Mail: Climate, solidarity, humor, etc.

Mail at Chaos Manor Friday, January 16, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Catching up. There is also a View today, Monday, January 19, 2015

There is a lot of Mail to catch up, and I will continue to add to the View. Apologies for the disorganization , I am trying to regularize but I can’t do it myself, and my long suffering friends have their own lives…   But do see View today as well


We begin with the “hottest year ever” absurdity. How does anyone know? We are talking about tenths of a degree F, over centuries. From all the historical records it was warmer in the Northern hemisphere in the Viking time, but of course we don’t KNOW, nor do we know how much warmer – or cooler — it was then. But it is absurd to say we know the average temperature of the Earth in 1900. Ocean temperatures then were taken with a bucket and a mercury thermometer and were no more than 1 degree of accuracy if that. Remember when we were young with mercury thermometers under the tongue? No one worried about tenths of a degree. It would be pointless. Even in space program days with anal probe thermisters which we calibrated daily we could be sure of 1 degree accuracy, and this of body temperature of a single subject. So now suddenly it is warmer on all Earth than it was in dust bowl times – and we know with certainty.  I don’t believe that.

Local news reported that 2014 was the hottest on record, surpassing the previous records in 2005 and 2010, going back over a century for the previous record.

I find that interesting in light of the fact that we have been in that temperature plateau for the last 17 years, which would take us back to 1998. Also interesting is the fact that Dr. Spencer shows that 1998 had a far higher spike than the one in 2010, both of which were due to El Nino events, and there isn’t anything recognizable as a spike in 2005:

(overall page here:

It’s also interesting that I can’t find the article/report on the local news’ website in order to grab the much earlier year. USA Today however has it here:

Pertinent quote: "The global temperature from 2014 broke the previous record warmest years of 2005 and 2010 since record-keeping began in 1880."

It is interesting to note that 1880 was still in the "wall" of the Little Ice Age; it is highly unlikely to have been any sort of record itself. It is entirely probable that the observed warming trend from the time records were kept in 1880 — and there is one, for about the first half to two-thirds of the 20th century — is simply the normal, expected rebound from the Little Ice Age.

Given the back to back series of extended solar minima that ran throughout the Little Ice Age, especially if combined with some of the large volcanic eruptions that took place during the time frame, it seems very probable that those comprise the explanation of the deviation, and that the current combo of solar inactivity and volcanic activity likely comprise the explanation of the current plateau.


Stephanie has the credentials to question with authority..


What bothers me is the assurance these people pretend.  Most of these modelers have never actually taken a real temperature, do not seem to know the difference between globe and air temperature.  Perhaps satellite temps are as accurate and reliable as said, but how do they know?  It takes theory to know what numbers to average, and many are not regular so they average guess in with data.  It sure does not look warmer in DC just now,  and satellites show lots of ice at both poles.




The general public ‘science’ article published by the Inquisitor about the disappearing pulsar drew upon another general public science article published by Popular Science. The Popular Science interpretations of the science were quite liberally reinterpreted by the Inquisitor.

Nothing unusual happened to pulsar J1906. It is NOT beaming its signal somewhere else in time, just somewhere else in space. We detect pulsars as pulsars because spinning neutron stars that are accreting mass from another object produce jets at points perpendicular to the accretion disk, a plane determined by the neutron star’s magnetic field, not by its spin axis. Just like on the Earth, the magnetic poles on a neutron star seldom align with the spin axis of the neutron star, so as the neutron star rotates (at up to 30 times per second), the jets emitted at the poles are swept though space like a lighthouse. If those jets happen to illuminate the Earth, we detect them as pulsars. We can only detect pulsars that happen to aim at the Earth at some point in their rotation. Most pulsars never do, so we do not detect them, though we can estimate their number given the number of pulsars we have found.

Precession happens to any spinning object whose rotation axis is not vertical. As children, we see this as the wobble of our toy tops when we nudge them away from vertical while they spin. Newton provided a means of predicting the rate of precession for our toy tops, so we call this Newtonian precession. When you get up to objects of significant mass, such as the Earth, scientists like to differentiate the precession of these objects by calling it geodetic precession (see While it is difficult to define ‘vertical’ in open space, a rotating mass produces a bulge at its equator, making it wider and more massive around its equator than it is around its poles. The Earth has this issue. The gravitational influences of the Moon and the Sun would like to keep that bulge at the Earth’s equator in the plane of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth and in the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The two are not coincident, so they are each pulling on the Earth’s bulge in different directions at different times. Also, the Earth’s spin axis is tilted 26 degrees to it solar orbital plane, likely by a large impact over 4 billion years ago. All of this leads the Earth to have an approximately 26,000 year precession. If we beamed a laser straight up in the sky from the North spin pole, it would strike the star we currently call Polaris. A few thousand years now, it will strike a different star. At some point in the time between, any observers watching Earth from Polaris will see our laser beam wink out. Disappear. Did the Earth just vanish? No. Did our laser beam go somewhere else in time? No.

What is complicating the Inquisitor interpretation is a misunderstanding of geodetic precision. Scientists make this distinction because large rotating masses alter their precession rates in a significant way due to the effects of gravity. In 1916, W. de Sitter used general relativity to predict that when a mass rotates, it actually rotates the spacetime around it as well. Think of it as a twisting effect, as would happen if you spun a bowling ball on a rubber sheet. This is called frame dragging. If a spinning mass is precessing, then frame dragging will have an effect on the rate of precession. It will not, though, allow the rotating object to send signals to other times.

What was observed with pulsar J1906 was geodetic precession shifting the axis of rotation away from the Earth, thus rendering the pulsar undetectable. While it may be the first time we have observed a pulsar doing this, it is not going to re-write the physics text books. Even without the effects of general relativity, this pulsar, and ALL of the other pulsars we currently observe, will eventually become undetectable as pulsars from the Earth as precession moves their rotation axes. Geodetic precession just predicts the when of this better than Newtonian precession. According to the Popular Science article, geodetic precession predicts that pulsar J1906 will be observable as a pulsar from the Earth again in just 160 years.

Which ought to settle that…


It’s Alive !

Dear Jerry:

Delighted to see you back on the air !

Here, to speed your physiotherapy, is evidence of a major advance on muscle building, from researches at Duke:

Best regards

Russell Seitz

Fellow of the Department of Physics Harvard University


Eric Holder does something right, for once.


Roland Dobbins


Movie Predestination

Someone made a movie out of Heinlein’s “All You Zombies” called Predestination. I just downloaded it off iTunes. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. After “The Puppet Masters”, I’m not sure what to expect.

Glad you are home by the way. Just be patient. The brain is a truly amazing thing.

Phil Tharp

But patience is a virtue hard to keep when a hundred trivial things go wrong and you can’t just get up and fix them.


I do not expect Hollywood to do well with Heinlein


The clarity of Philosophy,

Clarity of Philosophy

The Great Lao-Tzu said:

"It is only when you see a mosquito

landing on your testicles that you realize

there is always a way to solve problems without using violence.”




Subj: Rush

Pull quotes from today’s show (12:30 ET segment)

"Anyway, Mr. (Roger) Simon continues to write and speculate about why Obama ultimately didn’t go (to the rally in Paris). And then he gets to this: "Is there a ‘sleeper cell’ in the White House? It would certainly explain Obama’s not going to France…. There are so many other things that the existence of a White House ‘sleeper cell’ would explain that I couldn’t even begin to count them. …But who would be a member of this cell? … You are …free to guess…

"Well, now it’s not me calling a Democrat president irrelevant, it is, which is part of State-Run Media. Jim Patterson is the writer’s name. "The utter failure of the Obama administration can be measures in so many ways, from the number of beheaded American journalists, to embarrassing heads of state by spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkle’s personal mobile phone, to callously calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a war hero, ‘chicken shit’ and a ‘coward.’

Leslie Gelb <> is a foreign policy writer at the New York Times … "I’ve never proposed such a drastic overhaul" of the US foreign policy establishment. "But if you think hard about how Mr. Obama and his team handled this weekend in Paris, I think you’ll see I’m not enjoying a foreign policy neurological breakdown. …Valerie Jarrett doesn’t know what she’s doing. …It wasn’t just because President Obama’s or Vice President Biden’s absence was a horrendous gaffe. More than this, it demonstrated beyond argument that the Obama team lacks the basic instincts and judgment necessary to conduct US national security policy in the next two years. It’s simply too dangerous to let Mr. Obama continue as is … I have to tell you that I’ve never made such extreme and far-reaching proposals," and he goes on. His proposals are for Obama to get rid of everybody. Fire Valerie Jarrett. But not just that. He wants them replaced with Republicans…"

It is clear that Obama made a large blunder when he did not go or send Biden to the Paris arm in arm march



Since you’re recovering, I thought you’d appreciate a little ‘physic:’



This delightful link:

led me to another, better link:

Save the language! Up the Word Warriors!



Subject: botnets via home router compromise

Today’s “Infosecurity” magazine contains an article on the most recent DDOS attack on some game servers. My son’s console was impacted. Turns out the DDOS was a result of a botnet (as usual) using home routers. “Factory-default usernames and passwords for home routers are once again the culprits behind two high-profile distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on Sony and Microsoft’s gaming networks.”

Long story short: some home devices are installed with the default user names and passwords set to things like “user” and “password.” In fact, there are websites where you can find out default user names and passwords for popular devices. As in this from the Verizon support site:

“What are the default user name and password for my Verizon 9100EM router? What are the default user name and password for my Verizon 9100EM router? The default user name for the Verizon 9100EM router is "admin," and the default password is "password" (do not include the quotation marks).

* Note: To improve security, your router password may have been changed to the serial number of your Verizon 9100 router if you hadn’t previously changed the password from the default of "password." You can find your router’s serial number on the label affixed to the bottom or back of your router.

* If you reset your router to the factory default settings, the router password will return to "password."

The user name and password are both case-sensitive, so be sure to enter them in lower case.”

Busting into someone’s home network is easier said than done, but once in, having default user names and passwords is always bad. Be careful.

Robbed by his own robot…


Welcome back to your keyboard!

In a recent post you bashed our country’s practice of foreign aid. Everything you said was correct, and you might have continued at greater length. As usual, however, there are exceptions. The story of our Haiti-Micah Project is pretty heartwarming, and I think it is an exception. For starters, see

This foreign aid effort has been conducted by an association of US churches, with a helping hand from the US government. It started small and grew organically over a period of years. It has been closely managed by a small team which has obtained the cooperation of the local government. The point of mentioning the program here: Foreign aid can succeed if it is closely managed, if adequate time is available, and if the objective is to be helpful.


Weave put  more than a billion cash into Haiti.  Enough to get everyone out of poverty? Not hardly. So who got the money?  Yes, churches and private organizations tend to be efficient – with money they raised.  With tax money not always so.




"It may also be the case that the viruses’ more or less complex functions in various species can help us to understand why we are so different.”



Roland Dobbins 

Is this cheering news or frightening?  I have put smart making bugs in stories..  See Beowulf’s Children


This is from the opening “letter” in The Adventures of Hajii Baba of Ispahan, by James Morier, 1st published 1824.

A distinct line must be drawn between ‘the nations who wear the hat and those who wear the beard’; and they must ever hold each other, stories as improbable, until a more general intercourse of common life takes place between them. What is moral and virtuous with the one, is wickedness with the other—that which the Christian reviles as abominable, is by the Mohamedan held sacred. Although the contrast between their respective manners may be very amusing, still it is most certain that the Christian will ever feel devoutly grateful that he is neither subject to Mohamedan rule, nor educated in Mohamedan principles; whilst the latter, in his turn looking upon the rest of mankind as unclean infidels, will continue to hold fast to his persuasion, until some powerful interposition of Providence shall dispel the moral and intellectual darkness which, at present, overhangs so Large a portion of the Asiatic world.

Mr. Morier is a historical figure (you can look him up in Wikipedia) who spent 1809 to 1819 in what was then Persia. He was born in Smyrna (the one in the Ottoman Empire) and grew up there, 1780 to 1808. So his observations are only a historical curiosity, of course.


Agatha Christie’s pre WW II Come Tell Me How You Live has good insights into Mesopotamia also





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