Blog 112. A frosty morning for the New Year

Here’s a photo of a frosty holiday morning in California.  The frost illustrates the physics that determines the global climate.  And climate is but one of the current worries of scientific associations, who worry about a frosty government. Continue reading

Blog 110. Climate in one picture

The present temperature is not the key index to predicting the future climate any more than the current temperature in a cold room tells how warm it will be if you add insulation to the walls.  It’s knowing the insulation that’s important for prediction. Below is a drawing that explains earth’s energy budget—as affected by the insulation of the atmosphere— in one glance. Continue reading

Blog 109. Is clean coal clean?

The concept of “clean coal” has been newsworthy for a decade or more.  In 2009, Senators John Kerry (D-MS) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) co-authored an op-ed in the New York Times, promoting renewable energy, nuclear energy, and “clean coal.”  Presidential candidate Trump touted “clean coal” during a debate.  Can coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels, ever be made clean?  That’s seems as likely as senators of opposing parties learning to talk to each other again. Continue reading

Blog 97. Seven Brief Lessons–without time

It’s about a space without time.
A small book, just a quarter-inch thick, made the New York Times bestseller list: SEVEN BRIEF LESSONS ON PHYSICS* by Carlo Rovelli.  Bestseller?  With that title? Continue reading

Blog 91. Can just anyone open a scientist’s email?

The 1/10/2016 New York Times (1/9/2016 web edition) offered an op-ed entitled, “Scientists, Give Up Your Emails.”  The author, a journalist named Paul Thacker, asserted that agencies (including universities) should not keep secret the personal communications of scientists who work for the government.  Continue reading