AuthorTopic: WHEN THE END OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION IS YOUR DAY JOB  (Read 935 times)

Offline Eddie

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Re: WHEN THE END OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION IS YOUR DAY JOB
« Reply #30 on: October 21, 2018, 10:32:32 AM »
WTF, bro? What is that thing again?
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: WHEN THE END OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION IS YOUR DAY JOB
« Reply #31 on: October 21, 2018, 10:58:56 AM »
I own an insolation detector.  A Li-Cor.  Specifically mine measures PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation).



I used it and will use it again if I do any more experiments with growing plants using LEDs, as I have.
That is hardcore cool... I almost need to come up with an excuse to get one now...
« Last Edit: October 21, 2018, 11:21:37 AM by K-Dog »
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline K-Dog

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Re: WHEN THE END OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION IS YOUR DAY JOB
« Reply #32 on: October 21, 2018, 11:03:52 AM »
WTF, bro? What is that thing again?



It is a silicon photodector that comes shipped with a 1% resistor it has been calibrated with.  The resistor is put in parallel on the output lead and in full sunlight the device outputs about 10 mV which can be read on a voltmeter.  It is only sensitive to light is in the the visible range that plants use to grow.  That is the same as visible light we see with but standard light meters do not have a flat response over the entire photosynthetic range as this device does.  This is a scientific instrument which reads all colors equally because filters over the photocell shape the response.  A standard photometer mimics the human eye in its response and intensity is not flat with frequency as with this device.  Outside the photosynthetically active region the device measures nothing.

Quote
Illumination for plants, also known as "irradiance", is sometimes measured in PAR watts per square meter (W/m2). Another means of measuring light quantity for plant growth involves discrete units of quantum flux in the PAR region called "photons". Photon flux is commonly measured in units of micromoles per square meter per second (µmoles/m2/s), where 1 mole of photons = 6.022 x 1023 photons.

Photosynthetically Active Radiation or PAR is between 400 and 700 nanometers.  At useful intensities that goes from what you see as a violet in which you would see everything in a purple moonight at 420 nanometers (coincidence).  Just bright enough to read with to a very deep red at 680nM that you also don't see very well.  You would see that red as room bright.  In both cases plants would be growing like crazy.

http://www.egc.com/useful_info_lighting.php

Using it outdoors it is important to have it level because the sky is not uniformly bright and when you walk up to it, (say you have it on a board in your driveway and are checking out full sunlight) the output drops because you take a chunk of incident light out of the hemisphere from which it takes readings.  The device lets you see light variations you normally are not aware of.  You don't think of light being dimmed by a tree on the opposite side of the sun from which you stand because the eye has a hard time seeing a 2:1 difference in light intensity.  This detector shows such differences easily.  Outside in full sun about 10% of light is coming from the blue of the sky and the rest is straight from the sun.  Block the blue coming from the opposite direction and the light dims.

« Last Edit: October 21, 2018, 11:20:10 AM by K-Dog »
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline Eddie

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Re: WHEN THE END OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION IS YOUR DAY JOB
« Reply #33 on: October 21, 2018, 11:08:59 AM »
Day-um. That's a cool gadget.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Surly1

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Cosmologist Martin Rees gives humanity a 50-50 chance of surviving
« Reply #34 on: October 29, 2018, 03:52:10 AM »
Cosmologist Martin Rees gives humanity a 50-50 chance of surviving the 21st century

But he’s still an optimist.

By Sean Illing@seanillingsean.illing@vox.com Updated
Getty Images; Photoillustration: Javier Zarracina/Vox

Martin Rees is Britain’s astronomer royal, a professor at Cambridge University, and one of the leading cosmologists in the world. In a 2003 book, titled Our Final Hour, he gave civilization a 50-50 chance of surviving the 21st century, an estimate he reached after surveying all the ways humanity could destroy itself.

Rees has followed that book with another one about existential threats, titled On the Future: Prospects for Humanity. And the upshot of the new book is clear: The choices we make today, and in the next couple of decades, will likely determine the fate of life on earth.

Rees’s biggest fear is our enhanced technological capacity, which gives just a few people the power to do more damage than ever before. For example, a handful of bad actors could release malicious code that upends computer networks around the world, or bioterrorists could unleash a deadly virus that quickly becomes a global pandemic, or overeager physicists could spawn a black hole by smashing protons together.

Then there’s the very real possibility that bioengineering technologies, like gene editing, will produce unprecedented inequalities in society that could transform life as we know it. There’s also the looming danger of artificial intelligence, which, depending on who you ask, is either an existential threat or a wildly overstated non-concern.

In spite of all this, Rees still calls himself a “techno-optimist.” Which is to say, he thinks we can harness science and technology to save ourselves and the planet. I spoke to him last week about why he remains hopeful in the face of all these threats, and why he thinks scientists have an ethical obligation to engage politically. I also asked him if he thinks human beings will have to flee Earth if we want to survive in the long run. (His answer might surprise you.)

A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.

Sean Illing

In your previous book, Our Final Hour, you said we had a 50 percent chance of surviving the 21st century. How do you feel about our odds today?

Martin Rees

Well, that was obviously a rough number, but I still believe that there could be serious setbacks to our civilization, and I feel more concerned now than I was then about the fact that technology means that small groups or even individuals can by error, or by design, have a disruptive effect that cascades globally.

This is a relatively new thing, and I’m not sure we fully appreciate the dangers. Technology has not only increased the ways we could destroy ourselves, it’s also made it much easier for us to do it. So that means we’re always close, potentially, to a global disaster.

I worry more than I did about the collective impact we’re having on the resources and the environment. We keep building and expanding, and we’re demanding more energy and more resources, and we’re on what appears to be an unsustainable path. My concerns about this have only grown since 2003 when I wrote Our Final Hour.

Sean Illing

What would you say worries you the most right now? What keeps you up at night?

Martin Rees

In the short run, I worry about the disruptive effects of cyber attacks or some form of biological terror, like the intentional release of a deadly virus. These kind of events can happen right now, and they can be carried out by small groups or even an individual. It’s extremely hard to guard against this kind of threat.

Disruptions of this kind will be a growing problem in our future, and it will lead to more tensions between privacy, security, and liberty. And it will only become more acute as time goes on.

I also worry that our societies are more brittle now and less tolerant of disruption. In the Middle Ages, for example, when the Black Plague killed off half the populations of towns, the others sort of went on fatalistically.

But I think if we had some sort of pandemic today, and once it got beyond the capacity of hospitals to cope with all the cases, then I think there would be catastrophic social disruption long before the number of cases reached 1 percent. The panic, in other words, would spread instantly and be impossible to contain.

Sean Illing

Let’s step back from the ledge for a second and talk about science and technology. Do you think the pace of technological change is now too fast for society to keep up?

Martin Rees

I think it’s amazingly fast. Is it too fast for society? I don’t know. I do know that we’re struggling to cope with all these technologies. Just look at the impact of social media on geopolitics right now. And the risks of artificial intelligence and biotechnology far exceed social media. But these things also have potentially huge benefits to society, if we can manage them responsibly.

Sean Illing

Well, that’s sort of my point: Technology moves faster than culture, and the gap is growing. I see no reason to believe we can manage these innovations “responsibly.” In fact, we seem to be doing the opposite: Technology disrupts society, and then we struggle to adapt in the wake of these disruptions.

Martin Rees

I certainly take the point, and don’t necessarily disagree. The downsides are enormous, and the stakes keep getting higher. But these changes are coming, whether we want them to or not, so we have to try and maximize the benefits while at the same time minimizing the risks.

Sean Illing

Do you think our greatest existential threat at this point is ourselves and not some external threat from the natural world?

Martin Rees

I think the main threats are the ones we’re causing. I’m an astronomer, but I don’t worry about asteroids barreling into the earth and destroying us, because we can see these things coming. I worry about human folly and human greed and human error. I worry much more about, say, a nuclear war then I do a natural disaster. Human threats like this are growing much faster than traditional risks like asteroids, and in many cases, we’re just not prepared to deal with it.

Sean Illing

You talk a lot in the book about cooperation and the need for better decision-making. I often worry that our incentive structures — at the individual and collective level — are so misaligned with our actual interests that it’s almost impossible to imagine us making the sort of smart, long-term decisions we’ll have to make to navigate the future. I’m curious how you think about this, and what role you think science and technology play.

Martin Rees

I agree that the gap between the incentives driving our behavior and our actual interests is growing, and many of the issues we’re facing require international agreements and long-term planning, climate change being an obvious example. And we’re having a hard time convincing politicians to do what’s in our long-term interest when all they care about is being reelected.

As scientists, we must try to find solutions for these problems, but we also have to raise public consciousness and interest. Politicians care about what’s in the press, what’s in their inboxes, and scientists have to do what they can to keep these urgent problems on their radar. I consider this my obligation as a scientist.

At the same time, scientists don’t have any special wisdom when it comes to politics or ethics, so we don’t have the answers when it comes to decisions about what to value or do. The wider public has to be involved in that conversation, and scientists can help by educating them as much as possible.

Sean Illing

I’m glad you went there, because I think this is such a crucial point. We often forget that science is a tool that helps us get more of what we want, but it can’t tell us what we ought to want or do. But if you look at our culture now, it’s clear to me that we’re allowing our values to be decided by the technologies we’ve built, not the other way around.

Martin Rees

You make a great point, and you’re quite right in saying that we need a value system that science itself can’t provide. In the book, I talk about the atomic scientists who developed nuclear weapons during WWII, many of whom became politically involved after the war to do what they could to control the powers they helped unleash. They thought they had a special obligation.

And I think that is true of scientists in other fields. We’re seeing some of the big tech companies like Facebook and Twitter take responsibility perhaps too late in the game, but there are other examples of scientists working in fields like bioengineering who understand the risks now and are going to great lengths to control them.

But the big difference now is that there are far more people around the world with expertise in all these technologies, especially in AI and bioengineering. And the commercial pressures to develop them are enormous, which means attempts to impose regulations will only be moderately successful.

So even if we develop an ethics to guide these technologies, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to enforce them on a global level. And that is extremely scary.

Sean Illing

People like Steven Pinker make the case that life is steadily improving, and that reason and technology are the prime drivers of that improvement. There is something undeniably true about this argument, but I think it also misses something fundamental about our nature and the fragility of the world we’ve created.

Martin Rees

I read Pinker’s book, and I’ve had exchanges with him on this. There’s no doubt he’s right about life expectancy improving and fewer people in poverty and all that, but I think he overlooks two things. The first is what I mentioned earlier about new technologies creating new threats that can be unleashed relatively easily by small groups of people or individuals.

He also seems to think that human beings have advanced ethically compared to earlier generations, and I’m not so sure about that. In the medieval period, life was miserable and there wasn’t anything people could do to improve it. Today, the gap between the way the world is and the way it could be is enormous.

We have a billion people in the world in abject poverty, which could be alleviated by the wealth of the thousand richest people on the planet. That we allow that to continue surely says something significant about how much — or little — moral progress we’ve made since medieval times.

Sean Illing

Do you believe that humanity will have to move beyond the Earth if it wants to survive in the long run?

Martin Rees

I certainly hope not. I hope that there will be a few pioneers who travel to space and form a little colony on Mars, but I think this should be left to the private sector. I don’t see any practical case for NASA sending people to space anymore. The private sector can afford to take more risks than NASA, and many adventurers are happy to live with the risks of space travel.

We can hope that these people will go to Mars and be at the forefront of developing new technologies, because they’ll have every incentive to adapt to a hostile environment. But I strongly disagree with Elon Musk and my late colleague Stephen Hawking who talk about mass immigration to Mars. I think that’s a dangerous delusion because Mars will be a more hostile environment than the top of Everest or the South Pole, and dealing with climate change here on Earth is far more important than terraforming Mars.

Sean Illing

You call yourself a “techno-optimist” despite writing two books about all the ways in which human life can be annihilated. Where does your optimism spring from?

Martin Rees

I’m an optimist in that I believe that the ability of technology to provide a good life for everyone, not just in our countries, but throughout the world, is going to grow. But I’m also an ethical pessimist in that I recognize that this is not happening in the way that it should. We have abject poverty in our countries, we have whole regions of the world where people are in poverty, and this is a political failure. And this gap is getting wider, not closer.

Sean Illing

Do you think humanity will have to evolve into something else, into something posthuman, in order to survive for another 100 centuries?

Martin Rees

Humanity hasn’t changed all that much in terms of physique and mentality. If, because of technology or space travel or some other development, evolution starts to happen on a much faster time scale, it will have important consequences for human life.

For instance, we can still enjoy the literature written by Greek and Roman authors more than 2,000 years ago, because the character of human beings hasn’t changed all that much, and we recognize their emotional lives in our own world. But if we think of what could happen with bioengineering techniques or artificial intelligence, it’s entirely possible that humans a century or two from now will have only an algorithmic understanding of us and what we were like.

If that happens, if we lose this continuity between generations of human beings, that will be a total game changer. I don’t know what comes next, but we will have entered a new phase of human evolution.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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Antarctica losing six times more ice mass annually now than 40 years ago
« Reply #35 on: January 17, 2019, 06:23:07 AM »
Antarctica losing six times more ice mass annually now than 40 years ago

(A) Ice speed of the Antarctic Ice Sheet derived from multisensor data for the time period 2014–2016 (11) with 18 subregions A–K (black thin lines) delineated from surface slope and ice flow direction data (SI Appendix, Fig. S3). (B) Change in flow speed from the time period 2007–2008 to 2014–2015 color-coded from blue (deceleration) to red (acceleration). Grey areas have no data. (C) Basin names for subregions and ocean temperature at 310-m depth from the Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE) (12) color-coded from cold (blue) to warm (red). White areas in the ocean are shallower than 310 m depth. (D) Bed topography between 0 and 1,100 m depth, with SLE of each basin in centimeters of SLE (1, 13). (E) Change in grounding line ice discharge, D, for 1979–2017 for the 18 major subregions in billions of tons per year with percentage change in speed color-coded from red (acceleration) to blue (deceleration) and circle radius proportional to change. (F) Total change in mass of major basins color-coded from blue (gain) to red (loss) for 1979–2017 with circle radius proportional to the absolute mass balance. Graphic: Rignot, et al., 2019 / PNAS

IRVINE, California, 14 January 2019 (UCI) – Antarctica experienced a sixfold increase in yearly ice mass loss between 1979 and 2017, according to a study published today in  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Glaciologists from the University of California, Irvine, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Netherlands’ Utrecht University additionally found that the accelerated melting caused global sea levels to rise more than half an inch during that time.

“That’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak,” said lead author Eric Rignot, Donald Bren Professor and chair of Earth system science at UCI. “As the Antarctic ice sheet continues to melt away, we expect multi-meter sea level rise from Antarctica in the coming centuries.”

For this study, Rignot and his collaborators conducted what he called the longest-ever assessment of remaining Antarctic ice mass. Spanning four decades, the project was also geographically comprehensive; the research team examined 18 regions encompassing 176 basins, as well as surrounding islands.

Techniques used to estimate ice sheet balance included a comparison of snowfall accumulation in interior basins with ice discharge by glaciers at their grounding lines, where ice begins to float in the ocean and detach from the bed. Data was derived from fairly high-resolution aerial photographs taken from a distance of about 350 meters via NASA’s Operation IceBridge; satellite radar interferometry from multiple space agencies; and the ongoing Landsat satellite imagery series, begun in the early 1970s.

The team was able to discern that between 1979 and 1990, Antarctica shed an average of 40 gigatons of ice mass annually. (A gigaton is 1 billion tons.) From 2009 to 2017, about 252 gigatons per year were lost.

The pace of melting rose dramatically over the four-decade period. From 1979 to 2001, it was an average of 48 gigatons annually per decade. The rate jumped 280 percent to 134 gigatons for 2001 to 2017.

Rignot said that one of the key findings of the project is the contribution East Antarctica has made to the total ice mass loss picture in recent decades.

Ice mass balance of Antarctica using the component method (SMB, on grounded ice minus ice discharge, D, at the grounding line) for (A) 1979–1990, (B) 1989–2000, (C) 1999–2009, and (D) 2009–2017. The size of the circle is proportional to the absolute magnitude of the anomaly in D (dD = SMB1979−2008 − D) or SMB (dSMB = SMB − SMB1979−2008). The color of the circle indicates loss in dD (dark red) or dSMB (light red) versus gain in dD (dark blue) or dSMB (light blue) in billions of tons (1012 kg) per year. Dark color refers to dD; light color refers to dSMB. Plots show totals for Antarctica, Antarctic Peninsula, West Antarctica, and East Antarctica. Background is the total mass balance spread into the drainage basins color-coded from red (loss) to blue (gain). Graphic: Rignot, et al., 2019 / PNAS

“The Wilkes Land sector of East Antarctica has, overall, always been an important participant in the mass loss, even as far back as the 1980s, as our research has shown,” he said. “This region is probably more sensitive to climate [change] than has traditionally been assumed, and that’s important to know, because it holds even more ice than West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula together.”

He added that the sectors losing the most ice mass are adjacent to warm ocean water.

“As climate warming and ozone depletion send more ocean heat toward those sectors, they will continue to contribute to sea level rise from Antarctica in decades to come,” said Rignot, who’s also a senior project scientist at JPL.

Co-authors of this study are Jeremie Mouginot, UCI associate researcher in Earth system science; Bernd Scheuchl, UCI associate project scientist in Earth system science; Mathieu Morlighem, UCI associate professor of Earth system science; and Michiel van den Broeke and Jan M. “Melchior” van Wessem of the Netherlands’ Utrecht University. Funding and support were provided by NASA’s cryospheric sciences and Measures programs, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research’s polar program and the Netherlands Earth System Science Centre.

Contact

Brian Bell, 949-824-8249, bpbell@uci.edu

UCI/JPL: Antarctica losing six times more ice mass annually now than 40 years ago


Time series of cumulative anomalies in SMB (blue), ice discharge (D, red), and total mass (M, purple) with error bars in billions of tons for (A) West Antarctica, (B) East Antarctica; (C) Antarctic Peninsula), and (D) Antarctica, with mean mass loss in billions of tons per year and an acceleration in billions of tons per year per decade for the time period 1979 to 2017. The balance discharge is SMB1979−2008. Note that the total mass change, M = SMB − D, does not depend on SMB1979−2008. Graphic: Rignot, et al., 2019 / PNAS

ABSTRACT: We use updated drainage inventory, ice thickness, and ice velocity data to calculate the grounding line ice discharge of 176 basins draining the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1979 to 2017. We compare the results with a surface mass balance model to deduce the ice sheet mass balance. The total mass loss increased from 40 ± 9 Gt/y in 1979–1990 to 50 ± 14 Gt/y in 1989–2000, 166 ± 18 Gt/y in 1999–2009, and 252 ± 26 Gt/y in 2009–2017. In 2009–2017, the mass loss was dominated by the Amundsen/Bellingshausen Sea sectors, in West Antarctica (159 ± 8 Gt/y), Wilkes Land, in East Antarctica (51 ± 13 Gt/y), and West and Northeast Peninsula (42 ± 5 Gt/y). The contribution to sea-level rise from Antarctica averaged 3.6 ± 0.5 mm per decade with a cumulative 14.0 ± 2.0 mm since 1979, including 6.9 ± 0.6 mm from West Antarctica, 4.4 ± 0.9 mm from East Antarctica, and 2.5 ± 0.4 mm from the Peninsula (i.e., East Antarctica is a major participant in the mass loss). During the entire period, the mass loss concentrated in areas closest to warm, salty, subsurface, circumpolar deep water (CDW), that is, consistent with enhanced polar westerlies pushing CDW toward Antarctica to melt its floating ice shelves, destabilize the glaciers, and raise sea level.

SIGNIFICANCE: We evaluate the state of the mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet over the last four decades using a comprehensive, precise satellite record and output products from a regional atmospheric climate model to document its impact on sea-level rise. The mass loss is dominated by enhanced glacier flow in areas closest to warm, salty, subsurface circumpolar deep water, including East Antarctica, which has been a major contributor over the entire period. The same sectors are likely to dominate sea-level rise from Antarctica in decades to come as enhanced polar westerlies push more circumpolar deep water toward the glaciers.

Four decades of Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance from 1979–2017

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

 

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