Category Archives: Grants

Fad science and self-made a monkeyof-ism

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by.

Some of you thought I was joking with my recent post about climate change and the current yakyakyakyak by the excitement industry concerning ‘manmade global warming’.

Some of you probably also didn’t notice the comment by Trapper Gale remembering a time four-or-so decades ago when the previous generation of the same institutional experts ran in increasingly small circles setting their hair on fire predicting a coming ice age.

AmericaLaurentideIceSheet.jpg

http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/01_1.shtml

http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/images/AmericaLaurentideIceSheet.jpg

The last of the ice ages in human experience (often referred to as the Ice Age) reached its maximum roughly 20,000 years ago, and then gave way to warming. Sea level rose in two major steps, one centered near 14,000 years and the other near 11,500 years. However, between these two periods of rapid melting there was a pause in melting and sea level rise, known as the “Younger Dryas” period. During the Younger Dryas the climate system went back into almost fully glacial conditions, after having offered balmy conditions for more than 1000 years. The reasons for these large swings in climate change are not yet well understood.

Which is an understatement.

Academians have a vested interest in manmade climate change today. They get their names in the journals and newspapers through the power of positive speaking. If they can stir up enough fear by presenting what they don’t know as ‘not yet well understood’ they generate government grants, jobs, power and prestige within their fields. Further study of what they don’t yet well understand, it’s assumed, will provide better understanding in the direction of their assertions.

Somehow the fact their disciplinary ancestors also didn’t yet well understand similarly the precise opposite interpretation of the data. Mined it for all it was worth at the time in study, grants, power and prestige. Opened new frontiers for their progeny when the time came, by reversing what a few decades later remained not yet fully understood.

I’m not suggesting there’s no manmade climate change. Maybe there is. And I’m not suggesting that if there is, it won’t speed the natural progress of planetary warming.

What I am saying is that anytime scientific observers examine data with an expected, hoped-for outcome, [especially when power, money, career advancement and prestige are factors] they have a way of observing selectively.

Same as human beings are prone to do in all other walks of life.

What I’m also saying is that three, maybe four decades from now there’s a reasonable possibility they’ll have mined this crisis dry and be setting their hair on fire with a new crisis to be mined for power, prestige, money and career advancement. Humanity induced plate tectonics, maybe. Earth’s decaying orbit because of atmospheric drag created by airliners.

Maybe they’ll be right. Hell, there’s even a remote chance they’re right about of what they’re saying today. Some piece of it-or-other.

The damned problem is you can’t trust them. They watch the same television you do. They know which way the wind’s blowing and muddling along trying to sail downwind getting the most out of it while it’s hot. Joining the gold rush with the knowledge when this one plays out there’s another lode in Alaska or Nevada they can move to.

Same as the rest of us.

Old Jules

Disambiguating Phobos

phobos

If you’re like me you’re probably getting fairly impatient with all this shilly-shallying around that’s been happening with finding out what’s going on with the Mars moon, Phobos.  That thing has been out there making people who know everything feel less good about themselves than they want to almost since it was first discovered.  Forcing them to use terms such as, ‘poorly understood’, ‘not completely understood’, ‘not yet fully understood’, when they write things about the way it behaves.

Problem is the thing refuses to behave itself the way the people who know how objects in orbit ought to behave.  As I recall it’s the fastest moving object in the Solar System, and I mean FAST.  And it isn’t anywhere near as dense as it ought to be.  Just for beginners.

If there’s an ‘artifact’ anywhere in the Solar System, Phobos probably stands a better chance of being it than anything else anyone knows about does.

NASA Eyes ‘Hedgehog’ Invasion of Mars Moon Phobosby Elizabeth Howell, SPACE.com ContributorDate: 19 January 2013 Time: 10:35 AM ET

http://www.space.com/19342-space-hedgehogs-mars-moon-phobos.html

A daring, “Angry Birds”-like NASA mission could bombard a Martian moon with robotic “hedgehog” probes in the next few decades, scientists say.

The space hedgehogs are actually small, spiky, spherical rovers that form part of a novel mission idea called Phobos Surveyor. The rovers would take advantage of the low gravity on the Mars moon Phobos, its sister moon Deimos, or asteroids in the solar system. Engineers have designed the devices to work in concert with a nearby mother ship.  

The hedgehogs would work well in the low gravity of the 16-mile-wide (27 kilometers) Phobos, a force 1,000 times weaker than the gravity on Mars itself, where NASA’s Curiosity and Opportunity rovers currently explore, said researcher Marco Pavone of Stanford University. Gravity on Mars is about one-third that of the Earth.

Okay, fine.  But the fact is, I’d like to see some questions answered about this thing before I get dead, or much more senile than I am already.  I want to know whether that thing is hollow.  And going about it in slow steps, using things that haven’t even been invented yet is going to take a long time. 

We spent all that money during the 1950s and 1960s inventing hydrogen bombs we never got any use out of.  Maybe it’s time to put them to some useful work.  We probably have the technology today to get a hydrogen bomb delivered right there dead center of Phobos within the next couple of years.

Time someone, hopefully the Chinese or the Japanese, launched a hydrogen bomb at phobos to see what happens when it hits.  And whether it shoots back.  Time for some serious disambiguation.

Just saying.

Jules

Edit:  The thing’s obviously not able to defend itself anyway and the chances of it shooting back are almost certainly not all that likely.  Whatever made all those dents in it, the impacts are bound to have generated a lot of heat inside and rattled the eye teeth of the might-have-been computers and defunct Buffalo Bills aiming rockets and pushing buttons of weapons systems.  Knocking a nice hole right in the middle a person could focus a telescope on for a looksee would improve things enough to make it worth the risk and the cost.    Easily enough to make it worth the miniscule risk of it raining down nukes on the Japanese or Chinese launch sites.

The Fervent Hope of Climate Change Enthusiasts

Extent of surface melt over Greenland’s ice sheet on July 8 (left) and July 12 (right). Measurements from three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface. In just a few days, the melting had dramatically accelerated and an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface had thawed by July 12. In the image, the areas classified as “probable melt” (light pink) correspond to those sites where at least one satellite detected surface melting. The areas classified as “melt” (dark pink) correspond to sites where two or three satellites detected surface melting. The satellites are measuring different physical properties at different scales and are passing over Greenland at different times. As a whole, they provide a picture of an extreme melt event about which scientists are very confident. Credit: Nicolo E. DiGirolamo, SSAI/NASA GSFC, and Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory
http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/greenland-melt.html

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

The people for whom climate change is central to their countless grant and research applications, and the people for whom NO climate change is central to their business models are probably both grinding their teeth in frustration.

Sooooo. All the academians, school kids being trained to believe they can do something to ‘save the planet’, other people who just enjoy the feel of shrill proclamations, jeremiads and threats of doom briefly danced in the streets.  Whoopteedoo!  Everybody’s going to die!

And the people with business models demanding they fervently deny climate change looked around for buildings high enough to jump from.

However, core sampling of the Greenland ice soon revealed this happens occasionally, last time maybe 150 years ago at a time when nobody claims human beings were causing climate change.

Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn.  Cry the people desparately wanting the ice caps to melt, sea levels to rise and all the coastal cities of the world to drown.

Ohboyohboyohboy! Applaud the folks with the business models requiring a continuation of the kinds of behaviors the other folks think cause man made climate change.

Changing horses in mid-stream isn’t easy, but sometimes it’s necessary.  Fact is, whether climate change is happening, is man made, is going to result in a disaster is just too large an object of comprehension to convincingly argue.  Suggesting academians and school kids can do anything to influence it one way or another is too patently absurd to convince anyone besides a grant review committee from the US Department of Environment.

Besides, there’s Genetic Engineered corn out there growing hair inside the mouths of test hamsters.  The same corn those school kids and academians are having for lunch.  http://aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

There’s a middling potential for glow-in-the-dark halibut, salmon and whales swimming up out of the north Pacific with butcher knives clinched in their teeth doing a mutant invasion of Alaska to California coastlines.  Time will argue a lot more convincingly and rapidly whether those happen, and if they do they’ll render questions about man made climate change more-or-less moot.

As for business models, there’s a lot of new potential for speculation and investment in new inventions.  An inside-the-mouth electric shaver, for instance, might represent the wave of the future.  Live flashlights made from mullets caught off the Oregon coast, not requiring batteries.  No need to stamp them, MADE IN JAPAN.  That will be obvious enough.

[Insert, "It's an ill wind that blows no good", "It's time to look on the bright side of things," and other appropriate quotes here.]

Old Jules

Dragging the Past Around Like a Cotton Sack

Until you forgives it, I reckons. 

The Coincidence Coordinators will rub our noses in the alternatives just for the hell of doing it.

I’d stopped into the Office Max store in Kerrville to pick up a cheap flash drive when I saw the little bastard.  He and what I figured must be a lady employ of his [now] were looking over the copying machines, taking notes, asking a clerk questions, frowning and muttering to one another.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, changed positions pretending to look at other merchandise on other counters to get a better view of him.  Shaking my head in disbelief.  He’d put on a bit of weight, hair’d gone gray, but it was Tony.  The very man I used to swear to myself if I ever caught him out somewhere I’d whip his ass until it thundered.

And here he was in Kerrville, Texas.

Shortly after I came into Grants, New Mexico, after I gave myself a Y2K, discovered I couldn’t find a job paying higher than minimum wage, I went to work for Tony.  He was managing the Rodeway Inn, needed a graveyard shift clerk.  I hired on.

During the interview he drifted to personal conversation.  “What kind of music do you like?”

“Old stuff, mostly.  Rock and Roll, pre-1980s CW.  Bluegrass.  Opera, classical.  I’ve got promiscuous tastes in music.”

“Any kind of music you especially don’t like?”

“Yeah.  I never cared for disco, and what passes for country music now drives me nuts.”

I had no idea.

After I’d trained for a week with one of the day shift clerks the place was all mine from 11:00 pm until 7:00 am.  The radio/stereo was locked in the office behind me, but I didn’t have access to it.  Tony’s apartment was back there, too, but the speakers to the radio were in the lobby.

11:00 pm every night I’d report to work, 11:10 pm every night, just so’s I’d know it was deliberate, the volume would go up almost so’s I couldn’t hear anything else allowing me to check in customers.  Modern all night country music station out of Albuquerque.

When they came down to check out early or to grab some breakfast the customers would often get nasty about it, ask me to turn down the racket.  All I could do was shrug.

I got this far writing the draft before I thought of the ‘Bypass Surgery’ post and song.  Thought it might tell some other tales about working in that motel, and about Tony.  But it turns out it might as well be this post played 78 rpm.

Spark and Tinder for the Next Country Music Wave

I suppose I ought to begin all over and tell you some other tales about old Tony, maybe sometime I will.  Because there are a lot of them, and many were codified in letters I wrote to Jeanne while I was working those long nights.  She’s pestered me plenty of times to post some of them here, though some weren’t about Tony. 

Good stories, though.  The night clerk at the other motel Tony managed across the street giving $25 bjs to the customers and Tony’s reaction when it got back to him.  How he got to banging the woman-prisoners from the State Women Prison who worked daytimes cleaning up, and how pissed he was when he discovered they were also screwing the customers.

How he’d rent the ‘suite’ room out a week at a time to the local crystal meth dealer, then spend his time up there rolling #100 bills, the motel register showing the room as vacant and closed for repairs.

But I ain’t going to waste my time telling you all that.  I’m just going to forgive old Tony for being among the lowest scum tyrants I’ve ever met this lifetime, then do my best to forget that entire episode of my life.

Actually, now I think about it, there are a couple that don’t involve Tony I might get around to telling.

Old Jules

The Consequence of Premature Whatchallit

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a visit.

The Toothless Soothsayer was going to be my post for today, but as I was working on it yesterday I accidently hit the ‘PUBLISH’ button and it became history.

It’s going to be a busy day here.  It’s been almost a month since I’ve been to town for provisions and I’ve got a list two-pages long of things I’ve runned out of already, or that I’m down to bare bones on.  The cats have been threatening to go on strike if I don’t get some other flavors of canned food, the chickens are fighting the cats for dry cat food, and the deer are complaining about what’s available to steal from the felines and chickens.

I thought I’d stocked up enough on the old kind of cheap lightbulbs, but the cheapo ones burn out a lot faster than a person might expect.  I’m hoping I can find a few more on the shelves to snag before lightbulb-Y2K happens. 

Most of you probably haven’t noticed what’s happened to the price of feed grains, but I expect you’ll be seeing it on the grocery shelves in the form of pricetags before long.  The price of chicken scratch is up about 25 percent from sometime a while back, and layer pellets up almost that. 

The flock is free ranging a lot further than they used to because I’ve cut down of how much I put out for them.  It’s a tightrope, making sure they have enough to supplement their forage, but keeping it down to a level so’s they don’t waste it, which they’ll do.  They’ve always been spoiled, profligate, ungrateful birds.  But now they’re being driven by necessity to range out a quarter-mile, which is the idea behind free-rangers but too good for them to allow them to appreciate it.

A while back my laser mouse with a cord went out, and digging around I found a cordless one I’d never been satisfied with from several years ago.  Out of hunger I put a couple of triple-A batteries in it and found it worked okay.  Couldn’t recall why I’d abandoned it.

Then I discovered it goes through batteries something ugly.  It’s a gas hog and I don’t think my need to have a cordless mouse is worth the price of keeping it on the road.  Probably it’s going to be me tied to the comp at the end of a fiber-optic cord again.

If you’re travelling out in the vicinity of Grants, New Mexico, and you see the cat at the top of the page, tell her Hydrox, Niaid and I said hello.  I doubt you’ll see her because she vanished in 2003 and we figured she’d joined Mehitabels #1 and #2 on permanent mouse patrol.

But you never know.

Old Jules

Spark and Tinder for the Next Country Music Wave

Morning readers.  I’m obliged you came by for a read this morning.

A while back while I was in Kerrville I was in one of the huge office supply stores that have driven all the locally owned ones out of business.  I was nosing around looking at things when I glanced at a guy, a woman and a clerk studying copiers or fax machines. 

“Small world!”  I mutters to myself.  The male customer part of the trio was a face a decade older than one I’d known too well almost a decade ago.  A guy named Tony Wossname.  Once a motel manager in Grants, New Mexico.  A man I’d been blessed to observe through the lens of the darkest side of his character. 

I changed positions in the store, moving place to place studying this later model of a man who could spot desperate need for a job when he saw it and derived a lot of pleasure out of making it as painful and difficult for the desparee as his power allowed.

After I discovered I couldn’t get any other job in Grants, New Mexico following Y2K I went to work in a motel off the Interstate, graveyard shift, as a night clerk for a while.  Besides giving me almost enough money to pay rent, utilities, and buy a little carefully selected grub, the job showed me a side of humanity I wasn’t familiar with.  And it gave me a lot of time to think about what I observed.

One of the things Tony liked about being a motel manager was his radio in the locked office the 11-7 shift clerk couldn’t access.  The radio had no speakers in the office, nor in his apartment beside it, but it did have speakers in the lobby where he couldn’t hear it.

What kind of music do you like?” Tony’d asked me conversationally during the job interview.

I like any good music.”  I shrugged, recognizing a management school tactic for getting the applicant to relax.

So do I.  But there’s some on the air these days I can’t stand.”  He scowled and shook his head.  “I hate that RAP stuff.”

I just don’t listen to the radio much.  I like older music, mostly.  The modern CW swill could probably drive me nuts.”

He had what he wanted and changed the subject, now that I was all relaxed.

I got the job, which included two lobby speakers tuned to a modern CW station, 11 pm to 7 am with the volume control and station selector behind a locked door.

I did a lot of writing on those shifts while trying to stay sane.  Here’s one night of inspiration about modern country music:

3:30 AM

Hearing this country music station wailing all night so many nights has caused me to realize what’s changed in country music. It used to encompass a fairly wide range of fairly lowbrow experiences and sentiments. Love, cheating, drinking, bull riding, hound dogs, mama, trains, trucks, car wrecks, dead friends, being broke, dreams of something or another, hopes, losses, resentment, pride of accomplishment, prison, cows, land, and clothing. Now it’s nothing but drooling whining love songs. Wonder what the hell that means?

Probably  means females are picking all the hits, buying all the records, and the men who dance lockstep with them are also females.   Something’s definitely changed, in any case.  There are still Guy Clarks out there, still Prines, still Tom Russells, still Willies and Merles. That just ain’t getting hit records.

Maybe the baby boomers lost something after their quadruple bypasses. Ever heard of a woman getting bypass surgery? I haven’t.

Maybe ten years from now we’ll be hearing country songs about bypasses and prostate cancer- about Winnebagos, casinos, golf, medicare—about grandkids wanting to  put him/her in a nursing home- about hearing aids and false teeth, thick toenails and sagging skin.

If so, it will be an improvement, and I, for one, look forward to it.   Maybe tonight I’ll write the off-the-charts hit CW song for 2012. 

Cheatin’ a Broken Heart

Westbound on the Interstate
Out on the Great Divide
Our Winnie overheated
So we pulled off on the side

The sagebrush and the red rock buttes
Invoked our reverie
While the engine cooled I thought about
My bypass surgery.

Refrain:
You can have your diabetes
Talk about your brand of “C”
But when heat waves blur the red rock
I’ll take bypass surgery

We’ll be turning south at Flagstaff
For the fairways to the south
Where my third ex-wife will meet us
With the grandkids and her mouth

Those two eggs up on whiskey toast
Home fries on the side
She always made for breakfast
Were my downfall and her pride

We’ll take the brats along with us
And camp somewhere below
The international boundary
Buying meds in Mexico

‘Cause it’s not the margaritas
Nor the senoritas sweet
It’s the discount pharmaceuticals
That tug these flattened feet

Now the engine’s finished cooling
And the wheels begin to roll
And there ain’t no bloody stool
In the RV commode bowl

Refrain:
You can have your diabetes
Talk about your brand of “C”
But when heat waves blur the red rock
I’ll take bypass surgery

So here I am, 2012 coming on strong and fast.  The lyrics for the big hit for the year already written, the New CW Wave craze all mapped and ready to take off.

Gotta find a musician.

Remember where you heard it first.

Old Jules