atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#1130: Flee in terror

I would like to know what happened to the truck this duallie tire came from. How the hell does a truck bust so bad that it launches 400 lbs of wheel and tire down the road like that? I really hope the owner of that truck had good insurance....

A comment from that thread: Bwaaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha...

* * *

Also on Jalopnik, a major smug alert.

..but there's some commenting I can do on this subject, so WTF:

One commentor makes the point that Honda hasn't changed the name of its compact (Civic) since the 1970s, where GM has rebadged its small cars repeatedly (eg Cavalier-->Cobalt, Sunbird-->G5, etc). He then says that Ford has done the right thing by keeping the Focus named "Focus" for so long.

Except for one thing: if Ford were doing that, it would still be called Escort, not Focus. Ford did the exact same thing that GM did, just not as recently: designed an all-new version of a car, increased the price, and slapped a new badge on it to hide the fact that this year's Escort Focus costs lots more than last year's Escort.

You can't compare 2001 Focus to 2000 Escort because they're different models; if 2001 Focus was 2001 Escort there'd be all sorts of comparisons between the old and new model, including the price.

Like this, there is another tale I often tell about my last new car purchase, in early 1996, when I decided to get out of the cursed 1992 Thunderbird LX and into a more fuel-efficient car with a lower monthly payment.

When I was looking, I test-drove a '96 Neon, and what really turned me off was the interior of the thing. Whatever other issues I had with the car, the interior was the deal-breaker; the doors were clad with cheap, one-piece plastic panels, with no upholstery on them but for a little padding on the armrest, which was vinyl-covered foam.

Besides, the Neon had a DOHC engine that--on paper--was a higher-performance engine than the Escort had, but not the way I drive. The Neon's engine made 132 horsepower and 115 lb-ft of torque; compare that to 88 HP for the Escort, and 105 lb-ft. But the Escort made its torque peak at 3,800 RPM: about 1,000 RPM lower than the Neon did, which meant it suited my driving style much better than the Neon did. Thus the Escort felt zippier. (Also, I'm not the kind of person who flogs a car just because it doesn't belong to me. I had "respect for the property of others" drilled into me when I was younger, so I tend to drive a demonstrator carefully.)

(Actually, I don't normally flog a car at all, to be honest.)

But the Escort, on the other hand, had a very nice interior, and let's face it: when you own a car, most of the time you spend with it is inside. The Neon's interior was crap; the Cavalier (and related models) felt like I was in a cave, and it wasn't zippy. The Escort felt light, nimble, and was moderately fun to drive. It was no sports car, but it handled well enough, and the manual transmission ensured all the engine's power made it to the pavement. (Or, at least, more than would with the auto.)

So in 1996, I bought the Escort; and it was the second Escort I'd bought new. (And the 1995 Escort I now drive is the third such car I've owned.)

* * *

Writer despises Islam. Writer is charged with being a racist. Yeah.

At least there's someone out there who is willing to stand up to the Islamo-fascists and say, "Your behavior is not acceptible in a civilized world".

* * *

Though I normally take science articles from Ars Technica with a grain of salt (due to their uncritical acceptance of "global warming=man made=apocalypse" a la Al Gore) this article on the alleged danger of CERN is probably okay, particularly since it's a digest of actual real science, not climatologist bloviating.

And yeah, I stand by my earlier assertion that CERN is not going to cause a world-ending cataclysm. The chances are vanishingly small, and--as the article points out--we have never seen any similar event take place anywhere in the universe.

So F it.

* * *

Barak Hussein Obama vows to close the "Enron loophole" which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

That's right; he's campaigning against an issue caused by a Democrat's policy decision.

Well, that's what he has to do. You see, we are where we are because of Democrat policies. No drilling in ANWR? Democrat. No new nuclear reactors since the 1970s? Democrat. No new refineries since the 1970s? Democrat. Nuclear waste piling up? Democrat. Problems with Iran? Democrat. Overtaxed refineries due to broader spectrum of fuel blends required for summer months? Democrat.

I could go on; the point is, the Democrats have led us here by consistently opposing any measure which would lead to an increase in the supply of energy to the US public.

"If we start drilling in ANWR now, the oil won't be available for five years!" First off, it's more like three, and if we'd started drilling in ANWR in 2005, we'd be seeing the benefits of that effort now.

Sometimes you have to decide to do things which won't fix NOW but will HELP LATER, damm it. Saying that "It won't help out right this instant!" is bullshit. If you never start because it won't be done instantly, you'll never start anything worthwhile.

Argh.

* * *

James Hansen, who is in charge of NASA's efforts to bolster Al Gore's paycheck by boosting global warming alarmism:
will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.


Ignoring the fact that smoking is a risk factor for cancer, not a cause, I'm going to comment on something which I thought of the other day.

If you could take a sample of air and look at it in a special kind of microscope that let you see individual molecules, you would not be able to distinguish "natural" CO2 molecules from the man-made ones. That is to say, there are no tags on the things which would let you group them by source. You can't grab a million air molecules, select out the 385 CO2 molecules, and then further divide the CO2 molecules by where they came from. The CO2 molecules all look exactly alike.

How the hell do we know that the increase of CO2 is our fault?

The atmosphere had 280 PPM of CO2 in it around 1700 or so. These days it has around 385 PPM of CO2. But there is no way for us to tell how much of that came from man-made sources.

Now, according to the eco-types at Woods Hole, man-made sources account for about 3% of the annual carbon budget of the atmosphere. Out of 206,000,000,000 metric tons of carbon which is dumped into the atmosphere each year, about 6,000,000,000 metric tons are from human activity, and the rest come from nature.

By my math, that's a smidge less than 3% of the total--2.913%--and so I round it up to 3% for simplicity's sake. So let's look at what happens if we examine the numbers.

Assume that, before the Industrial Revolution, the human carbon contribution to the atmosphere was negligible. Assume, also, that starting in 1700 AD human carbon emissions began to increase, and that they immediately hit that 3% mark in 1701 AD. (This isn't possible, for many reasons, but let's just assume it's the case.) Let's assume that 280 PPM of CO2 is the "natural" and "normal" level of CO2 in the atmosphere and that, absent human tinkering, would have remained at that level indefinitely. (Also a really big assumption, but let's just do it.)

We know that human carbon emissions account for 3% of the annual budget of the atmosphere; if we assume that the biosphere can handle 200 billion tons but not 206 billion, then it means that 6 billion tons of carbon per year have been accumulating in the atmosphere for 300 years, unabsorbed. That means there is 18 trillion tons of carbon in the atmosphere which is unaccounted for, and only recently has this CO2 suddenly begun to matter.

Wikipedia says the mass of Earth's atmosphere is 5 quadrillion metric tons--5 x 1015. Let's say that of that, 1.8 x 1013 tons are man-made CO2.

That would mean that half of the CO2 in today's atmosphere--0.36%--is man-made CO2.

But wait--if that's so, if the biosphere can only handle 200 billion metric tons of carbon per year, then shouldn't the concentration of CO2 actually be higher than it is? My estimates say it should be something like 1.14% of the atmosphere--562 PPM rather than 385.

Something is wrong with the theory.

(Yes, I know--all of it--but bear with me.)

Adjusting for crude measures, we might be able to drop that figure a bit, since we didn't immediately start burning oil and coal in 1701 AD, and in fact most of the Industrial Revolution didn't occur until after the steam engine was perfected by Watt in the early 1800s, so we can safely ignore the CO2 contributions from the eighteenth century. But it doesn't fix the overall problem; there's still too little CO2 in the atmosphere to support the idea that man-made CO2 overtaxes the environment.

In fact, plants love it when there's more CO2 in the air. For them, literally, increased CO2 is a breath of fresh air. The increased CO2 content of the atmosphere is balanced by increased absorption by plants.

If we instead assume that all the CO2 which is emitted in a particular year is absorbed by plants, then the conclusion is a bit different. Of the 385 PPM in the atmosphere, 3%--11.55 PPM--came from man-made sources.

In other words, 373 PPM of CO2 in the atmosphere, 97% of it, is natural in origin. 12 PPM--3%--is from human activity. But no one ever mentions this when they start screaming about global warming, because 12 PPM is not exactly a crisis. The warming you get from 12 PPM of CO2, when there is already 373 PPM of CO2 in the atmosphere, is negligible.

So why is there more CO2 in the air today than there was in 1700?

WE. DON'T. KNOW.

What we do know is that CO2 content of the atmosphere responds to temperature changes--when temps go up, CO2 goes up, and vice versa. We don't know why. We do know that it's warmer today than it was in 1700, but--again--we don't know why.

Because molecules aren't labeled, we don't actually know how much of the CO2 in the atmosphere came from man-made sources. We know how much we emit, and how much the "natural" sources emit; but not what proportion fails to be absorbed, or why. We assume that the "extra" 105 PPM are from man-made sources, but there's no way to positively establish that fact, and all we can do is point to increased industrialization and say, "Well, we're making more CO2 than the Earth makes on its own...."

And this is used as the excuse for governments to strangle the energy economy of the freaking world.

So here's Dr. James Hansen, saying that we should put people in jail for being in charge of companies which manufacture products that are vital to our economy, because they are skeptical of the non-scientific pronouncements of doomsayers like Dr. James Hansen!
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