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Mrs. DarkSyde has a problem worthy of the Betty Ford rehab center: She's a diet cola addict and I'm the appointed provider. The other night I carelessly failed in that respect and was sent to the store after a stern rejoinder of my critical role in the domestic harmony of DarkSyde Manor. Even worse, I returned with warm soda. After complaints I was taking too long preparing her dose, I finally 'fessed up that I had only tepid cola to serve and that it was fizzing too much. At which point she asked "Why does it do that when its hot?"

An opportunity to review the serendipitous connections leading from Old World Tyrants to the fascinating world of climate science had blossomed from the turd of my failure! But, alas, I was waved off my presentation by the dreaded Spousal Hand of Boredom. Frustrated, I slunk over to the PC to share it with you. It was only then I came to realize that Mrs. DS is probably better off not knowing about our shattered skies, the gruesome history leading to them, and our possible bleak future. This will be a dark essay from the DarkSyde, beginning fittingly enough in the closing years of the dark ages.

Way back in the gloomy days of the 12th century, tales of a wondrous substance reached the ears of European Nobility by way of the Oriental Silk Trails. It was called 'blackpowder'. The top-secret formula soon worked its way into the hands of alchemists and their warring feudal benefactors to the West. And it didn't take those genteel good 'ole boys long to realize that if the blackpowder could be ignited in a rigid tube of some kind, they might be able to fire red-hot iron missiles much farther than a catapult could sling them. They quickly latched onto the idea that such a 'gun' might be useful in ripping through the other guy's otherwise stubborn castle walls, body armor, ship hulls, or cutting a nice swath through his army highlighted in blood and guts -- while spooking the cavalry with a big loud boom. And with a little tweaking the cannon balls themselves could be converted into metal shells containing more of the precious powder, so that they'd explode and fragment at precisely the right point in their deadly trajectory. Hopefully blasting through even more layers of flesh and steel. What forward looking tyrant could possibly resist investing in such a device? Egads, they had to have it!

The basic cannon. Despite the simplicity of the design, it took blacksmiths and designers several hundred years to develop large, reliable, one-piece barrels that could hold together under repeated use


One of the earliest workable designs from the 14th century. This 'hoop cannon' is so named because the three cylinders on the right are bound together by metal hoops to help keep the thing in one piece--it had a tendency to explode in the users face when fired. This device was small, 50-100 pounds, to make it 1) more portable, and 2) because the technology did not yet exist to cheaply produce larger metal cylinders that could take the relentless punishment

After playing around with various kinds of metals and techniques for turning them into big thick barrels that could take the firing stress, many of which undoubtedly malfunctioned in spectacularly gruesome ways, the emerging craft of metallurgy began producing massive, high-quality, one piece cylinders. And as if that terror weapon wasn't nasty enough, over the next couple of centuries a great deal of work was done perfecting a hand held miniature version so that individual combatants could shoot smaller holes in one another.

By four-hundred years ago, most of the legions of archers, the quaint battle-axes, and exquisite suits of armor slipped quietly into history. The new battlefields of land and sea now echoed with mighty cannon blasts punctuated by the melodic screams of their brutally maimed and dying victims.

The loosely confederated patchwork of rival medieval gangs gave way to larger, consolidated empires. The collectives, both large and small, were usually organized like a Mafia Crime Family. The "Boss" or "King" handed down power and title by heredity and assigned 'turf'. Specific territories were run by made-men called 'nobles' who ran local 'crews'. This era of savage consolidation using the new contraptions of war to spread powerful syndicates and their associated religious bullshit, was known as The Enlightenment: So named because armies equipped with the new weaponry fanned out far and wide to 'enlighten' their adversaries about what deity's chosen Boss was now running the show.

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The barrel becomes a cylinder, the projectile becomes a piston, steam replaces gunpowder; the cannon becomes an engine

And it wasn't long before some of those enterprising Bosses and Capos figured out that if an explosion could push big iron balls out of the new one-piece cylinders at high speed over and over, maybe a variation on the device could do the same for a piston attached to a wheel or lever with a rod. That would be great because then they could use it to run all manner of clunky machines currently being powered by waterfalls, beasts of burden, and hordes of whiny slaves.

The slaves didn't cost all that much to acquire during the Enlightenment. Usually it was just a matter of knocking off an enemy village, ripping of their loot, killing any smart-ass locals who objected, taking the young ladies as sex slaves, and dragging the remaining inhabitants off in shackles. But slaves could be high maintenance. They couldn't work too many back-to-back 24 hour shifts without expiring, they got these crazy ideas about trying to escape from time to time, and they required rotten gruel and spoiled rat meat once or twice a day to operate effectively. So a machine might be cheaper than forced labor and certainly not as big of a headache to keep on task. Hell, you'd save serious money on whips, chains, and prison cells alone. Egads, they had to have it!

After fooling around with a gunpowder engine or two, it became clear that steam was the more practical propellant of choice. The race was on to invent an economical steam engine, culminating in James Watt's improved design around 1765. It was the birth of the industrial revolution--which incidentally is right about the time that so many Bosses and Capos suddenly began to find their ethical compass and concluded that slavery was an absolute moral wrong. So wrong it could not be tolerated even when practiced by distant crime families overseas or far to the south. What a coinkidink, huh?

Of course it paid, literally, to understand components like valves, pipes, gears, as well as phenomena such as temperature and pressure, if you wanted your steam engine to operate at peak efficiency and keep the factory/sweatshop going full tilt. If your engines were out of date or under maintained ... you might not be able to run the other Bosses out of business or make enough weapons to equip your Capos and their crews so as to 'whack' your troublesome competitors. So the miserly bosses and capos running the factories, now renamed "Captains of Industry", had to pretend the flaky nerds were part of the syndicate nobility and even give up a few shekels here and there to keep them happy. Although secretly the Haves hated the Have-Brains, because the bright-eyed engineers and scientists often arose from common blood. And they either spoke in an incomprehensible language of math and physics or were always jabbering on about how great their next technological trick was going to be. All these practices were extraordinarily irritating to the Industry Captains. A rift that carries right into our own time ... Anyway, it didn't escape the notice of the aforementioned nerds during this period of intense research, that if one compressed a gas in a cylinder with a tight fitting piston the gas would warm up, and if one expanded the gas by drawing the piston back it would cool off.

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The Ideal Gas Law, shown above operating on cylinders with a movable piston, states in part that compression (Above left) heats a gas while expansion (Above right) cools it

So the eggheads figured ... if one expanded that gas and cooled it off to the point that it was really cold, and then circulated that cooler gas through a pipe to a closed, insulated container and let it sit inside for a bit, and then brought it back out, one would be pumping heat out of the container! Compress the gas again and keep repeating the cycle and you had a continual heat pump. And, eureka, we have a refrigerator in theory, shown below in a simple schematic.

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Simple heat pump: A substance, called a refrigerant, is expanded causing it to cool. The coolant is then circulated inside the container where it absorbs surrounding heat. The warmer coolant is then pumped out, compressed into a warmer fluid and allowed to cool off in the outside ambient air. The process is repeated. The end result is the container is kept cool and Houston we have a fridge!

Problem was it wouldn't work very well using water as the actual refrigerant. Water has too high a boiling point for steam to be useful in cooling things or freezing them. It's fine to use a steam engine to run the compressor and pump the coolant around the system, but what was needed for the actual coolant itself was a substance that would go from gas to liquid at much lower temperatures. A new class of alchemists now held their grimy hands out for more shekels to find or invent those kinds of materials.

Although the cooling machine idea was kicked around by all kinds of scientists, from Galileo to Gabrial Fahrenheit, it wasn't until 1834 that the American inventor Jacob Perkins invented the first such machine that actually worked half-ass. His 'vapor cycle ice making machine', what today we would call a refrigerator, used ether as a coolant. Ether filled the bill boiling point wise: Of course ether is also lot of fun when inhaled and it sure made a hell of an explosion when lit. Plus it was expensive. So ether had a tendency to disappear faster than a brick of C-notes in Iraq entrusted to Halliburton, or cause rather devastating damage when it blew up. It wasn't practical for widespread use.

Refrigerants used in the early vapor compression machines then moved onto ammonia compounds, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, methyl chloride and various sundry hydrocarbons. They all worked OK but they all had their drawbacks; not the least of which was that most were corrosive to the pipes and some were toxic as hell. If your shiny new ice box sprung a leak in the year 1920, you might never wake up in your Victorian nightgown.

More shekels changed hands and industry saved the day! In the late 1920s chemical engineers working for a trust busting consortium made up of Frigidaire, GM, and Du Pont came up with several cheap substances with the exact set of thermal properties needed. Each designed for a specific temperature range of cooling needs. Better still they were so inert you could inhale the stuff by the bucketful and only run the risk of oxygen deprivation. All of these coolants were based around carbon, chlorine, and fluorine and were therefore called Chloroflurocarbons or CFC's. The most useful for common consumer needs was called Dichlorodifluoromethane known more commonly under the trademarked name as Freon-12 ©.

The new refrigerants and Freon-12 in particular were a smashing success to put it mildly. Soon they transformed every industry on earth and changed our very way of living. Because of refrigerated food storage and distribution systems and the availability of air conditioning, our standard of living rose dramatically. Life became more economical and more comfortable than ever, even in the muggy deep south and the baked hellish infernos of the desert southwest. Any industrial process which required precise temperature control, from drug production to nuclear power generation was revolutionized by the availability of cheap, reliable refrigerants. But there was an invisible danger unleashed, an unknown and unsuspected side effect. Out of sight, out of mind ...

I don't know how much you know about chemistry. But if you haven't brushed up lately on your periodic table, fluorine and chlorine are both members of the Halogens. These elements are some of the most corrosive, toxic, reactive substances in the universe, always looking to hook up chemically with other reactants. They're so reactive and so deadly that chlorine was put to work as one of the first chemical weapons in World War One: If chlorine was a person and sex was a chemical reaction, chlorine would be a whacked out nympho on rohypnol. Of course, the chlorine in Freon-12 was locked up tighter than a drum and was no threat. As long as it remained in that stable compound you could take a bath in it with no ill effects.

But some scientists let their imaginations soar high into the stratosphere, tempered with the knowledge that under high energy conditions the chlorine atom would cut loose from the coolant compound and go its separate way. If that happens down here on the surface the chlorine atom won't last long until a new molecular suitor shows up and takes it out. But high in the rarefied upper atmosphere there is a both a thin layer of ozone and high energy ultraviolet light and not much else: And it is the ozone that screens out the UV flux. Could the UV break down CFCs and the chlorine atom go on to break down the ozone? Why yes, it could! As it turns out, one chlorine atom can ruin hundreds or thousands of ozone molecules!


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The chlorine-ozone catalytic cycle: Undergraduate science students recognize this as simple, non-negotiable freshman chemistry. Right-wing pundits and antiscience sheeple call it a "myth"

The important thing to understand is that chlorine acts as a Catalyst: One chlorine atom can wreck an unlimited number of ozone molecules, because the chlorine itself doesn't get used up in the process. Those chlorine atoms will keep on depleting the ozone until they finally meet up with some other reactant where they don't act as a catalyst. And as that layer of ozone wanes, more and more harsh, unfiltered UV will stream down to the surface of our planet. The result of that solar bombardment will include higher temperatures, a substantial increase in skin cancers and cataracts, and may lead to widespread crop failure and global famine. The impact of increased UV on the oceanic cyano-bacteria population which forms the basis of our modern terrestrial ecology is uncertain. But it could precipitate a crash in those essential oxygen producing bacteria. Which would be followed by a rapid wave of extinction on par with the Great Dying that knocked off 90% of all living things a quarter billion-years ago.

Throughout the 60s and much of the 70s the CFC-ozone depletion scenario was just a hypothesis. But then tentative high altitude data begin trickling in, hinting that something strange was going on over the South Pole ...

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Our shattering skies: The area in purple over Antarctica represents a rift in the ozone layer. Compiled from Satellite imagery

Starting in the late 70s the first hard data that the ozonosphere might be in trouble exploded in the scientific community. From satellite imagery over the continent of Antarctica came pictures of a gaping, growing, hole. The data was unequivocal by the late 1980s; our life saving ozone was disappearing at an astonishing rate: It's visible from Space! Conservatives who dominated power in most of the CFC producing nations in the 1980s paid great lip service to the threat, and they at least recognized the data was 'real'. Some steps were taken to curb the release of the worst CFCs and invent less damaging ones. But their words and their deeds were often in conflict.

By the start of the 1990s those less damaging coolants had been developed and implemented. Strict new guidelines governing the removal and storage of the older CFCs were passed -- Much to benefit of humanity and to the dismay of industry lobbyists. But by the time George Bush assumed office in early 2001, corporatist political forces had joined hands with anti-science elements in the GOP to sell the idea that the entire process of ozone depletion and chlorine catalysis was a mythical construct of elite scientists and eco-terrorists.

Emboldened by political support on the heels of 9-11, building on the deceptive campaign to malign those legitimate concerns about CFCs and greenhouse gases, and under the cover of an ideological conservative pseudoscientific white wash provided by extremist think tanks, President Bush signed into Law the Clear Skies Act of 2003 (HR 999). This sweeping Law castrated the updated Clean Air Act enacted by Poppy Bush in 1990. The CSA of 2003 also weakened emission restrictions, delayed or canceled previously established deadlines for compliance, and whacked the funding to enforce what was left--while political shills and industry advocates babbled on about how it would reduce health risks and air pollution. This Bill is considered by many to be one of the most stunningly brazen examples of Orwellian doublespeak ever signed into Law. On top of that BushCo stacked the enfeebled oversight boards that were left with every kind of incompetent political/corporate loyalist they could squeeze in: They've been thoroughly FEMA'd.

(Note-For a better understanding of the relationship between the CSA and greenhouses gases, and to understand the CSA did not specifically screw up CFC emission standards, see this comment by tparson or check out Protecting the Ozone Layer and other climate science books by Edward Parson)

I try to end these science articles on an upbeat note with an obligatory reminder about the importance of placing science ahead of political ideology: Here I cannot in good conscience engage in such ungrounded wishful thinking. Those ozone depleting molecules and greenhouse gases, are out there in record numbers and more are being released everyday. The thin spots in our natural atmospheric sunblock grow larger year by year. It's just a matter of time, perhaps a few years at most, before skin cancers and cataracts are spiking, global warming an empirically rampant factum, crop failures and resultant global famine take over the planet. Our sky is being shattered thanks in part to the skillful political predatory manipulation of antiscience lunatics and sincere theists who are being lied to every morning, everyday, and every evening by the likes of drug-addled propagandists and Pravda disguised as News: All for short term corporate profits benefiting a tiny elite of megazillionaires; a summer home for the political mouthpieces bought with kickbacks; now openly nurtured by what many characterize as the worst leaders ever. The most inept, corrupt politicians of all time, most of whom hail from the modern day, mutant descendant, of the once noble party of Abraham Lincoln.

The worst of the CFCs have been relatively contained for now. But given the gloomy future of oil prices as patiently explained by our own Jerome Paris, the potential category five financial storm outlined by Stirling Newberry among others, and my modestly depressing reminders that we're being led by a pack of greedy liars beholden to hordes of anti-reality loons and corporate looters ... in retrospect Mrs. DarkSyde is better off not hearing my morbid tale of killers past and dark skies ahead. So for now, I'll just make sure that her soda glass is full and her addiction satiated and I'll share my dire prognostications only among those who choose for their own interests to be so informed.

It would be foolish to do nothing. Yes, we have to end the madness ASAP. But I have a bad feeling about the upcoming confluence of factors already in the mail. I worry, I truly fear, for the future. With clear judgment and the wise application of law, regulations, technology, science, and engineering, we can meet these challenges. Science and industry got ahead of the ozone problem and because of innovation and regulation in the 80s and 90s, there is hope that this issue is mitigated for now. There's no reason at all we can't do the same for other, more pressing problems. But the last people on earth we want in power when and if this shit all hits the fan at once are anti-science conservatives and ruthless corporate opportunists waiting for the Rapture.

So my fellow Kossacks I say to you, this no longer a mere political fight. Our struggle now transcends party politics or partisan advantage. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina I hope it is now crystal clear: This struggle against childish delusional maniacs and their political handlers has become, plain and simple, a matter of national survival.

Originally posted to DarkSyde on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 03:53 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Dude, this is brilliant (none)
    •  Good, but we need a simpler message (none)
      Unfortunately the collective American attention span is too short to even read your diary, much less understand it.  The Bushites use of Orwellian techniques has served them well, plus they trot out their "rent-a-hack" scientists to pretend that their is "no consensus" on matters that are clearly decided by reality based scientists.

      Let's try some shorter slogans to wake up the slumbering masses:

      Mercury is bad for children, Bush wants power plants to keep spewing it in the air, even though the technology exists to greatly reduce the mercury emissions.

      Refrigerants and other man-made chemicals have destroyed a large portion of earth's ozone layer.  This ozone layer is essential to life on earth, force Bush to resign so we can work on this critical problem.

      Bush and his cronies are working to hurt americans, his FEMA-type political hacks have been installed throughout the government- do you think Bush is competent?  If so, why?

      Bush is a liar, get him out of office so we can rebuild America.

      •  Finding Frames (none)
        Here's my attempt:

        Corporate Greed
        Environmental poisoning
        Environmental pillaging
        Halliburton (don't think using the word "Halliburton" is a frame? Try it and see! Talk about corporations filling their pockets and compare to Halliburton, or Enron. Ready made, reality based frame.)

        I'm struggling to find a frame for ignoring established science. Something snappy and instinctively understood.. Anyone got any suggestions? I'm trying to stay away from something like "faith based economics" to avoid turning off those who have religious faith.

        •  Ignoring reality, embracing lies (none)
          The Bushites are "Ignoring Reality" with their "Intelligent Design" and manufactured "controversies" on settled subjects.

          I could see the Bushites telling Galileo that he had to swear that the sun revolved around the earth.

          Bushites are as wrong as those who told Galileo that the sun orbited the earth.

          "I don't think anyone anticipated the levees being breached"  Spoken like a true idiot, way too many of W's limited brain cells were destroyed in his drug and drinking binges.

          Fact based science- not found in Bushco

          Bush is resolute- resolutely wrong

      •  Education is not a one-day job... (none)
        The problem is that Americans love the culture of instant results. Although hard work and investments are mentioned sometimes as a requisite for American Dream, the joy of fast utilities is stressed much more often. Any ideas to counter that?
  •  A great diary! (none)
    Thanks Darksyde!

    On lighter note, the other day, I was scrolling through a diary using the scroll wheel on my mouse.

    I noticed it stop scrolling, and when I got to a comment from you, and I had almost troll rated one of your comments.

    Sorry about that, but that's how I found out I was now a TU....

    "Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines" Steven Wright

    by wrights on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 04:13:29 AM PDT

    •  Mr. Syde, (none)
      How hard would it be to convince the Kos Overlords to add the <SUB> HTML tag for public use? This tag would allow for proper chemical notation, instead of the ugly 02s, CO2s and CHCl3s.

      Scientists, Mathologists and other nerds would also benefit from these typological enhancements to add flair to their own geeky comments and diaries.

      I noticed that the SUP tag works, but SUB isn't par.

  •  OK, no more whingeing from Jerome (4.00)
    there's nothing but eco-diaries on DKos right now.


    (Oh damn, there's a fraud diary too....)

    One thing - I didn't know that chlorine acted as a catalyst - where does the nascent oxygen come from (isn't that what single oxygen atoms are called)?

    •  Ozone (4.00)
      is three oxygen atoms. The Cl breaks down the triplet leaving one oxygen atom by its lonesome and the other two bound together as normal 'molecular oxygen' the kind you breath. The free oxygen atom comes from the atmosphere where there is always a free oxy atom hagning around and bonds with the single left by the CL breakup forming another O2 molecule. The CL then goes off to repeat the process. It's a vicious cycle.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 04:32:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  High school chemistry (none)
        I vividly remember a high school science teacher writing these reactions on a blackboard in 1974. Fortunately there have been significant prohibitions in CFCs in the years since but not a total elimination. One wonders how many years it will be before the cynical manipulators from ExxonMobil are drowned out by the clamor for control of CO2 emissions.
        I agree that our very survival is at stake and that appreciation and understanding of science must be a national priority, not just a hobby for the pencil-necks.
      •  There is good news here too (none)
        We can do something about reducing levels of ozone depleting halogens. (bromine is nasty too.. iodine, not so bad.) Reduction in upper atomospheric ozone is not permanent. Every day, solar radiation ionizes oxygen atoms to produce Ozone. (Sometimes solar particles have enough energy to knock a proton out of a Nitrogen atom, converting it to Carbon-14.)

        The free Chlorine and Bromine up there cannot sustain itself. It is not self-replenishing -- Ozone is. The point is this: Humans activity has caused this problem, but with awareness and action, this a problem that has a quick and easy fix.

      •  Good grief, man, your exquisite ... (4.00)
        ...detailing of this bit of science and political history reminds me a great deal of James Burke's Connections and Reconnections program, and, at another level, Howard Zinn.

        Whatever the quibbles I and a few others here may have with some of your interpretations of the political side of the ozone story, this whole Diary, like the bulk of yours, ought to be tinkered with and turned into chapters of a book. Include me at the top of the list for a signed copy.

        Thirty-one million new blogs are created each year. Try ours at The Next Hurrah.

        by Meteor Blades on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:26:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  James Burke's Connections (none)
          Thank you, MB - I was racking my brain trying to remember the name of the brilliant series that this diary reminded me of. You're in stellar company, Dark Syde.

          Off to the library to check out a Connections video and see if my kids will be as into it as I was.

          America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. --Abraham Lincoln

          by thebes on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:39:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks (none)
          Blades. I liked the older Connections but the newer ones just didn't do it for me. The great thing about a comm with so many folks is there's always a few who are experts and help me tweak this stuff up. So fi I ever get soemthing going I'm planning on dedicating it to the DKos community. If someone could set me up with a Lit agent, I could have a manuscript ready in less than a week or two. I'm doing well if I get a rejection letter.

          Read UTI, your free thought forum

          by DarkSyde on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 05:47:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm new here, and started reading your diaries (none)
            during the Katrina disaster. Through many courses at college and many life experiences, I have never seen such eloquence so concisely written. Pure brilliance! You have now gotten me to dig into the 'net to learn more about our darkening future; and commit myself to more work to unseat these bastards!!!! Thanks!!!!!!
    •  the effect is enhanced by (none)
      the temperature gradient (change) in the troposphere and the stratosphere.  The troposphere gets cooler with increasing altitude; however, the stratosphere starts to increase in temperature above the boundary of the two layers.

      What this means is that Cl- takes a while to get through the troposphere to the stratosphere.  However, once Cl- gets into the stratosphere, it doesn't want to settle back down to the cooler trophosphere (basically it is easier for stuff to bounce around in warmer, less dense atmosphere).  As was indicated above, Cl- is a catalyst and can react with O3 multiple times.  It will continue to bounce around the warmer stratospere until something comes along and either directly reacts with the Cl- to let it settle, or it settles before reacting again, meaning it runs out of ozone to react with.

  •  I wait all week for Science Friday (none)
    Just as I used to wait for the NYT Science section when it came out on Tuesdays. Thanks again.

    We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop (620 - 560 BC)

    by AWhitneyBrown on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 04:34:58 AM PDT

  •  I wish I had your Talent (none)
    with words....WOW.

    I'm usually drunk at this time of Day.

    by madbernie on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 04:37:26 AM PDT

  •  This reminds me of the press association... (none)
    award ceremonies I used to attend as a small time reporter.

    When the presenters gave out the kudos for photos, they'd project the most gruesome--though clear and beautifully composed--pictures from the previous year on the screen and we'd applaud cheerfully and not a little wistfully.

    I want to celebrate the succinct and informative nature of the diary, but man, I frigging loath the obvious bad news it contains.

    But for the fact that Jerome a Paris' predictions about the end of oil probably mean more soft coal, I might even find some good news there.


    In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher. Dalai Lama

    by leolabeth on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 04:41:01 AM PDT

  •  excellent, comprehensive and insightful diary (none)
    lots of people in germany and all over europe are very concerned about US american policy regarding environmental protection and climate control. but we know who to blame for ...

    greets from Frankfurt, Germany

  •  To Insure Domestic Tranquility... (none)

    Warm soda?!? Oh my, DS. For shame.

    A lack of ready ice is an often overlooked source of deep resentment and untold bitterness. I'm just sayin'... get the icemaker now, dammit. The relationship you save might be your own.

    As long as the prerequisite for that shining Paradise is ignorance, bigotry, and hate... I say the Hell with it. --Inherit the Wind

    by kingubu on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 04:50:29 AM PDT

    •  Yes (4.00)
      it was quite careless of me to run out. You do not want to see Mrs DS suffering diet cola DTs. But the fair lady is quite particular. She does not tolerate ice in her soda. Too dilutive I guess. So it's the chilled liquid or hell tp pay!

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 04:54:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In our household.... (none)
        we refer to the Diet Cola beverages as "the elixer of life."  
      •  Ouch (none)

        If ice isn't the issue, perhaps something like a makeshift jockey box is in order.

        As long as the prerequisite for that shining Paradise is ignorance, bigotry, and hate... I say the Hell with it. --Inherit the Wind

        by kingubu on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 05:13:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ice is still useful for emergencies. (none)
        A bucketful of ice can chill a single can of cola quite quickly. Faster, I think, than even your refrigerator's freezer will. A proposition you might want to experiment with... in advance of future need.

        Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

        by Canadian Reader on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 05:13:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  As a diet sode junkie myself.. (none)
        it is absolutely essential that it is imbibed only from one liter containers, as larger vessels are invariably flat.
        •  does anyone have children (none)
          who exhibit this same behavior, or is it mostly an adult phenomenom?

          As an addict myself - with a long list of addictive behaviors that focus on diet cola exclusively - I was wondering how many of us are out there?

          And do you think it's the caffeine or do you drink the caffeine free stuff?

          Me, I think it's something extra.

          •  aspartame (none)
            has been shown to have addictive properties.  (not to mention the possible links to alzheimers and liver problems)

            the process that is used to make splenda scares me.

            i'll stick to sugar.  I KNOW what that can do to me.

            The Global Struggle against Violent Extremism begins at home!

            by JLongs on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 07:58:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was going to mention the chemical (none)
              issues shown to be potential biological problems for humans from regular aspartame consumption, but felt the diary was far too reality-based (i.e., "dark") to begin with :D .

              Considering that President Reagan had to appoint a crony to the FDA in order to pass Aspartame - against the concerns of scientists and even the National Soft Drink Association at the time - and that it has been proven to break down into smaller, obviously unhealthy components in liquid (especially when warm) and during digestion, I'd say that Mrs. Darksyde is unwittingly on the recieving end of more callous ultra-greediness.  I hope it amounts to nothing in her case, of course.

              But, I stay away from it as if Nutrasweet were pure poison.

            •  Aspartame (none)
              contains the amino-acid Phenylalanine. Structurally similar to amphetamines, it may have some CNS activity -- either natively or as a metabolite.

              More importantly, it is the precursor molecule required for biosynthesis of catecholamine neurotransmitters (Norepinephrine, Epinephrine/Adrenaline, and Dopamine.)

              Somewhere in your head, the this fake sugar is being dutifully converted into shiny, happy and speedy neurotransmitters.



              •  Speaking of Sweeteners (none)
                The James Burke's Connections geek in me wanted to point out that one of these ozone-depleting chlorinated hydrocarbons, Chloroform (CHCl3), also happens to be 100 times sweeter than sugar. It is also a carcinogen and if you put some in your hot coffee, it would boil away before you could take your first sip -- so, it won't be showing up to replace the crap that 50 years of biochemistry has tried to pass off as sugar substitutes.

                We can destroy the ozone layer, but we can't replicate the taste of real, calorie-laden sugars.

                In another Burkian Connection moment, Nutrasweet (Aspartame) failed to gain FDA approval for over ten years. The FDA eventually relented after patent-holder Searle's CEO pulled some strings with the newly elected Reagan administration. The name of Searle's CEO? Donald Rumsfeld.

      •  I know that one well. (none)
        Mrs. Troutwaxer suffers from similar symptoms, including the rejection of ice in her Diet Coke. I know well the horror you speak of, and you have my profoundest sympathy.


        "...give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Give me a sensitive idiot. Just don't give me the same idiot." - Broussard

        by troutwaxer on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 08:01:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My favorite unexpected result of refrigeration (4.00)
    the Hoover Dam.

    And yes this situation really is this bad.

    •  My favorite result of refrigeration: the New South (4.00)
      Yes, almost every house in the New South has a gigantic climate control unit.  This keeps the Southern Mind cooled and dehumidified enough in gated communities to create justifications for supporting the worst President in history.

      These units are run on an updated version of Watt's steam engine.  That is, in coal-fired plants, steam is produced to turn turbines that make the increased electricity needed to power the units.  

      Around 80% of our electricity in the US comes from burning fossil fuels that are spelling out our doom in big black smoky letters.

      DarkSyde, as you know, the fizz in your wife's diet soda is carbon dioxide.  The US is the world's biggest contributor of carbon dioxide to the environment.

      I like your diaries because you personalize this disaster which is upon us.  Until each of us really feels it in our bones, not much is going to be done to mitigate it.  (It's too late to avert it, at least for a century or more.)

      Highly recommended.

      •  My air conditioner in Florida (none)
        probably runs on about 5% of the fuel that my family's furnace in New York State did.

        The temperature difference between inside and outside is much less in Florida than in New York.

        Air conditioners shift heat, they don't add it like furnaces do.

        •  Great point (none)
          Unfortunately, unlike FL, the NE US is fuel-oil dependent and coal-fired plant dependent.

          This is because the region has said no to nuclear plants and paved the way for Big Coal to dominate.  

          Nuclear plants do not emit greenhouse gases or carbon dioxide and produce a tiny fraction of the waste that coal plants (few people realize that coal waste is radioactive and that coal fired plants are 100 times more radioactive than nuclear ones).  If coal had to isolate its waste from the environment, it would be much more expensive per kilowatt-hour than nuclear.  Even with all the extra safeguards nuclear plants must by law have in place, nuclear is now competitive with coal.

          There are nearly 700 coal plants in the US and another hundred in the works.

          Premature US deaths per year from coal-combustion (not counting deaths from mining and transport; not counting mercury toxicity): 32, 000 (see Abt study).

          Premature US deaths per year from nuclear in 50 years of nuclear power: zero.

          For a realistic picture of energy prospects regarding fossil fuels:

          Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy:

          •  Nucular energy (none)

            I used to think nuclear energy was The Answer, too, but what I recall reading recently is that, amongst other things:

            1. Nuclear plants only exist with huge government subsidies to bankroll building costs.  No plants are built by private investment - only with tax money propping them up.  Free markets, right?  The market has spoken.

            2. Mining Uranium (like mining coal) is very fossil-fuel-intensive and an environmental nightmare.  Plus, known U reserves are limited ...

            3. Don't forget the proliferation risks, the waste storage risks ... etc.

            I will keep in mind that the articles I read included some which were proposing renewable resources for power generation - wind, solar - so there may be some bias.  But the points regarding nuclear seemed to be valid.

            They also recognized that renewables need WAY more development work, and solar, especially, requires intensive energy to create the cells, and so on.

            Last time I was at the beach and being beaten by the surf, I held out hope for tide-powered electrical I read about.

            Sorry, I'm at work or I'd put links in.

             - ThiRoy

            •  One thing (none)
              That rarely gets a mention is geothermal.  If we could find an economical way to harness the heat inside the earth then we could have as much energy as we would like for the foreseeable future.

              Here in the mouth of madness one thing is terribly clear...madness does not floss

              by Thameron on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 10:22:26 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ever think of the downside? (none)
                Because there is.

                Geothermal in situations like Iceland where the energy is just going to waste anyway: okay.

                If you use geothermal in situations where there is not a convenient energy tap due to a preexisting energy flow results in more rapid cooling of the Earth's interior.  In time, and given sufficeintly large tapping, this accelerates the cooling of the interior which will result in cessation of geotectonics, which will result in termination of the carbon cycle, which will result in the end of life beyond simple cells as elements which are recycled into the biosphere through tectonic processes become locked into the rocks.

                Geothermal will end life on the planet!

                See, anything can be made to look bad.

            •  Several things (none)
              1. There's heavy government involvement with all sorts of large infrastructure projects.  Don't kid yourself.  If you think massive arrays of solar cells or windfarms are going to be built without some sort of subsidy, I have this nice oceanfrotn property in the Gobi...

              Just as an example, wind farms in the US were getting a 1.8 cent per kWh tax break from legislation passed in 1992.  Coal gets subsidies from health costs (from the days when industry wasn't as concerned about black lung and the like) that are covered by governments instead of the companies, which reduces their costs.  So on and so forth.  Every form of energy gets subsidies, which advocates for one always helpfully point out about the others.

              2. Uranium mining is not more energy intensive than other forms of mining metals.  Unless you start complaining about zinc or aluminum, picking uranium is rather hypocritical.  Second, it is not an "environmental nightmare", no more than any other type of mining.  In North America and Asutralia it's one of the most tightly regulated industries.  In Canada, for instance, not only do you have to meet the requirements demanded of every mine, you have to meet the requirements of the Nuclear Safety Board, and the requirements of the IAEA on an international level.

              I'm a mine geologist by training and, on a personal comfort level, I'd be happier working in a Caandian uranium mine than almost any other type.  Dust control is an obsession, they're clean, air quality and radiation exposure are constantly monitored.

              Third, known deposits.  Note the highlighted word.  If you want to play that game, well, known deposits of everything are limited but I don't see people (outside of the industry, where they have to pay attention to the economics) always pointing it out in regard to, say, aluminum, lead or copper.  That's why we have this thing called "exploration".

              3. Seperate issue I won't get into.

              •  I heard these known deposits (none)
                will easily last us three hundred years.  Compared to oil, we're swimming in Uranium.

                Canada does have the largest uranium reserves in the world.  They've also found ore in Cigar Lake in Saskatchewan that contains 15% uranium.  Average worldwide concentration is like 2 to 3%.  On top of that, Canadian reactors use natural uranium that doesn't need enriching, which means fewer proliferation issues.  On the other hand, they produce plutonium.

                Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

                by Cream Puff on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 01:56:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  You were reading biased info (none)
              Each of these anti-nuclear claims can be refuted.  I suggest you check out DOE websites and the Energy Information Agency.  Also, Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy.  I am traveling so unfortunately don't have time to add links.  EFN is

              For one thing, the market has decided renewables, despite subsidies and tax breaks, are not economically viable in the US.  In Europe renewables projects are govt. sponsored.  They are not profitable.  However, I hope they will continue to evolve and become more affordable, because we need them to supplement baseload electricity.  At this point I as a middle class citizen cannot afford the wind or solar options offered by my local utility--an investment of tens of thousands of dollars.  And that's with rebates, tax breaks, and subsidies.

              Nuclear plants do earn out and many of them in the US are running at a good profit, which is why applications are now being made to build more of them.  Utilities know that they are moneymakers.  Asian countries know that as well and are ordering numerous new plants.  Kos's Jerome a Paris has put up a good diary about French's nuclear plants and how profitable they are and how they sell electricity to other countries.  One US utility relying on nuclear for half its power has not had to raise rates since 1986.

              Secondly, the claim about uranium mining and milling being fossil fuel intensive is bogus.  Compared to coal mining and the extraction of oil and gas, which require large-scale transportation and vast quantities of fuel, nuclear's contribution is insignicant.

              Nuclear plants in the US annually eliminate carbon and greenhouse gases equivalent to taking 65 million automobiles off the road.

              Interim storage of nuclear waste in dry casks is safe and effective. This could be done for decades as technology to reprocess the fuel more cheaply evolves. There are no technical obstacles to safe, deep-geological disposal of spent nuclear fuel.  The obstacles are all political.  Finland and Sweden are building repositories deep in granite rock.  The US has a military-waste repository half a mile under a remote desert in NM.  When it is full the shafts will be sealed.  

              Only one percent of all the spent nuclear fuel remains sufficiently radioactive for a long time to pose a risk.  All the spent nuclear fuel ever generated in the US could fit in a football field stacked three meters high.  So the volume of waste is a tiny fraction of that of coal.

              There are two forms of energy that provide baseload (i.e. 24/7) energy:  coal and nuclear.  Hydro is providing a few percentage points, but hydro is shrinking these days (droughts).

              I choose nuclear as cleaner and safer and ultimately cheaper.  It's not The Answer.  The Answer at this point is a broad spectrum of resources.  Conservation being an important one.

            •  The market has also spoken (none)

              regarding "renewables", too.

              The market can and often is a short-sighted idiot.

              Large scale hydro always had major government funding.

              Still, the actual amount of power made by nuclear and hydroelectric is enormously greater than all the solar and wind plants.

              Worrying about uranium mining is silly---the energy input relative to output is much less that comes out.

              What is the energy cost of manufacturing and installing wind?   And wind is by far the best economically of the renewables.

              Biofuels are subsidized by massive government agriculture and water projects.

              •  Yes, indeed (none)

                I appreciate all your replies to my post.  I am not sold on any energy source as The Way, but I hope we find a workable solution for the present and future.

                Again, I take everything with a grain of salt (who doesn't have an agenda, right? especially with billions at stake in both revenue and cost), and you  have all given me more fuel (heh) for thought on this.

                It encourages me to keep reading and learning.

                 - ThiRoy

        •  Yes, they add heat. (none)
          Air conditioners are less than perfectly efficient.  They consume more energy than they move.  Guess where the difference goes?  That's right. Additional heat.
  •  I feel more smarter already. (4.00)

    --Liberate your radio--

    by Sam Loomis on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 04:57:07 AM PDT

  •  excellent (none)
    as always.

    bet you watched "connections" a lot, didn't you?

    Scary though.  Wish I was home so I could go back to bed.

    The Global Struggle against Violent Extremism begins at home!

    by JLongs on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 04:58:02 AM PDT

  •  If you are counting (none)
    on reason and logic to suddenly come into prominence, don't.  Bear in mind that a large majority of our fellow humans believe in imperceptible magic people.  That needed to change two decades ago, but it didn't.  Even if we stopped doing all of the bad things now the damage has been done.  You can't very well go up and knit the ozone back together.  The earth will burn.  The best thing you can do is bring marshmallows, but look at the bright side...well, if you find a bright side let me know.

    Soylent Green anyone?

    Here in the mouth of madness one thing is terribly clear...madness does not floss

    by Thameron on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 05:00:28 AM PDT

  •  Liberals are toast, (4.00)
    George Bush is toast, my two siamese kitties are toast, my Aunt Martha is toast, New Orleans is toast, all the Hopi indians are toast, lumberjacks are toast, SUV's and General Motors are toast, Coney Island is toast, your high school reunion is toast, Topeka is toast... even the monasteries we used to be able to retreat to are toast. Argghhh! It seems that the world has always been able to renew itself regardless of our human folly, but this time we've run out of room. Time to kiss our human asses goodbye.

    What I really like about the President is his wonderfully uncluttered mind. - Tony Blair

    by agincour on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 05:02:06 AM PDT

  •  Skin cancer numbers... (none)
    will be conflated with the fetish for tanning beds.  Again, antiscience bias- those scientists tell us different things from time to time, so what can I believe?  Therefore I can do what I like and not worry.  Same with smoking- short term enjoyment/perceived benefits outweigh scientific prediction of risks.

    Besides all those doctors/pharmaceutical companies want us to have cancer so they can become rich and God will grant me a miracle to answer my prayers.

    For more expansion, see rant by Hunter.

  •  Excellent - Recommended (none)
    then the local keyboard gnome unrecommended - don't know what that does to the mojo - sorry.

    I take full responsibility.

    Former soldier. Fighting every day for my country.

    by SilverWings on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 05:02:23 AM PDT

  •  Clearly you haven't heard about all those studies (none)
    on the power of prayer.

    You see, if we all would just pray hard enough (and to the correct diety, of course) I am certain the ozone layer would be repaired in no time.

    It is a very mixed blessing to be brought back from the dead.

    by Steven D on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 05:03:59 AM PDT

  •  Magnificent. (4.00)
    I only have one problem -- with your second last word. This is, um, quite a bit larger than mere national survival. There are a few billion other people trying to live on this planet, too, not to mention a number of other species.

    A threatened 90% die-off of all living things makes the potential failure of the US to survive as a nation look like a pretty trivial thing to be worrying about.

    Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

    by Canadian Reader on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 05:04:31 AM PDT

  •  Please don't joke about skin cancer. (4.00)
    I'm from New Zealand. We have a fairly benign climate, with one exception. We have ridiculously high levels of skin cancer. Because we have an ozone hole RIGHT THERE (pointing directly up). Seriously. Twenty minutes on a Nelson beach, on a cloudy day, and you end up looking like a lobster, and IT WAS NOT ALWAYS LIKE THAT. I can remember growing up here, less than 20 years ago, and it was not a problem. Now we have days where the weather service is advising people to simply not go out in the sun for ANY length of time.

    The definition of an idiot is someone who's always absolutely sure that they are right.

    by The little blogger that could on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 05:13:28 AM PDT

    •  Well Damn (none)
      I was looking at NZ as a good alternative to living in this soon-to-be-corporate-fundy hellhole.  Guess there is always Canada.

      Here in the mouth of madness one thing is terribly clear...madness does not floss

      by Thameron on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:10:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Canada (none)
        could end up being prime real estate. Some of the best farmland in the world could stretch to the arctic circle ... while the breadbasket midwest becomes the American Gobi desert.

        Read UTI, your free thought forum

        by DarkSyde on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:14:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Small problem (4.00)
          There was this thing called glaciation...

          No seriously.  All that nice dirt in the US and southern Canada which is currently farmland, where did you think it came from?  Scraped off the Canadian Shield by the ice sheets and sent southward.  Much of the Canadian North (and Siberia, for that matter) has, at most, a few centimetres of cover over bedrock.  Great for geology (you can easily map structure from the air), bas for growing stuff.

    •  yeah (none)
      I was just outside of Sydney for 7 months a few years back and learned about the ozone hole the hard way. I got burned. Bad. If I don't have it already, chances are extremely high I'll develop skin cancer in the future. Being down under taught me to wear sunglasses and sun cream religiously. Even in Boston, Mass now I don't leave the house without my sunnies and sun cream. Even if it's cloudy.

      Not all who wander are lost.

      by petal on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:29:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Someone told me. . . (none)
        . . . the formula for surviving the sun down there: Slip, Slap, Slop. Slip into long sleeves, Slap on a hat, and Slop on the sunscreen.

        (Un)fortunately, the two days I got to spend in New Zealand was during a torrential downpour, (and it had been mostly overcast in Sydney the prior week) so I never had the chance to find out first hand.

        Meileann muilte Dé go mall, ach meileann siad go mín = God's mills grind slowly, but they grind finely. (i.e. Justice is sure.)

        by Robespierrette on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 09:23:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, (none)
          I remember the snowman billboards they used to promote the "slip, slap, slop" public health program. Sorry you didn't get good weather while you were there :(

          Not all who wander are lost.

          by petal on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 09:43:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The sun ... hotter? (none)
      I know part of it must be psychological, but the sun just feels ... harsher ... or hotter, or something ... than it did when I was growing up (in Arizona.)  I'm fair, so I've always had to stay out of the sun or get burned -- but it really seems like you can feel it burning you much more quickly now.

      I am foolish, I have daily sunblock but don't use it enough.  And recently I made the mistake of only using SPF-15 and being in the sun for four hours.  I was so red it was unbelievable.  A really nasty burn.  Stupid, stupid of me.   And I remember when SPF-15 was the highest that they made ... who would need anything stronger?

  •  Beautiful diary. (none)
    Gotta work on that glum ending.  How about something like:

    And then the Bush Crime Family found its way to the bottom of the Potomac River and the human race lived happily ever after.

  •  The actual cause of the Permian Extinction (none)
    is not known, but I like the methane hydrate release scenario, with the MoronMike Modification (MMM).

    Methane gas, formed by decomposing marine organisms, was trapped under the ocean floor around the world.  Due probably to tectonic activity, and over a long time, vast quantities of methane were released, bubbling up from ocean depths (killing off marine organisms) and escaping into the atmosphere.

    MMM - And then, at some point, a critical methane/oxygen density was reached, and lightning could have set off a series of titanic atmospheric explosions, affecting both both upper-level marine organisms and terrestrial life forms around the world.

    The rhetoric of the right wing is being fixed around the policy of disinformation.

    by MoronMike on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 05:35:12 AM PDT

    •  So siberia will finish us off then (none)
      A vast expanse of western Sibera is undergoing an unprecedented thaw that could dramatically increase the rate of global warming, climate scientists warn today.

      Researchers who have recently returned from the region found that an area of permafrost spanning a million square kilometres - the size of France and Germany combined - has started to melt for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age.

      Article continues
      The area, which covers the entire sub-Arctic region of western Siberia, is the world's largest frozen peat bog and scientists fear that as it thaws, it will release billions of tonnes of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere.


      •  Well, then, there you have it. (none)
        Several billion tons of methane gas sparked by a couple of guys off smoking a dubie near the bog, the subsequent conflagration sucking up the oxygen for miles, creating a deadly vacuum.

        Dude, that was some hit.  What happend to my air?


        The rhetoric of the right wing is being fixed around the policy of disinformation.

        by MoronMike on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:39:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Makes me wonder (none)
        if we aren't the last generation of humans to live under stable natural conditions and therefore civilization as we know, or knew it.

        Are we the pinnacle of human existence and the death of it at the same time?

        There's always the Logan's Run scenario I suppose.

        "We got the force necessary to deal with the security situation." - George W. Bush, July 2, 2003

        by Pescadero Bill on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 08:19:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This Concludes (none)
          The Golden Age of Man.  We hope you enjoyed the show please take the nearest exit to the Neo-dark age already in progress.

          Here in the mouth of madness one thing is terribly clear...madness does not floss

          by Thameron on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 10:27:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Then if you add to that all of the Geochemically (none)
      formed methane (CH4) that has been happening continuously the last 4 billion years, by natural planetary carbon cycling by tectonically driven crustal subduction of ocean basin carbonate (CO3-2, ie limestone) and chemical reduction to CH4 by reduced ferrous iron Fe+2 (ie pyroxene etc)in lower crust  from  iron-rich rising mantle convection plumes and cells, it will really keep you awake at night worrying about something you can't do a damn thing about.

      Please see Generation of methane in the Earth's mantle: In situ high pressure-temperature measurements of carbonate reduction

      •  Thanks for that. This pathway hasn't (none)
        received too much attention until recently.  The temperatures and pressures at depth are remarkable, and given enough time...  

        The rhetoric of the right wing is being fixed around the policy of disinformation.

        by MoronMike on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 11:44:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Why does it do that when its hot?" (none)
    You kind of lost me with all that science. I understand how Ms. DS' attention may have wandered in her withdrawal induced stupor, but I read the whole piece and I still don't know why the cola is so fizzy when it's warm.

    And don't try telling me it's some STP-related deal. I didn't fall for that in High School and I'm not falling for it now.

    Nice diary though. I especially like the part about the obsolescence of slave labor giving rise to the repudiation of the practice.

    I [once] proposed...whether convictions are not even more dangerous enemies to truth than lies. --Nietzshe

    by hoipolloi on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 05:58:04 AM PDT

    •  The (none)
      soda is under pressure and the more pressure the more CO2 can be dissolved in it. Release the pressure and the CO2 bubbles out until the partial pressure of the CO2 in the soda is in equalibrium with the pressure outside. Heat=pressure in this case and cooling decreases the pressure, and cooling also allows more CO2 to stay in solution, so you get less of a release of CO2 when you open it and when it's cold. I was thinking in terms of heat, pressure, and rigid containers when she asked that ... hey I'm a nerd OK? ;)

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:12:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think fizzing (4.00)
        is actually due to CO2 becoming supersaturated in the soda solution after the pressure has been released. Similar to a solid disolved in liquid, sometimes crystals will not form without a physical imperfection in the environment - a seed crystal, dust or vibrations.

        The same is true for gases disolved in liquids, and in this case, the oversaturated solution. The CO2 will stay in solution until shaking, or the rough surface of the glass or ice provides a surface that the CO2 can use to come out of solution.

        Since most gases are more soluble in cold liquids than warm liquids, the amount of oversaturated C02 in warm soda is greater than cold, and therefore warm soda fizzes more.

        Once the C02 has reached equilibrium with air pressure, your soda is flat -- it still has CO2 disolved in it, but too little to fizz.

  •  Warm soda!? (none)
    Otherwise the lesson was well done!
    I'm actually looking forward to Fridays and science now. Thanks...

    Sorry Karl, your plan to destroy the Republican party has been rescheduled for... now. You took too long, God wanted to help.

    by RElland on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:06:53 AM PDT

  •  Well done. (none)
    Thank you.
  •  I am not aware of any change (4.00)
    to the CFC refrigerant phase-out dates as agreed to in the Montreal Protocol.  And, 3 of the four major national air conditioning manufacturers have phased out the use of CFC's in their large-tonnage equipment (Trane is the only hold-out and is still selling R-123 in exclusively in the domestic market, but, curiously, HFC R-134a in the European market).

    In what way does the 'clean skies' act change the use of these refrigerants?  Or is the effect in other substances?

    Also, not to be nitpicky, but while it is fair to discuss the refrigeration cycle in the development of these substances, it is not fair to avoid mentioning that the largest offenders dumping these substances in the air were not refrigeration manufacturers--since the refrigerant is a necessary component of the process, equipment is designed to keep the refrigerant in place.  Some would leak, of course, but that is an event that was, and is, guarded against.

    Far more of these CFC's were dumped into the atmosphere from their use as propellants (in aerosol cans) and from their use as finishing prep solvents.

    Otherwise, very interesting and well written!

    I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

    by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:14:47 AM PDT

    •  FYI (4.00)
      EPA's Phase out dates for CFC's

      Definitions, including Ozone Depletion Potential

      Tables of ODP's for CFC's, and the more ozone friendly HCFC's.  HFC's essentially have an ODP of 0, but they, as do these other substances, are also ranked by GWP, or 'global warming potential'.  And better ODP's do note always equate with better GWP's.

      Simple, isn't it?

      I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

      by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:24:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK, last self-comment. (none)
        I just read my post above and I realized that it was a little confusing.  There are essentially three flourocarbon based refrigerant types:

        CFC's:  Terrible.  Eat ozone like some sort of, um, ozone eating....thing.  Very persistant in the atmosphere.

        HCFC's: Better, but still bad.  These eat ozone at a rate much lower than CFC's (like a few percent of the same rate).  Also very persistant.

        HFC's: Good (at least as far as ozone goes).  These essentially do not affect ozone, but some may have global warming influence greater than certain CFC's and/or HCFC's.

        I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

        by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:51:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Persistent. Not persistant. ugh (n/t) (none)

          I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

          by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:59:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Rule of thumb (none)
          any refrigerant or volatile (meaning easily vaporized) substance with containing  chlorine that is stable/persistant  enough to reach the stratosphere, has  ozone-depleting properties

          Gases that contain fluorine as the only halogen element are not ozone-depleting.

          •  What is it about (none)
            the fluorine/chlorine combo. I understand that the cholorine is bad alone, but why are the CFC's worse than Chlorinated hydrocarbons like Chloroform, DCM etc?
            •  Its a matter of altitude (none)
              Many types of clorine compounds are less chemically and photochemically stable that the clorinated refrigerant gases are , and break down due to hydrolytic and other destructive reactions and release the chlorine atoms/free radicals/ chloride ions in the lower atmosphere, where little protective ozone normally exists anyway, and these chlorine atoms then get 'washed' out of the atmosphere by normal weather processes .

              It takes "hard" (most energetic) UV radiation (light wavelengths shorter than ~200 nm) to form the 'good' ozone photochemically from O2 in the upper atmosphere (In the lower atomsphere 'bad' ozone also forms photochemically, but by a different reaction involving the interaction with hydrocarbon-smog)

              It also takes UV to photochemically cause chlorine containing chemicals to release the reactive chlorine free radicals ((Cl.)which destroy ozone by the radical chain reaction process shown in DS's diary figure).

              So in order for chlorine to be damaging it has to be lofted to at height where both the hard (energetic) UV radiation and the good ozone are present.  

              •  And attitude. (none)
                Researchers have not determined the cause, but to all accounts, Chlorine just gets 'crankier' at high elevations.

                NASA is considering low-orbit payloads of caffiene and chocolate to ease this effect.

                I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

                by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 09:41:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  thank you (none)
      I was confused too - I thought it was the Montreal Protocol, not Clean Air Act, which regulated CFC phaseout. Did that change? Not that I have a ton of confidence in our current govt's adherence to an INTERNATIONAL TREATY...
    •  I (4.00)
      agree I'm not picking the refridgerants solely. And we simply could not maintain our level of technology without cooling machines running on something.
      And correct, the CSA did specifically deal with CFCs as far as I know, which is why I tried to be careful there and mention greenhouse gases. But they did FEMA the oversight boards many of which have a say in related environmental matters from logging to ozone depletion, while nurturing the idea that the whole thing was a 'myth'.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:48:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A sidenote: (none)
        I believe that R-729 is water.
        R-744 is air.

        And, CO2 refrigerant cycles are being re-considered, especially for leaky car air conditioning systems.

        Another sidenote:

        Acoustic compressors are also being developed.  I believe that Ben and Jerry's are using this technology.

        I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

        by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 07:40:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  so what exactly are you saying? (none)
        You seem to be suggesting but not coming right out and saying in your diary that CFCs are making a comeback due to the Clear Skies Act.

        Is that what you are really saying?

        •  Due (none)
          to the Clear Skies Act? As far as I know the CSA did not directly regulate CFCS. I had a pretty long section about it that I took out and replaced it with a few sentences here and there plus I linked the Bill itself and linked another comment detailing it even further. Io that's pretty clear.  What I'm saying is that BushCo is a profiteering environmental, antiscience disaster as well as a fiscal diaster and a foreign policy disaster. And if all these problems hit at the same time, and they pretend these problems either don't exist or can't be solved, then we're in trouble. The ozone issue has been addressed and has been mitigated to some degree, although I found a lot of conflicting opinions on that, so that's at least some evidence that it is plausible that regulation and science can address these problems. Just not this particular government.

          Read UTI, your free thought forum

          by DarkSyde on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 08:52:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Montreal Protocol (none)
      There were some ammendments to the Montreal Protocol that sped up the phase-out of some compounds apparently.  I don't know how that works, if the US is required to follow ammendments or not.  'Course, the US doesn't care about treaties anymore anyways.
      •  Actually, Montreal (none)
        seems to have been very well accepted in America.  I believe Europe and other places may have accellerated these phase outs even faster than us, but I have not seen any movement in the refrigeration industry to push against Montreal.  Of course, their are other industries that use these substances and I do not track their efforts.

        What I don't know, however, is how Montreal affects the developing world (China and India, specifically).  If they are granted some exception, like as in Kyoto, the overall phase out in much of the developed world might be masked by an increase in those markets.

        Not that I am suggesting we shouldn't continue on the phase out if this was true.  That would be logic worthy of a republican.

        I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

        by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:58:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So far, so good (none)
          It looks like so far the decrease far outweighs the increase.  These stats were adjusted "to account for unreported production, notably in India, China, and the former Soviet Union."  

          The Montreal Protocol does have allowances for developing countries.  They get to delay implementation by ten years, I think.  Reading that gives me a headache.  And India and China are party to it.

  •  Delightful as always (4.00)
    and here's a RECOMMEND.  But most early cannons and other firearms, and cannon even into the 19th century, were brass, not steel (iron is way to fragile, and the steel was really not adequate, in strength or castable size, for cannon).
    •  See, that's the problem with science-- (4.00)
      You say something technical, and all these geeks come from out of the closet and start correcting your statements.

      It's almost as if the process itself is self-correcting.

      Give me superstition any day.  If some troglodyte comes out of the shadows and tries to correct your statements, you just consign them to hell or some other unpleasant place.  It's much easier.

      I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

      by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:45:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I tried (none)
      to stick with the word 'metal' becuase when I was researching this I found early attempts included everything from brass to iron to wooden barrels held together with hoops. Steel may have crept in there somewhere but I tired to stay generic.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:50:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Iron way to Fragile? (none)
      If that were true there probably wouldn't have been a british empire.

      Cast iron cannon were developed by the Dutch in the 16th century.

      •  Damn! (none)
        Can't we just stop all of this self-correcting!

        It's getting hard for me to hold on to my world view when people keep showing me it is inconsistant with fact!

        I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

        by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 07:33:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Cast Iron (none)
        is actually very porous- just think about the old bast iron black-painted outdoor tables.  While some was used, the biggest guns were bronze, including those on the ships of the British Navy.  The earliest cannon makers were bell makers, using the same techniques and the same metals.  Go here- for a series of pictures and descriptions of such guns.

        In an ironic twist of fate, Burgundy came to be the source of the best cannon. The same craftsmen who had for several centuries been casting the great bronze bells for Gothic cathedrals and abbeys throughout Northwest Europe turned to casting bronze cannon instead: the shape and size were not too different, and both required strong flawless manufacture to precise specifications. Bronze cannon were lighter than wrought iron, much safer to use, more accurate, and more powerful at any given size. The great Turkish sultan Mehmed the Conqueror blasted great breaches in the walls of Constantinople in 1453 with a giant bronze cannon cast for him on site by a renegade Christian, before the apocalyptic final assault that ended the thousand-year Byzantine civilization. In retrospect, it is astounding how quickly cannon technology spread throughout Europe and the Moslem world.

        You are right that the British started casting iron guns in the 16th century:

        In 1541, William Levett was the royal "gunstone maker", that is, he made cast iron cannon-balls at a foundry in the Weald built by his elder brother in 1534. Levett is not a normal English name, and the brothers may have originally come from an immigrant family. Certainly Levett was an innovator, and in 1543 he built a new blast-furnace at Buxted, to try to cast iron cannon. He brought in another foreign expert, Peter Baude, who had been casting bronze cannon for the King in London.

        Levett and Baude were successful, and the Buxted works produced the first one-piece cast iron cannon in 1543. Their early cannon went into fixed positions in coastal forts, where weight did not matter much. Progress was rapid. A foundry with two furnaces was built in 1546, so that enough molten iron could be supplied at one time to pour into larger molds and produce larger cannon. By 1549, 53 forges and blast furnaces were operating in the Weald<not all for military iron, of course, but a dramatic increase. And the industry more than doubled over the following 25 years. By 1574 there were 110 furnaces and forges in the area, producing several thousand tons of iron, including several hundred tons of cannon. <br>

        But those guns were much heavier than bronze, hence their use on shore batteries, but not ships or mobile batteries.  Also, they were used primarily in England, which lacked resources to make bronze.

        Here is a bit on bronze vs. cast iron in the Amerian Civil War, as late as the 19th Century:

        The disadvantages of bronze (heavy, and too soft to hold rifling) as an ordnance material have just been listed, and to them may be added its excessive weight. But bronze had for centuries the signal advantage of toughness; absent a serious defect in manufacture, bronze guns were reliable and safe. Superior smelting techniques developed during the early industrial revolution raised hopes that cast iron might be a suitable material for guns, and there were many experiments. However, the explosion of the Peacemaker aboard the Princeton halted the production of iron cannon in the United States for over a decade, and only the largest, and most over-engineered, guns were made of iron.
        Reinforcement of cast iron forward of the breech was an obvious solution, but Robert Parker Parrott was the first to successfully turn out quantities of cast iron cannon. The novelty in his method was not in the reinforce, but in the method of attachment; the wrought iron band was allowed to cool in place while the gun was rotated, which allowed the reinforce to clamp on uniformly around the circumference of the breech. The resulting guns still did burst occasionally, but could be produced quickly and cheaply at a time when they were desperately needed; the cost to the government was about $187, versus about $350 for its nearest rival, the wrought iron 3-inch ordnance rifle. The Parrott system became the workhorse rifle of the artillery for the first years of the War, and continued to be produced in quantity even after the introduction of the ordnance rifle, which was preferred by many artillerymen. Advances in materials superseded both models within a few years; the steel rifle soon took over the field. The Wiard, made of what the designer called "semi-steel" (puddled wrought iron) and the small Whitworths and Armstrongs of true steel, were precursors of the revolution in materials that would take place in the following decades.

        But I don't intend to distract from Dark Syde's wonderful work, I just happen to be a weapons history junkie.  Yes, you are right, the British developed iron cannon, but the rest of the world, and even they when they could get the bronze, relied primarily upon those guns for the early history of gunpowder warfare.

        •  For the layman (none)
          I suggest:

          Amazon link here

          I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

          by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 08:26:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the link. (none)
          The verdigris color in the pics really made your point.

          I think you may be understating the use of iron cannon aboard ships, and have been trying to find a pic of a rusty iron cannon brought up from a spanish armada wreck (that's what i was thinking about when i made the comment) but have failed.

          The best link i could find is here: Early Progress in the Melting of Iron.

          When the famous Spanish Armada attempted to invade England in the sixteenth century, an important step in improving the quality of cast iron was discovered(3). In his historical book "Full Fathom Five" about an expedition organized to recover the buried wrecks of the "invincible" Armada off the coast of England, Colin Martin (3) indicates that the cast iron cannons, shot and anchors of the Spanish fleet were inferior to those used by the British. Martin cites this as an important reason why the British were able to defeat the Spanish and thus prevent the conquest of England.

          But i was apparently wrong on all counts, the Dutch contributions to iron casting actually came later than the armada and the cast iron quality seems to be more of an issue with the shot and not the cannon.

        •  So did I just read (none)
          a cannon canon?

          The most un-American thing you can say is, "You can't say that." -G. Keillor

          by Eddie Haskell on Sat Sep 17, 2005 at 04:59:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  A little hope... (none)
    Some CFCs measured in the atmosphere have decreased slightly over the last 15 years.  See this figure, for example.  This is good news.  But it could be better.

    Imagine you start a car from a stop.  If you push on the gas a little, you will speed up slowly.  If you push a lot, you will speed up quicker.  The more CFCs we put in the atmosphere, the harder we stomp on the peddle making the ozone hole.  The graph shows that we are no longer pushing harder on that peddle, but we are keeping our foot on the accelerator in about the same place.  That's better than watching those CFC concentrations increase, but we still need to do better.  When the lines on that graph finally fall back down, the ozone layer will be back to normal.

    DarkSyde, excellent diary as usual.  Thanks!

  •  Transcending Nation. (none)
    This isn't a matter of national survival. This is a matter of human survival. Worst case scenario, we wipe ourselves out, and much as I like both Britain and America, I place humanity as a higher priority. I'm far from convinced that we're going to be able to avoid this - I have a couple of friends who don't try to do anything precisely because they say nothing can feasibly be done. People don't change until disaster confronts them, and this disaster will wipe us out. So you might as well enjoy life while you can. Maybe that's what the self-serving industrialists are thinking?

    Oh, BTW, you mix up your molecules and your atoms:

    As it turns out, one chlorine atom can ruin hundreds or thousands of ozone atoms!
    That would be ozone molecule. ;-)
  •  ((Head Explodes)) (none)
    Great diary, though - I can already see I'll have to read it again to really absorb all of it.

    HEY - Why haven't you visited my blog?

    by RenaRF on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 06:53:47 AM PDT

  •  You have a talent (none)
    for making science very approachable.  Maybe you could write a few of those shows that used to be on that start with a simple invention and trace its impact on the modern world through successive inventions.  (I don't remember the name.)  
  •  Just (none)
    sent this link to all the kids. . .including the one that builds Drano bombs in the yard when I'm not looking.
  •  For us non-American Kossacks (none)
    It was never about US politics, and always about the fate of our planet. Unfortunately, US politics tends to be one of the biggest influences in determining the fate of our planet.

    Since we have no hope of reducing US poitical influence, our only available option is to try to move that influence in the right direction.

    "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 07:13:12 AM PDT

  •  Excellent (none) usual.

    I disagree only on the oversimplfied rendition of the relationship between scientists and the ownerclass or "capos". You gloss over the status, (in many countries, through many eras of history), of philosophy, natural philosophy, natural science etc. The royal society in the UK is a prime example. Isaac Newton chaired the society for years and was knighted.

    Your simplification certainly applies to certain cultures and eras, in particular the US through the last 150 years.

    Also check out the Weather Underground site for a great write up on the Ozone hole and UV-B radiation (which is the biggest threat from depleted ozone).

    Click to go to original source

    "Just a quick observation, when people don't want to play the blame game, they're to blame." --Jon Stewart

    by Marcus Junius Brutus on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 07:20:21 AM PDT

    •  I do have to say (none)
      that I really liked the comparison of royalty to mafia.

      Essentially the only difference is the amount to which their legitimacy is accepted by the general populace.

      I carried water for the elephant; Back and forth to the well I went; My arms got sore and my back got bent; But I couldn't fill up that elephant

      by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 07:30:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good science, bad politics (4.00)

    Your discussions of technological history and the basic science of ozone depletion are great, but several points in your account of the current state of this issue and what it means for climate change are quite misleading.

    1. Protection of the ozone layer is a huge success, by a wide margin the biggest one we have.  

    Under the international treaties controlling ozone-depleting chemicals, worldwide use of these chemicals has been reduced by well over 95% since the late 1980s (and this is a highly conservative estimate, leaving lots of room for slop, and misreporting), and continues to decline.  There are now measured reductions in the total concentration of chlorine and bromine in the stratosphere (the clearest measure of the harm we were causing), and in global ozone loss.  We aren't seeing faster recovery just because of the slow processes that remove the offending chemicals from the atmosphere, but we're now on a track to see the Antarctic ozone hole stop appearing (it's a seasonal phenomenon - it appears each spring when the sun comes up, then breaks up in the summer) in about 30 to 40 years, unless we're unlucky or backslide.  In other words, stratospheric ozone depletion is a solved problem -- the only one of any significance in global environmental policy.  We should no longer be using it as one of a list of environmental horrors, but as the most fruitful place to go looking for lessons about how to deal with other issues.  Most current data on the state of reductions is at:

    and still more detail at ...

    2. Industry started out fighting dirty and on the wrong side, but they changed sides and made huge contributions to solving the problem.  

    The CFC producing and using industries stonewalled and lied from the mid-1970s until about 1986 or 1987, but since that time became huge contributors to solving the problem:  it was a flood of private-sector driven innovation that allowed us to get rid of nearly all ozone-depleting chemicals vastly faster than anyone imagined possible in the late 1980s.  This wasn't a case of bad guys suddenly turning into good guys, but a subtle shift in the balance of incentives within big complicated organizations, nudged along by some very strategically sophisticated manipulation of their incentives.  How this happened is a hugely important story, which holds some of the biggest grounds for hope that we may find our way to a resolution of global climate change - with the private sector contributing.  (And there is one big and informative exception to this description - the firms producing and using the agricultural pesticide methyl bromide, which is the only significant ozone-depleting chemical still far away from a global phaseout.)

    3. The "skeptics'" anti-science backlash on ozone was a joke - but they learned from it, and that's why the corresponding backlash on climate has been much more effective.

    The anti-science backlash against ozone depletion was laughably feeble, and never got any policy traction.  A few Congressional ideologues tried to use it to make trouble in 1993-1995, but they got nowhere.  Since then, no one but a few truly crazy people (most of them affiliated with Lyndon LaRouche) have questioned the broad scientific understanding of ozone depletion, not even under the Bush Administration.  But it was the failure of this day-late-dollar-short attempt to undercut scientific consensus on ozone that alerted the likely opponents of action on climate change that they would have to mount a larger challenge to the emergence of a strong, authoritative scientific consensus on climate change if they wanted to stop greenhouse-gas mitigation.  Using some of the same "scientific" spokespeople (and recruiting a bunch more by the promise of wealth and fame), they have had much more success in obscuring the solidity of scientific knowledge on climate than they did on ozone.  

    1. USA was the biggest leader in getting international protection of the ozone layer, and has been the biggest obstacle to getting international protection of the climate.  The EU has been in precisely the opposite position each time - biggest obstacle on ozone, biggest leader on climate.  Nobody's got a persuasive explanation.

    2. Clear Skies is a terrible law, but not because it does anything to weaken protection of the ozone layer.  Those provisions of the Clean Air Act have been unchanged since the methyl bromide phaseout schedule was weakened under the Clinton Administration (sorry - they were a lot better than BushCo on global environmental issues, but you need to use a pretty low bar to make them look good.)

    3. Conclusion: we need serious action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, starting now (the action needs to start now, fortunately not necessarily the reductions - there's a long lag time from action to reductions).  But this goal is not advanced by:
    • Confounding climate with ozone loss - even by implication
    • Failing to note that we achieved an incredible success in an issue with many similarities, so we should be mining that experience for lessons
    • general vilification of industry - where do you imagine the R&D and investments to shift the world energy system to non-carbon-emitting sources are going to come from?

    Is it bad form to promote your own books here?  

    For further detail, see ..

    Protecting the Ozone Layer: Science and Strategy - Edward A. Parson, Oxford University Press, 2003.

    The Science and Politics of Climate Change: a Guide to the Debate - Andrew Dessler and Edward Parson, Cambridge University Press, 2005 (October or November)

    •  aha (none)
      I had a feeling I was being misled

      any chance of making this a diary in its own right?

    •  I (none)
      had a longish section on some of the excellent points you bring up and I'm glad you mentined them here. But it kind of dragged and it made the whole thing about almost a thousand words longer, so I reduced it drastically to "The worst CFCs have been relatively contained for now", and then didn't even include that until Sylvestor brought it up and  added it back in on edit. I hoped it was clear that the CSA affected emissions more to do with greenhouses gases (And mercury and other pollutants). And that my dire predictiosn at the end were concerned with a general antiscience attitude and a confluence of several factors encompassing even phenomena not related to weather at all. I rationalized it by providing the link to the text of the Bill in case anyone wanted to look deeper. In retrospect I probably should have made a few things more clear though and I appreciate your well written critique.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 07:57:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm buying your new book (none)
      Is there somewhere I could send an e-mail address for notification when it's published?
  •  Damn I got here late... (none)
    ...and all the bandwidth was used up for the pretty pictures.

    Kinda ironic really...

    You want to downsize the government?
    Fuck you. My government defends the American people.

    by deafmetal on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 07:41:52 AM PDT

  •  Excellent, DarkSyde (none)
     Sadly, Americans still distrust intellect and, as an extension, science unless it is providing them new consumer toys.  Until we show some respect for knowledge rather than just muscle (monetary muscle, political muscle, brute muscle,) we will never be able to confront the problems, let alone deal with them.  Too many Americans are proud of their ignorance, although I hope that by now they "know the difference between Iraq and Iran".  Continued pursuit of the short term corporate profits ideology puts the entire planet at risk now. If we hold the current course I look for cockroaches, coyotes and crows to be the next dominates species - if they can dodge the West Nile virus.  Hmm, maybe viruses will be the dominant life forms and the rest of us just won't relaize we exist to provide dinner.  
    •  That's (none)
      my fear also. But the ozone problem was addressed with some success becuase science ID'd the problem and industry was 'encouraged' to comply by thoughtful eladers. It doesn't take a miracle, just decent science and motivated industries to solve things like global warming or pollution or all manner of things. But yeah, we have to get these particular shitheads out of power to start fixing anything.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 08:33:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  forget Harry Potter - HUMPHREY was the real wizard (4.00)
    speaking of James Watt & steam engines:

    the first steam engines were very inefficient...they actually worked because of the vacuum created when steam condensed into water

    they were huge and ran very slow that young boys were used to turn all the different valves on and off as the engine ran. There were valves to inject steam...valves to turn on cooling water, etc

    One of these boys, Humphrey Potter, was running the engine one day....and he could hear the other boys outside playing marbles..well HE wanted to play too

    so he took some string and wood...he managed to hook up the valves to the moving parts of the engine so the valves turned on and off automatically......engine speed and power doubled

    so you can imagine the surprise of the adults who walked in to check on the engine..they saw the engine running better than ever & the kid was just sitting there playing marbles ( or not even there according to a different version of the story )

    Humphrey Potter later became an engineer.

    so...the next time you look at the engine in your car...think about your valves & the camshaft that drives them....and remember...the early version of that mechanism was born because a smart bored kid wanted to play with his marbles

  •  "She's a diet cola addict ." (4.00)
    This is no joke, DarkSyde!

    My own spouse began drinking Diet Coke after a bout of pneumonia that left him unable to quaff hot coffee in the morning.  He found the bubbles soothing and he chose the diet version because the women at his office kept the communal fridge well-stocked with the cold bubbly stuff.  It soothed him and helped him with his caffeine fix each morning.

    Fine.  Until about six months later when I noticed he was buying the stuff by the caseload and downing the whole lot in a fraction of the time he had originally consumed it.  So I perked up myself and started counting empties - He was downing SIX a day, every day, and that was out of the house!  I don't know how many he was downing at work or in the car and throwing empties out elsewhere.

    My husband had no other addictions.  None at all in the 25 years of our relationship.

    He also became quite hostile when I brought all this to his attention, pointing out his non-addictive nature and the fact that the stuff was legal to all, over the counter, and it appeared that nearly everyone around him was letting the coffee pot cool while they all cracked open their frosty bottles each a.m.

    This got me thinking even harder.  So I checked the label.

    ASPARTAME, my friend.  Diet soft drinks, chewing gum, candy, have all become mere delivery systems for ASPARTAME.

    I think the stuff is more addictive than nicotine.   And it is in a lot of products.

    AND, guess who the lobbyist was for Monsanto (the manufacturer of Aspartame) when the chemical was developed and fast-tracked through the FDA?

    Donald Rumsfeld.

    Watch out for your wife, dear.

    •  Correction on Rumsfeld's Bio - (none)
      Donald Rumsfeld was Chief Executive Officer of G. D. Searle & Co. from 1977 to 1985, during which time their product, aspartame, was approved by the FDA.

      Twarnt' Monsanto and he was no lobbyist.

      (Sorry - I haven't had my morning tea yet!)

    •  I know someone..... (none)
      I know someone who does not have any family history of cancer was diagnosed to have breast cancer.  She said few months before that she became a diet cola addict.

      After her diagnosis and treatment she stopped drinking diet colas.

      Stop Corporate Influence; buy DEMOCRACY BONDS!!!

      by timber on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:01:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Eeeek (none)
      I weaned myself off diet soda a while back -- I was worried about chemicals and whatnot.  I now have a big seltzer habit going.

      But my sister is definitely addicted to diet soda, and I'm concerned about her health, actually.  And we get along fine, but you generally can NOT comment on her diet soda addiction.  Crrrranky.   But it really has me worried.

      •  Tell her this - (none)
        a recent U.S. study confirmed that people who drank soda - diet or regular - were more likely to become overweight or obese.

        And diet soda was worse in that regard than regular soda.

        "It didn't matter whether people were drinking diet or regular soft drinks: drinking sodas of any kind seemed to increase the risk of weight gain," lead author Sharon Fowler said in a press release. "In fact, drinking diet soft drinks seemed to be much more closely related to the incidence of becoming overweight or obese."

        On average, for each diet soda a person drank each day, they were 65 percent more likely to become overweight during the next seven to eight years, and 41 percent more likely to become obese. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association earlier this summer.

        This information may cause her to quit more quickly than the idea that aspartame is addictive.

  •  DarkSyde (none)
    You and Dood Abides are the only people here I read purely because you're the authors, and this was another great explanation of what went on before and is going on now...but I'm curious what that had to do with Mrs. DarkSyde asking why her soda is more fizzy when it's warm, I was really expecting you to tie all this back in with the properties of warm soda and carbonation. Oh well, despite those completely crashed expectations and desires, it was well worht the read. Keep up the (usually) good work.

    Freedom can't be forced.

    by Perdition on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 09:11:28 AM PDT

    •  Well (none)
      it got me thinking of partial pressure, saturation, and temperature which got me thinking of thermodynamics which got me thinking of refridgeration which led to cylinders and pumps which brought up engines and cannons and ... there it was.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 09:15:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It goes like this... (4.00)
    1. Republicans cut education.
    2. They just try to teach kids to function and obey, not critical thinking skills.
    3. Republicans tie their wagons with right wing clerics to make science evil and make sure people learn to be obedient.
    4. Demonize their enemies. That way they can erect a wall in the minds of their minions that won't allow truth or facts to seep in. At the beginning, try to make sure all citizen support systems are maintained on a "facade" level. It's OK to whittle away from within.
    5. Repeat over a few generations. You'll now have a group of people who will happily go to their deaths or allow others to die because it's the "right" thing to do. Just ask them.

    The moral? Republicans: Destroying America and the world one mind at a time.
    Of course, under the guidance of such people all systems eventually collapse under the weight of their own corruption. It's called history. I would say there is still a slight hope we may recover. Our democracy has been incredibly resilient throughout history, but if the Dems in office don't start literally fighting back, I'm not sure what can be done, if anything. Especially once these right wing forces control the supreme court. If we think there is a lack of control/regulation now under the Bush administration, just wait until the conservatives control the bench. Hell, they'll probably outlaw science, since it's too complicated for anyone to truly understand.
    Great diary as usual Darksyde. I know I say this alot, but if you haven't read Buckminster Fuller's Critical Path, read it. It ties in with alot of what you're saying, especially about the people in charge being like the mafia. America could be an absolutely wonderful place to live if we could just get the other half to pull their heads out of their asses.
    The 2nd law of political dynamics
    Action==>Consequence (Democrat)
    ==>Don't worry about it, we'll make money (Republican)

    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Tom Paine

    by Alumbrados on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 10:30:43 AM PDT

  •  aoeu (none)
    your gif file is awesome

    box turtle hatchlings
    are still proficient with teeth
    watch out John Roberts

    by TealVeal on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 11:52:43 AM PDT

  •  The Choice is Yet Ours (none)
    First off, building the future was always supposed to be hard work, and ours is no different. These challenges fall to the living, who have the choice -- to shirk, or to pity the children, or to profit from their misery, or to envy the dead -- or just shut. the. eff. up. and get to work.

    If I seem crass, it's because there's no upside to nice. I've posted dark, dark scenarios and been scolded for my pessimism. I've posted hardly rosy but not hopeless ones, and been excoriated for whistling down the primrose path.

    There are six billion people and counting. More on the way. That's a lot of mouths to feed -- it's also a lots of minds to think and hands to help.

    Bad times approach. We require heroes of ourselves. Not to worship, but to become.

    My TWO versions of the dark ages

    These are for the serious ashes and sackcloth crowd. And they are welcome to it. Neither represent clean deaths for Humanity; in both we linger, and watch all our hopes perish ahead of us.

    The Greenhouse Scenario

    based on this sketch

    The industrial mindset never quite goes away, and the popular move toward nanotech is quashed, the technology controlled "for the greater good" by those who least need it, save as leverage to stay in power. More techno-wonders happen, and quickly, but they are poorly developed, have no mass constituency, and the persistent redlining of tech development at the expense of global development eventually causes the collapse of this precocious order. That, and we never quite get off the ground with space exploration. Here we are, and here we stay, prisoners of a long succession of selfishness.

    The scenario here is based on some projections I have made elsewhere, that the Earth's average temperature will increase by 17 degree Fahrenheit by 2100, by an additional 8 degrees through to 2200, and ultimately stabilize, after much exertion by humanity, around 39 degrees warmer in the middle of the 3rd millenium. (Let's just say we either get it under control the hard way, or not at all and that temperature soars to about 1,000 degrees, the oceans boil off, and the barometric pressure settles in around 400 bars.)

    In which case there's not much to write about. :)

    In the Greenhouse Millennium, the severe global hardship erodes the older modes of economic activity more severely than in the mainline scenario, which early on impairs the accumulation of capital requisite for the development of new technologies. However, due to reduced means, saturation of the economy by these new modes occurs sooner, leaving both incentive and room for still newer technologies, albeit they are even more constrained, facilitating the rise of a super concentration of power in the hands of those persons wielding the most advanced means of production.

    However, there is only so far that the wealth of a society can be drawn out to cover such ambitious goods while neglecting the viability of the economic base, and in this scenario that threshold is reached before the end of the Third Millennium. There is more advanced science, but far fewer enjoy the fruits of it, and as such this is not only a more impoverished time-thread, but one that is perched on the verge of collapse as the price of going too far, too soon, for the benefit of too few.

    The Global Thermonuclear War Scenario

    And just for the apocalypse junkies: here's the global thermonuclear war version. This is the REALLY depressing one.

    What still stands

    There are still armies, and governments, and what order exists is closely associated with their upkeep. It's a sort of feudalism writ large; autocracy is the order of the day, though some republics struggle to keep things going. No economic activity, no matter how primitive, is better off than before the war; far too many people died. There's still crafts and farming, cable television and the internet, churches and use of machinery. Some trade exists, but it is very sparse.

    What's gone

    There is no industry, or oil to run it. There is no mining, but that is moot since there is more scrap to harvest than can be exhausted, even if there were still industries. Mass education is gone, as are almost all medicines save for an emphasis on nutrition, hygeine, first aid, and radiation discipline. There is hardly any ranching; too difficult to police what the critters eat. Even hunting is rare; the bullets are worth too much for warfare to waste on game, and wildlife is more likely to be contaminated than livestock.

    What never happened

    Nanotech. Had it managed to be implemented before the war, there would have been a prayer of recovery. Of course, had it been in existence for the war, it would have been used in it, the ultimate holocaust as the planet was converted into a hot puddle of grey goo.

    But maybe it gets better in the 22nd century?

    By 2200, the population is up to 1.1 billion, and global GDP is comparable to the year 1920 instead of 1850. Life expectancy is sub-current levels, about 66 years in the best areas. Farm production is doubled, promising increase in numbers going forward. Internet use is 50% greater than current, quite something given the relative population. Virtual simulation technology is now available, a happy retreat for persons living in a dark and dismal future. A few industries have returned, fueled by a class of recyclers, foragers among the plentiful ruins. These last are aided by the advent by nanotech, which renders them more resistant to radiation and biohazards and facilitates prospecting and recovery of critical materials. Some ranching in well-cleansed areas begins again, and there is even refining of petrochemicals, mostly plastics recovery. Perhaps the worst is past. Perhaps, just perhaps, Humanity has been handed a second chance.

    Oops. Perhaps not

    The 23rd century introduces Humanity to the new reality - it has survived, but it will survive with stringent limits going forward. Thanks to the bombs and the radiation, there simply is no more room for much more than a billion humans on Earth, not anymore. The days of progress fueled by rapid population expansion are over.

    It is strenuous to feed humanity now, to glean nutrition and necessities from the land and the ruins. The brief renaissance in industry and petrochemicals is shelved for keeps; the old, fast-moving ways are gone, as is any hope of space travel. Virtual reality, quantum simulations, and a vibrant realtime kaffeeklatsch sort of society, at once congenial and contemplative, is what persists, that is, when the rigors of survival allow.

    And with that salvo across the bow, humanity learns that there will be no additional wonders, not anytime soon. The post-Apocalypse is neither barbarian nor enlightened, purely hellish nor transcendent in sad wisdom. It is a stasis, a living within much-reduced means, of looking up at the stars and knowing that the change to attain them had been sacrificed for many centuries to come, perhaps for keeps.

    And then there's the struggle, and the prospect of triumph

    This is the complex continuation of that most frustrating and dissatisfying and ennobling and debasing and empowering and exhilirating thing of all -- human history, doing its haphazard, reckless thing on the one hand, and being compelled to learn lessons and earn redemption with the other.

    It fills four diaries the world in 2100, the world in 2200, the world in 2300, and to make a guess?....the world in 2400

    I'll just give you the wrap from the first of these:

    And that's your world, 100 years from now, and my world as of right now.

    It's a big place in a lot of ways; the ice of Antarctica, the craters of the Moon, the dust of Mars, the clouds of Jupiter, the vistas of the stars, and the depths of the seas are open to us.

    And yet with vast comes emptiness, and loneliness,an abyss of loss and destruction that it will take millennia to fill, or never. We have lost many of our loved ones, our fellow creatures, the health of our homeworld and most of all, we lost our way.

    But we regather ourselves, and we hope, our souls.

    We know there are others out there, beyond concern or care for Humanity's talents and travails.

    We do not expect to meet them for a long time.

    For that, we are grateful. Perhaps we will be ready for company by then.

    If you ask me

    I'd rather get to work. The doomsday scenarios are fascinating, even entertaining in a see-its-not-so-bad sort of way. But I have no reason to wish those worlds on anyone's children.

    The good news is we're all working to stop them from happening. Correct?

    It's only Nero-esque if the city is burning. :)

    by cskendrick on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:14:35 PM PDT

  •  RESIST NOW: Shock and Awe (none)
    has been the order of society for centuries, along with drawing and quartering and the garotte for those who dared to resist.

    And yet, we have never had such power to End The Madness, or physical safety within which to do it, safety the medieval peasants would have envied.

    King and Gandhi -- still within our living memories -- and their teachings of Civil Disobedience and Nonviolent Resistance, are not just convenient national holidays, or exotic motion pictures, for our consumption.

    Complain all you want, but this earth-destroying machine is running on your daily labors, and your tax payments.  The hour or two you are able to detach weekly -- to counter your own negative contribution -- is hardly adequate to effect the needed change.

    So -- what will it take?  And will you do it?

    If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

    by HenryDavid on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 01:14:48 PM PDT

  •  *Thank you* (none)
       I just googled aspartame and liver toxicity,as i have a liver dis---ease,  no more diet cokes for me.    that led to manipulating public opinion.   Lots of good books on that.  Lippman, Chomsky,etc.  Anyone no what kind of coal it is you burn in combo/wood stoves?
  •  Once again... (none)
    Amazing. How does someone who understands, for instance, the conflict between the eggheads and aristocrats vote Republican anyway?

    Well, let's see... Not a scientist here (computer geek, intead) but it seems like we can not only undo Bush's Newspeak law (hopefully Before It's Too late) but i think we can do more. We can, i propose, repair the ozone layer.

    A couple of things are needed and (i don't think) they're really that far out. I'm guessing we could assemble them today if we had the money and support to do it.

    First we need something to do to CFCs what they do to ozone. In a safe, non-toxic way. I don't know if any such substance exists, but there's got to be something around.

    Then we need a delivery system: "seed" this into our ozone layer and watch the CFCs get (most likely slowly) atomized.

    For bonus points we retrofit the delivery system to deliver ozone to the depleted atmosphere.


    Okay, maybe that's a lot of ozone to deliver. But whatever. Hell, we're talking about space elevators.

    Sheer fantasy? Maybe today.

    The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

    by Shapeshifter on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 02:43:10 PM PDT

  •  Yo DarkSyde (none)
    I just e-mailed this effort to my 7th grade son's HGT science teacher.  The blending of social and scientific history is brilliant, and makes it very approachable.

    Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

    by Frankenoid on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 03:20:25 PM PDT

  •  I got here late (none)
    But that was the best diary I ever read, and I been here going on about a year.

    "Have you no sense of decency, sir. At long last, have you left no sense of decency?" -- Boston Attorney Joe Welch, taking down Sen. Joe McCarthy.

    by BostonJoe on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 04:22:47 PM PDT

  •  Truth is not always kind (none)
    But I would prefer it anytime. Pretty heavy thinking, that's what I like about this place. Not only do we get the truth (not sugar coated) but we also have such wise scientifical minds to relay it in a way that even simple minds like mine can understand. (well at least it makes more sense to me now than it did) Thank You!
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