Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Modest New Year’s Resolution: Opening the Shower Door

About a month ago we had our shower door repaired.  In the process, we reversed the door so that it now swings into the shower instead of swinging out and dripping onto the bathroom floor.  I should note that we moved into our home on July 21, 2000, so I’ve walked in and out of that shower--give or take for travel and vacations—some 5,651 times.

I’ve just been through my morning news feed of New Year’s Resolution articles.  There’s a rich harvest this year.  It turns out Carli Lloyd makes resolutions everyday.  Donté Stallworth is trying for the 10th year in a row to stop cursing.  Laurene Powell Jobs is going to practice mindfulness.  Barney Frank says coming out of the closet in 1987 was his best and last resolution.  

But back to my shower door.  I get three tries to swing it in the right direction every morning: once when I open it to turn the shower on, once about a minute later to get in, and once to get out.  The first morning after the repair I did it wrong all three times: pushed when I should have pulled, pulled when I should have pushed.  0-for-3.  It made me laugh.  That wouldn’t happen again.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Things I Learned in 2015, A Very Hot Year

The head of the Senate Environment Committee:
If climate is changing, it's because of God, not man.
These are some of the things I learned in the year 2015.

It was the warmest on record, and by a staggering margin.  As of November, no one under 29 years of age had ever lived through a single month that was cooler than its 20th-century average.  

The rainforest in Washington state’s Olympic National Park caught fire for the first time in living memory.  London reached 98F during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.  Miami Beach may have less than 50 years to go before it's completely underwater.  Poison ivy under high carbon conditions is now growing bigger and more toxic.  Warmer temperatures are helping bark beetles destroy thousands of acres of Western pine forest in the US.  In America's Southwest, evergreen trees may virtually disappear in the next century.  Cranberry farmers in Massachusetts are facing warmer springs, higher incidents of fungus and pests and warmer falls; Ocean Spray has begun growing cranberries in New Brunswick, Canada.  Meanwhile, Canadians are losing their reputation as winter people.  

A blue marlin was caught near Catalina Island--1,000 miles north of its typical range.  The shells of pteropods are dissolving due to ocean pH.  Six percent of the world's reefs could disappear before the end of the decade.  Mount Everest’s glaciers are turning into lakes.   If the Quelccaya ice cap in Peru continues to melt at its current rate, it will be gone by 2100.  Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is at its lowest level in 500 years.  There is a“high probability” that the planet’s 26,000 polar bears will suffer a 30% decline in population by 2050 due to the loss of their habitat, which is disappearing at a faster rate than predicted by climate models. (As a small consolation, they can now at least mate with grizzly bears.)  China released a detailed scientific report on climate change that predicted disastrous consequences for its 1.4 billion people, including rising sea levels and the likelihood that more than 80 percent of the permafrost on the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau could disappear by the next century.  Glacier retreat in western Asia now threatens China’s water supply.  The International Energy Agency recently reported that the global energy sector emitted as much CO2 in the last 27 years as in all previous years of the Industrial Revolution.  Climate change is slowing down the rate of the earth's rotation.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Environment Committee brought a snowball into the chamber as evidence that climate change is a hoax.  He noted, "It's very, very cold out.  Very unseasonable."  Chris Christie announced, “Hell no,” America shouldn’t lead on climate change.  Ted Cruz said, “If you look at satellite data for the last 18 years, there’s been zero recorded warming.”  Donald Trump said, “I believe in clean air, immaculate air, but I don’t believe in climate change.”  Ben Carson said, “There’s always going to be either cooling or warming going on,” and that “as far as I’m concerned that’s irrelevant.” Marco Rubio said, “I believe climate is changing because there’s never been a moment when the climate is not changing,” but “we’re not going to destroy our economy the way the left-wing government we’re under wants to do.”  And Carly Fiorina added, “Here we have a bunch of liberals and people in the EPA who are willing to sacrifice other people’s lives, other people’s livelihoods at the altar of their ideology.”  

Mark Twain (or maybe Robert Heinlein) once said, “Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get.”  Perhaps they meant that weather is what you get but climate is what you deserve.