Monday, May 19, 2014

Last Call For King Of The Kaiju

Got a chance to see Godzilla this evening, and I have to say for those of you that enjoyed last year's Pacific Rim and curse the name of Matthew Broderick for the lame 1998 version of this film, Bryan Cranston and some breathtaking CGI work steal the show.  This is a Godzilla movie about Godzilla kicking ass, fitting for his 60th anniversary, and not about a bunch of tiny, pitiful humans.

OK, sure, the pitiful humans do play a part.  In 1999, a Japanese scientist named Dr. Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) arrives at a collapsed mining cavern in the Philippines, to discover that the miners have broken through into the nest of a Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism (MUTO).  The beastie has gotten loose, and meanwhile in nearby Japan, nuclear engineer Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) has noticed distinct, regular seismic activity heading for the plant he works at.  He tries to convince the plant owners to shut the place down, but the warning comes too late:  both the nuclear plant and his wife are destroyed by whatever created the seismic phenomena.

Fast forward 15 years to 2014 and Joe's son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is now a Navy Lieutenant and bomb disposal expert (natch) who finds out his dad is still insisting there's a massive cover-up at the nuclear site (in chilling shades of the Fukushima disaster in our timeline) and they investigate their old house only to discover Joe's seismic research, the fact there's no radiation at all, and that there really is a massive cover-up and Joe's not insane.

Turns out Dr. Serizawa has been hutning this seismic phenomenon too, and he has a very good reason:  He's part of an international program called MONARCH that has been working to contain and hide the fact these MUTO monsters have been set loose on earth's surface since man has learned to split the atom, and there's a massive MUTO cocoon at the plant site that's feeding off the radiation and giving off regular EM pulses as a result, and the cocoon is waking up.  All hell breaks loose, and the rising MUTO has only one natural predator...

Gojira.  Godzilla.  The fraggin' King of Monsters.  Guess who's coming to dinner?

At this point you'll want to strap in for some serious action and some breathtakingly beautiful cinematography.  and some utterly amazing disaster footage.  These kaiju don't just fight, they rampage and decimate.  They make the beasts in Pacific Rim look like toys.  Colossal doesn't begin to describe these forces of nature, and Godzilla is the biggest one of them all in a big, BIG way.

Definitely see this one for the last 30 minutes alone.

A Climate Hostile To Logic, Con't

As I said in the article below, global climate change skeptics try to pretend that the science is on their side and they explain that the debate is over what should be done about climate change, rather than if it's happening. The problem of course is that it's impossible to take them seriously when the reality is Big Energy lobbies that fund these skeptics instruct state legislatures to reject science education standards in order to lie to students and parents, because an ignorant population is more easily controlled.

Sitting in the headquarters of the Wyoming Liberty Group, Susan Gore, founder of the conservative think tank, said new national science standards for schools were a form of “coercion,” adding, “I don’t think government should have anything to do with education.”

Ms. Gore, a daughter of the founder of the company that makes Gore-Tex waterproof fabric, was speaking here weeks after the Republican-controlled Legislature made Wyoming, where coal and oil are king, the first state to reject the standards, which include lessons on human impact on global warming. The pushback came despite a unanimous vote by a group of Wyoming science educators urging acceptance. Wyoming was the first state to say no, but likely not the last. A House committee in Oklahoma last week voted to reject the standards, also in part because of concerns about how climate change would be taught.

Amid a growing cascade of studies documenting melting ice caps and rising temperatures, schools are increasingly teaching students about climate change and the new guidelines, known as the Next Generation Science Standards, have been adopted so far by 11 states and the District of Columbia. They assert that human activity has affected the climate.
Many here and elsewhere consider that liberal dogma rather than scientific consensus and want their children to hear it as theory rather than fact. What is more, some Wyoming lawmakers say, such teaching is a threat to the state’s economic engine.

The scientific fact is a threat to Big Energy, so it must be obliterated.  Your kids have to remain ignorant in order to protect the profits of these companies, so they can continue to wreck our environment (and they fully expect taxpayers to deal with the mess.)  These companies aren't just greedy, they are truly evil.

In Wyoming, after 18 months of study and comparison with standards from other states, a committee of science educators unanimously recommended last fall that the State Department of Education adopt the guidelines. In March, at the tail end of the state’s legislative session, lawmakers passed a footnote to the biennial budget, prohibiting any public spending to implement the new standards.

And last month, the State Department of Education ordered the committee of science educators to come up with a new set of standards. Mr. Micheli, the chairman and a cattle rancher from Fort Bridger, said he was concerned about any teaching on climate change that did not consider “the cost-benefit analysis in terms of the expenditure of the effort to bring under control global warming.

Scientific education is now subject to cost-benefit analysis in an America run by Republicans and their multi-billion dollar industrial backers.  Imagine the sentence "concerned about any teaching on slavery that did not consider the cost-benefit analysis in terms of the expenditure of the effort to emancipate slaves" and you're beginning to see how shockingly ludicrous the Wyoming GOP's position on this is.

They are wholly owned by the energy companies, and these companies are the ones making decisions about what kids are now allowed to learn.  We have to say "Well there's controversy" because you know, teaching that mad-made climate change is happening right now due to consumption of petroleum products might get people to think that this level of consumption is unsustainable.

By the way, here in Kentucky?

In other states, the debate is also intense. Last fall, the Legislature in Kentucky voted to reject the new science guidelines but Gov. Steven L. Beshear overruled the Legislature and put the standards in place with an executive order.

We were nearly the first state to reject climate change education standards.  A Democrat prevented that.   Don't tell me there's no difference between the two parties.

A Climate Hostile To Logic

Power Line's Steven Hayward summarily dismisses the fact that 97% of climate science supports man-made global climate change because there's too much data supporting climate change, so it's really just noise that covers up the fact that we should continue to do nothing about it.

No really, that's his entire argument.

No one can possibly keep up with the flood of scientific articles published on climate-related topics these days (we’re spending way too much on climate research right now, but that’s a topic for another day), so it is ridiculous to offer sweeping generalizations like this about the character of the scientific literature. I keep up with a fair amount of it in Nature, Science, and a couple of the other main journals, and what is quite obvious is that most climate-related articles are about specific aspects of climate, such as observed changed in localized ecosystems, measurement refinements (like ocean temperatures, etc), energy use and projections, and large data analysis. Many of these articles do not take a position on the magnitude of possible future warming, and fewer still embrace giving the car keys over to Al Gore. Only a handful deal with modeling of future climate change, and this is where the debate over climate sensitivity and the severe limitations of the models (especially as relates to clouds) is quite lively and—dare I say it—unsettled. (Just read the IPCC Working Group I chapter on climate models if you don’t believe me.) The “97 percent of scientists ‘believe in’ climate change” cliché is an appalling abuse of science, and a bad faith attempt to marginalize anyone who dissents from the party line that we need to hand our car keys over to Al Gore. The tacit message is: if you dissent from the party line, you must be in that 3 percent who think you shouldn’t brush your teeth, take painkillers for headaches, etc.

Got that?  Hayward admits there is an overwhelming amount of data that shows climate is changing, but now the "unsettled science" is "should we bother to do anything about it" and that's just too complex for science to prove that we should.

Better to do nothing, as he goes on to attack the 97% figure with one example from one paper, declares all of climate science to be junk, then declares it a moot point, even though he's just got through explaining how climate change exists and rails against the 3% that somehow believes it's a myth and how dare you put him in that category, because he believes in science, dammit.

The basis of climate denial is this:  the models predicting the climates of the future vary widely.  Because they vary widely due to the complexity of all the factors of climate, the majority of the models can't possibly all be 100% right, so we have to assume that the vast, overwhelming majority are flawed in some way.  Therefore, we can't possibly construct national political policy, let alone international policy, based on these models that we've just proven are all flawed in some way.  We can't take action that could be cost-effective based on this uncertainty.  The only safe path is to do nothing.

This of course is akin to saying "Well we don't know how long a person will live when they are born, and the majority of the models predicting a person's lifespan are going to be historically incorrect or flawed in some way.  Therefore, we shouldn't bother to spend money on public education, police and fire safety, medical advances, clean air and water, or a safe food supply because we don't know if that will really extend a person's lifespan or not in a cost-effective way. We can't predict the future based on this uncertainty, so the only safe path is to do nothing."

You see where the problem begins.  Hayward obviously doesn't.


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