Phys.org:

At first glance, it looks like hard candy laced with flecks of fake fruit, or a third grader’s art project confected from recycled debris.

In reality, it’s a sliver of Arctic Ocean sea ice riddled with microplastics, extracted by scientists from deep inside an ice block that likely drifted southward past Greenland into Canada’s increasingly navigable Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
“We didn’t expect this amount of plastic, we were shocked,” said University of Rhode Island ice expert Alessandra D’Angelo, one of a dozen scientists collecting and analysing data during an 18-day expedition aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden.

“There is so much of it, and of every kind—beads, filaments, nylons,” she told AFP from Greenland, days after completing the voyage.
Plastic pollution was not a primary focus of the Northwest Passage Project, funded by the US National Science Foundation and Heising-Simons Foundation.
Led by oceanographer Brice Loose, the multi-year mission is investigating how global warming might transform the biochemistry and ecosystems of the expansive Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
‘Punch to the stomach’
One key question is whether the receding ice pack and influx of fresh water will boost the release into the atmosphere of methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent that CO2.
The Arctic region has warmed twice as quickly as the global average, some two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Average Arctic sea ice extent set a record low for July, nearly 20 percent below the 1981-2010 average, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported on Thursday.
But plastics has inserted itself onto the research agenda all the same.At first glance, it looks like hard candy laced with flecks of fake fruit, or a third grader’s art project confected from recycled debris.

In reality, it’s a sliver of Arctic Ocean sea ice riddled with microplastics, extracted by scientists from deep inside an ice block that likely drifted southward past Greenland into Canada’s increasingly navigable Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
“We didn’t expect this amount of plastic, we were shocked,” said University of Rhode Island ice expert Alessandra D’Angelo, one of a dozen scientists collecting and analysing data during an 18-day expedition aboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden.

Read the rest of this entry »
Advertisements

If you wonder why Flat Earthism is a growing thing, it’s related to the way media, and particularly social media, selects information.

University of California Merced:

The American media lends too much weight to people who dismiss climate change, giving them legitimacy they haven’t earned, posing serious danger to efforts aimed at raising public awareness and motivating rapid action, a new study shows.
While it is not uncommon for media outlets to interview climate change scientists and climate change deniers in the same interviews, the effort to offer a 360-degree view is creating a false balance between trained climate scientists and those who lack scientific training, such as politicians.
“It’s not just false balance; the numbers show that the media are ‘balancing’ experts — who represent the overwhelming majority of reputable scientists — with the views of a relative handful of non-experts,” UC Merced Professor LeRoy Westerling said. “Most of the contrarians are not scientists, and the ones who are have very thin credentials. They are not in the same league with top scientists. They aren’t even in the league of the average career climate scientist.”
Westerling is one of three researchers from UC Merced who tracked the digital footprints of climate scientists and deniers across about 200,000 research publications and 100,000 digital and print media articles on climate change over the past few years. Their work is published in Nature Communications today .
Data shows that about half the mainstream media visibility goes to climate-change deniers, many of whom are not climate scientists. This proportion increases significantly when blogs and other “new media” outlets are included — pointing to the rising role of customized media in spreading disinformation.
“It’s time to stop giving these people visibility, which can be easily spun into false authority,” Professor Alex Petersen said. “By tracking the digital traces of specific individuals in vast troves of publicly available media data, we developed methods to hold people and media outlets accountable for their roles in the climate-change-denialism movement, which has given rise to climate change misinformation at scale.”

There are a variety of reasons people don’t accept the results of climate science even though the science is overwhelming. These include cognitive bias and “motivated reasoning” — the tendency of people to bias their judgements by personal and group-level values, even when faced with documented facts; and external influences, including political cues, ideological biases, cultural worldviews and even personal weather experiences.
But the media’s longstanding and dominant role in empowering cultural politics, the advent of “new media” and the nearly boundless scalability of content distribution across the Internet compound the problem and amplify misinformation, the researchers said.
Even when people have complete control in choosing their sources of information, they are still susceptible to significant disparities in content production and to media coverage.

Read the rest of this entry »

None Dare Call it Conspiracy.

EVTV Motor Verks:

I generally eschew conspiracy theories under the rubric that little explained by conspiracy cannot as well be explained by incompetence and that the occurrence of stupid is vastly more common than the occurrence of evil in the hearts and minds of men.
But it is also true that it can only be a conspiracy theory if there is NOT an underlying conspiracy. And it is only paranoia if they are NOT all out to get you.
In the case of Tesla, the car and the company, if you eliminate all other possible causes, what remains is the answer. And I have the increasingly uncomfortable feeling that not all is right with the world.
Let’s start with the car. I suppose it’s a matter of opinion, and I’m certainly given to having one, but what is emerging is a stunning lack of challenge to the premise that the Tesla, in all its variants, is the most advanced automobile ever designed and manufactured on purpose, and the best car ever made in all respects. Basically ALL voices and opinions to the contrary have simply disappeared from the scene – poof – gone.


I presume you are aware that the Model 3 won Detroit News Magazines 2018 Car of the Year award. As it happens, it was also named car of the year by Popular Mechanics March 2018
Automotive Excellence awards. 
AutoExpress Car of the Year 2019: Tesla Model 3
Automobile Magazine 2018 Design of the Year: Tesla Model 3.

The grandfather of ALL automotive magazines is MOTOR TREND. Motor Trend started publication in September 1949 with the Kurtis Sportscar on the cover. A car so beloved they later acquired one of the 16 ever built for display in their publishing offices.
This magazine has from 1949 existed by the hand of car lovers for car lovers and represents the largest collection of photographic automotive pornography ever assembled by man.
Also in 1949, they named their first CAR OF THE YEAR – THE 1949 CADILLAC SERIES 62 SEDANETTE.
In 2013 they rather shockingly named the Tesla Model S CAR OF THE YEAR with the astonishing admission that since 1949, there was NEVER A CAR LIKE THIS.
And in 2019 they have named the 2013 Tesla Model S as the ULTIMATE CAR OF THE YEAR – the top CAR OF THE YEAR in seven decades of publication and naming a car of the year every year.

Read the rest of this entry »

New York Times:

RIO DE JANEIRO — As an ecological disaster in the Amazon escalated into a global political crisis, Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, took the rare step on Friday of mobilizing the armed forces to help contain blazes of a scale not seen in nearly a decade.
The sudden reversal, after days of dismissing growing concern over hundreds of fires raging across the Amazon, came as international outrage grew over the rising deforestation in the world’s largest tropical rain forest. European leaders threatened to cancel a major trade deal, protesters staged demonstrations outside Brazilian embassies and calls for a boycott of Brazilian products snowballed on social media.
As a chorus of condemnation intensified, Brazil braced for the prospect of punitive measures that could severely damage an economy that is already sputtering after a brutal recession and the country’s far-right populist president faced a withering reckoning.
On Friday, he said that he was planning to send the military to enforce environmental laws and to help contain the fires starting Saturday.

Wall Street Journal:

MOSCOW—A double blow of floods and wildfires in Russia this summer is injecting fresh urgency into rethinking the country’s usually skeptical stance toward the dangers posed by climate change.
Smoke from massive wildfires raging across an area the size of Belgium has engulfed hundreds of villages in Siberia—and spread as far as Seattle and Vancouver. Floods in the same region took 25 lives and displaced more than 30,000 people. Russian scientists say climate change was a major factor in both disasters.
President Vladimir Putin warns that Russia is being hit hard, with temperatures in the country rising 2½ times faster than the global average. His government recently decided to ratify the 2015 Paris climate agreement and introduced proposals for a law capping industrial emissions.

In Paris on Monday, Mr. Putin discussed climate change with French President Emmanuel Macron, saying Moscow is adopting programs and allocating major resources in combating it.
“We take this matter very seriously,” Mr. Putin said. “We have to coordinate our efforts. We are prepared for this joint work.” 
It’s a break from the past. Mr. Putin had long been ambiguous about the need for stronger climate-control measures. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of oil and gas combined, which is the heart of its economy. Mr. Putin previously described climate change as a part of a natural cycle that could benefit Russians. The country is expected to see better shipping access through the Arctic Sea and more opportunities for mining and drilling. Mr. Putin once joked in 2016 that people would save money on fur coats.
But Alexey Kokorin, head of the climate change program at the Russian branch of the environmental organization World Wide Fund for Nature, said the government’s approach has changed.

Read the rest of this entry »

The running story line, repeated in the CNN piece above, is that “the Amazon produces 20 percent of the world’s oxygen”.

Nope, that’s wrong – it’s an emergency and a criminal act, and global challenge, but the 20 percent is just not right. It’s less than a third of that.

Climate Nexus:

Coverage of the fires raging in the Amazon rainforest are incredibly concerning, but many stories describing the fires include the inaccurate figure that the Amazon represents 20% of the planet’s oxygen production. Multiple climate scientists have pointed out that this is wrong.
While the fires are having a tremendous impact on the global climate and the well-being of local communities, and according to fire experts who study the region are perhaps unprecedented over at least the past 20,000 years, they are not a threat to the planet’s oxygen supply.

As Dr. Jonathan Foley explained in a lengthy Twitter thread, the Amazon represents at most approximately 6% of the world’s oxygen production, and it is “biologically and physically impossible for the Amazon to produce 20% of the world’s oxygen.”And in reality, even that 6% is likely an overestimation, given that oxygen production from plant growth is offset by the decomposition from plant death.
Current oxygen levels are the result of millions of years of annual production. The loss of the Amazon won’t cause oxygen levels to immediately plummet. Moreover, the vegetation that emerges after the fires will also produce oxygen. As Dr. Scott Denning noted on Twitter, even if all oxygen production on the planet were to stop, it would still “take a million years for O2 to be depleted.” 
The fires do consume oxygen directly, but they’re not going to burn up any significant amount of Earth’s oxygen. Dr. Ken Caldeira pointed out on Twitter, even burning all the fossil fuels in the world would only “consume <3% of atmospheric O2.”
Photosynthesis converts atmospheric CO2 to living tissue, releasing oxygen as a byproduct. But virtually all of that oxygen is later consumed by respiration, decomposition, or combustion. Only a minuscule fraction of the oxygen produced by photosynthesis is retained in the air. Nearly all of the production of oxygen happens in ocean sediments, not on land. If all oxygen production were to cease tomorrow, it would take about a million years for atmospheric oxygen to be depleted.


Dr. Scott Denning, Professor, Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University said“My understanding is that the big story is the de-facto policy reversal by the Bolsonaro government regarding deforestation. Fires have historically been set during the Amazon dry season to clear land for farms, reaches, and settlement.
In recent years the rate of deforestation for agriculture was severely curtailed by strong policy which was unevenly enforced. The Bolsonaro government has dramatically reduced enforcement and even encouraged new clearing in public remarks, and the new fires are a result of that.
The story is corruption and mismanagement, and the loss of one of the planet’s major carbon sinks, not asphyxiation!