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GWT (Global Warming Temperature)

© February 2006 Anthony Lawrence

At lunch today my sister and I discussed various geekish subjects include VMware, Progress database semaphore usage, and customers who do amazingly stupid things like backing up their databases to the very same hard drive their application runs on.

We also discussed global warming, interesting vocabulary choices in recent Iraq reporting ("Religious unity vs. sectarian violence"), and the usual family catch-up stuff.

At some point my sister asked if Daylight Savings Time has been extended. I've never been a fan of this nonsense anyway, but something clicked from our earlier conversations and I experienced an epiphany:

We need GWT, or Global Warming Temperature (never to be mistranslated as "George W. Temperature"). During Congressionally mandated months, observed temperatures will be adjusted downward. Ten or twenty degrees should be plenty, at least for now. This would prevent global warming much more than stifling scientists who want to cause trouble by suggesting that we might be in real trouble here.

I think there's a Cabinet position waiting for me.

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Sun Feb 26 23:33:28 2006: 1714   TonyLawrence

Like Daylight Savings time, States who wish to be warmer (Florida, California and so on) would not observe GWT. This would not be grounds for Congressional Pork Disfavor (CPD).

Mon Feb 27 04:52:00 2006: 1715   BigDumbDinosaur

I dunno, Tony. I can see where GWT could be considered discriminatory by those living at higher elevations (and I'm not referring to altitude caused by ingestion of certain infamous substances).

Consider the plight of those who live in the Colorado Rockies, for example. Why should those who call anywhere above the tree line home have to reduce their temperatures to heed the dictums of GWT, just because the wimps down in Boulder, Denver or Pueblo can't hack the heat? After all, it's already kind of chilly as you ascend into oxygen-poor Rocky air (which air I believe had a negative effect on John Denver's brain -- the so-called Rocky Mountain high, most likely the principle source of his drippy music). Perhaps states (and Canadian provinces, of course) in mountainous regions should have the right to apply GWT on a county by county basis, no?

This would be much like Daylight Savings Time -- which, of course, doesn't save anything. Tell me, if one can save time, where does it get stored? In a bank vault or, for fiduciarily-challenged folks, under the matress? If you save a lot of time can you get interest on it?

Mon Feb 27 11:31:09 2006: 1716   TonyLawrence

Actually, I think for many mountainous locales, a lower temperature would be a point of pride, so they would embrace GWT.

I want my Cabinet appointment, dammit.

Mon Feb 27 16:01:40 2006: 1718   BigDUmbDInosaur

I want my Cabinet appointment, dammit.

Patience, my aspiring bureaucrat! A presidential erection...er...election is coming up real soon (Damn! Don't you hate it when those silly puns keep sneaking into the conversation?) and, depending on how the chads hang and the courts rule, you may get that appointment after all. Just think: this will be a fresh opportunity to screw a higher wattage bulb into the White House light socket.

In fact, I understand a job opening in FEMA may soon be available. We'll put you in charge as assistant undersecretary in charge of the department of temperature regulation department. (Howz that for redundancy in government?)

Mon Feb 27 17:37:20 2006: 1720   TonyLawrence

That's a dead end. I want a reward for my brilliance in inventing GWT, but I want nothing to do with the implementation. I want to head a new Department of Microsoft Reduction.

It's been a tough, tough morning. Supposed to get back to a project, got hit with three tough calls at the same time. One is fixed, one is awaiting further reports, and the other is still a mess.. There has been some down time in between but not enough to get my brain wrapped around the project I wanted to do.

Tue Feb 28 16:20:16 2006: 1725   BigDumbDinosaur

I want to head a new Department of Microsoft Reduction.

That department's first task would be to use a giant saber saw to cut Redmond out of the rest of the state of Washington and then float it (Redmond, that is) over to India, where Bill and the boys can set up their new call center. That having been accomplished, we can sunset the DMR and reallocate its budget to the Department of Temperature Regulation (DTR), a new cabinet level post. I, as the next elected president, will personally appoint you, Tony, to be the head of DTR, with a budget of 250 dollars and office space in the White House basement next to the furnace.

Your first assignment as head of DTR will be to implement GTW policy and make sure that the temperature around Capitol Hill doesn't go down for any reason. My understanding is that the members of Congress are willing to lend bi-partisan support in maintaining an adequate supply of hot air.

It's been a tough, tough morning. Supposed to get back to a project, got hit with three tough calls at the same time. One is fixed, one is awaiting further reports, and the other is still a mess. There has been some down time in between but not enough to get my brain wrapped around the project I wanted to do.

You think that's tough, wait until you try to implement national GTW policy on a 250 dollar budget. <Grin>

Tue Feb 28 16:23:19 2006: 1726   TonyLawrence

$250.00 isn't much, but there is always graft.. I think I'll survive.

There wll be a high speed internet tap near the furnace, I assume.

Thu Mar 2 15:43:39 2006: 1736   BigDumbDinosaur

There wll be a high speed internet tap near the furnace, I assume.

Dunno about the "high speed" part. You'll have to check with Al Gore on that. However, there will be a ball valve attached the the furnace's gas pipe. If things go horribly wrong while you are...er...engaged in raising money to...er...enhance the department budget, the valve will offer you a solution to your problems.

Mon Sep 24 22:33:02 2007: 3155   TonyLawrence

More than a year later and I am still awaiting the call.. I read that glaciers are melting, obviously GWT is sorely needed and yet.. nothing.

Tue Sep 25 15:19:09 2007: 3156   BigDumbDinosaur

More than a year later and I am still awaiting the call.

I offered you office space and a budget and you didn't take me up on it.

I read that glaciers are melting, obviously GWT is sorely needed and yet.. nothing.

Maybe the response is slow in coming because the global warming "problem" is being overstated by the Chicken Littles of the world. We're basing this entire GW precept on about 130 years worth of weather science, yet the climate has undergone many huge changes in the past several billion years.

I'd sure like to see us reduce the amount of junk we belch into the atmosphere each year. Anything we can do now to reduce emissions will certainly benefit future earthly denizens (both 2 and 4 legged). We could start by limiting population growth, as each human we add to the planet will perceptibly increase pollution in one form or another.

However, I think it's a bit irresponsible to extrapolate from 130 years of data and concluded that we're about to incinerate the globe. We simply don't know enough at this point to say with certainty that GW is solely the result of human activities. In fact, the current temperature trend could be the result of the industrial actions of 100 years ago, when widespread coal consumption kicked far more pollution into the air than we now produce. Climate changes tend to be as slow as the movement of the glaciers that are slowly melting.

Tue Sep 25 23:34:04 2007: 3159   TonyLawrence

Well, it's not just 130 years of data. For some things, we have quite a bit more: (link)

Wed Sep 26 13:06:32 2007: 3161   BigDumbDinosaur

Scientists working with Antarctic ice have found that the level of greenhouse gases is at the highest level in over half a million years. Carbon dioxide is 27% higher now than any other time over the last 650 000 years. Methane, an even stronger greenhouse gas is 130% higher. The period of time studied covers eight full glacial cycles including a time when the earth's position relative to the sun is the same as it is today.

The implied presumption in this statement is that human activity is the sole cause of the increase in greenhouse gases. While there's no question that human activity has contributed to the problem, said gasses are also the result of natural phenomena, e.g., volcanic eruptions.

The point I'm trying to make is that forcing a wholesale shift in energy policy on the basis of the available data is foolish. The assumption is that the scientific methods used to back the assertions stated above are 100 percent valid and that the data is not in question. Also, there's always the matter of objectivity on the part of the interested parties. Scientists, like anyone else, don't work in a vacuum and are as susceptible to slanting results to suit those who are sponsoring their activities, as are the folks who conduct those "total cost of ownership" studies for Microsoft.

At this time, I don't think we are exactly sure about what needs to be done to curtail greenhouse gas emissions in ways that are economically viable. More than a few of the proposed "solutions" involve raising taxes on fuels and/or vehicles, something that has had limited effect in the past (the so-called gas guzzler tax on new vehicles doesn't seem to have slowed the proliferation of SUVs on America's highways). Such knee-jerking merely causes economic hardship to those who are least able to withstand it, while having negligible effect on those with more resources..

BTW, I'm a a bit puzzled as to the source of the methane that is referred to. Carbon dioxide, of course, is a byproduct of the combustion of hydrocarbons. Methane is not and, in fact, is the primary constituent of natural gas. More likely, the presence of methane in the upper atmosphere is the result of seismic activities, something that we can't control. Maybe we should figure out how to collect that methane and use it to fuel our economy.

Thu Jan 29 21:18:35 2009: 5270   TonyLawrence

By the way, speaking of Microsoft Reduction, apparently Obama staffers are Mac fans and Obama has asked people like Scott McNealy to comment on the value of Open Source to government.. there may really be a Dept of Microsoft Reduction someday!


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