In the beginning of the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis, in the hours and days after the earthquake and tsunami struck, nuclear power experts assured us that no matter how bad it seemed, nuclear material would stay in the reactors. It was unlikely that the reactors would melt down, and if they did melt down a little, that would be OK because the melted down stuff would stay within the reactor vessels. No problem. What actually happened, however, is that the nuclear material in three of the reactors totally melted down, and then melted through in perhaps two or three of the reactors, but at least, probably, did not reach “China Syndrome” levels of out-of-control.
As you certainly know, Jean Baret was a famous botanical explorer of the 18th century, travelling on Louis Antoine de Bougainville’s expedition and circumnavigating the world collecting and discovering new plants. But Jean was Jeanne, a female, who at first pretended to be a man, then later changed her story slightly to being a Eunuch, to stay on board after others had become suspicious of her gender identity. She was actually married to her boss, who presumably knew her secret.
NO SOPA is a google chrome extension that warns you when you browse to a web site of an entity that supports SOPA. Go here to get the extension. Then, go to the Mosion Picture Association of America (fer instance) to test it. Seems to work fine.
The sun heats the earth, but unevenly. The excess heat around the equator moves towards the poles, via a number of different mechanisms, the most noticeable for us humans being via air masses. That’s what much of our weather is about. Heat also moves towards the poles, in the ongoing evening-out of energy distribution on the planet’s surface, via ocean currents.
One of the interesting things that happens with ocean currents is this: Warm water tends to move from equator towards polar regions across the surface, then cools down and drops to the deep sea, where it moves back south again, often in a kind of loop that we call a "conveyor." Becuase of some quirky historical stuff, the continents on this planet are mostly in the norther hemisphere, so the loops of ocean water that mariners have long called "currents" are extra strange in the north, and as it happens, there is a big loop of warm water or two that go way farther north (as warm water) than usual, where increased evaporation and cooling cause the water to a) loose it’s heat to the air and b) sink rather dramatically to the bottom of the sea. The sinking helps direct the north-moving surface currents, maintaining the loop. The release of heat keeps England from looking like Canada and Norway from looking like Greenland, as much of this heat leaves the North Atlantic and traverses Europe first. By the time that energy gets around the world all the way back to Greenland, well, it isn’t helping to melt glaciers very much, bit it does in fact have an effect. Without this warming, there would probably be continental glacial masses on Europe and Canada, rather than scattered and small mountain glaciers. In other words, there would be an ice age.
Did I mention the evaporation as a driving force in the conveyor? Yes, of course I did. And the reason this works is that when the warm surface water evaporates, it becomes more saline relative to the rest of the ocean, and sinks, because salty water is denser than fresh water. We believe that there have been times in the past when fresh water being added to the northern seas has mixed with a conveyor, caused the water to be less salty, turned off the flow of warm water to the northerly latitudes, and ushered in a mini-ice age, or perhaps a maxi-ice age. Indeed, there are some theories about paleoclimate that suggest, very strongly, that this is exactly the mechanism that triggers an ice age.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has canceled the climate change chapter in his upcoming book of environmental essays after Rush Limbaugh and other commentators targeted its author, atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe.
“It’s with some nostalgia that I return to this place that I love so well, but I am really here for one reason and one reason only and that is to make sure that we make Mitt Romney the next president of the United States of America”
I haven’t seen a news report of this yet, but that’s what my email tells me. The Washington Post will have it shortly.
Only hours after indicating that she would take the fight to New Hampshire, we now hear that Michele Bachmann will suspend her presidential bid today. She is expected to make the announcer soon from West Des Moines.
This does not mean that there will not be election related blogging here. After all, the current “front runner” for the Republican Party seems to be Rick Santorum, and he may be the most denialist of the denialists with respect to Anthropogenic Global Warming in the race. So we will be addressing that and other issues here, of course.
Only hours after indicating that she would take the fight to New Hampshire, we now hear that Michele Bachmann will suspend her presidential bid today. She is expected to make the announcement soon from West Des Moines.
This is a surprise and a disappointment. Michele told us that both God and her husband thought she should run for president. The de facto founder of the Tea Party hast quit after the first real contest, which in turn followed a hollow victory at the Sraw Poll. The Tea-Tossing Patriots of the American Nation had a surprise victory at Lexington and Concord followed by a trouncing at their first real contest, at Bunker Hill, but they did not quit. No. They continued the fight, dragging cannons over the snowy Berkshires and training the weapons on the British Fort in Boston, driving them out. Then they went on to win the American Revolution and found the greatest nation ever.
But Michele Bachmann has encountered one significant loss and is quitting the race. This is very, very disappointing for many reasons.
Including, and especially, the fact that this probably means she will run for re-election to congress in Minnesota’s 6th district. Which I can see from my living room. Damn.
We’ll get to the big picture in just a moment, but first a fair well to our home-girl, Michele. Today’s headline could have been Bachmann Moves Ahead “Full Steam” after Iowa Victory … … by the other guy” but in the end, she appears to have dropped out.
It is … difficult to see such a path for Bachmann, given her last-place finish and the fact that her campaign strategy had been premised on a strong launch in Iowa, the state where she was born and where she won the GOP straw poll in Ames in August.
At first her campaign manager, Keith Nahigian, said Bachmann is going ahead “full steam.”*
But hours later she dropped out of the race. And speaking of the race, let’s have a quick look at the final tallies:
Mitt Romney 30,015 (25%)
Rick Santorum 30,007 (25%)
Ron Paul 26,219 (21%)
Newt Gingrich 16,251 (13%)
Rick Perry 12,604 (10%)
Michele Bachmann 6,073 (5%)
John Huntsman also relieved a few votes, so technically, he came in last behind Michele. (See this insightful analysis of the numbers by Pharngula’s PZ Myers.)