Daily Archives: January 15, 2009

Global Warming, the Blog Epic ~ 04 ~ Forcing

This is the fourth in a series of reposts from gregladen.com on global warming.

i-e1372cd57ce206dff3631a4a9438e737-epic-GlobalWarming.jpg“Climate Studies” is a “causal” science. Most sciences are “causal” in nature, which is why the sciences and scientists are often loathed and distrusted by people in the humanities and some of the soft sciences. There is not the time or space right now to address this issue, but I’ll just say this: People who criticize science for its interest in causality usually do not understand what scientists are talking about. I think this is partly because people in the humanities and social sciences have gone gaga over the concepts of “agency” and “intentionality,” yet often do not understand those concepts, and often confused them with “cause” and, worst of all, “explanation.” So, the idea of explaining something and the idea of blaming someone become conflated. (I’ve been ragging on the soft sciences and humanities lately: I just want to say that some of the smartest people I know, or know of, are in these areas. It’s the 96% of the rest of them that need to go away or at least become less annoying.)
Continue reading Global Warming, the Blog Epic ~ 04 ~ Forcing

Why does your voice sound different than you expect it to sound?

… like, when you hear it on playback from a tape recorder.

Sound can reach the inner ear by way of two separate paths, and those paths in turn affect what we perceive. Air-conducted sound is transmitted from the surrounding environment through the external auditory canal, eardrum and middle ear to the cochlea, the fluid-filled spiral in the inner ear. Bone-conducted sound reaches the cochlea directly through the tissues of the head.

When you speak, sound energy spreads in the air around you and reaches your cochlea through your external ear by air conduction. Sound also travels from your vocal cords and other structures directly to the cochlea, but the mechanical properties of your head enhance its deeper, lower-frequency vibrations.


Artist Asks: Can Europe Laugh At Itself?

Answer: Depends on the joke.

The Czech EU presidency has apologised for an art installation it commissioned that lampoons national stereotypes.

Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra apologised directly to Bulgaria, which has formally complained over its depiction as a toilet…

The following is a silent overview of the work:

The quote above comes from a BBC story which has a BBC TV reporter creaming in his jeans over the insensitivity of the Czech artist, and the Czech artist being all arty and shit.

Ethnic sensitivity and humor: They don’t mix, and you won’t find either one in abundance in the Old Country these days.

Global Warming, the Blog Epic ~ 03 ~ Carbon Dioxide

This is the third in a series of reposts from gregladen.com on global warming.

i-e1372cd57ce206dff3631a4a9438e737-epic-GlobalWarming.jpgWhy It Matters What you Burn and When you Burn It

Carbon Dioxide is a deadly poison. It is about 50% heavier than air, so where it occurs in density, in mines or certain natural vents associated with volcanics, it can accumulate in low spots. There are places in the Western Rift Valley where puddles of Carbon Dioxide form overnight while the air is still. These gas puddles can occur over puddles of water. When animals (such as antelopes) put their head down to the water to drink, they take a few whiffs of the gas and die. A scavenger (a bird, a hyena, a lion) that comes along while the gas is still settled, to feed on the antelope carcass, can suffer the same fate. It will never be long before the gas blows off, so this sort of carcass accumulation is rare and modest but it does happen.

There are lakes (also in Africa) that are saturated, at depth, with carbon dioxide gas dissolved in water. If the lake happens to turn over, the deep water heads to the surface where it is under the influence of less pressure, and thus is capable of holding less gas. So it fizzes, like bubbles in a bottle of soda that is shaken. This accentuates whatever movement originally stirred up the gas, and a huge volume of carbon dioxide is converted from dissolved gas into bubbles in a matter of minutes. The cold (cold because it was down deep) carbon dioxide out-gases at the surface, fills the lake basin, and spreads across nearby settlements potentially killing hundreds. This is what happened at Lake Nyos, Cameroon, in 1986, killing almost 2,000 people.
Continue reading Global Warming, the Blog Epic ~ 03 ~ Carbon Dioxide