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Earth Science

New Photos Show 'Devastating' Ice Loss On Everest 895

Simmeh writes "The BBC reports on new photos of the Himalayas taken from exactly the same position as ones from 1929 and compares the ice coverage. The Asia Society, which did the groundwork, are quoted as saying, 'If the present rate of melting continues, many of these glaciers will be severely diminished by the middle of this century.' I guess the previous claim wasn't too unrealistic."
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New Photos Show 'Devastating' Ice Loss On Everest

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  • I am not scared (Score:2, Insightful)

    by a_tharwat ( 1824580 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @01:50AM (#32947646)
    Conspiracy theories and scientific hypes aside, is man actually capable of changing the properties of something as huge as planet Earth? Or, in other words, can we stop this even if we want to? Earth will continue changing as it will continue rotating, and we might as well take our minds off what we cannot change and work a little bit more on what we can, i.e. the misery of mankind.
  • Re:I am not scared (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @01:56AM (#32947660)

    Let me ask something slightly different. Is bacteria actually capable of changing the properties of something as huge as man? Oh wait, thats very different, my bad!

  • by drmerope ( 771119 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @01:59AM (#32947668)

    So we have a few photographs and the conclusion that the ice loss is devastating--despite no investigation as to whether the photographs were taken during the same day of the year nor as to what the internal variability is. But still, the editors immediately jump to the ice loss is devastating and that the mid-century prediction of the AR4 is right after all.

    Nonsense, the glaciers are monitored very closely and the loss-rates are calculated to be very slow. The AR4 prediction was, of course, the center of a big scandal because it was basically a fabrication, whereas the actual science is deep and gives several hundred years.

  • Re:I am not scared (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Improv ( 2467 ) <> on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:02AM (#32947682) Homepage Journal

    Not scared? Maybe you should be.

    According to our models, yes we are so capable. Don't just use your intuitions - "common sense" is often wrong. There are people who study these things - go to your local university and ask professors with knowledge in the relevant fields.

    If we damage the environment, we *are* causing misery of mankind.

  • The first in mid-winter? The second high-summer? We don't know. And that is exactly the problem. Every time some alarmist 'scientist' comes with this kind of 'evidence' they leave something out. We just cannot trust these guys anymore...

  • Re:I am not scared (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PinkyGigglebrain ( 730753 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:12AM (#32947732)
    When it comes to size you have to stop thinking about the Earth, 12,752km diameter, and think about the atmosphere, 90% within 50km of surface.

    Could humans make an impact, yes. The CO2 increase since the start of the industrial revolution shows that.

    Is that the main cause of climate change? That is what the real arguments are about.

    If Humans are to blame is it too late to do anything? Don't know, don't care. Its been done.

    Humanity will need to adapt to climate change or it'll die out, just like everything else on the planet.
  • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:14AM (#32947748)
    why is it when I point to localised evidence of cooling as proof AGW is bullshit, AGW supporters give me a line about global temps being the only valid data. but when there's some local event like ice melting on a mountain, it's considered rockhard evidence by AGW supporters?!

    i'll tell you why. it's because most of popular climate change "science" isn't worth the paper it's printed on, and it's agenda is run by hypocrites.

  • Re:I am not scared (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:16AM (#32947764)

    is man actually capable of changing the properties of something as huge as planet Earth?

    Or, in other words, can we stop this even if we want to?

    These two questions are not equivalent. Can nearly 6.9 Billion humans change the planet? Of course. Can the behavior of all these humans be coordinated and changed in order to create a specific desired outcome? Not all of them, no. Maybe you can get your desired results anyway, but it depends on how many people you need working for it, and how few people would be needed to sabatoge that effort.

    If you ever get 6.9 Billion people to agree on anything you'll have solved much tougher problems than mere warming.

  • Re:I am not scared (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:17AM (#32947770)
    I am not a believer in man made global warming, we are in a warming cycle that follows a trend that is documented over millions of years.

    This global over-politicization of the issue(i.e. Carbon credit, etc.) is just plain bullshit.

    However, the current trend just might cause a Lot of misery to mankind. Ocean levels fluctuate wildly and a few extra feet would submerge a few island nations and displace millions of people.

    So I applaud the effort of scientists to combat the problem and come up with a solution to the warming trend be it man made or not.

    My fear is that nothing they come up with works as ultimately you cannot fight the Sun and Earth's natural cycles and all the blame will be set upon carbon.

  • Re:I am not scared (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:26AM (#32947804) Homepage Journal

    From the article it sounds as if the issue in questions is water supply and how changing the normal rate of glacial melt could change how people live. If THAT is the issue then it may suck, change usually does, but people need to just deal with it. We can't coddle societies that don't want to put in place infrastructure they need for security and stability.

    The US is bad enough about it's own infrastructure, due largely to our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents not paying their fair share and we'll soon be in trouble if we don't cough up the money to repair and upgrade it. There is no reason others shouldn't have to do the same. Or don't and be at the mercy of whatever happens.

  • Re:I am not scared (Score:2, Insightful)

    by feepness ( 543479 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:31AM (#32947828) Homepage

    Not scared? Maybe you should be.

    And here I thought the right was the "Party of Fear"!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:32AM (#32947832)

    Another key difference is that Holocaust denialists are just as nutty, but they're pretty much harmless, and it's only other nutcases pulling their strings.

    You can't be serious about this can you? Holocaust deniers are usually linked to extremist groups of varying stripes.

    The people pulling the denialists' strings are trying to stop serious action on an issue that is somewhere between "serious" and "catastrophic", and through inaction they are making the latter much more likely than otherwise.

    Stop serious action? The only serious actions I know of in regard to global warming are those that will a) make some people some serious money, and b) cause some serious changes in our lifesyles for the worse, i.e. lots of us have to live like peasants while a privileged few of us get rich because of the laws and regulations that make the rest of us live like peasants.

    Compared to that I'll take the serious or catastrophic consequences of global warming, should they come to pass, thank you very much. At least those will be equal opportunity changes since Mother Nature and the Universe don't discriminate when it comes time to bring the pain to those unworthy to survive.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:34AM (#32947836)

    Hello! I'm the drunk AC.

    My initial response was based on a reflexive reaction to the word "denialist". Like most people, whenever I see the word I think of "Holocaust denialism" and the lunatic fringe that attempt to deny the horrible crime that happened to the Jewish people during WWII. I'm saddened and disappointed whenever supporters of the environment attempt to use the word to attack reasonable people that question whether, or to what degree, man effects the environment and the climate in general.

    Not truly, simply annoyed. And drunk. ;D

  • by bug1 ( 96678 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:36AM (#32947844)

    Furthermore just as with most other Warmist alarm-filled propaganda, they give no hard data

    As opposed to the climate change deniers who release 900 page reports reviewed by the elite of the world scientific community with only 1 or 2 mistakes in them ?

    Hmm, actually, no. Its the "Warmists" who are releasing the hard data, its the deniers who are a lunatic propaganda followers with a "Flat earth society" culture.

    Get a grip

  • by Capsaicin ( 412918 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:43AM (#32947876)

    "Denialists"? Are you talking about people that deny the Holocaust happened or objective, independent people that question whether man is to blame for "global warming"?

    Denalism is by no means limited to Holocaust denial. Along with AIDS denialism, flat-earthism, tobacco denialism and AGW denialism, holocaust denial is merely a species of denialism. For it to be classified as denialism (as opposed to scepticism, for instance), it must involve the outright refusal to accept an empirically verifiable reality, as we can witness with both Holocaust or AGW denial.

    Denialism also refers to a set of rhetorical strategies used to create the impression of uncertainty where none exists. Unsurprisingly perhaps, these bear a strong resemblance across the various species of denialism.

  • by Vintermann ( 400722 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:46AM (#32947888) Homepage

    why is it when I point to localised evidence of cooling as proof AGW is bullshit, AGW supporters give me a line about global temps being the only valid data.

    What? No, not at all. If you show me a glacier has gained as much mass since 1921 as this one has lost, I'm paying attention, I promise. If it's just local variation, there should be plenty of them.

    (Oh, don't try to pull the classic denialist trick of going for area instead of volume.)

  • by kurokame ( 1764228 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:48AM (#32947900)

    Since it's inevitable that this will devolve into a bunch of AGW/anti-AGW trolling, let's get our facts straight.

    No one with any knowledge about the subject is disputing that climates change. The disputed points are that human-produced carbon dioxide is or is not a significant factor, that Al Gore does or does not have any clue what he's blabbing about, and that the green movement does or does not constitute anything more than lies and snake oil.

    Anthropogenic or not, climate change is a serious issue which affects the future of our species. The people who support (or object to) AGW by chanting an entrenched position over and over, and the people selling us snake oil as a "fix" are NOT helping. In fact, they're probably selling the future of humanity off in order to make a quick buck off of people who get their science from Twitter and Fox News.

    Slinging around words like "denialist" doesn't help a damn thing either. Have we forgotten Godwin's Law so quickly?

    With that said, the "before and after" photo trick is extremely passe. It is good for gulling the public, but little more since you only have two data points and are doing absolutely nothing to control for any of numerous confounding factors. It doesn't tell you crap about local conditions (pollution? construction? traffic? did someone just set off dynamite as an anti-avalanche measure?). It doesn't tell you about shorter-term cycles of climate variation (what's normal? was it unusually heavy in the "before" photo? was there more or less pollution historically? what about solar cycles?). It doesn't tell you about the cause of the climate trend if any exists, and it absolutely does not tell you a single bloody thing about the global situation.

    Nor is this "incontrovertible" proof all that clear. The saturation in the 1921 photo is such that it is very hard to compare the two photos directly; you would need to analyze each in detail including examining the depth in a given area, the seasonal and longer-term variations, the characteristics of the camera and film used in either photo...the list goes on. The "experts say" line is a bullshit maneuver pulled by journalists in order to make their craptastic statements of absolute truth seem like they have some authority behind them - in reality, it usually means that the journalist is aware that they don't have the means to back up what they're claiming. Three huzzahs for the terrible state of science journalism, eh? FUD and misinformation and more FUD is all you can expect.

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @02:50AM (#32947910)

    why is it when I point to localised evidence of cooling as proof AGW is bullshit, AGW supporters give me a line about global temps being the only valid data. but when there's some local event like ice melting on a mountain, it's considered rockhard evidence by AGW supporters?!

    Because you are trying to use anecdote in place of data. These people place anecdotes in the context of data.

    i'll tell you why. it's because most of popular climate change "science" isn't worth the paper it's printed on, and it's agenda is run by hypocrites.

    No. It's because you suffer from cognitive dissonance, and any evidence that clashes with your current world view merely reinforces it. In other words, you are walking case example of neuroscience at work [].

  • by thestuckmud ( 955767 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:01AM (#32947958)

    We have a lot more than a few photographs supporting this. The worldwide retreat of glaciers [] is well established and is know to acutely affect the Himalayas, potentially threatening water supplies for millions of people.

    Also, can you provide some sort of reference for your claim that the photos were taken in different seasons? I find this unlikely, since the regularity of the Monsoon storms and lengthy acclimatization process tend to force Everest climbers to focus their efforts during the same season each year. There are exceptions, but it is unlikely that Breashears would have intentionally chosen to retrace the old expeditions steps for documentary purposes off season.

    Finally, why focus on the erroneous report, when the correct prediction suggests dire consequences for millions of people who rely on the rivers fed by those glaciers. "Several hundred years" might seem like a long time, but it is a geological blink of an eye. We should be very concerned.

  • by Capsaicin ( 412918 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:14AM (#32948018)

    I've always thought it was more hubris. It takes quite a bit of arrogance to believe that humanity can change the Earth's climate that much, that fast.

    So your line of thinking is: Because it is arrogant to believe humanity can affect the Earth's climate, the climate data, statistics or the statistical models incorporating the data must be wrong. Have I got you right?

    Cool, science just got so much easier, no more nasty maths to deal with for a start. You don't even need to consider the actual volume of the troposphere, the concentration of various gases it contains, their change over time, the volume of CO2 release by fossil fuel use or any of that crazy empirical evidence stuff. We can just run science on a sense of moral outrage and gut feeling. Yeah!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:23AM (#32948044)

    So in a 3000 page report, you can point to one minor error, in the section for policymakers (not scientists), which was dealt with correctly in the section for scientists, which was picked up by an author of that section... to abandon over 100 years of climate change science?

    Your posts aren't getting modded down because of moderator abuse. They're getting modded down because you're a gullible moron.

    But as you can see from this thread, the denialist moderators are out in force tonight.

  • by Eunuchswear ( 210685 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:27AM (#32948060) Journal

    Grants that in NO WAY influence the conclusions of such research?

    Please explain the mechanism. How could a research grant affect the outcome of the research? Do you have any concrete examples.

    Or are you merely trying to smear the honesty of all reseach scientists for narrow, short-sighted political reasons?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:34AM (#32948090)

    Glaciers are not snowfields, they show almost no seasonal change

  • by hsthompson69 ( 1674722 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:48AM (#32948130)

    Gotta love the cherry picking here. Take two arbitrary end points, get a downward slope, and then simplistically extend that slope forever. Never mind that another two end points would provide an upwards slope and reverse the prediction. Never mind that the system behaves in a demonstrably non-linear manner.

    This is like saying the temperature from July to December decreased 20 degrees, and if that rate continued, we'll be at -200C in another ten years. I call BS on the church of global warming.

  • by abigsmurf ( 919188 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @03:53AM (#32948146)
    I could've taken a picture of the weather in the UK late last year when we had an incredibly large amount of snow that stayed around for weeks (unusual in the UK where snow usually becomes muddy slush within a day).

    Would that be incontrovertible proof the UK is getting colder? Of course not.

    Junk science is unacceptable, no matter which side of the fence you sit. Is it any wonder scepticism is on the rise when scientists point to stuff like this as cast iron proof?
  • Hubris? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by N0Man74 ( 1620447 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:15AM (#32948216)

    I really don't know the answer to how much of climate change is man-made. I tend to think that it's possible we have had some impact, but I can't say to what degree. However, I do have a few thoughts on the matter:

    Even if our impact on climate is minimal to none, we certainly do have impact on our habitats and environments. Even if we aren't creating a greenhouse effect, I think it's a very good idea to pursue renewable resources and cleaner living so that we can prevent discomfort, health problems, and harming ecosystems (that again might have long term and indirect impacts on us all). I may doubt that a household can shit enough on their lawn in order to make it uninhabitable, but I think they can make it unpleasant and unhealthy.

    You say that it is hubris to suggest we could have an impact on the environment. I say it is hubris to think that we are so smart that we won't screw things up by accident. Not only that, it's in contradiction to history. By accident (or unintentional side-effects), we have created acid rain, we have brought many species to the verge of extinction (without even including those that may be victims of climate change), we have caused diseases and birth defects, we have ruined ecosystems, and we have many small areas uninhabitable. You question whether all the industry and waste of the world in modern times combined could have a negative impact on our environment by accident, when single industrial facilities in one city have been proven to be able to greatly harm local environments by accident.

    There may be a question of whether we are doing it, but I honestly do not think there is any question of whether we could. I guarantee we could (if we tried), and it's in the realm of possibility that we might without even trying.

    Man has split the atom, left our planet and returned, and mapped code of life. We have imagined strange and amazing things, and then have proven them to exist millions of light years away. We are currently researching ways to not only build artificial intelligence, but even recreating the spark of life itself, and the most incredible thing is that we've gotten to the point that those possibilities don't even seem absurd anymore! Man has done great and terrible things. We will very likely continue to do so.

    I don't think you give man enough credit in what we accomplish, or how badly we can botch things.

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:17AM (#32948224)

    The plural of anecdote is not data. Furthermore, you want to be careful playing that game - because otherwise, we just had proof that global warming is real.

    The sun is known to be a driver. About 25% or so of what's known as the overall temperature forcing. It's in the IPCC report, if you want to read more about it. CO2 is a driver and water vapor is not because water vapor follows the temperature, not the other way around. In other words, as temperatures go up, water vapor concentration rises. As temperatures go down, water vapor condenses into rain. CO2, on the other hand, only forces temperatures up, temperatures don't influence CO2 concentrations (neglecting for a second second and third-order effects like plant growth). That's why CO2 concentrations are important in modeling long-term temperature fluctuations, and water vapor is not.

    Anything else I can explain to you that has been known for about 100 years or so? The fact that you don't know these points, yet participate in these discussions, indicates that you are aware of them, but choose to ignore them.

  • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:18AM (#32948232) Journal
    Take a respected science publication. Take "Nature" if you wish. From 2008. Count how many of the reputable, scientific publications there have been contradicted since then. 3000 pages of science without mistakes, without errors are not 3000 pages of up-to-date science. Having just two mistakes in the report is actually incredible. I am sure we will find more, this is an ongoing work. Misquotes, honest but dumb errors, happen to very good scientists. Being a top scientist doesn't mean you don't make mistake, but that you correct them when they are pointed out, even if it means questioning your basic premises.

    Does the errors about glaciers ice loss question the existence of climate change ? No. Was this ever considered ? Hell yes. Actually, when one reads the actual IPCC report, you would see that it is far from alarming. I used to be a "soft denier" when I discovered that much of my claims were already there. The rise is small and slow, the link to human activity is credible but a lot of uncertainty factors are underlined, the rise being a long term natural cycle is not ruled out, etc...

    The warming is not an invention. First measures apparently were a bit too high and over-estimated the rise. They have been corrected since and a rise is still present. I pity climatologists. They are trying to do good science in a very heavy political context. That must be very hard.
  • by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:18AM (#32948234)

    "It takes quite a bit of arrogance to believe that humanity can change the Earth's climate that much, that fast."

    Earth's surface: 510,072,000 Km^2
    Earth's population: 6,856,832,000

    Mean earth surface per inhabitant: 0,074 Km^2/habitant, or, to give it in "real international standards units", about 13,7 football fields.

    Do you really think it takes too much arrogance to imagine that a single man can alter 13,7 football fields within his lifetime through farming, mining, driving, building, etc.?

  • by Stephan Schulz ( 948 ) <> on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:27AM (#32948262) Homepage

    At least those will be equal opportunity changes since Mother Nature and the Universe don't discriminate when it comes time to bring the pain to those unworthy to survive.

    You mean the poor farmer in Bangladesh will experience the same hardship from sea level rise than a Miami millionaire? One loses his livelihood and the other has to move his yacht pier up 3 feet - yes, that seems about the same.

    More generally, rich people are generally much better isolated from any environmental changes, and also in a much better position to exploit them. Assume the Dutch have to rebuild their dikes - do you really think that most of the money spent will go to the guy who drives the backhoe?

  • by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:35AM (#32948298) Homepage

    since you, the warmist, just mistook the deniers for the warmists...


    "That report" had a handful of factual errors in the WG2 section, dealing with the likely consequences of climate change, but no mistakes at all have been identified in the crucial WG1 section, where the veracity of anthropogenic global warming is firmly established. This despite it being one of the most closely-examined scientific reports of our time.

    You are treating end results as fact without letting other scientists check your work.

    Much of the WG1 data is in fact publicly available. I don't see any systematic analysis papers by reputable scientists challenging WG1's conclusions, only bloggers with an agenda presenting cherry-picked numbers and anecdotes as if they were somehow expecting to be taken seriously. Strangely enough, the thousands of climatologists who have systematically analysed climate data from a variety of unrelated sources and published their findings in peer-reviewed journals almost universally agree with WG1's conclusions. So on which side of the debate is the science fail, exactly?

    Not sure why I'm bothering to respond, since your flamebait was modded as such early on this time. You did better when your rants were subjective opinions; it's not working out for you so well since you tried challenging the scientific conclusions of the nearly all the relevant experts on the planet.

  • by dbcad7 ( 771464 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:40AM (#32948308)
    I don't think we they talking about yearly snowpack that has melted.. but really thick Ice that is gone or going.. glaciers are not just a bunch of snow.. Now whether or not mankind has caused it, doesn't matter.. What matters is how you plan for the future for people who benefit from the ice, and what will they do if it is no longer there, or diminished.. Water is a staple of life,, surely your not that young, or focused on your own backyard to ignore the famines in history caused by a lack of water.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @04:54AM (#32948384)

    Oh yes, because those so called answers are the final words. Mmhmm, just call something a fact and you can shut down an argument.

    In the real world:

    1. It's true that the lag is there (and by the way, some data sets show 800 years of lag). And yes, it is true that there is SOME form of foward correlation (same dataset shows this). However, it would be an INCREDIBLE jump to go from this "tight" correlation, with it's latency and claim that this is CO2 causing the temperature to rise. This is what Al Gore et al did and they have been called out. Thus, this point STANDS.

    2. Still missing the point:

    "It is however, not considered a climate "forcing," because the amount of H2O in the air basically varies as a function of temperature"

    And the same thing with CO2 (see above). Wow, isn't that nice? The AGW crowd can't even remain consistent. So please do tell, what is temperature a function of? God forbid the sun right, that doesn't exist. Modern flat earthers.

    3. Data shows MWP was indeed global:

    This is what the AGW crowd denies -- global warming ... in the 1200s. Quite hilarious.

    4. "Warming on another planet would be an interesting coincidence, but it would not necessarily be driven by the same causes.

    The only relevant factor the earth and Mars share is the sun, so if the warming were real and related, that would be the logical place to look. As it happens, the sun is being watched and measured carefully back here on earth, and it is not the primary cause of current climate change."

    BZZZZZZZT, sorry that doesn't cut it. Coincidence? REALLY? With a failed biosphere such as mars? The sun is practically the only forcing element since martian volcanic activity is practically non-existent.

    So, now that your little AGW-site has been thoroughly debunked, will you change your mind or will you stick to your guns and lurk the Realclimate website?

    I think we both know what you will do.

    P.S. IAAP.

  • by Capsaicin ( 412918 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @05:02AM (#32948426)

    My initial response was based on a reflexive reaction to the word "denialist". Like most people, whenever I see the word I think of "Holocaust denialism"

    Really? Most people? I think of climate denialists and evolution denialists. They are just so much more prevalent than holocaust deniers or AIDS denialists etc. these days.

    I'm saddened and disappointed whenever supporters of the environment attempt to use the word to attack reasonable people that question whether, or to what degree, man effects the environment and the climate in general.

    I agree completely and I would add the corollary that unreasonable people who, despite all the evidence to the contrary, deny that humans affect the environment and the climate in general are the only ones who are properly called 'climate denialists.'

  • by LKM ( 227954 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @05:13AM (#32948478) Homepage

    You are missing the point. This is not about saving the planet, it's about saving our own asses. Yes, the planet will continue rotating, and will still be here long after we're all dead. But, uh, we won't be here unless we make sure that the planet continues to be able to sustain human life.

    The idea that we can't change our planet is defeatist bullshit. In the 80s, people thought that overpopulation would cause major world wars within a decade, that we would have revolutions in Europe, and that billions of people would die. It didn't happen. Why? Because of science. We managed to improve resource usage so much that we were able to sustain ever growing populations (and now we're seeing that at some point, human population stop growing naturally in developed nations without being constrained by a lack of resources, so there's a good chance that we might eventually reach a balance that doesn't involve billions of people dying due to a lack of resources).

    Humanity is capable of doing awesome, great things, and there is no reason to believe that we can't solve this problem, if we accept that it is a problem and start actually taking it seriously before it is truly too late.

  • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @05:16AM (#32948494)
    You've actually understated the (correct) case you are making. The Earth itself is currently habitable by us because bacteria terraformed the Earth - not purposefully, but because their metabolic processes in the early Earth produced oxygen. There is a great deal of knowledge now accumulated about the processes involved. Jay Gould commented once in an article that, in terms of biomass and the effects on the planet, it is still the Age of Bacteria.

    Of course, since the crazies posting here think the Earth was sneezed out by the Argleblaster six thousand years ago, there is no arguing with them.

    It seems to me that the more scientists learn about the Earth and our place in the Universe, the more the religious fundamentalists disbelieve them. Galileo is bloody lucky he didn't live in Alabama in the 21st century.

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @05:16AM (#32948498)

    We saw exactly the same thing happen with nuclear back in the 80's and in hindsight nuclear may have been the right choice all along

    80's nuclear was so crappy even Margret Thatcher dropped it so hindsight doesn't help. 2010 nuclear has more prospects but still needs a lot of work.

  • Re:I am not scared (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LKM ( 227954 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @05:17AM (#32948506) Homepage

    The results of global warming won't be just a bit of lacking water, and a bit of infrastructure won't fix it; instead, we will lose a lot of fertile soil within a short amount of time. As a result, almost every required resource will be available in lower quantities. This might very likely cause a widespread destabilisation of political structures, and probably a few decades of global war, until human population goes down to a level that is sustainable again.

    Some people seem to think that global warming will mean that they will be able to go bathing in the lake in summer, so yay, more bathing! No. This is not going to be the same world, except a little bit warmer.

  • by Ardeaem ( 625311 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @05:30AM (#32948576)

    Do you really think it takes too much arrogance to imagine that the variations in radiation from a superheated ball of gas at 5505C (9941F) might, just possibly, have some bearing on the situation ?

    Oh, so that's what the climate scientists have been missing all this time! They forgot about the sun! Silly them! When is your schedule free, so we can give you your Nobel Prize?

  • by bazorg ( 911295 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @05:50AM (#32948642) Homepage

    [...]No one with any knowledge about the subject is disputing that climates change. The disputed points are that human-produced carbon dioxide is or is not a significant factor[...]

    At the risk of writing the asshat post of the month here, I'd say that these news about the Everest are very significant for the politics of this climate change matter: if the governments of that region (representing more than 2 000 000 000 people) assume that it is the human factor that is causing the climate change that is depleting their drinking water resources, their position at the negotiating table with the other governments is likely to change.

    As an exercise of rhetoric, it is all very fine and dandy that the developing countries say that their present day pollution should not count towards negotiated limits in the way that England didn't have such limits during the XIX century... but now if the damage is visible in the medium turn and directly in the territories and population of India and China, then let's see if they will take the driver's seat in negotiations and mitigating the effects of their pollution.

  • Re:News Flash! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by danerthomas ( 1633403 ) <> on Monday July 19, 2010 @05:52AM (#32948650)
    When you live in an area such as Stockholm where you see direct evidence of the most recent ice age and post-glacial rebound it makes you wonder just how much of this warming trend is anthropogenic. What percentage of the information here [] must we ignore in order to make our current interglacial period all our fault? How conceited do we have to be in order to come to the conclusion that we can: A) Determine the optimal level of glaciation and, B) Determine the means by which to stabilize the climate of the earth so as to maintain this level? Don't get me wrong, I commute by bike as often as possible, didn't have more than 2 kids, drive a car that gets over 30 mpg (and drive it less than 6000 miles a year), recycle as much as possible, purchase locally grown and ecologically produced food and in general, try to tread lightly. I think I do all of these things for the right reasons, but I'm not under the illusion that my doing so is going to prevent global warming or "save the earth".
  • Re:I am not scared (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @05:55AM (#32948658) Homepage Journal

    is man actually capable of changing the properties of something as huge as planet Earth?

    man? no.

    But men - yes. Your intuition fails at the huge dimensions involved here, because it evolved to deal with the small immediate surroundings of you and your tribe on the plains of africa.

    We are talking about 7 billion people, eating, shitting in the woods, making fire to cook their food, and - increasingly many of them - driving cars, flying planes, burning fuel to generate electricity and so on. Wolfram Alpha computes we use 86 million barrels of oil every day [].

    Unless you can create a picture in your mind of 86 million barrels a day, every day, build that up to a year, and then to a decade or five, I strongly suggest you stop relying on intuition and common sense and start relying on science and data.

  • by marcello_dl ( 667940 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:05AM (#32948684) Homepage Journal

    But, two photos is evidence for variation, only, not warming or cooling. Those are trends and need way more data. Yes I know there is LOTS more data. But the problem with global warming is twofold.
    First, there are vested interests both in denial and in assertion of global warming. This is not science, this is a war of interests.
    Second: CO2 can be absorbed easily and is not toxic. What about persistent, toxic, mass produced, untaxed and uncapped pollutants? While our generation looks at 1C difference in south patagonia since the 1866, next ones will increasingly have trouble eating fish, breathing, reproducing.

  • by daveime ( 1253762 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:05AM (#32948690)

    All by itself: do *you* really think too arrogant that a human can significative alter his 13,7 football fields share within his lifespan?

    No, I don't think it's unrealistic. What IS unrealistic to to blame ONLY man to the exclusion of all other contributing factors, which is what the A in AGW and all the real debate is about.

    Have we affected the planet ? Yes, for sure.

    Have we affected it MORE than other "naturally occurring" phenomena ? Show me !

    Will reducing man's contribution in a real way (not Carbon Credits, or other bullshit), have a significant slowing affect considering the input of the above mentioned phenomena ? Again, show me !

    This blinkered "it's all mans' fault" is nonsense. It's partly mans' fault at best.

  • Re:News Flash! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:20AM (#32948724)

    About 10k years ago, there was glacier over a mile thick right where I am sitting.

    Must have been all those SUV driving woolly mammoth bastards!

    I don't know about you, but I'd prefer to see us avoid another ice age if possible. I don't much relish the thought of having to leave everything behind to flee a mile think sheet of ice. Some twit telling me its a 'natural cycle' isn't going to make that any easier. ;)

  • Re:Hubris? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:20AM (#32948726) Homepage Journal

    The whole "is global warming caused by man?" debate is a bit of a red herring IMHO.

    Even if we didn't do it, it's happening. Even if it isn't happening, pollution and landfill are still major problems we have to solve. Oil is still going to run out.

    This is a huge opportunity. People developing green forms of power generation, better recycling methods and more efficient devices stand to make a fortune selling them to the rest of the world. It also saves us money on petrol and waste disposal services (i.e. local taxes).

  • by Delgul ( 515042 ) <gerard@on[ ]espa ... l ['lin' in gap]> on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:23AM (#32948734) Homepage

    Well... If it melts at an alarming rate, should they not have had MORE water to drive those powerplants with? This proves nothing! If it proves anything at all, it is that there is less melting going on...

  • by Burnhard ( 1031106 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:29AM (#32948756)
    The stupidity of your position is that you yourself have not studied the data in any detail. All you need to know is that the rate of change has not accelerated and all the evidence shows this is a long-term process that has been going on for centuries. That is, as the Environment Ministry in India has said, "none of our glaciers under monitoring are recording abnormal retreat". Nobody is arguing that some of them aren't retreating (some of them are also growing), but as usual for you alarmists any change that contradicts your hypothesis is "weather", whereas any that supports it is "climate".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:51AM (#32948826)

    I believe in one thing:

    We need a way to keep our economy going AND reduce to the point of elimination our reliance on fossil fuels.
    As to those pictures.

    I can show you a picture of my backyard in January and contrast it with a picture of my backyard in July. And whoa! All the snow is GONE!

    What DATES were these picture taken on? And where those years particularly cold or warm?
    Month of the year. Just a trick employed by some to exaggerate the melting of glaciers.

    And I'm not denying that global warming is taking place. But I am saying that whenever some one asks about inconsistencies in research or other causes which would result in similar data - they are automatically labeled "Deniers".

    There was a time in the past when those mountains had no snow on them. There was a time in the past when there was more snow on those mountains than any man has ever seen. In the future there will be a time when there will be no snow on them. There will also be a time when they will be covered in snow and ice.

    The earth does not need us to heat up or cool down. It does it by itself - and we can't stop it. Although perhaps we are hastening it.

    I hope we will be around for the next time an ice age happens and those mountains are covered in ice. But if we're not - then those mountains won't care.

  • by OeLeWaPpErKe ( 412765 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @06:51AM (#32948832) Homepage

    Okay let's see you "go first". Become an early adopter of the post-AGW lifestyle.

    First thing : dump your computer, your car, your tv, your telephone. There's just no way that we can have personal computers, cars, or even normal phones (pray you get to keep your cell phone, and forget about smartphones) using only renewable resources. Not going to happen.

    Oh and obviously the human population will have to be decimated, even if you do actually give those things up. Forget about birth control, which only has effect after 60 years or-so, assuming you can enforce it globally (assuming, to be blunt, that every nation on earth is prepared to kill "unapproved" babies), which is "too late". So who do we kill ?

    Mind you, we'll need to lose somewhere between 60% and 90% of all humans alive. Who do we start with ? To keep in the theme of this thread, perhaps the Jews ? Of course atheists, christians, muslims, hindus and buddhists, even slashdotters won't be far behind. This 60% merely makes "living renewably" an attainable goal, btw, it does not, at all, guarantee we actually do accomplish it.

    There are 2 things we can do :
    1) attempt to stop climate change
    2) ignore it, adapt to changing circumstances, and grow

    EVERY species that has chosen option 1, and every human civilization that has done so (according to Jared Diamond) is ...


    (and one can easily name dozens of species and civilizations that have attempted to preserve their environment ... all extinct)

    It does not work.

    Of course, when there is a climate conference, there is a solar eclipse generated by the amount of private planes converging. So we all know what the politicians and scientists (everyone who goes to such conferences) want ...

    Of course, we "have science" so we can do anything, right ? (of course, half of those extinct civilizations did have science too, most had quite extensive agricultural and climatic knowledge. It didn't save them. Why would it save us ?)

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:11AM (#32948886) Journal

    Please can we take the belief terminology and appeals to authority out of the debate? If you believe in global warming, then you are an idiot. If you believe in anything because the majority of scientists do, then you are an idiot.

    There is a large body of (reviewable) evidence in support of various hypotheses under the global warming umbrella, and a lot of ad hominem attacks against it. That means that it's sensible to accept these hypotheses as provisionally valid and, until any contradictory evidence is presented, a reasonable base for policy decisions. It doesn't mean that you have to believe in any given hypothesis. If you're emotionally invested in a hypothesis, you aren't doing science, you're doing religion.

  • by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:21AM (#32948926)

    You remind me about the story on slashdot a little while ago []

    Clearly no amount of information will ever convince those who look at climate change as an "Us against Them" subject (it's all tribalism for them, logic has no bearing) instead of approaching it as a social/economic risk-cost analysis.

  • by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:24AM (#32948946) Homepage Journal

    Most climate scientists agree that without the sun, the earth would be much colder.

    It's arrogant of you to think that people in the know don't take the obvious into consideration. So yes, you're arrogant, and you're an idiot as well. How about trying to gain some knowledge about a subject before dismissing a theory out of hand.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:42AM (#32949026)


    Do you remember the Slashdot discussion two weeks ago, about how Monsanto scientists were, like, totally faking research results in the hope of convincing everyone that GM food is safe?*

    Or perhaps you remember the Slashdot discussion last week, about how Pepsico scientists were going to start blogging on And of course they were certain to spend all their time making out that "science proves junk food is good".*

    The source of research funding in each case is a corporation, and not a very popular one. Please can you explain how the funding of, say, the Climate Research Unit certainly does not affect the research outcomes under any circumstances, but the funding of a Monsanto or Pepsi scientist definitely does affect the research?

    * I'm not exagerrating, this is basically what the article summaries said. Extreme editorial bias. Fact is, this is just politics. We only trust the scientists who say the things we like. Never mind about "evidence" and "facts", the thing that distinguishes good science from bad science is truthiness.

  • Re:Hubris? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khakipuce ( 625944 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:48AM (#32949064) Homepage Journal

    It's not hubris, it is our second-law-of-thermodynamics destiny. It is why we exist.

    The sun is busy doing it's thing, chucking heat out all over the universe, except for this one little annoying planet that is covered in plants and trees. The damn things keep capturing the carbon and eventually store it as fossil fuels, all that energy locked up and unable to escape.

    The gods of thermodyanics want an earlier return on their investment, so we evolve to burn the fuel, chop down the trees and generally put back as entropy what was rightly universal entropy before those pesky trees got in the way.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @07:56AM (#32949118)

    oh stop interrupting a perfectly good emotional argument with your focus on "logic" and "data". Actual analysis seems hard so we won't even try to understand it. Therefore it means nothing. I own a copy of Photoshop (well a pirated copy anyway), therefore the all chemists and physicists are making it all up, just as I would if I were in their place! Don't you know that perception is reality and we only need to look as far as next quarter's balance sheet? (or election, as the case may be)

    If science is hard it must be wrong! Because I like easy and familiar, and I like being right!

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:03AM (#32949162) Homepage

    Carbon credits are the best scam ever devised... I'm just pissed that I did not think of that scam first.

  • Re:I am not scared (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:08AM (#32949196) Homepage

    The peel sounds way too thick to me, 7 / 12752 gives 0.05% (five hundredths of one percent). More like the layer of wax they put on it the apple to make it shiny.

    The SciFi image of an atmosphere extending into space is very, very wrong, but I bet it's what most people think of when they deny that man can change things..

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:17AM (#32949276) Journal

    Okay let's see you "go first". Become an early adopter of the post-AGW lifestyle.

    First thing : dump your computer, your car, your tv, your telephone.

    These are some pretty big straw men "OeLeWaPpErKe".

    Your scare tactics aren't going to make scientists out of AGW deniers. Nor is the decision of a single person going to make much difference fighting climate change. But there are systemic changes that could be made right now without displacing millions or causing you to give up your iPhone.

    And maybe you don't realize how easy it is for those of us that live in big cities to give up our cars or at least to think about what it would take for us to spend fewer of our waking hours behind the wheel. Nor do you appear to understand how much of a benefit it would be for you to give up your TV. It might keep you off of Fox News long enough for you to be deprogrammed.

    .half of those extinct civilizations did have science too, most had quite extensive agricultural and climatic knowledge. It didn't save them. Why would it save us ?

    Are you saying that giving up Science would help us avoid extinction? Now you're scaring me.

    There are 2 things we can do :
    1) attempt to stop climate change
    2) ignore it, adapt to changing circumstances, and grow
    EVERY species that has chosen option 1, and every human civilization that has done so (according to Jared Diamond) is ...

    Please name the civilizations that have become extinct after attempting to prevent climate change due to profligate use of fossil fuels.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:36AM (#32949446)

    > All you need to know is that the rate of change has not accelerated

    well, umm, sorry to trouble you with this, but actually is has. substantially. the exponential curve aspect of it is sort of what all the fuss is about in the literature and why the estimates of how bad it will be in 100 years vary so widely. If the rate of change were steady or linear we'd have a much easier time making those projections.

  • by YttriumOxide ( 837412 ) <yttriumox&gmail,com> on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:49AM (#32949556) Homepage Journal

    Europe has just had the coldest winter in 50 years.

    Followed by the hottest July on record for an insanely long time also...

    I really wish people would stop thinking "Global Warming" simply means it gets warmer everywhere, evenly... it doesn't, never has, and never will.

    if you can explain in a non emotional way sticking purely to the facts and data that i can look at myself, why CO2 has become the driver behind climate rather then the sun and water vapor, you'd convince me.

    Simply that it's a bigger system surrounding a chaotic system* (that is, weather). Chaotic systems are a pain since we can't truly model them due to the insane complexity and number of factors. A tiny push from any thing can drastically alter it. The sun DOES affect the climate more than CO2. Water vapor DOES affect the climate more than CO2. But historical evidence points towards these things in their natural cycles causing warming and cooling over much longer time periods than what we're currently seeing. CO2 appears to be causing a very rapid change in the climate, kind of like the effect in a greenhouse (see where that old analogy comes from?)

    * Note that I don't actually believe that there is anything too complex to model theoretically... practically certainly, but I doubt the climate of one planet even stretches that far given technology way ahead of our own.

  • by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <> on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:53AM (#32949590) Homepage Journal

    Also, picture was taken in September 1921, so ice would have been at its lowest point anyway if it was seasonal. No-one climbs Everest in winter, at least they didn't in 1921.

  • by foniksonik ( 573572 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @08:55AM (#32949618) Homepage Journal

    The poorest of the poor don't use oil for anything. They could care less what the world does with oil. Their great grand children may have a use for it but by then a suitable alternative would be much more useful to them since it's likely they won't be profiting from oil and it will be more scarce regardless of conservation measures.

  • Re:News Flash! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @09:14AM (#32949824)

    Are you trying to breed "ecological concern" out of the species in favor of "religious fundamentalism that doesn't believe in birth control and doesn't give a crap about the planet?" Because that's what happening when you have less kids.

    I wasn't aware that ecological concern was a genetic trait. I also wasn't aware that religious people "don't give a crap about the planet". I suppose the term "stewards of the Earth" comes from the UFO-origins crowd.

  • by quanticle ( 843097 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @09:15AM (#32949840) Homepage

    At least those will be equal opportunity changes since Mother Nature and the Universe don't discriminate when it comes time to bring the pain to those unworthy to survive.

    Except they won't be. The vast majority of the negative impacts will be in areas like India and Africa, where the people are least well equipped to deal with climatic changes. Global Warming (anthropogenic or not) will affect polar and tropical areas the most - the temperate climes of the rich world will be affected last.

    As for saying that those people are "unworthy to survive", who are you to make that decision? Genetically, biologically, those who are going to die from global warming are no different than you or I. If they are unworthy of survival, then so are you. Its only an accident of birth that ensures your survival.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @09:30AM (#32950038)
    According to the Wikipedia cite, it is known that it occurred in Europe and the North Atlantic, but the evidence for the rest of the world is inconclusive. Your other cite is a website that is home to AGW propagandists, while it bases its viewpoints on scientific evidence, it also dismisses out of hand any scientific evidence that does not support AGW and it promotes greater government regulation. Climate scientists who support AGW would go a long way towards improving their credibility if they would stop promoting "solutions" and stick to declaring what they perceive to be happening.
    One of the interesting things about the medieval warm period (even if it was localized to Europe and the North Atlantic) and the little ice age (which the concensus agrees was global) that followed is that storms in the North Atlantic were more mild during the warm period and more violent during the little ice age which followed, which is exactly the opposite of what the AGW Alarmists tell us should be the case.
  • by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:22AM (#32950654)
    No one is proposing that we change our lifestyle by dumping our computers, our cars, our TVs, our telephones. The plan is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by phasing out fossil fuels. This will be done by improving energy efficiency, developing nuclear power more, and increasing energy from renewable sources. No one has said we need to get all energy from renewable sources or stop burning all fossil fuels altogether. Nice strawman!
  • Re:Hubris? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <> on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:32AM (#32950778) Homepage

    What we need to do is stop worrying about separating out things it's inherently stupid to recycle, like paper and glass, which we have essentially an limitless supplies of(1), and start separating out things we really shouldn't be putting in landfills, like batteries.

    Fuck 'recycling'. Call me when I have they'll come to my house to pick up smoke detectors. That's the problem in landfills, not people who don't recycle their newspapers. I'm perfectly fine with drinking water that seeped through newspapers. Are you fine with drinking water that seeped through motor oil?

    Work on getting the 5% of the landfill that is unsafe from getting put in the landfill, and maybe everyone else will stop caring so much about where landfills are built in the first place. As long as the only only requirement is 'far enough away we can't smell them', we've got plenty of room for them.

    1) If someone figures out it's more profitable to recycle glass and paper than to make more, by all means, they should set up some sort of infrastructure to do so...but they shouldn't be asserting it's good 'for the environment' or having government help with it.

  • Re:Hubris? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by N0Man74 ( 1620447 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:59AM (#32951122)

    The above post may have a score of zero, but I think it brings up an interesting point (though I wouldn't have brought in the America vs China sentiment).

    We live in a very disposable culture. Our goods (and even our entertainment) tend to be replaced constantly either due to lack of reliability, industries constantly pushing for cycles of obsolescence (either technological, or social) in various products, or even as an intentional feature of the product!

    One of our problems is that stagnation, and conservation of resources are enemies to profit and capitalism. It's more profitable to make disposable goods, disposable entertainment, and disposable consumer electronics.

    Conserving resources, making cheap and renewable energy, and making products that can last a lifetime are in direct opposition to the interest of businesses and could eventually lead to slowing down the economy in general.

    People are talking about red herrings, and I think they are right. The real issue isn't even whether we are causing change, or whether the change even exists.

    The real issue is how much money is it worth sacrificing in order to live in a sustainable and clean way. Really, that's what it's all about. Industries don't want to change because it cuts into profits, and conservatives don't want changes forced on them because they feel it takes away their rights (to make more profit).

    I'm reminded of a line I vaguely recall from a Kurt Vonnegut novel, where he describes a future message left by an extinct mankind for any possible future alien visitors of Earth.

    "Welcome to Earth. We could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap."

  • HO...LEE...SHIT. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <> on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:51AM (#32951820) Journal

    Is this how AGW denialists picture the "post-AGW world?" Some kind of genocidal ultra-authoritarian oligarchic dystopia? Holy fuck, I don't know where to start. I'll just take a stab at it.

    Look, it won't be too different from today. Your car will go weeng instead of vroom, there will be nuclear plants in place of coal plants, you'll see more dams and wind turbines, you'll put recyclable garbage in separate bins, and that's basically it.

    The "post-AGW world" will look similar to a wealthy Canadian town full of eco-chic yuppies (but hopefully without everyone acting like a pretentious douchebag). No genocide and certainly no shortage of electronics.

  • by thestuckmud ( 955767 ) on Monday July 19, 2010 @12:28PM (#32952320)
    "Exceptionally ill informed"? Really?

    If you don't believe Breashears' photos in this news blurb, try the videos from the Extreme Ice Survey []. Or the conclusion based on data from NASA's GRACE satellites that the rate of glacier thinning in the Himalayas is 22 cm per annum []. Or visit a glacier and see the signs of retreat for yourself.

    You are correct that someone is misinformed here. Alas, my friend, it is not me.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly