The ice covering the Arctic is at near record lows this year, and this icy deficit may impact weather around the world, NASA reports.

Every March, the Arctic’s sea ice reaches its maximum cover, both in area and thickness, before it recedes to its yearly minimum in September. Live Science spoke with NASA scientist Walt Meier yesterday (March 25) to learn more about the low sea-ice level and what it means for the rest of the planet.

“This year we’re seeing a real extremely warm winter,” Meier said. “Temperatures have been 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit [5.5 to 8.3 degrees Celsius] above normal [in the Arctic]. And we see that reflected in the very low sea-ice cover that generally grows to its maxima around this time of year.”




Twitter exchange in which, despite 2 record warm years followed by shocking uptick in global temperatures, long time climate denial stalwart S. Fred Singer still clings to the climate denial orthodoxy.

You’re excused if you never heard of Fred Singer – but he really has been one of the most destructive pseudo-scientific disinfo specialists, not only on behalf of Exxon and the usual suspects, but the tobacco industry as well. A man for all toxic seasons.

Here’s an early “Climate Denial Crock of the Week” video where I took on one of his pet shibboleths.

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New York Times:

As a dragnet aimed at Islamic State operatives spiraled across Brussels and into at least five European countries on Friday, the authorities were also focusing on a narrower but increasingly alarming threat: the vulnerability of Belgium’s nuclear installations.

The investigation into this week’s deadly attacks in Brussels has prompted worries that the Islamic State is seeking to attack, infiltrate or sabotage nuclear installations or obtain nuclear or radioactive material. This is especially worrying in a country with a history of security lapses at its nuclear facilities, a weak intelligence apparatus and a deeply rooted terrorist network.

On Friday, the authorities stripped security badges from several workers at one of two plants where all nonessential employees had been sent home hours after the attacks at the Brussels airport and one of the city’s busiest subway stations three days earlier. Video footage of a top official at another Belgian nuclear facility was discovered last year in the apartment of a suspected militant linked to the extremists who unleashed the horror in Paris in November.

Asked on Thursday at a London think tank whether there was a danger of the Islamic State’s obtaining a nuclear weapon, the British defense secretary, Michael Fallon, said that “was a new and emerging threat.”

While the prospect that terrorists can obtain enough highly enriched uranium and then turn it into a nuclear fission bomb seems far-fetched to many experts, they say the fabrication of some kind of dirty bomb from radioactive waste or byproducts is more conceivable. There are a variety of other risks involving Belgium’s facilities, including that terrorists somehow shut down the privately operated plants, which provide nearly half of Belgium’s power.

The fears at the nuclear power plants are of “an accident in which someone explodes a bomb inside the plant,” said Sébastien Berg, the spokesman for Belgium’s federal agency for nuclear control. “The other danger is that they fly something into the plant from outside.” That could stop the cooling process of the used fuel, Mr. Berg explained, and in turn shut down the plant.

The revelation of the video surveillance footage was the first evidence that the Islamic State has a focused interest in nuclear material. But Belgium’s nuclear facilities have long had a worrying track record of breaches, prompting warnings from Washington and other foreign capitals.

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Bird Tweets Bernie

March 25, 2016


No news to those of us who have been guerilla fighting against the vast right wing lie machine.

The rise of Trump would be impossible without the GOP’s alternative media-verse.


Documentarian Jen Senko never knew her father Frank to be a cigarette smoker — so it was a little stunning when she witnessed him walk up to a group of smokers sitting outside a family favorite restaurant, take a generous inhale of their second-hand smoke, and boast, “I love the smell of cigarette smoke!”

It may have had something to do with the fact that Rush Limbaugh — Dad’s “hero” — had been inveighing against the whole notion of harmful second-hand smoke, which he mocked as a liberal fantasy. Frank Senko wasn’t having any of that hokum.

This was also during the same period when he refused to wear seat belts (another Limbaugh scourge) and railed against “feminazis” — a period Senko described as “the height of his Limbaugh lunch days.” His daily habit of listening to Rush during his commute to work and at lunch, then at night via a portable radio, blossomed into a full-bore multi-media diet of right-wing news and commentary coming at him via Fox, talk radio, and a glut of email newsletters, which he forwarded to his increasingly disconcerted family. It was, Senko says “almost like he joined a cult or joined a new religion.”

UPDATE: Trevor Noah is relevant here:

Senko’s new film The Brainwashing of My Dad is about the media apparatus that, in her words, “changed a father and divided a nation.” It’s an inquiry into how her amicable, “Kennedy Democrat” father, who was never particularly strident in his political views, became unrecognizably, caustically partisan, as well as hateful, angry, and intolerant of basically anyone who wasn’t white, male, middle class, and straight.

Using her father’s transformation as a starting point, Senko, who also co-directed 2009’s The Vanishing City, began making the film three years ago. Brainwashing was funded in part by Kickstarter backers who recognized Senko’s alienation from her father in their own family. Some of these backers appear in the movie as talking heads punctuating the film with descriptions of their own similar experiences: a chorus of exasperated sons, daughters, siblings, husbands, wives estranged from relatives who consume right-wing media and seem to inhabit an entirely different reality. “It hit me,” Senko said, “this is a phenomenon.”

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KAKE Wichita,  Kansas, this morning:

All firefighter assets who are interested in helping with the Barber County Fire can call (620) 930-0101. Any other donation of time or resources can contact 211.

Robert Scribbler:

It’s likely that we’ve never seen a March wildfire like the beast that just ripped through Kansas and Oklahoma over the past day. But in a world that’s now exploring a new peak temperature range near or above 1.5 C warmer than pre-industrial averages, a level of heat not seen in the past 110,000 years, we’d be out of our minds to expect the weather and climate conditions to behave in any kind of manner that could be considered normal.

We’re Probably Looking at the Worst Wildfire on Record for Kansas and Oklahoma



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Dr. Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland is chief scientist for the Dark Snow Project, and was co-author of a recent paper on changing dynamics in the North Atlantic.

That paper, from last March, has gotten some more attention in the wake of the new, hotly debated paper by James Hansen which was published this week, describing potentially serious impacts on North Atlantic weather and storms from continued melting of Greenland ice, as well as catastrophic sea level impacts sooner than most scientists expect.

For a view of what Dr. Box is talking about, see map below.  The stubborn blue “cold spot” in the north atlantic, while most of the global ocean surface is warming – has been the subject of increasing discussion and study over the last few years.



As the US Congress in Washington continues to fumble in science and technology denial, for now, in the US, the renewable energy action is at the state and local level.
States are finding out that they can compete better economically and create more jobs if they open up opportunities for renewables – solar energy in particular right now.

One bone of contention for states to deal with is that the large and still influential electric utilities are loath to give up their control of electric generation, and have doubts about a wild west solar economy with each householder as his own electric utility.
Turns out there’s a middle way that is getting attention.

Chris Mooney in Washington Post:

Right now, there’s an odd thing about solar in the United States (and elsewhere). It’s either really big — at the scale of massive solar farms with the capacity to generate tens or hundreds of millions of watts of electricity — or pretty small: on your rooftop, with maybe as little as 5 kilowatts, or thousand watts, of capacity.

Solar has been growing extremely fast in these existing markets. But more and more, analysts say, there’s a middle-range market whose large potential is just becoming clear. It’s bigger than individual rooftop installations but smaller than vast solar farms. And it’s for a much broader and diverse range of people than fairly wealthy, suburban homeowners.

It’s called community or “shared” solar, meaning that multiple people get electricity from a mid-sized solar array on the top of, say, a condo building, or in a lot centered in a community, or perhaps an array or resource designated by their power company. This means people living in more densely populated cities, who may not own the roofs over their heads or who may not have the best credit, could also participate in the solar wave — without having to purchase or finance panels themselves.

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