Full moon, sailing tide for Democrats in Corpus Christi

June 29, 2010

Moon over Corpus Christi Bay, June 25, 2010 - photo by Ed Darrell

Moon over Corpus Christi Bay, June 25, 2010 - photo by Ed Darrell; use permitted with attribution

This is the scene that greeted delegates to the Texas Democratic Convention as they left the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, at about 8:00 p.m. last Friday, June 25.  (Natural light photo, handheld, 1/60th exposure at ISO 400)

The Moon was near full, and the tide was good for sailing.

Delegates had just heard Bill White accept the party’s nomination for governor.

In my brief period as a Sea Scout, I most enjoyed evening and night sailing.  Water is astoundingly quiet at dusk and later, when sailing.  In Corpus Christi I got a half-dozen shots and lamented I didn’t have a tripod, to get a better shot of the Moon.

Actually, the tide was on the way out at 8:00 p.m. — it had peaked about about 1:10.  But it was still good for sailing.

I thought of Shakespeare:

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

(Julius Caesar, Act IV.ii.269–276)


Quote of the moment: Frank Zappa, on hydrogen or stupidity

June 29, 2010

Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.

Cover of The Real Frank Zappa Book

Cover of The Real Frank Zappa Book - Wikimedia image

—  Frank Zappa and Peter Occhiogrosso: The Real Frank Zappa Book , 1989, page 239

Actually, I think the claim is that hydrogen is the most common element in the universe, since it’s so simple.  Its abundance is a result of that simplicity.

Physics in 2010 would probably go for dark matter as even more plentiful than hydrogen, but so little is known about dark matter.  As we learn more about dark matter, we could discover Zappa was a physics theorist before his time.  It’s a short line from Zappa to Zwicky.

______________

I’m relieved to have a credible source for the quote — I had found it attributed to Einstein, another case of Darrell’s Law of Quote Misattribution (“any good quote whose source is unknown will be attributed to Jefferson, Lincoln or Einstein; consequently any quote attributed to those people should be sourced before being taken as accurate”).

A couple more I’d like to put to bed, both attributed to Einstein:

  • “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits” (from a coffee mug I got years ago at the late Shakespeare, Beethoven & Co.).
  • “Coffee makes me smart” (from another coffee mug).
Simulation of the distribution of dark matter haloes - Max Planck Institute

Simulation of the distribution of dark matter haloes - Max Planck Institute

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EPA posts greenhouse gas reporting requirements

June 29, 2010

What’s that racket, that squealing, that ‘stuck’ pig noise?

Orbitals model of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) - Wikimedia image

Space-filling model of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) - Wikimedia image. Sulfur hexafluoride is one of the most powerful greenhouse gases known, with "global warming potential" 22,800 times that of CO2. EPA proposes to measure SF6 emissions as a first step toward reducing emissions. Warming deniers propose to stop the regulations.

EPA published regulations for measuring greenhouse gases as part of its CO2 emission regulatory program — and the noise is the reaction of the anti-warmists.

Here’s EPA’s press release — notice the links to longer explanations, and note especially that the regulations are not final yet, but are instead open for public comment.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2010

EPA Issues Greenhouse Gas Reporting Requirements for Four Emissions Sources

Agency also to consider data confidentiality

WASHINGTON The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing requirements under its national mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting program for underground coal mines, industrial wastewater treatment systems, industrial waste landfills and magnesium production facilities. The data from these sectors will provide a better understanding of GHG emissions and will help EPA and businesses develop effective policies and programs to reduce them.

Methane is the primary GHG emitted from coal mines, industrial wastewater treatment systems and industrial landfills and is more than 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide at warming the atmosphere.  The main fluorinated GHG emitted from magnesium production is sulfur hexafluoride, which has an even greater warming potential than methane, and can stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years.

These source categories will begin collecting emissions data on January 1, 2011, with the first annual reports submitted to EPA on March 31, 2012.

In a separate proposed rule, EPA is requesting public comment on which industry related GHG information would be made publicly available and which would be considered confidential. Under the Clean Air Act, all emission data are public. Some non-emission data, however, may be considered confidential, because it relates to specific information which, if made public, could harm a business’s competitiveness. Examples of data considered confidential under this proposal include certain information reported by fossil fuel and industrial gas suppliers related to production quantities and raw materials. EPA is committed to providing the public with as much information as possible while following the law.

The GHG reporting program requires suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial GHGs and large direct emitters of greenhouse gases to report to EPA.  Collecting this data will allow businesses to track emissions and identify cost effective ways to reduce emissions.  EPA is preparing to provide data to the public after the first annual GHG reports are submitted in March 2011.

There will be a 60-day public comment period on the proposed rules that will begin upon publication in the federal register.

More information on the final rule to add reporting requirements for four source categories:

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/remaining-source-categories.html

More information on the proposal on data confidentiality:

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/CBI.html

R227

These regulations are those complained about and proposed to be stopped by critics of the campaign to stop global warming.  Alaska’s pro-warming Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a resolution to stop these regulations, with the support of junk science lobbyists including the National Center for Policy Research.  Fortunately, on June 10 the Senate voted 47-53 to reject a motion to consider the resolution, S. J. Res. 26, “A joint resolution disapproving a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the endangerment finding and the cause or contribute findings for greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act.”

Both of Texas’s senators were suckered by the junk science.  Sen. John Cornyn and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison both co-sponsored the losing resolution.  Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott filed suit to stop the regulations.  Abbott’s opponent in the 2010 elections, Barbara Ann Radnofsky, probably the only one of these Texans who might understand sulfur hexafluoride’s role as a pollutant, criticized the suit and urged Abbott to spend his time protecting Texas oil fields from oil company sabotage.

Help control emissions from climate “skeptics,” and spread the good word:

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Educating for a creative society

June 29, 2010

Just as a reminder about what we’re doing in education, I hope every teacher and administrator will take three minutes and view this video (that allows you some time to boggle).

Surely you know who Tom Peters is.  (If not, please confess in comments, and I’ll endeavor to guide you to the information you need.)

Technically, Texas’s early elementary art standards are not so bad as Peters describes them.  But, check this document, from the Texas Education Code (§117.1. Implementation of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Fine Arts, Elementary).  Do a search of the Texas standards and count how many times students are expected to stay “within guidelines.”


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