“Clean burnin’ natural gas …”

The carbon dioxide emissions of the United States are increasing again, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration in their Monthly Energy Review. Guess what fuel is heavily contributing to the rise: Of course, clean burnin’ natural gas:
A bridge to nowhere.

And this doesn’t include the effects of methane emissions at all.

Posted in statistics, climate, rationality, reasonableness, politics, economics, science, environment, education, ecology, meteorology, risk, Carbon Tax, consumption, conservation, demand-side solutions, carbon dioxide, methane, fossil fuel divestment, investment in wind and solar energy, science education, natural gas, bridge to nowhere, microgrids, decentralized electric power generation, climate change, fracking, temporal myopia, zero carbon, global warming, climate disruption, decentralized energy, sustainability, exponential growth | Leave a comment

“Response” (to “…I would be interested to see how one can prove from such varying data that the warming has accelerated over time”), by Tamino


Denialist tripe, swatted by Tamino. Now, I know I am learning via the Denial101x course by John Cook (and many others) that the reason why Deniers are Deniers is because the notion of global warming itself challenges their values or the solutions they imagine are needed to curtail warming are unacceptable. Nevertheless, it is amazing to me that people will repeatedly trot out the same old crap and somehow believe if they do they are advancing understanding. Either they don’t really understand, or they are just parrots of a few key spigots of climate denial. I don’t know the degree to which this is true, but I have read, but have not (yet) investigated that some comments at online news sites are not posted by people but by bots. Now, in Tamino’s case, it’s improbable Mallett is a bot, but this might go some of the way explaining my dismay on why the same old-same old gets trotted out, including the “warming stopped in 1998″ thing.

Originally posted on Open Mind:

Some comment replies require more than just a few brief lines.

View original 528 more words

Posted in anemic data, Anthropocene, carbon dioxide, chance, climate, climate change, climate disruption, climate education, denial, ecology, education, forecasting, geophysics, global warming, maths, obfuscating data, open data, physics, politics, rationality, science, science education, sea level rise, statistics, sustainability, time series | Leave a comment

“Cauchy Distribution: Evil or Angel?” (from Xian)

Cauchy Distribution: Evil or Angel?.

From Professor Christian Robert.

Posted in statistics, rationality, reasonableness, maths, Bayesian, optimization, stochastic algorithms, mathematics, probabilistic programming, Bayes, information theoretic statistics, arXiv, stochastics, probability, Cauchy distribution, Student t distribution | Leave a comment

On the futility of speaking with (and working with) local politicians

I had a chat with a local politician yesterday, at a party of a mutual friend. It did not go well. Claire and I have been moving a sustainability agenda in town (and elsewhere!) for a few years, and have gotten somewhat adept at getting attention in the right places. Not necessarily support, mind you, but having support of a town committed to “Build, baby build!” (akin to “Drill, baby drill!”) isn’t a plausible thing. In any case, the interaction was negative, and while I did not call anybody names, I sure felt like it, and I felt like I was being talked down to. The lady’s representation of our environmental situation as one supported only by us was downright unfactual (we got several votes), and seemed like a need to maintain control. Work through the system, she implied. You need allies, she said. No doubt, I surmise, after working on a bunch of issues which are unrelated, they may throw us an environmental bone. Woof.

No matter. An 8 mile run through Hale Reservation and on nearby roads, and a part of
Noanet Woodlands run by the Trustees, and reading a bit from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Carl Safina set it right.


All science has one aim, namely, to find a theory of nature … We are now so far from the road to truth, that religious teachers dispute and hate each other, and speculative men are esteemed unsound and frivolous. But to a sound judgment, the most abstract truth is the most practical. Whenever a true theory appears, it will be its own evidence.

No doubt the lady politico esteems me “unsound and frivolous”.

And from Carl, always reminding me of a peaceful place in a neurotic human world:

We’re borrowing heavily from people not yet born. Meanwhile, the framework with which we run our lives and our world — our philosophy, ethics, religion, and economics — can’t seem to detect the risks we’re running. How could they? They’re ancient and medieval institutions, our of sync with what we’ve learned in the last century about how the world really works.

So, in net, I was expecting too much, way too much. The politico is a representative of a medieval, failed political and economic system which is incapable of dealing with the important problems of today. In fact, multiplied many times over across the United States, they are contributing mightily to the problem. Paraphrasing Carl, How do could they do otherwise?

So, I’m done talking to these people. Or working with them. I should have known better.

Posted in demand-side solutions, environment, ethics, exponential growth, global warming, politics, rationality, reasonableness, risk, sociology, sustainability, transparency, UU Humanists | Leave a comment

Another reason to decentralize electricity generation

There’s a report that a former KGB spy worked on the New York State electric grid for years. The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News have both reported on the susceptibility of the electric grid to terrorist attack. No doubt other elements of the energy grid, such as the hundreds of thousands of miles of natural gas pipelines, could also be disrupted. This cross-sectional exposure to such interventions or disruptions is only to be expected when energy depends upon a far-reaching, integrated network.

This is yet another reason why decentralizing energy production to local wind and solar is a good idea. Such a decentralized system can be attacked, but because it consists of so many more elements, it presents a daunting challenge to affect more than a tiny portion of it. This is the same strategy that’s used by large Content Delivery Networks (“CDNs“) to deflect denial-of-service attacks away from their customers: Their attack surface is just so large, it’s silly to even mount such an attempt. Indeed, often, once attackers know a target is hosted in such a way, they’ll simply pick someone else.

Posted in decentralized electric power generation, decentralized energy, demand-side solutions, energy, games of chance, investment in wind and solar energy, microgrids, rationality, reasonableness, risk, solar power, wind power, zero carbon | Leave a comment

The pending disintegration of the Larsen B Ice Shelf, Antarctica

Estimates place the disintegration of the remainder of this shelf within 10 years, after losing a chunk the size of the State of Rhode Island in 2002.

Posted in Antarctica, carbon dioxide, climate, climate change, climate disruption, environment, geophysics, global warming, meteorology, NOAA, oceanography, physics, rationality, reasonableness, science, science education, sea level rise, statistics, Uncategorized, WAIS | Leave a comment

Climate Scientist Michael Mann

Professor Michael Mann is a personal hero of mine, principally because he connected, for me, the world of time series and principal components with climate science, showing there might be some small thing I can contribute to the discussion, and because he and his colleagues were heroes and visionaries for bringing in statistical methods then alien to geophysics to their analysis of paleoclimate proxies.

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