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GURGLETROUSERS



Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Posts: 2643

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2022 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the article Mac. I'll study it.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 20866

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2022 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The sky is falling and the oceans are rising to meet it, yet uber-rich climate alarmists are buying up and moving onto elite shoreline property like 21 acres on Martha's Vineyard, flying exclusively in their private jets like John "I'm too important" Kerry, consuming $30,000 in utilities for just one of their three mansions, etc. Is there a slight chance these people know that the Copenhagen Consensus analyses and AOC's chief of staff are right, that AGWA is FAR more about politics than science?
See https://news.yahoo.com/aoc-chief-staff-admits-green-124408358.html?fr=yhssrp_catchall , for example.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
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Location: Berkeley, California

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2022 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there the slightest chance that Isobars has actually read something about global warming that was not the product of the carbon industry?
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 10482

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2022 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having raised the idea of insects and how global warming could represent a threat to the world we know, I found this novel opinion piece by Lars Chittka in the Washington Post today. It's enlightening and quite an interesting read.


"The French philosopher René Descartes, whose views on animals were highly influential, argued that these creatures acted purely by reflex — they had no intellectual capabilities. But there has been a Copernican revolution since then: We now know that sophisticated minds are all around us in the animal queendom — not just in close relatives of humans such as chimps and apes, but also in “aliens from inner space” such as the octopus.

And now we are learning just how smart insects can be. As I show in my new book, “The Mind of a Bee,” the latest research indicates that even tiny-brained bees are profoundly intelligent creatures that can memorize not only flowers but also human faces, solve problems by thinking rather than by trial and error, and learn to use tools by observing skilled bees. They even appear to experience basic emotions, or at least something like optimism and pessimism. The possibility of sentience in these animals raises important ethical questions for their ecological conservation, as well as their treatment in the crop pollination industry and in research laboratories.

Social insects are traditionally thought to be wholly governed by instinct: They can build complex nests and efficiently divide up their labor through innate behaviors, but are considered stupid as individuals, with complexity emerging only at the group level. But there is significant evidence that bees have an inner world of thought — that they are not responding to stimuli only with hard-wired responses.


To explore bees’ learning abilities, scientists reward them with little drops of sugar water when they have solved a task — the same reward that bees obtain in nature when they discover a nectar-rich flower. For example, to probe bees’ face recognition skills, foragers were first rewarded with sugar water on a platform in front of a black-and-white photo of a human face. Once they learned to fly to this platform, they were confronted with a test in which they had to locate the correct photo out of a number of images of other people. No rewards were now present, and the correct photo was located in a different position during the test. Nonetheless, they found the correct face over 80 percent of the time — lending credence to the common beekeepers’ assertion that bees can recognize the person who looks after them.

To test whether bees can count, we trained them to fly from their hive past four identical landmarks, shaped like 11-foot-high pyramids. During the training, they found a sugar reward after the third landmark. In the tests, we increased the number of landmarks between the hive and the training location of the feeder. When we did, bees landed at a shorter distance from the hive than during the training, apparently thinking they had flown far enough when they encountered the third landmark. Reducing the number of landmarks had the opposite effect — bees then overshot the training distance and flew farther to seek the third landmark.

Bees are flexible in accessing memories. A master storyteller of the mysteries of memory, Marcel Proust describes in “Remembrance of Things Past” how the narrator, after tasting a tea-soaked madeleine, suddenly recalls long-lost childhood memories in vivid detail. Similarly, a scent experienced by a bee inside its hive can bring back the memory of a flower patch with the same scent. To demonstrate this, scientists first trained bees to memorize two different feeding locations about 55 yards from the hive and 33 yards apart, one smelling of rose and the other of lemon. When researchers blew one scent or another into the hive, it activated the bees’ memory of the correct feeding station, to which they flew directly. Thus, their memories can be activated separately from the setting in which they are learned.


On occasion, bees activate such memories in the darkness of the hive at night, and even communicate with other bees about them. Bees have a “dance language” by which they can inform others in the hive of the precise location of a rewarding flower patch. The symbolic language involves repeating the motor patterns (“dances”) of a knowledgeable bee on the vertical honeycomb. The movements make reference to gravity and the direction of the sun; since it’s dark in the hive, bees that want to learn from the dancer need to touch its abdomen with their antennae. Sometimes, such dances are displayed at night, when no foraging takes place: The dancer appears to think about locations visited on the previous day, without an obvious need to do so at the time, indicating that memories can be browsed in an “offline” situation.

My team has shown that bees can, in a sense, picture things in their minds. Bees that first learn that balls, but not cubes, are linked to a sugar reward by seeing these shapes through plexiglass — in a “look but don’t touch” situation — can subsequently identify the same shapes by touch alone. We tested this in darkness, viewing the bees’ behavior with infrared equipment (such conditions are not unusual for bees, since their nests are naturally dark). Bees trained to tell cubes from spheres in darkness could also later identify the correct shapes when seeing but not touching them, indicating a form of mental image that can be accessed with more than one sense.

Bees can also solve problems in a manner that indicates they understand the desired goal. In one experiment, bees learned to roll a ball to a certain area to obtain a sugar reward — a simple form of tool use, in which an object needs to manipulated in a specific way. Untrained bees then improved the technique. A trick was played on the “demonstrator” bee, so that only the farthest of three balls could be moved to the target area (the two other balls were glued to the horizontal surface). A naive bee was then allowed to observe the skilled bee’s performance — always moving the farthest ball — three times. But when the observer was subsequently allowed into the arena alone, now finding none of the balls glued down, it spontaneously (without trial and error) picked the closest ball to move to the goal, solving the task in a manner inspired by the demonstrator but clearly not merely imitating its performance. Observer bees could have conjured up this solution only through a kind of mental exploration. This indicates a form of intentionality that was previously recognized only in large-brained animals, such as chimps.


And we now have evidence of emotion-like states, using the same criteria that researchers employ to evaluate whether domestic animals such as goats or horses are being kept in conditions that result in a positive or negative outlook on life. We trained bees to learn that blue was rewarding and green was not (another group of bees was trained with the opposite conditions) and subsequently presented them with an intermediate color, turquoise — an ambiguous stimulus. Crucially, the bees’ judgment of this ambiguous color depended on what happened before the experiment. Unexpected rewards before the test appeared to induce an optimistic state of mind in bumblebees, making them more curious about new stimuli and more resilient to aversive stimuli. This optimistic state relied on the neurotransmitter dopamine, as it does in humans.

A negative emotional state can be induced by predator attacks. Some species of spiders sit on flowers and try to catch pollinating insects. We re-created this in the lab, constructing a plastic spider with a mechanism by which a bumblebee was momentarily held between two sponges and then released. The bees’ behavior changed fundamentally: They seemed more nervous for days after such attacks. Beyond a simple learned aversion to flowers with artificial spiders, they extensively scanned every flower before landing, and even if there were flowers without a robotic spider, they sometimes fled — as if they were “seeing ghosts.” The bees behaved as if they were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

A critical reader might observe that each of these abilities could be programmed into a nonconscious robot. She would be correct, but such a robot would often fail at tasks that a programmer did not build into it. For example, a robot built 20 years ago to replicate all the skills of a honeybee as understood at the time would not have been able to exhibit the abilities of bees that were more recently discovered: to roll balls to a goal, recognize shapes across senses or display emotion-like states. Nature has no room to generate beings that just pretend to be sentient. Thus, while there is no accepted formal proof for consciousness in any animal or machine, common sense dictates that growing evidence of consciousness does indeed indicate what it seems to show.


The observation that bees are most likely sentient beings has important ethical implications. It’s well known that many species of bees are threatened by pesticides and wide-scale habitat loss, and that this spells trouble because we need these insects to pollinate our crops. But is the utility of bees the only reason they should be protected? I don’t think so. The insight that bees have a rich inner world and unique perception, and, like humans, are able to think, enjoy and suffer, commands respect for the diversity of minds in nature. With this respect comes an obligation to protect the environments that shaped these minds. Common migratory beekeeping practices in industrialized agriculture, for example, involve the frequent transport of hives across continents on trailers, which not only spreads disease but is most likely detrimental to bees’ psychological well-being, weakening their health further. Finally, countless insects are sacrificed annually in research laboratories and the insect food industry, the methods of which are entirely unregulated. It is plausible that our findings about bees’ capacity to suffer also extend to other insects, and this should be considered in any legislation regulating their treatment."


https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2022/07/29/bee-cognition-insect-intelligence-research/
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 17331
Location: Berkeley, California

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I’ve watched the pattern of heat waves this summer and last summer, I have puzzled a bit over how extreme the changes seem to be. Seattle had record highs last year—but a very cool spring and summer—until about a week ago. For a while, scientists have speculated that there might be really significant changes in the jet stream. This is a pretty interesting take on that: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/27072022/jet-stream-heat-waves/?utm_source=InsideClimate+News&utm_campaign=1e1ffcf8b6-&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_29c928ffb5-1e1ffcf8b6-329339045

I no longer follow climate models, they long ago became too sophisticated for my understanding. I know earlier models were an attempt to get the overall heat balance reasonably accurate. If they haven’t yet captured this phenomenon, I would imagine they are working on it.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 17331
Location: Berkeley, California

PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2022 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But it made McConnell filthy rich.

Quote:
Strip Mining Worsened the Severity of Deadly Kentucky Floods, Say Former Mining Regulators. They Are Calling for an Investigation
In past flooding, hydrologists have calculated runoff 1,000 times greater than without mining. Scientists say climate change will intensify heavy rains.
James Bruggers
By James Bruggers
August 7, 2022
Trucks buried in mud and debris after heavy rains in late July 2022 caused flooding in Kentucky. Credit: Wang Changzheng/Xinhua via Getty Images.
Trucks buried in mud and debris after heavy rains in late July 2022 caused flooding in Kentucky. Credit: Wang Changzheng/Xinhua via Getty Images.
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Two former state and federal mining regulators say state and federal authorities should investigate the role strip mining played in last week’s devastating and deadly flooding in eastern Kentucky and the condition of the mines after the torrential rainfall.

The Kentucky counties, and areas of West Virginia and Virginia, flooded by torrential rains have for decades been heavily logged and strip-mined for coal—land-use practices that dramatically alter the landscape and contribute to flooding. The recent flooding has killed at least 37 people.

With strip mining, trees are the first to go. Then, hundreds of feet of rock may be blasted away from the tops or sides of mountains to get at underground seams of coal.

“If you get an area that has been strip mined, and the soil has been stripped off, and the upper layers of the soil and rock have been dumped into a valley fill, you have a surface that is not fully vegetated and you get no water retention whatsoever, and that is what causes these flash floods,” said Jack Spadaro, a former top federal mine-safety engineer who works as a consultant for coalfield residents, workers and their lawyers.


Jack Spadaro, a former top federal mine safety engineer, says the combination of forest loss, mining and climate change doesn’t bode well for Central Appalachia, as recent flooding shows. Credit: James Bruggers/Inside Climate News.
Spadaro has been an expert witness in successful flooding lawsuits involving mining companies, and he said he’s seen floods in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia where hydrologists have calculated runoff more than 1,000 times greater after mining than there would have been without the mining.

He said the horrendous scope of the recent Appalachian flooding merits an independent scientific investigation to determine what role mining played in the flooding and what could be done with strip mines to reduce future flood risks.

“It’s not just mining,” said Davie Randsell, a retired state mining regulator who is from the town of Oneida in Clay County, which was affected by the flooding. “It all gets mixed together—logging, gas wells, gas well roads, power lines,” resulting in more runoff and the potential for landslides during rain from the scars, she said.

Randsell said that at a minimum, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet officials and officials with the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement need to check on the condition of the mines, which could pose ongoing safety risks to people who live downstream from them from washouts, landslides or further flooding from damaged water retention ponds.


Beyond that, she said, a broader study could help regulators determine whether current mining practices and regulations are up to the challenge of climate change, which scientists say is causing heavier, more intensive rain storms.

In fact, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in a 2017 study of the Ohio River basin, predicted that climate change would bring more rain and significantly increased stream flows to a region that includes the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia.

That year, its lead author, Kathleen D. White, told The Courier Journal that it was already out of date and that climate change was accelerating faster than expected.

And in 2019, an analysis of the Corps’ streamflow data and satellite images of strip-mined land for Inside Climate News found that the Big Sandy watershed straddling Kentucky and West Virginia had the largest swath of some 1,400 square miles in their study area altered by strip mining – and was the most threatened by more rain from climate change.

That Kentucky has allowed financially unstable or bankrupt mining companies to fall far behind on reclamation requirements makes matters even worse, Spadaro said. Reclamation is intended to stabilize these highly disturbed mined areas with backfilling, regrading, the removal of so-called “high walls” left behind by blasting, and managing and treating runoff water, which can be toxic.


Without reclamation, he said, “it means they don’t even have any grass planted.”

Kentucky’s state geologist, William C. Haneberg, said research findings have been mixed on whether the valley fills created by some forms of surface mining increase flood risk themselves.

But he said those studies typically assumed normal rain storms. “When you have an event like we just had, all bets are off,” said Haneberg, who also oversees the Kentucky Geological Survey.

Haneberg agreed that a post-storm study makes sense but is not sure how it could be funded.

“It would definitely be something we would like to look into, but we have shrunk over the last few years as the university has cut our budget,” he said.

Research out of West Virginia University in 2020 found that even fully reclaimed surface mines in Kentucky were significantly likely to have experienced landslides. That deserves further evaluation, Haneberg said, adding that the reasons could range from differences in geology, construction methods or enforcement of mining regulations

That peer-reviewed study was by graduate student Miles Reed and co-authored by WVU geology professor emeritus Steve Kite. The findings suggest Kentucky mine sites could be more vulnerable to landslides during rains like the ones that just drenched eastern Kentucky, Kite said. Most of the problems Reed found, he said, involved drainage around the valley fills, such as settling ponds or ditches, which if they break can more easily carry rocks or trigger dangerous debris flows.

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Spadaro said the federal surface-mining office should be the agency that leads any study of flood impacts from mining, working with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet. But he said he doubts they would agree to a collaboration.

“No one at the state or federal levels wants to admit the regulatory agencies have failed to do their duty to protect the people,” he said.

Neither the federal nor state mining agencies would immediately comment, citing time constraints.

“The (state energy) cabinet is wholly engaged right now in delivering relief to the parts of Eastern Kentucky devastated by the recent flooding,” said John Mura, energy cabinet spokesman.

James Bruggers
James Bruggers
Reporter, Southeast, National Environment Reporting Network
James Bruggers covers the U.S. Southeast, part of Inside Climate News’ National Environment Reporting Network. He previously covered energy and the environment for Louisville’s Courier Journal, where he worked as a correspondent for USA Today and was a member of the USA Today Network environment team. Before moving to Kentucky in 1999, Bruggers worked as a journalist in Montana, Alaska, Washington and California. Bruggers’ work has won numerous recognitions, including best beat reporting, Society of Environmental Journalists, and the National Press Foundation’s Thomas Stokes Award for energy reporting. He served on the board of directors of the SEJ for 13 years, including two years as president. He lives in Louisville with his wife, Christine Bruggers.
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's an issue, but just wait until the US gets into high gear with open pit mining for rare earth elements to supply our own battery manufacturing and technology, for clean energy? There seems to be a downside to almost everything.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
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Location: Berkeley, California

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lost on Techno is the difference between the largely unregulated practices of historic coal mining, and coal mining under rich investor McConnell, and the current regulatory practices. Now that Trump is gone and fighting to stay out of jail.
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lost on Mac is the potential for numerous open pit mines in the US (one in Calif. now), that will contradict the goal of a cleaner environment from electric cars.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 17331
Location: Berkeley, California

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2022 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

techno900 wrote:
Lost on Mac is the potential for numerous open pit mines in the US (one in Calif. now), that will contradict the goal of a cleaner environment from electric cars.


Unable to come up with facts, or a coherent argument, Techno just imagines a future world in which his paranoia ha come true.
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