Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hillary Blows A Gasket In SUNY Confrontation With Environmental Activist

WATCH: Clinton goes off on Greenpeace activist: "I am so sick" of you bringing up my fossil fuel money
Hillary loses it when confronted by a Greenpeace activist about money received from fossil fuel lobbyists, CEOs and the like.

It isn't often anyone can rip the façade of smiley from the "front runner's" face, but one Greenpeace environmental activist did today. She confronted HRC on the State University Of New York campus in Purchase, NY about getting moola from the fossil fuelers. As one description put it, the smile instantly mutated to a scowl (snarl?)  as Hill laid into the impudent girl who had the temerity to ask: "Will you act on your word to reject fossil fuel money in the future in your campaign?”

Well, as Bajans might joke "Who tol' she to say dat?" Hillary let loose, blasting her: "
"I do not — I have money from people who work for fossil fuel companies!"

"I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me,”

As she pointed her finger at the shocked Millennial activist, who merely ventured to ascertain whether Hill was in or out of the frackers' pockets, the cameras flashed - catching her with facial defenses down.

Of course, the bit about Sanders's' campaign lying is  misdirection. While the activist asked if Clinton would  reject fossil fuel money overall (and recall as Secretary of State she actively promoted global fracking), Hillary's response implied she'd not received any, period. But Greenpeace has detailed her many connections, e.g.  so she's not totally honest.  What Hillary deftly did is make a misleading distinction between the fossil fuel companies-corporations and the individuals tied to them. But the point is, you're still taking money from them - whether it's a person, or a company. And also, if money is taken from a lobbyist for an industry, that is effectively taking money from the industry since lobbyists represent the face of industries, i.e. in dispensing campaign largesse.

Had her campaign received money directly from fossil fuel companies it would have violated election law, but under the Citizens United ruling, campaigns CAN get the money from individuals and super PACS.

 Mother Jones revealed in a July expose , that "nearly all of the lobbyists bundling contributions to Clinton's campaign have come from the fossil fuel industry."

Environmental news website Grist has also shown how Clinton rakes in money from fossil fuel interests. The outlet notes that her campaign does not receive money directly from fossil fuel companies; rather, she “is getting a lot of money from fossil fuel executives and lobbyists acting as bundlers (fundraisers who collect donations) who represent fossil fuel companies.”

One is left to wonder, if all the gung-ho gender -backers for Hillary - prepared to blind themselves to her flaws just to "put the first woman in the White House" -   will be as ecstatic when fracking drill sites open up in their middle class neighborhoods and their kids suffer from asthma as well as skin rashes and nosebleeds. Will they blame Hill for rewarding the fossil fuelers for their largesse,  or just chirp: "You go girl!"

We will see!

Seniors On A Gun Buying Binge? A Bad Idea!

The WSJ article ('Seniors Head To Gun Ranges', March 30, p. A3) was disturbing to say the least. In it we learn that those over 65 are heading to gun dealers in droves to buy the latest Glocks as well as rifles. The good news (at least) is that most seem to be signing on for NRA- provided firearm training. The bad news is most will end up either shooting themselves (most likely in a suicide) or a loved one (generally by accident, especially with bad eyesight and in the dark.).

One 71 year old Okie interviewed for the piece, when asked why he had to buy two Glock semi-automatic pistols, said he "felt threatened by strangers" (actually teens, in a crowd Mall scene) and added that he was especially worried about those with "mental problems" and "radicals". (Hmmmm....he didn't specify but I guess he means Islamic).  He then added for effect:

"You see it every day on the TV news!"

Ah yes, the news of daily fear pumped out by the mainstream corporate media.

Chris Hedges in his terrific book, ‘Empire of Illusion’ (p. 45) noted the media's warp and woof accurately:

Hour after hour, day after day, week after week, we are bombarded with the cant and spectacle pumped out over the airwaves or over computer screens by highly paid pundits, corporate advertisers, talk show hosts, and gossip-fueled entertainment networks. And a culture dominated by images and slogans seduces those who are functionally literate but who make the choice not to read…….

Propaganda has become a substitute for ideas and ideology. Knowledge is confused with how we are made to feel. Commercial brands are mistaken for expressions of individuality.   It’s in this decline of values and literacy, among those who cannot read or have given up reading, that fertile ground for a new totalitarianism is seeded.”

Of course, the first imperative for a gestating fascist state is to sow fear. That's what Hitler did with the Jews, and Trump has done more recently with Muslims. All one needs is endless TV scenes of stark fear and even terror - plus a screeching demagogue -  to make them take form.

But let's get back to why it's a bad idea for poor eyesight seniors - many of whom may also be on the verge of Alzheimer's disease, not to own or try to use guns for protection.

1) Older farts are naturally antsy and trigger happy. This is like an axiom, and it's also why many can't handle crowds either at Malls or parks. The noises and loud background talk terrify them, and too many people plays havoc with their amygdalas. Most are not military-trained and even if they are, many have forgotten the basics (when to put the safety on, take it off).  NRA training is only good up to a point, but if they have failing memories and can't recall what the expert said about using the Glock 9mm, it can spell disaster.

They often will keep their weapons either in an easily accessible place - subject to theft - or some hidden place making it useless if an intruder does enter. Add to that senior nerves, say if confronted by a genuine intruder, and you have the makings of a real bad scene - especially likely if Gramps is confronted before he can get his glasses on.

2) Many older people are already in the early stages of dementia. You really want to trust these geezers with guns? By one estimate appearing in the AARP Bulletin, up to 20 percent of seniors over 65, 30 percent over 70, are already in the early stages of dementia - which implies poor judgment. Not all of this is from Alzheimer's, some is from vascular dementia (google it) and another good fraction from diabetic effects.

3) Many don't understand just  how hard it is to shoot an intruder or assailant in the actual situation. Firing at paper men on a target range is one thing, doing it for real - when confronting three or four thugs equipped with Mac-10s in your own home, after a home break in, is another. Take the crappy senior eyesight, combine it with fading memory (likely not even recalling the exact place the Glock was stored) and nerves that are aged and frayed and it's a disaster waiting to happen.

As Harvard Prof David Hemenway, quoted in the article, put it:

"If they're running at you, you have maybe a half second at the most to react."

This, despite most senior reaction times being as much as 1 second or greater (and that's for those in superb mental, physical condition!)

This is why Prof. Hemenway also made clear (ibid.):

"The evidence is pretty strong that owning a gun isn't going to help you."

Adding that having a gun at home increases the risk for suicide and accidental shootings.Melissa Jeltsen of the HuffPo assayed all shootings between 2009 and 2015. She found that 70 percent occurred in the home. Of these, 57 percent involved a family member or current or former intimate partner. 81 percent of the victims were women and children. These killings were not done by 'crazies' but usually normal people who simply lost it in the midst of a heated argument and reached for the weapon nearest and dearest - a gun.

Hemenway's advice?

"Get a dog, get a good lock, get good neighbors, get a cell phone."

Take away or reduce the seniors' fear quotient, from watching too much TV news, and then if they read more - like the AARP Bulletin- they'd see the much bigger threat to them is the scammer over the phone.  This is the much bigger risk (by a factor of 9 or more) than being held up on the street by a "radical" or mugger.

See also:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Why Bernie Gets No Respect: Dem Elites Don't Want It

Stop trying to make Bernie disappear: While the establishment pretends nothing has changed, Sanders continues to win big

Over the weekend, Bernie Sanders grabbed three successive landslide victories in Alaska, Washington and Hawaii - all by at least 70 % (AK by 82- 18%).  But you'd never know it to read the mainstream media which continues to try to render Bernie an "asterisk" candidate. Even the WSJ editorial ('Sanders Gets No Respect', Mar, 25, p. A12) observes:

"The Vermont Senator and his legions can be forgiven for wondering what he has to do to get some political respect"


"Mr. Sanders is showing the kind of electoral strength that gives him every right to fight on at least through April's contests and maybe even the convention in July."

Even a hack rag blog like 'Politico' sneered in a piece headlined “Democrats to Sanders: Time to wind it down,” quoting Hillary hag Claire McCaskill: “If the contrast is about what separates us from Donald Trump, then I think it’s fine.”) If they can’t end the race, they’ll settle for ending the debate."

In other words, Bernie is allowed to continue on his campaign if he behaves himself and  directs his ire and fire at Trump. But if he aims at Hillary he needs to stop forthwith. Of course, this is nonsense. He's running against Clinton and not Trump (at least not right now).  Of course, Bernie should not halt his "Hill hits" given as he noted in an email received this a.m. she is holding a big NYC  fundraiser tonight with financial investment firm Morgan Stanley, at $27,000 a head. This coziness needs to be more widely known especially by her black and brown supporters.

Even Obama has played this game and while not specifically naming Sanders, has opined on the need for Dems to soon "come together".  (A NY Times  story headlined “Obama Privately Tells Donors Time Is Coming to Unite Behind Hillary” had Obama telling DNC high rollers to “come together.” In it Obama “didn’t explicitly call on Sanders to quit” but a “White House official” confirmed his “unusually candid” words)

It is this yen to prematurely coronate Hillary as the de facto D -nominee that so enrages Sanders' supporters. It even leads them to say - as Susan Sarandon did on 'All In'  two nights ago -  that they can't be sure they will plump for Hillary if Bernie is not the nominee. Sarandon went so far as to tell Chris Hayes it might actually be best if Trump wins to incite the real political revolution, i.e. a la the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution that overthrew the Czar.  The reasoning being it would finally take that level of debasement and ruination for people to wake the fuck up and find the will to change the status quo.

Other pundits, when confronting Bernie in interviews, have asked if he will now "back off"  going negative  on Hillary as not to do so may damage her run in the general election, Sanders in each case has robustly defended his modus operandi, especially noting the import of campaign finance reform as it drives corrupt government initiatives.
While he may not win the 2016 nomination, he is winning the hearts and minds of Democratic voters and Independents. And with his growing popularity, particularly among millennial voters, it has not been surprising to see some liberals dusting off red-scare tactics from the ash heap of history.

According to the WSJ editorial this is no mere smokescreen and Bernie has a decided advantage over Hillary if either one faced Trump. According to the WSJ:

"In the Real Clear Politics voting average, Mr. Sanders leads Mr. Trump by 17.5 points and Mr. Cruz by 8.4. Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. Trump by 11.2 and Mr. Cruz by only 2.9 "

But Clinton's surrogates are only prepared to try to knock Sanders down, despite the fact this may cost them up to 60 percent of his current supporters, according to a NY Times/ CBS poll. In January, for example, Clinton allies prepared a dossier to paint Sanders as a Soviet-sympathizing communist, while her surrogates have been vocal about his “radical” left-wing politics. “[Republicans] can’t wait to run an ad with a hammer and sickle,” said Missouri Senator and Clinton supporter Claire McCaskill, while Clinton surrogate and former Republican attack dog David Brock spoke plainly: “He’s a socialist… He’s got a 30 year history of affiliation with a lot of whack-doodle ideas."
This is the thanks Bernie gets for not raising the issue of her emails, and a possible future indictment. It is also what alienates his supporters to ever throw their weight behind Hillary no matter how Bernie may plead for them to do so.  It is now convenient for most of these attackers to conveniently forget, as Bill Curry wrote:
"Social reforms enacted throughout the 20th century in “liberal” states would have never come about without strong popular movements, made up largely of socialists and Marxists.

The other issue with the doltish Red scare mongers that pisses me off, is their lack of historical knowledge that Socialists have already successfully governed in this country! If more Americans knew about this history fewer would get hernias on hearing the S-word. Indeed, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I lived from 1946 -1956, the level of public benefits and amenities would never have emerged without the election of its 3rd Socialist Mayor Frank Zeidler. (Emil Seidl became Milwaukee's first Socialist Mayor in 1910, followed by Daniel Hogan who lasted from 1916-1940 keeping the city out of debt during the Great Depression).

Zeidler in his mayoral election campaign noted the problem of ethnic division in other parts of the country and how this was exploited – especially by wealthy Republicans- to keep working class people divided. Zeidler vowed that if elected he’d ameliorate these divisions and ensure all Milwaukeean Working class folks benefited – whether Croatian, German, Polish or whatever. Zeidler ended up winning three terms, enduring from 1948 until 1960 and turning Milwaukee into a prosperous post-war city.

Jobs proliferated, especially in major manufacturing (Allis –Chalmers etc.) while the Breweries hired thousands with excellent pay and benefits, including health care. Housing abounded as well, affordable housing off of Greenfield Ave. and Teutonia and in other suburbs to the north and west. Parks, meanwhile, were the envy of many other cities for their beautiful layouts, amenities and services.

Crime was almost non-existent, despite Milwaukee reaching a population of 747, 000 by 1960. Zeidler also provided health care through the city, so no one needed to go broke to get any treatment. Like all REAL Socialists, Zeidler believed health care was a right, not merely having health insurance!. Education also benefited, and Milwaukee’s schools became some of the fin

All of which leads one to concur with Bill Curry when he writes:

"Bernie Sanders must stay in the race not only till the convention but till the end of whatever ballot nominates him or Hillary Clinton. He must do so because he and not she would make the stronger candidate and the better president. Regardless of how the next primaries, he should do it because his campaign isn’t just a revolution, it’s a movement that must outlast this election."

See also:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My ER Visit And An Uncomfortable Wake-Up Call

We had just turned in at 11.30 p.m. Easter Sunday night and I'd slept about an hour when I awakened with excruciating, crushing pain on my middle right side. The pain was such that I couldn't catch a breath and had broken out in a cold sweat. Unable to barely move or speak, I pushed wifey awake and asked her to dial 911. When she asked what was wrong I replied "I might be having a heart attack but I'm not sure!"

She immediately phoned as I sat on the edge of the bed grabbing my side, trying to breath and finding enormous difficulty. I'd never experienced pain like that before and though reluctant to make a fuss at first, I'd just read an AARP Bulletin article (three days earlier) warning seniors not to dismiss these events or take them lightly. Of those 65 and older who dismissed symptoms only 9 percent survived if it was a myocardial infarction.

On reaching the 911 operator, Janice put her on speaker and she instructed me to immediately grab 4 baby aspirin and chomp them up and swallow them down with water. Within minutes of doing this, the paramedic team arrived with an ambulance as I sat on the edge of the couch. They took vital signs and I heard one guy remark "His BP is 124 over 75, even better than mine".

After further readings they seemed to concur with Janice's initial diagnosis that I was having a gall bladder attack (Similar thing  happened to her in December, 1994). Somehow or other, a gall 'stone' (actually a pellet of cholesterol) had become embedded in the common bile duct and was causing bile to back up and wreaking the god-awful pain.  The team asked if I wanted to go via an ambulance to the nearest hospital, or go with my wife. I chose wifey and we got ready to go as I watched the paramedics hop back into the ambulance and move off.

By now the pain had subsided to about a level 3 out of 10 instead of 9.  17 minutes later we reached the ER of Memorial Hospital and I checked in with security, after which the front desk took my info and signed me in. Within another five minutes two ER nurses had taken me to an exam room,  inserted an IV and again took vitals.

The head RN, "Angel" (her real name, if you can believe it),  told me the evidence pointed to a gall bladder episode and I was being scheduled for an ultrasound. We waited for an hour or so, after which I provided a urine sample, and then another hour when the resident technician arrived to do the scans.

She wheeled me into the ultrasound room with Janice accompanying us, and then guided me to the station and slabbed on a bunch of goop which was to facilitate the scan using the instrument. The whole process consumed well over 20 minutes as the tech did multiple scans and repeats, then had me turn on my other side - take more deep breaths (to increase image clarity) and did the same. The whole time Janice watched the image monitor with total fascination, but alas, couldn't decipher what exactly she was seeing.

As I got up I observed the monotone screen too, but saw nothing other than the definite shape of a kidney in one of them. The tech, after wheeling me back to the exam room, said the doctor on call would have to evaluate the images and he'd get back to me maybe in a half hour (it was now 3:45 a.m.)

She was as good as her word and the doc appeared by 4:05 a.m. and informed me I had a 'pack' of gall stones lodged in the gall bladder, including one biggie at 2.3 cm across (or nearly one inch).  For reference, the gallbladder is a small organ located on the underside of the liver. Its primary purpose is bile storage. The liver makes bile, a substance that helps the body break down fats. The gallbladder then stores the extra bile the liver makes. Gallstone disease is called cholelithiasis and the surgical removal is choleocystectomy. (The more invasive, open method is called "open  choleocystectomy' and is a surgical option if the gall bladder is too diseased to be removed via the 'keyhole' or laparascopic method.)

The ER  doc said the good news is that the organ wasn't infected (in which case I'd have to have immediate surgery) but I still had to have it taken out and he provided the name of a surgeon at Memorial.  I was to call him up and schedule a prep appointment, which I did yesterday morning. Then he will go over the surgery with me (laparascopic) and the needed preparations.

In general, these surgeons prefer to wait at least 6 weeks or so for the flare- up to settle down. In the interim I received an anti-spasmodic med in case of more gall bladder attacks, as well as a med to combat nausea and vomiting (usually for cancer chemo patients). It was just as well as I had a severe bout of nausea and vomiting at 6 p.m. yesterday, barely four hours after eating a light lunch.

What was the culprit that set off this incident (since there usually is one in the case of gall bladders)? Well, even the paramedic team agreed it was most likely the huge portion (probably a half pound total I ate myself) of lamb roast that my wife had cooked for our Easter meal. This was part of a 5 lb. leg of lamb purchased the day before, real Australian lamb.

But as most of us know, lamb is one of the fattiest meats around and definitely not the protein of choice for someone with a touchy gall bladder.  The end result? Over 4 1/2 delicious pounds of lamb left over, most of which Janice had to freeze in separate containers - and hardly any of which I am likely to eat again. (Minus a gall bladder, of course, one is much less able to handle fat from any source.)

Meanwhile, I will likely be getting the surgery done sometime in the second week of May. While the ER doc referred me to a general surgeon, I will be going instead to a gastric -endoscopic specialist, given the size of the stone and that laparascopic methods are generally limited to 1" incisions.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

'Mere Christianity': Why C.S. Lewis' Book Is Overrated

Monochrome head-and-left-shoulder photo portrait of 50-year-old Lewis
C.S. Lewis authored 'Mere  Christianity' based on BBC radio lectures.

In a recent WSJ essay by Notre Dame Emeritus Prof George M. Marsden  ('Mere Christianity Still Gets A Global Amen', Mar. 25., p. A9) we learn C.S. Lewis never planned for 'Mere Christianity' to be a book. In fact:

"During the dark days of World War II, the writer presented four sets of BBC radio talks on basic Christianity. He had these published in several paperbacks. Not until 1952 did he collect them together into the new  title".

We then learn C.S. Lewis' work has sold "more than 3.5 million copies in English" and "been translated into at least 36 languages". And oh, by the way, it's next only to the Bible in educating Chinese Christians and "is still read by thoughtful evangelicals, along with thousands of Catholics and mainline Protestants."

Why this popularity? Prof. Marsden touches on assorted possible reasons, including: "attention only to the timeless truth of Christianity and not the latest theological fashions",  avoidance of "chronological snobbery" (believing modern tenets of faith are superior to ancient ones) and a "knowledge of many areas of literature and language" as well as history.

In mastering all of the above, Lewis "acts like a guide on the journey from unbelief to faith". Yet in the same breath we're informed by Lewis himself that "becoming Christian isn't an improvement but a transformation".

Which begs the question that if becoming a Christian isn't an improvement then why would there be any impetus to go that route? Why not instead become a Buddhist, or an atheist? 

We're offered no rational answers only told by Marsden that  "not everyone will see the beauty or be persuaded".

Indeed, why would they  - the critical thinking skeptics?   Because if one reads 'Mere Christianity' between the lines as opposed to in a daze, it ought to make them realize Lewis' collection of his BBC radio talks is actually a primitive generic apologia nothing more.

For example, Lewis’ justification for Inquisitional tortures is mind-boggling and effectively renders whatever morality he espouses as useless, and indeed dangerous! In Mere Christianity he pardons the witch burners for a “mistake of fact”, i.e. in believing  that women described as witches were actually evil incarnate1. To quote one critic2:

If Lewis is willing to accept that witches do not exist, and that, while believing in them, it was right to put them to death, what other "ungodly" transgressions can we forgive as mere "mistakes of fact”?

Indeed, Lewis' expeditious moralism is enough - or should be - to convert any sentient being into a committed atheist. Because, contrary to Marsden's depictions, Lewis' debased morality is little better than that invoked by John Paul II and others to defend moving pederast priests around parishes to avoid their prosecution - and a black PR eye for the Church. After all, if JP II simply made a "mistake of fact" why hold him to account now? Heck, go on and expedite sainthood to sweep all questions from further consideration. What better way to try to get the faithful and outside critics to shut up about it and move on?

Interestingly, Lewis’ pseudo-morality would easily have been incorporated into the Third Reich’s justifications for genocide. I mean, if they really believed the Jews were “vermin” – as so much of their propaganda portrayed- why not grant the same license as Lewis grants the Inquisitors and witch hunters? . So by Lewis’ standards, revealed in 'Mere Christianity',   they’d be excused for making a “mistake of fact”.
 Inquisitors gutting, burning and carving up heretics and one lesbian (far left). Did they simply make a "mistake of fact" as C.S. Lewis proclaims in his 'Mere Christianity'?

Lewis might well reply here that the Nazis really knew better than that so their actions were inexcusable. But how do we know that there were not also more percipient Inquisitors who also knew better? Say than to believe that more than a quarter million women burned as witches did not really embody evil or have pacts with “Satan”?

Or, that the heretic caught in the Inquisition's vice grip could not really harm the Church, but by the ruling of ad extirpanda his property could be confiscated why worry? The Church gets richer and it's only at the cost of one life, then another....and another.  Who was counting? (See: The Inquisition of the Middle Ages  by Henry Charles Lea.

It amounts to mere question begging.

Rather than any "beauty" or power of innate persuasion one has to conclude 'Mere Christianity' is perhaps the greatest exercise in artful question begging and moral misrepresentation the world has ever known. Thus, it's just as well when the "greatest religious literature"  was identified (in 'The Greatest Christian Book of All Time Tournament)- as Prof. Marsden notes- it was Augustine's 'Confessions' which came out "first seed", not 'Mere Christianity'. 

The Confessions, which we studied as part of our 2nd year Theology course at Loyola (1966), actually resonates with the reader as Augustine imparts his own path to what he saw as truth via his own experiences, good and bad. In the process, via those intimate disclosures,  an entire morally consistent world view unfolds with deep insights which even an atheist (as I turned out to be) can appreciate. For example, consider Augustine's magnificent foray into the basis for truth, deception  and even happiness (p. 192, Dover edition (1955) and translation by Albert Cook Outler). In the case of the latter Augustine writes:

"Why are they (men)  not happy?  Because they are so fully preoccupied with other things which do more to make them miserable than those which would make them happy, which they remember so little about. "

The universality of insight exposed here could well have been taken right out of the Dalai Lama's collection of meditations and admonitions ('Many Ways To Nirvana', 2004)  or from Buddhist philosopher Alan Watt's book, 'The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are’.

 In regard to the general human aversion to truth, Augustine is equally percipient (ibid.):

"Why, then, does truth generate hatred, and why does the servant who preaches the truth come to be an enemy to them who also love the happy life, which is nothing else than joy in the truth - unless it be that truth is loved in such a way that those who love something else besides her wish that to be the truth which they do love. Since they are unwilling to be deceived, they are unwilling to be convinced that they are deceived.  Therefore, they hate the truth for whatever it is that they love in place of the truth. They love truth when she shines on them; and hate her when she rebukes them. And since they are not willing to be deceived, but do wish to deceive, they love truth when she reveals herself and hate her when she reveals them."

Such deep insights can only arrive by deep self-knowledge, not by a secondary imitation of enlightenment, or a synthetic derivation confected from radio talks designed as an apologia - as Lewis created.  Those who have read 'Mere Christianity' are therefore strongly advised to read Augustine's book and make the comparison.

At least enough people already have (in the Christian "Best Book Tournament") and were able to separate substance from sophistry.

1 Lewis: Mere Christianity, 14.

2 Inniss: The Secular Humanist Newsletter, (Spring, 1998), 1

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Tackling The Complexity of Solar-Terrestrial Climate Models

In a previous post (June 24, 2015) to do with a recent solar cooling finding, I referenced the remarkable paper,  'Solar Irradiance: Recent Results and Future Research Plans',  by Thomas N. Woods of the University of Colorado. His research dealt with the solar irradiance aspect of climate change as it pertains to the Cycle 24, and in particular measurements made at the time.

Woods noted the assorted recent periods wherein irradiance measurably varied, including: the Medieval maximum, the Sporer minimum (1400s), the Maunder minimum (1600s), and the Dalton minimum (1800s). He noted with some emphasis that there is no single uniform value to characterize a time interval or period, since the irradiance itself can vary hugely on small or local scales. For example, solar flares can propel irradiance increases 50 times over normal and thereby briefly affect the radiance.

On average though, with such violent inputs smoothed out and disregarding terrestrial chemical inputs via atmospheric circulation,  the Earth's temperature changes by about +0.07 K (kelvin) over a solar cycle. Compare this to the 1.6 K change (current est. increase) arising from global warming over the past 100 years mostly traced to human use of fossil fuels. Thus, the greenhouse component is nearly 23 times greater.

Even if the solar forcing on climate is enhanced by positive feedbacks the amplification is usually no more than a factor 2. So that 0.07 K increases become  0.14 K increases. The human component is still more important by a factor 11.4, a point made by Woods when he emphasized that the recent results support the hypothesis that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are the primary contributor.

The problem with Woods' research is that its connections to terrestrial climate dynamics are tenuous at best. He did not consider or factor in atmospheric circulation, the role of ozone (e.g. in absorbing UV radiation) or the generation of compounds including NO (nitric oxide) and NO2 (nitric dioxide) and their roles in O3 destruction.

In other words, his work provided a good baseline predicated on solar factors but did not provide an overall picture. Now, that is changing  as we see novel improvements in solar terrestrial climate modeling (and simulations) as reported in The Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems (2014, -15).  The advance of these models has shown several aspects of the Sun-Earth climate system already, including:

- While the overall brightness of the Sun varies by only 0.1 %, the localized knots of magnetic energy in active regions can boost its UV output by 4-8 % at the peak of a solar cycle

- These UV rays trigger chemical reactions in the stratosphere that bind oxygen atoms and molecules to form ozone (O3).  Since ozone is a good absorber of UV radiation it can heat he stratosphere near the equator which affects the winds that circle the globe.

- Increased solar activity excites the Earth's magnetic field sending high energy particles into the upper atmosphere which generates NO and NO2 that destroys ozone.

 As we see from the preceding, there are often competing processes and in a complete simulation or model all must be reckoned in. One of the first such models is the 'Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model' (WACCM) produced by the National Center for Atmospheric Research . Currently Peck et al (op. cit.) at the University of Colorado use the latest version designated WACCM4. and have benchmarked it against the earlier version WACCM3.

Fortunately, they found that the results of the new iteration are largely similar to the previous one, with just a few twists.  One of them is that the atmosphere's circulation is stronger in WACCM4 which introduces twice as much NO and NO2 into the stratosphere over Antarctica, more than doubling the destruction of ozone there.

Meanwhile, the wind and temperature results are mostly consistent with the previous version.  Peck et al aver that these results validate WACCM4 and lay the groundwork for a new round of studies that may refine the solar cycle's impact on terrestrial climate.

When a newer model is devised it will need to work on one long standing bias in the existing models, namely the so-called "cold pole" problem which is actually exacerbated in WACCM4. This results in stratospheric winter temperatures over the South Pole that are too low and an Antarctic polar vortex that is too strong. (However, the Arctic polar vortex - which has been wreaking havoc in the U.S. over the past few years - is significantly more accurate than the '3' version)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Solutions to Collisionless Shocks Problems

1) The Mach number M = 80 correlates to a lab –shocked hydrogen plasma at T =   10 5    K and ion gyroradius of 0.22 cm  with  shock value es  >  e    (which can be shown on working out es   based on the result below).

Now, the magnitude of the associated  B-field before the shock is obtained via: 

 e  =     qB/ m e

So:  B =    e   m e  /  q 

=   (1.9 x 10 7  /s  )  (9.1 x 10 -31 kg)/   (1.6 x 10 -19 C)

=   10 -4 T

This is the equilibrium value of B before the shock is applied. But from the shock equation:

B m =  (2M – 1) Bo   =    (2(80)  – 1) 10 -4 T   =     0.015 T

  Which is the magnetic field associated with the collisionless shock.

2)The pure electron plasma frequency is:  

n   =   9  Ö N   =  9  Ö (10 16 /m3)  =   9 x 10 8  /s 

Then:  we  =   2p n  =  2p(9 x 10 8  /s ) =   5.6 x 10 9  /s  

Debye length l D,  =

[(1.38 x 10-23  )(10 6K) (8.85 x 10 -12 F/m)  / (4p)  (10 16/m3)  e2 ] ½

= 1.9 x 10 - 4   m

Plasma parameter:    L  =  n o  l3 D

=   ( 10 16 /m3) (1.9 x 10 - 4   m) 3

L  =  7.4 x 10  4      

The radio emission must exceed this 900 MHz frequency for propagation in the medium, so we need:

f >  9 x 10 8  Hz = 900 MHz

3)  Let u   »  we/ k w   =  10 5 m/ sec

we =   2p (9 x 10 8  /s )  =    5.6 x 10 9 /s  

k w   =   we/ u   »  (5.6 x 10 9  /s )/ 10 5 m/ s

k w =  5.6 x 10 4  m-1

4)  We need to re-arrange the equation to solve for velocity v o:

Using algebra we find:

v o    =  w/ k w   -   1/ k w  [1/(wp 2 -  (m/M)/ w2] 1/2

Substitute values:     v o    =

 (10 10 s-1 )/ 5.6 x 10 4  m-1     - 

 1/(5.6 x 10 4 m-1) [1/(5.6 x 10 9 s-1)  2 -  (5.4 x 10 4 )/ (10 10 s-1) 2] 1/2

v o    =   7.8 x 10 4  ms-1

5)  The shock equation is:            B m =  (2M – 1) Bo

We can estimate the value of M from the ratio of the velocities: u/ v

Where u/ v   =    (10 5  ms-1)   / ( 7.8 x 10 4  ms-1»   1.3

 Then:    B m =  (2M – 1) Bo   »    (2(1.3) -1 ) B   »  (2.6 - 1) B  »   1.6 Bo

6)   The form of the result yields 9 as a constant outside the root sign so we must have:

9 »  e/2p   Ö( 1 / εo m e )

Compute:     e/2p   Ö( 1 / εo m e )  =

 1.6 x 10 - 19   C/ 2p  Ö( 1 / (8.5 x 10 -12 F/m)( 9.1 x 10 - 31   kg) 

=  8.973 Ö N   or  n   »    9  Ö N