## Where We Be

From David E Rovella, Managing Editor, Bloomberg News:

The past year has witnessed millions die in a pandemic, a global economic downturn and political ferment fueled by extremists. But none of those things mean the biggest antagonist of the planet’s inhabitants slowed its pace. In fact, human-induced warming of the earth (and its catastrophic consequences) has quickened its step. The climate crisis is causing oceans to rise more quickly than even the most pessimistic forecasts, resulting in earlier flood risks to coastal populations already struggling to adapt. Insured property worth trillions of dollars could face even greater danger from superstorms and tidal surges. But the biggest economies are failing to meet climate goals that are already outdated. New research suggests they must now set the bar still higher if humanity is to avoid the very worst.

## no words

Whatever you think of AOC, this kind of attempted intimidation is unacceptable.

And, while I support AOC’s views more than I don’t, to those who oppose them wholeheartedly, you are fools. This will simply underscore and accentuate her hold over you. You are stupid.

Who is “they”? They are the guy I overheard speaking loudly in a restaurant in Concord, Massachusetts, who said “That c___ ought to be dead”, and said that shortly after her first election. Such proud, honorable people these are.

## Field survey update for 2021-01-26: Bryophytes, lichens, and Lycopodia in winter (LoSoMaaCoF)

##### (Updated, 2021-02-23)

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

with the photos and remarks from 2021-01-26.

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.

Adding candidate Site 1, B4 today, image below (IMG_20210126_142109-01.jpeg):

coded as individual 115c3095. Looks like a Thuidium but image isn’t close enough or clear enough to see leaf margins and such. Could be a lot of things, e.g., Hylocomium splendens.

Did not observe Site 1, individuals B2 and B3. It’s possible their Atrichum leaves are contorted against the cold.

## On storing and logging moss specimens

##### (Updated 2021-02-21)

The standard way of storing moss specimens — at least that’s taught — is to press them, like most botanical specimens, or to store them, dessicated, in folders like these:

That’s from Ralph Pope’s (2016) Guide,

Pope, Ralph. Mosses, Liverworts, and Hornworts: A Field Guide to Common Bryophytes of the Northeast. Comstock Publishing Associates, a division of Cornell University Press, 2016.

I can understand if people want to make a permanent collection that does not take up a lot of space, or even send them by post to colleagues.

I’ve found it better to take a specimen from each locale and store them in containers like these:

or these:

and of course logging them in a sturdy (not spiral bound!) notebook:

I prefer Leuchtturm1917 hardcover notebooks that are ruled and medium-sized:

In fact, I use these Leuchtturm1917s for all my notes. No, I don’t rely exclusively upon digitized notes. For one thing, it’s difficult to sketch there. And it’s difficult to do things like this:

although if I was being completely thorough, I would log the Google photos identifiers into the paper notebook.

I now have set up an EpiCollect 5 form on my Google Pixel 2 for logging individual photos so I have a record of all the observations.

I rely upon an outbound spreadsheet in .ods format for that, with a copy stored on my Parzen Dell Precision workstation and in my Google Drive.

I don’t intend to keep these specimens for decades. If I did, I might opt for the Pope-style folders.

My technique seems to do fine for months. I put a drop or two of water in each after a while. Occasioanlly on sunny days, I set them out on our dining room table, after first opening each briefly to let them breathe. I close them again so they don’t dry out.

Then they go back into their tea boxes, where I group them by banding with elastics.

Mosses tend to be tough, so this treatment doesn’t bother them. It hasn’t happened to any specimen yet, but I imagine if a fungus grew in the vials, that might do them in and spoil them. I don’t put a lot of water in.

## Rebekah Jones, update: epitome of courage

Data scientist Rebekah Jones gave the keynote address at the annual Data Science Conference on COVID-19 and represents through her choices and consistent practice, in my personal opinion, the thorough realization of the Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice of the American Statistical Association.

This criminal pursuit of her on the part of Florida government is egregious.

## The recipe for success of green energy in the Massachusetts suburbs

This is Dr Saul Griffith entrepreneur and inventor at Otherlab, addressing impediments to putting solar on rooftops in the United States.

Eventually, it will be ridiculous to people not to put solar on their roofs. And any bylaws or other impediments will either be argued away at town meetings, or will be circumvented by technology.

For example, take Town of Westwood, Massachusetts, they have a number of bylaws which directly or indirectly restrict placement of ground mounted solar. Do they extend to self-powered and self-sufficient, not connected car ports which essentially sit in a spot? If these are placed beyond the setbacks and observe height limits, what are the possible restrictions? Suppose the power units are connected to the home using some means other than trenched wires, like magnetic coupling?

Do the bylaws restrict wind turbines placed on flag poles?

These are dark corners which are very tempting for those with the interest and the means to challenge in court, and with lots of publicity.

Dr Griffiths:

## What is to be done? Personal ideological purity not only doesn’t help, it can be counterproductive

From “Warmer, Warmer” by John Lanchester in the London Review of Books, 2007:

What is to be done? The first thing to do is to admit that Dick Cheney is right. ‘Conservation may be a personal virtue,’ he said in 2001, ‘but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.’ Rephrase that sentence to state that conservation is indeed a personal virtue, and both halves of it are, it seems to me, true. But there is also a problem with the notion of conservation as a personal virtue. The risk is that awareness of global warming and of the need to act to counter it can be reduced to a form of personal good conduct; to membership of the tribe of the virtuous. It is a good thing to choose to pollute less, to ride a bicycle and take the train and turn down the thermostat, and to fit low-energy lightbulbs, but there is a serious risk that these activities will come to seem an end in themselves, a meaningful contribution to the fight against climate change. They aren’t. The changes that are needed are global and structural, and anything which distracts attention from that is potentially damaging. There is a parallel of sorts between militant conservationism and driving an SUV. The SUV driver is consciously choosing to worsen the environment, and to harm the planet, and is trying at the same time to send a signal – a signal to herself – that even if climate change comes she will be able to protect herself from it. Look, the huge car says: I can protect myself and my family, whatever happens. That is a falsehood, and it is a falsehood related to the idea that our individual choices are of any consequence. I’ve just switched my electricity supply to a green company. I did it to give myself the feeling that I’m doing what little I can. But this, too, is a kind of category mistake – the SUV driver isn’t protecting anyone, and neither am I.

## Construction of Solar Arrays, Oxford, MA, by BlueWave Solar

Built on 100 acres of a 300 acre farm, this site was once home to the largest commercial piggery in the Northeast. Located in Oxford, MA this solar project consists of 9 individual arrays adding to a total size 16.5 MW. Over 125 residents, small businesses and educational institutions will benefit from the solar net metering credits.

BlueWave Solar developed and managed the construction of this 1.446 MW DC solar array. Historically, the site was utilized as agricultural land associated with livestock since the 1940s. The solar array occupies only a portion of the property and will provide a source of clean and reliable energy to the Town of Oxford and surrounding Massachusetts communities.

## Simple: Stop burning things

And, to go with that, stop burning things down.

## The next time you hear someone sayin’ how dirty wind turbines and solar panels are to manufacture …

Bloomberg reports that the cancelled Keystone XL pipeline may yield 48,000 tons of scrap metal. That’s for its 107 mile length. That’s not all the pipeline in the world. And that doesn’t count the drilling equipment, the pumps, the compressors, or the countless machines that burn the fossil fuels these carry.

So the next time you hear or read about someone complaining about how dirty producing the components of wind turbines and photovoltaic panels is for the environment, you might want to remind them of this small fact.

## Field survey update for 2021-01-20: Bryophytes, lichens, and Lycopodia in winter (LoSoMaaCoF)

##### (Updated, 2021-02-23)

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

with the photos and remarks from 2021-01-20.

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.

## “The U.S. should lead the world on climate change”

This excerpt is from Bloomberg Opinion, written by its Editorial Board. I recommend the entire op-ed.

Climate change is a global threat requiring global action, so it’s essential that the U.S. join, and preferably guide, worldwide cooperative efforts. Among Biden’s first acts should be notifying the United Nations that the U.S. will rejoin the Paris Agreement — a global framework for carbon abatement, advanced by the U.S. and then abandoned by Donald Trump. Its targets need to be made more ambitious, and the U.S. should lead not by exhortation but by example.

An ambitious target for clean power is crucial, and a fast transition is feasible. The cost of clean energy from sources such as wind and solar has fallen dramatically and is still falling. In many cases, clean power is already cheaper than electricity from fossil fuels, even without taking its huge environmental and health benefits into account. Hydrogen, a storable fuel, is poised to become the next significant clean power source. Battery technology is improving all the time. And with new and better energy infrastructure, the U.S. can build a smart power grid. Clean power is within reach.

##### Potential conflicts of interest: The author of this blog post, Moderator of this blog, supported Michael Bloomberg for President in the 2020 Democratic Primary, has long admired Mr Bloomberg due to his deep work on many climate-related initiatives, like the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, founded by Mr Bloomberg, Mark Carney and others, and is a subscriber to Bloomberg News, and has long followed Bloomberg Green.

Embed from Getty Images

Bloomberg Climate Data Dashboard.

The 41 things President Joe Biden should do first on climate change.

## Consumer, Employment, and Environmental Benefits of Electricity Transmission Expansion in the Eastern United States

If local towns and neighborhoods continue to oppose decentralized zero Carbon energy, whether solar ground mounts or utility scale solar farms or wind turbines, we’re going to need more transmission, much more transmission.

Opponents to decentralized solar generation are either unfamiliar with the facts (see report linked just above, or list below), or are disingenuous, offering defense of local stands of trees, hiking paths, wildlife, and natural settings as what they perceive to be more acceptable reasons for opposition than deeper ones, such as worry about home and neighborhood devaluation.

## banks aren’t interested …

From The Hill:

The Trump administration auctioned off oil and gas rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for the first time ever Wednesday, selling off 1.6 million acres along the coast to primarily one major buyer: the state of Alaska.

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) won nearly every bid, a sign that oil companies were largely uninterested in developing the pristine wildlife refuge as many major banks have refused to provide financial backing and public support for the projects has diminished.

The sale raised just $14.4 million dollars, roughly$27 per acre. That figure is far below the billion dollars the 2017 bill projected the government would earn alongside a second sale. Only half the acres up for sale received bids, which were submitted by only three companies.

## “What comes next?”

#### Jonathan Groff as George III, from Hamilton

“Armed violent protestors who support the baseless claim by outgoing President Trump that he somehow won an election that he overwhelmingly lost have stormed the U.S. Capitol today, attacking police officers and first responders, because Trump refused to accept defeat in a free and fair election. Throughout this whole disgusting episode, Trump has been cheered on by members of his own party, adding fuel to the distrust that has enflamed violent anger. This is not law and order. This is chaos. It is mob rule. It is dangerous. This is sedition and should be treated as such. The outgoing president incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favor of anarchy. Anyone indulging conspiracy theories to raise campaign dollars is complicit. Vice President Pence, who was evacuated from the Capitol, should seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy.

This is not the vision of America that manufacturers believe in and work so hard to defend. Across America today, millions of manufacturing workers are helping our nation fight the deadly pandemic that has already taken hundreds of thousands of lives. We are trying to rebuild an economy and save and rebuild lives. But none of that will matter if our leaders refuse to fend off this attack on America and our democracy — because our very system of government, which underpins our very way of life, will crumble.”

## Longitudinal Survey of Mosses and aCouple of Friends

#### (LoSoMaaCoF)

##### (Updated 2021-04-15)

Updates after 26th February 2021 notifying new data availability will be each made in separate blog posts. These will all link back here. I will keep this page updated with information about my kit and such.

On 29th November 2020, I began and committed to a long term longitudinal survey of four botanical sites near my home, a survey of some bryophytes, lichens, and a few individuals of Lycopodium obscurum. The purpose is to record the life cycle of these patches and individuals at a relatively frequent rate, roughly a week apart, and to begin a compendium of observations which may serve for phenological study.

I welcome comments and questions from students, experts, and fellow bryophyte enthusiasts!

While mosses and lichens are not typically chosen as subjects for phenology, e.g., the National Phenology Network hasn’t any bryophytes or lichens among its index subjects, this is precisely why beginning such a project is attractive. Moreover, there is supporting literature, e.g.,

Gignac, L. Dennis. "Bryophytes as indicators of climate change." The bryologist 104, no. 3 (2001): 410-420.

Tuba, Zoltán, Nancy G. Slack, and Lloyd R. Stark, eds. Bryophyte ecology and climate change. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

I am also collaborating with the U.S. National Phenology Network leaders’ community of practice.

The sites themselves are depicted on this map:

There are 5 subsites or patches at Site 1, 4 subsites at Site 2, 5 subsites at Site 3, and 4 subsites at Site 4. Sites 1, 3, and 4 are wet environs, with Site 3 actually being a running stream. Site 2 is a bank adjacent to a building. Three of the Sites are within the Hale Reservation. While the Sites are excellent and interesting, weather and programming at Hale may constrain sampling during certain seasons. Site 3 can flood. All Sites could be snow-covered. Hale Reservation serves as a children’s Summer camp from June-September and, so, imposes understandable restrictions on outsider visits. These are standard problems for field surveys.

I am working to obtain written permissions from Hale, but, before I do, I want to amass a corpus of data to establish commitment and minimal expertise.

Great thanks to Hale Reservation and to their Director of Operations, Tyler Simpson, for giving permission on 2021-01-15 to continue the field survey year ’round.

In general, bryophytes and lichens demand microscopic examination to permit keying to species level, so physical samples are required at the outset. However, thereafter, the means of survey is photographic, primarily through macrophotography using a Google Pixel 2 and the Manual Camera DSLR Pro software app, V1.11 (12) made by Lenses Inc. The maximum photo resolution on the Google Pixel 2 is 12.2 megapixels, 4032×3024. The video resolution is 3840×2160 (4K). I typically use it in Macro Focus mode. I operate strictly under the PRO settings. My skills at capturing macrophotos of mosses in the field with this camera and app are improving, but they are inconsistent in production. Hope to use the (new) photo-logging software mentioned below to help.

In general, bryophytes and lichens demand microscopic examination to permit keying to species level, so physical samples are required at the outset. However, thereafter, the means of survey is photographic, primarily through macrophotography. Initially I was using a Google Pixel 2 and the Manual Camera DSLR Pro software app. However, both because I was getting unreliable results at the limits of macro focus, and because of recommendations from an experienced bryologist, I am changing my primary macro camera to an Olympus TG-6. I need to be able to image details of moss capsules, such as calyptra, operculums, peristomes, and other features like gemmae, archegonia, and antheridia, and I need to do this reliably. In addition, I’m interested in mosses as artistic subjects, so the image stacking capability of the Olympus is important. The Olympus product overview is here.

I have three Bausch & Lomb Hastings Triplets, a 10X, a 14X, and a 20X. (I’ve had the 10X since my Botany course in 1973!) These are useful both in field work and at home. From recommendations by other bryologists, I have added an Iwamoto Achromatic 20X Triplet hand lens. The Iwamoto is 15 mm in diameter and has a wide field of view compared with the Hastings Triplet design, one which is almost distortion free.

I have learned that for field work, a bright light source is crucial, so carry a Fenix HM50R head-mountable lamp powered by a Li-On rechargeable battery.

I also use two microscopes:

• Steindorff Shop Scope Portable Microscope, with 20X and 100X front magnifiers, the Steindorff standard 10X eyepiece and a fine wide field Meiji MA409 DIN20X
• Carson MP-250 MicroFlip, 100x – 250x LED and UV Lighted Pocket Microscope with Flip Down Slide Base

I also use two camera adapters for these:

I previously tried a Carson HookUpz 2.0 Smartphone Optics Adapter, but I wasn’t happy with the results it produced. It was difficult to keep the camera aligned with the boresight of the microscope. (And, frankly, the Snapzoom isn’t that great either.)

There is a Mecan NY-TGV microscope adapter for the Olympus TG-6 but it costs US\$900.

The primary records are photographs of specimens kept in Google Photos Albums. Accompanying these is a spreadsheet chronicling visits to sites and recording specific photos of specimens and subjects, as well as timestamps and metadata describing the encounters. For example, snow cover doesn’t inhibit a survey visit, but is documented with a photograph of the area, and a timestamp recording the visit. There is also a “snow covered” attribute. There is also a “flooded” attribute.

Note that the spreadsheet is in the Apache OpenOffice ods format, not a Microsoft xlsx format.

As of 22nd February 2021 I have transferred the contents of the Apache OpenOffice spreadsheet to a Google Sheets version, primarily because Google Sheets now permits the inserting of an image in a cell. So rather than having the awkward mechanism of noting the image reference and going to find it in the albums, one or two images documenting the observation from any given day is included in the spreadsheet itself. The size of the image can be adjusted by adjusting the size of the containing cell. References to image names in the albums are still good, as are the album links. That’s useful because not all the images I record for each site are noted in the spreadsheet, particularly microphotographs or macro-photographs relating to classification and other purposes.

As of 24th February 2021, I am using EpiCollect 5 to log all photographs taken effective with the observations on 24th February 2021. See below for more.

Backing the photographs and spreadsheet up with notes and organization is a handwritten notebook, a hardcover medium (145 mm by 210 mm) Leuchtturm1917 lined notebook. Whereas it is my intent to place the spreadsheet and photographs as open as I can, I don’t know what I’m going to do with the notebook. I have augmented my tools for collecting data by adding the EpiCollect 5 app for my Google Pixel 2. My first form is a log of each and every picture I have taken. I found this recommendation in the “Record Keeping” section of Chapter 1, “Field Taxonomy and Collection Methods”, Volume 3, “Methods”, in the book by Janice Glime, et al, Bryophyte Ecology. Photos collected beginning 24th February 2021 will be collected in the project’s PhotoLog table, accessible for viewing by the public.

Indeed, eventually, I hope to be able to put the survey in a database form where it can be accessed by date, site, and genus of specimen, and all information and materials pertaining to these made public. Right now, the photographs are still in publicly accessible Google Photo Albums (see below) and the spreadsheet is separate. I may be able to adapt the EpiCollect 5 application for this purpose.

Many of the genus and species classification slots are still empty. I’m determined to classify mosses to the species, and doing so can be difficult without microscopic examination, e.g., of alar cells. In addition, and in full transparency, I haven’t done moss classification since I took Botany in college, and, even then, mosses were not the primary subjects of interest. Accordingly, my classification productivity is low. Yet having proper classification is essential to the project.

Classifications are done, except that I failed to snag a sample of one of the mosses at Site 1, Sample B. Accordingly, I have designated the Sphagnum Sample B1 and updated the spreadsheet accordingly, and will designate the dominate moss this photo B2:

I have added another specimen on the same log as Site 1, sample A, yet to be classified. What was previously Site 1, sample A is now designated Site 1, sample A1 and the new specimen is Site 1, sample A2.

Site 4 now has a Site 4, sample E which is Dicranum montanum Atrichum angustatum [MacKnight, Rohrer, McKnight-Ward, Perdrizet (2013), 66-67:

The last classification, a Sphagnum at Site 3, sample C I called Sphagnum papillosum based upon 100x examination of a leaf, and comparison with Professor Ralf Wagner’s atlas. But Emerita Professor Janice Glime says that is wrong. So I’m looking again.

My photomicrograph of the leaf:

#### This is taken at 100X with the Steindorff, using a Google Pixel 2 through the lens.

My only concern is that the cells from this specimen seem too large compared with Prof Wagner’s. I need to recheck the calibration of my in field vernier.

The sizes are comparable to those recorded at Professor Wagner’s site.

CALIBRATION OF VERNIER ON STEINDORFF MICROSCOPE
WITH 10X EYEPIECE
Magnification One Major Tick One Minor Tick
20X slightly less than 0.5 mm (500 µm) slightly less than 0.05 mm (50µm)
100X 0.1 mm (100 µm) 0.01 mm (10µm)

#### This is taken at 100X with the Steindorff, using a Google Pixel 2 through the lens.

My primary references and keys are:

Pope, Ralph. Mosses, Liverworts, and Hornworts: A Field Guide to Common Bryophytes of the Northeast. Comstock Publishing Associates, a division of Cornell University Press, 2016.

Jenkins, Jerry. Mosses of the Northern Forest: A Photographic Guide. Comstock Publishing Associates, a division of Cornell University Press, 2020.

McKnight, Karl B., Joseph R. Roherer, Kirsten McKnight Ward, and Warren J. Perdrizet. Common Mosses of the Northeast and Appalachians. Princeton University Press, 2013.

McMullin, Troy, and Frances Anderson. Common Lichens of Northeastern North America: A Field Guide. New York Botanical Press, 2014.

Marshall, Nina Lovering. Mosses and lichens: a popular guide to the identification and study of our commoner mosses and lichens, their uses, and methods of preserving. Vol. 14. Doubleday, Page, 1919.

Go Botany Native Plant Trust, specifically, Dendrolycopodium obscurum (L.) A. Haines.

Glime, Janice, Heinjo During, Irene Bisang, S. Robbert Gradstein, J. Lissner, W. J. Boelema, and D. H. Wagner, Bryophyte Ecology, ebook, 2017, but frequently updated.

Kokko, Hanna. Modelling for field biologists and other interesting people. Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Tuba, Zoltán, Nancy G. Slack, and Lloyd R. Stark, eds. Bryophyte ecology and climate change. Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Yodzis, Peter. Competition for space and the structure of ecological communities. Vol. 25. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg New York, 1978.

Matthiopoulos, Jason. How to be a quantitative ecologist: the 'A to R' of green mathematics and statistics. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.

##### I added McKnight, Rohrer, McKnight-Ward, and Perdrizet on 11th March 2021 because I needed a heftier keying tool.

In addition there are online guides at:

I’m trying my best to classify. But as the experts in these keys suggest, many of the categories of moss, particularly Sphagnum, are plastic, and variations among instances of a species make it sometimes difficult to distinguish. See in particular Ralph Pope’s comments in the introductory sections of his book.

The albums are organized by Site, and the metadata accompanying each photograph gives the date and time of capture, and the location. Also, in most instances, the location geographic coordinates and the compass heading of the photo capture are stamped on the image itself. Occasionally when GPS is not available, such locations are absent.

Here are the links to the Albums:

And here are the subsites or patches, depicted as photos:

## Site 1

Site 1, subsite A, featuring specimens A1 and A2

Site 1, subsite B, featuring specimens B1 and B2

Site 1, subsite C

Site 1, subsite D

Site 1, subsite E

## Site 2

Site 2, subsite A

Site 2, subsite B

Site 2, subsite C

Site 2, subsite D

## Site 3

Site 3, subsite A

Site 3, subsite B

Site 3, subsite C

Site 3, subsite D

Site 3, subsite E

## Site 4

Site 4, subsite A

Site 4,subsite B

Site 4, subsite C

Site 4, subsite D

Site 4, subsite E

## A harmful visitor who thrives because of climate change: Adelges tsugae

Adelges tsugae or Woolly adelgid is a Hemlock-destroying insect which infests New England forests because New England winters are getting warmer.

Here’s what it looks like on one of our Hemlock trees.

Of note is that Finzi, et al (2020) found that the Hemlock subforest of the Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Research site became a CO2 source rather than a CO2 after its Adelges infestation.

NEP in hemlock-dominated forests averaged $\approx 450\;g\;C\cdot{}m^{-2}\cdot{}yr^{-1}$ until infestation by the hemlock [W]oolly [A]delgid turned these stands into a net C source.

Reference:

 Finzi, Adrien C., Marc‐André Giasson, Audrey A. Barker Plotkin, John D. Aber, Emery R. Boose, Eric A. Davidson, Michael C. Dietze et al. "Carbon budget of the Harvard Forest Long‐Term Ecological Research site: pattern, process, and response to global change." Ecological Monographs 90, no. 4 (2020): e01423.

Want to save New England forests? Stop emitting CO2 and build solar farms, even if there’s some forest loss! And harm to forests isn’t the only byproduct. People spray Hemlocks to control this beastie, and the solutions are not good for wetlands.

## Hints on a second edition of Principles of Planetary Climate

Professor Ray Pierrehumbert is working on a second edition of his great Principles of Planetary Climate.

There is a Web site for the current book, and a preview of changes.

## Physicists Doing Blues

Everybody’s Got the Blues

### From The Canettes Blues Band at The LHC.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD0VslrILuQ

And let’s not forget climate scientists in Chicago:

## The engagement with SARS-CoV-2: Where we stand in the United States, in curated numbers

As I’ve noted elsewhere and the COVID Tracking Project reminds, sourcing cases, deaths, positive test rate, and hospitalization data is tricky.

COVIDcast is another group doing real time assessment of the state of the pandemic in the United States, one which I highly respect.

## Happy Newtonmas, 2020

Among other projects I support this year, post-retirement is

## Einstein@Home

Why? Because with all the emphasis upon SARS-CoV-2, biopharmaceuticals, and mitigating climate disruption, which are all important, observational astronomy doesn’t get enough love. And this is an astronomy which isn’t using ordinary modalities to find and study systems far away.

On August 12, 2010, the first discovery by Einstein@Home of a previously undetected radio pulsar J2007+2722, found in data from the Arecibo Observatory, was published in Science. The project had discovered 55 radio pulsars as of September 2020.

#### (From Wikipedia.)

As of September 2020, Einstein@Home has discovered 25 previously unknown gamma-ray sources in data from the Large Area Telescope on board the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The Einstein@Home search makes use of novel and more efficient data-analysis methods and discovered pulsars missed in other analyses of the same data.

Planning to do more on astrostatistics in the future, by the way.

This is enabled by the most excellent BOINC Project.

## Fossil fuels have no future

Sunday’s Boston Globe had a lead article about the demise of opposition to the Weymouth natural gas compressor station, defeated by Commonwealth and federal support for its operation. Many people I know protested that scourge of Weymouth and the Commonwealth, and I understand their downheartedness that its operation is approved, even after suffering two technical fails in trials.

But, frankly, after the approval of the West Roxbury Lateral pipeline despite protests, in which I took part, it was pretty clear the only way to stop these projects was:

In other words, natural gas needs to fail in the marketplace because it is no longer the cheapest source for any use, electricity, heat, manufacturing. But that demands there be an alternative. This alternative is aligned with what Massachusetts leadership, both executive and legislative, claim they want to do, and that is electrify everything and then generate the electricity using 100% Carbon-free sources.

Accordingly, all those who oppose the Weymouth compressor, and natural gas in Massachusetts, whether its pipelines or its generation plants, ought to line up and support the building of utility-scale solar and wind farms wherever they are feasible and the owner of the land is amenable. Unfortunately, people cannot have it both ways. If natural gas is to be eliminated as a risk to health, safety, and climate, it needs to be replaced. Zero Carbon energy is more land intensive at the consumption end because its efficiency, in part, derives from being generated close to consumption. (Overall, Zero Carbon energy is less land intensive, and I have documentation of that, but I won’t share it here. Ask in the comments.) So, to oppose a solar generation plan in Westwood or Walpole is, I’m afraid, a vote in favor of natural gas and the Weymouth compressor.

Now, I know there’ll be trees cut and I have recently spent a lot of time addressing that trade-off. But trees will be cut and drowned for hydropower from Quebec, both there and in Maine. And our collective lack of stewardship of damage to Earth and its ecosystems has happened because we have neglected our responsibility. It is not going to fix itself because of the degree of damage we’ve done. Anyone who argues we just need to walk away and let it take care of itself (a) doesn’t appreciate the scale of the destruction we’ve wrought on natural systems, and (b) doesn’t understand how ecosystems operate. And I suspect, directly or indirectly, some of these groups are receiving funding from sources like those who indirectly funded opposition to Cape Wind on Cape Cod, in Barnstable. There the Koch Brothers reimbursed all legal expenses of the county to fight Cape Wind.

Accordingly, if you don’t want natural gas, go out to public hearings, go out and demonstrate against groups like the Walpole Preservation Alliance. If they don’t want natural gas, they sure act like they do. And their choices and opposition will, if successful, see more natural gas in Massachusetts, even if its citizens will eventually need to pay, through taxes, to reimburse its owners and operators to shut it down.

## a song in praise of data scientist Rebekah Jones

I linked to Rebekah Joneskeynote address at the August 2020 Data Science Conference on COVID-19 sponsored by the National Institute for Statistical Science. Below is a song in tribute to her, wishing her well.

###### (h/t Bill McKibben)

ASA’s Ethical Guidelines for Statistical Practice

ASA President writes to HHS Secretary regarding the integrity of and rebuild confidence in the COVID-19 hospital data

Reacting to new HHS Covid19 hospital reporting guidance, the ASA signs letter with 100 organizations urging the administration “not to advance the new data collection plan any further and instead consult with the public health and healthcare communities to discuss effective strategies for ensuring the availability of the data we all need and want to bring the pandemic under control in the U.S.”

ASA signs onto letter to Vice President Mike Pence saying “it is vital that we lead with science and with the best data available” and objecting “to any attempt to cast doubt on science and sow mistrust for public health expertise, and to spread misinformation during this challenging time for all Americans”

ASA submits comments on FBI Use-of-Force Data Collection

My comments at the ASA Community alerting it to the violent raid on Rebekah Jones’ home:

I first saw this in today’s Briefing of news from the science journal, Nature.

There are several details available from local news sources, including video. Some of them have partial paywalls. As a consequence, A synopsis says the warrant is based upon a Comcast IP address being traced to Jones’ home. The warrant claims it was used to post an anonymous “mysterious” message at Florida’s emergency public health and medical coordination team. The IP address was, in some manner, associated with this message but officials are not making the connection because they claim to be protecting someone’s personally identifying information. The warrant has more information, including that the IP address is an IPv6 address.

If an IP address is all they have to make the connection, as a former professional in that industry I consider that extremely flimsy evidence. Indeed, it could be creating by someone cracking into the Jones’ home network and issuing the message, or could masquerade in other ways, e.g., malware Javascript from a Web site. Moreover the association of the IP address with the Jones’ home needs to be completely watertight. It is more difficult to make the association, for example, using conventional IP geolocation tools, because the address is IPv6.

Indeed, the only want to definitively tie this IPv6 address to a particular geographic location is with Comcast’s cooperation, using their logs from the time of the incident on 10th November 2020. That’s because IP addresses are volatile, particularly IPv6 addresses. Indeed, Comcast says they only retain logs for 180 days.

#### Update, 13th December 2020

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/945989963/945989964

## … [T]oo detached from my natural origins to see the problem …

The proprietor of the false progress blog which I mentioned in an earlier blog post made a comment about another one of my posts. Actually, that’s not quite right in three respects.

1. I don’t really know if it’s really the proprietor of False Progress, since they are not properly identifying themselves, even by a permanent email address: fp568468@outlook.com doesn’t work any longer so must be one of those throwaway email addresses. But I am assuming it is the same person since they haven’t given me anything else to go on. According, as inconsistent as the comment they made is with the position, the proprietor of False Progress has supported nuclear power here and there. So I assume here the commenter does, too.
##### (And if they don’t really, tough.)
2. They did not really comment at the appropriate location, possibly because they were responding directly to a YouTube video at my channel on the same subject linked from that blog post. Instead they replied at a form on my About page.
3. I took Moderator’s License and moved the in-fact comment from the form to the appropriate location.

I’ll break it down and respond, but here, for easy reference, is the entirety of the comment:

Segment from “Choices.” https://youtu.be/4ZM3EMRQnQI?t=1659 Sure, let’s axe more trees to sequester carbon, since crude old nature doesn’t do it fast enough to fix blunders by the same mindset that cleared so much land in the first place. This photo sums up that vision: https://imgur.com/a/IMNKFOs (cut, build, repeat…) Man must right old wrongs by committing more of them, eh? Part of your conscience must know that nature can’t be tricked indefinitely. It’s already being engineered to death to “create jobs” and such. I suggest taking a break from number-crunching and reading about environmental ethics and the problem with endless techno-fixes. This is no casual statement. You’re clearly no dummy, just too detached from your natural origins to see the real problem. https://newsociety.com/books/t/techno-fix

Yeahhhhhhhhhhh $\;\;\dots$ Well, at least it’ll give me a chance to explicate.

First off, let’s have a look at “natural origins”. It connotes to me a quasi-religious philosophical position. Maybe not. Maybe “natural law”? ‘Guess not. So, let’s look at “natural”. Ah, now there’s something.

Fact is, in my experience, when most people use the word “natural” they actually mean “human”. And, in particular, with respect to an experience of the natural world the perspective is incredibly anthropocentric. Most people don’t really want the natural world as it is, they want the natural world as they’ve experienced it. So, they’d rather not have ticks and mosquitos and bee stings or skunk sprays. They’d rather not get bitten by sharks off Wellfleet or Cape Cod Natural Seashore. And they’d rather not see The Natural Familiar change.

But change it does, all on its own, and often in response to being nudged by people.

This isn’t first and foremost because, well, most people, or at least the ones who urge “nature can’t be tricked indefinitely … environmental ethics and the problem with endless techno-fixes”, don’t actually know a lot about how the natural world works. (I don’t like using the term Nature. Why is a different blog post.) Keeping in tune with how the biological world works is one of the reasons I study a part of sessile biology which is quite different to human scale experience, Mosses and Lichens:

To quote Ralph Pope (2016, page 5) of the Eagle Hill Institute:

Bryophytes are not just tiny versions of larger vascular plants. They have very different physical characteristics, and they solve many of life’s problems differently from the vascular plants that dominate life on Earth.
Bryophytes are small, and small size has allowed them to colonize a great diversity of habitats throughout the globe. Don’t allow their small size to fool you into thinking they are evolutionary failures. Their body plan and lifestyle have suited them well, allowing them to survive for more than 400 million years with apparently minor changes. Approximately 20,000 bryophyte species are known worldwide, and in much of the Arctic, they are the dominant life form.

In comparison, humanity as a species is on an early test flight, and it may not make it.

Second, how did we get into the Great Mess we are presently in?

Sure, it’s possible to blame “capitalism” or “technology” or “greed” or “economics” or “immorality” or “too much money in politics” or “the U.S. Constitution”. But, from a biological perspective it’s really quite simple. The unassisted carrying capacity for Earth of people is about one to two billion individuals tops. To produce food, warmth and clothes, and an organizing system to put it all together demands the expenditure of energy to, firstmost, produce enough food to feed the present 7.8 billion people, and then to distribute that to them, get them their other needs where they live, and organize the system to make it all happen.

So, you think, it’s overpopulation. Nope. It’s not because: (1) well, we have the population and the system to support it, and (2) that’s not an actionable observation, because what do you do with it? Start a nuclear war to reduce the numbers? That’ll have plenty of side effects and unintended consequences despite its great immorality and unfairness. The problem is something else. The problems are that:

• The energy system we are using to support the population is disrupting global climate, which will ultimately have severe negative consequences for all people on Earth.
• The resources maintaining this population in the way that we are is harvesting more than the non-human biosphere of Earth can produce, so we need to access resources produced by previous eons of biospheres.
• Our organizing systems barely work to keep everyone clothed, fed, and healthy, and are, in their present form, incapable of dealing with the meta-problem that the system, as a whole, needs to transform.

So, what do we do? Give up?

References for this section:

Krausmann, Fridolin, Karl-Heinz Erb, Simone Gingrich, Helmut Haberl, Alberte Bondeau, Veronika Gaube, Christian Lauk, Christoph Plutzar, and Timothy D. Searchinger. "Global human appropriation of net primary production doubled in the 20th century." Proceedings of the national academy of sciences 110, no. 25 (2013): 10324-10329.

Campbell, Bruce M., Douglas J. Beare, Elena M. Bennett, Jason M. Hall-Spencer, John SI Ingram, Fernando Jaramillo, Rodomiro Ortiz, Navin Ramankutty, Jeffrey A. Sayer, and Drew Shindell. "Agriculture production as a major driver of the Earth system exceeding planetary boundaries." Ecology and Society 22, no. 4 (2017).

Running, Steven W. "A regional look at HANPP: human consumption is increasing, NPP is not." Environmental Research Letters 9, no. 11 (2014): 111003.

Haberl, Helmut, Karl-Heinz Erb, and Fridolin Krausmann. "Human appropriation of net primary production: patterns, trends, and planetary boundaries." Annual Review of Environment and Resources 39 (2014): 363-391.

Krausmann, Fridolin, Christian Lauk, Willi Haas, and Dominik Wiedenhofer. "From resource extraction to outflows of wastes and emissions: The socioeconomic metabolism of the global economy, 1900–2015." Global Environmental Change 52 (2018): 131-140.

We have, pretty much unwittingly, destabilized the portion of the biosphere and ecosystem which humanity relies upon for food and other ecosystem services through our prodigious growth aided by exogenous energy sources, primarily from burning fossil fuels. Don’t kid yourself: We are not going to take the rest of the biosphere out with us if something severe happens. The Mosses and Lichens are testaments to adaptability. So are microbes.

There is no choice but the stark one facing us: We need to take charge of the whole system, step up our global human organizations (I hear the Gang of the Orange Mango and neocons trembling at that idea), and devise a system which can both properly feed, clothe, provide healthcare, and warmth for 7.8 billion people and, at the same time, emit nothing in terms of greenhouse gases.

Some imagine an alternative: A 16th century agrarian landscape inhabited by sustainable Hobbits, or Diggers, or indigenous peoples, demanding little more of modern technology, so living (much) simpler, in harmony. Two points.

• A lot of people won’t go there willingly. The Maoist Cultural Revolution did not work out well. Agrarian socialism really doesn’t work in a world with 7.8 billion people scattered all over the place.
• “The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out.” (Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring) Despite Tolkien’s emphasis, I consider this “wide world” to include the biosphere and the geophysical worlds. These, despite Tolkien’s preferences, are not humanly moral entities. They have their own rules, but they exist quite independent of any notions or principles which govern human interactions. You need to be a strong theist to think otherwise. (I am decidedly not a theist.)

How do we “take charge of the whole system”?

• We invest hugely in the sciences needed to figure out how it works. We cannot plan ahead without understanding the climate system and the biosphere better. Our investments in these have been tiny, miniscule, compared to the U.S. NASA, or the U.S. Department of Defense. Clearly, NASA has some role to play. DoD? Not so sure.
• We double down on the technologies we know work, can be rolled out quickly and inexpensively, and, to the degree we really care about fixing climate disruption, we de-prioritize other social values like aesthetics, local sovereignty, and local job loss to this purpose. Indeed, the late member of the Bundestag, Hermann Scheer observed this is the only way this can be done. See his The Energy Imperative. Unless local interests are subjugated to more regional and national ones, they will always find ways to interfere, delay, obfuscate. We don’t have time for these kinds of games.
• We assure that the typically least enfranchised are afforded priority access to new energy technologies, despite credit or criminal or immigration histories.
• We frame and organize the energy transformation as jobs programs, training people displaced from fossil fuels in these new skills.

References for this section:

About nuclear power as a savior of the natural environment …. Bupkis.

First, nuclear power is incredibly expensive and slow to build. We don’t have time to wait for a “technological miracle” there. As mentioned in Choice even NuScale SMRs have had a setback.

Second, quoting Dr Amory Lovins:

Many nuclear advocates argue that renewable electricity has far too big a land ‘footprint’ to be environmentally acceptable, while nuclear power is preferable because it uses orders of magnitude less land. If we assume that land-use is an important metric, a closer look reveals the opposite is true.

That’s from:

Lovins, Amory B. "Renewable energy's ‘footprint’ myth." The Electricity Journal 24, no. 6 (2011): 40-47.

Even though Dr Lovins article is from 2011 and, so, doesn’t reflect the massive improvements in efficiency that solar PV, wind, and storage have seen since then, wind and solar come out massively better than nuclear power in bottom-to-top land use.

Of course, fossil fuels and especially biofuels are amazingly worse:

Holmatov, B., A. Y. Hoekstra, and M. S. Krol. "Land, water and carbon footprints of circular bioenergy production systems." Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 111 (2019): 224-235.

Even hydropower is up there as a lands hog:

Zolghadr‐Asli, Babak, Omid Bozorg‐Haddad, and Xuefeng Chu. "Hydropower in Climate Change." Encyclopedia of Water: Science, Technology, and Society (2019): 1-5.

This means that sensible, inexpensive, feasible solutions to climate disruption are squarely opposed to what small numbers of people want, NIMBY or not. To the degree wealthy proponents of fossil fuels support them, this is an impediment. But these small numbers of people should know they are being sold as prostitutes.

So, what do I make of the comment from False Progress?

It could be this individual is one of many at the Koch Brothers feeding trough, several times removed. After all, the Koch Bros have supported environmental organizations in locales if they opposed wind farms, or solar farms, or sensible approaches to dealing with sea level rise and enhanced storm surges at beaches. They always do it through second- and third-hand contributions.

So what about the rest of us? That is, what about people who are very concerned about climate disruption, but don’t have the, ahem, peculiar view of False Progress?

So, the answer is clear, shut down all nuclear facilities, and all fossil fuel sites, including extraction, and massively build wind, solar, and storage atop of them. Then, if short, build wind, solar, and storage on anything you can find. If you take climate disruption from fossil fuels seriously — and the price is how do you rate it compared to your personal aesthetic prerogatives — you’ll do that.

Otherwise, you are effectively a climate denier.

Recap Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson musing on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day:

Note Dr Tyson’s reference to Stewart Brand‘s Whole Earth Catalogue, and Brand’s latest, Whole Earth Discipline. And note Dr Lovins skewering the underestimates of nuclear power’s land use by Brand in his paper. Properly so.

By the way, here’s Claire and I with the memorial to Rachel Carson in Woods Hole, Massachusetts:

Meanwhile, the economics and technology are arrayed against them and their supporters. We will have a green century, whether some like it or not. The wealthy understand this is where we need to go and be. Most corporations know that, too. So, below is the future of energy generation.

A tulip field

## From False Progress

##### (This is a recap of a comment made at a commenter’s blog, one who, claiming to defend the natural world and a human relation to it, argues in favor of nuclear power over what they consider to be the obscene sprawl of wind, solar, water, and storage. They are anti-WWSS in the Jacobson pattern. Indeed, they write and act like a clone of Michael Shellenberger who has made assertions about “climate alarmism”.)

Environmentalists usually decry self-policing, but as long as you don’t call yourself one, I’ll file you with drillers & miners who see nature as a warehouse.

Do so. I called myself that from 1971. But, now, including your ilk, I see you are not up to the challenge of dealing with mitigating climate disruption, for, like many, you want to throw arbitrary constraints on the project, whether they be “climate justice”, “environmental justice”, or “preserving open spaces”. Facts are we no longer have the luxury of those constraints.

I am, along with Stewart Brand and others an ecomodernist and ecopragmatist. This is a problem to be solved, engineered, and managed. The outcome is more important than the means. There was once a choice of means, back in the 1990s, but that was blown. We no longer haven the luxury, per the Stockner curves.

Call me a liar all you want. It no longer matters. The economic forces pushing this solution are way bigger than any little environmental movement, which is too naive to understand that the mysterious donations they are receiving through second and third parties are coming from people like the Koch Brothers.

This is not about Nature or any mystical connection to it. Nature and its inhabitants will adapt, as they always have. There will be species extinction and rotation, but there is always a baseline of that. And rigidities which many so-called naturalists have embraced, like abhoring invasive species, will fall away. Some of these so-called invasives are some of the best adapted to climate disruption that we’ve got.

What will be impacted is humanity and civilization, both because of direct effects, and also because the ecosystem services which were provided under a previous climate will not longer be provided. It’s not like the creatures and flora there will go away — the idea of insects going extinct is considered laughable by most ecologists and entemologists, despite its popularity in some circles — but that they will pursue life paths which won’t include providing those services.

Accordingly, if you actually believe in climate disruption — which I am not really sure you do, as I am not sure those who draw the mantle of “environmentalism” upon themselves do — you understand the urgency, and understand that doing something about it is needed quickly and essentially. And you also understand conditional probability. That says that the probability of achieving a solution to climate disruption given any other constraint is less than the probability of achieving it without additional constraint. Are you a climate denier or luckwarmer? Do you think we can afford these additional constraints? Where’s your calculation that we can? Are you one of the people who thinks we can plant forests anew with fertilizer, changing N2O output (a centennial greenhouse gas) and albedo, and that will fix things? It will help, but only for 60 years.

If you or anyone thinks we can afford the delay to getting this correct, you are wrong. We cannot. A +3C world is a different world, with all kinds of changes everywhere, especially for the ecosystems you claim to want to protect. That’s where we are headed if we don’t get things together. Human energy systems take a long time to transform. We should have started in the noughts. We didn’t.

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