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Ken Fabian

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Everything posted by Ken Fabian

  1. Where genetic variants already exist within a population that give advantage under conditions that are predicted to become more common, then we might predict those variants will be more successful. Whether the variants that are disadvantaged will persist or be lost from the population could remain in question.
  2. There have always been improvised weapons but they mostly have limited utility - terrorism, that might use a dirty bomb is mostly aimed at easy targets and rarely attacks or damages major military assets. They are only war winning where a regime is already very weak. In the modern context IED's are more nuisance than serious military threat to Great Powers. Drones are changing things in ways those do not and may offer an emerging ability to deliver small explosive payloads to places more conventional weapons cannot, bypassing defenses that would detect larger missiles - or Intelligence seeing the military movements ahead of their use. Small, relatively low cost ground to air missiles were a major problem for Soviet helicopters in Afghanistan. Shoulder fired if I recall correctly, able to reliably take down a very expensive military asset. The recent attack on Saudi Arabian oil assets were able to penetrate past superior US aided military defenses; counterattacks by the USA on Iran (presumably) will not undo that damage. I wonder if we are beginning to see a new kind of drone warfare that defense systems are not adapting quickly enough to be able to deal with. I mentioned the ability to target stealth aircraft; surely that has been a priority for military technologists around the world. A lot of US military success is dependent on stealth aircraft but it seems to me it would be a mistake to assume small missiles capable of tracking and targeting them won't ever be possible.
  3. The attack on Saudi Arabian oil refineries appears to be a result of (relatively) low cost weapons. I recall reading SF stories by Donald Kingbury - "Courtship Rites", "The Moon Goddess and the Son" - that expressed a view of history of war of swings back and forth from elite professional soldiery, that are expensive to equip and train to peasant armies with cheap but effective weapons. (Hammers and knives and longbows in the hands of footsoldiers taking out armoured knights). The second of those stories (written before Gorbachev but set later with intact USSR) had a homemade drone-missile, made from parts on-line fired at the Kremlin and very nearly setting off all out nuclear war. Is it possible that small, cheap missiles will come along that can take out multi-billion dollar assets like stealth bombers? It is surmised by many that the USA/USSR arms race effectively sent the USSR broke. Could that turn about and hyper expensive technologies become ineffective and a serious economic burden?
  4. "Habitable" in popular usage seems to be a quite flexible term. I suspect most people - who get news of exoplanets from news and current affairs TV - are imagining something people could live on, tapping into that primitive urge of humans to strike out for new lands with untapped resources, away from all that competition. I remain deeply sceptical myself. Borrowing some xkcd insight-
  5. Examples of extremely long hair are people whose hair follicles do not go through the normal shedding phase. But I suspect your surmise is correct, that because the shed hair doesn't fall away, the dreadlocks can continue to grow indefinitely. Or until baldness sets in.
  6. I think the endgame for solar is ubiquitous incorporation into built structures, including roads as well as roofs. I do expect to see ever more incorporation of solar into roof (and wall) materials. I think it needs to be either very durable - able to last as long as the roof - or easily replaceable. Photon absorbing paints that can be re-done at low cost might be an alternative to durability - but I have a particular liking for durability. If roofing sheets and tiles can be done at low cost I don't doubt it will be a popular inclusion that could become ubiquitous. Roads? This seems like something that demands either durability or systems that allow easy replacement. I've long liked the idea but I think it will be much harder; solar awnings over roads or just alongside may continue to be more cost effective. I don't buy the arguments that PV is too fragile; solar powered blinking road studs appear to be durable and they are made to cope with tyres hitting them at speed, deliberately, so impacts can be felt and heard to alert drivers. Highest wear areas on roads as well as those that are excessively shaded can be avoided entirely and still leave large areas available. I wonder if induction charging capability could be built into roads where vehicles stop - approaches to intersections as well as parking. The synergy of sun exposed surfaces that connect to towns and cities and major centres of energy demand as well as more directly for transport does make it appealing. I think incorporating PV into road is being shown to work, but it is a long way from cost effective. Yet.
  7. Australia does have an abundance of available land with low agricultural value - so yes, co-existence might look better where that is not the case.
  8. I have read of improved pasture growth on some solar farms (which shared with sheep). This was in Australia - but whilst I can't recall the source or details it was a result of both partial shade and rain runoff from panels. In low rainfall situations they will concentrate the rainwater in rows along (in S. Hemisphere) the Northern edge of panel rows, where wetter soil will support plant growth both in front as well as under that edge. I think between rows got advantage from the partial shading, with more shading in Winter as well as mornings and afternoons, less in Summer and middle of the day; rather than see this as less than ideal I suspect it just changes the plant species selection. I don't recall the spacings between panels were changed; these were set up for maximum solar output from the land area. But they were mounted in "conventional" angled rows and there are different mounting setups that are growing in popularity. I've noticed the growing use of nearly flat, tightly packed arrays for solar farms that are relatively low to the ground and that won't suit crops or pasture and grazing. I believe that, whilst they lose some efficiency by not being ideally tilted, these are using construction methods that significantly reduce setup costs and that makes up for it. I suspect most solar farms won't be giving much consideration to combining agriculture with solar farms.
  9. The self appointed hypocrisy police are working overtime to criticise anyone unwilling to go all stone age to prove they take decades of consistent expert advice seriously, yet anyone who knows better but doesn't care is apparently fine. Morally superior even. Yet these are mostly people would still not take anyone who does go all stone age seriously. Hypocritical of them in my opinion. Yet this kind of attack is surprisingly effective; I suspect the all too human urge to avoid responsibility (and any sense of guilt for it) makes this a popular and effective way for climate science deniers to attack the integrity of those who call for change whilst diverting attention from the profound and dangerous irresponsibility intrinsic to ignoring clear warnings of what may be the greatest threat to enduring prosperity ever - for convenience and profit. Those who seek to advance the very activities that make global warming worse - who also know better but do it all the same - are having their hypocrisy passed over without comment by those keyboard warriors. I think it is like facing an invasion - but no-one will take your concerns seriously unless you are personally sacrificing life and fortunes on the front line - that the invasion is not even considered real unless they do and your calls for nationally coordinated response are ignored. Whilst there are people who think going without stuff should be the principle response, I and many others do not; we know personal lifestyle choices exclusively by those willing to go without stuff is totally inadequate to the task. The intent is to prevent generations of people being forced to go without stuff from climate consequences, by taking economy wide actions to reduce emissions to reduce those consequences. I'm not those (mostly environmentalist voices) who make going without the preferred response are not doing us any favours. But there has also been an extraordinary abrogation of responsibility - unforgivable in those in positions of trust and responsibility - that abandoned the issue to "those who care" and, whilst being relentlessly critical of the policies that resulted, have failed to put forward anything better themselves. I'm assuming this refers first of all to 1970's global cooling fears. Yet the 1975 US National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council report "Understanding Climatic Change: a Program for Action" made it very clear that mainstream science did not endorse any such predictions. From the preface - They proposed science programs to develop that good quantitative understanding sufficiently that it could be possible to predict climate change and by the 1980's they were bearing fruit. Unfortunately that good understanding of exactly why we need not worry about an imminent ice age were not nearly as reassuring as people hoped! A lot of other criticism seems to be less about what the top level science advice said than about the media's version of that advice - which often presented worst case but less likely scenarios as absolute predictions whilst failing to communicate the if's and but's. I'm not sure the actual science based advice ever made absolute predictions - more like likelihoods under a variety of circumstances, many of which were never considered highly likely.
  10. No need for invoking any directing of mutations or motivations for bodily change. Some people think that. I don't. I wonder if that is an academic holdover from the idea that because body hair has no significant survival function (which is a false premise), those ancestors with less of it had a metabolic advantage and therefore over many generations it got lost - and this is something still going on. The problem with that is that it has a continuing sensory function, extending our sense of touch beyond the skin - and is a principle component of the skin's ability to feel things; more sensitive I would argue as small hairs than as dense fur. ie humans gained improved sensory acuity. I think there are problems with invoking sexual selection too - what kind of sexual selection results in traits that primarily and profoundly affect juveniles in ways that are detrimental? That might be unique if so. Human juveniles all universally develop without fur, whilst only in adults are there significant differences - which suggests whatever evolutionary events caused it is in our entire species not responsible for the variations amongst modern human adults. Personally I find the notion that it was specific mutations that resulted in distinct furless variants pretty much as soon as they appeared (or, if recessive, when supplied by both parents) to be compelling - and they did okay and survived as a variant because they were members of groups of intelligent problem solvers. Or perhaps their parents did some of the problem solving; caring for vulnerable young is kind of fundamental. Why the furred variants did not survive - the natural selection part of evolution - seems a more pertinent question. But this is taking this away from bipedality into hairlessness - something I've had a long running interest in and have (as might be evident) my own speculations about. Yet that matter of degree did result in a unique evolutionary history - whilst all such histories are unique I suggest that our line of intelligent tool users are more unique. I cannot really equate examples of chimpanzee tool use with what our tool using hominid forebears could do - they took it to a whole, unique new level that impacted and improved survival abilities ever after.
  11. Tool use per se is not unique but hominid evolution diverged in unique ways because of it. Having the early tool use improved the survival abilities of the very hominids that were progenitors of the ancestors with improved cognitive abilities, capable of more elaborate tool use. And I said "intelligent" and "problem solving" as well as tool making/using - and intelligence and problem solving are not unique either, but the combination and the accumulated benefits and results in homo sapiens are.
  12. I would argue that Howsois has a good point: as I see it evolution in tool using hominids has indeed been unique. Whether that is the basis for becoming bipedal is still a question - so I don't necessarily support the conclusion that it did, but I think it has been pivotal to the evolution and success of the homo sapiens variant. I would like to read the rest before looking specifically at the walking upright trait. I think intelligent, problem solving tool makers can and did overcome limitations that would otherwise seriously reduce evolutionary fitness - in ways no other evolutionary line has. It does look unique to our evolutionary line. Example - fire and clothing and built shelters overcoming the disadvantages from lack of fur. Not just compensating but overcompensating in ways that created significant advantages - in this case that allow migration into regions with climates that would have been unlivable even with fur.
  13. The most effective and least cost thing we can do is shift from high emissions energy to low emissions and some progress is being made with potential for a lot more. It is a widely held view - certainly mine - that other solutions may help but none can compensate for continuing fossil fuel emissions. But sunlight blocking is not yet on anyone's short list. In any case we have no way to induce or control volcanic eruptions to do it - even if we thought we could get the climate affects what we want, without major complications.
  14. I don't think there is a prospect of large areas being ice free in the next few decades although the US President clearly supports the industries and activities that would make it happen sooner. Perhaps by the US "owning" Greenland, ongoing measurements of ice sheet loss could be heavily restricted? This coveting of Greenland by President Trump makes no real sense to me - or I expect, to Greenlanders and Danes. I expect it is a surprise and puzzle to Americans as well.
  15. I just became aware that the "greening" that had been observed prior to 1990 has reversed and plant growth decline, which is attributed to Vapour Pressure Deficit - the difference between the water vapor pressure at saturation and the actual water vapor pressure for a given temperature. Because the given temperature has risen. From the Yuan et al science paper - It does sound like the CO2 greening effect cannot be counted upon to provide beneficial outcomes for terrestrial plants.
  16. Dutchman - The mainstream science conclusions are sound; much more competent people than you or I have been all over climate science and again and again confirm the CO2 and warming connection. No matter whether called for by governments leaning Left or those leaning Right, no matter which nation's science institutions, the conclusion remains that we face a serious climate problem of immense proportions - due mostly to excessive fossil fuel burning. That is based on a good understanding of the underlying processes. We continue to learn more all the time, around the edges of understanding, that the Anything-But-CO2 crowd keep trying to nibble at in lieu of having any sound basis for rejecting the CO2 and climate connection. That includes recently establishing a link between mass mortality in the 1500's across the Americas, massive regrowth of forests and a drop in global CO2 levels of around 7ppm, contributing to the Little Ice Age. As did major volcanic eruptions in close succession, making a feedback loop from increased snow cover that lasted several decades. The closer we look at these kinds of past climate variations the more confirmation of the mainstream science view we get, not less. Which is consistent with that view being correct. I am not going to waste much more time on this - I will continue to trust those decades of top level expert advice and advocate for governments to make that advice the bottom line - and urge them to reject rather than encourage the kinds of pseudo expertise you espouse.
  17. Most limestones do get formed that way - corals, shelled and carbonate skeleton organisms becoming sedimentary rock - and they have taken up a lot of carbon. But whilst atmospheric CO2 levels have changed a lot over geological time the idea that it is on it's unstoppable way to below what plants need to survive has no basis at all - and in any case is irrelevant to the exceptional, mostly emissions driven climate change we facing now. We do know how and why the current global warming is happening with high levels of confidence and it doesn't include Solar Inertial Motion. The idea that there has been any serious science based doubt about the fundamental physical mechanisms since the 1980's has no basis. Whilst ordinarily people can believe or disbelieve what they like my own view is people holding positions of trust and responsibility turning aside from consistent top level expert advice are being negligent.
  18. There are misguided people saying the CO2 we are adding now is preventing a return of Glacial Maximum conditions in 10,000 - 40,000 years time. They actually look almost reasonable in comparison to this! Of course burning all the fossil fuels (a few hundred years worth?) will barely be a blip in the distant past by then - but here we are with the highest CO2 levels for 3 million years but we are supposed to keep burning fossil fuels (that won't last a thousand years of continuing use) for the next 5 million years and all plant life will die if we stop? And not worry about the global warming occurring because of the raised CO2 in the present? Sorry Dutchman - the only interesting question here is how anyone could think that could possibly be true. We get some bizarre notions popping up here but truly you have exceeded my expectations.
  19. I was keeping it simple, but yes, there is some small variation in sun-earth distances due to orbital motions being altered by other planets - but the principle point is the overall solar system barycentre most closely follows the Sun-Jupiter barycentre but the Earth most closely orbits the sun and that combined orbit moves around that Solar system barycentre (very close to Sun-Jupiter barycentre) without change to distances from Sun to Earth. However I am not an astrophysicist and and deferring to the expertise of others This paper got some discussion at https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2019/07/07/nature-scientific-reports/ and I will lift a comment from the host (who is an astronomer) there - No they are not. The Medieval Warm Period (or Roman or Little Ice Age) doesn't really present any problem for current best understanding of why our climate is currently warming - no matter that you and a small minority of pseudo experts may think otherwise; we've already far exceeded the temperatures during the MWP. Some "greening" does indeed appear a consequence of raised CO2 levels but so does raised temperatures - and depending on circumstances it will be other factors besides CO2 levels, including especially changes to rainfall and evaporation; I can assure you higher temperatures in places where dry conditions dominate (like where I live) mean less greening. No matter what conditions were like in the distant past it is the conditions that are recent, current and near future that matter - ie the period affecting people, agriculture, infrastructure and remnant ecosystems in the lifetimes of people now living. The claim that, without human emissions from fossil fuel burning atmospheric CO2 levels will drop to below that required for plant growth has no foundation; like everything else in this, it is the physical processes that matter - not blindly eyeing a graph and presuming a trend continues without physical processes that will make it continue. Do you think it is even possible keep burning fossil fuels for (going by the graph of declining CO2 provided) for the purpose of saving plant life for the next 5 million years? Utter nonsense! No, the Carbon Cycle will still be around and so will plants and CO2. I suggest you look to more reputable and non-partisan sources of information about climate change - such as the US National Academy of Sciences and UK's Royal Society. They draw on the world's most accomplished and respected scientists to review and make sense of complex science. I continue to urge politicians and governments to treat such advice seriously and not fall for the illusion that the current understanding of climate and how it changes is inconsistent or uncertain or in serious doubt.
  20. Not just those that have high confidence that global warming can be explained by atmospheric Greenhouse gases but astronomers and astrophysicists are disputing Zharkova's assertions. It appears that astrophysicists think what Zharkova is claiming violates some pretty basic orbital dynamics, which is then used to suggest that most of our warming is natural, in an over-simplistic as well as false manner. The main astrophysical problem appears to be the claim that the solar system barycentre - around which planets and sun orbit - moves as much as 0.2 AU (true) and that means the distance between the sun and Earth changes by that amount as a result, which is not true; the combined Sun-Earth orbit moves together by that amount, without altering the distance between Sun and Earth. It brings up an issue in common with all manner of proposed alternate explanations for global warming - they do not explain how raised CO2 levels DO NOT cause climate change. The "null hypothesis" idea gets thrown around a lot, without much examination but I suggest that, given what we know about this with high levels of confidence, CO2 rise resulting in warming has become the null hypothesis. ie you have to show how changes to GHG concentrations are not changing the heat balance of the atmosphere before any alternative explanation can be considered better.
  21. The value of correct prediction is very high - near priceless - but in the absence of scientific type methodologies, and given that humans not only have active imaginations but inexplicably, dream as well - rational prediction and irrational prophecy won't have any clear boundary. Without that clear boundary between prediction and prophecy any that turns out true can feel great - only I'm not sure they do feel the same; that absence of Reason in prophecy seems to give it more significance and an emotional impact that rational prediction does not. It seems to come with more frisson somehow. Which both sincere shamans seeking "truth" and charlatans, seeking power to influence would find significant.
  22. It has niggled at me how the use of prophecies within fiction works, because my own experience is that (despite no belief in prophecy in it's mystical rather than rational foresight forms) it does engage with my emotions and creates a sense of satisfaction when it is used. I've noticed how a lot of fiction plays on the satisfaction and even pleasure we get in seeing Bad People suffer - best of all if what happens looks like poetic justice, ie it is not actual commissions of violence that we dislike but violence without "good" cause, against those who we think do not deserve it. Our liking of violence against those we deem deserving of it makes a sort of sense in evolutionary terms - enabling people to overcome their inhibitions and use violence that would be destructive within their kin and tribe in defense of their kin and tribe - and it persists in us, despite it's often poor targeting (no weighing of facts and evidence is required to deem someone bad - it is an emotional judgement, not rational). In that light it makes a kind of sense, but why do prophetic elements in storylines come with a strong sense of satisfaction when they occur? Is there an evolutionary element to it like the use of "good" violence has? Off the top of my head I suspect correct prediction - of the rational foresight kind - is what this kind of response rewards emotionally and that had evolutionary advantage.
  23. I think there is real mind control - or at least strong opinion influencing and shaping - but it is through well known and proven means. It goes on to a large extent in plain sight - and gets treated as legal and legitimate .... Reducing access to critical information directly through censorship, commercial "in confidence" and non-disclosure contracts, indirectly through editorial interventions, ie burying it amongst distractions and diversion or failing to give it space. Advertising and PR and paid commentary to influence public opinion. Lobbying and Strategic Donating, Post political career inducements to influence political leaders. Tankthink to throw doubt on good information and provide academic sounding justifications for policy positions that are for the interests of their sponsors but harm the interests of others. I think there is plenty of scope for shaping people's opinions and responses without resort to "voice to skull using microwaves,scalar waves and ultrasonic " technologies.
  24. Ken Fabian


    I don't know they get stopped by intelligence - very often, and very deliberately, it has the bad guy offered the opportunity to surrender but he is so crazy-bad he forces the good guys to shoot him - in self defense of course. Entire televisions series have contrived endings that result in a shootout, so the bad guy can be killed. The reality of messy aftermaths is almost never part of the story. My own view is that there is a universal human capacity for getting enjoyment and satisfaction from knowing someone deemed bad is made to suffer or die - but it does not require any weighing of evidence or certainty; just being told someone is bad can be enough. Just being like someone bad - the same religion, ethnicity, political associations or appearance even - can be enough. Our institutions and laws work to channel and moderate such urges, but entertainment too often plays upon them - we get shown how bad they are and after that we can enjoy seeing confessions beaten out the suspect or their premises searched without warrants and ultimately see them get shot and killed. I do think the style of entertainment reflects (with exaggeration) some real elements of the culture and vigilantism seems to be more celebrated by Americans than it is amongst, say Australians. Not that it doesn't exist here, but I don't think it has the same cultural approval. How many Americans are routinely carrying guns - and are on the lookout for opportunities to be a hero? Surely just carrying weapons requires an extra watchfulness for the people and situations that might warrant their use - but I really do prefer the idea that my society's armed protectors are well trained and resort to use of arms is not something random citizens are encouraged to do.
  25. Besides the multiple choices that involve other gods and religious doctrines, I mentioned "no-Heller" Christianity. Not even all Christians agree that eternal suffering is a possible outcome. And if a God really has expectations of us, He/She/It could make It's requirements inarguable by providing clarity and certainty. Meanwhile notions like fires, Earthquakes and floods are punishments for moral failures or lack of faith, and personal life achievements are attributed to God's favour remain widespread amongst many Christians - except of course when they are not. But I don't intend wasting more time on this argument.
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