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Ken Fabian

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Posts posted by Ken Fabian

  1. Battery operated tractors are already on the way. Hydrogen will struggle for lack of supply infrastructure but may gain traction over time as industrial use of H2 grows - it is needed for low emissions iron and steel and may be a way to convert gas plant used as backup to wind and solar to zero emissions and beat batteries for long, deep storage.

    Right now it would be possible to recharge a tractor from local solar but fast charging a big machine in a time of heavy use might be better with grid connection. A dilemma that those machines may get only weeks of use per year but then run 24/7 when used, however there are credible proposals to run a complementary power supply vehicle alongside.

    Plenty of lower hanging fruit for going electric than grain harvesters - a lot of higher priorities to deal with first, during which much will be learned.

    Possibly we will see farm scale H2 production emerge - it could be used for producing low emissions Nitrogen fertilisers on site as well, but battery electric can work right now. For small, intensive farming there are also small tractors with long electricity leads - not even new tech, that.

    The future of tractors -


    John Deere's Joker is a fully autonomous electric tractor with articulated steering and a tracked single axle.

    John Deere is apparently very committed and optimistic about battery electric tractors. And automation.

  2. 8 hours ago, fred2014 said:

    question: Which generates the most CO2 ?

    a) Running a current big mercedes diesel car

    b) Running a current tesla electric vehicle

    Multiple studies say ICE cars generate more CO2 even where EV's are charged exclusively using FF produced electricity. EV's make even less when charged with low emissions energy. Manufacture the EV's where the grids are low emissions and less emissions are used making them; as the proportion of low emissions energy grows the amount that EV's produce goes down.

    Battery use is growing rapidly and what they do, they do successfully and cost effectively, from EV's to home solar to grid - and at this point I don't see any credible alternatives. And I don't see the transition to very low/below zero emissions as something optional.

    8 hours ago, dimreepr said:

    Storing energy may be useful one day, let's not confuse propoganda with information...

    Storing energy is already useful. Electricity grids around the world are getting cost effective benefits already, as do householders who have invested in them to complement solar on rooftops. Plans for complementing growth of solar and wind in Australia with new build gas are being set aside in favour of batteries - with energy companies, not government policy, driving take-up.


    3 hours ago, studiot said:

    but after a while I think going down the chain gets a bit silly.

    Did the man who worked in the factory have a metal buckle in his belt ?
    Did he wear a ring in his ear or have nails in hios boots?

    Did the canteen chef who made his dinner use a metal saucepan?
    And did he stir it with a metal spoon or a wooden one ?

    When the company boss watched the main news of the day on TV does his TV use a metal antenna ?


    Where does it end ?

    How Hydrogen is produced, as with batteries and the emissions in FF production chains as well as end use surely does count. Ultimately all manufacturing must be included, not by counting the nails in people's boots but through counting the emissions from the industries involved in the manufacture and supply of all their products. Make the energy systems low emissions and everything manufactured with it will have low emissions.


    2 hours ago, MigL said:

    What we call 'fossil fuels' don't just produce fuel.
    The produce all the plastics and synthetic products that make modern life 'modern'.
    We just don't see them as bad, because the carbon is 'trapped' in the product, while the actual fuels produced, release CO2 on burning.

    The amount of plastic and composites used in a modern EV, as opposed to the metal used in a 'big ol' Mercedes' might mean that more 'fossil fuels' are used for actual manufacturing. So fred may be right about that aspect.

    I don't know that an EV would have more of those materials than any fossil fuel burner. I would say that that they aren't fossil fuels.

    They do offer some potential for recycling... except most recycling is 'downcycling' that uses materials at lesser quality, perhaps a few times at best. Burning them as the ultimate means of disposal - using plastics as fuel, that displaces other fossil fuels - is quite common too, so some portion of those materials do end up as fossil fuels. My understanding is burning waste oil as fuel is the most common fate of lubricant oils too - although re-refining and re-use is becoming more common. I don't see that as anything but an interim means to reduce overall harms without offering any end solution. The ultimate solution will be in better materials in "Cradle to Cradle"* style, where technical materials are selected for being able to be recycled back to original "virgin" quality, within waste management systems that actually do that - or else use biological materials (in "Cradle to Cradle"* style) that are made to fully decompose back to reusable biological nutrients.

    But this problem of plastics use and disposal is society and economy wide, whether we consider emissions or not. But we do need to consider emissions.

    * Cradle to Cradle concept is the brainchild of Braungart and McDonough. Their "Waste Equals Food" Doco is worth a look IMO.

  3. This article doesn't really do the issue justice but it does touch on something that has bugged me about claims about unacceptable waste from a shift to EV's - the full range of waste that comes from the existing ICE vehicle use and manufacturing streams - including the FF's used to refine FF's, not just fuel used directly in the vehicle, and things like coal ash from manufacturing (aka fly ash, high in heavy metals that, after CO2 may be the 2nd largest single form of waste)are often passed over.

    Presuming high levels of future battery recycling may be like presuming coal ash will be safely managed, ie wishful thinking, yet it is a clear policy objective in many nations, with both R&D support and regulations coming into play.

    I think EV's would have to make a LOT more waste, even on a per vehicle basis, to come anywhere near the volumes of waste Fossil Fuel dependence produces.

  4. On 2/20/2021 at 11:44 PM, dimreepr said:

    But as chinese whispers demonstrate the longer the chain/wider the gap, the greater the message is corrupted.

    So, given enough time or a long enough chain, understanding is lost; I understand that mathematics is a very robust language,

    I think continuity is an important element - Einstein hasn't stayed on a pedestal because of unthinking acceptance of his scientific contributions and adoration but as a result of continuing pursuit of science based understanding that keeps revealing how those contributions have significance. Lose the continuity of the institutions and practices of science - of advancing science - and turning purely to teaching what is known, then significant knowledge decline has probably already occurred. And without ongoing active research as well as teaching we probably will not be able to sustain the technology that modern societies and economies have become dependent on.

  5. The drug dealer analogy may not be perfect but that broader legal principle - of seller responsibility for unwanted harms - is real enough and I think ought to apply to the energy industry re emissions and climate change. Most of all a responsibility to change practices, more than assign liability and damages is what matters - and amnesty on broader liability with the requirement to make those changes seems like a reasonable compromise. If fixing the climate problem is made a matter of popularity rather than accountability (and it is) then we will continue to struggle to get sufficient action.

    I had some hope that Common Law and other civil law systems would be used more successfully to apply long running principles of responsibility and accountability, but the multi-generation time scales and existing ubiquitous use and dependence on fossil fuels as well as deep resistance at the political level have prevented accountability being made clear; more usually harms at smaller scales are litigated, damages awarded and precedents are set, that discourage and prevent further harms at larger scales. We are past that point.

    I do think that more of the accountability rests with those in positions of power and influence than with the general population, especially given the abundance of good information and expert advice that was commissioned by those very people (and/or predecessors) in order to make informed decisions. Ordinary people have a lot of freedom to believe whatever they like but our leaders should not; they have a responsibility and duty to be well informed and act in accordance with best available information.

  6. On 2/16/2021 at 2:52 PM, ScienceNostalgia101 said:

    But by what standard are companies that cater to consumer demand not a reflection of the general public's own culpability?

    It is a well established legal principle that there is liability for unintended harms from a commercial activity. The drug dealer defense - that the customers want to buy it and should accept full responsibility for those harms as part of the transaction - does not have any legal basis in most jurisdictions. When it comes to global warming it is nonetheless popular enough to give obstructionist political parties and governments the "but the voters don't want it" justification for inaction.

    I think that we all share some responsibility but some shareholders do have a lot more responsibility than others. I think Doubt, Deny, Delay politicking has been very successful in using the widespread inclination by ordinary people to avoid being held accountable, especially for "ordinary" day to day activities that had no intrinsic liability in the past, to win their support for corporate and government responsibility and accountability at much more significant scales to be set aside.

  7. @Photon Guy Sounds like a variant of Libertarian or Sovereign Citizen notions. "Taxation is theft!" - says people with taxpayer funded education, driving on taxpayer funding roads, with taxpayer funded law and order to protect them and regular opportunities to vote to elect representatives, under a system where the majority get the positions of power to change things... like how much taxpayer support for education, roads and infrastructure. Messy as that gets the alternatives - eg the parts of the world where governments have little power to enforce taxation - are a LOT messier.

    The very nature of government spending makes greater requirements for record keeping and accountability, that comes at costs of organisational efficiency. Yet even badly spent taxpayer money still gets spent and the recipients spend it in turn, supporting other kinds of economic activity - it doesn't disappear entirely. A lot of deliberate spending - taxes and money creation - to support economic activity, to prevent serious economic downturns is a tool widely and successfully used, to limit economic harms to citizens; the indirect effects of spending taxpayer money can count for a lot.

    Remaking the nature of societies and governments is best done by evolution rather than revolution. It is an ongoing project to improve the standards of governance and balance the benefits of taxpayer funded services with the burden on citizens and businesses to pay for them.

  8. 6 hours ago, Externet said:

    Revisiting the basics of the thread;

    If you are using PV - ie beginning with solar electricity rather than directly solar heated water (or air or other fluid) - then I would still be looking at including some kind of heat pumps to get extra heat gain if possible. And I would still look at making the home itself or under it the primary heat store and rely on thermal inertia to carry through nights. Absent any use of heat pumps and using only direct resistance heating I suppose a large insulated water tank would retain the heat and underfloor pipework could do the heating. It could be set up to run by convection. But 3KW for a few hours each day is not a lot of direct heating. Draft proof and insulate first, to have any chance.

  9. 13 hours ago, studiot said:

    But I said, and you even quoted, the panel voltage is low.

    Sure you can string together many panels in series, but then the maximum current you can supply is the current available from a single panel.
    And if you want to charge batteries then it is current you want, not voltage (the hint is in the word charge).

    But they DO charge the batteries, with enough left over that my home still sends 4x more electricity to the grid than it uses. They run electric kettle and stove, that have substantial loads. With limitations, they run A/C - full power on sunny hot days and some hours at lower power running from batteries. Some reverse cycle heating on the same basis. I would like better batteries - of course - but I note that even a decade ago the grid connected solar+battery system I have was not even a readily available option let alone reasonably priced enough that no substantial increase in costs for electricity over the life of the system has been incurred.

     I don't really get your argument about solar energy being lesser than other electricity; a 1 GW solar farm can deliver 1 GW of power that is indistinguishable from 1 GW from a coal plant - except probably more precise voltage and frequency. Yes, not all the time - but as experience in Australia has shown, heatwaves and coal and gas burning power plants are a failure inducing combination; the contributions from a great many rooftops have more than once kept the whole system going when the "reliables" failed to work as and when required.

    It is a system with many elements that support each other - cheap daytime solar power displaces coal and gas power and up to a point - that is itself a moving target - can be accommodated and utilised effectively - and reduce costs. Australia's electricity market operator thinks above 70% wind and solar within 5 years is possible (although political will to change market rules to enable it is lacking) and above 90% within a decade without loss of system reliability. It is also a system in transition; the hypothetical 100% right now option is not an option, just an argument. More RE is coming on line and the issues that arise are both foreseeable and do not need to be fixed in any 100% right now way. If and when real rather than imagined constraints on how much emerge, we will take stock and, if necessary, change course; even legislated targets get unlegislated when sufficient problems emerge.

    As for heating a home - sure, it is simpler and no doubt cheaper (externalised climate costs not counted) to connect to the grid and draw the power needed as needed but as a hypothetical (which I suspect do exist as actual working systems) solar power and GSHP's offer a way to use solar to heat a home in a cold climate. It does get used on (under) larger, multistory building too. Where I suspect the deeper ground does take up and store heat as a key element, from using it for cooling over summer; these tend to be deep 'borehole' types that do not rely on seasonal ground heating.


  10. 11 hours ago, studiot said:

    But batteries are essential in most PV systems as the panel output is low voltage and thus suffers high relative resistive losses if used for directly for heating as it must be high current.

    The panels on my roof are strung together in series at 400V DC - batteries running at ~48V, returning 240V AC to home - and running an old style resistance stove at night and early morning without issue. Not all hotplates + grill + oven at once - we tend not to waste nighttime power - it would need a higher power inverter, but those are available - a decade ago they barely existed as mass market items. I think that the system can be set up to be capable of electrically heating things. 

    But I didn't suggest direct heating (just noted use of excess solar for resistance heating of hot water), I suggested Ground Source Heat Pumps run by solar with daytime use extended by inclusion of batteries. I don't claim it would be cheaper than gas or oil burning (at least not with climate externalities/Social Cost of Carbon excluded) but believe it would work. In a well designed home. Insulation and draft proofing absolutely required and solar panels may need to be on walls if there is a lot of lingering snow


    11 hours ago, studiot said:

    That article is about Air Source aka reverse cycle A/C, not Ground Source. I note that I noted above that Air Source/reverse cycle is less suited to cold climates but that GSHP appear to work okay.

    Externet, thanks for those graphs.

    On 2/9/2021 at 9:00 AM, Externet said:

    Ken :  Important charts if this is what you are after

  11. 20 minutes ago, Externet said:

    Doesn't the inclusion of batteries introduce more losses in charging, discharging, maintenance, shorter life and wallet losses ? 

    Not necessarily - the energy gains from using heat pumps are significant. Like I said, the electricity requirements for running GSHP is very low compared to the heat it delivers - 1/3 to 1/5th? But GSHP could run during daytime alone and still keep a home warm - and even if a separate hot fluid store might help it is probably still better to heat the mass of the building itself and use it as the heat store. Inclusion of batteries and the cost effectiveness would include other considerations - installed just for running heating would be unusual. Our grid connected solar + batteries are not a financial gain but nor are they adding greatly to our overall electricity costs, but grid reliability is an issue and they cope with power outages easily. No tossing out thawed freezers of food either - a financial plus as well as avoided inconvenience.

    I also note that passive solar hot water systems around here are being displaced by air source heat pump hot water systems, including for homes with solar electricity. Because lots of homes have PV (it is no longer expensive) that most days produce more power than is used it is actually cheaper to install and run ASHP hot water systems that run off the PV than install passive solar. Even if heating water at night via battery stored solar electricity - not the most efficient use but it may be needed sometimes - the batteries we have at our home (modest in size) would support that and most times still have plenty left for cooking breakfast (on our old tech, inefficient electric stove). The cost difference may be the material costs - lots of copper and or stainless steel in passive solar HW? They don't last forever either.

  12. Ground source heat pumps apparently do work effectively including in cold climate. Air source heat pumps work best in milder climates. Both deliver a lot more heat than active energy (electricity) input. The former uses electricity only to move the working fluid and fans to push air through heat exchangers - ie a small amount of electricity goes a long way. ie it should be possible to use solar power to operate a GSHP for effective heating even though it would be insufficient for direct heating without that heat stored in the ground. Insufficient in colder climates to run air source heat pumps, sure but they are effective enough in milder climates.

    The effectiveness of combining GSHP with enhanced heating of the ground - by using it for summer cooling or purposefully adding extra heat, say by passive solar - should make it give back more heat (be more efficient) during winter. Like all options good design of the system and the home is essential.

  13. 2 hours ago, Enthalpy said:

    Running multiple long air pipes in the ground stores heat in soil, soil costs nothing, and this provides cool air in summer too.

    Ground source heat pumps - probably the most efficient heating with respect to energy input -  use liquid, usually glycol/water but not include (as far as I know) any extra insulated liquid storage and do require some electricity. Of all ways to use solar energy to heat a home, using it to run a GSHP looks the best to me, potentially improved with relatively small battery capacity. You still need appropriate location.

     I had a question about using the ground as heat storage some time back ie reversed flow for summer cooling adding heat to the ground the pipework is laid in, and how effective that might be storing heat that can be drawn on over winter, arising out of my understanding that if the distance within the ground is sufficient it can be considered insulating. I would expect some priming with heat would be involved and there would continue to be loss, but some proportion of that heat would persist. How much? I don't think it got a satisfactory answer - or at least any answers based in expertise or experience.  With purposeful addition of solar heating... ?

    Related are claims that 1 - 2 m deep trenches around home foundation perimeter, filled with insulation - an in ground heat barrier - work well to make the ground underneath a heat store and that insulating all the way underneath that earth (full excavation) is not necessary. Sorry, no references for that. 

    I have also heard of PV fitted homes using daytime excess in resistance water heaters, just because they can. Presumably doing that with (air source) heat pump hot water systems instead of resistance type would be much more efficient and perhaps be sufficient for a large water tank for home heating. I have also heard of PV and battery fitted (and insulated) off-grid homes in milder climates being able to run air source heat pump heating (aka reverse cycle A/C). Battery capacity needs to be sufficient - expensive but costs are coming down. I think the one example I read about faced very high grid connection costs and it offered a viable off grid alternative.

  14. My opinion - not sure it counts as any kind of legal principle - (most of) those who stayed peacefully outside the Capitol might be considered legitimate protesters - neither rioters nor insurrectionists - but those that entered crossed more lines than one. Even the ones who followed after the police were overwhelmed, who clashed with none, did no damage, stole nothing, shouted no death threats were directly involved in something more serious than protest. No-one does thorough investigation quite like the FBI - arrest all that entered and let the courts sort them out.

    I said "most of" those outside would be just protesters but it may be some were working in coordination with others who had gone inside, eg as spotters watching for police or National Guard reinforcements to let those inside know. I am not aware of any but the more committed and organised elements might have done that.

    And yes, if elements of BLM - which, so far as I know, tries for non-violent protest - or extremist Antifa or Wobblies who don't - or whoever else who turns violent and destructive... arrest them and let the courts sort it out.

  15. 1 hour ago, iNow said:

    but not all were there to overthrow the government.

    I think that is exactly why most were there. Not knowing quite how that might be achieved, sure. Duped into believing they were "saving" America, sure. But I think the overwhelming majority were there hoping to prevent the President-elect becoming President - some directly but most indirectly, ie by chanting "stop the steal" and "hang Mike Pence" to get him to refuse to recognise Biden in his ceremonial role, supported by Republicans within the Capitol, but yes, they were there to demand the election result be dismissed to allow Trump to steal victory and participated in storming the building to do so. I call that insurrection.

    1 hour ago, beecee said:

    the truth and sincerity in a movement/protest for justice, is often infected with the extreme agendas that others see as an excuse to push.

    I don't disagree; those who advocate and provoke and participate in violence and destruction should be subject to investigation and prosecution. I suspect a reasoned and reasonable response to legitimate concerns would defuse the protests of the sincere.

  16. My view - those engaged in offensive violence and property destruction should be subject to investigation and prosecution, regardless of their political leanings. I expect BLM instigators of violence already have been or will be. But I do think there are differences here; Capitol insurrectionists were all there to overthrow the elected government and whilst not all were violent or destructive those that weren't were still there in support of that goal. The few instances of protestors acting to prevent cornered police being assaulted or murdered deserve some (faint) praise but not immunity from prosecution.

    Did the insurrectionists believe their actions were protected by the US constitution, even that they were defending the constitution? Although if armed citizens had risen up to fight off Capitol rioters that seems more in line with my (admittedly not-American) understanding of it. It seems like the "right" to take up arms against their own government would only ever be upheld if they succeeded - making the US no different to any other form of government; failed insurrection will always be illegal.

    They seemed - even reasonably - to believe they had the support of then President Trump and the Republican Party. That incitement seems the greater and more damaging crime to me and ought not be passed over, even whilst those on the ground should still be prosecuted. It was not all direct incitement but, in a time of extreme fire danger, tossing out incendiary rhetoric anyway makes them culpable - or should. I expect the inciters, if prosecuted at all - I doubt any that other than Trump himself will - they will be "punished" only indirectly, like civil actions for libel eg Dominion voting machine company vs Guilliani and Powell, or indirectly by Cancel Culture means. Trump may perhaps lose the right to run for US President - yay - but probably keep his Secret Service protection and Presidential pension. The insurrectionists - some of them - will actually go to prison and perhaps have their right to vote and to bear arms restricted, which may actually hurt more. No equality under law to be found there.

    BLM protestors - for the most part (the sincere ones) - appear to want equality under the law enforced, especially equality of treatment by the enforcers of law.

  17. A bit of mental arithmetic without checking... is that between 2.5 and 10 metric tons of lunar material to get 1 litre of water? I expect the soils in Earth's deserts have a lot more water than that. Any suggestion this will be sufficient to enable colonisation looks exceptionally optimistic to me.

  18. The temptation is to respond with ever more outrageously improbable variations - sarcasm to excess - but I suspect some would just think I was serious. Could require some judgement of whether they are capable of getting it. 

    Could Qanon have begun just like that, as a bit of trollery that got taken seriously and has acquired a life of it's own?

  19. Any reflectors in space will need to have station keeping capability, ie have the means to move around ie be little (or very big) spaceships. Because any inert material will be pushed out of position (presumably Lagrange zone between Sun and Earth) by sunlight and solar wind. I don't think we could build up low emissions space launch capability even if there were funds for it - and is this to be an alternative to cutting emissions? Dumping dust in the atmosphere is just a thought bubble, not any kind of real option. It offers no alternative to shifting away from fossil fuels to clean energy - an approach which is already gaining momentum.

    Most leading climate research groups have doubling of CO2 making between 2 and 6C. The doubling depends on what we do, within discussion where action and inaction are inverted; we are acting to emit huge amounts of CO2, many times more than all other kinds of waste. I don't think we will die from methane - there isn't that much of it - but big releases would probably be a part of getting to 6C.

    As for what happens with 6C of warming? That is a world I find hard to contemplate - I live somewhere where summers can already get unbearably hot and drought and catastrophic fires are showing signs of increased intensity already, at 1C. If economies and societies are so fragile that a transition to zero emissions is fiercely opposed then how much more fragile with the 6C that unconstrained fossil fuel burning will bring? Which over land here could be 8C rise in local air temperatures; I think heatwaves would kill crops and livestock and remnant ecosystems. How do you feel about refugees?

    But the capacity humans have for making bad situations a lot, lot worse - good governance seems even more essential than ever. And if we cannot manage that now, how much harder in a world changed out of recognition.


  20. https://techxplore.com/news/2021-01-inexpensive-battery-rapidly-electric-vehicles.html

    Battery R&D is a huge deal now - and appears to be making significant progress. Of course commercial ie real world success is still to be shown, but -

    400km vehicle range in a 10 minute charge, costs not known but claimed to be lower cost than existing Li-Ion - no cobalt or other expensive metals - and expected working life of >3 million km (2 million miles).

    Supposed to be because the (lithium iron sulphate) battery heats up to best temperature (60 C/140F) for charging and discharging. I have to say I had always thought raised temperatures was a problem for batteries, rather than a benefit - for most battery types. Some high temp batteries are out there but they aren't like anything I expect for powering our cars or homes.

    Fast charging is useful but I think for most users most of the time, not necessary. Not the biggest deal in my view. My own thinking is electricity network operators will benefit from EV's being plugged in whenever parked somewhere, to vary charging rates as the balance point between demand and supply shifts, and have access to (an agreed portion of) that battery capacity.

    For commercial vehicles - road freight - this could be very significant. I'd been thinking trucks might need quick replacement battery packs to avoid time at chargers, but batteries like this could make that unnecessary.

    I do think just on durability alone this would be significant (if it makes commercial production) - and not only for EV's. For EV's the usual car body, suspension, seats and trim would not last anything close to 3 million km - although improved durability would be a good thing. How that would work for a household with solar on roof interests me - the batteries we have (a different kind of Lithium Iron Phosphate) are expected to last about 15 years... batteries that will go 50 years? At large scale for grids that will be a huge factor for reducing lifetime costs.

  21. Am I correct in interpreting the US prohibition on Congress restricting the rights of a free press as affirming the right of media proprietors to express partisan political views and use their papers to promote them? That seems to include the right to NOT promote views they disagree with and even allowing publishing of falsehoods - with not very compensatory right (if you can afford it) to seek legal redress for slander. It is difficult for me to interpret the deplatforming by social media companies as different to a newpaper editor choosing promote some kinds and to leave out some kinds of content, or to refusing to publish letters to editor.

  22. On 11/3/2020 at 10:00 AM, Snape said:

    Tbe ambient temperature of air above an area of ocean has an influence on the temperature of the water below.

    It goes both ways - I think more a case of sea surface temperatures determining air temperature than the other way around.


    13 hours ago, BillyFisher said:

    I still haven't found an answer to your question: What's really going on?

    My answer is/was that global average temperature was and is an arbitrary choice for providing a simple, single indicator of change to the climate system; others might do as well or better (I would nominate Ocean Heat Content but the record doesn't go back so far), but weather records are our longest running direct measurements from which change can be observed. So, addressing part 1 of original question, yes it is useful. Is it a thermodynamically valid concept? I think that is probably a pointless question - temperatures are not the same as heat but when they are going up it clearly indicates gain of heat. How closely that temperature reflects overall change to the global energy balance? My understanding is... reasonably well. The extent and nature of local and regional change is a whole lot more complex.

    The implied question of whether an average temperature is a valid concept - ie the use of averaging samples from some or many places in place of measuring every place - seems to rest on the proposition that the places not sampled could have temperatures and trends of temperatures very different from those of the places sampled. In conspiracy theory argument, chosen for showing the trend wanted. In reality pretty much every place sampled around the world over a long period shows warming temperatures and that could not be random.  I am not sure I can do this question justice but will say it is not just statistics, but about climate and weather processes - we can observe that nearby locations experience similar conditions, such that e.g. a cold air mass blowing across a region is not observed to cause specific locations to result in one place being cold, but nearby locations are not - other than where other geographic factors come into play like elevation, orientation, vegetation. And where those differences exist it is evident in the weather records of those places; it won't be randomly changing. The local conditions make their own local baseline from which change and trends of change can be observed.

    The number of samples matters of course - a single sample, or too few, for the whole planet would not give a valid result, but for these purposes there are (IIUC) more than 30,000 that qualify as long running and reliable. If I understand correctly averaging comes with uncertainty range - that decreases with the number of samples. It would be possible to select from weather station data in order to be deliberately biased - but because those showing cooling trends are so few (are there any?) you would have to exclude most records to NOT get a warming trend. I think basic honesty and a professional attitude is the default; presumption of incompetence or bias built into the supposed "skepticism" opponents of climate  responsibility and action use are vile in my view.

  23. I think popular entertainment and the distorted representations of "reality" it provides -  probably contributes; people spend a lot of time in the fantasy land of media news, entertainment and advertising  - and the lines between those are increasingly blurred. They are also more and more tailored and targeted, to engage the hopes and fears and beliefs various sectional groups of people hold, such that any editorial balance is not within the 'feeds', but with the diversity of different 'feeds'; increasingly our preferred views get reinforced unless we make an effort to sample other sources of information. I think our societies have always run in step with and promoted rather fanciful and self serving and self congratulatory stories of "how things work"; heroes rising up, taking matters into their own hand, saving the innocent, the day, the nation, and exacting revenge, is a popular theme anytime. But with partisan media - who was it predicted the political parties of the future will be media companies? - other media telling it differently to a different audience are portrayed as enemies and untrustworthy, preventing, not enabling an informed, balanced view, let alone treating differences as legitimately different opinion.

    The supposed Constitutional "right" to take up arms against their own government may add to willingness of fired up citizens to engage in direct action in the USA, in ways other nations with elected governments and rule of law do not - I say "supposed right" because it would only be a right ever upheld if the revolution succeeds... making the USA no different to any other nation, where insurrection is always criminal, with the notable exception of where it succeeds.

  24. I think Trump's actions were criminal as well as dangerously irresponsible. In any nation where rule of law, truth and justice (and fair elections) are held up as their strengths and virtues, those holding relevant offices failing to address this behavior is... dangerously irresponsible. Possibly criminal in turn?

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