400 ppm

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Jennifer
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Jennifer » 04 May 2017, 15:15

thoreau wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
thoreau wrote:I think the "How will people of the future know it is radioactive waste?" issue is overblown. If technological civilization endures then they will be able to detect radioactivity easily, and will have records of our era. If technological civilization falls I am pretty sure that there will be taboos against the places where the Dark And Decadent Ancients stored poisons.
I think you're seriously overestimating how long superstitions or taboos would still be passed down through oral traditions (or even written traditions completely different from whatever writing systems came before) . The ancient Egyptians who wrote in hieroglyphics surely have plenty of living descendants today, but if not for the accidental discovery of the Rosetta Stone we still wouldn't know how to read them.
The Egyptians had a literate upper class, but Joe Schmoe on the street was not necessarily very literate.
Literacy likely wasn't as widespread as it is now, but neither was it limited to the aristocracy and priest classes. I was recently reading an article discussing how the pyramids most likely were not built by slaves, but by free laborers: one bit of evidence was the graffiti left by the builders in places not meant to be seen:
One of the most compelling pieces of evidence we have is graffiti on ancient stone monuments in places that they didn't mean to be shown. Like on foundations when we dig down below the floor level, up in the relieving chambers above the King's chamber in the Great Pyramid, and in many monuments of the Old Kingdom—temples, other pyramids. Well, the graffiti gives us a picture of organization where a gang of workmen was organized into two crews, and the crews were subdivided into five phyles. Phyles is the Greek word for tribe.

The phyles are subdivided into divisions, and the divisions are identified by single hieroglyphs with names that mean things like endurance, perfection, strong. Okay, so how do we know this? You come to a block of stone in the relieving chambers above the King's chamber. First of all, you see this cartouche of a King and then some scrawls all in red paint after it. That's the gang name. And in the Old Kingdom in the time of the Pyramids of Giza, the gangs were named after kings. So, for example, we have a name, compounded with the name of Menkaure, and it seems to translate "the Drunks (or the Drunkards) of Menkaure." There's one that's well-attested, in the relieving chambers above the King's chamber in the Great Pyramid, "the Friends of Khufu Gang." This doesn't sound like slavery, does it?
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Ellie » 04 May 2017, 15:27

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
dbcooper wrote:
thoreau wrote:I think the "How will people of the future know it is radioactive waste?" issue is overblown. If technological civilization endures then they will be able to detect radioactivity easily, and will have records of our era. If technological civilization falls I am pretty sure that there will be taboos against the places where the Dark And Decadent Ancients stored poisons.

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Yeah, if civilization completely collapses then they'll have bigger fish to fry.

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Re: 400 ppm

Post by lunchstealer » 04 May 2017, 16:02

Aresen wrote:
Mo wrote:
Aresen wrote:
JasonL wrote:There is no solution without subsidy in large scale. If we want to do nothing I'll maybe roll the dice. I'd prefer carbon tax to nudge things along. I hold those views because I think the likely band of effect is on the low side (because models consistently overestimate impact by 2-3x observation). If I were looking to remediate worst case I'd be looking at nuke now.
As Bailey reported today on H&R today, they just changed the models to make things come out right.
That's not what he said. In fact, they explicitly did not change the models, but changed the data that they input into the models based on actual data. What Bailey highlighted was that they filled in the models with missing data, like variability in solar radiation and ocean temperatures, which older, less sophisticated models would not be designed for and would miss short term fluctuations. This would be akin to a financial analyst that covered United going back and putting in actual oil prices as opposed to rough estimates used based on long term trends as a way to see if cost/revenue assumptions ended up being close to accurate.
Ron Bailey wrote:Medhaug and his colleagues adjusted the computer climate model runs by taking into account factors like changes like variations in solar radiation. In addtion, they applied results from computer models that best mimicked the observed internal variability of ocean temperature changes to estimate their effects on global air temperature to update the overall projected model trends. They do reanalysis of the HadCRUT4 dataset using model outputs to estimate temperatures in regions that are not adequately covered by observations. This produces a new dataset with higher global average temperatures.
That sounds like fiddling the models to me.
It sounds like it, but that's also how we developed weather models that could even come close to a 10-day forecast. Three-day forecasts used to be super sketchy, now they're pretty reliable.

That's part of why a lot of not-scientists were up in arms about Emailgate (climate edition, not Hillary edition). They hear methods that are more-or-less sound for most meanings of the term, but that sound sketchy to the untrained ear. "Manipulate the data" is the big one. That's science talk for doing the math. If you average your results, you've manipulated the data. It has nothing to do with cherry-picking or distorting the facts. It's doing the math you have to do to find the real patterns that are there. You literally cannot do any form of quantitative science without manipulating your data.

Just off of one article, I can't tell you for certain if this is sound or not, but I don't have any real reason to believe that it isn't.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by thoreau » 04 May 2017, 16:40

First, while I don't presume that future civilizations will have Geiger counters, I suspect that a collapse of technological civilization will result in legends of the poisonous waste left behind. The denizens of the post-apocalyptic world will surely regard the Decadent Ancient Ones with disdain for their fall and the devastation that it wrought. Taboos will linger, and legends will tell of the terrible things that happened to the tribe that attempted to raise children on a site where the Ancients generated energy from magical materials.

Second, I do agree that it's worth devoting some effort to leaving warning signs on nuclear waste dumps. But I think that any such efforts are (1) at best speculative, (2) a miniscule fraction of the necessary budget for storing the waste, and (3) not the biggest obstacle. In the end, the waste is there, it has to be stored somehow, and all the "But what about the languages of 10,000 AD?" objections don't get around these facts. So, by all means, put some fraction of the budget into the genuinely interesting and important question of how to ward off visitors in the far future, but I'm tired of seeing it posed as some sort of killer objection in articles.

And, frankly, my view of human nature is that culture and a sense of duty matter. So put the nuclear waste dump under the protection of an order of warriors that sees itself as performing a sacred mission, so that when the collapse comes and some warlord is thinking of making dirty bombs he finds himself in a battle against an ancient brotherhood of warriors. Either humanity will be spared (even more) radiation or the collapse will be just that much more epic.

(I'm only sort of joking. If you're serious about guarding a location for several radioactive half-lives you need the guards to hold some allegiance beyond their federal pension that's paid out in fiat money.)
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Warren » 04 May 2017, 17:37

lunchstealer wrote: It sounds like it, but that's also how we developed weather models that could even come close to a 10-day forecast. Three-day forecasts used to be super sketchy, now they're pretty reliable.
Yes but the point is thee day forecasts are pretty reliable. No climate model has been shown to be reliable. Part of that is because we haven't been doing it that long. The models are made to predict long term trends and specifically not short term variations. It is only now that they have been around long enough to begin to see if they're any good. And no, they're not good. So the modelers are trying to make them better. That's all well and good, but we still don't know if the manipulations they've done to correct the data will work going forward. We have to wait another decade or so to have any confidence. Maybe they're better. But maybe they're hopelessly flawed and can't work. At this point we don't know.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Jennifer » 04 May 2017, 18:24

thoreau wrote:And, frankly, my view of human nature is that culture and a sense of duty matter.
Sure, but how much of, say, the culture and sense of duty felt by Egyptians in hieroglyphics days still remains today? Different language, different writing, different religion ... the only thing that's stayed the same is the name "Egypt." (And even that is more continuity than most other pyramid-era civilizations besides China have.) And the time span between modern Egyptians and the pyramid-builders is only a small fraction of the half-life of some of that nasty shit nuclear waste contains.

One thing we do know from history, specifically when people are living surrounded by the remnants of an old culture that was obviously more advanced than theirs (post-pyramid pre-modern Egyptians, medieval Romans living by the grand stone or concrete structures built in Empire days, etc.) is that they go through a loooong phase where they do not think "Hey, we should preserve these magnificent monuments built by the Ancient Ones"; instead, they scavenge the monuments and structures for material to build their current homes or structures. It's not difficult at all for me to imagine the behavior of people advanced enough to work with metal but not yet advanced enough to understand radioactivity, who find what appears to them to be a vault of pre-refined metals, much easier to work with than raw ores. (Indeed, "advanced enough to work with metal but not yet advanced enough to understand radioactivity" describes all but a hundred or so of the last several thousand years of human history and pre-history.)
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Ellie » 09 Jun 2017, 14:56

Soooooooooooo sick of variations on this meme.

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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Jennifer » 09 Jun 2017, 17:00

I get similarly annoyed after the n-thousandth appearance of such memes, but on the other hand I suspect I'm directing my annoyance in the wrong direction: such memes wouldn't be a thing if not for the many, many people who to this day swear that climate change is totally fake and a liberal/hippie plot, so let's all roll coal in the name of freedom and stigginit to the shitlibs. (It got below freezing a couple times last winter! How can you say the world is getting warmer when there was ice in Atlanta, huh?)
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by lunchstealer » 09 Jun 2017, 19:32

It's better than smug gene wilder and kermit with tea.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Sandy » 09 Jun 2017, 19:42

If climate change isn't real, reducing CO2 doesn't actually make the world better. Reducing all the other nasty stuff we emit would.

But it is so this just proves that your stance on climate change is more likely to be based on your side of the culture war than any sober assessment of evidence.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Jennifer » 09 Jun 2017, 20:01

Sandy wrote:If climate change isn't real, reducing CO2 doesn't actually make the world better. Reducing all the other nasty stuff we emit would.

But it is so this just proves that your stance on climate change is more likely to be based on your side of the culture war than any sober assessment of evidence.
The meme Ellie posted -- and the other variants of it I've seen -- don't say anything about "reducing CO2," though; they "only" mention "improved quality of life" (or, in some variants I've seen, "reducing use of fossil fuels.") And, yeah -- even if it somehow turned out that the deniers are right, global warning is totally fake, and increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere do not, in fact, increase the greenhouse effect, there's still a lot of other nastiness associated with fossil-fuel burning -- the hyper-shitty air quality of places like Beijing being exhibit A.

I haven't seen any "gotcha" memes saying "What if climate change is fake and we're trying to reduce CO2 output for no reason?", though that could be because none of my Facebook friends have posted any. Whether this means their stance on climate change is or is not based on their side of the culture war rather than any sober assessment of evidence is presumably up for debate, though.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Sandy » 09 Jun 2017, 20:48

Except the main goal of climate change prevention is reducing CO2, so the thing you're controlling for matters. That's why the meme is wrong.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Jennifer » 09 Jun 2017, 21:11

Sandy wrote:Except the main goal of climate change prevention is reducing CO2, so the thing you're controlling for matters. That's why the meme is wrong.
Mmm. I can't help but wonder if you might not be letting your own culture-war preferences shade your view of things a bit, here.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Sandy » 09 Jun 2017, 21:16

Jennifer wrote:
Sandy wrote:Except the main goal of climate change prevention is reducing CO2, so the thing you're controlling for matters. That's why the meme is wrong.
Mmm. I can't help but wonder if you might not be letting your own culture-war preferences shade your view of things a bit, here.
How? The science on this is very settled.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Jennifer » 09 Jun 2017, 21:56

Sandy wrote:
Jennifer wrote:
Sandy wrote:Except the main goal of climate change prevention is reducing CO2, so the thing you're controlling for matters. That's why the meme is wrong.
Mmm. I can't help but wonder if you might not be letting your own culture-war preferences shade your view of things a bit, here.
How? The science on this is very settled.
The science on what greenhouse gases do to the greenhouse effect is indeed pretty settled, but I'm still trying to figure out how you read a meme saying "What if climate change isn't real and we're improving quality of life for no reason" and decide the meme-writer or -sharer is only concerned with CO2 output, and furthermore is not necessarily concerned about the matter for its own sake but only as a "culture war" thing. Where is that coming from? After all: even if climate change isn't real, the actions which reduce CO2 output would also reduce smog and other toxic-to-people air pollution, would reduce fracking and all the unpleasant effects that's been having on people who live in the fracking zones, would reduce/eliminate the unpleasant things coal-mining does to Appalachia (stripping down the mountains, contaminating the ground and rivers with coal ash and other unpleasant side-effects of mining) ... in other words, quality of life would improve in many ways. So ... what point were you trying to make when you said "If climate change isn't real, reducing CO2 doesn't actually make the world better. Reducing all the other nasty stuff we emit would. But it is so this just proves that your stance on climate change is more likely to be based on your side of the culture war than any sober assessment of evidence."

For that matter -- given how almost every aspect of modern science these days has somebody insisting it's actually controversial, and assigning it culture-war connotations -- even evolution and the age of the earth is KULTUR WAR! thanks to the young-earth creationists -- how do you discern between "Someone whose opinion on Matter X is based on evidence" versus "merely culture-war matters?"
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Sandy » 09 Jun 2017, 22:15

Not all carbon reduction efforts affect things that affect us. Cow farts are a big deal if you primarily care about GHGs. If those aren't a problem, they are a relatively small problem. Likewise, nuclear power is a great answer if the primary problem is GHGs. But if it's not, then the trade off of nuclear waste versus dealing with the limitations of solar and wind looks very different. Some things are the same, like getting rid of coal, bit fracking would likely increase since the products of gas combustion are really benign compared to coal or even nuclear. But it reintroduces ancient carbon to the atmosphere, so currently it's still better than coal but not nearly as good as nuclear or renewables.

My point is, if you come at this issue from a science standpoint, these tradepffs are obvious. If you come at it from "my side believes in climate change and they don't" then the science doesn't matter as much as "environment good, GOP bad." So you think if CO2 is bad for climate change, it must be bad, period. But if it weren't for climate change, it would be pretty benign. So focusing on climate change would leave the world worse off than if you focused on traditional pollutants.

It's that shallow thinking that leads to the meme, and it's well understood that most of these things come about from tribal identification, not blank slate reasoning.

It may help me that I came to it from the skeptic position, which is why I've been long annoyed that nuclear wasn't a bigger priority. If the goal is reducing carbon, you have to do things differently than just reducing smog and water pollution.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by lunchstealer » 10 Jun 2017, 04:13

Sandy wrote:would likely increase since the products of gas combustion are really benign compared to coal or even nuclear.
A few weeks back, two guys burned to death and another barely survived after an unsealed pipe from an abandoned gas well caused their house to literally explode. That might actually be more non-worker deaths from gas than from the entire history of nuclear power generation in the US (Ukraine and Japan, perhaps, not so much).

Super minor nitpick that's kind of tangential to your point. Also, holy fuck those guys' house exploded.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Sandy » 10 Jun 2017, 04:26

An "accidental" house explosion here turned out to be a guy who'd lost his house ensuring the bank could never have it. He's already shot himself inside.

So, uh, don't do that kids. That can't have been good for carbon reduction.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by lunchstealer » 10 Jun 2017, 05:43

This one is legit no shit gas well blew up some innocent people's home with them in it. Bad scene. Hickenlooper is an ex petroleum guy, and was making a big show of how it was a super freak accident (not the funky kind) and nothing to worry about. Which is basically true, but seriously oil guys, maybe cut it out with the day drinking?
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Painboy » 10 Jun 2017, 11:52

Ellie wrote:Soooooooooooo sick of variations on this meme.

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Fantastic. Then you won't mind paying for all of it then.

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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Mo » 10 Jun 2017, 22:52

I think direct methane microbial fuels cells will solve a lot of problems while wind/solar gets better (which includes storage during energy peaks).
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Highway » 10 Jun 2017, 23:08

I think the biggest key is that electricity storage making a big capacity move forward. I'd like it if fuel cells made a move, but I'm just not seeing anything about them. Hydrogen is one of those things that some are really pushing, and it's just not going to be a thing.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Aresen » 11 Jun 2017, 00:12

Once we catch the unicorn, all our problems will be solved.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Sandy » 11 Jun 2017, 01:46

Mo wrote:I think direct methane microbial fuels cells will solve a lot of problems while wind/solar gets better (which includes storage during energy peaks).
This is my hope, as they create a closed cycle and might even be a possible carbon sink. I suspect the engineering is really hard, though, given how slow progress has been. You haven't even had any political publicity stunts like Audi's process from last year that sure enough has not led to a German great leap ahead in clean fuels.
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Re: 400 ppm

Post by Warren » 13 Jun 2017, 12:30

Atomic Humanism as Radical Innovation: Michael Shellenberger's Keynote to American Nuclear Society, 2017

Given by an industry spokesman, with resulting myopic POV. But it's a good timeline of the anti-nuke movement over the decades. I don't share his optimism over the current political climate (npi), but he's not wrong when he says
Only nuclear can lift all humans out of poverty while saving the natural environment. Nothing else — not coal, not solar, not geo-engineering — can do that.
I'm just not sure there's a limit to how much evidence of wrongness a popular belief can persist in the face of.
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