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Check Sources and Follow the Money

August 23, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet, Uncategorized Comments Off on Check Sources and Follow the Money
noerpel

“Educate yourself. …give yourself a way of discerning between lies and misinformation you are fed each second of every day and truth as best as you can establish it by whatever means.” Tad Patzek [1]

Tad Patzek is the Lois K. and Richard D. Folger Leadership Professor and Chair of the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also one of the first scientists to analyze the inefficiency of using corn to make ethanol. He found himself taking on the powerful Archer Daniel Midland Corporation. Though a person in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s view, ADM has been accused, sometimes sued, indicted and convicted, of everything from child slavery, price fixing, destroying rain forests and stealing from taxpayers [2]. You might think of ADM as just another “person” lacking moral judgment or you may wish to think of ADM as simply a corporation and not a person at all. … Continue Reading

On Thinking Part Two

noerpel

“It is paradoxical that the most successful mammalian species, Homo sapiens, should be the one harboring the vast majority of false beliefs.” Wallace Mattson, 2012 [1]

I have one very good friend who reads my drafts and gives me feedback: inevitably good advice though I don’t always heed it. One of his recent suggestions was the observation that if I wanted to influence global warming deniers I might refrain from calling them deniers and instead refer to them as skeptics as they prefer to be called. He has a point. It is easier to attract flies with honey than vinegar, though they also are attracted to feces and stools. My objection to this advice, as good as it may be, is twofold. First, we’ve been referring to deniers as skeptics for the last thirty years to no obvious beneficial effect. Reality continues to spiral out of control and they continue to deny. Second, it is dishonest. While it may on occasion be justified to adopt a dishonest policy if we think it might work, dishonesty can never be a good idea when it is clearly ineffective. Why has calling deniers “skeptics” failed? … Continue Reading

On Thinking

July 8, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on On Thinking
global_warming_map

The U.S. surface temperature map from Unisys at 4 pm, June 29,2012, shows 100° temperatures stretching almost continuously from California eastward to the Carolinas. (Source: Capital Climate) “If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.” Doug Kammerer [1].

“Whenever people sense the presence of a puzzling and momentous force, they want to believe there is a way to comprehend it.” Richard Wright [2]. … Continue Reading

Consequences of Velocity (Beetles and Sea Level)

beetles

“Humans now dominate the Earth, changing it in ways that threaten its ability to sustain us and other species.” Anthony Barnosky and co-authors [1].

Regards the increasingly rapid human caused warming that I’ve been writing about, there is a new paper published in the American Geophysical Society’s flagship publication Geophysical Research Letters, by Anais J. Orsi, Bruce D. Cornuelle, and Jeffrey P. Severinghaus from Scripps Institution of Oceanography [2]. The authors are reporting on measurements of historic atmospheric temperature conducted at an ice core drilling site on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). These authors conclude: “This record also confirms the work of Steig et al. [3], showing that WAIS Divide has been warming by 0.23 +/- 0.08 degrees C per decade over 1957–2007 C.E. This warming trend has accelerated to 0.8 +/- 0.06 degrees C per decade over the last 20 years (1987–2007).” That these new measurements agree with prior measurements (those of Steig et al. [3]) gives us confidence in the results. What is significant is that the warming of West Antarctica is accelerating. … Continue Reading

A Page from the Story of Earth

May 22, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on A Page from the Story of Earth
noerpel150

“The rates of such changes, not the changes themselves, should be our biggest concern. For climate, sea level, and ecosystems can reach tipping points. Pushed too far, positive feedback loops can kick in. What normally takes a thousand years could transpire in a decade or two.” Robert Hazen [1]

In my recent articles, I have been discussing the ongoing rate of the anthropogenic or human-caused changes in Earth’s climate. We are warming the planet at a rate of 2.76 degrees Celsius per century (NASA GISS and NOAA results but also confirmed by the denier study BEST [2]) which is unprecedented in the last 300 million years of Earth history. The only plausible explanation is the greenhouse gases we are emitting into the atmosphere also at a rate unrivaled in the last 300 million years. In fact scientists once believed that the extinction event 55 million years ago called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) would be a good analogue for what we are doing today as it was believed to be the most rapid climate disruption in Earth’s history [3]. … Continue Reading

Contest Winner and the Last Deglaciation

contest

I hope this isn’t too confusing and I don’t want to repeat all the details here as you can read the articles and comments yourselves and ask questions on the comments section. In the comments section to my last article on April 25 [1], “Klem” commented: “there is NO WAY to conclude from the BEST study that it is caused, or isn’t caused, by human emissions.” And a few lines later he or she wrote this; “Good question, perhaps 800 years I would guess. Since that is roughly how long it takes for CO2 to respond to earlier temperature changes.” There is an embedded (and amusing) contradiction between these two statements. If you reread the entire exchange from my April 17th article [2] and my April 25th article plus the comments it should be easy to spot. In my reply, I offered a growler of Loudoun County’s own Corcoran Beer to the first person to discover Klem’s self-contradiction. I hasten to add that I am not trying to embarrass Klem, whom I really don’t know and who’s comments I enjoy receiving. But I thought this would be an excellent learning tool to get people to think critically and skeptically about our climate or indeed about anything. Skeptical thinking is in short supply in America, sadly and I was kind of hoping Klem would see his/her error and go for the win him/herself. In retrospect announcing the contest in the comments section was probably not a good idea. … Continue Reading

Global Warming Discovered – Again

proved1

“Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” Mark Twain

Years ago I was invited to attend a debate hosted by the MIT Alumni Association about global warming. The contrarian was to be the tobacco lobbyist and professional denier S. Fred Singer. I don’t recall the scientist who would be defending scientific reality but anybody committed to telling the truth would have a hard time debating someone whose profession is making stuff up. Singer’s abstract identified three key points: … Continue Reading

Arctic Amplification

noerpel150

The weather during the last decade has become increasingly weird and extreme. The occurrence of persistent weather events such as droughts, floods, heat waves and cold spells is increasing. The evidence that the most extreme events are linked to human-caused global warming is compelling. NASA climate scientists James Hansen, Makiko Sato and Reto Ruedy write [1] “we can state with a high degree of confidence that extreme summers, such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010, are a consequence of global warming, because global warming has dramatically increased their likelihood of occurrence.” This is also the conclusion of several other peer-reviewed scientific journal articles [2]. Such sentiment is also being reported in the main stream media for example by Alexandra Steel on CNN [3]. Even television meteorologists such as Stu Ostro a Senior Meteorologist on The Weather Channel who were recently deniers have come around to this view [4]. … Continue Reading

2012 Regional Science and Engineering Fair

April 2, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on 2012 Regional Science and Engineering Fair
noerpel150

The Loudoun County school system hosted the annual Regional Science and Engineering Fair for high schools students at Woodgrove High School on March 15, 2012. For the last five years REHAU Corporation in Leesburg and Sustainable Loudoun have sponsored four Energy and Environment Sustainability Awards each year. REHAU provides $500 for first place, $300 for second Place, $200 for third place and an Honorable Mention award for the best freshman in this category. Mike Maher of REHAU Corporation and I, representing Sustainable Loudoun, have the privilege of judging the student projects and the difficult task of picking winners. Loudoun County high school students are quite gifted and earnest and their projects are exceptional every year. This is a tribute to the dedication and hard work of their teachers and the quality of our county educational program.

The winners this year are: … Continue Reading

The Last Deglacial Transition

March 21, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The Last Deglacial Transition
noerpel150

“Although the current overall capacity for society to perturb the carbon cycle is comparable to that of the PETM [the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, 55 million years ago], the rate at which we are imposing the current perturbation on the Earth system may be unprecedented.” Ying Cui et al. [1]

“The last deglacial transition, although characterized by temperature and CO2-increase, is two orders of magnitude slower than the current anthropogenic change. It is also thought to largely represent a redistribution of carbon within the ocean and to the atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere and hence did not have as potent or globally uniform an acidification effect as an input from geological reserves.” B. Honisch et al [2]. … Continue Reading

Be Positive; Do the Math

March 15, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Be Positive; Do the Math
noerpel150

“Typically the private and public sectors would borrow $1.50 or $1.60 each year for every $1 of GDP growth. That was the golden constant. It had been at that ratio for 100 years save for some minor squiggles during the bottom of the Depression. By the time we got to the mid-’90s, we were borrowing $3 for every $1 of GDP growth. And by the time we got to the peak in 2006 or 2007, we were actually taking on $6 of new debt to grind out $1 of new GDP.” – David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director from ’81-’85, and the man behind the biggest tax cut in US history, is now an advocate for higher taxes, a critic of the work that made him rich and a scared investor who doesn’t own a single stock for fear of another financial crisis. [1]

“Long before growth becomes impossible it becomes uneconomic — it begins to cost more than it is worth at the margin. … That is where we are now, but we are unable to recognize it.” Herman Daly, economist University of Maryland, formerly of the World Bank. [2] … Continue Reading

The Biggest Short

March 4, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The Biggest Short
noerpel150

We deceive ourselves the better to deceive others…. In our own species, deceit and self-deception are two sides of the same coin.  If by deception we mean only consciously propagated deception – outright lies – then we miss the much larger category of unconscious deception, including self-deception.  On the other hand, if we look at self-deception and fail to see its roots in deceiving others, we miss its major function.  We may be tempted to rationalize self-deception as being defensive in purpose when actually it is usually offensive.”  Robert Trivers [1]. … Continue Reading

Light Bulb Law

February 28, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Light Bulb Law

Guest columnist Bill Roman has served as treasurer for Sustainable Loudoun since 2010. Professionally he is a software systems project manager with 25 years of experience. In his spare time Bill is interested in promoting sustainable practices and energy efficiency. He is also studying the issue of peak oil, its impact on society and on his own life.

By Bill Roman

Today for the first time in 2012, I bought a new light bulb. Now, this may not seem significant, but it is the first time I had to select a bulb without the option of the standard 100W incandescent, which are no longer sold because they don’t meet the minimum efficiency standards of the 2007 light bulb law. There has been some political posturing about this law and government interference in the free market. There have been some dubious ‘facts’ and scare tactics in the media as well (see: Right-Wing Media Continue To Mislead On Nonexistent Light Bulb “Ban”) so I thought I would relate how it affected my life as a light bulb consumer today. … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

Columns

Asterisk No More

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Moods come and go, but greatness endures.” These prescient words were uttered by President George H.W. Bush, a man who knows firsthand the truth of his own saying. In 1992, President Bush garnered only 37 percent of …

Second Bull Run

Bull Run Creek

It may not have been a battle, but – seeing as how it was my second attempt at getting a good look at Bull Run Creek – coupled with the fact that I’m a native Northerner – I felt a …

Snowmageddon III?  Seven Survival Tips for Parents

Michael_Pic

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. “snOMG,” “snowmageddon,” “snowpocalypse,” and “kaisersnoze” are a few terms to describe what just happened in Northern Virginia. The storm was reported to be the second worst storm on record. And while many children and teens gladly …

What Is a Sport?

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde On January 10, hundreds of talented dancers from across the East Coast competed at the Universal Dance Academy Regional Championship at West Springfield High School. Tensions were high and the stakes couldn’t have been greater. What …

Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn

Smith0035

It’s natural to be nervous when the markets head for negative territory. Keep a positive perspective with these six investing reminders. It can be very unsettling for investors when their portfolios and the markets start heading for the red and …

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 …

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

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

blueridge2

By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Job Well Done!

town of purcellville sign

Kudos to Town Manager Rob Lohr and his awesome hard working staff. You did a fantastic job of snow removal throughout the Town of Purcellville this past week. Mr. Lohr …

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 …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016

eaglescout

Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

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8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

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Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015

benkellog

Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

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Calendar

February 2016
M T W T F S S
1 2 3

Loudoun Valley Boys Basketball Spirit Night at Coach's Corner

4

Music Together Classes - Winter Session

5

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

6

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

7

5K Race to Benefit Riverside High School Athletic Department

8 9 10 11

Music Together Classes - Winter Session

12

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

13

Loudoun Centre Theater: HAIRSPRAY

14

Gallery Coffeehouse: READERS THEATRE "LOVE LETTERS" BY A. R. GURNEY

15 16 17

Mad Cap Puppets: UNDER THE BONSAI TREE

18 19

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

20

CHINESE NEW YEAR EVENT: Year Of The Monkey

21

Loudoun Symphony presents A LITTLE CHAMBER MUSIC

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

Gallery Coffeehouse: THE COMEDY CULT IMPROV

22 23 24 25 26 27

THE EDGE: Malone Benefit Concert

28

Loudoun School of Ballet Winter Showcase

29 1 2 3 4

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

5

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

6

VSA of Loudoun Spring Musical: SPECTRUM’S JOURNEY

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theatre, 100 Lunches" by Jack Sharkey & Leo Sears

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Lifestyle

Run and Walk To Your Nearest 5K Pregame Event Happening on Super Bowl Day In Leesburg

3 Feb 2016

runandwalk

There is a new Running Company, the Pace Makers Running Company, in town and they are on a mission to help the local population with their health goals while raising money for selected charities. The race at The National Conference Center in Leesburg on February 7, is to help benefit the Riverside High School Athletic Department. The upcoming race on …

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Lovin’ Leesburg for All Its Beauty

3 Feb 2016

lovinleesburgrealestate1

By Hannah Hager We may be in the thick of winter, but this home on Cherry Spring Lane will melt your heart. Come spring you’ll fully be able to enjoy this simple, yet elegant brick home and its surrounding green pastures enclosed by miles of black wooden fences. Beyond your immediate yard are sweeping views of the mountains and valleys …

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6th Annual Loudoun Grown Expo February 27

3 Feb 2016

loudoungrownexpo

It’s that exciting time of year again for the Sixth Annual Loudoun Grown Expo. The yearly event will take place at the Bush Tabernacle 250 South Nursery Avenue, Purcellville, on February 27 with new expanded hours starting at 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There will be wine and beer exhibitors, farm exhibitors, artisans and makers, restaurants and other rural economy …

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Around Virginia

Education Savings Accounts Make Big Move in House

Dave_larock

The Virginia House of Delegates gave a strong push to House Bill 389, Delegate Dave LaRock’s (R-33rd District) innovative Education Savings Account legislation, as the House Education Committee voted 13-9 in favor of advancing the bill forward. “This is definitely an exciting development for parents and students in the Commonwealth,” …

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Kaine to Hold Hearing on Opioid Abuse

Kaine

On Monday, February 1, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, will hold a field hearing in Loudoun County to examine the ongoing fight against opioid misuse and abuse among older Americans. Kaine has met with families, law enforcement and business leaders across Virginia …

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Youth Can Apply for 2015 Livestock Exhibitor Scholarships

Virginia_seal

Youth who exhibited beef cattle, sheep, meat goats or swine in the 2015 State Fair of Virginia 4-H and FFA youth livestock program are eligible to apply for 12 new scholarships being offered by the State Fair of Virginia. Scholarships will be offered in three age groups: Juniors (9-12), Intermediate …

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Sports

Western Loudon Volleyball Club “Hitmen” Team Finishes Second

3 Feb 2016

westernloudounvolleyballclub

The Western Loudon Volleyball Club U14 boys team, called the “Hitmen,” finished second in a tournament held January 17. This is the first ever boys team for the WLVBC (and only the second boys club in the area). Coach Allan Kotmel led the seven-member team. WLVBC started eight years ago, …

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ODFC West Travel Soccer Program Shines

2 Dec 2015

ODFCsoccerpics

The Old Dominion Football Club West boys and girls middle school travel soccer program scored big the weekend of November 21 and 22.  The girls Quest Premier 22 team took home the championship in the U12 Girls Premier Division of the Hunt Country Classic located in Fauquier County. The boys …

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