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Default Enviro-nuts gone REALLY crazy

April 9th, 2009, 13:35
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090409/…cience_adviser

How many ways can this bit of brilliance go wrong? And this bozo is an advisor to Barack. God/Allah/Galactic Spaghetti Monster of Doom help us all.

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April 9th, 2009, 15:11
I see nothing wrong in discussing these semi-crazy ideas about geoengineering, and this is all Holdren is currently advocating: not to dismiss them out of hand and to seriously research them. At least this way, people will study the adverse side-effects of such plans and they will not be carried out carelessly. Also, it might well turn out that these measures will not be effective enough, and we need to know if this is the case, right? In particular people in administration need to know and not have false hopes.

Besides, humans are already doing extensive geoengineering of their own right now, by releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gases in an unprecedented short amount of time. While earth's climate is relatively stable on time-scales of hundreds of thousands of years due to natural regulatory mechanisms, primarily the extended carbon cycle, this is obviously not the time-scale our society is working on.

If giant towers sucking CO2 out of the air are feasible — first time I had heard about that one — go ahead, please
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April 9th, 2009, 15:18
It is a common theory discussed by scientist and a known fact partciles in the air can reduce the effect of global warming, and even of the greenhouse effect. Proffesours in this area has discussed these solutions for a long time. Nothing nutty about it, on the contrary it might save us all.
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April 9th, 2009, 15:45
So then, dust in the air will kill us all (nuclear winter, dinosaur extinction) but dust in the air will save us all? Sounds great to me. Which enviro-alarmist are y'all choosing to ignore here? It's not like we have any clue whatsoever how much dust is "too much" and no real way of finding out without actually doing it, so please don't try to shovel that cop-out on me.

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April 9th, 2009, 15:52
First of all their are particles which does not stay on ground level, second of all none is denying it would be dangerous, and could cause many cases of disease, but if the alternative is mass drought and billions dying, it is definetely something to consider.
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April 9th, 2009, 15:59
Did you miss this part, dte?
The conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute has its own geoengineering project, saying it could be "feasible and cost-effective." And Cato Institute scholar Jerry Taylor said Wednesday: "Very few people would rule out geoengineering on its face."
Those are some pretty conservative voices.

AFA as projects like these going through, they can't even get cap and trade passed. The article also says about ten times that geoengineering is a last resort, and something they "can't take off the table", which is pretty much what they say about nuclear attacks on Iran. IOW, it's all in Science Fantasyland as of right now, so this time I'll be the one to reassure you that your paranoia is kicking in.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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April 9th, 2009, 16:04
This part scared the hell out of me:

The first approach would "try to produce a cooling effect to offset the heating effect of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases," Holdren said.

But he said there could be grave side effects. Studies suggest that might include eating away a large chunk of the ozone layer above the poles and causing the Mediterranean and the Mideast to be much drier.

And those are just the predicted problems. Scientists say they worry about side effects that they don't anticipate.
It's not like we have another planet we can screw with to study the effects. If they can really make towers that suck up CO2 then cool, but I'm not really willing to bet the deed to my house (which is what we'd be doing) on a game of roulette. Additionally, how much would this even cost?
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April 9th, 2009, 16:36
Obama's already swimming in "pie in the sky" and now he's got some PHD whispering sci-fi hooey into his ear? I'd be a fool not to be worried. The fact that a conservative thinktank is talking about it isn't really that heartening. After all, aren't you the one pointing out all the time that I've got a lot of idiot nutjobs on my side of the aisle?

In my industry, we call this sort of thing "destructive testing". It's a really bad plan when you've only got a single piece part.

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April 9th, 2009, 16:51
Obama has a whole lot of people whispering hooey in his ear. I'm more worried about his financial gurus, myself, but I won't say there's absolutely no cause for worry, particularly in the quote that Rithrandril referenced. I do think, like every article I've seen from yahoo lately, that the authors picked the most controversial and theoretical part of the guy's talk to emphasize, and that it really looks like it's being a bit alarmist to imply it's anywhere close to happening, that's all.

I won't dispute the nutjobs on the right point, but I don't think they're all idiots—okay, some of them are—, but there are plenty of smart people who aren't liberals; the fact that their politics differ from mine doesn't make them less smart. I have no idea about the relative intelligence of the people at those right wing think tanks, but if they can agree with the basic concept, I'd have to say it seems to indicate some consensus in the scientific community.

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April 9th, 2009, 17:00
Maybe it's me, but I get a little uncomfortable whenever anyone starts comparing a problem to being "in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog" (and Holdren did it twice). If they have initials by their name, then it's even worse. Hopefully, Holdren isn't the smartest one in the room whenever he starts talking about this stuff.

On the other hand, government was slow to take the Ghostbusters seriously, and look at what a huge disaster that almost turned out to be!

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April 9th, 2009, 17:26
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
I won't dispute the nutjobs on the right point, but I don't think they're all idiots—okay, some of them are—, but there are plenty of smart people who aren't liberals; the fact that their politics differ from mine doesn't make them less smart. I have no idea about the relative intelligence of the people at those right wing think tanks, but if they can agree with the basic concept, I'd have to say it seems to indicate some consensus in the scientific community.
You don't have to be gentle—I'll be the first to admit some of the folks on my side are raving lunatics and/or drooling fools. You've just got a much higher percentage.

Really, I figure the right would view this hooey as an end-around on the enviro-nuts. They get to build some collosus, meaning a bunch of corporate contractors get filthy rich, while completely de-clawing the enviro attack on industrial pollution. I guess I don't believe it's genuine support.

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April 9th, 2009, 17:40
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
..
Really, I figure the right would view this hooey as an end-around on the enviro-nuts. They get to build some collosus, meaning a bunch of corporate contractors get filthy rich, while completely de-clawing the enviro attack on industrial pollution. I guess I don't believe it's genuine support.
Do you ever think we may be getting a bit, well, cynical??? I say this because I am chagrined I didn't think of that point first, automatically.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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April 9th, 2009, 18:50
Just a teeny bit, maybe. Shall we call it "healthy skepticism"?

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April 9th, 2009, 19:01
Glad to see you got many such brilliant scientists to advise your president because it's certainly not our own current conservative governement that does much about it or plan to do much about it beside storing greenhouse gaz from Alberta underground .
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April 14th, 2009, 01:45
Why not just blow up a half dozen lava capstones on volcanoes known for spewing ash, then stand back and let them do their mini-nuclear winter work. Like back in the 6th century when there was no summer for a couple of years. Yeah that cooled things off just fine. Or do Simpson engineered eclipse, giant sun shade kind of thing.
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April 14th, 2009, 17:05
To put scientific advisors into context, the founder & director of the Presidents Council on Bioethics and a major advisor to Bush on critical issues including stem cell research had some pretty crazy views of his own

Kass has a problem not just with longevity and health but with the modern conception of freedom. There is a "mortal danger," he writes, in the notion "that a person has a right over his body, a right that allows him to do whatever he wants to do with it." He is troubled by cosmetic surgery, by gender reassignment, and by women who postpone motherhood or choose to remain single in their twenties. Sometimes his fixation on dignity takes him right off the deep end:

Worst of all from this point of view are those more uncivilized forms of eating, like licking an ice cream cone—a catlike activity that has been made acceptable in informal America but that still offends those who know eating in public is offensive. … Eating on the street—even when undertaken, say, because one is between appointments and has no other time to eat—displays [a] lack of self-control: It beckons enslavement to the belly. … Lacking utensils for cutting and lifting to mouth, he will often be seen using his teeth for tearing off chewable portions, just like any animal. … This doglike feeding, if one must engage in it, ought to be kept from public view, where, even if we feel no shame, others are compelled to witness our shameful behavior.

And, in 2001, this man, whose pro-death, anti-freedom views put him well outside the American mainstream, became the President's adviser on bioethics—a position from which he convinced the president to outlaw federally funded research that used new stem-cell lines. In his speech announcing the stem-cell policy, Bush invited Kass to form the Council. Kass packed it with conservative scholars and pundits, advocates of religious (particularly Catholic) principles in the public sphere, and writers with a paper trail of skittishness toward biomedical advances, together with a smattering of scientists (mostly with a reputation for being religious or politically conservative). After several members opposed Kass on embryonic stem-cell research, on therapeutic cloning (which Kass was in favor of criminalizing), and on the distortions of science that kept finding their way into Council reports, Kass fired two of them (biologist Elizabeth Blackburn and philosopher William May) and replaced them with Christian-affiliated scholars.
All this guy is saying is that all options on the table should be considered and IMO they should. IIRC there have already been tests of one proposed method of this kind involving putting some iron ore (I think) into various sea areas where it's the major building block lacking to seed more plankton & hence carbon absorption (with plankton being the unsung heroes of carbon absorption putting the far more photogenic & frequently credited rainforest to shame).
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April 14th, 2009, 18:31
After a quick read of the article, I think I fell into the cynical bunch in this matter.

It's not unsual researchers come up with crazy ideas while trying to excite investors to donate more funding for the researchers' projects. In that spirit lobbyists and advisors, which could be thought as sort of representives of their own background fields, aren't that different towards governments.

The chaos theory and butterfly effect already explain why controlling the weather is a real complex mess to achieve. I wouldn't like to accuse the author of making a charade, but I'll believe him after he has proven his theories are facts.
Originally Posted by Holdren@Yahoo
"It would be preferable by far," he said, "to solve this problem by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases."
This sounds like his practical #1 goal. He got everyone's attention with a flashy idea and now has a chance in the spotlight to share his views. An old trick in the dusty book of media game.

It's for the environment of us all sure, which is nice, but the author could use less charades.
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