Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chapter One: POLAR CITY RED by Jim Laughter -- a cli fi novel about polar cities in the future

After billions of people die due to the failure of Earth’s ecosystem and the continents are rendered uninhabitable, including the Lower 48 and Mexico, survivors forced to migrate north to Alaska must battle nature, raids by hungry scavengers, and man’s folly against himself in a geodesic ''polar city'' deep within the Arctic Circle near Fairbanks. A medical doctor and college professor rescued from the frozen tundra by a grizzled old hunter is thrust headlong into a life and death struggle for the existence of humanity. Hidden government conspiracies, a secretive military force, and the Earth itself threaten to destroy mankind.
Chapter One

The Tundra

“Kick out that damn fire!”

The voice calling from out of the dark startled the family gathered around the open campfire. The pot of beans they’d been cooking hung painfully alone over the open flames.

“Who’s there?”

“I said kick out that damn fire! Now!” the voice repeated.

Now!” the voice repeated.

The man stood and faced the direction from which the voice had called. He strained his eyes and tried to see through the darkness that blanketed their camp. But it was too dark, not quite pitch black, but too dark to see very far, just as it had been for almost six months.

“That’s Red,” he said. “Polar City Red.”
 [Visit many links to read interviews and reviews about Polar City Red and about how global warming is changing the world's ecosystem.]

Lazlo Toth, the Pieta Man, to get comic book treatment in Italy by Gianluigi Concas

Mr Concas is currently collecting stories, memories and news clips about
the late great LAZLO TOTH, a Hungarian geologist with a PHD who went
crazy in 1971 while living in Rome and began to feel HE was the incarnation
of Jesus H. Christ, the H standing for Hungarian, apparently, and walked 
into the Vatican museum with a hammer concealed in his coat and then started
knocking Michelangel's PIETA's nose off.

He was arrested and put in a mental hospital for several years and then
deported in handcuffs to Australia, where he had lived after leaving Hungary
as a young man and where he had worked as a geologist in the Outback for many
years before getting the Jesus call.

 Mr Concas is writing a comic book inspired by Lazlo Toth's misadventures in Rome
at that time in his life.

[Gianluigi Concas is from Oristano in Sardinia in Italy.]

SEE: Don Novello, TV comedian USA, for playing character named Lazlo Toth
See: Google items on Lazlo Toth, in Guardian and

Friday, June 15, 2012

James Lovelock still believes climate change is happening and will spell the end of humankind in 1000 years

Dr Lovelock says it will be the topic of his latest book, due out in 2012 from Allen Lane books at Penguin, and the working title is ''Adventures of a Lonely 93 Year Young Scientist''. He tells the Guardian's Leo Hickman: "My publisher keeps telling me: 'Can't you do a more cheery book this time?'"

Lovelock says he's doubtful that internationalist efforts to stem climate change and save the human species from exctinction in around 2500 AD or so will achieve much: "Whenever the UN puts its finger in, it seems to become a mess. The burden of my thoughts are very much that the climate situation is more complex than we at present are capable of handling, or possibly even in the future. You can't treat it as a scientific problem alone. You have to involve the whole world, and then there's the time constant of human activity. Look at how long ago the Kyoto treaty was – 15 years ago – and damn all has been done. The human time constant is very slow. You don't get major changes in under 50-100 years, and climate doesn't wait for that."

He displays disdain for those who do not accept science on climate change, such as Marc Morano, Anthony Watts, Tom Nelson, or Lord  Christopher Monkton: "They've got their own religion. They believe that the world was right before these damn people [the greens] came along and want to go back to where we were 20 years ago. That's also silly in its own way."

Given that Lovelock predicted in 2006 that by 2100n AD ''billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic in POLAR CITIES where the climate remains tolerable", his MSNBC -reported laissez-faire attitude to our environmental fate smells and sounds fishy, the mindset of a cranky old man.

Indeed, earlier this year he admitted to MSNBC reporter Ian Joghnston in a faux interview reported around the world with somewhat mocking headlines along the lines of "Doom-monger recants", that he had been "extrapolating too far" in terms of the time frame in reaching such a conclusion of 2100 AD as the
end of the world, and had made a "mistake" in claiming to know with such certainty what will happen to the climate. Now he says it will still happen, but much later, maybe 500 to 1000 years from now and that
Danny Bloom's ideas of POLAR CITIES to house survivors of global climate chaos makes sense. Lovelock even say Bloom's images and wrote him: "Thanks for showing me your images of polar cities, it may very well happen and soon."

But Lovelock is relaxed about how this reversal might be perceived. He says being allowed to change your mind and follow the evidence is one of the liberating marvels of being an independent scientist, something he has revelled in since leaving Nasa, his last full-time employer, in the late 1960s.

He says it will be the topic of his latest book, too. Will Lovelock be reading Jim Lovelock's cli fi novel POLAR CITY RED, inspired by Lovelock's ideas, this summer of 2012? Could happen.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Comprehending the Climate Crisis: Everything You Need to Know about Global Warming and How to Stop It

a 5-star review

 a non-fiction climate book by Bradley Dibble

reviewed by Jim Laughter, author
of the new ''cli fi'' novel POLAR CITY RED


''It is apparent by Bradley Dibble's intelligent dissection of every facet of global warming that he takes the subject serious and has spent untold hours studying both the science and effect of our planet's most dangerous man-made crisis. I'll admit that almost all of the science he talks about is way over my head, especially when he systematically breaks down molecular structures to their most minute elements.

I am not a scholar or scientist but Dibble's book helped me see just how fragile our planet's atmosphere is, and that if mankind doesn't curb our consumption of fossil fuels, future generations of humanity will not have a habitable planet to call home.

This book is written in an easy-to-read style. Anyone interested in learning how our universe, galaxy, solar system, and planet was created, and how all of the elements come together molecule by molecule should read this book. I only wish I had known about it last year when I started researching global warming for my own book, Polar City Red. It would have made writing it so much easier.''

Margaret Atwood launches Indiegogo Campaign – “Fanado Goes Mobile

Fanado is an online event space where artists and performers can connect with fans and
aficionados, present to audiences, greet fans one-on-one, sign personalized collectibles, sell
directly online, live stream and archive the event, and create personal experiences and lasting
Fanado: (n) fan•ad•o /f ’nädō/

1. a person who is totally into and wildly knowledgeable about great

artists of any and all kinds.

2. an innovative company dedicated to providing truly unique

experiences and official autograph connections for such people.

“Fanado Goes Mobile” will fund the development of two mobile apps – one for artists and one for

fans. Every iPad, iPhone and Android device will become the stage door – providing access

behind the scenes, on the tour bus, in the recording studio, and wherever artists are creating.

Currently anyone with a computer and a webcam can participate in Fanado’s pilot events, where

musicians, athletes, authors and other celebrities host live online “meet and greet” sessions with

their fans and sign deliverable mementos. This Indiegogo campaign will help fulfill Fanado’s

mission of “Anyone, Anytime, Anyplace.”

Previously known as Idolvine, Fanado is based on the expertise that co- founders Margaret Atwood

and Matthew Gibson developed in the fields of handwriting, remote signatures, video

conferencing and digital media delivery. The distinct combination of face-to-face online meetings

with legally verifiable signatures -- part of a patent portfolio built over seven years – is exclusively

licensed to Fanado. Only Fanado can combine video with signatures, and deliver genuine

autographs combined with personalized products, as well as artist/fan snapshots and video clips

from the online meeting.

Fanado is more than a video chat, and delivers more than an autograph. Events are built around a

backstage environment where fans with common interests can hang out, take part in public text


chats, hold private video chats, discover new artists, learn about upcoming events, and make new

friends. Participants in the “On Stage” meetings with artists receive an instant video clip of their

experience that can be shared via social media. The audience member will also receive a one-of-a-

kind, personalized and authentically signed collectible.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book reviews of POLAR CTIY RED by Jim Laughter

Hello Book Reviewer,

My name is Jim Laughter. I'm a writer near Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I'm told that you are a reporter whois interested in the environment, especially in the Alaskan ecosystem. I recently had a new novel released that you might find interesting. ''Polar City Red'' is a fiction based in Alaska after the effects of global warming destroys much of the Earth's atmosphere and forces millions of people to migrate north to escape the heat on the lower continents. I base the book 300 miles north of Fairbanks at the base of the Yukon Mountains.

I am not a scientist. I'm not an environmental activist, or clean-air advocate, or any other kind of crusader. I am a writer. This book, my eighth, is intended for entertainment. But it also holds a very viable message about the dangers of global warming, and a possible scenerio that future generations of humanity might find themselves facing if we don't learn to curb our dependence of fossil fuels. My cast of characters include a Russian scientist, a college professor, a medical doctor, an Inuit nurse, a military helicopter commander, and a wilderness hunter. They face life and death in a polar city of geodesic domes.

I wonder if you might be willing to take a look at the book and write a review of  it. I have several review copies on hand, and I'd love to send you a copy. Of course, it is also available as Kindle and Nook downloads but I assume you prefer holding a real book in your hands. I know I do.

Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you soon.

Jim Laughter

Monday, June 11, 2012

התחממות גלובלית, מי יודע מדוע וכמה?

On global warming (in Hebrew)

by nir shaviv

התחממות גלובלית, מי יודע מדוע וכמה?

מאת פרופ' ניר שביב

בשנה האחרונה התפרסם הדו"ח המדעי של ה- IPCC, הארגון שהוקם ע"י האו"ם לחקור את נושא ההתחממות הגלובלית. הדו"ח מציין שכמות הפחמן הדו-חמצני באוויר עלתה במאה העשרים בכ-30%, ושהטמפרטורה הגלובלית עלתה בכשש עשיריות המעלה. התקציר אף מעריך בכ-10% בלבד את הסיכוי שעלית הטמפרטורה ועלית כמות דו-תחמוצת הפחמן אינן קשורות זו בזו.

לראיות מביאים אותם מדענים מספר רב של עדויות: קרחונים נמסים, עליה במפלס פני הים, התחממות הקטבים, ירידת במשרעת הטמפרטורה היומית, ועוד. אולם עד כמה שהדבר ישמע מפתיע, פני הדברים רחוקים מאד מלהיות כפי שהם מוצגים לנו בעיתונות. הנה כמה עובדות מעניינות.

ראשית, אין עדות אחת, אין אף "טביעת אצבע", היכולה לקשר בין ההתחממות שנמדדה לבין פעולת בני האדם. כל העדויות הן עדויות להתחממות, לא למקור ההתחממות. לדוגמא, כל גורם הגורם להתחממות כדור הארץ יגדיל גם את כמות אדי המים באטמוספירה. אדי המים הינם מסוע החום העיקרי שמחממם את הקטבים על-ידי הבאת החום מהאיזורים המשווניים, כך שהקטבים תמיד מתחממים בשיעור העולה על חימומם של האזורים המשווניים. דהיינו, אין דו-תחמוצת הפחמן הגורם היחיד שיכול להסביר תופעה זו כמו שאין הוא הגורם היחיד שיכול להסביר את התופעות האחרות הנצפות במקביל להתחממות הגלובלית, ולכן קיום התופעות אינו מוכיח מהו מקור החימום.

שנית, מסתבר שאין מדע האקלים יכול לכמת בצורה מניחה את הדעת את השפעת האנושות על האקלים במאה העשרים. לפי טיוטת דו"ח ה-IPCC, שהופצה בשנה שעברה בין כותבי המחברים הרבים, ישנו אף סיכוי של כ 5% שבני האדם אחראיים לקירור ולא לחימום! (הגרף הרלוונטי הוצא מן הדו"ח הסופי מסיבות אלו ואחרות...). אומנם סיכוי קטן, אך הוא מצביע על חוסר הוודאות הגדול בהבנת תרומת האדם לשינויים במאזן האנרגיה הגלובלי. התרומה העיקרית לחוסר הוודאות נובעת מאי הבנת השפעת זיהום האוויר על תכונות העננים, השפעה הגורמת לקירור כדו"א.

שלישית, המודלים הממוחשבים, בהם משתמשים לחזות את רגישות אקלים כדו"א, אינם מסוגלים להעריך את רגישות אקלים כדו"א לשינויים במאזן האנרגיה. רגישות זו קובעת למשל, בכמה הייתה אמורה היתה הטמפרטורה לעלות במאה העשרים כתוצאה מהשינויים בהרכב האטמוספרה להם אחראית האנושות. ידיעת הרגישות נדרשת גם כדי לנבא את העלייה העתידית בטמפרטורה כתוצאה משינויים שונים. בעוד שמודל אחד מנבא כי הכפלת כמות הפחמן הדו-חמצני במאה השנים הקרובות תעלה את הטמפרטורה הגלובלית בכמעלה וחצי, מודל שני מנבא עליה אפוקליפטית של יותר מחמש מעלות. דהיינו, מודלי האקלים אינם נמצאים במצב בו הם יכולים לענות על שאלת הטריליון דולר, בכמה תעלה הטמפרטורה בעתיד?

לכן אין ביכולתנו כיום לנבא את התרומה האנושית לעלית הטמפרטורה במאה העשרים, או להוכיח שהעלייה נבעה מגזי חממה.

מדוע אם כן מיחסים את העלייה להשפעת האנושות?

העדות המרשיעה כביכול היחידה היא למעשה ראיה נסיבתית. מודדים עליה בטמפרטורה ומודדים עליה בכמות גז החממה דו תחמוצת הפחמן, עליה שהאנושות יכלה היתה לגרום. בהנחה שאין גורם אחר שיכול להסביר את העלייה, עלייה זו היא בהכרח כתוצאה מהשפעת בני האדם. קו הגיוני זה אכן יכול היה להרשיע את האנושות אילולי העובדה שישנו גורם אחר שיכול להסביר חלק ניכר משינוי האקלים.

עדויות רבות מראות כי פעילות השמש אחראית לחלק הארי של השינויים האקלימיים על סקלה של עשרות עד אלפי שנים ויתכן אף יותר. באלף השנים אחרונות, היו תקופות קרות יותר מהיום, כמו "תקופת הקרח הקטנה" בשלהי המאה ה17-, בה הטמפרטורה הגלובלית היתה נמוכה ביותר ממעלה מהטמפרטורה היום, והיו תקופות חמות בדומה להיום, כמו בשלהי ימי הבניים, עת בה הויקינגים יכלו להקיף את גרינלנד, ומפלס האוקינוסים היה גבוה בחצי מטר מגובהו היום. שינויים אלה מתרחשים בתיאום מפליא עם השינויים בפעילות של השמש.

השמש אינה כדור גז לוהט שפעילותו קבועה. נהפוך הוא, השמש סוערת וגועשת, בדומה לכל הכוכבים הדומים לה. השמש מוציאה מקרבה רוח לוהטת המגיעה אל כדור הארץ ועוטפת אותו באופן קבוע. כשהשמש פעילה וסוערת יותר, חם יותר על כדו"א. עוצמת פעילות השמש משתנית כל הזמן בדומה לאקלים כדור הארץ. לאור העובדה שהשמש נמצאת במצב הפעילות הגבוה ביותר באלף השנים האחרונות, לא מפליא שהטמפרטורה על כדור הארץ היא הגבוהה ביותר. יתרה מכך, העובדה שפעילות השמש לא עלתה באופן רצוף מסבירה גם מדוע היתה ירידה בטמפרטורת כדור הארץ בין שנות ה- 40 לשנות ה- 70, ירידה שמתאימה לירידה מקבילה בפעילות השמש.

לאחרונה הצטברו עדויות המסבירות כיצד פעילות השמש משפיעה על האקלים. התיאוריה המובילה היא שהשמש עושה זאת באופן עקיף על-ידי שינוי כמות המטען באטמוספרה, ומטען זה משפיע על תכונות העננים, בעיקר באזורים נקיים שמעל אוקינוסים. התיאוריה מסתמכת על צרור ראיות, כולל תוצאות ניסויי מעבדה, שמצביעות כולן באותו הכיוון. נציין בזהירות מירבית שהתיאוריה נמצאת בשלבי האישוש האחרונים, אולם מאמיני ההתחממות הגלובלית האנושית מבטלים בהינף יד את האפשרות שלשמש השפעה ממשית על האקלים. להיפך, הם מנסים בכל כוחם לגמד את השפעת השמש, וכל זאת מדוע? לו היה גורם שיכול היה להסביר את ההתחממות במאה העשרים או לפחות חלק ניכר ממנה, הראיה הנסיבתית לכך שההתחממות היא אכן מעשה ידי אדם היתה מאבדת את תקפותה.

למיטב הבנתי, הבנה שהתקבלה ממחקר מעמיק בו נבחנה התנהגות כדור הארץ בעבר הקרוב והרחוק, חלק ניכר מההתחממות במאה העשרים היא מעשה ידי השמש ואילו ההתחממות עד שנת 2100 כתוצאה מהפעילות האנושית תהיה לכל היותר כמעלה.

למרות טענותיי, אין אני חושב שאין מדעני האקלים רציניים ושאין מחקר מדעי רציני, נהפוך הוא. אולם השרלטנות של מספר מחפשי סנסציות גדלה מעבר לכל פרופורציה, ונוצר מצב שבעיה מדעית חשובה ביותר התגלגלה לה ככדור שלג והפכה לחלוטין לבעיה פוליטית מפלצתית עד כדי כך הדבר שמי שאינו מסכים עם הזרם המרכזי כביכול מסווג כחותר אנטי-חברתי ואנטי-סביבתי. לדוגמא, רק לאחרונה השוותה, הכתבת אלן גודמן, מהעיתון בוסטון גלוב, את מכחישי ההתחממות הגלובלית מעשה ידי אדם למכחישי השואה. כיצד יכולה כתבת ללא השכלה בפיסיקה וללא כל שכן באקלים או חקר השמש, לחרוץ מסקנות בצורה כה החלטית? זה מעבר למדע, זו עבודת אלילים חדשה.

לסיום, העובדה שלא נשרוף עצמנו לדעת, אינה סיבה שלא להשתמש בחוכמה במשאבי הטבע המוגבלים או שלא נעשה מאמץ לשמור על הטבע היחיד שיש לנו. אין אנו רוצים להישאר ללא נפט, הנפט הוא משאב מתכלה וכמו כל משאב מתכלה אחר, יש לצמצם את השימוש בו. כמו כן לא נרצה לחנוק את עצמנו מזיהום אוויר, או להיות תלויים בגחמתם של מנהיגי מדינות הנפט. יש לכן סיבות רבות נכונות וטובות מדוע רצוי לעבור לטכנולוגיות אנרגיה חלופיות ונקיות, אולם יש לעשות זאת מהסיבות הנכונות ולא מהסיבות הלא נכונות. יש לפעול בצורה רציונאלית ולא אמוציונאלית, ויפה שעה אחת קודם. ולמדענים, יש לבחון כל עובדה באובייקטיביות. אם יתברר חלילה, שקהילה שלמה נשבתה באמונה, ללא הוכחה מדעית כשהיא מולכת שולל ע"י המדענים, הפגיעה במוניטין של המדע עשויה להיות אנושה והשימוש בדלקים קונבנציונאליים, מתכלים ומזהמים רק יגבר.

''Al Gore is an idiot who does not know what he is talking about" -- Dr Giora Shaviv, Israeli physicist

by Emmet Matridah

After I wrote a commentary here on June 3, 2012 about global warming and climate change and what all this might mean
for the future existence of Israel as a state in the arid Middle East, two things happened online. [The oped was titled ''Is global warming a major Jewish issue? It should be.'']

An Israeli scientist that I contacted told me that he thought I was barking up the wrong tree and was wrong about
global warming -- remarks which I respect and will comment on below -- and a climate skeptics' website
in Washington ran a front page headline accusing me of charging rightwing, conservative climate skeptics
in America and Canada with "promoting anti-semitism." Of course, I never said such a thing, and I
never made that charge or accusation, and I dare anyone to re-read my oped of June 3, 2012  and show me where
in any of the sentences such a charge was leveled. But more on that irresponsible Climate Depot headline
later on.

First, to Israel. I met Professor Emeritus Giora Shaviv, the Swartzmann-Medvedi chair
in Space Sciences at The Technion in Haifa after coming across a 2009 news article in the Jewish Chronicle in London headlined "Israeli scientist denies global warming."

Although Dr Shaviv and I don't see eye to eye on this, I wanted to find out more about his ideas and climate views, after reading this opening
lines of the London story:

"A leading Israeli scientist has renounced the concept of man-made
global warming at a lecture given to the British Technion Society,
just days before world leaders meet to discuss ways to halt it.
Professor Giora Shaviv professor of physics at the
Technion, claimed that the accepted level of carbon dioxide in the air
is wildly exaggerated."

''Dr Shaviv said that though for years the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) has claimed that an increase in carbon
dioxide has led to an increase in temperature, in fact, the reverse is
correct. He argued that the movement of the sun affects temperature, which
influences the levels of carbon dioxide, and that these levels have
risen and fallen for centuries, even before mankind."

Then came the clinker: “CO2 is not responsible for heating the earth, the cause is
the activity of the sun which we cannot control," Dr Shaviv said.

And one British defender of  Dr Shaviv's views was quoted as saying: "There is a hysteria and exaggeration of the issue with people
worrying that the end is nigh. People need to calm down. The reality
is we haven’t got a clear idea what the climate is doing.''

So, having read all this, I emailed Dr Shaviv in Israel and in Internet time, received a reply from him and we later exchanged a few more
cordial and friendly messages back and forth. He knows that I feel that global warming maybe very well spell the end of the human
species in the next 500 years, if we do not halt CO2 emissions worldwide. And I know that he disgress with me.
''Dear Danny," Professor Shaviv wrote to me, when I asked him about global warming, "I did not deny the possibility of global warming in that 2009 article you read online. I argue that

a) If at all, it is not man made, b) It is due to solar activity, c) The effect is much smaller than claimed, and d) It is periodic and warming and cooling happened in the past before the industrial revolution and when there were no humans around."
When I asked Dr Shaviv what his opinion of climate activist Al Gore was, he told me: "Al Gore is an idiot who does not know what he is talking about. He shows two graphs and hides the third one. Moreover, there is evidence that temperature rise preceded the CO2 rise (long before the industrial revolution) so that the cause and effect that Al Gore claims is completely wrong."

When I asked Dr Shaviv what he thought about my ideas on climate change, especially about
the possibility that the very future of Isreal could be at stake within the next 500 years if
climate change is not halted, he replied: "I see your points, Danny, and I remain calm. The sun will take care of it."

What Dr Shaviv was getting at was this: He believes that the sun is most responsible for the flucuations on the Earth's temperature over millions of years and that global warming is caused by the sun even now, and is not caused by humans or the industrial output of carbon dioxide emissions or cars or India's and China's coal burning factories. He believes the sun will take care of eveything and that Al Gore is very very wrong about almost everything.

So we agreed to disagree, and remain online friends. I appreciated his candor in replying to my emails.

As for the front page headline at the Climate Depot website accusing me of acussing climate skeptics
with anti-semitism, I simply do not understand how Marc Morano, the rightwing editor of the site, could
twist my oped about the future of Israel's existence into an accusation of rightwing climate denialists
promoting anti-Israel ideas. It just does not compute at all.

But as the climate wars heat up, the language is going to heat up too, and we must all be on guard against
twisting the words of our opponents into false accusations. That is slander. And that is wrong. MarrcMorano, my PR friend -- or fiend? -- you owe me an apology here.


Friday, June 8, 2012

A novel about Taiwan by Taiwanese-American novelist Julie Wu

American novelist Julie Wu's debut novel is set for a Spring 2013 release date
in English from Algonquin Books, a top publishing company of quality books. The novel was
ten years in the making, a long work in progress, that finally found a home with a good publisher
with national marketing clout, so expect good sales and some prizes along the way. If all goes well,
expecet a Chinese-language translation for readers in Taiwan, and perhaps a Japanese edition as well.

"I first started interviewing my parents for the novel in 2001," Wu says. ''In 2005, I [temporarily] “finished” writing the novel -- a book based on my father’s remarkable triumph over abuse, set in Taiwan during World War II and later in America in the 1950s.'' The book was written and rewritten and revised and revised and is set for a stellar launch when it's released. The novel describes some of the events of 228 and the White Terror period in Taiwan.

[Dr Wu is in the process of researching her second novel, which she plans to base on the lives of political prisoners in Taiwan.]

The novel takes place during the tumult of post-World War II Taiwan, where the dis-favored son of a Taiwanese politician fights his brother for the woman he loves -- and for the chance to make a life with her in America. It may be one of the most important English-language novels about Taiwanese life and culture,
in Taiwan and overseas as well, ever. Sure to be a popular book among Taiwanese-Americans overseas,
and might even make a great movie directed by someone like Taiwanese director Ang Lee. Magic happens!

NOTE: The book won a short-listing in the 2009 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Novel-in-Progress Competition and will be published by Algonquin Books in Fall 2012. Her short fiction has won honorable mention in the 2010 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Contest and is being published in Columbia Magazine’s Spring, 2011 issue. Also a physician of internal medicine, Dr Wu has had a personal essay published in The Journal of the American Medical Society (JAMA).

In a recent interview, we asked Dr Wu a few questions about the genesis of her novel, its themes,
and where she hopes the book will lead.

A brief interview with David Brin, author of the new sci-fi novel titled ''EXISTENCE''

In a recent email interview, we asked veteran author David Brin (''The Postman'', ''The Uplift Trilogy'', "Earth") how the idea for his new novel "Existence" came to him, and what was its genesis.
Mr Brin replied: ''In addition to being a fiction author, I am also an astronomer and one of my areas of research is SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence). So, of course, all this overlaps with science fiction. You might say that I have been exploring the concept of 'the alien' all my life. Along the way, I became involved in the arguments over the so-called Great Silence -- the question of why we see no signs of other civilizations out there.''

''Might planets be rare? That is being answered right now as we discover solar systems all around us. Might life itself be harder to start than we imagined? Or intelligence? Or technology?''

''Or might all intelligent races stumble over the same sets of disasters, over and over again? Such as nuclear war or ecological mismanagement?''

''So you can see where the book's title. 'Existence' comes from. But the story is not all somber! Ultimately, it is a book about human endurance and hope.''

We asked Mr Brin who the character Gerald Livingston is, and what motivates him.
He replied: ''Gerald is an astronaut who has a special, though low-rated job, piloting a whirling tether craft that snags orbital space junk to clean up the mess we humans have sent up into space above the Earth. One day he grabs something unusual. Something VERY unusual."

Early rumors on Earth start circulating, in the novel, about this 'something VERY unusual' that Livingston snags and it appears to be an 'alien artifact.' We asked Mr Brin what the early first rumors say or guess at.

 He explained: "Is it a spaceship? A message in a bottle? It appears to carry virtual passengers who try to communicate with us. But how? And is this the first such stone from space? Or have there been others?''

 In the book, the alien artifact is what Mr Brin has described elsewhere as a ''game changer''. We asked him to explain what he meant by that term, without, of course, giving away any spoiler alerts. He noted:
'If we got contact with alien civilizations, would that not be a 'game changer'? Especially if they offered us cool new technologies? Ah, but what if there's a price to pay?''
Readers will want to know what the aliens want to communicate to the Earthlings, of course. We asked Mr Brin if he could tell us something about this without giving away any spoilers.

He replied: ''No spoiler. Watch the lavish, beautiful preview trailer for the book (with paintings by Patrick Farley)." [LINK to TRAILER  ]

And Mr Brin added: ''You can see what their first words are -- 'Join us' -- ! Ah, but what does it mean?''

After contact, there are many reactions on Earth . Fear is one of the reactions. We asked Mr Brin to tell us a little more about this first reaction. He replied:
''How do you think your neighbors would react to such news? With a wide range of emotions and reactions, from fear to hope and so on. We are a highly-diverse species! Is that a strength or a weakness? Readers can watch the trailer, and then read some sample chapters here at
 Then, if readers wish, please join me online for a Twitter chat: June 20 - 4 pm Eastern time (1 pm Pacific time , 21h GMT) - #TorChat.

''Thanks for this brief interview and introduction to my new book 'Existence' and and I hope readers, new ones and old ones, will have fun exploring the ideas in the book! ''


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Marc Morano and other climate denialists say '''Global warming skeptics are promoting Anti-Semitism?!'' Yes, it's on Morano's website plain as day!

webposted June 15, 2012
Climate change skeptics will be seen as promoting Anti-Semitism because they want Israel to disappear from existence, or so says climate denialist Marc Morano and others of his ilk. [Google the meme. Very weird.] Morano made his remark[able] headline after reading Dan Bloom's recent oped in the San Diego Jewish World, which opined that if climate change is not stopped soon, then climate chaos will turn the Earth
into a dystopian hell and Israel as a nation will cease to exist by the year 2500, along with all other Middle East nations. But Bloom neversaid anything about climate skeptics promoting anti-semitism. Morano and his moron supporters who cannot even read plain English apparentlytook Bloom's very well written oped and twisted the words and ideas into the opposite of what Bloom was saying. This is how the right wing climate
disinformation team works. Are they Nazis or neo-Nazis? No. They are just angry, stupid people with their heads in the sand.

Many climate acitivists, including Bloom and sci fi writer David Brin and James Howard Kunstler, say that in order for climate change activists to succeed, they must “win the conversation” against those who deny there is a crisis.

“I remember, again going back to my early years in the South, when the Civil Rights revolution was unfolding, there were two things that really made an impression on me,” Al Gore once said. “My generation watched Bull Connor turning the hose on civil rights demonstrators and we went, ‘Whoa! How gross and evil is that?’ My generation asked old people, ‘Explain to me again why it is okay to discriminate against people because their skin color is different?’ And when they couldn’t really answer that question with integrity, the change really started.”
The former USA vice president recalled how progressive American society succeeded in marginalizing racists and said climate change skeptics must be defeated in the same manner.

“Secondly, back to this phrase ‘win the conversation,’” he continued. “There came a time when friends or people you work with or people you were in clubs with — you’re much younger than me so you didn’t have to go through this personally — but there came a time when racist comments would come up in the course of the conversation and in years past they were just natural. Then there came a time when people would say, ‘Hey, man why do you talk that way, I mean that is wrong. I don’t go for that so don’t talk that way around me. I just don’t believe that.’ That happened in millions of conversations and slowly the conversation was won.”
“We have to win the conversation on climate,” Gore added.

Gore also took shots at Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has lambasted climate change alarmists, and at other politicians who dare to question the veracity of global warming science.

“This is an organized effort to attack the reputation of the scientific community as a whole, to attack their integrity, and to slander them with the lie that they are making up the science in order to make money,” Gore said.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Climate skeptics and global warming denialists such as Marc Morano and his posse are promoting anti-Semitism by denying the truth of global warming and therefore putting the very existence of Israel in jeopardy, thus putting the very possibility of the Christian Rapture at risk, too. Therefore, by opposing climate change, Morano and Limbaugh and Hannity and Dan Gainor et all are anti-semites, according to Morano twisted logic. Agree or disagree?

That is apparently what Marc tells his posse in his website. Strange.

Climate skeptics and global warming denialists such as Marc Morano and his posse are promoting anti-Semitism by denying the truth of global warming and therefore putting the very existence of Israel in jeopardy, thus putting the very possibility of the Christian Rapture at risk, too. Therefore, by opposing climate change, Morano and Limbaugh and Hannity and Dan Gainor et all are all rabid anti-semites, who wake up every day and pray for Israel's destruction, according to Morano twisted logic. Agree or disagree?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Are climate skeptics promoting anti-Semitism?! No, they are not, and Marc Morano has purposely maligned me by putting a loaded word in my mouth!

UPDATE: I will not comment here anymore, but it is important to point out to reporters and bloggers and commenters here that my oped here has been picked up the climate denialist Climate Depot website funded by rightwing oil lobby and energy industries in Washington DC run by Marc Morano who in his oh so PR savvy ways headlined his pick up of my oped here so as to cause maximum damage by writing:

Are skeptics promoting anti-Semitism?!

Warmists’ new claim: ‘Is global warming a major Jewish issue? It should be’ — ‘Israel will be no more if we do not stop global warming in its tracks now’ ” — [Read the Full Article]

First of all I am not a warmist -- whatever ThAT means -- I am a progressive leftwing climate activist and I was not speaking for all climate activists but only for myself. I was my own individual OPEd in a Jewish newspaper in San Diego, and not once did i call anyone an antisemite or claim that climate skeptics were promoting antisemitism. How does Marc come up with that trash! PLEASE. but it sells papers and builds
traffic and he happy with the headline as a pig in mud. I know Marc. He is good at what he does, but he is
a sick man. He's also my friend and I care about him.

and then he links to this SDJW commentary.

NOW EVERY READER of English knows that not once in my article did I claim that skeptics are antisemitic? SEE HOW THE rightwing denialists with their heads in the sand and thei pockets lined by the oil and energy industries and lobbyists work? They take things out of context. I never once ever ever called anyone an antisemiite in my oped here. Did I? Marc Morano owes me and this website an apology! Signed, Danny Bloom


HOW FACEBOOK LIES ON ITS CUSTOMER SERVICE PAGE: When I had trouble getting into my account, FB said: Facebook is down for required maintenance right now, but you should be able to get back on within a few minutes. In the meantime, read more by clicking HERE , see below, about why you're seeing this message. Thanks for your patience as we improve the site.

BELOW SAID: I'm getting a "Facebook Will Be Back Soon" message when I try to log in.

If you're seeing this message when you log in, it usually means that we're making an improvement to the database that your account is stored on. While we'...

If you're seeing this message when you log in, it usually means that we're making an improvement to the database that your account is stored on. While we're doing this, you won't be able to access your account. We're sorry for the inconvenience! This maintenance shouldn't last more than a few hours.

Two very different views of global warming by two different climate change awareness writers: David Brin and Dan Bloom

By Dan Bloom

Here are my views. Further down, in the interests of exploring both sides of these issues and to give
a  more optimistic and perhaps realistic view of things, see the perspective of a man much wiser
than me, David Brin, the brilliant science writer and sci fi author.

Me, I cannot see the future and I’m no prophet, of course, but I have seen the future – so to speak — and it’s dank, dark and dystopian.
In 500 years, if we do not tame climate change and global warming worldwide, humankind will be no more and the entire planet will be a mess. While the human species will be gone, forever, other lower species will survive and continue on as before, without us.

Yes, by 2500, humankind be no more if we do not stop global warming in its tracks now. It’s written on the wind, and scientists, most of them, know it.

Will humans exist 500 years from now? Will there be any of us alive? Our descendants, I mean.
Will the human species be extinct by then? These are deeply human questions, and I pose them here as a deeply human climate activist and journalist.

Okay, you don’t have to agree with me. You may even want to criticize me and ridicule me. That’s fine. I am all ears and all points of view are welcome at my home. But let me tell you this, as a modern-day Jeremiah: God’s creation, the Earth and His people, are at risk because of what we are doing to the His creation with excessive CO2 emissions and other man-made global warming impacts.

So what am I doing about all this? Well, last year, as a book producer, I commissioned novelist Jim Laughter in Oklahoma to write a book about mankind’s shaky future on this third rock from the sun, and he said yes. The novel, titled ''Polar City Red'', is out now, in paperback and on Kindle, and the entire story, from page one to the final paragraph, belongs to Mr. Laughter. His name is on the book cover, not mine, and all profits, if any, go to him. It’s his book. But it’s my vision.

What did I do? I gave the book its title, and I suggested, as a former 12-year Alaskan resident, its theme and its setting in Fairbanks. Jim wrote the entire yarn, creating his own cast of characters and giving it his own time frame. I originally suggested setting it in 2500, some 30 generations from now. Jim decided to set the story in 2075, to give it a more immediate and closer to home feel. He was right to do so.

Having read the book as it was being written chapter by chapter, and again as a completed paperback, I can tell you this: climate denialists are going to say it’s not science, and die-hard climate activists are going to say it’s just fiction.

People are going to be of two minds, too: Some will champion the novel and see it as a book of prophecy that we need pay attention to, and others, equally eloquent, will give the book a bad grade and send the author to the back of the room. Me? I support and champion Mr.
Laughter’s vision completely, and I feel this small novel could be one of the most important novels ever written by a human being.

Laughter’s “polar Western” is set in Alaska just 60 years from now, and it poses a very important and headline-mirroring question: Will mankind survive the “climapocalypse” coming our way as the Earth heats up over the next few centuries? The end is not coming in 100 years, but it might happen by 2500 A.D.

What do our religious leaders and moral leaders -- even our politicians -- have to say about all this? They are listening to the climate debate and boning up on the science, and some are already giving sermons on the issue and writing their own blog posts about it.

In Jim’s novel, sea levels rise and millions of “climate refugees” make their way north to Alaska and Canada. Think scavenger camps, “Mad Max” villages, and U.N.-administered “polar cities” — cities of domes, as the author calls them.

Polar City Red is more than mere science fiction. Laughter, a retired grandfather of four, comes across as a probing moralist and a modern Jeremiah. His worldview befits a former Christian pastor who built two churches and finds in his inherited religion both an anchor and a place for hope.

And his book is not just about climate change or northern dystopias. It’s also about the moral questions that must guide humanity as it tries to keep a lid on global warming’s worst-case scenarios while also looking for solutions to mankind’s worst nightmare: the possible
final extinction of the human species due to man’s own folly and extravagant ways. This is where our moral leaders and religious leaderse come in: they need to speak up about the morality and ethics of fighting climate change as a moral imperative, pro or con.

Can a small, 150-page novel have much of any impact of the world at large? No, it’s just entertainment, fiction, science fiction, a good book to put on your summer reading list. But I’ve already gotten feelers from Hollywood producers in Los Angeles and an Indian director in Mumbai. This story of ''polar cities'' as a mere thought exercise  has legs. Don’t dismiss me out of hand. Read the book first and then say your say.

Writing the novel took Laughter seven months of research and keyboarding, but I have a feeling that what he wrote will last 100 years or more. I care about 500 years from now. I care about people 50 generations from now. Why? Because I’m human, that’s why.

Polar City Red is more than a “cli-fi” thriller. It also exposes the underbelly of humankind’s most terrifying nightmare: the possible end of the human species and God’s deep displeasure at what His people have done to His Earth.

The book is prophetic, futuristic and moralistic. As a reader, you will get through this nightmare alive. But will our descendants, those in Alaska and Canada and Norway — where most Israelis will have fled to in 500 years — survive the Long Emergency we find ourselves in now? That’s the question that Jim Laughter poses. And you don’t have to believe in global warming to enjoy the story. And you don’t have to be climate activist to understand the dire straits we are in.

I can tell you this: the book ends on a note of hope and redemption, so it’s not a downer at all. Polar City Red might inspire you or it might annoy you, but as the world heads closer and closer to climate chaos, even where YOU live and work,  Laughter’s book sounds an ominous note.

However, not everyone agrees with me on this, and one of my most perceptive critics, David Brin, whose insightful columns on science often appear on his blog, too, is one of them.

He said in a recent email that while he admires the passion that I bring to the issue of human-wrought climate change, and specifically global warming, he is much more optimistic, noting, among other things that he is less pessimistic than I am. He said:

“I do not perceive global climate change rendering Humanity extinct. On the other hand, I consider that your literary and concious ''exaggeration'' to be vastly more sane than the opposite reaction, of ostriches who bury their heads in the sand while declaring all of the smartest folk in our civilization to be the fools.

“The continuing War on Science now has expanded to include every knowledge clade in American life. Journalists, school teachers, skilled labor, economists, civil servants, diplomats, judges, professors. I can name only two centers of intellect in American life that are not under direct attack by a relentless propaganda machine. Indeed, scientists are not being undermined in order to distract from global warming. Rather, climate change is being trumped up as an issue in order to denigrate science.’

”It should not be an issue. Seven percent of all the men and women who understand the equations and have studied the data have recommended that we take prudent – economically sound – measures to mitigate a potentially dangerous situation that could seriously affect the lives and livelihood of our children. These sensible men and women, many of whom I know personally, who have studied climate on twelve planets, know a heckuva lot more about this than we do, yet fanatics are saying ‘Ignore expert advice! Go to witch doctors instead!’

”Let us get this straight. These are the brilliant minds who transformed the weather report from a four-hour joke to a ten-day reliable forecast, saving us billions every year. If you despise them, then stop relying on their forecasts.

”Especially since the recommendations do not amount to ‘sitting in the dark and shivering while ruining the economy.’ Nobody wants that. Not even hippies. There are prudent measures we could take now, to prevent the worst mass extinction event in 65 million years. ’

”This is political. It is a putsch by the same Junkers feudal caste that foisted Hitler on the German people… “in order to prevent socialism.” It is a Big Lie campaign by the feudal aristocracy that started and maintained the diaspora for 2000 years’

”I am an optimist, unlike you, Danny Bloom. I believe we can convince our neighbors to shut off the Fox lie machine and come back into the light, where adults argue and negotiate honorably, listen to expert advice, and then work together to solve problems. Like grownups.”

I understand what Mr. Brin has written above, and I appreciate his feedback. He is right, too.

Demo cover for Taiwan Edition, Illustration by Deng Cheng-hong

Sunday, June 3, 2012

David Brin on Dan Bloom's polar cities pessimism and why it's better to be optimistic!

Of course, not everyone agrees with me on my POLAR CITIES PROJECT ideas, and one of my most perceptive critics, David Brin, whose

insightiful columns on science often appear on his blog in California , too, is one of them. I respect his good
and positive feedback here: He tells me in a recent email that while he admires the passion that I bring to the issue of human-wrought climate change, and specifically global warming, he is much more optimistic, noting, among other things : [Lightly edited by Dan Bloom]

"I am considerably less pessimistic than you are, Dan Bloom. I do not perceive global climate change rendering Humanity extinct. On the other hand, I consider that your kind of exaggeration as part of your wake up call of the Polar CIties project to be vastly more sane than the opposite reaction, of ostriches who bury their heads in the sand while declaring all of the smartest folk in our civilization to be the fools.''

"The continuing War on Science now has expanded to include every knowledge clade in American life. Journalists, school teachers, skilled labor, economists, civil servants, diplomats, judges, professors. I can name only two centers of intellect in American life that are not under direct attack by a relentless propaganda machine. Indeed, scientists are not being undermined in order to distract from global warming. Rather, climate change is being trumped up as an issue in order to denigrate science.''

''It should not be an issue. Seven percent of all the men and women who understand the equations and have studied the data have recommended that we take prudent - economically sound - measures to mitigate a potentially dangerous situation that could seriously affect the lives and livelihood of our children. These sensible men and women, many of whom I know personally, who have studied climate on twelve planets, know a heckuva lot more about this than we do, yet fanatics are saying 'Ignore expert advice! Go to witch doctors instead!'"

''Let us get this straight. These are the brilliant minds who transformed the weather report from a four-hour joke to a ten-day reliable forecast, saving us billions every year. If you despise them, then stop relying on their forecasts.

''Especially since the recommendations do not amount to 'sitting in the dark and shivering while ruining the economy.' Nobody wants that. Not even hippies. There are prudent measures we could take now, to prevent the worst mass extinction event in 65 million years. ''

''This is political. ''

''I am an optimist,..... unlike Danny Bloom. ...... I believe we can convince our neighbors to nd come back into the light, where adults argue and negotiate honorably, listen to expert advice, and then work together to solve problems. Like grownups.''

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Is that a glacier growing in my backyard? Musings of a global warming skeptic named Craig Medred in Alaska

Craig Medred writes in the Alaska Dispatch earlier this year:

Snow is piled so deep in the valley behind my house in the Chugach Mountain foothills it looks like the coming of a new Ice Age. The hurricane-force winds of December, and those that followed, have swept the Front Range mountains largely bare of snow, but it all ended up in the valleys below. Some places in our valley, the snow is at least 40 feet deep, maybe more.

How do I know this? Because there are gullies hiked in past summers that have disppeared. I remember their depth. I remember length of the climb needed to get out of them, not to mention the sweat involved. And now it is possible to walk across the tops of these very same gullies. This is, quite literally, walking on water, but the water is trapped in the form of snow. It is deep here. It is deeper elsewhere.

The National Weather Service reports 43 feet of snow fell this winter at Main Bay in Prince William Sound. Glaciers start this way. Snow piles so high the pressure exerted by the snow on top becomes great enough to turn snow at the bottom into ice. Viola, a glacier.

I am confident I will not see a glacier forming in Paradise Valley. The snow in the mountains above the house will eventually melt, or at least most of it. There could be remnants still hanging on by the time it starts snowing next fall, but it takes more than one summer of remnant snow to start a glacier. The winter of record snowfall in Alaska's largest city does, however, lead some to wonder about global warming.

A big debate is raging around this subject once again because some former astronauts and administrators for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration had the audacity to challenge that federal agency's strong stand on the subject. As is to be expected, the media hyped this a bit -- "49 former NASA scientists go ballistic over agency's bias over climate change,'' headlined the Financial Post, and in a blink the battle between those who wholeheartedly believe the planet is warming because of man's technology and those who remain even a tiny bit skeptical escalated.

The Holy Church of Climate Change doesn't take kindly to heretics. "NASA Climate Change Letter Belongs to Long Tradition of Fake Expertise'' was the headline on a follow-up story by political writer Lucia Graves at the Huffington Post. It quoted various experts peeing all over the 49 who'd dared to express skepticism.

Call me a skeptic

I admit to being a skeptic on climate change. My skepticism, however, is rooted in scientific reality. And the scientific reality is that there is a lot about how climate works that remains unresolved. The National Weather Service has a hard time predicting the climate a few days out, let alone a few months out, and yet we are all to embrace the idea that someone out there can predict what the weather will be decades into the future?

That's a little hard to buy. I'm not going to take that deal from a scientist any more than from a used-car salesman.

On the other hand, there is one key fact that no one can overlook. So let's forget about climate change or global warming and focus on that fact for a minute. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been steadily on the rise for a century or more. This is well documented for the last 50 years in regular samples taken at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. Much of this carbon dioxide can be linked to human technology -- car, planes, trains, power plants, factories.

Aside from dams and nuclear power plants, most devices man has made to produce power yield carbon dioxide as a byproduct. You could probably even include your bicycle. A body is an engine of sorts, and when revved up, it takes in more oxygen for power and pushes out more carbon dioxide as waste. This is the way of all machines, and we are in the machine age.

There are those who take a simplistic view on this: "Don't worry, be happy; the planet will sort it all out.'' This is the Gaia Theory. I sort of like it. Certainly the planet has done a pretty good job of taking care of us so far, but one has to wonder if it is wise to charge blindly ahead counting solely on fate. I don't think so, although I admit I come to this conclusion backwards, having covered two major oil spills, the Exxon Valdez in Alaska and the Deepwater Horizon gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. In both cases, I was exposed to the constant drone of Chicken Littles going on and on ad infinitum about how the environment would never be the same.

This was and is simply wrong. I was trained as a scientist. One of the realities of chemistry truly is that "the solution to pollution is dilution.'' Any pollutant out there will be rendered benign if you dilute it enough, and nature dilutes everything over time. The planet's climate is more powerful than the people who live on the planet. Sun, wind and water -- in all its forms -- tear things down, break things apart, and push the planet always back toward natural states. If anyone out there has their doubts, I'd invite them along on a tour of Alaska's old "Inland Empire'' between the Kuskokwim and Yukon rivers in the Interior. There is pretty much nothing there now but nothing.

Dilution solution

The empire is gone. The planet's power of reclamation is astounding, so I worry less about visible pollution than a lot of people I know -- while worrying more about invisible pollution. Invisible pollution is easy to overlook. My concern here goes back to another old scientific cliche: "Johnny was a scientist, but Johnny ain't no more, because what Johnny thought was H20 was H2SO4.''

For those of you without training in chemistry, H2SO4 is the formula for sulfuric acid. It is a clear liquid that looks just like water. If you get it on your skin, it will burn the hell out of you. C02, the formula for carbon dioxide, won't burn the hell out of you. But it shares something in common with sulfuric acid in that it looks like something benign or nearly benign.

Most know that CO2 is a gas that looks like air because it is part of the air we breath. At certain concentrations, it’s vital. Plants need to take in CO2 to survive via photosynthesis, the way plants produce the sugar they need to live. Given that plant are the basis of nearly all life on the planet, most especially human life, a healthy volume of CO2 in the atmosphere is a good thing. But too much of a good thing can be as bad as too little.

Which brings us back to that old saying that "the solution to pollution is dilution.'' This also works sort of in reverse. Anything in a great enough concentration can become a pollutant -- even water. There was a big scare related to this a few years back when it was revealed that at least eight deaths in marathon-style running events could be linked to exercise-induced hyponatremia, which is really nothing more than drinking too much water.

Essentially, to oversimplify this, eight people poisoned themselves to death by drinking too much water, which ought to be enough to make any reasonable person wonder about the CO2 in the atmosphere.

Who knows the future?

To hell with global warming or climate change. The scientists who think they can see the future might be right, and they might be wrong. Who knows? Scientists haven't really shown themselves to be all that much better than non-scientists at predicting the future. So maybe they should stop the doomsday nonsense about what's over the horizon and focus on the here and now.

Andrew Revkin, the climate reporter for the New York Times, has blogged on this and offered some interesting thoughts from yet another astronaut, Russell Schweickart. Schweickart makes the case that it's only sensible to try to reduce carbon dioxide while preparing to adapt to a warmer world, because the planet – Alaska this year aside -- to be getting warmer.

"But,'' Schweickart adds, "(these) are all very modest thoughts compared with the 'religiously' held beliefs of the pro/anti human-caused-climate-change advocates."

Amen to that.

The name calling is getting a little old. So is the righteousness. The absolute truth is that no human can know with certainty what the future holds, and any scientist who makes the claim he or she can shouldn't be a scientist. Tomorrow is Earth’s new experiment. We can look back through climate record and make some guesses, maybe some really good and scientifically enlightened guesses. But they remain guesses.

None of us "know'' what is going happen. Hell, for all we know some crazy folks in North Korea could ignite a global nuclear war in the decades ahead, and the planet’s inhabitants could be facing "nuclear winter'' instead of "global warming.''


Worrisome ocean acidification

One thing we do know is that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is going up. Not much is being done about it. And the first signs of a problem serious problem -- ocean acidification -- are appearing. Alaskans, loving their salmon as they do, ought to be concerned about this, but they're not. They're like Americans.

Nobody wants to make the sacrifices necessary to cut CO2 emissions. We're sort of wedded to the way we do things now because, well, it all looks so innocent. The nitrogen oxides that used to spew out of our motor vehicles, leading to that ugly smog over American cities, have been pretty much eliminated thanks to technology. The modern motor vehicle emits mainly a clear, odorless gas -- carbon dioxide. Our home furnaces do the same.

Unlike an oil spill, CO2 doesn't look like a problem. So why do anything?

We could better insulate our homes and slow this seep of CO2 into the atmosphere. We could drive less, maybe even, God forbid, utilize mass transit. But we don't because it would be troublesome and difficult and, well, who cares about how much carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere when it's so much more fun to argue over climate change.

And, hey, you can look around right now and easily rationalize. Global warming? C'mon, be real. It's the middle of April, and there's still snow everywhere. Global warming is a lot of bunk.

comments welcome here PRO and CON:

Methane report by Alaska researcher, CO2 ppm level rise, shine spotlight on cli fi novel's themes in 'Polar City Red'

As the planet heats up and global warming becomes more and more a worrisome phenomenon, despite head in the sand tomfoolery from climate denialists and skeptics, Alaska stands at the forefront of the right against climate change and possible climate chaos in the distant future. Not now. Now everything is fine, so drive your SUV as far into the wilderness as you want, there's still time to enjoy the views.
Recently, Jim Laughter released a cli fi novel, pure fiction, titled "Polar City Red." It's a warning, a wake up call, an alarm bell in the guise of fiction. The story takes place in the Fairbanks area of Alaska in 2075, and you might call it sci fi if the term cli fi does not suit you. People are living in polar cities then. The future of humankind might, well, there might not be a future for mankind. But the book ends on a happy, positive note, so read it in that light.

Laughter's book is about CO2 emissions in overdrive, methane gas releases in the Arctic and the collapse of the Lower 48 and millions head north to Alaska and Canada and Norway.

About the same time Laughter's book was published, with a tweet by sci fi writer Margaret Atwood calling the novel "cli fi",'

the University of Alaska Fairbanks released a report on how methane

in the Arctic may add to a warmer planet. According to a recently published study by pioneering UAF researcher Katey Walter

Anthony, geologic methane seeps in Alaska may contribute about 250,000

metric tons of the gas into to the atmosphere each year.

According to Katie Medred, writing in The Alaska Dispatch magazine, Walter's study, the first of its kind, found that widespread terrestrial

sources of geologic methane in the Arctic is contributing heavily to

receding glaciers and may endanger what’s known as the “cryospher


''Previous research has found that warming permafrost releases methane

as the ground softens and decaying organic matter thaws. Walter

Anthony’s research is the first to confirm the source of geologic

methane emissions," Medred noted. "Methane is escaping through fissures in the Earth’s

crust, adding on to the organic methane production above ground.

According to Walter Anthony's findings underground geologic sources of

the greenhouse gas roughly equal the above-ground organic sources.

It’s not unusual to see methane released in the Arctic, but excessive

leaking is not a good sign. Repeat: not a good sign! In Laughter's novel,

three chapters are devoted to fictional accounts of the dangers of methane releases in the far north.

Is art imitating life? You bet it is!

While CO2 drives 80 percent of the warming caused by greenhouse gases,

methane poses an outsized threat. Some scientists warn that widespread

thawing of Arctic permafrost or warming of frozen hydrates on the

ocean floor could trigger massive methane releases and dramatically

accelerate the rate of climate change.

"Pound for pound, methane is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas

than carbon dioxide, but there's less of it in the atmosphere," according to

NOAA. Ever heard of NOAA's Ark? We might need something like this in the future.

Meanwhile, also at the same time that Laughter's book was published in late spring of 2012,

Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press press release agency in Washington rewrote

a government press release for his wire service saying that for the first in human history the

PPM levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have hit the 400 mark. That spells trouble, big trouble,

and nations do not work together to get the PPM levels back down to 350 the human species

may very well be doomed. Doomed! As in "the end of human life on Planet Earth."

Are you ready for that in 500 years? Could it happen sooner? If you want to read a novel about

all this that presents a good old fashioned yarn in a non-threatening way, read Jim Laughter's engrossing

page turner called "Polar City Red". The book might serve as a good dress rehearsal for what's coming

Alaska's way in the next 100 to 200 years.

All I'm saying here is: You've been warned. Don't say you weren't warned.

Okay, everyone, carry on! Back to business as usual. Keep driving your SUVs here and there. Nothing
to worry about now.