3rd great “mass extinction” was due to an ice age and not to global warming

March 8, 2017

A new paper addresses the drivers behind the 3rd great “mass extinction” around 250 million years ago. It finds that it was due to an ice age and not due to global warming as many have speculated.

Björn Baresel, Hugo Bucher, Borhan Bagherpour, Morgane Brosse, Kuang Guodun, Urs Schaltegger. Timing of global regression and microbial bloom linked with the Permian-Triassic boundary mass extinction: implications for driving mechanisms. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7: 43630 DOI: 10.1038/srep43630

Universite de Geneve Press Release:

The Earth has known several mass extinctions over the course of its history. One of the most important happened at the Permian-Triassic boundary 250 million years ago. Over 95% of marine species disappeared and, up until now, scientists have linked this extinction to a significant rise in Earth temperatures. But researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, working alongside the University of Zurich, discovered that this extinction took place during a short ice age which preceded the global climate warming. It’s the first time that the various stages of a mass extinction have been accurately understood and that scientists have been able to assess the major role played by volcanic explosions in these climate processes. This research, which can be read in Scientific Reports, completely calls into question the scientific theories regarding these phenomena, founded on the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, and paves the way for a new vision of the Earth’s climate history. 

Teams of researchers led by Professor Urs Schaltegger from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the Faculty of Science of the UNIGE and by Hugo Bucher, from the University of Zürich, have been working on absolute dating for many years. They work on determining the age of minerals in volcanic ash, which establishes a precise and detailed chronology of the earth’s climate evolution. They became interested in the Permian-Triassic boundary, 250 million years ago, during which one of the greatest mass extinctions ever took place, responsible for the loss of 95% of marine species. How did this happen? for how long marine biodiversity stayed at very low levels? 

Researchers worked on sediment layers in the Nanpanjiang basin in southern China. They have the particularity of being extremely well preserved, which allowed for an accurate study of the biodiversity and the climate history of the Permian and the Triassic. “We made several cross-sections of hundreds of metres of basin sediments and we determined the exact positions of ash beds contained in these marine sediments,” explained Björn Baresel, first author of the study. They then applied a precise dating technique based on natural radioactive decay of uranium, as Urs Schaltegger added: “In the sedimentary cross-sections, we found layers of volcanic ash containing the mineral zircon which incorporates uranium. It has the specificity of decaying into lead over time at a well-known speed. This is why, by measuring the concentrations of uranium and lead, it was possible for us to date a sediment layer to an accuracy of 35,000 years, which is already fairly precise for periods over 250 million years.”
Ice is responsible for mass extinction

By dating the various sediment layers, researchers realised that the mass extinction of the Permian-Triassic boundary is represented by a gap in sedimentation, which corresponds to a period when the sea-water level decreased. The only explanation to this phenomenon is that there was ice, which stored water, and that this ice age which lasted 80,000 years was sufficient to eliminate much of marine life. Scientists from the UNIGE explain the global temperature drop by a stratospheric injection of large amounts of sulphur dioxide reducing the intensity of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth. “We therefore have proof that the species disappeared during an ice age caused by the activity of the first volcanism in the Siberian Traps,” added Urs Schaltegger. This ice age was followed by the formation of limestone deposits through bacteria, marking the return of life on Earth at more moderate temperatures. The period of intense climate warming, related to the emplacement of large amounts of basalt of the Siberian Traps and which we previously thought was responsible for the extinction of marine species, in fact happened 500,000 years after the Permian-Triassic boundary.

This study therefore shows that climate warming is not the only explanation of global ecological disasters in the past on Earth: it is important to continue analysing ancient marine sediments to gain a deeper understanding of the earth’s climate system.

We now have more living species than ever before. The number of “garbage” species is very high and a new “mass extinction” (the sixth) is needed to clear out the rubbish. A Herculean task and hopefully humans will not be one of the “garbage” species. When it comes it is more likely to be due to a global cooling than a global warming.

There are thought to have been 5 great “mass extinctions” in the past. A “mass extinction” removes around 30 – 50% of extent species and can be seen as a self-correcting method for getting rid of the detritus remaining from failed evolution.

But I would argue instead that mass extinctions are necessary and unavoidable. They are necessitated by the ineffectiveness of the process of evolution itself. They provide the self-correction necessary to cope with the mass of “rubbish” species created by the hit-and-miss process of evolution. The external shock is only incidental and acts as the trigger for the extinction of the highly-stressed “rubbish” species. None of the historical mass extinctions ever posed any threat to the continuation of life. Instead they have served to muck out the dung from the evolutionary stables.

The fossil record shows that biodiversity in the world has been increasing dramatically for 200 million years and is likely to continue. The two mass extinctions in that period (at 201 million and 66 million years ago) slowed the trend only temporarily. Genera are the next taxonomic level up from species and are easier to detect in fossils. The Phanerozoic is the 540-million-year period in which animal life has proliferated. Chart created by and courtesy of University of Chicago paleontologists J. John Sepkoski, Jr. and David M. Raup.

The fossil record shows that biodiversity in the world has been increasing dramatically for 200 million years and is likely to continue. The two mass extinctions in that period (at 201 million and 66 million years ago) slowed the trend only temporarily. Genera are the next taxonomic level up from species and are easier to detect in fossils. The Phanerozoic is the 540-million-year period in which animal life has proliferated. Chart created by and courtesy of University of Chicago paleontologists J. John Sepkoski, Jr. and David M. Raup.

The clue lies here:

Wikipedia: Although there are 10–14 million species of life currently on the Earth, more than 99 percent of all species that ever lived on the planet are estimated to be extinct.

Evolution fails in over 99% of its attempts to create species that can survive. The 1%  of species that do and have survived may seem to be perfectly tailored for the prevailing conditions but that is putting the cart before the horse. Evolution has no direction and does not seek excellence. It only throws up a plethora of species where just 1% of those species happen to suit the prevailing conditions. One round peg out of a 100 different shapes may happen to fit a round hole but the round peg itself was not designed to fit – it happened to be the only one of many which did. For every species which is just good enough to survive, evolution gives another 99 which are not. As a process it is a remarkably ineffective one. Humans are not the result of “intelligent design”. They are just the 1% of all the species created by evolution which happened to fit the round hole of the prevailing environment.


 

Baby boomers 1, 2 and 3

February 27, 2017

There are really 3 groups of baby boomers who are apparent since 1900.

baby boomers

baby boomers

BB1 – 1919 – 1928 (after World War 1)

BB2 – 1937 -1972 (after Great depression + World War 2 + children of BB1)

BB3 – 1977 -1998 (Children of BB2)


 

Man-made contribution to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is just 4.3%

February 26, 2017

This new paper finds that CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen by 110 ppm since 1750, but of this the human contribution is just 17 ppm. With the concentration now at 400 ppm, the human contribution is just 4.3%. The results indicate that almost all of the observed change of CO2 during the Industrial Era comes, not from anthropogenic emissions, but from changes of natural emission.

The general assumption by IPCC and the global warming fraternity that natural carbon dioxide absorption and emissions are miraculously in balance and, therefore that man-made emissions are solely responsible for the increase in carbon dioxide concentration is deeply flawed (if not plain stupid).

Clearly this paper is not at all to the liking of the religious zealots of the “global warming brigade” and is causing much heartburn among the faithful.

Hermann Harde, Scrutinizing the carbon cycle and CO2 residence time in the atmosphereGlobal and Planetary Change, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2017.02.009

Highlights

•An alternative carbon cycle is presented in agreement with the carbon 14 decay.
•The CO2 uptake rate scales proportional to the CO2 concentration.
•Temperature dependent natural emission and absorption rates are considered.
•The average residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is found to be 4 years.
•Paleoclimatic CO2 variations and the actual CO2 growth rate are well-reproduced.
•The anthropogenic fraction of CO2 in the atmosphere is only 4.3%.
•Human emissions only contribute 15% to the CO2 increase over the Industrial Era.

AbstractClimate scientists presume that the carbon cycle has come out of balance due to the increasing anthropogenic emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use change. This is made responsible for the rapidly increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations over recent years, and it is estimated that the removal of the additional emissions from the atmosphere will take a few hundred thousand years. Since this goes along with an increasing greenhouse effect and a further global warming, a better understanding of the carbon cycle is of great importance for all future climate change predictions. We have critically scrutinized this cycle and present an alternative concept, for which the uptake of CO2 by natural sinks scales proportional with the CO2 concentration. In addition, we consider temperature dependent natural emission and absorption rates, by which the paleoclimatic CO2 variations and the actual CO2 growth rate can well be explained. The anthropogenic contribution to the actual CO2 concentration is found to be 4.3%, its fraction to the CO2 increase over the Industrial Era is 15% and the average residence time 4 years.

Conclusions.

Climate scientists assume that a disturbed carbon cycle, which has come out of balance by the increasing anthropogenic emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use change, is responsible for the rapidly increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations over recent years. While over the whole Holocene up to the entrance of the Industrial Era (1750) natural emissions by heterotrophic processes and fire were supposed to be in equilibrium with the uptake by photosynthesis and the net oceanatmosphere gas exchange, with the onset of the Industrial Era the IPCC estimates that about 15 – 40 % of the additional emissions cannot further be absorbed by the natural sinks and are accumulating in the atmosphere.

The IPCC further argues that CO2 emitted until 2100 will remain in the atmosphere longer than 1000 years, and in the same context it is even mentioned that the removal of human-emitted CO2 from the atmosphere by natural processes will take a few hundred thousand years (high confidence) (see AR5-Chap.6-Executive-Summary).

Since the rising CO2 concentrations go along with an increasing greenhouse effect and, thus, a further global warming, a better understanding of the carbon cycle is a necessary prerequisite for all future climate change predictions. In their accounting schemes and models of the carbon cycle the IPCC uses many new and detailed data which are primarily focussing on fossil fuel emission, cement fabrication or net land use change (see AR5-WG1-Chap.6.3.2), but it largely neglects any changes of the natural emissions, which contribute to more than 95 % to the total emissions and by far cannot be assumed to be constant over longer periods (see, e.g.: variations over the last 800,000 years (Jouzel et al., 2007); the last glacial termination (Monnin et al., 2001); or the younger Holocene (Monnin et al., 2004; Wagner et al., 2004)).

Since our own estimates of the average CO2 residence time in the atmosphere differ by several orders of magnitude from the announced IPCC values, and on the other hand actual investigations of Humlum et al. (2013) or Salby (2013, 2016) show a strong relation between the natural CO2 emission rate and the surface temperature, this was motivation enough to scrutinize the IPCC accounting scheme in more detail and to contrast this to our own calculations.

Different to the IPCC we start with a rate equation for the emission and absorption processes, where the uptake is not assumed to be saturated but scales proportional with the actual CO2 concentration in the atmosphere (see also Essenhigh, 2009; Salby, 2016). This is justified by the observation of an exponential decay of 14C. A fractional saturation, as assumed by the IPCC, can directly be expressed by a larger residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere and makes a distinction between a turnover time and adjustment time needless. Based on this approach and as solution of the rate equation we derive a concentration at steady state, which is only determined by the product of the total emission rate and the residence time. Under present conditions the natural emissions contribute 373 ppm and anthropogenic emissions 17 ppm to the total concentration of 390 ppm (2012). For the average residence time we only find 4 years.

The stronger increase of the concentration over the Industrial Era up to present times can be explained by introducing a temperature dependent natural emission rate as well as a temperature affected residence time. With this approach not only the exponential increase with the onset of the Industrial Era but also the concentrations at glacial and cooler interglacial times can well be reproduced in full agreement with all observations. So, different to the IPCC’s interpretation the steep increase of the concentration since 1850 finds its natural explanation in the self accelerating processes on the one hand by stronger degassing of the oceans as well as a faster plant growth and decomposition, on the other hand by an increasing residence time at reduced solubility of CO2 in oceans.

Together this results in a dominating temperature controlled natural gain, which contributes about 85 % to the 110 ppm CO2 increase over the Industrial Era, whereas the actual anthropogenic emissions of 4.3 % only donate 15 %. These results indicate that almost all of the observed change of CO2 during the Industrial Era followed, not from anthropogenic emission, but from changes of natural emission.

The results are consistent with the observed lag of CO2 changes behind temperature changes (Humlum et al., 2013; Salby, 2013), a signature of cause and effect. Our analysis of the carbon cycle, which exclusively uses data for the CO2 concentrations and fluxes as published in AR5, shows that also a completely different interpretation of these data is possible, this in complete conformity with all observations and natural causalities. 

I expect there will be a concerted effort by the faithful to try and debunk this (and it has already started).

But I am inclined to give credence to this work – and not merely because it is in general agreement with my own conclusions about the Carbon cycle. Back in 2013 I posted

Even though the combustion of fossil fuels only contributes less than 4% of total carbon dioxide production (about 26Gt/year of 800+GT/year), it is usually assumed that the sinks available balance the natural sources and that the carbon dioxide concentration – without the effects of man – would be largely in equilibrium.  (Why carbon dioxide concentration should not vary naturally escapes me!). It seems rather illogical to me to claim that sinks can somehow distinguish the source of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and preferentially choose to absorb natural emissions and reject anthropogenic emissions! Also, there is no sink where the absorption rate would not increase with concentration.

Carbon dioxide emission sources (GT CO2/year)

  • Transpiration 440
  • Release from oceans 330
  • Fossil fuel combustion 26
  • Changing land use 6
  • Volcanoes and weathering 1

Carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere by about 15 GT CO2/ year. The accuracy of the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by transpiration and by the oceans is no better than about 2 – 3% and that error band (+/- 20GT/year)  is itself almost as large as the total amount of emissions from fossil fuels.


 

Risk of rapid North Atlantic cooling in 21st century greater than previously estimated

February 25, 2017

This paper in Nature would not have have had any chance of being published a few years ago. But times are changing.

CNRS: “The possibility of major climate change in the Atlantic region has long been recognized and has even been the subject of a Hollywood movie: The Day After Tomorrow. To evaluate the risk of such climate change, researchers from the Environnements et Paléoenvironnements Océaniques et Continentaux laboratory (CNRS/University of Bordeaux) and the University of Southampton developed a new algorithm to analyze the 40 climate models considered by the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Their findings raise the probability of rapid North Atlantic cooling during this century to nearly 50%. Nature Communications publishes their work on February 15, 2017”.

My own view is that man-made global warming is insignificant and virtually impossible to measure. The apparent climate turbulence we may currently be experiencing is probably the exhibition of instabilities as climate shifts from an interglacial paradigm to the, more normal, glacial conditions. The transition will probably be “rapid” in geologic terms which probably means a thousand years or so. Major volcanic eruptions (VEI>6) are overdue. This interglacial has lasted some 13,000 years and is also, relatively, long. I think it feasible that 2 or 3 major volcanic eruptions in relatively quick succession could provide the conditions to trigger a full transition. Once glacial conditions are established they will last for about 100,000 years. And we will then be very thankful for all the fossil or nuclear energy we can have available to us.

Giovanni Sgubin, Didier Swingedouw, Sybren Drijfhout, Yannick Mary, Amine Bennabi. Abrupt cooling over the North Atlantic in modern climate models. Nature Communications, 2017; 8 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14375

Abstract: Observations over the 20th century evidence no long-term warming in the subpolar North Atlantic (SPG). This region even experienced a rapid cooling around 1970, raising a debate over its potential reoccurrence. Here we assess the risk of future abrupt SPG cooling in 40 climate models from the fifth Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Contrary to the long-term SPG warming trend evidenced by most of the models, 17.5% of the models (7/40) project a rapid SPG cooling, consistent with a collapse of the local deep-ocean convection. Uncertainty in projections is associated with the models’ varying capability in simulating the present-day SPG stratification, whose realistic reproduction appears a necessary condition for the onset of a convection collapse. This event occurs in 45.5% of the 11 models best able to simulate the observed SPG stratification. Thus, due to systematic model biases, the CMIP5 ensemble as a whole underestimates the chance of future abrupt SPG cooling, entailing crucial implications for observation and adaptation policy.

Even The Guardian (a high priest of the man-made global warming religious fantasy) is compelled to report!!

guardian-global-cooling


CNRS Press Release:

Current climate models all foresee a slowing of the meridional overturning circulation (MOC)2—the phenomenon behind the familiar Gulf Stream, which carries warmth from Florida to European shores—that could lead to a dramatic, unprecedented disruption of the climate system. In 2013, drawing on 40 climate change projections, the IPCC judged that this slowdown would occur gradually over a long period of time. The panel’s findings suggested that fast cooling of the North Atlantic during this century was unlikely.

Oceanographers from the EU EMBRACE project team reexamined the 40 projections by focusing on a critical spot in the northwest North Atlantic: the Labrador Sea. The Labrador Sea is host to a convection system ultimately feeding into the ocean-wide MOC. The temperatures of its surface waters plummet in the winter, increasing their density and causing them to sink. This displaces deep waters, which bring their heat with them as they rise to the surface, preventing the formation of ice caps. To investigate this phenomenon in greater detail, the researchers developed an algorithm able to detect quick sea surface temperature variations. Their number crunching revealed that 7 of the 40 climate models they were studying predicted total shutdown of convection, leading to abrupt cooling of the Labrador Sea: by 2–3 °C over less than 10 years. This in turn would drastically lower North Atlantic coastal temperatures.

But is such rapid cooling a real possibility? (After all, only a handful of the models supported this projection.) To answer this question, the researchers honed in on the critical parameter triggering winter convection: ocean stratification. Indeed, 11 of the 40 models incorporated vertical variation in the density of oceanic water masses. And of these 11 models, which we may furthermore consider to be the most reliable, 5 (i.e., 45% of the models) predicted a rapid drop in North Atlantic temperatures.  


 

Conundrums

February 24, 2017

Not that these keep me awake at night, but they do irritate.

conundrums-1


 

A model to explain the end of an ice age (but not yet to predict when one may start)

February 23, 2017

That the onset of glacial (cold) and interglacial (warm) periods on earth are a consequence of the Milankovitch cycles is almost certain. Researchers have now developed a model which seems to be able to explain why and when glacial periods end to give interglacial conditions. Exactly what cause glacial conditions to be triggered remains to be discovered.

P. C. Tzedakis, M. Crucifix, T. Mitsui, E. W. Wolff. A simple rule to determine which insolation cycles lead to interglacials. Nature, 2017; 542 (7642): 427 DOI: 10.1038/nature21364

AbstractThe pacing of glacial–interglacial cycles during the Quaternary period (the past 2.6 million years) is attributed to astronomically driven changes in high-latitude insolation. However, it has not been clear how astronomical forcing translates into the observed sequence of interglacials. Here we show that before one million years ago interglacials occurred when the energy related to summer insolation exceeded a simple threshold, about every 41,000 years. Over the past one million years, fewer of these insolation peaks resulted in deglaciation (that is, more insolation peaks were ‘skipped’), implying that the energy threshold for deglaciation had risen, which led to longer glacials. However, as a glacial lengthens, the energy needed for deglaciation decreases. A statistical model that combines these observations correctly predicts every complete deglaciation of the past million years and shows that the sequence of interglacials that has occurred is one of a small set of possibilities. The model accounts for the dominance of obliquity-paced glacial–interglacial cycles early in the Quaternary and for the change in their frequency about one million years ago. We propose that the appearance of larger ice sheets over the past million years was a consequence of an increase in the deglaciation threshold and in the number of skipped insolation peaks.

Onset of Interglacials Tzedakis et al

Onset of Interglacials Tzedakis et al

Science Daily reports:

…. In a new study published today in Nature, researchers from UCL (University College London), University of Cambridge and University of Louvain have combined existing ideas to solve the problem of which solar energy peaks in the last 2.6 million years led to the melting of the ice sheets and the start of a warm period.

During this interval, Earth’s climate has alternated between cold (glacial) and warm (interglacial) periods. In the cold times, ice sheets advanced over large parts of North America and northern Europe. In the warm periods like today, the ice sheets retreated completely.

It has long been realised that these cycles were paced by astronomical changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun and in the tilt of its axis, which change the amount of solar energy available to melt ice at high northern latitudes in summer.

However, of the 110 incoming solar energy peaks (about every 21,000 years) only 50 led to complete melting of the ice sheets. Finding a way to translate the astronomical changes into the sequence of interglacials has previously proved elusive. 

Professor Chronis Tzedakis (UCL Geography) said: “The basic idea is that there is a threshold for the amount of energy reaching high northern latitudes in summer. Above that threshold, the ice retreats completely and we enter an interglacial.”

From 2.6 to 1 million years ago, the threshold was reached roughly every 41,000 years, and this predicts almost perfectly when interglacials started and the ice sheets disappeared. Professor Eric Wolff (University of Cambridge) said: “Simply put, every second solar energy peak occurs when the Earth’s axis is more inclined, boosting the total energy at high latitudes above the threshold.”

Somewhere around a million years ago, the threshold rose, so that the ice sheets kept growing for longer than 41,000 years. However, as a glacial period lengthens, ice sheets become larger, but also more unstable.

The researchers combined these observations into a simple model, using only solar energy and waiting time since the previous interglacial, that was able to predict all the interglacial onsets of the last million years, occurring roughly every 100,000 years.

Dr Takahito Mitsui (University of Louvain) said: “The next step is to understand why the energy threshold rose around a million years ago — one idea is that this was due to a decline in the concentration of CO2, and this needs to be tested.”

The results explain why we have been in a warm period for the last 11,000 years: despite the weak increase in solar energy, ice sheets retreated completely during our current interglacial because of the very long waiting time since the previous interglacial and the accumulated instability of ice sheets. …..

Milankovitch Cycles (Wikipedia)

What would cause the current interglacial to end remains to be discovered. It’s only my speculation of course but I suspect that a trigger event is probably needed. Possibly 2 or 3 major (VEI >6) volcanic eruptions over a short period, with large amounts of dust, which in turn led to a a few “years without summers”, could provide such a trigger for an unstoppable process. However the onset of full glacial conditions would still take a few thousand years. The availability of high energy densities would probably make it (relatively) easy for humans to continue to thrive and prosper (as they have done through other glacial periods with much lower energy availability).


 

Trump wasn’t wrong about Sweden (just a little early)

February 21, 2017

Fake news in Sweden is nothing new  – it is mainly by omission of course. Politically unpalatable stories are generally ignored or downplayed by a docile main stream media which never questions the basis of political correctness. They have also made a god of multi-culturalism and cannot (or will not) distinguish between multi-ethnic and multicultural (A “society” – to be a society – can be multi-ethnic but not multicultural).

After what seemed to be another “ignorant” Trump comment about Sweden, he has been proven to be correct in substance if not in timing by the extensive riots in Rinkeby (an immigrant dominated suburb of Stockholm) yesterday. What he said was “You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible”. His reference to “last night” was wrong but the rest was spot on. Of course there was high indignation from Sweden in general and from the liberal/left in particular, but their high dudgeon may prove to be badly misplaced.

Meanwhile, Rioting Breaks Out In Sweden

It would appear the mainstream media (along with several celebrities and Swedish politicians) is going to be apologizing to President Trump once again.

Having spent the entire new cycle trying to ignore the immigrant crisis facing Sweden, and pin the ignorant tail on Trump, both Dagbladet and Expressen reports riots breaking out in the highly immigrant concentrated Stockholm borough of Rinkeby, Sweden with police firing warning shots as 100s of young people throw stones and burn cars.

During the evening hundreds of young people gathered in the center of Rinkeby, well known for its high concentration of immigrants and people with immigrant ancestry. In June 2010, Rinkeby was the scene of riots and attacks against the local police station and Rinkeby is the region in which the ’60 Minutes’ crew were attacked in 2016.

……. warnings of increasing radicalization among Sweden’s Muslims – warnings he started to broadcast a decade ago – now seem eerily prophetic in light of an Associated Press investigation that found Stockholm to be a breeding ground for jihadists among Swedish Somalis. 

According to the AP report, which first ran Jan. 24, an al-Qaida-linked group is busy recruiting anti-government fighters among Somali youths living in Rinkeby. A suburb of Stockholm, Rinkeby has earned the nickname of “Little Mogadishu” because of the number of Somalis living there. Rinkeby is also the center of the recruiting efforts of al-Shabab, a group with ties to al-Qaida.

Rinkeby is a known problem area in Stockholm. It was here NRK journalist Anders Magnus was attacked with stones last spring, and here the police never go in the evenings without reinforcements from other patrols according to Dagbladet. A freelancer the newspaper spoke to, described the situation as serious. …

Rinkeby riots Feb 20th 2017

Rinkeby riots Feb 20th 2017

As an immigrant in Sweden, I find a decided lack of courage among Swedish politicians and the main stream media when they will not talk about the immigrant problems (which are primarily issues with Muslim immigrants, and religion is not irrelevant) because:

  1. they cannot bring themselves to admit that the multicultural meme  that they have religiously propounded is shallow, lazy and discredited (as opposed to multi-ethnic but with an evolving mono-culture), and
  2. they believe that keeping silent may make it go away.

Donald Trump is not big on academic, rational, logical thinking. He reacts from the gut and, at least in this instance, his gut emotions about Sweden are not wrong.


 

South Australian blackouts due to over-reliance on wind and solar were predicted 2 years ago

February 13, 2017

I see that in South Australia some people have been complaining about the “record” heat with temperatures of 44ºC. Of course they take this as “evidence” of global warming. Never mind that some 120 years ago without any urban heat effects and without any industrialisation, the temperature reached 48-49ºC. It wasn’t global warming then.

In any event, South Australians and their elected representatives must get used to the fact that they have only themselves – and their political correctness – to blame. Winning greenie points seems to take precedence over common sense.

The SA blackouts caused by unreliable solar and wind were predicted two years ago in the journal Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, and every MP in the Parliament was told.

The Telegraph: 

100,000 SA customers blacked out because of reliance on unreliable wind and solar power in our network – more than a third of SA’s generation capacity.

IT is hard to disagree with the blunt assessment of Business SA that South Australia has been caught on electricity planning like a frog in boiling water. The story goes, with mixed results in scientific experiments, that a frog suddenly put into hot water will jump out but if heated slowly it will not figure out the danger.

The state was warned of the electricity-shortage crisis – and consequent blackouts – yet ignored the warnings, according to Business SA executive Anthony Penney.

“The most frustrating aspect of this most recent event is that it was anticipated by many businesses and other energy industry experts well in advance but, like the frog in boiling water, nothing happened in time,” he says.

This week the SA frog boiled. About 100,000 customers were blacked out because of the reliance on unreliable wind and solar power in our network – more than a third of SA’s generation capacity. ……….

Ben Heard, a doctoral researcher at the University of Adelaide also runs environmental non-Government organisation Bright New World – which supports the use of nuclear – explains the problem. He says the SA blackouts caused by unreliable solar and wind were predicted two years ago in the journal Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, and every MP in the Parliament was told.

“Back when wind generation was providing only 28 per cent of SA’s electricity supply, we flagged the risk presented by low supply in extreme heat conditions,’’ he says. Mr Heard said it was well known that extreme heat conditions in SA were accompanied by very little wind. “Our expectation at the time was that this would make it impossible to retire other generators from the market because of the security risk. Instead, the generators were allowed to retire, we took the risk, and we have started paying the price.”

Trans. Royal Society of South Australia

sa-royal-society


The essence of human sapience lies in having opinions

February 12, 2017

When the answer to a question is not thought to lie in the field of “certain” knowledge, we expect our best specialists in the field (doctors and lawyers and judges and scientists and engineers and even economists) to have considered opinions and accept that different specialists may have differing opinions. If a specialist declines to address a question in his field and express an opinion, we think the less of him and consider him lacking in “expertise”. On the other hand when lay persons or non-specialists have intransigent opinions we consider them “opinionated” and that they have “closed minds”. Human opinions can change – though slowly – and generally due to a change of starting conditions. The same lawyer, for example, may well change his opinion about the same matter at a different time or if given different facts to address the question.

An opinion is a judgement, a conclusion about the unknown, based on knowledge and the application of intelligence and reason. We take opinions to be something characteristic of being human. We don’t expect a computer, no matter how well-programmed, to have an “opinion”. The computer (artificial intelligence) may be able to present an “answer” to a question as being most probable, but it always presents the same “answer” given the same inputs and that answer is not considered an “opinion”.

It is having an opinion which is, I think, the mark of sapience.

I take sentienceknowledge, intelligence, valuesjudgement, wisdom and sapience to be different – if sometimes connected – qualities. I take these to be as defined here.

sentience is the presence of consciousness. All living things are not sentient. While most mammals and even fish and birds and even insects seem to be sentient, it is not apparent that trees or sponges or algae have consciousness. A brain is necessary. It seems theoretically possible for a non-living artificial intelligence to become conscious, but that has yet to be achieved.

knowledge is an accumulation of observable, verifiable facts about the surrounding world. Knowledge can be recorded and stored in a variety of media including in the memory of brains (both living and artificial). It would seem that all sentient entities possess knowledge. (I take science to be the process by which some area of ignorance is investigated and converted into knowledge. Thus, a tiger exploring new territory is engaged in science).

intelligence is a composite, cognitive skill. It requires knowledge. It is a measure of an entity’s skill in solving problems by the application of its knowledge together with its ability to reason, its speed of reasoning, its language abilities and its capability to learn. Knowledge is essential and the greater the knowledge, the greater the entity’s potential intelligence. However, intelligence is a composite skill and a treasure trove of knowledge without the ability to reason would give no intelligence. A brain is required, but for intelligence to be manifested, sentience is not.

values is an internal set of referents that an intelligent, sentient entity may have. The set of values becomes an ethical code where these values allow the distinctions of the three fundamental ethical values (right and wrong, good and bad, and just and unjust). The set of values may include many distinctions and referents based on learning and experience.

judgement is the ability to compare some knowledge or event against some reference values and to make a conclusion about that piece of knowledge or event. A set of inbuilt values becomes a necessity to be able to make a judgement. The conclusions to be reached by means of making a judgement are relative and qualitative and often abstract (right, good, just, better than, more beautiful, tastier, safer, friendlier, …..).  Judgements which lead to quantitative conclusions, in contrast, are just new pieces of knowledge (faster, higher, heavier, …). Having a set of values is a necessary ingredient for the exercise of judgement which then becomes the value derivative of knowledge. Knowledge and intelligence are both required but sentience is not.

wisdom, I take to be the accumulation of knowledge about the quality of judgements. It is thus the second value derivative of knowledge, and requires not only knowledge, intelligence and a set of values, but also an accumulation of previous judgements to which values can also be applied.

And so we come to sapience. In the hierarchy of these qualities, humans are first sentient, then accumulate knowledge (by the practice of learning or of science) and have intelligence. However to be able to then move on to making judgements and accumulating wisdom, something else is required. An internal set of values is necessary. But just the capability to make judgements is insufficient. There must also be a drive to make these judgements and draw conclusions. It is this propensity to make judgements and draw conclusions which gives sapience. Sapience is not wisdom. It is the ability and the drive to make judgements (have opinions) and judgements when valued and accumulated give wisdom.

The drive to take what is known and leap in to what may be, in the form of opinions, is the essence of sapience. Having opinions is what makes us human.

And that also means that to decline to have an opinion is a denial of sapience.

sapience

 


 

Unicorns were real

February 8, 2017

The Siberian Unicorn could have been alive some 29,000 years ago. Elasmotherium sibiricum was thought to have become extinct 350,000 years ago, but the discovery of a skull in the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan suggests they were around till fairly recently.

Siberian Unicorn - painting by Heinrich Harder

Siberian Unicorn – painting by Heinrich Harder

The Harappan Unicorn was of course around much more recently (less than 10,000 years ago).

Harappan Unicorn seal

Harappan Unicorn seal

Big animals, living in small groups rather than in a herd, not very aggressive, and herbivorous rather than carnivorous with the single horn as their defense against predators?

A furry unicorn for Siberia and a summer-adapted, tame one for the Indus-Saraswati Valley?


 


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