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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Monday, December 15, 2008

The Associated Press: Obama left with little time to curb global warming (which is totally natural, has been going on since before humans evolved, and will happen in the future whether or not humans exist)

Since Clinton's inauguration, summer Arctic sea ice has lost the equivalent of Alaska, California and Texas. The 10 hottest years on record have occurred since Clinton's second inauguration. Global warming is accelerating. Time is close to running out, and Obama knows it.

The Associated Press: Obama left with little time to curb global warming

Okay, 10 hottest years on record during what time frame? Since this is tossed out in the second sentence explicitly mentioning Clinton's second inauguration, and the first sentence mentions his (presumably) first, does that mean the 10 hottest years on record during the sixteen years since Clinton's first inauguration, or the 10 hottest years on record during the twelve years since his second inauguration? What would be the spread in twelve or sixteen years?

Flat out, if you have to give order to a sequence of annual numbers, some will usually be higher than others, and some will fall in the middle and others towards the extremes of the overall set, UNLESS THEY ARE ALL EQUAL.

Take a look at your waist size measurements every month for ten years. Some will be larger than others. One will be the largest, and another will be the smallest. All the others will be equal to one of those numbers or in between them. SIMPLE LOGIC.

So, hottest years since when, and what was the spread of temperatures?

Let me refer you to this which I have before:

Vostok-ice-core-petit

Note that the spikes of dust, CO2, and temperature all are happening over and over and over again. Now look at the scale. We've had greenhouse generating industry since when? Not that the current blue temperature high sequence has lasted for about ten thousand years, which is... the time since the end of the last glacial period.

Humans are estimated to be about 200,000 years old as a species, or at least since all known existing human genome groups diverged from a single common genetic ancestor. So we've been through at least one previous temperature maximum before now. Did we have any society capable of producing greenhouse gases then? No.

Humans are estimated to have been nearly wiped out, and at least decimated by an explosion of a volcano in southeast Asia. It was about 75,000 years ago.

Sure enough, there's a local drop in the temperatures right about then. Of course there are somewhat similar drops in the inter-maximum records before that, but note the dust spike about the same time. Toba maybe?

The point is that the graph shows a perfectly regular pattern of highs and lows for almost a half million years, with irregular up and down spikes which can be chalked up to volcanic input, patterns of vegetation increase and decrease (rotting vegetable matter goes with vegetable life and produces huge CO2 and methane amounts), animal life increase and decrease (animals fart methane and exhale CO2), and desertifcation producing dust (the Sahara is responsible for most of the seed dust and atmospheric instabilities that spark hurricane formation in the central Atlantic), and a whole lot more like the seasons, and orbital forcing and solar radiation effects.

In other words, warming would keep on happening even if you went back in time and released a lethal virus in the year 1241, wiping out all human life before 1300. Why? It already happened by that point. It had been going on since before Egypt was more than a really dry dusty place with a nice long oasis flowing through it. It has been going on since before humans started jotting down beer recipes in clay tablets in what is now Iraq. It has been going on since humans were first putting charcoal paintings on cave walls.

Yup, humans are totally and completely irrelevant to global warming and pretty much everything else on Earth, except our own egos. The idea that the little we've done in less than two hundred years has somehow caused the warming which actually started when we could barely figure out how to stitch animal skins together is truly arrogant.

(For a last little note, note the previous temperature maximum before now was quite a bit higher than our current temperature. It was roughly 120,000 years ago. Anyone care to guess when man began burning large amounts of fossil fuels? The turning decades from the 1700s to the 1800s when the Industrial Revolution began, some 118,000 plus years later AFTER a glacial period that saw ice sheets extend into what would later be known as Illinois and Indiana.)

Astronomy Picture of the Day