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Archive for Maio, 2013

Antonio Turiel

Queridos lectores,

Hace pocos días tuve la ocasión de encontrarme con varios investigadores españoles con ocasión de la lectura de una tesis en la que, ellos y yo, formábamos parte del tribunal de evaluación. Durante la cena del día anterior a la lectura tuve una curiosa conversación.

– La probabilidad de que este año sea un año sin verano es ahora mismo del 75%

Quien así hablaba no era un bocazas desinformado, sino uno de los responsables de un servicio meteorológico autonómico de España.

– MétéoFrance y MetOffice dan esta previsión; los americanos aún no lo ven claro, sus modelos están indecisos. El caso es que el Jet Stream está cambiando.

Efectivamente, parece que la Corriente de Chorro polar está cambiando. Esta corriente es responsable de mantener un clima templado y relativamente húmedo en Europa, y también tiene otros efectos en los EE.UU. Algunas de las figuras que usaré más abajo, así como una excelente explicación de qué está pasando, puede encontrarse en la web de Skeptical Science, concretamente en el artículo “A Rough Guide to the Jet Stream: what it is, how it works and how it is responding to enhanced Arctic warming“.

Normalmente esta corriente atmosférica desarrolla unos meandros ondulantes moderados. Sin embargo, los meandros que se están desarrollando son más grandes: se internan mucho más hacia el sur, y su velocidad de fase (a qué velocidad se desplazan estas ondas a lo largo de la corriente de chorro) es mucho menor. La siguiente figura muestra las dos posibles situaciones: la normal (línea roja, marcada como “zonal flow”) y la que se está desarrollando ahora (línea naranja, etiquetada como “meridional flow”).

(mais…)

Anúncios

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By Robert Jensen

 

Countercurrents

 

“The universe is an undifferentiated whole. About that we can say nothing more.”

This catchy aphorism from political philosopher Bruce Wright may seem nonsensical at first glance, but is worth exploring in the service of deepening our intellectual humility. Facing multiple, cascading ecological crises, we humans need science more than ever—and more than ever we need to understand the limits of science.

Like many, Wright—a professor emeritus of political science from California State University, Fullerton —is concerned about the unintended consequences of science and technology. When we started burning fossil fuels, for example, no one could have predicted global warming. If we try to “solve” the problem of global warming only through faith in increasingly complex technology, we should be prepared for new problems that typically come with such solutions.

The lesson is pretty clear: The knowledge we humans can acquire—while impressive in what it allows us to build—is not adequate to manage the complexity of the world. No matter how smart we are, our ignorance will always outstrip our knowledge, and so we routinely fail to anticipate or control the consequences of our science and technology.

Wright’s aphorism reinforces that point and takes it a step further: It’s not just that scientific analysis can’t tell us everything, but that the analytical process destroys the unity of what we are trying to study. When we analyze, the subject becomes an object, as we break it apart to allow us to poke and probe in the pursuit of that analysis.

To “differentiate,” in this context, means the act of perceiving and assigning distinctions within a system. Thinking of the universe as an undifferentiated whole recognizes its unity, providing a corrective to the method of modern science that breaks things down to manageable components that can be studied. That “reductionism” in science assumes that the behavior of a system can be understood most effectively by observing the behavior of its parts. At first glance that may seem not only obvious but unavoidable. How else would we ever know anything? We can’t look out at the universe and somehow magically understand how things work—we have to break it down into smaller parts.

Imagine a pond in the woods. That ecosystem includes the air, water, and land—the various inanimate objects such as rocks; the plants we see and their root structures underground; the animals and fish that are big enough for us to see and the many other micro-life forms we can’t observe with our eyes; and the weather. No one person could walk into the scene and offer a detailed account of all that is happening in that ecosystem, let alone explain how it operates. Even a cursory description of the ecosystem requires knowledge of meteorology, botany, zoology, geology, chemistry, physics. To make sense of the complex relationships and interactions among all the players in that one small ecosystem, experts in those disciplines would observe, experiment, and explain their part of it. Putting all that knowledge together, we can say some important things about the system, but we can’t claim to know how it really works. Not only is there is a unity to the ecosystem that we can’t understand, but our analytic approach destroys the unity we seek to understand.

(mais…)

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Steve Lendman
Institutionalized Spying on Americans

Big Brother no longer is fiction. It hasn’t been for some time. It’s official US policy. According to ACLU’s Technology and Liberty Program director Barry Steinhardt:

“Given the capabilities of today’s technology, the only thing protecting us from a full-fledged surveillance society are the legal and political institutions we have inherited as Americans.”

“Unfortunately, the September 11 attacks have led some to embrace the fallacy that weakening the Constitution will strengthen America.”

Manufactured national security threats matter more than fundamental freedoms. Domestic spying is institutionalized.

Anyone can be monitored for any reason or none at all. Privacy rights are lost. Patriot Act legislation authorized unchecked government surveillance powers.

Financial, medical and other personal information can be accessed freely. So-called “sneak and peak” searches may be conducted through “delayed notice” warrants, roving wiretaps, email tracking, and Internet and cell phone use.

The FBI, CIA, NSA, and Pentagon spy domestically. So do state and local agencies. Spies “R” us defines US policy. America is a total surveillance society. It’s unsafe to live in. Everyone is suspect unless proved otherwise.

The 2012 FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act renewed warrantless spying. It passed with little debate. On Sunday, December 30, 2012 Obama signed it into law. Doing so largely went unnoticed.

These type disturbing measures usually slip below the radar. Weekends and holiday period enactments conceal blows to freedom. Warrantless spying became law for another five years.

Phone calls, emails, and other communications may be monitored secretly without court authorization. Probable cause isn’t needed. So-called “foreign intelligence information” is sought. Virtually anything qualifies. Vague language is all-embracing.

(mais…)

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e estamos quase-quase nas 400 ppm de CO2 na atmosfera. O ritmo de aumento que levamos – 2 ppm por ano – está bom e muito dentro dos valores esperados. Se a economia euro-nipo-americana não estivesse a soro, poderíamos fazer ainda melhor, mas não se pode ter tudo. O único dado talvez inquietante é que seria preciso recuar 3  milhões de anos para encontrar na atmosfera terrestre uma concentração de CO2 similar. Será isto mau sinal?

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