing bullying, and it has not been rigorously evaluated with U.S. samples," she said.Who to believe? I checked the Olweus website (http://www.clemson.edu/olweus/content.html) and they do have a link to a section on evidence of effectiveness. This includes 3 research studies conducted in Norway and 2 in the US. These appear to be reasonably well done studies but not ones that can establish cause and effect. They are not studies that use random assignment to two groups one receiving the Olweus Program and one that does not. This is the way to establish cause and effect or proven effectiveness.The Olweus Program has not "proven" to be effective. Perhaps the Olweus research suggests that the program reduces conflict or is associated with reduced conflict but it cannot be said that it is "proven" to reduce conflict. It is not uncommon for people who are advocating a program to overstate its benefits. It is likely that I have been guilty of that. However it is better for all of us to be careful of our language. Overstatement raises expectations and when they are not fulfilled the public becomes disillusioned.