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Ken Fabian

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Posts posted by Ken Fabian


  1. CO2 was drawn out of the atmosphere by plants, to become the food that human (and animal) metabolism turns back into CO2 - that part tends to balance, ie human respiration is returning CO2 to the atmosphere, not adding to it. However the energy used in farming, processing, transporting and packaging food is adding CO2 to the atmosphere to the extent that they rely on fossil fuels.

    Global average emissions are about 5 metric tons of CO2 per person per year - far more than respiration which is less than 0.4 metric tons per year. A more average Australian than me makes about 18 tons per year - it is humanity's biggest waste stream by a very large margin.


  2. My own experience says my memories and imagination can evoke emotions and my emotions can evoke physiological reactions. I can trigger the reaction by choosing to remember something. Do that enough and I expect my brain will know where I am going with that and skip directly to it. I have no doubt people can trigger ASMR and other bodily responses at will - if they want to train themselves to it. Biofeedback comes to mind and I think Mindfulness type meditations can be healthy and beneficial - something I practice off and on. Perhaps for haptics - ie interfacing with our tech?


  3. On 6/8/2020 at 8:33 AM, Rigoletto said:

    Regarding Carbon reacting- I learned in Organic that it is very difficult to make C react with anything, so in the example from  Studio  that, C reacts to form CO2, but just how difficult would that be? (Maybe Im stuck on the idea that charcoal will never react with anything in nature being mostly  pure C). 

    CO2 that is dissolved in water allows reactions that involve Carbon to occur that don't occur in air. Life chemistry is all (mostly?) chemistry within liquid water.

    eg Aqueous carbon dioxide, CO2 (aq), reacts with water forming carbonic acid, H2CO3 (aq). Carbonic acid may lose protons to form bicarbonate, HCO3- , and carbonate, CO32-. Reactions involving those ions are not so difficult to initiate.


  4. Climate models have done very well - it is just a matter of faith amongst climate science deniers that they have not. Most people taken in by that rhetoric are not going to check.

    There are technologies currently existing that will allow high levels of prosperity with low emissions - it is just a matter of faith that they do not exist or using them will result in dark age poverty.

    It is a much promoted and nasty stereotype of climate concerned extremists that we want people to go without stuff and would welcome de-industrialisation. The reality is we can see a profound risk to long term prosperity - that would lead to widescale poverty and misery and is effectively irreversible - and we seek to address it... to prevent dark age style poverty. And the means we are pressing ahead with involve more industrialisation, not less, more technology, not less - and the technologies are best done by free enterprise industrialists and work best in democracies with the rule of law.


  5. 1 hour ago, Endy0816 said:

    Realistically travelers would have to be living in space already to reach that far. One that shared a similar atmospheric composition might even be forbidden from inhabitation as that could harm future research into native life.

    "Habitable for humans" rather than habitable in the sense of being able to support it's own biology. Habitable for humans is going to be a very narrow subset of "capable of supporting life that is like life on Earth".

    Any native life would not only be of exceptional scientific interest it seems like a big assumption that human life would be compatible with the biochemistry. Surely life throws up more complex poisons and allergenic compounds than lifeless processes - besides the more obvious hazards like wrong atmosphere or getting eaten or parasitised. 

    If we have the technology to get to the planets of other stars we won't need planets for survival purposes - but that urge to find new pastures, to occupy and possess, is a primitive one and I would not trust humans from Earth to restrain themselves if they are within landing distance of a world they thought they could conquer and occupy. Although humans with a long history of life in artificial habitats/spacecraft may not find planets or life supporting moons attractive.


  6. I think claiming CO2 decline is a current existential risk and we need mass burning of fossil fuels to save us is about on par with the "global warming is saving the world from the next ice age (glaciation)" argument; they sound convincing to people who don't want to have to deal with global warming (and don't care if the science is right or wrong) or otherwise have no clue. I am not convinced that Happer himself has done any serious research to reach that conclusion or even necessarily believes it - he doesn't accept climate science (and that is telling) and/or the predicted consequences of rising CO2 levels. Perhaps he feels that his physics background puts his guesses ahead of the expert knowledge of "lesser" scientists.

    His putting his oar in is a statement of political position, not science. A bit like Dyson.

    There is no Loss of CO2 crisis - there wasn't at the start of the Industrial revolution and we have a lot more CO2 now. It looks like an attempt to raise up a false crisis in mockery of the climate crisis, by people convinced that the climate crisis is a fake crisis.


  7. On 6/16/2020 at 4:55 PM, FishandChips said:

    Is Climate change such a big issue we need to step back and reexamine the whole issue ?. One website says its a critical issue another site tells me its a hoax. I am really confused now one guy was telling me its a hoax fabricated by socialists and feminists. What are your thoughts ?

    If you can find one science institution that studies climate and says it is a hoax fabricated by socialists and feminists I will be very, very surprised. You will struggle to find one that thinks the seriousness of global warming in the reports and studies commissioned by governments, including the IPCC reports, is being overstated. That they are in agreement is due to multiple independent studies reaching the same conclusions, not conspiracy. We have had more than 3 decades of governments choosing stepping back and re-examination of the issue rather than face up to it; doesn't matter if they are Progressives or Conservatives, the science advice remains effectively the same.

    If you cannot bring yourself to read the IPCC's reports - or just the summaries - you could try the UK's Royal Society or US National Academy of Sciences - both long running science institutions with well earned reputations for integrity as well as competence; they draw on the very best experts in the world to make sense of complex science for policy makers and public.

    If you want sources that tell you it is a hoax fabricated by socialists and feminists I'm sure you can find them and you are probably entitled to choose to believe whatever you like - but for people holding positions of high trust and responsibility to turn aside from science based expert advice it is seriously irresponsible and negligent. I think encouraging the kinds of conspiratorial thinking that seeks to blame socialists and feminists and environmentalists and globalists and scientists in place of facing up to it - for political or personal advantage - goes beyond simple negligence and becomes potentially criminal negligence.


  8. Leaving aside the commercial opportunities from satellites - Earth based investors, Earth based customers, no (very expensive) astronauts - where are the private enterprise opportunities that subsidising space industry is intending to open up? It is still all (but for a tiny unsustainable part) payed for by taxpayers - and I am not seeing this emergence of private enterprise commercial opportunities from manned spaceflight apart from competing for government contracts.

    The big contracts they appear to be tooling up to chase are manned Moon and Mars missions, largely justified as steps on the way to colonies. They are not chasing real commercial opportunities on Moon or Mars; there aren't any - they are money sinks. The companies involved are sources and promoters of Moon and Mars colony hype in a circular arrangement. I don't think that is a good foundation to build on.

    Popularity of grand space dreams drives the taxpayer funding. The private industry part is built on chasing government contracts, with strong incentive not to look too closely at the assumptions built into those dreams. I really want to see some genuine commercial opportunities that can make space enterprises self sustaining, not  taxpayer funded grand space reality TV.


  9. 2 hours ago, zapatos said:

    So if I only make fire hoses, which are only sold to fire departments, mine is not a private enterprise? What if the only customers of my office cleaning company are city government offices?

     

    That is a fair point. Although I think not all government contracting is equal; I think fire hose makers and cleaning companies would exist outside of government contracting but launch capabilities for astronauts would not. Whether it is good use of tax money, like Prometheus said, becomes the question. Cleaning offices and supplying fire hoses gives tangible and prosaic benefits.


  10. 12 hours ago, Prometheus said:

    I'm not familiar with SpaceXs financing, but my understanding is that SpaceX treats NASA as a customer and so tax dollars only go to the company via market forces, as opposed to direct funding or subsidies etc... The USA have been paying the Russians through the nose for the same service. Whether that's a good use of tax money is debatable, but SpaceX are just delivering for a niche in the current market.

     

    It can make space programs less wasteful of taxpayer funds but it doesn't produce anything. Upstream eddies in a flow of taxpayer funds that goes downhill is how it looks to me; there is no market for manned launches except taxpayer funded and I am not convinced that doing it more will create commercial opportunities. It comes back to colonising The Moon and Mars as objectives - and those are hype driven populism, not rational or reasonable objectives.

    Possibly some extreme priced sightseeing might happen but that is servicing purely Earth based opportunities, a very limited market. It doesn't look like a foundation that serious self supporting space enterprise can be built upon. I see Mars colonies as a pointless waste and see bulk asteroid resources for the Earth market as the best opportunity there is (beyond near Earth purposes using Earth resources) -  and I would probably start with crude, minimally processed nickel-iron and even that will still be very, very difficult and ambitious goal. Making it economically viable will mean putting the least equipment into space, with the least human presence. Some work for astronauts may be necessary - but it will be an emergent outcome of making a mining/transport/delivery operation least cost, ie astronauts will be used to save costs, not be a underlying goal, that adds costs. Most enthusiasts have putting the most equipment and most people into space as a principle goals and I think that is putting cart before horse.


  11. Resident space enterprise sceptic here - It looks like a private enterprise achievement but American taxpayers paid for it. If a business depends on taxpayer funded programs for it's commercial viability is truly Private Enterprise? It doesn't look like a big step from private contractors developing and supplying the components for NASA.

    As is standard space enterprise PR, it is presented as a significant step towards The Moon and Mars - which offer no commercial opportunities and that look like money sinks for no real purpose. To me it looks like those programs are the commercial opportunities, not The Moon or Mars. Which leaves us without any commercially driven space activities beyond communications and ground sensing, neither requiring or even benefiting from putting astronauts in space.


  12. Post coronavirus investment decisions could involve significant divestment from coal but I think that is more a continuation of pre-pandemic changes. Renewable energy can be a beneficiary of governments providing short term economic stimulus - projects tend to have relatively short planning and build times and that will make them appealing, whilst avoiding the opposition that new coal or gas investments will attract. A big element of gesture politics; I remain doubtful it will be deep political commitment to the transition to low emissions driving such choices.

    The growth of RE hasn't been built on deep mainstream political commitment; imo it looked more like a combination of "give em enough rope" and gesture politics, both of which tended to reinforce the popular (and politically expedient) perception that the issue was driven by fringe politics, and especially by unreasonable and unreasoning Environmentalists. Very few pundits expected wind and solar to deliver useful electricity, let alone do it at costs competitive with fossil fuels but once that line got crossed all presumptions that electricity producers would not willingly take it up went out the window. Certainly no cost comparisons (and predictions) based on historic data - even more than a few years old - remains valid in the face of that.

    Myself, I think Environmentalists have done what Environmentalists should when science confirmed we have a serious problem with modern humanity's biggest waste stream - CO2 waste; ie made a huge fuss about it. It is mainstream politics that has been unreasonable and unreasoning and has failed to live up to minimum expectations for trust, responsibility and accountability.


  13. Spotting the fallacies on the fly - during a heated debate - is not my strong point. Face to face is not my strong point and expect that dealing with any experienced debater with a full bag of rhetorical tricks would go badly for me. I can only suggest that doing your homework - including being familiar with the commonly used but false arguments as well as knowing the subject itself - will be essential. But be aware of the fallacy of the fallacy - ie that just because someone uses a fallacious argument it doesn't mean the conclusion is wrong, eg it may be a logical fallacy to argue that something is true because expert authorities say so, but it is also a logical fallacy to presume those experts are wrong; what the expert authorities say is most often correct, and will be based in turn on evidence and reason with more substance.


  14. 1 hour ago, Moreno said:

    What are your thought, for example, on "affirmative action"? What are the reasons behind it?

    Perhaps -

    Cartoon of

    But perhaps the most significant reason to engage in affirmative action is selfish - a society with unresolved conflict and division incurs significant costs, from higher levels of policing and home security all the way to riots causing widespread property destruction. Social division is expensive - potentially a lot more expensive than affirmative action.

    I don't know that missed out potential, from people living without straightforward pathways to educational and economic opportunities, strictly counts as a cost but it adds to everyday costs.


  15. I may not have worded it well, but I was not condoning police doing non-judicial "punishment"; quite the opposite. It is more evidence of failure of good governance.

    I expect that because of the primary reason for the protest there is a lot of ill will, more than many protests for other causes, no doubt from both directions - loyalty and sympathy to the police involved, irrespective of circumstances by many of their colleagues amongst police, distrust and anger at the police amongst protesters. That is not a good start, even for those intent on peaceful but determined protest or for police who think they have a point. There will be hotheads, even where there are not organised provocateurs or smash and grab criminals or police who think a show of overwhelming force - which is likely to be as ill aimed as random rocks thrown at police lines - is the correct response. Which can inflame rather than quell.

    If police want to operate with a de-facto blanket immunity from prosecution - and from the outside it looks like they do - they have to police their own internally, with zero tolerance that, if they cannot stomach criminal prosecution of their own, forces the unsuitable, incompetent and criminal out before they do too much damage. I have not seen much evidence of that in the police where I live, nor in the USA.


  16. I doubt there was intent to murder and likely the cop thought what he was doing would not kill the man - especially with bystanders recording. A bit of time honored unofficial "teach the scum a lesson", perhaps intended for the bystanders more than George Floyd, but gone wrong? Perhaps every attempt George made to struggle and shift to get a breath was taken as defiance - and so he was held down harder and longer?

    The rioting and destruction of property is counterproductive of course - and it won't matter that the vast majority of protest was/is peaceful. I don't know how Americans will reconcile their own history re Boston Tea Party being celebrated with property destruction as protest being innately wrong now; my own view is it WAS wrong back then too.

    I tend to see social unrest as inherently chaotic and easily incited to destruction and violence and it is potentially hugely expensive - that if legitimate and widespread grievances are not dealt with that kind of outcome becomes more likely. Not that property destruction is legitimate or that it will get the results wanted, but that it is a predictable outcome that good governance prevents.


  17. @drumbo

    For the most part mainstream plan or policy for transition to zero emission is NOT based on enforced energy poverty; high emissions infrastructure is not being prematurely closed without alternatives in place. Better policy, that accounts for potential inequality, is the best result emerging from studies that show potential for inequality.

    Climate policy, for all the lies that are made about it by climate responsibility denying opponents, is not about reducing prosperity, it is about preserving it in the face of accumulating and economically damaging global warming.

    I note that it is often people who have shown no enduring interest in reducing poverty or inequality who argue against climate action on the basis that reduced fossil fuel use increases them - many of whom, from lives of extraordinary plenty, fiercely oppose accountability and affordable carbon pricing on their emissions. Justified very often by claims the science on climate must be wrong.

    Assumption that the consequences and costs of continued rising emissions are not significant and therefore emissions reductions are not necessary requires turning aside from the mainstream science based expert advice. For people in positions of trust and responsibility to fail to heed the expert advice is dangerously irresponsible and negligent.

    But Alarmist - as in unfounded - economic fear of reducing and ultimately reaching near zero fossil fuel burning - has been a potent argument used to impede the legitimate policies and actions of those seeking ways to net zero emissions and the OP looks like an example. If you believe that a shift away from high emissions energy to low is a threat solely because it introduces change then that is an alarmist position.

    From the linked article -
     

    Quote

     

    Alternatively, in poorer nations, renewable sources of electricity have been used to alleviate energy poverty. In rural areas in southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, a solar farm can give an agrarian community access to electricity that historically never had access to energy, McGee said.

    "That's not having any impact on carbon dioxide emissions because those rural communities never used fossil fuels in the first place," he said.

     

    I would have to disagree with that last sentence from McGee - not using fossil fuels in the first place means avoided future emissions by alleviating energy poverty in those communities by other means than fossil fuels.


  18. For climate scientists, finding the inescapable conclusions of their studies that global warming and the changes that will bring will be global, damaging, costly and effectively irreversible, to fail to raise alarms would be unprofessional and unethical. Whether commissioned by Conservative or by Progressive leaning governments the conclusions have not changed - not even the studies called for because they didn't like what the other studies said. This is evidence to my mind that science is not blindly following pre-determined conclusions or the bidding of political masters or involved in global conspiracies.

    Drumbo, your casually tossed out allegations that they are incompetent or driven by nefarious motives -

    2 hours ago, drumbo said:

    Most of the models that climate scientists develop are so useless that they make Neil Ferguson's epidemiological models look good in comparison. Make no mistake, the goal with these convoluted models is to intimidate people into submission

    are profoundly insulting and slanderous besides being wrong. But not unusual amongst the climate science deniers of my experience. No point in further discussion. Goodbye Drumbo.


  19. @MigL I wasn't suggesting runaway CO2; the releases will be finite, but some carbon feedback tipping points are capable of raising CO2 levels beyond what we presently have, bringing damaging climate changes over decades and centuries, whilst the natural processes that can reverse them are more like centuries to millennia. Beyond the lifetimes of children now living, to whom - I think - we have ethical obligations to minimise forseeable harms from our actions. 

    The "ratchet mechanism" as I describe it is of course, rhetorical - applicable to the shorter term, like the scale of human lifetimes. If you are aware of viable and cost effective means to bring CO2 down on decadal timescales - disengage or reverse that ratchet - I'd be interested.


  20. 12 hours ago, MigL said:

    I don't want to undermine the seriousness of AGW.

    I recently watched the BBC  Walking with Monsters/Dinosaurs/Beasts/Cavemen,  as suggested in another thread.
    Apparently at one time CO2 levels were up to 40 times higher than they are today.

    Was the ratcheting mechanism broken back then, or is this hyperbole that illustrates the premise of the OP ?

    Within the human related timeframes that this round of warming is occurring it is a lot like a ratchet; processes like CO2 uptake by oceans and vegetation can bring some reductions to raised CO2 fairly quickly in the absence of continuing emissions from fossil fuel burning but not nearly enough to bring us back down to pre-industrial; centuries to millennia for that and still highly dependent on what humans are doing.

    My understanding is that a rapid switch to very low/zero emissions would see enough CO2 (in the process of reaching a new equilibrium) taken up by oceans and vegetation to nullify the increased warming from reduced atmospheric aerosols and "in the pipeline" committed warming from CO2 ... but not much more. And that only so long as significant tipping points are not passed - things like soils and permafrost releasing a lot of additional GHG's due to warmer temperatures or ice sheet collapse - http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/climate-change-commitments/ 

    Impacts like sea level rise are likely to continue for a long time after surface air temperatures stabilise - and that will be all cost and loss; the rise in value of "new" coastal property cannot offset the permanent loss of old coastal property, plus all those people who have to move somewhere. And a lot of that "new" coastal property is going to get inundated in time as well.

    I don't know think examples from warmer conditions of geological ages past provide any reason to believe the warming and changes we are experiencing will turn out being harmless or easily managed - nor that periods of stable warmer climates of the past in any way are representative of rapidly changing climate; for most of the species, rapid climate change has been cause for extinctions.

    I am also of the view that repeat  opportunities for global civilisation will be hard to come by if things go badly; there won't be the readily accessible high quality mineral ores used to make our first attempt for example and I am not convinced the buried waste of our age will be quality resources enough to compensate.


  21. I understand what "alarmist" means and the mainstream expert advice we've been getting and the experts giving it on climate change is not alarmist.

    18 hours ago, drumbo said:

    It is ridiculous to believe that human beings could not survive in an environment where dinosaurs could.

    Human civilisation arising under such conditions, maybe. This human civilisation survive conditions changing that much? No. I don't believe our global population and civilisation and the infrastructure and global economy that supports us can survive the change into the kind of environment the dinosaurs had.

    18 hours ago, drumbo said:

    If you believe that climate change is a threat solely because it introduces change then that is an alarmist position, since you have only considered the downsides of possible changes and not the benefits.

    The conclusions that the effects of the change global warming introduces will be bad for people, infrastructure, agriculture and remnant natural ecosystems emerged out of science based investigation to understand how it will proceed and what impacts it will have. The grandfather of global warming, Arrhenius - living in a climate with freezing winters - thought like you that warming would be good, but had not - was not capable - of climate modeling and was guessing. Me, I live in a climate where adding 3 or 4 or 5 degrees is truly terrifying - drought and heatwave would kill livestock and crops and forest and the fires would turn the remnants to ash every summer. A large part of the human population lives in places like that. Your belief that only downsides were considered is false; global warming really is overwhelmingly damaging.

    Scientists are raising alarms because it is seriously alarming - and it has already gone beyond any "might happen" to "how much and when". We are way past holding out for scientist to come up with different answers; we aren't going to get any. And it is a cumulative problem; waiting just makes it worse, in ways that we can't ever get back from. CO2 is a thermostat with a ratchet; we keep turning it up just by keeping on as we are and we can stop it from going up further by stopping emissions (so long as carbon feedback tipping points aren't crossed) but we can't turn it back down. People are legitimately alarmed.


  22. 8 hours ago, farsideofourmoon said:

    Some day in the far, far future mankind will travel the stars; this is inevitable, it is in our genes. Believing this I have been contemplating how we get to where we want to go. I do not believe we can carry enough fuel to propel us, nor do I believe we could find the fuel we need along the way.

    Having said that the only choice we have is to use another source of energy that we have not considered before. That source of energy gravity. Gravity has an almost limitless power; it holds planets in orbit around our sun and solar systems together.

    I believe we need to find a way to use the pulling force of gravity to pull us in the direction we want to go. We lock on to the gravity waves of a far-off galaxy and let it pull us in that direction. The speed at which we travel will along this wave will increase exponentially exceeding the speed of light and beyond.

    Just a thought

    What's your thoughts on this-?

    I don't think there is anything inevitable about interstellar travel and it is living on Earth, not space, that is "in our genes"; we will be remaking the environment around us to mimic the conditions of Earth wherever we go. I suspect the urge to seek new horizons when opportunities appear constrained may be in our genes - a primitive urge that worked well when humans were not yet spread across a world that was overflowing with natural and readily exploitable resources. I don't think it is so well suited to extremely hostile environments; we need well made plans with high levels of confidence for things that complex, not primitive urges and optimism.

    I also have serious doubts about colonising any planets that have their own life - even unicellular "primitive" life; not only because that biology and biochemistry, uncontaminated, may be the most valuable resource such a planet has, there is a high likelihood of biochemical incompatibility, poisons and allergens. And any mission that can reach another star ought to be capable of builing operating space habitats - and probably find that easier than attempting a colony on a planet.

    I agree that carrying enough fuel and other essential resources will be very difficult, however I think the "most possible" means of crossing interstellar space as I see it will rely on fuel found along the way and it will not be anything like a one shot trip; if self reliant colonisation of deep space objects becomes possible and new colonies are preferentially chosen further along a line to another star then in a distant future humans could reach there. Each colony would have to grow large enough to be a large industrial economy - nothing less being capable of the high technology requirements for survival, growth and providing the technology for the next colonisation.

    I have serious doubts about any direct travel across interstellar distances in one go; any ship itself (or fleet) would have to carry the equivalent of a large, advanced - and working - industrial economy to sustain itself over the extreme distances and multigenerations of time. I am not convinced that will be possible.

    Gravity as a way to get ships to where you want? The difficulties of interstellar travel are enormous and gravity is not a space 'drive'. There is no known way to get it to preferentially attract any spacecraft in a chosen direction to the exclusion of existing local gravitational fields and unlikely such technology will be possible.


  23. 4 hours ago, MigL said:

    That being said, CO2 is not waste.
    It is essential for life on the planet, and part of a 'cycle'.
    ( its constituents are the basis for all life on the planet )
    Certainly not the definition of waste

    I disagree; the products of combustion of fuels are waste, just as food scraps and sewage solids are - which are also (potential) nutrients for other living things. They are especially problematic waste products when the flows of them exceed the capacity of natural as well as technical cycles to recycle and re-use them.

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