Monday, October 16, 2017

Fwd: C02 - Trumps Wants this sat shut-down.

This message was sent to me, so I don't have the link, but, yes, Trump wants to shut this satellite down -- you know, because if we don't know about it, it won't happen.....


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: J
Date: Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 9:39 AM
Subject: C02 - Trumps Wants this sat shut-down.
To: Kim Cooper <kimc0240@gmail.com>


Since the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations have been steadily increasing, but 2015 and 2016 saw an unprecedented spike. A NASA study has now analyzed data gathered by the atmosphere-monitoring satellite, the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2), over more than two years and pinpointed the cause: the El Nino weather effect caused certain tropical regions to release far more CO2 than they normally would.

Although there's been some huge efforts to reduce the amount of CO2 produced through human activity, the amount of the gas pumped into the atmosphere has still increased by an average of 2 parts per million (about 4 gigatons of carbon) annually, in recent years. But 2015 and 2016 broke the trend with the largest spikes on record: up to 3 parts per million, amounting to 6.3 gigatons of carbon. Emissions from human activity stayed roughly the same in those years, so where was it all coming from?

The climate cycle El Nino was a prime suspect, but it wasn't clear exactly how. This phenomenon occurs over the Pacific Ocean every few years, when warmer water from near the Phillipines and Indonesia drifts east towards South America, and the effects can be strong enough to alter weather across the entire planet. Warmer waters at the surface of the ocean drag the rains with it, lowering precipitation and causing droughts in areas like Australia, India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, northeastern South America, while increasing rainfall in places like Peru, Chile and Ecuador.

The El Nino event in 2015 was one of the strongest since the 1950s, so it's no coincidence that 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded. To study what effects the event may have had on atmospheric CO2 concentrations, NASA researchers analyzed 28 months of data gathered by the OCO-2 satellite, which can take thousands of readings of carbon dioxide levels per day in a given area, as well as measure how well vegetation is processing the gas via photosynthesis.

The team compared that data to 2011 as a reference year, when weather and carbon cycle processes were normal. Their conclusion? The increase was due to warmer-than-average temperatures and drought in tropical parts of South America, Africa and Indonesia, which in turn were caused by El Nino.

The effects of the 2015 El Nino event in different tropical regions, which in turn caused...

"These three tropical regions released 2.5 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere than they did in 2011," says Junjie Liu, lead author of the study. "Our analysis shows this extra carbon dioxide explains the difference in atmospheric carbon dioxide growth rates between 2011 and the peak years of 2015-16. OCO-2 data allowed us to quantify how the net exchange of carbon between land and atmosphere in individual regions is affected during El Nino years."

The researchers combined the OCO-2 data with that gathered by other satellites, to figure out the specific processes in each of those regions that were contributing to the extreme increase in CO2. Drought ravaged eastern and southeastern tropical areas of South America, bringing about the driest year in the last three decades. Coupled with higher than average temperatures, vegetation in these regions were stressed and as such, photosynthesis slowed, meaning the plants plucked less carbon from the atmosphere.

Meanwhile, tropical Asia suffered through its second-driest year in 30 years, which increased the severity of forest fires that in turn pumped more carbon into the air. During the same time, tropical Africa endured hotter temperatures but no drought, which sped up the rate of decomposition of dead trees and plants, resulting in more CO2 emissions.

"We knew El Ninos were one factor in these variations, but until now we didn't understand, at the scale of these regions, what the most important processes were," says Annemarie Eldering, Deputy Project Scientist on the OCO-2 mission. "Understanding how the carbon cycle in these regions responded to El Nino will enable scientists to improve carbon cycle models, which should lead to improved predictions of how our planet may respond to similar conditions in the future. The team's findings imply that if future climate brings more or longer droughts, as the last El Nino did, more carbon dioxide may remain in the atmosphere, leading to a tendency to further warm Earth."These naturally-occurring processes may be seen by some as evidence against human-induced climate change, but they're snowballing symptoms of bigger anthropogenic causes. After all, increased carbon levels are believed to contribute to more frequent and severe El Nino events, which in turn can speed up these "natural" processes and exponentially alter the Earth's climate.

The research was published in the journal Science.

Source: NASA


ANS -- I Went to School With the Vegas Shooter

This is a fairly short, rather emotional piece by Greg Palast.  Apparently he knew the Las Vegas shooter.  And, like me, he seems to think the despair and hopelessness caused by extreme inequality is the culprit in our society.  
--Kim


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Mobile home on tracks, Sun Valley, California, birthplace of the Vegas shooter. (photo: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy)
Mobile home on tracks, Sun Valley, California, birthplace of the Vegas shooter. (photo: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy)


I Went to School With the Vegas Shooter

By Greg Palast, Greg Palast's Website

14 October 17

 

hen we were at Francis Polytechnic High in Sun Valley, Steve Paddock and I were required to take electrical shop class. At Poly and our junior high, we were required to take metal shop so we could work the drill presses at the GM plant. We took drafting. Drafting like in "blueprint drawing."

Paddock. Palast. We sat next to each other at those drafting tables with our triangular rulers and #2 pencils so we could get jobs at Lockheed as draftsman drawing blueprints of fighter jets. Or do tool-and-dye cutting to make refrigerator handles at GM where they assembled Frigidaire refrigerators and Chevys.

But we weren't going to fly the fighter jets. Somewhere at Phillips Andover Academy, a dumbbell with an oil well for a daddy was going to go to Yale and then fly our fighter jets over Texas. We weren't going to go to Yale. We were going to go to Vietnam. Then, when we came back, if we still had two hands, we went to GM or Lockheed.

(It's no coincidence that much of the student population at our school was Hispanic.)

But if you went to "Bevvie" - Beverly Hills High - or Hollywood High, you didn't take metal shop. You took Advanced Placement French. You took Advanced Placement Calculus. We didn't have Advanced Placement French. We didn't have French anything. We weren't Placed, and we didn't Advance.

Steve was a math wizard. He should have gone to UCLA, to Stanford. But our classes didn't qualify him for anything other than LA Valley College and Cal State Northridge. Any dumbbell could get in. And it was nearly free. That's where Steve was expected to go, and he went with his big math-whiz brain. And then Steve went to Lockheed, like we were supposed to. Until Lockheed shut down plants in 1988. Steve left, took the buy-out.

And after NAFTA, GM closed too.

Land of Opportunity? Well, tell me: who gets those opportunities?

Some of you can and some of you can't imagine a life where you just weren't give a fair chance. Where the smarter you are, the more painful it gets, because you have your face pressed against the window, watching THEM. THEY got the connections to Stanford. THEY get the gold mine. WE get the shaft.

This is where Paddock and Palast were bred: Sun Valley, the anus of Los Angeles. Literally. It's where the sewerage plant is. It's in a trench below the Hollywood Hills, where the smog settles into a kind of puke yellow soup. Here's where LA dumps its urine and the losers they only remember when they need cheap labor and cheap soldiers when the gusanos don't supply enough from Mexico.

I'll take you to Sun Valley. It's in my film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. In the movie, a kind of dream scene, the actress Shailene Woodley takes me back to my family's old busted home in the weeds and then down San Fernando Road, near Steve's place. Take a look, America. Along the tracks that once led in to the GM plant, you see a bunch of campers that the union men bought for vacations. Now they live in them.

No, Steve's brain was too big to end up on the tracks. He lived in empty apartments in crappy buildings he bought, then in a barren tract house outside Reno. I laugh when they say he was "rich." He wanted to be THEM, to have their stuff. He got close.

It's reported that Steve was a "professional gambler." That's another laugh. He was addicted to numbing his big brain by sitting 14 hours a day in the dark in front of video poker machines. He was a loser. Have you ever met a gambler who said they were a Professional Loser?

It's fair to ask me: Why didn't I end up in a hotel room with a bump-stock AR-15 and 5,000 rounds of high velocity bullets?

Because I have a job, a career, an OBSESSION: to hunt down THEM, the daddy-pampered pricks who did this to us, the grinning billionaire jackals that make a profit off the slow decomposition of the lives I grew up with.

But I'm telling you, that I know it's a very fine line, and lots of crazy luck, that divided my path from Paddock's.

Dear Reader: The publication that pulled this story at the last moment was plain scared–that they'd be accused of approving murder.

Paddock slaughtered good people, coldly, with intense cruelty, destroying lives and hundreds of families forever. If you think I'm making up some excuse for him, then I give up.

But also this: The editor of the Beverly Hills-based publication, a Stanford grad, could not understand that, just like veterans of the Vietnam war who suffer from PTSD even today, so too, losers of the class war can be driven mad by a PTSD that lingers, that gnaws away, their whole lives.

What happens to a dream deferred? Does it ...fester like a sore? Does it stink like rotten meat? Sag...like a heavy load?

Or does it explode?

Steve, you created more horrors than your cornered life could ever justify.

But, I just have to tell you, Steve: I get it.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

ANS -- Study shows North Atlantic wind farms could power the whole world

Interesting that a scientific journal says that wind power could power the whole world, while the fossil fuel advocates say renewables couldn't make a dent in our power needs.  
--Kim



Study shows North Atlantic wind farms could power the whole world

ENERGY
A new study has found that the North Atlantic ocean has the ideal conditions for wind...

A new study has found that the North Atlantic ocean has the ideal conditions for wind farms, such as the Block Island Wind Farm that opened up off the coast of Rhode Island last year(Credit: Deepwater Wind)

Wind is one of the cleanest energy sources available, and the US is sitting next to a gold mine. A new study has found that wind speeds over the oceans could allow offshore turbines to generate far more energy than a land-based wind farm – with the North Atlantic, in particular, theoretically able to provide enough energy for all of human civilization.

In tapping into wind as an energy source, the US has for decades lagged behind Europe and UK, which are home to the largest offshore wind farms in the world, including the London Array and the Netherlands' Gemini wind farm. But the US is catching up: the country's first facility opened up off the coast of Rhode Island last year, and if the Trident Winds project goes ahead, it could snatch up the title of world's largest wind farm.

In addition to being safer to bird life and less disruptive to humans, the main advantage of setting up wind farms offshore is the fact that the wind speeds are higher out there. In theory, those speeds mean there's five times as much energy blowing around over water than there is over land, but whether that would translate to electricity production gains was another question. Researchers from Carnegie Science set out to find the answer.

"Are the winds so fast just because there is nothing out there to slow them down?" asks Ken Caldeira, co-author of the new study. "Will sticking giant wind farms out there just slow down the winds so much that it is no better than over land?"

The team used computer models to compare the output of existing land-based wind farms in Kansas to huge, theoretical facilities out in the open ocean. According to their results, turbines in the ocean wouldn't drag down the wind speeds as much as those over land would, and in some areas, they could generate three times as much electricity as their land-based counterparts.

The mechanism behind that is a result of atmospheric conditions differing over land and sea. The energy that turbines tap into starts as faster winds at higher altitudes, which are brought down towards the surface. Over land, those winds tend to stay up high, but over the ocean – and paticularly over the North Atlantic – surface warming of the seawater brings them down to within reach of the turbines.

"We found that giant ocean-based wind farms are able to tap into the energy of the winds throughout much of the atmosphere, whereas wind farms onshore remain constrained by the near-surface wind resources," says Anna Possner, co-author of the study.

As rich as the North Atlantic is for wind energy, the team also found that its productivity would vary by the season. In the summer, such a huge, theoretical offshore wind farm could be capable of powering the entire United States or Europe, but in winter, the team says there's enough energy on offer to meet the needs of the whole world.

The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: Carnegie Science

Monday, October 09, 2017

ANS -- As the Threat of Nuclear War Grows, ‘the bomb’ Breaks the Silence

As if all the other horrible things Trump is doing aren't enough, there is the threat of nuclear war.  this it sort of a movie review, but it's not exactly a movie, and it is also a call to action.  This article ends on a hopeful note.  
--Kim




As the Threat of Nuclear War Grows, 'the bomb' Breaks the Silence

Like the Nobel Peace Prize–winning group ICAN, Eric Schlosser's multimedia creation raises awareness about a looming catastrophe.

ANS -- Why Europe Needs a New Deal, Not Breakup

Okay, this one is longish and I didn't understand all the economics stuff, but it shows that a solution CAN be planned.  This one is a solution for the EU.  It's got much more detail than the Leap Manifesto for Canada, and this article hints at much more detail in the actual plan.  Read it anyway -- just skim over the parts that are jargon.  
--Kim




Why Europe Needs a New Deal, Not Breakup

The EU is facing a crisis of legitimacy—but retreating to the nation-state will only benefit the far right.

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