Record-Melting Fall Heat Wave Bakes Southern California — and More


Tuesday, 24th, 1PM PDT

❝ It’s not every October 23 or 24 that millions of Americans are swathed in temperatures above 100°F. This week has done just that, bringing some of the toastiest weather ever observed in the United States during late October, and more pre-Halloween heat is on the way. By far the most scorching weather has been in Southern California, although it’s also been exceptionally mild this month in settings as far-flung as Michigan, Florida, and New England…

The first three weeks of October were remarkably mild for most of the United States east of the Rockies. Overnight lows across most of the Northeast on Monday night were in the 50-70°F range—warmer than the average highs for this time of year! Albany, NY, “dipped” to 68°F early Tuesday, compared to its average high and low for the date of 57°F and 37°F. If the temperature stays above 64°F through midnight, it’ll be Albany’s highest daily minimum ever recorded this late in the year, in data going back to 1874.

Don’t know what it’s like in your neck of the prairie; but here in northern New Mexico we used to plan for the first fire in our living room stove on October 15th. Not in a number of years. In fact we stockpiled the usual amount of firewood the last 2 autumns – and didn’t bring in any, this year. We have enough leftover for a full-sized old-fashioned winter, stacked and waiting. No fire in the stove, yet.

Political Correctness Bastion of Anti-Science Republicans

❝ Staff at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been told to avoid using the term climate change in their work, with the officials instructed to reference “weather extremes” instead.

❝ A series of emails obtained by the Guardian between staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a USDA unit that oversees farmers’ land conservation, show that the incoming Trump administration has had a stark impact on the language used by some federal employees around climate change.

❝ A missive from Bianca Moebius-Clune, director of soil health, lists terms that should be avoided by staff and those that should replace them. “Climate change” is in the “avoid” category, to be replaced by “weather extremes”. Instead of “climate change adaption”, staff are asked to use “resilience to weather extremes”.

RTFA for details of sophistry required by Trumpkins appointed to implement corporate obedience.

Back when conservatives and other self-righteous hacks introduced political correctness to US Government, neither party had a problem with stationing our military in 150 foreign countries managed by the shiny new “Department of Defense” instead of the War Department that actually was premised upon defending the continental United States.

Let’s hope for more backbone in a changing generation of Democrats.

The Trump government continues to remove scientific data from the Web


Click to run

❝ In our latest episode of Ars Technica Live, Ars editors Annalee Newitz and Joe Mullin talked to UC Santa Cruz sociology professor Lindsey Dillon about how the Trump administration has been removing scientific and environmental data from the Web. Lindsey is part of a group called Environmental Data Governance Initiative (EDGI), which is working on ways to rescue that data and make it available to the public.

Lindsey told us how EDGI got started in November 2016, within days of the presidential election. Its founders are scientists and academics whose main goal was to make sure that researchers and citizens would continue to have access to data about the environment. They organized data rescue events around the country, where volunteers identified vulnerable climate information on websites for several government agencies, including the EPA, DOE, and even NASA. The Internet Archive helped by creating digital records of all the at-risk pages…

The Trump administration promises to cut the EPA’s budget by one third, and it has appointed Scott Pruitt to head the agency. Pruitt, who sued the EPA 14 times during his tenure as Oklahoma Attorney General, has just launched an initiative to “challenge” climate change data.

Run the video up top. Check out the discussion. The underground still functions within the most anti-science government elected by an ignorant nation – since Ronald Reagan.

The 5 biggest lies in Trump’s Paris climate speech


Not telling the truth about anythingChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

❝ The other day, President Donald Trump gave a speech announcing that the US would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

It is a remarkable address, in its own way, in that virtually every passage contains something false or misleading. The sheer density of bullshit is almost admirable, from a performance art perspective. Trump even managed to get in some howlers that had nothing to do with climate change. He started by citing an act of terrorism in Manila that wasn’t terrorism. He said, “our tax bill is moving along in Congress,” but there’s no tax bill. And so forth.

A proper fact-check would run longer than the speech itself. To keep this quick, I’ve selected the top five deceptions.

❝ The author, David Roberts, says: I’m not calling these “lies,” because that implies Trump knows they are false. It is far from clear that Trump understands anything about any of the issues at stake, or is even capable of forming stable beliefs as such…

Anyway, whether he’s lying or merely bullshitting, here are the top five:

1) No, an agreement cannot be both nonbinding and draconian (Spoiler: Paris is the former)…

2) No, Paris cannot be “renegotiated”

3) No, abiding by the agreement will not cost the US a bazillion dollars

4) No, China and India are not getting away with anything

5) No, other nations are not laughing at us behind our backs — or they weren’t, anyway

❝ Here we come to the root of the matter: tribalism. The tribalist (or “nationalist” as they are often called) sees all relationships, including relationships among nations, as zero-sum contests. There are only strong and weak, dominator and dominated, winners and losers.

For the millionth time, a voluntary deal cannot hamstring anyone, nor can it empower anyone. But the tribalist brain simply cannot grok an arrangement of mutual long-term benefit. So it must be unsavory “foreign lobbyists” trying to get us “tied up and bound down” so that they can drain our precious bodily fluids.

RTFA, It makes good sense even when, as usual – Trump doesn’t. Roberts even takes the time to point out how and when he shifts from his 5th-grade vocabulary – as written for him to recite – into kindergarten-speak when something strikes a responsive chord in his lizard brain.

Trump’s Likely Pick for USDA Chief Scientist Ain’t A Scientist, Of Course

❝ The USDA’s research section studies everything from climate change to nutrition. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, its leader is supposed to serve as the agency’s “chief scientist” and be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.”

But Sam Clovis — who, according to sources with knowledge of the appointment and members of the agriculture trade press, is President Trump’s pick to oversee the section — appears to have no such credentials.

Clovis has never taken a graduate course in science and is openly skeptical of climate change. While he has a doctorate in public administration and was a tenured professor of business and public policy at Morningside College for 10 years, he has published almost no academic work.

❝ Clovis is better known for hosting a conservative talk radio show in his native Iowa and, after mounting an unsuccessful run for Senate in 2014, becoming a fiery pro-Trump advocate on television.

Being a conservative Christian mouthpiece for Agribusiness and reactionary corporate interests in general is good enough for our so-called president. Evidence-based scientific findings mean nothing to Trump, the chumps who voted for him, the political party which rolls over and sticks all four feet into the air when challenged to support pretty much anything on any issuie which would aid the lives of Americans who work for a living.

50 years of glaciers changing, disappearing, in Montana


Click to enlargeUSGS

The warming climate has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers in Montana since 1966, some by as much as 85 percent, according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey and Portland State University. On average, the glaciers have reduced by 39 percent and only 26 glaciers are now larger than 25 acres, which is used as a guideline for deciding if bodies of ice are large enough to be considered glaciers.

The data include scientific information for the 37 named glaciers in Glacier National Park and two glaciers on U.S. Forest Service land. The retreat of glaciers is significant in Montana because of the impact shrinking glaciers can have on tourism, as well as being a visual indicator of mountain ecosystem change in the northern Rocky Mountains…

“While the shrinkage in Montana is more severe than some other places in the U.S., it is in line with trends that have been happening on a global scale,” geologist Andrew Fountain said…

This information is part of a larger, ongoing USGS glacier study of glaciers in Montana, Alaska and Washington to document mass balance measurements that estimate whether the total amount of ice is increasing or decreasing at a particular glacier. This information helps scientists understand the impact of large scale climate patterns on glaciers in distinctly different mountain environments.

Some of the glaciers the park is named for are now too small to qualify as glaciers. That’s OK. The brains in some of the politicians we’ve elected to serve the people – are now too small to do much more than parrot statements programmed in by major campaign donors and other political scum.

They’re the individuals chosen in our democratic republic charged with solving problems on this scale.

Trump thinks exercise will kill you

❝ One health aspect Trump is transparent about: He doesn’t like to break a sweat. To be more precise, he thinks physical activity will kill you faster.

In a remarkable New Yorker story this week about how Donald Trump could realistically be removed from the presidency, Evan Osnos writes: “Other than golf, he considers exercise misguided, arguing that a person, like a battery, is born with a finite amount of energy.”…

Trump is as ignorant his peers. Like Texas Republican Joe Barton who thinks wind is a finite resource…”wind is God’s way of balancing heat”…so, don’t use it up generating electricity.

❝ After college, after Trump mostly gave up his personal athletic interests, he came to view time spent playing sports as time wasted. Trump believed the human body was like a battery, with a finite amount of energy, which exercise only depleted. So he didn’t work out…On the campaign trail, we learned that Trump didn’t dedicate any extra time to breaking a sweat because he believes exercise is actually harmful…

❝ Let’s pause to consider how remarkably backward this is.

❝ There was a time when doctors would have concurred with Trump on this. That was the Victorian era. Back then, people worried a physical activity could cause everything from exhaustion and heart palpitations, particularly in women.

A century later, doctors’ thinking has moved on. Research now shows exercise is actually the closest thing we have to a miracle cure.

❝ Regular physical activity can “prevent dementia, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression, heart disease and other common serious conditions — reducing the risk of each by at least 30%,” according to this 2015 report on the benefits of exercise from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. “This is better than many drugs,” the authors wrote.

It also helps people live longer. “Many studies give an approximate 30% risk reduction in all-cause mortality. Smoking is the biggest contributor to early mortality and years living with chronic illness and disability. Physical inactivity, through multiple mechanisms produces an effect one-third the effect of smoking.” Overall, the researchers found, regular exercise reduces cardiac death by 31 percent.

But, for our so-called president and the chumps who believe him, exercise will kill you.

EPA removes climate science from website after two decades

❝ The Environmental Protection Agency announced that its website would be “undergoing changes” to better represent the new direction the agency is taking, triggering the removal of several agency websites containing detailed climate data and scientific information…

❝ The agency also said it would carefully archive pages from the past administration.

❝ The change was approved by Scott Pruitt, according to an individual familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, to avoid a conflict between the site’s content and the policies the administration is now pursuing…

Yet the website overhaul appears to include not only policy-related changes but also scrutiny of a scientific Web page that has existed for nearly two decades, and that explained what climate change is and how it worked.

❝ The page contains scientific explanations of climate change and its causes and consequences, and has existed in one form or another since at least 1997. At that time it was called the agency’s Global Warming site.

The site has long served an informational role and sought to provide a comprehensive review of basic climate science, the effects of climate change, and how it is affecting the United States. In addition it contained information about the agency’s approach to climate change and how people could take steps to lower their own contributions to climate change.

Trump and his know-nothing flunkies care as little about science as they do about truth in any other area they consider only to be politics. Reality interferes with their foolishness – and American citizens will bear the results of their destructive crimes.

RTFA for lots and lots of detail. Sad but true.