Insomnia Log

This is what keeps me awake at night???

Who needs sleep? (well you’re never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep? (tell me what’s that for)
Who needs sleep? (be happy with what you’re getting,
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the second world war)

-- words and music by Steven Page & Ed Robertson

Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States

Everything you need to know about me can be found in my posts

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Six Degrees of Climate Separation

Until recently, the best scientific estimates of atmospheric carbon dioxide only went back about 800,000 years. This time has been a generally cold period in the Earth's history, characterized by ice ages punctuated with brief, relatively warm spells (one of which we`re in right now) every 100,000 years.

During this time there has been a strong correlation between CO2 in the atmosphere and global average temperatures. But also during this time CO2 hasn't approached today's human-influenced level, so we didn't have direct evidence of what happens when levels of the greenhouse gas are this high.

Late last year, a group of scientists at UCLA published a study demonstrating a new method of estimating prehistoric CO2 levels, extending the estimates back about 20 million years.

Not only do these measurements continue to show a strong correlation between CO2 and climate, they also illuminate the most recent time in the Earth's history when CO2 levels were similar to what they are today.


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Friday, March 26, 2010

Good News on Global Warming Front

I'm committed to telling both sides of the global warming story. So, here are a couple of items of good news that have been published lately.

First, New Moore Island has disappeared to rising sea levels. This uninhabited island in the Bay of Bengal, known by India as New Moore Island and by Bangladesh as South Talpatti of 81 square miles is now under water. The two countries have been arguing about control of this island since it first emerged from the sea over 35 years ago. Now, happily, the dispute is over.

Second, pollution from China is being carried around the globe by the Asian Monsoon. Why good news? Because pollution such as black carbon can reflect solar energy back into space, masking the increasing greenhouse effect that is causing global warming. Let's hope the Chinese don't address their pollution problem any time soon, or it could be getting lots warmer lots faster.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

It's tempting to dismiss today's Tea Party rants. When you hear statements like, "I don't want socialized medicine. And don't touch my Medicare," "I want my country back," and, "Nazis are preparing Obama's health-care reform," you could get as confused and disgusted as Alice at her wondrous tea party and walk away in a huff.

But the Mad Hatter had an excuse for his perpetual tea party -- it was always six o'clock, traditional high tea time. Similarly, for today's tea partiers it's always "morning in America," traditional Reaganesque rhetoric.

In Lewis Carroll's classic story, the Mad Hatter was sentenced to a perennial tea party because he murdered Time. Today's Mad Hater, Glenn Beck, murdered Truth. (The Hatter's top hat was inexplicably labeled "In this style 10/6," and, due perhaps to inflation, Beck's is labeled "In this scare 9/12." )

The Red Queen threatened to off the Hatter's head because of his murderous actions. And Blue State Liberals threaten to off the Mad Hater`s advertisers because of his racist comments.


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Friday, March 19, 2010

Lance for President

Tony Kornheiser rants against cyclists on his ESPN radio show. That includes "jokingly" suggesting that drivers hit cyclists with their cars.

Lance and his fans get wind and and start a viral campaign against Kornheiser.

Kornheiser grovels to Lance and invites Lance on his show to apologize. Tony promises no more rants and even agrees to ride a bike for the first time since childhood.

Lance goes on the air to a market of bike haters, and gets their biggest rabble-rouser to denounce his former ways to his fans.

I'm convinced Lance could bring about peace in the Middle East. He might even be able to bring Republicans and Democrats together on health care, but that's probably beyond even his powers.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Free Speech Means Just That

A couple of recent incidents in Boulder illustrate just how fragile free speech guarantees are.

Seth Brigham, local activist, was first interrupted and then arrested when it appeared he was about to criticize a couple of council members during the public participation portion of a city council meeting. Fortunately, the charges were dropped, and council apologized. But there are still some on council who think the actions against Seth were legitimate. Council needs to immediately change the rules so that complaining about a particular council member during public participation is not against public policy.

Second, the local Catholic school told the lesbian parents of two students that they would not be allowed to re-enroll the children because of their homosexual relationship. Many in the community have taken the church to task for this decision.

Some have accused the complainers of being "intolerant". (Never mind that these people are themselves being intolerant of the complainers.) Since when has the right to free speech been limited to things that don't hurt someone's feelings?

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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Safe, Clean Nuclear Power

To create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. - President Barack Obama, 2010 State of the Union Address
Many environmentalists gasped when the President made this comment. We all know that nuclear power is neither safe nor clean.

Nuclear reactors are dangerous. They are subject to meltdown. They are targets for terrorists. Nuclear fuel is a safety problem from mining though transportation, and there is not nearly enough uranium available for widespread use of nuclear power. Nuclear waste is dangerous in even small quantities: There is no safe storage option, and it remains unsafe for thousands of years.

Plus, huge amounts of greenhouse gases are produced in the mining, enriching, and transport of uranium; the building and decommissioning of the plants; and the transportation of nuclear waste.

But what if these dangers and problems didn`t exist?


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