Alas, a favorite climate change denial trope is on its deathbed. Specifically, the claim that modern polar ice sheets formed during a period of rising carbon dioxide. New analysis of CO2 levels from the time, about 33 million years ago, show the greenhouse gas dropping sharply and the ice caps forming right alongside:
Scientists investigated alkenones — tough organic compounds only produced by certain types of algae — to find the carbon dioxide signatures of this period. These photosynthetic organisms would have used carbon dioxide that entered the water from the air, so looking at the chemical makeup of ancient deposits of alkenones can give an idea of what levels of the gas were like in the past.
These researchers committed an act of science by meticulously examining ratios of carbon isotopes in algal remains and working backwards to what concentrations of CO2 in the ancient air at the time would have had to be. Textbook, investigative science published in a peer-reviewed journal, the kind of work that could make a career. But this is paleo-climatology, marked for demolition by the energy industry and their GOP puppets. Which means if these results hold up, anyone involved in the research may pay for that scientific act with harassment and demonization for the rest of their professional lives, thanks to legions of ignorant know-nothings under the command of an elite squad of rhetorical hitmen.
- YouTube gets a fresh coat of digital paint, and if you’re not sure what that means there’s a YouTube video explaining it:
The YouTube homepage is where most of the changes happened. It places the “homepage feed” — which was launched earlier in the year — smack-dab in the middle of things and pushes you to consider the site as a collection of channels and programs
- Our friends at the Oil Drum debunk Gingrich’s piss-poor understanding of oil extraction with the factual kryptonite dreaded by so many right-wing uber-heroes. Casaubon follows up with some more hard-hitting reality:
I’ve argued before that Americans will cheerfully shovel live baby harp seals into their furnaces, while explaining to the themselves that live baby harp seals enjoy being burned alive if that’s what it takes to keep them warm and their economy running.
- Yet another reason I love reading John Cole at Balloon Juice:
I just love that response- “We meet or exceed state requirements.” Given what Corbett is doing to regulations in PA (gutting them in some cases, simply waiving them in others, and then putting energy executives in charge of environmental permitting), in a couple of months drillers in PA will exceed state requirements if they hold you down and shoot the waste water down your throat like the UC Davis cops and pepper spray.
- Last but certainly not least: an amateur astronomer from New Zealand boldly goes where only pros have gone before, by snapping a gorgeous image of the debris disk around a nearby star in the early stages of planetary formation. And for good measure, space-porn fans, here’s some hot 3-D action of lovely Vesta as seen by the Dawn spacecraft courtesy of NASA/JPL.