The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 1, 2014: Time Check

With a week to go until the unnecessary onset of Daylight Savings Time (we’ll talk about that next Saturday), it may have crossed your mind to wonder just how your smart phone knows what time it is. After all, it probably came out of the package knowing the time and date, and you didn’t do that. (I don’t know how they look when you get them, because I don’t own a smart phone, or anything like it, and likely never will.) Dr. Demetrios Matsakis, Chief Scientist for United States Naval Observatory’s Time Services, explains how in this fascinating video.

None of this would be possible, of course, if not for Science, the vigorously-tested, well-documented study of how things work, and how they can theoretically be made to work better. Without a strong foundation in Science, Humanity cannot face the problems our planet, and our species, will endure. The overall average temperature of the planet is slowly rising. Most of the ten hottest years on record have been within the last ten years. This is undeniable. It is also undeniable that human activity (specifically, but not limited to, the excessive burning of fossil fuels) is a contributing factor to this very real warming trend. Those of you out there who’ve been paying attention understand the ripple effect a warming atmosphere has on the climate, and how it changes the weather to certain parts of the globe. It’s a problem all of Humanity must face, not just Americans. But the United States must be a leader in confronting these facts. The climate is changing, and denying that this is so is not being a part of the solution, it’s being an asshole.

So it doesn’t help that the Republicans have make a mockery of Science by appointing to the Science Committees in both Houses people who do not believe in Science. One of them, Dr. Paul Broun, an alleged doctor, and a potential future Senator, once called Evolution (among other things), “…lies straight from the pit of Hell.” Senator James Inhofe thankfully doesn’t sit on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, but he does sit on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, from which he published his own argument that while the climate is indeed changing, as it often has, he says

Today, even saying there is scientific disagreement over global warming is itself controversial. But anyone who pays even cursory attention to the issue understands that scientists vigorously disagree over whether human activities are responsible for global warming, or whether those activities will precipitate apocalyptic natural
disasters.

In all fairness, it should be noted that he receives a lot of campaign financing from the oil and gas industry, just in case you thought his opinion was arrived at intellectually. He’s also one of those folks who think that humans couldn’t possibly be destroying the planet because God promised us after the Great Flood that he wouldn’t destroy the planet again. He doesn’t seem to understand that humans can destroy the planet without the help of any gods.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss anything you want.

33 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 1, 2014: Time Check

  1. I like Daylight Saving Time. Always have. I looked out yesterday morning at 6:30am, and it was already daylight, so when the change occurs, it will be that much light at 7:30 when I leave work. I can either work a couple hours in the morning, or sleep and still have a couple hours to work before dark. In fact, I could use another hour of daylight today, since I don’t work tonight.

    • i hate DST, would far rather do daylight LOSING time, give me that extra hour in the very early morning when it’s cool outside, then get dark early and cool off earlier, save on the AC. Never have yet figured out the why of DST, probably never will.

      • I thought retired people could keep the same schedule with the sun. What ties you to the clock like a working person?

        I still think the sun is out the same number of hours, irrelevant of the clock.

        • If the sun came up at four instead of five, I’d have another hour of freedom from the go-to-work-traffic, which is ALWAYS in a damn rush. Plus, I’m always up early anyway and much prefer to take a long walk or a longer bike ride in the early morning when it’s cool outside. Staying light till nine or ten at night is a useless exercise for those of us who get up and four and hit the sack at eight. I also HATE to have to run the damn AC at bedtime, so the earlier the sun goes down the cheaper my elec. bill runs.

            • Sunrise and sunset happen every day on their cosmic schedule. It’s human clocks that screw up the arrangement. And yep, I avoid the traffic as much as possible, but even at that it’s hard to imagine that a wingnut driving a pickup hates anyone or anything more than people who are walking or bicycling. One morning at the Post Office, both Deb and I were riding our bikes. When we came out of the PO, an old pickup dude shook his head and said, “It’s startin’ t’ look like China or Europe around here.” Poor fella. 😉

  2. The right wing agenda in re science, climate, and damn near anything else stinks. Its SOLE goal is defined in the money=power equation; they give a shit about nothing else, ‘cept may a belief in a non-existent mythological gas bag they call “God.”

    Chris “Tweety” Matthews recently referred to them as “the Nasty Right.” I agree, but would suggest a slightly modified spelling, as in maybe something like ‘the Nazti Right’ — a little closer to the reality implicit.

    • You mean linking coal-mining to black lung disease wasn’t enough to convince them coal is dangerous? If Science can prove a link to poor health problems, then denying the results will do nobody any good, it will just postpone the inevitable, which is to stop mining for coal (and then burning it.) The time to figure out something else to do is now. THAT will be up to the people of West Virginia. They need to start looking for work elsewhere now, not when the mines get shut down.

    • You’d think they’d be pissed off already what with their mountains being bulldozed into their creeks.

    • Nice. A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I regularly flew into Oakland. Easier to get from there to UCBerkeley, also Napa-Sonoma, even Stockton, back in my old Ag days. Better than SFO traffic-wise, also better than Sacramento, given that the all too often morning fog in Sac. was too damn dense to fly out of (one of the hostesses in the WAL Horizon Club there pointed out that planes would never take off till a certain tree “over there” became visible. She was spot on correct!).

      I sort of miss those old days, but not as much as I did a decade or two ago. Wonder why that is?

  3. Outdoor hockey at Soldier Field, with a light snow falling. Blackhawks and Penguins. Badmoodman must be enjoying this one!

  4. Russian Troops Take Possession of Crimea without Firing a Shot

    Russian troops took over the strategic Crimean peninsula Saturday without firing a shot. The newly installed government in Kiev was powerless to react, and despite calls by U.S. President Barack Obama for Russia to pull back its forces, Western governments had few options to counter Russia’s military moves.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin sought and quickly got his parliament’s approval to use its military to protect Russia’s interests across Ukraine. But while sometimes-violent pro-Russian protests broke out Saturday in a number of Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine, Moscow’s immediate focus appeared to be Crimea.

    At least no shots fired is a good thing.
    Hey, we’ve got a veto on the UN Security council too. Let’s invade Canada! 😉

      • I’m afraid the only one that would work would be a nuclear attack; I also suspect Putin knows that’s more than a little unlikely. Ergo, etc.

        Kinda like if the US invaded Cuba: WWRD? Not much, probably.

        Screwy world, this one.

    • Nah, not Canada, too cold! Mexico! Baja, the west coast — nice and warm!

      Or, maybe what if . . . Mexico moved north to reclaim that which we stole from them a couple hundred years ago? Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Alta California . . . that I might be able to . . . ummm . . . support? Live with? Enjoy? (Shhhhh!) But a land without wingnuts . . . sounds REALLY appealing! I think I could still learn Spanish if I had to.

      Wow. Dear NSA spies: Piss off. Etc.

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