The autumnal equinox is at 8:22 GMT or 4:22 am EDT on Wednesday. The two satellite images below from the European Meteosat show the sun angle on Earth from June 22 near the summer solstice and then today at the same time. Notice the sun angle has changed dramatically, and the High Arctic is no longer seeing 24 hour daylight.
In the 1850s a Hungarian doctor and professor of obstetrics named Ignaz Semmelweis [pictured at left] ordered his interns at the Viennese Lying-in Hospital to wash their hands after performing autopsies and before examining new mothers. The death rate plummeted from 22 out of 200 to 2 out of 200, prompting the following reception from one of Europe’s most respected medical practitioners:
“It may be that it [Semmelweis’ procedure] does contain a few good principles, but its scrupulous application has presented such difficulties that it would be necessary, in Paris for instance, to place in quarantine the personnel of a hospital during the great part of a year, and that, moreover, to obtain results that remain entirely problematical.”
– Dr. Charles Dubois (Parisian obstetrician), memo to the French Academy September 23, 1858
Semmelweiss’ superiors shared Dubois’ opinion; when the Hungarian physician insisted on defending his theories, they forced him to resign his post on the faculty.
Gotta wonder what Dr. Dubois would make of the suits and sanitation procedures required today for health professionals who treat Ebola victims.
Milky Way over Bosque Alegre Station in Argentina Image Credit & Copyright: Sebastián D’ Alessandro. To see the picture in its unadorned glory without the explanatory overlay, click on the image to get to NASA’s APOD site.
Stars in the Southern Hemisphere differ a lot from what we see in the North, most famously with the Southern Cross (Crux, in the image above).
Glorious anyway; more glory to go around.
If you click over to the APOD site, you can also see this photo without the overlay, which is another whole world of wonderfulness.
Photo of New York Times article in 1962. Chemical companies spent $500,000 to slam Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, and Carson herself. A special panel of the nation’s top entomologists and biologists reported to President Kennedy in 1963 that Carson’s book was accurate, but that the problems she cited were more urgent than she said. Critics never give up. Image from Pop History Dig.
Bailey’s book comes with a title determined to push lack of action: The End of Doom.
Such reviews bring small-but-building catastrophes much closer, alas.
Reviewer Nick Zaiac said:
The book is a great primer for someone new to environmental policy who would like to begin with a more sober look at the topic, rather than an over-dramatized introductory book like Rachel Carson’s famed Silent Spring — a book that Bailey takes pains to rebut.
What? Rachel Carson was right, in Silent Spring. Why would anyone “take pains” to refute good science?
I smell policy hoaxing here, another guy trying to sell us junk science.
I’ve not read the book. Frankly, I don’t really know much about Scott Bailey, either, other than he writes at Reason, a site for libertarians and skeptics that has, in the past decade, taken a puzzling turn against science and reason.
Rachel Carson offered 53 pages of careful citations to science studies backing every point she made, in Silent Spring. since 1962, not a single peer-reviewed study has challenged any of that research she documented. Quite to the contrary, more than 1,000 peer-reviewed papers have been published on the topic of DDT’s effects on birds alone — every one confirming what Carson cited, or providing evidence of new and greater dangers.
Carson was careful to note that hard studies of DDT’s carcinogenicity had not been done. But now they have been done, and it turns out DDT is carcinogenic to humans, though perhaps only mildly so to those exposed directly. Since DDT is an estrogen mimic, an endocrine disruptor, its greatest cancer effects may be in the children of those exposed.
In any case, DDT was not banned as a carcinogen to humans. It was banned as a poison that bioaccumulates and so is uncontrollable in the wild, a poison that can take down entire ecosystems of non-target species.
So, what is Bailey “refuting?” I’ll wager his research is victimized by hoax claims that Rachel Carson got it wrong, when study after study has shown she went easy on DDT.
We got bailed out of “environmental apocalypse” in the 1970s by wise policies that paid attention to what people like Rachel Carson and Paul Ehrlich said. We passed laws stopping pollution of air and water from many sources, by many different pollutants — but not all. And we got lucky. Norman Borlaug’s green revolution staved off catastrophic starvation crises.
Norman Borlaug is dead, and there is nothing like a new green revolution in the works. Bailey joins forces with anti-science crusaders to block further action to clean up pollution, especially air pollution.
Were we wise, we’d not be gambling with our future and our grandchildren’s future, with claims to have “refuted” past wisdom on environmental issues.
Svein T veitdal is one of those rare scientists who can explain why science observations are important in effects on people in just living their lives. A good man to listen to (you can follow his Twitter account: @tveitdal).
Critics of the science of climate change and the work to slow or halt warming don’t like charts like that. Sea level is something measured by humans, worldwide, for a long time. That’s real data.
And it’s scary.
T veitdal’s Tweet was just a small part of a very large graphic from NASA, explaining the observations that tell us sea levels rise, how the observations are made, and what it means to you and me.
NASA infographic on sea level rise: We know seas are rising and we know why. The urgent questions are by how much and how quickly. Available to download, this infographic covers the science behind sea level rise, who’s affected, how much melting ice is contributing, and what NASA is doing to help.
Yeah. “Your planet is changing. We’re on it.”
As Ban-ki Moon said the other day, there is no Planet B. We have only one Earth.
General science teachers, geology teachers, physics and chemistry teachers, history, geography and human geography teachers should see if someone at your school has a plotter and can print this thing out for you, poster size.
Spread the word; friends don't allow friends to repeat history.
As a journalist, this guy has a piece of a world-wide scoop.
India is probably the last nation on Earth producing DDT. In the last decade other two nations making the stuff got out of the business — North Korea and China. For several years now India has been the largest manufacturer of DDT, and far and away the greatest user, spraying more DDT against malaria-carrying mosquitoes, sand flies, and agricultural and household pests than the rest of the world combined.
As if an omen, India’s malaria rates did not drop, but instead rose, even as malaria rates dropped or plunged in almost every other nation on Earth.
Under the 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) signed by more than 150 nations (not including the U.S.), DDT was one of a dozen chemicals targeted to be phased out due to its extremely dangerous qualities, including long-term persistence in the environment and bioaccummulation, by which doses of the stuff increase up the food chain, delivering crippling and fatal doses to top predators.
A perfect substitute for DDT in fighting some disease-carrying insects (“vectors”) has never been developed. Health officials asked, and the Stockholm negotiators agreed to leave DDT legally available to fight disease. Annex B asked nations to tell the World Health Organization if it wanted to use DDT. Since 2001, as DDT effectiveness was increasingly compromised by resistance evolved in insects, fewer and fewer nations found it useful.
The site Mr. Nazakat linked to is up and down, and my security program occasionally says the site is untrustworthy. It’s obscure at best. Shouldn’t news of this type be in some of India’s biggest newspapers?
I found an article in theDeccan Herald, confirming the report, but again with some
India-United Nations pact to end DDT use by 2020
India-United Nations pact to end DDT use by 2020
New Delhi, August 26, 2015, DHNS:
It would be better to switch to another insecticide, says expert
India has launched a $53 million project to phase out DDT by 2020 and replace them with Neem-based bio-pesticides that are equally effective.
India is the lone user of DDT, though only in the malaria control programme, while rest of the world got rid of the chemical that has a lasting adverse impact on the environment.
India on Tuesday entered into a $53 million (Rs 350 crore) partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), United Nations Environment Programme and the Global Environment Facility to replace DDT with safer, more effective and green alternatives.
“As per the plan, the National Botanical Research Organisation, Lucknow, tied up with a company to produce Neem-based alternatives for the malaria programme. The production will start in six months,” Shakti Dhua, the regional coordinator of UNIDO told Deccan Herald.
Till last year, the annual DDT requirement was about 6,000 tonnes that has now been cut down to 4,000 tonnes as the government decided to stop using it in the Kala-Azar control programme.
A recent study by an Indo-British team of medical researchers found that using DDT without any surveillance is counter-productive as a vector control strategy as sand flies not only thrive but are also becoming resistant to DDT.
“It would be better to switch to another insecticide, which is more likely to give better results than DDT,” said Janet Hemingway, a scientist at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. While the Health Ministry wanted to bring in synthetic pyrethroids, the United Nation agencies supports the bio-pesticides because of their efficacy and long-lasting effects.
“The new initiative would help check the spread of malaria and other vector-borne diseases. These include botanical pesticides, including Neem-based compounds, and long-lasting insecticidal safety nets that will prevent mosquito bites while sleeping,” Dhua said.
Ending the production and use of DDT is a priority for India as it is a signatory to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) of 2002 that seeks to eliminate the use of these chemicals in industrial processes, drugs and pesticides. DDT is one of the POPs.
The clock is counting down the last years of DDT. Good.
If events unroll as planned, DDT making will end by 2020, 81 years after it was discovered to kill bugs, 70 years after it was released for civilian years, 70 years after problems with its use was first reported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 58 years after the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, 50 years after European nations banned some uses, 48 years after the famous U.S. ban on agricultural use, 19 years after the POPs Treaty.
Alas, the U.S. has led a large contingent off-road.
From the Cut the Fluff blog:
A quick flick back in recent time to take a look at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in one mapped infographic via The Climate Group.
If you stop the average climate change action opponent on the street (as many as 25 out of every 100 people, or every other person in Texas in my unscientific sample) they will be able to tell you they think scientists are all liars making big money off of scamming citizens and businesses, and that there is big money to be made in faking research. But they cannot seriously describe evidence to back their claims, nor can they describe the history of international work to stop human-caused warming.
As you might imagine, they cannot discuss the pending meetings in Paris, either. Heck, most scientists and well-informed people can’t explain the meetings, either.
I hope this helps.
“COP” and “UNFCC” are UN acronyms for Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The international political response to climate change began at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, where the ‘Rio Convention’ included the adoption of the UNFCCC. This convention set out a framework for action aimed at stabilising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The UNFCCC which entered into force on 21 March 1994, now has a near-universal membership of 195 parties.
The main objective of the annual Conference of Parties (COP) is to review the Convention’s implementation. The first COP took place in Berlin in 1995 and significant meetings since then have included COP3 where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, COP11 where the Montreal Action Plan was produced, COP15 in Copenhagen where an agreement to success Kyoto Protocol was unfortunately not realised and COP17 in Durban where the Green Climate Fund was created.
In 2015 COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.
France will play a leading international role in hosting this seminal conference, and COP21 will be one of the largest international conferences ever held in the country. The conference is expected to attract close to 50,000 participants including 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society.
We've been soaking in the Bathtub for several months, long enough that some of the links we've used have gone to the Great Internet in the Sky.
If you find a dead link, please leave a comment to that post, and tell us what link has expired.