Greenhouse gases hit threshold unseen in 3,000,000 years


Republican answer to every climate question

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surpassed 400 parts per million for the first time since measurements began, breaching a threshold not seen for 3 million years.

The main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming averaged 400.03 parts per million at a monitoring station on Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano yesterday, according to data published today on the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website. The administration’s data stretches back to 1958.

The reading is considered a landmark by scientists and environmentalists, who say carbon emissions caused by burning fossil fuels are warming the planet and must be reined in before they cause irreversible changes to weather, sea levels and Arctic ice cover.

We are in the process of creating a prehistoric climate that humans have no evolutionary experience of,” Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment…

The last time CO2 levels were this high was at least 3 million years ago, he said. Then, “temperatures were 2 to 3 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial times, the polar ice caps were much smaller, and sea levels were about 20 meters higher than today,” he said…

Carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for as much as a century, so levels now may cause warming for decades. The concentration has now increased by more than 40 percent from the pre-industrial mark of 280 parts per million…

The United Nations in 2007 said stabilizing the gas at 400 ppm to 440 ppm may lead to a temperature gain of as much as 2.8 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s at odds with the goal set out by climate treaty negotiators from more than 190 nations, who have agreed to shoot for limiting the temperature increase to 2 degrees. The global average has already risen by about 0.8 of a degree since pre-industrial times.

As usual, conservative politicians in the United States and their peers in the Flat Earth community pay no attention to landmarks like this – other than to pat themselves on the back for ignoring science. Pimps for the fossil fuel industries, their only notice of ongoing scientific research is to complain that it occurs at all.

In a parallel effect, we have already reached and surpassed the critical mass for stupidity, egregious politics and short-sighted incompetence in the Congress of the United States.

Frothy mathematics – describe popping bubbles in a foam

Bubble baths and soapy dishwater, the refreshing head on a beer and the luscious froth on a cappuccino. All are foams, beautiful yet ephemeral as the bubbles pop one by one.

Two University of California, Berkeley, researchers have now described mathematically the successive stages in the complex evolution and disappearance of foamy bubbles, a feat that could help in modeling industrial processes in which liquids mix or in the formation of solid foams such as those used to cushion bicycle helmets.

“This work has application in the mixing of foams, in industrial processes for making metal and plastic foams, and in modeling growing cell clusters,” said James Sethian, a UC Berkeley professor of mathematics. “These techniques, which rely on solving a set of linked partial differential equations, can be used to track the motion of a large number of interfaces connected together, where the physics and chemistry determine the surface dynamics…”

The mathematicians next plan to look at manufacturing processes for small-scale new materials.

“Foams were a good test that all the equations coupled together,” said Robert Saye, graduating from UC Berkeley this May with a PhD in applied mathematics. “While different problems are going to require different physics, chemistry and models, this sort of approach has applications to a wide range of problems.”

Yup. I love this stuff.

Folks fed up with Rush bleed millions of dollars from stations carrying his toxic talk


Cockroaches can’t stand the light of day

“We’ve had a tough go of it this last year,” Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey said Tuesday morning. “The facts are indisputable regarding the impact certain things have had on ad dollars.”

Dickey told analysts on the earnings call that his radio empire’s revenue was down $5.6 million in the first quarter of 2013 on top of a boatload of debt. Why? Parse the weasel words (“the impact of certain things”) and you’ll see that Dickey is blaming one man for the precipitous decline of right-wing talk radio’s profitability: Rush Limbaugh.

El Rushbo is still a giant in the industry, but the impact of slamming Sandra Fluke on his radio show one year ago persists—with some $2.4 million in losses attributed by Dickey to declines in the “syndicated-talk segment.”

Insiders confirm that these declines are primarily due to the ongoing reluctance of national advertisers to attach their name to the toxic talk-radio format that first made Limbaugh famous a generation ago.

“We’re watching the end of right-wing conservative talk radio,” says Jerry Del Colliano, publisher of the radio-industry tip sheet Inside Music Media. “The genre is dying among ratings and dying among advertisers … Rush is at the end of his career. His constituency is all wearing Depends. And he’s getting himself into trouble he doesn’t need. So can you put Humpty Dumpty back together again? They have been able to improve their advertising picture, but they have not been able to come back.”

Sandra Fluke was simply the lightning that struck and hit an old building that collapsed,” Colliano says. “She didn’t do it. She helped to bring it down at the end, but it was falling apart on its own…”

But the larger issue is the declining demographics of the right-wing talk-radio racket. “Look at the millennial generation,” says Colliano. “There’s 80 million of them coming of age. They don’t see color. They don’t see gender. And they’re civic minded: they don’t like bloviating. They don’t like yelling and screaming. So you tell me: how’s right-wing talk radio working for them?”

The boomers never trusted anyone over thirty. Back in the day. They marched for civil rights, voting rights for Black folks. They marched for peace and opposed the VietNam War. The slightly older farts they opposed back then are the dwindling, spindly backbone of today’s Congress, the Tea Party and what’s left of the Republican Party.

Because the most corrupt elements of both the electorate and our politicians have managed to hold onto significant power over time doesn’t guarantee their political life anymore than day by day. Now there are a couple of generations coming along absent much of their ignorance. Civil rights will continue to grow to encompass more of the whole nation.