Sunday, December 19, 2010

Average low temperatures; a global warming hypothesis

If we were to remove the Earth's atmosphere entirely, presumably its surface temperatures would resemble that of its Moon's: Daytime high of 123C(about 253 F) and lows of -233 C (-387 F). The Earth's atmosphere reflects much of that heat energy, so our average daytime temperature rarely exceeds 40 C and that same atmosphere retains the heat that does get through, so the lowest temperatures rarely exceed -40 C.  In fact the average daytime temperature across the surface of the Earth is about 9C (and rising). My hypothesis is that as carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, heat will be retained incrementally, while daytime peaks will be somewhat mitigated as the CO2(and other greenhouse gasses) reflect some heat during the day but retain more heat overall, causing among other effects, warmer overall low temperatures.

Currently, Western Europe is suffering from a relatively cold, snowy winter. Many comments suggest that this is because the earth is getting colder. But Europeans, especially brits(I was born in Reading) live in latitudes farther north than much of Canada(Montreal sits roughly at 45 degrees N while London, UK sits at 51 N). The weather there is still currently milder than here in eastern Canada. Meanwhile, our current weather is milder than normal.

Britain, and much of western Europe have benefited from the Atlantic Conveyor, a stream of warm water flowing from the warm south Atlantic up to Europe's west coast. Most models of global warming have predicted this warm water will cease to flow due to the effects of global warming. Europe will get similar mild(for Canadians) winters as northern North America. Eventually, temperatures will all catch up, but for some, the effects will seem more ambiguous.

Since I don't have the raw data, I can only offer anecdote, but it seems to me Montreal's weather has become milder. Evening low temperatures are warmer across seasons, but the high temperatures haven't spiked as high. Winters offer warmer days but Summer days are less likely to be blisteringly hot. This is what inspired my hypothesis. Now perhaps some one can analyse the data and see if this is true.


Ref: Gell, Alfred "The Distributed Person" in Art and Agency. Oxford. Clarendon 1998
Externalist Theory of agency places agency in the viewer rather than what is viewed. In an idol "we can at least depict the possibility of a mind we cannot depict"(p. 132). Gell's argument is that we attribute agency- both when we look at a living person and perform idolatry with a relic. Both require a body which contains a soul. However, this system of Containment and concentricity is entirely dependent on the audience for agency, even when the audience looks into its self.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Betting On Climate Change

The evidence for the increase in global temperature and the indications that it is manmade are about as scientifically certain as to whether or not the sun will rise tomorrow. This will change our planet. It will not end life here, but it will become more difficult for many people. The worst effects will happen beyond my lifetime, and some may well be catastrophic to people and unforeseen. Using less polluting foms of energy and production seems sensible(why would you pay to make pollution? For that is what inefficient industries do when they pollute). Still we will not be able to duck the effects of what we have set in motion. However, we can look at how we can cope with these changes. Sadly, many people, especially in Africa, the Indian sub-continent and much of Central asia will suffer both from flooding due to sea level rise, and drought due diminished rain fall and diminished glacial run off as the glaciers in the Himalayas shrink.

Cities on the Mississippi River
-map shows 2m sea level rise.
However, the great rivers are unlikely to fail, as the Nile continues despite the encroachment of desert on its banks. So look to cities like Minneapolis, Memphis and baton Rouge to become more attractive as they are more likely to retain a reasonable supply of fresh water. Las Vegas on the other hand is not really sustainable, unless it can develop an alternative to siphoning water from the great plains. Those plains, in turn are using a non-renewable water supply. Essentially, they are drinking deeply from a great underground lake left over from the melting of the glaciers thousands of years ago. Those aquifers are rapidly being depleted.

The St.Lawrence river, flowing from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic ocean can sustain the cities on it, as long as they do not grow substantially bigger, although its water level has declined, partially because most of the water taken by Toronto, Montreal and Quebec is used, treated and returned to the river.

Qu├ębec city and environs with 2m sea
rise. The current port would be under water
Some otherwise attractive cities—New Orleans and Quebec city, for example, will suffer from rising sea levels, although much of Quebec city is so elevated that if water washes over the citadel, then most of north America will be underwater. This is hardly so likely but the suburbs around it, like parts of Levis and of Beauport, as with most of  New Orleans, are likely to be submerged.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Wikileaks has doomed Canada to terrorist strikes!!!!


Below is the list that was hysterically reported by the Toronto Sun(ohmygod the terrorists know the secret location of Toronto now). I like the way "Hydro Quebec" is listed. Do they mean the thousands of km of power grid, the huge dams located in isolated northern areas, or the cable leading to my wall socket.

These are secrets only to ordinary citizens who can't be bothered to google this information. indeed, almost all of the wikileaks cables would only be secret to citizens of the US. I am sure the taliban and ordinary Afghans know where coaltion forces have blown up both militant and innocent civilians. I presume that terrorists can think of many of these targets on their own.

The one thing the overreaction of the US and other governments reveals, is how thin skinned and/or paranoid they have become. Worse yet, given the nature of these so called secrets, it reveals that governments in the west, especially that of the United States are as afraid of their own citizens as they are of the terrorists that potentially threaten them.

S E C R E T STATE 015113  


E.O. 12958: DECL: 1/29/2019 

1. (U//FOUO) This is an action request; see Para. 13. 

Canada: Hibernia Atlantic undersea cable landing Halifax , Nova Scotia,
 Canada James Bay Power Project, Quebec: monumental hydroelectric power development
 Mica Dam, British Columbia: Failure would impact the Columbia River Basin. 
Hydro Quebec, Quebec: Critical irreplaceable source of power to portions of Northeast U. S. 
Robert Moses/Robert H. Saunders Power, Ontario: Part of the St. Lawrence Power Project, between Barnhart Island, New York, and Cornwall, Ontario
 Seven Mile Dam, British Columbia: Concrete gravity dam between two other hydropower dams along the Pend d'Oreille River
 Pickering Nuclear Power Plant, Ontario,
 Canada Chalk River Nuclear Facility, Ontario: Largest supplier of medical radioisotopes in the world
 Hydrofluoric Acid Production Facility, Allied Signal, Amherstburg, Ontario 
Enbridge Pipeline Alliance Pipeline: Natural gas transmission from Canada Maritime and Northeast Pipeline: Natural gas transmission from Canada 
Transcanada Gas: Natural gas transmission from Canada Alexandria Bay POE, Ontario: Northern border crossing Ambassador Bridge POE, Ontario: Northern border crossing Blaine POE, British Columbia: Northern border crossing Blaine Washington Rail Crossing, British Columbia Blue Water Bridge POE, Ontario: Northern border crossing Champlain POE, Quebec: Northern border crossing CPR Tunnel Rail Crossing, Ontario (Michigan Central Rail Crossing) International Bridge Rail Crossing, Ontario International Railway Bridge Rail Crossing Lewiston-Queenstown POE, Ontario: Northern border crossing Peace Bridge POE, Ontario: Northern border crossing Pembina POE, Manitoba: Northern border crossing North Portal Rail Crossing, Saskatchewan St. Claire Tunnel Rail Crossing, Ontario Waneta Dam, British Columbia: Earthfill/concrete hydropower dam Darlington Nuclear Power Plant, Ontario, Canada. E-ONE Moli Energy, Maple Ridge, Canada: Critical to production of various military application 
electronics General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada, London Ontario, Canada: Critical to the production of the Stryker/USMC LAV Vehicle Integration Raytheon Systems Canada Ltd. 
ELCAN Optical Technologies Division, Midland, Ontario, Canada: Critical to the production of the AGM-130 Missile Thales Optronique Canada, Inc., 
Montreal, Quebec: Critical optical systems for ground combat vehicles 
Germanium Mine Graphite Mine Iron Ore Mine Nickel Mine Niobec Mine, Quebec, Canada:  
Niobium Cangene, Winnipeg, Manitoba: 
Plasma Sanofi Pasteur Ltd., Toronto, Canada: 
Polio virus vaccine GlaxoSmithKile Biologicals, North America, 
Quebec, Canada: Pre-pandemic influenza vaccines

And there goes 2010

Well, 2010 was a pretty good year with a general upswing. Anton learned both to ride a bike and swim unassisted, and his first grade report card says he is doing well both in English and French, speaking precociously in both and learning to read both. His math skills are also coming right along.

Educationally speaking, I am coming along to, with my thesis in first draft state. Briefly it deals with how performance artist Wafaa Bilal created a space of conversation, specifically about the war in Iraq, by creating a performance that featured people chatting with him and or shooting at him with a remote controlled paintball gun via the internet. It raises issues of how we interact of the internet, and how boundary objects facilitate communication. It questions if and how conversations sparked by performance art practices can really be places of resistance, and suggests how digital games may do the same.

I am recovering from the absence of my wife, and feeling positive about my diminuated family. Overall, I am proud of having come this far in the face of such vicious betrayal and the emotional shock it dealt me.

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster