Monday, December 31, 2018

New Horizons Craft Reaches Dwarf Planet Ultima Thule Later Today

Artist's depiction of Ultima Thule - next target for the New Horizons spacecraft.

At roughly 10:33 p.m.  MST today (05h 33m  GMT, Jan. 1st), the New Horizons craft, the same one that brought us close ups of Pluto, will fly even closer to the outermost dwarf world named Ultima Thule (meaning "beyond the know world").   Assuming one single world, it is estimated to be 30 km (20 mi.) in diameter, close to absolute zero temperature, and with an orbit that takes it once around the Sun every 300 years.

On the other hand, the light curve suggests  planetary "doublet" such as depicted in the accompanying artist's conception, In this case, the distant (4 bn miles)  world looks somewhat like a misshapen dumbbell. How is this depiction justified?   Earlier images of Ultima Thule revealed that it’s actually two objects that are either joined via geo-morphology or very closely orbiting one another. Given such a dual pair of objects reflects sunlight, one would expect light to pulsate as the strangely shaped object rotates and the light varies according to a designated light curve. The trouble is, Ultima Thule’s light curve doesn't show it  getting brighter or dimmer as it rotates.

Alan Stern, the principal investigator of New Horizons, writes in a blog post.:

"We expect that Ultima is the most well-preserved sample of a planetary building block ever explored.  What will Ultima reveal? No one knows. To me, that is what’s most exciting — this is pure exploration and fundamental science!” 

The "building block" aspect is easily the most important for planetary astronomers given this distant world was likely formed at the very birth of the solar system. So it will hold key clues to the formation of the other larger planets as well.   To Alan Stern the flyby of this odd -shaped world by the New Horizons, and the images that accompany it, will be akin to the now famous "Earthrise" photo taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts 50 years ago.   This famous photo, for those who need a reference marker, is shown below:

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Alas, I was unable to fully partake of the illustrious moment - including astronaut Gordon Lovell reading from Genesis -  because I had been laid low by the Hong Kong flu.  It kept me down for the entire two week period from roughly Dec. 18- Dec. 31st, 1968. 

This time around, to be sure, I plan to be following every minute of the flyby to the best  I can given the limits imposed, e.g. on NASA, by the Trump shutdown.

See also:


As Trump's Shutdown Mutates Into Domestic Terror Dems Need To Resist The Swine's Threats

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The Toddler Swine- in -Chief, unable to impose his feral will, now resorts to brinksmanship and a 'wrecking ball' to try to get his way.  Dems need to let him go down sucking shit and not reward his extortion.

"He's dynamited the institution of the presidency. He doesn't see himself as being part of a long line of presidents....Instead he sees the presidency as an extension of his own personality".  - Historian Douglas Brinkley'Trump Takes Wrecking Ball To How Washington Works',  The Denver Post, yesterday, p. 6A

"Trump's booby traps now ensnare the nation. He orders chaotic withdrawals of U.S. forces from Syria that have allies reeling and adversaries rejoicing...He forces a government shutdown over 1/10 th of 1 percent of the budget - a spectacle Sen. Bob Corker called 'made up' and 'juvenile'....Meanwhile markets continue plunging because of Trump's trade war and attacks on the Federal Reserve."  -  Dana Milbank, Denver Post, p. 1D, yesterday)

"The GOP and Trump absolutely own this government shutdown!  Hundreds of thousands of government employees are without pay over the holidays while this president hides in the White House with his temper tantrum, wanting to spend billions for a silly fence,"  -  Edward Talbot, letter to editor, The Denver Post.

"As an American... I do not want to be associated in any way with the last country that built a wall"  .. Robyn Weber, letter to Editor, Denver Post yesterday, p. 3D)

WARNING:  Extreme polemic ahead! Do not read if you are overly sensitive, desire false civility, believe 'both sides are wrong'  or embrace political correctness!

As most of us know, it is standard procedure among most law enforcement agencies not to reward terrorists or hostage takers with payouts.  The reason is simple: Though the refusal to give in may likely cost lives, it is much worse to reward such vile behavior and encourage further hostage taking, terror in the future.  The exact same holds true with the current domestic terrorist named Donald Drumpf occupying the Oval Office. The selfsame mutt threatening all manner of mayhem - and even trying to blame the Dems for the deaths of two migrant kids.

Over the weekend this 2-legged maggot slimeball doubled down on his wall insanity, talking at Democrats but not with them in a series of confrontational tweets. Let us again register for the record that this demented fucker does not want a wall, he wants a fight - an open political fight (or reality show) - in which he is seen as being the winner.   If this asshole truly wanted a wall for "security" - as political commentator Ezra Klein noted two weeks ago-   he'd have signed off on the $25 billion offered over the summer. He didn't do that, crapping all over the deal instead.  Just like barely a week ago he saw himself  harshly criticized in the Reich media  by Limbuagh, Coulter, Ingraham & company and then turned around and crapped on a CR that was voted on by 100-0 in the Senate. He rejected the continuing resolution because a gaggle of right wing lowbrows and blowhards blew a gasket and called little Donnie Dotard names ("gutless").

While a mentally functional and normal president would never have tuned into these degenerates in the first place, that's not Trump's way given all he does these days is watch cable TV (FOX). Oh, and tweet bullshit and lies.   In the latest outburst, typical of the dyspeptic, lying shithead he is,  he tweeted,  seemingly  impervious to mounting criticism over his lack of outreach, much less mental stability:

"I am in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come on over and make a deal on Border Security"

Well, you can wait until Hell freezes over and "Satan" turns into the Abominable Snowman!  Because you are the turd that wanted this fiasco, and now you have to live with it. NO one is going to give you a buck more for your fucked up "wall".  Oh, did I say Trump has issues with his mental stability? Yeah, but we've known that for donkey's years.

But since a turd never loses its ordure nature - even when separated from the source-  no one will be surprised that on Saturday afternoon, Trump tried a more inflammatory tactic: “Any deaths of children or others at the Border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. They can’t. If we had a Wall, they wouldn’t even try!”

In any other universe, that is to say one where the rules are followed, and political or domestic terrorists are held to account, Trump would be in a rubber room at Bellevue by now.  He'd be strapped down to a table, bound in a strait jacket and administered electro-convulsive shock therapy.  But since we are in a parallel world where only norms - not laws - exist, he is instead able to project insults, threats and terror from the White House where he's holed up like a rabid rat. 

Speaking of rodents, Dotard has kept out of the public eye (like all such vermin, as well as cockroaches) since he triggered this shutdown. That was except for a 29- hour surreptitious trip to Iraq to brag lies to the troops  they were going to get a "10 percent pay raise".    He lied like he lied to Pelosi and Schumer he was going to "own" the shutdown, take the blame for it, then when the heat got turned up - turned imp and blamed the Dems.  (Newsflash to Mueller: It's now time to take out the trash.)

Still, one of the sadder aspects of this whole sordid mess is how the mainstream media is as yet unable to outright say  WHO the guilty party is. So we see and hear bollocks like:

"The blame game goes on!  Each side blames the other for the consequent government shutdown, the effects of which grow more severe."

Or.  "And the constant back and forth between Trump and the Dems never seems to end."

Which makes one wonder if the press, media are retarded, temporarily blind,  gobsmacked by Trump or just plain lazy.   Obviously, it is Trump who is to blame and he even took ownership for a shutdown before it happened!  See e.g.

That televised interlude 2 weeks ago makes it clear as glass where the blame lies, so why does the media play the useless and cynical  'two sides' game?   This is all on Trump!  He wanted it, he got it, now he has to live with it, and no amount of lying or distraction or threats will get the miserable maggot swine out of it. See e.g.

by Cody Fenwick | December 31, 2018 - 7:03am | permalink

It is true there is increasing collateral damage from Trump's political terror and  hostage taking. About 800,000 federal employees are either at home or working without pay on "furlough", but that's merely the tip of the looming iceberg. Federal payments to some farmers hit by Trump’s trade war with China will be put on hold from next week. The work of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is increasingly affected, and 14,000 are soon to be furloughed - never mind a major toxic spill may occur.  Oh, and for those millions of other federal workers, including 1.2 m   grantees and  4 m full time contractors who will have to pay their rents soon, here's a chestnut to process:  The Trumpie Scum have suggested these workers "trade their services for rent".    As Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees' Union put it on CNN Saturday: "I think it's disgusting. It's wrong to treat human beings that way!  Well, Tony, look at how this walking, talking cockroach treated child migrants, confining them in cages. They were humans too, right?

By the end of another month, many more agencies will be affected    As this hostage -taking terror by Trump goes on there will be many more casualties:  "500,000 Postal employees, 1.3 million active duty personnel, and the 4.5 million Americans whose jobs depend on the spending of the federal workforce."  (Paul Light, WSJ, 'The Hidden Cost of a Government Shutdown',  December 28, p. A15)

Another disgusting lie spouted by the slime is that it is mostly all Democrats affected. Do not believe this twaddle for a nanosecond. The victims are across the political spectrum, and it's millions not just the "800,000" the media repeatedly parrots. (See the WSJ piece cited in the previous paragraph.) Trump is nothing if not an equal opportunity  terrorist who waylays the military men and women as well as EPA scientists, post office workers and the janitors in the various agencies. 

While I can certainly sympathize with all of these Trump victims, they are basically in the same position as hostages taken by a demented terrorist.  The difference is that in this case the terrorist happens to (unjustifiably) hold the office of the president of the United States.  Still, he IS a terrorist as every act he's done in the past 8 months shows. In fact, not only a terrorist but a traitor who has served as a Manchurian candidate for Putin, as well as a tool for Turkey's autocrat Recip Erdogan.   In other words, he is a worm, a slime and active refuse- but with hostages nonetheless.

Sadly, this terrorist cannot be rewarded any more than if it was a high level ISIS vermin who'd taken prisoners.  That means, above all, the Democrats cannot give into his insane demands, not now, not ever.  However long this thing drags on, it is up to Trump and the Republicans to end it. Pelosi will send a gov't opening bill to the Senate this week and if Mitch McConnell doesn't get a veto-proof majority to sign it, it's also on him. He cannot claim innocence or try to fob the blame on the Dems.

For those federal workers at risk, I suggest bombarding the White House with calls and emails to cease and desist this perfidy. I also suggest emailing, calling or writing the terrorist Right wing clique who put Trump up to this shit.  That includes Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and Fox and Friends.   Serious, committed citizens might also give Mick Mulvaney a piece of their mind too.

On Friday, Mulvaney, told Fox News: “There’s not a single Democrat talking to the president … about this deal.”    Mulvaney also sought to pin blame on the incoming House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, whom the administration has sought to portray as a prisoner of the left of her party. But neither Trump nor anyone from his administration has spoken to Pelosi since the 11 December Oval Office meeting. Justin Goodman, a spokesman for the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, told reporters: “For the White House to try and blame anyone but the president for this shutdown doesn’t pass the laugh test.”
Mulvaney, of course, is hoist on his own petard as Paul C. Light (WSJ, ibid.) makes clear regarding Mulvaney's knowledge of the "blended  federal workforce".  This is given he approved last year's "analytic perspectives" on the 2019 budget. These "delineated the two federal workforces: the contractors and the regular federal workers"So, as it turns out Mulvaney is a rat as well  and accessory after the fact in Trump's shutdown terrorism, given (ibid.):

"Not mentioning the indirect workforce reveals just how much the administration wants to minimize the effect of an indefinite shutdown in the eyes of the public.....Meanwhile, Mulvaney can only hope that Wall Street doesn't notice the threat to economic performance.""

So just as Drumpf's odious lies and malfeasance in office must be exposed, so must Mulvaney's PR moves to try to minimize the shutdown effects.  That not only are millions of jobs at risk, but the income from them and the economic benefits to the communities in which they're found.

It is now in every patriot's interest to inveigh against these unAmerican interlopers- the entire sordid axis from Trump, to Mulvaney to the Right wing media that egged them on to do a shutdown. 

Above all, it is important to keep reminding friends, acquaintances and others this is TRUMP'S shutdown. He wanted it and he now owns it.  It is up to him to man up and end the hostage taking of ALL federal workers!

Disclaimer:  No, I do not suffer from the mythical "Trump Derangement Syndrome". I am a fully rational as well as thinking American patriot - descendant of Revolutionary War ancestors - who is  prepared to call out the Trump infestation for what it is.  No euphemisms, no politically correct bullshit and no passes for what Drumpf  is doing to this nation!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Statistical Mechanics Revisited (2)

Issues of order and disorder occupy the top rungs of that branch of physics we call statistical mechanics. In this discipline, we apply principles from classical mechanics as well as microscopic thermodynamics to arrive at properties of complex systems and their evolution. In so doing, we can expose the conditions under which spontaneous order can arise from chaos, as well as ascertain systems in which equilibrium applies.

One example is the so-called Markov process which is at the heart of an important model used in statistical mechanics. As an example of this (Ehrenfest) model, one can consider a number of marbles, N, distributed among containers C1 and C2. At precise periods, say every 2 seconds, one marble is randomly selected from C1 (with X initial marbles at time to) and moved to C2 which must have N – X marbles by inference. It can be shown that at some arbitrary future time:

t(o) << t(o) + tN/2

There will be either X + 1 or X –1 marbles, with transition probabilities: X/N corresponding to X -> X - 1, and 1 – X/N for X -> X + 1. Eventually, assuming the initial number of marbles large, equalization (‘equilibrium’) will occur with N/2 marbles in each container. The sketch of the approach to equilibrium is shown in Fig. 1.

We expect that as the process continues, oscillations will stabilize about the line X = N/2, so effectively the transition probabilities equalize. The important point of this process is that each such transition is independent of the system’s prior history. Say, there are just 16 marbles in all initially with 11 in C1 and 5 in C2 at t(o). Then successive distributions might appear like this, leading toward equilibrium (equalization of C1-C2 distributions):

C1: (11) -> (10) -> (9) ->(7) -> (9) -> (7) -> (9)

C2: (5) -> (6) -> (7) -> (9) -> (7) ->(9) ->(7)

Notice how the numbers relative to each container ultimately settle into small deviations from the equilibrium value (N/2 = 8). Of course, the probabilities reflect this, and can be represented on a separate graph for probability density plotted against X. This is shown in Fig. 2. In effect, this is the standard ‘Gaussian’ distribution. Mathematically, one can obtain it starting with the basic diffusion equation:

     r /  t    = D*DIV 2  r 

And applying suitable boundary conditions, then using a Fourier transform to solve. This indicates all Markov processes can reduce to a form of diffusion.  

The probability density peak at N/2 discloses this to be the most probable state. The reader should again bear in mind, however, that we are assuming thousands of marbles, transitions, to get it! Fig. 2 illustrates the direction in which all physical processes tend to run: from more order to more disorder.[1] By definition, in physics the equilibrium (or ‘equalized’ distribution) state is the one with the greatest disorder.

An interesting analog to the above is based on polymers, using Monte Carlo simulations in what is called ‘the two space algorithm’.[2] In one such computation it is found that a characteristic scale size for the polymer (given by a defined ‘radius of gyration’) fluctuates about some final equilibrium value. Such simulations would seem to have direct bearing on work[3] that provides a model for pre-biotic evolution. In particular, that in given environments a single macromolecule can emerge to dominate, with all others fluctuations only[4].

In part (1) we examined magnetic permeability and the degeneracy function. Accessing such quantities enables us to depict specific types of bifurcations.   The term appears abstruse but simply means a particular dynamical problem solution splitting into two parts. An actual example from fluid dynamics is the famous ‘pitchfork bifurcation’, which has nothing to do with demons! It arises by considering the complex interactions of a controlled water channel whose flow continuously recycles. At some point, beyond a critical value of the Reynolds number (R_c), the single flow relinquishes its symmetry and two stable flows result. These are shown in the figure below:
No photo description available.
Fig. 3   Pitchfork bifurcation.

The critical value (where the vertical dotted line intersects the abscissa) turns out to be 40.5. As before, with the Ising model, we see that hidden complexities manifest in a kind of order or self-organization for each of the bifurcation paths. Indeed, each one of these paths can be thought of as mirror images of the same Markov process, tending to some new ‘equilibrium’ displaced from the original one.

An interesting but slightly more complex example from plasma physics is the ‘two stream instability’. In this case we have the plasma dispersion function F(w) which leads to two bifurcation ‘paths’, including a split symmetrical one and a symmetrical one similar to that shown below- but in a different direction relative to coordinate axes.

No photo description available.
Fig.  4.   Profile for two-stream instability. 

No photo description available.

In this case we have the plasma dispersion function F(w) which leads to two bifurcation ‘paths’, including a split symmetrical one and a symmetrical one similar to that shown- but in a different direction relative to coordinate axes. 

In finding conditions under which it operates, one considers treating a dispersion relation for plasma waves such that, viz.:

F(w) =   (me/mi)/ (  w / w e)2 + 1/ [(w / w )  2 - (k Vow e)2  ]

(N.B.   A dispersion relation implies that a relationship exists between the plasma frequency w and the wave number k.)

Where (me/mi) denotes the electron to ion mass ratio, and  for further analysis (i.e. to find applicable roots) we can  define the variables x, y as follows:

x = w / w e

or the ratio of the plasma frequency to electron plasma frequency.


y = k Vo/ w e

or the ratio of the product of the wave number k by the electron thermal velocity (Vo) to the electron plasma frequency.   
Plotting the graph on the axes yields a bifurcated graph with 4 roots (Fig. 4). It will always feature a local minimum Fm such that: 0   <   Fm    x=y.

When: F(xm, y) = Fm  < 1 there will be four real roots.   (Fig. 5)

When Fm  > 1 there will be two real and two complex roots with suitable approximations for the latter , e.g. 

k2 Vo 2    £  w e 2 then the 2 complex roots are found to be:

w / w e  =   - ½ + i((Ö3/2),   and     - ½ -  i((Ö3/2) 

These will give the limits for the instability for when Fm >1


1) For the plasma bifurcation, when: F(xm, y) F >  1 there will be two real and two complex roots. Find the two real roots. 

2) Explain how the plasma bifurcation above occurs mathematically.

[1] This, of course, is from a thermodynamic viewpoint. In order to elicit thermodynamics from Markov processes, one must somehow assure that the probabilities in question approach that for the Boltzmann distribution, viz. P = exp(-E/kT)/Z, where Z is the partition function.

[2] See, e.g. Yaneer Bar-Yam, 1997: Dynamics of Complex Systems, Addison-Wesley, p. 499.

[3] See, e.g. Eigen, M. and Schuster, P.:1979, The Hypercycle, Springer-Verlag.

[4] The magnitude of a fluctuation can be obtained from probability parameters, in this case multiplying the rms deviation [N]^1/2/2) by 1/N, or in the case of the polymers, [R_G]^1/2 /2) by 1/[R_G]^1/2.

Holman Jenkins' Quest For "Climate Maturity" Ought To Start With His Own Op-Eds

Image result for brane space, Holman Jenkins
Above: U.S. maps comparing increase in days each year above 95 F (top) and increase in degrees F for average summer temperatures (late 20th century vs. mid -21st century predictions).

Looks like the WSJ's Holman Jenkins is at it again, or maybe he wearied of pumping and humping his "Hillary, James Comey, FBI" conspiracy codswallop   for now.   Little Holman asks in his latest piece ('Will 2019 See Climate Maturity?" p. A16):  

"For almost 40 years, science has failed to advance on a basic question: how much warming can we expect from a given increase in atmospheric CO2"

He then goes on to cite IPCC estimates in the same ballpark as those from the Charney Report in 1979, i.e. :  "A doubling of CO2 corresponds to a temperature increase between 2.7 and 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit."  Jenkins'  purpose is to try to show the wide variability in projected temperatures doesn't square with the claim of higher CO2 being a confident temperature indicator. Hence, climate scientists are nowhere near "climate maturity" if they are unable to specify the temperature increase much better, say to a doubling of CO2 concentration

But, of course, little Holman - who likely never took a college thermal physics course in his life-  plays fast and loose using his journalistic license.  My point? The very expectation that a climate scientist can be as precise in temperature forecasts tied to CO2 is itself a sign of scientific immaturity and indeed juvenile on its face.

Let's examine why. First, what we do know is that for the previous 800,000 years (thanks to the ice core analyses of climate scientists like Gunter Weller,

CO2 levels never exceeded 300 parts per million.  Prof. Weller's results showed that the greatest ambient temperatures corresponded to the highest CO2 concentrations in the gas extracted from the ice cores.  The CO2 concentration was about 280 ppm at the start of the Industrial Revolution and is now approaching 415 ppm.    We also know (again from ice core studies) that there has never been an ice age when the CO2 concentration exceeded  200 ppm.   This is critical because it tells us (like the Keeling curve, top)  in the most general terms that CO2 is indeed tied to temperature increases.   The question then is why these increases cannot be quantified more exactly. 

One reason is the differential properties of cloud cover in terms of albedo (or degree of reflection of solar energy back into space.)  A major research paper in this regard appeared in Eos Transactions: 'Can Earth’s Albedo and Surface Temperature Increase Together’ (Vol. 87, No. 4, Jan. 24, 2006, p. 37) wherein the authors pointedly noted evidence that Earth’s albedo increased from 2000 to 2004 but that this had NOT led to a reversal in global warming. They also remarked on apparent temperature anomalies and divergence between differing altitudes but pointed to the differences between clouds at those altitudes.

The authors cited (to then) the most up to date cloud data from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP). The data – from a range of meteorological satellites covering the entire Earth- disclosed the most likely reason for the anomaly was primarily in the redistribution of the clouds. As the authors observed:

"whereas low clouds have decreased during the most recent years, high clouds have increased to a larger extent leading to both an increase in cloud amount and an increased trapping of infrared radiation.”

 The complex  issues surrounding cloud feedbacks and their relation to temperatures was discussed in a previous blog post, including the most recent research, e.g.

As I noted in that post, regading  the convergence of cloud properties in relation to global warming:

"Zelinka et al discovered that all climate models agree on the direction of three main feedbacks that accompany global warming. First, upper level clouds rise to higher altitudes in all models, warming the planet by trapping more heat. Although this was previously known, the positive feedback is actually smaller and better constrained than past research has suggested. Second, low-level cloud cover decreases in all models, warming the planet by reflecting less incoming sunlight back to space. And third, optical depth of low-level clouds increases in all models, cooling the planet by reflecting more sunlight."

The progress toward tying cloud properties to higher temperatures is a work still in progress and requires not only factoring in albedo, but also resolving the types of cloud feedbacks into the underlying mechanisms in play.  Until this aspect is resolved, and given the wide distribution of cl0uds in the atmosphere, there will be large uncertainty in terms of the predicted temperature.  Is Jenkins even aware that no  experimental scientific quantity is given as a single absolute number but with a range "+" ?  I doubt it. 

What about temperature measurements themselves?  Much needed light was shed on this by Thomas Karl, Director of the National Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in a June 4, 2015 paper which appeared in the journal Science.

This concerned inconsistent data treatment, particularly in processing sea surface temperatures - especially as measured by buoys.   This error was likely compounded in conjunction with the misinterpretation of Hadley UK Center future projections on climate that I've already discussed at length, e.g.

I would even venture to say that the preponderance of false judgments by too many (mainly conservatives like George Will,  i.e. in his only recent appearance on Bill Maher's Real Time) is due to inadequate study of the climate backstory. That includes the role of changing carbon isotope ratios over geological time, e.g.

As Thomas Karl observed, quoted in Eos Transactions - Earth & Space Science (July 1, 2015):

"The biggest takeaway is there is no slowdown in global warming".

Indeed, he added that warming the past fifteen years is the "strongest it's been since the latter half of the 20th century". Putting an exclamation point on that, July that year (2015) was the hottest July since records were initiated. 

Readers can learn more on  the background issues here:

Why the measurement difficulty? Well, because the data gathering and process of analysis are inherently complex.  In order to achieve such measurements, i.e. as to how Earth's average global temperature is increasing, there's a lot of "sausage making".  

First, scientists must combine thousands of measurements from Earth's surface, taken by land instruments, ships. buoys and orbital satellites.  Second, each of these has its own random errors, all of which must be identified. Not only must researchers comb through the data to eliminate these errors, they must also correct for any differences in how each type of instrument measures temperature.

Thus, the authors of Prof. Karl's  Science paper had to dig into NOAA's global surface temperature analysis data to examine how sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were being measured. SSTs are measured in various ways:

-  collecting ocean water in a bucket and measuring its temperature directly

- measuring the temperature of water taken in by a ship engine as a coolant

- using floating buoys moored in the various oceans

Each technique records slightly different temperatures in the same region so scientists have to adjust and 'harmonize'  the data. In the past couple decades the number of buoys has increased - adding 15% more coverage to the ocean. But because buoys tend to read colder temperatures than ships at the same locations, a measurement bias is introduced which must be corrected for. This was the primary task set out by Karl et al.  They corrected for the bias by adding 0.12C to each buoy temperature.

By then combining the ocean data with improved calculations of air temperatures over land around the world, Karl and colleagues found that overall global surface warming over 2000-14 was 0.116C per decade or more than twice the estimated 0.039C starting in 1998 that the IPCC had reported.

Basically then, the WSJ's know nothing climate opinionators  like the editors,  Holman Jenkins, Dan Henninger etc. are guilty mainly of rank ignorance in: a) not knowing how sea surface or other global temperatures are processed, and b) failing to appreciate the significance and why the rise in temperatures fully comports with Hansen's model.  Oh, and oversimplifying the CO2-temperatures connections with the intent to misinform.

All of this also comports with the latest reports  from the IPCC, e.g.

And even warnings from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that the warming risks are understated, e.g.

Climate report understates threat


"So far, average temperatures have risen by one degree Celsius. Adding 50 percent more warming to reach 1.5 degrees won’t simply increase impacts by the same percentage—bad as that would be. Instead, it risks setting up feedbacks that could fall like dangerous dominoes, fundamentally destabilizing the planet. This is analyzed in a recent study showing that the window to prevent runaway climate change and a “hot house” super-heated planet is closing much faster than previously understood."

Jenkins' biggest wet dream is the Right's "carbon tax" idiocy which he claims:

"For decades this was the recommended policy of economists of every political disposition, but increasingly dismissed on the hard-bitten left as 'right wing dogma'"

Well, he has the last part correct, but why? Well, because this "tax" - the spawn of economists who fancy themselves real scientists like physicists -  has nothing but hot air behind it.  It is a mere McGuffin, tossed out for the non critically thinking to guzzle as a specious counterpoint to actual fuel taxes.  The reason is because "The revenue obtained via the tax is not always used to compensate for the carbon emissions on which the tax is levied"  

More specifically, if you are going to tax something, the price or value needs to be known. But up to now  all efforts of U.S. legislation that might have put a price on carbon have failed.  So there's no known way to practically tax it and hence to compensate for actual carbon emissions.  In other words the whole scheme is a joke.  It will not delay or abate the coming Climate Armageddon one iota.   This is what leads little Holman to belch such bollocks as:

"If climate politics reaches its overdue maturity, it will advance on the right rather than the left under the aegis of tax reform."

That form of "advance", of course, will mark zilch in physical reality - where it counts - and by then we will already be in the throes of the runaway greenhouse.  I hope Holman and his Right cadre of nincompoops have plenty of emergency generators to keep their a/c going when the runaway emerges.  They will need it.

It is evident to me that Holman Jenkins, along with his denier cohort,  are the ones who need to attain climate 'maturity'.   A first step would be to see if they are even qualified to comment on climate change, say by passing the thermal physics quiz below:

In each case, either solve the problem as given, or provide the correct answer (A, B, C , D or E) for multiple choice:

1) An air conditioner has a power rating of 1.0 kilowatt. A solar panel on the roof of a house has a collective efficiency of 12% and is 5 meters by 5 meters. The solar power (insolation) constant is 1360 watts per square meter. Assuming the ac will be run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. , will the panel be able to achieve the objective? Assume no cloud cover, and no significant variation in insolation. Show all working.

2) A hot air balloon of constant volume contains air at 100 C. The fraction of this air which escapes if the temperature is increased by 1 K (Kelvin) – the pressure remaining constant is:

A) 1/ 373 B) 1/ 273 C) 1/ 100 D) 374/373 E) 101/100

3) The first law of thermodynamics is often stated in the form: Q = DU + W. Which of the quantities, Q , DU or W must necessarily be zero when a real gas undergoes a change at constant pressure?

A) Q only B) DU only C) W only D) none of DU, Q, W E) all of DU. Q, W

(Note Q denotes heat added, W is work done, and DU denotes change in internal energy)

4) Two identical copper calorimeters of mass 0.1 kg contain 1 kg of water and 2 kg of alcohol, respectively. It’s found that they both take 60 minutes to cool from 350 K to 300 K under similar conditions. Find the specific heat of the alcohol (in J/ (kg K) ) based on this information:

A) 600 B) 2060 C) 2100 D) 2140 E) 3800

5) Which of the following statements about temperature is NOT true?

A) It represents the amount of heat contained in the body.
B) It is a measure of degree of hotness or coldness of a body
C) It is a property that determines the direction of heat flow in a body.
D) It is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles of which it’s composed.
E) It may be measured by examining the length of a column of mercury.

6) A detector of thermal energy is placed an equal distance in turn from each of four faces of a hollow metal cube full of water. The reading on the detector is greatest when the face is turned toward the face that is:

A) painted silver B) painted shiny white C) painted dull black
D) highly polish E) neither of the faces makes any significant difference

7) A bottle of water is placed in the freezer of a fridge and forgotten. It’s recovered after 24 hrs. and found to be broken. The reason for breakage is:

A) the bottle expanded as it cooled 
B) water expanded more than the bottle as it froze
C) the bottle contracted as it cooled
 D) the water contracted as it froze
E) the water and bottle both expanded as they cooled

9) The diagram below shows two bodies of equal mass (A and B) within a thermally insulated material. A has a thermometer inserted to take readings. A was initially at a temperature of 100C and B at 50 C when placed in thermal contact.

[ [A][B] ]

a) Find the temperature of the system of two bodies in thermal equilibrium. Is this the same as the reading of A’s temperature? (Show work, explain)
b) Which body undergoes a positive change in entropy?
c) Which body undergoes a negative change in entropy?
d) What is the total entropy change for the system, A + B?

10)a) Describe the principle of operation of a basic, glass-enclosed greenhouse. What specific features enable more heat to be collected within than available from the immediate, outside environment?

b) One kilogram of mercury is initially at 0 C. Find its change in entropy when heat is slowly added to raise its temperature to 100 C.

Data: Heat of fusion for Hg = 1.17 x 10 4 J/ kg, specific heat (Hg) = 138 J/ kg C; Melting temperature (Hg) = -39 C)

Specific heat (H2O) = 4,200 J/ kg C

Marking scheme: Problems 1 through 8, 8 marks each. Problem 9: 16 marks ; Problem 10: 20 marks