Monday, April 09, 2018

Who Could Resist?

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Pruitt's Sweetheart Deal Was With an Energy Lobbyist, Not Just the Wife

Seems like a minor point, but it's artificially lowering the level of sleaze to say Pruitt was only getting a sweet deal from the energy lobbyist's wife, and not from him.

Steve Hart's name was originally on the lease, presumably because he owns or co-owns the property through the LLC (really, a LLC for your residence? Seems like he planned something fishy from the beginning, although maybe he's just got a little empire going). Crossing his name off the contract doesn't remove his ownership interest in the property that Pruitt was renting.

The framing of this issue soft-pedals what's actually happened with this penny-ante corruption. Pruitt got a great deal on a property owned by energy lobbyist, who without a doubt was happy to tell his clients that the EPA Administrator lived in his condo.

For the Republican leadership, draining the swamp is only meant literally, not figuratively.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Pal Review

A rather scathing editorial comment on pal review has appeared in Global and Planetary Change  sadly behind a paywall, but Eli suspects soon to be featured, if not already on a number of blogs.  It concerns a paper published earlier by Hermann. Harde: “Scrutinizing the carbon cycle and CO2 residence time in the atmosphere”. Global and Planetary Change 152 (2017), 19–26 which can be viewed on line.  This paper was much commented on, in the sense of how did this crap get published in an ostensibly useful journal as well as a Detailed Comment by a number of extremely distinguished lagomorphs,  and today we have an answer from the editorial board
During the initial manuscript submission, H. Harde suggested five potential reviewers. Most if not all of them are prominent individuals advocating that currently raising CO2 concentrations would be natural and not related to human influence. A careful assessment of their CVs, fields of expertise and publications lists leads to the conclusion that none of the five reviewers proposed by Harde can be considered as an expert or authority in carbon cycle, carbon or climate sensitivity or similar fields of research.
Two of them agreed to take on this onerous task.  This pal review kinda bothered the editors, nononono, not the editor who, shall Eli say, guided the Harde paper through the process that when they sent Harde's reply to the Detailed Comment itself out for review,
In reviewing the Reply, the reviewers felt that Harde's argument is “...too simplistic, based on invalid assumptions, ignores a whole body of observational evidence, and cites selectively literature that has long-time been disproved”. The experts confirm the suggestion by Köhler et al. (2018) that “...the paper be withdrawn by the author, editor or publisher due to fundamental errors in the understanding of the carbon cycle.” Most importantly, the expert reviewers clarified that Harde (2017) does not contribute to a seemingly open scientific debate or provides an alternative view. In contrast, it “...contains many mistakes, misconceptions and omissions and ignores a vast body of scholarly literature on the subject” (quotes from the reviews).
and the other editors and Elsevier were extremely not happy about how the reviewers of Harde's manuscript were selected and between the line, the editor who did the deed
. . .however in the case of the initial submission of Harde (2017), this was not done. Additional factors indicated the potential for there to be flaws with this submission: it is highly unlikely that a single author without any demonstrated scientific track record in this field can ‘scrutinize’ and disprove the work of dozens or hundreds of experts performed over several decades; work that has been verified with multiple lines of independent evidence and is regularly reviewed in an utmost transparent process such as the Assessment Reports of the IPCC (2013).
 Suggestions?  Of course, the editors had some including publishing the name of the handling editor for all papers and increase the involvement of the entire editorial board
The Editorial Board is more than decoration; it is an exclusive pool of highly qualified experts who are committed to support the entire review process and provide additional expert opinions in the case of conflicting reviews or doubt.
and the publisher agreed
in this case the author selected an editor who was not an expert in the field and that editor invited the reviewers suggested by the author without checking their credentials – the editor was therefore not in a position to perform a sufficiently critical evaluation of the manuscript.
 Elsevier agreed with the suggestion to publish the name of the editor who makes the decision to publish with on the publication, to appoint new editors to better cover the field and that authors should not suggest the names of possible reviewers.

This all reminds Eli of yesteryear.  Some here abouts may remember Gerlich and Tscheuschner published a 90 page paper on how atmospheric science was wrong in a condensed matter journal, the International Journal of Modern Physics B.  Georg Hoffman had something to say about the process which reminds us that this is not the first time that motivated editors have slipped nonsense into a journal.  It's in German so allow Eli to translate
I wanted to know a little more detail then. Who made what decision regarding G / T at the Journal? A request via the email address of the journal, which, as far as I can see, has a focus more in Asia, led me to editor Mr. Wong Chee Keong Benjamin, who was very proud of the 90 pages:
Physics is able to explain natural phenomena, such as climate change. Furthermore, heat transfer and thermodynamic concepts such as Gibbs theorem have numerous applications in solar technology and condensed matter physics.
I wondered if he had read the paper, and indeed, if anyone at IJMPB had read the paper. When asked who had accepted the paper, he sent me much to my surprise back to Germany. According to Mr. Keong Benjamin the final decision would have been made by Professor Wolfram Schommers. In turn, he was not pleased that I even considered reporting on this paper. He said that he had to stand by the decision of the house editor (not knowing who that was) and trust the reviewers. The only way to respond to G / T would be via peer-reviewed response in IJMPB.  
This appears to have been Prof. Schommers fall back position.  Unfortunately for him, the bunnies pushed on but that is another story.
When the lion roars, who will not fear? The same peer review, which not only allowed this paper through especially including comments about the "scientific misconduct of Raschke / Bakan"? I mean, you can do one thing (write this post) and you do not have to do the other one (provide a formal reply). Professor Schommers, I think, should be less worried about what I'm writing in this little blog at the end of the world than about how peer review works in his journal. The Gerlich / Tscheuschner paper is one of the saddest examples of how peer review can sometimes go down the drain, and it would be desirable if the journal would do something to limit the damage. An apology to Stephan Bakan and Ehrhard Raschke would be a first step.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Guns, Part 2: A "Well-Regulated" Militia for Concealed Carry

Borrowing in a way from William's prior comment that didn't like my idea of guns that didn't last forever:

I think this kind of thinking is just the wrong way to go. Overly complex, hard to sell. I'd go the other way: take the constitution more literally. Accept the right to bear arms, but in the context of "a well-regulated militia", which is your justification for extensive background checks, etc. etc. I think your path to success is convincing folk that the liberals aren't coming for their gunz, providing they are responsible. Offering them rubbish gunz that fall apart doesn't seem likely to work.

I could get distracted here:  I wasn't saying to sell guns that wouldn't work, but rather guns that wouldn't work forever. If you keep a gun for self-defense (mostly stupid, but whatever) then get your lazy butt off to a gun range once every five years and shoot a few rounds to make sure it works. You'll probably have to dump that gun after five to fifteen years and get another one. It won't kill you to do that.

That's not what I wanted to talk about though, but rather the well-regulated milita angle. I think that's a good one too. The gun-control researched often cited in favor of gun-control, John Donohue, said that the "good guy with a gun" that helped stop the Texas church shooter last year had the type of training that would fit into a well-regulated civilian militia. I've thought that is an area where the left side of the spectrum could say if someone is fixated by the idea of self defense with a gun, then get serious about and qualify for a civilian milita. If you're not willing to do that amount of work, then your self-perceived need for a gun couldn't actually be all that great.

The milita-service requirement could be to own a handgun or to have a concealed-carry permit, according to whatever the local politics will allow.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Guns for Self Defense Shouldn't Last Forever (And Maybe the Same for Ammo)

Kevin Drum lists the demands of the March For Our Lives:

Fund more gun violence research. We actually made a step in this direction when President Trump signed the 2018 budget, which clarifies that the 1996 Dickey Amendment doesn’t prohibit the CDC from conducting gun research.

Unleash the ATF. Let them store their background-check records on a computer, for example.

Universal background checks. In theory, everyone is in favor of this. In theory.

High-capacity magazine ban. This has long been my favorite. MFOL is calling for a 10-round limit. I’d make it six, myself.

Assault weapons ban. The gun folks are right when they say it’s tricky to define “assault weapon,” but it’s not actually impossible.
I agree with Kevin that more could be asked, so here's one more idea: guns (and maybe, ammunition) shouldn't last forever. It would help, slightly, in keeping our country from being overrun by guns if the guns had their own limited lifespans.

Simply requiring guns sold for self-defense be made of parts that tend to wear out and rust would be fine. If you want a gun that will last for decades and could be fired thousands of times (if say you're someone who actually goes to a range regularly) then pay an extra $50-$100 that will go into a fund that will help respond to violence made worse by guns flooding our country. I expect most people will go for a cheaper option.

Even more intriguing would be ammunition that degrades with normal atmospheric moisture but is fine is fine if kept sealed. The great advantage in this case is that idiots will stop leaving loaded guns lying around because they can't guarantee then that bullets will fire. I'm not sure this is feasible, but it doesn't seem impossible.

UPDATE:  borrowed this from a previous idea that weapons supplied in dicey situations like Syria, if they should be supplied at all, shouldn't last forever.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Dear Judge Alsup: The TL:DR

Gingerbaker asked for the TL:DR for the good Judge Alsup.  Eli had already written it over at Real Climate, but deep in the comments so here it is

Eli Rabett explains it all about question 2, whether N2 and O2 play a role in the greenhouse effect.

A three parter with some TL:DRs below

A bit on observations and spectroscopy: showing that the collision free absorption of O2 and N2 can be ignored. Just too small

A discussion about the physics of molecular spectroscopy:  Shifts the balance from the qm selection rules to how molecules interact with electromagnetic radiation (e.g. IR or light). Discusses how changes in charge distributions during transitions determines whether photons are absorbed or emitted. Makes contact with electromagnetic antenna theory, eg electric dipole allowed transitions w. dipole antennas, etc. 

Eli figured the good Judge, having been a ham radio operator should grok that.

Collisional effects
Starting from the quantum interlude discusses (much paw-waving) how collisional induction of electric dipoles drives continuum absorptions for N2, O2, CO2 and H2O (by implication, need to add a paragraph, the water vapor continuum being an important part of the greenhouse effect, of course the concentration of water vapor in the atmosphere is dialed in on average by the non-condensible greenhouse gases.)

There were a couple of open questions in the discussion which the Bunny will get around to next week.  Hope that helps.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Dear Judge Alsup: Putting on the Pressure

Some may recall that at the end of the first episode, the Spectroscopic Basis,  Eli asked why the CO2 IR absorption spectrum at atmospheric pressure

Was different from that at 1/1000 th of an atmosphere

The answer lies in the second letter to the judge, the Quantum Interlude, where Eli discussed how the interaction of light with molecules is really an interaction with the charges, the electrons and nuclei, and how that interaction can be decomposed into a series of multipole moments, the dominant one being the electric dipole, an asymmetry in the distribution of charges.  Higher moments, like the quadrupole and shudder, octapole, only become important when the dipole is zero because the molecule is cylindrically symmetric as is the case for N2 and O2.

Comparing the two spectra above, bunnies notice that the baseline has lifted in the first, and if they look real close or blow the figure up, they would see that the absorption lines are wider.

Now those out there who have taken General Chemistry, or even maybe General Physics, can go get a drink while Eli goes on.  Turns out that the electrons and nuclei in one molecule or atom can interact with the electrons and nuclei in nearby ones and move the charge around.  If we are dealing with molecules that have a dipole moment a picture of what is happening would look like this.

But we need not restrict molecular interactions to only dipole-dipole forces, but can also include the interaction between a dipole and a molecule that has zero dipole moment.  In that case, the dipole can interact with the electrons on the dipoleless molecule and shove them around so that there is an induced dipole moment.  That is what is happening with the CO2 molecules in the first spectrum.  Collisions with N2 or O2 molecules induce a dipole on the N2 and O2 molecules, which then interact via the electric field with each other.  This spreads out the spectrum of the CO2 that we observe.

The symmetric N2 and O2 molecules are no longer so symmetric.  They can interact with IR light in the regions near their vibrational frequency via the induced electric dipole moment, but wait, there is more.  When two molecules with zero electric dipole collide, their electrons and nuclei can also rearrange (as a practical matter it takes a lot less energy in the collision to shove the electrons about than the nuclei, and a lot easier to move the outermost or valance electrons about.

So, let's take a look at what these collision induced dipole moments do to the absorption spectrum of N2 over 10 km at 70% N2.  The fuzz is the quadrupole absorption that was shown in the first letter to the judge.

O2, because of it's position at lower frequencies where the 300 K black body spectrum is more intense is perhaps more interesting

and we might better compare it's absorption spectrum with ozone (O3) and methane (CH4) which occur roughly at the same place in the spectrum at their measured mixing ratios in the atmosphere.  Even so, the effects of methane and ozone on the absorption are relatively small.

The upper scale shows the absorption coefficients of the molecular lines without boadening.

As a final (well semi-final) point, a Rabett could look for the absorption of O2 in the observed high resolution spectrum from the FIRST balloon ~60 km up

A definite maybe.

Now Eli did say semifinal.  Turns out there is a paper by Höpfner, Milz,Buehler,Orphal, and Stiller  from the Karlsruhr Institute of Technology that goes through the numbers.  They find
The effect of collision-induced absorption by molecularoxygen (O2) and nitrogen (N2) on the outgoing longwaveradiation (OLR) of the Earth’s atmosphere has been quantified. We have found that on global average under clear-sky conditions the OLR is reduced due to O2 by 0.11 W/m2 and due to N2 by 0.17 W/m2. Together this amounts to 15% of the OLR-reduction caused by CH4 at present atmospheric concentrations. Over Antarctica the combined effect of O2 and N2 increases on average to about 38% of CH4 with single values reaching up to 80%. This is explained by less interference of H2O spectral bands on the absorption features of O2 and N2 for dry atmospheric conditions.

An important point in interpreting these results (Eli's and the KIT group) is that while the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has changed from 280 to 410 ppm (see Keeling, Charles) in the last 150 years or more and the concentration of CH4 has more than doubled, the concentration of O2 has changed by a few ppm (see Keeling, Ralph), and N2 bugger all.  The small absorptions of O2 and N2 have remained constant only changing really in very deep time.

Eli has written to Dr. Hoepfner about a few questions but has not yet received a reply.