Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Don't forget about Opportunity

It might be easy to forget about, but the NASA Mars Rover Opportunity is still going.  And recently it sent back a big panoramic view of where it currently was, just a short time ago.  It isn't spectacularly scenic, but it is on Mars.
Two choices here.  I recommend going full-screen with the browser and then clicking the pic, to get it full-size.  And then you can imagine you are looking through a window at the surface of Mars.

Panorama Above Perseverance Valley on Mars (natural color)

Panorama Above Perseverance Valley on Mars (enhanced color)

Sexiest beaches, part 2

My previous post on "world's sexiest beaches" (which I subsequently discovered was from 2014) made me speculate that there might be other such lists.  I was correct;  there are.   So here is more information on this extremely important topic.

The 11 Sexiest Beaches in the World (from the Huffington Post)

I've been within driving distance of one of these.

Here's a video!

I've been to only one of these. Not hard to figure out which one.

And finally, many men like me appreciate the sexiness of a good-looking babe in a bikini on the beach.  And there's a list for that, too.

15 Beaches in the World with the Hottest Women

I've been to four of these and near another two.  And I did see some good-looking women on the ones I've been to.  Not as much as their reputation might indicate, but they were there.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sexiest beaches, part 1

A two-part series on the world's sexiest beaches.  This is about the beaches.

The World's Sexiest Beaches, by the Weather Channel

I've been on one of them and near another one.  Can you guess which ones fit my personal experience?

Two articles about recent gold finds

Seems that some treasure hunters may have found some German gold on a shipwreck near Iceland.

Treasure chest with £100MILLION of Nazi gold is found by a British crew in the wreck of a ship deliberately sunk by Hitler to avoid being captured

Actually, they don't know if they found the gold yet. They found a box that might have the gold in it, and now they're working to get permission to remove the box from the wreck.  Presumably they explored the wreck with AUVs, like the survey of the Titanic.

The next article is about REAL gold.

Gold Nuggets Being Found In Rivers After Oroville Dam Crisis

(includes video showing how much they're finding, but they are finding a little more gold due to the erosion caused by the spillway release a couple of months ago)

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Funny thought

"After a self-pardon, Trump could wipe out the Islamic State, trigger an economic golden age and solve global warming with a carbon-eating border wall — and no one would notice. He would simply go down in history as the man who not only pardoned his family members but himself."

From:  Yes, Trump can legally pardon himself or his family. No, he shouldn’t. by Jonathan Turley

When statistics don't tell the story you want to tell

On Friday, climate change propagandist extraordinaire and one of the world's most dislikable and obnoxious people, Marc Morano, tweeted something on his Twitter feed that caught my eye.  Here, take a look:

Here's what it said:

Climate Change Causes Less Natural Disasters in 2017 Than 10 Years Ago: Munich Re

Now, it was necessary to connect the dots from the Climate Depot article to this:

Cost of Natural Disasters Declined in Recent Years:  Munich Re

(Not exactly the same tone, is it?  This is from the Global Warming Policy Forum, a climate-denier friendly site and group;  since they call standard climate science "alarmism", you can tell.)

Back to the article.  Here's how it starts:
Frankfurt am Main (AFP) – Natural catastrophes worldwide were less devastating in the first half of 2017 than the average over the past 10 years, reinsurer Munich Re said Tuesday, while highlighting the role of climate change in severe US storms.
Interesting how the Climate Depot headline says that climate change is causing less natural disasters, while the actual article highlights the role of climate change in severe storms.  At which point I add, there's a statistically significant trend in increasing extreme 1-day rainfall events -- ascribed to climate change -- which can cause disasters like flash floods and landslides.

But here's what caught my suspicious eye, and this the wording of the Agence France Presse (AFP) article:
"Some 3,200 people lost their lives to disasters between January and June, the German group found — well short of the 10-year average of 47,000 for the period or the 5,100 deaths in the first half of 2016. "
WAIT A MINUTE.  (Deaths caused by disasters are always tragic, by the way.)  A year ago, in the first half of the year, 5100 people died in natural disasters.  This year, 3200.   But the 10-year average is 47,000.

At first I thought that was simply a factor of 10 mistake, an extra zero.  But after searching down to the actual article, and even the Munich Re numbers (Natural catastrophes in the first half of 2017), I realized it was a real number.

At which point I suspected that most of these tragic deaths weren't related to climate change at all.

Turns out I was only partially right about that.  Here's the breakdown.

Why is the 10-year average of fatalities due to natural disasters, January-June, equal to 47,000?

Two main reasons: the Haiti earthquake in January 2010, with over 220,000 fatalities, and  Cyclone Nargis in May 2008, with just under 140,000 fatalities. Add to that the Japanese tsunami, about 20,000, in March 2011, and

the total is about 400,000 fatalities. So, if without those three events the "baseline" average is around 7,000, which still seems high (the number of fatalities in the first half of 2016 was 5,100), then that gets to a 10-year average of 47,000 fatalities.

But wait! There's one more:

Russian heatwaves in June 2010: 55,000. So those four events push the total to 455,000. Bingo!

Here's where it gets interesting:

The point of Morano's tweet, and the GWPF post, was to use the Munich Re numbers to contend that climate change is causing less deaths and destruction over the past 10 years (and not, ahem, the number of deaths from disasters 10 years ago!!) But there's a lot wrong with that effort.

A. The main causes of death from natural disasters didn't have a climate element at all.  The biggest one was an earthquake, as was the fourth-largest. The second one, a cyclone, was bad because of where it hit, a low-lying highly-populated river delta. It might be possible to talk about the potential increasing strength of tropical storms, hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones with warmer sea surface temperatures, but I don't think that is fruitful right now. Neither is a discussion of how rising sea level will make storm surges worse. So, as we known, these types of storms happen and they can be bad.

But there's those Russian heat waves.  Heat waves are expected to get worse and more intense with climate change (i.e., global warming).  Current Extreme Weather and Climate Change  (see quote at end)

So, buried in these statistics of tragic natural disasters is a natural disaster that climate change likely made worse, and killed about 55,000 people.  That isn't exactly the story that Climate Depot and the GWPF wanted to tell, is it?

This is the story that needs to be told:
"Natural variation alone cannot explain the increase in hot weather. Only with the inclusion of human influences can computer models of the climate reproduce the observed changes in frost days, growing season length, the number of warm nights in a year, warming on the warmest night of the year, warming on the coldest nights and days of the year, warming on the hottest day of the year, unusually hot days throughout the year, and heat waves. The increase in hot weather is a direct result of climate change, and human influence is estimated to have more than doubled the likelihood of the warming trends experienced recently in virtually every region of the globe."

Lighthouse of the Week, July 23-29, 2017: Godrevy, Cornwall, UK

Since the last lighthouse of the week was in Wales, I decided to slide over to England this week.  Did a quick look around, and settled on the Godrevy Lighthouse, in Cornwall.  It has a literary claim to fame.

Godrevy Lighthouse from the Cornwall Guide

Here's the literary claim to fame from the site above:

"The white 26-metre octagonal tower of Godrevy lighthouse was made famous by Virginia Woolfe in her novel 'To the Lighthouse', though she places it elsewhere in the book."

Godrevy Lighthouse from Trinity House

A very comprehensive historical description of the Godrevy Lighthouse, including geology.  Here's where it is:

"Godrevy Island, actually two barely separated rock masses, is situated 3½ miles across St. Ives Bay, stands nearest the headland and beyond it lie the Stones." (The Stones is the dangerous reef that led to the establishment of the lighthouse.)

So here's the basic lighthouse description:

"On 30 November 1854, the iron screw steamer Nile was wrecked with the loss of all passengers and crew; Trinity House decided to provide an aid to navigation to mark the hazard, erecting a lighthouse in 1859 to the design of consultant engineer James Walker. Its light was exhibited from 1 March. The white octagonal tower, 26 metres high, is made from rubble stone bedded in mortar, and is sited together with its adjoining keepers' cottages almost in the centre of the largest of the rocks."

Now that we've done all that, pictures and a video: