chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Like the label on the tin says:

1) This Friday, S. Evan Townsend will be featuring me on his podcast "Speculative Fiction Cantina." Link when I have it.

2) This Saturday, an interview with me will be on The IndieView.

3) Over the weekend, I read a great book: Warnings Unheeded: Twin Tragedies at Fairchild AFB. The book is written by the Air Force policeman who stopped a mass shooting by killing the shooter with a pistol at 70 yards. It's about how the mass shooter came to be as well as how, a week later, a B-52 practicing for an air show plowed into the ground doing an unsafe maneuver. No spoilers - both events were preceded by many unheeded warnings.

4) On climate change - our memories can be unreliable. I was in Chicago in 1999 and don't remember a particularly warm February.

5) Why don't many racist people think they're racist?. Answer: Because they probably aren't racist. Saying or doing something racist and being a racist is not the same thing.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Global Warming Sealioning

Scott Adams continues his global warming sealioning, asking what if climate change causes more CO2?. Herewith a response:

We can tell what the sources of CO2 are by looking at the isotopes of CO2 in the atmosphere. This article gives the details. It also notes that we can look at history to see how much CO2 should be in the atmosphere (about 500 ppm vs. the current 400 ppm) so we can see how much faster we're dumping CO2 into the air then it's being absorbed.

It's also worth noting that we can trace most high-CO2 periods in the past to specific volcanic eruptions. In short, warming doesn't cause CO2 levels to rise, CO2 levels cause temperature to rise.

Finally, the difference between now and the last Ice Age is about 4 degrees Celsius. (XKCD had a nice graphical representation of this.) It doesn't take a massive change in average temperature to produce a wild swing in climate.

The Death of Coal

The headline says it all: Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Scott Adams, the cartoonist behind Dilbert, has developed an interesting tick. This first manifested itself with him predicting with 99% certainty that Trump would win the election. The tick manifests itself as him just spit-balling and finding the liberal side of an argument unconvincing and/or unpersuasive. He then spends an inordinate amount of time detailing why said argument is flawed while protesting that he's really for the liberal side.

Some Internet denizens define that as Sea-Lioning, or specific, pervasive form of aggressive cluelessness, that masquerades as a sincere desire to understand. However one defines it, I find it irritating. The most recent example is "The Illusion of Knowledge" in which Adams argues that no non-scientist can evaluate the claims of climate science because BOTH sides look 100% convincing to the under-informed.

My immediate response was not printable in a family newspaper. My more reasoned response is below:

The problem with the the "unknowable" argument becomes clear if you substitute "medicine" or "electricity" for "climate change." How can a lay person evaluate the effectiveness of a medical treatment or the safety of a wiring system? They can't - they have to rely on experts.

The question then becomes which experts to trust. This starts with motive. We generally assume that our doctors aren't trying to kill us and our electricians aren't trying to burn our houses down, so we take their advice. Killing patients (besides being illegal) is costly (dead people don't need a doctor) and electricians who botch up wiring get sued. So when our doctor says "stop smoking" we assume we're getting sound advice.

People who argue against man-made climate change have to demonstrate a motive and a reward for climatologists to lie. They haven't. The fossil fuel industry is glad to fund climate studies that support burning their products, just like tobacco was glad to fund studies showing the safety of smoking. In both cases, arguing against Big Industry gets the scientists making the argument a lot of grief for little reward.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
(The content below was pre-scheduled on account of me having an all-day meeting. Since I have a few minutes, I'd like to congratulate the Cubs, and note unlike last time the news of their victory was not telegraphed to the 46 states.)

(I'm such a true sports fan /sarcasm alert/ that when the rain tarp came out last night, I went to bed. I've watched more baseball this year then the rest of the decade.)

On my twitter feed, I linked to this video of Elon Musk's new solar house. Basically, his company has developed solar panels that can act as roof shingles. (Some other companies have similar products.)

One of the perpetual whines of the "we can't stop global warming" crowd is that if we don't crank out vast amounts of electricity our economy will stop. I call bullshit. First, Musk and others are coming up with ways to generate electricity with no carbon footprint. Second, our power consumption per person is going down. Flat-screen TVs, LED lights and related technologies use less energy. Third, even old-line power companies are reducing greenhouse gases (and their cost) by moving away from coal to natural gas.

If we (the global we, not the royal we) didn't have our heads up our asses, we'd be subsidizing these new technologies and paying for retrofits. That would create jobs and help the long-term climate.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Four items of note, linked only in my mind:

Item The First

I have a guest post on the website SFF World entitled Where's My Flying Car? Readers may note that they could just as easily substitute "rocket" for "flying car" in the linked post.

Item The Second

John Scalzi has an opinion on the Brexit vote in the UK. It very closely mirrors mine.

Item The Third

From Slate, How the novel Frankenstein is really about climate change.

Item The Fourth

House Democrats are holding a sit-in to attempt a vote which would ban people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. I am somewhat ambivalent about this. On the one hand, if we're seriously concerned about these people, why in the hell would we let them buy a gun? On the other hand, heaven knows that this list is poorly-assembled at best. I think the bottom line is that the Republican's reluctance on this issue shows how non-serious they are about terrorism.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Chicago was supposed to get hit with another winter storm. So far, the storm's been underwhelming. Our mild winter got me to thinking about global warming.

One of the received truths of those who argue against man-caused global warming is that "in the 1970s we were worried about a new ice age." Well, as [ profile] james_nicoll helpfully notes: The team’s survey of major journal papers published between 1965 and 1979 found that only seven articles predicted that global average temperature would continue to cool. During the same period, 44 journal papers indicated that the average temperature would rise and 20 were neutral or made no climate predictions..

Shorter = no, there was no fear of a new ice age.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Three facts, which should matter but apparently don't.

Fact #1 - Government is not the only force of oppression.

In Ye Goode Olde Dayes, when workers got uppity about things like getting their pay cut, wealthy individuals hired private "investigators" to shoot workers.

Fact #2 - There is no "pause" in global warming

2015 was by far the hottest year on the historical record, beating the second hottest year, 2014. Oh, and 2010 and 2005 tied as #3 hottest year, warmer than 1997.

Fact #3 - Illegal Immigration is falling significantly

Quote: The total undocumented immigrant population of 10.9 million is the lowest since 2003, says the report from the Center for Migration Studies, a New York think tank. The number of undocumented immigrants has fallen each year since 2008, the report says, driven primarily by a steady decline in illegal migrants from Mexico…

And typical illegal immigrant now is much more likely someone who is 35 or older and has lived in the United States for a decade or more.

Source here.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Today is my last regular Rotary meeting of the year. In honor of that, have a couple of links.

A) You may have heard of Airbnb, a service that allows you to rent out spare rooms via the Internet. Well, this guy's dad died because of an Airbnb rental, and he notes, " The irony is that amateur innkeepers who couldn’t be trusted with the banal task of photographing and marketing their properties are expected to excel at hospitality’s most important rule: keeping guests safe and alive."

B) An interesting article on how technology drives culture: Friday Food Post: The Economics Behind Grandma's Tuna Casseroles.

C) In the "the globe isn't warming department, really" comes this: The city of Miami Beach floods on such a predictable basis that if, out of curiosity or sheer perversity, a person wants to she can plan a visit to coincide with an inundation.

D) The publisher Angry Robots is having an open submission period.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
We're having a lovely spring in Chicago, although the calendar suggests we're in winter. I would actually like a hard freeze, to calm some of my allergies.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
We live in a fact-free world. What I mean by that is people feel free to ignore inconvenient facts and/or free to substitute what they want to be true for what is.

For example, 2014 was the warmest year on record. 2015 is on track to be warmer than 2015, AKA, the new warmest year on record. Yet, in our fact-free world, people can tell me with a straight face that global warming has "paused." I do not think that word "pause" means what they think it means.

Yesterday, two mopes shot up a holiday party of government employees at a developmental center. If said mopes had been white Christians, we would be told that they are "individual nuts" and nothing can be done. Since they're not, we're being told "ISIS is coming to eat you alive!" and, even though the man was born in the USA, we need to prevent Syrian refugees from entering the country.

The fact that the USA has a murder rate five times that of most industrialized countries is ignored, as is the fact that social misfits will gravitate towards any of a number of radical movements. This later fact is true whether we're talking Europeans in Europe or Americans in America. (Even crazy people have a reason for why they do what they do.)

I could go on, but I'll leave with this thought - facts are like gravity. Gravity doesn't care if you believe in it or not.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
A couple of blog articles I found interesting and worth linking to.

1) In which somebody succeeds at debunking John C. Wright on science. Humorous quote: "For example if I say ‘if you hit yourself in the face with a sledgehammer you will break your face’ and you then DON’T hit yourself in the face with a sledgehammer then the fact that your face is not broken does not demonstrate the safety of hitting yourself in the face with a sledgehammer."

2) On global warming: The reason why people from all sides of politics continue to assert that anthropogenic global warming is a thing that is actually happening is because it is a hypothesis well supported by the temperature record AND in accordance with what we know about greenhouse gas emissions from our industrial activities AND our understanding of other greenhouse gases such as water vapor AND our understanding of core aspect of the physics of carbon dioxide in relation to infra-red light.

3) Terminator 2 - an example of the sweet spot of the story.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
A few links:

A) Albert Goering, brother of Luftwaffe commander and heroin addict Hermann Goering was no fan of the Nazis.

B) Nick Manatas is wise on popularity vs. award-winning fiction. The money quote: The most popular books are not the most-loved books. Popular books often just satisfice—they satisfy, and they suffice. For some people they are A, for lots of people just a B-.

C) Kevin O'Leary of TV's "Shark Tank" invests in 27 companies and says the only ones making money have female CEOs.

D) Like most adults, I am hard to buy gifts for. Well, any or all of these would be lovely to get. (hint, Mom!)

E) A picture is worth a thousand words:

chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
Two brief thoughts:

1) Comes news today that the city of Ferguson, MO, was running its police and court system not to enforce justice but to make money. This was done by every means from trivial like not opening up the window to accept payments to serious like issuing arrest warrants any time somebody didn't pay. Oh, and they issued thousands of tickets and warrants for "manner of walking" AKA jaywalking.

2) Via satellite, a visual image of snow cover in the US over the last three years. Basically, the west is getting no snow while the east is getting hammered. No climate change here people - nothing to see, move along.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
2014 looks to be the warmest year on record, except in the eastern half of the United States and a chunk of Siberia. See the picture below.

map temps

chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
* With apologies to The Godfather. (The quote? "Leave the gun. Take the canoli.")

A) From cop and pro-gun advocate Chris Hernandez, a mostly tactical and partially ideological argument against open carry. From the same guy, healing the rift between police and the public.

B) Via Crossroads blog, an interesting documentation of the fact that slaves and free blacks did fight for the Confederacy. Not by any means a majority of blacks fought for the South, but some did.

C) No, Virginia, Antarctic ice is NOT growing or expanding. It is in fact declining, as is Arctic ice.
chris_gerrib: (Me 2)
I promised some thoughts on air conditioning, but I'm intermixing them with guns.


Data about the number of concealed carry permits issued to date in Illinois is available here. The total is 69,000, and there's a breakdown by county. The county breakdown is useless, as it appears to match the relative population of the county. 69,000 may sound like a lot, but that's less than half-a-percent of Illinois' population of 12 million.

Air Conditioning, or Terraforming Terra

During my trip to England, I did not sleep one night in an air-conditioned building. This was not a problem, as temperatures barely got into the 70s. Here in Chicago, it would have been an issue - we average 14 days a year with highs over 90, a lot of 80 degree days, and impressive amounts of heat and humidity.

Air conditioning made Chicago much more bearable. For places like Atlanta and Arizona, air conditioning made them habitable.


Aug. 5th, 2014 09:22 am
chris_gerrib: (Rotary)
1) A very interesting article: why you should stop believing in evolution. TL;DR version = one believes in religion and comprehends science.

2) Yet another Republican-led House panel finds no misconduct or attempt to misled in Benghazi affair.

A twofer from Gin and Tacos:

3) a lack of constraint. Constraint is used in the technical sense to mean people should believe things that make sense together. In other words, if balancing the budget is important, raising taxes should be okay.

4) We Americans have little faith in special knowledge, and only with the greatest difficulty is the idea being forced upon us that not every man is capable of doing every job. But Mr. Ford belongs to the traditions of self-made men, to that primitive Americanism which has held the theory that a successful manufacturer could turn his hand with equal success to every other occupation.

This quote above shows one of the (many, many) failures of libertarianism. There really is "special knowledge" and we ignore that at our peril. ETA This is more a critique of people who are self-described libertarians vs. the philosophy as a whole. See, for example, how we can't trust climate scientists because reasons.
chris_gerrib: (Me)
Thought #1 - Hugos

I have completed my voting on the Hugos. I found the Clarke short story via Google books, and bumped it up to the #3 slot. It was a refreshing parody of the Square-jawed Manly Man Fixes The Wog's Problems, something that was entirely too common in 1938. I also "no awarded" the Novelette category.

Thought #2 - No, Virginia, I Don't Want 'Big Government'

One of the many irritating facets of political arguments with small government types is they assume that I want 'big government.' No, I don't. This guy says it best: [conservatives] thinks that the littlebrains don't know that the power of the state is terrible. But we do know it, and nonetheless prefer to deal with the welfare state -- yes, even with police and taxes -- than take a chance on rule by corporations, because we also know that people who pitch us "customer service" and "entrepreneurial discovery" as an alternative to our current means of survival are the sort of well-manicured grifters who try to talk senior citizens into giving up their life savings for a fake stock certificate.

Thought #3 - Miami Will Be The American Venice

From my friend, the author Toby Buckell (and you really should buy his latest book): Miami is slowly flooding. 2.4 million people live there and will eventually have to move or master the 24/7 breast stroke.
chris_gerrib: (Me)
Writers talk about "the muddle in the middle," which is the phenomenon that the middle part of the story is the hardest to write. The beginning is usually clear, and the end is usually known - besides which, by the time you get to the end you've by definition figured things out. The middle is, well, a muddle. We're in the middle of the Hadley Rille fundraiser, so that's by definition the hardest part. Please send money and links (picture is link).

Link Salad

A) An interesting article on one of the best Star Wars movies, The Empire Strikes Back.

B) The writer SL Huang notes that there aren't a lot of Asian characters in the Asian-culture-dominated series Firefly. She has some casting suggestions.

C) No, Virginia, imposing a carbon tax does not cause the world to end.

D) Want a Sterling engine in your basement?


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