​”California Defies Doom With No. 1 U.S. Economy” (Bloomberg)

How do you like them apples, ersatz Republicans? Some emphasis added in the excerpt below.

By Matthew A. Winkler.

The Golden State has no peers when it comes to expanding GDP, raising household income, investing in innovation and a host of other key metrics.

When misfortunes multiplied during the coronavirus pandemic, observers seized on a four-letter word signaling end of days for the largest state with one-eighth the U.S. population and 14% of its gross domestic product. “California doom: Staggering $54 billion deficit looms,” the Associated Press concluded a year ago in May. “California Is Doomed,” declared Business Insider two months earlier. ”Is California doomed to keep burning?” queried the New Republic in October. California is “Doomed” because of rising sea levels, according to an April EcoNews Report. Bulletins of people leaving the world’s fifth-biggest economy for lower-cost states because of high taxes and too much regulation stifling business continue unabated.

No one anticipated the latest data readout showing the Golden State has no peers among developed economies for expanding GDP, creating jobs, raising household income, manufacturing growth, investment in innovation, producing clean energy and unprecedented wealth through its stocks and bonds. All of which underlines Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement last month of the biggest state tax rebate in American history

P.S. Looks like Mr Musk abandoned California a wee bit prematurely. Also, Mr Musk, does California look “complacent” now?

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Carbon Dioxide reaches levels not recorded in 4 million years. Connecticut Republicans are guilty of child abuse.

And Connecticut Republican Senate Major Leader Kevin Kelly, anytime anyone emits any greenhouse gas, they land a punch in the face of some grandchild alive today. They do that by burning those gallons of gasoline whose price you so want to protect, or generating electricity from natural gas. They do that by directly causing disruptive climate which will harm those kids, and theirs.

“Anytime the government puts its hand in the people’s wallet it’s a tax,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said.

https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/connecticut-shelves-transportation-climate-initiative/2502268/

House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said, “this is not about environmental policies, this is about pickpocketing the residents of Connecticut.”

https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/connecticut-shelves-transportation-climate-initiative/2502268/

The last time Carbon Dioxide concentrations on Earth were (just) higher than 400 ppmv (parts per million by volume), there was no Arctic ice cap and boreal forests were growing around the region of the present day Arctic Circle. In order for this to happen mean temperatures on Earth had to be 15 degrees Celsius higher than the preindustrial baseline associated with 288 ppmv.

(Taken from presentation by Dr Alan Haywood, Royal Meteorological Society Meeting, 2019.)

This is the equilibrium condition at just over 400 ppmv. There is no indication our own world will stop at 400 ppmv and could well reach 600 ppmv or even 800 ppmv because of the emissions which Connecticut Republicans Kelly and Candelora apparently love. No one around the world is addressing the problem at the level of ambition required.

If mean global temperature is +15C, conditions at the latitude of Connecticut and Massachusetts must be truly horrific, approaching desert, or at least tropical forest.

Posted in #youthvgov, Bill McKibben, carbon dioxide, Carbon Worshipers, climate activism, climate denial, climate disruption, climate emergency, global warming | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Baseload is an intellectual crutch for engineers and utility managers who cannot think dynamically

This is an awesome presentation by Professor Joshua Pearce of Michigan Technological University.

(h/t Peter Sinclair’s Climate Denial Crock of the Week)

The same idea, that “baseload is a shortcut for engineers who can’t think dynamically”, was similar in the early days of robotics. In those days, engineers didn’t want to do a lot of computation, primarily because they did not know how. So the arms of early Puma robots were massive compared to anything they expected to lift. Why? Because the engineers designing the control laws and loops for the robots did not want to have to solve, in real time, the nonlinear sensing of the mass and moments of inertia of the thing they were picking up. If they made the arm so more massive, they could ignore the physical characteristics of the item they were maneuvering.

That kind of thinking no longer works for robots.

That kind of thinking no longer works for rocketry, especially if you want to make boosters that are recoverable and land.

And that kind of thinking no longer works for the energy grid.

Apparently, “strong currents” engineers, to borrow a term from the work of Norbert Wiener, aren’t versed in ideas and methods of control theory. (Specifically, it’s Starkstromtechnik versus Schachstromtechnik.) Now, the strong are subject to the weak, and that’s good. Nietzsche would not approve but, then, what did he really know about anything?

This also provides a comeback in public forums to engineers, policy leaders, or business people who tout “baseload” or equivalently the need for electricity when “the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow.” That is:

Just because you and some engineers cannot think dynamically does not mean there are no engineers who can.

(h/t Peter Sinclair’s Climate Denial Crock of the Week)

Posted in American Solar Energy Society, an ignorant American public, Bloomberg Green, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, bridge to somewhere, CleanTechnica, control theory, controls theory, decentralized electric power generation, decentralized energy, differential equations, dynamic linear models, dynamical systems, electrical energy engineering, electrical energy storage, electricity, Kalman filter, optimization, photovoltaics, rate of return regulation, solar domination, solar energy, solar revolution, stochastic algorithms, utility company death spiral, wind energy, wind power, zero carbon | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Discordant Harmonies: Goals for a Holiday in Retirement

Claire and I are lucky enough to have won “Escape to the Cape” at the annual auction of our congregation, First Parish in Needham, courtesy of Muriel and Tom Gehman. We’ll be Tesla-ing down to Hyannisport this week to indulge. Lovely.

We both need this, but especially Claire.

Few have little idea how hard Claire works. She’s Director of the South Shore Recycling Cooperative, a Beacon Hill-sanctioned consortium of 18 towns, which she coordinates and guides and organizes. And she’s “point” on much needed Producer Responsibility legislation, in Massachusetts, and even across the country. And she’s Moderator at the local chapter of the League of Women Voters. And she’s active working to modify an ill-conceived Westwood bylaw which has been interpreted to restrict as-of-right ground-mounted solar on private property. And she takes fabulous care of her stepmom, Millie, at the Linden in Dedham. And she’s a gardener, and many of you know what that’s like. And she’s a great wife. And she’s a great Mom. And she’s a great GrandMom. So if anyone deserves a holiday, Claire deserves a holiday.

As for me, I’m retired now, and I relish being able to reach out and do technical and other projects because, well, I just want to and are lucky that I don’t need to work. I’ve made networks and friends, across the country, in Michigan and Berkeley, California. I correspond with some every day. The subject is mosses. But that’s not what I want to share here.

A holiday. A holiday when retired? What does that mean? I guess it means a break from the day-to-day rhythm of things, packed into a place, space, and time-let where different rules apply. I have a delightful rhythm in my newly adopted set of occupations, but a holiday gives time to reflect, read, mostly read, study.

So, what are my goals? Well, first, I need to scratch the itch of something which has been bothering me for a couple of years, the question of how will ecosystems and the natural world look after the climate transforms into the one that will come, be new, even if we succeed in arresting deterioration further. Yes, it’s already too late to completely stop that deterioration. The question now is how bad will it get, how fast.

In the writings of Carl Safina and Peter Del Tredici, we see that these changes are already afoot, with many species being on the move. There’s a lot of popular misunderstanding about this. The ecosphere is incredibly resilient, but part of that resilient involves “species rotation” or even “ecosystem rotation”. This means that when the climate or other circumstances change, species and ecosystems don’t go completely away, it’s just that those which were there before get replaced by others which are better adapted to deal with the new circumstances. Many of these circumstances are directly created by people, not primarily due to climate disruption but by things like development for new homes, and commercial districts, and, sure, application of pesticides and other toxins, like those used to control mosquitos. There is always a more resilient species out there, even if it is microbial.

And the notion is that some of the more robust species are ones which we, in our collective desire to resist change and keep things as they always seemed to be, have deemed to be invasive species. Now, I won’t get into the entire history of that concept here, but, paraphrasing Del Tredici, that designation is often merely an excuse for permission to try to eradicate it. That’s odd. Because in other “environmentally sensitive” situations, like the case of the prospective Lithium mines in Nevada, protecting Eriogonum tiehmii is being pursued even if it stops national production of a substance needed to make Lithium ion batteries, important for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and important for sourcing in a less impactful way. Much of our Lithium comes from Chile at present. Yet we outright hunt down and kill Alliaria petiolata. So, who are we to pick one species over another, particularly when, well, the so-called preferred species is in the way of a greenhouse gas reducing project?

There’s a big problem in the so-called “environmentally conscious” community right now. There is little clarity. Everyone accepts climate disruption as real. Based, however, upon their choices and behaviors and statements, what’s lacking is an understanding of what the inexorable fates of beloved ecosystems and scenes and experiences are. The future is acknowledged, but quantitative judgment is missing. Perception is both innumerate and myopic. I know those designations are harsh, but I do not know how else to explain the behaviors I have seen, from choices on plastics, to opposing all genetic modification of anything, to opposing wind and solar farms, and even supporting making it harder and more expensive to site offshore wind farms. Do people consider our circumstances a climate emergency or not? It seems to me that if it is an emergency, other criteria are less important now, however important in normal times.

So, back to the holiday. My goals are to get out for good runs three or four times, twisting about the networked neighborhoods of Hyannisport, with plenty of sunscreen aboard. Apart from that my goals are reading. I have three key books along, The third I want to complete. I want to make significant progress on the first two.

The first book is Monteith and Unsworth’s fourth edition of Principles of Environmental Physics. I am privileged to have been invited to contribute a chapter regarding the interaction of bryophytes and their physical world in an edition of a major (online) book Bryophyte Ecology, written by professor emerita Janice Glime. I need to understand the literature before I can say anything sensible. Principles of Environmental Physics is a start.

The second book is David Burch’s Modern Marine Weather: From Time-Honored Traditional Knowledge to the Latest Technology. I know a bit of meteorology, and I’m supposed to tool up on New England marine meteorology in preparation for a 5 day sailing cruise beginning in late August. Both my sons are coming, with my elder son, David, being certified skipper. We’ll be plying the waters of Narragansett Bay, and then Rhode Island Sound and then out towards Martha’s Vineyard. But it will be, prime hurricane season!

The third book, and most important, is Discordant Harmonies, a New Ecology for the Twenty-First Century by Daniel B Botkin. This is really an extension of Peter Del Tredici’s sympathies, those offered in his (famous) essay “The Flora of the Future“, even if Botkin’s work predated that essay by Del Tredici. The idea is that climate has been disrupted. There is no going back home again. Things will change. So the idea that relative composition of floral (and faunal) species will remain the same in these markedly new circumstances is silly. The situation may well still be tolerable for people, but it will inevitably be different. Some conventional trees and plants will die and become unsustainable. New ones will sprout up, often hardier ones. But Botkin goes deeper.

Photograph by Professor Peter Del Tredici of "the beach on Fisher’s Island off the coast of Connecticut — not a native plant anywhere."

Photograph by Professor Peter Del Tredici of “the beach on Fisher’s Island off the coast of Connecticut — not a native plant anywhere.”

Botkin was suggested to me as someone who had done good hard about what a biosphere will look like in an altered climate. If, they argued, it is true that the atmosphere composition of Carbon Dioxide hasn’t been like this for over a million years, because Carbon Dioxide is such a key driver of how climate behaves, this means that climate will dramatically change, even if we manage to get emissions under control. After this all equilibrates, we will be in a climate state which has never been experienced in human history. Think of that.

Among many other implications, what this means is that the experience of all the indigenous peoples on the planet will be obsolesced, because no one has ever seen anything like this. If we do not get emissions under control, well, that’s a world of nightmares, and no one knows what to do about those, even if everyone, from time to time, shares them.

I am moved to read this, during this holiday from retirement, because we, as towns, a state, a country, a world are really not making progress, even if we have expressed a lot of loud claims to want to make progress. We have not stopped Carbon Dioxide concentrations from increasing, let alone reducing it. And many of us, although we nod in acknowledgement of the seriousness of the situation, simply don’t get that fixing this means accepting major changes in lifestyles and attitudes. We claim, for example, to want to see climate justice and environmental justice done. But if we refuse to give up the pretty sights of our privileged suburban settings in favor of zero Carbon energy development, we rapidly come to a place where, once again, we throw people with less means, primarily people of color under the bus. There’s something familiarly unjust about that, even if the intermediate steps claimed to be seeking justice.

Everything is connected to everything else, yes, but it is key to understand how and how much they are interconnected. Tugging at one strand can make it worse elsewhere. It’s time to learn these things. This is not anything new or different. It’s something that ecologists and even theoretical ecologists have noted since the early 1970s. Consider:

The moral is clear: in the absence of comprehensive knowledge, a deliberate chance in the ecology, even an apparently minor one, is a very risky proposition.

Hirsch, M., and S. Smale, Differential Equations, Dynamical Systems, and Linear Algebra, Academic Press, 1974, section 12.3, page 273.

But, hey, why pay attention to Mathematics? That’s just a bunch of boring irrelevant stuff.

The above refers to a longstanding paradox relating to predator-prey coupling of Canadian Lynx and Snowshoe Hare, at least as measured by reports of numbers of fur pelts by the Hudson Bay Company. The paradox was that the dimensionality of the Hare series was 3 but that of the Lynx series was only 2. If they are coupled in the classical Lotka-Volterra manner, the dimensions should agree. Because the peak of Hare follows that of Lynx in some years, It also looks like Hares eat Lynx in those years. The paradox was recently resolved by Deng (2018).

The fate of civilization depends upon learning such Mathematics, actual Ecology, and actual Geophysics.

I am hoping Botkin can teach me something insightful about the Ecology of the Future, whether or not people still have a significant role to play. And if I and we fail to learn, perhaps the lesson can be found in another book, one I did read in full, some years back. It’s by David M Raup and called Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck?

Posted in #youthvgov, catastrophe modeling, climate disruption, ecology, ecomodernism, zero carbon | 2 Comments

Mosses of the Week, 4 June 2021

All photographs by Jan Galkowski, 2021.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
Posted in American Bryological and Lichenological Society, Botany, bryology, bryophytes, mosses | Leave a comment

‘Could batteries replace a proposed peaker plant in Massachusetts?’

Environmental activists and local residents in Massachusetts are urging the group behind a planned natural gas power plant to consider whether battery storage could do the job with fewer climate concerns. 

“It’s six years since this project was proposed,” said Susan Smoller, a resident of Peabody, where the plant would be sited. “We have different alternatives available to us now and we should at least talk about it before we commit.”

The organization developing the plant announced last month that it will pause its plans for at least 30 days to address community concerns and reevaluate possible alternatives, but some involved are still skeptical that storage could be a viable solution. 

The proposed plant is a project of the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC), a nonprofit that helps municipal utilities procure power supply and advocates for their interests. The 55-megawatt facility would be a so-called “peaker plant,” intended to run only at times of peak demand, estimated at no more than 250 hours per year. 

MMWEC contends that the facility’s emissions would be lower than those of 94% of the fossil fueled peaker plants in New England. The reliability the new plant provides would also allow participating utilities to invest in more intermittent renewables like solar and wind, the organization claims. 

Fourteen municipal utilities have signed on to the project, though two have filed paperwork asking to be released from their agreements. 

The case for storage

Opponents of the plant are concerned about the additional greenhouse gas emissions as well as the potential for ground-level pollution in an area that is already exposed to high levels of ozone. They also worry that laws and regulations will make the burning of fossil fuels obsolete, leaving consumers on the hook for an $85 million plant that isn’t even used. 

“I don’t want to be paying for an outmoded dirty peaker plant 25 years from now when it’s not even legal to run them,” Smoller said. 

Resistance to the proposed plant has picked up in recent months, as stakeholders have learned more about the plan and started speaking up. In May, a group of 87 health care professionals sent MMWEC a letter opposing the plan. 

In the face of this growing opposition, MMWEC decided to take what it called the “unusual step” of putting a hold on its plans to take “another look at whether advancements in technology make a different approach possible today.” 

Experts say that, in general, battery storage is a viable alternative for plants that only run when demand is highest. Batteries could charge up during times of lower demand, when the power supply is generally from cleaner sources, and then discharge at times of high demand, displacing the energy from peaker plants, which is generally dirtier and more expensive. A study by nonprofit research institute Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy found that two-thirds of Massachusetts peaker plants burn primarily oil, a high-emissions fuel. 

As more renewable energy is added to the grid, the power charging the batteries will get yet cleaner, amplifying the impact. 

Furthermore, the cost of utility-scale storage fell nearly 70% between 2015 — when the Peabody plant was proposed — and 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and is expected to continue its downward trajectory. 

“Not only are they cost-competitive with things like power plants, but that’s going to be even more and more true as you’re starting to plan into the future,” said Elena Krieger, author of the peaker plant study. 

Krieger points to storage projects in California that are already proving that case. In Oakland, a 36-megawatt battery is planned to replace part of the power supplied by an existing jet fuel-fired power plant. 

In Monterey County, a 300-megawatt battery array recently came online, consisting of some 99,000 individual battery modules that are charged mainly during hours when solar energy is contributing the most to the grid. Plans are in the works to add another 100 megawatts this summer. 

However…

“It’s not a matter of, ‘Can it do it?’ It’s doing it,” said Jason Burwen, interim chief executive of the Energy Storage Association. “The question is the specifics.”

And in Peabody, the specifics are not promising for a storage solution, said Peter Dion, general manager of Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light, one of the municipal utilities signed on to the project. He is unconvinced that batteries would offer the reliability project participants need. A natural gas plant can be counted on the run when needed, for as long as needed. Storage can be dispatched quickly, but only lasts for a limited time. 

Deploying more batteries could help mitigate this concern, but space and location are also major issues, Dion said. By his estimate, the number of batteries it would take to adequately replace the power plant would require three acres of land, far more than is available at the proposed site.

Choosing a different site wouldn’t make sense, he said. There is an existing power plant on the intended site in Peabody, so the infrastructure is already in place to hook up a new facility.  

“You couldn’t put enough batteries on that site to make an appreciable difference,” Dion said. 

The financial numbers are also unlikely to add up, he said. The power plant would be expected to run for 30 years. In that timespan, batteries would need to be replaced at least twice, he said. Batteries may be affordable in the short-term, Dion said, but would likely cost more in the long-run. 

“Batteries are a great supplement, but they are not a replacement,” he said. 

As the break in planning for the Peabody plant continues, opponents appreciate MMWEC’s willingness to reassess but are not easing up on their challenge to the project. The Massachusetts Climate Action Network is working with another nonprofit to investigate clean energy alternatives to the project. The group is also pushing the municipal utilities to engage with the residents in each district involved to hear their concerns and ideas. 

“Hopefully the pause represents a willingness to partner with ratepayers to explore alternatives,” said the climate action network’s executive director Sarah Dooling. “I hope it is a good-faith gesture.”

This article first appeared on Energy News Network and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Posted in clean disruption, CleanTechnica, climate economics, Cult of Carbon, energy storage, explosive methane | Tagged , | 1 Comment

doing wind and solar properly

(A larger version of the above can be seen by right-clicking the above and choosing to open it in a new browser tab.)

Kempton, Willett, Felipe M. Pimenta, Dana E. Veron, and Brian A. Colle. “Electric power from offshore wind via synoptic-scale interconnection.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107, no. 16 (2010): 7240-7245.

Weber, Juliane, Mark Reyers, Christian Beck, Marc Timme, Joaquim G. Pinto, Dirk Witthaut, and Benjamin Schäfer. “Wind power persistence characterized by superstatistics.” Scientific reports 9, no. 1 (2019): 1-15.

Posted in solar domination, solar energy, solar power, wind energy, wind power, zero carbon | Leave a comment

Moss of the Week, 2021-05-31: Bryum cf. lisae

All photographs by Jan Galkowski, 2021.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Posted in American Bryological and Lichenological Society, Botany, bryology, bryophytes, mosses | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

‘It begins with attitude’, and about an understated victory

Bill Nye’s Climate Meltdown, introducing Professor Mark Z Jacobson of Stanford University.

And Climate Adam reviews a climate action breakthrough:

Posted in #youthvgov, Bill Nye, Bloomberg Green, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, carbon dioxide, Carbon Worshipers, clean disruption, CleanTechnica, climate activism, Climate Adam, climate change, climate disruption, climate economics, climate education, climate emergency, climate mitigation, climate policy, ClimateAdam, ecomodernism, fossil fuel divestment, fossil fuels, global blinding, global warming, global weirding, Mark Jacobson | 1 Comment

Spread the Sun

Posted in alternatives to the Green New Deal, an ignorant American public, an uncaring American public, Bloomberg Green, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, bridge to somewhere, Buckminster Fuller, climate disruption, controls theory, corporate supply chains, decentralized electric power generation, distributed generation, ecocapitalism, ecological disruption, ecomodernism, economics, ecopragmatism, electrical energy storage, energy, environment, environmental law, evidence, extended producer responsibility, extended supply chains, field biology, field science, global blinding, Global Carbon Project, global warming, Green Tech Media, gun violence as public health crisis, guns | Leave a comment

Plans for an Explosive Methane Peaker Plant in Peabody

A collection of articles, including …

Artists conception of proposed peaker plant
Posted in being carbon dioxide, bridge to nowhere, Carbon Worshipers, climate disruption, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Cult of Carbon, energy utilities, explosive methane, fossil fuel infrastructure, fossil fuels, gas pipeline leaks, ISO-NE, natural gas, zero carbon | Leave a comment

“Our pathetic herd immunity failure” (David Brooks)

I would say, too, that the United States is reaping the results of failing to have a sufficiently numerate population, because Mathematics skills at all levels of education are poorly taught.

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My favorite tech and photo shop

It’s B&H Photo Video, of course. I have bought computers, electronics, cameras, accessories, and all kinds of nifty things there. I was an engineer for 44 years. I’m now “retired” and learning to be a scientist and digital macro photographer. Subject: Musci, a.k.a., mosses.

So I’m all about digital cameras. I have two. And three microscopes, with a new compound microscope due to be purchased before the end of 2021.

But enough about me. You want to know more about B&H. Meet Mr Leonard Eisenberg:

B&H Photo Video is great.

And they are ethical and responsible. I love doing business with them.

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A guide to the Task force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures

From Bloomberg media …

https://spotlight.bloomberg.com/story/tcfd-/page/1

Investors in stocks and owners of companies cannot know to which risks they are exposed in their investments unless companies transparently report these risks. Until the TCFD, the very idea of reporting risks to equities due to climate disruption was not even imagined.

The link above tells what the TCFD framework is all about, and how much traction it’s gotten since it began in 2015.

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“I know rockets produce CO2”. Here’s why that’s a win.

“We must become a multi-planet species.”

“We do have a long term plan for even rocket flights.”

“There is a long term plan for sustainable production of rocket fuel.”

Posted in zero carbon | 5 Comments

“Replace a lot of our motion with forethought”

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(Larkin Poe) “Mississippi”

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Reblog: “Reporting on the Outlaw Ocean”

A podcast from Follow the Data reporting on The Outlaw Ocean Project, combining deep ocean issues with social concerns. These are include and are related to protecting internationally designated marine protected areas from poaching, as well as protecting reefs.

Above from: Rowlands, Gwilym, Judith Brown, Bradley Soule, Pablo Trueba Boluda, and Alex D. Rogers. “Satellite surveillance of fishing vessel activity in the ascension island exclusive economic zone and marine protected area.” Marine Policy 101 (2019): 39-50.

Posted in oceans, slavery, social justice, UU Ministry for Earth | Leave a comment

What is the Tukey loss function?

Originally from Statistical Odds and Ends, there is a nicely brief summary of the Tukey Loss Function

I’d love to see what this does in various kinds of regression. It may be possible to set up some kind of iterative regression scheme, where a normal regression with uniform weights is first done, and then the residuals are used to define a set of alternative weights via the Tukey Loss Function. Then the weighted regression is done, producing another set of residuals, and a new set of weights is defined. This should (eventually) settle down.

Here’s the article:

Statistical Odds & Ends

The Tukey loss function

The Tukey loss function, also known as Tukey’s biweight function, is a loss function that is used in robust statistics. Tukey’s loss is similar to Huber loss in that it demonstrates quadratic behavior near the origin. However, it is even more insensitive to outliers because the loss incurred by large residuals is constant, rather than scaling linearly as it would for the Huber loss.

The loss function is defined by the formula

$latex begin{aligned} ell (r) = begin{cases} frac{c^2}{6} left(1 – left[ 1 – left( frac{r}{c}right)^2 right]^3 right) &text{if } |r| leq c, frac{c^2}{6} &text{otherwise}. end{cases} end{aligned}$

In the above, I use $latex r$ as the argument to the function to represent “residual”, while $latex c$ is a positive parameter that the user has to choose. A common choice of this parameter is $latex c = 4.685$: Reference 1 notes that this value results…

View original post 231 more words

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“… [W]e need to address the climate crisis at the pace and scale it demands.”

“Dear President Biden,

“We, the undersigned businesses and investors with a major presence in the U.S., applaud your administration’s demonstrated commitment to address climate change head-on, and we stand in support of your efforts.

“Millions of Americans are already feeling the impacts of climate change. From recent extreme weather to deadly wildfires and record-breaking hurricanes, the human and economic losses of the past 12 months alone are profound. Tragically, these devastating climate impacts also disproportionately hit marginalized and low-income communities who are least able to withstand them. We must act now to slow and turn the tide.

“As business leaders, we care deeply about the future of the U.S. and the health of its people and economy. Collectively, our businesses employ over 7 million American workers across all 50 states, representing over $4 trillion in annual revenue, and for those of us who are investors, we represent more than $1 trillion in assets under management. We join the majority of Americans in thanking you for re-entering the U.S into the Paris Agreement and for making climate action a vital pillar of your presidency. To restore the standing of the U.S. as a global leader, we need to address the climate crisis at the pace and scale it demands. Specifically, the U.S. must adopt an emissions reduction target that will place the country on a credible pathway to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

We, therefore, call on you to adopt the ambitious and attainable target of cutting GHG emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.

“A bold 2030 target is needed to catalyze a zero-emissions future, spur a robust economic recovery, create millions of well-paying jobs, and allow the U.S. to “build back better” from the pandemic. New investment in clean energy, energy efficiency, and clean transportation can build a strong, more equitable, and more inclusive American economy.2 A 2030 target will also guide the U.S. government’s approach to more sustainable and resilient infrastructure, zero-emissions vehicles and buildings, improved agricultural practices, and durable carbon removal. Finally, the commitment would inspire other industrialized nations to set bold targets of their own.

“Many of us have set or are setting emissions reduction goals in line with climate science since the establishment of the Paris Agreement. The private sector has purchased renewable energy at record rates and along with countless cities across the country, many have committed themselves to a net zero-emissions future.3

“If you raise the bar on our national ambition, we will raise our own ambition to move the U.S. forward on this journey. While an effective national climate strategy will require all of us, you alone can set the course by swiftly establishing a bold U.S. 2030 target.

“Mr. President, we ask that you invest in a resilient, economically sound, net zero-emissions future for all. You can count on our support.”

See the We Mean Business Coalition page for signatories and footnotes.

Posted in being carbon dioxide, Bloomberg Green, climate business, climate change, climate disruption, climate emergency, climate hawk, climate policy, ecocapitalism, ecomodernism, ecopragmatism, fossil fuel divestment, global warming, global weirding, investment in wind and solar energy, leaving fossil fuels in the ground, solar domination, solar energy, solar power, solar revolution, wind energy, wind power | Leave a comment

To Samwise, a noble, incredibly smart cat, Pink Floyd performed by the exquisite Larkin Poe

(Update, 19th April 2021.)

We lost Samwise earlier this month, to lymphoma, probably by everybody’s assessment, including veterinarians, due to exposure to herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides earlier in his life. He was a noble, and wonderful cat. He was smart. He could open doors having door knobs. He could open big drawers under our platform bed, climb in, and close them behind him. He loved knocking pens off of desks. And he hunted, but captured things gently and alive, and always released them. Sure, he might have wanted them to run to chase them again.

But there was a deep soul there. And his death is a statement of how random and arbitrary life is in this universe. I do not believe in a God because if She existed, she would have to be judged psychotic. Ergo, She doesn’t exist. It’s nothing but the sound of random Hydrogen atoms.

I miss him deeply. He was my friend. He was companion while I worked hours at my computer, patient and loving. And he would convince me to accompany him out on adventures on our property, which I also so deeply miss.

So, in his memory, with love and hurt and gratitude, I offer Larkin Poe doing Pink Floyd‘s “Wish You Were Here”.

References to scientific and veterinary literature on lymphoma in cats and dogs:

Gavazza, Alessandra, Silvano Presciuttini, Roberto Barale, George Lubas, and Biancaurora Gugliucci. "Association between canine malignant lymphoma, living in industrial areas, and use of chemicals by dog owners." Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 15, no. 3 (2001): 190-195.

Takashima-Uebelhoer, Biki B., Lisa G. Barber, Sofija E. Zagarins, Elizabeth Procter-Gray, Audra L. Gollenberg, Antony S. Moore, and Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson. "Household chemical exposures and the risk of canine malignant lymphoma, a model for human non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma." Environmental Research 112 (2012): 171-176.

Tranah, Gregory J., Paige M. Bracci, and Elizabeth A. Holly. "Domestic and farm-animal exposures and risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in a population-based study in the San Francisco Bay Area." Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers 17, no. 9 (2008): 2382-2387.

Reif, John S. "Animal sentinels for environmental and public health." Public Health Reports 126, no. 1_suppl (2011): 50-57.

Deziel, Nicole C., Mary H. Ward, Erin M. Bell, Todd P. Whitehead, Robert B. Gunier, Melissa C. Friesen, and John R. Nuckols. "Temporal variability of pesticide concentrations in homes and implications for attenuation bias in epidemiologic studies." Environmental health perspectives 121, no. 5 (2013): 565-571.

Poppenga, Robert H., and Frederick W. Oehme. "Pesticide use and associated morbidity and mortality in veterinary medicine." In Hayes' Handbook of Pesticide Toxicology, pp. 285-301. Academic Press, 2010.

Pimentel, David, Anthony Greiner, and Tad Bashore. "Economic and environmental costs of pesticide use." Environmental toxicology: current developments (1998): 121-151.

Posted in Felinus catus, Larkin Poe, Pink Flyod, Samwise | 1 Comment

Watching out for those investments: A bubble in companies reliant upon fossil fuels for their business

Posted in American Petroleum Institute, American Solar Energy Society, an ignorant American public, an uncaring American public, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, bridge to somewhere, Carbon Tax, Carbon Worshipers, climate activism, climate business, Climate Interactive | Leave a comment

Bryophyta and the Importance of Sphagnum for the Carbon Cycle

Posted in American Bryological and Lichenological Society, biology, bryology, bryophytes, Carbon Cycle, carbon dioxide, climate disruption, climate emergency, ecological disruption, ecology, global warming, mosses | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Emily Atkins: “It’s whacked.” “It’s crappy.”

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Climate Resilience

Posted in adaptation, Anthropocene, being carbon dioxide, bridge to nowhere, carbon dioxide, children as political casualties, climate disruption, climate nightmares, climate science, climate sensitivity, distributed generation, ecological disruption, ecopragmatism, engineering, First Parish in Needham, Glen Peters, Global Carbon Project, global warming, global weirding, Greta Thunberg, investment in wind and solar energy, Juliana v United States, leaving fossil fuels in the ground, liberal climate deniers, local generation, local self reliance, Mark Jacobson, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Mathematics and Climate Research Network, mitigating climate disruption, Nature's Trust, ocean acidification, ocean warming, Our Children's Trust, Principles of Planetary Climate, quantitative ecology, Ray Pierrehumbert, Reverend Catie Scudera, Robert Young, sea level rise, Steven Chu, sustainability, The Demon Haunted World, the energy of the people, the green century, the right to know, the value of financial assets, tragedy of the horizon, Unitarian Universalism, UU, UU Needham, Wally Broecker, zero carbon | Leave a comment

Humble Alternatives to Daylight Savings Time — Math with Bad Drawings

Humble Alternatives to Daylight Savings Time — Math with Bad Drawings
From the ever clever and entertaining Ben Orlin. And the drawings really aren’t bad.
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Representative Deb Haaland, confirmed as Secretary of Interior

(Deb Haaland atop a wind turbine. Credit: Representative Deb Haaland, via Twitter.)

Representative Deb Haaland, member of the Laguna Pueblo Nation, was confirmed as Secretary of Interior. The feelings of happiness which washed over me are too much to describe.

I acknowledge the land in which I am blessed and privileged to reside, that of the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag who have taken care of them as best they could, until the invasion. (See also.)

I celebrate by offering a dance celebration from the Wampanoag Nation, neighbors of the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag.

And, then, a video sketch and capture of Wampanoag Day at Aptucxet:

I quote Timothy Otis Fuller at this time from the top right of my blog pages, saying in his 1886 “A Sketch of the Flora of Needham”:

“Linnaeus, letting fall his hand on a bunch of Moss at his side, exclaimed, ‘Underneath this palm is material for the study of a lifetime’; and if this is true of a handful of Moss, the treasures of a township must be inexhaustible. We need not seek for new worlds to conquer.

They might need not, but Europeans, in their deep ignorance and to their shame, did. And to the very limited degree I can, I bow to Buddha and ask forgiveness, of the Massachusett, the Wampanoag, the Haudenosaunee, whose land I was privileged to reside upon, cherish, and learn of their history for 40 years, and all First Nations, indigenous people who my ancestors so aggrievedly harmed.

Posted in Haudenosaunee, indigenous peoples, Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag, Wampanoag | Leave a comment

Cladonia chlorophaea

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Field survey update for 2021-03-03 and 2021-03-10: Bryophytes, lichens, and Lycopodia in winter (LoSoMaaCoF)

Online data from principally bryological the longitudinal field survey described here has been updated in its:

with the photos and remarks from 2021-03-03 and 2021-03-10.

The photos are in time order from earliest to latest, top to bottom, left to right. Timestamp and geographic location are stamped in the lower right on the images. The survey began in earnest about 9th-13th December 2020. Images earlier than than were documenting site selection.

A couple of points of note.

First, there is green growth seen at many instances, and close-ups of these have been recorded. There are also several instances of egg-like features, but I do not yet know if these are archegonia or not. I need to become familiar with archegonia from the various genuses and spend some time with a hand lens.

Second, the classification of Site 1, instance C as Myurella julacea was incorrect.  It is a Thuidium, probably Thuidium recognitum. I need to get a sample and verify. This has been reflected in all cases in the spreadsheet.

More time could have been spent at Sites 1, 3, and 4. A lot of time was invested in finding these features and learning how to use the Olympus TG-6 to take macro-photos of them. I will devote more time on 17th March to checking status, and devoting time to hand lens, while taking oral notes, and taking specimens of these back.

Posted in bryology, bryophytes, lichenology, lichens, longitudinal field survey, longitudinal study of mosses, longitudinal survey, longitudinal survey of mosses, phenology | Leave a comment

Professor Tony Seba, update

When Professor Seba says New England has the poorest set of solar and wind resources compared to California and Texas, he primarily means wind, and that’s all land-based. Offshore wind in New England is an amazing resource.

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