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On Saturday night, President Obama got real on the topic of climate change and the inaction of Congress. Here’s what he said: 

“Instead of doing anything about it, we’ve got elected officials throwing snowballs in the Senate. It is crazy! What about our kids? What kind of stupid, short-sighted, irresponsible, bull—” 

While it was part of a skit, the joke was that Obama wasn’t joking. Gotta give him props for being able to keep his cool when dealing with these fools

The Anthropocene Myth

Blaming all of humanity for climate change lets capitalism off the hook.

by Andreas Malm

Climate science, politics, and discourse are constantly couched in the Anthropocene narrative: species-thinking, humanity-bashing, undifferentiated collective self-flagellation, appeal to the general population of consumers to mend their ways and other ideological pirouettes that only serve to conceal the driver.

To portray certain social relations as the natural properties of the species is nothing new. Dehistoricizing, universalizing, eternalizing, and naturalizing a mode of production specific to a certain time and place — these are the classic strategies of ideological legitimation…

(read more: Jacobin)

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Weather on Mars

Mars, like Earth, has weather systems. Martian weather is uniquely Martian however.

The first set of images shows Mars amidst a global dust storm in which the entire planet shrouds itself in a red blanket and almost all the features on the surface are hidden. This happens because the dust on Mars becomes a feedback loop.

When heat from sunlight generates an air current that carries dust into the atmosphere, the dust begins trapping heat which results in more air currents carrying more dust into the air until the entire planet is covered.

On the right you can see Mars during more peaceful times. There are water clouds teasing their way over the cold, desert surface. Because the atmosphere is so sparse, the pressure at the surface isn’t high enough to melt water ice into liquid so it often sublimates into gas form and rises into the atmosphere.

When humanity started exploring Mars, we became intimately more acquainted with the Martian nature.

The Mars Exploration Rovers depend largely upon solar energy to remain alive and on a planet in which global dust storms persist, this can be problematic.

The left image of the Mars Spirit Rover shows the rover after a dust storm. It was in desperate straits where the dust covering its solar array threatened to shut the rover down. Luckily a stray dust devil flew across the panels essentially dusting it off.

NASA’s Viking 2 lander took images of water-frost (included on the bottom left) on the Martian soil. The Phoenix lander saw it snow on Mars.

There are images (shown on the bottom right) taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which show what appears to be flowing water on the slopes of Newton Crater.

The images were taken at such a time that the melting point of ice was suspiciously close (and for salty/briny water was apparently attained). Those sets of images may be of liquid water flowing on the surface of Mars right now.

(Image credit: NASA)

NASA: The U.S. is headed for a disaster not seen in 1,000 years 

A new study, compiled by scientists from the space agency, Cornell University and Columbia University, predicts an 80% chance that the Great Plains and the American Southwest will endure a major weather shift beginning in 2050. 

“We really need to start thinking in longer-term horizons about how we’re going to manage it.”

Founder of Earth Day murdered his girlfriend, turned her body into compost

What’s a radical environmentalist to do when he needs to dispose of a body?  Turn her into compost, of course!

from NBC News:

Ira Einhorn was on stage hosting the first Earth Day event at the Fairmount Park in Philadelphia on April 22, 1970. Seven years later, police raided his closet and found the “composted” body of his ex-girlfriend inside a trunk.

A self-proclaimed environmental activist, Einhorn made a name for himself among ecological groups during the 1960s and ‘70s by taking on the role of a tie-dye-wearing ecological guru and Philadelphia’s head hippie. With his long beard and gap-toothed smile, Einhorn — who nicknamed himself “Unicorn” because his German-Jewish last name translates to “one horn”  —advocated flower power, peace and free love to his fellow students at the University of Pennsylvania. He also claimed to have helped found Earth Day.

But the charismatic spokesman who helped bring awareness to environmental issues and preached against the Vietnam War — and any violence — had a secret dark side. When his girlfriend of five years, Helen “Holly” Maddux, moved to New York and broke up with him, Einhorn threatened that he would throw her left-behind personal belongings onto the street if she didn’t come back to pick them up.

And so on Sept. 9, 1977, Maddux went back to the apartment that she and Einhorn had shared in Philadelphia to collect her things, and was never seen again. When Philadelphia police questioned Einhorn about her mysterious disappearance several weeks later, he claimed that she had gone out to the neighborhood co-op to buy some tofu and sprouts and never returned.
It wasn’t until 18 months later that investigators searched Einhorn’s apartment after one of his neighbors complained that a reddish-brown, foul-smelling liquid was leaking from the ceiling directly below Einhorn’s bedroom closet. Inside the closet, police found Maddux’s beaten and partially mummified body stuffed into a trunk that had also been packed with Styrofoam, air fresheners and newspapers.

After his arrest, Einhorn jumped bail and spent decades evading authorities by hiding out in Ireland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and France. After 23 years, he was finally extradited to the United States from France and put on trial. Taking the stand in his own defense, Einhorn claimed that his ex-girlfriend had been killed by CIA agents who framed him for the crime because he knew too much about the agency’s paranormal military research. He was convicted of murdering Maddux and is currently serving a life sentence.

read the rest

Happy Earth Day, everybody!

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United States Air Force’s McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin AFB, Florida

 Since 1947, the Eglin Climactic Hangar has frozen, baked, deluged, snowed, blown, fogged, and humidified US Air Force aircraft to test their ability to fight in any climate on Earth. The hangar is capable of temperatures from -40 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, it can produce fog, rain, snow, and ice.

Aircraft shown being tested:

  • F-35B Lightning II being ice tested
  • C-5A Galaxy during extreme cold weather testing
  • C-5M Super Galaxy undergoing heat testing
  • YF-104 Starfighter prototype preparing for cold weather testing in 1958
  • F-22 Raptor, with ferry tanks, undergoing cold weather testing
  • F-22 Raptor undergoing heavy rain testing
  • C-130H Hercules undergoing a cold soak
  • C-130J Super Hercules undergoes heat testing
  • F-117 Nighthawk undergoes ice testing in the early 1980′s

via Code One

“The cost of living is going up and the chance of living is going down. “ –Flip Wilson

A new publication issued by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in the journal “Nature” has reported that the chances of keeping temperatures below a 2 degree rise is now largely in the hands of policy makers.

The challenge of a changing climate can now only be fought with the backing of political agenda – and as most people will agree, this seems bleak.

Of all the uncertainties with regard the effects of climate change, including geophysical and social uncertainties; political uncertainty ranked as the number 1 factor in determining the fate of our species and our planet.

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