Thursday, August 12, 2004

Techno-Fantasies and Global Warming

Well we can dump a lot of iron into the ocean. That will cause algae to proliferate and they remove more carbon from the atmosphere than all the forests combined. That and when they die they fall to the bottom of the ocean and don't re-add their carbon to the atmosphere. [/techno-fix dweeb]

This is a fantasy solution touted on Slashdot and other techno-naive sites. There are several problems with it:

  1. A rapid increase of algae in the world's oceans would suck more than carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. It would also suck a tremendous amount of nutrients from the world's oceans as well. Nutrients that other ocean life depends on.
    We've already seen similar results in rivers, lakes, and at the mouth of the Mississippi where the algricultural fertilizer run-off from the Midwest has cause an algae bloom too. It's also refered to as a "dead zone" because the resultant algae bloom killed everything else and then died too.
  2. Although the algae would fall to the bottom of the ocean the carbon would still be added to the world's atmosphere, but at a later date.
    The dead algae would be decomposed by microbes at the bottom of the ocean, slowly, but inevitably. The result of that decomposition is the production of methane, another greenhouse gas! And methane is actually a worst greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide!
    So we remove a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere only to add a another, worse, green house gas, methane, a century or so later! Hurrah for science!
  3. Finally, iron isn't cheap and we're not talking about a few pounds here and there. We're talking about metric tons of it. And how is this iron going to be paid for? Taxes? Gee, the techno-libertarians won't like that idea.

Face it folks, we need to reduce our levels of resource consumption, as a species. We can make investments into more efficient use of resources, not just power but all resources a priority or we can just keep partying until the lights go out.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Crying 'Fire' in a Crowded Theater

The Washington Post and the New York Times have pointed out that,

Most of the al Qaeda surveillance of five financial institutions that led to a new terrorism alert Sunday was conducted before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and authorities are not sure whether the casing of the buildings has continued since then, numerous intelligence and law enforcement officials said yesterday.

More than half a dozen government officials interviewed yesterday, who declined to be identified because classified information is involved, said that most, if not all, of the information about the buildings seized by authorities in a raid in Pakistan last week was about three years old, and possibly older.

"There is nothing right now that we're hearing that is new," said one senior law enforcement official who was briefed on the alert. "Why did we go to this level?"

If there were a more blatant example of the Bush Administration Junta's use of terror alert levels for political purposes I'm not sure I want to hear about it.

Monday, August 02, 2004

A Little More...

Well, first I'd like to say that I welcome and encourage comments. The only rules being those that imposes on me.

No racist, sexist, inflammatory, libelous comments. Just keep things cool and adult and everyone should enjoy themselves. I'd like to impliment a registration system to avoid the problem of childish moniker stealing. But right now it looks like doesn't support that. I'll have to investigate it further.

What I'd like this blog to become is a community of people who discuss and debate issues in politics, science and life. Although political blogs are now the "hot thing", what I'd like to contribute is a more indepth look at issues. I'd also like to provide a social scientist's perspective and research on the issues of the day. Something that I think is sorely lacking not only in the general press, but in the blogosphere as well.

So join me and leave a comment or two. I'll be looking forward to everyone's input.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


This is just a small place holder while I get my bearings.