Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Resilience of Mother Earth

As it usually is when it's nut-crisping cold outside, I was thinking about global warming (and Googling while trying to burn styrofoam). Now I've made it clear that, while there is sufficient evidence that climate change does exist and is occurring, there is clearly lacking, unclear, and contradictory evidence concerning the manmade global warming crisis bullshit. And even if it is possible we are raising the global temperature (which I wish would happen so I don't have mansack icicles), I'm confident in the planet's ability to improvise, adapt, and overcome (to use a little Marine lingo), and keep on thriving.

To support this idea, I have two somewhat unrelated stories.

The first one was a show on the National Geographic Channel, in which "Explorer investigates a provocative new theory that suggests that all life - including humans - is descended from viruses. To many people, viruses are simply agents for disease, but new evidence suggests viruses may possess far greater power."

I didn't watch the whole thing (as I was channel flipping all night), but what I took away from it was that we're still relatively clueless on a lot of biological processes and that nature will continue surprising us for centuries to come.

(Interesting side note: The virus show was preceded by another damned GW show)

The second was a Fox News story concerning the effects of human predators on species. And while there were good points, as well as the envirodouche complaint (the scientist quoted links back to some envirodouche partners) that a species might evolve out of existence (which they have been doing for as long as life has been), I was again struck by the resilience of life to improvise, adapt, and overcome us.

(side note 2: Deer hunting in Ohio has already responded to this issue by increasing focus on hunting does, as opposed to trophy bucks. And I personally will shoot a deer as long as I can eat it.)

So the point of relation for these stories (and the GW BS) is simple. Man is quite capable of doing local damage. But such a powerful, beautiful, and awesome wonder that is a planetary ecosystem is not going to be destroyed by beings that depend on it for survival. Maybe if we all worked together for global Armageddon, then popped off every nuke simultaneously we might kill off a lot of shit. But EVEN THEN the planet would manage to come back. And since we're not doing so (and working here to clean up the messes we have made), I'm pretty confident in our survival, and in the survival of the planet,

And that reminds me of another NatGeo show called Aftermath: Population Zero. This is an interesting little show where people suddenly disappear. Not surprisingly, the planet scours itself easily of everything that we built up. It's a complete hypothetical, of course, but it shows that no matter how much we may attempt to tame nature, we're really not that damned powerful.

Finally, there's the worst-case scenario, immortalized it the craptastic icefest that is the movie The Day After Tomorrow (which I watched after freezing my ass off coming home), your standard disaster movie with global warming as the big bad force that spawns uber-storms that freeze New York over the space of a minute. Has Dennis Quaid being right, and he gets to talk to Bilbo (or at least the guy who played him in the LOTR movies). And it ends up with us all (except the dead people in the north half of the country) in Mexico (as illegal immigrants).

(side note #3: I actually watched this piece of shit in the theater. And I knew it would be crap, but it was a good laugh.)

The sad thing is that The Lame After Tomorrow is less fictional than the Algore propagandafest known as An Inaccurate Truth.

(last side note: Wal-Mart has this movie specially packaged with a poisonous, mercury-laden compact flourescent fucking bulb!)

Okay, I have to stop before I get into the show with the kids eating flourescent bulb glass. I watch too much TV.

25 comments:

Beth said...

And yet you pass on American Idol, really Patrick, you've got to get with it!

(I agree with your assessment on Mother Earth, by the way, she's a tough cookie!)

Patrick M said...

Beth: What about American Idol?

(BTW, you really want to get me started on this rant?)

Satyavati devi dasi said...

And even if it is possible we are raising the global temperature (which I wish would happen so I don't have mansack icicles), I'm confident in the planet's ability to improvise, adapt, and overcome (to use a little Marine lingo), and keep on thriving.

So basically this gives us carte blanche to do whatever evil we want to the world, right?

This is the same mentality that leads people to run septics into lakes (this was done quite extensively before EPA regulations forbid it, and I know this firsthand) and then be shocked and appalled when the water became contaminated. It's also the same mentality that prompts companies to bury chemicals (also firsthand knowledge) and then be wide-eyed and full of protests of innocence when local groundwater is discovered to be toxic. It's a transparent excuse to make it morally and socially ethical to do terrible things to the planet.

Sure, Patrick, the earth will, hopefully, eventually bounce back. But it's the rate at which we torture it, which far and away outstrips any potential self-healing power it has.

Let me give you an analogy, because that's what I'm best at. Let's say I take a (theoretical of course) baseball bat to you and give you a righteous (well-deserved) asskicking, leaving you spread out on the pavement.

If I walked away at that time, you would probably eventually get up. But if I 1. continue to kick you and otherwise maul you (again, surely well-deserved and remember, theoretical) whilst you lay there, or 2. sit and wait until you get up, then do it again until you fall out, and repeat multiple times, you WILL eventually succumb to an onslaught that doesn't give you any recovery time.

You wouldn't treat your 'Mother' like that, would you? That's basically what we're doing: multiple, continuous onslaughts of violence against the planet on such a vast scale that we are not allowing recovery time, and eventually the damage will reach a critical point at which the system will break down (global warming being just a hint of future problems) and recovery will no longer be possible during the span of human reign.

And don't be using my favourite quote against me.

There.

Patrick M said...

Saty: So basically this gives us carte blanche to do whatever evil we want to the world, right?

No, did I say that? My point is that while we should alway work to make the world a better (and cleaner) place, the planet's tough enough to keep going while we address some of the messes we've made without going into an incessant panic mentality of "We only have ten years left to save the planet" or whatever. And I think some celebutard uttered that nonsense in the early 90's (which means we're fucked now).

As for your analogy, there's one problem. We're not at the level of a baseball wielding bitch (oooh, low blow) in the global scale. We would be more accurately portrayed as mosquitoes. A lot of us may be annoying, but it would take massive swarms to do damage. And by that time, mother earth would pull out the bug spray. We're going to be taken out long before the planet died out.

And we've already begun to figure many things out. So without giving in to panic mentality, we can still take the time to responsibly clean up our messes and solve the problems without destroying our economy, our way of life, and most importantly, without losing our freedom.

As for the quote, I follow the general rule there: Steal from the best. I mean, why use crappy quotes? That's for Algore to do.

rockync said...

I am a firm believer in taking care of where we live. We have only one Mother Earth.

But, here is what I wonder about (which doesn't affect Creationists who reject the idea of the earth being so old)- what if this is a cyclical change? Perhaps the earth went from an ice age that lasted maybe a million years followed by this warmer age we are in now where the earth flourishes and now comes the next ice age?

Just a thought...

Arthurstone said...

PatrickM typed:

(snip). And while there were good points, as well as the envirodouche complaint (the scientist quoted links back to some envirodouche partners) (snip)

Come on Patrick. The name calling doesn't help your arguments much at all. Doesn't invite one to take you as seriously as I think you would like.

Arthurstone said...

Patrick typed:

'I watch too much TV.'


The antidote:

'Tree of Smoke' by Dennis Johnson

'The Siege of Krishnapur' by J.G. Farrell

'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood

'The Famished Road' by Ben Okri

'The Old Devils' by Kingsley Amis

'Sea of Poppies' by Amitav Ghosh

The Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brien. The best historical novels I've ever read. Twenty in all and well worth the effort.

Cheers!

Satyavati devi dasi said...

what if this is a cyclical change?

There are cyclical climate changes. This has been proven with paleogeology and paleoclimatology research.

However, that doesn't mean we can't adversely affect the system. Climate change, eg to go from 'Snowball Earth' to the general tropics of say, Tertiary times, takes a very, very long time. Introducing a new element (us) into the equation brings a whole new set of variables that weren't accounted for in the beginning. This can send a stable (if cyclical) system out of control.

Patrick and I have already argued the point that what happens in one part of the world affects the entire planet (proof: ash from any violent volcanic eruption travels around the world in a matter of days and can make weather effects on the other side of the globe). Thus, the problem is one that the entire world needs to address.

I am not panicking.. I am pointing out that we are doing cumulative damage to the planet at a rate at which it cannot recover. People like to pretend this doesn't exist because it means that they might have to change things or give up something they like. They say that because this year it happens to be cold, global warming doesn't exist. You cannot extrapolate that from one year. Climate change, especially, has to be measured over decades and even longer. There is proof that over the past hundred years, the average temperature has risen. This coincides with the Industrial Revolution.

People say that there is an insufficient data set because climate change was not followed accurately before the Industrial Revolution; however, a lot of data can be obtained through drill cores (soil, rock, ice), paleontology, etc., and give a fairly good picture of the climate in the past. That's how we know the Tertiary was warm, and that Long Island is a glacial moraine.

The recent data that Patrick has sent me in an effort to change my opinion on global warming all admit that temperatures have indeed been going up, and ice is thinning and showing a net loss in both Arctic and Antarctic areas.

Without panicking, we have two options. We can stop the bleeding now or we can wait until it's too late. To sit around wasting time accusing it of being a liberal plot or whatever is just a nonsense that takes away from the actual point: that now is the time to make positive changes, before we come to a point where we are unable to do so.

Arthurstone said...

The problem I have with this issue is the idea that we as conspicuously over consuming Americans somehow have the moral right to gone on using more of everything as long as we like. And that our consumption somehow has no negative effect politically, socially, ecologically or economically.

It would take little sacrifice (none really) to have more by using less. This guys offers a very good place to start. Saw him here in Seattle earlier this week. Fascinating.

http://www.michaelpollan.com/indefense.php

Oh and we could learn to walk more. It usually isn't painful.

Patrick M said...

Arthur: When those I label as envirodouches are willing to consider the possibility they are wrong (and I readily admit I may be (although I'm not (and I'm an egomaniacal bastard (and overuse parentheses (a lot)))), then I won't label them anymore.

But namecalling doesn't necessarily make me less serious, just more entertaining.

Saty: I went and looked at some more GW data on the NOAA site just to clarify my position. And my instincts are still leading me in the same direction based on things I gathered. First, they are clear that they're not sure that manmade global warming exists. Second, the known data is over short periods (1000 years). Third, the true global data (with all known variables) is only 30-40 years old at best). Fourth, all models are based on trends that are currently in the process of changing.

And to clarify, I'm all in favor of making positive changes. Where I draw the line is when we are forced (by government fiat) to make those changes to the point it destroys our economy. Because if we're struggling, no one will give a shit about the environment. Again I point to asshat third world countries where survival takes precedent over the environment.

I'd say more but I froze my ass off today dealing with a frozen car and frozen children.

Arthur: As for the consumption issue, it will probably come around to bite us in the ass.

Which brings me to the food link. The secret there is to stay to the walls of the grocery store. There you find meat, vegetables, refrigerated dairy items. You might have to go into the aisles for noodles and pasta and flour and sugar. But if most of your food comes from the walls, that's a step.

And walking in sub-zero wind chills does hurt.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

the known data is over short periods (1000 years)

Hello. Go back to NOAA. They not only have detailed information on temperature changes for the past 150,000 (one hundred fifty thousand) years, based on deuterium proxy find in ice cores in Antarctica, they also have information on other warm periods in history, dating all the way back to the mid-Cretaceous, between 90 and 120 million years ago.

They also say:

"First on the list of likely human influences is warming due to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Other human activities are thought to drive climate as well. As the ice-core data show, the increase in carbon dioxide is unprecedented and well outside the range of natural variations. The recent increase matches the increase calculated from the fossil fuel emissions. There is little doubt that these gases will contribute to global warming, and here too the paleo record provides invaluable evidence regarding how much temperature change accompanied changes in carbon dioxide over the past several hundred thousand years."

"The best estimate is that about 50% of the observed global warming is due to greenhouse gas increases.

"The paleo record also tells us how much temperature change occurred in the past when carbon dioxide levels were different. Studies show that the 100 ppm reduction in carbon dioxide during the last glacial was accompanied by a 3°C cooling in the western tropical oceans. This amount of temperature change is consistent with the change predicted by numerical climate model simulations."

Once again, the same sources as you're reading.

I don't make this shit up. Remember, 'paleo' is my thing.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

And since as far as I know, viruses require host cells in order to replicate (using the host cell's resources, dna, rna, whatever) then any descent from viruses, which sounds ridiculous to me but I didn't watch the show, wouldn't exactly be from viruses, but from preexisting cells that were infected.

Which would, at least in my book, negate their provocative theory.

But then again, I am not a biology major and I don't specialize in ID, and I didn't see the show.

I'm going to go see how provocative I can be when it's 15 outside. My guess is not much.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Ironic as hell that those Liberals, who now label themselves "Progressive", would like to relegate us (through their environmental policy which serves as their "energy" policy) to the days of old in their quest to mandate that we "conserve" energy.

ENERGY IS PROGRESS.

Can we use it more efficiently? Sure. But, when I say more efficiently I'm talking more about not keeping all of the lights on in Menards during the latenight hours when the store is closed. I'm not talking about inefficient wind farms to power a city or corn based ethanol to fuel your car.

Those extremist in the environmental movement make a point to advocate conservation. They're "hip". They're "cool". They're the same crowd running around with their energy necessitating iPods and their Mac Books.

If you really wanted to advocate conservation you'd ditch them both and write on birch bark with a burnt stick.

Truth is, no-one in their right mind wants to live that way. It's what we term "quality of life".

ENERGY has made our lives much simpler. It has made us more efficient. It has allowed us to (dare I say) PROGRESS.

Now why the hell would we ever want to advocate using less of it?

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Okay, don't stop me now, I'm on a roll....

Let us, for a moment, revisit the now infamous incandescent vs. CFL debate.

On the one hand, you have a what?..$.60 lightbulb, produces quality light (ask any professional photographer), has an average lifespan of about 750 hours, poses no health or safety (save cutting yourself on broken glass), and can be thrown out in your trash.

Conversely, we have the $4-5 (sometimes more) CFL. A bulb which is said to last 10,000 hours on average. A bulbe which produces a much less quality of light (again ask any professional photographer), takes time to warm up, presents problems for "dimmer" switchplates, contains mercury and in some instances lead, can pose a health and safety risk if broken in the home, and is much more complex to dispose of.

Now, the apologists will say that the amount of mercury in them or the safety risk imposed is "insignificant" or "minimal". Dare to ask these individuals their thoughts on the mercury content in the fish coming from the nation's lakes and rivers. What is more, these sorts of activists are largely proponents of smoking bans. They cite the deletarious effects of second hand smoke to the bodies of non-smokers.

By that very premise, their argument favoring bring mercury into the home, thus presenting an unecesary health risk, is without merit.

Touted as an "energy concious" resolution, it is also worth noting (at least to any objective individual) the significant amount of money spent by GE, Phillips, Sylvania, etc. to lobby members of congress to ban the much less expensive incandescents in favor of this regulatory tax increase mandate to purchase $4 lightbulbs instead.

Now, I've nothing against profit and capitalism. But, using the government's exclusive monopoly on force against your competitor is the furthest thing from honest capitalism.

And so it goes, the only "green" in this is the kind going directly into the pockets of the aforementioned and their beloved politician of choice.

Shaw Kenawe said...

The most respected scientific bodies have stated unequivocally that global warming is occurring, and people are causing it by burning fossil fuels (like coal, oil and natural gas) and cutting down forests.

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which in 2005 the White House called "the gold standard of objective scientific assessment," issued a joint statement with 10 other National Academies of Science saying "the scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions." (Joint Statement of Science Academies: Global Response to Climate Change [PDF], 2005)

The only debate in the science community about global warming is about how much and how fast warming will continue as a result of heat-trapping emissions. Scientists have given a clear warning about global warming, and we have more than enough facts — about causes and fixes — to implement solutions right now.



Weather is what happens at any given moment in the atmosphere while climate is how the atmosphere behaves over decades and centuries.

We shouldn't look out the window and make assumptions about long-term climate.

TAO said...

I am no expert but lets look at the issue of the weather. If I am not mistaken, and working with nothing but a high school science background (spent my college years in the social sciences so I could be corrupted by all those liberals!) the earth circles around the sun pretty much on predetermined and well established orbit.

Since we get our heat from the sun if we notice a change in the temperature here on earth, either warmer or colder we could rightfully assume that either our orbit has changed, the sun has changed, or something on earth has changed.

Maybe due to all the excess weight on the earth we are affecting the gravitational pull that exists between us and the sun? I cannot help but notice that if you park your car pretty close to a smokestack your car gets covered in gook real quick. I remember after three months in Pigeon Forge, TN my car had all these spots on it and these spots were called "acid rain" which wasn't a new type of rain devised by nature but rather something man made.

I don't know about you but when I go out camping and I come upon a stream the thought of someone peeing upstream just really bothers me...kind of like what we dump in our rivers and lakes and then drink as tap water.

I am not real sure but last time I was in school it was discussed how the reason the middle east has all this oil is because of the decaying plant life that once existed....hmmm, desert now jungle then?

I wonder if their increase in temperture caused a decrease in temperature someplace else? Can't help but notice that when it is daylight in one part of the world it is nighttime in another. While we are 'wintering' Australia is enjoying summer.

Just kind of wonder if we are a few degrees colder than normal does that mean someone is a few degrees warmer someplace else?

Hey, I got an idea, lets go crazy and really screw up the environment and lets see who is right!!! Think we could get a second chance once we pushed it all too far?

Arthurstone said...

Patrick typed:

'And to clarify, I'm all in favor of making positive changes. Where I draw the line is when we are forced (by government fiat) to make those changes to the point it destroys our economy. Because if we're struggling, no one will give a shit about the environment. Again I point to asshat third world countries where survival takes precedent over the environment.'

Accommodating our increased awareness of environmental concerns by regulating water quality, emissions into the atmosphere and so on has not in any way shape or form caused the US to run the risk of 'destroying our economy'. More propaganda from the same folks who have convinced us that blasting the tops of West Virginia mountains for coal is a good idea. The same folks who in years past assured us we never would run out of cod fish from the Grand Banks. That buffalo would always populate the Great Plains. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Yet another feeble excuse to avoid taking steps we all know we need to take to insure a supply of clean water, healthy seas and unpolluted air.

TAO said...

Patrick,

Close your eyes, sit back and relax and then remember, its 80 degrees right now in Los Angeles.

Tomorrow it will is predicted to reach 85....I am going to Venice Beach for a little walk on the wild side....

Gayle said...

I'm not going to join in arguing with those here who have bought the GW theory lock, stock and barrel. All I'm going to say is that I agree with you, Patrick, and with Soapbox God too. In fact, I've been stocking up on lightbulbs for quite some time. I don't want anything to do with incadescent lightbulbs! Regardless of what they cost, I abhor the idea of using lights that have any amount of mercury in them.

By the way... the verbage you use in your posts is your business and only your business. After all, it's your blog. :)

Mike's America said...

Patrick:

Off topic, but I thought you were supposed to keep my moonbats well fed and happy. If so, why is DICK coming around the old homestead looking for scraps?

You must not be kicking his worthless ass enough.

Arthurstone said...

Mike-

Whoa.

You've really butched up in the New Year.

Good on you.

Satyavati devi dasi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Satyavati devi dasi said...

ooo... a $4 lightbulb that lasts ten times longer and produces the same amount of light for less than half the energy.

Producing full-spectrum light that is a near-enough equivalent to daylight so that plants can happily utilize it in photosynthesis. Again, using half the energy of incandescents, especially when trying to get these kinds of Kelvins.

Geez, who'd want something that does twice as much for half as much? I bet if Toyota made a Tacoma that would run 44 miles on half a gallon of gas, nobody'd want that either.

And as far as mercury goes? Should we list the chemicals and contaminants you ingest, smear on your body, wash with (and in) and eat on a daily basis? Should we compile an inventory of the toxins in the dinner you had tonight?

Of course not. What would be the fun in that?

Our house runs on fluorescent. Twice the light, half the energy. My plants are pleased. So am I, and so is the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

But you go on and do what you want.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"But you go on and do what you want."

In a free society and under the confines of reasonable law, I could think of doing nothing else.

Patrick M said...

"But you go on and do what you want."

In a free society and under the confines of reasonable law, I could think of doing nothing else.


I was going to add to this, but Soapster has already said what matters, except:

Tao: Knock off the 80 degree shit. My car froze up it was so damned cold. It's so damned cold my damn nipples just punched through my damn shirt. :)