Thursday, February 11, 2010

Breaking News: It is snowing.

I awoke this morning to find that Fort Worth, Texas had about an inch and a half of snow on the ground. That was at approximately 8:30 AM. It is now approximately 12:30 and we have approximately twice that on the ground. The official reports out of Meacham International indicate .02 inches per hour. Seems to be more on the ground than they are reporting. The Northwest Campus of Tarrant County College will be closed today at 3:00 PM; and if you live up north, and are reading this, you are probable yawning in tears over this piece of news. However, this is the fourth snow storm since the December 24, 2009 blizzard, and subsequent freeze, all but shut down the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Having been here since 1998 this is unusual weather for the region. DFW, the Metroplex, usually experiences one day like this, let alone an ice storm, a year. Some years the freeze doesn't occur at all. It is unusual weather. And people, my friends on Facebook included, are arguing about Global Warming again.

On a national level this is what is being reported:
Here are some of the discussions on the opposite end of the spectrum:

It is a tad bit -- just a bit, mind you -- disingenuous to site the emails generated by a dissenting opinion about Climate Change as some kind of proof that the long term global climate alteration is somehow a Democratic, or liberal, hoax. However, as Heinlein wrote, "Never underestimate the power of human stupidity." You can take that for what you will.

A dissenting opinion is the most honest expression of any academic, scientific, and even spiritual dialogue; the dissenting opinion adds to the discussion and aids in showing flaws in the hypothesis being presented. It simply means that the imperfect humans do not have all the answers within the majority opinion. The "stupidity" -- to stay within the Heinlein idea -- is to use imperfect opinions for political fodder. However, let us agree that politics is about emotion, fear, and self-interest, and how to play to those gut levels. It is not about reason, logic, and data.

Some years ago in a discussion with a professional geologist who was a proponent of the Global Warming theory information came out that based on the geological record we should be in a cooling cycle, not a warming cycle. That cooling cycle was trumpeted in 1970s era headlines that we were (or are) heading for another ice age. Now we are told that we have reversed that trend and the opposite is occurring. Yet, this opposite effect supposed to be brought about by human (specifically U.S.) activity may lead to the same new Ice Age (see links). This was the science used in the "B" grade si-fi The Day After Tomorrow. As such, if that is the case, then we seem to have a reversal of the trend.

All of this, however, is background for you. The point here is not to get into the grand brawl over the politics of Global Warming. So why discuss it at all?

For one thing, it is still a scientific discussion about a topic the scientist are still trying to grapple. The second, and bigger issue, is the idea that Mother Earth does not go through cyclical changes. She does all the time. She is a living, dynamic organism of which we, humans, are a small part. Change is inevitable.

On December 26, 2004 an Earthquake in the middle of the Indian Ocean produced a tsunami which killed an estimated 230,000 people in fourteen countries. August 23, 2005 Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Cost and killed an estimated 1,836 people (an estimated 705 are still missing). On January 12, 2010 a magnitude 7 earthquake struck Port-au-Prince in Haiti. The Haitian government estimates 230,000 died in that event. Maybe just to prove a point, a 3.8-magnitude quake rattled Northern Illinois at 3:59:33 AM on Wednesday, February 10, 2010. If that is not enough to convince you that change is inevitable, when was the last time you had a conversations with your great-grand-mother?

For the rabid right and the loony left it should be remembered, if Mother Earth chooses, through some form of natural selection, to scrape humanity off its surface, it will do so. Human beings, especially as individuals, are not the end all of all. We collectively, and individually, are but a small part of the equation. This brings me to another quite. Robert A. Heinlein wrote, "Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity."

In the meantime, I am going to sip my hot cup of black Maxwell House coffee, read a good book (or blog) and enjoy the very strange snow here in Fort Worth, Texas. It is, after all, just a snow storm.


Update: 7:06 PM FORT WORT, TX -- It is still snowing. Unofficial reports suggest that there is now five inches accumulation of snow in northern Tarrant County. The heavy, wet, packing snow has been falling all day, and does not look like it will let up until later tonight. Is this the beginning of a new Ice Age? Film at 11:00 (we can be sure of that).

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