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Current location: New Jersey
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 28,208

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You Can Actually See It For A Short Time: Beckmann's "Hell of Birds."

In an age of encroaching fascism around the world, I have had cause to reflect on the life of the Painter Max Beckmann, who is not as widely known as he should be.

Happily the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ("The Met" in New York City is now featuring an exhibition of his work entitled "Beckmann in New York."

After becoming a successful artist in the 1920's in Weimar Germany, his works were banned and confiscated by the Nazis as "Degenerate Art."

Beckmann fled to Holland in 1938 after producing powerful works to protest fascism, and lived and worked in Amsterdam - which he viewed as a way station - and lived through the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands before finally being granted a visa to the United States. He refused to return to Germany and called his life in the United States which began in 1948 the "end" of his "exile."

He taught at Washington College in Saint Louis, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Art. He died of a heart attack at Central Park West and 69th Street in New York City in 1950 while walking on his way to see one of his works which was being exhibited at The Met.

It is in an unbelievable exhibition of his work there right now; I spent several hours yesterday, and frankly, I wept, because of what is happening to my country.

My son - an artist in his own right - had only a mild criticism of the show, this being that they used the words "National Socialism" to describe Nazism, and that the show did not focus heavily enough on Beckmann's politics. This said, when asked by an art dealer to explain the symbolism of his powerful triptych "Departure" Beckmann is said to have responded, "If you need me to tell you that, send it back. "Departure," which is owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and is regrettably not continuously on display is also available for viewing at the Met show.

Here is a link to the show: Max Beckmann in New York

The show runs through February 20, and if you're in New York, and want to see some powerful art, I strongly recommend this show.

The "Hell of Birds" - sometimes called "Hell's Birds" is in a private collection and is thus not available for public viewing very often. Thus, you may never have a chance to see it live again, and no Art book or photograph or web page can do it justice.

WHO has caught up with the scientific literature on air pollution deaths.

For many years, until I came across the paper reporting on the comprehensive study of the causes of human mortality funded by the Gates Foundation, this one (Lancet 2012, 380, 2224–60), I used the figure of 3.3 million deaths per year from air pollution, a figure that was conveniently available on a web page of the World Health Organization.

This was, of course, an impressive figure, but it is too low by a factor of 2. The actual figure as reported in the Lancet paper is 7 million people year. This means that every decade, air pollution kills more people than died in all of World War II from combat, aerial bombings, genocide, etc.

I use these figures to support my contention that opposition to nuclear power is at best stupid, at worst criminal, since in its entire history, commercial nuclear power operations have not lead to more deaths than will take place in the next 48 hours from air pollution.

Recently, in one of my periodic posts on the subject of how everything humanity has done to fight climate change - which consists mainly of investing huge sums of money in so called "renewable energy" - has failed miserably, an anti-nuke showed up in the most to complain that the new figure that I've been using, roughly seven million deaths per year was wrong, and, in the spectacular logic of anti-nukes, therefore everything I say about nuclear power was wrong. I dismissed this silliness by reference to the Lancet paper, although I doubt that there are any anti-nukes anywhere who are bright enough to get it.

This exchange is here: At 3.37 ppm over November of 2015, November 2016 is the worst November for new carbon dioxide...

Apparently the anti-nuke googled his way to the old WHO website - which is by the way unreferenced sort of like an Amory Lovins "paper" - to find the 3.3 million figure.

I was stumbling around the internet today, doing a little lazy Googling myself, to discover that WHO has updated their web page.

It appears that WHO has caught up with the scientific literature on the subject:

7 million premature deaths annually linked to air pollution

The opening text from the (still unreferenced) web page:

25 MARCH 2014 | GENEVA - In new estimates released today, WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died - one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.

New estimates

In particular, the new data reveal a stronger link between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and ischaemic heart disease, as well as between air pollution and cancer. This is in addition to air pollution’s role in the development of respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

The new estimates are not only based on more knowledge about the diseases caused by air pollution, but also upon better assessment of human exposure to air pollutants through the use of improved measurements and technology. This has enabled scientists to make a more detailed analysis of health risks from a wider demographic spread that now includes rural as well as urban areas.

The bold is mine.

I hope you're enjoying the holiday season.

At 3.37 ppm over November of 2015, November 2016 is the worst November for new carbon dioxide...

...accumulations observed since record keeping at the Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Observatory began recording its measurements.

This follows the 3.03 ppm increase recorded last November, which contributed to the fact that 2015 was the worst year ever observed, 2015 being the first year that the annual increase exceeded 3.00 ppm.

January 2016 (2.56 ppm) was the 4th worst January in recorded history.

February 2016 (3.75) was the worst February in recorded history.

March 2016 (3.31 ppm) was the worst March in recorded history.

April 2016 (4.16 ppm) was the worst April in recorded history - and, in fact, the worst month of any month in history.

May 2016 (3.76 ppm) was the worst May in recorded history - and, in fact, the third worst month of any month in history.

June 2016 (4.01 ppm) was the worst June in recorded history - and, in fact, the second worst month of any month in history.

July 2016 (3.09 ppm) was the third worst July in recorded history.

August 2016 (3.09 ppm) was the second worst August in recorded history.

September 2016 (3.39 ppm) was the second worst September in recorded history.

October 2016 (3.28 ppm) was the second worst October in recorded history.

And then, returning to the fold of "worst ever" months, we have November of 2016, as mentioned in the opening paragraph.

2015 was recorded as the worst year ever, coming in at 3.05 ppm over 2014. With the exception of January, every single month this year has exceeded, and in some cases dwarfed that doleful figure.

If any of this troubles you, don't worry, be happy. Dipshits, I mean, um, "experts" in Wisconsin, a Trump/Walker state with a once great state university system in research and intellectual free fall owing to decreased funding has experts who have announced that so called "renewable energy" will do just fine under Trump: Wisconsin Experts Confident About Renewable Energy's Future, Even Under Trump.

You read it right here at Democratic Underground.

We may be amused that voters in Wisconsin are so pleased with their ability to lie to themselves, but the fact is that we on the left are also lying to ourselves.

So called "renewable energy" has not worked. It is not working. It will not work, this because of the laws of physics, which no state legislature, no congress, no dictator can repeal.

If we on the left were anywhere as nearly concerned with the 7 million people who die each year from air pollution as we were and are with a few atoms of cesium-137 and cesium-134 found in a tuna fish, things might have been different.

Look, in the next 4 years, for more "don't worry, be happy." The new thought police will probably defund the Mauna Loa observatory, pushing the wax deeper into their ear canals with their fingers and screaming, "La...la...la, live for today and don't worry about tomorrow."

History will not forgive the generation now living for what it has done, should history survive.

Have a nice weekend.

Gridded National Inventory of U.S. Methane Emissions.

Methane emissions in the United States as a gridded map:

Source: Environ. Sci. Technol., 2016, 50 (23), pp 13123–13133

It dates from 2012.

I'm sure things are much better now, now that so called "renewable energy" has saved the day with a series of "world's largest," "breakthroughs" and "coulds."

Of course, now that the United States has "President-Electoral College Trump" on the way, we can improve on our vast capability to lie to ourselves. We were good it previously, but now we'll be even "great again."

And there is hope in the world: Rwanda: From killing fields to technopolis.

In these rotten times, it may be useful to learn how a great positive emerged from a humanitarian disaster on an unimaginable scale:

First-time visitors to Kigali, Rwanda's capital, usually remark that they cannot believe they are in a country that a little over 20 years was in the midst of a civil war. The 1994 genocide against the Tutsi resulted in the slaughter of up to one million people — around 15% of the population. But the landlocked country is developing rapidly. Where gravel roads once dominated, paved streets are now the rule. Internet connections are fast and stable. Buildings are constructed at breakneck speed, and airy, reliably scheduled public buses and shuttles have replaced cramped, unpredictable minivans.

For Jimmy Gasore, a Rwandan physics graduate who left the country in 2011 to pursue a PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, each trip home throws up new advances. For instance, the year he left, he had to spend ten hours on a bus to Uganda's capital, Kampala, to register for the standardized tests needed for his MIT application, but these exams can now be taken all over Rwanda — an indication of the central role that the government has given to science and education in the country's development strategy.

Rwanda has used investment in science, technology and innovation as a springboard to grow and diversify its economy. Between 1996 and 2015, its per capita gross domestic product (GDP) more than tripled to US$1,756 — outpacing some bigger and more resource-rich African countries with fast-growing economies, such as Kenya, whose per capita GDP merely doubled over the same period. As a result, Rwanda is often held up as a model of what can be achieved if clear ambitions are backed up with strong political leadership...

Rwanda's remarkable journey started after the genocide, when stitching the war-torn nation back together seemed like an insurmountable task. The country's economy, which was small and agriculture-based to begin with, was in tatters. Farm workers had fled their homes and abandoned their fields. Worse, the social fabric of the country had unravelled: schools, health centres, and water and transport infrastructure were in ruins, and survivors had to live alongside perpetrators.

Rwanda's new leaders realized that education, including science education, would be essential to the nation's rebirth...

...Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who will seek re-election for his third term in 2017, has driven the science push. After becoming president in 2000, one of his first moves was to appoint Romain Murenzi as science minister. The Rwandan mathematical physicist had been working on multidimensional continuous wavelet transforms — which can be used in image compression — at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia...

Nature 537, S4–S5 (01 September 2016)

It's something to keep in mind while we enter a period of rule by racist fools working to stir up hatred.

Without Buchanan, no Lincoln. Without Coolidge/Hoover, no FDR. And without Trump, sure to be even worse than those two...well what... (We don't know.)

Without Bagosora, no Kagame...

If Rwanda can be reborn, so can anyone, and we have much farther to fall, fall as we do, to be Rwanda.

Trump was "elected" by a white mob with pitchforks. From history let's look at Robespierre...

...also chosen by a white mob with pitchforks.

He was, um, beheaded in short order.

The First White Terror

Trump should start to think about saving his cowardly ass.

He fully intends to screw the idiot white mob with pitchforks who "elected" him - it wasn't a real "election" since he did not get the majority of votes, but relied on an accession owing to what proved to be a historical artifact, the electoral college.

This is obvious to educated people with brains, but the problem is that Trump got votes by appealing to the ignorant and fearful.

I absolutely could see his mob - and a violent set they are - turning on him in a big way, a way that could end up with him and his fellow idiots being dragged around by their comb overs.

I oppose violence at all junctures, but I'm just saying...

I don't want a second or third "White Terror" in this country, but we are all learning how fragile a democracy can be if not respected and nutured.

This mob will need to live without healthcare, without social security, without any safety net, and they're about to learn that one should be extremely careful about one wishes for, since one may get it.

This is the first anniversary of the last time the ML CO2 observatory will ever be below 4.00 ppm...

...in its weekly measurments the lifetime of anyone now living.

I've been covering this all year in 2016, which evolving to be the worst year ever for new accumulations of carbon dioxide. A recent post along these lines is here:

Eleven of the 37 weeks of 2016 have shown CO2 increases higher than 4.00 ppm...over the same week of 2015 at the Mauna Loa observatory.

There are now 2,127 weekly comparisons posted on the Mauna Loa website comparing readings with the week with the previous year. (Accessed 11/6/2016). This week the reading is 3.87 ppm higher than last year, which makes it the 24th worst reading of all time. Sixteen of the worst 30 readings took place in 2016; twenty of the worst 40 also occurred this year.

Eighteen readings in all of recorded history of these readings, going back to the early 1970's exceeded 4.00 ppm. Eleven of them occurred in 2016. Four others were recorded in the last ten years.

The average of all such readings this year, 2016, is 3.49 ppm; the average for 2015, the weekly average previous worst year ever recorded at Mauna Loa was 2.25 ppm. (Overall, the yearly increase for 2015 over 2014 was 3.05 ppm.)

In the last ten years, we spent two trillion dollars on this planet on so called "renewable energy." It didn't work. It isn't working. It won't work.

The fastest growing source of energy on this planet (despite the fraudulent claims one hears endlessly about renewable capacity even though most so called "renewable energy" installations never actually produce at peak capacity) is dangerous natural gas.

There is no technically feasible way of containing dangerous fossil fuel waste forever, or even for a short time, almost all of it is indiscriminately dumped in the planetary atmosphere; hence the readings at Mauna Loa.

Carbon dioxide is only one of many dangerous fossil fuel wastes dumped by the dangerous fossil fuel industry. Many others are also dumped, which have greater immediate toxicity than carbon dioxide, although carbon dioxide is not, um, good for you.

The only source of energy on this planet that has produced enough energy to prevent as much as two years worth of carbon dioxide dumping, (60 billion metric tons) is nuclear energy. People hate it however, usually mumbling idiotic rhetoric about "waste," despite the fact that the storage of used nuclear fuel for more than half a century has not resulted in a single loss of life. By contrast, air pollution kills seven million people each year.

We couldn't care less.

Have a nice week.

Some insight to the environmental impacts of so called "renewable energy": LCA of the Lanthanides.

The weekly readings published at the Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Observatory (accessed 10/30/16) show that the value recorded on October 21, 2016 (402.07 ppm) is 3.57 ppm higher than recorded one year ago, when the reading was 398.50. Just ten years ago, this increase would have seemed extreme; in 2016 it's distressingly ordinary, rather typical of what we've been seeing all year.

These figures, as I never tire of pointing out, demonstrate in rather unambiguous terms, that the worldwide popular enthusiasm for solar and wind energy is delusional, and that the exercise in throwing vast amounts of money at these international exercises in wishful thinking is a flat and grotesque failure.

Solar and wind energy fall under the general rubric of so called "renewable energy."

I've been poking through back issues of some of my favorite scientific journals in the last day or two, and came across a paper of a type that has been catching my eye recently, since I certainly question the wisdom of investing in the wind and solar industries based on the experimental result of betting the planetary atmosphere on their viability. I would argue that just like many of other popular myths associated with these industries - for example that they will result in reductions in the use of dangerous fossil fuels - that the very name under which these industries justify themselves, that they are, in fact, "renewable" is, well, to put it bluntly, a lie.

The so called "renewable energy" industry relies on the mining and refining not only of prodigious amounts of iron and coal for steel, and bauxite for aluminum, but also of vast amounts of elements that are clearly subject to depletion, several, like indium and gallium, in the short term, in some cases very toxic like cadmium and tellurium, and others very expensive in carbon terms to refine, as well as presenting security and availability risks to their supply.

In the case of the wind and "green" electric car industry, many of these elements are the lanthanides.

The paper to which I refer, which talks about the "LCA" (Life Cycle Analysis) of the lanthanides is this one: Environmental Life Cycle Perspective on Rare Earth Oxide Production ( ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2015, 3 (2), pp 237–244) ("Rare Earths" is an older, but still widely used term for the lanthanides.)

Some text from the paper:

Rare earth elements (REEs) are a collection of 17 chemical elements composed of the 15 lanthanides as well as scandium (Sc) and yttrium (Y),(1) and are critical to the functionality of multiple modern commercial technologies(2) such as electric vehicles (batteries and magnets),(3) wind turbines (magnets),(4) fluorescent lighting (phosphors), catalytic converters, medical devices, and defense applications(5) (see Table 1). REEs are of significant national interest, as these chemical elements are pivotal for the development of emerging clean energy(6) technologies and are vital to the U.S. national security and economic well-being.(7)

REEs are a relatively abundant resource, however they are often widely dispersed and found in low concentrations, resulting in energy intensive and environmentally taxing mining, extraction, and refining processes.(9) REEs are often utilized for their special luminescent and magnetic properties.(10) However, because they are found in low concentrations, REEs are typically mined as coproducts of more concentrated materials. As such, REEs are typically more resource intensive and costly to recover, as compared to traditional ores such as iron or coal. In the past, the United States (U.S.) produced enough REEs to meet domestic demands, but now relies primarily on imports from China due to lower-cost labor and regulations.(9) In 2011, 95% of global rare earth oxides (REO) were produced in China; (11) the largest REE mine is located in Bayan Obo, Inner Mongolia,(9) see Figure 1...

Here is figure 1:

Some more text:

...Prior reports have shown that REE extraction at Bayan Obo has brought the surrounding area serious environmental and health issues such as land depletion, water pollution, air pollution, and exposure to radioactive materials,(24) and highlights the importance of quantifying the human health and environmental impacts of REOs before their widespread adoption and use in multiple industries. Given the critical need for environmental sustainability assessments of rare earth element production, this work performs a LCA of REO production from the Bayan Obo mine located in Inner Mongolia, China. This work serves to add to the growing body of work on environmental impacts of REOs/REEs via providing a comprehensive understanding of the life cycle environmental profile of REOs produced in China, including details specific to China via Chinese REE industry reports. The following 15 rare earth oxides are evaluated in this study: cerium (Ce2O3), dysprosium (Dy2O3), erbium (Er2O3), europium (E2O3), gadolinium (Gd2O3), holmium (Ho2O3), lanthanum (La2O3), lutetium (Lu2O3), neodymium (Nd2O3), praseodymium (Pr6O11), samarium (Sm2O3), terbium (Tb4O7), thulium (Tm2O3), ytterbium (Yb2O3), and yttrium (Y2O3). The results of this work provide several important insights including (1) quantifying the environmental impacts of REO production on 10 key environmental sustainability and human health metrics; (2) identifying areas for process improvement in the REE supply chain; (3) environmental comparison of REO production to the primary production of several common metals. Furthermore, the analysis provided in this work can be synthesized with metallurgical and sustainability reports to provide a holistic understanding of the environmental sustainability of the growing REE and metals industry...

Of course, a better approach to dealing with the possible effects of "land depletion, water pollution, air pollution, and exposure to radioactive materials,(24)" highlighting "the importance of quantifying the human health and environmental impacts of REOs" would be to simply get all weepy eyed and willing to applaud at any length the billionaires and millionaires who tool around in the bourgeois never never land with their swell Tesla cars.

Anyway, the people who mine and refine lanthanides are not like us, they're um, poor people, and Chinese to boot. It's not our job to care about them, since they, um, well, um, they're far away.

Anyway, a graphic on the processing of "green" lanthanide processing is provided in the paper:

Another graphic about the energy and carbon cost of refining these metals:

I could go on, but why should I? I'm sure we couldn't care less.

We're all in favor of "green" stuff of course, all new stuff, and all of these scientific issues questioning whether they're actually "green" and actually "sustainable" is as annoying as hell. I mean, our embrace of "all new stuff" certainly doesn't mean that we're in favor of being blind consumers in a disposable culture, does it, if someone's here to tell us that our "all new stuff" is "green," does it? Close this post right now and go over to Joe Romm's website, where you can learn that solar and wind industries will save the day, even if they haven't, they aren't, and they won't.

It's not reality that counts; it's wishing real hard for some other kind of reality, even imaginary reality, that counts.

Have a nice Sunday evening.

Jeff Beck and Tal Wilkenfeld at Crossroads 2007. "Because We Ended As Lovers."

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Everytime I call up a paper on Physical Review at the library, the software wants me to prove...

...I'm not a robot.

It's a robot though. I don't ask it to prove it's a human.

I'm not a robot...um...am I...I mean...could I be?

It asks me to click on the picture of Albert Einstein, which I do. I probably could train a robot to click on all the pictures until it hit Albert Einstein.

It would be better if it asked me to click on a picture of Alan Turing.

He wasn't a robot, but he knew how to flesh them out.
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