Sunday, August 30, 2015
Ya gotta laugh: California nightmare dreaming
They sure believe in having a bet each way below. The drought will get worse, they say. And then there will be floods. They may well be right. But does that have anything to do with global warming? Seeing that there has been no statistically significant global warming for 18 years, global warming cannot account for either phenomenon. Something that doesn't exist doesn't cause anything. What we are seeing is normal California climate oscillations. It is mostly a dry state with occasional drought-breaking rains. Always was. Always will be.
There were some significant rains recently in fact -- but no mention of them below, of course. California news from a few weeks ago: "Monsoonal moisture has increased rain events, cloud cover and humidity levels in what is normally a very dry time of year. The active Pacific hurricane season has helped enhance the rain events, leading to flooding for some parts of the state and even record rain amounts."
What clowns the Warmists are!
California's unabated drought (the one that's been going on for four long years) has parched the entire state and led to some frightening consequences (parts of the state are sinking), but the worst is yet to come and "there's no way out," according to climate scientists. Those were their literal words. They presented to regulators and reps from the Governor's Office at the California Climate Change Symposium this week, the Daily Breeze reports, telling them that the drought had been dramatically exacerbated by global warming, and that there's a lot worse in store: less water, more pollution, scarier weather, bigger storms, floods, and fires.
"What we're beginning to understand is that there's no way out," said Susanne Moser, who's described as a leading expert on climate change. "We need transformational change. We don't need more studies as much as we need to communicate the urgency and make solid changes. We need to not debate forever." But as the DB's Sandy Mazza writes, there's little funding at all to handle climate change and its effects, and even less for low-income communities, which are "therefore less prepared than their more affluent counterparts." But even the preparation that's already been done is wildly insufficient: "We're getting over the illusion that we can (fix) this with just a few little changes ... We have to break old habits," says Moser. Here's some of what the scientists are warning about; maybe they'll scare us into breaking some habits:
— An analysis of climate change's effect on the state's drought published in Geophysical Research Letters concluded that climate change made California's "dry season" as much as 20 percent worse. Plus, the combo of hot temperatures and little precipitation are "more likely" to result in a drought, so a warmer climate would probably be a droughtier one, a Stanford researcher explained.
— The heat evaporates more groundwater too, which is depleting underground reserves; those won't refill as easily as a reservoir might, "posing a problem for future drinking-water supplies."
— In addition to droughts, we should also expect excessive water. "We're in the middle of a drought but we're going to be in the middle of a flood, and we're less prepared for that," the president of Oakland's Pacific Institute says. Scientists are expecting an enormous El Niño effect this winter, which will mean biblical amounts of precipitation.
— One result of a warmer overall climate will be higher sea levels. Though areas along the coast, like the Port of LA, have already made some effort to prepare for a rise in waters, coastal 'hoods and "Low-lying areas, including the Los Angeles International Airport, are at risk of being submerged in water."
— Meanwhile, warmer atmospheric conditions hold more water, which can amount to more intense storms, said a US Geological Survey hydrologist, so we'll have those, too. "Atmospheric rivers," a thread of "thick precipitation" that travels through the air like a stream or river, will increase as the climate warms up. (The tail-end of an atmospheric river hit the Bay Area in late December and it was ROUGH.)
— But even though "big storms are expected this winter, Californians should actually anticipate worsening droughts, scientists said." New findings presented at this symposium suggest that there's a 95 percent chance that the changing, warming climate created that high pressure ridge—aka the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge—that's kept rain from falling on California for years—and will probably do it again. "Global warming has at least tripled the probability of the atmospheric condition" that produced the ridge.
— It's not just coastal areas that will be in trouble. Warmer temperatures are creating bigger forest fires (which in turn produce carbon emissions). "Wildfires are of particular concern because conifer forests are thicker than ever and a drier, hotter climate is especially conducive to fire," said one hydrologist.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Scientists discover a way to reverse racial bias in young children. But how firm is the effect?
I am not sure that the authors of the baby studies below realize what they have shown. They showed that in initial encounters babies are biased. They simply prefer familiar appearances. But that is very temporary. Given just a little extra information, biases vanish. People recognized as individuals tended to be accepted as individuals, despite differences in appearances.
But that is only the beginning of the story. What happens in real life outside the deliberately limited context of a psychology laboratory?
What we do see from the experiments described below is that "Stereotypes" are highly malleable and responsive to extra information. They are not mentally imprisoning. Even a little information makes a big difference to impressions. That is in fact what the whole stereotyping literature shows. See here, here and here
So people do respond cautiously to differences in appearances BUT the response is very plastic. Caution will evaporate if and only if nothing important is associated with the different appearance. That is the opposite of the old claim that stereotypes are rigid mental straitjackets. Given extra information prejudgments will in fact change rapidly -- for better or for worse. They are very reality-sensitive.
A rather good example of that process is on view daily in Australia. Australia has a large East Asian minority, mostly Han Chinese. And it is so common to see young East Asian women on the arms of tall Caucasian men that one looks with some surprise at couples who are both Han. In such couples the man will, however, invariably be a TALL Han man. The little East Asian ladies go for tall men and they get them. They like height and they want tall children.
And relaxed Australian whites are fine by them. The ladies are probably in general a bit smarter than the Caucasian whites they grab but they know that the men concerned are easy-going in the traditional Australian way so they can live with that.
But the tallest population group in Australia are dark-skinned East Africans. Many are very tall indeed. And so many of them have come to Australia as refugees that it is common to see them lounging around the streets and shopping centres. But I have yet to see ONE of them partnered with ANY kind of an Asian lady.
The lesson? Easy. Interracial relationships may start out from a simplistic base of preferring familiar appearance but the real characteristics of people rapidly come to dominate relationships. African men are generally poor, dumb and aggressive and nobody but their own women wants them, except for a very few socially marginal or foolish white females. No Asians want them. So the Asian ladies are racist in that they recognize real racial differences -- but they are not bigoted. They in fact prefer a race different from their own. They respond to important differences and ignore unimportant ones.
Reality is so much more complex than the simplistic formulas used by the Left.
Children as young as three months old have been found to have a bias towards women who are the same race as themselves.
Now, a University of Delaware scientist has discovered a simple exercise that he claims can undo this unconscious racial biases in young children.
Using the technique of measuring how much time the babies spend looking at pictures of faces, Paul Quinn has spent a decade studying how infants classify race and gender.
At six months, Quinn said, the infants were classifying faces into three groups - Caucasian, African and Asian.
He has found that, by nine months of age, infants not only distinguish racial categories but also become less able to tell different individuals apart if they are members of a less-familiar race.
For example, white infants can identify white faces as belonging to different individuals, but they are less likely to see Asian or African faces as distinct individuals.
'Might these perceptual biases we see in infants be related to the social biases that we see in older kids, beginning at three or four years of age, and adults?,' Quinn said. 'And if they are, can we use a technique to reduce bias?
'As we tried to answer this question, we hit on the idea that if the perceptual and social biases are linked, we might be able to reduce the social bias by perceptual means.'
In their latest study, published in July in the journal Developmental Science, Quinn and his collaborators in China used photos of African and Asian faces and morphed them together to create ambiguous images that looked equally African and Asian.
Some of the faces had pleasant expressions, while others looked more severe.
When researchers showed the images to four- to six-year-olds in China, the children identified the happy faces as Asian - the category they were used to seeing - and the angry faces as African, a group they rarely saw in daily life.
The scientists' wanted to see whether the children's unconscious racial biases could be disrupted. They showed the youngsters five different African faces and gave each of the individuals a name, repeating the process until the children could identify each of the five faces by name.
When the children then looked at the happy and angry ambiguous-race photos again, their bias in favour of their own racial group had dropped dramatically.
'This process of getting the kids to respond to the [five African] faces as individuals, not as a category, only takes 15-30 minutes, and it made a significant difference,' Quinn said.
'It suggests that what is a social bias has [visual] perceptual components and that it can be disrupted.'
Another, related study that Quinn conducted in his lab at UD with babies from the Newark, Delaware, area has been published online by Developmental Science, with print publication expected in the future.
In this study, researchers worked with Caucasian babies to explore how and at what ages they began forming categories of people based on the racial characteristics of faces.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Thursday, August 27, 2015
This has got to stop
The story below surely shows once and for all how disastrous is the race rhetoric of Democrats and black race hustlers like Sharpton and Obama. The rhetoric has created a great upsurge of hate among blacks towards whites -- by telling blacks that every bad thing any black suffers is the result of white racism.
So whites as a class are in danger, regardless of anything they may have done as individuals. We are constantly told that all Muslims are not to blame for the actions of a Muslim minority but blacks have absorbed the opposite lesson about whites.
But I don't suppose that the Left will readily let go of all that delicious hate. It may need blacks to kill a few of the Leftist elite to get some caution out of them
Mr Obama could help by announcing emphatically that black disadvantage is NOT due to white racism. He could also point out that black deaths at the hands of whites are a rarity compared with the other way around. But he won't. To renounce the white racism story would go against one of his own basic tenets.
So what is he doing instead? Blaming guns: As brainless and as irresponsible as ever.
A man who was fired from his job as a television reporter two years ago took revenge against the small-town Virginia news station by executing two of his former coworkers on live television, and then posting disturbing first-person video of the attack on social media.
Viewers of WDBJ, a CBS affiliate in Moneta, Virginia, watched in horror this morning as Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, shot dead 24-year-old reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, on live TV as the two were filming a light-hearted segment at 6:45am.
After carrying out the shocking on-air execution, Ward fled and posted video of the attack on social media while also writing about his grudges against the two young journalists in a Twitter rant.
He also faxed a 23-page manifesto-cum-suicide note to a national news station outlining his motives for the attack, saying he bought the handgun he used following the Charleston Church killings, adding: 'my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them'.
Five hours later, police cornered Flanagan a three hours drive northeast in Fauquier County, Virginia where he shot himself in an attempt to commit suicide. Flanagan initially survived the gunshot wound, but died not long after at approximately 1:30pm
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
How strong is the link between global warming and California drought?
Easy answer: No link at all. For a start, drought is a normal occurrence in California. Second, since there has been no global warming for 18 years, it cannot be influencing anything. Things that don't exist don't have effects. None of that is confronted by the lamebrain below. He just regurgitates the usual data-free Leftist propaganda. And thirdly, there is no significant drought. Releasing dam water to flow straight out to sea for various crazy Greenie reasons is why there is a shortage of water for homes and crops
Further studies are being conducted at this moment to explore the contributions of particulars to the climate variability which brought about the drought and temperature components related with anthropogenic warming. Thus, when rainfall declined in 2012, the air sucked already scant moisture from soil, trees and crops harder than ever.
The climatic change and its effects may be experienced globally and warmer air and weather are not the only ones to blame since other factors such as evaporation rates and precipitation form part of the main contributors.
If human-caused greenhouse gas emissions were not trapping heat, leading to climate change, the state’s drought could be up to 27 percent less severe than it is, the study researchers say.
Yes, global warming is more than three times higher than natural climate changes and this is bad for California.
The study, authored by five researchers from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and one from the University of Idaho’s geography department, said if this trend continues then the state will experience more “persistent aridity” within a few decades, according to an August 20 press release from Columbia.
It’s very clear the warming of California has increased the probability of conditions that create drought.
Unlike the natural variation in climate which produces extreme conditions only occasionally, the demand of additional moisture on account of global warming is on the rise every year with concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rising higher consistently.
The study, said that average California temperatures have increased 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 113 years. Because of global warming Californian mountain snows have started melting in an accelerated way as well, whereas 10 years ago the melting was dispersed more gradually in time and has helped freshening up the lowlands during the hot season. The monthly changes were simulated in the quantity of water in each bucket between 1901 and 2014. It was found that global warming has contributed between 8 and 27% to the severity of 2012-2014 California drought. Due to the growing global temperature, this fact is turning out to be true for most places worldwide. This means that by around the 2060s, more or less permanent drought will set in, interrupted only by the rainiest years. If California finds itself struggling with this drought, serious planning needs to take place in order to be resilient to a future where it’s increasingly likely that the current drought will look like child’s play.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Humans Allegedly Set To Wipe An India-Sized Chunk Of Forest Off The Earth By 2050 -- or not
More prophecy based on a straight-line extrapolation. Loss of forest cover can be regrettable but we all live on land that was once forest so we can't just assume that any given loss is bad.
The article itself notes that anti-logging laws have largely mitigated any problem in the Amazon so it is mainly S.E. Asia that is losing its native forests. The forests there are being replaced by oil-palm plantations. So we are seeing a change in forest cover, not a loss of it.
If Greenies think that the change is deplorable they need to recognize that they and the food alarmists are responsible for it. Palm-oil is a profitable crop because of the various bans on dietary fats that have been put in place by food alarmists. First saturated fats were banned in food manufacturing and now trans-fats have just about been phased out. Palm oil is all that is reasonably left for manufacturers to use.
That the human race has been using saturated fats (such as dripping or tallow) in its cookery as far back as we can go does not faze the food alarmists. The flimsiest evidence that something is bad for you sends them into hysteria, eventually pushing weary legislators into giving them the bans that they want.
No doubt palm oil will also be found to be bad for you in due course so at that point the palm oil plantations will probably be replaced by pine planations. But Greenies don't like pines, either. There's no such thing as a happy Greenie
By 2050, an area of forests the size of India is set to be wiped off the planet if humans continue on their current path of deforestation, according to a new report. That’s bad news for the creatures that depend on these forest ecosystems for survival, but it’s also bad news for the climate, as the loss of these forests will release more than 100 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The report, published Monday by the Center for Global Development (CGD), found that, without new policies aimed at cutting back on deforestation, 289 million hectares (about 1,115,840 square miles) of tropical forests will be cleared away. That’s a chunk, the report states, that’s equal to one-seventh of what the Earth’s total tropical forest area was in 2000.
And, according to the report, the 169 gigatons of carbon dioxide that this deforestation will unleash is equal to one-sixth of the carbon budget that humans can emit if they want to keep warming below 2°C — the level that’s generally viewed as the maximum warming Earth can endure while still avoiding the most dangerous climate impacts (and even 2°C is seen by many experts as too high).
The study, unlike other recent studies on deforestation, projects that in a business-as-usual scenario, in which the world doesn’t make any effort to reduce deforestation, tropical deforestation will increase, rather than decrease. According to the study, tropical deforestation rates in such a scenario will likely climb steadily in the 2020s and 2030s and then speed up around 2040, “as areas of high forest cover in Latin America that are currently experiencing little deforestation come under greater threat.”
The study does point to one change in policy that would cut deforestation rates and help alleviate climate change: a price on carbon. According to the report, a price of $20 per ton of carbon would keep 41 gigatons of carbon dioxide from being emitted between 2016 and 2050, and a price of $50 per ton would keep 77 gigatons from being emitted.
“Our analysis corroborates the conclusions of previous studies that reducing tropical deforestation is a sizable and low-cost option for mitigating climate change,” the study’s authors write. “In contrast to previous studies, we project that the amount of emissions that can be avoided at low-cost by reducing tropical deforestation will increase rather than decrease in future decades.”
The study also noted that, if all tropical countries put in place anti-deforestation laws that were “as effective as those in the Brazilian Amazon post-2004,” then 60 gigatons of carbon dioxide would be kept out of the atmosphere. Brazil took action against deforestation in 2004 and 2008, and deforestation rates in the country have fallen from 27,000 square kilometers (about 10,424 square miles) in 2004 to 7,000 square kilometers (about 2,700 square miles) in 2010
More twaddle HERE
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Monday, August 24, 2015
Pat Condell's latest
He skewers Leftist comedians, referring particularly to how they malign UKIP, a conservative British political party that wants Britain out of the EU and is critical of immigration. Around 4 million Brits (over 12%) voted UKIP at the last national election, despite monolithic condemnation from the media.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).
Sunday, August 23, 2015
Bright young thing says America is responsible for the practice of sex slavery by ISIS
Kecia Ali is a Professor of religion at Boston university. She has written an article which looks at the assertion by ISIS that sex slavery is Islamic. She concludes that it is permitted by Islam but not obligatory. She then goes on to conclude her article as follows:
"In focusing on current abuses in the Middle East, perpetrated by those claiming the mantle of Islam, Americans -- whose Constitution continues to permit enslavement as punishment for crime -- deflect attention from partial U.S. responsibility for the current crisis in Iraq. Sanctions followed by military invasion and its brutal aftermath laid the groundwork for the situation Callimachi describes. Moral high ground is in short supply. The core idea animating enslavement is that some lives matter more than others. As any American who has been paying attention knows, this idea has not perished from the earth."
Judging by her name she could be of Turkish descent and, as one would therefore expect, is in general very pro-Muslim. Robert Spencer points out that she misrepresents Islam. Muslim apologists have to do that these days
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).