Thursday, May 31, 2018

"Sea Is Rising, But Not From Climate Change" - Fred Singer's WSJ Op-Ed Calls Into Question His Mental Acuity

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S. Fred Singer has been notorious in climate science circles for many years. Though ostensibly trained as an "atmospheric physicist" and even with some rocket science background, Singer has proven himself to be one of the most obdurate deniers of global warming.  More recently, as in a Mar. 18 WSJ op-ed ('The Sea Is Rising, but not from Climate Change') it appears he's devolved into full blown senility or maybe early onset Alzheimer's.   The touched -in- the- head simpleton writes:

"Of all known and imagined consequences of climate change, many people fear sea-level rise most. But efforts to determine what causes seas to rise are marred by poor data and disagreements about methodology. The noted oceanographer Walter Munk referred to sea-level rise as an “enigma”; it has also been called a riddle and a puzzle. 

It is generally thought that sea-level rise accelerates mainly by thermal expansion of sea water, the so-called steric component. But by studying a very short time interval, it is possible to sidestep most of the complications, like “isostatic adjustment” of the shoreline (as continents rise after the overlying ice has melted) and “subsidence” of the shoreline (as ground water and minerals are extracted). I chose to assess the sea-level trend from 1915-45, when a genuine, independently confirmed warming of approximately 0.5 degree Celsius occurred.

 I note particularly that sea-level rise is not affected by the warming; it continues at the same rate, 1.8 millimeters a year, according to a 1990 review by Andrew S. Trupin and John Wahr. I therefore conclude—contrary to the general wisdom—that the temperature of sea water has no direct effect on sea-level rise. That means neither does the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide. 

This conclusion is worth highlighting: It shows that sea-level rise does not depend on the use of fossil fuels. The evidence should allay fear that the release of additional CO2 will increase sea-level rise."

Of course, this is absolute nonsense, and the reaction- response of  (real) climate scientists to this offal was not long in coming.  Among the first to respond (WSJ letters, May 16) were Prof. Andrea L. Dutton of the University of Florida, and Prof. Michael Mann of Penn State.  They wrote, in deliberate sarcastic frame:

"Would the Journal run the op-ed 'Objects Are Falling, But Not  Because of Gravity'? That's pretty similar to climate contrarian Fred Singer saying The Sea Is Rising but not from Climate Change.

No, ice is not accumulating on Earth, it is melting. No, Antarctica isn't too cold for melting - warming oceans are eroding the ice from beneath, destabilizing the ice sheet. And no, legitimate scientific conclusions are not reached in op-ed pieces but through careful, peer-reviewed research".

Which begs the question of why Singer didn't get his major climate "find" published in a major journal. Well, most likely because after he sent it in - assuming he did - the referees were unable to stop laughing from hysterics.  That's because they'd know, as the authors write "research shows that sea levels are rising and human -caused climate change is the cause."

The best part is when they give Mr. "Rocket scientist" Singer a basic thermal physics lesson, this is after he writes "the cause of the trend is  puzzle":

"When water warms it expands. When ice warms it melts. To deny these facts is not just to deny climate change. It is deny basic physics."

Among the dumbest takes is seen at the end when Singer scribbles:

"Currently, sea level rise does not seem to depend on ocean temperatures and certainly not on CO2. We can expect the sea to continue rising at about the present rate for the foreseeable future."

To which letter writer Wendy Fleischer responds, citing NASA, via a Feb. 13 paper:

"Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere increase the temperature of air and water, which causes sea level to rise in two ways: first, warmer water expands, and this thermal expansion of the ocean has contributed about half of the 7 centimeters of global mean sea level rise over the last 25 years. Second, melting land ice flows into the ocean, also increasing sea level across the globe."

Which begs the 2nd question of whether we need to send Singer back to school for a remedial physcs lesson.

In a summary retort from we read:

This commentary published by The Wall Street Journal, written by Fred Singer, claims that warming (and therefore greenhouse gas emissions) has no effect on global sea level rise. Although Singer concedes the physical fact that water expands as its temperature increases, he claims that this process must be offset by growth of Antarctic ice sheets.

Scientists who reviewed this opinion piece explained that it is contradicted by a wealth of data and research. Singer bases his conclusion entirely on a cherry-picked comparison of sea level rise 1915-1945 and a single study published in 1990, claiming a lack of accelerating sea level rise despite continued warming. But in fact, modern research utilizing all available data clearly indicates that sea level rise has accelerated, and is unambiguously the result of human-caused global warming.

Since the 1990s for example, satellites have measured an acceleration in the rate of global sea level rise:

Global mean sea level (blue), after removing an estimate for the impacts of the eruption of Mount Pinatubo (red), and after also removing the influence of El Niño (green), fit with a quadratic (black). From Nerem et al. (2018)


These comments are the overall opinion of scientists on the article, they are substantiated by their knowledge in the field and by the content of the analysis in the annotations on the article.

Chris Roberts, Research Scientist, ECMWF/Met Office:

This article severely misrepresents the scientific understanding of the processes responsible for observed changes in global sea level. Understanding and attributing the causes of changes in global sea level is an area of active research and there are genuine uncertainties, but there is a clear consensus on the important roles for ocean thermal expansion and addition of mass to the oceans from melting glaciers and ice caps during recent decades. For example, the following paper by Church et al. (2008)* summarizes the independent lines of evidence for changes in sea level from satellite altimeter and tide gauge measurements and how these changes can be explained by a combination of thermal expansion and exchange of mass (either liquid water or ice) between the oceans and continents:

Figure – Global sea‐level budget from 1961 to 2008. (left) The observed sea level using coastal and island tide gauges (solid black line with grey shading indicating the estimated uncertainty) and using satellite altimeter data (dashed black line) with thermal expansion and glaciers melting components; terrestrial storage (e.g. dams) partially offsets other contributions to sea‐level rise. (right) The observed sea level and the sum of components.

Stefan Rahmstorf, Professor, Potsdam University:

The article has almost nothing to do with the modern state of sea-level science. The author tries to call into question that global warming causes sea-level rise, and does so by cherry-picking a short segment of data from 1915-1945, a time when data quality is poor and the warming signal small—a bizarre approach that could never pass scientific peer review and is apparently aimed at misleading a lay audience.

Keven Roy, Research Fellow, Nanyang Technological University:
This article is misleading, and presents inaccurate statements about global mean sea level rise.

Other criticisms:  On Singer's reliance on "outdated, cherry -picked data":

Benjamin Horton, Professor, Earth Observatory of Singapore:

This is a blatant case of cherry picking to confirm a Singer’s position while ignoring all other instrumental sea level data that may contradict that position. This fallacy is a major problem in public debate.
Stefan Rahmstorf, Professor, Potsdam University:

It is rather ironic that the author first complains about “poor data” and then goes on to cherry-pick a time of particularly poor data that includes the World War 2 period. Even the temperature data from this period are questionable; the sea surface temperature data show a strong warm peak at the end of WW2 (the basis of his claim of 0.5 °C warming) which is probably a data collection artefact, given that no such warming is seen in the data collected at the global network of weather stations on land. Also, in the peer-reviewed literature it has been shown that minor inaccuracies in sea-level data by just a few millimeters can lead to spurious fluctuations of sea level trends when too-short time intervals are considered*.

So the takeaway from all these climate specialists is that Fred Singer doesn't know what the hell he's writing about. But again, bear in mind it's an op-ed in the WSJ - which as one climate scientist put it "just tells its readers what they want to hear".

With this latest load of pseudoscientific twaddle, Singer has shown himself not only an incompetent agnotologist - from the Greek agnosis, or to sow doubt- but either suffering from premature senility or.....being gracious, now one of the Climate Denier Three Stooges. That would be right along with 'Moe' and 'Larry'......errrrr… Richard Lindzen and Willie Soon.

See also:


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Trump Learns Free Speech Is A Two-Way Proposition - He Can't Block Critics On His Twitter Feed

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We all know by now the biggest Twitter Troll in the country is Donnie J. Dotard who wastes hours each day firing off blasts on every person he doesn't like (which is just about everyone other than Alt-Right Nazis  like Stephen Miller and fawning 'yes men' like Devin Nunes).   So, if I had Twitter and wanted to fire back: "You stupid, freaking orange- haired baboon!" he could block my tweet based on being a political enemy and harsh critic. Well, no more.  Naomi Reice Buchwald,  Judge for the Southern District of New York - ruled that such blocking is against the first amendment and  violates free speech rights.. So if Dotard can reel off his slimy, attack tweets castigating everyone from James Comey to Rod Rosenstein to Mika Brzezinski we can fire back at him all the epithets we want. After all, isn't that what Twitter is for?

 The case against Dotard emerged from July, 2017,  when Columbia University's Knight First Amendment Institute discovered Trump had a habit of blocking users from his Twitter feed who "disagreed with, criticized or mocked him" (e.g. 'Hey, you orange, butt-faced Orangutan, Comey was right, you're wrong!").  Trump engaged in this one-sided baloney because he believed - as an illegitimately installed puppet pretender-  he was entitled to taunt, disparage, belittle anyone and everyone - but no one could return the

But as the Knights argued, this blockage  violated "the free speech protections of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. "

Judge Buchwald herself  wrote:

"This case requires us to consider whether a public official may, consistent with the First Amendment, block a person from his Twitter account in  response to the political views that person has expressed and whether the analysis differs because that public official is the President of the United States. The answer to both questions is no."

Which is reasonable and logical because Trump is not our king, or a dictator....yet. Indeed, it may be strongly argued that he only serves (even as a pretender president) at  our pleasure - not we at his. We the Peo0le have final say over him, not him over us. And the White House is OUR house, not his, which we shall have to fumigate as soon as we get him and his nest of  vermin and vipers out.

To be more specific here, when a Twitter user blocks another the "blockee" is then unable to view the users' tweets.  This then turns into one-sided speech so the Twitter troll can taunt at will and not be challenged or criticized because the blockee can't see the objectionable fare. Thus, he is disabled from any return speech, hence is denied his free speech rights.

This is one of the basic rights Dotard still has to learn, that rights in this country are not 'one way' and if he continues to troll and bloviate and taunt with his stupid tweets he is going to have to expect return fire.

The Judge opted not to issue an injunction against Trump blocking Twitter users....yet. But that could change if this buffoon continues his one-sided antics.  Sadly, the overgrown brat and clown still hasn't learned that one does not govern by tweet.  But basically, we know the Twitter Troll in chief does this because he needs to keep his base of deplorables stoked and in high dudgeon against the rest of the nation, especially the "elites".

Will Trump ever quit his brash disrespect for norms and laws as well as the amendments of the Bill of Rights? Nope, not until we get rid of him. The sooner the better.

See also:

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

ABC Pulls Plug On Racist Roseanne - But Dumb Trumpies Want To Go After Keith Olbermann

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"'Roseanne' was not canceled because it is mean or HORRIBLE to compare a black person to n ape (though it is both of those things). It was canceled because it carries the weight of past horrors and current atrocities - because comparing a black person to an ape nods to an historically rooted yet increasingly emboldened far right movement whose chosen figurehead - Donald Trump -is the president of the United States.

Because it is our collective responsibility not to let that movement win, to fight to be a better country and right now cultural power is all we have. ...Canceling 'Roseanne' is not society regulating 'mean speech'; it is regulating our collective morality so we don't atrophy into a moral vacuum."  

- Lindy West, NY Times. June 1, p. A23.

 Long before it happened I predicted to Janice the ABC reboot of "Roseanne" wouldn't last a whole season.   Why? Because I know the star, Roseanne Barr - a confirmed and loud mouthed Trumpie - had no more ability to contain her tongue and bombastic buffoon instincts than her hero, Dotard Donnie. Both are basically cut from the same cloth and neither has any level of self-awareness, class or exercise of restraint.

The last straw was a racist tweet, which no one of any sentience can deny, that proved even too much for the ABC honchos. Since there has been only little reporting of her tweet, directed at former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett (an African -American), it is useful to cite it for reference, especially as numerous Trumpie morons are bitching that it is "unfair" and making comparison to Keith Olbermann. (Newsflash,  Trumpies! NONE of Olbermann's tweets, comments have been racist, including labeling Omarosa Trump's "pet".  But this shows how far the dereliction of mental states can skew when fake news addicts try to invoke a counter outrage that isn't there.)  Anyway, Roseanne in one of her tweets wrote -  before Ms. Jarrett was to appear at a Town Hall:

"Muslim brotherhood and Planet of the Apes had a baby = VJ"

Note the language used which was not only was explicitly racist in interjecting the "Apes" movie, but also conflated Valerie with descending from Muslim terrorists".

There is no way in hell this remotely  comes close to anything Keith Olbermann wrote or said.  So all the whining Trumpie bone heads that believe Keith is being let off while Barr takes a fall are out of their gourds.  Further, Roseanne herself displayed a consciousness of guilt as we call it, when she subsequently wrote:

"I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me. My joke was in bad taste."

This was clearly written not merely to save her show but to acknowledge she went too far in equating Ms. Jarrett to a cross between Muslim terrorists and apes. Further,  the tweet cited wasn't a "joke",  even a bad one. A joke by definition has a punch line and for any rational or sane person is designed to elicit some yucks. This only elicited revulsion among the mentally balanced portion of the populace (i.e. non-Trumpies).  What she called a "joke" was actually a racial attack, by which I mean a directed verbal assault - hurled at a former Obama staff person-  in the guise of a mutant  "joke".

This reminded me of my 2014 altercation with my late brother, Jerry, written about in this post (after he unfriended me on Facebook, which I welcomed):

FACEBOOK 'Unfriending' : One of the Best Things Ab...

Triggered by him putting up a  Facebook image of Obama, i.e. in  a phony "Presidential seal" using a Skunk emblem instead of a bald eagle - because he's born from a white mom and black Kenyan  dad. I wrote Jerry and stated that both Janice and myself were deeply offended as Obama voters, backers and so were our Caribbean relatives.  He replied we "were getting all worked up about nothing" as it was just a "joke". But we didn't find it so, not at all. 

But see,  I believe in calling these attacks what they are, and if we can't we will never  reach a point of civility in this country where both sides attain mutual respect and be able to have decent dialogues. (Jerry and I never communicated again after the FB altercation and he died suddenly in August, 2016, of a ruptured aortic aneurysm.)

Further, the fact Roseanne's ignorant tweet wasn't a joke is reinforced by a string of her subsequent tweets all of which amounted to a diatribe or rant.

From Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment:

'Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show."

From Disney CEO Robert Iger:

"There was only one thing to do here and that was the right thing"

Of course all this begs the question of why ABC re-hired this low class slob who is  also 52 cards short of a full deck, given she's wallowed in as many half-cocked Trump  "conspiracy" ideations as Alex Jones.  This sordid piece of trash also once dressed up as Hitler and baked "Jew cookies" in her oven, Yet idiot Trumpies are prepared to elide that with Keith Olbermann calling Michelle Malkin “a big mashed-up piece of meat with lipstick on it”.   

If the Trump -backing bozos can't see a difference then I can't really help them - where one form of speech is simply intense criticism with some descriptive touches  and the other goes straight into racial hatred and genocide replication. Again, NOT a joke.

In the end, the person who merits kudos here is Ms. Jarrett who has suggested using this sorry episode as a "teachable moment".  The question is, for whom? I seriously doubt Trump's white racist, white nationalist supporters are teachable about anything.

See also:

The Irish Repeal Of 1983 Anti-Abortion Law Rightly Puts The RC Church In Its Place

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Irish women voters whoop it up at Dublin Castle after "Yes" vote trounces the backward anti-abortion faction.

I never believed for one second some of the polls, published in the days before the Irish referendum Saturday, to repeal an antiquated anti-abortion law (from 1983).   That  law (constitutional amendment) punished women with up to 14 years in prison if they even sought an abortion.  I didn't believe those "too close to call" polls because I knew the Irish (most of them) - like Catholics in the USA - were fed up with being told how to use their bodies. Especially by a clergy and pontificate that had long since lost any moral authority because of the sexual abuse crisis -  involving thousands of pedophile priests worldwide - which too many RC dogmatists would prefer to forget (and have the rest of us forget too).

The church also lost much of its credibility in the wake of scandals involving thousands of unwed teen mothers who were placed into servitude in so-called Magdalene convent laundries or mental asylums as recently as the mid-1990s.  Most of these atrocities didn't come to light until a late 1990s documentary on"The Magdalenes"- especially the way the nuns worked the young women to tears, see

This is why the truest words in the aftermath of the resounding 'yes' were spoken by Gail McElroy, professor of politics at Trinity College Dublin:

"This is devastating for the Roman Catholic hierarchy.  It is the final nail in the coffin for them. They’re no longer the pillar of society, and their hopes of re-establishing themselves are gone.”

And that is as it should be!  Whether pronouncing on the ability of deathly ill people - like Brittany Maynard -  to end their lives after incredible physical suffering, or blabbering on the "ills" of masturbation to otherwise virginal adolescents with no other sexual outlets - to trying to shame  women into not aborting an unwanted fetus. (Not a child! A fetus is called a 'child' by ideologues attempting to make false equivalence between actual persons and non-persons.)'.   In all these cases the Catholic moral dogmatists have had their way with the sex organs of their flocks signed, sealed and delivered compliments of the Vatican's fossils in the Curia. But no more! The Irish forcefully said no more running our country from the Vatican. (And oh, by the way, clean up your own act first!)

Anyway, in a powerful final punch, the culmination of what's been called a "quiet revolution", the abomination known as the Eighth Amendment to the Irish constitution was struck down with nearly preternatural force - by a final tally of 66.4 % to 33.6 %.  If described in football terms, it'd  be a 'blowout'. But that lopsided vote showed most of us what an odious law it was - conferring equal rights on the fetus and the mother and banning abortion under almost all circumstances. The draconian and punitive nature of the amendment forced thousands of Irish women each year to either  travel abroad or to buy pills illegally online to terminate their pregnancies.

That nonsense must now stop and in the words of Prime Minister Leo Varadkar:

"This has been a great exercise in democracy and the people have spoken and said: 'We want a modern Constitution for a modern country, and that we trust women and that we respect them to make the right decisions and the right choices about their own health care'.”


"No more doctors telling their patients there is nothing that can be done for them in their own country,” he said. “No more lonely journeys across the Irish Sea. No more stigma. The veil of secrecy is lifted. No more isolation. The burden of shame is gone.”

What was most encouraging is how the 'yes'  votes pervaded different Irish voting demographics. While women outpolled men in the exits, for example, men still supported the 'yes' side, as did farmers and rural counties. But as may be expected, the support for yes was most robust among the young and urban.

In the words of Irish Times columnist Finan O'Toole:

"For all the attempts to divide us into tribes, the exit polls showed that every part of Ireland voted broadly the same way, which was to trust its women and make them fully equal citizens."

Of course, there was the expected caterwauling and promises of "this isn't over" from the losing side, who ought to know after this (like the personhood morons in the States) that it is over. As one of them - Cora Sherlock, deputy chairwoman of one of the largest anti-abortion groups-  whined:

"Today is a sad day for Ireland and for people who believe in genuine human rights. The struggle to defend the most vulnerable has not ended today, it’s just changed.”

Sorry, Cora, but it has ended.  I hate to have to spell this out, but fetuses have no rights such as the already born do. A fetus cannot have the right to vote, or the right to free speech - given it has no speech- nor a right to bear arms, or to have a trial by jury.

More to the point here, the Irish anti-abortion crowd would do well to process they've actually been had by their esteemed Church.  I refer to the fact up until 1869  the Catholic Church DID ALLOW abortions to be performed up until the third trimester.   This, according to John Connery, S.J. a leading historian of the Church’s teaching on abortion, and citing a long standing tradition of Canon Law. (See, e.g. Druyan and Sagan, PARADE, April 22, 1990).

But wait! The RC Church is now adamantly against abortion. What can explain this turnabout?  Well, obviously, if you can alter a position, it is hardly "absolute" or true for all time. In his marvelous book, Infallible?, Hans Kung observes (p. 143):

"No one, neither Vatican I, nor Vatican II, nor the textbook theologians, has shown that the Church - its leadership or its theology - is able to put forward propositions which inherently cannot be erroneous."

In other words, the basis for all theological, moral rulings on issues like abortion is that they are relative only. Clearly, the fact the Church already changed its doctrine on abortion shows its moral positions are malleable and not set in stone.  If this is so, then their authority over a given nation' citizens is fleeting, temporary only - and that is by virtue of national laws enacted to prop up bogus theological dogma.

But as the Irish vote shows,  women can be released from the shackles of the knuckle draggers when the specific nation holds a referendum to dump the national law.  In other words, Irish citizens had the final say on whether women would be hostage to some ancient, absurd dictate now worth no more than a half ounce of doggie lickspittle.  At the same time the Church, which still hasn't resolved the priest sex abuse crisis, has to take one on the chin  - in a hearty blow delivered by Irish 'yes' voters.

Best advice to the losers? Try to lick your wounds, and instead of wasting time on an 8th amendment redo, learn why your countrymen voted as they did.

In the meantime, we need to bear down on the Trumpie assholes who - using a Reagan era gag rule - have prohibited doctors, nurse practitioners and other medical staff from even referring patients to abortion info.   It is absolutely sickening that while Ireland has made a great leap forward in social progress we've allowed the Trump degenerates to take us backward...toward the days of back alleys and coat hangars.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Unassigned desks, Time trackers? Maybe Now Is The Time To Leave The Corporate Work Force - If You Can!

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The news (WSJ, May 17, p. A14,  May 21, p. B3) that employers have new tricks up their slimy sleeves to make their employees' lives miserable, didn't really catch me by surprise. I was already aware, for example, of the changes implemented barely 6 years ago, for "open seating" and transparent walls - so the CEO snoops and bosses can keep steady eyes on their staff, e.g.

This followed an earlier atrocity when corporate workers had their personal offices demolished, making way for cubicles, aka "cubes" ca. 1994, 

From that point, the corner office for an ordinary corporate employee evidently went the way of the Dodo. The American office worker was expected to continue to produce outstanding work in his open cube while within earshot of some bozo yammering on his cell phone to his honey, another character gorging on sardines and munching them loudly while smacking lips and two others chattering away to each other about "American Idol".

Now, however, we learn corporate employers have engineered even more abominations to drive their staffs nuts.  The latest is to remove defined personal desks and keep them "floating", hence, no personal space to do one's corporate work. If you maybe come in early you might get a desk and chair, else it's catch as catch can.  As one worker put it:  "Don't be late or you could end up seated next to the dumpster."

According to the first WSJ piece cited ('Don't Get Used To Your Own Desk'):

"Employers are replacing traditional one-desk per employee setups with a smaller number of first come, first served desks - plus additional workspaces with names like 'huddle rooms' and 'touchdown spaces'. Some 25 percent of employers are placing at least some employees in unassigned seating and 52 percent of the rest plan to in three years, according to a survey of 138 employers by the real estate service CBRE, and CoreNet Global."

The article goes on to note that "some employees embrace the flexibility and ambience of unassigned seating" - generally the Young Turks, Millennials  (who love the 'liberating' atmosphere) and those ambulatory slackers who just hate staying in one place to work. But many others, mostly older with families,  find it a "wrenching change".  Well, duh! You are basically destroying the employee's personal, individual work space and converting it into a 'free for all'  area. It absolutely would enrage any older worker  - who is also now being advised (WSJ, May 22, p. A9) to "change dress styles to what is currently in vogue" such as older, still working males now advised to wear stove pipe trousers and replacing tie-lace  shoes with those with Monk straps. Seriously? 

Obviously, the new seating brain fart is the deformed "offspring" of some overpaid corporate CEOs - still toked up from their corporate tax cuts and stock buyback binges. This novel un-seating plan also  leaves no possibility to secure the items at one's desk, because one has no fixed desk to call one's own.  The CEOs are gracious, bless their venal little hearts, because they realize this no-fixed seating scenario will require "a little etiquette training". Really?   Who'd have thought?

What about the employees who for one reason or other end up with no seats or desks? Well, one CEO suggested they can always bring a cushion from home or maybe pillow, and park near the restroom. Or, they can go to a (smaller space)  "huddle room" with fifteen or twenty others, to thrash out some current issues, just don't bring anything else as there will be no room.

One manager admitted the change is trying for some "older traditionalists"  who "have aspired to a corner office for their entire career".   Maybe  they aspired to a corner office like one I used to have at my final corporate gig, e.g. before leaving to write books, text books,

Of course, having such a spacious office, nearly 250 sq. feet  - with
ample desk,  swivel chair, filing cabinets, credenza  etc. -  was necessary. At the time my job was to prepare technical documents to do with stereotactic radiosurgery software.  We called these extensive,  regulatory compliance documents, 510 (k)s. 

So a personal large desk was required with ample, spacious drawers to keep all the background material, including applicable research for the sites,  radiation parameters for the device, and software module specifics,  in one place.

Doing this type of critical job (I'd left university teaching 4 years earlier  after being frustrated by the built -in grade inflation using "teacher evaluations") necessitated a separate, corner office work area, including file cabinet, proper desk and all the rest. Trying to do what I was doing in a pathetic,  floating, unassigned desk domain would simply not have worked.

But given these (mainly) older guys aren't getting that corner office after all has engendered issues for the HR departments, managers and others. Including one cited -  a Donna Burnell -   who "encourages resistors to see the redesign as bringing the comforts of home into the office with multiple choices of seating and décor".

Transl. If you don't like the fact you have no fixed desk or chair you can amble over to our cozy huddle rooms where your co-workers are squatting on cushions. Or check out the different décor venues in other conveniently located tiny rooms- some sporting fake Picassos-  that might have a spare cushion lying around.

And where do employees now put their assorted stuff if they have no fixed desk? Well, in lockers,  of course!  They are small, practical and employees can fit just about anything they need to into them including their bag lunches,  Ipads, and even a book -if they still read (and assuming they can find the time).  A hall full of lockers that greets employees at one Dallas insurance company is shown below:
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Obviously, this sort of arrangement is going to piss off a lot of folks, though the article claims only 11 percent of employers "meet resistance from employees". According to one manager:

"Some people don't really want a locker. They want a desk for pictures of their family ...and a sense of what's mine."

Really?  But see the big shots at Corporate Central Inc. don't give two craps about your sense of what's yours or the notion of personal space. They just want to save money, i.e. increase corporate profits.  Oh, but they are generous!  Some anyway. At least nine percent of the employers surveyed  said they are committed to "providing etiquette training to curb behaviors like squatting or usurping shared space for oneself".   Hmmm... how about ancillary training to avoid going postal or psychotic in such a work place?

But hold strain. These new seating -desk arrangements don't tell half the story of the new order of corporate abuse. Oh no. Now the corporate CEO  devils - apologies to Austan Goolsbee (recent WaPo op-ed)  for my Manichean framing -  are also using time trackers to ding workers so they can dock their pay. ('Workers Challenge Time Trackers', WSJ May 21).

Across years of employment this can result in "thousands of dollars deducted from paychecks."  Example:

"Nurses have said they spend meal breaks tending to patients but automatically receive a 30 minute deduction from every shift."

In other words, the  auto "time tracker" deducts the time, say for lunch, whether the nurse actually takes it or not. The domination of dumb tech thanks to penny pinching, tyrannical CEOs.   We also learned:

"The systems are capable of calculating employee's pay to the second but employers are attracted to such features as rounding and automatic time deductions because they help keep labor predictable and free managers from having to take time to record every break."

Transl. The devices enable the managers to dispense with tedious break monitoring so they can let their machines screw their workers out of their hard- earned pay, under the name of efficiency. 

You'd be amazed to read the bollocks PR baloney spouted by some of these high- on- their- horse CEOs, like one who insisted (ibid.):

"We put devices with rounding mechanisms into place to be sure to pay only for the hours of a scheduled shift, not to avoid paying for the time worked."

Well, save that for the HR peanut gallery, do. The fact that worker lawsuits are now being mounted, one already settled for $450,000, shows the "plebes" are not really buying that balderdash. And good for them!

Little wonder so many people now - if they can - are bailing out of the corporate workforce, especially with these draconian new tactics to edge workers into psychosis or an early grave. Many are now adopting the F.I.R.E. path:  "Financial independence, retire early"  -  leaving corporate employment  permanently as young as age 35 or 40.

More about this movement and how it works in a future post.
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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Selected Questions-Answers From All Experts Astronomy Forum (Diffraction and Optical Resolution)

Question: Could you explain in detail how diffraction applies to stellar sources and how one computes the optical resolution, say of a telescope  - using this?

Answer:  Diffraction refers to the bending of light waves as they encounter edges or in this specific case, lenses (say in an astronomical refracting telescope) which cause refraction and the production of a diffraction disk or image.

The diagram below illustrates the problem for two sources and a single rectangular aperture. (For simplicity)
Image may contain: sky and outdoor

On the far right we see the detecting screen with the two separate  (diffraction) patterns superposed, the peaks of each clearly visible.  We basically have two lenses on either side of the aperture.  Two light sources are detected which are very close together in the line of sight. These lenses produce two diffraction patterns on the screen depicted as two overlapping intensity patterns. Note that the central maxima of the two patterns are separated by an angle a which is the same as the angle (q) subtended by the two sources at the slit center. Thus, for each pattern, the principal maximum just falls on the second minimum.

The resolving power or resolution of an optical instrument just means its ability to distinguish the images of two light sources very near to one another. In terms of application, it is the diffraction pattern of the sources via the aperture that sets the upper theoretical limit to the resolving power.
For a rectangular slit the resolving power may be expressed as:

q1 = nl/ d

 Where n is the number of minima from the center, l is the wavelength of the light used and d is the slit width.  Hence, in this case we find:  q1 = 2l/ d

 For visible light, l = 5.5 x 10 -7 m. In performing the calculation, care must be taken to ensure that l and d are expressed in the same units. For the case depicted the two sources are clearly resolved with the angular separation:

a =  2q1 = 2l/ d

It shouldn’t be difficult to see that the degree of resolution deteriorates as one reduces the angular separation. Of particular interest is the case where a = p, corresponding to the condition a =  q1, for which the images are just barely resolved. This is known as the Rayleigh criterion and occurs when the central maximum of one diffraction pattern just falls on the first minimum of the other, or:

q1  = l/ d

Having considered resolution in the context of the single slit Fraunhofer diffraction pattern we’re now in position to discuss resolving power as it applies to circular apertures.  Such a pattern is arrived at by rotating the single slit about its rotation axis leading to the result shown below:
No photo description available.
Note we again have secondary maxima and minima but these are now observed as concentric rings around a bright central disc. The latter is called Airy’s disc  after Sir George Airy, and is what the observer actually sees when he focuses his telescope on a distant star. (We do not observe a star as it actually is, it's simply too distant, we can only capture its diffraction disk. The smaller that disk, the better the resolution).

The expression for resolving power is analogous to that for the single rectangular aperture already considered. The chief difference is that n is no longer a whole number. In particular for the Rayleigh criterion:

q 1 = 1.22  l/ D

Where D is now the diameter of the circular aperture. One can see from this that the separation of two light sources will depend very directly on the objective diameter D of the telescope. The larger D the smaller  q1 and hence the better the resolution.

To fix ideas consider the diagram below which shows two stars and their corresponding diffraction patterns for the Rayleigh criterion. Here, one of the stars is on the principal axis and the other is off it. The diagram shows the intensity distributions for sources S1, S2 and what might actually be observed, say through a telescope.
No photo description available.
Note at this critical threshold the two stars are just barely separated.   As an exercise we can compute the resolving power of the Harry Bayley Observatory Celestron 14 telescope (the one which I am shown using in the accompanying blog image and profile "About Me").
Then: q1 =  1.22  l/ D

q1 = 1.22  l/ D = 1.22 (5.5 x 10 -7 m) / 0.35 m

q1 = 1.91 X 10 -6 rad = 0.40 arc sec

Thus, the C-14 telescope will be able to (theoretically)  resolve double stars separated by as little as 0.40 seconds of arc.   

While the apparent angular diameter of a celestial objects (a discrete object, say like a planet) does increase with higher magnification, one does not increase the resolving power at the same time. In effect, one cannot extract any more detail than the diffraction pattern already allows for a star. Further, if one recklessly increases the telescope magnification without regard to the aperture, then one only succeeds in producing a blurred image.

In general, as one increases D, the telescope aperture, the diameter of the Airy disc produced by a distant star is reduced in scale. Thus, we observe star images as smaller and smaller points of light the larger the telescope.

See also: