Bits and dangerous pieces

June 27, 2013

500-8Heavy ground fog this way-early Thursday along California’s north coast, and way-quiet, too. The usual noise from the Pacific Ocean, only about a mile or so away, can’t be heard at all.
Up high, though, there seems to be a thin-spot in the mist as the half-moon hangs brightly in the southern sky — a look and feel of gothic emotion.

No real major news bursting forth this morning — reverberations off the US Supreme Court ruling this week about the only nip in the news cycle. And great, ugly irony continues in Texas: Gov. Rick Perry says he does “value life and want to protect women and the unborn,” and the state then executes its 500th inmate in 30 years. Also the first women to legally be put to death in the US in three years.

And so it goes.

(Illustration: Albrecht Dürer’s ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse found here).

And the midst of slick Rick’s bullshit, the Texas legislature was whupped by State Sen Wendy Davis, who performed a near 10-hour filibuster of a nasty an-abortion bill — the marathon started out quiet, but again social media knocked the wind out of assholes and the event became a national hit.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro eyed how inapt and stupid Republicans as he tweeted: Perhaps the Texas GOP’s biggest blunder tonight was forgetting that social media exists.
Folks are even calling for the previously political unknown Davis to run for governor.

And I guess the Supreme Courts supremos hate minorities and love the gays, Justice Scalia’s nasty comments aside that “homosexual sodomy” must be different than ‘hetrosexual sodomy’ because of the noise and the colors. The gays are just too, too gay about it.

Meanwhile, California and much of the southwest US will undergo a way-hot meltdown this weekend and into next week as a “stalled” weather pattern is forming over the US and Canada. A system that could furnish the hottest temperatures ever recorded on earth, yes, in all of history.
Via Climate Central:

All-time records are likely to be threatened in normally hot places — including Death Valley, Calif., which holds the record for the highest reliably recorded air temperature on earth at 134°F.
That mark was set on July 10, 1913, and with forecast highs between 126°F to 129°F this weekend, that record could be threatened.
The last time Death Valley recorded a temperature at or above 130°F was in 1913.
Las Vegas and Phoenix, two cities well-known for their hot and dry summers, are also predicted to approach record territory.
Last Vegas’ all-time high temperature record is 117°F and Phoenix’s high is 122°F.
Excessive heat warnings are in effect in both cities from Friday through Monday.

And the heat nowadays, what about it?

One study, published in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences in 2012, found that the odds of extremely hot summers have significantly increased in tandem with global temperatures.
Those odds, the study found, were about 1-in-300 during the 1951-1980 timeframe, but that had increased to nearly 1-in-10 by 1981-2010.

Climate change ain’t fooling.

And in that vein, Dr. Jeff Masters at Wunderblog posted some thoughts on President Obama’s climate-change speech on Tuesday — a football analogy fits the bill.
Some high points:

Like a game of football, the battle for civilization’s survival has Mother Nature stacking the line against us with beefy linemen.
Each year that carbon dioxide increases another part per million (ppm), it’s like giving Mother Nature’s linemen an injection of steroids.
They add another pound of bulk, get another millimeter taller, another split second faster.
We blew past the “safe” level of CO2, 350 ppm, back in 1988, when Mother Nature had 350-pound linemen.
Now in 2013, with 400 ppm of carbon dioxide in the air, the opposing linemen are 400-pound behemoths.
These increasingly fearsome opponents have been blitzing our team with tremendous ferocity of late, causing huge losses.
There were eleven billion-dollar disasters in the U.S. in 2012 — a number surpassed only by the fourteen such disasters the year before.
We had the hottest year on record in 2012, and largest drought since the 1930s Dust Bowl.
The previous year, 2011, saw the greatest floods on record on America’s three biggest rivers.
While some of these losses could have happened if Mother Nature had had her old 280-pound linemen — like in the late 1800s — 450 pound linemen are much more likely to tear into the backfield and create huge losses.
Heat waves, floods, and droughts are the sort of extreme weather events that climate change can make more intense and frequent.

We’ve had only one first down since Obama took office — a major increase in fuel efficiency for cars — and the game is already getting late into the second half.
Mother Nature has been running up the score against us.
A lot of the fans in the stadium have tuned out the game, focusing instead on fights in the stands or getting beer at the concession stand.
Many of the commentators have not been reporting the score, or claiming that the rules are different than what they really are.
But this game is deadly serious

Masters, like all people in such places, is “optimistic” mankind will eventually prevail, and although Obama did make a bold move in using the EPA to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants — and “…great to see our quarterback showing the guts to make some riskier plays, and try and make a first down…”  — way-way-more is needed to cool-out Mother Nature.
Optimism is good, but reality is better.

And onto towards the weekend and the flight of fantasy — dangerous minds in dangerous pieces.

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