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Essay

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About Essay

  • Rank
    Molecule
  • Birthday 02/09/1955

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  • Location
    Colorado State University
  • Interests
    Saving humanity/civilization, Gaia theory, biochemistry and biophysics, earth sciences, cosmology, history, economics, ecology, sociology, psycholgy, feminism, anthropology, philosophy, citizenship, agriculture, soil sciences, microbiology, evolution, religion, genetics, epigenetics, humus, biochar, graphene, Artificial Intelligence, networking, Type I civilization, C.P. Snow, E.O. Wilson, Klaus Kinder-Geiger, Stephen J. Pyne, Steven Stoll, Charles C. Mann, biogeochemistry, and climate science. Sustainability issues.
  • College Major/Degree
    BSc in Chem/Biochem from CSU via UNLV & George Mason Univ.
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Biochemistry, Carbon-cycle ecology, and all.
  • Biography
    Univ. Research Library, Preservation.
  • Occupation
    connecting good science with good citizenship

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  1. Your point of view, or the idea that some extra ‘truth’ is needed, might be revised and more congruent with reality if you corrected one misunderstanding about emergent phenomena. You seem to think, “emergence results in the existence of structures (information) at higher levels of organisation that cannot be derived from the parts.” Just because the whole is “more than” the sum of the parts, it doesn’t mean there are actually “more” parts (somehow magically created). There may be more functionality than the original parts naturally have, but if you can fully analyze (reductionistic-ally) the whole, working backwards it’s usually fairly easy to see how the original parts interact to generate the emergent phenomenon. For instance, on page two (in an example of building a car, I think) you said, “Know exactly what's in a toolbox and how it is made does not tell you what will be made using the tools.” Right, you can’t predict what will emerge. However, I bet if you could fully study a car, you’d be able to figure out how to understand “exactly what's in a toolbox and how it is made.” For a good explanation of emergent phenomena, read The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems , by Fritjof Capra Evolution doesn’t need to predict what design will work, it only needs to stumble across something that does work. That is how morphogenesis arises—evolution playing with its toolbox, finding what works, and as Darwin said, through the “cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.” ~
  2. It’s been pointed out earlier in the thread, and you yourself seem to grasp, how the basic physical principles (such as diffusion, the forces that fold molecules, lock and key binding, Brownian motion, etc.) of “self-organization” do explain morphology. So why are you looking for something else or something more? Perhaps it is simply that ‘self-assembly’ is more varied and pervasive and powerful than you currently perceive. When a virus inserts its DNA into a cell, the products from that message don’t get incorporated into the morphology of the host, because they aren’t designed (by the DNA) to ‘self-assemble’ with the host. The viral products within the cell are designed (by the DNA) to self-assemble, within the cell, into some viral morphology. I’m amazed ‘self-assembly’ can discriminate that well, with odd or sticky proteins, but it seems to. You ask about "[The] proposition is that nothing more than the DNA sequence is necessary to define and determine the outcome of all these self-organisational processes?" Yes, doesn't this seems obvious when you think about how it is the DNA that provides the "self" for those self organization processes. As with the virus example, that seems to be the answer you seek.
  3. It seems that any measurable temperature change (from a ‘forcing’ on the system) already includes the feedback from any change in water vapor, since it adjusts as quickly as weather changes rather than at a glacial pace. Oxford Monographs on Geology and Geophysics, no. 16: Paleoclimatology; Crowley & North; 1991 sect.1.2 Energy Balance Models (EBMs) of the Present Climate; part 1.2.1 Radiation and Climate Climate Change Indicators: Weather and Climate The extra heating, which is observed at night, as well as at higher latitudes and altitudes, is consistent with CO2 being the cause for the extra warming--as predicted. If extra warming came from the sun, we wouldn't be seeing this sort of signature in the observations. A warmer world, on average, holds more water vapor. Amazingly, it's about 7% more water vapor per each 1 degree C increase. That's almost 4% more water vapor, per degree F of 'warming,' globally. ~So, it's the heat and the absolute humidity!
  4. Absorption of energy is probably more easily thought of as occurring within the molecular bonds, rather than within “vibrational nuclei” as you suggest. Methane, with four bonds, has many more opportunities to vibrate (waggle) in ways that absorbs IR, so that might be why it is stronger. But whatever the reason, when the nuclei are different, then the bonds are different too. For example, when the 4 hydrogen atoms of methane are substituted with chlorine or fluorine, you get an even stronger absorber for IR. Methane (CH4), is about 100 times as powerful as carbon dioxide (~100 x CO2), but tetraflouro-methane (CF4) (~5000 x CO2) and dichloro-difluoro-methane (CCl2F2) (~11000 x CO2) both absorb more strongly than methane, even though the structure of all three molecules is about the same. The one with twice the asymmetry (mixed Cl/F) as the other is about twice as strong too, but maybe that is just coincidence. I’d never heard of CO being a greenhouse absorber, but I found it listed online as a "very weak" absorber! Perhaps the unbound electrons at each end of the molecule can vibrate in a manner similar to (but much weaker than) how hydrogen bonds would vibrate, but that should probably be its own topic since CO doesn’t seem to be considered a significant ‘greenhouse’ gas. “Carbon monoxide (CO) is only a very weak direct greenhouse gas, but has important indirect effects on global warming. Carbon monoxide reacts with hydroxyl (OH) radicals in the atmosphere, reducing their abundance.” ~
  5. Tri-atomic molecules can stretch and bend, or waggle, in such a way (asymmetrically) as to "resonate" with infrared wavelengths. Di-atomic molecules can't move in such a way, always constrained to move symmetrically. Search: co2 vibrational modes animation. I know there are you tubes of Prof. Denning, doing his 'waggle dance' showing how CO2 absorbs heat, using his head as the carbon and his upraised fists as the oxygen. Or just search 'infrared CO2 waggle' online. “The symmetric stretch is not infrared active, and so this vibration is not observed in the infrared spectrum of CO2.” ~
  6. As desertification spreads, albedo increases. Planetary albedo is a major player in the climate equilibrium. But I'm guessing that loss of (high albedo) ice fields, and less snow cover overall, will offset any increases from spreading deserts. On the brighter side, they now seem to realize it's not just about cutting emissions, but about more properly managing the carbon cycle. Put more carbon in soils to meet Paris climate pledges (Dec. 3, 2018) As we've been saying for years now! There are ways to synergize solutions. And, AND! That Nature article didn't even mention adding charcoal to the soil, which multiplies the soil's capacity to hold carbon, as a part of their eight-step plan. Along with Foley's five-step plan, we can achieve those 17 sustainability goals. As the Nature article says, "...researchers, policymakers and land managers need to recognize that increasing soil carbon stocks and protecting carbon-rich soils is crucial for achieving the Paris climate targets and SDGs." Reduce and reclaim deserts, and save the Arctic and high mountain albedo! ~
  7. What about ocean acidification? Even if CO2 had no effect on climate.... Its effect on the oceans is rapidly producing conditions that will significantly alter or crash the planetary food web. ~
  8. It's one of the best analogies I've heard in a long time, (+1) and I'll be using it myself! === But to your point about how none of the models predict a standstill or pause in the warming trend, here is some old and dry 'climate science' from back in the day before so much activism. It's from an academic book, published mainly for other researchers and professors in the field, and the sort of book that was used as a text book back in the 1990s. Paleoclimatologists have been aware of the variability in climate for a long time. Of course there are "cooling phases" and "warming phases" in the various elements that contribute to the overall climate. And after a "cooling" phase, those cycles switch back to the “warming” phase of their pattern, and after more decades or centuries, the average remains remarkably steady; especially for the solar influences. But the key point here is that greenhouse gases are unidirectional; they don’t have a cooling phase. So while we’ve probably just been through a "pause" (or what should have been a natural cooling phase), it was counteracted by the new “forcer” in the summation of the climate factors. Look at the recent "cooling" phases on the classic hockey stick curve, and you can see how each successive "cooling" segment falls less steeply (less cooling) than the previous one. Paleoclimatologists have a fairly good grasp of the natural forcers affecting climate, and they understood decades ago that the natural variability (which they call “Historical Climate Fluctuations”) in climate would probably be superimposed onto any unidirectional forcing of the climate. Hence this 1991 summary of the state of the art: Oxford Monographs on Geology and Geophysics no.16; Paleoclimatology; Crowley & North; 1991. From 1991! So, here's a prediction that seems to be gaining some validation. Being a unidirectional forcer, we should expect fewer, or certainly weaker, “cooling phases” as the decades and centuries progress, which would appear as a noticeable slowing, occasionally or periodically, in the overall warming trend, as long as we keep adding extra greenhouse forcing to the global system. Of course, we could always hope for a super-volcano to counteract the unidirectionality of our extra greenhouse warming. ~
  9. Well that's the point, isn't it; there has been intervention! You’re right about the pending ice-age conditions that the planet should be experiencing, and about how the current CO2 levels are counteracting the current ice-age forcing (orbital or Milankovitch forcing), but you are wrong about the prospects for—as well as the predictability of—the next few hundred years. We’ve currently bottomed out, in terms of Milankovitch forcing, for our ice age prospects. Orbital forcing is calculated to be only increasingly warming, for the next 10,000 years, so that bet is off. ... There’s also a year-or-so-old report about how the Human forcers have overwhelmed the Astronomical, Geophysical, and Intrinsic forcers. So the equation for climate (per unit of time) is now a function of H, human influence, instead of being a function of A, G, and I, the astro-geo-intrinsic forcers, as it had been for many millions of years. Are you familiar with these sorts of “chaotic attractor” graphs? I'll try finding a link to the actual article. CO2 levels, by the end of the century, if we keep going as we are, will be at levels not seen since 30 million years ago, according to the National Science Foundation. That is the trajectory we are heading on, and roughly what this graph above shows--30 million years worth of change over the next few centuries--if the "H" forcing remains. ~
  10. However, extra "greening" from extra CO2 doesn't seem to be as beneficial as you might ordinarily think. "Elevated CO2 could ...require extra precautions...." It's usually more complicated than you'd think at first glance. ~
  11. From Light Into Heat. His Radiation Remains. The Journey Complete. ..
  12. Isn't this what DNA would look like, if looking down along the axis of the helix? ~
  13. Is anyone arguing otherwise? Doesn't the history of Pluto, with collisions and many moons, suggest other sources of heating after formation? But.... From that link to Thermodynamics of the Earth and Planets, this seemed most relevant to your OP: ...just to point out there are a lot of different reasons planets don't all behave the same. Heck, just look at the major similarities in formation, yet big differences now, between Earth and Venus. Venus, due to its closer proximity to the sun, should be about 80 degrees warmer than Earth, iirc, and yet it is very different. ~
  14. Great source! Searching that led to this (Trinity College Dublin) PDF of a university class on the topic of "Planetary interiors." Sources include "Thermodynamics of the Earth and Planets," such as the graph of “Radioactive heating of Earth since formation,” on page 27. Pages 21-27 cover "Heating of the planets," which then leads into the section on “Cooling of the Planets,” starting on page 28 (of 47). I did not know about the significant "Heat of Differentiation" involved with planetary formation, but it makes sense. ~
  15. Speaking of records tumbling: For the third year in a row, reports of record-breaking high temperatures in the Arctic, during the dark of winter, continue in the news. So it all comes fairly close to averaging out, in the end; it is just a degree or so warmer overall globally, over the decade. Although, continuing like this, decade upon decade for a century of so, would be a more extreme climate event than the planet has seen since long before primates first evolved. ~ edit: ...and yes, it would be great to see the source of your information about "no more snow."
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