Recommendations for your weekend reading

This week’s stories about Food, Science, Nature — and Geopolitics.

Contents

1.  “Production Forecasts and EIA Oil Production Numbers“, The Oil Drum, 30 August 2008 — Much of the reporting on The Oil Drum is first-rate, excellent presentation of important data.  Their oil production updates are IMO must-reading for people interested in geopolitics.  Esp note the graphs of forecast — the range of sources included is the widest I have seen, and illustrates the great uncertainty about the future supply of this vital resource.  Note:  all liquids includes biofuels (except where mentioned otherwise).

2.  “Activity is quiet on the sunspot front“, Mark S. Lawson, On Line Opinion (e-journal), 29 August 2008 — The period 2014-2015 keeps on turning up in the debate on greenhouse science — on both sides.

3.  “New Solar Cycle Not Packing Much Punch“, The Arizona Daily Star, 19 May 2008 — Description of the controversial Livingston and Penn paper predicting a “small” solar cycle, probably meaning a cold cycle.

Also:  Global famine called-off on account of good news.  Looks like this year will produce big wheat crops.  USDA estimates that US will be up 20%, Australia +90%, EU up 20%, Canada up 25%, Russia up 15%, Ukraine up 60%.  Among the major exporters, only Argentina is expected to have a small crop than in 2007-08.

Excerpts from these stories

2.  “Activity is quiet on the sunspot front“, Mark S. Lawson, On Line Opinion (e-journal), 29 August 2008 — The period 2014-2015 keeps on turning up in the debate on greenhouse science — on both sides.  Opening:

Who has noticed that the period 2014-2015 keeps on turning up in the debate on greenhouse science? For that is when greenhouse proponents say the long-delayed global warming apocalypse will start happening. In addition, that general date has turned up in forecasts made by an arch sceptic, and two researchers in the US have forecast that sunspot activity will cease entirely by 2014.

As the two sides do not agree on anything else at all this is odd – odd enough to be worth exploring.

3.  “New Solar Cycle Not Packing Much Punch“, The Arizona Daily Star, 19 May 2008 — Description of the controversial Livingston and Penn paper predicating a “small” solar cycle, probably meaning a cold cycle. 

Here is the paper they discuss:  “Sunspots may vanish by 2015“, William Livingston and Matthew Penn, National Solar Observatory, 2006 — Unpublished, 10 pages.  Abstract:

We have observed spectroscopic changes in temperature sensitive molecular lines, in the magnetic splitting of an Fe I line, and in the continuum brightness of over 1000 sunspot umbrae from 1990-2005. All three measurements show consistent trends in which the darkest parts of the sunspot umbra have become warmer (45K per year) and their magnetic field strengths have decreased (77 Gauss per year), independently of the normal 11-year sunspot cycle. A linear extrapolation of these trends suggests that few sunspots will be visible after 2015.

From the AZ Daily Star article:

The paper, rejected in peer review, was never published by Science. Livingston said he’s OK with the rejection.  “I accept what the reviewers said,” Livingston said. “‘If you are going to make such statement, you had better have strong evidence.’ ”  Livingston said their projections were based on observations of a trend in decreasingly powerful sunspots but reviewers felt it was merely a statistical argument. 

“We may have to wait. We may be wrong. (But) the sun is going to entertain us one way or another,” he said.

Please share your comments by posting below (brief and relevant, please), or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

Posts about Science, Nature, and Geopolitics

  1. A look at the science and politics of global warming, 12 June 2008
  2. There is no “peak water” crisis, 19 June 2008
  3. Global warming means more earthquakes!, 19 June 2008
  4. An article giving strong evidence of global warming, 30 June 2008
  5. Worrying about the Sun and climate change: cycle 24 is late, 10 July 2008
  6. More forecasts of a global cooling cycle, 15 July 2008
  7. Update: is Solar Cycle 24 late (a cooling cycle, with famines, etc)?, 15 July 2008
  8. Two valuable perspectives on global warming, 4 August 2008
  9. President Kennedy speaks to us about global warming and Climate Science, 7 August 2008

For more information about these things, see the FM Reference Page Science, Nature, and Geopolitics.

Posts about the food crisis

  1. Important news about the global food crisis! , 1 April 2008
  2. A view from Indonesia of the food crisis , 3 April 2008
  3. Stratfor warns about the global food crisis , 18 April 2008
  4. What you probably do not know about China’s food crisis , 21 April 2008
  5. Higher food prices, riots, shortages – what is going on? , 29 April 2008
  6. A modest proposal for solving the global food crisis , 30 April 2008)
  7. Weekend reading about the Food Crisis , 17 May 2008
  8. Teach a man to fish, and you understand what we have done wrong in Haiti , 23 May 2008
  9. “Food scares are exaggerated, but good copy for the media” , 28 May 2008

For more information about these things, see the FM Reference Page about The Global Food Crisis.

One thought on “Recommendations for your weekend reading

  1. I also recommend the following article for those interested in Afghanistan: “The reconstitution of al-Qaeda: Losing Afghanistan and western Pakistan“, Ahmed Rashid, HIMAL South Asia, September 2008 — Opening:

    The blame is widespread, even as the results, thus far, are very clear.

    Seven years on, the US-led war on terrorism has left in its wake a far more unstable world than existed on that momentous day: 11 September 2001. Rather than diminishing, the threat from al-Qaeda and its affiliates has grown, engulfing new regions of Africa, Asia and Europe and creating fear among peoples and governments from Australia to Zanzibar.

    In the region that spawned al-Qaeda and which the US has promised to transform after 9/11, the crisis is even more dangerous. Afghanistan is once again staring down the abyss of state collapse, despite billions of dollars in aid, 45,000 Western troops, and the deaths of thousands of people. The Taliban have made a dramatic comeback, enlisting the help of al-Qaeda and Islamic extremists in Pakistan, and getting a boost from the explosion in heroin production that has helped fund their movement.

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