Tired

Okay, now I’m beginning to get tired of all of this Trump shit. The man’s just loathsome. Now he is claiming Obama was out to get him. I doubt Obama gave him much notice. Obama had a full-time job. He was President. I  know most of us gave Trump far too little attention back before he was elected. But I did predict he would be much harder to get rid of after the election as opposed to before. Respect for the power of the office, I suppose. I stand by the prediction, though.

Anyway, now I’m beginning to realize just how dangerous that power is in the hands of someone who is both crazy and truly odious. And, after making wild charges against Obama, he has the nerve to suggest Congress shroud investigate his own charges, of which he offered no proof. No way could I do that. No way I would dare to. But, then, I am not the president.

Now we are losing perspective as he rants on. His supporters, even those who only reluctantly supported him before he became the so called President, now forget how different things used to be. My brother, who was one of those, said recently that politicians have always had “alternate facts.” Probably true enough, since people, politicians or not, tend to do the best they can do, which means they have to believe what they are doing has some basis in fact, alternative or not. But, prior to this, even politicians had some connection between reality and fact. They didn’t pretend that, just because they wanted it to be true, it was. But Trump seems to have a different spin on this. It’s as if he has a more devious agenda than the average bear.
By way acknowledging my own paranoia, I recently heard that this kind of antic is often a predecessor to authoritarians seizing power. The speaker said this was often a direct result of a campaign against the public’s belief that anyone having the public’s ear told the truth. That fits my predjudices. It also fits Trump’s behavior, which has been devoid of truth telling.

To get deeper insight into my thinking, take the origin of the phrase “alternate facts.”. “Alternative facts,” as I recall, was first used to describe Trump’s insistence that his inauguration audience was larger than Obama’s. What bullshit! That assumes the world’s bigots and misogynists are out numbered by it’s people who looked forward to a post-racial society. I don’t buy into that. That’s my take on it, anyway. At the very least, his crowd at the inauguration was clearly smaller. I saw that for myself.

But Trump wanted it to be so, and he is used to his people saying whatever he wants to be true is. He surrounds himself with “yes-men.” There is only disaster that will come from this. There is little reason to say that the combination of power, money, and fame, with assholeness, is not a classically bad idea.

I’m very tired of it already.

Now look at climate change, one of my favorite topics, not because I like to talk about it, but because of two things; first it is so important, and secondly it is such a good example of a phenomenon which makes itself stronger. Such phenomena, by the way, are known as autocatalytic. That climate change is autocatalytic is not, at first, at all obvious. I only realized it myself very recently.

Here is how it works: but first, you have to recognize why it is so important. The reason is the end points.The distinction between climate and weather is very hard for most people to understand. We see weather every day, and we think of climate as being weather looked at as an accumulation of that over much larger timescales. So, for instance, we say “California’s climate his ideal” when referring to the fact that the weather here s usually very good when viewed from a human’s perspective. Unfortunately, that is not what we mean when we are talking about climate change–well, not directly, anyway.

What we are referring to, is more subtle than that, and much more substantial. It’s something of the reverse of the way we normally think about it. We tend to think of climate as deriving from weather. But it is actually the other way around. Weather derives from climate.

When the climate changes, the weather will not be far behind it. It will, though, be behind it. Because we are more aware of weather than climate in our experience of daily living, we are not as readily aware of climate change as of weather changes, We never, for instance, miss a tornado, but we only notice an increase in the likelihood of tornadoes if we happen to be in their usual path. Maybe not even then, unless we’ve lived there a long time. The former you notice by looking out the window, the latter by comparing frequency tables over a number of years.

Next, consider the long-term implications of a change in climate versus weather. The difference may readily be seen only when you think of a change resulting in five year drought versus a forty year one. Five years is probably within the bounds of weather fluctuation. The latter, forty years, is definitely not. In face of the former you might be experiencing weather change, in the case of the latter, you had best assume it is a change in climate.

The uncertainty of the actual explanation, in the case of the five year drought, is also typical of the problems in grasping the danger that climate change might represent. If the change that brought on the drought was really one in climate, not weather, you may not realize it for thirty-five more years. What a dry, long, time that will be.

Scientist have been warning us of climate change ever since they first noticed a rise in CO2 in the atmosphere in the 1950’s. At that time, some scientists immediately also raised the alarm that the atmosphere might be headed to a runaway greenhouse scenario. This became the kiss of death for anyone who belabored it. Exactly why, I do not know. Perhaps there is good reason to believe their concerns where unfounded.

What is clear, though, is the fact that these people were, eventually, driven from the forum of the scientific discussion place. I recently attempted to get a discussion in the American Geographic Union’s (AGU’s) newsletter started on whether ether the universal assumption amongst published scientists that a tolerable upper limit for possible temperature rise exists or that the runaway greenhouse scenario might be a valid worry. But the editorial board would not have it. It might not be coincidental, but the AGU’s editorial board is below the general board, which has  a representative of the Exxon Company sitting on it.

One thing is sure, getting the scientific community’s opinion on this is more important than getting Exxon’s.

The bottom line is that, if the worst case of runaway greenhouse gas were to be realized, the Earth would wind up like present day Venus. I.e. uninhabitable. Uninhabitable by an living thing.

This is an example of examining the extremes.  When examining the extremes of climate change the result is virtually always either a very hot and dense atmosphere or a very cold one, like Mars. In all cases, though, the extreme is always uninhabitable.

So, how is this related to my claim that climate change is autocatalytic? If you look at climate change carefully, the possibility of worst case scenarios must be considered. As just explained, the worst case scenarios all end in uninhabitability. In all these cases, then, the only options for survivability of the species currently living there are stopping the climate change or terraforming (making some other place Earthlike). The former is pretty clearly failing. And the later is just too hard to accomplish for the scientific community to embrace. So, better just to not bring it up.

The combination of these two, in my opinion, guarantees climate change in the utmost.

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2 Responses to Tired

  1. Fred Drake says:

    Yes things sure are different now:
    ” Our naval forces in the gulf of Tonkin were attacked”
    “I’m no crook”
    ” I did not have sex with that woman”
    ” If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor”
    ” Our embassy in Benghazi was burned as a result of a protest over an anti Muslim video”
    ” Our electoral college victory was the greatest ever”

    • George says:

      Most, if not all, of the examples were exposed by the press. It looks to me as if Trump’s goal is to make us believe everyone has standards of truth equal only to his own, i.e. none. We’ve always believed the government lies to us. What seems to be different is that Trump wants us to think that everyone, especially if they do not say what he says, or, perhaps, are members of the conventional press, lies. Does that leave us anyone to believe except him?

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