atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#140: Musings

Interesting climate facts.

Greenland's glaciers have been melting at current rates for 100 years. Apparently there is real data which goes back to the late 1800s which demonstrates this. They've been receding around 8 meters per year since then, with a large surge in melt rates in the 1920s. This seems to dovetail rather nicely with the 1°C temperature rise over the last century, most of it happening before 1940. It does not fit with Mann's "hockey stick" at all. [cue the mournful trumpet, wah wah wah wah....]

Last year's hurricane season set a record. Many people predicted that this year's hurricane season would be even worse, "due to global warming". Instead, this year's hurricane season is, so far, below average. Earth's oceans are cooler than they were last year; and no one knows why.

Anyone who tries to tell me that global warming is making the oceans colder is going to be publicly made fun of. "Ice cap meltwater"? Put water and ice into a glass. Put a thermometer in. Watch the ice melt. Observe the temperature reported by the thermometer while the ice melts. Guess what? The temperature of the water won't change significantly. Why? Because when ice melts, all the energy it absorbs goes into melting the ice, not into raising the temperature of the water. The water that the ice floats in will remain about the same temperature; it won't get significantly cooler. It can't; it's physically impossible--the laws of thermodynamics prohibit it.

Taking hot water, and adding ice, and watching the temperature as you add the ice--you will see a change then; but that situation is not analogous to what we see in the environment. A fair comparison will start with ice and water in some approximation of temperature equilibrium, as there is no way for us to add "ice cubes" to the arctic and antarctic seas.

Meltwater from Antarctic glaciers (the parts not actually floating, I mean) won't significantly change the temperature of the seas, either. Water must be above 0°C in order to be water, and not ice; the seas around the poles are actually colder than that, because saltwater has a lower freezing point than freshwater, and the constant motion of ocean water allows it to become supercooled (ie remain liquid while cooled below its freezing point).

The point is, the melting of our ice caps is not going to cool the oceans, thus proving the existence of anthropogenic global warming. In practical terms, the ice caps can't cool anything because they already exist in temperature equilibrium with the global environment. They can absorb energy as they melt; but all that can do is prevent an increase in temperature; it cannot provide a reduction in temperature.

So, any discussion of "global warming=cooler oceans" is going to have to include a refutation of the GODDAMNED LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS. Good luck.

* * *

In 1992 I made a crappy attempt at a scary/funny short video. It wasn't scary because I put no thought at all into generating a scary thing for the climax of the video. It ended up being an ad hoc ghost which looked like a plastic bag draped over two coat hangers, lit from below. Well, that's what it was, anyway. So it ended up being stupid instead of funny.

Then my aunt sent me this ludicrous robotic chicken.

If you press the switch on the end of its left wing, the thing's cheeks flash red, music starts to play, and it says something, and then it begins to march around epileptically. I can't tell what it's saying because--as the note attached to it attests--it's not 100% functional. So instead of speech and music, this kind of digital noise comes from the thing. For some reason it's got a scarf and stocking cap on; probably because this thing was meant to be sold around the Christmas season. It does the Chicken Dance--well, the "busted chicken dance", as my aunt said--and in fact it doesn't really do it all that well. I suspect it wouldn't do it that well even if it was 100% functional.

As a gift for a man in his late '30s, it would have been a bit odd, but for its "busted-ness". That factor made it an excellent gag gift.

One day I was fiddling with it, and suddenly it occurred to me that this may be the perfect way to salvage that video. Chop out the video of the coat hanger thing, and instead substitute video of this robo-chicken! This robo-chicken is intentionally ridiculous, rather than an attempt at scary which merely ends up being ridiculous, and therefore pathetic as well.

And really, if the shots were blocked correctly...if you look at it the right way, this thing is kind of creepy....

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