Infinity and Things to Do.

Infinity is meaningless. Everything is nothing.

When you rise every morning, the possibilities are infinite.

The difference between everything and nothing is you.

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Alexa and Chatty Cathy

Chatty Cathy was a doll. You could pull this string on her and she would say something random. She was the first electronic fortune cookie. She could say  maybe a dozen and a half different things. Never anything cogent. Some tangy things to keep your interest, some sweet things to butter you up, but nothing to piss you off by design.

So it is with Alexa. Algorithm rather than string. Marketing to lonely people. A pretense that your voice phonons in a virtual world, in  conversation with a remote server, is real.

Handy, but not real. Handy as a voice activated search engine (there are others). Handy if you want to listen and nobody else wants to talk…

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The Terribly Tenacious Trough


Humans are prone to emotional conclusions like “the weather has gone crazy”. Last year at this time, even with the normal rainfall in the north half of the state, many asserted that California was in “new normal” permanent drought. The far above normal rainfall throughout the state this year shows that this sentiment is clearly wrong, but the same folks who set forth permanent drought will now assert unprecedented “crazy rain”.

We have done a series of posts on the drought in California using data from San Francisco that dates back to 1850. Here we present a look at the same data looking at high rainfall years in the same data set to evaluate how crazy this year really is.

SF Cumulative 2016-17

Perhaps this year’s trough is not so terribly tenacious after all. The season is not over and the tingling in my own bones is that it will be a wet spring, like many I remember from the seventies. Nevertheless, if I were a betting man, I would bet that this year will top out below the five previous years shown. If this season dries out, there will be more years to add above this year.

The point here is that the “ridiculously resilient ridge” that led to four consecutive years of below normal rainfall in California did not produce any individual years of record drought. If the terribly tenacious trough does the same in reverse, where are we?

As we have always been; naked apes staring into the sunrise. Is God punishing us?

If you want to project your guilt onto statistical noise, you go.

I’m going with the data.

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Effective Radiative Level

There is this concept that by averaging all the different radiative spectra that satellites see from earth from very high altitudes an Effective Radiative Level can be derived that has meaning for the radiation balance for the planet.

The basic idea is that the addition of greenhouse gasses, predominantly CO2 by humans, will raise the Effective Radiative Level. The further idea is that this supposed increase in altitude for the radiative level takes place within the part of the atmosphere where there is lapse, i.e. the atmosphere cools with increasing altitude.

The claim is that since a higher altitude implies a cooler temperature, the radiation to space will take place at a lower blackbody temperature with lower energy to the fourth power, and will cool the planet less effectively.

We have developed the tools to evaluate this claim. Rather than a single average level and blackbody temperature, the satellites see substantial differences in radiative altitude across the earth longwave spectrum.

All Down Looking, Planck Bounding

The “effective” radiation seen from space in the earth long wave spectrum ranges about 100K, from a remarkably consistent  220+-7K for the CO2 bands to a wildly different 320K+ in the atmospheric window.

The bottom line is that CO2 has its own radiative channel to space entirely separate from the effective Planck temperature of the atmosphere as a whole. This channel radiates at the tropopause and above where the lapse rate reverses and becomes negative. Rather than radiating at a lower temperature, with increasing concentration and higher radiative altitude, CO2 radiates to space to the fourth power of a higher temperature with increasing concentration.


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The Apology of Chaos

One grows weary of the, “it’s a non-linear, chaotic system” apology for human failing to accurately model weather and climate. This idea seems to have stunted roots in the very different worlds of the Lorenz Butterfly, and quantum probability.

Never mind that the scales of these two worlds are wildly different, and what may be currently unknowable at quantum scale is definitely not unknowable at butterfly scale.

The logical extent of this conflation of concepts leads to the conclusion that by merely observing Lorenz’ butterfly, we disturb it and irretrievably alter the future.

In the real world the effect of a butterfly wing flap is as insignificant to weather and climate, as quantum wave function probability is to navigating to the moon.

Chaos becomes an apology, an excuse to throw up ones hands and declare the task impossible. The task of understanding weather and climate is not impossible. It is just very difficult.

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Alternate “Facts” and Science.

Every “fact” so far that we naked apes have ever believed we have known, has proven to be incorrect at some level.

The operative verb in the sentence above is “believe”.

Alternate facts discovered by inquisitive people challenge the existing system of belief.

Often, when there is no clear economic benefit from the challenging fact, the investigators are persecuted.

Human nature.

[metalogue]: Science is the business of discovering alternate facts.

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Einstein and Weight Loss

Weird idea of the day: why your excessive butt or belly is so unresponsive to exercise, but so responsive to how much you eat.

Of course it is the equation. He won the Nobel Prize for something else, but the famous three term equation rings like a common field through separate universes from weight loss to particle physics.

The equation is pretty intuitive compared to most mathematical hieroglyphics, but I’m going to write it in English anyway.

Energy (what you eat)=mass (your butt) times the speed of light squared. Needless to say, the speed of light is a really big number to start with. When you square it, it gets completely out of hand.

Pretty simple. When you eat more energy than your body consumes, your butt (or belly) grows at the speed of light squared.

We all have our little indiscretions. It tastes sooo good. To get that excess mass off your butt, you must set the treadmill to the speed of light squared.

Simple (wink).


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