The Watering Hole, Monday, June 3rd, 2013: Lows and Highs

As is my wont, I found today’s offerings while trying to research a totally different topic. Let’s start with the lows (after all, it is Monday):

First up: The Atlantic Cities website has an interactive map of the world, where you can pick any area, zoom in, and watch a time-lapse video of changes over thirty years’ time. The human infestation of our poor planet continues apace. (sigh)

In other ‘low’ news, Darrell Issa is still wasting oxygen (as well as taxpayers’ money and valuable legislative time) on Obama conspiracy theories, in this particular case the IRS/Tea Party story. (On a slight ‘high’, at least Candy Crowley made an attempt to introduce Issa to reality.) And, almost lower than Darrell Issa himself, right-wing trolls, i.e.:

spammeister1 [yes, “spammeister1” is really the troll’s screen name]
“And the nobama admin IS the most corrupt in the history of our once great republic. Issa, being experienced, saw that from the beginning even tho , as u say, he as of yet had no actual proof. but look at the corruption in the admin now. CROOKS!!!! LIARS!!!!! FOOLS!!!!!”

(The Spammeister had more to say later, but I won’t inflict more of his brand of ‘stupid’ on you.)

Then there’s this literary masterpiece:

“really Kevin you really believe that liberal bs more then 50 where denied and no liberal org where even look at and that s really the kind of government you want well you make my point for me liberals or the new communist party”

And, this plum:

Sheila Firmin · Top Commenter
“Candy can not be trusted to be fait or balanced….she is an Obama shill…..asskissing arm of the administration.”

[eyes rolling]

On a somewhat lighter note, but still in the ‘low’ category, we have…Cicadas: I’ve heard that this year there’s supposed to be a plague of cicadas. For anyone who’s curious about whether human development can prevent cicadas from emerging from their 17-year cycle, this article on The Atlantic Cities website has the answer. Short version, probably not – but at least I learned a bit more about cicadas than the fact that they come in cycles.


Now for your ‘highs’ today: Here’s 13 different bird’s eye views from around the world, courtesy of cable cars. Enjoy! (unless you’re afraid of heights, of course.)

This is our Open Thread. Go ahead, talk amongst yourselves!

The Watering Hole: June 3, 2011 — Clearcut forests to fight global warming!

Natural Resources Today

Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) thinks it would be a great idea for the U.S. to help countries all over the world clearcut all of their trees, in order to fight global climate change.


Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?” Rohrabacher asked Todd Stern, the Obama administration’s special envoy for climate change. “Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?

Cutting down all the trees, which absorb tons of CO2 every day, would actually make the problem of global climate change WORSE.  But don’t bother telling Dumbass Rohrabacher, cuz he knows the real cause — nature.

This is our daily open thread — what’s warming your heart & soul today?

Sunday Roast: HOME

Go here to watch the video.

Max — our newest Zooster, and long time bloggy friend from Think Progress — posted this video several days ago, and I was (and am) completely mesmerized by it.  The photography is astonishing, the narration holds your attention, and the musical score is quite beautiful.

This planet is a wondrous and miraculous place, our only HOME.  Because of that, we should treat this planet as the most precious thing in the universe, but we are on the brink of destroying our ability to live on this beautiful planet.

So goes Rapanui, so goes the world?

What are we willing to do to change our course of destruction?  What can we individuals do to make a difference?  Any and all ideas are welcome in the comments section.  No idea is silly or too obvious, so SHARE!!

Thanks, Max.  🙂

The Power of Mother Earth – Unleashed

Air traffic in Europe has been greatly affected by the ash cloud spewed by the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull. This may well have desastrous effects on the European economy, namely the airlines, which are already suffering  from the recession.

But in history volcanoes have had greater impact than that. One, Icelandic, too, reinforced the “little ice age“, that was one major contributing factor to  the French Revolution.

The Laki volcanic fissure in southern Iceland erupted over an eight-month period from 8 June 1783 to February 1784, spewing lava and poisonous gases that devastated the island’s agriculture, killing much of the livestock. It is estimated that perhaps a quarter of Iceland’s population died through the ensuing famine. (read more)

We all remember the Pinatubo. It effected an average cooling of the atmosphere  of about 0,5°C. And we were treated to fabulous sunsets for months. The 1980’s eruptions of  Mount St. Helens and El Chichon added to the knowledge what constitutes the cooling effect of volcanic eruptions.

It was thought for many years that the greatest volcanic contribution of the haze effect was from the suspended ash particles in the upper atmosphere that would block out solar radiation. However, these ideas changed in the 1982 after the eruption of the Mexican volcano, El Chichon. Although the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens lowered global temperatures by 0.1OC, the much smaller eruption of El Chichon lowered global temperatures three to five times as much. Although the Mt. St. Helens blast emitted a greater amount of ash in the stratosphere, the El Chichon eruption emitted a much greater volume of sulfur-rich gases (40x more). It appears that the volume of pyroclastic debris emitted during a blast is not the best criteria to measure its effects on the atmosphere. The amount of sulfur-rich gases appears to be more important. Sulfur combines with water vapor in the stratosphere to form dense clouds of tiny sulfuric acid droplets. These droplets take several years to settle out and they are capable to decreasing the troposphere temperatures because they absorb solar radiation and scatter it back to space.(read more)

While checking the web for this information, I found not a single scientific discussion that uses the insight into volcanic impact on the earths climate to explain away the fact that what we call global climate change is indeed man made. Moreover, they all agreed that the greenhouse gases emitted during the modern age through man made machinery, outweigh those of volcanic activity in the same timeframe. The Pinatubo and El Chichon  have even given us  some respite. Maybe the volcano with the unutterable name will help us, too. If only by keeping the fuel blasting jets on the ground for a little while.

Global Climate Change? But, but, but…I feel cold…

Rachel goofs on moronic commentators from Fox and denier politicians about global climate change, and their hysterical declarations that it doesn’t exist because it’s SNOWING — IN WINTER.

Bill Nye the Science Guy helps out with a very easy to understand explanation of global climate change.  He calls deniers UN-PATRIOTIC.

Tony Perkins is a frackin’ whackjob — but we knew that

Thought Theater

In [this ] video, ABC News explores how global warming is viewed by a number of religious leaders and their denominations. The report stems from the declaration signed by current and former leaders of the Southern Baptist Church in which they assert that they have been too timid on addressing global warming. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council disagrees with this position. Instead, Perkins argues that those who favor a reduction in global warming are actually seeking to promote abortion and same-sex marriage.

Curses!  Perkins has uncovered our despicable plan!!

After assailing abortion and the gays, Perkins pivots to make the argument that people would be better served to put their energy into preparing themselves spiritually for the end of the world (the rapture or the end of days) instead of championing climate control. I guess Perkins sees humanity like an ant colony in a jar – if our willful actions lead us to outgrow and destroy our planet, the masses should simply soldier on like tireless worker ants.

The idea that Perkins’ great mythical god might have put us on Earth, thinking that we might know (or at least learn) not to foul our only home, is just too much work (or thought) for Perkins and his sorry-assed followers.

No, they’d rather go with the idea that their mythical god wants his believers to just go ahead and crap in their beds and wait for the “Rapture,” which would leave the rest of us to clean u after them — AGAIN.

Go read the whole post at Thought Theater, it’s pretty damn good.

Hello from Europe – It’s summer and hot

add to : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Hello from Europe, we finally have the kind of weather I love best. It’s warm with a slight breeze of fresh air, differently from the tropical weather of recent days. Germany will meet Spain on Sunday night for the European Football Championship finals in Vienna, and if Spain plays as they did against Russia (3:0) and Germany as they did against Turkey (3:2), the Germans should consider to save themselves the trouble of even traveling there. I am hoping for an exciting match, never mind the outcome.

Weather is an important clue to the press round-up. There are very bad news indeed for the North Pole, as reported by The Independent:

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

And the next paragraph left me open-mouthed:

If it happens, it raises the prospect of the Arctic nations being able to exploit the valuable oil and mineral deposits below these a bed which have until now been impossible to extract because of the thick sea ice above. (full story here)

After having shamelessly exploited and recklessly burnt up the resources of oil we have already available to the detriment of the planet and future generations and thus caused the kind of crisis reported here, this thought is most cynical.

So much for the weather. There is an election upcoming in the US. Of course, this is again making stories, too.

The Times can’t leave Clinton alone:

Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, wrote out a $4,600 cheque for his vanquished rival, Hillary Clinton, last night as he tried to persuade her major financial backers to switch their support to him. (full story)

They too consider this tidbit news and Cindy McCain saying in a Times interview Diana was her inspiration.

The Guardian‘s Michael Tomasky is trying to explain Barack Obama’s shift to the center and concludes:

I’ve always objected to setting up principle as a value that’s oppositional to winning. To me, winning is a principle. It’s the highest principle there is. If you win the election, you can do at least some of the good things that will improve people’s lives in the country and around the world. If you lose it, you can’t do any of them.

People will naturally disagree on which compromises are necessary and which ones aren’t. What people shouldn’t disagree on is that some are. The man’s not running for president of Hyde Park. (read full comment)

I tend to agree with Michael Tomasky. Moreover, Obama’s obviously very political actions are a relief to me. I have voiced the opinion here before that the Obama primary campaign had many hallmarks of a political movement. As a German, aware of her country’s history, I am deeply mistrusting when it comes to political movements. I’d rather have the calculated and thus calculable outcome of a political process. I can live with not getting my way. The kind of trouble mostly ideologically based policies get you into, can be fully viewed by replaying the last eight years of Bush policies.

The Telegraph has an entertaining article, if you care to take part in it. In the UK there is a thing called 11-plus exam. This is and was used to determine access to grammar schools in Britain.  So if you have the time or the boss is not watching, enjoy! The Zoo’s next Friday Math Problem will be coming up today, too.

I hope you’ll all have a good day, stay safe and healthy!