The spite of rich men: GOP takes millions from FEMA to feed ICE

The obvious take on this would be to say that the Republicans are cutting off their nose to spite their face. They took ten million dollars from FEMA to increase their immigrant/refugee concentra- detainment center program. That would be giving them too much credit. The GOP, regardless of who its base might be, is a rich people’s party dedicated to the greed of rich people. They’re not cutting off their nose, they’re cutting off the nose of their constituency, to spite the scapegoat they tell their constituency to hate. The GOP loses nothing by destroying this country, so long as they keep making money, and their propaganda keeps working.

So far, it looks like the voters who keep the GOP in power have been willing to endure quite a lot of hardship if the people inflicting it have an (R) after their name. I hope Hurricane Florence won’t be as disastrous as expected, but if it is, I wonder if any Republican voters will take a second glance at the way their hero de-funded FEMA to pay for family internment.


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Crying wolf after the sheep are dead: A message to journalists

I want to talk about the reporting on a paper that was recently published in Earth System Dynamics, and about the “act now before it’s too late” message. The paper reports on some work done modeling our climate’s behavior, how it might respond to different scenarios, and what has to be achieved to avoid the 2 Degree mark. Most of the paper is over my head, so I’m not going to try to pick it apart, but the way it’s being talked about seems like a problem to me.

For anybody who has spent time following the talking points and strategies of climate deniers, anything published these days with an “x years left before it’s too late!” model headline should raise at least an eyebrow, if not an alarm bell. We’ve been hearing these stories for a long time now, and that’s a problem. I get why individual politicians, pundits, and reporters might think it’s a good line, but it has been over-used.

We don’t have 10 years to stop the planet from passing 2 degrees Celsius. I don’t think we had 10 years in 2008. 1998? Probably.

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Visualization: Ocean currents

A couple days ago I shared some research indicating that some of the heat absorbed due to the loss of Arctic sea ice is pooling mid-column under the arctic ocean. One of the questions that came up was – how can wind drive sub-surface currents? I think it helps if you can see all the currents as connected, so if the wind creates a surface current, the momentum of those vast amounts of water can help push it down when it reaches the fringes of the ice melt. This is the animation that runs in my head when I’m thinking about the oceans, so I figured I’d share it for those that might find it useful. Note: No sound or text in the video, description below the fold. 


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Video: The philosophy of Antifa

This video by Philosophy Tube is one of the best breakdowns of the Fascism/Antifa issue I’ve seen. It covers the basics of Fascism, how it’s different from other kinds of authoritarianism, and what it means to oppose or not oppose the growth of Fascism.

It also goes into the nature of different kinds of antifascist action, what causes it and what makes it go away, and much, much more. The video is broken down into sections with timestamp links in the description, so you can watch it in sections pretty easily.


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Thorium – the kinder, safer nuclear power?

My problems with nuclear power are more or less the standard worries about meltdowns and waste. In my opinion, those problems will get worse as the planet warms. I also think that we can’t afford to discard nuclear power out of hand. There are some versions of it that seem better than what we have now, including Liquid Fluorine Thorium Reactors(commonly referred to as LFTR):


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!

 

How we know what we know: Ice ages

This isn’t a new video, but it’s a good one for people looking for better understanding of ice ages:


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!

 

The loss of ice is accelerating Arctic warming

It may come as a shock to some, but as the global temperature has been rising, ice has been melting. In the Arctic ocean, this has meant a decline in multi-year sea ice. While conservatives have been busy pretending that the ice totally isn’t melting, climate scientists have been looking into what follows as the ice recedes. The news isn’t good:

Arctic sea ice isn’t just threatened by the melting of ice around its edges, a new study has found: Warmer water that originated hundreds of miles away has penetrated deep into the interior of the Arctic.

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Reminding police to prevent crime rather than baiting children into committing it

I really don’t understand why it’s so difficult for police to think of ideas that don’t seem calculated to punish poor people for being poor and living in poor areas. In this case, police literally targeted poor children by parking fake Nike trucks with shoes in them near places like basketball courts, and leaving the doors open. ‘Cause we all know that children always fully understand the ramifications of their actions, and are known for their self control, so only the really bad ones will take something they want when it’s just sitting there!

Fortunately, people caught on and organized a “counter-sting”:

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By the hoarders, for the hoarders: Billionaires are incompatible with a democratic society

I spent most of the last six years or so helping conduct experiments in science education. To get funding, we had to show evidence supporting our techniques and expectations. During the work we had oversight from both our company and experts at the NSF. This wasn’t just making sure that the grant money wasn’t being misused, it was also to ensure that the children on whose classrooms we were experimenting were not harmed by our experiments. These students are real people, and their schooling, good or bad, has ripple effects that will last for their entire lives. [Read more…]

Natural Gas is Immoral: Fracking destroys potable water

Ending the use of fossil fuels isn’t just about slowing climate change. It’s also about surviving climate change. The extraction, processing, and use of fossil fuels all present hazards to human health that will only grow as the temperature rises.

From the dawn of fracking technology, there have been serious concerns about contamination of our water supply. These concerns were largely waved away, and in the years that followed, fracking became just another means for the fossil fuel industry to poison their surroundings for profit. Now, even as we hear about companies like Nestle hoarding access to fresh water, a new study has outlined the degree to which the fossil fuel industry is destroying the American water supply. Farron Cousins from Ring of Fire Radio has more: [Read more…]