Archives for category: General

Sometimes it’s good to admit the fact mother nature is a bitch. She don’t care. She doesn’t care about flowers. She doesn’t care about rocks. She doesn’t care about dogs. She doesn’t care about tigers. She doesn’t care about sharks either. She doesn’t care about you and me or even our babies. She doesn’t even care about cute little kittens.

Mostly, she can’t care. She only works with energy. When energy builds up and becomes unbalanced, mother nature finds ways to dissipate it, sooner or later.

As Galileo said, “Eppur si muove.” The earth moves. It constantly shifts from energy input from the motion of the core. The energy input builds in faults and hard places, and the softer places move variously. Gradually, the energy buildup is stronger than whatever it is built up in, and things break and move rather suddenly.

This map indicates the movement: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake#/media/File:Global_plate_motion_2008-04-17.jpg

Here is an informative map of where the build-ups and breaks occur: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake#/media/File:Quake_epicenters_1963-98.png

Wiki has a nice overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake

The central US has its share of faults. The big one, the monster, is in the Missouri boot heel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Madrid_Seismic_Zone. And Missouri’s own take on it: https://dnr.mo.gov/geology/geosrv/geores/techbulletin1.htm. Consider this summary of major faults in North America: http://blog.esurance.com/beyond-san-andreas-5-scariest-fault-lines-in-the-u-s/

Comments about faults: https://www2.usgs.gov/faq/categories/9838/3399. It is noteworthy that central US movement is slower than the west coast, and things take longer to build up, and can go quite quiet for long periods.

Oklahomans, learn something about the ground under your feet. Go here: http://www.ou.edu/ogs/. Loads of information to download as PDF books. Good source for teachers.

The earthquake that woke up nearly everyone in the central US this morning is reported by OK Geo as: 12:02:44.426999 36.425 +/- 0.4 -96.929 +/- 0.5 5.6 +/- 1.2 5.5 MW OGS

That was 07:03 CDT. Google puts that in the middle of nowhere between state highways 18 and 177, north of state highway 15, south of the Arkansas River. Pawnee County, in the vicinity of Sooner Lake, which is in Pawnee and Noble counties. https://www.google.com/maps/place/36%C2%B025’30.0%22N+96%C2%B055’44.4%22W/@36.4198352,-96.9786396,14980m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d36.425!4d-96.929

Of course, not everyone felt it. Some of that is just attributable to individuality in person and circumstance, but some of it is attributable to the nature and variability of the ground and rock under our feet. Some spots shook a little, some a lot. Here is a representation from USGS: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us10006jxs#map. Relatives from Kansas City contacted us about the quake, when they felt it.

It was big, and shook a lot, but some spots are quite where shaking seems likely, and other spots shake far away, while areas around didn’t notice. The vibrations transmit as far and as wide as possible until the energy of the quake is used up and absorbed into the softer, looser, ground.

Check this article indicating significant earthquake potential in much of Oklahoma. http://strangesounds.org/2013/07/fault-lines-in-the-usa-this-map-shows-the-major-earthquake-hazard-areas-within-the-united-states.html

Here is a good one, which says, “Earthquakes are occurring in the basement
below oil and gas activities.” http://www.searchanddiscovery.com/documents/2016/70211boak/ndx_boak.pdf The USGS is making the case that the injection wells matter. They admit they really don’t understand yet. They also note that we’ve been doing this for decades, and it only just now seems to matter. In my opinion, oil/gas/water activities are only altering the way the quakes happen. Mother nature sets the stress, and she relieves it. She doesn’t care how. Our activities alter the how, not the amount.

Here ya go: http://strangesounds.org/2016/09/m5-6-earthquake-in-oklahoma-felt-across-entire-midwest-north-dakota-to-houston-texas.html

Regarding chapter 12 in Stark’s Triumph of Christianity, I find his opening assertions remarkable.

In chapter 9, on assessing growth, he points out that through Constantine’s conversion, to about 350 CE, we have sufficient reliable data to say that a simple logarithmic growth model of 3.4% per year holds. However, he points out that it had to slow rapidly after that.

Here is why:

Year Christians in Roman Empire
40 1,000 Thousand
50 1,397
100 7,434
109 10,044 Ten Thousand
150 39,560
178 100,887 Hundred Thousand
180 107,864
200 210,517
247 1,013,331 Million
250 1,120,245
300 5,961,288
312 8,904,029 (Milvian Bridge)
316 10,178,146 Ten Million
350 31,722,471 (around half the empire)
385 102,231,768 Hundred Million
454 1,026,840,633 Billion
523 10,313,835,968 Ten Billion

See the problem?

Dr. Stark presents the table above in chapter 9, and I’ve added some numbers for clarity.

I recalculated the numbers by dropping them in a spreadsheet, adding 3.4% per year, one year at a time. My numbers matched his. It is clear that the 3.4% growth rate dropped off rapidly after Christians became the majority. Otherwise, there would have been more Christians than living people. I’m sure various factors ensured it slowed rapidly. Probably the largest factor was that there were simply fewer non-Christians. If everyone you know is Christian, you can’t convert any of them. Probably official sanction slowed the growth too, simply because of loss of zeal.

Regardless, the growth seems astonishing when considering only the numbers, but when one thinks that 3.4% growth means that on average every 100 Christians brought 3 or 4 new converts into the fold every year, then it doesn’t seem remarkable at all, other than that it seems to have been so consistent. For over three centuries, the fervor of Christians stayed high.

Back to my point, chapter 12. He opens the chapter explaining how little information is still available about Christianity east of Jerusalem. He suggests Syria was the “center of gravity” of the entirety of Christendom until about 700 AD. There apparently is evidence that most of the eastern world had significant Christian populations, including India and China, until the coercive religions arose and wiped them out with the sword. (Of course, I’m referring to Islam, but I’ve only read a couple of pages of the chapter so far. I assume he will note other persecutions and massacres attributable to other religion and culture.)

What I find most remarkable is he concludes that Christians in the west (the Roman Empire) accounted for ONLY a third of all Christians in the year 500. Think of that.

There were tens of millions of Christians in the west. If there were twice as many Christians in the east and in northern Africa, that means the aggressive religions and cultures slaughtered around one hundred million Christians (100,000,000 people of several ethnicities). Actually, even more, since it was over centuries that they were wiped out. There would have been some births and conversions in that time.

Contemplate that.

I always encourage keeping perspective. Try to look at the big picture as well as the details.

The world wars of the 20th Century were horrific, and still in the minds of many of us. Estimates vary, but war deaths through the entire 20th Century are only about as many total as the deaths of Christians who lived in the east before they were extirpated.

Dr. Stark indicates that in many Muslim areas, Christians remained a majority, though repressed, until the beginning of the Fourteenth Century, at which point the Muslims conducted a relentless, violent extermination of the Christians, forcing conversion or death.

I suppose many acquiesced and switched allegiance, but we have ample evidence that a significant proportion of Christians will accept execution rather than renounce Christ.

From chapter 12:

After centuries of gradual decline, the number of Christians in the East and North Africa suddenly reduced to less than 2 percent of the population by 1400. With the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Christianity had been essentially restricted to Europe.

I’ve made assumptions here, and calculated in ways Stark hasn’t suggested (at least not as far as I’ve read to date), but the fact is obvious. Christians of all ethnicities have experienced horrific violence at the hands of other beliefs and cultures.

When it comes to blame and grievance, I believe there never has been and never will be any shortage. On the whole, we are all in this together, and we just better keep working on doing our part to make it better. We must refuse coercion. We must live and act right in our own lives, respecting the life and property of others.

Do good and pray for those who despitefully use you.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/02/07/a-note-about-bad-losers-and-global-warming-on-super-bowl-sunday/

A story well told and worth my time.

I offer here a hodgepodge of thoughts provoked by the author, Caleb Shaw.

For context, read the article, quoting:

“It continued long after the Boston Tea Party sparked a Revolutionary War, where the good idea of Liberty cost the young nation 1% of its population. A half-century later Oliver Wendell Holmes demanded doctors wash their hands (a decade before Louis Pasteur got the credit for discovering germs), and inadvertently this caused a crisis in the Church at a time when New England was the “Bible Belt,” (because germs were an invisible power other than God.) Not long after that other redefiners pushed the radical idea that slavery should be abolished in all places, which rather than mere paper legislation inadvertently led to the horrible slaughter of the Civil War, which cost nearly as many American lives as all the nation’s other wars combined.”

Along with the author’s point, I’m emphasizing the lack of vision in those who saw germs as an affront to God’s supremacy. How small minded can people be? If you think like this, I assure you, your God is too small. (Reference JB Phillips.)

Also, “redefinition is no laughing matter, and nothing to take lightly. You can’t blithely reform things like the Ten Commandments or the American Constitution, without facing reverberations of a magnitude that is far from blithe.”

Also, “When we experience loss we replay it in our minds. The psychologists may call it “Post Traumatic Stress”, but we are replaying the films of the past game, noting the mistakes, and planning to play better in the next game. We own a craving to improve.” And that is good, if we have our foundation firmly grounded in something greater than ourselves, and if we keep proper perspective and proportion.

Also, “politics does involve winners and losers, and a rule book called our laws, and the temptation to “amend” the laws, and to “redefine” how the game is played, and even what constitutes “winning”. It requires we be civil, if we are to call ourselves “civilized”, and that we follow certain set procedures we call “civil procedures”. And here again we see two basic types of laws that restrain man within certain limits: Physical laws and spiritual laws.”

I believe in these laws, and I am convinced we cannot attain the good of them by ignoring that which is inconvenient within them. There aren’t any politicians in the limelight today that I think are trying to account the full perspective of such law. The foremost of the conservatives seems willing to compromise anything for the sake of political expedience. He says one thing, and many repeat what he says, but does another. Perhaps that will get us by, perhaps it will buy us time, but it will fix nothing.

Feynman taught us the truth that we are easy to fool, but nature will not be fooled. So, we must try hard not to fool ourselves. We still have a problem, though, because of how shortsighted we humans are, especially en masse.

Caleb Shaw goes on to relate a personal anecdote about a shortsighted friend who didn’t listen to her plumber. But this friend of his learned. It may have cost her monetarily, but she could afford the lesson with respect to time and life. Hopefully she learned well and became wiser for her future. With many things, nature is too forgiving, too long suffering. Nature will not be fooled, but she is never in a hurry. Mostly, she just doesn’t care. Nature operates by laws, and to our detriment, those laws often allow for extremes in human suffering, suffering we humans caused, and could have prevented, had we just not been so shortsighted.

“The physical laws are easier to deal with, because they are more obvious, though not always clear to a layman. […] Physical laws represent Truths that will not be mocked.”

Sadly, nature often affords us far too much time to dig our own graves, as it were.

The global warming alarmists assert that we are being shortsighted by continuing to burn fuel to keep ourselves alive, but they ignore history, and they especially ignore prehistory as revealed to us by the palaeosciences. The facts in evidence show clearly it is shortsightedness that leads to alarmism. Shortsightedness has always lead to alarmism. It is so again. In this case, the evidence available shows that it has been warmer in the past, much warmer, many times. The available evidence shows clearly that cold kills and warmer is better. The earth clearly is an equilibrium machine, and with all the water, it has lots to work with. The nature of the universe is to alleviate imbalance. Emergent phenomenon self-organize to increase the efficiency of dissipation. Complex dissipative systems arise, grow, and grow more complex to alleviate imbalance more efficiently. If energy in the global system increases, the global system doesn’t warm appreciably, it just runs faster and grows more complex. It grows more complex with living systems, communities, and entire ecosystems, and it grows more complex in its weather and transport systems in atmosphere and ocean. These factors attain from extra energy and from extra resources, such as carbon dioxide that allows plants to flourish and use water and nutrients more efficiently. It matters not how the extra becomes available. Nature simply uses it to more efficiently dissipating differences and imbalances. Nature doesn’t care. Nature just works, and it has worked to keep earth’s climate quite constant for as far in the past as we can tell. As well as we can tell, for over two billion years, the approximate average temperature of the planet in absolute terms has been 290±8 Kelvin. That is constant within less than 3%. Reference http://scotese.com/climate.htm. Note that he currently draws the graph well into the future. Note where he marks “today.” I like to emphasize this quote, “During the last 2 billion years the Earth’s climate has alternated between a frigid “Ice House”, like today’s world, and a steaming “Hot House”, like the world of the dinosaurs.” I like to also point out that most of the time in the past it was hot-house. Life has always prospered during the warm periods. You will notice a spike in temperature in the Tertiary. It was in the Tertiary, near this hot time, that primates first evolved. Also, the ungulates. Obviously, we primates, and our tasty grass-eating co-inhabitants love warmer climate, much warmer, relatively speaking, plants too, and they especially like more carbon dioxide. Regarding temperature stability, bringing things even closer to home, note that for the last several centuries temperature has varied only about 1%, and for the last century, including through today, it has varied no more than about 0.1%. That is better than the air conditioning system in your insulated house. Don’t you think our water-covered planet is regulating itself with weather and circulation systems? Such a regulating system would necessarily run faster with more energy available. It would necessarily increase in complexity and efficiency, and that is why there is so much evidence of such stability.

Caleb continues, “Spiritual laws are harder to deal with, because they often run counter to more selfish laws that politicians deal with, that are tantamount to a sort of Law Of The Jungle. For example, a politician needs to curry favor among constituents, and this sometimes tempts them to hand out money and jobs inappropriately, with the money diverted from the people and the job it was earmarked for. In the case of the levees of New Orleans, very little of the money Washington sent to improve the levees was actually spent on the levees, while a lot went to various sorts of “inspectors”, and to lawyers involved in endless environmental lawsuits. The result of this was that, when Katrina arrived, the levees were not ready to hold back the flood. It did not matter that the Law Of The Jungle had been obeyed, when The Law Of Nature arrived.”

It is internal, spiritual even, what drives politicians, and therefore, politics. Greed and lust for power often override our better angels. Eventually, though, truth wins out. Nature, be it physical or human, will not be fooled long enough to get away with disregarding truth. Our sins will out. We do reap what we sow. Sure, there are those con artists that get away with it, but others pay the price, especially those close to them. It is a sad legacy. In truth, it is a sad life. It is only delusion that lets an evil man justify that he is simply winning. Truth will not be mocked.

Regarding many things in politics and government, especially with regard to education, I assert that it is not about the money. That is, more money will not fix the problems. (For that matter, less money will not fix the problem on its own either.) Mr. Shaw adds, “Politicians always claim they need more money, but money is useless if corruption misappropriates it.” Is that a truism? Regardless, it is obviously true. Corruption exists in all power structures, because power corrupts. (If you deny that, you need to step into the real world and shun your fantasies.) The US education system has lost sight of the point of education. The US education system from the local school, through the board, through the district, and State, and Fed, is only about power and control. It is especially true of the unions. A union, by definition, pits the unionized against the “boss.” There is no getting around the fact that the boss of the school is ultimately the parents. All of the machinery of the school system from the classroom teacher through the superintendents, including State Superintendents, align against the parents, and thereby, the students that they claim to try to serve. That is an inherent opposition that cannot work. It is a fundamental, unavoidable conflict of interest. It is fundamentally a conflict, a coercive tool of the educational system against the very customers it pretends to serve.

Coercion is evil.

Compulsory educational attendance laws are fundamentally coercive.

Coercion is evil.

The government education system is founded on evil. It cannot thrive.

We are not Borg. Resistance is far from futile. Resistance does actually succeed most of the time.

Referring to Boston’s Big Dig, failed bureaucratic weapons for the military, bad bridges, and other government-sponsored engineering and science, Caleb correctly observes, “The sad fact of the matter is that we are likely to see more of these costly mistakes, not fewer, as long as we allow the political Law Of The Jungle to rule science and engineering. The sooner we erect some sort of barrier between politics and science the better off we will be.”

I agree.

I point to separation of church and state. The churches, indeed, all religions, in the United States have flourished since the founding primarily because the government leaves them alone. It is only in recent decades with meddling from secular wimps that problems have arisen. Yet, even in the repressive government climate of today, there are many communities among us with churches practically on every corner, including multiple Christian and non-Christian religions.

Where would we be with science if government had the same hands-off restrictions with research and laboratories as with religion? Of course, the paranoid raise the alarm. They imagine atrocities and insist on government regulation. Well, frankly, many do the same with religion, especially certain sects regarded as dangerous. If not for our longstanding laws and traditions, the world would be the worse, unimaginably worse, and no man would be allowed to express freedom of religion.

The same separation should be applied to education and state.

Consider: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or education or scientific research, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This rule has been the soil within which the roots of liberty and self-determination have flourished. Should we not expand the scope of this rule, this requirement, to such obviously bedeviled essentials of society? Government has disrupted and corrupted so many fundamental goods in our lives. We must restrict government from our educational and scientific institutions.

My proposal will not eliminate abuses and failures, but it will rid us of the institutions that perpetuate failure and prohibit accountability.

Caleb Shaw makes many good points in the article at WUWT. I thank him and Anthony for hosting it.

Finally:
The gods of the copybook headings with terror and slaughter return.

Would to God we would learn our lessons and quit repeating the mistakes that cause so much of our suffering and loss.

A side distraction that I came across while running searches:
http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/kling/paleoclimate/

Interesting points and subtle details.

I’ve opted for plain and simple for my format and layout. The default presentation gives you the last few articles I’ve written in a long, scrollable format. Sometimes I add a “more” tag, which takes you to the individual post, showing the remainder of what I wrote for that article, but usually you must click the heading (to the left of the primary text blocks) to get to the specific article, since I usually just write it all, letting all show on the scrolling composite. The basic reading format doesn’t include a comment box. If you click the heading and go to the specific posting, there is a reply box at the end, after the share buttons and the tags and categories. You can also click the quote-button comment link just below the title.

So, if you happen to read something you want to reply to, please do. I will almost certainly post your comment and reply to you. I’m not into censoring.

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