The Iran Deal; Climate Colder or Warmer? ; Chaos Manor Reviews is coming back.

Chaos Manor View, Friday, July 17, 2015

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

“This is known as ‘bad luck’.”

– Robert A. Heinlein


We are reviving Chaos Manor Reviews. There will be a lot more there as time goes on.

My Surface Pro is installing a major upgrade; I infer that since it is only 22% done, and it has been a while since it started.  I presume it is a new build of Windows 10; I also note that my Windows 7 systems want me to reserve upgrade to 10.  This looks to be a big deal. Hmm. The Surface is restarting.  I’ll see. Ah. After restart it’s 32% done.  A major build all right.  Fortunately the Surface Pro 3 is not a main machine…

OK through trundling, restarting and such.  No build number.  Must be the release.

1952: OK it’s the release candidate.  I’ll explore it over the weekend and something to say about it in Chaos Manor Reviews.


Had good story conference with SKYPING Wednesday. My 2008 Mac Book Pro died (power failed) quite suddenly after two hours plus, so I thought I would replace it. Just checked, and yes, there is a replaceable battery as well as a replaceable hard disk back there; I wondered because there was no way to replace the Air’s battery. With the Pro – this Pro at least – it’s push pull click click; I just checked. Now I have to figure out what year it is – there are apparently several different sizes depending on year, and I don’t remember exactly when I got the Pro; around 2008, and that was the year of my brain cancer, and my memories are a bit fuzzy. I’ll find out. The price seems to be between $50 and $100.

Performance on a new Pro would be better I suppose but for what I do with that Mac would not be particularly noticed. 

Ah, About This Mac says it’s a late 2008 15” running Yosemite. On line price seems to be about $100, although I still haven’t found what Apple sells them for; my Mac experts tell me stick with Apple. No hurry in any event. Alas I suppose I’ll have to replace the Air with its swollen battery, but the latest Surface Windows 10 Build is encouraging, and a tablet with OneNote is better than an Air for the kind of research I do away from my desk. Since there are obviously several hours of battery life in this 7 year old MacBook Pro which I don’t use as a portable anyway, I suspect I get a mains outlet on an extension cord for living room SKYPING and otherwise do nothing…


The Heritage Foundation on the Iran “Deal” (a kind of agreement with a foreign power unknown until recently) had this to say:

 The deal the Obama administration reached with Iran is one of the worst in history, according to Heritage Foundation defense expert Jim Carafano:

Proponents of the Deal say it stops Iran from having the bomb anytime soon, but I see nothing in it that would make that impossible or even very difficult except Iranian intentions; apparently Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry believe they have persuaded Iran not to go for a bomb, at least not on their watch. That would be powerful diplomacy.

Inspection requires notice, and no American Inspectors are allowed at all.

US inspectors will be banned from all Iranian nuclear sites under controversial deal amid warnings ‘only American experts can tell if they are cheating’

  • Only countries with ‘diplomatic relations’ to Iran make up inspection teams
  • As the U.S. does not, no American nuclear experts will be taking part
  • NSA Susan Rice also confirmed no independent U.S. inspections in Iran
  • Nuclear deal with UN requires Iran to dismantle key elements of program
  • Inspectors will have access to nuclear facilities, but must request visits

Some say it’s a brilliant act of diplomacy by diplomatic masters.

Putin’s Brilliant Diplomacy to Bring West, Iran to Negotiations Table

Le Huffington Post columnist Didier Chaudet analyzed Russia’s decision to sell Iran the S-300 missile defense system. The deal is not about mere economics, but a series of complex, chess-like moves successfully implemented by the Russian government to bring the West and Iran to the negotiation table.

Read more:

Why I’ll vote in favor of the Iran nuclear deal

07/14/15 01:23 PM

By Rep. Donald Beyer

The historic accord to close off Iran’s pathways to a nuclear bomb is an enormous win for U.S. national security and President Obama. In the coming weeks, I plan to vote in support of this landmark achievement and urge my colleagues to do the same.

I witnessed firsthand the transformative power of diplomacy as ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. I commend our diplomats for skillfully averting a global showdown with Iran as part of a deal that blocks its efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon.  <snip>

Congress can vote to reject this “deal” but Obama has vowed to veto any such rejection. I presume that somewhere in the Pentagon there is a group studying a world with a nuclear Iran. this process of Presidential agreements without advice and consent of the Senate, with the President able to veto Congressional disapproval is a recent Constitutional discovery, unknown through most of the history of the Republic.


Maunder Minimum Subject 
Hi Jerry,
With the constant hyperbole surrounding climate discussions, it’s hard for a non-scientist to get a solid sense of a writer’s objectivity. For instance, Ars Technica’s science writer says the maunder minimum is not an important factor on climate even if true.
I like reading Ars, but I’ve noticed its science writer is often (always?) at odds with your views. I’ve read everything you wrote here for over a decade so I value your opinion quite a bit, but I’d also like to read the opposite view. My problem is finding a source I trust. Do you have any advice on how a non-scientist can see through these issues without getting misinformed too much?
Thank you!

Francis Gingras

The arstechnica piece says that the Little Ice Age was caused by volcanoes, not solar variation. This was, interestingly, a theory first published by Benjamin Franklin after he witnessed volcanic dust from Iceland extended a long way; he was sailing to England. And we know that 1816, the Year Without a Summer, was almost certainly caused by the Tambora eruption, which injected reflective particles into the atmosphere and thus changed the Earth’s albedo. More solar radiation was reflected and thus did not reach the Earth.

The models of solar activity predict a new minimum in solar activity. The models have been validated against observation back to as long as we have observation. They are pretty accurate. Whether decreased solar activity has much relationship to solar output – and thus to irradiation received by Earth – is not so clear. We do know that the variance in solar radiation is tiny compared to the output of the sun – but that tiny variance exceeds all the other sources of thermal addition to the Earth’s eco-system, including warming from the interior (due to radioactive element decay in the core). Tiny – relative to solar output – variations in solar output have a large effect on climate. Whether sunspots indicate increased total solar input to the Earth is not so well understood, since we do not have sunspot records for more than a few hundred years, and we do not have accurate records of Earth temperature for more than a century (defining accurate to a degree C or less).


Daily variation in solar output is due to the passage of sunspots across the face of the Sun as the Sun rotates on its axis about once a month. These daily changes can be even larger than the variation during the 11-year solar cycle. However, such short-term variation has little effect on climate. The graph above shows total solar irradiance on a daily basis. The plot is based on data collected by the ACRIM III instrument, which is currently in orbit. (Graph by Robert Simmon, based on data from ACRIM III)

Variations in TSI are due to a balance between decreases caused by sunspots and increases caused by bright areas called faculae which surround sunspots. Sunspots are dark blotches on the Sun in which magnetic forces are very strong, and these forces block the hot solar plasma, and as a result sunspots are cooler and darker than their surroundings. Faculae, which appear as bright blotches on the surface of the Sun, put out more radiation than normal and increase the solar irradiance. They too are the result of magnetic storms, and their numbers increase and decrease in concert with sunspots. On the whole, the effects of the faculae tend to beat out those of the sunspots. So that, although solar energy reaching the Earth decreases when the portion of the Sun’s surface that faces the Earth happens to be rife with spots and faculae, the total energy averaged over a full 30-day solar rotation actually increases. Therefore the TSI is larger during the portion of the 11 year cycle when there are more sunspots, even though the individual spots themselves cause a decrease in TSI when facing Earth.


Another trend scientists have picked up on appears to span several centuries. Late 17th century astronomers observed that no sunspots existed on the Sun’s surface during the time period from 1650 to 1715 AD. This lack of solar activity, which some scientists attribute to a low point in a multiple-century-long cycle, may have been partly responsible for the Little Ice Age in Europe. During this period, winters in Europe were much longer and colder than they are today. Modern scientists believe that since this minimum in solar energy output, there has been a slow increase in the overall sunspots and solar energy throughout each subsequent 11-year cycle.



The number of sunspots on the Sun’s surface is roughly proportional to total solar irradiance. Historical sunspot records give scientists an idea of the amount of energy emitted by the Sun in the past. The above graph shows sunspot data from 1650 to the present. The Maunder Minimum occured from 1650–1700 and may have influenced Europe’s little ice age. (The data from this period are not as reliable as the data beginning in 1700, but it is clear that sunspot numbers were higher both before and after the Maunder Minimum.) Since then, sunspot number have risen and fallen in a regular 11-year cycle. An 11-year running average shows only the long-term variation, which shows a rise in total sunspot numbers from 1700 until today. [Graph by Robert Simmon, based on data compiled by John Eddy (1650-1700) and the Solar Influences Data analysis Cent

Lastly, on the time scale of the lifetime of the solar system, measured in billions of years, the Sun is going through the same life and death cycle as any average star. As it uses up its hydrogen fuel, the Sun grows hotter and hotter throughout its lifetime. In a couple of billion years, this gradual heating will melt all the ice on Earth and turn the planet and into a hothouse much like Venus. Since the increase occurs over such an extended period of time, today’s instruments cannot even detect year-to-year changes along this cycle. By the time the effects of this warming trend are felt, it’s possible humans may have become extinct, or found a way to populate distant planets, and in either case may not still be left on Earth worrying about Earth’s demise.

next: The Sun and Global Warming
back: Earth’s Energy Balance

None of this is easy reading, but my conclusion is that there is considerable uncertainty, but it is a reasonable conclusion that models of solar activity are useful in predicting solar output and therefore total solar heat input to Earth. Whether these variations in solar output are are more responsible than CO2  (1825 to present) for global warming is worth study, but need to find more data. It does seem reasonable to to be skeptical about the certainty of human caused global warming, since we know that Earth in Viking times was at least as warm as it is today and very likely was warmer in Roman times.

As Freeman Dyson continues to point out, CO2 is going to have its greatest effect in cold, dry areas, because the “greenhouse” effects of CO2 are small compared to those of water vapor. As soon as there is appreciable water vapor, heat reflected from earth and radiated to space but intercepted by greenhouse gasses has been got: there isn’t more for the CO2 to intercept.

We can possibly predict a coming period of minimal solar surface activity – sunspots, etc. Whether this will cause cooling is not known, but it appears to be possible. There is definitely a correlation between sunspots and solar irradiance. Whether this predictable decrease in irradiance is greater that the effects of CO2 is apparently in dispute among those more expert than me. I can only work with the data available, but include in that data records of growing seasons and other rough climate indications from Britain to China, and I’m quite certain it was warmer in Viking times than now, despite Mann’s hockey stick that purported to erase the Viking Warm period.

One thing is certain: USA efforts to decrease the use of coal will have very little effect of world production of CO2, as undeveloped countries continue to become developing nations, and China continues to build coal plants . As witness:


We also have this:

There Probably Won’t Be A “Mini Ice Age” In 15 Years

July 14, 2015 | by Caroline Reid

Since our article yesterday about how reduced solar activity could lead to the next little ice age, IFLScience has spoken to the researcher who started the furor: Valentina Zharkova. She announced the findings from her team’s research on solar activity last week at the Royal Astronomical Society. She noted that her team didn’t realize how much of an impact their research would have on the media, and that it was journalists (including ourselves) who picked up on the possible impact on the climate. However, Zharkova says that this is not a reason to dismiss this research or the predictions about the environment.

“We didn’t mention anything about the weather change, but I would have to agree that possibly you can expect it,” she informed IFLScience.

The future predicted activity of the Sun has been likened to the Maunder Minimum. This was a period when the Sun entered an especially inactive period, producing fewer sunspots than usual. This minimum happened at the same time that conditions in Northern America and Europe went unusually icy and cold, a period of time known as the “little ice age.”

The thrust of this is that it’s not going to be as serious as all that; but then the notion of a new ice age hasn’t been put forward since the 1970’s when the same people who now warn us of disastrous global warming were talking “Genesis Strategy” and warning of extreme cooling, and AAAS sessions were devoted to the cooling trend.


There are other things to worry about.

Jim and I have been discussing the link below. It is something he and I have been following for awhile now, and the information in here is horrific. I knew it would be bad, but I had not realized how far inland the devastation would reach, and they are not prepared.

They do have a technical error in the article. Plates that are subducted do not “heat up and melt the material above them.” They are themselves melted, and since the melt is less dense, it rises upward, through whatever fissures in the rock it can find. It is the Juan de Fuca plate itself that fuels the Cascade range of volcanoes. More, since not all minerals melt at the same temperatures, it is responsible for the range of melt chemistries from near the shoreline to deeper into the continent. This, in turn, results in the range of styles of eruptions, from relatively runny, thin lava which releases trapped gases in lovely fountains, to thick, viscous lava that causes explosive eruptions a la Mt. Mazama (its caldera is Crater Lake; it lost ~1/3 of its height in 2290BC, and the local Native Americans passed on the eyewitness tales of the eruption in their legends) and Mt. St. Helens.

I’ve been to Mazama and St. Helens, as well as numerous other Cascade volcanoes, and I’ve been along the coast of Oregon, taking several segments of the coastal highway, as well as I-5 from my friends’ place in the Willamette Valley down to Mazama, and on another trip, down to Redding CA. I’ve been in Portland and Seattle, as well as Eugene, Corvallis, and Salem. Since I already knew of the Cascadia SZ, all of the various “Entering Tsunami Hazard Zone/Leaving Tsunami Hazard Zone” signs were a bit unnerving.

The fact that there is a fault in SoCal that is venting He3 at an accelerated rate is also intriguing, and not in the good way; it turns out that that particular fault is ALSO a subduction fault. It lies well west of the San Andreas.

Stephanie Osborn

“The Interstellar Woman of Mystery”



Now available.

Is There a Bubble? Top Tech Investors Weigh In

Some of the best-known technology investors, including John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins, Egon Durban of Silver Lake Partners, Henry Kravis of KKR, and Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners, appeared at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference over the past few days, talking about their investments and whether we are in another “bubble” similar to what happened in technology in 1999 and 2000.

Most agreed that things are different now, but that private market valuations are high, as evidenced by the number of “unicorns”—private companies that have raised money with a valuation of greater than $1 billion.


Here’s how much a self-driving car could save you on car insurance




Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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