Economist:

Joe Biden began his presidency by passing a massively popular economic stimulus and covid-19 relief bill. He ended his first 100 days, and will begin the rest of his presidency, trying to get Republicans in Washington on board with an ambitious infrastructure-spending bill, which the public also favours. Mr Biden has also pledged to find a leading role for America in tackling climate change, and has said he wants to to restore and strengthen America’s traditional foreign alliances. Each policy marks a break with the previous administration.

Also,

Axios:

A majority of Americans say they are in favor of transitioning to 100% clean energy by 2035, regardless of whether they’re living in a blue or red state, according to new polling provided first to Axios

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“It’s a dry heat” describes some real physics.
Appreciate this from Salon.

Salon:

What is wet bulb temperature anyway?

The normal temperature of a healthy human is about 98 °F (37 °C). So why don’t we feel most comfortable when that’s the temperature of the air around us? Because our bodies are engines, burning food to do work, and engines need to lose heat to their surroundings, or they overheat and stop working. As in, die. 

Fortunately, even if our surroundings are warmer than our bodies, we still lose heat if our sweat evaporates, by the miracle of the energy required to convert water from liquid to vapor. In dry air, this evaporative cooling system works great, even at air temperatures that sound really hot, because evaporation makes our skin feel cooler. But as moisture in the air increases, evaporation and heat removal slows, as anyone who has worked outside on a hot humid day knows.

But when do things go from uncomfortable to dangerous — and when will climate change take us there? 

Scientists have come up with more than 120 ways to quantify heat stress. One of the most useful is wet bulb temperature — the temperature that a wet thermometer in the shade measures as water evaporates freely off it. This temperature will be lower than the temperature on a dry thermometer in the same place (which is known as dry bulb temperature), and the difference between the two is a measure of humidity. So to get wet bulb temperature we can either measure it directly with a wet thermometer, or calculate it from dry bulb temperature and humidity. 

The usefulness of wet bulb temperature is it makes it clear how close conditions are to lethal. The closer wet bulb temperature gets to our body temperature, the less heat is lost and the closer we are to heat death.

It has been known for more than a century that wet bulb temperatures higher than 88 °F (31 °C) make it impossible to do physical labor, and a wet bulb temperature of 95 °F (35 °C) kills healthy humans within a few hours. Interestingly, reconstructions of wet bulb temperatures in hothouse periods of Earth’s past have also been used to interpret possible geographic limits and body temperatures of ancient mammals. 

Wet bulb temperature also explains why sky-high temperatures in places like Arizona are typically not lethal. Even a warm 100 °F (38 °C) May day in Tucson with relative humidity of 20% is a relatively comfortable wet-bulb temperature of 70 °F (22 °C). But the same dry bulb temperature with the average relative humidity in Jacksonville (75%) leads to a wet bulb temperature of 94 °F (34 °C), close enough to human body temperature to cause severe and potentially fatal heat stress. And while extreme temperatures usually get the headlines, globally, humidity dominates wet bulb temperature. 

Deaths reported.

Concerns of more dam breaks.

Dam collapse in Mongolia

Lot of that going around.

Reuters:

Large swathes of China’s central Henan province were under water on Wednesday, with its capital Zhengzhou hardest-hit after being drenched by what weather forecasters said was the highest rainfall in 1,000 years.

In Zhengzhou, a city of over 12 million on the banks of the Yellow River, 12 people have died so far amid the floods, and about 100,000 people have been evacuated to safe zones, the official Xinhua agency reported, citing the local government.

The lives of millions of people in Henan have been upended since the weekend in an unusually active rainy season that has led to the rapid rise of a number of rivers in the Yellow River basin.

Streets in a dozen cities have been flooded, while dozens of water reservoirs and dams breached warning levels.

From the evening of Saturday until late Tuesday, 617.1 millimetres (mm) (24 inches) of rain had drenched Zhengzhou – almost on par with the annual average of 640.8 mm.

The level of rainfall in Zhengzhou witnessed over the three days was one seen only “once in a thousand years”, local media cited meteorologists as saying.

Dramatic video shared on social media since Tuesday showed commuters waist-deep in murky floodwaters on a lightless subway train and an underground station turned into a large, churning pool. 

Stories about truly massive rain event. Trying to find out more.

Riders trapped in a collapsed subway. Not all reportedly made it out.

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The Race We are Losing

July 19, 2021

New Wind turbines rising in Mt Haley Township, Midland County, MI.The evening sky is hazy with the smoke from wildfires in Western North America.

To head off catastrophic climate change, deployment of clean energy needs to accelerate 10x.

Citizens needed willing to stand up for clean energy deployment across the planet. There is a tough struggle ahead, and no time left to dither.

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I first heard Nick Carmody on an April episode of the Lincoln Project podcast, and he totally fleshed out some of the observations I’ve made in dealing with climate deniers, and more recently, the squadrons of the broken and lost that get mobilized and weaponized on Facebook, for Qanon, against vaccinations, or wind energy, or solar energy, or science in general, or whatever the latest target of the fossil fuel disinformation complex is.

Anger is a drug, and causes addiction in the body just like a drug. Just. Like. a. drug.
And some really bad people have noticed this, and put it to work.

Nick Carmody on Patreon:

Several years ago I started observing the parallels between addiction and political tribalism as marriages, friendships, and families began to implode over politics and Donald Trump.

Specifically, I started noticing the parallels between the effect that addiction has on relationships when those relationships (interventions) threaten the continuation of the addictive behavior/activity:

When confronted with a threat to the addiction, the addict will often cut the loved one out of their life, rather than cut out the addictive behavior.

This has occurred countless times over the last five years as people have cut family and friends out of their lives over politics.

For example, a daughter told me that her 80 something year-old mom told her that if Trump and the daughter were both drowning, she (the mother) would save Trump first, and the daughter, second, if at all.

This is one of many stories people have DM’d me looking for help. 

Initially, the addiction appeared to be related to the outrage, anger, or fear.  But then I came across research explaining dopamine, which is related to the reward center of the brain, in terms of “subjective utility”.   This got me thinking about confirmation bias, and made me realize the “addiction” wasn’t to the outrage/anger/fear.  Instead, the addiction was created by repeatedly receiving a dopamine reward every time their subjective beliefs (bias) were confirmed by Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, Tucker Carlson, or whoever they plugged into…and the outrage, anger, and fear was merely the by-product of the addictive process.

But, as I explained on the Lincoln Project podcast, this addictive process may have a second, compounding factor to it because research has shown neuroanatomical regions associated with physically painful experiences exhibit increased activity when people experience social exclusion or separation, as I explained in this article about Qanon morphing into a religion:

“…political polarization/partisanship problem actually goes even much deeper because research has shown there may be a physiological component: fMRI scans were used to show that neuroanatomical regions that are associated with physically painful experiences. exhibit increased activity when people experience social exclusion or social separation. These findings indicate that it can literally become a *painful* experience when people disagree or speak out against groups of which they consider themselves to be members. This would seem to indicate that there are physiological components at play that cause people to prefer to be comfortably wrong (incorrect/uninformed), rather than uncomfortably right (correct/informed), when being right or correct would put them in contradiction with a group with whom they share an identity, or if being right or correct would threaten their group membership. If motivation or incentive for pain avoidance exists, it not only could conceivably create an aversion to objectivity or moderation, but it would incentivize groupthink, “collective narcissism”, etc.”.  Similar to speaking out against a group that people derive their identity from…..there may be a pain avoidance component involved with aversions to refuting a conspiracy theory, or speaking out against a belief the rest of the group believes/propagates.”

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Maybe you thought climate action would be a nice thing to do, but that there was no realistic chance that global warming would affect you any time soon?

A Thousand people missing in Germany. US West shrouded in smoke and a withering heat dome, as a historic mega drought emerges. (watch for new video soon)

Is anyone doing a rethink?

NYTimes:

Some of Europe’s richest countries lay in disarray this weekend, as raging rivers burst through their banks in Germany and Belgium, submerging towns, slamming parked cars against trees and leaving Europeans shellshocked at the intensity of the destruction.

Only days before in the Northwestern United States, a region famed for its cool, foggy weather, hundreds had died of heat. In Canada, wildfire had burned a village off the map. Moscow reeled from record temperatures. And this weekend the northern Rocky Mountains were bracing for yet another heat wave, as wildfires spread across 12 states in the American West.

The extreme weather disasters across Europe and North America have driven home two essential facts of science and history: The world as a whole is neither prepared to slow down climate change, nor live with it. The week’s events have now ravaged some of the world’s wealthiest nations, whose affluence has been enabled by more than a century of burning coal, oil and gas — activities that pumped the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that are warming the world.

“I say this as a German: The idea that you could possibly die from weather is completely alien,” said Friederike Otto, a physicist at Oxford University who studies the links between extreme weather and climate change. “There’s not even a realization that adaptation is something we have to do right now. We have to save people’s lives.”

The floods in Europe have killed at least 165 people, most of them in Germany, Europe’s most powerful economy. Across Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, hundreds have been reported as missing, which suggests the death toll could rise. Questions are now being raised about whether the authorities adequately warned the public about risks.

Disasters magnified by global warming have left a long trail of death and loss across much of the developing world, after all, wiping out crops in Bangladesh, leveling villages in Honduras, and threatening the very existence of small island nations. Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines in the run-up to climate talks in 2013, which prompted developing-country representatives to press for funding to deal with loss and damage they face over time for climate induced disasters that they weren’t responsible for. That was rejected by richer countries, including the United States and Europe.

“Extreme weather events in developing countries often cause great death and destruction — but these are seen as our responsibility, not something made worse by more than a hundred years of greenhouse gases emitted by industrialized countries,” said Ulka Kelkar, climate director at the India office of the World Resources Institute. These intensifying disasters now striking richer countries, she said, show that developing countries seeking the world’s help to fight climate change “have not been crying wolf.”

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