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Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Now We're Gonna Bring Back Coal Jobs

Stealing from an old post, I note this anniversary of the SL-1 reactor accident in 1961:

A United States Army experimental nuclear power reactor...underwent a steam explosion and meltdown on January 3, 1961, killing its three operators.

The 3 men did not, in fact, die from radiation exposure, but:

The bodies of all three were buried in lead-lined caskets sealed with concrete and placed in metal vaults with a concrete cover. Some highly radioactive body parts were buried in the Idaho desert as radioactive waste.
Radiation exposure limits prior to the accident were 100 röntgens to save a life and 25 to save valuable property. During the response to the accident, 22 people received doses of 3 to 27 Röntgens full-body exposure and three doses above 27 R. Removal of radioactive waste and disposal of the three bodies eventually exposed 790 people to harmful levels of radiation. In March 1962, the Atomic Energy Commission awarded certificates of heroism to 32 participants in the response.

Fortunately, nuclear power is going to be the least likely way we all get lethal doses of radiation, if Trump has any say in the matter!


January 3, 2018 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, July 03, 2017

Principia Americana

[T]he more ignorant we become the less value we set on science, and the less inclination we shall have to seek it.

 - T Jefferson to J Adams, 25 May, 1795

To be anti-science is to be anti-American:

[W]hile team Trump is the most anti-science administration in U.S. history, it’s worth remembering this week that the Declaration’s drafters were undeniably men of science.

In sharp contrast, Trump has embraced the most anti-scientific climate denial imaginable — and surrounded himself with a team of deniers who have purged science from government websites and removed scientists from EPA advisory panels to make space for industry advocates.

In his most consequential anti-scientific act, Trump abandoned the Paris climate deal, whereby 190 nations had unanimously banded together to save themselves (and us) from catastrophic climate change.
Jefferson’s masterpiece famously begins “When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people,” to break free of tyranny and “assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them,” they should explain why they are impelled to do so:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The double appeal to “Nature” — including the explicit appeal to “the laws of Nature” in the first sentence — is particularly salient. After all, Sir Isaac Newton’s landmark 1687 text, “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica,” famously lays out his three laws of motion, which many at the time called the “laws of nature.”

How familiar was Jefferson with the Principia? Very. Jefferson had studied it so closely he even wrote a letter identifying what he calculated to be a tiny mathematical error in it. For nearly two decades — including the entire time he was vice president and president — Jefferson was also president of the nation’s oldest scientific society, which was founded by the great American scientist Ben Franklin.

Jefferson and Franklin grounded the Declaration in the scientific laws of nature. That’s clear from a crucial edit made by Franklin. As Historian Walter Isaacson explained in biography of Franklin:

The most important of his edits was small but resounding. He crossed out, using the heavy backslashes that he often employed, the last three words of Jefferson’s phrase “We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable” and changed them to the words now enshrined in history: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”

The truths were “self-evident,” which is to say axiomatic.

Today, it is the laws of nature, studied and enumerated by scientists, that make clear we are poised to render those unalienable rights all but unattainable for billions of humans on our current path of unrestricted greenhouse gas emissions. It is the laws of nature that make clear Americans can’t achieve sustainable prosperity if the rest of the world doesn’t, and vice versa.

Just remember, Trump loves "the poorly educated."  Make America iGnorant Again!


* 14th Blegiversary: wanna help feed our oxen? *

July 3, 2017 in Biofuels, Bitches!, Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, July 02, 2017

Atoms For Peace!

We passed through Arco, ID, the other day.  No history ever happened there.


* 14th Blegiversary: wanna help feed our oxen? *

July 2, 2017 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Thirty Years The Glow Seems Like Yesterday

Chernobyl still is dangerous.  I remember it, and the survivors I met, very well.  Claims about safe nuclear as part of our green future are laughable.


April 26, 2016 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Boiling Frogs Is An Inaccurate Metaphor, But Might Be Apt


The climate can change fast and it can change hard. One of the great mistakes of modern society (no doubt pre-modern too to the extent they could) is building a huge infrastructure based upon the idea that what I personally see in the climate is normal. That’s a huge problem because normal changes over time.

Yeah, just ask the Anasazi.  Or read Collapse.


January 17, 2016 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Why Does Obama Address Congress?

All great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties.

 - Some guy citing some other guy

If only the Soviets had caused global climate change:

Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there.  We didn’t argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget.  We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon. 

I wonder what NASA's carbon footprint was back in those heady days...


January 12, 2016 in Biofuels, Bitches!, Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Snowballs Are The Reason For The Season

Fuck Senator Inhofe:

The warm air surging up the East Coast on Christmas Eve will prove nothing short of historic. Dozens of records will fall, some by very large margins.

Temperatures at or above 70 degrees will span from Florida all the way into southern New England covering some 1,200 miles and 20 percent of the Lower 48.

In many places in the East, temperatures will run some 30-40 degrees above normal.

The warmth in a few locations will be so anomalous that low temperatures will challenge existing records highs.

Yesterday it rained a lot here, today it was 57F, tomorrow it's supposed rain again, Xmas is supposed sunny and in the mid-40s.  This is bullshit.


December 23, 2015 in And Fuck..., Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Back Off Man, I'm A Scientist

Cats and dogs, living together!

As part of the Republican Party’s ongoing attempt to discredit the pope because his passion for fighting climate change makes their own climate denial look really bad, presidential candidate Jeb Bush took a potshot at Pope Francis for meddling in “science” when he should stick to religion. There was just one problem: Pope Francis has a background in science, holds a degree in a scientific field, and worked in a chemistry lab before joining the Church. Comparatively, Jeb Bush graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Latin American studies.

While on the campaign trail, Bush was asked by a reporter in Virginia about the pope’s calls for climate action, and whether it differs from his own. Bush condescendingly suggested that the pope was wrong, but probably just didn’t know any better. According to Bush, the pope was, after all, “not a scientist.”

And those scientists--you know, almost all of them--who keep talking about climate change?  They should stick to reading parts of the Bible approved by Jeb and Inhofe.


September 26, 2015 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Water Brothers

Boehner blames Obama for CA's drought.  Which is weird, because Inhofe told us God's still up there controlling everything.

How can this be?  For Obama art God (clearly not the Kwisatz Haderach)!  Now I grok...


July 19, 2015 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Stop Putting Flat Earthers In Jail!

America's dumbest scientist:

[Y]ou know, so many places do not even allow an opposing viewpoint… Since when does science not allow opposing viewpoints? Well, they didn’t allow Galileo to make an opposing viewpoint, there were a lot of accurate opposing viewpoints that were not allowed at the time that were later allowed to come in.

Just two of the many things wrong with what Gomer sez: Galileo was actually right; the Pope hasn't sentenced climate change deniers to house arrest.  Other problems are left as an exercise.


July 8, 2015 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Scientists Once Predicted A China Teapot Orbiting The Sun

Huckster fell victim to one of the classic blunders--the most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia"--but only slightly less well-known is this: never predict an Ice Age based on the temperature of your freezer.


June 22, 2015 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dilutional Hyponatremia

Too much of anything--even a good thing--is bad:

In contrast to a popular conservative argument, a new study has found that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide isn’t necessarily a boon to plant growth — instead, it causes plants to have a more difficult time absorbing nitrogen, a nutrient critical to plant growth and health.

Published in the journal Global Change Biology, the study found that as carbon dioxide levels in the air increase, the concentration of nitrogen in plants decreases, thus decreasing the plant’s protein levels and growth ability. The team of international researchers studied the impact of increased atmospheric carbon across multiple types of ecosystems — from grasslands for forests — by looking at large-scale field experiments conducted in eight countries across four different continents.

Me, I like red meat and red wine.  But even I have limits.


* Twelfth Blegiversary Fundraiser: Donate today, or we stop feeding the kids! *

June 13, 2015 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (2)

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Sunday, June 07, 2015

Fumata Bianca

Back off man, I'm a scientist.

 - Pope Francis

Heck with the US Presidency, I think Rick Santorum is running for Pope.  He's got about the same likelihood of winning.  A snowball's chance on the Senate floor, one might say.


June 7, 2015 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Coming Ice Age

Yes, please, let's put that 1975 global cooling article out to stud.  Its own author would agree.  Kill the fake memes, too.

And fuck you, Michael Crichton.


April 29, 2015 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Planet A Day

What would it look like if the Earth orbited the sun?

 - Ludwig Wittgenstein

Look at that Blue Marble, orbited by the sun:

The picture of which may or may not have been taken by Jack Schmitt, the only scientist to go to the Moon and thus, my favorite astronaut (or depending on my mood, tied with a couple others).  Makes me sad because Schmitt is a climate change denier, which maybe shouldn't be surprising because of this exchange during Apollo 17's first EVA:

118:08:02 Cernan: Oh, man. Hey, Jack, just stop. You owe yourself 30 seconds to look up over the South Massif and look at the Earth!

118:08:07 Schmitt: (Pretending surprise) What? The Earth?

118:08:09 Cernan: Just look up there.

118:08:10 Schmitt: Ah! You seen one Earth, you've seen them all.

On the one hand, it's kinda cute that he's so focused on the rocks because, of course, he was a geologist by training.  But it also shows a strikingly cavalier attitude, even in jest, toward the onliest home we got.

As Cernan said a beat later: No you haven't, babe. When you begin to believe that...


April 22, 2015 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why Was I Speeding, Officer? Because Al Gore Is Fat!

 GOP principles:

"You know, when it comes to climate change being real, people of my party are all over the board," Graham said after a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations while responding to a question about whether Republicans could work with Democrats to address climate change.

"I said that it's real, that man has contributed to it in a substantial way," Graham continued. "But the problem is Al Gore's turned this thing into religion. You know, climate change is not a religious problem for me, it's an economic, it is an environmental problem."

Well, this explains why Republicans do the opposite of what Christ said...


March 26, 2015 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fire Is Hot; I Am Hot; Therefore, I Am On Fire.

Phil Plait has a chilling note about Ted Cruz's interview with Seth Meyers:

But of all the bizarre nonsense Cruz said in that interview, what really got my teeth grinding was his comment about how it used to be called “global warming” but now we call it “climate change” because the evidence doesn’t support warming. That is at the level of weapons-grade irony. The idea to start calling it “climate change” came from a Republican strategist, in an effort to make it seem less threatening.

By saying that, Cruz has gone full Orwell: His own party made that change in phrase, but he’s accusing scientists of doing it.

I hear the jury's still out on history and science.  

Regardless, 'climate change' is actually a better description even if the changes are due to global average temperatures rising, since it doesn't just mean everywhere is going to be hot all the time.  You don't need MiniTrue to tell you that...


March 25, 2015 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, March 20, 2015


I'd prefer a dose of common sense. You are proposing to head backwards in time, find humpback whales, then bring them forward in time, drop them off, and hope to hell they tell this Probe what to do with itself!

 - Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy, MD

Well, this can't be good:

The loss of forest has wrought dramatic consequences for biodiversity and is the primary driver of the global extinction crisis. I work in Borneo where huge expanses of tropical forest are cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. The biological cost is the replacement of some 150 forest bird species with a few tens of farmland species. But forest is also frequently retained inside or at the edges of oil palm plantations, and this is a pattern that is replicated globally.

The problem, according to new research published inScience Advances, is that the vast majority of remaining forests are fragmented. In other words, remaining forests are increasingly isolated from other forests by a sea of transformed lands, and they are found in ever-smaller sized patches. The shockwaves of loss thus extend far beyond the footprint of deforestation.

It doesn't just happen on land.  Cosmos immediately came to mind:

The primary danger to the whales is a newcomer, an upstart animal, only recently, through technology, become competent in the oceans, a creature that calls itself human. For 99.99 percent of the history of the whales, there were no humans in or on the deep oceans. During this period the whales evolved their extraordinary audio communication system.

The finbacks, for example, emit extremely loud sounds at a frequency of twenty Hertz, down near the lowest octave on the piano keyboard.. (A Hertz is a unit of sound frequency that represents one sound wave, one crest and one trough, entering your ear every second.) Such low-frequency sounds are scarcely absorbed in the ocean.

The American biologist Roger Payne has calculated that using the deep ocean sound channel, two whales could communicate with each other at twenty Hertz essentially anywhere in the world. One might be off the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica and communicate with another in the Aleutians. For most of their history, the whales may have established a global communications network. Perhaps when separated by 15,000 kilometers, their vocalizations are love songs, cast hopefully into the vastness of the deep.

For tens of millions of years these enormous, intelligent, communicative creatures evolved with essentially no natural enemies. Then the development of the steamship in the nineteenth century introduced an ominous source of noise pollution. As commercial and military vessels became more abundant, the noise background in the oceans, especially at a frequency of twenty Hertz, became noticeable.

Whales communicating across the oceans must have experienced increasingly greater difficulties. The distance over which they could communicate must have decreased steadily. Two hundred years ago, a typical distance across which finbacks could communicate was perhaps 10,000 kilometers. Today, the corresponding number is perhaps a few hundred kilometers.

Do whales know each other's names? Can they recognize each other as individuals by sounds alone? We have cut the whales off from themselves. Creatures that communicated for tens of millions of years have now effectively been silenced.*

* There is a curious counterpoint to this story. The preferred radio channel for interstellar communication with other technical civilizations is near a frequency of 1.42 billion Hertz, marked by a radio spectral line of hydrogen, the most abundant atom in the Universe. We are just beginning to listen here for signals of intelligent origin. But the frequency band is being increasingly encroached upon by civilian and military communications traffic on Earth, and not only by the major powers.

We are jamming the interstellar channel. Uncontrolled growth of terrestrial radio technology may prevent us from ready communication with intelligent beings on distant worlds. Their songs may go unanswered because we have not the will to control our radio-frequency pollution and listen.

Why is fragmentation bad?  Consider:

[A] study published in Nature Magazine in 2000 showed that if a small portion of "key" routers were brought down, the Internet would actually cease to function:

[W]e used the latest survey of the Internet topology, giving the network at the inter-domain (autonomous system) level. Indeed, we find that the diameter of the Internet is unaffected by the random removal of as high as 2.5% of the nodes (an order of magnitude larger than the failure rate (0.33%) of the Internet routers), whereas if the same percentage of the most connected nodes are eliminated (attack), d more than triples. Similarly, the large connected cluster persists for high rates of random node removal, but if nodes are removed in the attack mode, the size of the fragments that break off increases rapidly 
[D]espite frequent router problems, we rarely experience global network outages or, despite the temporary unavailability of many web pages, our ability to surf and locate information on the web is unaffected. However, the error tolerance comes at the expense of attack survivability: the diameter of these networks increases rapidly and they break into many isolated fragments when the most connected nodes are targeted.

"Diameter" is a fancy way of saying "how far apart routers are" (diameter in human society is estimated at 6, which is where we get the "Six Degrees of Separation" idea). If you increase diameter, you effectively fragment the network and decrease the ability to communicate. So the Internet is fairly robust when it comes to random crashes of routers, but if someone were to target less than 3% of the most-connected routers (i.e., ISP routers), they could bring the Internet to its knees. 

Intercourse--of all types--is necessary for life.  Interfere with it, and guess what happens?


March 20, 2015 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Electric Amplification Effect


Electric cars emit almost 20 per cent less heat than conventional cars, thus contributing less to the phenomenon of cities being warmer than the surrounding areas, known as the urban heat island effect.

If this lowers temperatures, use of air conditioning would also drop, and so would the energy used to power it, argues a team led by Canbing Li from Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Using summer 2012 in the Chinese capital of Beijing as an example, the team estimate that replacing conventional cars with electric ones could have reduced the heat by nearly 1 °C. That in turn would result in a reduction in air conditioning use in the city, leading to a drop of 10,686 tonnes in daily CO2emissions.

"I was surprised by the level of decreased energy consumption of air-conditioning," says Li.

The team says that there are several factors contributing to the urban heat island, and not all have been addressed in the study. This makes some people sceptical about the estimates.

Obviously needs more study, but it seems like it could be the opposite of Polar Amplification.  Cascade effects seem to be prevalent in life...


March 19, 2015 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Man Of Science's Tale

The fame anon thurgh Rome toun is born:

[T]he 108.6 inches of snow Boston got was nothing to celebrate. When the season is over, Boston will have spent $50 million just trying to move snow out of the city. The city’s subway and commuter rail systems were crippled. In apartment buildings, melting snow leaked into the ceilings. Cemeteries could not hold burials. A lot of people lost their dogs. Piles of trash are everywhere.

Scientists expect more of these extremely snowy winters for Boston and the Northeastern United States in the years to come, as sea surface temperatures get warmer and the atmosphere is able to hold more moisture. Both those predicted characteristics are driven by human-made greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change.

[T]he projections into the future are for there to be more storms like this.
The 2014 National Climate Assessment lays out these projections pretty well. If carbon emissions are reduced, extreme precipitation events are still expected to occur nearly twice as often by 2100. If emissions increase, however, extreme rain and snowfall events are expected to occur up to four times as often.

More snow may seem counter-intuitive to a global warming scenario. But as climatologist Ilissa Ocko explained, more snow can actually happen with a warmer ocean and atmosphere. A warmer ocean creates more water vapor, and a warmer atmosphere is able to hold more moisture. The atmosphere absorbs the water vapor, and when it can no longer hold the moisture, it forms precipitation. When it’s below freezing, the precipitation is generally snow.

Now the Triple R is come...


March 18, 2015 in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack