GeologicalScienceBlog - subjects include Geology, Climatology, Environmental Science, NASCAR, Beer, Property Rights, Random Thoughts, & Politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian/pragmatist viewpoint. As a Dad & Grandad, I am concerned about the overgrowth of government at the expense of freedom. Background - two degrees in Geology (BS '77, MS '90), started studying Geology beginning Senior Year of high school (1971 - 1972) <68>

Monday, March 28, 2005

A review of a biography of Judi Bari - pioneer ecoterrorist

The linked reference is to a new biography on Judi Bari, another lost soul in search of a meaningful legacy.

I try to remind my Environmental Science students that thoughtful protest is a constitutionally recognized right and an important part of our series of "checks and balances". But if you want your passionate protest to be accepted by the mainstream, "In-Your-Face" protests and other forms of zealotry will not prevail, whether you are Earth First!, Act-Up!, PETA, or Operation Rescue.

When you drive your listener (or opponent) into a corner, they may say they agree to get you off of their back, but you have not likely gained a convert. Instead, appeal to their logic, their sense of right and wrong and give them some material to take home and read on their own time. That way, if they do have a change-of-heart, it will not cause a public "Loss-of-face". I think this is why Rush Limbaugh's form of talk radio is effective. When I was a "Classical Liberal" (see earlier post of today), I considered it my duty to listen to "the opposition". As I listened, what he was saying made sense. I was able to "noodle-it-out" in the privacy of my home or car and then arrive at a new conclusion.

Sometimes the zealots are so full of themselves (whether out of arrogance or severe self-doubt, where they are desperately seeking to make a name for themselves), they lose sight of the desired ultimate success of the chosen crusade. I suspect that Judi was suffering from severe self-doubt.
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Why Modern Liberals Ain't - I

Just a brief foray into this subject, in a future post I will pass along some of the landmarks during my evolution from liberal (classical definition) to conservative/libertarian.

During my time as a liberal, I was against all forms of tyranny, whether they be leftist, rightist, religious, etc.. Though I didn't agree with President Reagan, I knew that there was truth in his calling the Soviet Union "an evil empire". I didn't believe that we would be the "first to launch" (nuclear ICBMs), but I was afraid that we would scare the Soviets into launching first, then we would have no choice but to retaliate = MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction). We now know that "Peace Through Strength" works, when you are dealing with a somewhat rational adversary, e.g., the Soviet Union. They continually challenged us and they prevailed on small fronts when we showed weakness, but they ultimately knew there was a line that they could not cross. In other words, as evil as they were, Soviet leaders at least had some sense of self-preservation. Also, as the Soviets were a quasi-European culture, we had some assurance that we could figure out where they were coming from. This will may not ultimately work with China (I will leave that analysis to others) and it will not work with Muslim extremists who are willing to blow themselves up.

Contrast those views with the long-standing leftist lovefest with "Uncle" Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro, Mao Tse Tung (sp.?), Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, et al. Why do modern (and some past) leftist-liberals love to hate Adolph Hitler, while looking the other way (or even offering praise) when it came to Stalin, who was every bit as evil, if not more so (by some measures). German National Socialism (Naziism) and Soviet Socialism (Communism) are just variations on the same theme of central government control of all aspects of life. The Germans made Jews , Christians, Gypsies, Homosexuals, etc., the scapegoats for the failures of prior German policies. It was also to purge society of all those that "didn't fit the mold" of their planned society. "Individuality" as practiced by those cited was antithetic to the homogeneity needed for a "successful" socialist society. The Soviets made scapegoats of Jews and others for the same reasons.

A brief example of how American leftist-liberals conveniently look the other way and ignore the tyranny of Fidel Castro. Just type the words "13 de Marzo" into a search engine and see what comes up. The 13 de Marzo was a tugboat stolen by Cubans attempting to escape Fidel's tyranny. Read the accounts (including this Amnesty International report) of how the tugboat was sunk by high-pressure water hoses from one or more fireboats that pursued the escapees. The Vatican knew about it and wrote a letter of protest. If the Vatican knew, why didn't CNN know. If CNN knew, why didn't they tell us. (If I perhaps missed CNN coverage, please forgive, but I don't remember much MSM coverage at all.)

There are plenty more examples, David Horowitz is a good source, as he was "raised leftist" and made a high profile transition to conservative (for which he has paid a high price, doled out by those tolerant "liberals").

More to follow...

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Socialized Medicine - I

The linked article explains just some of the problems with socialized medicine.

Briefly, to summarize some of the problems with the issue:

Though the free-market system is humanly-flawed, at least there are some legal & government avenues through which to pursue relief/restitution from doctors, insurance companies, HMOs, etc.. If the government becomes the controlling interest, where will you go?

For those of you that are "Pro-Choice", under the status quo, if a woman pays for an abortion out-of-pocket, presumably, the medical records will be the private property of that doctor/ clinic. (I know that there are privacy issues to be discussed, to be safe, we should assume that nothing is completely private, nowadays.) Anyway, if every doctor becomes a government employee (under socialized medicine), presumably that doctor's records will become government records. Are you comfortable with that? Ditto if you have been treated for depression, STDs, etc..

When people perceive something to be free, they tend to overuse it. We all feel burdens of one sort or another and when it seems that someone else is shouldering part of that burden, it is human nature to want to take advantage of that relief, especially when we don't see the money directly leaving our wallets.

Under Hillary Clinton's 1993 version, if you try to go outside the system, you and the doctor would risk fines and prison. Is that what America is about?

Socialism sounds good, but it has been the root of a great deal of horror and misery. It just doesn't work.

More to follow...
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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Thomas Friedman on the Energy "Crisis" and Climate Change

Once in a while Thomas Friedman may make a few cogent points and he makes a few in this March 27th column (as printed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), though there is much to quibble about.

He starts by suggesting that President Bush is ignoring the energy "crisis" (There are issues of concern, but we are running the risk of the word "crisis" becoming the modern equivalent of "crying wolf".). Three times he uses the phrase "...by doing nothing to lower U.S. oil consumption...". The recently Senate-approved ANWR drilling (and other energy development programs) is not going to lower U.S. oil consumption, it is one of the steps necessary to maintain a healthy and vibrant economy, which will provide the technological improvements and advancements that will make the U.S. economy more oil-efficient. Even as our machines are becoming more efficient, a constantly growing and mobile populace causes a constant increase in oil consumption. It seems a paradox, but we have to use more energy now in order to develop the means of being more energy efficient in the future.

Part of the problem is the contrarian nature of the modern "liberal" Democrats in the Congress and the MSM. Most of them cannot bring themselves to support sensible energy legislation or changes in regulations for fear that it will benefit the president's poll numbers. Never mind that it might help the country, the party and the agenda are more important.

It is going to take a multi-pronged approach of energy development and increased energy efficiency to wean ourselves from foreign oil first and then gradually move towards other energy sources. In our free-market (how free is debatable), constitutional republic - what is the president supposed to do to "lower U.S. oil consumption"?

Yes, our (and other nations') gasoline purchases do finance a rogue's gallery of tyrants and autocrats in Russia, Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere, but we just cannot "shut off the taps" without crashing our economy. Yes, we are going to have to deal with oil competition with China. It is going to take some cultural changes on our part (including government regulations, tax policies, attitudes of many Union officials, etc.) to wean ourselves from some of the consumer products that are being produced in China, i.e., we don't need to help them by sending so much of our capital, which is financing that growth.

As for the paragraph dealing with the "climate change crisis" (there is that word again). As stated in earlier posts, the worldwide atmospheric carbon dioxide content is approx. 390 ppm (0.039%), and of that, human carbon dioxide emissions are dwarfed by natural emissions (volcanoes, hot springs, ocean releases, animal/bacteria respiration). There is ample evidence that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide (regardless of the source) is likely to increase plant biomass production (healthier, more vibrant plants), which will result in more removal of carbon dioxide by photosynthesis (a Negative Feedback Loop). The Sun's output varies. The Earth's orbit varies. And climate varies. Any human variance caused by carbon dioxide increases is likely to be minute, but when measured against the background of natural variation, how can we even tell? The increase in the number of cars projected with Chinese and Indian growth might affect the climate, but we should be looking at carbon soot and unburned hydrocarbons, rather than carbon dioxide as possible culprits, in addition to the Urban Heat Island Effect. Rather than squabbling about "who's fault it is", our time would be better served in learning how to deal with any changes that take place.

Friedman's solutions include:

1) Raising taxes (a favorite of liberals) to maintain a $4/gallon price to "...change the car-buying habits of a large segment of the U.S. public,..." - let's hear it for government manipulation, that works, doesn't it! To say nothing of what $4/gallon fuel will do to food prices and the living expenses of the poor and middle class.;
2) Building nuclear power plants again. This sounds good, but with the entrenched anti-nuclear mentality in the political left & MSM, this is going to be a tough sell. If we can't even get a new oil refinery built in this country since 1976 (because of regulations and/or enviro lawsuits), how are we ever going to get another nuclear plant built. We have learned a great deal since Three Mile Island.;
3) Carbon taxes - another favorite of liberals, including Al Gore. Taxes remove funds from American citizens, which will harm the economy, which will then cause a decrease in tax receipts going into the government treasury. If the economy is off because of increased fuel costs/fuel taxes, etc., how are companies going to be persuaded to shift to more expensive fuel sources? Right now wind and solar power are local sources and not suitable to large-scale applications. As for hydropower, talk to your "green friends" about allowing more hydro dams being built. There are some "deep greens" that want to destroy existing dams to return to "natural conditions". "The revenue from these taxes would go to pay down the deficit...", revisit the issue of what increased taxes does to the economy and the deficit (which is largely caused by congressional spending and not tax cuts).

There is more, but I am tired. The column is actually a diversionary attempt to counter the President's efforts to "take apart the New Deal" and engage in "throwing red meat to right-to-life fanatics."

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Friday, March 25, 2005

A Scientific Look at the Climate Future

This article, by Dr. Roy W. Spencer, presents some explanations of how the Earth is likely to moderate any future increases in atmospheric temperatures.

A brief explanation: A "Negative Feedback Loop" is when a change in a system triggers another change that slows the system down. A "Positive Feedback Loop" speeds up the system.

The example presented by Dr. Spencer is; for whatever reason that the atmosphere may be warming, warmer temperatures would likely increase water evaporation, further enhancing the Water Vapor component that represents the vast majority of the Greenhouse Effect. Increased evaporation will likely lead to increased precipitation, thereby acting as a "governor" on the system and moderating atmospheric humidity. The evaporation/precipitation is the Negative Feedback Loop that should keep the Greenhouse Effect from "getting out of control".

Well, anyway you should seek out other works by Dr. Spencer for a better explanation than I can offer.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Random Thoughts - II

This evening I saw an absolutely stupid bumper sticker, illustrating the shallowness and bigotry of some "liberal" thought.

The bumper sticker said "I support the separation of CHURCH AND HATE." What stupidity! What bigotry! What arrogance!

I have seen other similar bumper stickers referring to hate not being a Family Value. NO ONE EVER SAID IT WAS!

I doubt very seriously that these bumper stickers are referring to radical Islam.

Disagreement is not hate! Disapproval is not hate! Recognizing a set of moral laws (similar to those observed by other major religions) is not hate! I have seen nothing in the New Testament that would justify what would be considered hateful behavior (by most sensible people).

Yes, I know that there are a small number of individuals of a religious bent that employ hateful tactics, such as harassing family members during funerals for AIDS victims. I don't remember the church's name, nor the pastor that has gained publicity for this abhorrent behavior and even if I did, I would not offer any publicity for his name. But this sort of behavior is the exception, not the norm.

It sounds as if this is a case of someone projecting their bigotry onto others.
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Monday, March 21, 2005

Desperate Housewives vs. the Second Amendment

[This was the rant that disappeared Monday morning when I attempted to post. It is not as good as the original (I was on a roll), but it needs to be said.]

I don't regularly watch Desperate Housewives, but the TV was on Sunday night while I was messing with photos on Picasa 2 (it's a neat program), so I was kind of watching over my shoulder. I didn't record it, so I am going by memory.

This portion of the storyline illustrates Hollywood's disdain for the Creator-granted Right of Self Defense. Previous references have been made to the "red-haired one" (Brie (spelling?)) being a gun enthusiast. On last night's episode, her current pharmacist "boyfriend" presented her with a present, apparently a war souvenir of his Dad, a WWII German Luger pistol. The problem was that he gave it to her while they were in a park setting (at least I seem to remember there being kids playing in the background). While I might be honored by such a gift of a family heirloom, if someone gave it to me in such a public setting, I would have a cow.

Later in the episode, apparently they went out to do some target practicing at night, using car headlights to illuminate bottles set on a wooden fence. When the pharmacist made reference to not having fired a gun before, she simply showed him how to "point and shoot", with nothing said about any safety training, how to verify that a gun is unloaded, ... Gun ownership is a sober responsibility. I don't know where the fence was, as it was at night, what was behind the fence (as a backstop)? I have never been target practicing where there was not a hill, mountain, wall, sandbank or claybank to stop stray bullets. No consideration was given to this issue on the TV show (as far as I could tell). Yes, I have issues with stray bullets. I have had a stray bullet miss me by a couple of feet in the Eagle Mts. of West Texas (never heard the gunshot) and my Datsun pickup was hit by a stray bullet while exiting I-10 into downtown El Paso (in broad daylight).

In summary, ABC presents a character as an NRA member, who then proceeds to violate most laws of common sense when it comes to handling guns. Of course every stereotype is based in a grain of truth, but most NRA members understand the reasons for repeated checking of a weapon while it is being examined or respecting other aspects of gun safety.
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Senator John McCain's Continuing Obsession with Carbon Dioxide

Senator John McCain is continuing to obsess about carbon dioxide. In the above linked article by Steven Milloy states that Sen. McCain is wanting a new Kyoto-like treaty, one that would include India and China.

In the meantime, from the article: ..."McCain also urged greater pressure on U.S. businesses to reduce emissions. “The key to this is to convince business and industry that it's to their economic benefit to bring forward technologies ... to drastically reduce [greenhouse gases],” he said."... Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of combustion. It is the natural course of capitalism to try to increase profits by cutting costs, e.g., producing ever more efficient technologies to save fuels, but this takes time. Increased regulations (which will in-turn trigger more environmental lawsuits) would not be likely to help.

Fuel cost increases brought about by the market place (such as we have now) will provide motivation to save fuel however possible.

In the second article, Steven Milloy gives further explanation of the Greenhouse Effect and how it is dominated by Water Vapor (about 95% of the effect), with second place carbon dioxide contributing less than 5%. The article, entitled "Coconuts in Wyoming" includes statements by Harvard geochemist Daniel Schrag associating the warm climate during the Eocene Epoch (approx. 55 to 36 million years ago) and atmospheric carbon dioxide estimates of 800 to 1,000 ppm (parts per million). From this he tries to paint the alarmist picture of that as where we are headed, again.

Gee, there weren't too many humans running around during the Eocene, does that mean that the warm climate was natural? If it was natural then, why might it not be natural now?

During times of natural global warming, elevated carbon dioxide levels are logical, for the following reasons:
1) Warm weather = more activity and longer growing seasons for animals and bacteria, both of which emit carbon dioxide as a byproduct of respiration.
2) When ocean water warms, it loses some of its ability to absorb carbon dioxide, i.e., it loses more of its stored carbon dioxide. Think of what happens when you leave a soda or a beer out and it warms, it looses some of its "fizz", the same thing happens with the oceans.

As stated in the previous post relating to the National Assoc. of Evangelicals, even with the Greenhouse Effect, the atmosphere does not have the capacity to store enough heat to then transfer that heat to the oceans. The Sun is the primary heating element for the oceans.

There are numerous inputs (factors that influence Earth's climate), some of which are cyclical (and on different length cycles), and some of which are random. Some of these inputs exaggerate each other and some partially or completely cancel each other out. We are still on the learning curve as to the things that affect the Earth's climate. The concept that increased carbon dioxide = global warming was born a political animal and remains such to this day.
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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Conservation Easements - I

Conservation Easements (the above link is the same are the one posted on March 15) are one of those things that sound good at first. These agreements vary in name and details from state to state.

By entering into one, you are promising to preserve a portion of your property, perhaps a creek floodplain, perhaps a patch of hardwood forest. In exchange, you may get a break on property taxes, there may be other considerations that currently escape me. Your actions may give you a sense of contributing to environmental preservation.

The primary problem is that they are permanent, i.e., the easement becomes a permanent encumbrance upon your land deed. Plus you are giving control of a portion of your property to another entity, either the state government or perhaps a Land Trust or other Environmental NGO (Non-Governmental Organization). The arrangement may seem fine to you for the foreseeable future, as long as the status quo prevails. If your circumstances change, for financial, health, career, etc., reasons, your ability to use or sell your own land may likely be in jeopardy. The value of land is largely related to its allowed present or future uses.

If the land is passed on to your children, their ability to use, sell, or subdivide the land may be restricted or prohibited by the easement. Activities near the easement area (farming, recreation, etc.) may be restricted or prohibited. There may be agreements or clauses within the legal document that define your role in maintenance or repair of such things as roadways, culverts, wetlands, etc.. If you do not maintain your required duties, you may be subject to fines, sanctions, liens (perhaps worse?).

Some of the terminologies may be subject to interpretation by activist judges and attorneys that are familiar with these easements, whereas your family attorney may not be.

In summary, you are permanently surrendering control of a portion of your property to someone else that cares nothing of your family history, plans, or how unforeseen circumstances may cause you to have to sell that property.

More will follow. If I am factually incorrect on any of this, please advise.
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Friday, March 18, 2005

Global Warming Article of Mixed Value

The above linked article has some informative value in that it reminds the reader of the immense heat storage capacity of the oceans, which most people give little thought to. In comparison, land heats (and cools) much faster than water.

My primary concern is when the article strays back into the territory of "rising atmospheric temperatures". There is significant disagreement between land-based temperature records (which may be influenced by the very real "Urban Heat Island Effect") and satellite/ weather balloon temperature records. Links to pertinent articles will be presented in the future.

My contention (and probably the contention of scientists smarter than me) is that the atmosphere, even with its greenhouse gases (water vapor = 90%+) cannot store enough heat to transfer heat to the oceans in any significant quantity. Besides, heat rises.

From what I have read, it may well be that ocean temperatures are rising. The original source of virtually all of the Earth's current energy supply is from the Sun. The Sun's output varies over time (as does the Earth's orbit), through a series of cycles and random events and increased solar activity is likely the most plausible reason if ocean surface and near-surface temperatures are indeed rising.

Undersea vulcanism may play a role, but it is likely a local effect and undersea vulcanism is difficult to monitor and quantify as to its effects on ocean temperatures.

You may notice that these predictions are based on computer models. Computer models are an important tool in modern science, but they themselves are an immature science, useful for research and discussion purposes, but all they can do (from what I have seen) is to project "straightline values" (up or down) into the future, whereas most, if not all Earth measurements (temperatures, sea level, magnetic field,...) show significant variations (up and down) when the historical record is consulted.
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Hunter S. Thompson's Last ESPN.com column

Hunter S. Thompson's last ESPN.com article about "Shotgun Golf" seems a somewhat good example of rather mild gonzo journalism.

I have never been obsessed with Hunter S. Thompson, but I find myself being drawn back to his life and death. Maybe it seems that somehow his self-abuse through excesses of modern chemistry was a waste of his writing talent.

The following quote, from another blog entitled "shut up sara" - seems to articulate the feelings that I have, except I have a major disagreement with the last sentence (of the quoted segment).
"I'm really weirdly bummed out by this. I never would have cited Hunter S. Thompson as one of my heroes or inspirations or even influences, but he was important, he was an original, and he was just one of the most brutally honest writers of all time. How someone has that quality whilst viewing most of his surroundings through a thick drug and alcohol haze, I don't know, but he did.

I don't know if it's the way he died that disturbs me so much, because really, it was inevitable. It was so easy to view the man as a caricature, this crazy "gonzo" man bunkered in Colorado with a bunch of firearms, and his death makes you realize that he was a very real man, with very real demons. A while ago someone told me something that was echoed in an obituary for HST I read today, that those who commit suicide often do so because they see the world more clearly than others and they know too much
."

Of course we will never know what was in Hunter's mind when he put down the phone and picked up the gun. It was just a really lousy legacy that he chose for his finale.

It is one thing to pursue episodes of gonzo for the sake of blowing off steam, but when it becomes the apparent central theme of one's life, it seems that is the sign of a tortured soul.

Could he ever just relax and enjoy the beauty of a sunset or watching lightning issue forth from a distant thunderhead? Could he enjoy the simple beauty of watching a Colorado wheatfield waving in the wind? Or maybe watching a leaf float down a small stream?

Maybe that is what bothers me. I can maybe see how the cacophony of a large city might drive a troubled soul to self-destruction, but it just seems to me that he could have just walked out the door and driven for hours through the Colorado countryside, perhaps he could have parked and then set out walking for an hour, two hours. It seems that that would be therapeutic for most people.

It just seems a waste.
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Thursday, March 17, 2005

ANWR Drilling - I

The World's economy is petroleum-based. That's just the way it is. Someday, we will evolve into other energy sources, but that takes time. And it will take cooperative efforts within the Free Market System (and realistically with government, too) to bring this about.

Aside from the normal ups and downs of supply and demand, when crude and/or refined oil prices climb because of artificial reasons (taxes, restrictions on new drilling, lawsuits to stop drilling, new refineries, etc.), this tends to harm the poor first.

When the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was created, a small portion was set aside for future oil exploration and production (if the exploration was successful).

[If the following acreages are incorrect, please forgive. The salient point is that the area to be explored constitutes a small portion of the coastal plain and a much smaller portion of the entire refuge. I will change the figures when I find a reliable source.]

The ANWR is 19,000,000 acres.

The ANWR coastal plain is 1,500,00 acres.

The area designated for oil drilling is 2,000 acres of the coastal plain.

It is not pristine forest, it is frozen, generally flat coastal plain. It is not adjacent nor within the Brooks Mountain Range. Drilling and other activities will take place only when the permafrost is frozen. We have learned from our previous mistakes in other Arctic or near-Arctic drilling. It will take approximately ten years of negative cash flow before the oil reaches the marketplace (wells, pipelines, etc. have to be financed by someone and without the hopes of a profitable payoff, they don't get built). We have to do some sort of advance planning. Where there is oil, there is generally natural gas. We don't yet have a gas pipeline from the North Slope of Alaska. How long would that take to build?

More to come soon, as time permits...

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Misguided Social Gospel - Tilting at the Global Warming Windmill

Evangelical Christians are now jumping on the "Global Warming bandwagon".

Reverend Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, apparently a recreational scuba diver, became concerned over damage to coral reefs "caused by global warming". There is ample evidence that perhaps a significant number of the worlds coral reefs are under threats, from a number of different sources. But atmospheric carbon dioxide-induced global warming (as explained in my other postings) is not one of them.

Coral reefs are important because they are the areas of greatest marine species diversity (aka biodiversity). There are numerous species that will only live in areas favorable to coral reefs, i.e., there must be some sort of elevated structures for attachment during the larval phases of these organisms (corals, bryozoa, certain aquatic plants, etc.). Most coral reefs require warm, shallow, clear seawater of normal salinity, with a minimum of suspended clays, within the "photic zone". Some are adapted to less hospitable conditions, such as the Flower Garden Reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, which are apparently flourishing around the supports of off-shore oil drilling platforms. Natural oil seeps are common in the Gulf of Mexico, thus these particular coral species (and other associated organisms) may be hardier than in some other areas.

Many shallow water corals maintain a symbiotic relationship with certain species of algae, i.e., the algae live within the coral polyp. When the polyp becomes stressed, it expels the algae, this is called "bleaching". The coral can live for weeks, perhaps months without the algae, but if the symbiotic relationship is not re-established with that algae species or another, the coral will die.
Causes of bleaching can include changes in water chemistry, water temperature, the introduction of microbes carried by airborne dust from other continents, sewage discharges from cruise ships, other discharges from tankers, etc., damage by too many scuba divers, overpredation by certain fish and other natural predatory species,...

Coral reefs have had to deal natural changes in sea level throughout geologic history. All of the existent coral species of the Paleozoic Era (Rugose and Tabulate corals) became extinct at the end of the Permian Period, approximately 246 million years ago. The corals of today's oceans, called "Scleractinids" appeared in the fossil record during the Late Triassic Period. The nature of the forebears of the scleractinids is unknown, i.e., we don't know "where they came from" as there are no known, apparent ancestors in the fossil record.

Anyway, most corals like warm water, so if global warming is occurring (natural or otherwise) and if sea level continues its measurably modest rise, this may well lead to more suitable habitats and the spread of coral reefs. In the past, decreases in sea level have likely harmed coral reefs more, as lower sea level = less suitable shallow water habitats. The periods of greatest marine species diversity have generally been the periods of warmest climate (the Mississippian Period, the Cretaceous Period, the Eocene Epoch).

There are pollution issues that need to be addressed, but atmospheric carbon dioxide is not one of them.
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Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Difference Between Political Satire and Sarcasm

As a long-time reader of newspaper comic strips, sometimes it seems that good political satire is hard to find. Mallard Fillmore and Opus are two in cartoon form that come to mind.

Though Berke Breathed's politics are probably somewhat to the left (in Opus and previously in Outland, Bloom County, and in his days at UT Austin's Daily Texan, which gave birth to some of the characters in Bloom County), he was honest enough to poke fun at absurdities on both sides of the political aisle. And in a creative, humorous way. To use Rush Limbaugh's quote - "Satire is funny only if it is based in an element of truth." - this may be a paraphrase.

Long ago, a high school English teacher explained that satire was like taking a scalpel and surgically cutting away at the bad parts of something, while sarcasm was like taking a knife and slashing away, cutting the good and the bad.

Though Gary Trudeau's (sp.?) Doonesbury rarely slams liberals (perhaps when Gary is annoyed at a particular liberal), too often, sarcasm based on dubious, leftist media talking points and things taken out of context, render the strip as tedious and lacking in humor.

It is fine to poke fun at President Bush's occasional mangling of the English language, as long as you are honest enough to do it when a prominent Democrat does the same (or worse). It is fine to poke fun at Bush policy inconsistencies, if you will do the same for Democrats.
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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A Good Blog for Good Poetry

I found a website of poetry by a Malaysian student, entitled "My Mind's Dumpsite". I enjoyed the poetry, if you do too, offer some encouragement.
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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Global Warming: How It All Began

Above linked is the article referenced in my first posting. It provides a good insight as to the effects of political influence on science. Not to give away too much, but Margaret Thatcher is responsible for the current paradigm that states that "increased carbon dioxide causes global warming".

The host website for this article is called "Still Waiting for Greenhouse" - http://www.john-daly.com/, follow the links for a wealth of information, including info on El Niño conditions.

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The "Asian Brown Cloud"

Most of today's dire forecasts of global warming are based upon computer models and the over-emphasis of the Greenhouse contributions of carbon dioxide.

The effects of Water vapor/droplets are generally ignored (there's no political benefit there). Another atmospheric component that is commonly overlooked (at least that is my understanding) is that of carbon and other particulates, partially because their effects may be local (as with the Asian Brown Cloud) and they are hard to "plug into" the computer models.

Among some possible solutions include teaching residents of said countries (and offering assistance) to develop Biogas technology, so rather than burning dung, it can be composted, the methane (and other gases) "drawn off" and then used for cooking purposes. After the methane is exhausted, the remaining dung and other organic materials can still be used for fertilizer. In areas of good sunlight, solar cooking might be a small scale alternative also.

Of course none of these will be complete solutions, but they will be a step in the right direction.

Future posts should include some links to Solar and Biogas websites.
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Friday, March 04, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson Suicide - The Legacy

Bouncing from wall-to-wall in an open mind...

A few days ago, after reading Jackson Kuhl's column on Tech Central Station I may have reconsidered some of my previous (perhaps partially unstated) feelings about Hunter S. Thompson. Sometimes there is value in off-the-wall viewpoints and writings.

But after reading Jeff Jacoby's column on Townhall.com this morning, any appreciation for the points expressed by Jackson Kuhl are overshadowed by the cowardice of Hunter S. Thompson and I am troubled by the family reaction after the suicide. Are they going to turn the chair into some sort of shrine? Is his grandson going to forever gaze upon that chair and say "gee, that's the chair where grandpa shot himself."? Will he someday continue the family tradition? To commit suicide while family members are present in adjoining rooms is cowardly and selfish.

Other thoughts include those of Steven Schwartz.

In contrast, consider the somewhat graceful aging of National Lampoon alumnus, P. J. O'Rourke.
Some of my college friends may still seem him as some sort of icon, one has in the past staged occasional "gonzo nights", which on some levels are good for letting off some stress. I guess I am still upset about the time I took a bottle of Thomas Hardy Ale ('93 or '94 vintage) to share with my friends and the bottle was wasted by chugging during a game of Liar's Dice. You Swine! You sip Thomas Hardy, you do shots or chugs of something else (perhaps some of the Flying Dog varieties, apropos because of the Ralph Steadman artwork on the bottles). At the time, I had to smuggle Thomas Hardy Ale in from Texas. Now I can drive about 2 miles and pick up the current vintage to put aside for a few years to mature.
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Senator John McCain

Why does anyone even bother mentioning John McCain as a future Pres./Vice Pres. candidate?

With the hideous McCain-Feingold assault now turning towards blogs (mine is a part-time endeavor, it is more important for us to worry about the professional bloggers), this is strike one.

With his continuing support for the Kyoto Treaty, that is strike two. I think time would be better spent trying to convince Senator Joe Lieberman that Kyoto is bad politics based on bad science.

If memory serves me correctly, Senator McCain has been soft on some Second Amendment issues. If I am wrong, please advise.

I sense that there is a strike three, but it evades me at this moment.
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