The John James Newsletter 245

posted Sep 4, 2018, 6:54 PM by Clement Clarke

The John James Newsletter  245

25 August 2018

Weirding Weather - We have snow falling and trying to contain 8,500 hectares of bushfire all in the same place and on the same day, and its still officially winter
      John James

The Trump Administration is the most corrupt in modern history. That’s not an exaggeration. Corruption oozes out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – the name “Trump” is basically synonymous with the concept itself. It’s in your face, everywhere – like the big gold letters on his flashy hotels.
      Elizabeth Warren (Senator)

The melt above Greenland has alarming implications for the future. If even the thickest, oldest ice is now susceptible to increased warming and changes in weather, what hope is there for the rest of the Arctic?

With the conviction of Manafort and the guilty plea by Cohen, the four aides who stood closest to Trump exactly two years ago are now convicted criminals.

Turnbull is one of a small number of prominent Liberals who, early on in their careers, could have gone either way in their party-political allegiance. The others are John Hewson, Peter Costello, Brendan Nelson and, incredibly, so it seems now, Tony Abbott. Each explored or contemplated a Labor path to parliament.
      Chris Wallace

We have had two Scientist's Warnings, 1992 and 2017, both serious and disturbing. Nothing has changed. No one and no country has stepped up to the plate or is even contemplating action commensurate with the threat. Liberal and left activism has left the room. The public is obsessed with identity, self-improvement and material wealth
      Lorna Salzman

Climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences
       Hans Joachim Schellnhuber

It is a simple matter to drag people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country
      Hermann Goering

It is no longer possible to follow a gradual transition path to restore a safe climate, we have left it too late; emergency action, akin to a war footing, will eventually be accepted as inevitable. The longer that takes, the greater the damage inflicted upon humanity. Either we act with unprecedented speed, or we face a bleak future
David Splatt

The dreadful Kerala flood disaster (350 deaths and 1 million people displaced) is a man-made disaster involving local Indian contributions (inadequate water storage hazard response and landslides from deforestation) and global warming due to ever-increasing pollution
      Gideon Polya

Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but swathes half the size of England are lost each year. The world’s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at this rate. The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture, which is itself driven by population
      National Geographic

When you think you are safe....
August is winter in Australia. Snow is falling on the nearby hills just above, and nights are cold. Yet ten days ago we had 90 bushfires burning in NSW, mainly along the coast, and locally high winds, drought conditions and a fire that has now consumed almost 20,000 acres right near where I live. We are nearing the times when we can expect fire all year round. Even in the cold the fire advanced at a devastating speed. To contain it we needed five helicopters, 30 bulldozers and over a hundred firemen, and even then it all depended on the weather. If it had been summer, with stronger gusty winds and 40C temperatures (not uncommon) it could have been much more dangerous. We can expect that in the times to come.
There is no escaping our future, and its not as pretty as it used to be.    
The local report

Capitalism has done it again. As with the struggle to rein in coal consumption is thwarted by those who profit from it, so our bodies are poisoned so the rich can make more money out of us. And, as usual, its the poor who suffer most.
Why are we obese?
The shift has not happened by accident. As Jacques Peretti argued in his film The Men Who Made Us Fat, we have been deliberately and systematically outgunned. Food companies have invested heavily in designing products that use sugar to bypass our appetite control mechanisms, and packaging and promoting them to break down what remains of our defences, including through the use of subliminal scents. They employ an army of food scientists and psychologists to trick us into eating more junk (and therefore less wholesome food) than we need, while their advertisers use the latest findings in neuroscience to overcome our resistance. They hire biddable scientists and thinktanks to confuse us about the causes of obesity. Above all, just as the tobacco companies did with smoking, they promote the idea that weight is a question of “personal responsibility”. After spending billions on overriding our willpower, they blame us for failing to exercise it.      Read more
Regions Will Be Uninhabitable, From Unrelenting Heat & Humidity.
Primer on Wet Bulb Temp The average persons core body temperature is 37 C. Human skin is a few degrees colder, being about 35 C.  Heat travels from hot regions to cold regions, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Thus when the wet-bulb temperature, which is the temperature at 100% humidity, reaches 35 C (95 C) the human body can no longer shed heat (sweat no longer evaporates), thus core body temperature rises, and the healthiest person, (editor:  ‘even’) sitting in the shade, dies in about 6 hours.     Read more
Watch his video
Many regions around the planet are reaching these uninhabitable conditions.
  Watch his video
Geoengineering might not save crops from climate change
Sunlight powers everything on the planet, so we must understand the possible outcomes if we are going to try to manage it.  A geoengineering technique that would see us pumping the atmosphere full of sun-reflecting particles to cool the planet would also have the adverse effect of undermining crop growth   Read more
Global fires, droughts and Orwellian Newspeak while Nero fiddles
There was a time when the contamination of drinking water constituted a punishable crime. Nowadays those who wilfully ignore or promote the destruction of the Earth’s atmosphere and ocean acidification through the rise in emission of carbon gases  hold major sway in the world. The hapless residents of planet Earth are torn between survival in several parts of the world and sport circuses in other parts, while some of their representatives are playing with chunks of coal in their parliament.    Read more
South Australia will be at 100% renewables by 2025
None of them will be affected by the ravings about reliability. The AEMO plan envisages no “baseload” coal, not even any “baseload” gas in South Australia’s electricity mix. It is all about exploiting the cheapest form of bulk generation – quite clearly wind and solar – and ensuring that these are married with dispatchable capacity that can fill in the gaps and provide the system strength. Meanwhile, in Canberra, the base-load bovver boys are out in force …. not just the politicians but also the big business guys like Bluescope.     Read more
Trees are migrating west to escape climate change
Some species, such as evergreens, are heading to the Poles to escape the heat. But others, like certain oaks and maple, are going west in search of rain. For the most part, “tree migrations are moisture related. Precipitation has a stronger near-term impact on species shift than temperature. Both trends are a consequence of climate change, which is producing more heat and heavier rainfall, fuelling deforestation. This is worrisome, as forests soak up carbon from the atmosphere, and recent evidence suggests that soil is exhaling carbon dioxide faster than trees can take in. The migration of trees may help preserve individual species, but also threatens to destabilise forest ecosystems.    Read more
Apocalypse by 2040?
A computer model developed in 1973 by a team of MIT researchers has predicted the "end of civilised life as we know it" by 2040, with a major change coming in 2020 - just two years from now.     View 1973 video
Planet heading towards “Hothouse Earth” state
Keeping global warming to within 1.5-2°C may be more difficult than previously assessed. An international team of scientists have shown that even if the carbon emission reductions called for in the Paris Agreement are met, there is a real risk of Earth entering the “Hothouse Earth” condition. In this “Hothouse Earth” climate would rise to 4-5°C higher with sea level 10-60 m higher than today.      Read this
Article "Trajectories of Earth System in the Anthropocene"     Read this
We know with high confidence that the progressive disintegration of ice sheets and the transgression of other tipping points are difficult to reverse after critical levels of warming are reached; Earth’s recent geological past suggest that a Hothouse Earth is likely at CO2 concentration either already realised or projected
     Will Stephen
Arctic’s strongest sea ice breaks up for first time on record
Usually frozen waters open up twice this year in phenomenon scientists described as scary. This has never been recorded before, but has occurred twice this year due to warm winds and a climate-change driven heatwave in the northern hemisphere. Almost all of the ice to the north of Greenland is quite shattered and broken up and therefore more mobile. “The thinning is reaching even the coldest part of the Arctic with the thickest ice. So it’s a pretty dramatic indication of the transformation of the Arctic sea ice and Arctic climate.”     Read this
Intensifying 'Very-Extreme Extremes'
"Giant airstreams encircle our globe in the upper troposphere—we call them planetary waves. Now evidence is mounting that humanity is messing with these enormous winds," with accelerated warming in the Arctic" that could lead to a future of even more "very-extreme extremes," including dangerous heat waves and flooding follows a series of devastating wildfires in Sweden, Greece, and California and fatal flooding on India's Southern coast. The recent extreme weather across the globe has caused climate experts to issue calls to actions and warnings about what's to come.     Read this
The hidden methane problem
Unregulated, unnoticed coal mines across the US are leaking a potent greenhouse gas with the same greenhouse effect as 13 million cars. The Trump Administration has attacked rules meant to mitigate methane emissions from other sectors, such as oil and gas wells on federal land, but there are very few coal-specific rules on the books for the federal government to dismantle.        Read more

Genocide of the Greek Nation
China bought the Greek seaports. Germay bought the airport. Various German and European entities bought the Greek municipal water companies. Real estate speculators bought protected Greek Islands for real estate development. This plunder of Greek public property did not go toward reducing the debt that Greek owed. It went, along with the new loans, to paying the interest. The debt, larger than ever still stands. The economy is smaller than ever as is the Greek population that bears the debt.        Read more
China (and India) face deadly heat waves due to climate change

One of the world’s most densely populated regions may push the boundaries of habitability by the end of this century, Beyond a certain threshold of temperature and humidity, a person cannot survive unprotected in the open for extended periods — as, for example, farmers must do. The risk of deadly heat waves is significantly increased because of intensive irrigation in this relatively dry but highly fertile region, known as the North China Plain. That increased vulnerability to heat arises because the irrigation exposes more water to evaporation, leading to higher humidity in the air than would otherwise be present and exacerbating the physiological stresses of the temperature.        Read more

'We Are Climbing Rapidly Out of Humankind's Safe Zone': Dire Climate Warnings Not Dire Enough
"Climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences." The existential threats posed by the climate crisis have still not penetrated the collective psyche of humanity and that world leaders, even those demanding aggressive action, have not shown the kind of urgency or imagination that the scale of the pending catastrophe presents. While "a fast, emergency-scale transition to a post-fossil fuel world is absolutely necessary to address climate change," this solution continues to be excluded from the global policy debate because it is considered by the powerful as "too disruptive." However, the paper argues, it is precisely this lack of imagination and political will that could doom humanity's future.    Read more
How Unpaywall is transforming open science
This free service locates open-access articles and presents paywalled papers that have been legally archived and are freely available on other websites to users who might otherwise have hit a paywalled version. Since one part of the technology was released in 2016, it has become indispensable for many researchers. And firms that run established scientific search engines are starting to take advantage of Unpaywall.     Read more
A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions ... control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Australia geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent. About 75% of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources.
      Zbigniew Brzezinski
The Threat of Nuclear Annihilation in 2018: Helen Caldicott
There are two men in each missile silo. There are 450 silos, and in each missile called a Minuteman because they have minutes to decide whether to launch or not, are three hydrogen bombs. The two men are aged 17 to 26. They’re like Pavlovian dogs. Yes sir, no sir, press the button sir. Each is armed with a pistol. One shoots the other if one shows signs of deviant behaviour, one of the deviant ones shoots the other one. There are two locks 12 feet apart, so that one man can’t turn both keys. But I worked out that if you tie a key to one string, one man can turn both locks. The computers are run by floppy disks, if you please, and often the telephones don’t work. They get very bored down there they go to sleep. One of the girlfriends of the Missileers told me years ago that they take drugs before they go down. I was shocked at the extent at the drug-taking but not surprised. They’re fallible human beings, and the job they have is one of the most boring you can imagine except that they’re ready to blow up the Earth with a three-minute lead time.    Read more
In Private Meeting, Facebook Warns News Outlets to Cooperate or Die
“Anyone who does care about news needs to understand Facebook as a fundamental threat.” The dire prospects for news outlets that don’t get on board with a future in which corporate giants like Facebook are the arbiters of what is and isn’t trustworthy news comes as progressives are raising alarm that Facebook’s entrance into the world of journalism poses a major threat to non-corporate and news outlets.      Read more
Facebook's Secret "User-Reputation Score"
In a reflection of China's already-prevalent 'Social Credit' system - which is a rating assigned to each citizen based on government data of their economic and social status - Facebook has begun to assign its users a reputation score, predicting their trustworthiness on a scale from zero to one.  Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert said “How the person is restricted in terms of public services or business opportunities should be in accordance with how and to what extent he has lost his credibility. The punishment should match the deed (sic).  Discredited people deserve legal consequences (sic). This is definitely a step in the right direction to building a society with credibility. (sic)”      Read more
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, causing huge warming immediately after entering the atmosphere, while this warming will be felt most strongly where the methane was released. Methane can therefore contribute strongly to local temperature peaks.
‘Abrupt thaw’ of permafrost beneath lakes could significantly affect climate change models
Existing models currently attribute about 20 percent of the permafrost carbon feedback this century to methane, with the rest due to carbon dioxide from terrestrial soils. By including thermokarst lakes, methane becomes the dominant driver, responsible for 70 to 80 percent of permafrost carbon-caused warming this century. Adding thermokarst methane to the models makes the feedback’s effect similar to that of land-use change, which is the second-largest source of manmade warming. Unlike shallow, gradual thawing of terrestrial permafrost, the abrupt thaw beneath thermokarst lakes is irreversible this century. Even climate models that project only moderate warming this century will have to factor in their emissions, according to the study. “You can’t stop the release of carbon from these lakes once they form. We cannot get around this source of warming.”       Read more
A beginner's guide to growing tomatoes while the world burns
There are those wont to fret about little things, such as a palpable breakdown of all the planet’s systems, the failure of leaders to do a damn thing about it, etc. We call this sort of thinking “glass half full”. I prefer a “glass entirely shattered” perspective. This helps me find solace in tomato cultivation, an annual act of selfishness that begins in most Australian climate zones right now. Consider the fact of life in a nation whose government refuses to legislate against harmful emissions, meaningfully invest in carbon draw-down tech or adopt even the Paris climate agreement as law. One could be all teary and “We Borrow the Earth From Our Children” about it, or, one could party in the garden like a grandparent.      Read more