Crying the weather

September 24, 2012

Clear skies and chilly this early Monday along California’s northern coast and maybe despite the calender, Indian Summer might still with us.

Not so long ago, weather talk was a nice way to pass the time, a gentle way to bullshit without upsetting anyone, people all knew chatting about the weather was a pleasent non-controversial way to pass time — nowadays it’s a bit different.

(Illustration found here).

Not only are discussions about today’s forecast, but what’s causing all this weird shit — droughts, way-extreme-high temperatures this summer (record-breakers), mega storms and other such crazed shit — and in between these conversations is wedged asshole politics.
Last week I became involved in separate verbal exchanges with two young women — both professional white-collar types — and both self-noted Republicans.
The first was unbending in her stance as a GOPer, and said yes emphatically when asked if she was going to vote for Mitt Romney, so forceful and definite in attitude, I curtailed further talk.
The second gal was uneasy about the Republican point of view and carried doubts about Romney’s actual abilities to be a decent president — she was confused.
The only thing I told her was please, please don’t just vote the party line — the horror is most-likely unimaginable.
Elizabeth Warren, in her debate last week up in Massachusetts with Republican incumbent Scott Brown, noted spot-on the major problem with a GOP win fest in November:

“Sen. Brown has been going around the country, talking to people, saying, you’ve got to contribute to his campaign because it may be for the control of the Senate.
And he’s right. … What that would mean is if the Republicans take over control of the Senate, Jim Inhofe would become the person who would be in charge of the committee that oversees the Environmental Protection Agency.
He’s a man that has called global warming ‘a hoax.’
In fact, that’s the title of his book.”

Inhofe indeed is one of the most-vocal asshole climate-change deniers around — what kind of world would we see in the next four years is that shithead gets the chairmanship of that important committee.
Kiss your grand-kids bye-bye.

Beyond the extreme bad weather and the quickly disappearing Arctic ice, the deteriorating environment is actually destroying lifeScientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the “natural” or “background” rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago. Around 15 percent of mammal species and 11 percent of bird species are classified as threatened with extinction.

Earth First! has a list of plant and animal life that’s down to less than a 100 members each, then they’re no more — terrifyingly sad.

As the climate gets worse, false impressions abound.
From Psychology Today and in a post entitled ‘Lying in Politics‘ — Duh!

A special concern is what could be called the hard-core lies — the lies that do real harm to other people, sometimes even lethal harm.
Perhaps the most notorious case in recent history was the way the cigarette companies, for at least a generation, denied the evidence that smoking causes cancer.
The current version of this is the climate change deniers, in defiance of the overwhelming scientific evidence, and the extreme weather events all around the globe.
Hard core lies are often discouraged with legal protections, and our courts are choked with cases where the claimants are seeking restitution for some alleged deception.
Indeed, lying is a cardinal sin in a court of law.
A lawyer can be disbarred from practicing law for committing deliberate perjury.
Lying in politics is especially pernicious.
A democracy cannot work without an informed electorate whose actions and votes are based on “transparency” — knowing the truth.
The model for lying in politics was Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
Adolph Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, an evil genius if ever there was one, was responsible for what came to be known as the “Big Lie.”
If you repeat a lie often enough and with great sincerity and conviction, people can be seduced into believing just about anything.
Proof of this was the relentless Nazi propaganda campaign against the Jews (blaming them for Germany’s defeat in World War One and the Great Depression), which culminated in the gas chambers of the Holocaust.

My underline, but you’ve already seen the point, huh?
A good analysis of this crazed approach came yesterday in the UK’s Guardian — the problem is not US peoples, but the goose-stepped media.
Some snips:

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt; it’s also in places like North Carolina and perhaps even embedded into America’s cultural DNA.
According to the latest study from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, the American public’s concern about global warming can be sorted into six categories, ranging from alarmed (13 percent) and concerned (26 percent), to cautious, disengaged, doubtful and dismissive (that’s the other 61 percent of us).
Among the many explanations offered for the knowledge gap are clashing worldviews, varying education levels, demographics, and the media’s handling of the issue.
At the other end of the spectrum, CBS had the least climate change coverage, devoting four minutes to the topic in three years.
Altogether, in 2011, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox spent twice as much time discussing Donald Trump’s “will he, won’t he” run for president rather than climate change.
In fact, NBC’s Meet the Press devoted 23 minutes to Trump that year – but not a single minute to climate change.

A stark example of this media bullshit comes via the supposedly solid, authentic PBS — every-man’s educational network — wrong.
The PBS News Hour last week dished reality and went on a ‘he said/she said‘ nosedive with comments from notorious climate change deniers and other assholes — Climate Progress has the background here.
And the program, however, fairly quickly did receive some flashback flak from the real world.

An offshoot of all that Arctic melting is Greenland’s “Ice Quakes,” though small in comparison to other shakers worldwide, the jolts can still be felt by those sensitive earthquake sensors:

One of the more amazing facts about the ongoing destruction of the Greenland ice sheet is that it is producing earthquakes that can be detected worldwide.
Now, fresh evidence is at hand to show that these “ice quakes” are spreading to previously quiescent parts of Greenland.
We’re only in September, but it seems increasingly likely that 2012 will set a record for such quakes.

And it is the calving of huge icebergs from these sped-up glaciers that is producing the earthquakes.
They are many times weaker than, say, the earthquake off the coast of Japan last year, but they are strong enough to be detected by the worldwide network of seismometers.

The striking thing about this paper is the evidence that glacial earthquakes, and the ice loss they represent, have spread to one of the coldest parts of Greenland, in the far northwest.
From 2000 to 2010, 66 glacial earthquakes occurred at northwestern glaciers that in previous decades had produced virtually none.
The paper describes this as “a major expansion in the number of glaciers producing glacial earthquakes and the geographic range of those glaciers.”

Just to overstate and understand the problem, the Ig Noble awards were issued last week during ceremonies at Harvard University — Literature Prize: The US Government General Accountability Office, for issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports.
(h/t BoingBoing)
According to Nature, the wayward son of the more righteous Nobels, Ig Nobles are supposed to reward research that makes people laugh, then think.
Laugh, think, then sob like a little school girl.

And we must move along — gotta work for a living.

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