Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Documenting Stephen Harper's Administration's Attack on Science

Folks that don't like me call me a troll, which is nonsense.  If anything I'm a trawler, always on the lookout for interesting information and new lessons to learn and share.  That's why when I make a claim based on memory, as I did in my earlier post regarding the attack being leveled against the climate research unit of Australian's CSIRO, I like backing it up, as I did sharing John Dupuis' thorough collection that shines the light on the Stephen Harper shenanigans.  While trawling for that information, I found much more worth sharing.  

Such contempt for hard won knowledge and information.
It's the same contempt they show towards the 
planet that made all we have possible in the first place.
How do we help them figure that out?

In this post I share a link to The Harper Watch who have been documenting Stephen Harper's Administration since the man's election.  Then excerpts along with links to the Royal Society of Canada expert panel on the future of libraries and archives.  A well written summation by Erika Thorkelson at Huffington Post, and another thoughtful piece by Penny Pepperell examining implication of the National Energy Board gobbling up a portion of Canada's Oceans and Fisheries.  Then the Canada Center for Policy Alternatives' review of the Harper Administration's 2008-2013 impacts on the full spectrum of the Canadian government and its people.  finish up with Charles Mandel reporting at the aftermath.

It's too late to stop this damage, now Canada is left with mop-up and half-hearted rebuilding.  CSIRO's damage can still be prevented.  Can you help?


For a complete documenting of the Harper Adminstration's destructive actions, visit the website HarperWatch.wordpress

Compiling the Harper Government's Assault on Democracy


December 15, 2013
Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)

Documenting The Canadian War on Science - John Dupuis 

In my previous post I commented on the latest substantial right-wing conservative attack aimed at climate research efforts, this time it's the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia who are in the bullseye.  In my introduction to that post I mentioned the carnage inflicted by Canada's faith-based Harper Administration.

This post is intended to support my claim with facts.  Towards that end I'm sharing the following collection put together by John Dupuis of 'Confessions of a Science Librarian" fame.  There's nothing else to add, except for: read it and weep.  Of course, for Australia it's not too late, yet. Can you help?


By John Dupuis | May 20, 2013 - last update - October 24, 2014 | http://scienceblogs.com

This is a brief chronology of the current Conservative Canadian government’s long campaign to undermine evidence-based scientific, environmental and technical decision-making. It is a government that is beholden to big business, particularly big oil, and that makes every attempt to shape public policy to that end. It is a government that fundamentally doesn’t believe in science. It is a government that is more interested in keeping its corporate masters happy than in protecting the environment.

As is occasionally my habit, I have pulled together a chronology of sorts. It is a chronology of all the various cuts, insults, muzzlings and cancellations that I’ve been able to dig up. Each of them represents a single shot in the Canadian Conservative war on science. It should be noted that not every item in this chronology, if taken in isolation, is necessarily the end of the world. It’s the accumulated evidence that is so damning.

Most of the items come from various links I’ve saved over the years as well as various other media articles I’ve dug up over the last week or so. This series at The Huffington Post has been particularly useful as has this article at the Wastershed Sentinal.

A long list of various environmental programs that the Harper government has discontinued or slashed funding to is here. I haven’t found individual media stories about all of them, so they aren’t in the list below. If you can help me find stories about some of those programs, etc, please let me know. As well, some stories are treated multiple times, with perhaps an initial story telling the big picture or introducing a large series of cuts and later stories fleshing out details.

Help Stop Larry Marshall from gutting Australia's CSIRO's climate science program.

In an echo of Canada's Harper Administration's vicious war on science that destroyed science libraries, facilities, programs and scientists careers, Australia seems ready to follow suit.  

Venture capitalist Larry Marshall (one time cadet scientist at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation). who's now in charge of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has announced intentions to gut its climate research programs because he believes they are no longer needed.  

I dare say, this is a direct result of Marshall and his backers having sequestered their minds within a fantasy that the gogo, consume everything you can grab, economic growth model that was so viable a hundred years ago and up to quite recently - remains viable today.  

This self-certain Faith of their's, when looked at from the perspective of what's been physically happening to our life sustaining planet these past couple centuries and in particular the past couple decades - is nothing less than insane.  

Yet, they are willing to defend their antiquated mindset with a ruthlessness decent people can't imagine.  When it comes to recognizing the physical realities of our planet, they just don't want to know.  Burn The Books!  

Now we find ourselves as witnesses to the start of crippling yet another one of the world's premiere climate science gathering and understanding organizations.  Make no mistake it is nothing less than dismantling humanity's best last-chance at understanding and confronting the brave new world barreling down upon us all.

Only a strong international backlash against this myopic self-destructive plan might mitigate the intended destruction.  Towards that end CSIRO's scientist have been putting together a letter and are looking for scientists from around the globe to support them and perhaps join them in signing the letter.  Please read the following for more information and a link to their draft letter.  

Following that, I share excerpts and links to a number of recent articles that provide more details regarding Marshall's actions:

Peter Hannam | February 4, 2016 | Sidney Morning Herald

February 5, 2016 |  The Conversation

February 8, 2016 | Sidney Morning Herald

Michael Slezak | February 8, 2016 | The Guardian

Peter Hannam | February 9, 2016 | Sidney Morning Herald

The recent announcement of devastating cuts to the Australian CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere research program has alarmed the global climate research community. CSIRO’s decision to decimate a vibrant and world-leading research program that is tackling Australia’s toughest climate problems shows a lack of insight into the depth and significance of Australian contributions to global and regional climate research. For the last 79 years, this research has demonstrated how vulnerable Australia is, and will continue to be, to climate change. 

The capacity of Australia to assess future risks and plan for climate change adaptation crucially depends on maintaining and augmenting this research capability.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Considering the Republican/libertarian need to slander intellectual opponents

In musing on recent rabid (I used that word deliberately) attacks on me, I can't help but think about that Republican/libertarian passion for transforming every 'opponent' into some target for the most underhanded, grade-school level, personalized, totally distracting and irrelevant attacks.  

I've watched impeccable scientists and politicians and spokespeople trashed with the most demeaning garbage, all intent on keeping our eye's off the prize. 

Unfortunately their audience accepts and endorses such behavior and want to see issues melodramatized.  It's literally like our collective moral fiber has dissolved taking with it peoples' curiosity to understand their world.

In the past decades special-self-interest groups have calculatedly worked very hard to suppress that good old American awareness and impulse towards respect and friendship with diverse individuals.  Tragically, seems they've succeeded.

What's up with that?  Why that constant obsession with stripping us of our humanity?

It's important because after decades of increasingly better understanding, including improvements in teaching climate science, not to mention the changes being documented throughout our biosphere - that political/ideological barrier hasn't soften a bit.  

It's as though the concept of Enlightened Self Interest has never occurred to them.  Either that or their own short term self-interest eclipses everything.  I don't believe it's possible to make any significant dent without first figuring out how to grapple with that most fundamental emotional problem out there: 

The Republican/libertarian inability to recognize and acknowledge the humanity in their opponents and enemies.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

{5b} Earth's Earliest Climate - By Angela Hessler

I believe unfamiliarity with our planet's life story is at the root of society's inability to grasp serious climate science.  This in turn makes people frighteningly gullibility when it comes to falling for the most pathetic of con jobs that the Republican/libertarian PR Machine keep producing and broadcasting.

Listen to them deny basic Earth observations and geophysical fundamentals, or that favorite, denying the science by attacking messengers in order to ignore the scientific information.   It's like the Inhofes and Kochs and Christies and Lindzens, all them, possess a mind's eye concept of our planet with the depth of a post card.  

No appreciation whatsoever for the complexity of what we have here, or the eons of evolutionary "tinkering" that created this fantastic planet we were born into.  Nor any conception of the massive momentum that goes into our weather systems and global circulation patterns.  All they can see from within their protective bubble is resources to consume, power and money.  That their attitude is infantile and suicidal don't seem to matter.

That's why I started this project , because I wanted to share some of the learning process that's gone into building my own understanding and appreciation of evolution and in turn our climate system.  Admittedly I'm no scholar, but I sure am a student of my Earth and have some valuable information to share.  I challenge you to try and do a better job.  Please!

In this fifth installment I rely on an expert to present an excellent summation of the state of our understanding regarding the evolution of our climate system.  Ironically, after I finally finished working on condensing Dr. Angela Hessler's paper, (not an easy task for such a compactly written report), I started researching getting permission to post this, only to find the following:
TERMS OF USE - You may reproduce this material, without modifications, in print or electronic form for your personal, non-commercial purposes or for non-commercial use in an educational environment.
Well, okay if that's how it's got to be, he says with a smile, I wasn't feeling that good about my trimming anyways.  I did venture to highlight key sentences.  With no further ado, here's Dr. Angela Hessler's informed grand tour of the evolution of our climate system.

Earth's Earliest Climate
By: Angela M. Hessler | now with the Deep Time Institute  
(Chevron Energy Technology Company) © 2011 Nature Education 

Citation: Hessler, A. M. (2011) Earth’s Earliest Climate. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):24

When we discuss climate change today, we are mostly concerned with how such change will impact our environment and our lives. We look to the past to help understand climate cycles and how our current anthropogenic changes fit into natural change. Even more, we look to the past to help us find solutions.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to understand “deep-time” climate change is in how it relates to the origin and evolution of life on Earth, and possibly beyond. Despite the stark differences between today’s world and that of the Archean, it is clear that at both times, climate has impacted — and been impacted by — life on Earth.

This paper will take you as far back in the climate record as is currently possible, to the Archean Eon, from 3.9 to 2.5 billion years ago (Bya) (Figure 1). Peering so deeply back in time, far beyond the resolution of many isotope analysis methods, we invariably lose the details about climate and atmosphere chemistry that we can achieve — for instance, analyzing 500,000 year-old gas bubbles in Antarctic ice cores. Instead, we must ask fundamental questions: What was Earth’s surface like? Was its climate hot? Was it icy? Was there a greenhouse effect? For answers, we look to three far-flung Archean terranes.

Isua in West Greenland, Barberton in South Africa, and Pilbara in Western Australia.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Return of Lord of the Flies (#10…)

Oh dear, my ol pal AL can't leave it be.  
He again provides me with such an excellent example of what the Republican/libertarian PR Machine is all about and the tactics they are reduced to, I'm not letting it go to waste. 

It is posted with his words unaltered, no courtesy spell correction here.  I carry on a rhetorical conversation with AL, since he never listens to what his 'opponents' are trying to explain.  I figure it might help some appreciate what is going on out there in the Republican/libertarian alter-universe, since this is the way they go after any messenger of climate science education.

It's worth making a big deal out of, because this is how they keep us away from addressing the real issues, instead we continue wasting yet more precious irreplaceable time.
Arne wrote - February 6, 2016, 6:15 PM 
+Dave Smith Jesus, you're retarded. Just go back and read you own wall of text you have posted here. But I'm not surprised if you won't, since they are just dishonest ramblings.  (If you take the time to scroll up the interminable thread, you'll notice that Dave knows very well how to read scientific papers and respond to challenges in a even toned, polite, informative, I dare say, constructive, manner.)

{5a} The Most Beautiful Graph on Earth - A. Hessler

I've been sporadically working on my next post regarding the "Evolution of our Atmosphere," but it's challenging, I can't find a nice clean presentation to work with.  Excellent bits and pieces, none of it specifically what I'm looking for.

My favorite lead is a paper by Angela Hessler "Earth's Earliest Climate" which I'm trying to summarize -  but days are crowded and surprises may lay in wait, making it impossible to write for a while and it's been so long since my last installment I at least want to share the gold nugget I found in her paper, the following graph.

It's a wonderful collection of our planet's geophysical vital signs.  Okay, I'm not positive it's the "most" beautiful graph on Earth, beauty is in the eye of the beholder - but I am sure it's a fantastic window into the physical reality of our Earth and how the pageant of time has created the biosphere we humans take oh so for granted.  Hope to be back soon.

Earth's Earliest Climate
By: Angela M. Hessler (Chevron Energy Technology Company) © 2011 Nature Education 
Currently director of the  Deep Time Institute

thin red line, that drops dramatically and then has a couple spikes = Impact rate
doted red line = Solar luminosity
dark green line = CO2 
light green line = CH4 (methane)
red line = O2
blue line = Ocean surface temperature
Two vertical bands, in the Archean = earliest sedimentary rock formation (continent building)
Dark gray vertical bands = glacial episodes

(The moon would have formed shortly after accretion ended (the white bar), early in the Hadean)
(The reign of humanity would fit within tiniest vertical sliver at the far right end of this graph)

Citation: Hessler, A. M. (2011) Earth’s Earliest Climate. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10):24   
Lead Editor:  Figen Mekik