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Posts Tagged ‘bullshit’

Recent Interesting Articles by Matt Taibbi on the Substack Platform

September 14, 2019 11 comments

Here are links to a few recent and interesting articles by well-known journalist, Matt Taibbi. He has written for almost two decades in mainstream journalistic publications such as Rolling Stone, The Nation, Playboy and many others. He has also written a few books based on his journalistic investigations on subjects such as Yeltsin-era Russia, the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, Trump’s victory in 2016, Drug Trafficking in USA etc. I am posting them to illustrate how my critiques of the democratic party establishment is far more mainstream than a few readers want to believe. It is, however, likely that those few will now label Matt Taibbi as a stooge of “Putin”.

Latest Russian spy story looks like another elaborate media deception

It’s a characteristic of third world countries to have the intelligence world and the media be intertwined enough that it’s not always clear whether the reporters and the reported-about are the same people. When you turn on the TV in Banana Republics, you’re never sure which group is talking to you. We’re now in that same paradigm in America. CNN has hired nearly a dozen former intelligence or counterintelligence officials as analysts in the last few years. Their big get was former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, but they also now have former deputy FBI chief Andrew McCabe, former FBI counsel James Baker, and multiple former CIA, NSA, and NSC officials. Meanwhile, former CIA director John Brennan has an MSNBC/NBC gig, as does former CIA and DOD chief of staff Jeremy Bash, and several other ex-spooks.

The rise and fall of superhero Robert Mueller

Russiagate isn’t just about bad reporting. It was and is a dangerous political story about rallying the public behind authoritarian maneuvers in an effort to achieve a political outcome. Republicans who battered Mueller with questions weren’t wrong. Investigators in the Russia probe made extravagant use of informants abroad (in the less-regulated counterintelligence context), lied to the FISA court, leaked classified information for political purposes, opened the cookie jar of captured electronic communications on dubious pretexts, and generally blurred the lines between counterintelligence, criminal law enforcement, and private political research in ways that should and will frighten defense lawyers everywhere. Proponents cheered the seizure of records from Trump’s lawyer Cohen, sending a message that attorney-client privilege is a voluntary worry if the defendant is obnoxious enough.

Russiagate was journalist QAnon (Part 1)

The final revelation, tabbed MUELLER DAY, was a national emergency for most news organizations. Most every reporter and editor with profile was recalled to man barricades on the morning of April the 18th,* and await the bombshell of bombshells. Every broadcast and cable station, major newspaper, and online outlet went into crash mode, an old-school newsroom drama in which every employee coffees up to deliver nonstop marathon content about the Most Important Story In History. Will the Anchorman panda finally give birth? Will Baby Jessica come up alive after 56 hours down a well? Could there be sounds of life inside the sunken Kursk? More recently: did America’s entire “respectable” news media really spend 22-plus months humping a transparent conspiracy theory, praying out loud for a former FBI chief to save them from Donald Trump, like cultists awaiting passage to Heaven’s Gate on the Hale-Bopp Comet?

It’s official: Russiagate is this generation’s WMD

None of this has been walked back. To be clear, if Trump were being blackmailed by Russian agencies like the FSB or the GRU, if he had any kind of relationship with Russian intelligence, that would soar over the “overwhelming and bipartisan” standard, and Nancy Pelosi would be damning torpedoes for impeachment right now. There was never real gray area here. Either Trump is a compromised foreign agent, or he isn’t. If he isn’t, news outlets once again swallowed a massive disinformation campaign, only this error is many orders of magnitude more stupid than any in the recent past, WMD included. Honest reporters like ABC’s Terry Moran understand: Mueller coming back empty-handed on collusion means a “reckoning for the media.”

What do you think? Comments?

Anthropogenic Climate Change is a Form of Secular Apocalypticism: 5

August 1, 2019 5 comments

In the previous post of this series, I made the observation that belief in anthropogenic climate change has considerable similarities with Christianity, especially its catholic variant. I would do so far as to say that belief in man-made climate change is the secular version of Catholicism. And this raises the inevitable question- why hasn’t the urge to believe in a secular version of religious beliefs taken other forms? Well.. actually, they have and belief in man-made climate change is simply the latest secular religion to have arisen from the ruins of traditional religious beliefs. To understand what I am talking about, let us briefly explore the nature of belief or more precisely, what separates belief from reason.

In the previous post of this series, I made the point that you almost never meet people who deny the existence of gravity, electricity or microbial theory of infectious diseases- and the reason for that is very straightforward. Every major part of our current theories about these examples and many more can be tested very easily and in a reproducible manner. You do not have to believe a priest.. I mean “credentialed expert” to appreciate that gravity exists or electricity flows through the wires in your home, workplace or vehicle. Similarly, you do not have to believe anybody as a precondition for taking an antibiotic to kill microbes and cure some infection. More importantly, we can understand why things did not work, if they didn’t as expected.

For example, a light not turning on after flicking the switch is due to power failure, mechanical issues with switch/ wiring or the light source suffering a malfunction. It is trivial to identify and fix the problem and the theory remains internally self-consistent. Similarly, a prescribed antibiotic not working is always due to either incorrect identification of microorganism, development of resistance or the drug being unable to reach certain tissues. Each of these situations can be tested for and addressed with alternative strategies while maintaining internal self-consistency of hypothesis. This is not the case with religious-type belief systems.

Consider for example, answers to questions such as why innocent or “good” people suffer or die while assholes thrive. Depending on the religion, you will get vastly different and contradictory answers. Even worse, they are based in a mutually incompatible worldviews. Contrast that to the measurement of electric voltage and current, speed, distance, weight etc. Even if two people are using entirely different instruments and units for making their measurement, their answers have identical patterns. 110 hp is always more than 100 hp and 82 kW is always more than 74.6 kW.

Then there is the issue of attribution or cause and effect. Almost nobody is going to make claims that electromagnetic fields caused by household wiring will affect.. say.. the efficacy of antibiotics prescribed for a sore throat. In contrast to that, believers in traditional and secular religions keep inventing new connections and conditionalities to explain phenomenon which could not otherwise be explained by their worldview. Sometimes they make up connections to bolster their own faith in dogma. This is especially common for believers in secular religions such as capitalism and “man-made climate change”, who will often concoct non-existent connections between events or simply fabricate them. But that, still, does not answer why “man-made climate change” has become a popular secular religion among certain sections of society in western countries.

To better understand what makes this secular religion popular among certain segments of the population in western countries, you have to travel back in history to the 1970s. This was the decade when environmentalism first became something more just good public policy. Most people tend to remember that decade for its sexual liberation, hilariously bad fashions, disco music and “stagflation”. However that decade is much for important for another reason. Plainly stated, it was the first decade in over a century when the white west started to realize that its dominance over the rest of world was destined to fade and die out. But what would make people start thinking like that, even if it was at a subconscious level?

The simple answer is.. a series of global events and changes which continue to this day. There was the defeat of USA in Vietnam, 1973 oil crisis, China acquiring thermonuclear weapons and ICBMs, the almost total decolonization of Africa, growth of Japanese automobile and electronic industries and many other events which signaled that western domination of world was coming to an end. The 1970s also saw the end of the three decades of high economic growth throughout the west. But so what.. some may say. How does this translate into the start of public support for environmentalism. Surely there were other reasons for this change in attitudes.

Well.. that is partially correct. Post-WW2 increase in living standards of average people all over the west did make many of them unwilling to accept previously “normal” levels of environmental damage around the areas where they lived and worked. To understand what I am saying, have a look at candid photographs of any western cities prior to 1945. The short version is that even cities in North America, were much uglier, dirtier and polluted that today. European cities were way worse. Indeed, many cities with heavy industry had levels of pollution which make equivalent cities in China today seem much cleaner by comparison.

Most rules and regulations passed in first three decades after WW2 were about reducing or eliminating real and harmful pollution such as dumping the chemical industry waste products iton local water bodies, eliminating use of coal as domestic heating fuel, removing lead compounds from paint and gasoline, banning carcinogenic dyes and especially problematic chemicals used in agriculture etc. In other words, most environmental laws and regulations passed until mid-1970s addressed real and quantifiable problems. Then something started changing..

Beginning in the mid-1970s, the environmental movement in west was increasingly about ‘conservation’ aka maintaining some mythical status quo. The sharper ones among you might recognize that going back to some mythical utopia which nobody has seen is an important characteristic of many traditional and secular religions. Are you starting to see why slogans such as lowering atmospheric CO2 to 280 ppm (allegedly pre-industrial age levels) has far more in common with “returning to the garden of Eden” or “going back to the gold standard” than anything rooted in science. But wait, there is more.

Another defining feature of religious beliefs is that its leaders and priests hold themselves to very different standards than their followers. Have you noticed that “celebrities” and rich people who express strong support for reducing carbon emissions of others always travel in private airplanes, get chauffeured in limousines and live in huge houses. I mean.. if they seriously believed what they claim to, wouldn’t they change their own lifestyles to better conform to their beliefs. Then again, religion (traditional and secular) has always been the domain of hypocrites and scam artists. There is a reason why fornication by priests in the catholic church was a huge problem until they started the whole chastity scam. From then on, the church started attracting closeted gays and kid-fuckers instead of hypocritical straight men.

Since this post is already over 1000 words, I will stop here. In the next part, we will go into more detail about the quasi-religious dimensions of the modern environmental movement. We will also talk about the large amount of poorly suppressed racial resentment driving this movement.

What do you think? Comments?

Anthropogenic Climate Change is a Form of Secular Apocalypticism: 4

July 21, 2019 10 comments

In the previous two parts (link 1 and link 2) of this series, I wrote about multiple and independent lines of paleontological and geological evidence for Earth being significantly warmer during the period between between 34 to 2.6 million years, even though atmospheric CO2 levels during the relevant geological epochs were about the same as today. This fact is more noteworthy as major continents were fairly close to their current locations during that period, especially between the Mid-Miocene (14 M years ago) and end of Pliocene (2.6 M years ago). Furthermore, solar output during that period was almost identical to what we have today. In other words, changes in the levels of atmospheric CO2 is NOT a good hypothesis for why Earth cooled during the Pleistocene (starting 2.58 M years ago). Changes in ocean circulation due to formation of the Isthmus of Panama around that time provides a far better explanation for global cooling during that period.

While I will get back to more paleontological and geological evidence against prevailing beliefs about anthropogenic climate change in later parts of this series, let us look at this whole issue from a different yet complementary angle. As mentioned in the first post in this series, I would have preferred to start that series by talking about the psychological, religious and yes.. racial reasons why people in certain countries desperately want to believe in the bullshit narrative of anthropogenic climate change. So let me begin this part by talking about the similarities between belief in man-made global warming or “climate change” and Christianity, especially its Catholic variant. As early as 2003, Micheal Crichton openly talked about the considerable similarities between belief in man-made climate change and traditional religions. Heck, he even wrote a novel based on that premise. I am now going to take that idea further, much further.

The first and most obvious red flag that belief in man-made climate change (MCC) is a religion masquerading as science comes from the label its followers use to describe those who refuse to share their belief system. If you label somebody as a “denier” you are talking about a religion or ideology NOT science. Let me explain that point a bit further. Have you ever heard of “gravity deniers” who claim that gravity does not exist? Why not? Ever heard of people who “deny” that antibiotics can cure diseases caused by microorganism sensitive to them? Again.. why not? How people who believe that internal combustion engines, electricity, computers etc are not real? Note that I intentionally choose examples where lay people do not understand the details of how all those things work, and yet.. there are hardly any deniers when it comes to those topics.

It all comes down to whether something can be measured independently and reproducibly. While we cannot see gravity, we can measure it very accurately as well as observe it effects. Effects of antibiotics on microbes can be measured and ascertained in vitro (petri-dish type tests) and in vivo (live animals, including humans). Similarly, you can drive a car, turn on the light and read this article on your computer. In other words, it is not even necessary to convince people about the reality of these things. Now you know why you haven’t met somebody trying to convince you that the sky is blue, ice is cold to touch or fire is hot. It is simply not necessary. But haven’t there been examples throughout history where people used to believe something different from what they do now? And what finally changed their minds?

Well, here is one recent example. As some of you might remember, throughout the 1980s and well into the mid-1990s, many people did not believe that HIV caused AIDS. So how did that change? To understand that, you have to first acknowledge the two main reasons why many people in those decades were skeptical about HIV causing AIDS. The first, and minor, reason was that killing CD4 cell with HIV outside the body required almost thousand times higher viral concentrations than those measured in people suffering and dying from the disease. It took over two decades to finally understand how HIV causes death of those cells in the body at far lower levels than those required in cell cultures. And yes, the mechanisms are quite different.

But the second, and far more important, reason was that until the development and approval of second generation protease inhibitors and nucleotide analogues in the late 1990s, the prognosis for people with AIDS was really bad. Many of the first nucleoside (not nucleotide) analogues used to treat HIV were pretty toxic and lost efficacy within a year or two. Even the very first protease inhibitors approved for human use in mid-1990s had tons of side-effects and required people to take dozens of pills every single day. The prognosis of AIDS changed only after newer, less toxic and far more effective drugs became available. And guess what, the vast majority of people stopped questioning the link between HIV and AIDS. It was that easy.

Now let us apply the concepts we discussed above to the issue of belief in man-made climate change, beginning with- is it a problem? I mean.. is it really a problem if the global temperature goes up by 2-3 degrees Celsius? Based on paleontological records, the earth was far greener and productive (than today) during the Oligocene, Miocene and Pliocene (34-2.6 M years ago). In other words, a significantly larger fraction of the land surface on Earth would have been suitable for agriculture during those eras than today. More importantly, the increase in global temperature was far more pronounced in areas that are today temperate than in those which are tropical. There is also no evidence that deserts were bigger in those epochs, and considerable evidence to the contrary. To put it another way, a slightly warmer earth = more rain, greenery and much nicer climate at higher latitudes. I, for one, fail to see the problem.

But.. but.. what if it leads to a runaway greenhouse effect on Earth, like on Venus? To be pretty blunt, the sheer amount of CO2 (like 40-50x all known organic carbon) and other greenhouse gases necessary for anything even close to that would require raising the temperature of earth’s surface near the boiling point of water. See.. releasing even a fraction of that much CO2 in the atmosphere requires the inexorable chemical dissociation of carbonate minerals (chalk, limestone etc) which are currently on (or just below) the surface of land and ocean floors. Our planet would cease to inhabitable for any organisms other than some bacteria long before we reached the point of a runaway and planetwide greenhouse effect. Also, we have not reached that point in over 4.6 Billion years. And this has not been for lack of trying.

Earth’s geological history has seen multiple massive basalt flows that ended up covering areas as large as continental USA upto 3-5 miles high and lasting for a couple of million years in some cases. The sheer amount of CO2 and other gases pumped into the atmosphere during those times makes our current attempts seem incredibly puny by comparison. FYI- most volcanic gas is a mixture of H2O (water vapor) and CO2 with a decent amount of SO2. And yes, I know that some of those outflows are connected with mass extinctions. But my point still stands. It took two large basalt flows, one in China and another in Siberia (the later being as large as the continental USA and lasting for over a million years) to cause the largest mass extinction in past 540 million years. And even that was insufficient to cause a runaway greenhouse effect.

In the next part, we will go into the close similarities between Christianity and the secular religion of anthropogenic climate change. I will show you why this religion and its immediate precursor aka environmentalism only started gaining traction in the 1970s. You will see the connection between the terminal demographic decline of whites in the “west” and their eagerness to believe in this religion. You will also see the connection between the relative decline of the “west” in past two decades to the desire among its elites to convince others (especially non-whites) about MCC.

What do you think? Comments?

Anthropogenic Climate Change is a Form of Secular Apocalypticism: 3

July 18, 2019 13 comments

In the previous part of this series, I wrote about how there is lots of paleontological evidence that Antarctica (as late as 2.6-2.3 million years ago) was much warmer than it is today. This becomes extremely relevant to any debate about anthropogenic climate change since its ardent believers keep harping about how greenhouse gases released by human activity will, directly and indirectly, cause the ice sheet at both poles to melt and causes sea level rises not seen in many millions of years. As readers have probably figured out by now, the biggest problem with this argument is that Antarctica was far less glaciated until the last two million years. To put it another way, that continent was much warmer over millions of years when the atmospheric CO2 was either equal to or less than current levels. And this occurred while the continents were at their current positions.

So let us talk about paleontological evidence for the most recent forests on that continent. But before that, have a look at first figure (below) to familiarize yourself with its major geographical features- as they appear today. As you can see, Antarctica looks like two continents smushed together and that is sorta correct. Based on surveys using ice-penetrating radar, the larger part aka East Antarctica looks like just another continent with plains, hills and mountain ranges. West Antarctica, on the other hand, is dominated by a striking series of parallel mountain ranges and an unusually wide continental shelf. Note that removing all that ice would cause some of the land currently below sea level to rebound due to isostatic rebound. Here is another link to what lies under that thick ice sheet. Antarctica is like a larger and more mountainous version of Australia.

The 2nd longest mountain range in Antarctica, which partially sticks above the ice, is known as the Trans antarctic mountains or TAM. FYI, the longest one in that continent is found in West Antarctica and is known as the Antarctandes Anyway, back to TAM. You might notice that parts of this range runs pretty close to the geographical south pole. One of the main passages through this range to the polar plateau beyond is a very long and large glacier known as the Beardmore Glacier. One of first famous and tragic attempts to reach the south pole used this route, and oddly enough, is relevant to this topic. The exposed fossil bed of interest aka Oliver Bluffs is located near this glacier. While the plant fossils at this site were first reported in the late 1980s, there is good evidence that Robert Scott of the ill-fated expedition in early 1910s might have discovered this site since he described finding fossilized leaves similar to northern beeches.

Anyway, as you can see in the third figure (below) this area is now very cold, icy and devoid of plant life. While a few coastal areas of Antarctica, especially north of 65 degrees South do have some vegetation- most of it is of the non-vascular type. To date, only two species of vascular plants (Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis) have been found on that continent and they look like stunted shrubs. Oliver Bluffs, on the other hand, is at 85 degrees South and less than 500 km from the south pole. So why did a site that is 20 degrees south to the most southerly parallel currently capable of supporting any vascular plant life host a forest with decent sized southern beech trees and an undergrowth of other plants. More importantly, how was this possible as late as 2-3 million years ago when atmospheric CO2 levels were lower than today?

The fourth figure (below) is a composite of some photographs taken at that site. You might notice that the quality of fossilization is pretty good and one of the layer containing them is sandwiched between two glacier-derived layers implying that that the region went through repeated rounds of glaciation and reforestation. And this brings us to the next question- where did all those seeds for regrowth of these trees come from? While it is not totally impossible that those seeds were dispersed by birds from other continents, the nearest place with such trees (New Zealand) is about 4,000 km away. In other words, it is far more likely that there were more local and permanent forests containing such trees on the Antarctic mainland. But this would mean that a significant part of Antarctica , especially north of 75-70 degrees South and near the ocean was not covered by an ice sheet. Moreover, even the inland ice sheets at that time must have been significantly thinner and smaller than today. So what was going on?

Here is one recent and accessible paper which goes into some detail about various methods used for reconstructing temperature conditions at the Oliver Bluffs site. As you can see, these plant fossils have been dated to the Pliocene (5.3-2.6 million years ago) for past thirty years. Also scientists have been talking about their implication on the climate of that region for almost that long. While some have tried to dispute the dating of these fossils, it is increasingly clear that they do indeed come from somewhere between 4 and 2.6 million years. For example, analysis of pliocene marine sediments from an offshore drill core dated to between 5 to 2.2 million years and over a thousand km from the site with those plant fossils has revealed the presence of fossil nothofagous pollen including from the species found at Oliver Bluffs.

To quickly summarize, there is evidence that many coastal regions of Antarctica were about 30 degrees Celsius warmer than today and resembled parts of Northern Canada, Inland Alaska and Northern Russia during the late Pliocene (2.6-2.3 million years ago). It is also likely that the inland icesheets during that era were significantly thinner and smaller than those present today. Let me remind you that this was during a time when atmospheric CO2 levels were identical or lower than those seen today. Are you beginning to see the problem with current propaganda driven narratives about “global warming” and “anthropocentric climate change”?

What do you think? Comments?

Anthropogenic Climate Change is a Form of Secular Apocalypticism: 2

July 14, 2019 5 comments

In the previous part of this series, I wrote that over the past 540 million years, there hasn’t been much correlation between atmospheric levels of CO2 and average global temperatures. Believers in the secular religion of anthropogenic global warming might attribute this to continents having different relative and absolute positions in the past due to plate tectonics. Therefore, I urge you to have a look at this YouTube clip of the reconstructed positions and movements of continents over that period. As you will notice pretty quickly, the relative and absolute positions of many continents does change a lot over that period. FYI- relative positions of these continents (more precisely their constituent cratons and shields) over that time-span has been deduced via a combination of techniques ranging from geology, paleontology, chemical and isotope analysis etc.

The fact that atmospheric levels of C02 ranging from 20x to 2-3x those seen today had little effect on average global temperature over such a long time-span and variety of continental arrangements, if anything, bolsters the argument about it being a relatively minor player in the larger scheme of things. Also note that most modern continental landmasses, except India and Australia and to some extent South America were near their current latitudes by 80 million years (at 5:10 in first clip) or about 15 million years before dinosaurs went extinct. Furthermore, the Eocene Thermal Maximum (at 5:38) occurred when most major continents were pretty close to their current latitude and longitude. Also, the most recent cycle of ice ages began about 6 million years ago (6:24-6:34) when all continents were, for practical purposes, at their present location.

Let us move to a related topic, namely for how long has the current ice-sheet covering Antarctica been around. As you will soon see, the answer is more surprising and complicated than you might have expected. So let us first talk about the position of that continent relative to the geographical south pole for the past 540 million years, as seen in second clip. Long story short, some part of the modern Antarctic continent has been within the southern polar circle (south of 66.5 degrees S) for the past 400 million years.. which is, geologically speaking, a pretty long time. More surprisingly, the geographical south pole has been within the land mass of Antarctica for at two extended periods within those 400 million years- from 0 to 120 million years ago and 260 to 350 million years ago. To put it another way, Antarctica has been the south polar continent (often along with Australia) for a bit longer than vertebrates first crawled on dry land.

So how was the climate in Antarctica during the past 400 million years? Well.. for a good portion of that period, it was what we would today classify as temperate, albeit with an interesting twist due to being loacted at extreme southern latitudes. It may have been warmer (subtropical?) during the period between 240-400 million years ago, but once again with that peculiar seasonality. The more peculiar and relevant part is that Antarctica has been pretty close to its current position for the past 80 million years and had a cool temperate climate for at least half that period. In other words, having long dark winters and long bright summers did not cause that continent to become a barren and frozen wasteland for many tens of millions of years.

The first evidence of some glaciation on that continent in the past 200 million years seems to have occurred around 40-35 million year ago. So what caused this cooling? Well.. the current explanation is that it was due to the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (see figure below) which started up after both South America and Australia had separated from Antarctica to a point where such a current could form. The popular conventional view is that ACC created a cold barrier around Antarctica about 35 million years ago and it hasn’t ever gotten warmer since then. Indeed, official information sources on the internet try to endlessly repeat this lie. To be clear, nobody is denying that the ACC has been there in its current form for the past two million years. But the evidence for climate on Antarctica for past 35 million years is far more complicated than many “credentialed experts” are willing to admit in public for reasons that will soon be obvious.

As many of you might have guessed, our knowledge about the geology and paleontology of Antarctica is much sparser than for other continents. Nevertheless, a number of surveys for plant and animal fossils have revealed evidence which simply does not fit with the popular version of Antarctica being a frigid wasteland for the past 35 million years. For example, there is decent evidence that parts of Antarctica had extensive tundra like vegetation throughout the Oligocene to the mid Miocene (24-14 million years ago). Even conifers existed on that continent as late as 15 million years ago. But the most striking evidence concerns the last forests in Antarctica, which existed as late as 2.3-2.6 million years ago.

To be clear, the last forests on that continent were restricted to certain regions and their tree biome was largely made up some of most cold-resistant species. Having said that, we can use the types of tree and micro fossils found at those sites to estimate contemporary climatic conditions. A cold-resistant genus of trees known as Nothofagus aka southern beeches are well represented in those fossils. As luck would have it, living members of that genus can be found in the southern Andes, parts of Australia and New Zealand. To make another long story short, the region of Antarctica where those fossils were found would have to be about 30 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today for even the most cold-tolerant species in that genus to exist. Also, there is a lower temperature limit for vascular plants.

In the next part of this series, I will go into some detail about the fossil and chemical evidence for why we think that those southern beech forest in Antarctica were so recent. As you will see, there are other independent lines of evidence to support the contention that Antarctica looked and felt a lot like certain parts of Northern Canada and Siberia as late as 2.3-2.6 million years ago. But such streams of evidence also create a huge problem for the popular model of Antarctica as an icebox in the past 35 million years. I mean.. why did Antarctica go through pretty large and incomplete cycles of partial glaciation and deglaciation within the past 40 million years, when it was close to its current location, isolated from other continents and levels of atmospheric CO2 were in current range or lower. Also, why did the continent become a frozen icebox only in past 2.3 million years? As you will see in next part, reality has a way of derailing theoretical models.

What do you think? Comments?

Anthropogenic Climate Change is a Form of Secular Apocalypticism: 1

July 6, 2019 6 comments

Over the years, I have written a few posts about why anthropogenic climate change is a form of secular apocalypticism whose origins can be traced to the ongoing terminal demise of the ‘white’ west. However, I never got around to writing an in-depth series about that topic- until now. My biggest concern about writing such a series was its potential length and the necessity of explaining many concepts as it unfolded. But it gradually became obvious that ‘kicking the can down the road’ was not a viable long-term strategy. So, I have decided to start writing it- even if the results turn out to be initially less brilliant than hoped for.

With that out of the way, let me quickly describe the structure of this series. While it would have been preferable to first tackle the psychology underlying belief in anthropogenic climate change, doing so would have created a series of long and turgid posts which were unlikely to capture the readers interest. Instead, I have decided to mix posts about interpretation of scientific evidence with others about related psychological concepts. The first couple of posts in this series will be about the lack of correlation between atmospheric concentration of CO2, average surface temperature of earth and mass extinctions over past 550-600 million years of geological history.

But before we go there, let us be clear about a few things. Measuring atmospheric CO2 directly and accurately is only possible if you have an actual sample of the atmosphere. All measurements of atmospheric CO2 from the past are therefore indirect, albeit to varying degrees. For example, while it is possible to measure CO2 dissolved in ice-cores samples, the numbers have to adjusted for the atmospheric temperature at which the tested snow originally precipitated using isotopic analysis, because the solubility of CO2 in water and ice is temperature dependent. Ice-core measurements, in contrast to other methods, do have good temporal resolution.

There is however a upper-age limit to using ice cores and the oldest one, we are somewhat certain about, is about 2.7 million years old. Also, there may be a hard limit on how far we can go back with ice cores since parts of mainland Antarctica within 483 km (300 miles) of the south pole were seasonally ice-free as late as 2.6 million years ago. The next part of this series will explore how those parts of Antarctica were 30 degrees Celsius warmer than today, even though the atmospheric CO2 levels were not that different. Measuring atmospheric CO2 from a time before 2 million years requires different, and even more indirect, methods of measurement.

Without going into too much detail here (you can always read the source paper), this category of methods is based on atmospheric CO2 being directly correlated to preferential weathering of certain minerals in rocks (through rain) and carbonate deposition in the oceans. It also factors many other things from stable isotope measurement of certain elements in dated rock/soil samples, size and position of continents in past, outgassing through known large-scale volcanic activity and many others to estimate the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The relevant part is that this model, even in its crude older form, gives an acceptably accurate measurement of CO2 in the atmosphere upto 600 million years ago. Ya.. the error margins can be upto 50% of the measurement, but it is still good enough to tell us that the earth used to have far higher atmospheric CO2 in the past. Reconstruction of average surface temperature during these eras is based on fossils records of plants and animals, various isotopic ratios and recreating positions of landmasses using paleomagnetic data.

But how much more CO2? Well.. it was almost 20 times higher than today in the Cambrian era and about 10 times more during the Ordovician. And it remained in the 8-12 x range for the Silurian and Devonian. Notably, these were the four geological ages when most animals and plants lived in or near oceans and other water bodies. It was also the heyday for Mollusks and shelled Cephalopods. Evidently, all that atmospheric CO2 had no negative effect on oceanic pH.

More curiously, the Ordovician-Silurian (O-S) extinction was largely due to a short spell of global glaciation. And this global ice age occurred when CO2 levels were over 12 times higher than today. It was only in the late Devonian (after plants had finally established themselves on land) that atmospheric CO2 levels started to fall, and there was another moderate sized extinction towards the end of that age. The next age, Carboniferous, saw a massive expansion of plants of land and resulted in a further decrease in atmospheric CO2 until it was about 2-3 times current levels. It was also the age of high oxygen levels and giant insects.

Atmospheric CO2 levels during the Permian remained low for millions of years but then started to go up. The end of this era saw two very closely spaced and massive extinctions, the End-Capitanian and Permian-Triassic aka ‘The Great Dying’. While CO2 levels went up to about 4-5 times today, temperature increases (especially in tropical and sub-tropical oceans) were insane. There is evidence that the surface temperature of ocean water in subtropical regions exceeded 40 degrees Celsius for a few hundred thousand years. While temperatures did fall afterwards and life recovered, they remained pretty high by current standards. However the climate eventually became wetter, especially after the Carnian Pluvial Event.

The Triassic-Jurassic extinction ended the Triassic and ushered the Jurassic. That geological age saw an increase in atmospheric CO2 but no accompanying rise in average surface temperature. While forests on earth never reached the density and levels they did during the Carboniferous, the Jurassic comes a semi-close second. Earth transitioned into next age, aka Cretaceous, with only a few minor and small extinctions. Initially the cooling seen during the late Jurassic continued, but soon reversed itself and it became almost as warm as the middle-Jurassic. The Cretaceous was also the longest geologic age since the Cambrian explosion and lasted about 145 million years. Atmospheric CO2 levels slowly declined to about 2-3 times today, in spite of the temperature remaining fairly high and constant. Isn’t that odd?

The Cretaceous ended with the Cretaceous-Tertiary/Paleocene extinction. After that the earth recovered from it the climate was still pretty warm and humid. Then we had the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum at around 55 million years and for about 200 k years it so warm that Palm trees grew in Washington State and Southern Canada. Then around 45-35 million years ago, there was another round of cooling and a further slight decrease in atmospheric CO2. However temperatures went up again between 35 and 6 million years ago. The most recent round of global cooling began about 6 to 7 million years ago when a land-bridge between north and south american continents started to form between southern tip of what is today Mexico and northern tip of Colombia. This bridge started to cut off equatorial connection and circulation between the Atlantic and Pacific.

Once that land connection was fully formed about 2.6-2.3 million years ago, global temperatures dropped even further and we started having regular and long ice ages (after almost 300 million years) with brief inter-glacial warm periods. This is also when a lot of tropical and sub-tropical whale species and large marine mammals went kaput and consequently took out predators such as Megalodon. Did you notice that the drop in atmospheric CO2 cannot explain the current stretch of ice ages started around 6 million years ago, nor why they intensified in past 2.3-2.6 million years. Are you beginning to appreciate why I think that the whole anthropocentric climate change theory is bullshit. In the next part, I will show you that as late as 3 million years ago, Antarctica was a significantly warmer continent.

What do you think? Comments?

Some More Thoughts about Recent Arrest of Julian Assange in London

April 15, 2019 9 comments

In the previous post on this topic, I wrote about how exposure of information by Wikileaks (and others inspired by it) has permanently damaged the only remaining ruling mandate for elites in western countries. In case you are wondering, that was Assange’s goal from the very beginning- and he has succeeded. If you don’t believe my take on what he has achieved, let me remind you about how things were in 2008. At that time, most people still thought Bush43’s presidency was an anomaly and everything would return back to how it was in the 1990s. They also believed that Obama would become the next FDR and reign in financialism. Did I mention the hilarious part where almost everyone believed that internet monopolies such as Google, FakeBook, Amazon etc were the greatest thing since sliced bread and could do no wrong. Simpler times indeed..

Then many seemingly unexpected things started to occur in quick succession. First, there was the global financial crisis which began in late 2008, which lead to multi-trillion dollar bailouts for ‘too-big-to-fail’ financial institutions and corporations. Of course, everybody else (aka the 99 %) got screwed and Obama turned out be the black version of Reagan rather than FDR. It slowly became obvious that the 1990s were never going to come back. And then it got worse as entire sectors of the economy got hollowed out- at an even faster pace than before. More problematically, almost all of the new jobs created since then have been precarious and poorly paid. My point is that, it is hard to understand the full impact of Wikileaks unless you first appreciate the socio-economic-political climate into which it was born.

I first wrote about Wikileaks a long time ago (link 1 and link 2) and my initial assessments about it proved to be correct. Not surprisingly, the MSM attitude towards Wikileaks and Assange has not changed since 2010. At that time, I also made another comment about Assange which turned out to be far more prescient than I initially realized. Since 2010, the many archives of documents released by Wikileaks and Snowden have had a profound impact on how people in the west perceive their own governments and civic institutions. Today nobody pretends that the NSA doesn’t exist or that USA-based internet monopolies such as Google, FakeBook, Amazon etc are anything other than commercial arms of the (rapidly failing) american empire. In 2008, you would have been considered delusional for publicly stating that almost all journalism in USA is elite stenography, even after their almost unanimous support for the failed occupation of Iraq in 2003.

We also cannot ignore what happened in the rest of the world during that period and the impact of Wikileaks on public discourse in those countries. Let me remind you that Wikileaks is by far the single biggest reason USA was not able to keep a significant military presence in Iraq after 2009. Its revelations also did an incredible amount of permanent damage to public image of western countries in other parts of the world. After they were made public, very few people in countries such as China, Russia etc could keep pretending that the american system of governance and institutions was any less repressive and problematic than their own. These leaks have also sped up the process of making the internet and communications (in general) more decentralized and much less USA- or west-centric. In short, Wikileaks achieved a decent percentage of its original objectives- so far. And ya.. it did contribute to the defeat of HRC in 2016.

As you also know, the declining vassal states of Sweden and UK cooked up a stupid and highly counterproductive scheme to arrest Assange and extradite him to USA since 2010. In my opinion, this stupid scheme was stupid and short-sighted. Then again, elites throughout human history have never shown themselves to be good at long-term and strategic thinking. And this type of malfunction is intrinsic to large hierarchical and impersonal social systems- as I have also written about in previous posts such as this one. Here is another one which explains how these systemic shortcomings play out in other large systems. To put it another way, the whole idea of trapping Assange within that embassy for 7 years was an incredibly stupid idea. But why, specifically, was it so dumb? Well.. because it made him into a larger-than-life (almost religious) figure while simultaneously shredding the public credibility of western countries.

The thing is.. people universally understand that a person trying to persecute somebody for their personal beliefs is an acknowledgement of your own weakness. For example, if some obviously mentally-ill guy across the street kept shouting that you were the anti-christ, people around you would either ignore it or find it amusing. Nobody would believe the guy making those claims. Now imagine if you responded to those claims by trying to get the guy, making them, killed. People would rightly think that those claims were actually correct and that you were indeed the anti-christ. This dynamic is part of the reason why scandals which would sink conventional politicians, many times over, have no worthwhile effect on Trump’s popularity. He simply does not care enough about them to give a conventional explanation or response.

If the elites in USA, UK and Sweden etc had any ability to think beyond the short-term, they would have handled the Assange situation very differently. Firstly, they would have realized and accepted that somebody like Assange and Wikileaks was as inevitable in the internet age as Martin Luther and Protestantism were in the aftermath of movable-type printing being invented- or the ‘One’ arising in the Matrix. And yes.. I also wrote a post about this issue in that past. Secondly, the most optimal way to handle somebody like Assange was to watchfully ignore him- thereby denying him martyrhood. Sure.. he would keep leaking document archives and causing some problems. But guess what.. he ended doing that stuff anyway.

Persecuting Assange made the USA, UK, Sweden etc look just as repressive and incompetent as the countries and regimes they claim to be superior to. Or as I call it, scoring repeated self-goals. But why does it matter? Well.. because, as I mentioned in the previous post, the ruling mandate of elites in west is derived from abstract ideas such as being perceived as honest, democratic, competent, meritocratic etc. This is in sharp contrast to a nation like China, where the elites derive their legitimacy from providing real, concrete and measurable improvements in physical quality of life for their citizens. This is also why persecuting somebody like Assange is far more damaging to western-style governmental systems than imprisoning a dissident is to China.

Will write more on this as events unfold..

What do you think? Comments?