Sunday, September 10, 2006


Lee Corso Has a Baby Arm

I'm not a big college football fan, but a fan’s sign displayed during the Texas/Ohio State halftime intrigued me. Long time sportscaster Lee Corso was doing his normal spiel on how the game had gone so far and what we could expect to see in the second half. All the time he was talking, a fan a few rows behind him held up a sign that said, "Lee Corso has a Baby Arm". No one watching the game had any idea what this meant. Were they saying Corso threw a football like a baby? That his arm was weak and flopped about with poor motor control? That the police needed to be alerted to a piece of a child's anatomy that he was storing in his refrigerator? Perhaps the bottom of the sign was cut off and it referred to a baby armadillo that Corso had as a pet.

After getting home and relating this story, one of my housemates did a little research and found this meaning for "baby arm"

Baby's Arm -- Noun. A penis of exceptional length and girth. Resembling the arm of a large infant child.

Now that I understood what the sign was intending to convey, the only question remaining was why. Apparently, Corso once blew up on the air during an interview when a joke was made that he posed naked for Cosmo (with disturbing photoshopped picture). The joke was made because he had roomed with Burt Reynolds in college, who did pose naked for that magazine. Apparently, Corso has been taunted by fans ever since over his sensitivity on this matter.

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Supposed Global Warming Across the Solar System

There have been claims that global warming is happening solar-system-wide and thus must be caused by an external factor to earth. Let's examine those claims critically.

First, let's state what should be obvious. There is little that all the planets in the solar system have in common that influences their climates. The composition of the planets is very different, as is their size, distance from the sun, and atmosphere. The one thing that could definitely influence the global temperature on all the planets is the sun's output. However, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, probably the most widely respected solar research facility in the world, has shown that the sun's radiation has remained fairly constant since 1940, while global temperatures on earth have spiked. As they have summarized this data:"Studies at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research reveal: solar activity affects the climate but plays only a minor role in the current global warming."

Now let's look at each one of the planets and moons that "global warming" is said to be happening on:

Jupiter -- It's not experiencing global warming at all, but it is experiencing global climate change. "This will create a big wall and stop the mixing of heat and airflow, the thinking goes. As a result, areas around the equator become warmer, while the poles can start to cool down." This is a result of "movement of heat from the equator to Jupiter's south pole". In order for one to claim "global warming" it should actually be warming that is occurring globally.

Triton -- "There are two possible explanations for the moon's warmer weather. One is that the frost pattern on Triton's surface may have changed over the years, absorbing more and more of the sun's warmth. The other is that changes in reflectivity of Triton's ice may have caused it to absorb more heat." Neither reason is relevant to Earth's situation or warming.

Enceladus -- I don't even know why this one was listed. It's not experiencing a change, the Cassini probe determined that there were unexpected "warm fractures" on the surface, leading scientists to conclude that there is a "strong indication that internal heat is leaking out of Enceladus and warming the surface along these fractures." This one is the ultimate red herring. It's not a climate change, but a new discovery. It's localized on the surface to certain areas, not a global phenomenon. What is happening has no relevance to earth.

Saturn The original article above states that, "Saturn itself has a rather warm southern pole, and the temperatures in that region suddenly jumped by 3-5 Kelvin degrees." This is a misinterpretation of the linked article. The abrupt temperature change is not over time, it's over distance, "Temperatures increase toward the pole abruptly near 70 degrees latitude from 88 to 89 Kelvin (-301° to -299°F) and then to 91 Kelvin (-296° F) right at the pole. Near 70 degrees latitude, the stratospheric temperature increases even more abruptly from 146 to 150 Kelvin (-197° to -189°F) and then again to 151 Kelvin (-188°F) right at the pole." Of course, again, even this is a regional phenomenon.

Pluto -- "The change is likely a seasonal event, much as seasons on Earth change as the hemispheres alter their inclination to the Sun during the planet's annual orbit."

Mars -- The changes observed to Mars ice caps are fairly recent, localized, seasonal change on Mars. It's not a planet-wide trend there. The South Polar Icecap is the only area affected.

Venus -- The inclusion of this one is extra bizarre. Once again, no change is stated or even implied, so what is the point? Yes, Venus has a hot climate due to the greenhouse effect. This would seem to be more of a cautionary tale as to what our planet is moving towards if we release gases and create an atmosphere that traps increased amounts of solar radiation.


Monday, September 04, 2006


Even More Unreliapiundit Stomping Fun

As per usual, Unreliapundit's crying is much more pronounced than his arguments. His latest protest is that his blog is becoming clogged with my long comments. The series of tubes that Ted Stevens has told him that his blog is powered by apparently does not have the capacity to transmit my verbiage. In defernce to his creaky infrastructure, here are my latest responses to his bizarre assertions, linked to from his comments.

"The researchers identified three large areas of the Pacific where phytoplankton appeared to be suffering from a lack of iron - the southern ocean around Antarctica, the sub-arctic north below Alaska, and a vast area in the tropical Pacific cent[e]red on the equator."

Unreliapundit -- if these three areas were healthy - as the rest of the world's plankton apparently is, then these three large areas would be sequestering more co2.then, it follows necessarily, that there would be less atmospheric co2.

Yes, if these plankton had more iron, and this didn't cause them to be consumed more by fish (as was a potential feedback loop noted in the article), then they could potentially be holding more CO2. But this isn't a "cause" of rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, as you ridiculously continue to believe below, any more than the fact that more CO2 could be dissolved in the ocean than is currently there is a "cause".

"if atmospheric co2 contributes to global warming - something which is unproven (especially in view of known historical and pre-historical eras of warming an cooling)"
So, you're denying that the greenhouse effect exists? Very smart.

"then these three unhealthy areas of plankton might be a major cause."
There you go again with the "cause." If the plankton iron levels haven't changed over time (and you have already admitted that we have no reason to believe that they have), then how can their lack of change "cause" anything? The most that you can say is that the plankton could potentially be holding more CO2 than it is. It's like looking at a field that's been empty for 100 years and calling it a "cause" of CO2 in the atmosphere because it could have trees on it instead of being barren.

"since there are many known eras of global warming which predate industrialism and man-made co2 it is reasonable to assume that similar non-anthropgenic forces might be causing warming today."
Let's say that all eras of global warming and cooling had a cause or causes. Some of them may have been the same. Some of them may have been different. Let's further assume that the causes are knowable and measurable. This is not to say that we necessarily know the causes or have measured them, just that they're not caused by extra-dimensional fairies, or the storm god Thor, or something like that.

Part of what scientists do is try to make these measurements and determine the reasons behind these changes. Based on what they learn, they make predictions of future behavior and create models of the environmental system. In this case, here's what they observed, measured, and concluded:

1) Man is releasing ever growing amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

2) The measured level of atmospheric CO2 is increasing at approximately the same rate.

3) The greenhouse effect, which was a well understood and well-documented scientific principle long before the current debate, states that CO2 in the atmosphere is partially responsible for the absorption of radiation from the planet back into space. The more energy that is absorbed, the greater the warming. The more CO2, the greater the absorption.

4) Over the past few decades, especially as the CO2 increase has grown to a significant portion of the CO2 level in the atmosphere, the global temperature has risen.

5) Models and theories are often judged on their predictability. How well do they predict what will happen. The theory of gravity predicts that if I hold a pencil 5 feet off the earth and let it go, it will fall towards the earth. Similarly, the theory of global warming has predicted global climate change quite accurately since the theory has been refined and accepted.

You say that, "it is reasonable to assume that similar non-anthropogenic forces might be causing warming today," but there is nothing that has been observed or measured that has been changing in such a fashion to explain the warming. So, why is it more reasonable to think this is caused by other unobserved factors than by the observed and measurable factors? In 1995, the IPCC said, "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate." In 2001, they revisited the question, based on 6 more years of evidence and said, "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities". However, you still want to make an ass out of you[rself], and assume what you fervently want to believe, clearly being more qualified than thousands of scientists that have studied this for years.

"also hajckass joe: please nopte the use of the word SERIOUSLY in my post. which most SANE people undertand measn to take the previous staement with a graion of salt.
I took this to apply to the immediately preceeding line, "What will Gore do about this, give iron supplements to ocean algae!?", not your entire article. If you did mean your whole article as a joke (even more of a joke than every other article you've ever written, I mean), then I wonder why you have tried to defend it repeatedly, only now remembering that the whole thing was just a joke.

"you didn't GET IT and commented AD NAUSEUM to my joke as if it was a serious comment with crap i won't bother to sift through because it'd be a waste of my time."
Ah yes, the "I can't waste my time" defense. In one post you lay down a challenge to prove global warming is man-made. In the next, you can't be bothered to read my long, difficult-for-you-to-comprehend arguments because you might miss out on writing another joke article.


Saturday, September 02, 2006


Latest Global Warming Debate Entry from Unreliapundit

Unreliapundit believes he's ready for another go-round on global warming. While he's pretty much retreading territory he's alredy lost in the past, I'll put his latest effort up again as an illustration of just how weak and pathetic his arguments are on the topic of global warming.

"planktopn and thew amazon sequester less co2 than they should according to models. the amazon has trees which are older than scienbtists figured; plankton in some regions of the seas absord less co3. this proves that the models the scientists use are a all wrong. hence their projections are all wrong."

Wow. All of science is wrong because estimates of some factors (that they knew were only estimates) have now been enhanced with better data. Using your logic, you'd similarly have to agree that, since estimates of the cost and duration of the war in Iraq were wrong, that the war is all wrong, not to mention current calculations and projections of GDP.

Certainly, the models have some degree of inaccuracy. Anyone on either side of the debate will acknowledge that. Science is all about making observations and drawing conclusions based on the data. As data gets better, conclusions get better. As you pointed out today scientists cut their best and worst case scenarios. Better modeling and better data give a narrower range of future possibilities.

"this year we are seeing fewer storms than last. if co2 is rising and if co2 increases increase the energy in the atmpsphere then this would be impossible."
Uh, no. You really don't understand how factors and weighting work do you? For example, let's say we have a pair of loaded dice that will roll double 6's 1/12 of the time instead of the normal 1/36. If you and I played craps with these dice and I knew they were loaded and you did not, I could continuously win a lot of money from you, since you obviously believe that they couldn't be rigged if they didn't come up 12 every time. Climate change is the same way. CO2 in the atmosphere is not the only factor driving global climate. There are still solar cycles. There are still other variations that drive effects. However, increased CO2 is one that is serving on average to drive the temperature higher changing the weighting. Thus, in normal variability, the peaks will be higher and the valleys not as deep, but it doesn't suddenly make them not exist. Also, as I've already noted the climate change is just another factor in hurricane season. While it is a factor, it is one of many, probably a relatively minor driving factor given the temperature increase we've seen to date.

"this is more proof that co2 is a boogeyman and that man-made increases are not a major input."
If you mean input to overall hurricane count, I agree, at least at this point. If you mean global temperature, I disagree, Once again, we are on course to have the warmest year (globally average speaking) on record. If your premise above was correct (more energy must ALWAYS equal more storms), that would mean that we would have to have more storms. Your premise is simply wrong. While there are a few climate scientists that currently claim that noted global warming is not mostly caused by man's release of CO2 into the atmosphere, I can't think of any that claim that global warming isn't actually happening since about 2001/2002.

"there are no scientific records which might prove whether plankton absorbed more or less twenty years ago, or had better iron uptake."
If we can't know, as you now seem to realize, then how do you explain your assertion, "so apparently plankton is the real culprit responsible for higher atmoshperic CO2 and not SUV's". You just admitted that you have no data to base this assertion on, so how can it be "apparent". You might as well have said that it is caused by fairy dust, since we have no data to prove or deny that either. There's no reason to believe that the iron content is different in these areas than it has been for quite awhile. Indeed, the paper you linked to says that they used 12 years of data to determine the lack of iron in "three large areas of the Pacific", so we know that it has been relatively stable over that period, while CO2 has been steadily increasing. I guess that totally destroys your theory, at least for the last 12 years.

"this also proves that the models are bogus. the models cannot account for the natural variables in co2 uptare."
They don't actually need to. As I noted in my last post (and you ignored), "We know how much CO2 man’s activities release into the atmosphere every year. We measure the level of CO2 in the atmosphere every year. The two correlate quite well." Unexplained variability exists, but is fairly small compared to what we can measure directly. You believe simultaneously that the CO2 we know that man is creating and releasing into the atmosphere magically vanishes AND that there is some as yet unmeasured, unobserved phenomenon that is causing global CO2 levels to rise. Very scientific.

"it may very well be true that if trees in the amazxn are older than at any time in the past (due to a lack of cutting, disease, fires, etc) and if the plankton has less iron than ever before that these are the causes of any increase in atmospheric co2 and not man."
Once again, there is no evidence of this. You thought you read an article that said this, and I showed that it didn't actually say that. Now, you claim that it still might be true, even though no one who is actually involved claims this. The reason that scientists were wrong about the age of the trees was that the trees mature more slowly than they thought. There's really no mystery about why the estimates were made as they were and why they were wrong, as much as you'd like to invent one.

And seriously, "lack of cutting." Are you insane? "Between May 2000 and August 2005, Brazil lost more than 132,000 square kilometers of forest -- an area larger than Greece -- and since 1970, over 600,000 square kilometers (232,000 square miles) of Amazon rainforest have been destroyed."

"more proof: manmade co2 has steadily increased every year for the last 100 years but temps have not."
I addressed this above. No one ever claimed that CO2 and the greenhouse effect are the only factor in global temperature. I've repeated this many times, but you still seem to believe that there is some point here. In what would otherwise be a temperature valley, increased CO2 will mitigate at least some of that effect. It doesn't erase variability. Who ever claimed that it did? Arguing against points that no one ever made is commonly known as engaging straw men. You do this a lot. My salient points are often ignored as you charge and repeatedly beat the straw. I, on the other hand, try to highlight each of your "points" and address each in turn. Please point out if you feel that I have missed any.

"you, joe, are a dupe and a fool."
I appreciate your invective as a lack of substantial argument. Here's who I have on my side in this debate:

The US National Academy of Sciences
The Pentagon
The American Meteorological Society
The Union of Concerned Scientists
The American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Geophysical Union

and those are just the US organizations. I'll add the international organizations if you desire in my next post.

"thanks for demonstrating that here once again."
If you liked my demonstrations so much, then why did you delete them? I would think you'd post them on your front page, like I post my repeated smackdowns of you on my blog. I think you actually see the reality of who comes out on top in every one of our discussions. That's why you have tried to beg, coerce, and threaten me into not responding in the past.

"i find it fascinasting that, the left fears the bogeyman of manmade c02 (and want to enact draconian laws/taxes to stop try to dtop it) and claim that the bushies planned 9/11 (and that you want bush impeached and forces withdrawn from iraq) but that the left wants to appease the jihadoterrorist - a real breathing threat which openly avows to wipe us out and destroy our civilazation, and whch is takeing real measures to do just that."
For the record, I have never claimed that Bush or any American was involved in 9/11 or that terrorism is not a threat. I also do not recommend draconian laws/taxes to try and forestall global warming. You're sure punching the hell out of that straw. If only your actual arguments against points that I argued were as strong as those against points I never did.

"the reazl threat the left denies. it's only the fake threats the left focuses on."
Can you comprehend that there might actually be more than one threat that needs to be addressed at any time in history? I guess not. One threat at a time, please, that's all your brain can handle. Everything else must be fake.

fascinating. denial denial denial denial.
I couldn't have said it better myself. You deny obvious explanations in favor of undetected fantasies. You deny the repeated and consensus conclusions of scientists in favor of your own fevered faith-based conclusions. You deny even deny what you previously claimed. I'm glad you find it so fascinating.

"joe: prove to me that climate change is not natural. and that the climate change we see now is not caused by what caused it the many MANY times the earth has had climate change before."

What proof could I present that you would accept? As I remember, when I previously, repeatedly pointed out that you had miscalculated a percentage on one of your posts, you refused to acknowledge your error. The posted error still persists to this day, never corrected, even though your header boldly proclaims that you "correct disinformation". That was a math error, one that there was no question about, but still, you didn't accept it, faced with absolute and incontrovertible proof.

There is no amount of evidence that can ever prove something to someone who is as willfully and proudly ignorant as you are. I have disproven so many of your claims in the past that you clearly are unreachable. I respond so that people who read can see how wrong you are and judge for themselves which one of us makes more sense. Oh, and for fun. It is always fun to see you cry and run away, deleting the posts and locking the threads that have aggravated and beaten you so thoroughly :-)


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