Digital Diatribes

A presentation of data on climate and other stuff

News: 02-01-2008 – Search and Monopolize, China winter Syndrome, Antarctic Ice, Noah’s Ark of Seeds

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on February 1, 2008

I Guess We Have Time for a Quick Merge…

This was the big news of the day in the business world. Two giants in the tech industry talking about getting together and taking down Google. I post it here because my radio and TV and Internet told me that this was a big deal.

Here’s the thing I don’t really understand. Taken from the point of view of a random consumer, why do I care? I have my Yahoo! Mailbox and I search with Google. By now, it’s habit. I am trying to imagine a scenario where that habit is broken. I’m sure some will check it all out, but I’m too lazy. Seems like a lot of money, especially when you see the actual Yahoo! Market share. Combine the two entities and it still doesn’t touch Google.

This is becoming a humanitarian crisis

I alluded to the winter weather in China, but things just get worse. It looks like there are more storms on the way, too. I’ve seen a picture from China where the Palm Trees are covered in snow. Amazing stuff. Thankfully, I saw a news report today that said some trains started running. I can’t imagine how long it will take to get this situation handled, but at least there’s some hope.

But, at the risk of attracting attention (which, don’t get me wrong, I welcome) from our friendly Global Warming supporters, I still can’t help but fall back on reason and common sense. We’ve got this going on in China. Here’s a link to an article on snowstorms pelting the Midwest. This has been going on all winter long in our parts.

And then I found This little nugget of a chart along with this chart. Now, to the untrained eye, this looks like a bunch of lines. So let me explain what it really is.

It’s a bunch of lines.

OK, it’s also a little more than that.

It’s from a paper in Geophysical Research Letters released in January dubbed “A doubling in snow accumulation in the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1850.” The article is by scientists with the British Antarctic Survey and the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada.

I’ll bet we’ve all heard about the disappearing ice shelf in the Antarctic. Well, that is not fiction, the ice shelf is, in fact, diminishing by all accounts I’ve seen. Left unsaid whenever I hear about this is that the actual ice in volume and weight in Antarctica is increasing (according to these charts). How can this be? Well, just because the ice shelf is withdrawing doesn’t mean that more snow and ice isn’t packing on top of the ice that’s already there. So, while it’s maybe not as broad and thin as it used to be, it’s taller and more voluminous than at any time since we’ve been measuring it. Check the charts.

This does not fit in with the idea that the “melting ice caps” are raising ocean levels. It may be true that some ice is melting, but it seems to be more than compensated for by the increasing ice mass in other areas. There is nothing inherently magical about having the ice in a shelf rather than in another area.

Now, it may still be a concern as to why the shelf is melting. And it’s a fair question. But let’s get all our facts straight. The “facts” presented have been disingenuous.

As for the reason why, This article tells us that a potential reason for a portion of the melt is likely due to the heat generated underwater by a volcano. We’re still awaiting word on whether or not man is responsible for the heat generated from this volcano, but my sources indicate it is unlikely. Now, they do not claim that the entire shelf is melting from this volcano, only part of it. On the other hand, they only now discovered this, so what’s to say there isn’t other volcanic activity occurring? Or maybe it has a larger impact than we think?

In any case, there’s more ice, not less. We can argue about why, and some may still suggest it’s due to warming. But if that argument is made, then I think it defeats their cause. You see, proponents of “We’re actually heading to an Ice Age” theory actually predict that an ice age is preceded by a period of warming that transmits more water vapor to the poles and deposits them in an ice pack at the poles. As more and more ice gets deposited, the compression leads to more and more stuff that causes more evaporation, which causes more deposits, which eventually cause more reflection, and boom – we’re all wearing parkas. Now, I don’t know if I’m ready to jump on that wagon quite yet, but there’s a certain logic to it.

In the end, it’s still cold. We still have ice in Antarctica.

So, let’s dive into something else. Suppose global warming causes, say, 90% of us to die. Or, if you don’t like that, maybe it’s an ice age. Or, if you are looking for something more instantaneously gratifying, a comet or an asteroid wipes most of us out.

Uplifting, isn’t it? But do not fear.
We will have seeds!!

It’s actually pretty cool (literally). Check out the link. My first reaction was “Why in the world did they choose to have the seeds stored in a remote island?” I mean, if most of us are dead, you can bet that our technology will be dead along with it. Someone is going to have to row to this place and bring back the seeds.

But, there is a certain charm to the plan. Apparently, this place is pretty cold (hopefully global warming doesn’t ruin this plan), and it’s a place where the seeds can last forever.

I’m kinda hoping this is an unnecessary venture. But just in case, I’m trying to get a key.

A couple final thoughts:

Berkeley council tells Marines to leave.

Makes my blood boil. Berkeley, please secede from the Union. And, by the way, after you do, we’ll invade. Easy pickings.

Kicker who missed 2 short field goals in NFC Championship game say people shouldn’t bet against him.

Seriously… the kicker? How desperate are the media getting to be soliciting trash talk from the kicker? I guess it’s nice that he’s the first Scot to play in a Super Bowl. Of course, that could mean that Scots are just really bad at football…

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