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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

IS GLOBAL WARMING A HOAX?

At the first presidential debate earlier this week:

“Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it’s real," Clinton said.

“I did not. I did not. I do not say that,” Trump interjected.

Yes, Donald, you did. And there's a Twitter trail to prove it. 
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.

This wasn't the first time Trump tried to shift his stance on this key issue. While the GOP nominee once claimed that tweet to be a joke, he has doubled down on the hoax claim a number of times, tweeting in 2014, “Is our country still spending money on the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX?” And on CNN in 2015, “I don’t believe in climate change.” 

Why is Donald Trump so sincerely disbelieving?  For one:

     91% Of Americans Aren’t Worried About Global Warming

However, this is Michael Bastarch from The Daily Caller, a conservative website co-founded by Neil Patel, former adviser to VP Dick Cheney.  I double-dare you to read that article and come to the same conclusion.  There is a political tendency to listen and preach to the choir.  Who do you think tunes in to Rush Limbaugh? Barack Obama?   Hillary Clinton?  Maybe Donald Trump.

But don't denounce Trump, nor the Republicans.  Blame yourself:  global warming ranked near the bottom of voters' concerns:

The fossil industry, of course, is behind this all, partly explaining Republican intransigence, for guess who donates to whom?
Since the late 1980s, this well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change. Through advertisements, op-eds, lobbying and media attention, greenhouse doubters (they hate being called deniers) argued first that the world is not warming; measurements indicating otherwise are flawed, they said. Then they claimed that any warming is natural, not caused by human activities. Now they contend that the looming warming will be minuscule and harmless. "They patterned what they did after the tobacco industry," says former senator Tim Wirth, who spearheaded environmental issues as an under secretary of State in the Clinton administration. "Both figured, sow enough doubt, call the science uncertain and in dispute. That's had a huge impact on both the public and Congress."
— The truth about denial, S. Begley, Newsweek[28]

Greenpeace presented evidence of the energy industry funding climate change denial in their 'Exxon Secrets' project.[29][30] An analysis conducted by The Carbon Brief in 2011 found that 9 out of 10 of the most prolific authors who cast doubt on climate change or speak against it had ties to ExxonMobil. Greenpeace have said that Koch industries invested more than US$50 million in the past 50 years on spreading doubts about climate change.[31][32][33] 

In 2010, an overwhelming percentage of Republicans did not believe that anything serious was happening. Perhaps Trump, though, does not realize that the times are indeed changing.

       
2015%2016
%
Worried a great deal/fair amount about global warming
Republicans3140
Independents5564
Democrats7884
Effects of global warming already begun
Republicans3640
Independents5555
Democrats7277
Will pose serious threat to you in your lifetime
Republicans1820
Independents3743
Democrats5358
Increased temperatures due to human activities
Republicans3438
Independents5668
Democrats7485
GALLUP ENVIRONMENT POLL

While that shift is happening, Republicans still mostly just do not believe global warming will affect them in their lifetime, which is the attitude of Donald Trump.  How can a Republican and Democrat growing up in our society today be so different in appreciating that human activities are causing these increasing temperatures.  LOOK  IMMEDIATELY ABOVE AT THE FINAL COMPARISON:  Republicans = 38% and Democrats = 85%.

The Grand Poobah of the conspiracy theorists is U.S. Senator James Inhofe, a Republican who chairs the Committee on the Environment and Public Works, and has remarked:

With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people?

Amazon has only nine of Inhofe's book available, for $18.35.  He went so far as to blame Barbra Streisand.  Inhofe is certainly not alone:

Climate change has also been called the "greatest scam in history" by John Coleman (left), who co-founded the Weather Channel.[19] When questioned by the IPCC regarding his claims, he responded "The polar ice is increasing, not melting away. Polar Bears are increasing in number."19]

You might be surprised, though, to hear that he is half-right regarding polar ice and the polar bear population is actually a reasonable debatable subject.


When Al Jazeera begins reporting that man-made climate change might be a concern, even Republicans should begin to take notice.  But maybe that's why the American station closed down earlier this year.

More than eight years ago I wrote in The Huffington Post:

Why Do Republicans Like Fossil Fuels and Not Care That Much for the Environment?

I even then quoted Senator Bernard Sanders.  Here is just one of my statements from that posting:

The Congressional Insiders Poll reported on June 7, 2008 showed that 95% of Democrats and only 26% of Republicans agreed with the following statement: “Do you think it’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth is warming because of man-made pollution?”

So, finally, the hoax card is now losing favor and concern about how much it will cost to cure the problem is more and more being discussed.  Seven years ago I had a HuffPo entitled:

The Carbon Dioxide Credit Program

Clearly, the Nation and World need to re-read some of my ancient thoughts on this matter.  Remarkably, they still make sense today!

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Right on the heels of Typhoon Megi is Tropical Depression Chaba.  Certainly, Chaba will attain typhoon strength, but, unlike Megi, move a bit north, miss Taiwan, and, currently, roll right over Naha, then head for Japan:


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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

THE GIANT WOK

No, a giant wok is not a prehistoric bird:


However, it is true that earlier this year a giant wok was unearthed in Indonesia:


Unfortunately, on the way to the Keris Tosan Aji Museum, this one ton ancient frying pan fell and broke.  Still no idea who used it or when or if it was used for cooking...and what.

Well, so much for some humor.  We are all familiar with a standard Chinese cooking pan called the wok.  Well, they recently built a really large one and took the current lead in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), a field with which I have now been associated for four decades.  In 1976 I joined 19 other university faculty members from across the nation to, at the Ames Research Center, design for NASA the next generation device to detect an extrasolar planet.  Most of group formed a team to design the ultimate interferometer to accomplish this task.  

A few of us were allowed to pursue our own ideas, and I got inspiration from Nobel Laureate Charles Townes (right) to develop what I acronymed PAT (Planetary Abstracting Trinterferometer).  After I met with him at Berkeley, he provided some initial assistance helping me derive a direct method for finding planets outside our solar system.

My SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity reports on this phase of my life, but you don't need to buy the book, as I began serializing this publication in this blog site beginning with SETI.  In the mid-70's, the key astronomical question was:  Are we the only planet in the Universe?  It was not until 1988 that the first exoplanet was confirmed, and today, there are more than 3500 of them on the record.  It is now estimated that:
  • One in five Sun-like stars have an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone.
  • There could thus well be from 11 billion to 40 billion planets with potential life like ours, just in our galaxy.
I might add that there are numerous ways to detect an exoplanet, and both Hubble and Kepler used something called transit, the crudest possible way to do this.  Sure, PAT does, too, but with some scientific elegance.  The problem is that star light is so bright (billion times more), that the planetary glare cannot be seen.  PAT is based on the premise that this reflected light can be, like a laser, monochromatic, and thus, the atmospheric composition can also be determined.  And all this can be done from the surface of our planet for a small fraction the cost of those space telescopes.

The field has been in a general funk since Carl Sagan passed away.  But out of nowhere came China, for they just turned on their Giant Wok:  the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST--in astronomy, you need to keep up with these acronyms).  How big is it?  I've seen Arecibo in Puerto, and this is a huge one.  However:


FAST is on the bottom, Arecibo on top.  Want to get to Guizhou Province to visit with the Giant Wok?  As a plane flies, a little more than a thousand miles from Beijing, and a little less than a thousand miles from Shanghai:


They put FAST there to minimize any electronic interference.  Some details:
  • Will take three years yet of calibration.
  • Is neither spherical nor 500 meters in diameter--has a parabolic shape and a useful diameter of 300 meters.
  • The project is in collaboration with Australia.
  • Should be able to detect alien signals up to 1,000 light years away.
Just to underscore the vastness of our Universe, as it takes light 100,000 light-years to cross our Milky Way Galaxy, the two-dimensional coverage of FAST for alien signals will only be 0.01 % of our galaxy.  No one really knows how many galaxies are in our Universe, but a German study said 500 billion.

Still to come is the international Square Kilometer Array (SKA), which on first look should be ten times the capability of FAST.  However, while the "first light" date is still planned for 2020 and the Jodrell Bank Observatory of England will serve as project headquarters, the site, either Australia or South Africa, has not yet been selected, and there is little idea from where will come the 3 billion dollars or so to build it.  I found it odd that the U.S. was not in the list of participating countries, and has today lost momentum.  I also found it confusing that while one country will eventually be the telescope array site:

The SKA will combine the signals received from thousands of small antennas spread over a distance of several thousand kilometres to simulate a single giant radio telescope capable of extremely high sensitivity and angular resolution, using a technique called aperture synthesis.[19]

If this description above prevails, that surely sounds like my Planetary Abstracting Trinterferometer.  In any case, we now are fairly confident there are planets around stars.  Let us get on with the detection of signals from intelligent life in our Universe.  Thus, the Chinese FAST is a good step forward.

For those like me with a passion for SETI, anticipate the movie Arrival, with Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, due to arrive at your local theater on November 11.  Rotten Tomatoes reviewers gave it a 100% rating, and 99% of us await the coming...of the film.

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Typhoon Megi struck Taiwan at 100 MPH, causing some damage, killing at least four and injuring hundreds.



Amazingly enough, Megi remains a Category 2 at 105 MPH, and will make landfall over China today.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

MY LATEST WAIKIKI VACATION: Day 3

Well, my final day in Waikiki.  I went down for my free breakfast, and had a healthy meal:


That's is oatmeal with nuts to the left.  I took a close look at the beach because my plan was to go for a short dip, or, rather, wade, because I don't like to get water in my ears:


Wait a minute, what is that sign saying?


Jellyfish!!!  So why are there more than a hundred surfers out there and people in the water?  I don't want to bring my camera to the beach, so here is a selfie of my swimming trunks:


If I show any more, I'll lose my readership.

The last time I swum at Waikiki Beach....I don't remember.  I did not expect, however, to suffer through an agonizing experience.  First of all, the soft sand stops at the the interface where the wave rolls.  There are rocks and pebbles and who knows what you step on when you're barefoot.  Then, from nowhere, a wave comes and bowled me over.  I got up and a second wave leveled me.  Here, I was previously entertaining thoughts of going surfing, and can hardly stand up.  I thought this was enough, so, bleeding in two places, and bruises around my bellybutton, I gave up.  At least I avoided any jellyfish stings.

My final lunch in Waikiki is always in my room with a view of Waikiki Beach.  I walked a couple of blocks to Marukame Udon on Kuhio, stood in line for a short while, ordered their meat-egg noodle bowl plus an onion bomb--the greasiest and tastiest onion tempura you can imagine.  Then to ABC Store (there are 37 of them in a one-mile radius of Waikiki) I got a Kirin beer and Sho Chiku Bai sake. On my lanai:


Soon thereafter, I checked out of the Westin Moana Surfrider.  Frankly, I was disappointed.  There were a lot ants everywhere, including in my bathroom and crawling on my computer.  Also, the wireless service was spotty.  I called for help on at least three occasions.  Never worked all that well.  My television was also smallish, and several stations kept disappearing, including during football games.  Something bad is happening at this property, and I hope they fix it.

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Typhoon Megi is at 105 MPH and will make landfall around the middle of Taiwan tomorrow:


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Sunday, September 25, 2016

MY LATEST WAIKIKI VACATION: Day 2

My day began with breakfast in the executive lounge, and there was something I've never seen before, a miso soup dispenser:


Then I went out to participate in the Aloha Festivals event of the day,   In 1946 the local Junior Chamber of Commerce founded Aloha Week, ostensibly to celebrate Hawaiian culture, but this turned out to be a big boost for tourism.  It worked so well that in 1991 the effort was expanded into four events during the month of September.  Interestingly enough, this is the only statewide cultural festival in the nation, and everything is sort of free. 30,000 volunteers help out to entertain a million participants.

Last week was the Waikiki Hoolaulea, and today is the Floral Parade, which has been going on now for 70 years.  Beginning at 9AM from Ala Moana Park, this event ends up at Kapiolani Park three hours later.

I really don't like parades, and the only one I remember attending was many decades ago in Pasadena for the Rose Bowl Parade.  I only remember that it was freezing.

I scouted Kalakaua Avenue and found a spot where I could sit in the shade on a concrete wall.  While the wait was long, at least I had a good view of the surfers off Waikiki Beach:


Then they came:


Above, Mayor Caldwell, but the Pa'u Riders were the stars.  Pau means finished or something similar, while pa'u refers to women riding a horse.  They are dressed in a color symbolizing each island.


Then I noticed something very interesting.  Each island group had a small float with up to a dozen similarly dressed individuals.  These are the maintenance people to scoop up horse poop:


See that colorful float on the right?  Well, I thought these were worthy of photographing:


You can almost guess the island:  from the bottom, see those Niihau shell leis?  The one above is Kahoolawe, and I guess they need to be represented, but the one above that is clearly Lanai because of the pineapple.

Of course there were floats, high school marching bands, the military and beauty queens:


After an hour of this music, color, glamour and scoopers, I began to fall asleep and could only barely tolerate the concrete seat.  However, I hung in there and made it to the end just about at noon. 

So, lunch.  Purchased a can of Pabst from ABC then two chicken breasts from Kentucky Fried Chicken, which I had in room while watching LSU lose to Auburn:


For dinner I went to my favorite Japanese restaurant in Hawaii, Suntory:



I ordered their Miyazaki Wagyu Beef Shabu Shabu:



I have had two bottles of alcohol for more than a third of a century.





Incidentally, that person in the background to the right is George Benson, who just performed a couple days ago at the Neil Blaisdell Center.  How those liquor bottles work in some Japanese restaurants is that you purchase the bottle, typically from $100 to $1000, or more, then they store it until your next use, where they provide ice, etc.  I have a Johnny Walker Blue Label in the Westin Chosen Seoul and a 20-year old Nikka Yoichi in the Compass Rose of the Tokyo Westin.

This was the most satisfying meal I've had in a long time, and I paid less, in fact, way less than half what it cost me the previous night at Stripsteak.  Suntory once had these restaurants throughout the world, but they mostly all closed down.  Of course, this is the company that has cracked the Scotland single malt dominance with Hibiki and Yamasaki, and has also developed a blue rose in Australia.  Frankly, though, the hue seems more lavender.  But I guess they have varying varieties, for this photo below came from Hypography:



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Typhoon Megi is already at 105 MPH and will strengthen into a Category 3 before making landfall over Taiwan:


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