LALALALA – I Can’t hear you!

A draft report on climate change has been completed by thirteen federal agencies and now awaits approval for public release from the Trump administration.

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The report shows temperatures have risen drastically since 1980, and that Americans are feeling the effects right now. It contradicts statements made by the Trump administration, including citing the effects of human activity in the form of increased greenhouse gasses as the principal contributor. The authors base their findings on thousands of studies by tens of thousands of scientists.

According to the Failing New York Times, which has received a draft copy, the report states, “Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans.” You can read the draft copy here.

We all eagerly await the response of President Jackass. Will he say something like, “When new facts come to light, it would be insane not to change your opinion”? Or perhaps, something like, “Given the universally agreed-upon conclusions of the best scientific minds in the world, we have decided to rejoin the Paris climate accord.”

He’s a reasonable guy after all, isn’t he? I mean, it’s a pretty dire situation not just for Americans, but everyone in the world – and we’re the most influential country in the world, right?

And even if reason and science and common sense aren’t enough for him to do the right thing here, wouldn’t it have political advantages as well? Nothing will shake the support he has from his “base”, and this would be the perfect opportunity to silence some critics and win over some new constituencies, right?

And it would be a great opportunity to show people that Steve Bannon isn’t really calling all the shots, and that those who say Bannon and Pruitt duped him into leaving Paris are all wrong about everything.

The Climate Change Denial Department here at GOML has officially gone on the record. The smart money is betting that man-baby will do what the man-baby always has done.

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The water is rising

Al Gore has been making a lot of appearances lately in the effort to drum up interest in his new movie, called “An Inconvenient Sequel”, which is a follow-up to his Oscar-winning “Inconvenient Truth”.

I saw the trailer for it in a theater recently and it looks like an even more dire assessment of  the effects of climate change, with a lot of documentation showing how predictions made in the first movie have been coming true. Here’s what the New Yorker has to say about it.

Obviously Gore hopes to get some of the people who stubbornly resisted acknowledging reality eleven years ago to wake up. Of course, this is not going to happen. “Science” is a liberal conspiracy, as everyone knows, and climate change is a hoax.

Gore got into a back-and-forth with a fisherman at a “town hall” event, where the fisherman claimed that if sea-level was rising, he would certainly see evidence of it and he doesn’t. The guy said his island was disappearing under water all right, but it was wave damage causing it, not sea level change. Gore tried to get him to see it was the same thing, but of course it was hopeless. Tweety called this guy up to congratulate him on his brilliant rebuttals.

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James Eskridge, empiricist

Anyway, Gore told the guy that he wouldn’t try to give him any comfort by citing scientists – there was no point – and that he was sorry for what was happening to him and his family. And he went on to tell this story:

It reminds me a little bit of a story from Tennessee about a guy that was trapped in a flood and it — he was sitting on the front porch and they came by in an SUV to rescue him and he said, no, the lord will provide.

And the water kept on rising. And he went up to the second floor and they came by the window in a boat and said come on, we’re here to rescue you.

He said, nope, the lord will provide.

And then he went on up to the rooftop as the water kept rising and they came over in a helicopter and dropped a rope ladder. He said, nope, the lord will provide.

Well, he died in the water and went to heaven and he said, God, I thought you were going to provide.

And he said, what do you mean, I sent you an SUV, a boat and a helicopter.

In the end, though, no one can convince anyone of anything anymore because no one is listening to anything but the sources that confirm their own beliefs and biases. Those who won’t allow science to provide them answers can get them from God in the end.

And, as the story implies, only at that point will they understand that God and science are one and the same.

Secretary of Something or Other

OK, kids, are you ready for a pop quiz?

One of the following things was actually said by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry this week. Two were said in presentations at which I’ve been present, and one was said to a reader of GOML recently. Which did Perry say?

1) “Our department does what the boss wants. We jump, he says how high.”

2) “It will be clear when I show you this chart. A picture tells a thousand stories.”

3) “Here’s a little economics lesson: supply and demand. You put the supply out there and the demand will follow.”

4) “Men can’t be virgins, because they don’t have a heimlich”.

Here’s a clue: Rick Perry got a D in “Principles of Economics” at Texas A&M. Yup, he was the author of the crazy upside-down version of “supply and demand”  but, to be honest, it wouldn’t shock me to learn he’s said all of the others at some point.

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Perry was visiting a coal-fired plant in West Virginia and explaining why we should produce as much coal as possible, since there will be a demand for it no matter what. Or something. He may have been thinking of, “If you build it, they will come”, but it’s hard to know.

But here’s the thing. You can’t point out that this guy’s an idiot who doesn’t know anything about the area he’s in charge of, because you’d just be proving what everyone already knows, which is that you are an Eastern liberal elitist who thinks he’s smarter than people who support Trump. And also you hate America and don’t want to make it great.

And we all knew what he meant anyway, just as we all understand what the people who said the other three things in the quiz meant. He meant coal is good. And climate change is a hoax. No “real” American could disagree, so just keep your stupid “corrections” to yourself, mmm-kay?

In other cabinet-level news this week, 18 states are suing Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos for allegedly “unlawfully delaying new federal regulations designed to protect student loan borrowers from being ripped off by for-profit colleges and other schools.”

Onward.

 

 

Health care for Grizzlies

Everyone knows the Trumps are the real conservationists, not like those phony climate science hoaxers.  That’s why they need to shoot the last few large wild animals we have left. You know, to protect them.

But, really, why should these young heroes have to travel all over the globe to find big animals to assassinate, when there are still a few left alive right here in the good ole U. S. of A.?

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Well, we have some good news for you today. Very soon, they’ll be able to roll up on one of the few Grizzly bears left around Yellowstone and blow its brains out with a high-powered weapon from a safe distance, possibly from the comfort of a Humvee.

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All this will be possible because the Trump administration is removing the Grizzly from the Endangered Species list after 42 years. In that time, the population of Grizzlies has managed to recover from the last 150 left alive to a whopping 700 now, and the man-baby and his pals figure that’s plenty. Who needs ’em? Do they vote?

Here’s some background about the joyous changes.

Here’s a clip of young Donnie checking out the latest in silencers. Definitely a necessary add-on.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/93a45c7e-ceb8-11e6-85cd-e66532e35a44

Well, at least it will be a fair fight, not like what happened to Maxine, who was just sleeping when she was executed.

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Trash heap at the top of the world

It’s that time of year again. Each May,  there is a brief window of opportunity, granted by the seasons and local conditions, when you can attempt a visit to the top of the world.

Climbing Mt. Everest has become one of the world’s most expensive, deadly, and destructive hobbies. Every year thousands of hopeful climbers and tourists descend on the area, many of whom really shouldn’t be there at all.

And, of course, a lot of them die. There have been about 300 or so deaths on Everest over the years since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first summited in 1953, and the Sherpas who guide the adventurers have died more often than anyone else. The last year without known fatalities on the mountain was 1977.

This year, the death toll has already reached ten, including an 85-year-old guy who was trying to reclaim his record as being the oldest to do it.

An industry has grown up around getting the clients to the summit one way or another, even if it means cutting some corners. The paying customers expect it, having put up tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to be there.

In 2014,  Wang Jing, the 41 year old owner of a large Chinese outdoor clothing firm, defied a Sherpa strike by taking a helicopter to 21,000 feet, drawing some scorn from the mountaineering community.  She was trying to get to the “seven summits”, the highest point on each continent. The Sherpas were striking to redress many grievances they had about their treatment. This article covers the subject well.

The 1996 case of socialite Sandy Hill, who brought her cappuccino machine along,  got a lot of attention when Jon Krakauer wrote about her in Into Thin Air, his excellent account of the disaster on Everest she was part of.  He describes her as essentially being carried to the summit,

“the Sherpa, huffing and puffing loudly, was hauling the assertive New Yorker up the steep slope like a horse pulling a plow”

Hill became the focus of disdain and ridicule, a caricature of the rich and demanding westerner, and a self-promoter who put others in danger. She has her own version of the story, of course.

Everest is maxed out. It’s getting so there’s a traffic jam near the top, as people wait their turn to try for the summit.

everest line

A good deal of attention is at last being put on the environmental impact of all this activity.

This article talks about how people are leaving shit all over the place. Literally. It says

At base camp, visitors annually produce about 12,000 pounds of human waste each year, which often ends up in the waterways that nearby villages rely upon. “It’s getting notorious — people getting sick from water contaminated by dumping human waste,” Alton Byers, director of science and exploration at the US-based Mountain Institute, expained. “The place is getting covered with landfills, creating an environmental hazard for humans and animals.”

Here’s a good one from Outside Magazine with a lot more detail on the defecation problem. Gross, I know, but actually very interesting. Human laziness is the biggest part of the problem. It’s hard work removing stuff at those altitudes. Dead bodies are a particular challenge, and many have been there for decades.

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Nepal is trying to address the trash situation with a rule that everyone has to pack out 18 pounds of trash. Literally tons of spent oxygen tanks have been hauled out, but trash generation is far outpacing trash removal.

Pictures from base camp:

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Is there any place on this planet that we haven’t yet ruined? Please keep it a secret if you know of one – maybe it can remain free from our intrusions for a little while longer.

Trump attacks knowledge

The Environmental Protection Agency, under its new head, climate change denier Scott Pruitt, has explained that it  wants “to take as inclusive an approach to regulation as possible.”

To make this happen, they have dismissed five academic scientists from a major scientific review board and will replace them with representatives from the industries whose pollution the E.P.A. is supposed to regulate.

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Pruitt, Trump, and Coal Miners – life is good

According to the Failing New York Times,

President Trump has directed Mr. Pruitt to radically remake the E.P.A., pushing for deep cuts in its budget — including a 40 percent reduction for its main scientific branch — and instructing him to roll back major Obama-era regulations on climate change and clean water protection. In recent weeks, the agency has removed some scientific data on climate change from its websites, and Mr. Pruitt has publicly questioned the established science of human-caused climate change.

Ken Kimmell, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said, “This is completely part of a multifaceted effort to get science out of the way of a deregulation agenda.”

Just a quick reminder to you all: we’re only about 6% through the first four years of this nightmare clown-show.

In other news, former president Barack Obama accepted a “Profiles in Courage” award at the J.F.K. Library in Boston on Sunday.

profiles

He has chosen to refuse the many requests he’s had to directly confront Trump on his agenda of reversing every initiative of the Obama administration, most importantly the recent idiotic “Repeal and Replace” effort now underway to deny tens of millions of Americans access to healthcare, so that the very rich can be just a little richer.

He explained that “To weigh in would be a violation of his duty as a past president to let his successor operate without hindrance from him.” If only his successor would grant him the same consideration!

In accepting the Profiles in Courage Award, which has also been given to George H.W. Bush, John McCain, and Gerald Ford, among others, Obama did say,

“It takes little courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential, but it takes great courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm.”

Courage and knowledge vs. cowardice and ignorance? Dignity and composure vs. dishonor and vulgarity? Competence vs. ineptitude?

The American people have made their choices.

What could possibly go wrong?

A  wax worm that eats plastic has been discovered. Could this lead to a way to solve the problem of plastic waste disposal?

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That would be nice, as humans now produce 80 million tons of polyethylene every year.

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We’re going to need a lot of wax worms.

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Holes eaten by 10 wax worms in 30 minutes

Here’s a brief video in which a Spanish scientist explains the accidental discovery, and a link to her publication about it.

Once we figure out what to do when the world is overrun with the wax worms, we should be good to go.

Maybe robots will eat them? But not ones made of plastic? Don’t know yet.

In any case, I, for one, welcome our new wax worm overlords.