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Comments

  1. ChasCPeterson says

    why is McGraw on there twice?

    I consolidated parts of two paragraphs, one of people already contacted through Facebook and the other a request list for private e-mails. She was on both lists.

  2. says

    I consolidated parts of two paragraphs, one of people already contacted through Facebook and the other a request list for private e-mails. She was on both lists.

    ah, ok

    I confess to being curious how many women they’ll find to sign that, vs. how many women would sign a “We, The Women Undersigned, Feel Unwelcome in Mainstream Secular, Atheist and Skeptic Groups” letter.

    Because this is totes a competition and stuff.

    :-p

  3. David Marjanović says

    I haven’t been invited… <Homer Simpson>so far!</Homer Simpson>

  4. chigau (違う) says

    Slept well?

    Not gone to bed yet.
    I’m watching Sonny and Cher videos on yutub.
    No.
    I don’t know why.

  5. says

    Seems to me that some of the poor silenced women on that list are better known for being incapable of leaving others alone *cough* Sara Mayhew
    Does anybody know about Stef Mc Graw s current position on this?
    Because what I’ve seen of her wasn’t hostile…

  6. Forelle says

    Please help me console a budding scientist.

    This lovely nephew of mine is six years old and wants to be a biologist. He caught a caterpillar four days ago and put it in a big bottle with some leaves. I saw him two days ago; like everybody else, I was shown what to me was an undistinguishable yellowish bug and made some approving noises. I assumed his father would be telling him how to take care of the thing.

    Yesterday his younger sibling, while in the open country, let the caterpillar escape. I wasn’t present, but I’m told that the owner bawled his eyes out (without blaming his brother for a moment, just out of pure frustration). The kid is tenacious enough to carry everywhere a bottle for three days, moving around different houses and places, and that should earn him some respect. But it seems that his mother said he was just trying to call attention to himself, and anyway why should he worry about a stupid caterpillar.

    This little story, very small as it may seem, hurts me — my nephew is an enthusiastic child whose hobbies, interests and, what’s worse, disappointments are, from what I hear, quite often belittled. I’d like to compensate him somehow for the loss of the caterpillar. I’ve got a couple of ideas, but then I thought I could post the story here. I’d like to hear what a six-year-old future scientist would have enjoyed as encouragement. Please, does any of you have some suggestion?

    By the way, I have just done a quick research and I suspect that the caterpillar was some sort of Lasiocampa.

  7. Forelle says

    Thanks, theophontes. I’m thinking about a second microscope, yes. I found a decent one on sale a year ago and bought it for them a year ago. It’s not for children, though; I hoped that the parents would share it with the kids, since they have the necessary knowledge, but I’m not sure they’ve used it at all, so one specifically meant for children would be a good idea. I’m also thinking about another book on insects.

    The pity is I’m no scientist myself. They already know many more things about animals (and dinosaurs) than I do. Oh well — they haven’t seemed bored yet of teaching an uninformed, ignorant adult like me.

  8. says

    @ Forelle

    I would say that you need not teach much about science at all. Rather just feed the passion and let your nephew do the rest. It will all be about playing and looking and losing oneself in the fun anyway. And feeling like a scientist. The rest will come later.

    Belittling is toxic. Jeez, he’s a six year old for FMS’s sake!

    I hope he has at least one close, older relative who gives him unequivocal support. ;)

    (Now is slow on Pharyngula, try back when more of our pet scientists are awake.)

  9. says

    forelle
    There are many “discovery” kits out there for kids, especially for catching and watching bugs and the like. Or if you want to go a less accident-prone route, there are also books for kids that allow them to watch and identify local plants/animals and keep a record.
    IIRC you’re German, right? There is even a project where people can send in pcitures of rare/endangered animals to help authorities to actually find out who’s living where.

  10. says

    @ Jadehawk

    … and notice that it is signed by “John” and “Charles”…

    actually, it’s signed
    Mrs. John [something I can’t read] and Mrs. Charles P. Strong.

    Many antis were women. Many antis were even women doing a lot of work on other women’s issues. But they were still completely wrong and regressive on this issue. Hence the parallel.

  11. Forelle says

    Gilliel, thanks. That’s a great idea. Some time ago I saw a few simple kits for collecting bugs, of German manufacture, I think. (By the way, I’m Spanish — my nickname is an old, sentimental reference to Schubert’s Lied.)

    I feel quite reassured by theophontes’s comment that I don’t have to teach. I also understand that it doesn’t have to be about gifts and money (although I’m very proud of their first book of insects, which was a big success). As to the lost caterpillar, for example, I’ve been thinking of stories to tell about lab disasters and the doggedness of scientists. Something I try to do is to be enthusiastic and unapologetically exuberant about the things that I do know about and that I can share, however simple. And I admire their knowledge very much — I don’t have to fake that at all.

    Belittling can be toxic indeed. And that supposed social virtue of “not calling attention to oneself”… that’s enraging when applied to a child who’s crying.

  12. jonmilne says

    Hey guys,

    Some of you may remember that I am an active participant in a site called Debate.org and at the moment I’m enjoying it. The reason I’m here today is because I am in a debate about global warming with someone who is acting as the instigator and Con for the debate title: “Mankind Is the Main Cause of Global Warming”. To summarise Sabutai’s position in his own words to me before we agreed to do the debate,

    “I accept that the Earth is in a general warming trend, but deny that it’s main cause is anthropogenic. I also believe that climate change is not an imminent danger and do not believe in taking drastic steps (i.e. Kyoto) to stop it.”

    The debate is here: http://www.debate.org/debates/Mankind-Is-the-Main-Cause-of-Global-Warming/4/ , and the list of sources Con used for his Round 2 are listed as following:

    [1]: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html
    [2]: http://www.livescience.com/1349-sun-blamed-warming-earth-worlds.html
    [3]: MacRae, Paul: “Alarm: Global Warming– Facts versus Fears.”
    [4]: http://www.climate-skeptic.com/category/other-causes-of-warming
    [5]: http://www.forbes.com/sites/warrenmeyer/2011/08/25/did-cloud-just-rain-on-the-global-warming-parade/
    [6]: Singer, S. Fred, and Dennis T. Avery: “Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years.”
    [7]: http://www.isil.org/resources/fnn/2007june/global-warming-hoax.html
    [8]: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/11/971114070632.htm
    [9]: http://www.eutimes.net/2011/09/cern-the-sun-causes-global-warming/
    [10]: http://www.petitionproject.org/gw_article/Review_Article_HTML.php%20%20%20%C2%A0

    I would appreciate some help with some resources to materials that provide evidence for man-made global warming as well as some useful starting counter-arguments to make against what Con has said.

    Much thanks,

    Jon

  13. says

    Hi jonmilne. I have a link further up here called :
    How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: Responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming.
    Just have a quick look because it is extremely well set out – the main page is the table of contents. It is my go to resource (and I have very many great ones).
    One aspect that people are not so aware of is the contribution of agriculture – livestock and farming – which is third in the world for CO2 emissions. CO2 isn’t even the leading GHG emission from farming, as methane is the major contributing by-product. It is huge:
    http://www.worldwatch.org/agriculture-and-livestock-remain-major-sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions-0

    In 2010, global greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector totaled 4.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide (COv(2)) equivalent, up 13 percent over 1990. Agriculture is the third largest contributor to global emissions by sector, following the burning of fossil fuels for power and heat, and transportation. In 2010, emissions from electricity and heat production reached 12.5 billion tons, and emissions from transport totaled 6.7 billion tons.

    Despite their continuing rise, emissions from agriculture are growing at a much slower rate than the sector as a whole, demonstrating the increasing carbon efficiency of agriculture. From 1990 to 2010, the volume of agricultural production overall increased nearly 23 percent, according to data compiled by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for its program, FAOSTAT. FAO released a new Greenhouse Gas Emissions database for agriculture, forestry and other land use changes in December 2012, which can be found here (http://www.fao.org/climatechange/micca/ghg/en/).

    According to FAO, methane accounts for just under half of total agricultural emissions, nitrous oxide for 36 percent, and carbon dioxide for some 14 percent. The largest source of methane emissions is enteric fermentation, or the digestion of organic materials by livestock, predominantly beef cattle. This is also the largest source of agricultural emissions overall, contributing 37 percent of the total.

    There is no way that this much methane and nitrous oxide are from natural causes, and the fact that 50% (I’ll get a link) of the earth’s surface is given over to farm and grazing land means a huge loss of forest, which serves as a carbon sink(the main sink is the oceans, however), so combined deforestation plus emissions from agriculture are man made.
     
     
    I will try to look at your debate and see where it is at, and where it’s going, but is there anything specific you wish to refute?
    The amount of arctic ice loss is now greater than 3 million years, and that’s not from natural causes.
     
     
    Here, and here

    The thaw and release of carbon currently frozen in permafrost will increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations and amplify surface warming to initiate a positive permafrost carbon feedback (PCF) on climate…. [Our] estimate may be low because it does not account for amplified surface warming due to the PCF itself…. We predict that the PCF will change the arctic from a carbon sink to a source after the mid-2020s and is strong enough to cancel 42-88% of the total global land sink. The thaw and decay of permafrost carbon is irreversible and accounting for the PCF will require larger reductions in fossil fuel emissions to reach a target atmospheric CO2 concentration.
     
    The permafrost permamelt contains a staggering “1.5 trillion tons of frozen carbon, about twice as much carbon as contained in the atmosphere, much of which would be released as methane. Methane is 25 times as potent a heat-trapping gas as CO2 over a 100 year time horizon, but 72 times as potent over 20 years! One of the most conservative assumptions the study made, the lead author Dr. Kevin Schaefer confirmed in an email, is that all of the carbon would be released as CO2 and none as methane.

     
     
    Here is another resource: CO2 NOW.
    Apparently, forest loss contributes 9% to CO2 build up, and forests account for 26% of CO2 absorption, so deforestation has been a huge man made contributor as well.
    – – –

    I have tons of stuff, jonmilne, so let me know on any specifics. I’ll go do some debate reading now!

  14. says

    Climate myths: Assessing the evidence (New Scientist)

    Global swindle?

    Take the repeated claims that recent global warming is mostly or all due to solar changes. In 1991, for instance, a paper in Science claimed there was a striking correlation between variations in the solar cycle length and temperature between 1880 and 1980, suggesting greenhouse gases have not played as big a role as thought. However, the correlation has not held up after 1980. What is more, it turns out that the apparent correlation before 1980 is due to manipulation of the data (pdf document). Despite being discredited, this graph is still being presented as evidence against human-induced global warming today (see The Great Global Warming Swindle entry in Wikipedia).

    Similarly, studies suggesting that the lower atmosphere and the oceans are cooling, contrary to what climate models predict, have turned out to be wrong. Later studies have shown the apparent coolings to be a result of errors in equipment or calibration (See Sceptics forced into climate climb-down).

    By contrast, the famous “hockey stick” graph has been the subject of a determined campaign to discredit it (see The hockey stick graph has been proven to be wrong). Yet later temperature reconstructions and other evidence back the key conclusions of the original hockey stick study (See Climate: The great hockey stick debate.)

    Of course, few people have the time to wade through the scientific literature weighing up the evidence and trying to work out which findings have or have not stood up to scrutiny. Fortunately, when it comes to climate change, there is an organisation that does exactly this for us: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Whatever some sceptics may claim, its reports are a fairly good summary of the huge mass of scientific evidence relating to climate change. If anything, some scientists think it is too conservative, understating the possible risks (see Climate report ‘was watered down’).

    And this has another list of skeptic claims and their rebuttals from published work at New Scientist and links to research off-site: Climate change: A guide for the perplexed

  15. anteprepro says

    “Woman Suffrage increases taxes”…

    Personally, I liked:

    “Woman Suffrage is…wanted by every Socialist, every I.W.W., and every Mormon

    And also:
    “The men of New Jersey voted to Protect their Women from Politics”

  16. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    …and every Mormon.

    That is because they are polygamous and all wives will vote as they are told.

  17. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gee, Vijen still won’t prove his inane point with real evidence and coherent language? Worthless git….

  18. anteprepro says

    That is because they are polygamous and all wives will vote as they are told.

    Hah. I was wondering what the reasoning was behind that, and that sounds like it is about in the ballpark.

  19. says

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming-intermediate.htm

    As supplier of almost all the energy in Earth’s climate, the sun has a strong influence on climate. A comparison of sun and climate over the past 1150 years found temperatures closely match solar activity (Usoskin 2005). However, after 1975, temperatures rose while solar activity showed little to no long-term trend. This led the study to conclude, “…during these last 30 years the solar total irradiance, solar UV irradiance and cosmic ray flux has not shown any significant secular trend, so that at least this most recent warming episode must have another source.”

    In fact, a number of independent measurements of solar activity indicate the sun has shown a slight cooling trend since 1960, over the same period that global temperatures have been warming. Over the last 35 years of global warming, sun and climate have been moving in opposite directions. An analysis of solar trends concluded that the sun has actually contributed a slight cooling influence in recent decades (Lockwood 2008).


    This conclusion is confirmed by many studies finding that while the sun contributed to warming in the early 20th Century, it has had little contribution (most likely negative) in the last few decades:

    Huber and Knutti (2011): “Even for a reconstruction with high variability in total irradiance, solar forcing contributed only about 0.07°C (0.03-0.13°C) to the warming since 1950.”

    Erlykin 2009: “We deduce that the maximum recent increase in the mean surface temperature of the Earth which can be ascribed to solar activity is 14% of the observed global warming.”

    Benestad 2009: “Our analysis shows that the most likely contribution from solar forcing a global warming is 7 ± 1% for the 20th century and is negligible for warming since 1980.”

    Lockwood 2008: “It is shown that the contribution of solar variability to the temperature trend since 1987 is small and downward; the best estimate is -1.3% and the 2? confidence level sets the uncertainty range of -0.7 to -1.9%.”

    Lean 2008: “According to this analysis, solar forcing contributed negligible long-term warming in the past 25 years and 10% of the warming in the past 100 years…”

    Lockwood 2008: “The conclusions of our previous paper, that solar forcing has declined over the past 20 years while surface air temperatures have continued to rise, are shown to apply for the full range of potential time constants for the climate response to the variations in the solar forcings.”

    Ammann 2007: “Although solar and volcanic effects appear to dominate most of the slow climate variations within the past thousand years, the impacts of greenhouse gases have dominated since the second half of the last century.”

    Lockwood 2007: “The observed rapid rise in global mean temperatures seen after 1985 cannot be ascribed to solar variability, whichever of the mechanism is invoked and no matter how much the solar variation is amplified.”

    Foukal 2006 concludes “The variations measured from spacecraft since 1978 are too small to have contributed appreciably to accelerated global warming over the past 30 years.”

    Scafetta 2006 says “since 1975 global warming has occurred much faster than could be reasonably expected from the sun alone.”

    Usoskin 2005 conclude “during these last 30 years the solar total irradiance, solar UV irradiance and cosmic ray flux has not shown any significant secular trend, so that at least this most recent warming episode must have another source.

    Solanki 2004 reconstructs 11,400 years of sunspot numbers using radiocarbon concentrations, finding “solar variability is unlikely to have been the dominant cause of the strong warming during the past three decades”.

    Haigh 2003 says “Observational data suggest that the Sun has influenced temperatures on decadal, centennial and millennial time-scales, but radiative forcing considerations and the results of energy-balance models and general circulation models suggest that the warming during the latter part of the 20th century cannot be ascribed entirely to solar effects.”

    Stott 2003 increased climate model sensitivity to solar forcing and still found “most warming over the last 50 yr is likely to have been caused by increases in greenhouse gases.”

    Solanki 2003 concludes “the Sun has contributed less than 30% of the global warming since 1970.”

    Lean 1999 concludes “it is unlikely that Sun–climate relationships can account for much of the warming since 1970.”

    Waple 1999 finds “little evidence to suggest that changes in irradiance are having a large impact on the current warming trend.”

    Frolich 1998 concludes “solar radiative output trends contributed little of the 0.2°C increase in the global mean surface temperature in the past decade.”

  20. chigau (違う) says

    I just can’t get over how awful Pharyngula is.
    forelle asks for some suggestions (in The Thunderdome) and is met with

    strident rants about how big a loser forelle is and Rebecca Watson
    suggestions.
    We suck.

  21. mythbri says

    Regarding the “and every Mormon” part of the picture linked in Jadehawk’s #503:

    The Mormons like to pretend that they are ground-breakers in women’s rights, because Utah granted women the right to vote in 1870 (in order to give a good impression to the rest of the country regarding the way they treated women, because polygamy was so reviled), before statehood and way before the Nineteenth Amendment. Of course, this was almost immediately repealed in 1887 by the Edmunds-Tucker Act, which sought to curtail the influence of the Mormons in territorial governance, and anyway the leaders of the Mormons in Utah realized that allowing women to vote was a barrier to statehood, as well as the polygamy thing, and they really REALLY wanted statehood. So women were stripped of their rights and polygamy was “officially” abandoned. In fact, people in Utah had to swear an anti-polygamy oath before being granted the right to vote. The FLDS had to split at that time, because the feds were pressuring Utah to crack down on people who were still practicing it.

    …..Anyway, the Mormons were considered the “other” at this time (and most Mormons still carry that persecution/martyrdom complex very close to their hearts).

  22. hjhornbeck says

    [cross-posted from Benson’s place]

    Well. Shit.

    Here’s the deal. I have a very good relationship with the Westboro Baptist Church. I have Steve Drain’s personal phone number. He returns my messages. He even contacts me with story ideas. I have published many articles concerning Westboro when I had written for Examiner.com (https://www.google.com/#sclient=psy-ab&amp; … 66&bih=643).

    This is no threat, but a simple demonstration of the lack of my willingness to have WBC protest the event. If I wanted to really troll the event, again, I can have that arranged by having WBC attend…but I have not and will not. …and that goes for any event whether it be the local gay pride festival I attend annually, military events, local funerals, etc. I haven’t called upon WBC to be my personal army and really have no interest. I have the capacity and don’t use it. – Justin Vacula

    I can understand a reporter getting chummy with a detestable group, in order to get the inside scoop. But…. this seems to cross a line.

  23. says

    PETA wants to sue anonymous internet commenters on HuffPo article

    From the article:

    The animal rights organization is not reported to be bringing a suit against the Huffington Post or the writer of the article. The article pretty much documents that PETA is euthanizing animals, 90 percent within the first 24 hours according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture inspector, that have been placed in its care. Truth is always a defense against libel.

    Whoops.

  24. jonmilne says

    Hi mikmik, and thanks especially for that “How to talk to a Climate Skeptic” page. I haven’t seen something that impressive and comprehensive as a guide to understanding something since the Index To Creationist Claims on Talk Origins or the expertly detailed takedowns of Thunderf00t by Michael Nugent and Richard Carrier.

    With regards to specifics from the debate, I’d appreciate help where Con talks about data from Mars:

    Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.”[1]

    “‘Global warming on Neptune’s moon Triton as well as Jupiter and Pluto, and now Mars has some [scientists] scratching their heads over what could possibly be in common with the warming of all these planets … Could there be something in common with all the planets in our solar system that might cause them all to warm at the same time?'”[2]

    Two things can be drawn from this. One, that if other planets are warming, that it is only natural for the Earth to be warming as well. And second, that even if all these planets did have natural causes, then that is a sign of Earth’s natural climatic change, instead of man-made.

    Con also claims that anomalies in ocean temperature are helping to rise the temperature on Earth, and that we are experiencing high solar output that happens to be coinciding with reducing cloud formations, hence also apparently contributing to the warming, as well as also appealing to the notion that the Earth was apparently warmer during the middle ages.

    Thanks in advance,

    Jon

  25. John Morales says

    Jon, Khabibullo Abdusamatov?

    Abdussamatov claims that “global warming results not from the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but from an unusually high level of solar radiation and a lengthy—almost throughout the last century—growth in its intensity.”[4] This view contradicts the mainstream scientific opinion on climate change as well as accepted reconstructions of solar activity.[5][6][7] He has asserted that “parallel global warmings—observed simultaneously on Mars and on Earth—can only be a straightline consequence of the effect of the one same factor: a long-time change in solar irradiance.”[8] This assertion has not been accepted by the broader scientific community, some of whom have stated that “the idea just isn’t supported by the theory or by the observations” and that it “doesn’t make physical sense.”[9][10]

  26. thetalkingstove says

    Wow, that petition is pathetic.

    Examples include the constant censorship of blog post criticism, the continual assumptions of guilt by association, and the popularity of a meme which disparagingly mocks our desire to communicate: “Freeze Peach.” Such behavior creates a divisive, unwelcoming, judgmental atmosphere which has had a chilling effect on free and open discussion.

    So as ever, they’re whining about being banned from various forums and PZ not letting Slymepitters on Pharyngula. And oh no – not a meme! How can they withstand a meme!

    We are aware that the silencing tactics, accusations, shaming and smearing campaigns employed by representatives of Skepchick, Freethought Blogs, Atheism Plus and Secular Women have included calls to interfere with the careers and personal lives of valuable contributors to the secular/atheist/skeptic movement.

    This sounds serious. I better check what the specifics given are…oh?
    And the evidence linked to is…er…hmm.

    What drivel. One day it’s “FTB is an irrelevance”, the next it’s “FTB is a monster of opression!”

  27. John Morales says

    thetalkingstove, clearly FTB is in a state of quantum superposition. :)

  28. Ichthyic says

    Such behavior creates a divisive, unwelcoming, judgmental atmosphere which has had a chilling effect on free and open discussion.

    standard projection. They took the complaints made of THEIR behavior, and simply spit it back out.

    It’s the adult “I’m rubber you’re glue” attack; a favorite of authoritarians everywhere and any age.

  29. Ichthyic says

    What drivel. One day it’s “FTB is an irrelevance”, the next it’s “FTB is a monster of opression!”

    sounds a lot like the way fundie xians attack atheists, doesn’t it?

    there’s a reason for that, and it’s because the underlying problem is the same for both groups: they’re both RWAs.

  30. Ichthyic says

    PETA will only embarrass itself if it tries to pursue this matter further.

    PETA has been an embarrassment for ages now.

    Sad, really. But, there are other organizations that do better to look out for animal welfare issues these days anyway.

  31. Forelle says

    Ichthyic, another excellent idea! I’m googling that now. Thanks!

    chigau, the loss of the caterpillar was Rebecca Watson’s fault, but shhh.

  32. Ichthyic says

    the loss of the caterpillar was Rebecca Watson’s fault, but shhh.

    I’ve heard that chrysalises won’t even hatch if Rebecca Watson is anywhere nearby!

    ….this makes me think that somewhere there is a “Rebecca Watson vs Chuck Norris” mocksite.

    …and a mocksite of that mocksite.

    …and that I can’t even imagine being Rebecca Watson, and having to face this unprecedented inane assault on a near daily basis for YEARS.

  33. says

    Hey, thanks, jonmilne. John Morales quoted directly from the wiki p. about Abdussamatov being not widely accepted, and that’s putting it mildly. He has zero papers published in peer review journals, he is a mathematician and astrophysicist – not climatologist – and is a well known koo-koo on CC denier lists.
    Why Climate Deniers Have No Scientific Credibility – In One Pie Chart
    = = =
    Here, though, is one rebuttal to interplanetary warming and earth from New Scientist:
    Climate myths: Mars and Pluto are warming too

    The Sun’s energy output has not increased since direct measurements began in 1978 (see Climate myth special: Global warming is down to the Sun, not humans). If increased solar output really was responsible, we should be seeing warming on all the planets and their moons, not just Mars and Pluto.
     
    One theory is that winds have recently swept some areas of Mars clean of dust, darkening the surface, warming the Red Planet and leading to further increases in windiness – a positive feedback effect (see Dust blamed for warming on MarsMovie Camera).

    There is a great deal of uncertainty, though. The warming could be a regional effect. And recent results from the thermal imaging system on the Mars Odyssey probe suggest that the polar cap is not shrinking at all, but varies greatly from one Martian year to the next, although the details have yet to be published.
    – – –
    Observations of the thickness of Pluto’s atmosphere in 2002 suggested the dwarf planet was warming even as its orbit took it further from the Sun. The finding baffled astronomers at the time, and the cause has yet to be determined.

    It has since been suggested that this is due to a greenhouse effect: as it gets closer to the sun Pluto may warm enough for some of the methane ice on its surface to turn into a gas. This would cause further warming, which would continue for a while even after Pluto’s orbit starts to take it away from the Sun.

    = = =

    Global warming on Mars?
    Filed under:
    Climate modelling
    Climate Science
    FAQ
    Sun-earth connections
    Recently, there have been some suggestions that “global warming” has been observed on Mars (e.g. here). These are based on observations of regional change around the South Polar Cap, but seem to have been extended into a “global” change, and used by some to infer an external common mechanism for global warming on Earth and Mars (e.g. here and here). But this is incorrect reasoning and based on faulty understanding of the data.

  34. says

    @rorschach, I assume they are petitioning CFI as evidence for the “silencing” that Ron Lindsay alluded to. Although why he should care about womens silence I don’t know, I thought it was white male philosophy PhDs being silenced that got his goat.

  35. hjhornbeck says

    [whoops, forgot about the linking rule. Here’s attempt two at a cross-post from B&W]

    Well. Shit.

    Here’s the deal. I have a very good relationship with the Westboro Baptist Church. I have Steve Drain’s personal phone number. He returns my messages. He even contacts me with story ideas. I have published many articles concerning Westboro when I had written for Examiner.com (https://www.google.com/#sclient=psy-ab&amp; … 66&bih=643).

    This is no threat, but a simple demonstration of the lack of my willingness to have WBC protest the event. If I wanted to really troll the event, again, I can have that arranged by having WBC attend…but I have not and will not. …and that goes for any event whether it be the local gay pride festival I attend annually, military events, local funerals, etc. I haven’t called upon WBC to be my personal army and really have no interest. I have the capacity and don’t use it. – Justin Vacula

    I can understand a reporter getting chummy with a detestable group, in order to get the inside scoop. But…. this seems to cross a line.

  36. ChasCPeterson says

    The petition is real, but still in draft. It’s in a thread devoted to it at the sl*mepit, so it can’t be linked directly. As to whom is being petitioned? *shrug*

    Vacula has the capacity to use the Westboro Baptist Church as his personal army?
    But he doesn’t.
    Just the kind of brave, heroic guy he is.
    I think he deserves a cookie.

  37. mythbri says

    @Chas

    I think he deserves a cookie.

    My go-to honorary cookie picture includes (written in icing) the words: “Meets minimum standard for decent human being.”

    I don’t think that Vacula deserves such a cookie. Perhaps a day-old, broken cookie. Or a cookie karob instead of chocolate.

  38. ChasCPeterson says

    I’ve been slumming and I think it’s worth noting that Vacula does not have the unanimous support of the sl*mepitizens–many there regard him as an “attention whore”.

  39. mythbri says

    But…but what about #bravehero?

    Vacula’s bravely raising money to attend conferences at which he does nothing but sit in the back and give interviews to AVfM. Surely that’s bravery on par with the student protester facing down tanks at Tiananmen Square.

  40. ChasCPeterson says

    In other news, the wacky satirists at the ‘pit have been moved to create not one but three different Hitler’s-bunker-Vacula-in-Dublin vids.
    I watched them so you don’t have to. Two are exacly the kind of puerile, mean-spirited nastiness you’d expect, but I have to admit I found the third one pretty funny.
    link

  41. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Vacula reminds me of Brave Sir Robin. He even comes with his own wandering gang of minstrels singing his praises.

  42. Forelle says

    Markita Lynda: sorry, I don’t know why I missed your message about microscopes. Yes, the one I bought is supposed to work with a computer. I’ve been checking simple experiments like this observation of stomata to do with my nephews whenever I have the chance, but I know that I will have to fight first with the software.

    The key is a great suggestion too; I’m having a look at this one.

  43. anteprepro says

    Bravely bold Brave Hero
    Rode forth from Twit-a-lot.
    He was not afraid to talk,
    Oh brave Sir Hero.
    He was not at all afraid
    To be criticized in nasty ways.
    Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Hero.

    He was not in the least bit scared
    To be chewed out into a pulp.
    Or to have harassment called out,
    And his patriarchy broken.
    To have his movement split
    And his bias burned away,
    And his movement all hacked and mangled
    Brave Sir Hero.

    His Voice for Men removed
    And his donations cut off.
    And his Radio smashed in.
    And his Slymepit plugged
    And his webblog gone.
    And his trolls thrown out.
    And his Twit-

    ****

    Brave Sir Hero ran away.
    Bravely ran away away.
    When FTBullies reared their ugly head,
    He bravely turned his tail and fled.
    Yes, brave Sir Hero turned about
    And gallantly he chickened out.
    Bravely taking to his feet,
    He beat a very brave retreat.
    Bravest of the brave, Brave Hero!

  44. says

    @ chas

    I was intending to film tardigrades for “The Great Pharyngula Movie ™ “. It has been a bit of disappointment, in that I can find lots of moss, but precisely zero tardigrades. I would have though South East China would be ideal tardigrade country – there’s moss everywhere.

  45. consciousness razor says

    With the centennial anniversary coming up soon,* I thought I’d share a virtual performance and visualization of The Rite of Spring (via NPR):

    Scene 1
    Scene 2

    *Wednesday afternoon/evening in Paris, if you’re really picky. Soon enough.

  46. Rawnaeris, Lulu Cthulhu says

    Why do people insist on continuing a conversation when one as politely explained that the topic is too close to them to discuss calmly. Fucking faux Vulcan privileged gits who can’t realize when they are treading oft-discussed ground.

    This particular case was “I heard some [un-named] woman neuroscientist say that men and women are different. I think this explains why most of the women I know stuck at following directions/reading maps/thinking in 3D.”

    Me “Your conclusion does not make sense with your premise. What the the scientist actually say and where is the peer reviewed paper?”

    Him “Oh you can find all kinds of stuff on it online.”

    Me “…really?” *brain short circuits*

    **
    Apologies for any lack of clarity or misspellings. My phone does not like WordPresses text bix.

  47. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    a virtual performance and visualization of The Rite of Spring

    Whoa. That’s actually quite like something I saw at an *ahem* one time whilst *cough*. ;-)

    More seriously, that’s actually a really interesting way of presenting a piece of music. Being able to see (a) how it’s constructed in terms of the notes played, whilst (b) how it’s constructed in terms of the contrasts deployed (albeit without (c) having the music theory described–boo!)) is awesome.

    I especially like the way diminuendos make the insides of the boxes shrink. That’s cute.

  48. Ichthyic says

    Bravely bold Brave Hero
    Rode forth from Twit-a-lot.

    “…and they ate Robin’s Minstrels, and there was much rejoicing.”

    ;)

  49. Ichthyic says

    I have to admit I found the third one pretty funny.

    It’s all fun and games ’till someone loses an eye.

  50. Ichthyic says

    Hitler’s-bunker-Vacula-in-Dublin vids.

    you know what I find really amusing about that?

    they fail to see the irony in putting themselves in the place of Hitler, and Watson in the place of the liberator.

    so, shall we expect them to swallow poison, shoot themselves, and have someone burn all traces of them to ash soon?

    ’cause I gotta admit to kinda wanting to see that.

  51. Ichthyic says

    I have the capacity and don’t use it. – Justin Vacula

    “…but all options are on the table!”

    fucking idiot.

  52. mythbri says

    I just read Ally Fogg’s post on why he doesn’t identify as a feminist. Most of it I don’t have much of an issue with, but he said this:

    To take one example, there are many feminists who argue that there should be no prosecutions of women who make false allegations of rape. In my opinion, this is a patently unjust position, not from the perspective of feminism, but from the perspective of justice. A man who is grievously and maliciously wronged by such an act deserves redress, and others who may be so wronged deserve the protection of a legal deterrent.

    This is something I hear again and again from MRAs, and though I haven’t read any feminist critiques of the idea, the immediate problems with such prosecutions appear to me to be the following:

    1. It will reduce the reporting of rape. Not only will it deter false allegations (which I’m assuming, charitably, Fogg means malicious and deliberate false allegations), it will deter victims of rape from reporting. It’s just one more thing to worry about, on top of all of the awfulness of having to report, wondering whether law enforcement will believe you, whether the prosecutors will even think it’s worth pursuing, whether the defense attorney will drag all of your sexual history into the trial, whether the jury will decide that you consented “enough” that it wasn’t rape…. On top of all that, the fear that if you don’t get a guilty verdict, your rapist can press charges against you for “false” allegations.

    2. How would this apply to rape victims who are minors? Would young teens and children be charged with making false allegations? Can they be held culpable for that? Should they be held culpable for that?

    I just don’t see how prosecuting false rape allegations would NOT be abused to silence and harass and imprison victims, who have already lost in the balance of power.

  53. mythbri says

    And yes, I could leave this in a comment on Ally’s actual post. But I don’t have the spoons right now.

  54. consciousness razor says

    Whoa. That’s actually quite like something I saw at an *ahem* one time whilst *cough*. ;-)

    I know what you mean.

    (albeit without (c) having the music theory described–boo!))

    Yeah. There’s a little bit of description in the notes under the video, in case you missed it.

    But there’s no formal analysis or anything, if that’s what you mean. Not that it would do us a lot of good for Stravinsky anyway. He pretty much trashed that idea. :)

    I especially like the way diminuendos make the insides of the boxes shrink. That’s cute.

    The dude’s been trying for decades to cram as much information as he could into piano-roll scores like this. Not necessarily useful information, but lots of it.

    I don’t think that’s indicating diminuendos, just duration/decay. It’s redundant, since each note already has a length. Every note gets it (I think), so there would presumably be growing bars inside for crescendos if shrinkers were diminuendos, but I haven’t seen that happen.

    The color wheel thing doesn’t work very well, since it assumes the circle of fifths. (Or maybe it works perfectly, but it’s only one measurement of tonality when there’s lots of other stuff going on harmonically, even in Mozart, etc., you know?) It’s colorful at least.

    I also don’t really like the way the notes float from one to another whenever it’s the same instrument, as if there’s a portamento instead of a jump. (How do I tell when there really is a portamento?) It’s visual movement but it doesn’t correspond to any change of sound, since it’s actually a static relationship of timbre/instrumentation. Gah! The music doesn’t look like that.

    Apparently, he’s still trying to get his system to work for a live ensemble. That would be neat.

  55. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    as if there’s a portamento instead of a jump

    Heh. Mrs cm and I spent last weekend coaching kid #1 (he of the perfect pitch and incredible mimcry) on Taylor Swift for a potential sing-off. :-)

    I’ve also been listening to Martha Argerich. Because well-played Schumann is good, too.

  56. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Wow. Taylor Swift kills threads stone dead! Who knew¹?

    That might come in handy …

    *notes in lab journal*

    ¹ I’ll confess, I suspected.

  57. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22691267

    Stravinsky himself said that when he first played the beginning of the Rite, with its dissonant chords and pulsating rhythm, to Serge Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballets Russes, Diaghilev asked him a “very offending” question: “Will it last a very long time this way?” (Stravinsky replied: “To the end, my dear.”)

    [Right, off to do stuff!]

  58. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    Mythbri@581

    I can’t see why you’d want to engage him. He smacks of UMP, and has all but said “but what about the men?” His comments are Slymepit lite (Andrew Gemmer is there!) and he’s rather weakly defending Sarkeesian by restating 101 ad nausem.

    I’m convinced HPfM is a honeypot by Brayton and Myers at this point.

  59. mythbri says

    @Xavius

    I just don’t know what to make of him. If it quacks like a duck…

    Some of the things he’s written have made me think, and in a good way, but there is no fucking way I will ever support legislation to prosecute false rape accusations. There’s just no way for it NOT to be abused.

    ….

    I’ve written a post about the first three sections of the Chemical Safety Improvement Act that’s currently in committee:

    http://geekinthebreeze.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/chemical-safety-improvement-act-sections-1-3/

    ….

    Beatriz, the woman who petitioned the Supreme Court of El Salvador to obtain permission for a life-saving abortion, has been denied.

    They said NO.

    They said no.

    I expect we’ll hear of Beatriz’s death in the near future. She’s at 26 weeks.

  60. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    @Mythbri 589:

    Yeah, most of his stuff is essentially a combination of MRA-Lite talking points with Fincke’s Civility Pledge. His reasoning regarding ‘feminism’ seems to come off as a strange libertarian screed:

    but in truth I think I lost her when I started channelling Nina Power on the reconstruction of feminism as a neoliberal capitalist accessory and the interchangeability of emancipation and consumption in the dominant discourse.
    Ally Fogg, “Why I am not a feminist”

    I don’t know if this is humor or some form of higher order pontification on some perception of “corruption” of the movement, but later these seemingly conflicting quotes come up.

    …in which I argue [in a piece on the site Meninism] that the feminist trope “the patriarchy hurts men too” is not the solution to male-specific gender issues. The tl;dr version would be this: Even if patriarchy does hurt men too, that’s for men to realise and address; we can’t leave it to women and feminism to solve it for us.
    Ally Fogg, “Why I am not a feminist”

    Feminism is and should be a movement of women, for women and led by women. While any man can offer a voice of agreement, it is not for us to define the issues and prescribe the solutions. And with whom should we agree? Feminism is an impossibly diverse ideology, riven with internal argument and debate. To be a full participant in the movement, one needs to be able to take sides in those disputes. That puts a man in the impossible position of either telling half the feminists that you’re wrong and I know better, or else smiling and saying “well you both make very good points” like a liberal vicar trying to intervene in a pub fight.
    Ally Fogg, “Why I am not a feminist”
    (emphasis mine)

    So, on one hand, he’s rejecting the principle that “the patriarchy hurts men too” because it somehow fails in addressing “male-specific gender issues” with little back-up or point, in either this article or his referenced article on Meninism. This is then essentially used to segue into a point on how he views the movement SHOULD be.

    The bolded piece really reads like him taking the Ron Lindsay approach to feminism, in that someone is wrong, and he MUST get involved. He doesn’t seem to understand the concept of supporting a movement without getting entrenched in the politics so deeply he can’t make an argument (and yet here he is doing the selfsame to the whole movement as a result!)

    All of this has a disturbing tone of gender-essentialism. This is a “womens issue”, and from his own words, should be compromised of women. Attempting to solve men’s issues using feminism is like “Like Procrustes, the murderous innkeeper of Greek mythology, they can only accommodate male problems in the feminist bed by sometimes lopping off a limb here or stretching an appendage over there.” Other than a DEEPLY FUCKING PROBLEMATIC analogy that could go all sorts of wrong ways WRT transpeople and queerfolk, this implies some unbridgeable gap between gender and sexual politics.

    Yet, he calls for some sort of “separate but equal” alliance on his Meninism article, just down the page:

    When male-specific problems are identified and diagnosed rationally, and addressed fairly, it is rare that the solutions are not compatible with feminist ideals and women’s welfare. The gender balance of society is not a zero-sum game, on the contrary, just as patriarchy hurts men, so does discrimination against men – in education, socialisation, employment and domestic roles – ultimately harm women too.
    Ally Fogg, “In the bed of Procrustes – knowing that the patriarchy hurts men too is not enough”

    So, all of this is boiling down to what reads, to me, to be gender-essentialist men’s rights activism with a thin veneer of politeness and either knowing malice or complete stupidity in the implementation. This is the polite version of Lindsay. Mansplaining and handwaving issues about, as usual.
    “The menz”

  61. mythbri says

    @Xaivius

    Other than a DEEPLY FUCKING PROBLEMATIC analogy that could go all sorts of wrong ways WRT transpeople and queerfolk, this implies some unbridgeable gap between gender and sexual politics.

    Well, it IS called “Heteronormative Patriarchy for Men.” In his initial post he indicated that it’s an ironic title, but I haven’t seen him address problems that face people (men in particular, I suppose) that are NOT heteronormative.

    In fact, I haven’t ever heard or read any standard MRA talking point that addresses issues faced by gay or trans men. Almost as if they’re more concerned with gender essentialism than addressing a spectrum of problems faced by a spectrum of people…

  62. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    @Mythbri

    yeah, that point is already an issue, but you’d REALLY think that if you wanted to present gender issues to men, you’d cover the fact that the patriarchy IS heteronormative, and what that means to the straight white cis dudebro crowd.

    *sigh*

    So how are YOU doing, thunderdome?

  63. vaiyt says

    It seems each new novella on TV is designed to irritate me more than the last.

    The current one is a pro-life screed that had me cringing since the first chapter. It shows the various assholes trying to chime in on a woman’s decision to abort a pregnancy as a good thing, the adopted child and her unknowing biological mother share an instant majjyykal bond from the first time they meet, and there’s the whole subplot about a woman who discovers (as an adult) she’s adopted, freaks out and goes to live with hippies in Peru…

  64. zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait says

    Hmm, so evidently the FFRF gave a 250 dollar scholarship to Justin Vacula recently. I sent a letter condemning it to them, and it might be worth letting them know that’s not acceptable.

  65. says

    zhuge
    Google shows that Vacula was one of 4 awards for Honorable mentions: Graduate/mature student essay contest

    As much as I’m loathe to spin anything positive towards that [unmentionable], if FFRF had an essay contest and he won, I’m not sure I can condemn their grant. Not that it is necessarily that honorable a mention, I couldn’t be arsed to actually read it. Perhaps there were 4 slots at this level and this was just one of the better of the bunch. If it is an essay contest and his essay qualifies and is judged (on merits, relative to other entries) sufficient then I think it would be bad form to bring in other criteria such as his complete suckage in every other aspect of himself to then disqualify him.

  66. zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait says

    They took money from donors like myself and gave it to a bigot, along with awards and accolades. As far as I am concerned that is a strong reason not to support the FFRF financially. If they are unwilling to make sure that the people submitting their essays aren’t even remotely minimally decent human beings, then I wonder what the point of the essay contest is. They aren’t a writing education group, they are a secularist and hopefully humanist group and they ought to strive for better.

    It may be true that Justin was within the rules of the award. But that does not mean it is ok, it means there is a problem with the rules.

  67. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Jebus, MaxDevlin and VHutchinson posting today. Weren’t they trolls at Sciblogs, or is my memory failing?

  68. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Fascinating! (One wonders about their lifecycle. What do they eat? How do they breed?!)

  69. ChasCPeterson says

    VHutchinson posting today. Weren’t they trolls at Sciblogs, or is my memory failing?

    B.
    Vic Hutchison is a biologist and the founder of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education.
    (I don’t recognize the other guy.)

  70. says

    Theophontes:

    @ Caine

    AAAAAaaaaaaawwwWWWWH….!

    Theo munching mielies.

    He was very excited, it was his first time with mielies. They’ll be expecting it from now on. :D

  71. says

    I’m confused about the false rape prosecution thing. As far as I know, it is already illegal to lie to police during the course of an investigation. I read a story last year about a woman in Oregon who was actually prosecuted for lodging a false rape allegation – I think she had to pay a hefty fine, not sure if she spent any time in jail. Anyway, it was newsworthy because a couple of years later, police arrested a rapist and found that he had kept photographic evidence of all of his rape – including video of when he raped the woman whom police had prosecuted for lodging a false allegation. I don’t think Oregon is some strange outlier in terms of legal means of prosecuting people who waste police resources by reporting crimes that haven’t happened, so I’m really not buying that there’s some sort of deficiency in our legal system with regards to false rape accusations.

  72. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Vic Hutchison is a biologist and the founder of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education.

    OK, I had him confused with the late JAD’s pet sycophant.

  73. says

    Crossposting from OK, OK, I won’t eat the octopus no more thread, cause I’m really looking for an answer and that thread may be dead. :-)
    ————————–

    Can anyone point me to any reputable sources for info regarding the impact of small scale, grass fed, beef ranching?

    Everything I’m finding seems to be more applicable to the Monsanto style of production, which I hate soooo much. I want to find out more about the impact that my father’s ranch* may be having. In terms of overall impact, his operation would be at the very bottom of “beef production” scale, I think, but I know that there IS some impact. My google-fu is apparently too weak at this scale. Any help?

    * 60 head of longhorn grazed on 100 acres of grassland + 50 acres of woodland, some supplemental feed provided in the winter but mostly hay from the summer cutting. Fields aren’t watered. No manure ponds, no feedlots, etc.

    Thanks!

  74. says

    Ye Olde Blacksmith – Spocktopus cuddler,
    I came across this book(online): Livestock’s long shadow, that looks like it could address your sort of situation. The difficulty, I surmise from my google-fu forays, is that local impact has so many variables like water supply, bio-diversity effects, and I can only guess that there is more to consider – disposal or impact of waste, etc, etc.
    I found a chart on tricki-pedia here that shows water use in the production/ton of product. (I am glad to see that milk production is very low, and hopefully that indicates the general eco impact). I am very interested in this myself and have been trying to find the impact of one North American’s/European’s average consumption of meat/year, including poultry, so that perhaps attitudes towards consuming livestock, and plans or methods of reducing consumption, can be suggested to the general population.
     
    I am not popular here in Alberta because I am anti- oil and beef(but not milk, lol).
     
    I will keep looking and post back. It seems that it might be necessary to generalize down to find an average per animal per acre, or something.

  75. ChasCPeterson says

    the late JAD’s pet sycophant

    VMartin. yeah, he was a piece of work.

  76. says

    This might be what you’re looking for, Ye Olde Blacksmith – Spocktopus cuddler:
    The Truth About Grassfed Beef

    A lot of people today, horrified by how animals are treated in factory farms and feedlots, and wanting to lower their ecological footprint, are looking for healthier alternatives. As a result, there is a decided trend toward pasture-raised animals. One former vegetarian, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford, says he now eats meat, but only “grassfed and organic and sustainable as possible, reverentially and deeply gratefully, and in small amounts.”

    Sales of grassfed and organic beef are rising rapidly. Ten years ago, there were only about 50 grassfed cattle operations left in the U.S. Now there are thousands.

    How much difference does it make? Is grassfed really better? If so, in what ways, and how much?

    If you read on, you’ll see why I’ve concluded that grassfed is indeed better. But then, almost anything would be. Putting beef cattle in feedlots and feeding them grain may actually be one of the dumbest ideas in the history of western civilization.

    Cattle (like sheep, deer and other grazing animals) are endowed with the ability to convert grasses, which we humans cannot digest, into flesh that we are able to digest. They can do this because unlike humans, who possess only one stomach, they are ruminants, which is to say that they possess a rumen, a 45 or so gallon fermentation tank in which resident bacteria convert cellulose into protein and fats.

    In today’s feedlots, however, cows fed corn and other grains are eating food that humans can eat, and they are quite inefficiently converting it into meat. Since it takes anywhere from 7 to 16 pounds of grain to make a pound of feedlot beef, we actually get far less food out than we put in. It’s a protein factory in reverse.

    And we do this on a massive scale, while nearly a billion people on our planet do not have enough to eat.
     
    […]
     
    Is grassfed beef the answer?

    Grass-fed beef certainly has its advantages, but it is typically more expensive, and I’m not at all sure that’s a bad thing. We shouldn’t be eating nearly as much meat as we do.

    There is a dark side even to grassfed beef. It takes a lot of grassland to raise a grassfed steer. Western rangelands are vast, but not nearly vast enough to sustain America’s 100 million head of cattle. There is no way that grassfed beef can begin to feed the current meat appetites of people in the United States, much less play a role in addressing world hunger. Grassfed meat production might be viable in a country like New Zealand with its geographic isolation, unique climate and topography, and exceedingly small human population. But in a world of 7 billion people, I am afraid that grassfed beef is a food that only the wealthy elites will be able to consume in any significant quantities.

    What would happen if we sought to raise great quantities of grassfed beef? It’s been tried, in Brazil, and the result has been an environmental nightmare of epic proportions. In 2009, Greenpeace released a report titled “Slaughtering the Amazon,” which presented detailed satellite photos showing that Amazon cattle are now the biggest single cause of global deforestation, which is in turn responsible for 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases. Even Brazil’s government, whose policies have made the nation the world’s largest beef exporter, and home to the planet’s largest commercial cattle herd, acknowledges that cattle ranching is responsible for 80 percent of Amazonian deforestation. Much of the remaining 20 percent is for land to grow soy, which is not used to make tofu. It is sold to China to feed livestock.

    Amazonian cattle are free-range, grassfed, and possibly organic, but they are still a plague on the planet and a driving force behind global warming.

    Trendy consumers like to think that grassfed beef is green and earth-friendly and does not have environmental problems comparable to factory farmed beef. But grassfed and feedlot beef production both contribute heavily to global climate change. They do this through emissions of two potent global warming gases: methane and nitrous oxide.

    Next to carbon dioxide, the most destabilizing gas to the planet’s climate is methane. Methane is actually 24 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and its concentration in the atmosphere is rising even faster. The primary reason that concentrations of atmospheric methane are now triple what they were when they began rising a century ago is beef production. Cattle raised on pasture actually produce more methane than feedlot animals, on a per-cow basis. The slower weight gain of a grassfed animal means that each cow produces methane emissions for a longer time.

    There is very much more on that page. I hope it helps! :)

  77. says

    @ cm’s

    clothes pegs = shackles of babylon!

    @ Ye Olde Blacksmith

    To take another tack to mikmik, you could also look into how much bang-for-your-buck you get out of each foodstuff. Try googling “nutritional value X”, where X is each item in the list.

    For example, Per 100g serving: Soyabeans —>Protein 17 g, Steak –>protein 25g

    That would tend to mediate the high water demand figures a little, as steak provides about 50% more protein by weight.

  78. says

    @theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)
    We need new measurements like: (overall nutrition/calorie/carbon thing/dash of water)/(letusdrink units) = total eco-annilation/yummy. It is plotted against a tartigradient.

    Well, off to find a Creationist Science journal to submit my new Nutrimentalological Theory.

  79. says

    Nutrimentalological Nutrimentalocological Theory
     
     
    Hey, did you know that you can highlight the html tags below the text box, and drag them up and drop them? Do it twice and just add the slash in the closing bit!

  80. says

    Greatest and most lovely Tartigrade, theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物):
    Quite simply, you rule. Not just now, but always have, and always will. This is perfect for when I submit my paper to The Journal of the Creationist Scientists(Real ones).
    They use a text input box that uses, if I recall, BB code. Fucking eh! Zowies!

  81. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    PSA for people posting on the hivemind using FB.

  82. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    clothes pegs = shackles of babylon

    They are my preferred instruments of oppression … ;-)

    4 feet behind and to the left of the camera is a lovely Acer palmatum purpurea.

    I can attest that for child-the-tiny, clothes pegs are the perfect decorations thereupon.

    It’s very wearing having to explain that they’re probably not very good for the tree.

    (And no-one’s mentioned the lilac or azaleas. *grump*)

  83. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    OK, not really *grump*. But seriously, tangerine-coloured azaleas? Who has those?!

  84. jonmilne says

    Hi guys, I’m in the final round of my debate over global warming that I referenced earlier on in the thread. As Con, I will be posting the last argument. For some reason, debate.org isn’t loading up for me, but I do still nonetheless have Pro’s R4 round saved for future reference. Here’s the first part of how he’s responded to the stuff I’ve brought to the table so far:

    I would like to thank JonMilne for this great debate.

    I. The Sun

    My opponent is misrepresenting the evidence when he says that solar activity has dropped while temperatures have increased. As this article explains: “The cycles in the late 20th [century] were short, ~10 years, and high compared to the long term average of ~40 SSN. The minima between them were short too. So although they did reduce in absolute amplitude after the ’50s, they made up for it by kicking out more energy more of the time.” (http://lce.folc.ca/2010/07/22/nailing-the-solar-activity-–-global-temperature-divergence-lie/ and http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/nailing-the-solar-activity-global-temperature-divergence-lie/ )

    Here is a graph showing sunspot activity over the last 1000 years: http://gacc.nifc.gov/sacc/predictive/SOLAR_WEATHER-CLIMATE_STUDIES/Solanski_Unusual%20activity%20of%20the%20Sun%20during%20recent%20decades%20compared%20to%20the%20previous%2011000%20yrs.doc (Page 4 of 8, the third graph)

    Notice how sunspots were more numerous during the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), less numerous during the Little Ice Age (LIA), and another “hockey stick” forms at the start of the 20th century. What a coincidence.

    A better way to look at the solar influence on climate is to look at a new statistic. Between raw solar activity (solar irradiance) and temperature, temperature lags about 7.5-10 years behind solar irradiance because of the heat capacity of the oceans. A better representation of the sun/temperature correlation is the length of the solar cycle. “This new parameter not only indicated a remarkably high correlation coefficient between solar activity and temperature (on the order of 0.95), but it also eliminated the problem of the 7-year lag encountered by Reid.” (http://www.colby.edu/sts/controversy/pages/solar_activity.htm , http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_JGlassman_SolarGlobalWarming.pdf , and http://members.shaw.ca/sch25/FOS/Climate_Change_Science.html )

    This is a close-up of the above graph: (In the members shaw link, it’s under the section of “Sun and Cosmic Rays” and is the sixth graph down entitled “Open Solar Flux”)

    Notice how solar activity falls around 1990, which, after 7.5-10 years (1999 to be exact) is manifested in a slight temperature drop.

    Further, here is a graph showing solar irradiance itself compared to temperature: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/25/warming-trend-pdo-and-solar-correlate-better-than-co2/ (the fourth graph down entitled “Total Solar Irradiance”)

    While here is temperature compared with sunspot cycle length: http://paulmacrae.com/links/?p=89 (the first immediate graph)

    The correlation coefficent increases from 0.57 to 0.95, which are both greater than CO2’s correlation of 0.44 (0 is no correlation, 1 is total correlation).

    When looking at all of how the sun affects the climate: “For example, the authors of a paper by NASA’s JPL remark ‘…has compared the minimum aa [index of geomagnetic activity] values with the Earth’s surface temperature record and found a correlation of 0.95 between the two data sets starting in 1885. The solar irradiance [solar activity] proxy developed from the aa minima continues to track the Earth’s surface temperature until the present.'” (http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/opinion0308.pdf and http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/11/does-co2-correlate-with-temperature-history-a-look-at-multiple-timescales-in-the-context-of-the-shakun-et-al-paper/ ) In other words, using the better formulation produces an almost perfect correlation between solar activity and temperature.

    “If the Scafetta and West analysis used the uncontaminated satellite data since 1980, the results would show that the Sun has contributed at least 75% of the global warming of the last century.””In particular, a quasi-60-year large cycle is quite evident since 1650 in all climate and astronomical records herein studied … The existence of a natural 60-year cyclical modulation of the global surface temperature induced by astronomical mechanisms, by alone, would imply that at least 60 to 70% of the warming observed since 1970 has been naturally induced.” (http://www.fel.duke.edu/%7Escafetta/pdf/2007JD008437.pdf and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682611002872)

  85. jonmilne says

    And here’s the second part:

    II. Extraterrestrial Bodies

    While yes, that particular study focused on the south pole of Mars, the whole planet is indeed warming: “A recent study shows that Mars is warming four times faster than the Earth. Mars is warming due to increased Sun activity, which increases dust storms. The study’s authors led by Lori Fenton, a planetary scientist at NASA, says the dust makes the atmosphere absorb more heat causing a positive feedback. Surface air temperatures on Mars increased by 0.65 C (1.17 F) from the 1970s to the 1990s.”

    Here is a list of just some of the solar system’s reactions to increased solar activity:
    • Sun – Recent Activity Highest in 8000 Years [meaning it’s not just the 11-year cycle] and magnetic field has decreased in size by 25%
    • 300% increase in galactic dust entering solar system
    • Mercury – magnetosphere experiencing significant increases
    • Venus – 2500% Increase in Green Glow
    • Mars – Rapid Appearance of Clouds, Ozone and Up to 50% Erosion of Ice Features in one year alone
    • Jupiter – Plasma Torus increasing and Jupiter’s Disappearance of White Ovals since 1997, recent increase in storms
    • Io – “observing same changes -” 200% Increase in Density of Plasma Torus
    •and Ionosphere 1000% Higher
    • Europa – Much Brighter Than Expected
    • Ganymede – 200% brighter
    • Saturn’s – Plasma Torus 1000% Denser andAurora First Seen in polar regions in recent years
    • Uranus – featureless in 1996, now exhibiting huge storms since 1999 and markedly brighter in 2004 than in 1999
    • Neptune – 40% Brighter, Near Infrared Range 1996 – 2002
    • Triton – Severe atmospheric changes, warming
    • Pluto – 300% increase in atmospheric pressure. (http://prof77.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/why-all-planets-in-our-solar-system-are-warming-and-its-implications/ )

    In addition, here is hard evidence that the moon is warming: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/16/extraterrestrial-global-warming/ (first immediate graph)

    Further, this shows the comparison between the Sun’s, the Earth’s, and Neptune’s activity: (on the members shaw link, in the section called “Warming on other planets”, it’s the first immediate graph)

    It is clear that not only is Neptune warming, it is doing so in the same fashion as the Earth’s temperature and the Sun’s activity, indicating a correlation between the events that is not caused by CO2

    III. Other Arguments

    First, my opponent claims that tropospheric temperatures have not decreased. “However, since January 2002, the temperatures have been declining at 0.16 C/decade for UAH and 0.24 C/decade for the RSS data.” This graph shows two analyses of Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) satellite temperature measurement data (which is very reliable, compared to surface thermometers) of the troposphere over the tropics from 20 degrees North to 20 degrees South: (in the members shaw link, the graph presented here is in the “Heating of the Troposphere” section and is the fifth graph down entitled “Tropical lower troposphere temperatures”)

    Second, my opponent claims that the oceans aren’t cooling. However, “Two separate studies through NASA confirm that since 2003, the world’s oceans have been losing heat.” (http://www.examiner.com/article/oceans-are-cooling-according-to-nasa) Also, the PDO graph in R2 confirms this, as the PDO is going into a cool cycle.

    Third, my opponent claims that the hockey stick is reliable. I touched on this more in R3, but I will add this: “They used a computer model to draw the graph from the data, but two Canadians [Ross McKitrick and Stephen McIntyre] later found that the model almost always drew hockey-sticks even if they fed in random, electronic “red noise” because it used a faulty algorithm.” The MBH 1998 report was never properly peer reviewed before the IPCC used it in their publications.”

    Conclusion

    The AGW theory makes several incorrect predictions, and the Earth’s warming correlates with solar actiivty, not CO2.

    So yeah, I require plenty help with this.

    Thanks guys,

    Jon

  86. jonmilne says

    Oh darn. Please wait for my first part to come through from my opponent’s response in my debate. It’s still apparently “awaiting moderation.”

  87. says

    Hey, WTF? How come you weren’t supposed to rebut his stuff on your first go? Every article he linked to in his opening had refutations and/or opposing viewpoints in the articles themselves!
    Okay, jonmilne, this guy is focusing on solar heating. That’s messed up so I’ll apply some effort here to rebuke his ass in a surgical manner. The hockey stick shit he brings up is outdated, so we get dates on that stuff.
    That magnetic field stuff is big red flag for pseudo-science crackpottery.
    His link to MIT via that blog is 11 years out of date, For. Fancies. Sake!
    The sun has been dipping in intensity – the opposite of what Mr Con is saying:

    From 2010d

    This argument is part of a greater one that other planets are warming. If this is happening throughout the solar system, clearly it must be the sun causing the rise in temperatures – including here on Earth.

    It is curious that the theory depends so much on sparse information – what we know about the climates on other planets and their history – yet its proponents resolutely ignore the most compelling evidence against the notion. Over the last fifty years, the sun’s output has decreased slightly: it is radiating less heat. We can measure the various activities of the sun pretty accurately from here on Earth, or from orbit above it, so it is hard to ignore the discrepancy between the facts and the sceptical argument that the sun is causing the rise in temperatures.
    The planets and moons that are claimed to be warming total roughly eight out of dozens of large bodies in the solar system. Some, like Uranus, may be cooling. All the outer planets have vastly longer orbital periods than Earth, so any climate change on them may be seasonal. Saturn and its moons take 30 Earth years to orbit the Sun, so three decades of observations equates to only 1 Saturnian year. Uranus has an 84-year orbit and 98° axial tilt, so its seasons are extreme. Neptune has not yet completed a single orbit since its discovery in 1846.

    Look, the next paragraph:

    This is a round-up of the planets said by sceptics to be experiencing climate change:

    Pluto: the warming exhibited by Pluto is not really understood. Pluto’s seasons are the least understood of all: its existence has only been known for a third of its 248 -year orbit, and it has never been visited by a space probe. The ‘evidence’ for climate change consists of just two observations made in 1988 and 2002. That’s equivalent to observing the Earth’s weather for just three weeks out of the year. Various theories suggest its highly elliptical orbit may play a part, as could the large angle of its rotational axis. One recent paper suggests the length of Pluto’s orbit is a key factor, as with Neptune. Sunlight at Pluto is 900 times weaker than it is at the Earth.

    My Con is fucked. I am still lying in bed here. Coffee, and I’ll BRB ;)

  88. says

    Mr Con is fucked,” my closing argument should read. Don’t know how I made it into a link without knowing it, though. Yikes!
     
     
    (Tip o’ the hat to Oberlawd wisdom for the formatting)

  89. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Alright, my days of “hanging back” in the Slymewars are over. I’m getting angry now. And much like the Hulk, they won’t like me when I’m angry. Or green.

  90. says

    Yeah, That’s another thing that I will follow up on, and this is a back breaker. The intensity in variation of the ‘brightness’ of the sun is far to small to account for the recent warming of the earth:

    Sun does vary

    The radiation output of the Sun does fluctuate over the course of its 11-year solar cycle. But the change is only about one-tenth of 1 percent—not substantial enough to affect Earth’s climate in dramatic ways, and certainly not enough to be the sole culprit of our planet’s current warming trend, scientists say.

    “The small measured changes in solar output and variations from one decade to the next are only on the order of a fraction of a percent, and if you do the calculations not even large enough to really provide a detectable signal in the surface temperature record,” said Penn State meteorologist Michael Mann.

    The link between solar activity and global warming is just another scapegoat for human-caused warming, Mann told LiveScience.

    “Solar activity continues to be one of the last bastions of contrarians,” Mann said. “People who don’t accept the existence of anthropogenic climate change still try to point to solar activity.”

    Okay, here is the base amount of warming the earth gets from the sun:

    Without a natural greenhouse effect, the temperature of the Earth would be about zero degrees F (-18°C) instead of its present 57°F (14°C).

    A) The base temperature of earth, without greenhouse warming is 0°F, or -18°C.
    B) The amount of warming due to GH effect at ~1900C.E. is 57°F (32°C).
    C)There has been a .74°C increase in temp over 110 years, and is rising at the rate of .13 , or 1.56°C/century recently:

    Global surface temperatures have increased about 0.74°C (plus or minus 0.18°C) since the late–19th century, and the linear trend for the past 50 years of 0.13°C (plus or minus 0.03°C) per decade is nearly twice that for the past 100 years. The warming has not been globally uniform. Some areas (including parts of the southeastern U.S. and parts of the North Atlantic) have, in fact, cooled slightly over the last century. The recent warmth has been greatest over North America and Eurasia between 40 and 70°N. Lastly, seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 and the 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1995.

    D) The percent change in temperature over the last 110 years is .74°C/32°C = +2.3%
    Now, the change in solar radiance has increased T
    thus:

    NASA STUDY FINDS INCREASING SOLAR TREND THAT CAN CHANGE CLIMATE
     

    Since the late 1970s, the amount of solar radiation the sun emits, during times of quiet sunspot activity, has increased by nearly .05 percent per decade, according to a NASA funded study.

    E)The extrapolated amount of change in solar radiance in the last 110 years is + .55%
     
     
     
    F) The ratio of change of temperature to the rate of change of solar radiance is 2.3%/.55% = 4.2 times as fast
    Not only that, but the rate of change of temperature is increasing. Now compare these two graphs, the first is the changes to solar radiance over the last 150 years: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/images/content/93620main_sun5m.jpg
    And the change in temperature: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/globalwarming/ar4-fig-3-6.gif
     
    THE BASELINE OF SOLAR RADIANCE IS FLAT and the BASELINE OF TEMP CHANGE IS RISING

     
    There is NO CORELATION between solar output and global temp over a 150 year period, and there is a 4.2 TIMES GREATER INCREASE IN TEMPERATURE COMPARED TO SOLAR OUTPUT.
     
     
    THEREFORE: Solar radiance can, at most, only account for less than 25% of the total increase in temperature over the last 110 years.

  91. says

    III. Other Arguments
    First, my opponent claims that tropospheric temperatures have not decreased. “However, since January 2002, the temperatures have been declining at 0.16 C/decade for UAH and 0.24 C/decade for the RSS data.” This graph shows two analyses of Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) satellite temperature measurement data (which is very reliable, compared to surface thermometers) of the troposphere over the tropics from 20 degrees North to 20 degrees South: (in the members shaw link, the graph presented here is in the “Heating of the Troposphere” section and is the fifth graph down entitled “Tropical lower troposphere temperatures”)

    There’s no link to this! It is invalid if it can’t be checked. Mr Con already has been shown to use old and debunked references for his arguments in the case of Mars warming. Never-the-less:
    Something just occurred to me, jonmilne. The temp in the trposphere decreases with altitude. With a more energetic dynamic occurring in the troposphere due to heating, or overall energy increase, the higher and lower altitude air will mix more and the resultant surface temps will appear cooler even though the overall heat content of the troposphere has increased!
    Fuck, I found his source! It is a free webpage for subscribers of shaw internet, and is a denier site: http://members.shaw.ca/sch25/FOS/Climate_Change_Science.html#Stratosphere
    Ha! Look at the graph, and then the length of line the “cooling” is based on. The overall graph shows data consistent with longer term warming. By taking the shorter time frame that the author does(11 years), the graph can be interpreted, for the years 1979 – 1989, to show an even more dramatic cooling effect, even though the long term trend including that time frame is warming. Ten year, or so, periods are not relevant, contrary to what the author tries to show!!
     
     
    Another method of troposhere cooling is by the energy expended in increasingly energetic storm systems. These systems have a net cooling effect on the troposphere*:

    With the current (and forecast to continue) stormy pattern over the U.S., I have to wonder whether the atmosphere is currently in a destabilized state. I doubt that surface temperatures anomalies are as anomalously low as the mid-troposphere temperatures are running, which in combination with anomalously cold mid- and upper-tropospheric temperatures means there is extra energy available for storms. (Since AMSR-E failed in early October, our sea surface temperature plot is no longer showing current data, so I have no easy way to check surface temperatures.)

    *(this link is from his denialist site, and of course the link he needs isn’t working. Lot’s of this dudes(Mr Con) links don’t work, or the links in his linked to references)

  92. says

    Second, my opponent claims that the oceans aren’t cooling. However, “Two separate studies through NASA confirm that since 2003, the world’s oceans have been losing heat.” (http://www.examiner.com/article/oceans-are-cooling-according-to-nasa) Also, the PDO graph in R2 confirms this, as the PDO is going into a cool cycle.

    I’ll tell you right now that this is due to an unusually intense el Nino in 1998, which produced the overall heating, as there is a great lag effect to el Nino of several years. Of course there is cooling as the ocean returns to homostasis.
     
    Ha! Apparently that link of Mr Con’s is suspect for two reasons. One, the whole report is not included in the link Mr C gives, and leaves out the part where the author of the research doesn’t claim the cooling is long term, but is a possible short term anomaly, and two; THE DATA WAS FUDGED! The author discarded data that did not fit his hypothesis.
    From the comments of that very link provided by Mr C:

    Sir, I had another look at your article and the NASA article I linked to in my previous comment.

    I couldn’t help but notice that your article follows the NASA article almost exactly (though not literally copying from it) and the graphs on your article are also present in the NASA article. But the strange thing is – besides some misquoting, ie Takmong Wong never said the cooling could be due to melting Arctic sea ice – that you don’t finish the story that it turned out there was a problem with the measurements and thus there was no global cooling. You just leave the most important thing out!

    Now, if you’ll allow me, my question to you is: Didn’t you read all of the NASA article (and checked the latest graphs for global ocean temperatures and global sea level rise) or did you leave out what didn’t fit in the point you were trying to make, ie that it’s perhaps proof of natural variation?

    The problem is, a lot of people that read your article will not know it contains outdated information. I hope you do agree with me that your article is incomplete to say the least.

    Kind regards,

    The thing is, is that Mr C relies on short term and out dated data to bolster his views. He is guilty of shoddy research and also cherry-picking sources, sources of confirmed climate change deniers THAT ARE NOT QUALIFIED CLIMATOLOGISTS.
    To continue with the comments section of My C’s link:

    You’re right, the rest of the article is interesting — but not for the reasons you say.

    The article is a perfect example of a “scientist” who keeps manipulating his data until it gives him the “right” answer. Look at these excerpts [my comments in brackets]:

    “It wasn’t until that next year of data came in that the cooling in the Atlantic became so large and so widespread that Willis accepted the cooling trend for what is was: an unambiguous sign that something in the observations was “clearly not right.”

    [i.e., it didn’t agree with the models, so had to be “adjusted”.]

    “First, I identified some new Argo floats that were giving bad data; they were too cool compared to other sources of data during the time period. It wasn’t a large number of floats, but the data were bad enough, so that when I tossed them, most of the cooling went away. But there was still a little bit, so I kept digging and digging.”

    [Yep: Data selection is the easiest way to “adjust” “bad” data. Notice that the only criteria used is that the rejected float data is in the direction he doesn’t want. Wonder if he looked for any warm “outliers”?…]

    “The digging led him to the data from the expendable temperature sensors, the XBTs. A month before, Willis had seen a paper by Viktor Gouretski and Peter Koltermann that showed a comparison of XBT data collected over the past few decades to temperatures obtained in the same ocean areas by more accurate techniques, such as bottled water samples collected during research cruises. Compared to more accurate observations, the XBTs were too warm.”
    “The problem was more pronounced at some points in time than others. But when he factored the too-warm XBT measurements into his ocean warming time series, the last of the ocean cooling went way.”

    Problem solved! Just throw away the really embarrassing data (from your state-of-the-art sensors), then add in some data from a 40 year old technique suspected to be biased the other way, and Voila! Dangerous (to his funding, anyway) ocean cooling has disappeared!

    Had the Argo float data showed the oceans warming, Willis wouldn’t have given it a second look — just published another “confirmation” of AGW.

    I’ve worked as an engineer for 30 years — adjusting data to fit preconceived beliefs is never a good way to reach accurate conclusions. Willis’ methods are bogus, and he will get good results only by accident, if at all.

    Now, I have to peruse this stuff to verify all this, but I want to point out that la Nina has been the influence for ocean cooling since 2006. Sigh, quite a different picture here, Mr C:

    The results of La Niña are mostly the opposite of those of El Niño; for example, La Niña would cause a dry period in the Midwestern U.S., while El Niño would typically cause a wet period in that area. La Niña often causes drought conditions in the western Pacific; flooding in northern South America; mild wet summers in northern North America, and drought in the southeastern United States.

    For India, an El Niño is often a cause for concern because of its adverse impact on the south-west monsoon; this happened in 2009. A La Niña, on the other hand, is often beneficial for the monsoon, especially in the latter half. The La Niña that appeared in the Pacific in 2010 probably helped 2010’s south-west monsoon end on a favorable note. However, it also contributed to the deluge in Australia, which resulted in one of that country’s worst natural disasters with large parts of Queensland either under water from floods of unusual proportions or being battered by tropical cyclones, including that of category 5 Tropical Cyclone Yasi. It wreaked similar havoc in south-eastern Brazil and flooding that have affected Sri Lanka.

    There was a strong La Niña episode during 1988–1989. La Niña also formed in 1995, and in 1999–2000, followed by neutral periods between 2000 and 2002. The La Niña which developed in mid-2007 and lasted until almost 2009, was a moderate one. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the USA (NOAA) confirmed that a moderate La Niña developed in their November El Niño/Southern Oscillation Diagnostic Discussion, and that it would likely continue into 2008. According to NOAA, “Expected La Niña impacts during November – January include a continuation of above-average precipitation over Indonesia and below-average precipitation over the central equatorial Pacific. For the contiguous United States, potential impacts include above average precipitation in the Northern Rockies, Northern California, and in southern and eastern regions of the Pacific Northwest. Below-average precipitation is expected across the southern tier, particularly in the southwestern and southeastern states.[1]

    However, an El Niño returned in May–June 2009 and lasted until April 2010. The effects of El Niño in 2009 were already being seen in the fall of 2009 as the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida strengthened into a powerful coastal storm.[2][3]

    A new La Niña episode developed quite quickly in the eastern and central tropical Pacific in mid-2010,[4] and lasted until early 2011.[1] It intensified again in the mid-2011 and was predicted to last at least until early 2012[5] This La Niña, combined with record-high ocean temperatures in the north-eastern Indian Ocean, has been a large factor in the 2010–2011 Queensland floods,[6] and the quartet of recent heavy snowstorms in North America starting with the December 2010 North American blizzard. The same La Niña event is also a likely cause of a series of tornadoes of above-average severity that struck the Midwestern and Southern United States in the spring of 2011, and is currently a major factor in the drought conditions persisting in the South Central states including Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.[7]

    In 2011, on a global scale, La Niña events helped keep the average global temperature below recent trends. As a result, 2011 tied with 1997 for the 11th warmest year on record. It was the second coolest year of the 21st century to date, and tied with the second warmest year of the 20th century. A relatively strong phase of La Niña opened the year, dissipated in the spring before re-emerging in October and lasted through the end of the year. When compared to previous La Niña years, the 2011 global surface temperature was the warmest observed. The 2011 globally-averaged precipitation over land was the second wettest year on record, behind 2010. Precipitation varied greatly across the globe. La Niña contributed to severe drought in East Africa and to Australia’s third wettest year in its 112-year period of record.[8]

    Notice that el Nino didn’t return until 2009, and is not included in Mr C’s studies which only date UP TO 2009. Also note that whatever the fuck the ocean temps, it is a RED HERRING! The global temps are still increasing dramatically, and furthermore, no one knows what affects ocean temperatures reliably.
     
     
    On a side note, the author of this article that Mr C links to for his ocean temperature arguments also predicted that Arctic ice levels would begin to increase, based on his interpretation of the ocean temp papers.
    His predictions were wrong. What does that tell us about the veracity of his ocean temp arguments?

  93. says

    Sorry, that second quote from the comments above is talking about something else, it says the opposite of what I thought it did, but overall, I don’t know what it is all about!

    But, Hark! Willis, the author of that study, is a mathematician and physicist. He collects data, he doesn’t interpret it. Curious, though, the titles of his last two of four papers that address the ocean temps, are singing a different tune
    Willis, J.K., D. P. chambers, C.-Y. Kuo, and C. K. Shum (2010), Global Sea Level Rise: Recent Progress and Challenges for the Decade to Come, Oceanography, 23(4), 26-35.

    Lee, T., W. R. Hobbs, J. K. Willis, D. Halkides, I. Fukumori, E. M. Armstrong, A. K. Hayashi, W. T. Liu, W. Patzert, and O. Wang (2010), Record warming in the South Pacific and western Antarctica associated with the strong central-Pacific El Niño in 2009-10, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L19704, doi:10.1029/2010GL044865.
    http://science.jpl.nasa.gov/people/Willis/

  94. jonmilne says

    Thanks mikmik, you’re an absolute legend on this, apparently the first part of what I showed from Con still is awaiting moderation, which is why the first members shaw link hasn’t been seen by anyone here yet.

    Out of curiosity, are you someone working in the profession or a related one right now? And if so, are there any particularly interesting tales of your work you can regale me with?

  95. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Over on the Turkish creationists thread, DDMFM:

    The most freaky of all mammals: rabbits

    Fascinating.

    And poking around:

    By the way (this is directed at European readers who are less likely to be aware of this than Americans) – troglodytids are essentially an entirely American group, and a mostly South American one at that given that there are only nine species in North America compared to nearly 70 in South America (and it’s actually Central America that is the center of their diversity). Only one species has colonized Eurasia, Troglodytes troglodytes (we just call it the Wren of course, but if you’re American it’s the Winter wren). As elucidated by molecular data, its biogeographical history is actually bizarrely complicated (Drovetski et al. 2004).

    Fascinating *and* surprising!

    Then it gets weirder:

    But here’s a thought. If your digits automatically secure a purchase to a branch, or the roof of a cave, then what happens when you die? Answer: your corpse stays there, dangling for all eternity.

    Fascinating and somewhat macabre.

    I like!

  96. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Oops. Meant italics. Troglodytes troglodytes.

    (On an ornithological note, how the hell is Puffinus puffinus not the Puffin. *flail*)

  97. says

    Thanks, jonmilne. I am a recovering alcoholic and addict(2 years now) and have no formal education. I am looking at school right now in database management, but I am going on 54, can’t work due to sports injuries, and I’m trying to save enough money to get into a course or two so I can establish an aptitude and comprehension level that’s enough for one of twelve spots every year in the tech college and university here.

    The only anecdote I have is that I did enroll in a Chem/physics BSc, and in the first lecture we had a quiz to determine our level from high school. I got an A, but it was all downhill from there(drinking).
    I managed to get a passing mark, but didn’t have enough lab hours to receive credit for Organic chem, the class with the quiz. I originally enrolled with the primary goal of getting access to glassware and chemicals and to learn enough to set up a lab and make drugs(LSD, for instance), so I had a bad intention from the start.
    I had to take a year off, and I went back to repeat. We had the same quiz first lecture, and this time I struggled to get a C! Even though I had a year more education than the first time, I seemed to have forgotten most the things that had been second nature to me.
    Just before this I didn’t get my soccer scholarship, so I dropped my classes and became a janitor, among other things, and was my last job until my knee gave out entirely.
     
    I’ve always had good research skills and interest in high energy physics and chemistry etc, so I’ve kept up with reading over the years.
    And, I found this:

    Climate myths: Global warming is down to the Sun, not humans
    17:00 16 May 2007 by Fred Pearce
    […]
    On timescales that vary from millions of years through to the more familiar 11-year sunspot cycles, variations in the amount of solar energy reaching Earth have a huge influence on our atmosphere and climate. But the Sun is far from being the only player.

    How do we know? According to solar physicists, the sun emitted a third less energy about 4 billion years ago and has been steadily brightening ever since. Yet for most of this time, Earth has been even warmer than today, a phenomenon sometimes called the faint sun paradox. The reason: higher levels of greenhouse gases trapping more of the sun’s heat.
    […]
    But even if solar forcing in the past was more important than this estimate suggests, as some scientists think, there is no correlation between solar activity and the strong warming during the past 40 years. Claims that this is the case have not stood up to scrutiny (pdf document).

    Mr Con is wrong, there is not a stronger correlation to sun activity than CO2 levels to temperature. I showed that above with the radiance energy contributing less than a quarter the energy needed to cause the increased temperature in the last century.
     
    Here is the first bit from the pdf linked above:

    Eos,Vol. 85, No. 39, 28 September 2004
    The last decade has seen a revival of various hypotheses claiming a strong correlation between solar activity and a number of terres- trial climate parameters. Links have been made between cosmic rays and cloud cover, first total cloud cover and then only low clouds, and between solar cycle lengths and northern hemisphere land temperatures.These hypotheses play an important role in the scientific debate
    as well as in the public debate about the pos-sibility or reality of a man-made global climate change.
    Analysis of a number of published graphs that have played a major role in these debates and that have been claimed to support solar hypotheses [Laut, 2003;Damon and Peristykh,1999, 2004] shows that the apparent strong correlations displayed on these graphs have been obtained by incorrect handling of the physical data.The graphs are still widely referred to in the literature, and their misleading character has not yet been generally recognized. Readers are cautioned against drawing any conclusions,
    based upon these graphs, concerning the pos-sible wisdom or futility of reducing the emissions of man-made greenhouse gases.
    These findings do not by any means rule out the existence of important links between solar activity and terrestrial climate. Such links have been demonstrated by many authors over the years.The sole objective of the present analysis is to draw attention to the fact that some of the widely publicized, apparent correlations do not properly reflect the underlying physical data.

    Thanks again for the compliment, jonmilne.
    Yours irrespectively of education,
    mikmik, world’s smartest janitor! ;)
    Mike Laing

  98. ChasCPeterson says

    re: P. puffinus, it seems that they were there first!: Sez ‘kipedia:

    The scientific name of this species records a name shift: Manx Shearwaters were called Manks Puffins in the 17th century. Puffin is an Anglo-Norman word (Middle English pophyn) for the cured carcasses of nestling shearwaters. The Atlantic Puffin acquired the name much later, possibly because of its similar nesting habits.[1]

  99. ChasCPeterson says

    It’s my irrelevant opinion that it’s high time for this blog to start enforcing Clarke’s Rules.
    In particular, I am sick and tired of all the internets that keep getting awarded to people. These people have not, in fact, won shit.

  100. jonmilne says

    mikmik, I myself am an enterprise student approaching the end of my course. It’s been a pretty fun ride and I’ve enjoyed immensely learning about business and actually getting to run my own business and having both myself and my business partner make a tidy profit of over £150 each (incidentally, we were selling a mixture of sweets, crisps, chocolate bars, cereal bars, fruit, canned drinks and healthy drinks around the college on a trolley. Obviously, there are times when capitalism gets a bad rep, but damn does it feel awesome when one is freshly into the business world like myself and one starts raking in sweet sweet money. Incidentally, I also got to meet Peter Jones at Buckingham Palace alongside the Duke of York. No joke. And if any British people are here, one of the other people working with Peter Jones is someone who was part of this Aquatique (I think that’s their name) water dance group on Britain’s Got Talent. That was one hell of a fun day.

    Incidentally, on a separate topic, I would like to address the controversy over Star Trek Into Darkness. I think something that hasn’t been mentioned here is that while there are indeed unfortunate implications in casting someone who is meant to be an Indian character with a British white guy, I will point out I think there would have been more unfortunate implications with assigning the role of a terrorist annihilating cities with an Indian character. Plus, call this blasphemy, but frankly I think Cumberbatch again showed why he’s one of the very best actors around at the moment, and I think he’s considerably better in the role than the original guy, and really I find Reboot!Trek to be considerably more enjoyable than the previous movies (I’ve only ever watched the movies), since I only really find First Contact remotely enjoyable and the only ever Trek movie I really liked otherwise was Nemesis, despite the dislike it apparently has..

    But yeah, I think STID was actually really really good, and was certainly the best of the movies to come out near the start of the summer period of this year.

  101. says

    @ mikmik, world’s smartest janitor!

    I see you have not yet amended your profile to match your new nym.

    [God on Money]:

    I read a piece about Brazilian money having the words ““Deus Seja Louvado” (“God be praised”) printed on them. Immediately my subversive invertebrate mind turned to the idea of making a little chop that replaces the “D” with a “Z”. As I understand it, such minor marking of paper (as opposed to coinage) is actually permitted.

    A little googling showed that this idea is not that original, for example: Linky1, Linky2.

    Perhaps it is time to consequentially go about amending each and every note of this type that we ever chance upon. Does anyone know more about the laws pertaining to this? I am a little upset that it has not been undertaken on industrial scale to date.

  102. says

    I don’t understand why “you win an internet” is annoying. Perhaps I just haven’t been exposed to it that much.
    I also recall a great many more people labelling their own comments as TL;DR rather than applying it to someone else’s. Though “Long Post Ahead” might be better.

  103. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Why did you decide to stop hanging back (if you’re keen to share)?

    One of the primary factors is that I’m pretty disappointed/angry with Michael Nugent right now. He seemed like one of the good ones, who could quickly figure out that the “other side” is nothing more than a bunch of whining brats who like to bully people. But yet, here he is, giving them open reign to run around screaming sexist slurs and telling lies and his response is “Dialogue.” FUCK dialogue. Would he suggest that the Taliban and secular Afghan people get together and “talk it out?” So why does he think us talking to people who have nothing better to do with their lives than send one thousand tweets calling FtBers ridiculous names will solve anything? It’s complete and utter bullshit, and my mind is boggled that he can’t see that.

  104. Dhorvath, OM says

    Tony,
    At least for me, part of the joy of humour is that what is said is different. Regurgitation can be funny, but it’s finicky. So I at least have some sympathy when people complain about repetitive humour.

  105. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    Welp, looks like Chris Hallquist over at Patheos has issues with people angry about Lindsay. He’s already attracting a bit of slyme in the comments. He doesn’t have a real argument per say, just a lot of “concern” and “irritation.” Nice to know there’s another blog to chuck off the roster. Has ANYTHING good come out of the Patheos athiest section other than Hermant and Libby Anne?

  106. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Apparently that’s even more domicidal than Taylor Swift.

    Good to know, I guess?

    [Elsewhere: Thanks, John Morales for the wp-admin fixup. That worked for me.]

  107. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    is a piece of shit

    From the Department of Whoa!, I was a guest at HB’s wedding. Cat, the DJ, rocked!

  108. says

    broboxley from the Lounge

    communism works extremely well, until you get people involved. Greed and self interest always overcome ideology and laws

    Except, you know, the examples of working economies based on worker cooperatives that I just mentioned above, and the democratic governments with next to no corruption problems found in parts of Northern Europe, Japan, and a few other places. And the fact that self-interest leads one to seek a prosperous, peaceful life, and that is most efficiently obtained by cooperation and equality. Except for all the ways that your statement is nonsense, you’re totally right, though.

  109. broboxley OT says

    japan is communist? Last I checked corruption/yakuza/media/finance was pretty endemic, example
    http://www.uni-due.de/in-east/fileadmin/publications/gruen/paper23.pdf

    The Recruit Scandal centred around Recruit Cosmos, a part of the Recruit Group of
    Enterprises, accused of issuing shares to leading politicians, civil servants, and
    representatives of associations and the mass media, before these were traded at the stock
    exchange. The idea was to enable the persons thus favoured to sell the shares again with
    profit after they were officially listed. The financing of these deals was often effected through interest-free loans made available by one of Recruit’s own finance companies. In
    exchange for these transactions and political donations, various enterprises belonging to the
    Recruit Group received substantial help from politicians and the bureaucracy, thus gaining
    considerable advantages. The scandal made clear that not only had indvidual politicians
    been bribed, but almost all important politicians had accepted payments from Recruit. The
    affair came to a head with the resignation of Prime Minister Takeshita in April 1989. It
    came to light that, among others, former Prime Minister Nakasone and a member of his
    cabinet, Mr. Fujinami, were also heavily involved.

    Northern europe hmm do you mean the one where the immigrants are rioting because they don’t like the results of the peaceful democratic worker co-operatives or the other one?

  110. rq says

    Dalillama
    I can agree that communism can work well… on a small scale. When it’s still based on people, not wide-ranging policies. As broboxley mentions, while you’re still operating within the group, things go extremely well. The trouble arises when people start drawing lines about who is in the group and who is not, and when opinions differ. It’s not always something that can be settled by voting, because even if the majority allows the out-group in, you’re now working with a far more unstable situation within the group. Of course, it might settle over time, and it might not.
    The problem is merely that I don’t know of any group, anywhere, who accepts just anyone off the street as an immediate in-member. There’s usually a process of initiation (so to speak), following which there is tentative acceptance, with slightly different rules than for everyone else (if only non-formal social rules). And if someone doesn’t pass that initiation, then they’re an Enemy of the group (for whatever reason – religious affiliation, different work ethic, etc.). If the Group perceives that you’re making them look bad for whatever reason (rocking the boat, so to speak), you have divisions happening. You have separation within the group, which can lead to power differentials (because everyone wants to win, or at least not get stomped on), which leads to different subgroups within the group, among which some have more privilege due to being the right kind of subgroup, and others don’t.
    The other issue I have is the fact that it’s extremely hard to dial it down to complete power-equality in today’s day and age. It takes one person to not co-operate with the fair division for others to be afraid that they won’t get their share – and then it all descends into a competition where, instead of sharing out, people grab what they can in order to have something (see: privatization in Eastern Europe following fall of USSR – kind of a bad example, but Soviet-government/nationalized property was supposed to be shared out better than it actually is, what with the billionaires/politicians sitting at the top and still making deals amongst themselves and ignoring everyone else).

    Also, the questions I had:
    1) Ok, sounds good.
    2) Ok, sounds good.
    3) How do you ensure that no one individual/group of individuals does not have too much power over others? Practically speaking? Laws is laws, but they’re not always followed; and if you’re in a slightly more privileged group, you can afford to break the law, because heck, they won’t come after you.
    4) Hmm, interesting idea, and it sounds pretty good. I like the idea, but there’s the whole question of fair price (and who regulates it), and who’s making what (How do we make sure there are not only potters making those darned popular clay pots (which bring in a lot of money) but also bakers, cobblers, etc.?), and how does one ‘encourage’ a particular group/person to engage in the making of something else if they don’t want to. If I love making shoes, but everyone else is doing so, and I don’t really want to change my occupation, but I end up on the poor side of things because market saturation or whatnot, where does that place me when I’m in need of some government/group aid, and how willing would people be to support my apparently bad choice?
    5) Ok.
    6) See, this is what scares me the most. Keeping an eye on the ruling class/group, sure. Ok, fine. But is there a police force? Who keeps an eye on them? Who enforces laws? Does everyone? That sounds eerily similar to previous policies of keeping an eye on the neighbours just to have information on them, so that when the time comes, you’re nice and armed with a few juicy bits of gossip that will put them on the wrong end of the law, and yourself – not. It’s the enforcement-by-group bit that scares me the most, but I don’t see a better alternative in police forces, necessarily… Is there anything that works?

  111. broboxley OT says

    rq the western world has changed a tad for marxism to work well. Parts of it are very useful.
    we don’t really have a true bourgeois any more. Our craftsmen and articifers have been replaced with robots or 3rd world slavery. The power of the church has been greatly diminished. We still have several classes of folks tho,

    Owner’s of the raw materiel (governments mostly)
    Owners of the means of production (corporations mostly)
    workers of note (small group of shrinking pool of technical types, plumbers, masons, truckdrivers etc)
    workers (service workers without great technical skills replaced the serf class of yore)
    artisans (people who small shop their own hand made goods)

    Now how to equitably handout the dumplings is where it tends to accumulate power. The corporation is joined at the hip with the government leaving the rest of us to squabble over the crumbs.

  112. dongiovanni says

    My main problem is that as far as I’m concerned, some element of coercion would have to be necessary in order to implement the system as at least in modern first world countries it is in the interests of a significant minority of the population to retain a capitalist system – maybe 20% of the population. In order to implement communism, you would thus need to trigger a civil war in almost all instances, which is arguably worse than an inequitable system. I suppose you could avoid the war, but I can’t really think how.

  113. dongiovanni says

    From my memory, Communist regimes were more farcical than anything by the time my parents were born. The whole thing was just grossly insincere:

    1. Everybody had a job
    2. Although everybody had a job, nobody worked
    3. Even though nobody worked, the targets were always more than 100% achieved
    4. Despite the fact that the targets were always more than 100% achieved, there was nothing to buy
    5. Even though there was nothing to buy, everybody had everything
    6. Although everybody had everything, everybody stole
    7. Even though everybody stole everything, in the end, nobody went without.

    These are the seven miracles of the People’s Republic of Poland.

  114. Nick Gotts says

    we don’t really have a true bourgeois any more. – broboxley

    That’s what they want you to think :-p

    Seriously, yes we do. The means of production are in effect owned by a small elite – in legal terms, members of this elite own large-to-enormous fortunes (the number of billionaires has grown enormously in the last three decades), but beyond that, they effectively control far more, even if formal ownership is distributed among pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, etc., through their control over mobile capital.

    I suppose you could avoid the war, but I can’t really think how. – dongiovanni

    Divide the elite against itself. It has to be done anyway if we’re to avoid catastrophic climate change, since a considerable part of it is determined to prevent any effective action to do so; but it’s objectively in the interests of the rest of the elite that such action should be taken, which is what could make it possible.

  115. dongiovanni says

    This is my problem really. The elite aren’t an abstraction, they aren’t the enemy, they are people. Living, breathing people who have every right to live without being guillotined. Certainly, they’re disgustingly rich and screwing us over, but they’re not Lord Sauron and we shouldn’t be talking in terms of it as a monolithic evil.

  116. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Um, we’ve had some disturbing messages around here lately, but I don’t think any one of us has been arguing for anything even close to dehumanization of elites or advocating taking them to some sort of metaphorical guillotine.
    Unless you consider taxing the hell out of them to be a metaphorical guillotine. Or actually making them accountable to the law.
    A lot of evil done by the elites could be avoided if we simply made them accountable under the same laws and regulations as the rest of us. So lets work on that. No murder or mayhem.

  117. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Yeah, I’m dreaming, I know.
    It’s just that something has to change. Humans are horrible. :(

  118. mythbri says

    @dongiovanni

    Certainly, they’re disgustingly rich and screwing us over, but they’re not Lord Sauron and we shouldn’t be talking in terms of it as a monolithic evil.

    Certainly. Something that goes hand-in-hand with that, however, is not buying into or legitimizing the rhetoric that the very rich and their advocates use to describe the “horror” of abiding by the law and paying their fair share of taxes.

    I see much more demonization of the poor in order to weave a narrative that traps middle and lower-middle class people into despising them as well. I see much more rhetoric that is designed to give the middle and lower-middle classes hope that one day, if they work hard enough, they will be rich, too. Deluding people into believing that eventually, laws that are intended to balance society’s burdens will negatively affect them is exactly what the very rich and their paid politicians want.

  119. dongiovanni says

    I’ll admit that no – one was suggesting guillotining and that that was in bad taste. My feeling, however is that much of the time referring to them as “the elites” goes hand in hand with dehumanising people. From experience, labelling people as elites, Bourgeoisie, trotskyists or any other group of that sort tends to work on emotions and can create a situation where anger predominates over reasoned debate.

    I’ve personally had the experience of being shut out of a number of discussions when I’ve suggested that people are starting to dehumanise others, so I often get quite uncomfortable when it seems to me like this is happening. I apologise, as it is now very clear that this is not happening and I was jumping to conclusions, but I hope that give some background as to why I reacted as I did.

  120. dongiovanni says

    As far as I’m concerned, everything we can do to ensure the rule of law is a good thing. A good place to start might be a blanket ban on all political donations, as this would remove one major source of corruption. Then perhaps impose a cap on the maximum amount of personal wealth anyone is allowed to accumulate and use the money raised from this to pay for a universal basic income?

  121. broboxley OT says

    #666 Nick, think you are confusing bourgeois (from guilds, traders, artisans, people in the middle of town with stuff for sale) with bourgeoisie (french for those who control the means of production)

  122. says

    Warning: long post ahead.
    broboxley
    #660

    I listed those countries as places with very good corruption indices in their democratically arranged governments. This remains true, although you are correct that Japan doesn’t belong in the top rankings; I misremembered their standing. I listed different places as examples of the economic success of worker cooperatives. Please do not conflate these examples or pretend that I have done so. The ethnic tensions are not actually related to corruption, and therefore do not constitute a counterargument for that point. The riots you mention come, in fact from a failure to implement the plan I described completely: Members of those nations are disenfranchised and do not have a voice in those democratically arranged governments. This is a failure for which they should rightfully be castigated. However, nowhere did I argue that those places were utopias, nor that a communist society would be one either. I merely argue that those are examples of how communistic principles improve those societies and economies, and I stand by those arguments.
    675

    Our craftsmen and articifers have been replaced with robots or 3rd world slavery.

    The latter of which could be changed instantly, did our lawmakers have both spines and ethics. The former merely means that the same worker can in principal make the same money for a fraction of the labor, as would be the case in a system where the income from sales of a factory’s product were allocated democratically by the workforce, rather than having all value possible sucked out by non-producers.

    rq

    The trouble arises when people start drawing lines about who is in the group and who is not, and when opinions differ.

    Which is different from now how, exactly? As I said to broboxley above, I’m not promising utopia, just improvement over status quo

    It’s not always something that can be settled by voting, because even if the majority allows the out-group in, you’re now working with a far more unstable situation within the group. Of course, it might settle over time, and it might not.

    Consensus-based democracy addresses many of those issues, although there are scaling issues. Until that’s solved, all I can do is fall back on the old saw about (representative) democracy being the worst form of government there is, except for all the other ones that have been tried. Fundamental guarantees of human rights written into law are also good things.

    The problem is merely that I don’t know of any group, anywhere, who accepts just anyone off the street as an immediate in-member. There’s usually a process of initiation (so to speak), following which there is tentative acceptance, with slightly different rules than for everyone else (if only non-formal social rules). And if someone doesn’t pass that initiation, then they’re an Enemy of the group (for whatever reason – religious affiliation, different work ethic, etc.)

    That is slightly oversimplified, in that nonmembers are not intrinsically the same thing as enemies. Furthermore, this is once again a problem that occurs regardless of economic arrangements; sometimes people don’t or won’t fit into a workplace environment, and they are encouraged to leave.

    The other issue I have is the fact that it’s extremely hard to dial it down to complete power-equality in today’s day and age. It takes one person to not co-operate with the fair division for others to be afraid that they won’t get their share

    Yes and no. Certainly it will take a fair amount of doing to get there from here, but a) that’s true of any significant reform program and b)that doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be done. As far as ‘only takes one person’, not cooperating, that’s no more true than in any other large-scale collective endeavor. If Bob the Billionaire doesn’t want to give up some of his assets, that’s though for him, because the government can seize his assets anyway, under relevant law ( usually tax law or eminent domain; that
    s why many billionares are opposed to the existence of tax laws).

    see: privatization in Eastern Europe following fall of USSR – kind of a bad example, but Soviet-government/nationalized property was supposed to be shared out better than it actually is, what with the billionaires/politicians sitting at the top and still making deals amongst themselves and ignoring everyone else).

    Well, yes, that worked out dreadfully, but I can’t see how anyone could expect differently, given the 7 decade clusterfuck that was the USSR; as I said in my initial post, Leninism, and its philosophical descendants Stalinism and Maoism, are a particularly godawful form of totalitarianism, distinguishable from fascism primarily by worse dress sense.

    How do you ensure that no one individual/group of individuals does not have too much power over others? Practically speaking? Laws is laws, but they’re not always followed; and if you’re in a slightly more privileged group, you can afford to break the law, because heck, they won’t come after you.

    Practically speaking, we’re working on that right now, aren’t we? I seem to recall there being a whole lot of discussion around these parts about privilege, people abusing it, and how to get rid of it. I don’t have any better answers than have been proposed in those discussions, many of them much better ideas than I could have come up with on my own. Put differently, we’ve got that problem now, and under my plan at least more people would have more resources of their own to throw into the problem.

    Hmm, interesting idea, and it sounds pretty good. I like the idea, but there’s the whole question of fair price (and who regulates it),

    It’s not at all clear to me that anyone would need to. If there was a need, I would suppose that the government would do so; I’m not proposing that we abolish government. That would be absurd; infrastructure, and hence government, is needed for any society larger or more complex than a hunter-gatherer band or neolithic farming village.

    and who’s making what (How do we make sure there are not only potters making those darned popular clay pots (which bring in a lot of money) but also bakers, cobblers, etc.?),

    How do we ensure that now? People who want to start a pottery business will get together and start a pottery business; the seed money would ideally come from a fund established by the government for same, with a certain amount allocated per person (I base this on Muhammed Yunus idea of the right to capital; see Creating a World Without Poverty). If their pottery is any good, people who need pottery will buy it. Similarly for breadmaking, etc.

    and how does one ‘encourage’ a particular group/person to engage in the making of something else if they don’t want to

    That was mostly flippancy; since I also support a guaranteed income, if you want to spend your time making shoes no one wants to buy, that’s on you. If you’re any good at it somebody probably will, though. It’s a big world out there, and it wears an astonishing variety of shoes.

    But is there a police force? Who keeps an eye on them?

    Of course there is. And ideally civilian oversight boards who have direct access to the constant raw feeds from the helmet audiovisual cameras that all police officers wear at all times while on duty, and the archives of same. Probably also a separate government agency that does the same thing, as a backup.

    Who enforces laws?

    The police.

    I interpreted the initial question as “Who watches the government?”, hence the answer of “Ideally, everyone.”

    dongiovanni

    My main problem is that as far as I’m concerned, some element of coercion would have to be necessary in order to implement the system as at least in modern first world countries it is in the interests of a significant minority of the population to retain a capitalist system

    Start with progressive income taxes and a strong social safety net (As seen in several European social democracies, which have few to no superrich, and didn’t get there by violence). Focus the taxes on capital gains and particularly on stock trades. Increase minimum wages. Pass laws capping the ratio of pay between the highest and lowest paid employees. Ensure that unions have strong legal protections. Ensure that corporate law adequately covers cooperatives of various sorts (Many U.S. States don’t have any laws at all covering incorporating as a cooperative, for instance). Add tax breaks for cooperatives that have just formed. Extend business services and advice to new coops via local boards of commerce.
    Create a pool of money collected from a special fee on cooperatives to provide startup and operating capital to new cooperatives. Move on from there. All of these have been implemented (although not all at once in the same place, AFAIK) and produced significant improvement in economic and other metrics. Move on in that vein until you get to the point where all the corporations are worker cooperatives, and you’ve got communism.

    From my memory, Communist regimes were more farcical than anything by the time my parents were born. The whole thing was just grossly insincere:

    See my previous remarks on Leninism etc. Centrally directed economies suck; always have, always will.

    Living, breathing people who have every right to live without being guillotined.

    Who said anything about guillotines? Didn’t you notice my answer to rq’s first and second questions? The bit about not having any violent revolutions? We tax them, that’s all.

  123. says

    yeah, american indians come to mind.

    Do you have a point, or are you deliberately misinterpreting my statements. If you wish to address ethnic issues, kindly address yourself to the areas where I am discussing ethnic issues. This type of thing adds to my suspicion that you are not an honest interlocutor in this matter, although I admit I did not expect you to be, based on your history.

    #678 let me know when the US is close to that, I will start looking at relocating

    You misunderstand. Your statement at 676 is an accurate description of how a monetary economy with a central bank operates. Since the U.S. is such an economy, that is an accurate description of the situation which obtains in the U.S.

  124. broboxley OT says

    #680 Dalillama, Schmott Guy
    What is to misinterpret? I simply provided a scenario where the original american colonists had exactly the same ethic, they decided communally how to allocate the work and ran the Indians off because of

    sometimes people don’t or won’t fit into a workplace environment, and they are encouraged to leave.

    . You are quite clearly stating support for the tyranny of the majority. That immediately brings in ethnic issues whether franc or alsace, franc or walloon, or franc, afrique .

    Now if you are presenting a scenario of perfect people in a perfect world that is one thing, but in this world that is colonial thinking at it’s best. Do what you are told or else, the governing body knows best. Hasn’t worked well in the past and isn’t working now in europe.
    from the cradle of communism
    http://academic.udayton.edu/race/06hrights/georegions/Europe/France01.htm

    Article 225-2 of the French Penal Code criminalizes discrimination in the workplace. However, this has proved to be largely inadequate and hardly acts as a deterrent. The victims, even after winning a criminal case, are neither reinstated to their former position nor are they given any compensation. Forms of implicit and explicit racism are manifest in employment ads, in phrases such as “BBR’ (Bleu- Blane-Rouge), code for “French only’. The press publishes questionable announcements such as ‘White woman wanted to care for elderly lady’, ‘No persons of colour. Impossible’ and ‘Position for intern of French cultural origin’. Certain jobs are restricted by law to French nationals, which has specifically raised CERD’s concerns. Maurice Glele-Ahanhanzo, the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, in his special report on France, stated that the greatest discrimination in hiring was experienced by immigrants from Africa, followed by Turkish and Southeast Asian immigrants who remain marginalized from mainstream French life.

  125. says

    Broboxley:
    Did you miss the point where I said workplace fucking environment? It is a fact of life that sometimes a particular individual will not be able to fit in in a particular group. I do not advocate this as a positive feature of any class of social organization, I merely acknowledge it as a fact of existence which appears to be fundamentally unchangeable. Things like harassment and diversity policies can minimize the degree to which this is true, but cannot eliminate it, unless you have evidence of such that I do not. Therefore, failing to perfectly resolve that problem is not a counterargument.
    As I noted, repeatedly, above, ethnic tensions are another matter, and I do not have a magic wand to resolve all such issues, although ensuring that minorities have civil rights and economic opportunities demonstrably helps a lot, as do such things as hate crime laws. Since I have specifically advocated in this discussion for a government which a) guarantees the civil rights of all persons under its jurisdiction and b) ensures economic opportunity exists for same (see, specifically, the bits about guaranteed income, infrastructure (soft and hard), and a right to capital), those things will at least somewhat ameliorate those issues. And, once again, you don’t get to use problems with the current system which might persist to argue that the changes proposed will not still have a net benefit for everyone even if other problems do persist to some degree. This is the last response you will receive from me on this topic unless you actually a)present an argument which b)addresses something I’ve said.

  126. dongiovanni says

    Well, yes, that worked out dreadfully, but I can’t see how anyone could expect differently, given the 7 decade clusterfuck that was the USSR; as I said in my initial post, Leninism, and its philosophical descendants Stalinism and Maoism, are a particularly godawful form of totalitarianism, distinguishable from fascism primarily by worse dress sense.

    I’m not entirely convinced that Leninism and such are entirely separate from communism per se, to be entirely honest. The way I see it, it demonstrates many of the problems that occur when an ideology is placed ahead of human welfare (war communism, the Kronstadt rebellion) and combines it with the issues that occur when a system of government is forced on the population for their own good as they are seen as brainwashed or deluded. My problem here is that I think that communism is extremely vulnerable to these occurences, and that in particular the idea that the working classes can’t decide on their system of government for themselves is nigh on impossible to disentangle from the system.

    If you look at Marx, Lenin, Engels, Trotsky and much of the original communist party, none of them were even remotely recognisable as peasants. They were Bourgeois to the core. The peasants supported the social revolutionary movement – a political movement which was run by the peasants and for the peasants, and may well have supported their interests quite well. This was supplanted by the Bolshevik movement due to the fact that their ideology – their communist ideology – claimed that anyone disagreeing with them was a bourgeois dupe – despite the fact that in this case someone simply happened to disagree with them.

    Who said anything about guillotines? Didn’t you notice my answer to rq’s first and second questions? The bit about not having any violent revolutions? We tax them, that’s all.

    Admitted, that was bad phrasing.

    Problem is, I don’t think implementing it democratically would work, both due to the fact that the philosophy has strongly exclusionary leanings (everyone who disagrees is either deluded or evil, which leaves little room for rational disagreement or debate) and the fact that the people who are screwing us control the army and the police force. I mean, how are you going to prevent people who disagree with the system from being vilified?

  127. dongiovanni says

    Crap, sorry, I still can’t get blockquoting working. The last bolded section was me. Also, I don’t think that owning money has done anyone any favours, as with our current system the currency is, despite everything, effectively privatised. When a small number of people control the vast majority of the cash, they can manipulate the currency more or less at will, and a system where the money is state – controlled would be preferable in my opinion.

  128. broboxley OT says

    workplace fucking environment

    sorry, I thought you were conflating that into the inter-communal exchanges you had described.

    Remember this thread started because I stated people don’t work that way, never have.

    You disagreed with that. In #682 above you are a long way from the sweeping statement that northern europe (after you gracefully withdrew japan) is the model we should follow. All I was pointing out is that once you try to insert real people into that model it devolves really fast.

    I don’t think you can extricate ethnic tension from your model. I don’t remember whether you have facebook, but a post linked by sally strange is very appropriate. It explains why you cannot extract race from the conversation. In no am I way implying that you are thinking that way, it just needs to be brought into the model.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=491469084257058&set=a.157593050977998.39186.148018205268816&type=1&theater

  129. says

    My problem here is that I think that communism is extremely vulnerable to these occurences, and that in particular the idea that the working classes can’t decide on their system of government for themselves is nigh on impossible to disentangle from the system.

    FFS, did you miss all the fucking bits in there about fucking democracy? The whole bit about the proletariat not being ready to decide for themselves was added in by fucking Lenin, which is one of the major reasons I’ve spent this whole fucking discussion badmouthing the wretched fuckwad’s ideas. The original meaning of “dictatorship of the proleteriat,” (as proposed by Marx and Engels) was a democratic state with universal suffrage; see? The proleteriat all get to vote (and since social class is not recognized in such a state, everyone is the proletariat), and, therefore, everyone is collectively the ‘dictator.’ The system where the totalitarian state owns everything and no-one gets a meaningful vote is as far from that situation as Mussolini’s Italy, and indeed is functionally indistinguishable from same in the long term.

    their communist ideology – claimed that anyone disagreeing with them was a bourgeois dupe

    I’m not denying that some of the were prone to fanaticism; no movement is without such fanatics, although it doesn’t pay to let them make all the decisions.

    Problem is, I don’t think implementing it democratically would work,

    Incremental change. All of the specific proposals I’ve advanced are beneficial in and of themselves, and are likely to become popular when those benefits begin to manifest.

    both due to the fact that the philosophy has strongly exclusionary leanings

    To be fair, many (though not all) of the counterarguments commonly used, then and now, are indeed nothing more than propaganda; specifically what is the downside of any of the specific proposals I have advanced? What is the counterargument to those things which is not predicated on bullshit advanced by paid propagandists? I am very interested in hearing them. (Note: I’m not looking for arguments about how it will be hard to get there from here. I know that. I am looking for specific arguments showing that the proposals I have advanced would not be an improvement over status quo (Not a panacea. An improvement)).

    people who are screwing us control the army and the police force.

    But, you see, if we can use the democratic process to elect people who agree with us, then those people will control the army and police forces. It will take a lot of work, and might not succeed, but once again, that is not a counterargument.

    broboxley
    I suppose I will make one more effort here.

    In #682 above you are a long way from the sweeping statement that northern europe (after you gracefully withdrew japan) is the model we should follow.

    Do you understand the meaning of the word “Corruption”? Do you understand that the meaning of the word has nothing to do with who does and doesn’t have things like the vote? Are you capable of comprehending the idea that I proposed that we should look at the things they have done to reduce corruption and emulate those things? Not that I am saying they are perfect exemplars of all that is good and holy in the world of democracy? Do you understand that the riots your talkning about are happening because neither immigrants nor their children are usually given citizenship, and thus that they haven’t got things like the vote? Did you notice the several times where I said that I am proposing that everyone have the vote, once (#667) specifically in reference to the people in Northern European countries who haven’t got the things I was saying the government should guarantee to everyone?

    I don’t think you can extricate ethnic tension from your model.

    I’m not fucking trying to. I’m pointing out that the specific fucking proposals which I have advanced will improve everyone’s situation, even if ethnic tensions remain at their current levels. I have also noted the probability that these proposals will also reduce ethnic tensions, which is once again better than the current situation. I cannot state this any more clearly, nor can I see any way that a reasonably competent speaker of English can misinterpret what I have said. If you would care to address my actual fucking points now, I am at your service.

  130. rq says

    Dalillama, dongiovanni, broboxley
    Wow, I slept through a whole conversation.
    Immediate thoughts:
    1) The phrase ‘state-controlled currency’ brings fear into my heart.
    2) Incremental change via policy, law, etc. is a good thing. Democracy is a great tool, and I agree it is a better system of change than revolution… sometimes. You still need to have elections, so who controls the elections (as in, organizes, deems candidates worthy, equal visibility for all, fair distribution of candidates by race, gender, orientation, etc.)? Because the USSR had elections. There was just one party running, but they were elections. That’s how Latvia lost its independence the Soviet time – the communists came to power democratically, then they had a democratic election with one party (there was a second one, but they were arrested shortly before the election and stricken from the lists), and they won with, I think, something like 99.5% of the vote (the rest were spoiled ballots), and voila! within a short while, Latvia had ‘voluntarily’ become a member republic of the USSR.

    Elections were held with single pro-Soviet candidates listed for many positions. The resulting people’s assembly immediately requested admission into the USSR, which the Soviet Union granted.

    (via Wikipedia, but the Latvian Museum of Occupation has lots of similar information) So, the question is, how does the system get past this kind of election fraud? Or, plainly speaking, how does one get people to look past election propaganda and make a sensible choice (see: America; Mitt Romney vs.Barack Obama). I’m not advocating that anyone make the choice for people, but there needs to be a huge educational overhaul about… well, everything. More so in some countries than others (I see Sweden is progressing well in a lot of areas, I have severe doubts about Latvia, Estonia is kind of on the right track, etc.). The main question is, then, Who and how makes sure elections are fair and unbiased?
    3) I really don’t think it’s practical to separate an idea from its implementation (and its effect on people now, since people now is what we have to work with). It seems kind of like all the theoretical discussion people like to have about things that have real-world effects while ignoring the real-world effects (which often leads to a highly idealized ‘result’ and lots of disagreement). It’s often easy to see the goal, but it’s difficult to map the road for getting there.

    That wasn’t all that short or quick… :P
    Anyway, Dalillama, I see what you’re trying to say with improvements over the current situation and all that, and I agree. I think communism has lots of great ideas, but it’s always the implementation that worries. You’ll probably agree that we have far to go (education-wise, social justice-wise) before any such system can be workable without the fear of failure. I agree that there is (some) progress – as you mention, discussions about privilege and accountability and taxation (I’m a big fan of taxing the rich!!!). So maybe all of my doubts will eventually resolve themselves.
    But right now, it’s hard to see how the system would actually work. I may be short on imagination, I may be scared of the past. Peaceful revolution/protest can work, at least to bring attention to a cause, so there are alternatives to democratic elections (see: the Singing Revolution, Baltic Way).
    Anyway. I’m losing my focus, time for breakfast. Thanks for the discussion so far.

  131. says

    A fair number of places seem to be able to run elections without significant vote fraud; transparency and a verifiable paper trail are important, as are multiple groups represented in vote counting, so as to allow them to keep an eye on each other. Allow each candidate and/or party (depending on what type of electoral system you use; I favor a proportional representation scheme, with weighting for individual candidates and universal suffrage for adults who’ve resided in the jurisdiction for at least 6 months, although I can be flexible on the time frame.

    The phrase ‘state-controlled currency’ brings fear into my heart.

    What other types of currency are currently in circulation? I mean, I suppose there’s BitCoins and a couple of similar outfits, but they’re pretty much jokes, economically speaking.

    but it’s always the implementation that worries.

    Well, let’s see. Going over my proposals, I covered elections above, Universal health care has plenty of great models for implementation, no worries there. Quite a few places seem to have a decent social welfare system at least to the point that no-one goes hungry or freezes in the streets, so look at that as a good start, but build up some from there til you get a basic income sufficient to meet basic needs plus a bit. Increasing minimum wage,union protections, and capital gains taxes are pretty unexceptional ideas, I should think, and don’t need a lot of explaining. Similarly, corporate law covering the existence of cooperatives is fairly well established, with plenty of models for jurisdictions which lack them.
    See Emilia-Romagna and Mondragon for examples of the types of incentive and organization I’m discussing to encourage cooperatives. See Yunus’ books for a discussion on availability of capital and how it relates to poverty reduction. Regarding issues of privilege and marginalization, look particularly at how much it benefits women particularly. Are there any other of the proposals I outlined that raise such concerns?

    system can be workable without the fear of failure.

    There is no system that can be workable without fear of failure. The current system is a failure in many important ways, and sure inspires a lot of fear in me that it’s going to start failing in more of them any day now. How about you?

  132. rq says

    By the way I wanted to thank you for the reading suggestion.

    Also, your implementations sound fine – they’re great ideas, and they would be fantastic. But you make it sound so easy, which makes me suspicious. And I wonder how all of that will work. How do you get people to the level where they choose these things, instead of grabbing at what they can for immediate comfort. How do you teach people to plan for the long-term/for the well-being of everyone, not just themselves? That’s the part that worries me.
    Then there’s the issue of scale: not everything that works on a small(er) scale will work on a large one. I read about the organizations you pointed out, and they have their advantages, and they seem to work. On that scale. What’s the guarantee they’ll still work on a larger scale? Or do you simply propose a collection of similarly-sized organizations (which could work)?

    I would also like to point out: you keep arguing that Lenin and Mao and etc. were assholes (where I agree), but you also keep saying they weren’t Real Communists (fascists in disguise). Yet they themselves identified as communists, spoke of communist systems, thought they were smart communists and would fix the world, etc. Are you arguing No True Communist in their case? Because that’s not very nice.
    And it reduces the actual effects of real-world communism that I see around me every single fucking day – the consequences of attempting to implement such a system, and its greatest failures. Those who disagreed with the idea were dealt with brutally, they were enemies of Communism. That’s what they were called, labelled, etc. And I blame Communism for the way things went down in this country for 50 years (or so). You can’t convince me that it wasn’t Communism, because that’s what everyone called it (including those implementing it). Your proposals seem to avoid the pitfalls so inherent in the same sort of system imposed by force, so maybe you’ve gotten around that whole historical-failures bit. I haven’t. I’ll agree that there’s communism badly implemented, and communism implemented well. But you’ll never convince me that what this country had (and the Eastern Bloc) wasn’t communism.

    Oh, and I totally forgot to add billingtondev to the list of people to thank for the discussion. So sorry, and thanks to you too!

  133. dongiovanni says

    I’m not saying that any of your suggestions would be in any way a bad idea, but I do feel that if it can be shown that they can’t be reasonably implemented without the potential for a massive mess, then this constitutes an effective counterargument. Certainly, Universal health care and such are a good idea, but it seems like that’s less communist and more being an at least slightly moral human being. I honestly would be hard pressed to find someone here who would oppose this. Of course, it could do with improvements, but I get the distinct impression that we have completely different ideas of what we’re arguing over.

    I think that perhaps the only way we can get out of this situation is to get the vast majority of the population involved in politics – it doesn’t even matter that much what they think as long as they are thinking (incidentally, this excludes republicans) and arguing about how their society should be governed. We might then get out of this mess, but as long as the majority of the population is disengaged anything we do is likely to turn nasty – as is happening now.

    Thanks very much to all of you for the conversation, and I hope I have not ruined too many nascent friendships :/

  134. rq says

    dongiovanni
    The Thunderdome exists for such friendships to take a beating. ;) And then come together again – here or in the Lounge. It’s no worse (I think?) than getting into a shouting match with the people you went out with to have a beer or two, and then calling each other up the next day and asking, ‘Want to do it again?’
    Just for the record, I still like all of you and I’m not angry at anyone or about anything.

  135. says

    rq

    How do you get people to the level where they choose these things, instead of grabbing at what they can for immediate comfort

    A whole lot of really tedious discussion, argumentation, and pointing to the places where it works and the benefits it provides there. It’s slow fucking going, to be sure.
    (In the long run, improving educational standards would do wonders for making those arguments easier, but unfortunately there’s a lot of tedious arguing to get through about that first. Like I said. Slow going.) Overall though, once things like that are implemented, they tend to be popular, and people are unlikely to vote to get rid of them (for an American example, Medicare, which was the bugaboo of the Right before it was passed, but now the Teabaggers are screaming to keep it. The NHS has similar status in the UK, as I understand it, in that despite the cuts and privatization efforts, anyone who actually proposed abolishing it would lose the ability to win elections; anyone from th UK correct me if I’m wrong on that one)

    Or do you simply propose a collection of similarly-sized organizations

    Pretty much this, yes. A big enough network, and it’s an economy.

    Yet they themselves identified as communists, spoke of communist systems, thought they were smart communists and would fix the world, etc. Are you arguing No True Communist in their case? Because that’s not very nice.

    I’m sorry, but is the DPRK democratic? No, they are not. Calling a thing something doesn’t make it so. Marxism and other communist philosophies (Kropotkin, Trotsky, etc) describe an economic situation where the means of production are owned directly by those who use them to produce and there is no social class. Totalitarian dictatorships where everything is owned by a central body are a species of fascism or possibly monarchy, depending on details, but cannot, by any reasonable standard, be considered the same category as advocates of economic as well as political democracy.

    dongiocanni

    I get the distinct impression that we have completely different ideas of what we’re arguing over.

    Yes; you seem to be arguing with some other Communist who isn’t here and has a lot of foolish and evil ideas. I’m talking about how to fix some of the massive failures of capitalistic systems.

  136. rq says

    Dalillama
    Well, it was certainly labelled and reacted to as communism when it was going on (as the reverse of capitalism) and I still see people (here, in the States, in Canada) proudly and communistically wearing t-shirts with the inscription CCCP and the hammer-and-sickle symbol like it’s something to take pride in as a symbol of… commmunism! Surprise! And it fucking hurts, because they have no idea they’re wearing the symbol of a genocidal tyranny machine on a scale equivalent to the fucking Holocaust. Because, see, they’re communists, and so was the USSR, so what’s the big deal?
    True, this is a lack of education. The Soviets was on the Good Side in the War, so a few minor genocidal actions and oppression of others can be ignored and brushed under the rug, especially since Russia is still a big ‘winner’ with a propaganda machine to match, and it can go around denying historical claims of asshole-hood.
    So, you’re right, by dictionary definition it wasn’t a communism, but it certainly was down in the dirt, where everyone was supposed to suck it up for everyone else’s sake, because that’s what you do in communism – you share each other’s joys and miseries, and don’t worry, those guys up the ladder, they have it just as bad as you do, but they still make the rules, so please just follow them, or we’ll have a couple of nice bare places for you in the next cattle-wagon to Siberia. Leaving at 2AM, no advance warning, 10 minutes to pack, thanks. Sure you can take the kids, but your husband’s going thataway and oh yeah, say goodbye while you’re at it, this bullet’s got his name on it. That was communism in action then. Like I said, communism badly implemented, but they certainly went around with a lot of communist philosophies and 5-year plans to save the economy, touting the benefits of communism and the fantastic-ness of Dear Leader in addition to mandatory participation in parades and demonstrations as to the greatness of Dear Leader and the Communist State in general. So, in their minds and the minds of the people living under that regime, it was communism. Like I said, you’re not going to convince me it wasn’t.

    The DPRK, by the way, no longer officially follows the tenets of communism, but it still (nominally – that is, in-constitution) considers itself a democracy. It (supposedly) uses democratic tools (elections, etc.) internally, but they also have the word ‘dictatorship’ to describe themselves, so in their minds, at least, they are both (oxymoron, I know – dictatorship of democracy, is how they word it). (Officially they could be considered a monarchy, but that’s neither here nor there.)
    I suppose my ‘point’ here is do we go by self-labelling or do we go by external labelling to determine what something ‘is’?

  137. says

    I still see people (here, in the States, in Canada) proudly and communistically wearing t-shirts with the inscription CCCP and the hammer-and-sickle symbol like it’s something to take pride in as a symbol of… commmunism! Surprise! And it fucking hurts, because they have no idea they’re wearing the symbol of a genocidal tyranny machine on a scale equivalent to the fucking Holocaust.

    Oh, believe me, that pisses me right the fuck off, oh yes. The USSR was pretty much an unmitigated blight on history.

    the fantastic-ness of Dear Leader in addition to mandatory participation in parades and demonstrations as to the greatness of Dear Leader and the Communist State in general.

    See, this bit right here is why I classify that as a species of fascism or monarchism (there are surprising similarities, under the hood). They consistently hit at least 12 of the Eco’s 14 ways of looking at a blackshirt. I know that the the DPRK no longer claims to be Communist, and I would continue to characterize them as fascist; see above for the reasons why. I categorize ideologies by the outcomes they produce and the methods they advocate/use.

  138. rq says

    Dalillama
    I suppose it’s fine for you to categorize them like that, but trust me, it looks a bit different when the world you live in self-applied a label that you see as something completely different. You know, all that theoretical vs. real world stuff / self-labelling vs. external labelling. You’re free to call it what you want. The people who lived it call it communism.
    Who’s to say who’s really right?

    Hi, Caine!

  139. says

    Well, there’s a different term that adequately covers what they were doing, while there’s not a different term that adequately encapsulates what I’m doing (except anarchy, I suppose, but that tends to lead to a whole other set of endless explanations, to it’s kind of a toss up.

  140. says

    To clarify: I understand why people who live/lived in the ostensibly communist totalitarian states have a very bad reaction to the word, but I still don’t have any better term to encapsulate what I’m talking about.

  141. rq says

    Dalillama
    I think I get you. And like I said, I like your ideas.
    But can we call it social democracy instead? :)

  142. John Morales says

    What? Youse moved the conversation from the Lounge here for that!?

    (Bah)

  143. broboxley OT says

    finally can get caught up. Dalillama shouting doesn’t make your ideas any better :-)

    I’m not fucking trying to. I’m pointing out that the specific fucking proposals which I have advanced will improve everyone’s situation, even if ethnic tensions remain at their current levels. I have also noted the probability that these proposals will also reduce ethnic tensions, which is once again better than the current situation. I cannot state this any more clearly, nor can I see any way that a reasonably competent speaker of English can misinterpret what I have said. If you would care to address my actual fucking points now, I am at your service.

    First a little of my background. My father was a shop steward for UAW during the sixties, several strikes were settled around our kitchen table. His best friend was a socialist from Glasgow, the table also held wobblies as well as reasoned anarchists a communist or two as well as unreconstructed ukraine nationalists escapees from 1956.
    So I have heard quite a few ways to do things. Some of them useful. As noted in a link about france above legislation doesnt integrate. Education and mainstreaming does. Your proposals may in fact exacerbate ethnic tensions because the in group will grumble and hate the fact that the “others” are getting a free ride. Look at the US.The meme from the right is lazy black folk with multigenerational welfare, obama phones etc without realizing that there are twice as many whites on multigenerational welfare, aid and other assistance. Integration needs to start young, in the south we are slowly getting better. We need mandatory public service where young people of all races and class must be separated from their clans send to mingle together and work in teams with the ability to learn skills. Once you get a little learning people skills you can advance with some of your ideas.

  144. joey says

    Bronze Dog here:

    We’re also talking about a boolean value: Designed or not designed. The mug, bike, and engine are all designed. They have different levels of complexity, but they are all designed.

    But are any of these things truly “designed”, in the absolute sense? How is the formation of a bike fundamentally different from the formation of a human eye, or how is the construction of an engine fundamentally different from the construction of a planetary solar system? Aren’t the creation of all these things absolutely bound by the natural laws of the universe?

    If they can’t tell us how to determine the difference between natural and designed objects, how did they come to the conclusion that life is designed?

    But is there a difference between natural and designed objects? Can an atheist say there is truly a difference? If there is, at exactly what point in the formation of a “designed” object did actual “design” come into play?

    ———-
    stevem here:

    But isn’t that their very point; i.e. “no such thing as ‘natural’, everything is designed!”

    Actually, this is my point. Under atheism, there is no such thing as “designed”, everything is natural.

  145. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    How is the formation of a bike fundamentally different from the formation of a human eye, or how is the construction of an engine fundamentally different from the construction of a planetary solar system? Aren’t the creation of all these things absolutely bound by the natural laws of the universe?

    Talk about your stupid presupositional not thinking Joey, this is a classic case. Bikes and engines are made by humans. Nature makes eyes through evolution, and planetary systems through gravitational forces. No need for a creator. Which, like you imaginary deity, you would have to show exists prior to it even being considered for anything.

    But is there a difference between natural and designed objects?

    Yep, humans make designed objects. The rest is nature. What part of reality don’t you understand? Oh, any part where your imaginary deity isn’t needed. Go stick your head in a hole. It isn’t ever needed for anything. Live with that.

    Under atheism, there is no such thing as “designed”

    Sorry, logic 010 fail by failure to think. You may not understand the difference, since you are a presuppositional and delusional fool, but anybody with a modicum of intelligence knows better. Still a failure at reality you are.

  146. John Morales says

    Joey, thanks for popping in, I was a bit bored.

    But are any of these things truly “designed”, in the absolute sense?

    Yes.

    How is the formation of a bike fundamentally different from the formation of a human eye, or how is the construction of an engine fundamentally different from the construction of a planetary solar system?

    There is intent and purpose to the one and not to the other.

    Aren’t the creation of all these things absolutely bound by the natural laws of the universe?

    Yes.

    (Such inanity!)

    But is there a difference between natural and designed objects?

    Yes. There is no intent and purpose to the one but there is to the other.

    Can an atheist say there is truly a difference?

    This atheist can.

    If there is, at exactly what point in the formation of a “designed” object did actual “design” come into play?

    You are equivocating between the verb and noun senses of “design” and “designed”.

    (at exactly what point in the formation of a “formed” object did actual “form” come into play?)

  147. consciousness razor says

    But are any of these things truly “designed”, in the absolute sense?

    There’s an absolute sense of being truly designed? What is that?

    How is the formation of a bike fundamentally different from the formation of a human eye, or how is the construction of an engine fundamentally different from the construction of a planetary solar system? Aren’t the creation of all these things absolutely bound by the natural laws of the universe?

    Someone intended a bike to have a certain form. They took some pre-existing raw materials and acted upon them to achieve some end result. There is no one doing any of that for eyes or solar systems.

    As an aside, scientific laws don’t need to “make” things happen or make them “bound” to happen. It’s sufficient to consider them descriptions, not prescriptions, of what regularly does happen. You have a description of a state, and you have a description of which kinds of patterns the evolution of the states can have over time. The “law” terminology is misleading in this sense. Electrons aren’t “forced” to behave a certain way or “penalized” if they don’t “obey” some “commandment” or whatever. The law, as far as electrons are concerned, is just what the electrons do, not something else outside the system which obliges them to do that.

    But is there a difference between natural and designed objects? Can an atheist say there is truly a difference?

    There’s no god out there, designing eyes or solar systems. That’s a true difference, is it not?

    If there is, at exactly what point in the formation of a “designed” object did actual “design” come into play?

    When some person was in the process of designing something, before and during the process of forming it based off their design.

  148. Amphiox says

    But are any of these things truly “designed”, in the absolute sense?

    In reality there is no “absolute” sense for almost anything. Of course there are few exceptions, because even this statement is not absolute.

    But there are few designed things included in those exceptions.

  149. Amphiox says

    But is there a difference between natural and designed objects?

    Designed objects are natural objects. They are the subset of natural objects whose parts were at least to some degree purposely assembled by an intelligent agent with a goal in mind.

    All such intelligent agents are themselves natural objects.

    Can an atheist say there is truly a difference?

    Easily. See above.

  150. Amphiox says

    The one and only delineating feature of a designed object and a non-designed object is the existence of the designer and its expressed purpose/goal.

    All other features and categories are shared. There may be some statistical differentiation domains overlap.

    For example, the feature of “complexity” is shared by both, but the RANGE of complexity for non-designed objects is greater at both ends. Non-designed objects can be significantly more complex than designed ones, as well as significantly simpler. Large ecosystems, for example, can be far more complex than any designed thing has ever been observed to be.

    Another example is chimerism. Designed objects are more likely to feature chimerism than evolved non-designed objects, but evolutionary mechanisms can produce some degree of chimerism through things like lateral gene transfer and symbiosis.

  151. joey says

    Nerd:

    Bikes and engines are made by humans. Nature makes eyes through evolution, and planetary systems through gravitational forces.

    Why can’t you say that nature makes bikes and engines? Is that a false statement?

    So nature makes humans through evolution, and then bikes and engines are designed by humans. So somewhere between nature making humans and humans making bikes/engines the rules fundamentally change?

    Yep, humans make designed objects. The rest is nature.

    Humans are not the result of nature? Does nature stop once humans exists?

    ——————–
    John Morales:

    But are any of these things truly “designed”, in the absolute sense?

    Yes.

    Alright…

    How is the formation of a bike fundamentally different from the formation of a human eye, or how is the construction of an engine fundamentally different from the construction of a planetary solar system?

    There is intent and purpose to the one and not to the other.

    So your requirement for design is intent/purpose. So if true design absolutely exists, then intent and purpose must absolutely exist. But do you believe there truly exists such things? Why is it valid to say that a human “intended” to create a mug, but it isn’t valid to say the Milky Way “intended” to create our solar system?

    The way I see it, assuming the natural laws of the universe is all there is, then “intent” and “purpose” don’t exist in the absolute sense and are merely illusions (same boat as free will). And if there is no intent/ purpose, then how can there be design (other than illusion)?

    ————–
    consciousness razor:

    There’s an absolute sense of being truly designed? What is that?

    That a rational agent has an absolute intent/purpose in mind when willingly creating the designed thing. I would say that I am “designing” the contents of this post in the absolute sense. In other words design is real and not an illusion.

    But is there a difference between natural and designed objects? Can an atheist say there is truly a difference?

    There’s no god out there, designing eyes or solar systems. That’s a true difference, is it not?

    Why can’t it be said that our galaxy designed our solar system? That the Milky Way intended to create our solar system? How is that fundamentally different than saying that a human designed a computer?

    I know a fundamental difference between the two. The solar system lacks agency and free will, whereas a human has agency and free will. But don’t most atheists believe free will is only an illusion? So they can’t use that difference.

  152. Amphiox says

    The only way to know if an object is designed is to discover, or already know, that is has a designer.

    You know a watch is designed ONLY because you already know that watchmakers exist and that they design watches. Indeed, that you yourself are a potential watchmaker – a being capable of purposely designing an object with the goal of telling time.

    If you did not know that watchmakers could exist, you would not be able to recognize a watch as a designed thing. You would not know that the watch’s purpose is to tell time – you know this only because you already know that watchmakers exist and that they are interested in making things that tell time, and that you are one of them, with a potential interest in or desire to tell time, and the capability to make something that can tell the time. With out that a priori context, the watch with its various parts with have no meaning to you, and you would not recognize it as being designed.

  153. Amphiox says

    Why can’t it be said that our galaxy designed our solar system? That the Milky Way intended to create our solar system?

    You can say it all you want, but unless you present a priori evidence that the Milky Way possesses intelligence and is capable of intent, it is nothing but poetic words.

    The term “intent” has a SPECIFIC meaning in the real world – it describes a SPECIFIC PROCESS with SPECIFIC PROPERTIES.

  154. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why can’t you say that nature makes bikes and engines? Is that a false statement?

    Yes, show me a bike/engine laying around that was made by nature, and not man. Where is your EVIDENCE for your imaginary deity, vidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. Something equivalent to the eternally burning bush. NADA ZIP ZILCH ZERO NOTHING.

    Humans are not the result of nature? Does nature stop once humans exists?

    Actually, for your fuckwitted purposes yes. There is no deity.

    Why can’t it be said that our galaxy designed our solar system?

    Both were made by the same gravitational processes. No deity involved.

    then “intent” and “purpose” don’t exist in the absolute sense and are merely illusions (same boat as free will). And if there is no intent/ purpose, then how can there be design (other than illusion)?

    That “design” is nature. Humans designed bikes and engines. Not the same. CATEGORY ERROR, major philosophical error.

  155. Amphiox says

    The solar system lacks agency and free will, whereas a human has agency and free will. But don’t most atheists believe free will is only an illusion? So they can’t use that difference.

    Of course they can. Atheists do not believe that free will is only an illusion.

    Most atheists believe that free will is relative, not absolute. ABSOLUTE free will is only an illusion.

    And agency is not the same as free will. Only the first is required to have

  156. joey says

    Amphiox:

    Designed objects are natural objects. They are the subset of natural objects whose parts were at least to some degree purposely assembled by an intelligent agent with a goal in mind.

    All such intelligent agents are themselves natural objects.

    If “intelligent agents” are themselves natural objects, then all “designed” objects that come from these “intelligent agents” must also be natural objects as well. So in other words, everything is natural. Thank you for agreeing with me.

    The one and only delineating feature of a designed object and a non-designed object is the existence of the designer and its expressed purpose/goal.

    The existence of a “designer” is illusory once you conclude that all objects are natural, which what you’ve already done.

  157. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But don’t most atheists believe free will is only an illusion?

    Citation needed presuppositional fool.

    So they can’t use that difference.

    Who says? You, the proven liar and bullshitter? I don’t think so Tim….

  158. Amphiox says

    Standard pattern for joey, yet again.

    Unable or unwilling to get out of the straightjacket of absolutist thinking.

  159. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The existence of a “designer” is illusory once you conclude that all objects are natural, w

    Sorry fool, designer is a human. a part of nature, a nuance not missed by atheists. No deity needed except in the mind of presuppositional fools like yourself.

  160. Amphiox says

    If “intelligent agents” are themselves natural objects, then all “designed” objects that come from these “intelligent agents” must also be natural objects as well. So in other words, everything is natural.

    Truly, joey, you are an idiot. DID YOU NOT SEE THE WORD “SUBSET” in my post? You even quoted it.

    DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT “SUBSET” MEANS?

    So NO I DO NOT AGREE WITH YOU. Your claim was that there was “no difference” between designed and natural objects.

    My argument is that one is a SUBSET of the other. And a SUBSET IS NOT THE SAME AS THE LARGER SET, EVEN IF IT IS A PART OF THE LARGER SET. All designed objects are natural, but NOT ALL NATURAL OBJECTS ARE DESIGNED.

    Ergo, there is a DIFFERENCE between the two categories.

    Your intellectual dishonesty, once again, is pathetic.

  161. Amphiox says

    The existence of a “designer” is illusory once you conclude that all objects are natural,

    NO.

  162. says

    broboxley

    finally can get caught up. Dalillama shouting doesn’t make your ideas any better :-)

    No, but it got you to respond with something more substantive than ‘Ha ha race riots.’ so there’s that.

    Education and mainstreaming does.

    So, like, when I proposed improving education, and ensuring the enfranchisement of minorities (de facto, not just dejure)? This is what I mean when I say it doesn’t seem like you’re actually reading what I’m writing. Particularly since you entered the conversation with a goalpost shift. To refresh your memory, rq asked a set of questions about establishing an economy based on communist principles, or, as I’ve now agreed to start calling it, a democratic economy. I answered her questions with a brief description of what such an economy would look like, and what sort of government would be required in order for such an economy to occur. You pooh-poohed this, saying that “Greed and self-interest always win out.” I provided examples of democratic governments where greed and self-interest on the part of officials were not major drivers of government action, and of where worker cooperatives had served as the backbone of some economies over a period of decades. You immediately shifted to talking about race riots in Sweden. The thing is, as you keep repeating, ethnic tensions are not fundamentally based on economics, although economic factors can certainly exacerbate them. Therefore, you cannot point to a set of economic proposals and say “Ah, but that doesn’t resolve ethnic conflicts, therefore you’re wrong.” The economic proposals are not meant to resolve ethnic tensions, because those are not economic issues. They are meant to resolve issues of poverty, unemployment, etc. because these are economic problems. If you have a point to make about how ethnic tensions would be more problematic for the specific economic proposals that I have advanced above than they are in the present economy, I would be interested to hear them. If you just wanted to point out that those problems exist, I am aware of that, thank you.

    Look at the US. The meme from the right is lazy black folk with multigenerational welfare, obama phones etc without realizing that there are twice as many whites on multigenerational welfare, aid and other assistance

    Yes, I’m perfectly aware of this. Did you miss where I specifically said that it would be a long term thing, and that improving education would make things easier when the younger generations grow up? There’s also lots of opposition from the right to capital gains taxes, increased minimum wage, and all the other things I suggested. That’s why it’ a long, hard process with lots of tedious argument, discussion, etc. as I noted to rq above. If there weren’t such opposition, it would be easy to accomplish those things, you see.

    Integration needs to start young,

    It sure helps. How that’s relevant to the benefits of a different economic system is beyond me, though.

    We need mandatory public service where young people of all races and class must be separated from their clans send to mingle together and work in teams with the ability to learn skills.

    That’s certainly one way. It’s not a bad idea, nor does it conflict in any way with anything I’ve been proposing. Incidentally, speaking of education, going to college at a large and faraway university is also helpful, especially if we (I am defaulting to discussing the U.S. in this post, as we are both residents of that country) had a proper educational system meaning one which, for instance, was free through university, not just k-12. That’s just a fraction of the needed reform, of course. For starters, there need to be Federal standards for curriculum, none of this local school boards pushing creationism and made-up history and the like. Also, school funding should be pooled at the state level, rather than local districts then allocated on a multi-pronged basis, with one portion being a per-student portion which is allocated equally to all schools based on the number of students. A second pool would pay for maintenance and improvement, initially starting by improving all schools in the state to the equivalent physical plant of the newest/best equipped. Probably do an assessment and start with the ones with the worst physical plant first and work up the list from there. After that’s been achieved, new improvement s are paid for on a lottery basis, with those schools receiving the improvement being removed from the lottery until each school has received an improvement. As I’ve noted before, it’ll take some doing to get there, but that says nothing about whether it’s worth trying to.

    Once you get a little learning people skills you can advance with some of your ideas.

    What, I’m running for election here? This is the Thunderdome.

  163. John Morales says

    joey:

    The way I see it, assuming the natural laws of the universe is all there is, then “intent” and “purpose” don’t exist in the absolute sense and are merely illusions (same boat as free will). And if there is no intent/ purpose, then how can there be design (other than illusion)?

    Welcome to the concept of categories of being.