Saturday, December 31, 2011

3 quick hits: study of ocean pH variation

Interesting new study of how much ocean pH varies in different places and over diurnal cycles.  Good advance in studying the impact of ocean acidification.

Comprehensive Study Makes Key Findings of Ocean pH Variations

"Though many lab simulations of this effect have been performed recently, including at a new acidification laboratory in development at Scripps, there have been few comparable field studies. Using sensors recently developed at Scripps, the researchers surveyed marine ecosystems ranging from coral reefs in the South Pacific Ocean to volcanic CO2 vent communities in the Mediterranean Sea.
They found that in some places, such as Antarctica and the Line Islands of the south Pacific, the range of pH variance is much more limited than in areas of the California coast subject to large vertical movements of water known as upwellings. In some of their study areas, they found that the decrease in seawater pH being caused by greenhouse gas emissions is still within the bounds of natural pH fluctuation.
Some areas already experience daily acidity levels that scientists had expected would only be reached at the end of the 21st Century. "This study is important for identifying the complexity of the ocean acidification problem around the globe," said Scripps marine biologist Jennifer Smith."

3 quick hits: 2, Comet Lovejoy

Great picture of the Christmas Comeback Comet, sungrazing Comet Lovejoy, from the Paranal Observatory.   Wish I'd been able to see this one.

3 quick hits: 1, Kelly Brook in Glamour

Kelly Brook will be in Glamour magazine, describing how she doesn't mind being a role model for curvy girls. That's just fine with me. But I'm sorry, she looks wrong as a blonde.

Kelly Brook shows off her hourglass figure in sexy shoot

The picture in the article doesn't show off her hourglass figure, though.

It's who wears it right (and tight)

The Daily Mail article indicates that Ultimo lingerie had a good year, attributing the success to the correct selection of underwear models, namely Tamara Ecclestone, Amy Childs, and the divine Luisana Lopilato, aka Mrs. Michael Buble.   (More on her soon, I promise.)  But the basic premise of the article is that if you're selling lingerie, cleavage and a tight tummy sell well.  Now, why do I not in any way find that particularly surprising?

Tamara Ecclestone, Amy Childs and Michael Bublé’s Argentinian wife Luisana Lopilato have all stripped down this year.

Posing in nothing but racy underwear the three women have helped boost Ultimo's latest lingerie lines.

Note:  the article has pictures of pretty women wearing lingerie, if you like that kind of thing.

It worked for Jonah

New research shows that bioluminescent bacteria use the glow to get eaten by shrimp;  when the shrimp eat enough bacteria, the bioluminescence shows up in their gut, attracting fish.  The fish eat the shrimp, swim around, then poop out the remnants and the bacteria, which are just fine after spending time in the digestive system of the shrimp and the fish.  So this helps the bacteria move to new locations.  Not only that, while they're in the guts of the shrimp and the fish, they eat some of the other stuff that's in there!

Research shows ocean bacteria glow to attract those that would eat them

Thursday, December 29, 2011

How hard will the GOP work to undo this?

Great news about the EPA's new rules to restrict the emission of mercury, which is a useful metal, but not one that anyone wants more of in the atmosphere and in the Earth's biological cycles.  Now, the articles indicate that compliance will cost money, which means that a regulation such as this might end up in the target reticule of the GOP enviro-bombers.   But here's the deal;  if the GOP runs against the EPA rules against mercury, which will reduce the levels of mercury in the environment, making fish safer to eat, allowing pregnant women to ingest more food without worrying as much about the neurological health of their fetuses (and fetuses are something that the GOP faithful are blood-sworn to protect), and even protecting sushi-eating celebrities like Jeremy Piven and Daphne Zuniga from mental and physical problems caused by too much mercury ingestion -- then the Democrats can run as if the GOP was in FAVOR of poisoning pregnant women, fetuses, and sushi-eating celebrities.  Well, maybe they should just mention the first two.  But I think the GOP would be pretty darned stupid to run in opposition to this necessary and welcome rule. 

Now, the GOP is pretty darned stupid, so I expect to see this mentioned prominently next year.

A couple of comparisons between Enceladus and Earth's Moon

Enceladus' mean radius is 252 km;  Earth's Moon is 1738 km, so Enceladus is roughly 1/6 to  1/7 the size of Earth's Moon.

It takes Enceladus 1.37 days to orbit Saturn once;  obviously it takes Earth's  Moon about 28 days.   The semi-major axis of the orbit of Enceladus is  238,000 km.  Assuming circularity (this is a rough calculation), then the circumference of the orbit is 1,495,398 km - close enough to 1,500,000 km.

The semi-major axis of the Moon's orbit is 385,000 km, so the circumference of the orbit is about 2,420,000 km. 

Orbital speed of Enceladus:  1,500,000 km/32.9 hours = 45,600 km/hr

Orbital speed of Earth's Moon:  2,420,000 km/672 hours = 3600 km/hr


Not good lionfish news

Invasive lionfish making Florida home

OK, it's time to ramp up the harvest efforts.  Start marketing them as an  aphrodisiac and penis enlargement supplement.

"These fish really stay put, at least in our system," Zachary Jud, a marine scientist at Florida International University, said. "We've had some fish that stayed in the same spot for months. The greatest distance some moved was a couple hundred feet."
Because adult lionfish tend to stay in one place, efforts to keep down their numbers by capturing or spearing them have been successful.

And remember, THEY TASTE GOOD!  (But mind the spines).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Not just a Legend, but a smart guy, too

Anytime you're with a supermodel (swimsuit type) that apparently is really in love with you, and who lets you write songs about having sex in the morning with you (at least according to their joint interview in Sports Illustrated) then it's a very good idea to get engaged (and perhaps eventually married) to her.

So good move by John Legend to put a ring on Chrissy Teigen's finger.

John Legend Engaged: Singer Engaged To Model Chrissy Teigen 

Chrissy's Me in My Place pictures -- I'm going to review them soon, all the ones I haven't reviewed yet.  Which is a few.  But reviewing the ones I've viewed is a pleasing activity.   As for hers, best picture is #12, best comment is #16.

John Legend sings "Good Morning" -- you can guess what it's about.

A Christmas card from PEER

This card captures the sentiments I frequently feel.   Unfortunately.   Feliz Navidad.

All the more reason to vote against any Republican in sight this coming election season.

There's a place in the world named Wiala

And it is NOT easy to get to.

I'm not sure there's anything there, other than jungle.

(According to Google Maps, it's in Papua New Guinea.)

Monday, December 26, 2011

The "John Carter" trailer is out

I just happened to see the trailer for "John Carter" yesterday -- and it was good.  Now, I commented on the John Carter movie here -- with a lot of commentary on Dejah Thoris, including a link to a modestly nude Lynn Collins, who plays Dejah.   (Apparently this is the extended trailer, but it's the one that caught my eye.)

So, without further ado, here's the trailer  (and there are resemblances to both Star Wars and Dune):

Lynn as Dejah looks good too; good choice for one of the most iconic sci-fi fantasy (the Edgar Rice Burroughs wing of the genre) heroines ever.

Now about the plot; I still wonder how much resemblance it will have to the Burroughs books. But Carter is still apparently a Civil War vet.

Don't know nuttin' 'bout fairy shrimps

After reading the article linked below,  I did a quick search, saw some video, read a little, and I guess they're somewhat related to brine shrimp and Triops.   So that's all I know now -- and that they're endangered.  I wish that wasn't the case, but it's the case with a lot of species these days.

Fairy shrimp threatened by dry autumn

Pond Conservation's Dr Jeremy Biggs said: "With only a handful of sites across the whole of Britain, the future of these beautiful creatures is balanced on a knife-edge."

It is that hoped fairy shrimps (Chirocephalus diaphanous), which are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act, will return to their "strongholds" this Christmas in Hampshire's New Forest, on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon, on Salisbury Plain, in parts of the Sussex Weald, as well as in Oxfordshire, East Anglia and South Wales.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Approval of new nuclear reactor design in U.S.

Good news;  pending construction of several new nuclear plants, the U.S. has approved the new pressurized reactor design from Westinghouse.  This will quiet the critics and push forward construction of several new power plants in the United States.

Here's the Wall Street Journal's take on the approval news:

U.S. Clears Reactor Design Approval of Toshiba's AP1000 Sets Up Possible Nuclear-Power Revival (Westinghouse is a part of Toshiba)
"The AP1000 differs from existing U.S. reactors in several ways. It uses so-called passive systems for cooling, such as the gravity flow of water and natural circulation based on thermodynamics. It also has fewer moving parts, like pumps and valves."

Here's more on the reactor:

The Westinghouse AP1000

Several good explanatory videos at the above link.

Stats on the AP1000 :

A treat for Christmas

Seeing Miranda Kerr in lingerie would brighten any Christmas celebration;  so here's a light-hearted Christmas posting and a link to the delights of satin, silk, and skin:

All she wants for Christmas! Miranda Kerr models the lingerie husbands should be buying this season


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dawn achieves lowest orbit altitude over Vesta

Somehow, even though the altitude is 130 miles, it seems like that's dangerously close.  But to put it in perspective, that's a little more than the distance from Indianapolis, Indiana to Louisville, Kentucky.  So it's not exactly in danger of crashing.

Closer and closer to the Vesta surface

Wall Street Journal gets it right

The generally conservative Wall Street Journal put the hammer down on  the Republican SNAFU in Congress on the payroll tax cut extension:

"The entire exercise is political, but Republicans have thoroughly  botched the politics."


2012 predictions; out on limb, but not very far

10 Fairly Easy Predictions for 2012

1. Andy Murray will win a Grand Slam (tennis) title.
2. Khloe Kardashian will get pregnant.
3. Barack Obama will be re-elected President.
4. There will be a "reverse Climategate" with emails from climate change skeptics, showing how they conspire together to distribute the same tired talking points.
5. At some point in the year, the Dow Jones will go below 10,000.
6. The Washington Wizards will make the NBA Playoffs.
7. The year's biggest movie will be "The Hobbit".
8. Kepler will find an exoplanet with near-perfect conditions for Earth-like life.
9. Another famous celebrity will pose nude for Playboy (wow, like that's a stretch).
10. I'll have more than 100 followers on Twitter.

The cloud waves

Still images have been making the rounds, but this is the first time I saw a video of this unusual cloud phenomenon that was sighted recently:

Massive 'cloud waves' roll over Alabama

And if you haven't seen them, here's what they are:

"Breaking waveforms of Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds are the result of shearing winds up at cloud level."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

They're both edible, and tasty

Short article from the Texas SeaGrant explaining about the danger to the local ocean ecosystem from lionfish and black tiger shrimp.   See, the thing is, both of them can be eaten, and they taste good.  And the black tiger shrimp can be BIG.

Lions and tigers:  too much to bear?

"Lionfish, too, are a marketable fish, but on a much smaller scale. They are best caught using traps or by spear gun and are considered a delicacy in Asia, but they have yet to gain popularity in the U.S.

Harvesting lionfish for the restaurant trade appears to be to be an effective method for controlling local population densities in the South Atlantic and Mexico, says Morris."


The apparent main problem with the black tiger shrimp is that they can spread diseases to other shrimp. But they're big and tasty:

"On the other hand, black tiger shrimp are a highly valuable commodity, although Reisinger said he has heard anecdotal reports that some shrimpers have thrown captured black tiger shrimp back into the Gulf of Mexico because they did not think they were a marketable species. The shrimp fetch a market price similar to native white shrimp and slightly more than native brown shrimp. As of early December, the largest black tiger shrimp were going for about $8.35 per pound on the New York Market."

At this point, though, there aren't that many in Texas waters.  But that could change.

Nice quote

Obama blasts GOP after House Republicans defeat two-month payroll tax cut

“What is playing out in Washington, D.C., this week is about political leverage, not about what’s good for the American people. Congress can work out a solution without stopping the payroll tax-cut extension for the middle class,” Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who served with House Republicans for 4 1/2 years until his appointment to the Senate in the spring, said in a statement."

D*mn straight.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Breathtaking volcano photographs

Volcanoes can be dangerous, destructive, and fatal, but their power can also be gorgeous.  Provided you're standing far enough away.

The Year in Volcanic Activity

Just a sample:  Puyehue-Cordon Caulle in Chile

Governor "Caveman" Bob McDonnell guts Virginia

"Better Choices for Virginia, a coalition of businesspeople, nonprofit  leaders, local officials and educators, called on McDonnell to protect and create jobs instead of making cuts to schools, health care, public safety and other core services. It advocates for eliminating tax loopholes instead of a cuts-only approach to budgets.

Since the beginning of the recession, the coalition estimates that Virginia has cut $1.3 billion from education, $238 million from public safety and  $994 million from health care."

Group accuses McDonnell of ‘stealing from Peter to pay Paul’

Excerpts from the Congressional war front

Wow, this fight over the payroll tax cut extension has gotten nasty -- and based on the latest maneouvring, I think that the GOP has downright screwed itself.   We'll see, but I think there are two key principles to remember about this:

1.  There's no doubt about who's at fault for this mess, the Republicans, specifically the Tea Party.
2.  When in doubt, blame the Republicans.  You'll never be wrong.

OK, so awaaaay we go:

Payroll tax cut extension in doubt amidst Republican uproar

"House Republicans have a point. Making tax policy two months at a time is no way to make tax policy. But House Republicans are the reason the Senate was opting for a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut. If they agreed to a clean, year-long extension of the payroll tax cut, the bill could pass in the next 10 minutes.
Instead, they've opted to tie it to the Keystone XL Pipeline. And as bad as it is to make tax policy in two-month increments, it's even worse to make controversial energy and environmental decisions using unrelated tax-policy measures -- and their deadlines -- as cover."

Next -  the answer is YES.
Question:  "The opposition from Tea Partyers raises the question: Is denying Obama a victory — one that would help the economy, which could make Obama’s reelection prospects a shade brighter — a higher priority for them  than even cutting taxes?"

 "This latest impasse reveals just how extreme, intransigent, self-indulgent and hostile to basic norms of governing the Tea Party wing has become. It’s as if compromise itself must be opposed, for its own sake, regardless of what any particular compromise contains. This is another case in which the public is seeing with total clarity the disastrous results of giving the Tea Party a seat at the governing table." (click excerpt for full article)

Give 'em hell, Harry:

Harry Reid: Payroll Tax Cut Bill Must Pass Without Further Negotiations 
"My House colleagues should be clear on what their vote means today. If Republicans vote down the bipartisan compromise negotiated by Republican and Democratic leaders, and passed by 89 senators including 39 Republicans,their intransigence will mean that in ten days, 160 million middle class
Americans will see a tax increase, over two million Americans will begin losing their unemployment benefits, and millions of senior citizens on Medicare could find it harder to receive treatment from physicians," Reid said."

According to latest reports, the House is going to reject the Senate bill (passed with 89 votes, which means that a lot of sensible Republican senators -- a phrase that it is extremely hard for me to write -- voted for it.  So the insane GOP in the House, led by Boner Boehner, are screwing the middle class.

Again.  See the two principles again.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A tip; getting her sloshed increase your chances of getting lucky

I rather think that this has been common knowledge for a long time, but now there's ofeeshul veryfickashun that getting a chick drunk improves one's chances of scoring with her:

Alcohol can lead to unsafe sex: It's official

"Alcohol consumption, especially heavy drinking, has long been associated with HIV incidence. However, there have been doubts about the cause-and-effect relationship. Researchers weren't sure if alcohol consumption caused HIV via unsafe sex, or whether certain personality traits in individuals, such as sensation-seeking or a disposition to risky behaviour in general, would lead to both alcohol use and unsafe sex.

The study, published in the January issue of the journal Addiction, summarizes the results of 12 experiments that tested this cause-and-effect relationship in a systematic way. After pooling the results, the researchers found that alcohol consumption affects decision-making, and that this impact rises with the amount of alcohol consumed. The more alcohol that participants consumed, the higher their willingness to engage in unsafe sex."
Well, actually, I guess there's a predilection for sex already established, and drinking just makes it more possible to do it without protection.  But I think there's an obvious corollary that getting one's potential partner inebriated increases the chance of sex in general -- and since such random acts are unsafe to being with, whether or not protection is involved makes it even more unsafe at any speed.

OK, so how exactly did they test the relationship?  I mean, how were they SURE that this was true?  

We're going to need more of this type of thing

It seems somewhat repulsive to say it, but if we converted all of the fecal material (human and animal) that we currently collect into biofuel, we'd have a lot of biofuel.   And given the drawbacks to the other kinds of biofuel feedstocks that I discussed a few posts ago (in light of the article describing their drawbacks), maybe crap is the way to go for the biofuel industry.

 Turning Pig Manure into Oil Fosters Sustainability in a Crowded World

Musing on freebie lists

Ever heard of a "freebie" list?  It's defined as a list of women (for men) and men (for women) for which spouses would allow their spouse to enjoy sexual relations with, if such an unlikely chance ever arose.  I was going back over my freebie list(s), and found the following:

Current all-time Top 5 Freebie List:
1.  All-around:  Salma Hayek
2.  For the body:  Julianne Hough
3.  For the attitude:  Zoe Saldana  (and she's currently single!  I have a shot!  NOT.)
4.  For the glory:  Brooke Burke
5.  For fun:  Kelly Ripa

All Brooke list:  Burke, Burns, Berry, Morales, Shields, Hogan, Daniels, D'Orsay (Royal Pains), Ashlynn Brooke (cheating by using her last name), Lauren Brooke Thompson (that's REALLY cheating -- but she's FABULOUS).

All Kelly list:   Ripa, Brook, Carlson, Monaco, Hu, Preston, Minka (that's cheating!), Rowland, Pickler (alternate spelling),& Carrington (splendiferous blonde Floridian Playboy Playmate)

Then there's my figure skater freebie list, my Olympic sport athlete freebie list, my Dancing with the Stars contestant freebie list...

One way to improve the approval ratings of Congress

OK, I am seriously ticked off at Congress for their naked political play to add the Keystone pipeline rider to the payroll extension bill.  It is so damned obvious, bare knuckled politics.   The best way to go for Obama is to not approve it, noting that the State Department won't approve it anyway if the proper environmental studies aren't finished, and so if he DID approve it and they didn't, there wouldn't be any pipeline anyway -- and rushing the approval process is a virtual guarantee of a thumbs-down from State.  Now, the rude-as-nude GOP would try to spin the non-approval as an economy drag, and a capitulation to environmentalists, and that might play in the Heartland, but Obama needs votes in a lot of states (like California) where Keystone disapproval will play well widely.   If he approves it, he loses a lot of votes of environmentally-minded independents.  Now, given the intransigence of the GOP and the disaster that electing a Republican president in this environment would precipitate, I don't believe that most  voters who recognize this danger would abandon the Prez even if he approves Keystone, but I also think that they (like me) would be much happier if he didn't.

So I really don't want to improve the approval ratings of the dismal GOP in Congress, but if that had to be done, electing a very gorgeous female representative who includes a Playboy appearance on her list of qualifications, such as just happened in Russia, might kick their percentage points up a few notches.  

I've got to fix the headline a little;  those who pose in Playboy are not by definition "bunnies".

Vladimir Putin appoints Playboy model Maria Kozhevnikova to Parliament

Now, I don't know exactly how the Russian system works, but I think she actually got elected, not appointed.  It could be that Putin appointed her to run for the seat as a representative of his party.

"Siberian hottie Maria Kozhevnikova, a member of Putin’s United Russia party, defended her boss days after winning a seat in Russian parliament to represent Tomsk."

Now, regarding the appearance in Playboy:  searching reveals she did pose nude, i.e., without any clothes on, but strategic angles and artful placement of her blonde hair managed to prevent the exposure of those elements of the female physiology that would classify her as competely (alternatively, totally) nude.  She's so beautiful and so fit it seems a shame that she couldn't just show her nipples too, but she didn't.  Nonetheless, she's a fine-looking woman.  I hope she will also be a credible representative of her constituents in Parliament.
Without much effort, all her pictures can be found, but I'll just provide a comely (and modest) picture of her.
 Something like this could almost get me to vote Republican.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wait a minute - conservatives OPPOSE a tax cut?

Well, I know as I write this that there is a deal in Congress to avert a government shutdown (again).  I haven't read the details.  I hope sincerely and I hope a lot that the Keystone pipeline is off the table. 

But I wrote this before that happened, and I think it's still a legitimate comment.

Payroll tax cut and spending bill stall in Senate, raising threat of shutdown

Wait a minute -- conservatives OPPOSE a tax cut?  Conservatives SUPPORT letting a tax cut lapse, raising taxes on the middle class?

"Their objections center on several GOP initiatives added to the bill to attract votes  from conservatives, many of whom would not support the tax cut extension otherwise.  They include a reduction in unemployment benefits, new rules that could require the  unemployed to take drug tests and enroll in GED programs to receive benefits, and the delay of new regulations on boiler emissions."

How freakin' hypocritical is that??

How can I NOT post this?

When Kelly Brook does a holiday unwrap strip tease, I am helpless but to comply. And the music is seasonal, too.

Unwrap me! Kelly Brook makes the most alluring Christmas present as she undresses for sexy advent calendar video

Really amazing pictures

50 spectacular pictures

Here's something just gorgeous to look at.  (And it's not a babe).

Photo by Christopher Zimmer.

Bad news from Areva

French nuclear giant Areva suspends investment in sites

"French nuclear giant Areva said Tuesday it is suspending building work at several sites in France, Africa and the United States, one day after forecasting a 1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) euro loss."

France has been leading the way on continuing use of nuclear power in the world energy system;  this latest setback is not very promising.  Still, given China's nice words and slight bit of action in Durban, I think that the nuclearization of the Far East and India will continue apace.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy birthday, Emmanuelle

Emmanuelle Chriqui just turned 34. In tribute, I must post a hot photo of Emmanuelle Chriqui.

Mission accomplished.

I thought biofuels were a good idea

EVEN though I'm a nuclear energy industry consultant and advocate, I recognize that the transportation sector will be reliant on liquid fuels for a long time (except maybe if widespread hydrogen production can result from the invention of solar-powered leaves

Now, burning of fossil fuels is not good for the Earth's climate future, but we have been led to believe that burning biofuels, fuels made from biologically-based feedstocks, would be fine, because the logic goes that the biological things took the CO2 out of the atmosphere, so burning them just puts the CO2 back where it was.

But this might not be such a perfect system after all.  A recent study (now, granted, this is only one study, and deserves to be examined closely) indicated that biofuels don't do what they're supposed to do.

Now, their has been a knock on corn ethanol because it requires a lot of  input to grow corn.  But supposedly stuff like switchgrass works better.  So here's what they did:

"The researchers focused on the major mandated and currently used biofuels  worldwide: corn ethanol, soybean biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol from  switchgrass grown in the United States, canola biodiesel produced in  Europe, and sugarcane ethanol produced in Brazil and exported to the  United States or Europe.

They evaluated them in terms of their contribution to reducing fossil  fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. They also compared their costs  and effectiveness to two alternative policies: an increase in the gas tax and the implementation of energy efficiency improvements."

""Each dollar spent on energy improvement programs would be 20 times more effective in reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions than a similar cost for the corn ethanol program," Jaeger said.  "Likewise, a gas tax increase would be 21 times more effective than promoting cellulosic ethanol."

YIKES. That's not even CLOSE.

Regarding the laws to produce a certain amount of biofuel: The researchers concluded that all of these biofuel mandates  combined would reduce fossil fuel use by less than 2.5 percent,  or the same amount that a gas tax increase of 25 cents per gallon  could achieve, but at an estimated cost of $67 billion compared  with a cost of $6 billion with a gas tax."

GEEZ, order-of-magnitude!!!

So I conclude that we should a) make hydrogen, b) increase nuclear power generation, as Bill Gates is working with the Chinese to do, c) drastically work on increasing energy efficiency, on a pseudo-war footing, if necessary, and d) pass an increase in the national gas tax. 

If I was in charge, we'd be DONE already!

Another indication that it's real

Climate change driving tropical birds to higher elevations

There's much unwarranted debate about the reality of climate change, regarding whether or not the data is accurate, how much global warming is happening, whether or not it'll be serious, etc.  When "cornered", such as when the Berkeley preliminary announcements came out, before the counter attacks were organized and mounted, some of the skeptics denied (ha) that they had denied global warming is actually happening, insisting  instead that they are just disputing how much is happening, how it's happening, and how much eventually will happen in the future.

Part of that argument was completely disingenuous, because the entire point of casting uncertainty on the ground station weather data was to attribute a warming signal to something else, like increasing urbanization or the installation of a nearby air conditioner.  And it was also disingenuous because all but the really marginal skeptics admit that the atmospheric data is showing warming too (though atmospheric warming scientist Roy Spencer blaims it on warmth manufactured by increasing cloud cover, or something silly like that).

Leaving that aside, one of the potent reminders that global warming is REAL and is HAPPENING is that the denizens of nature are responding to it.  And this article is another example of that.

"Moving to the north doesn't help them, because tropical temperatures do not change very much with latitude. So moving up to higher elevations is the only  way to go, but there are few historical data that can serve as baselines for  comparison over time."

The payroll tax and the Keystone pipeline

Payroll tax:  Mitch McConnell wants to call Obama's bluff

"Earlier this week, the number two Republican in the Senate, Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), said that there would be no further negotiation regarding the payroll tax cut, and that  the bill that comes from the House -- which includes Keystone -- is the one the Senate must pass.

"The package that comes from the House is it," Kyl said. McConnell declined to  specifically say whether he agreed with Kyl.

McConnell said that a "significant number of Democrats" both in the Senate and House support the package Obama has promised to veto."
Can you believe the gall of these bastards?

Once again, the Republicans simply have to play politics. As has been widely described, they are getting squeezed on the payroll tax issue.  Let it lapse, and it's their fault that the average Americans get a tax increase.  After all, this is the party that defined letting temporary tax cuts lapse and the tax brackets go back to where they were (which is what has to happen for the disastrous W Bush-era tax cuts) as a tax increase.  Dolts.  But by that logic, letting the payroll tax lapse is a tax increase, and we know the GOP can't abide a tax increase.  Oh yeah, and letting the payroll tax cut lapse could also hurt the economy by impacting average American buying power.

They're also getting squeezed because the way proposed to pay for the payroll tax cut extension is a small little increase on millionaires.  But that can't happen because a) it's a tax increase, and b) it's on the 1% or so of the people that the GOP is protecting at all costs so that they can keep every little bit of their millions.

This is intolerable.   (For the GOP, that is.)

Faced with intolerability, the GOP has decided to punish the President, and human society in general, by trying to force the President to sign a fast-track for  the Keystone pollution-importing, climate-damaging tar sands oil pipeline.  They want to make the President veto it, so that they can claim that the President isn't interested in creating jobs (even if they are unsustainable jobs in the climate-damaging energy industry) and that he was the one that blocked the payroll tax cut extension, rather than their holier-than-thou selves.   [Oh yeah, and they also want to roll back pollution regulations and make a few spending cuts while they're at it.]

Because this is utterly bodacious politicking, we can see through all the holes in this tactic.  For once it would be frigging refreshing if the GOP would do something for the good of the country rather than try to twist every possible situation into something that might possible make it harder for Obama to get reelected.  If they really wanted to gain friends in the independent middle class (and that represents a lot of voters), tax the millionaires, pass the extension, and see what happens.  I'll bet, except for the Tea Party howlin' Jims, that this would actually go down well politically on a lot of fronts. But don't tell that to the lame old men in the Senate and the House who  claim to have been elected for the good of the American people.

Because they're only in it for themselves.  And their millionaire cronies.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ashley Greene south of the border

The hottest actress in the Twilight series, Ashley Greene, appears in Esquire's Mexico edition.  Below is my choice for the best picture in the article, with her doing the "sexy senorita" pose.  

Ashley Grene  [sic] in Esquire Mexico

If you didn't see this; Lindsey Vonn laps the field

Lindsey Vonn uncorked an incredible downhill run, winning by nearly two seconds in a sport that is usually decided my a couple tenths.

 Lindsey Vonn wins Lake Louise downhill

After seeing her training regimen in the "Lindsey Vonn:  In the Moment" documentary, I can understand how she's capable of something like this.  But it's still pretty amazing to actually witness her dominance.

He's a clown, he's a clown

Early on in the short history of this blog  I skewered Nils Axel-Morner.  But  not very well. 

In the following, Mark Lynas and George Monbiot do it WELL.

 The Spectator runs false sea-level claims on its cover

Here's an example excerpt:
"Mörner also claims in the Spectator article to speak on behalf of the INQUA (the International Union for Quaternary Research) commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, whose members he says are "the world's true experts on sea level" – as opposed to the IPCC, which he asserts has "hijacked and distorted" the data. Mörner was indeed president of this commission until 2003. However, as documented by the Carbon Brief, INQUA now clearly dissociates itself from Mörner's views. Current president of the INQUA commission on Coastal and Marine Processes, Professor Roland Gehrels of the University of Plymouth, says his view do not represent 99% of its members, and the organisation has previously stated that it is "distressed" that Mörner continues to falsely "represent himself in his former capacity."

Truer now than then

This is how Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain  described the climate policy challenge in  2005 and, if anything, his statement is more germane now given prospects for prolonged  international financial ills:

“The blunt truth about the politics of climate change  is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge.”

And this will hold true until such time that it becomes clear that the risks to the  economy have become so great that action needs to be taken on climate change -- at which time it will be too late.

Late news from Durban is that countries have agreed to limit carbon emissions (CO2) starting in 2020 -- which is eight years too late.  But not one country is willing to sacrifice any tiny bit of its economy, until imminent danger looms.  

Bottom line:   we, collectively as humanity, and the Earth we live on, are in trouble for a host of different reasons.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Comet fly-in, fly-by, and maybe break-up

In case you haven't heard, next week (just after the total lunar eclipse that I am not longitudinally privileged to witness) a sungrazing comet is going to graze the Sun.  According to the following article, we can watch the SOHO observations as-it-happens:

Sun-grazing Comet Lovejoy flies by the Sun

I was really impressed in this article when they said that at top speed, these sungrazing comets are moving at more than a million miles per hour.

This picture is of Ikeya-Seki, mentioned in the article.  Comet Lovejoy is not expected to be this bright;  but we can hope.

Their kids are going to be so ugly

Retired rugby player Thom Evans and his girlfriend, the icon of curvaceousnes Kelly Brook, make a very fine looking couple:

So, the saying goes, they won't have gorgeous kids.  I'm not sure I believe that.

Current research says (not sure if I believe this, either) that good-looking couples are more likely to have attractive daughters than attractive sons.

Beautiful people have more daughters

I told you so (China pollution)

When someone is doing some kind of behavior that is bothering you, the first natural reaction is to ask them to stop, hopefully politely.  If that doesn't work, then the next step  is commonly to complain to them more vigorously, or attempt to find a way to make the person stop what they're doing.  (Like calling security, or the authorities).  If that route wasn't available, the next step after complaining and stronger appeals to desist  might be physical force. 

The aggravation factor might be compounded if the person doing the annoying thing isn't aware of it, or worse, IS aware of it but either denies that it's annoying, or doesn't admit that it's as annoying as you find it.  That perception can lead to real disagreements and a real downside to any action that the offendee might make on the offender.

Of course, if there's a way to escape being influenced by the behavior, then that's a good way to go.  But what if there wasn't?

Take as a somewhat gross example that you are unfortunately sitting next to  someone on a bus who is regularly and strongly passing very odoriferous intestinal gas.  You could ask them to stop, but they might not be able to.  You could complain to  them and hope they'd get off, get some Gas-X, and get on a different bus.  If the  bus wasn't crowded, you could try to move away from them.  But how would you feel if you got to the point where you just flat out told them how obviously awful it was (which could have several backup passenger attestations), and they said either:

"Oh, just get used to it, it's not that bad," or
"So what, it's bad, what are you going to do about it?" or
"You gotta a problem with me?  It's a free country," etc.

You and the other affected passengery would probably be ticked off at the offender's lack of awareness, sensitivity, and politeness.  There is obviously a reasonable solution to someone really offensive and really unaware/obstinate about it, which would be to escort them off the bus.  Might take a few people to do it.  Which at a certain level is something that the gassy offender should have taken upon to do themselves -- get off and walk, before precipitating a conflict.

Well, right now the citizenry of China reminds me of passengers on a bus trapped breathing the emanations of a wealthy gassy person on a bus who is trying to  get them to live with it by passing out small amounts of money.  Even though  the money is good, the citizens are getting more and more fed up with the situation, particularly because the person passing the gas still doesn't admit it's becoming
a serious problem.  So these people are complaining that the person really has to be aware that he's offending them so badly, and do something, like get off the bus or change his/her diet.

With that introduction, read the following:

"Competitor Tencent's weibo users' posts on pollution generated a whopping 68 million  comments, boosting the topic to the fourth most-discussed of the day.

Some linked the toxic air to other hot issues of the day, such as a manhunt for the  bomber of a bank in central China, or a yoghurt drink made by Coca Cola that was  deliberately poisoned, killing one.

"The bank explosion in Wuhan, poisoned milk in Changchun, serious air pollution  in Beijing... Can we live or not? Or is it that I pay too much attention to the  dark side of society?" web user Gaiyong wrote."

Weibo user "T_maoyangshenghuo" reacted angrily at comments from the spokesperson  of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau saying the smog in Beijing caused  "slight pollution" over the last two days.

"Beijing citizens are speechless. Where is the serious pollution? In the brain of  the spokesperson?" the message said.

and also this:

"For a quarter of the year, we can't see beyond 500 metres (yards) and the government  shamelessly declares that air quality is good," said one critic on Sina's weibo,  a hugely popular microblog. "Can't they tell us the truth?"

So the Chinese people are ticked off, and one of the things ticking them off is that the government isn't admitting the seriousness of the problem.  I have often  stated that China's environmental problems will lead to civil unrest.  And the tone of these responses to the irritation, health effects, and disruption is that they're getting ticked off enough to consider throwing the Chinese government off the bus.

And if that happens, watch out.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cheryl Cole puts weight back on, apparently in the right places

I haven't had a chance to say much about the adorable Cheryl Cole since the U.S. X-Factor fiasco. Despite admiring other beauties, Cheryl is still highly appealing to my sensual sensibilities.

So to read that she's put some womanly curves back on her frame suits me just fine. And even though Derek Hough finally got fed up with Dimples' indecision, I think if he's somewhere reading this, he must have released a soft exclamation, such as "Oh God..." '

The curves are back, well and truly. I’ve got my boobs and bum back and, yeah, I like it. I think it’s sexy. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Romney has a Tea Party problem

I focus on what I still know to be a problem. Gingrich is the current GOP flavor of the month, but I'm starting to sense a potentially brokered convention (even though most opinion is that the rules make that very, very unlikely). But if it happens, it'll be in Florida. And that leads to the nightmare scenario which I plan to describe shortly.

Here's what E.J. Dionne said:  (A GOP Presidential circus that's steeped in tea)


"Yet Romney still can’t take off, and a lot of ink and online pixels have been spent trying to explain why. I see four factors holding Romney back. That he is a flip-flopper is no longer a charge by his opponents; it is taken as a given. His refusal to repudiate his Massachusetts health-care plan goes down badly with conservatives. His public personality is, well, stiff and patrician enough that the Internet is now full of videos of Romney’s awkwardness. And he is a Mormon, a problem for some conservative evangelicals."

[He didn't say: five, he's too rich, and that won't play well with a dissatisfied middle, and the Obama campaign is itching to label Romney with the "too-rich-for-you" stamp.]

Really, that much?

U.S. could achieve over $80 billion in lower energy costs by focusing on safer renewable energy

I, certainly echoing others and not forming my opinion independently, have always thought that we could, collectively, do a much better job on energy efficiency. The linked article, despite discounting the need for continuing investment in nuclear power (I don't think the goals are fully achievable, but they are good goals nonetheless), describes what energy efficiency could do for the country thusly:

"Due in part to a significantly increased emphasis on energy efficiency, power sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2020 would fall 25 percent below 2010 levels; by 2050, such pollution would be 81 percent below 2010 levels. Under status quo trends, CO2 emissions would grow 28 percent from current levels by 2050."

If those numbers are achievable, it will take uniform will from the populace to get there. But we should.

Good news from the baseball Hall of Fame

The veterans' committee of the Baseball HoF has elected superior Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, who died last year from complications of diabetes after losing both legs to the disease. Not only was Santo statistically sound as a Hall-of-Famer, he played loyally on a team that never made the playoffs the whole time he was on it, and I don't think that he played on any other teams. A very, very deserving choice.

Late Cubs star Ron Santo elected to Hall of Fame by veterans' committee

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Have GOP arch conservatives overplayed their hand on the payroll tax?

It's been obvious for most of this Congressional session that the insensible, intractable, implacable, immovable, irrevocable GOP conservatives have been running the show.   The have also been running their leadership, throwing useful compromise positions worked out by their leadership onto the fire, and in so doing perplexing that same leadership.  The number of times that John Boehner backtracked his positions so that they finally aligned with the Tea Party's ideological pinings was apalling.   Mitch McConnell didn't have quite those obstacles to deal with, but he was an obstacle himself, declaring that some negotiating positions that the Democrats thought were good starting points were dead on arrival even before they had left the station!

But the GOP conservatives may have outsmarted and outflanked themselves on the payroll tax cut extension that they rejected a few days ago.   One angle is that they did this to maintain poor economic conditions, because the vast majority of economists agree that reinstating the payroll tax will cause a reduction in economic growth and a likely maintenance of high unemployment, two factors that will influence President Obama's reelection chances negatively.  Never mind the fact that doing this is bad for the country.  Another angle is that they are so beholden to their wealthy campaign donors and their ideological positions that they cannot abandon those positions even if it becomes obvious that they're favoring the rich over the middle class and those lower than that. 

So by rejecting the payroll tax extension, bugging Boehner and McConnell in the process (this was mainly a Senate thing), they hand the Dems a beautiful campaign issue, gift wrapped in time for Christmas. Maybe they won the day, but this could definitely turn into a turning point for Dem prospects in 2012.

So thanks for that, GOP, and especially you Tea Party folks.

Why Dems think they’re on offensive after payroll tax cut failure

 Dems intend to relentlessly frame their message around this idea: They want government to act to restore the middle class’s security and future, while Republicans are implacably and ideologically hostile towards any such government action, particularly if it means the wealthy have to sacrifice anything in the process. Dems are gambling that the public’s grasp of this basic difference in priorities between the parties will overcome the GOP’s argument that Obama’s economic policies have failed and continuing public unhappiness with Obama over chronic economic suffering.

Payroll Tax Cut Extension Rejected In Senate Vote  

"Tonight's votes highlight a sharp contrast between the two parties: Democrats voted to put more money in the pockets of the middle class families who need it most, while Republicans would only support a bill that exacts a price from middle class workers while protecting the wealthiest Americans," Murray, the fourth-ranking Democrat, said.
which also has this:

President Barack Obama released his own statement to hammer the middle class message that's emerging as a key theme of his campaign.
        "Tonight, Senate Republicans chose to raise taxes on nearly 160 million hardworking Americans because they refused to ask a few hundred thousand millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share," he said. "That is unacceptable. It makes absolutely no sense to raise taxes on the middle class at a time when so many are still trying to get back on their feet."
 There's a sports saying about teams in pennant races controlling their own destiny.  With this rejection of the payroll tax extension, the GOP lost quite a bit of their control.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kelly Brook models New Look dresses (and more)

Kelly Brook, who has a body that was born to model lingerie (and this is something that she has done well and often, along with the occasional nude shot), can also model clothes.   Even though she's not with Ultimo anymore (that's currently being fronted . . . by the extraordinary Luisana Lopilato, who I am going to write more about soon), she is with New Look.  She has her name on and her body in New Look swimwear, and now New Look dresses.  And the thing about Kelly that makes her so appealing, other than the obvious, is that she can look great in swimwear and when she turns the glamor on, she can look great in high society wear, too.

Kelly Brook sizzles in sequins as she models New Look's hot new party dresses - and there's something for every budget

Kelly in stripey swimwear

Kelly in shiny short dress

Speaking of lingerie, here's Kelly's 2012 calendar, in which she is in lingerie every month.  There certainly isn't anything wrong with that.  March is my favorite, but November is very darned appealing as well.   I also think she might have been a little bit pregnant when these were shot.  I don't know if this is New Look lingerie or not, but she's represented them before.

Kelly Brook's 2012 lingerie calendar

Big yellow diamond sold for $10.9 mil

I"m somewhat fascinated by the biggest of the world's diamonds, so when the 110 carat yellow Sun Drop diamond went on sale at Sotheby's, I noticed.  It sold to an anonymous buyer for $10.9 million dollars, which is not chump change.  The shame of that is, we might never see it again.  The buyer OUGHT to put it on display in a museum or jewelry store somewhere.

The Sun Drop

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Crystal Palace beats Man U. !!

Manchester United is a storied soccer (football) team in the UK, with lots of championships and history and several players who have famously cheated on their WAGs.   But enough about that.  They play in the Barclays Premier League and though they aren't having the greatest season (just 2nd place!), they're still one of the best teams in the league.

Crystal Palace (which for a couple of years had a developmental team here in Maryland, which unfortunately failed in a rather ugly fashion) plays in the division below the Premier League.  The leagues are kind of fun;   every season the bottom teams in the Premier League get relegated to the lower division, and the top teams in the lower division move up.

So Crystal Palace beating Man U. is kinda like a Division 1-AA football team beating Alabama this year.  Really unlikely, even if Man U. used its reserves and not its experienced vets in a Carling Cup quarterfinal.

And that's what they did, aided by an ESPN Top 10 Highlight goal.

Match report from the Telegraph UK

Another thing coffee is good for

Every week there seems to be another article with a health benefit of coffee (recently, this one about an apparently reduced rate of endometrial cancer).  But it's not all about health;  I was intrigued by the following article in which caffeine from coffee acts as a biomarker for sewage pollution, because all that coffee people are drinking results in a lot of pee, and the pee has residual caffeine in it.  So when the pee gets in the water with raw sewage, the resulting bacterial contamination, usually some kind of E. coli, can get linked to the raw sewage because of the associated caffeine.

Coffee-Drinking Provides Raw Sewage Red Flag
All of which is rather gross, but darn good science.  I think I'll brew another pot and then produce some biomarker.

Were you ever interested in seeing Lady Gaga naked?

Well, if you were interested in the title subject, then just go ahead and look here.

OK, she's fit.  Strange and provocatively creative as well, but clearly all that dancing is keeping her fit.

Mercury's bumps and divots

This particular MESSENGER picture of Mercury's surface (explained here) is the first one I've seen in awhile that causes the "reversing crater" illusion rather easily, in which the craters suddenly optically transform into bumps.   Some of the original images of Olympus Mons on Mars did this too -- the caldera always looked like a bump until better images came along. 

If the craters look like bumps, the small crater at mid-left seems to revert back to a crater easier than the others.  And that's the weird thing about this illusion;  when one bump switches back to looking like a crater, all of them do.  The mind is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

Here's a couple of mentions about the illusion:

Lunar craters inverting illusion

A lunar illusion you'll flip over

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Would you mate with a Neanderthal?

Well, maybe you wouldn't, but apparently early Cro-Magnons may have, so much so that this was one of the primary reasons for the disappearance of the Neanderthals.  

Did sex with humans make Neanderthals extinct?

So let's think about this for a moment.  I found this cutie searching for "Neanderthal woman reconstruction":

Well, if I'd drunk enough fermented milk, maybe.

On the other hand, I also found this:

Now, this is very likely Cro-Magnon, not Neanderthal.   Actually, it's Homo sapiens camillabellensis, and a very comely specimen, indeed (from the movie 10,000 BC)

Here's the modern-era Camilla:

OK, considering that I've got an eye for the modern Cro-Magnon beauty, do we really mind that our forebears screwed the Neanderthals (genetically speaking, of course)?

All the news of Lindsay Price

Since discovering that the truly lovelicious Lindsay Price was pregnant, with the child sired by celebrity chef and Aussie Curtis Stone, I have of course been awaiting news of the birth with much anticipation.   Well, she welped a male, according to Wonderwall, and I'm sure lots of other sites by now.

Best of luck to the new family and especially the wee tot.

Lindsay Price and Curtis Stone welcome a baby boy

My comment to the Washington Post

Just thought I'd repost my comment to the Washington Post about Marc Thiessen's so-ridiculous-it-made-me-gag opinion piece (of crap) from yesterday.
One of the most odious and irresponsible op-ed columns I have ever read in the Washington Post -- apparently this is standard modus operandi from  Mr. Thiessen. The Bush tax cuts are a major reason for the debt quandary / morass that the country finds itself in now. Any plan that cemented their  permanence was not a sound, negotiable plan. The only reason for the Toomey  plan was to save face, and likely also to cover a half-dozen Republican  congressional hindquarters from podiatric retribution by the voters. The  laughable attempts by punditry to point fingers of blame in anything but the direction of self, where it rightly belongs, would be comic theater were it not for the impact that they have on those who cannot have their minds  affected by reason and logic.
 If you'd like to pollute your higher reasoning processes with this massive block of illogic, have fun:
The Supercommitee's 13th member -- Occupy Wall Street

Monday, November 28, 2011

He must have seen "Love and Other Drugs"

Anne Hathaway has gotten engaged to her boyfriend Adam Shulman.  Since she's been high-profile unlucky in love, it's nice to see that she's apparently with a nice guy.  As for him (at least it would be for me), after watching Anne demonstrate her full repertoire of abilities with Jake Gyllenhaal in "Love and Other Drugs", I wouldn't let her get away.   She was lithe, long*, lean, and lovely, and she did a decent acting job, too, even if her willingness to go completely nude didn't get an Oscar nom.  She won an accolade from me.

Anne Hathaway engaged to Adam Shulman

* One of the reasons for her striking attractiveness while in the buff is the length of her back, which precedes a very lovely behind.   I can demonstrate that tastefully:

If you want to just see Anne nude, finding stills (and probably videos) from the movie is not hard to do.  But staying calm while viewing is harder to do.   If I keep using the word "hard", you'll eventually figure out what I mean.

Absolutely beyond comprehension amazing

This footage of an under-the-ice brinicle descending to the seafloor and freezing hapless starfish in Antarctica is truly, wondrously, one of the most astonishing natural phenomena I have ever seen, and I've seen Madalina Ghenea, Leo DiCaprio's newest catch.  (More on her and him soon.)

Brinicle, icicle of death:

North Anna back to normal operations

A little good news for nuclear - after an unnecessarily long shutdown period due to the unexpected mid-Virginia earthquake, the North Anna nuclear power plant is now back to normal operations at full power generating capacity.   That should help restore confidence in the industry, and perhaps hopefully convince more of the general public that nuclear makes sense for America.

North Anna Power Station, Virginia Nuclear Plant, Back At Full Power After August Earthquake

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pet Peeve of the day

OK, here's one -- the "Tear Here" place on a package that you tear, and you still can't get the package open.   That REALLY bugs me.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I'm back, with observations in tow

Took a train trip to Vermont for an old-fashioned Thanksgiving this past week.  Had lots of time away from the computer to think and ponder and mull and consider.   Passed through NY on the way, which was interesting.   So more later.   I'm still fine and feisty.

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's late but the pictures are great

I just found this amazing 2011 calendar of Moon images from the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter Web site. 

It'd be nice if they had a 2012 edition.   (It's 24 MB, be ready to download it if you want to.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In brief: the crunch IS coming

Skeptics may not believe it, and may think that both Malthus and Paul Ehrlich were wrong, but the Earth's agricultural sector is running out of land, time, and the ability to feed the world's increasing population. And climate change is going to make it even harder to address the problem.

Call them Cassandras, but those that say resources are eventually going to reach their finite limits are likely right. There are limits to how much food we can produce from this Earth. And I sure don't want to be eating gourmet Soylent Orange and Soylent Green.

Agriculture needs massive investment to avoid hunger, scientists warn

 "Agriculture has been neglected in international climate change negotiations, but if governments persist in ignoring the problem then millions are likely to go hungry, according to a new report published on Wednesday morning, before the next round of negotiations in South Africa later this month."

Links in the above paragraph are courtesy of the Guardian (the British newspaper).

Watch a woman have a brain-shaking orgasm

She really gets off when virtually the whole cerebrum turns yellow.  That must have felt good.
Regarding the advertisement, I'm miffed that they don't mention nuclear.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thank you, Twilight, for Ashley Greene

One of the reasons that I'm grateful for the success of the Twilight saga is that it made Ashley Greene a celebrity, and I think in sheer opinion that she is the most classically beautiful brunette in show biz since Jaclyn Smith.  She looked great at the Breaking Dawn premiere.

Jennifer Love Hewitt, who's had her look and fashion ups-and-downs, was positively uplifting, and I mean that in the best way. Or should I say... naah, you can see what I'm thinking.  Most of them, anyway.

Heed the prophecies of the IEA

The International Energy Agency, no surprise, has indicated that the world's energy future had better start heading toward nuclear and renewables, particularly NUCLEAR, or there will be problems.

IEA report advises nations to embrace renewables and nuclear

"The grim reality for environmentalists is that no single renewable energy resource, from wind power to solar energy through biofuels, has remotely become competitive with  kilowatt hours of electrical energy generated by coal or oil-fired power plants. The debate pits those opposed to a transition to greener technologies to those considering  the bottom line, despite greenhouse gas emissions.

Even worse for the environmentalists, the IEA report advocates that as a short-term solution, governments ought to reconsider nuclear power, as it produces zero CO2 emissions.

Projecting into the future the report notes, "A low-nuclear future would also boost demand for fossil fuels: the increase in global coal demand is equal to twice the level of Australia's current steam coal exports and the rise in gas demand is  equivalent to two-thirds of Russia's current natural gas exports."

WHICH is why I am so steamed/peeved/frustrated by climate change skeptics. Were the urgency of climate change properly recognized, the logical path forward (which surprisingly is being recognized by oil-rich Middle East countries who are financing their future with oil money to build NUCLEAR REACTORS), then the nuclear industry would be seen as the way forward for security and civilization.  The Fukushima disaster only made things worse, forcing otherwise level-headed countries like Switzerland to back away from nuclear.  As their glaciers melt faster and faster, they may rethink that stance, but by then it may be too late.  The IEA report should be heeded as prudent and reflective of the actual situation, and we collectively as individuals and countries will ignore it our peril, and particularly the peril to future human generations and the increasingly fragile remnants of the natural environment.

More about the warming aspect:
"The second consideration is the contentious issue of global warming, and the  impact of traditional fossil fuel-fired power plants belching vast amounts of  CO2 into the atmosphere.

While even the most diehard proponents of traditional power plant electrical  generation to not deny that their facilities emit significant amounts of  carbon dioxide, they denigrate the concerns of environmentalists as 'fuzzy science."

So, at the end of the day, the two fundamental issues facing the world's nations  seeking to satiate their population's demand for reliable and inexpensive power  devolve down to cost and scientific projections."

Will global warming actually become a campaign issue?

Dang, Salon (and Bill McKibben) were dead solid perfect with this analysis:
Has global warming become a campaign issue? : Why blocking the Keystone pipeline could help Obama and denying climate change will hurt Romney

"Still, scientific studies only reach a certain audience. Weird weather is a far more powerful messenger. It’s been hard to miss the record flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and across the Northeast; the record drought and fires across the Southwest; the record multi-billion dollar weather disasters across the country this year; the record pretty-much everything-you-don’t-want across the nation. Obama certainly noticed. He’s responsible for finding the cash every time some other state submerges."

And then there's Romney:

"In late October, however, he evidently felt he had no choice but to pin himself to exactly that wall and so stated conclusively: “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.” In other words, he not only flip-flopped to the side of climate denial, but did so less than six months after he had said no less definitively: “I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world’s getting warmer… And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that.” Note as well that he did so, while all the evidence, even some recently funded by the deniers, pointed the other way. If he becomes the Republican presidential candidate as expected, this may be the most powerful weathervane ad the White House will have in its arsenal. Even for people who don’t care about climate change, it makes him look like the spinally challenged fellow he seems to be. But it’s an ad that couldn’t be run if the president had okayed that pipeline."

Go, Mitt, Go!

Monday, November 14, 2011

If the political hacks would act like grown ups

From the Washington Post:

On supercommittee, growing doubts about reaching a debt deal

Now, yes there are doubts. And I doubt there going to get it done, whereupon Wall Street will tank, and approximately $1 trillion dollars in paper losses later, the idiots in Congress (meaning the GOP) are going to look up from the damage of the catastrophe and ask, "Whuh the f*** happened, Vern?" Well, one of the main problems is the no-win attitude exuding like slime from think- (using that word VERY loosely) tanks like the Cato Institute of GOP Brainless Pundits. So, I ask, regarding the following, THIS is BAD?
Conservative analysts were stunned by the GOP decision to retreat from its hard-line stance against raising taxes above current levels. “I actually think the Republicans appear to be caving,” said Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “There’s more of a likelihood of a deal today than there was a week ago.”
Because he's a partisan think-tank hack, Tanner uses the word "caving". I think there's a better phrase that can be used: "coming to a sensible bargaining position". So let's see how that sounds now:
Conservative analysts were stunned by the GOP decision to retreat from its hard-line stance against raising taxes above current levels. "I actually think the Republicans appear to be coming to a sensible bargaining position," said Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. "There's more of a likelihood of a deal today than there was a week ago."
See how much better that sounds? It even sounds good FOR THE REPUBLICANS. Now, I obviously have no love for the Republican horde in Congress, but coming to a deal is good for all of us, including them, much as I would hate for anything to help them. Next:
"The GOP offer would reduce many lucrative tax breaks for upper-income households. But it would dedicate only a small portion of the proceeds to deficit reduction. In that regard, Robert Greenstein and Jim Horney of the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argue that the GOP plan “appears designed to heighten the chances” that future rounds of deficit reduction “will focus almost entirely on spending cuts” — ultimately forcing lawmakers to decimate Medicare and Social Security."
And that would very likely be BAD for Republicans. I am so torn.

North Anna ready for restart

After what I think was a much too overly cautious review, the earthquake-nicked North Anna Nuclear Plant has been approved for restart by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  Now, I know that earthquake caught everybody by surprise, but it's really unlikely to happen again, and the review was basically due to the Fukushima fallout.  (Sorry.)  Here's hoping that at least here in the U.S., we get back to normalcy with nuclear.
NRC approves North Anna restart "The NRC’s independent actions included an Augmented Inspection Team (AIT) that examined the plant shortly after the quake, as well as a restart readiness inspection in mid-October. Both Dominion and NRC’s results showed only minor damage that did not affect North Anna’s safety systems." One thing we know now for sure -- it was built good.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

England beat Spain in soccer (futbol)

It was fun watching England defeat Spain 1-0 in a friendly, but it was one of those soccer games where the losing team dominated. I was amazed at how easily Spain passed to the open man, and I was sure they were going to get the equalizer, but they didn't. Must feel good to the English, at least.

Analyzing England's friendly win over Spain

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I emailed Marc Morano to post this article

Earlier this evening I emailed Marc Morano at Climate Depot to post the following article on Climate Depot:

Science controversies past and present

He won't have the GUTS to post it.

I recommended this quote from the article to him:

"Greenhouse warming today faces an even greater array of bogus counterarguments based on the uninformed interpretation of data from ice cores, erroneous views about natural carbon sources, alleged but unobserved alternative drivers of climate change, naive expectations of the time scales over which models and observations should match, and various forms of statistical chicanery and logical fallacy. Many of the arguments sound reasonable to an inexpert but intelligent layperson. Critics use the alleged flaws to attempt to discredit the entire field.

Debates between mainstream scientists and silver-tongued opponents cannot be won by the side of truth no matter how obvious the fallacies may be to an expert. Incredibly, as recently as the mid-19th century, a highly charismatic figure calling himself “Parallax” devoted two decades of his life to crisscrossing England arguing that Earth was flat. He debated legitimate astronomers—sometimes teams of them—in town-hall-type settings and wowed audiences."

So Marc Morano is nothing new. His brand of pragmatic conservatism, of calling for harassment and demonization of legitimate scientists and legitimate scientific inquiry, is typical of a pattern. A pattern of reaction to that which cannot be comprehended or accepted.

Unfortunately, the rest of us are in the boat with the knuckleheads.

There's a little good news, and much bad news

OK, the little bit of good news. Apparently there isn't infectious salmon anemia in British Columbia:

Further tests fail to detect salmon virus

The bad news: because they're so popular, bluefin tuna and marlin are on the fast track to extinction:

First global assessment finds highest-grossing tunas and billfishes most vulnerable to extinction

This is a quote:
"Regional fisheries managers set quotas for these ocean-crossing species, which all countries in each region must agree to enforce. However, the lucrative lure of supply and demand often outweighs playing by the rules. As fish populations decline, rarity adds to their price, which spurs increased—and sometimes illegal—fishing. “This means the last bluefin is worth more than the boat that’s caught it,” Collette says."

So how good did Kimberly Williams Paisley look at the 2011 CMA Awards?

Good. Real good.

This good. (Thou shalt not covet... but Brad Paisley is not my neighbor!)

More here: (but unfortunately watermarks on the larger sizes, still you get the impression)

AP Images

Fox News - Destroying the World One Mind at a Time

Study Maps the Relationship Between Cable News and Climate Change Perceptions

"A new study finds that Fox News tends to feature guests who doubt the reality of climate change and stories that dismiss the need for action, while CNN and MSNBC tend to feature guests who assert the reality of climate change and the need for action. Interestingly, however, Fox tends to devote more attention to the issue than either CNN or MSNBC."

and and and

"As their content analysis indicates, at CNN/MSNBC there is a strong one-sided outlook offered on climate change that is consistent with expert agreement but that also reflects the position of most Democratic elites. At Fox News, there is a similarly one-sided outlook that dismisses the problem, tends to reject expert views, and reflects the position of most Republican elites."

and and and

"As depicted in the figure below from the study, Republicans who are heavier viewers of Fox News are more doubtful of climate change than their lighter viewing counter-parts. This finding is consistent with past theorizing that Fox reinforces and strengthens the views of Republicans who are predisposed to be more dismissive of the issue.

Similarly, Democrats who watch Fox News appear to be somewhat resistant to the typically one-sided messages found at the cable network, processing the counter-attitudinal arguments in a way that defends their pre-existing beliefs and opinions on climate change."

Let's put it more simply: people who watch a lot of Fox News know sh*t about climate change.