Carnival of Curiosity: Parade of Bloggers, part I

In ten days, the first event in our September fundraiser fires up: The Parade of Bloggers, part I!

Any of the FtB bloggers who want to show up (consent is our middle name, so this is entirely voluntary) will make an appearance, tell you about their blog, and plug any of the events they’ll be participating in. If you’ve got any favorite bloggers here you’d like to see, go ahead, comment on their blog and let them know. While we’re all about voluntary participation, we don’t mind using a little social encouragement.

This is all about raising money for FtB, so as will be my custom, I’ll be routinely suggesting where you can send donations:

Note also that during a YouTube livestream, you can use superchats to make donations and get our attention. Treat it like one of those call-in reality shows — when your fave blogger shows up, hit that superchat button!

Donald Trump’s magical thinking

After breezily and wrongly predicting, against all the evidence, that we should not worry about the coronavirus because it would magically go away, Trump is now predicting, again against all the evidence, that we should not worry about climate change because the world will magically get cooler.

During his visit to the US West Coast, Mr Trump repeated his argument that poor forest management was to blame as he met Californian officials involved in the battle against the wildfires at a stop near Sacramento, in the centre of the state.

Dismissing one official’s plea to not “ignore the science” on climate change, Mr Trump said: “It’ll start getting cooler, you just watch… I don’t think science knows actually.”
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CARNIVAL of CURIOSITY: Interview with Iris!

Freethought Blogs - Carnival of Curiosity - INTERVIEW WITH IRIS! - September Fundraiser HELP US PAY OFF OUR LEGAL FEES

That’s right: you can interview me, or I will interview YOU for #deathtosquirrels – winner’s choice.


Promote yourself or your business! Make me embarrass myself – forever! On the goddamn internet! Either way I will post our interview here, and you can post it wherever you desire.

But before we get to that, I want to tell you a quick story about what “free” speech really costs.

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Trump’s unhinged rally in North Carolina

North Carolina is a state that Trump won in 2016 that this year is seen as a possible Democratic pickup so it was not surprising that Trump held a rally there last week.

As Seth Meyers, says, what was troubling though was that there was no sign of any precautions being taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Does ignoring those annoying robocalls help reduce them?

We all get pesky robocalls and each one presents a problem. If we do not recognize the number, should we answer? Ignore? Block the number?

Apparently, the answer is that none of these actions make much of a difference.

To better understand how these unwanted callers operate, we monitored every phone call received to over 66,000 phone lines in our telephone security lab, the Robocall Observatory at North Carolina State University. We received 1.48 million unsolicited phone calls over the course of the study. Some of these calls we answered, while others we let ring. Contrary to popular wisdom, we found that answering calls makes no difference in the number of robocalls received by a phone number. The weekly volume of robocalls remained constant throughout the study.

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New research indicates that the oceans take up more carbon than previously realized

We’ve known for decades that the oceans play a major role in Earth’s climate, not just because of the way they absorb heat and move it around, but also because they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, and so play a role in mitigating our own carbon emissions.

New research from the University of Exeter indicates that we have been underestimating how much CO2 is being absorbed by the oceans:

The new study, led by the University of Exeter, includes this — and finds significantly higher net flux of carbon into the oceans.

It calculates CO2 fluxes from 1992 to 2018, finding up to twice as much net flux in certain times and locations, compared to uncorrected models.

“Half of the carbon dioxide we emit doesn’t stay in the atmosphere but is taken up by the oceans and land vegetation ‘sinks’,” said Professor Andrew Watson, of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute.

“Researchers have assembled a large database of near-surface carbon dioxide measurements — the “Surface Ocean Carbon Atlas” ( — that can be used to calculate the flux of CO2 from the atmosphere into the ocean.

“Previous studies that have done this have, however, ignored small temperature differences between the surface of the ocean and the depth of a few metres where the measurements are made.

“Those differences are important because carbon dioxide solubility depends very strongly on temperature.

“We used satellite data to correct for these temperature differences, and when we do that it makes a big difference — we get a substantially larger flux going into the ocean.

“The difference in ocean uptake we calculate amounts to about 10 per cent of global fossil fuel emissions.”

Dr Jamie Shutler, of the Centre for Geography and Environmental Science on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, added: “Our revised estimate agrees much better than previously with an independent method of calculating how much carbon dioxide is being taken up by the ocean.

“That method makes use of a global ocean survey by research ships over decades, to calculate how the inventory of carbon in the ocean has increased.

I suppose on the surface this seems like good news, but it honestly worries me. It means that as the oceans continue to absorb heat and consequently lose their ability to absorb more CO2, the rate of warming may increase faster than our previous understanding of oceanic carbon uptake would indicate. On the plus side, this may mean that if we reduce carbon emissions dramatically, the levels in the atmosphere will fall faster than previously expected, or at least rise more slowly than feared, as the result of the various feedback loops we’ve triggered. All in all, it’s good to know more about what’s happening, if we want to have a hope of changing course.

This blog, and its associated podcast, are brought to you by my wonderful patrons, each of whom gives to me according to their ability, that my household might eat according to our needs. If you would like to stand in solidarity with these people, and help support the work I’m doing, you can head over to to join the Oceanoxia Collective. You have nothing to lose but your chains, and as little as $1.00USD/month!

The people with bugs in their brains are a vital segment of American culture, after all

I’m usually on the progressive side of current affairs, but I don’t know. Maybe Black Lives Matter is going too far — after all, Pat Robertson tells me so.

Robertson said he agreed with the general premise behind BLM, but “that legitimate thing has been hijacked by these radicals and they’re using that label to put forth an agenda and people need to be aware of it.”

“They’re talking about Marxist communism,” Robertson said. “They’re talking about destroying the nuclear family. They’re talking about destroying essentially Christianity as being racist. And all the way through, they want to upend the capitalist structure and destroy America.”

“People should be aware that they’re not just standing with the poor oppressed Black people,” Robertson added. “Of course we want to stand with people against police brutality. Of course we do. But we don’t want to go along with a lesbian, anti-family, anti-capitalist Marxist revolution. We don’t want that for America.”

I had no idea those poor oppressed Black people were a gang of lesbian anti-capitalist Marxists who…wait a minute. If that were true, I’d support them even more! Although it’s not true. Most of the people participating in BLM protests are heterosexuals with families who would be happy if the structure of American society gave them justice and security. At its core, this is not a radical movement unless you think treating black people with dignity and respect and equality is radical — which is probably Robertson’s position anyway.

I think we need a second opinion here, so let’s ask Michele Bachmann? Wait, what year is this? Why does anyone give a flying fuck what Robertson and Bachmann think?

Oh, right, because they are entertainingly bugnuts, as long as you’re not one of the people they hate.

“Antifa is, if you go to their website, their materials, they are directly traceable to the Communist Party because their goal is the overthrow of the United States government and to bring communism into America,” Bachmann said. “Just like Black Lives Matter, this is not a new movement either. On their website, these are transgender Marxists, transgender Black Marxists who are seeking the overthrow the United States and the dissolution of the traditional family.”

“What people need to understand is that 103 years ago, there were no communist countries in this world,” she said. “But this same idea where you have a pretext, you create something—like right now the pretext in America is race wars, that we’re seeing race wars on America’s streets—what this is is a cover to bring about communism and a communist takeover. It happened in communist China. It happened in Venezuela, many countries. What people need to understand, the viewers, is that we currently right now are in a situation where communists are trying to come in and take over America.”

“You say, ‘Aren’t you a little overheated? Isn’t this melodramatic?’” [OMG, Bachmann read my mind! At least, the restrained, polite part of my mind. If she’d gone deeper, she would have used stronger words] Bachmann continued. “This is exactly what a communist revolution looks like. They think they’re going to do it by electing Joe Biden and then once Joe Biden is elected, they think that these Davos, Switzerland, meetings that go on, they think that what they’re going to do is have the United States’ economy collapse, move to a digital currency globally, and then we move into a global-type government. I mean, it’s bizarre, but this is their goal.”

“For people who know their Bible, this is exactly what the prophets told us,” she added. “So, we stand on the word of God, the Bible, and we say, ‘Satan, flee, we’re going to stand on the truth of God.’ And so that’s why now more than ever, between now and the election, what we need to do is pray and cry out to Almighty God and ask for his protection over America and to speak in this election.”

Jeez, but the Cold War really wrecked people psychologically. It’s not the 1950s anymore, the Commies are not and never were hiding under your bed, and it is not anti-American to be smart enough to realize that capitalism is broken and needs, at the very least, a major overhaul. Biden is a political centrist beholden to all the moneyed lobbyists, not a transgender lesbian Black Marxist. You are not a little overheated, Michele. You and Pat Robertson are malignant freaks with bugs in your brain that you call “god” and a terrifying authoritarian streak.

Carbon neutrality FTW!

The University of Minnesota Morris already has 100% of its electricity generated from renewable sources, but as this article explains, we’re also trying to kick the natural gas heating dependency. UMM gets a lot of attention here.

In Morris, the university, the city, and a local health campus have created a “Morris Model” that could result in a shared district energy system and other shared projects. The model sets goals of having 80% of energy in the county to come from local sources combined with a 30% reduction in energy consumption by 2030, said Bryan Herrmann, vice chancellor for finance and facilities.

Morris uses half the power from its wind projects to power the school and then offsets the rest of fossil fuel energy consumption through purchasing renewable energy credits generated by the turbines. It is a complex arrangement configured with assistance from donors and Otter Tail Power, Herrmann said.

The campus now must contend with finding money to retrofit buildings and to move them to low-temperature hot water heating. Goodnough, the sustainability director, wants whatever solution the campus chooses to benefit the local community, including farmers and perhaps other towns in the region. “There are some changes that we’re going to have to make to get us to the future where we’ll want to be,” he said.

Yay, UMM! We’re doing what everyone ought to be doing.