Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Those who deny climate change are unpatriotic" - Bill Nye

My home town newspaper has some nut jobs in its circulation. At least once a week, there is some letter to the editor from somebody who I'm not certain if they understand reality and, as much as I should just let them be, I always feel a need to respond. If nothing else, I hope to show that not everybody from that area is so thick headed. Today, there was one of those letters in the paper. I quote it below:

EDITOR:

In response to Robert Archambeau. First, the "article" that you refer to "Obama needs a history lesson" was a letter to the editor. An opinion by one person. Same as your letter. Glenn Beck doesn't believe the earth is flat. Bill O'Reilly knows that the earth revolves around the sun. Have you ever heard of satire?

Rush Limbaugh gives his opinion on how some people can indeed turn B.S. into gold. For instance, Al Gore. He has made millions on the so-called global warming. I'm sorry, it's now called climate change. Now we in Escanaba are going to pay an additional "tax" on our utility bills for Michigan's Green Initiative. Did anyone vote on this? Taxation without representation anyone?

You made a claim that Beck and O'Reilly, and Fox News are full of distortions is not backed up by any examples. Just like a liberal? I have watched MSNBC and NBC and all of the others. I understand.

If you don't like Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, don't watch and listen to them. I don't watch or listen to Rosie O'Donnel or Garafalo. I don't agree with them. I don't have to resort to name calling to stop them. They have a right to an opinion. That is what it is, opinion. By the way, Rush is not affiliated with Fox News. Beck was critical of the previous administration, too. Just blame Bush. You guys need to stop that. For 6 years the country was doing just fine under Bush. I guess that is a distortion, too. Instead of bashing opinion shows, look at the facts.

Tom Grant

I read this letter and immediately pulled up a text editor so that I could type up a response. Here's what I just submitted to the editor for publication:

Editor:


This letter is in response to the letter printed in today’s copy of the Daily Press by Mr. Grant of Escanaba. At the end of his letter, Mr. Grant suggests to look at the facts.


While Mr. Grant is correct in his assertion that what Mr. Beck and Mr. O’Reilly speak are their opinions, I find it quite amusing that he attacks Vice President Gore and climate change, then tells us to look at the facts. Let’s take a look at the facts about climate change.


First and foremost let’s get something straight. Global warming was merely the first term that we used for what we now understand is part of a greater phenomena known as climate change. Are we clear about that? It’s not some slick move by us “liberals” to cover up for there being snow in Austin, Texas.


Here’s how the whole thing works. It’s called the Second Law of Thermodynamics. As the population of the planet increases and as the people of the planet burn more fossil fuels (and generally require more energy), entropy (aka energy) is added to a system (for our case, the Earth’s atmosphere). Now, the Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that entropy cannot leave a system without going into another system. Basically, it tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only converted from one form to another. Now the Ozone layer acts as a boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and space. It’s what keeps us all alive. In order for entropy to leave the atmosphere, it must pass through the ozone layer into space. The issue is that this can only happen at a finite rate. In the past, the rate at which entropy entered the atmosphere was much more close to the rate at which entropy is leaving the atmosphere than it is today. So what we have is a system where things are going in faster than they’re going out. You might equate this to water accumulating in a sink with a slow running drain.


The increase in entropy in the atmosphere has a number of effects on the world. First and foremost is the increase in temperatures on a global scale. The U.N. World Meteorological Organization certified this past decade as being the hottest decade in recorded history. NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the National Climate Data Center have found 2005 to be the hottest year on record. The second largest impact is on ocean temperatures. I urge you to check out ocean surface temperature data on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website. As ocean surface temperatures rise (and subsequently produce a localized increase in entropy), huge air masses are moved incredible distances. This explains both the lack of snow on Cypress MountainVancouver as well as the presence of snow in Austin, Texas and the snow storms to recently hit the Eastern Seaboard. The hot air above the warm Pacific Ocean literally pushes the air mass normally situated over Canada and the Mid West, causing unusual weather patterns all across the country. in


So Mr. Grant, next time you start throwing a quoted “so called” in front of terms that are scientifically verifiable, I urge you to take your own advice and look at the facts. Climate change is real. It’s scientifically proven. Isn’t it wonderful how science explains reality?


Bryan J. Sebeck

Ann Arbor


Monday, February 22, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

It's been over six months since I've updated, and it's about time that I'm back. I've got to be honest with you. I burned myself out. Trying to come up with 2-3 quality posts a week that were all over 1000 words and fit into the "Modern Renaissance Man" theme wore me out. I think I may have had the wrong idea. While I still consider myself to be a modern renaissance man, I would be lying if I were to suggest that I was the only one. I would be lying if I were to suggest that I was knowledgeable about absolutely everything. I would be lying if I were to suggest that I was some sort of guru or protege in any subject.

I don't promise to update regularly. What I do promise is that future updates will be from my heart, largely unedited, and on a variety of topics. This may interest some of you, but others may not care at all. I love talking and I love to wax intellectual on whatever anybody would like to hear about. If there's something that you would like to hear my opinion on, let me know, and I'll be happy to share my thoughts on the blog. If you don't want your name shared, let me know, otherwise, I'll be including the first name only of anybody who wants to hear about something in particular.

Oh, this is entirely an afterthought, but I may decide to rename or redesign the blog, but I have absolutely no idea what I may call it or what design I may use. All input for both of those subjects is welcome.