Thursday, February 22, 2018

Did "Conspiracy Theorists" Troll The Parkland Students? No - Lowbrow Loons Spreading Low I.Q. Memes

David Hogg, a Stoneman Douglas student and now gun law activist, is being targeted by the pseudo conspiracy trolls inhabiting 4Chan, Reddit and other nether regions of the net.

Recall it wasn't long after the Sandy Hook - Newtown massacre that a crackpot conspiracy clown named Alex Jones, e.g.
Image result for alex jones

began spinning his delirious, drug-addled bullshit that the whole tragedy where 26 perished was merely a federal "false flag" operation. Those twenty  kids weren't really slain, they were merely actors- as well as the teachers- in an elaborate script to befuddle the public, forcing a mass  demand for gun confiscation across the land.

Now we see these wretched, half witted memes and crappola resurrected again by a bunch of nitwits occupying the nether regions of the net, e.g. 4Chan, Reddit and related enclaves of web trolldom.  This time the pseudo- conspiracy crazies are targeting the outspoken students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas for their newfound activism and eloquence in speaking truth to power. It appears the loopy conspira-tards simply can't handle that presentation of acumen and brilliance,  thereby resorting  to painting the kids into being "paid crisis actors".

One of the prime targets has been  David Hogg, 17, who went from Florida high school student to mass shooting survivor to inspiring  advocate for gun-control laws in a few days. And just as quickly, online conspiracy clowns in the mold of Alex Jones (I call them conspira-tards)   began spinning viral lies attacking the teenager’s credibility.

By Wednesday — a week after a gunman wielding a semiautomatic rifle killed 17 people at Hogg’s Parkland, Fla., school — online media sites including YouTube swelled with false ­allegations that Hogg was ­secretly a “crisis actor” playing the part of a grieving student in local and national television news reports.

Hogg wasn't the only one targeted by an online campaign that flared up on anonymous forums such as 4chan and Reddit before it reached conservative websites, Twitter, Facebook and Google’s video platform. Collectively the posts questioned the honesty and credibility of the grieving students as they spoke out against gun violence.  In some cases they publicly challenged President Donald Dotard, the National Rifle Association and lawmakers opposed to gun control -- and this is likely what brought out the Trumpian Trolls from their crevices and rat holes.

Many of these lowbrow kooks, which is what they are, were  also foursquare behind helping to spread Michael Flynn's  Pizzagate conspiracy, i.e. that Hillary Clinton was keeping child sex slaves in the basement of a D.C. pizza parlor and exploiting them.

One is led to inquire what engenders this crap?  What defects in the brains of these losers causes them to spawn such bollocks, say instead of applying what gray matter they have to researching real conspiracies?  Well, one answer is that researching the real ones - like the JFK assassination  - actually takes hundreds of man hours of real work.  Just plowing through Oswald's CIA files - e.g. the  OS-351- 164 file from his  201- 289 248 CI/SIG file or his 74-500 file. as reported in the Appendices of  John Newman’s book, ‘Oswald and the CIA’- can take hours.   It's a damned sight more exacting than merely reading a bullshit text on 4 Chan or watching a fake video on YouTube.

But that's where we are now, and who can blame the conspiracy skeptics - like Michael Shermer and others -   for going after anything that remotely smacks of conspiracy when a gaggle of clowns and conspira-tards have taken over the zeitgeist and converted it to clown fodder?   Such as the likes of Alex Jones and this currently resurfacing retinue of goofballs trying to paint Hogg and his fellow Douglas classmates as liberal pawns or actors.

It was Barbadian psychologist Dr. Pat Bannister who once invoked the idea of  a "conspiracy culture",  to distinguish it from "conspiracy research community". The latter she envisaged as the province of mature, rational, educated adults. Serious people possessing some measure of intellect who brought their scientific, mathematical and other aptitudes to the investigation of multiple aspects of a putative real conspiracy - whether that be the BCCI banking conspiracy or the JFK assassination. These people put in real man hours and actually published their work in authoritative media and respected forums as opposed to spreading bunkum through the lowest dreg regions of the net.

The "conspiracy culture"  by contrast was defined by the  resident "conspiracy theorist",  who put forward conspiracies but didn't  advance adequate evidence or documents to  support them. Or, if such were advanced, they didn't meet elementary scientific standards for acceptance. For example, the lot who claim no men actually landed on the Moon and it was all filmed on a Hollywood lot.  This, despite the fact we can actually use lunar ranging instruments - planted by Apollo astronauts, to make incredibly accurate measurements of lunar distance.

If Dr. Bannister were alive today I warrant she'd also include another more debased category, the conspiracy clown.  Into this group would go Alex Jones and his gaggle of anti-intellectual loawbrows of the type now burping out nasty "conspiracy" memes against the FLA students.  This lot - I am sure- she'd bracket as  members of that half of the population with subnornal I.Q.  i.e.  that their low intelligence spurred them on to attack kids like David Hogg because they could see their intellects were superior to their own. Unable to parse Hogg or his classmates  as  "regular" students, it became easier to simply dismiss them  as 'hired crisis actors" or vilify them as  "liberal pawns". Who also had to be "taught" by liberals what to do and what to say in front of the assembled  media.  Of course, because the lowbrows themselves were too mentally deficient  to do it on their own, they couldn't imagine anyone else  - especially a student - able to.

This is what low intelligence gets you in a nation whose median I.Q. is sinking ever lower by the day, under Trumpdom.  When the 1.8 million DACAns are dispatched it will sink even lower, given the average DACA person has an I.Q. 25 points higher than a 4Chan internet  troll.

Again, it takes little to no effort to imbibe such twaddle or to share it, and spread it out to like-minded morons.  This in a social media  environment  susceptible to moronic fake news infection because it has few gatekeepers. (It is estimated that Facebook and Instagram have perhaps 200 human monitors -  i.e. apart from the algorithms - to detect specious conspiracy clown ideation. and prevetning it from circulation.)

The mainstream media then, confers way too much dignity on these net trolls from Reddit,  4Chan and elsewhere by saying they are spawning "conspiracies".  No, they are in fact lowbrow loons spawning and spreading low I.Q. memes.  A meme here being the equivalent of a basic mind virus first elucidated by biochemist Jacques Monod in his book, Chance And Necessity.  Sadly, as we've seen with Pizzagate, even a lowbrow can create mind viruses. The power inheres not in the meme's innate value, but in getting like minded idiots to spread it.  Receptacles who lack mental acuity, basic critical thinking skills and any familiarity with logic.

Props to Hogg for shrugging off the low I.Q. troll attacks, saying "This is just American democracy".

But in fact, Thomas Jefferson would disagree with him that this crude mode of expression - in terms of cockeyed conspiracy ideations - would qualify.   No, Jefferson would see these nutso expressions as a debasement of democracy. After all, in his 'Notes on Virginia', he wrote:
"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories. AND TO RENDER THEM SAFE, THEIR MINDS MUST BE IMPROVED."
Jefferson understood that a citizen "depository" of false beliefs and misinformation would ultimately destroy the Republic on account of the regression of citizens' minds. This is why he harped on mental improvement. He understood that for citizens to attain this improvement  of mind they needed to read in a focused and critical fashion and not believe anything without basis.. Another Founder, John Adams, wrote:
Facts are stubborn things,”
Because they do not admit of being merely twisted into what one wishes or prefers. Sure, the dregs of 4Chan or Reddit might hate that an articulate bunch of Florida kids could find their voices after a school shooting massacre  - but there it is.  Instead of feeding the green envy monster by concocting imbecilic conspiracy memes that don't fit the facts, they'd do better to do some real research and reading themselves.
Why? To improve their minds of course! That is assuming they have the intelligence to sustain any improvement.
Footnote:  A wannabe Vermont shooter -  Jack Sawyer- was recently tripped up when a friend reported him to the authorities. He had packed away an AR-15 and shotgun as well as handgun to attack his former High school. See e.g.

He told that friend (as reported on CBS  Early Show this a.m.) he had been "excited" about the Parkland massacre because it "was just stepping up natural selection a notch".  In fact , he had it backwards: The Parkland shooting was reverse natural slection in that a mentally debilitated guy took out 17 students with vastly higher I.Q.s than he had. But this is what happens when military style weapons are allowed to be purahsed by anyone.

Selected Questions- Answers From All Experts Astronomy Forum (Density Waves in Galaxies)

One explanation for the spiral arms in galaxies is the density wave model.

Question: I am an aeronautical engineer who has lots of math background so I am not afraid to ask a question on a theoretical or abstract area. Could you please explain the role of density waves in galaxies?  How good are these models really? What are some of the problems?


Your question directly touches on what engenders the spiral shape of a certain subset of galaxies.  Of course, one can roughly duplicate the shape using something as simple as dropping some cream in a cup of black  tea - then and 'Voila!' a mini-spiral "galaxy" forms before one's eyes. Of course, things aren't quite so simple for real galaxies, especially in terms of mathematically describing what happens to give their shape.

First, it's well to bear in mind that the particular density model (for a given galaxy) will vary depending on the conditions for a given galaxy. In principle then, there can be differing density wave models, and these pertain to a number of variables, factors such as: how tightly wound the spiral is (there are different grades which are assigned, e.g. Sa, Sb, Sc etc.), the degree of axial symmetry of the galaxy, and the modeling assumptions - in particular the potential-gravitational fields (V(r)) imposed on the system which determine the locations of orbital resonance in conjunction with the equations used.

    The gravitational potential energy is defined according to:

V(r) = - GMm/r

where G is the Newtonian gravitational constant, m is the unit or elemental mass within the galaxy, M is associated with the central mass concentration, and r is the distance from m to M. The negative sign, as usual, indicates a bound system.

    Interestingly, the use of density wave model development is largely contingent on the Boltzmann equation which is also used in space plasma physics. Thus:

f/ t + v grad f + F/m f/t = (f/t)C

where the
f/ t are partial derivatives, and (f/t)C    is the time rate of change in f (the velocity distribution function) due to collisions, i.e. between masses within the system. Technically, the Boltzmann eqn. is applied to FLUIDS and for that purpose the galaxies to which density wave approaches or models are applied are modeled firstly in the fluid format. (It is easier when dealing with an agglomeration of some 100 or 200 billion separate stars and associated orbits to think of them as comprising a "fluid" as opposed to say, 100 billion separate bodies to be treated in a 100 billion -body problem of celestial mechanics!)

    The referencing of stars, their locations and movements meanwhile embodies particulate approaches that are more kinematical in nature (but often less amenable to consistency with the density wave approach). Orbital assumptions are not simple by any means, and merely because a source says or asserts that "The stars in the inner part of a galaxy move faster than the density wave/s and the stars in the outer parts move slower than the wave/s." should not be taken too literally without posing a lot of further questions. (And one could argue here that "apples" and "oranges" are being compared because the two entities, stars and density waves arise from differing backgrounds - kinematic-particle based and fluid mechanical, wave based.)

    For example, what class is the spiral? How tightly wound? One must recognize too that an orbit in a spiral galaxy that appears closed (e.g. elliptic) in one reference frame may not be so in another. As an example, assume the (polar) coordinates for a galactic rotating frame are given as (r, φ) with:

dφ/dt = dΘ/dt -

where Wp is the angular velocity of the rotating frame. Then orbits are described by a Hamiltonian (recall the Hamiltonian adds kinetic and potential energies of the system):

H = ½(pr2 + pφ2/r2) + V(r) - pφ

where the pr, pφ  are the particle momenta referred to the associated coordinates, and V(r) is the gravitational potential. The point is that H can change depending on the coordinates, and what is presented for the previous frame as H = E - J
Wp (with simplification, pφ = J) may well be different for another frame.

    Second, we see from this that the question as to why the spiral pattern is not affected by stars much further out cannot really be properly answered unless a full vetting of the assumed density waves for the particular galaxy is presented. In this sense, one recognizes that a full analysis of density waves for a galaxy - call it "Barred G1"- is needed before one can say stars in a given G1 region (e.g. inner or outer) "move faster or more slowly" than the waves at that place. We need to know then: the physical conditions for the establishment of the density waves at location r1 in G1 and r10 in G1 where the r's denote radial distances from the center with r10 = 10 (r1).

    Another problem in dealing with density wave models is the fact they are  mainly  based  on the mode chosen for particular dynamical  wave equations  that  can be applied to the fluid framework. (Note: A "mode" is a standing wave that can be supported by a disk of given dimensions, mass.) More broadly, most astronomers who work in this narrow specialist area use the term interchangeably with Fourier m-component. (And it should be understood here that one of the main tools is Fourier analysis of the waves, but alas Fourier analysis is only taught usually to those who take advanced Calculus or analysis courses).

    As an example, a particular Fourier coefficient, call it an, applicable to a wave - may be defined:

an = 1/π
ò π f(x) cos mx dx

where m is the Fourier m-component.

    What types of modes can one have in these models? One is the "global" or m= 1 mode. Then there are the unstable (m= 2) modes.

    Whether one mode or another appears (or is used in a spiral galaxy modeling) is critical since it may well determine at what stage a barred spiral develops, if at all. Alas, another complexity enters here since mode analysis is not simply a stand alone but also incorporates a subtle aspect called "marginal stability analysis" wherein one will solve for a quantity Q and if it is very close to 1 one has the case of marginal stability and tightly wound modes or in the case of spirals, around the Sa class. The trouble is that when one seriously incorporates any heating of the disk for whatever reason (say a massive central black hole sucking up matter and generating much radiation) then the desired values of Q are soon out of range, making it impossible for a given spiral structure to sustain itself.

     Lastly, whenever one considers density waves in galaxies, it's important to bear in mind there remain enormous stumbling blocks even when applied to the simplest models of galactic disks (e.g. "zero thickness" disks). One of these arises from potential theory. Thus, the perturbed gravitational field at one location depends on the density perturbation at every other location. How will you know, ab initio, that the density perturbation at location r, φ, z say, does not accelerate the associated wave (in the fluid rest frame) to a higher velocity than any stars at the same or near location? You don't unless you investigate! What does it mean to "investigate"? It means a full bore mathematical modeling procedure to locate where all the  Lindblad orbital resonances are, since these can speed up the star. (We also want to know where the Landau damping regions are, which can impose a retardation of the waves.)

In short, what I've shown is that density wave analysis as applied to galaxies is a field almost to itself in terms of being amenable to general understanding. And complexity is often compounded because the mere posing of a question to do with a particular spiral galaxy's form almost always introduces a number of tacit assumptions that may not be applicable at all. This, of course, is the difficulty when dealing in generalities, as opposed to specific cases, examples.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sorry! You Have NO Constitutional Right To Own An AR-15!

Justice Antonin Scalia - your total conservative - asserted in the Heller case that no citizen has the right to own an assault weapon.

Seeing the Parkland, FL kids this a.m. confront the hidebound Reepo lawmakers in the Florida legislature was dumbfounding.  The kids had been assembled in groups of 10 to thrash out questions with these nitwits but soon learned they could as well pound sand or talk to walls.  One girl asked the leader of the House why such vicious weapons were needed at all, such rifles that are military issue and designed specifically for combat. The fool actually responded that they were often used by his constituents for hunting, especially for wild Boar!

This ought to have brought the kids to peals of howling laughter, but most took him seriously because - obviously - they lacked any inkling or knowledge of what hunting such game was like in the past. But to most of us who grew up in the sixties, the idea of hunting a wild Boar with a military style weapon is laughable. What? You think you're going against an Abrams tank!? It's a fuckin' animal, for god's sake!

In the olden days we'd select a  Remington 30.06 with hollow points to do the job, but nowadays the real hunter -  as opposed to a frightened dwarf (who needs a semi-automatic)-  would more probably choose the the Savage 11 FCNS Hunter, simply because it's totally capable of bringing down a 300 lb. boar from 400 yards away.   The point is that it's laughable any real man or hunter would resort to an AR-15 to kill a hog unless he was ass-faced pathetic and a total loser and weakling who needs an unfair advantage against game. That's why that FLA House idiot's response was codswallop.  As blogger David Lindorff put it recently:

An AR-15 is not a hunting weapon. In fact there’s a reason it’s called an “assault rifle.” As a hunter, unless you’re an atrocious shot and are hunting random flocks of small birds, you certainly don’t need to be able to fire powerful ammunition of two bullets per second — the rate at which experts say H=an ordinary person could be able to pull the trigger."

But the kids, at least for now seem to have bought this daft rationalization of why military style weapons are needed in civilian society.

The larger point is that NO one has the constitutional right to own an AR-15 or any other assault weapon, by which I mean all semi-automatics originally designed for military use.  I already cited the controversial 1939 case wherein FDR's Solicitor General framed the argument to the Court:

"The Second Amendment grants people a right that is not one which may be utilized for private purposes but only exists where the arms are borne in a militia or some other military organization provided by law and intended for protection of the State."

The SC decision was unanimous. 

Now, fast forward to 2008 and  Justice Antonin Scalia, writing the majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, in which the Supreme Court reversed a long-held position and ruled that the Second Amendment did give Americans an individual right to own firearms.  The court said the District’s ban on handguns in private homes went too far, but that regulation of gun ownership was compatible with the Second Amendment:

Scalia wrote at the time:

"It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service — M-16 rifles and the like — may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.”

To get the language straight, and in Scalia's terms, it is useful to replace "assault weapons,”  with  the phrase:  “the kinds of weapons that Justice Antonin Scalia has defined as ‘dangerous and unusual’ and subject to regulation or an outright ban under the Second Amendment.”  And, if these weapons are subject to regulation, then they do not make for a "constitutional right".

As Joe Scarborough put it this morning: "Some say this is embedded in the constitution. It is not!"


"Go back and read Heller, 2008, what Scalia and the Supreme Court said. You're right, you can have handguns in your home, and shotguns to protect your family. But the court has allowed states  - like Maryland (2017)  to ban assault style weapons.  They let this and other laws stand   - without challenge - as constitutional ."

This is important to know, because without being armed by facts, and in the heat of argument, the assault weapons defenders will throw all kinds of lies and BS at you, as that Florida House moron tossed at the Parkland student,  re: needing an AR- 15 to hunt wild boar.

As Joe Scarborough put it:

"On the substance of the matter let's be clear because there's so many people that say so many stupid things every day. Ignorant things about guns like on my twitter feed. Like rights to assault weapons. But look those are not constitutionally protected rights because states can limit those rights  Like the first amendment, second amendment rights are limited

If you want to make the argument that the Supreme Court should protect your rights to have military style weapons, that's legitimate.  But if you say it is your God-given constitutional right to have an AR15 that is not what the second amendment says. And it's not what Justice Scalia says or the Supreme Court says."

The Stoneman Douglas students need to learn and process these facts when they go up against those who try to tell them owning these weapons is an American "right". No it is not. It may be a desire for some 5 percent of guntards, but it is no right.

Footnote:  In the guntards' most recent setback, a challenge to California's 10-day mandated waiting period for gun purchase, the Supreme Court by an 8-1 verdict again set limits on their "rights" - siding with the state.

Solar Geo-Engineering Using Sulfate Aerosols To "Cool The Planet"? Unlikely!

Recall  albedo is that property of a planet which measures the fraction of solar radiation reflected back into space. The darker a planet's surface, the lower the reflectivity of that surface, so the lower the albedo and the higher the absorption of solar radiation. This has special implications for global warming, in particular the melting of the polar ice caps as the late Carl Sagan elucidated in his classic essay:, 'Ambush : The Warming of the World', in his book 'Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Beginning of the Millennium':

"Melting of ice caps (already occurring) results in diminished albedo (reflection of solar radiation back into space), and a darker Earth surface - with more infrared radiation absorbed - reinforcing the tendency while enhancing the melting effect, leading to further darkening of the surface, reduced albedo and more melting."

On the planet's present course of enhanced CO2 production we are experiencing reduced albedo, more absorption of infrared (heat) radiation and (not surprisingly) more melting of the polar ice caps. Now consider a novel proposal to create an artificial albedo  effect by infusing the upper atmosphere with millions of tons of sulfate aerosols -  leading to trillions of tiny particles to reflect back more of the Sun's infrared radiation to enable a cooling of the planet.  Such a proposal appeared in a 2106 paper by two Harvard scientists:  David W. Keith and Peter J.  Irvine, see e.g.

According to a recent piece on the research (WSJ  Review, Feb. 17-18, p. C4, 'A Big Sky Plan To Cool The Planet')  "the intervention they describe would ramp up after a decade, to delivering perhaps a million tons of sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere each year. The impact would be unnoticeable to the naked eye, reflecting well under 1 percent of solar radiation back into space"

At the same time the WSJ authors   (Gernot Wagner and Martin L. Weitzman) admit that this plan cannot be a replacement for reducing carbon pollution but rather a "supplement to other efforts to combat climate change."   They estimate the start up costs would also be low, "perhaps too low"- based on simply letting a high flying plane "deliver aerosols to the stratosphere near the  equator". The biggest annual expense would likely be satellite monitoring, say for around $2 b a year. Easy peasy right? Not so fast.

One critical element in the satellite monitoring would be how the interjection of up to 0.2 gigatons of sulfate aerosols a year might affect cloud cover and specifically the albedo associated with it.  Of  particular relevance is earlier research  appearing in Eos Transactions: 'Can Earth’s Albedo and Surface Temperature Increase Together’ in Vol. 87, No. 4, Jan. 24, 2006, p. 37,  wherein the authors pointedly noted evidence that Earth’s albedo increased from 2000 to 2004 but that this had NOT led to a reversal in global warming. They also remarked on apparent temperature anomalies and divergence between differing altitudes but pointed to the differences between clouds at those altitudes.

The authors cited  the most up to date cloud data from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP). The data – from a range of meteorological satellites covering the entire Earth- disclosed the most likely reason for the anomaly was primarily in the redistribution of the clouds. As the authors observed:

"whereas low clouds have decreased during the most recent years, high clouds have increased to a larger extent leading to both an increase in cloud amount AND an increased trapping of infrared radiation.”

The question then becomes: can the Harvard researchers be  absolutely certain their injection of sulfate aerosols at that altitude actually produce higher albedo AND global cooling? 

Subsequently, research from  Mark D. Zelinka et al.   basically decomposed cloud feedbacks to better connect them to specific physical processes and outcomes.  One primary process is radiative transfer, especially in a plane parallel atmosphere. The basic layout of the problem (especially involving clouds) is well known but difficult. Thus one would wish to investigate  Rayleigh scattering in concert with standard gray atmosphere radiative transport. An equation of transfer that applies is: -dI/dt (1/k r ) = I – J

Where k is a mass scattering coefficient, r  is the molecular density (e.g. in cloud cover) and J is the vector source function for a specific intensity I. If the correct Stokes parameters (I, Q, U, V) which describe degree of polarization are included, and the right incidence angle of radiation occurs, we can expect the propagation of radiant energy from the S. hemisphere to the north very effectively. can't forget or omit diffusive reflection and re-transmission of radiation, say arising from particulates . Chandrasekhar in Radiative Transfer, (Dover Publications) shows that for angles of incidence in the range : 0.5 < i < 0.8 radian, diffusive reflection allows the radiation reflected normal to the incidence direction to actually have higher intensity than the original. Have Keith and Irvine properly factored this into their sulfate aerosol modeling?

For the Zelinka team, the approach entailed using so-called cloud radiative kernels along with detailed model cloud information provided by the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project Simulator. They calculated the feedback due to 49 different types of clouds—which were divided into seven altitude categories and seven optical depth categories.  See e.g.

  The specific findings included:

1.  Upper level clouds rise to higher altitudes in all models, warming the planet by trapping more heat

2. Low-level cloud cover decreases in all models, warming the planet by reflecting less incoming sunlight back to space.

3.  Optical depth of low-level clouds increases in all models, cooling the planet by reflecting more sunlight

How then will the injected sulfate aerosols affect the optical depths of the clouds with which they interact at different altitudes , and how will this influence the albedo expected?   Given we have evidence that higher albedo in clouds doesn't necessarily affect global warming, how can they be sure these sulfate aerosols will?

What about reflecting 1 percent of solar radiation back into space? Can that magnitude of albedo change really be attained, and is it enough given the surface darkening forces already at work? (Including which have caused massive permafrost melting and release of methane - a greenhouse gas with an even larger forcing component than carbon dioxide. See e.g.

We note here that the solar insolation is  1360  W/ m2    so a 1 percent change translates to   13. 6 W/ m2         The planet is currently out of balance by 0.6 W/ m2  and this is almost entirely due to the annual rate of CO2 concentrations increasing. Further,  every increase in CO2 concentration by 2 ppm increases the radiative heating effect by 2 W/ m2.   If the CO2 concentration changes by 2 ppm/ yr. that means after a decade the cumulative radiative heating will be 10 x  2 W/ m2.  = 20 W/ m2.  The additional question then becomes: can the cumulative added sulfate aerosols after a decade be enough to impact the radiative heating from CO2 increase?   This is especially critical given the rate of greenhouse warming is likely more rapid than has hitherto been reported. 

The WSJ authors, meanwhile, acknowledge another problem with the sulfate aerosols is that they likely will increase erosion of the ozone layer - exposing humans to more ultraviolet radiation, see e.g.

The WSJ authors suggest instead that calcium carbonate (Ca CO3) particles be used instead, but this idea is no better and perhaps worse. We definitely do not need to add to the carbonate stock whether via "reflective" particulate matter or other.    For reference one can cite the Eos Transactions paper, Progress Made in Study of Ocean’s Calcium Carbonate Budget’, which noted that sedimentary carbonates represent the largest reservoir of carbon on Earth. The author also noted that “a third of the anthropogenic CO2 that has been added to the atmosphere since the middle of the 18th century has been absorbed by the oceans."

As the CO2 concentrations exceed 500 ppm, that threshold will be reached. In other words, like by the year 2060. Increases of atmospheric CO2 also increase concentrations of inorganic carbon, mainly in the forms pCO2 and HCO3. A side effect is to also diminish the pH of sea water. The author notes p. 374:

Future decreases in sea water pH (and CO3(-2)) concentration will decrease the saturation state of the waters with respect to Ca CO3”.

This means that spillover becomes much more likely as the saturation threshold is lowered, with masses of CO2 released additionally into the atmosphere. Melting ice from glaciers, etc. – far from being an assisting agent to a new ice age, will reduce further the sea water pH and accelerate the release of CO2 from the oceans. Leading to much much warmer conditions and even more acidic oceans than exist currently (likely pH of 6 or less by 2075). Perhaps  rendering the seas so acidic as to kill off the  phytoplankton, the main producers of oxygen for our planet.

The takeaway here is that even using aerosol reflective particulates as a "supplement" will not help us unless  the total mass of carbon can also be reduced  significantly from its current 45 - 50 gigatons per year. What the Harvard researchers plan will do is provide a brief "feel good" solution that can boost optimism for a bit, and perhaps - if we're really lucky - postpone the advent of the runaway greenhouse effect for a few years.  

One thing the Harvard profs who wrote the WSJ Review piece are right about is (ibid.):

"The greatest concern about solar geoengineering is political: the fear that giving it serious attention  will crowd out long overdue steps to cut carbon pollution."

As I indeed showed, unless carbon pollution is also  cut - and significantly  this aerosol plan using either sulfates or calcium carbonates is a non-starter.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

"Guns don't kill people"? Countering The Rationalizations and Memes Employed By The NRA

"This weapon, the AR-15, was actually the weapon the military was trying to use - instead of the M 16- in Vietnam, because it was more lethal." - Joe Scarborough yesterday morning

Even as one hundred activist students - survivors of the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High -  march to the Florida state capitol today, they have to know they will be confronting hard- headed lawmakers. Especially on the Reepo side, i.e. those who sold out their brains long ago to the NRA for a few campaign bucks.  The kids, part of the newly activated #NeverAgain movement, with allies across the nation, will have to be able to counter the specious arguments that will be hurled back at them.

This begs the question of why, apart from campaign largesse, it is so difficult to change minds. Well, one reason is the penchant of the NRA to trot out  glib rationalizations and facile arguments,  with which it seeds the susceptible  brains of so many.

How effective are these canards and rationalizations? A poll reported this morning on CBS shows that the nation is nearly evenly divided on an assault weapons ban - among the few things that would actually work to limit mass shootings - ask Australia!   The poll showed only 50 percent support such a ban and 46 percent oppose. WHY do so many oppose it? I submit because they are victims of one or more NRA mind viruses that have infected their brains and spread by the minions of the NRA.

For example: "Guns don't kill people, people kill people".

Which is one of the most popular because it catches so many would-be opponents off guard. They are then left to flap gums, i.e. "B-b-but y-you can't say that!!"  As opposed to offering a powerful retort,  for example:

"But if you had taken that AR-15 out of that kid's hands and replaced it with just a kitchen knife would he have still killed so many?"  In other words, the weapon used also factors in, just as the use of an accelerant by an arsonist to burn down an apartment bldg. That accelerant - like the AR-15 or any other assault weapon -dramatically increases the body count. This isn't rocket science and you don't need a Mensa level IQ to get it.

This tack effectively puts  them on the defensive. Of course, then the usual reply - again thanks to the NRA - is: "So what?  You now want to ban all kitchen knives too?"

NOOOOOO... But you fail to process that there is a logical difference between a prosaic, everyday implement that can sometimes be used as a weapon, and a military style rifle that is specifically designed to kill. In this case, a rifle that was once earmarked for possible use in Vietnam to make killing easier than the older model M16.  In other words, Roscoe, how many mass killings have been done by knives? It is easy to mock the notion of "knife laws" but when you hold their feet (and brains) to the fire on a logical basis they are the ones usually spluttering.  

Or maybe not. CBS interviewer John Blackstone tried to do that with the couple ( James and Kimberly Snead)  that took  in  Nikolas Cruz, even confronting them about allowing him to have a case of "five or six guns"  including the AR-15 assault rifle. The guy - a total dope - was nonchalant,  telling Blackstone when asked about this, "It was his right".  His right?! A nineteen year old twerp whose brain is still forming? So these Sneads  also appear to be brain- jacked idiots who perhaps had imbibed too much NRA hog swill.   Confirmation? When Blackstone asked James Snead  if he felt differently about it now after the massacre, he replied, "No, not at all." In other words,  this guntard would let another kid into his home to have his own gun case too. It is morons like this that confirm again the need for parental (or guardianship) licensing tests, and  blacken this country's name and make us all look like damned fools.

It was two days ago that I came across another favorite NRA trope that I've seen in various guises. It appeared on my Facebook home page, and it clearly showed why banning assault weapons is often made to appear ridiculous. The canard was compliments of a nephew who is part of my "Friends" group. It went like this:

"A DUI driver gets rightly blamed and prosecuted for killing 3 people in a crash he caused. A guy shoots up 17 kids with an assault rifle -  and the rifle gets the blame.  Typical liberal logic."

Most of us have to admit this "reasoning"  is mind blowing in its simplicity and precisely for that reason is dangerous, because it can lull those without critical thinking skills to accept it.  This is what I call an example of sophistry often employed by those who'd seek to defend the purchase and ownership of a weapon which - as Joe Scarborough notes at the top - was actually considered for use in Vietnam because of its lethality. In other words, its staunch defenders are full tilt embracing the right to own and operate a weapon that is specifically dedicated to slaughter the enemy in a war theater.

Now, let's take step back and process merely what the old fashioned M 16 could do as reflected in this image after a whole village was wiped out by Lt. William Calley's platoon in the Mai Lai massacre:

Dozens of men, women and children were slain in that rogue exercise engineered by the war criminal Calley and it is surely difficult to process how a more lethal scenario could emerge. But - if the AR- 15 had been used instead it would have snuffed out  the few surviving villagers.. Yet that weapon - at least ownership of it - is what the assault weapons' folks defend.  WHY?

Let's go back to the specious argument posted on Facebook and see why it is specious.  Consider the case of the DUI - such as occurred in Denver barely a month ago-  when three members of a family were wiped out of existence by that inebriated driver. He was surely to blame as his blood alcohol level was later found to be 0.3. There is no issue on who was to blame, and the car was merely the instrument for the killing. However, the extent of the death was self limiting by the capacity of the car.

In the case of an AR-15 (or other assault rifle) there is no self limiting factor - and a gunman (like Nikolas Cruz) could move at will - say floor to floor, room to room- slaughtering as many as his trigger finger speed and aim permit.  Now, this is crucial  - the ability to do that is a function primarily of the weapon,  not just the mobility of the gunman. Again, leave him with just his "fists" - as my AR-15 owner pal put two days ago, i.e. "more people are killed with fists than guns" - and I promise you 17 do not die.

Hence, the AR-15  example is qualitatively and quantitatively distinct from the DUI deaths.  For sure, the gunman is also to blame - but his choice of instrument must also be factored in, to the extent of contributing to the body count. In other words, it's the combination of shooter and weapon that's most important. Or to use the words of journalist Hava Leipzig Holzhauer, writing in the Broward Sun-Sentinel:

"This combination is a threat to our way of life in America."

As I posted in a response comment, take the AR-15 out of Cruz's hands and substitute a knife -  whatever one you  choose- and 17 don't lose their lives. You can take that to the bank. What has been done is to replace one of the most lethal weapons with a much less lethal one. In the first case, the weapon,  a cousin to the M16, is expressly designed to kill and do so with maximal efficiency.  Moreover, it is expressly designed to kill people, not hunt prey. As blogger David Lindorff put it:

"An AR-15 is not a hunting weapon. In fact there’s a reason it’s called an “assault rifle.” As a hunter, unless you’re an atrocious shot and are hunting random flocks of small birds, you certainly don’t need to be able to fire powerful ammunition of two bullets per second — the rate at which experts say an ordinary person could be able to pull the trigger."

By contrast, the knife  -- no matter how sharp or large- must usually be wielded by an assailant in an up close and personal manner. It isn't like taking aim from 20 or more feet away and dispatching victims with the touch of a trigger.  To kill seventeen people  even in the same room - the assailant would have to work demonically, stabbing from one to the other, and there is no assurance any given slash would be a fatal one  say like an  AR-15 bullet fired into a chest.  Even if it took only 3 seconds per stab, this  is much longer than firing 2 rounds per second. And you can't assume the people will just stand there like dummies and let you do them in, oh no. They will react and more than likely several will gang up to take the assailant down

This is the first point that the assault rifle lovers must be forced to admit, that it is far more difficult to kill with a knife than an assault weapon. Now, the FLA AR-15 owner in his response cited a stat where he said: "you're more than twice as likely to be killed from being kicked or punched than being shot".

Which merely goes to show how statistics can be used to disguise the nature of a threat if not carefully considered.   What was my retort? Well, I said I would gladly face any flying fists or feet rather than an AR-15 (or AK 47) any day. If he believed he'd sway me to accepting that owning an AR-15 was ok because I'd more likely get offed by a latter day Bruce Lee with a karate kick, he was mistaken.

His argument actually derived from then Texas AG  Greg Abbott's 2013 Facebook post. But that post did not include homicides the FBI attributed to handguns (6,220), firearms whose type was not stated (1,587) and "other guns" (97). Those numbers mean handguns were used in 72 percent of all firearm murders in 2011 and slightly under half of all murders using any kind of weapon that year.

These sort of stats have also been used by assault rifle defenders to argue that the risk of being shot  by an assault rifle in a mass shooting is so freakishly small it is not worth fretting about.

But the exact same logic can be applied to terror attacks by Islamic extremists.

It was  columnist Gideon Rachman of The Financial Times  who first pointed out that the number of Americans killed by terrorists since 1960 is "about the same as the number killed over the same period in deer accidents". For example, cars careening into a deer and being driven into a ditch.  The probability turned out to be roughly 1 in 18,000.

But look at what we are dealing with, despite the rarity of terror attacks!  TSA searches of bags etc.  at all the airports, alerts, blockages of roads and mobilized tactical and other police forces after each terror attack. So why this huge reaction difference if the odds are so minuscule?  Because we treat the threat of a terror attack - say on a plane or in NYC on New Year's Eve -   as a code red security threat that must be dealt with accordingly.  So my question is, "Why not treat mass shootings ALSO as terror attacks?"

If we adopt the arguments of the assault rifle lovers  i.e. that mass shootings are just a "distortion" of overall gun deaths, then why do most of them also support the anti-terror strategies?  I mean if the odds of being killed in a terror attack are 1 in 18,000 and the odds of being murdered in a mass shooting by a homegrown nut wielding an AR-15  are 1 in 11,000  why not adopt the same threat response for both?

There is only one logical reason for the difference in response: the rank and file of the AR-15 defenders and NRA gun lobby fear the Islamic extremists who carry out terror attacks more than the white boys who do mass shootings.  This is why I stated in a tongue- in -cheek manner that if most or all of these mass shootings were done by Islamic extremists (or black gang members)  you'd see action on gun control faster than a  tachyon's flight..

Look, the gun insanity will not stop until our population of assault weapon owners are forced to confront these contradictions and provide coherent explanations. Also,  why they continue to support a loophole in the gun laws that enables any extremist to buy an assault weapon,

Added to the gun debate there is added confusion now that Russian bots are evidently entering as well. As reported in the NY Times:

One hour after news broke about the school shooting in Florida last week, Twitter accounts suspected of having links to Russia released hundreds of posts taking up the gun control debate.
The accounts addressed the news with the speed of a cable news network. Some adopted the hashtag #guncontrolnow. Others used #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting

Those automated Twitter accounts have been closely tracked by researchers. Last year, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, in conjunction with the German Marshall Fund, a public policy research group in Washington, created a website that tracks hundreds of Twitter accounts of human users and suspected bots that they have linked to a Russian influence campaign.

The researchers zeroed in on Twitter accounts posting information that was in step with material coming from well-known Russian propaganda outlets. To spot an automated bot, they looked for certain signs, like an extremely high volume of posts or content that conspicuously matched hundreds of other accounts.

All this shows me we have  a lot of work to do in order to combat and counter the NRA sophistry. We now also need to be aware many of the assault rifle defenders may well be Russian bots  seeking to stir up even bigger shit storms.

See also: