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Environmental News

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by tochatihu, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Environmental DNA (eDNA) is collected in many ways. One can sample soils, surface water, wood, leaves or flowers, or even just air.

    Use of animals as agents to accumulate eDNA for collection includes mosquitoes and leeches (both sample blood extensively) and now dung beetles:

    Scientists get dung beetles to collect DNA samples for biodiversity studies | Ars Technica

    There are so many wonderful dung beetle stories that I never seem to find the time to blather on about here. Assuming that pattern continues, search for yourself about Prof. Karen Chin's wood-eating dinosaurs as an early example.

    ==

    eDNA is do-able because bacteria were isolated* from Yellowstone hot springs that snip and stitch DNA at absurdly high temperatures. Temperatures at which DNA 'melts' and 'anneals'; those being somewhat misleading terms borrowed from metallurgy. I tells ya, these are amazing things. We do them disservice by narrowly calling what we do here tree hugging. I do them disservice by not being better at communicating their amazingness.

    isolated* from Yellowstone - Yeah there was a Nobel Prize for that.
     
    #2261 tochatihu, Mar 6, 2024
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2024
  2. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having a long moment:

    Producing more but understanding less: The risks of AI for scientific research | Ars Technica

    I would prefer not discussing AI as an efficient way to mislead people towards their 'political' predilections. It is in some ways an efficient tool for science. It also goes hilariously wrong, see link above.

    ==
    I and a small optimistic group of others confront a large problem. The largest things forests do (leaf fall and wood fall) have been studied in thousands of places but those studies have not been assembled. Previous efforts created 'non-public' databases that differ a lot amongst themselves. Briefly, we are in a muddle.

    We will use AI to assist by crawling internet to find studies that evade conventional searches. We know they exist and I published one myself :rolleyes:

    We will also use AI to assist in extracting source data because there is simply too much for a small group to do by eye and hand. And yet we need to supervise AI closely in this because AI is emphatically not same-goal oriented.

    These are small goals for AI, but we cannot succeed otherwise. AI unleashed presents absurd rat-dick pictures (see link above) and could poison applications of AI down where it helps.

    I have an interest in not 'unplugging' AI for having done wrong, and for the risk it can do much more wrong in future. I NEED this effing tool. Conflation of harms with benefits is simply how such things will go for a decade or more. I wish I could point to Wisdom in using AI for Science. Sorry. We and others in infantry shall fight our battles.
     
  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    I will probably wait until there have been at least three, successive, flights. The probability of success and resolutions of problems will make my time and travel practical.

    My next 'big view' is the next total eclipse.<GRINS>

    Bob Wilson
     
  4. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    2024 Apr 8 solar eclipse presents several calls to action.

    Moon is closer to Earth than 2017 Aug 21, so duration of totality will be longer and ground swath will be wider. Solar geomagnetic cycle is near peak, so corona should be friskier with loops and jets. Next total solar eclipse visible in US after will be in 2044, after earthly demise of some here. Hey, that's how it goes...

    ==

    Clouds ruin the view. Now one month before, modeled predictions of clear skies are unrevealing. If any can delay making travel plans until April 2 (ish) predictions, they will have better chance of getting under a desired sky hole.

    To all seekers, please post your adventures here.
     
  5. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    We are taking our C-Class motorhome to Fort Smith Arkansas visiting wife's parents. Center of the eclipse path is less than an hour to the east - so we'll be making a multipurpose trip down that way. Our daughter caught the last U.S. one coincidentally through her Nashville area -just a couple / few years ago. For us, it will be our first.
     
  6. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    With clear skies, I am sure you will enjoy it immensely. Sky cover predictions 2 days prior should be accurate, and may cause you to consider moving 'down' or 'up' the track.

    ==
    I have visited little state of Arkansas but Hot Springs was very nice.
     
  7. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    All things being equal;
    • Locations under a high pressure system, few clouds and dry.
    • South Texas in case Starship is still on the Brownsville pad.
    • Dashcam fitted to spotting scope and optical filters.
    Bob Wilson
     
  8. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    "Locations under a high pressure system" Will be known with high confidence on prog charts April 4 or 5. Ish.

    "South Texas in case Starship is still on the Brownsville pad." While hoping Starship will have already whoosed, that location is not near eclipse center line. Go ye elsewhere.

    "Dashcam fitted ..." I expect much better video to come elsewise. 2017 eclipse was but practice for this one. Do not underestimate nerds who will 'image' 2024 event.
     
  9. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    In many places financial values have been attached to CO2 not emitted, or trapped with long term stability. US and global markets exist for this. Recently in US WA state, value fell from 56 to 35 $/ton:

    KUOW - Washington holds first carbon auction of 2024, with program&#39;s future in doubt

    I have not time to assemble all global CO2 sequestration market valuations. If any other takes that up, expect receiving all my likes. Such a bonus.
     
  10. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    The most recent was August 21, 2017, a bit more than a couple years ago. I experienced it in Weiser ID, glorious under perfect skies.

    I also experienced the February 1979 total eclipse under 100% overcast skies. A much different experience.

    Unfortunately, barring schedule changes around other important activities, will miss next month's event.
     
  11. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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  12. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Northern spotted owls have been mentioned around here, and recently in Fred's Tesla factory problems in Germany. Over there I mentioned a competing, not native (in spotted owl range) barred owl that might need to be culled.

    Well this popped right back up.

    Feds propose killing thousands of owls to save Calif. spotted owl

    A plan to free up habitat for team spotted by hunting out team barred. Not surprisingly, this is controversial. Possibly leading to mis identification of owl target species by hunters.

    I have no idea who those hunters might be, but in that area, tree harvests were throttled back in favor of spotted owls, and one could imagine that unemployed loggers with shotguns might mis identify targets.

    So it's already a mess. But we might step back and consider what's up with Endangered Species Act (ESA) and whatnot.

    ==

    I shall first stake out a position related to the ESA. It seems to me to include a bit of well-intended misdirection

    (cue dramatic music)

    Spotted owls, or snail darters (a fish somewhere else) or some butterfly or some rare little flower or some anything else becomes listed as an endangered species. Quite honestly listed. But the important things underneath are habitats. Habitats suitable for the named species. With team spotted as example, these are PNW old-growth coniferous forests lacking seasonal drought. In olden times such forests were much more extensive. All this fuss is about what to do with the 15% (or similar) that has not yet been cut. Convert to 30 yr rotation Douglas Fir (or similar) for future harvest, or leave it as it is?

    Towards that decision, charismatic owls stand in for habitat preservation, which are related to water storage and flows, soil erosion control, sediment overload in rivers that mess up many other things, etc. It is difficult to convince Policy Legislators that those large-scale (vague?) things ought to inhibit further utilization of America's forest resources. So, defenders did what they could do. They found charisma and took it from there.

    ==
    Back to the matter at hand. Spotted and barred owls are not functionally different in any way I can detect. They nest in suitable trees and eat mice that eat a joyful amount of tree seeds (. One is local and the other came from eastern US forests. Neither is special (in providing another cure for cancer etc., what can I say?). They are similar owl species. Eastern barred owls may have been obliged to look west because eastern forests were even more whacked. But I digress.

    ==
    But now things have gotten really weird. ESA should have been habitat but RIZZ species focus was the only way to capture legislatures occupied by children. So now, we are talking about shooting at owls B so that owls A might do better.

    Were I to decide ... shoot at no owls. Anywhere ever.

    Readers may not up on the silence of owl flight feathers, or their really weird asymmetrical cranial sound focusing. No problem, live your lives. But do not ever send anyone into forests to shoot at owls, under misdirected ESA.

    ==The problem is that few forests remain. Not owls, in any way.
     
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  13. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Remnants denying global warming of about 0.2 oC/per decade can still be found with effort. If only that were happening, it would be great but it is not. Extremes including floods and droughts are also. Sea-level rise and forest burnings are also, along with other less-direct effects. Nothing like this has happened during the human-agriculture era. Sorry to say.

    Along with those, human population will increase by about 2 billions in coming few decades, concentrated in poor ares of S. America, Africa and India. One can anticipate difficulties for increased food, water and energy supplies there. One might imagine that more fossil burning is the only solution. Are you sure?

    The UN has promulgated Sustainable Development Goals. The UN is not free of corruption, but are you sure that they are dirtier than the fossil-fuel industry? The UN is also conspiratorially tagged with global domination, Bilderbergs, Illuminati, Bohemian Grove; how could I possibly make that list complete? While entertaining, it seems mostly to distract from global fossil burning and profits in this context.

    People each and every, readers here or not, are obliged to learn some things and come to their own conclusions about how Human Enterprise ought to move in coming decades. Oh bother. If that learning and deciding does not fit your life plans, divest your authority to others as you see fit. However you decide or divest, the Human Enterprise will be very different by 2050.

    Feeling that 50 years ago was pretty good? Reversion is not a plan. Things are changing.
     
  14. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    I woke up from a past technology nightmare, 0.5 inch magnetic tape:
    [​IMG]
    The hissing vacuum columns holding the tape slack so the capstan drive won't break the tape.

    Happily, time and technology has moved on:
    upload_2024-4-4_4-25-52.png

    Like technology, the anti-global warming luddites evolve and try different approaches to stop progress. Funnily enough, I heard yesterday on local FM radio our former Congressman Mo Brooks assert his river mud and rocks causing global sea level rise:
    upload_2024-4-4_4-35-30.png
    He wore a bullet proof vest under that jacket on January 6. He must have expected some shooting.

    So that brings me round to:
    upload_2024-4-4_5-0-14.png
    Funny coincidence triggered by my graphic thinking mind. Remember even paranoids have enemies.

    We can forget the bad parts of history and long for simpler times. But that is hindsight and lazy. We have to be aware of the current threats and respond with facts and data while drawing lessons learned from our personal histories.

    Bob Wilson
     
    #2274 bwilson4web, Apr 4, 2024
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2024
  15. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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  16. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Mo Brooks is still on that?

    Kingston has terabyte USB flash drives now, which astounds me.
     
  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    learn and decide, or do not. it is hopeless
     
  18. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Taiwan earthquake 7.2 or 7.4 depending on source. Of interest to me having spent short time in Hualien and Taroko Natl. Park.

    In news photos one can see what peak ground acceleration of 0.5 gravity. does to some buildings even in a country (er, island) where current construction is very sturdy.
     
  19. Merkey

    Merkey Active Member

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    Maybe this earthquake will scare China away from invading Taiwan.
     
  20. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Would need to look at TV to see if aid has been asked for or offered.

    • Taiwan is a bit of a tip but there it is. Strong earthquakes per decade and typhoons every year. It would be an expensive hobby. :eek: