Mercury in Permafrost: The waking giant has poisonous breath

The anti-vaccination crowd has a tradition of freaking out over Thiomersol, a mercury compound, being in vaccines. It’s another example of how well-crafted misinformation capitalizes on a partial truth combined with general ignorance. What has been interesting to note is that the same people don’t put nearly as much effort into reducing mercury emissions from coal-fire power plants, even though that’s a mercury compound known to be dangerous, and we’re all exposed to far greater amounts of mercury from those emissions than from vaccines.

Well, here’s an opportunity for them to show a renewed commitment to their fight against mercury exposure: [Read more…]

Preparing for the future

The suite of problems facing American politics is starting to remind me of climate change. A few bad actors with vast resources have screwed everybody over with the silent consent of a majority of the country. To be sure, it’s not like we had managed to unscrew the country the way most of White America seemed to think, but we have been moving slowly in that direction, and had a glimpse of what it might be like to live up to our high-minded ideals. The 21st century could have been a monument to human rights and human ingenuity. At the moment, I don’t think that’s a possibility anymore.

It seems likely, with Trump on the verge of appointing another “Justice” to the supreme court, that we’re over the edge. Just as we have no realistic chance of avoiding catastrophic warming based on where we’re at right now, we may not have any realistic chance at preventing an American slide into full-on authoritarianism.

I suppose November will show us just how screwed we are, but in the meantime I think it’s time to really delve into how to keep working for justice under an oligarchy or something like that. [Read more…]

Water is life: American capitalism is a violation of human rights.

The picture shows a black and white illustration. To the left, a skeletal, starving child holds a hand out under a tap for water, while a man in a business suit pinches off the hose that would allow the child to drink. The word

Since American capitalism seems to be all about finding new ways to punish the poor for being poor, here’s some shit icing on the garbage cake – Nestle is paying $200 per year to pump enough water to supply 100,000 people into bottles to be sold. All of this is about two hours drive from Flint, MI.


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Termites in the Support Beams: Ecosystem services and biodiversity loss

The chaos of the Trump administration has given us some insight to what it will be like to deal with the escalating crises of climate change. There is so much going on that a lot is getting lost in the desperate attempts of our media to report on everything. It seems to be an effective way to confuse public opinion, and could well be the soundtrack for the downfall of our attempt at something like a liberal democracy.

Likewise, as the planet warms, more and more attention will rightly be paid to big events – storms that push the rising seas farther inland than ever before, or killer heat waves, or the troubles of climate refugees, or the wars sparked by climate-driven desperation. As all of that is happening, however, there will be other problems with more subtle effects. We are surrounded by plants and animals most people never think about, and some of them play important roles in our lives without any direct interaction. [Read more…]

Hansen Was Right: Checking up on past predictions

One of the most persistent lines of misinformation about climate science has to do with how long the field has existed. In the interest of repeating accurate information and NOT repeating lies, the clearest”father” of climate science is Joseph Fourier, mostly for his work in the 1820s.

The chief rebuttal to this particular line of propaganda is simple and compelling. The theory of man-made global warming is, and always has been a predictive hypothesis based on hard data. Our understanding of the physics driving global warming predates the idea that our own activities could increase the planet’s temperature by 40 years or so (Tyndall’s work in the 1860s), and the idea that our activities could increase the temperature predates the detectable rise in temperature by around 90 years.

[Read more…]

Information Overload, Transition Town Edition: Well-behaved activists seldom make history

When Laurel Thatcher Ulrich wrote her famous quote in 1976, she was referring to the massive, under appreciated good done by women who will never get the credit they deserve. Time has showed the truth of her words, and I think they can be applied to people working for systemic change as well.

In this time of near constant over-stimulation, it’s easy to miss a lot of what is going on in the world. This point has come up a lot when pointing to the many layers of conniving, corruption, and cruelty in the modern Republican Party, but it applies to good things as well. Case in point: the Transition Town movement. [Read more…]

“If we’re going to invest billions of dollars in space, please let us do it intelligently?”

Rebecca Watson has a response to Trump’s “Space Force”, and it’s worth your time.

Transcript

Whatever they once were, the GOP has become entirely dependent on viewing other individual humans as the biggest danger to white men America, to the exclusion of all else. If you try to talk about dangers like climate change, the focus is immediately redirected away from anything that would require a change in the status quo to the scary terrorists illegal alie- Oh.

Has anybody checked to make sure that Trump doesn’t think Men in Black is a documentary?


If you found this post useful or enjoyable, please share it, and please consider becoming a patron over at my Patreon page. Your donations make this blog possible, and even as little as one dollar per month adds up to make a difference. If you feel you can afford more than that, you can get access to all sorts of other content and perks! Your patronage allows me to put more of my time and energy into making this blog a useful resource. Thanks for reading!

 

Presenting His Holiness Saint Ray the Cat

It’s hot and humid today, and my cat is cute. Please enjoy these pictures of him cuddling with his new favorite thing:

Apologies for the poor picture quality. Trust me when I say the blur makes my kitchen look better.

The picture shows His Holiness St. Ray the Cat snoozing with his paws on an ice pack. He is very cute and fuzzy.

His Holiness St. Ray the Cat


If you found this post useful or enjoyable, please share it, and please consider becoming a patron over at my Patreon page. Your donations make this blog possible, and even as little as one dollar per month adds up to make a difference. If you feel you can afford more than that, you can get access to all sorts of other content and perks! Your patronage allows me to put more of my time and energy into making this blog a useful resource. Thanks for reading!