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Superforecasting a Book Review

July 25, 2016 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Superforecasting a Book Review
noerpel_new

The book “Superforecasting” by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner contains a nearly complete list of the attributes of superforecasting, as well as critical thinking. Tetlock’s research empirically confirms the aspects of critical thinking I’ve been discussing in this column. Their methodology describes, more or less, how a good engineer or scientist thinks and more or less captures the scientific method as it has evolved since the fourteenth century, if we are willing to substitute the author’s scoring feedback for peer-review. It is a great book selection for a book club both for what the authors discuss as well as for the potential for future research. … Continue Reading

Human Fingerprints on Climate Change

June 29, 2016 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Human Fingerprints on Climate Change
noerpel_new

Presented to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors – June 23, 2016

Recently I was asked whether humanity’s fossil fuel use was the cause of the current global warming. This is a good question and I’m not surprised that there is some confusion and indeed acknowledging that the Earth surface is warming leads inevitably to this question.

The answer is yes we are the cause of 100% of the global warming taking place since 1970. For example, solar radiation has been trending lower as shown in Figure 1. … Continue Reading

Ice house, Hot House and Mad House

June 9, 2016 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Ice house, Hot House and Mad House
noerpel_new

Recently, I was asked: “I know we are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and scientists say that will warm the planet but there were also ice ages and warmer climates in the past before humans so what caused those climates to change?” This is a good question and the most straightforward answer is that the climate changes when there is an imbalance between the incoming solar radiation principally in the visible light spectrum and the outgoing heat radiation principally in the infrared spectrum [1-2]. We are upsetting the balance by loading the atmosphere with greenhouse gases by burning fossil fuels. Nature upends this balance by exchanging greenhouse gases with the atmosphere from several sources and sinks. … Continue Reading

A Habitable Planet

May 16, 2016 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on A Habitable Planet
habitable_2

“At the moments when we are able to separate ourselves from our daily concerns and ponder deeply, most of us have encountered fundamental questions of our existence as human beings. Where do we come from? What happened before humans appeared on Earth? Where do the stars come from? Do we have a place in planetary evolution? Are there others like us out there somewhere?” Wally Broecker and Charles Langmuir [1]

This series of articles is based on a talk I gave at REHAU in Leesburg on April 28, 2016. … Continue Reading

On Being Phished Hook, Line and Sinker

March 2, 2016 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on On Being Phished Hook, Line and Sinker
noerpel_new

“[T]here is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels.” senior company scientist James Black told Exxon’s management committee in 1977 [1]

Tony Noerpel

Ten years ago I thought I could convince anybody of the reality of human-caused climate change and the precarious nature of human existence; simply examine the evidence. Physicist Tom Murphy began a blog called “do the math” [2]. Like me he thought any human would find the evidence compelling. He has since admitted he was wrong. So have I. … Continue Reading

Running AMOC in Pictures

February 19, 2016 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Running AMOC in Pictures
noerpel_new

“[D]ifferent kinds of human disturbance act synergistically so that the sum total of their ecological consequences exceeds that of their effects in isolation.” Jeremy Jackson [1]:

Figure 1 shows the thermohaline ocean circulation in the Atlantic. The worldwide interconnectivity of this circulation and its causes were discovered by Wallace Broecker. It is driven by variations in temperature and salinity in different parts of the ocean [2]. The red flows are on the surface and the blue flows are in the deep ocean. The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) [3] running along the US East coast is better known as the Gulf Stream. This great flow of warm water warms Europe. In the movie “The Day after Tomorrow” this flow stops due to climate change and the Northern Hemisphere is thrown into an ice age. The part that is true is that human-caused climate change does slow down this flow in many climate models and indeed this is happening now as shown in the right hand side of Figure 2. It is also true that if AMOC flow stops an ice age could be initiated. The part that is fanciful besides the abrupt timing is ignoring the overwhelming influence of increased carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Some regions of the planet may cool down in opposition to the worldwide trend because of ocean current changes but eventually the whole planet surface warms quite dramatically. An ice age cannot occur when atmospheric carbon dioxide is above 400 ppmV as it is now [4-5]. … Continue Reading

We Actually Do All Agree on Something

February 15, 2016 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on We Actually Do All Agree on Something
noerpel_new

I have a good friend who believes that Americans agree on 95 percent of issues and only disagree on five percent and if we could just discuss and resolve those few issues we’d all get along. My view is that even the weather is a divisive issue. We don’t agree on anything. But I’m happy to report that maybe there is one issue we can all rally around.

A few years ago I was running with a Republican friend of mine. He said “You know what the problem is with America? Greed.” Halleluiah. We fist bumped. “You are absolutely right.” I countered. … Continue Reading

Pie in the Face (with remarks from Ron Paul)

February 10, 2016 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Pie in the Face (with remarks from Ron Paul)
noerpel_new

“In any field, the establishment is seldom in pursuit of the truth because it is composed of those who sincerely believe that they are already in possession of it.” E. T. Jaynes.

Everybody prefaces Bernie Sanders name with “pie in the sky”. It reminds me that whenever I discussed the Ukraine situation with anybody they would ask “what does Russia (or Putin) want with the Ukraine?” It is as if nobody thought to look at a map. I don’t think people thought of these things on their own; they hear them from the media. The real question every American needs to ask is “What are we doing in the Ukraine?” We conspired to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically elected president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 just like we did in Iran more than sixty years ago. The latter was for oil, the former for hegemony. We wanted the Ukraine in NATO and indebted to the IMF and we wanted the Russian navy out of Crimea. Doesn’t matter, it is always about the establishment neo-cons and crony-capitalism. The winners are always the oil companies, the defense industry, and the MSM as it is profitable to report “shock and awe” even though real people die. The excuses are always the same “freedom, democracy, and liberty” which never seem to break out as promised. Consider Iraq. … Continue Reading

El Nino Evolution

January 17, 2016 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on El Nino Evolution
Figure 3. Sea-surface height as inferred by by NASA satellites during the current El Niño (December 27, 2015, at left, from Jason-2) and at a comparable point during the last “super” El Niño (December 28, 1997, at right, from TOPEX/Poseidon). Warmer temperatures in the upper ocean result in higher sea-surface heights, as the seawater expands. In 1997, the above-average sea surface height was generally more intense and peaked in November. In 2015, the area of high sea levels was less pronounced but considerably broader. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. (see [4])

Figure 1 shows the annual global temperature anomaly since 1980 up to November 2015 using the NASA GISS data set [1]. NASA has not yet published December’s data though BEST has [2] and yes 2015 was the hottest year on record beating the previous best 2014 by a sizable amount. Note that 1997-1998 were el Nino years and that is why they were at that time the hottest years on record. 2015 actually corresponds to 1997 in so far as the evolution of an el Nino goes as shown in the measurement of 3.4 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomaly (see Figures 2 and 3). 2016 is the year that actually corresponds to the hotter 1998. Therefore with high probability 2016 will set yet another record beating 2015. The dotted curve in Figure 1 is my projection of the temperature anomaly through 2025. The 1979-2015 global warming linear trend is 0.163 degrees C per year as shown in Figure 1. I simply added (2015-1997) * 0.163 degrees to the 1998 through 2007 anomaly to compute an estimate for the years 2016 through 2015. Note that the gap between 1997 and 1998 is much larger than the gap I’m forecasting between 2015 and 2016 so my estimate may be conservative. If 2016 is much hotter than my estimate the rate of global warming may be accelerating. … Continue Reading

The Trump Effect

noerpel_new

“If Trump wins the nomination, prepare for the end of the conservative party.” George Will [1]

“If any of these candidates end up in the White House in 2016, America is in deep, deep trouble. Just by commanding the national stage, Republicans are already pushing dangerous ideas into public discourse and fueling a climate of violence and vitriol.” Robert Reich

By Tony Noerpel … Continue Reading

End of Year Wrap Up

December 21, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on End of Year Wrap Up
noerpel_new

In the middle of 2013, oil prices began to tumble [1]. Economists predicted that cheap energy would be good for the economy. People would spend the money they saved buying cheaper gasoline on more stuff made in China that they don’t need keeping the economy healthy, said the pundits. Many experts predicted that Saudi Arabia, a country which produces oil, would defend the price by cutting production, i.e., a government would bail out the private sector. … Continue Reading

Telling the Truth

December 9, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Telling the Truth
noerpel_new

“..[W]orry only about being more honest. It may take a long time for the truth to come to light but it will remain long after the lies have faded.” Jang Jin-Sung [1]

“If a lie is told a hundred times even the liar begins to believe it.” Korean proverb from Jang Jin-Sung [1]

“Dear Leader” is an autobiographical account of Jang Jin-Sung’s daring escape from North Korea. It is also about how an entire country became overwhelmed by lies and deceit. The big lie in our country, global warming denial, has completely engulfed one political party, one broadcasting network, and much of the rest of the corporate owned main-stream-media. Of course being able to blame ExxonMobil, Peabody Coal and Lamar Smith, though guilty as charged, does not absolve us. We could exercise free will and stop believing the lie, can’t we? Well, maybe not. … Continue Reading

Trusting Science

November 14, 2015 Columns, Sustainable Planet 1 comment
noerpel_new

“The Four Corners of Deceit: Government, academia, science, and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit. That’s how they promulgate themselves; it is how they prosper.” – Rush Limbaugh [1]

I previously reported [2] on two papers by sociologist Lawrence Hamilton and colleagues concluding that Democrats and liberals accept science more than Republicans and conservatives across a broad range of topics [3-4]. Aspects of their survey raise some nuanced questions which likely do not affect their results but are worth discussing. The survey questions read:

“Would you say that you trust, don’t trust, or are unsure about scientists as a source of information about [topic]?”

People were asked about several topics including climate change, vaccinations, forest management and the safety of GMO crops. I thought they should have used “science” rather than “scientist‘. In a private email Hamilton wrote: “I interpret ‘trust’ responses on all questions not as indicating that nuclear power, GMOs, vaccines etc. are necessarily all good, but rather that people accept ‘science’ as a good way to find out.” … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Hundreds Will Join 20th Annual Butterfly Count August 6

spring garden butterfly

By Andrea Gaines How Is a Butterfly Like a Rainbow? Scientists recently discovered that some butterfly wings contain tiny structures called gyroids that diffract or break up light into the colors of the spectrum. You may also have seen this …

Your Retirement Plan B

Smith0035

Take the time to design an alternative retirement plan should retirement come earlier than expected. Imagine this. You’ve spend decades working, saving, and planning for your version of the ideal retirement. Your company was just acquired, and your boss is …

Learning Patience As a Camp Counselor

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde They say that one of the biggest blessings is being a teacher. It is also one of the hardest. Explaining to nine-year-old kids how to build a fire is one of the most challenging things I’ve …

Remembering the Man Who Never Forgot

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel “God is God because He remembers.” The implication being that the defining element separating humans from God is the Divine’s inability to forget. Elie Wiesel was defined in part by his willingness to remember, along with his …

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Balch Library

Thomas Balch Library

By Tim Jon Solitude, peace, and quiet: Not exactly the first three adjectives I’d choose to describe the greater portion of downtown Leesburg, although its charms do shine through even on the busiest of weekday afternoons. The last morning I …

Superforecasting a Book Review

noerpel_new

The book “Superforecasting” by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner contains a nearly complete list of the attributes of superforecasting, as well as critical thinking. Tetlock’s research empirically confirms the aspects of critical thinking I’ve been discussing in this column. Their …

Pokémon GO: A Fun New Gaming App or an Accidental Treatment?

Michael_Pic

Penicillin was accidently discovered in 1928 when scientist Alexander Fleming returned to his lab from vacation to notice that a strange fungus growing on a culture had killed off the neighboring bacteria. After WWII, psychiatrist and researcher, Dr. John Cade, …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

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Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

buckland

Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

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Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

adamspromoted

Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

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Calendar

August 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
August 1, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 2, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 3, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 4, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 5, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 6, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

OysterFest & Roussanne Release!

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Doug Parks

August 7, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 8, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 9, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 10, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 11, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 12, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 13, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 14, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 15, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 16, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 17, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 18, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 19, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 20, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Lucketts Fair

Live Music: Stealing Dawn

August 21, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Lucketts Fair

August 22, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

AUDITIONS

August 23, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 24, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 25, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 26, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 27, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Fabulous Hubcaps

August 28, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 29, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 30, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 31, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

September 1, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 2, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 3, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

Dear Creek Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Snaggy Mountain Boys

September 4, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

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Lifestyle

Winchester Plans Patsy Cline Music Festival Labor Day Weekend

11 Aug 2016

Patsy Cline

The Patsy Cline Music Festival will be held Labor Day weekend in her hometown of Winchester, Va. in honor of the legendary singer’s birthday anniversary on September. 8. Celebrating Patsy Cline sponsors the celebration that begins with a block party from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in front of the Patsy Cline Historic House, 608 S. Kent St. Music will …

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Vigil for Lost Promise to Remember Loved Ones Lost to Drugs

11 Aug 2016

sheriff

Residents and local leaders are encouraged to join the many families, friends and community groups to share the light of their loved ones lost to drugs. The Vigil for Lost Promise will be held Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. The event will be held at the Drugs: Cost and Consequences Exhibit (DEA Museum), located at 750 Miller Dr. …

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August Is National Peach Month: Eat a Peach in Salad

3 Aug 2016

peach

Are You Kidding? No. A nectarine and a peach are basically the same species. Nectarines are bald peaches, in effect. In early cultivation, nectarines occasionally appeared on peach trees, the result of a recessive allele, the fruit from which were then cultivated as nectarines. Peaches are also part of the rose family. No wonder why we like all three, so …

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Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!

blueridge2.jpg

– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West

blueridge2.jpg

– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Lessons from Short Hill

shorthillmeeting

It’s been a little over two weeks since the Commission Permit for the proposed AT&T facility on Short Hill was overruled by the Board of Supervisors. This is just about …

Thank You

speak

Dear Citizens of Purcellville: As your town council member it is my vision and priority that you feel welcome at your Town Hall and take part in shaping Purcellville’s future …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

blueridge2

Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Around Virginia

Land Trust Receives Large Donation

land trust

On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

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Farmers Urged To Be On The Lookout For Marijuana

marijuana

Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this …

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State Senators Investigate University of Virginia’s $2.3 Billion Operating Surplus

Uva-logo

Senators Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) and Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach), are calling for an investigation into disclosures that the University of Virginia has accumulated a $2.3 billion operating surplus, now titled a “Strategic Investment Fund,” that is significantly larger than the Commonwealth’s own cash reserves. Both senators agree that the …

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Sports

Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016

baseball

American Legion Baseball At Fireman’s Field, August 3 – 7 By Andrea Gaines American Legion Baseball is here at Fireman’s Field in a big way, featuring five consecutive blockbuster Mid-Atlantic Tournament games – August 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Our local Leesburg Post 34 Rangers had some nice wins …

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Registration Open For Ida Lee’s Fall NFL Flag Football

7 Jul 2016

NFL_Flag_Football_at_IdaLee

Ida Lee’s Fall 2016 NFL Flag Football League will begin with player evaluations on Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31.  Players must be registered by Tuesday, July 26, to participate. This fall, Ida Lee’s Leesburg NFL Flag Football House League will have the following age groups:  6-7; 8-9; 10-11; …

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