Thursday, January 17, 2013

What the C Stands For

The truth of the matter is that WG1 which considers the physical basis of how humans drive climate change is now a side show.  In spite of the spittle that our good friends from FUD splatter on the inside of our LCD monitors, our understanding of this is more than enough to conclude that increases in greenhouse gases will drive global temperature, changes in the weather patterns, sea level rise and more.  The debate, such as it exists is how fast, but anything on a scale of less than a few centuries screws us (or our kids) right to the wall.  The Earth abides, the people in it, well, there is a problem.

But to really understand the catastropic potential of the climate change people are driving you have to look at the biological part of the problem, something that most of the blogs most of the bunnies follow are weak on and you have to look at WGII, the consequences, to begin to get a clue.  Eli is talking mostly about ecology.  Jeff Harvey who comments at Deltoid made a clear statement of the issues in the January open thread,

“And what mix of mitigation and adaptation is the most likely to be effective?”

This argument misses the point entirely. BFPM appears to believe, like many so-called deniers, that the ability of humans to persist on the planet in light of the myriad of assaults our species is inflicting on it, will depend largely on our ability to ‘adapt’ to these changes. But the truth is, given what most ecologists know, is that its out of our hands. Essentially (her I go again for the billionth time but for the D-K crowd it NEVER sinks in), humans are utterly dependent on a range of critical conditions that freely emerge from natural systems and for which there are few, if any technological substitutes (and even where there are, they are prohibitively expensive). These conditions are generated over variable spatial and temporal scales by infinite numbers of interactions involving large and small scale populations and individuals of species. From them we already know that services permitting humans to exist and survive are produced.

Now, as I have said many times before, many from the adaptionist school appear to think that humans are exempt from the laws of nature. They ignore the manifest consequences of climate warming, habitat destruction, eutrophication, wetland loss, invasive organisms, various forms of pollution etc. on ecosystems and the organisms that make them up. In their thinking, humans can cover much of the planet in concrete and significantly alter the chemical composition of the air and water and that somehow, through technology, we will adapt to this massive assault.

Its clear that the mainstream media is doing a piss-poor job on educating many of the masses, or else we scientists are not getting the message through ourselves, but the comment made by BFPM is one that is shared by a huge proportion of laypeople out there. They appear to think that the main values of nature are consumptive and aesthetic; that any other value in economic terms is limited or even non-exitstant.

I don’t know what can be done to get across the point I am making. I’ve repeated this argument so many times on Deltoid alone that I am getting sick and tired of doing so. Clearly many of the nay-sayers don’t read out side the ‘box’. These cornucopians don’t know much about systems or population ecology, and they’ve been so insulated in their cozy urban lives that any notion of human existence hinging on conditions emerging from nature are alien to them.

In summary, what I am saying is that humans don’t have a choice. We must mitigate as much as possible, for adaptation is NOT an option, not if continue on a business-as-usual path into the mid to long-term future. The consequences of this is that Homo sapiens will be lucky to survive another century, let long 5 more centuries. The average shelf life for a species is 1 to 10 million years; for mammals perhaps slightly less. Our time for extinction will certainly come, but for me it seems to be folly that we appear to be doing everything in our power to hasten its realization in the short-term. Ultimately, if we continue along the current trajectory, we will so simplify natural systems that the services we take for granted will sputter and wither away. Once this happens, our species will go into free fall. No species depends on or utilizes more from nature than does Homo sapiens. The irony is that we will be one the earliest and biggest casualties of our own stupid actions. Nature of course will persist long after we have extinguished ourselves, but why we seem intent on going over the cliff in light of what we know are likely to be the consequences is for me one of the great mysteries of our time.
Remember how long Biosphere 2 lasted as a closed system and repent lest the roaches inherit the Earth. 


Anonymous said...

We need to GET OFF THE PLANET in a really big way, really soon now.

If anyone is interested, I have written a whole series of briefs on how this might be done, and what we might be able to do with the planet once we get ourselves off of it.

Thanks for your consideration.

EliRabett said...

Forget it. Anyone thinking about moving into space had damn well better learn the lesson of Biosphere 2. What you are proposing at best is infantile (well maybe teenage) escapism.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you missed all the Biosphere II drama, Eli, but I can give you a little heads up on that project.

It was a fraud. The multi megawatt power station should have been your first hint of that. Anything else?

andrew adams said...

There was an interesting discussion at Bart's a while back, again involving Jeff Harvey (with excellent contributions from Bernard J)

It started here

and carried on here

cRR Kampen said...

kT is quite right. _They_ need to get off the planet bigtime, today.

And else, well my favourite species is Formica. Distributed intelligence, even better genocidal capacity and hugely succesful. Best thing about them, though, is they know women are the ruling class or ought to be.

david lewis said...

Ken Caldeira, in the Q&A after he gave his 2012 AGU fall meeting talk on Ocean Acidification, summed up his feelings on this topic this way:

"the question is, what if reefs disappear, what does that mean, or to summarize... well who cares? And the standard answer is oh that there are vulnerable communities of poor people who depend on them [ coral reefs ] for fish and nutrients and you know there are numbers of how many hundreds of millions of people depend on reefs for their livelihood and tourism and all this kind of stuff.

And then there is the other sort of standard answer, oh this is a necessary component of the homeostatic earth system and if we lose these that humans are the next domino to fall.

I personally don't believe any of that. I actually think if you sterilize the ocean, yes vulnerable people would be hurt, poor people would be hurt, but that we'd still have Chicken McNuggets and TV shows and basically we'd be OK. And so for me its really this sort of tragedy - and maybe this is a middle class American viewpoint - but that you've had billions of years of evolution producing all this biodiversity and because we want to have - you know economists estimate it would cost something like 2% of GDP to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from our energy system, maybe it would cost a few percent more of GDP so because we want to be a few percent richer we're willing to lose all this, all these ecosystems, we're willing to lose the Arctic ecosystem, we're willing to lose these marine ecosystems and to me its a little bit like somebody saying well I have enough money so I can run through the Metropolitan Museum and just slash up all the paintings.... And so for me being a middle class American who is gonna have TV shows and Chicken McNuggets and burgers and things, for me its more this kind of ethical kind of thing. Obviously, if you depend on your livelihood for fishing on a reef you're going to have a different perspective. But that's enough of that."

I call it Calderia's Ocean Sterilization/Chicken McNugget theory. I'm not sure there's a lot of support for it in the literature.

Caldeira's remarks start 50 minutes and 20 seconds into this recording.

There was no discernable reaction from the crowd evident on the tape.

EliRabett said...

People can be very ignorant about what they are ignorant about. Calderia must know that if you sterilize the ocean the biological pump turns off and CO2 remains in the upper reservoirs and goes sky high.

There is no excuse for that.

Calling Joe Romm, Joe Romm to the white courtesy phones

Anonymous said...

Took a quick dip into the Curry pond at can't help but note a few things:

1) GWPF and WUWT are apparently the go-to sources for Curry-science. Why not link to the organizations that actually did the work?

2) Curry disdains Hansen's "back of the envelope reasoning"... and her very next sentence is a forecast based on her own back of the envelope reasoning.

Oh, Curry, how your blog has fallen...

Anonymous said...

Caldeira has apparently never heard of "phytoplankton"

We're doomed -- and not just because of Watts and Co.

Caldeira pulls a lot of weight in "important" circles.


John said...

Re: Space as the solution to our self-made problems on earth.

I suggest an excellent article, from an excellent blog, "Why Not Space" at "Do the Math"

John Puma

david lewis said...

re the Ocean Sterilization/Chicken McNugget Theory

I would have thought a significant portion of the oxygen Caldeira's American Middle Class would have to breathe while eating their McNuggets comes from biological activity in the oceans....

Caldeira has discussed his belief in a somewhat different theory on the Google Geoengineering group as well: i.e., what if civilization burned ALL the fossil fuel? I call this his McBurger Hypothesis:

"Now, what about humans? I think there’s a few things. One is that, obviously, if you’re a poor subsistence community depending on coral reefs, you’re probably in trouble. Maybe also if you’re a similar subsistence society depending on growing food in a place where you’re going to have big droughts that you’re also going to be in trouble. But it might be that for the middle classes of the industrialized world that climate change is really a secondary issue, and that they’ll still have their TV sets and their McBurgers and McNuggets to eat and that life will go on."

Which I find astounding. He is using the word "might", but still. He does understand that there are political problems that may result from burning ALL the fossil fuels:

"That said, we don’t really know that that’s true". [ i.e. the McBurger Hypothesis ] "If we look at the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, there you had perturbations in some financial markets that led to a 5% loss in GDP throughout the world. And so our economic system can take some regional perturbation to amplify it into a global crisis. Also, these days, you have countries where you have nuclear arm nations, and if they feel they have an existential threat, there’s potential for war and so on.

So one issue is, since most catastrophic effects of climate change are likely to show up regionally, in some sort of regional drought or storms or floods or something else like that, are these social and political systems going to amplify these regional crises and form a global crisis out of it? And I think we don’t really know the answers to these questions. We know that our continued emissions of CO2 is increasing our levels of environmental risk, but it’s really hard to quantify exactly how much risk we’re facing."

Caldeira wrote a piece for the September 2012 Scientific American, in which he sums up his discussion of this issue saying

"The social response to climate change could produce bigger problems for humanity than the climate change itself."

The Scientific American piece is behind a paywall, but I seem to remember Caldeira posted a copy on the Google Geoengineering group. I can't at this moment figure out how to search for it. He has an exerpt on this page.

Anonymous said...

We've already been through the do the math thing here. There is no math to do. This is laughable. We can't continue to live like this here - there is no other alternative.

Leave, or go extinct. It's pretty clear to any clear thinkers. All I've done is show you the way. Just the act of trying to leave has gone a long way to solving some of the more serious problems, for instance - solar energy. If you people can come up with something more cogent than Ed Bass's nutty biosphere run by complete cranks than I would love to hear about it, but even bringing up Biosphere 2 will get you laughed off the stage of any CELSS discussions I know about.

'Do the Math' is less than nothing.

John said...

To kT:

Before you blast off, could you be bothered to give a link to "the do the math thing here."

John Puma

EliRabett said...

Leave and we will go extinct.

Anonymous said...

Eli, you already dug yourself a huge hole among the professionals with the Biosphere 2 reference, are you sure you want to keep digging? I mean, it was great right up until the last sentence. Too bad you didn't write the good stuff, though.

Now, when living on the moon or in nearby space, what happens to the Earth? Does it magically disappear?

Get a grip man, I'm trying to help you out after a terrible faux pas.

Anonymous said...

Sure, John, do you want the pop clock or do you want the debt clock?

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Just curious--does your solution involve terraforming Mars or the moon, or are you talking extra solar system migration. Both have their problems. The lack of a planetary magnetic field on Mars or the Moon ensures that solar radiation will be a serious hazard, and that the atmosphere there is doomed to be thin. I would also note that the atmospheric neutron flux would be like living at 20 km up in the atmosphere here on Earth.

As to interstellar travel, I see no way humans can do it. The galactic cosmic rays (which you cannot shield) would rip our DNA to shreds in a few years, and it will take hundreds of years to reach the nearest habitable planet.

If you have a solution, I'd be interested to hear it. No one else does.

rdbrown said...

Tom Murphy's Why not space? ...
The subtext is that space fantasies can prevent us from tackling mundane problems whose denial could result in a backward slide. When driving, fixing your gaze on the gleaming horizon is likely to result in your crashing into a stopped car ahead of you, so that your car is no longer capable of reaching the promised land ahead. We have to pay attention to the stupid stuff right in front of us, as it might well stand between us and a smart future.

Anonymous said...

Sure, I have a published solution. I'll be submitting it to the NIAC.

You can read the previous NIAC submission, but in the last year I have expanded upon that for the entire Lagrangian and inner solar system phase space, including and especially the poles of the moon, using direct flights, which in turn leave functioning rover and astronaut friendly solar powered lunar bases and communications and navigation nodes, and a great deal of habitable space, which is the first step of this long process. And of course, lots of cryogenic engines. Musk is going to use methane, which are a lot easier to manage and restart in deep space.

I'm sure there are better ways to do this than my way, it's not my way or the highway here, but I'm working within the funded and indeed legislated programs to start. But if you look at the requirements for recovery of planetary catastrophe, clearly something like this has to be done.

GCR and solar emissions and the proximity and planetary geometry of the axis of the moon, plus the thermal gradients available for industrialized cryogenic storage drove me to this particular solution, much of the basis of which was unknown a year ago.

Basically you TLI fast and furiously with the SSMEs (but it could be any engine, Blue Origin is working on a nice one I hear), land vertically after a direct flight of several days of fuel settling thrusting and fuel cell conversion, and then convert the remainder of your residual fuel to water, store some oxygen, inflate bladders into the fuel tanks and then line them with regolith and/or water, and grow plants in them using solar powered LEDs. You can hunker down on the bottom near the engines if you have to, and pile up regolith around the vehicle like a moat for solar flares. The moon naturally gives you protection from half of the entire universe as you well know. This is going to be an almost entirely robotically controlled operation, so you need the power, which is the entire point of this.

This isn't biosphere stuff, this is pure survivalism. We're not building vanity coral reefs here. This is entirely a STEM thing in order to drive planetary solutions.

The main thing to remember here is that when conversing with professional ecologists and naturalists highly experienced in their respective fields, absolutely do not mention Biosphere 2 as if it is to be something that should be respected. Kind of like ahem ... Constellation.

Anonymous said...

'space fantasies'

I know it's terrible. Who needs solar panels, GPS and weather satellites anyways. Those space cadets need to give that stuff up.

willard said...

> Oh, Curry, how your blog has fallen...

We should wait a few more years to be sure on the trend.

Meanwhile, I'd like an engineering-level derivation of blog falls, pretty please with some sugar on it.

Hank Roberts said...

Biosphere II failed because they closed in a hurry and dumped topsoil into the box instead of starting with mineral soil and building proper soil profiles. So the dirt mostly suffocated. End of project.

One of the Biosphere crew was online from inside. I remember the excess CO2 problem being figured out. (it was a private conference on the WELL, so long gone to all but meat memory I expect).

It was more a stupid-hurry failure than a proper study.

But yes, until we can get an ecology working to carry the biology, we won't do well off Earth longterm.

Read up on what was happening to MIR before they abandoned it. And the ISS crew spends time wiping down the inside of the ISS to keep the process from starting -- because there's no guarantee a habitable ecosystem will emerge, starting from layers of steel plate and paint and monkey dander. The molds and bacteria are always willing to give it a go, however.

Anonymous said...

Biosphere II failed because

Biosphere II failed because it wasn't even a biosphere, they had a giant power plant just to run the air conditioning. It failed because it was an attempt at a biosphere as well, which is just plain idiotic. They were warned.

Biosphere catastrophes like this happen when you have unlimited funding and hucksters and shysters giving you nonsense scientific advice so they can play PIs for their vanity pet projects.

EliRabett said...

So what is that nuclear reactor about 1AU from the Earth. Energy is not the problem, the problem is biology.

Hank Roberts said...

Biosphere II, Mir, ISS

A hopeful counterexample would be Surtsey -- any volcanic island -- going from boiled rock to life as we know it.

We want a space station to become a host for life. There's a model for how.

Anonymous said...

Eli is the smartest of the rabbets in the field, because he sees what's on the other side of the briar patch. He gets the Purple Carrot of Wisdom award for Perspicacity.

There's much that could be added to Jeff's commentary but space precludes excessive ramble, and the bunnies here know that I'm not inclined to ramble. At all.

A Powerpoint version though might go like this:

• The issue is not about what our actions will manifest by 2100, it's about what our actions will manifest at plateau. To this end, a Rule - Anyone who counts the number of repetitions of "great-" between "my" and "grand" is a fool.

• The impact of climate change propagates through the global ecosystem via countless links, some of which are resilient (within limits) and some of which are not, but most of which can (and will) be damaged by what we are doing. Humans do not have an endless capacity to adapt to damage to these ecosystem components.

• Climate change affects these links within biosphere in complex ways, but we won't see most of them in the short term because "redundancies" (the resilient bits) mask the changes. (Don't get it? By way of metaphor, think NW Atlantic cod fisheries.)

• Ecologists are aware of this complexity, but are nowhere near having yet adequately catalogued it. We know where some of the problems will be seen though...

• Climate change changes phenology - the dance of life-cycle timing that affects so much that we don't see until the final result manifests. Phenology underpins the integrity of so much of the ecosystem serving upon which we rely, that in the long-term phenological disruptions could by themselves destabilise organised society.

• Extinction debts are incurred hundreds and indeed sometimes thousands of years before the final "pfttt". From pygmy mountain possums to mountain gorillas, we have already incurred inevitable losses even though the doomed animals (and plants) are currently still with us. Every fraction of a degree will inevitably add to that list, at a greater-than-linear rate.

• The biosphere is a part of the climate*.

• If you're blowing your ecological budget, thermodynamics unavoidably indicates that you are also blowing your survivability budget. The minus-1st law of thermodynamics is that thermodynamics is a bitch, and she never forgets what's owed to her.

Of course, one should never put more than four or five points up on a slide, so that's the 2-page Powerpoint version.

And there are more points. But that'll do for venting my spleen...

Bernard J.

Anonymous said... much of the ecosystem servicing...


Anonymous said...

...and it's probably a 3 pager for Powerpoint...


Anonymous said...

"You can hunker down on the bottom near the engines if you have to, and pile up regolith around the vehicle like a moat for solar flares."

No, thanks.

Taylor B

guthrie said...

Leaving the planet is simply not an option for the majority of humanity and the creatures we share the planet with.
It would take the invention of star trek like tech in order to have a chance to move a reasonable number of people but even then we wouldn't exactly be able to evacuate billions.

So ultimately running away into space is not a solution, it's simply a couple of sailors clinging to their life raft and hoping to drift to a desert island once their ship has sunk.

Anonymous said...

The rabid doomsaying little mouse says:

The environment is a very complex system, highly interrelated and subject to some significant stressors. So bring into that mix a concept from power distribution; Catastrophic Cascading Failure. Now be afraid.

The signs are many: dying trees all over the world (less some recovery), missing phytoplankton, bugs spready like crazy and bugs going awol (Bees), ocean dead zones and on and on.

On the issue of forcing alone we have changed it so much faster than the lead up to the PETM. You know - big extinction event.

EliRabett said...

Hank's invocation of volcanic islands where everything has been boiled away coming back to life as models for space stations coming back to life is, sorry Hank, an invitation to snark, and the bunnies know Eli never passes an invitation by.

Sure, you can make any space station a welcome host to life if you dump it into the ocean after it fails. Problem is space does not have a living ocean and atmosphere from which life can migrate into the station. If Calderia gets his way even that may not work.

Anonymous said...

Caldeira or caldera?
-- by Horatio Algeranon

To sterilize the ocean
Would cause a large commotion
Unless they get a turn,
The Chicken McNuggets burn.

Anonymous said...

Leaving the planet is simply not an option for the majority of humanity

Do you recommend that the majority of humanity stay away from 35,000 feet at 500 mph in an aluminum tube as well? What is your view on satellite TV, enough channels there?

Anonymous said...

So what is that nuclear reactor about 1AU from the Earth. Energy is not the problem, the problem is biology

But you aren't looking at the problem, which is that easily available terrestrial energy is supporting a humanity bloom that is smothering out the rest of the biosphere. The problem is the energy. The space program already more or less solved the solar power from semiconductors problem in a huge way, we wouldn't be where we are with respect to solar if it wasn't for the sat business.

You just aren't getting it, sorry. I'm not going to preach anymore about the incontrovertible.

Anonymous said...

-- by Horatio Algeranon

Biosphere 2
And Dyson Sphere too
Spheres to rue
Like Shakespheres do

guthrie said...

Stay away from 35,000 feet fast flying Al tubes? Yes, it's usually a good idea to avoid them, although they tend not to be near enough to hit you because you're on the ground and they're 35,000ft up.

No, wait, once I re-read your poorly written sentence, you appear to be suggesting that because I'm not against real, working technology that I shouldn't be against fantastic, non-existent technology?
That's some drugs you're taking, can I have some?

We need better pinatas around here.

Anonymous said...

[in-kon-truh-vur-tuh-buh l, in-kon-]

not controvertible; not open to question or dispute; indisputable: absolute and incontrovertible truth.


1640–50; in-3 + controvertible

Related forms
in·con·tro·vert·i·bil·i·ty, in·con·tro·vert·i·ble·ness, noun.

in·con·tro·vert·i·bly, adverb.

incontestable, undeniable, unquestionable.

It does not mean not amenable to conversion, persuasion...

Anonymous said...

Well, if you could explain to me what is fantastic or non-existent about my newly designed moon ship using legacy US engine assets and demonstrated newspace technologies then I would me much obliged. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I guess in your village dictionary quoting passes for conversation.

guthrie said...

Hmm, looks like I'll have to explain as to children:

There was once this really large cruise liner that sprang a leak in the middle of a huge ocean an dlooked like it was going to sink, albeit slowly. Unfortunately there were only a few small lifeboats, despite it carrying a couple of thousand passengers. So two of those passengers grab one of the lifeboats first, leaving their clothes and other valuables behind.

So there they are, paddling away from the slowly sinking ship. One says "What about all the people on the ship?"
The other replies, "Who cares, they should have escaped from it like us."

A day or two pass by. Eventually they wash up on a small desert island, but because they left their belongings behind in the ship their clothes got pretty ragged soon enough. There wasn't much food to eat either, some fish, coconuts, some fruit. But hey, at least they were alive and safe here on this island!

Some say that the peopel on the ship managed to repair it after all and carried on cruising, with the passengers enjoying lots of lovely food and good times with lots of other people. But maybe that is a myth and the only people left from it are the two on the island.

EliRabett said...

Getting to the moon is irrelevant, surviving there is impossible.

Anonymous said...

So, you can't answer the question and you don't seem to be familiar with science and technology as all.

I guess 'guthrie' says it all. Why am I not surprised. Why do I bother?

Anonymous said...

surviving there is impossible.

Yeah, everyone knows reaction engines don't work in a vacuum.

Alastair said...

The full Caldeira article is here.

He doesn't suggest that the effect of losing the coral reefs is insignificant or that Americans can live on chicken nuggets and hamburgers. But he does seem to think that the march north of deserts will only affect Italy, ignoring signs that Texas is also in the firing line. Nor does he explain during the Cretaceous, when the continents were flooded, the worst affected was the North American continent with an inland sea stretching for the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean.

He may think that Western Civilisation is safe from climate change, but chicken Mc Nuggets do not grow in expanded polythene boxes. The chickens are fed with grain grown in the Mid West of the USA, just the area that will be returned to the sea when the ice sheets melt.

Cheers, Alastair.

Steve Bloom said...

*sigh* No, Alastair, the Cretaceous inland sea won't return to North America if all the ice melts. Check the map.

I'm reminded that Caldeira made an odd error in the SA article, which was to conflate SLR since the LGM with future maximum SLR, the former being ~50% greater (although still not enough for an inland sea).

Steve Bloom said...

Just to add that we would find a Cretaceous-type climate at equilibrium to be perfectly salubrious, some portions of the tropics possibly excepted. It's the sharp transient and possible overshoot that's the problem.

Steve Bloom said...

Re Caldeira's unquestionably wrong wind-up to his AGU presentation, it's a little better if one imagines that the corals and larger life would go but not the phytoplankton, but IMO goes entirely off the rails when considering (or rather failing to consider) the other effects of the high CO2 levels need for such an acidification spike. It's a package deal.

Steve Bloom said...

Willard, you're being far too sensitive in behalf of Our Judy. :)

Steve Bloom said...

Alastair, I should hasten to add that I agree with your basic point.

EliRabett said...

surviving there is impossible.

It ain't Hawaii

EliRabett said...

Not just Italy, major parts of Spain and maybe even southern France. Also there goes the Sahel, the Indus River valley, etc.

guthrie said...

There's a book Kt could do with reading, it's called "How to win friends and influence people". I forget the author but it was quite famous. Maybe it would help him understand how to get on with other people and not piss them off? Surely an important consideration when pitching unusual new approaches to an idea which has no room for most of humanity and will merely allow a small number to escape the earth.

Anonymous said...

I fully support space shots...

...and as soon as possible, for the relatively tiny number of "leaders" (CEOs and politicians) who are screwing it up for the rest of humanity.

We could ferry them all (100? 200? 500? ) up to near-earth space and put them on a nuclear powered rocket like Freeman Dyson designed and send them off to the stars.

Who really cares if they survive? (other than the cockroaches, who will inherit the earth otherwise) Just as long as they never make it back (Given that most of these folks are dumber than a door stop, I seriously doubt they could ever turn around a rocket ship, anyhow, so the latter is not really a concern)

If we did that, there is little doubt that we would immediately start to make major progress on addressing climate change and a whole host of other problems.


Anonymous said...

Sure, if I could just get 'guthrie' on board with the program, then that could turn the tide in congress and the oval office, the OMB and OSTP.

I need to try harder. And conversely, if you ever have anything thing cogent to say on topic, I might even listen.

Anonymous said...

It's not the politicians that are screwing up the world, it's you.

And yes, the moon isn't Hawaii. Great insight and profound comment. That's the point of going there. But I guess you missed that point. I guess you also missed the point that the poles of the moon are unique in this solar system as well. As are the solar and lunar Lagrange points. So by all means, carry on with your delusions that you will fix the problems with the technology you have on hand today and your delusions about where the technology you do have comes from.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

kT, you do understand that you haven't addressed any of the main objections to your plans--e.g. that you could not hope to support more than a few thousand people on a lunar or Martian colony, and even then, these colonies would likely not be self-sufficient long term, right? The 2nd law of Thermo really is a cruel bitch.

Anonymous said...

pitching unusual new approaches to an idea which has no room for most of humanity

What, nothing about personal computers, and aluminum tubes carrying 500 people at 35,000 feet at 500 mph to their destinations for a few hundred dollars each? Jeez!

Can anyone here explain to me why I am spending even a few seconds responding to this obvious scientific and technological idiot? Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Dilbert, if anything you say had any basis in reality we would still be living in caves. Your comment is completely without any basis.

But thanks for trying. But then again, I wasn't expecting much more from a bunch of government hacks.

guthrie said...

The problem, kt, is that you've jumped in here and not said anything ubstantive on the problem of the thread, which is the threat of global warming and attendant issues such as sea level change and oceanic acidification.
Instead, you've diverted it nicely onto your hobby horse, which appears to be getting some people off earth so if we totally screw things up here, some humans might survive elsewhere.

You've not posted any evidence of your approach or what it could do either, which I suppose at least saves the bandwidth.
You aren't even very good at making yourself sound important.

So, tell us why you are here?

guthrie said...

Connoiseurs of fruitcakes may enjoy this link, where kt appears to be arguing with himself:

Anonymous said...

Fear not kT

I'm sure there would be room for you as well on the nuclear powered rocket to the stars.

And you could even keep posting here though -- there would be a delay, of course, though that probably would not matter, since you seem to be having a conversation with yourself, at any rate.


guthrie said...

Is there a law that says that the longer you spend time on a blog or set of blogs which have a general topic slant, the greater the likelihood that all the trolls, fools, lunatics and kooks will come by?

It seems kT has a very long history of insulting people and sounding like a low market version of our favourite autodidact from the creationist wars, D Scott.

He's on the space forum roster off trolls from 2 years ago:
Confused the Stoat by blethering on aimlessly about his obsessions:

Anonymous said...

I guess in your village that passes for debate on the subject at hand.

Here is an alternative. With links.

Good luck with your future planetary ecological catastrophe. Remember always to smear your opponent and make sure to hat tip Biosphere II, and of course, Constellation. They set standards.

guthrie said...

That's an impressively good way to miss the point. Which is that none of us have said your ideas of sending stuff into space won't work.
Rather the issue is that they are irrelevant.
In fact, I'm amazed that anyone showing your level of narcissism can hold down a job at all.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

OK, kT, prove me wrong. Show me how you get millions of people off the planet--and if you are going to assume launch costs of less than$10K/kg, tell me what propulsion mechanism you will use.

You seem to be under the impression that by being nasty and dismissive, the transparent silliness of your ideas won't be evident. It ain't workin'.

Anonymous said...

Show me how you get millions of people off the planet.

Contraceptives. Latex dude. I would have thought that would have been obvious, at least to an ecologist.

If you are interested in ecology, then study it. If you are interested in high density plant based closed ecological life support systems, then study those.

If you have anything cogent to say about planetary responses to known ecological catastrophe then I'd be willing to listen to that too. But my responses here are based upon your remarks here, and any links you provide me with here. Eli followed up an interesting post with a reference to Biosphere II, and since I am intimately familiar with the Biosphere 2 saga and its participants, and intimately familiar with planetary ecological catastrophe as well and methods of dealing with it, then keep trying to dig yourself out of the very deep holes you have dug for yourself here, because I'm game.

Anonymous said...

fantastic, non-existent technology

none of us have said your ideas of sending stuff into space won't work.

You know, I'm going to do everyone a favor watching this thread and quit responding to you because there is no there there. It's all space. But thanks for the noise.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

OK, I'll take that as a confession that you've got nothing.

Anonymous said...

Sure, whatever Dilbert. When you can post a link to your stuff, let me know. Thanks in advance.

guthrie said...

I definitely posted a reply yesterday, is in the spamfolder?

Mal Adapted said...

kT: "Leave, or go extinct."

Eli: "Leave and we will go extinct."

What's wrong with going extinct? Let's keep the option open.


Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm all for extinction, but there is always a couple that escape.

I just am not into annihilation. It's much more pleasant for the species if you use contraceptives to do it. Extinction by attrition.

But extinction isn't necessary, just attrition, and a remotely operated robotic lunar industrial facility to give the homies something to do for their day jobs.

The claim that space travel won't evolve into airline like operations just don't hold water. The main thing is to have something for the people to do.

guthrie said...

Not at all, at the moment your claim appears to be that space travel will evolve into something airline like. That is not a given, no matter what you think.

Anonymous said...

I agree, financial, economic, agricultural and environmental collapse will intercede well before that. All I propose is postponement. However, on the issue of evolution, everything we know about it is contrary to your claim.

Again, you have nothing. Not even noise. Please try harder, ok? Thanks.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Actally, the "airline" paradigm is already in the works. NASA's commercial crew is going to simply book passage to the space station on commercial space vehicles for astronauts. Scares the living hell out of me.

Anonymous said...

Scares the living hell out of me.

As well it should, living on a terrestrial planet with a molten core, surrounded by numerous geological, meteorological and astronomical hazards as you are.

All I am proposing is taking control of the situation, and I have provided you with numerous methods by way that control may be obtained. It's an adult thing.

If anybody has anything to bring to the conversation I would love to hear about it, but merely claiming that technology is not capable of evolving to accommodate these problems is not credible. This has been shown over and over again not to be the case, through any number of recent examples.

The question is how soon.

Something has to be done quick because the option of rationality and contraception doesn't appear to be working for a rabidly fascist and religious humanity obsessed with greed and outwardly nutty beliefs. Like, for instance, claiming that spaceflight will never be routine, while offering not a shred of evidence to back up this obviously false claim, and then offering nothing in the way of credible alternatives..

Hop David said...

Tom Murphy's "Why Not Space?" and "Stranded Resources" have a lot of bad math.

Murphy doesn't know how to splice conics correctly, the Oberth benefit is known to most freshmen aerospace students. Nor does he seem to know about aerobraking or 3 body mechanics as used by Belbruno, Lo and others.

Here's my critique of Murphy's posts:

Those who cite "Why Not Space?" demonstrate they haven't bothered to do the math.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, Tom Murphy is a freakin idiot. In my honest opinion he has his head firmly stuck up his ass. The math is simple, 7 to 9 billion humans and a 20 trillion dollar US public debt. If you want to join in with band aid solutions to those two problems, then you too are firmly in the idiot camp. If you would like to read a series of papers which clearly outline a solution to your idiot problem (you) then go here. Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Oops, sorry, I borked the link again. Good luck. You'll need it, because basically, you're idiots, arguing over idiotic shit, and then posting links to more idiotic shit, and even worse, invoking Biosphere 2 in a scientific and technological environment as if it means something.