Author Archives: gymnosperm

A Brief History of Muddled Thinking about the Greenhouse Effect

We humans kick up a lot of dust and burn a lot of stuff. A concept developed in the 1970’s was the “human volcano”. There is a lot of truth in this analogy. Back then, despite dead wrong rants, the … Continue reading

Posted in Climate, Greenhouse Effect, Greenhouse Spectra, MODTRAN | 6 Comments

Berkeley Earth Absolute Temperature and the Remarkable Closeness of TMAX Lows and TMIN Highs

Bob Tisdale recently did a series of posts exploring the differences between using absolute temperature and temperature anomaly to understand the recent temperature evolution of our planet. Bob was interested in the extracted TMAX highs and TMIN lows, and showed … Continue reading

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Aerobic and Anaerobic Metabolism: A Symmetry

The symmetry between aerobic carbohydrate respiration and photosynthesis is widely appreciated. In the presence of Oxygen, many living things (including photosynthesizers) burn carbohydrates, producing useful energy and CO2. Photosynthesizing creatures, using the energy of sunlight, manufacture carbohydrates from CO2 for … Continue reading

Posted in Microbial Dark Matter | Leave a comment

Cold Smoke

Santa Rosa is comfortably away from the fires this year. Last year’s baptism cleaned out the tinder around here. Yet the Camp Fire has given us the peculiar combination of dense smoke and hard frost. A lot of the particles … Continue reading

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The Flat Universe Society

While it is clear that the earth is sort of round, rather like a baseball that has absorbed too many home runs, to the best of our understanding, the universe is flat. By flat, we do not mean that you … Continue reading

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Energy and Matter

An interesting upshot of Mr. Einstein’s famous equation is that in units of the speed of light, energy and mass are equal. Mr. Poincare once observed that mathematics is the exercise of making different things the same (equal), and sophistry … Continue reading

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Entropy and Watermelons

What is the entropy of a watermelon? This question is not entirely fair, because living things are singularities swimming upstream against the tide of entropy. We can’t merely count the ways the invisible molecules in a watermelon can be rearranged … Continue reading

Posted in God and Dice | Leave a comment