Thursday, December 19, 2019

Our 2019 Christmas Letter

Alice with packages of bale ties at the company she founded, Vulcan Wire

One of the many pleasures of my life is the annual rite of Christmas Card sending and receiving. After much experimentation over many decades I have finally arrived at an arrangement through the Costco Photo Center that is simple and straightforward: I compose the card on their site, order 300, then print and affix address labels and stamps, insert the cards, and admire a job well done. It has worked so well that I have felt immune to the machinations of Mr. Murphy and his law.

No more.

My order from Costco arrived December 2. A busy early December schedule of projects prevented starting work immediately. When I did get started I failed for several days to notice that the stack of 300 cards seemed small beside the 300 envelopes. It was then I realized that Costco had only sent me 80 cards to go in the 312 envelopes. I then phoned Costco and explained the problem. They said I would have the cards in three business days. UPS delivered the Costco parcel three business days later as promised. I opened it and found 130 more addressed envelopes. No cards. I phoned again. With luck - I'll update this soon - 220 cards will arrive on Monday, December 23, just in time for me to work hard all evening to get them in the mail the day before Christmas. 

Merry Christmas, with new respect for Murphy and his unyielding law.

We haven't planned next year's travel yet. Alice's memoir, The Lady With Balls, was published July 19 and Alice made her first book presentation to a full house at our local community owned bookstore, The Four-Eyed Frog. Since then our daily routines and travel planning includes consideration of book promotion activities. 

Watch out, we may appear soon at a bookstore or library near you!

On June 20, 2020, my Point Arena High School Class of 1960 will be hosting a reunion for the classes of 1964 back to the beginning of time at the Gualala Community Center. I'm hoping that we will have a big attendance and early commitment to help plan the menu, decorations, and all the rest. Send checks for $50 per person made out to me and mail them to PO Box 1639, Gualala, CA 95445. The $50 per person covers dinner and most drinks and all the costs associated with like decorations, hall rent, mailings, &etc. 

Alice was impressed by Amsterdam's Centraal train station, only a block from our hotel
It was very handy for our trip to Bonn, Germany, to board the riverboat cruise

Our 2019 travel was very ambitious. In April we went to a friend's beautiful wedding on a marvelous horse ranch in Virginia. 

We spent all of May in Europe starting with several days in Amsterdam, then boarding a Vantage riverboat for a 26-day cruise up the Rhein and then down the Danube. 

Fore view of our long, lean Vantage ship, River Splendor

Aft view of River Splendor

Along the way we visited a dozen cities in Germany, then Vienna, followed by Budapest and four other cities in Hungary, then onwards through Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and ending in Rumania. Through it all we shared unforgettable sights with even more unforgettable new friends.

They don't build town halls like this one in Bamberg, Germany, anymore

We were really rocking in Markheidenfeld, Germany

Bike exploring was fun and vaguely reminded Alice and I of the four months we biked through Germany, the UK, and Ireland in 1998. Click on the link to find out more. 

Alice making a sheet of (recycled) paper in the ancient way and displaying the finished product to the delight of Bonnie and other observers

Here I get to lead a visiting band through a stirring rendition of German music
Bonnie's husband Tom thoughtfully videoed it for posterity 

 You meet wonderful people on long cruises that you're sad to say goodbye to. Above are Tom and Bonnie, he a former Major Leaguer and she a dancer. Both are dedicated to finding a cure for ALS.

Below are Terry and Diane. Terry's the first Air Force Major General I've met that I didn't have to tell all my good reasons for overspending the budget for my base (RAF Bentwaters, UK, 1970 to 1975)

The pictures below were taken at a wonderful concert in Vienna which was part of our cruise...

Vienna knows how to make you smile...

And keep smiling...

So does Budapest. We were guests to operatic arias presented on the staircase of the Budapest Opera House.

Budapest by night

Alice relaxing with a book...

 I tried to figure out selfies...

We saw exciting horsemanship in Hungary and here in Bulgaria. This fellow is "riding" a team of ten horses. Earlier they passed at a gallop and he was as calm as can be.

This was a marvelous piece of machinery in its day, undoubtedly better than the Eastern European products that followed under Communism

Taking a spin in Bucharest...

This is the Palace of the Parliament, or the People's House, in Bucharest, Romania. It's the heaviest building in the world and a fitting Cold War monument. And it's gorgeous inside and out.

In early August we spent three stimulating days at our annual attendance at the Mendocino Writers' Conference in Mendocino. It ended just before we celebrated out 30th Anniversary on August 5, by far the easiest thirty years of our lives.

Later we went to two Independent Bookseller conventions, first in Burlingame and then in Portland. My lasting impression is that there are far too many good books being written. The creativity and variety in children's books alone is astounding. So long, Dick and Jane, although I still remember how good I felt when I read "See Spot run" the first time. Alice too. She said that reading gave her a feeling of power, and she still reads a book a week (or more).

One of our trips only took us as far as the Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino for Alice to give a presentation, but it took Alice back over forty years to the early days of Vulcan Wire and the pivotal event in her memoir where she is dropped down a flight of stairs when she tried to collect a $5,000 debt owed her by an Oakland business owner. As Alice began her talk, a fellow in the front row informed her that he was in the room when Alice barged into the Board meeting to attempt to collect the debt.

When Alice and I went to the Hayward Library to arrange another book presentation, the fellow at the second floor desk, Hector, recognized her from when he worked for her in her Hayward office thirty years ago.

Small world, isn't it?

I'm still working on my deathless prose... What old movie did I steal that line from? And trying to help Alice on online projects opened a way for me to do what I've played around with for many years, publish my own books via direct Kindle e-book. So it may not be long before the world gets Strong as an Ox and Nearly as Smart, my coming of age story about growing up in Point Arena, and It Ain't Necessarily So, which clearly and completely destroys the myth of human-caused climate change. I've written hundreds of pages for each; now I need a little - maybe a lot - of organization and editing.

 Radar knows what's important. Playing ball on Cook's Beach...
And Cheryl's snacks.

Kelly Mason and I enjoying the fruits of our labors on Gualala Rotary's annual Oktoberfest fundraiser.

Our community's Christmas spirit blossomed again as the Gualala Lions, Rotary, Soroptimists, and neighbors completed Project Santa for another year: buying, wrapping, assembling, and delivering Christmas presents and food boxes to over 174 needy families. 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Every day, every night, all year long!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Cooling Period of the Holocene

I often comment on the Holocene period and how we are in its cold phase. This is a succinct summary of those comments:

About 11,700 years ago the last 100,000-year glacial period ended, as did the four preceding it in the past half-million years. A 15,000 to 20,000 year interglacial period followed each glacial period, and each of these short interglacials had temperatures about 2 degrees Celsius higher that now plus higher sea levels, and we are presently in the cooling phase of our Holocene interglacial. 

There have been four warmer periods than now in the past 10,000 years. The earliest and warmest, the Holocene Climate Optimum, peaked 6,000 year ago, and was followed by successively cooler warm periods, the Minoan, Roman, Medieval, and our relatively cool present warm period. During the past 6,000 years temperature and sea level have ratcheted down and we just emerged from the coldest period of the past 10,000 years, the Little Ice Age. 

Since 1700AD global temperature has risen 2 degrees Celsius with relatively low levels of atmospheric CO2 (280ppm). As in the four previous periods of warming, atmospheric levels of CO2 played no discernible role in causing their warming or preventing periodic cooling. 

All of these climate changes occurred without benefit of human contributions, just as our present warming period was already 250 years along before human burning of fossil fuels after 1950AD caused a significant increase in CO2 levels. Of interest, the first period of rapid CO2 increase, 1950 to 1980, featured significant cooling from the very warm 1930 to 1950 period, and caused a Global Cooling panic. Over half the warming after 1980 has been a recovery from the drop in temperature 1950 to 1980. 

What can we do about current warming? Take advantage of it like our ancestors did. Civilization began and advanced rapidly during the rapid warming following the Ice Age. It's a good thing our ancestors didn't figure out a way to stop Global Warming then or we would still have mile-thick ice sheets covering all of Canada and a third of the US.!

Friday, June 14, 2019

"" - wants us to "Rise up and stop climate change together"

According to the website: "One hundred corporations are responsible for 71% of global carbon emissions."
Whatever the “100 corporations” are doing concerning CO2 emissions is irrelevant. Fossil fuels enabled the level of prosperity developed nations enjoy today and are the means for developing nations to achieve comparable prosperity. China is the best example, followed by India, and with reliable electrical power and water storage and distribution – attainable only with reliable electrical power from fossil fuel consumption now and in the foreseeable future – Africa will be next.

Burning biofuels in enclosed spaces (homes) – wood and dung – for heating and cooking is responsible for four million deaths each year from respiratory illnesses. Reliable electricity and LPG would eliminate most of these deaths.

Our annual human-created output of 29 gigatons of CO2 is tiny – only 4% - compared to the 750 gigatons moving through the natural carbon cycle each year.

Increase in CO2 emissions is caused by developing countries, not developed. The US and Europe have reduced their CO2 emissions.

CO2 is only a trace gas in the atmosphere – only 0.04%. “Earth's atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, and 0.04% carbon dioxide with very small percentages of other elements. Our atmosphere also contains water vapor.”
CO2 is also not the most important greenhouse gas. Water vapor comprises about 96% of greenhouse gases and CO2 only about 4%. Methane is a hardly measurable component of greenhouse gases. 

At atmospheric CO2 levels of 150ppm or lower complex life forms on Earth cease existence. At current increasing levels – roughly 400ppm – there has been measurable greening of the planet. During the past billion years atmospheric CO2 levels have normally been much higher – 4,000 to over 7,000ppm. 

Higher CO2 levels increase plant growth and reduce water consumption.

Greenland ice cores, ocean and lake sediment cores, tree lines, coral mounds, ancient beaches, and many other studies show that we now live in the coldest 1,000-year period of the past 10,000 years. Four previous warm periods – the Holocene Climate Optimum (9,000 to 5,000 years ago), Minoan (3,800 to 3,100 years ago), Roman (2,300 to 1,900 years ago), and Medieval (1,150 to 800 years ago) were all warmer than present and each became progressively cooler than its predecessor. continues: "Biodiversity plummets as every twenty-four hours 175 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct." 

Here is a recent article debunking the mass extinction claims.

It highlights that recent extinctions, which have been moderate and declining in rate, are primarily on islands where non-native species were introduced. I saw the effects of that when I lived on Oahu for four years – mongoose, rats, cats, mosquitos, and plants such as trees, bushes, and fruit like blackberry vines.

To understand recent Great Barrier Reef (GBR) problems it’s good to look at the long picture; coral has existed for about 500 million years. During that time sea levels have varied by over 150 meters, atmospheric CO2 has been ten to twenty times higher, and global temperatures have varied over 10 degrees Celsius. Coral thrived, since it is a warm water organism.

Only 12,000 years ago, the GBR evolved its current form. Prior to that, sea level in the 100,000-year glacial period (Ice Age) was about 120 meters (roughly 400 feet) below the current level. In the 6,000-year period, 18,000 years to 12,000 years ago, sea level rose 120 meters, an average rate of two meters (over 6 feet) per century. Coral kept up with that rapid rate of sea level rise.

The best article I’ve found on the 2016 bleaching is by Jim Steele, Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University and author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism.
The significant findings are that the 2016 El Nino caused prolonged low sea level at low tide and that the upper 15 cm of reef coral was bleached. Coral at deeper levels were not affected. The Hughes study that reported coral disaster was an aerial survey and did not identify that the bleaching was only in the top reef level and had nothing to do with water temperature.

Coral exposed by low tides caused by 2016 El Nino

Here is  a comprehensive article about coral over time

Here’s a good article that includes summaries of many coral studies

I have dozens of studies that all support coral resilience and the causes of fluctuations – and that coral is doing very well, particularly in areas where scuba divers are rare.

Your statistics on rates of extinction are also totally out of whack, but that’s an item for a later look.

Climate Change Alarmists fiddle while California burns – “It’s the forest management, stupid!”

Even the LA Times figured it out. In fact, The Times and others noted that warnings to Paradise and other cities went back decades and predicted then what happened last year. 

Concerning wildfires and climate change: “The state’s climate alarmist politicians, media and climate activists have attempted to make nebulous and lame excuses that man made “climate change” is accountable for the poor forest conditions and increased wildfires but these claims are unsupported by climate data going back more than 1,000 years showing extensive periods of extreme droughts and precipitation in California have long existed and that no definitive change in this very long term climate record has been established as was noted in a Los Angeles Times article from 2014.”

As I have noted in several of my previous letters in the ICO, going back over a decade, Californians live in a Fool’s Paradise; the past hundred years have been much wetter – and cooler - than most of the past 7,000 years. 

Good forest management removes fuel and prevents small trees from serving as “fire ladders.” It also conserves water by removing small trees that take water from big trees. 

While you go on about stopping climate change, which has occurred naturally millions of times, the real work of preventing wildfire devastation needs to be done in California’s forests now!

Sunday, June 02, 2019

"Homogenizing" the Way to Global Warming

Less than a decade ago I found some NOAA temperature charts for nearby cities in Northern California - where I've lived off and on since 1949. The cities are Santa Rosa and Ukiah, and  i remember old timers in the 1950s talking about how much hotter they had been in the 1930s and 1940s. The NOIAA temperature charts substantiated the old timers' memories - for awhile.

This was the Santa Rosa chart showing the hotter 1930s and 1940s:
This is the Santa Rosa chart that replaced it after "homogenization." The early years suffered a cold snap that lowered temperatures about one degree C for four decades and then raised later temperatures gradually.
How about Ukiah? Not surprisingly, Ukiah also found that its cooling trend became warming.

Before homogenization:
After homogenization.
It's funny that after over half a century since they passed on, the old timers were made liars about their memories of the hotter olden days.