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  #1  
Old 05-21-2011, 02:51 AM
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Default Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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Old 05-21-2011, 02:55 AM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

Ah, a Science Saturday again. Cool cool. I don't know about others, but I was considering leaving Bloggingheads if we didn't get another one of these in another few weeks. Unfortunately for my productivity (and perhaps Bloggingheads comment sections!) it looks like I will continue to be wasting time here. :/
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Old 05-21-2011, 10:12 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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Originally Posted by Starwatcher162536 View Post
Ah, a Science Saturday again. Cool cool. I don't know about others, but I was considering leaving Bloggingheads if we didn't get another one of these in another few weeks. Unfortunately for my productivity (and perhaps Bloggingheads comment sections!) it looks like I will continue to be wasting time here. :/
Science Saturday: rapture predictions, doomsday scenarios, diets, whether science is about persuasion and to wrap it all up...God.

Bring on the climate change debate!!
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Old 05-21-2011, 09:20 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
Science Saturday: rapture predictions, doomsday scenarios, diets, whether science is about persuasion and to wrap it all up...God.

Bring on the climate change debate!!
Bring on the list of 50 rational critics!
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:25 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
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Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
Science Saturday: rapture predictions, doomsday scenarios, diets, whether science is about persuasion and to wrap it all up...God.

Bring on the climate change debate!!
Bring on the list of 50 rational critics!
Actually, I should not have let that business about "debate" go unchallenged. Because there is no debate, not in any meaningful sense.

I mean, when even Fred Hiatt's editorial page concedes ...

Quote:
“CLIMATE CHANGE is occurring, is very likely caused by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.”

So says — in response to a request from Congress — the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, the country’s preeminent institution chartered to provide scientific advice to lawmakers.

In a report titled “America’s Climate Choices,” a panel of scientific and policy experts also concludes that the risks of inaction far outweigh the risks or disadvantages of action. And the most sensible and urgently needed action, the panel says, is to put a rising price on carbon emissions, by means of a tax or cap-and-trade system. That would encourage innovation, research and a gradual shift away from the use of energy sources (oil, gas and coal) that are endangering the world.

None of this should come as a surprise. None of this is news. But it is newsworthy, sadly, because the Republican Party, and therefore the U.S. government, have moved so far from reality and responsibility in their approach to climate change.

Seizing on inevitable points of uncertainty in something as complex as climate science, and on misreported pseudo-scandals among a few scientists, Republican members of Congress, presidential candidates and other leaders pretend that the dangers of climate change are hypothetical and unproven and the causes uncertain.

Not so, says the National Research Council. “Although the scientific process is always open to new ideas and results, the fundamental causes and consequences of climate change have been established by many years of scientific research, are supported by many different lines of evidence, and have stood firm in the face of careful examination, repeated testing, and the rigorous evaluation of alternative theories and explanation.”

Climate-change deniers, in other words, are willfully ignorant, lost in wishful thinking, cynical or some combination of the three. And their recalcitrance is dangerous, the report makes clear, because the longer the nation waits to respond to climate change, the more catastrophic the planetary damage is likely to be — and the more drastic the needed response.
Read that last paragraph out loud a few times, and then read the rest.

(h/t: @ClimateDebate)
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Old 05-22-2011, 10:11 PM
Richard from Amherst Richard from Amherst is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

I believe you have it right, There clearly is enough data to confirm climate change and to conclude that it is in part of anthropogenic climate change.

Just exactly how climate change will develop and how detrimental it will be is what is open to debate along with what if anything Homo sapian sapin is able and willing to do about it.

The only thing that I can see that will actually help lessen the impact of our species on the planet and maintain an acceptable level of civilization is a substantial reduction in the human population. Preferably by attrition and a substantially sub replacement birth rate.

Given the largely misogynistic, deism addled, population of this planet I have virtually no hope that self regulated population control through non reproduction has much hope of success.

There is a popular article in the June 2011 issue of National Geographic that quotes Carl Haub's work on the issue:

It indicates the current human population is at around 7 billion with an annual birth rate of 140 million and an annual death rate of 57 million. It doesn't take a mathematical genius to see that the hairless monkeys (humans) are fornicating the world into environmental collapse and natural resource depletion.

Now if we as a species could voluntarily reduce our population growth rate to say 25% of replacement for a few decades or better yet centuries we might have have a chance of reducing the human population could all be highly educated, well fed and all have health care and live live on a verdant, environmentally healthy, peaceful and civilized world.

That my friend is the challenge and the aspect of the so called "climate debate" that nobody wants to face up to. People would rather believe in a fictional loving personal deity that will save them because they "believe" and rapture them up to an equally fictional heaven.

Not to worry though the planet will very likely eventually self correct the problem with our extinction as a species. It's sort of sad isn't it.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:06 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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Originally Posted by Richard from Amherst View Post
I believe you have it right, There clearly is enough data to confirm climate change and to conclude that it is in part of anthropogenic climate change.

Just exactly how climate change will develop and how detrimental it will be is what is open to debate along with what if anything Homo sapian sapin is able and willing to do about it.

The only thing that I can see that will actually help lessen the impact of our species on the planet and maintain an acceptable level of civilization is a substantial reduction in the human population. Preferably by attrition and a substantially sub replacement birth rate. [...]
Sometimes I think that. Mostly, though, I think it's not going to happen any time soon, so we ought to do what we can do in other ways. I am reasonably confident that we can get a handle on AGW through a combination of reduced use, increased efficiencies, and new technology, and I don't see any reason not to give these our best shot.

[Added] Of course, all this discussion could soon be rendered moot.

;^)
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  #8  
Old 05-23-2011, 07:21 AM
Richard from Amherst Richard from Amherst is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

Brendan:

Agreed: We should by all means give controlling Anthropogenic Climate Change our best shot.

I was feeling particularly pessimistic when I replied to your comment. I happen to be lucky enough to be friends with a prominent climate scientist. Our discussions about the climate situation are none to cheery or optimistic.

He is greatly concerned about world population negating our ability to address anthropogenic climate change, but does not speak out on the subject because his colleagues caution him (no doubt wisely) that he will only bring down a rain of ad hominem attacks on himself if he does speak.

Happily most of our conversation are neither so weighty or pessimistic being about University politics, flowers, gardening the merits of small tractors and keeping the white tail deer from decimating his wife's efforts to build an English garden.
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  #9  
Old 05-23-2011, 07:35 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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Originally Posted by Richard from Amherst View Post
Brendan:

Agreed: We should by all means give controlling Anthropogenic Climate Change our best shot.

I was feeling particularly pessimistic when I replied to your comment. I happen to be lucky enough to be friends with a prominent climate scientist. Our discussions about the climate situation are none to cheery or optimistic.
I have heard this from a number of people, that climate scientists are considerably more gloomy in private conversations than they are in public.

Quote:
He is greatly concerned about world population negating our ability to address anthropogenic climate change, but does not speak out on the subject because his colleagues caution him (no doubt wisely) that he will only bring down a rain of ad hominem attacks on himself if he does speak.
I can imagine.

Quote:
Happily most of our conversation are neither so weighty or pessimistic being about University politics, flowers, gardening the merits of small tractors and keeping the white tail deer from decimating his wife's efforts to build an English garden.
I myself find discussions of looming global apocalypse less of a bummer than discussions of University politics, but I suppose reasonable people can disagree.

In seriousness, though, I have become less fretful about human population growth than I used to be because it now seems clear that we know a very successful way to put the brakes on it: increase opportunities for education for women. This may not get us to negative population growth as fast as you and I would like, but at least I no longer feel like we're on a runaway train that no one has any idea how to stop.
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  #10  
Old 05-23-2011, 03:58 PM
Richard from Amherst Richard from Amherst is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
In seriousness, though, I have become less fretful about human population growth than I used to be because it now seems clear that we know a very successful way to put the brakes on it: increase opportunities for education for women. This may not get us to negative population growth as fast as you and I would like, but at least I no longer feel like we're on a runaway train that no one has any idea how to stop.
Brendan:

I absolutely agree with your point about the eduction of women.

What got me so depressed is the article in National Geographic June 2011 issue by By Cynthia Gorney about Child Brides
See: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/20.../gorney-text/1

It is one of the most appalling and infuriating articles I've read in a long time.

I'd have to say that my first reaction was to say I'd like to see those good old boys invited to a bachelor party where the entertainment is to be provide by a predator drone.

On second consideration however I suggest education through PhD or Law School or Medical School for these young girls and then turn them loose on their "husbands" to extract their bride price from the men again and again.
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Old 05-24-2011, 01:59 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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Originally Posted by Richard from Amherst View Post
Brendan:

I absolutely agree with your point about the eduction of women.

What got me so depressed is the article in National Geographic June 2011 issue by By Cynthia Gorney about Child Brides
See: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/20.../gorney-text/1

It is one of the most appalling and infuriating articles I've read in a long time.
That it was. I could not bring myself to read it all.
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:37 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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I have heard this from a number of people, that climate scientists are considerably more gloomy in private conversations than they are in public.
the science was pretty well established when i took climatology classes in about '94. I can imagine that 17 years later to still have people questioning this stuff could make you pretty damn depressed.
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:46 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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the science was pretty well established when i took climatology classes in about '94. I can imagine that 17 years later to still have people questioning this stuff could make you pretty damn depressed.
Yes. That, too. But I meant by "more gloomy in private conversations" their attitudes about current projections of the effects of AGW, compared to what is usually talked about in public.

But now that I think about, I suppose those attitudes could well be colored by their sense that there is as yet insufficient will to do much in the way of mitigation.
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:51 AM
miceelf miceelf is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

I undertand your pessimism, but in the third world, where the birth rates are the highest, as it encounters modernity, birth rates DO go down. Whether they will get below replacement rates or not, remains to be seen, but a birth rate of 4 is clearly better than a birth rate of (say) 8.

Aside from the benefits in terms of earth as a viable habitat for humans and everyone else, reducing birth rates is also a really good thing socially.
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:51 PM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

Yeah, but the population explodes during that lag after a society modernizes but before new social norms develop. The trick is to get the population to growth to slow down before it modernizes. A tall order.
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:33 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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Originally Posted by Richard from Amherst View Post
Given the largely misogynistic, deism addled, population of this planet I have virtually no hope that self regulated population control through non reproduction has much hope of success.
you should probably replace "deism" with "theism" considering that deism is just about the least addled god-based ism you could find.
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Old 05-21-2011, 10:04 PM
testostyrannical testostyrannical is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

This is Science Saturday. If you want a climate change debate to soothe your political biases, maybe you should petition for one in the Values Added section.
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Old 05-21-2011, 10:44 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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This is Science Saturday. If you want a climate change debate to soothe your political biases, maybe you should petition for one in the Values Added section.
Wingnut Wednesday?
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:46 PM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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This is Science Saturday. If you want a climate change debate to soothe your political biases, maybe you should petition for one in the Values Added section.
So sorry, for a moment I forgot the science was settled.
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:01 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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So sorry, for a moment I forgot the science was settled.
See that you remember from now on.

Quote:
Quote:
[...]

Climate-change deniers, in other words, are willfully ignorant, lost in wishful thinking, cynical or some combination of the three. And their recalcitrance is dangerous, the report makes clear, because the longer the nation waits to respond to climate change, the more catastrophic the planetary damage is likely to be — and the more drastic the needed response.
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Old 05-22-2011, 10:09 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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See that you remember from now on.
Quote:
the longer the nation waits to respond to climate change, the more catastrophic the planetary damage is likely to be — and the more drastic the needed response.
I'm actually not as sure about this logic as those of you who see it as tautology. That's because people are involved, and people's reactions are not always in linear proportion to the evidence.

A more vigorous response will wait until a time when people actually notice the effects of AGW, whereas if the early response it taken, it may be something silly and half-hearted with no meaningful effect (like banning the tungsten filament?) allowing politicians to pat each other on the back and say, "we solved that issue".

But this is off-topic. We'll discuss again on the next BH episode of AGW.
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Old 05-22-2011, 10:55 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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Quote:
the longer the nation waits to respond to climate change, the more catastrophic the planetary damage is likely to be — and the more drastic the needed response.
I'm actually not as sure about this logic as those of you who see it as tautology.
I do not see it as a tautology. I see it as the consensus prediction after several decades of research by those best qualified to say.

Quote:
That's because people are involved, and people's reactions are not always in linear proportion to the evidence.
No argument there.

Quote:
A more vigorous response will wait until a time when people actually notice the effects of AGW, whereas if the early response it taken, it may be something silly and half-hearted with no meaningful effect (like banning the tungsten filament?) allowing politicians to pat each other on the back and say, "we solved that issue".
As I understand it, the response of the Earth's climate to changes in what is dumped into the atmosphere has quite a lag. Even so extreme a step as reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 0 would not, for example, cause the temperature increase to stop for quite a few years. Therefore, I don't think we have the luxury of waiting until things get "bad enough."

I am against waiting until we can "notice the effects of AGW" for three additional reasons. First, how are we to decide when we are noticing? To the mind of many researchers, evidence is already abundant on this front; e.g., ice cap melting, glacier melting, reduced snow packs, changing migration patterns, changing lines demarcating species habitation, rising sea level, etc. To the mind of a lot of other people, these things are not conclusive. Many people tend not to believe something has changed if it's not obvious, rapid, and right in their front yard. There are, as well, rich and powerful forces at work to help sustain those feelings of doubt.

Second, there is at least some reason to believe that the change won't be a smooth and linear process, but that increased instabilities could cause sudden dramatic events.

Third, if we wait until some point where it becomes near-consensus in the general population and political class that "Okay, yeah, AGW is happening, I can see the effects," we are going to be susceptible to panic-driven "solutions." This will be especially likely if some of the signs of change are catastrophic.

Due to these reasons, I think it is best to start as soon as possible, and to do all of the easy things right away. Especially since most or all of them have benefits in other regards besides mitigating AGW. I'm not sure why people are so hysterical about incandescent light bulbs -- I suspect it's become a shibboleth, much like wingnuts waving around tire pressure gauges a few years back -- but this strikes me as one of those easy things to do: switch to CFLs and other more energy-efficient lamps, and not only do you take a step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, you also immediately start saving money on your monthly electricity bill. If most everyone in your town does it, then maybe the local power plant doesn't have to expand capacity, and certainly, it doesn't need to burn as much coal or gas or whatever it burns to make electricity.

I think the hysteria over light bulbs helps illustrate why I am highly dubious about waiting until things get worse. We all could have been switching to CFLs starting years ago -- I certainly did, without any pain. But instead it has become a mark of RealConservatism or non-RINOism or whatever to be pig-headed about this, and so the delay is causing other people to say, "Well, voluntary didn't work. Maybe it's time to try mandatory." Multiply this by some very large number, and that's what you will see, over and over again, if we drag our feet on taking steps we already know how to take.

Quote:
But this is off-topic. We'll discuss again on the next BH episode of AGW.
Okay.
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Old 05-24-2011, 02:50 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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I am against waiting until we can "notice the effects of AGW" for three additional reasons. First, how are we to decide when we are noticing? To the mind of many researchers, evidence is already abundant on this front ...
A story that illustrates this: "A City Prepares for a Warm Long-Term Forecast."

It's about Chicago taking seriously the predictions that "based on current trends, Chicago will feel more like Baton Rouge than a Northern metropolis before the end of this century."

Quote:
“Cities adapt or they go away,” said Aaron N. Durnbaugh, deputy commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Environment. “Climate change is happening in both real and dramatic ways, but also in slow, pervasive ways. We can handle it, but we do need to acknowledge it. We are on a 50-year cycle, but we need to get going.”
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:27 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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I think the hysteria over light bulbs helps illustrate why I am highly dubious about waiting until things get worse. We all could have been switching to CFLs starting years ago -- I certainly did, without any pain. But instead it has become a mark of RealConservatism or non-RINOism or whatever to be pig-headed about this, and so the delay is causing other people to say, "Well, voluntary didn't work. Maybe it's time to try mandatory."
A point of clarification: things are not nearly as draconian as I had been led to think by the above-mentioned hysteria.

Quote:
“My electrician said they were being phased out,” he said. “If he’s wrong, I’m going to kill him.”

As it happens, Mr. Henault’s electrician is wrong.

Late in his second term, George W. Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which requires light bulb makers to improve the efficiency of incandescent bulbs by 25 percent. The details of the law dictated a phase-out of the manufacture of certain bulbs in their current incarnation, starting with 100-watt bulbs next January.

The law does not ban the use or manufacture of all incandescent bulbs, nor does it mandate the use of compact fluorescent ones. It simply requires that companies make some of their incandescent bulbs work a bit better, meeting a series of rolling deadlines between 2012 and 2014.

Furthermore, all sorts of exemptions are written into the law, which means that all sorts of bulbs are getting a free pass and can keep their energy-guzzling ways indefinitely, including “specialty bulbs” like the Edison bulbs favored by Mr. Henault, as well as three-way bulbs, silver-bottomed bulbs, chandelier bulbs, refrigerator bulbs, plant lights and many, many others.

Nonetheless, as the deadline for the first phase of the legislation looms, light bulb confusion — even profound light bulb anxiety — is roiling the minds of many. The other day, Ken Henderlong, a sales associate at Oriental Lamp Shade Company on Lexington Avenue, said that his customers “say they want to stockpile incandescent bulbs, but they are not sure when to start. No one knows when the rules go into effect or what the rules are.”

Probably this is because articles about light bulb legislation are incredibly boring, and articles about the end of the light bulb as we know it are less so. Certainly they stick in the mind longer.

For years, Glenn Beck, among other conservative pundits and personalities, has proclaimed the death of the incandescent light bulb as a casualty of the “nanny state” (never mind that the light bulb legislation is a Bush-era act), and he has been exhorting his listeners to hoard 100-watt light bulbs (along with gold and canned food). This year, conservative politicians took a leaf from his playbook, introducing bills like the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, courtesy of Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman, that would repeal the 2007 legislation.

The hubbub has been deeply irritating to light bulb manufacturers and retailers, which have been explaining the law, over and over again, to whomever will listen. At a Congressional hearing in March, Kyle Pitsor, a representative from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, a trade group that represents makers of light bulbs, among others, patiently but clearly disputed claims that the law banned incandescent bulbs. He restated the law’s points and averred light bulb makers’ support for the law. As usual, it seemed as if no one was paying attention.

Last week, for example, in the middle of Lightfair, an annual trade show for the lighting industry, Philips unveiled a winged LED bulb with a promised life span of 25,000 hours and a price tag of $40 to $50. The Associated Press reported its cost as $50, and Fox News ran the story with the headline “As Government Bans Regular Light Bulbs, LED Replacements Will Cost $50 Each.” Mr. Beck, Rush Limbaugh and conservative bloggers around the country gleefully pounced on the story, once again urging the stockpiling of light bulbs.

Joseph Higbee, a spokesman for the electrical manufacturers association, offered his take on the situation: “Unfortunately people do not yet understand this lighting transition, and mistakenly think they won’t be able to buy incandescent light bulbs. This misinformation has been promoted by a number of media outlets. Incandescent light bulbs are not being banned, and the new federal energy-efficiency standards for light bulbs do not mandate the use of CFLs. My hope is that the media can help the American people understand the energy-efficient lighting options available, as opposed to furthering misconceptions.”
The whole thing.
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Old 05-26-2011, 02:10 PM
piscivorous piscivorous is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

If CFLs remain the primary replacement for incandescents the next environmental disaster will be cooked into the cake by the good intentions of the environmentalists. While each bulb only contains a small amount of mercury the 10s of millions that wind up in landfills will put tons of mercury into those landfills not to mention that released directly into the environment because the are glass and glass breaks.
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:59 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Originally Posted by piscivorous View Post
If CFLs remain the primary replacement for incandescents the next environmental disaster will be cooked into the cake by the good intentions of the environmentalists. While each bulb only contains a small amount of mercury the 10s of millions that wind up in landfills will put tons of mercury into those landfills not to mention that released directly into the environment because the are glass and glass breaks.
I think that CFLs will not be the primary replacement. I think they'll become more heavily used, but I think use of more efficient incandescents and LED bulbs will also be significant.

I don't see a definitive site for sales numbers, let alone projections, but here are some numbers that are probably ballpark-correct.

• A manufacturer/distributor called Topaz said in its Dec 2010 newsletter, "Currently only 25 percent of all light bulbs sold are CFL's ..."

• On an undated page on a site that otherwise looks pretty fresh, Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility said, "Nationally, 75 percent of bulb sales are incandescent light bulbs and 11 percent are CFLs."

• A Feb 2011 article from USA Today says, "CFLs, sold for as little as a dollar each, account for about 20 percent of bulbs sold in the United States, up from less than 2 percent in 2000, according to a September 2010 Department of Energy report."

• GreenBiz has the results of a 2010 survey conducted by Osram Sylvania that you might want to look at. Here's one relevant excerpt:

Quote:
... a majority of Socket Survey respondents have said each year that they use CFLs. The figure is 72 percent this year, edging up from 71 percent in 2009 and 68 percent in 2008. It must be noted, however, that respondents indicated they use a variety of light bulbs in their home and that use of incandescent bulbs has increased since 2008 after dipping in 2009. This year 82 percent said they use traditional bulbs, compared to 78 percent in 2009 and 81 percent in 2008.
So, my intuition is that the greens (like me) made the switch during the past decade, eagerly, especially as the bulb prices came down, and that the adoption rate curve has flattened out and will continue to flatten out over the next decade. (I'd love to be wrong about this, of course.)

Regarding mercury: My sense has been for some time that the mercury in CFLs is less than the mercury injected into the environment due to burning the additional coal it takes to supply the additional electricity incandescent bulbs demand. A fact sheet (FAQ sheet?) (PDF) from the EPA/DoE (specifically, the EnergyStar site) offers some specifics, as well as telling me some things I didn't know:

Quote:
Do CFLs contain mercury?
CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 4 milligrams (mg). By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury – an amount equal to the mercury in 125 CFLs. Mercury is an essential part of CFLs; it allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact (not broken) or in use.

Most makers of light bulbs have reduced mercury in their fluorescent lighting products. Thanks to technology advances and a commitment from members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, the average mercury content in CFLs has dropped at least 20 percent or more in the past several years. Some manufacturers have even made further reductions, dropping mercury content to 1 mg per light bulb.

What are mercury emissions caused by humans?
EPA estimates the U.S. is responsible for the release of 103 metric tons[1] of mercury emissions each year. More than half of these emissions come from coal-fired electrical power. Mercury released into the air is the main way that mercury gets into water and bio-accumulates in fish. (Eating fish contaminated with mercury is the main way for humans to be exposed.)

Most mercury vapor inside fluorescent light bulbs becomes bound to the inside of the light bulb as it is used. EPA estimates that the rest of the mercury within a CFL – about 11 percent[2] – is released into air or water when it is sent to a landfill, assuming the light bulb is broken. Therefore, if all 272 million CFLs[3] sold in 2009 were sent to a landfill (versus recycled, as a worst case) – they would add 0.12 metric tons, or 0.12 percent, to U.S. mercury emissions caused by humans.
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Old 05-27-2011, 04:46 PM
piscivorous piscivorous is offline
 
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I think that CFLs will not be the primary replacement. I think they'll become more heavily used, but I think use of more efficient incandescents and LED bulbs will also be significant.

I don't see a definitive site for sales numbers, let alone projections, but here are some numbers that are probably ballpark-correct.

• A manufacturer/distributor called Topaz said in its Dec 2010 newsletter, "Currently only 25 percent of all light bulbs sold are CFL's ..."

• On an undated page on a site that otherwise looks pretty fresh, Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility said, "Nationally, 75 percent of bulb sales are incandescent light bulbs and 11 percent are CFLs."

• A Feb 2011 article from USA Today says, "CFLs, sold for as little as a dollar each, account for about 20 percent of bulbs sold in the United States, up from less than 2 percent in 2000, according to a September 2010 Department of Energy report."

• GreenBiz has the results of a 2010 survey conducted by Osram Sylvania that you might want to look at. Here's one relevant excerpt:

So, my intuition is that the greens (like me) made the switch during the past decade, eagerly, especially as the bulb prices came down, and that the adoption rate curve has flattened out and will continue to flatten out over the next decade. (I'd love to be wrong about this, of course.)
Given that incandescent will in the near term be illegal to sell current usage patterns are relevant too what? Of course there is the hope and change future of LEDs but currently there costs are a magnitude of ridicules even compared to CFLs.

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Regarding mercury: My sense has been for some time that the mercury in CFLs is less than the mercury injected into the environment due to burning the additional coal it takes to supply the additional electricity incandescent bulbs demand. A fact sheet (FAQ sheet?) (PDF) from the EPA/DoE (specifically, the EnergyStar site) offers some specifics, as well as telling me some things I didn't know:
Does anyone use mercury filled thermometers any more? It would be nice of the government would agree with itself, as to the estimates of mercury releases and who or what contributes what percentage of them, as the DOE sees it somewhat differently. And while technology can be employed to capture mercury, at a central point like a power plant, yes current efforts vary depending on the chemical composition of the coal burned (from 25 to 90%), there is not now and probably never will be such an option available for capturing it from any living room carpet.
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Old 05-27-2011, 07:21 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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Given that incandescent will in the near term be illegal to sell ...
I'm sorry, but that's not a given. It is an incorrect belief, implanted almost entirely by conservative media. Please (re-?)read the first post you responded to in this same subthread.

Quote:
Does anyone use mercury filled thermometers any more?
Certainly many people are still familiar with them. Thus, it was a good illustration to compare the amount of mercury in one of them to the amount of mercury in a CFL, to give a sense to the less numerate of how little there is in the bulb.

Quote:
It would be nice of the government would agree with itself, as to the estimates of mercury releases and who or what contributes what percentage of them, as the DOE sees it somewhat differently.
EnergyStar is jointly run by EPA and DOE. I noted this in my previous post.

The article you linked to appears to be dated. Possibly more than ten years old. The EnergyStar fact sheet I linked to in my previous post is from 2010. Try to understand that sometimes numbers are refined as more research is done and/or as the observed phenomena change.

If your claimed differences are really significant, I mean. That is, "somewhat differently" could mean anything. It sounds like FUD talk, to be honest. If you want to make a more quantitative statement, I will consider that, but I am disinclined to do your work for you, especially since you don't even seem to be willing to read what I have posted right on this site.

Quote:
And while technology can be employed to capture mercury, at a central point like a power plant, yes current efforts vary depending on the chemical composition of the coal burned (from 25 to 90%), there is not now and probably never will be such an option available for capturing it from any living room carpet.
I have no idea what this means. Are you trying more FUD-speak? Are you suggesting that there typically are high concentrations of mercury in or on living room carpets, and that's Where The Real Danger Lies?

I think that you are being contradictory for the sake of being contradictory and not thinking things through or even reading what I have posted before you start firing off your responses. I am therefore disinclined to continue this discussion until you can persuade me differently.
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Old 05-27-2011, 08:33 PM
piscivorous piscivorous is offline
 
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I'm sorry, but that's not a given. It is an incorrect belief, implanted almost entirely by conservative media. Please (re-?)read the first post you responded to in this same subthread.
so I see it's only about America. who would have thought this of you.

Quote:
Governments around the world have passed measures to phase out incandescent light bulbs for general lighting. The aim is to encourage the use and technological development of more energy-efficient lighting alternatives, such as compact fluorescent lamp (CFLs) and LED lamps. Brazil and Venezuela started to phase them out in 2005,[1] and the European Union, Switzerland,[2] and Australia[3] started to phase them out in 2009.[4] Likewise, other nations are planning scheduled phase-outs: Argentina,[5] Russia, and Canada in 2012,[6] and Malaysia in 2014.[7] Although the United States is not phasing out incandescent light bulbs, it has set minimum efficiency standards for lighting which preclude most legacy incandescent designs; these minimum standards phase in between 2012 and 2014.[8]
But then again the incandescent manufactures have not been trying to improve their designs since it's inception in 1802 and those efficiency levels are sure to appear any day now.

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Certainly many people are still familiar with them. Thus, it was a good illustration to compare the amount of mercury in one of them to the amount of mercury in a CFL, to give a sense to the less numerate of how little there is in the bulb.



EnergyStar is jointly run by EPA and DOE. I noted this in my previous post.

The article you linked to appears to be dated. Possibly more than ten years old. The EnergyStar fact sheet I linked to in my previous post is from 2010. Try to understand that sometimes numbers are refined as more research is done and/or as the observed phenomena change.
Yes it's like claiming diesel is a dirty fuel because we all remember the black belching soot that comes from those evil diesel engines. So any thing that contains less mercury than an antiquated thermometer poses no problem right? O yea it's a useful analogy because we all have a bunch of them in every room of the house. And yes I do read your links right down to the footnotes, like the one that says the mercury data you site comes from a 2005 study while a search for "200", on my link, will show will get you to "Page updated on: May 04, 2009." So I was assuming it was current as of May, 04, 2009.

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Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
If your claimed differences are really significant, I mean. That is, "somewhat differently" could mean anything. It sounds like FUD talk, to be honest. If you want to make a more quantitative statement, I will consider that, but I am disinclined to do your work for you, especially since you don't even seem to be willing to read what I have posted right on this site.



I have no idea what this means. Are you trying more FUD-speak? Are you suggesting that there typically are high concentrations of mercury in or on living room carpets, and that's Where The Real Danger Lies?

I think that you are being contradictory for the sake of being contradictory and not thinking things through or even reading what I have posted before you start firing off your responses. I am therefore disinclined to continue this discussion until you can persuade me differently.
It's rather straight forward. Your post tells you how to specifically clean up a broken bulb, from a hard surface, so as to limit the amount of contamination. How do you clean up the mercury from one that busts on a carpet. Surly not with a vacuum cleaner. As to you once again you speculating as to my motives i would only ask for what reason?

Last edited by piscivorous; 05-27-2011 at 08:47 PM..
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Old 05-27-2011, 08:53 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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[...]
I think that you are being contradictory for the sake of being contradictory and not thinking things through or even reading what I have posted before you start firing off your responses. I am therefore disinclined to continue this discussion until you can persuade me differently.
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Old 05-27-2011, 08:09 PM
Starwatcher162536 Starwatcher162536 is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

So we know each CFL contains four milligrams of mercury. We know about a 104 tons of mercury results from burning coal. We should be able to estimate from current lighting requirements & the electricity saved from switching to CFL's if teh switch will cause more mercury, less mercury, or if it washes out within the uncertainity.

So, which is it?
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Old 05-27-2011, 08:52 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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So we know each CFL contains four milligrams of mercury. We know about a 104 tons of mercury results from burning coal. We should be able to estimate from current lighting requirements & the electricity saved from switching to CFL's if teh switch will cause more mercury, less mercury, or if it washes out within the uncertainity.

So, which is it?
Jesus, Star. The answer is right in the post you responded to.
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Old 05-26-2011, 04:46 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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The law does not ban the use or manufacture of all incandescent bulbs, nor does it mandate the use of compact fluorescent ones. It simply requires that companies make some of their incandescent bulbs work a bit better, meeting a series of rolling deadlines between 2012 and 2014.
But...but...only the Free Market (USA) can encourage innovation!
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:13 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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But...but...only the Free Market (USA) can encourage innovation!
Sub McG agrees with you:

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It is communism for the government to do anything about anything.
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:53 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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As I understand it, the response of the Earth's climate to changes in what is dumped into the atmosphere has quite a lag. Even so extreme a step as reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 0 would not, for example, cause the temperature increase to stop for quite a few years. Therefore, I don't think we have the luxury of waiting until things get "bad enough."
the last guy I read on that issue (http://www.savethecarbon.blogspot.com/ ) was saying that we will have a severe temperature spike over the next two hundred years even if we respond dramatically over the next couple of years. After that there will be a long tailing-off of temperatures such that it will be at least 100,000 years before the earth is as cool as it is today.

(the link is to his blog, what i'm referencing is in his book)
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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the last guy I read on that issue (http://www.savethecarbon.blogspot.com/ ) was saying that we will have a severe temperature spike over the next two hundred years even if we respond dramatically over the next couple of years. After that there will be a long tailing-off of temperatures such that it will be at least 100,000 years before the earth is as cool as it is today.

(the link is to his blog, what i'm referencing is in his book)
I'm already planning my tropical garden. I heard that pineapples are really easy to grow.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:44 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Science Saturday: Ready for the Rapture (John Horgan & George Johnson)

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Originally Posted by popcorn_karate View Post
the last guy I read on that issue (http://www.savethecarbon.blogspot.com/ ) was saying that we will have a severe temperature spike over the next two hundred years even if we respond dramatically over the next couple of years. After that there will be a long tailing-off of temperatures such that it will be at least 100,000 years before the earth is as cool as it is today.

(the link is to his blog, what i'm referencing is in his book)
Thanks for the link. I will have to have a longer look later.

Any idea what sort of agreement he has concerning that prediction among other people as qualified as he appears to be?
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Old 05-27-2011, 01:21 PM
popcorn_karate popcorn_karate is offline
 
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Thanks for the link. I will have to have a longer look later.

Any idea what sort of agreement he has concerning that prediction among other people as qualified as he appears to be?
I'm not too certain - its one of the many things i need to do, along with getting my garden planted and my lawn mowed, and my flowers pruned...

What i liked about him is that his background is paleoclimatology, so he is used to looking at really long time spans and is familiar with many of the long term cycles in the climate. He also mentioned something that i've been thinking about for a while which is the glaciation cycles and how the interglacial periods have been relatively short compared to the glacial periods. We may be avoiding hundreds of thousands of years of glaciation with our fossil fuel burning. Whether the coming hot house is a better option is debatable, but i like that he doesn't have the short-sighted idea that we could have an eternal now of the spotless climate if only we weren't burning so much fossil fuels. But he also has pretty dire warnings about the consequences of not slowing down our current course. overall a pretty interesting and balanced way of looking at things that is both hopeful and terrifying.
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Old 05-27-2011, 02:32 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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I'm not too certain - its one of the many things i need to do, along with getting my garden planted and my lawn mowed, and my flowers pruned...
Better hurry, before the global warming gets them!



Quote:
What i liked about him is that his background is paleoclimatology, so he is used to looking at really long time spans and is familiar with many of the long term cycles in the climate. He also mentioned something that i've been thinking about for a while which is the glaciation cycles and how the interglacial periods have been relatively short compared to the glacial periods. We may be avoiding hundreds of thousands of years of glaciation with our fossil fuel burning.
I've heard Freeman Dyson raise that same possibility.

Quote:
Whether the coming hot house is a better option is debatable, but i like that he doesn't have the short-sighted idea that we could have an eternal now of the spotless climate if only we weren't burning so much fossil fuels. But he also has pretty dire warnings about the consequences of not slowing down our current course. overall a pretty interesting and balanced way of looking at things that is both hopeful and terrifying.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:17 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
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A more vigorous response will wait until a time when people actually notice the effects of AGW,
yeah, waiting might be a good strategy.
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