Maxims, rules of thumb and other observations on human cognition and sociocultural affectations

This will be added to on an irregular basis...
  • What is said to humans directly is received with skepticism and considered with dubiousness while that which is heard in passing, especially that which most conforms to their mentality or prejudices, is readily believed.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive latency between exposure to new information or experiences and the ability to think dispassionately and intellectually about it.
  • Humans have a certain cognitive spectrum starting with the moment of exposure to new information or experiences and ending with some point at which the thing is effectively "in the past" for them.
  • This cognitive spectrum is linked to the emotional process often referred to as shock, anger, denial and acceptance.
  • The more and faster information or experiences are presented to people and the closer the quarters and the lesser the distance between people, the more their early reactions in the passionate emotional stage are reflected back to them in the manner of responses to those reactions from others in light of those responses.
  • The more outrages which are suffered without sufficient time to allow emotional bleed-off, the farther the bar for subsequent reaction and outrage are pushed, and the more further events must progress before reaction and outrage.
  • It is possible for serious detriments to eventually sit below this threshold for long enough for their damaging effects to build and multiply until their entire society undergoes some reactive convulsion.
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Bali climate conference enters final day - Yahoo! News

Notice that they held it in a very warm place?

The negotiating agenda set at Bali, and the results of two years of negotiations to follow, will help determine for decades how well the world can hold down its rising temperatures.

It can't. Again, people are missing simple logic. There are ice ages. By simple inferences there must be other ages that are NOT ice by contrast or there's no point in call an age an ice age because there would be no other age type to give it definition.

If there's light, there must be something we call... dark.

So if we're coming out of an ice age into a not-ice age, why all the consternation? It's not science, it's do-it-yourself religion dressed up as science. Like the paganism extolled from supposed spell books at Borders Books in the wake of every Harry Potter film, it's a pop fad.

Only a few decades ago, they told us we were headed back into an ice age. Scientifically, I'll tell you that is most likely from the Vostok ice cores. The graph of temperature variations recorded there shows that as the world warms at the end of an interglacial, the warming rate increases. It's not a simple flat line or a graceful sin(x) curve.

So if you're not a toadstool or rutabaga, it might occur to you that it sounds like it is self-enhancing somehow. That the warmer it gets, the easier it gets to get warmer. Yes, it is. Why? Because a bigger contributor to greenhouse warming than mankind is all around you every day: plant life.

No, I don't mean that plants put out CO2 directly in massive amounts, though they do to some degree. I mean the aftermath of plant life. Mulch.

When plant life decays, a plethora of microbes and simple cellular life feeds upon the matter and each other and each other's dead forms. This incestuous little world of everything feeding on everything else is what we call decomposition. Happens to animal remains like yours when you die, happens to dead grass blades, dead insects, etc.

One of the outputs is CO2. Another is methane which is an even better greenhouse gas than CO2. These processes are constant. As the Earth warms, ice melts, the line of green growing things moves north and south (depending on the side of the equator) and uphill towards the mountain tops.

More plants, more mulch, more greenhouse gases. Soon it gets to a critical point and the world heads towards cold again.

Back to the story. They held it someplace warm. Bali. Hmmm... How warm is Bali? This is how warm Bali is. That's about 80° F for those not on the metric system. Where will they hold it next?

The Europeans and others showed little enthusiasm for this "voluntary" approach, and environmentalists denounced it as an effort to subvert the U.N. climate treaty process. It remains to be seen whether EU countries will attend the next meeting, in Honolulu in late January.

Honolulu has these average temperatures. Of course holding a global warming conference in Buffalo, NY in January would just not have the same effect, would it? They might actually start thinking that not everywhere on Earth is warm or warm year round. Yes, there are seasons, variations... What else might people learn if they asked questions?

Astronomy Picture of the Day