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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.

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