Warmer Weather Is Officially the New Normal?

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Just when the term ‘Climate Change’ has gained traction and ‘extreme weather events” can be found in top-tier media outlets worldwide, comes this news from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via Wired Science: Warmer Weather Is Officially the New Normal in the United States.

Though the report cautions that normals are not necessarily indicative of long-term climate change, it feels like a semantic game to me.

Windcuts: Amazing 3D Wooden Forms from Wind Movement Data

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Windcuts [flickr.com] consists of various experiments that turn quantitative sensor data into visually compelling physical instantiations. Wind movement measurement data, such as wind direction, velocity and temperature, was used as the foundation to generate a 3D form, which was then physically drilled out of a piece of wood.

The direction of the physical line corresponds with the direction of the wind. The width and speed of movement reflects the wind speed. The temperature is mapped unto the height. The materials ‘surface plateau’ height represents zero degrees Celsius. So when the shape dips below the surface, it means the wind’s below zero degrees.

There’s something oddly compelling to me about the very idea of creating a 3D form, in wood no less, from data based on the seemingly ephemeral movement of air — also known as wind.

I see potential here for a wonderful educational tool. For those like myself, more comfortable with words than numbers in volume, these 3D forms bring to life otherwise fuzzy terms such as wind shear or turbulence. Makes me wonder if the climate change debate could have been shortened if displays like this were available for each physical effect discussed. Kudos to Information Graphics, and be sure to check out their other 3D representations.

Disruptive Thinking: 5 attributes to consider

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Image and title via sviokla.com

 

John Julius Sviokla describes an interesting transportation infrastructure concept, and perhaps one to consider across Vermont’s Green Mountains and valleys? An elevated megabus/subway hybrid that slides over the traffic instead of going around it is the proposal in China, but here we’d need some variations — over cows, around curves, and oops, absolutely must work over trucks or it’s a non-starter.

Lag In Intelligent Transportation Could Hurt Economy

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The United States lags years behind countries like Japan, Singapore and South Korea in implementing sophisticated intelligent transportation systems that make moving goods and people more efficient, and it could hurt the economy, according to a new report.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation that examined what world leaders in transportation are doing and found the United States is far behind in developing vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communication and telemetry systems. The report found Japan leads the world in adopting such technology, often called Intelligent Transportation Systems or ITS.

Photo of rush hour in Kobe, Japan: Flickr / sachman75

 

Duh… The U.S. lags behind other countries in implementing sophisticated technologies to make moving people and goods more efficient, and that might harm our economy? Please don’t just tell me what’s obvious to anyone who has traveled abroad. Offer some bold and practical suggestions for changing the status quo.

Come now, SEC — everyone is impacted by climate change

BERLIN - JANUARY 23: A snowman is pictured wit...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read today that the SEC  has now said that companies have an obligation to tell  investors of any risks — or benefits, for that matter — that climate change poses to their business. Specifically:

The S.E.C., on a party-line 3-2 vote, issued “interpretive guidance” to help companies decide when and whether to disclose matters related to climate change. The commission said that companies could be helped or hurt by climate-related lawsuits, business opportunities or legislation and should promptly disclose such potential impacts. Banks or insurance companies that invest in coastal property that could be affected by storms or rising seas, for example, should disclose such risks, the agency said.

via S.E.C. Says Companies Should Disclose Climate-Related Risks – NYTimes.com.

For goodness sake, there is not a company that I can think of that won’t feel an impact one way or the other when the climate goes nuts.  You have  a plant in a hurricane zone? Big trouble.  You don’t but your main competitor does?  Big boon.  Neither you nor your competitors have plants there, but your main customer does? Mucho big trouble.  You run a tiny clothing store, and you’ve made a good living selling parkas and ski clothes?  The snow melts too soon, and Chapter 11,. here you come.

I’m not trying to be a doomsday predictor, hollering Repent, repent before it’s too late.  But it you accept that the climate is changing, then you must accept that every single company must list how different scenarios would affect its business.  Otherwise, this is another exercise in futility.

But all that would be worth a sad smile or a single tear.  What has me ready to either guffaw or sob was that, after proposing the new disclusres, Mary L. Schapiro gave the boilerplate disclaimer:

“we are not opining on whether the world’s climate is changing; at what pace it might be changing; or due to what causes. Nothing that the commission does today should be construed as weighing in on those topics.”

Let me get this straight: We are not saying that the climate is changing, but we are saying that you’d better disclose how you will be affected by this change that we are not claiming is happening?

Ain’t Washington rhetoric grand?

Posts like this are why Claudia Deutsch’s The Bottom Line blog on True/Slant regularly makes my day. It can be far too easy by the end of a work week of reading absurd news stories to begin to feel alone: Doesn’t anyone else find this ridiculous? Why aren’t the media pundits covering this story? Claudia reassures me on both counts.

Climate-Changing Dirt | Miller-McCune Online Magazine

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Could soil engineered specifically to maximize carbon storage dampen some effects of climate change? Very possibly, according to the scientists featured in this article.

Why is it we hear so little about this research in the mainstream media? Miller-McCune and New Scientist magazines/websites both tend to excite me with research about new possibilities to address our world’s most vexing problems, while at the same time creating frustration about my lack of time to vet those possibilities. I yearn for a team of personal science fact-checkers.