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When Will Norfolk and Virginia Beach Have To Be Abandoned?

March 14, 2013 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on When Will Norfolk and Virginia Beach Have To Be Abandoned?

“[F]ive meters of sea level rise … is at the low end of what we should expect and is now almost certainly locked-in. We may be able to slow it down but it is highly unlikely that we can prevent it from happening.” Tony Noerpel [1]

I based this assessment on evidence from the recent paleoclimate record including two previous interglacials in the Pleistocene Epoch: the Eemian (about 125,000 years ago) and the Holsteinian (about 400,000 years ago) and the mid Pliocene Epoch (about three million years ago). While there is considerable evidence going back over the entire Cenozoic Era which includes all Geological time since the dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, the Earth was a different place much older than the beginning of the Pliocene Epoch, 5.3 million years ago due to plate tectonics. The Isthmus of Panama land bridge between North and South America formed about 3.5 million years ago modifying the ocean currents and heat transport from the tropics to the polar regions. It therefore seems a reasonable assumption that extreme climates after this time may be good analogues to the current climate event since the locations of continents and ocean circulation have been the same. The caveat is that human emissions are increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide at a rate ten to hundred times faster than during any other identified event in Earth history during the last 300 million years with the exception of collisions with asteroids such as the one which slammed into the Gulf of Mexico 65 million years ago, killing all the dinosaurs. Climate Scientist Andrew Glikson pointed out that: “asteroid collisions result in instantaneous release of carbon dioxide from the impacted, melted and vaporized target rocks, including carbonates and shale, and so release carbon dioxide much faster than the rate of human combustion of fossil fuels.” … Continue Reading

The Con in Economics


“In so far as a theory can be said to have assumptions at all, in so far as their realism can be judged independently of the validity of predictions, the relation between the significance of a theory and the realism of its assumptions is almost the opposite of that suggested by the view under criticism. Truly important and significant hypotheses will be found to have assumptions that are wildly inaccurate descriptive representations of reality and, in general, the more significant the theory, the more unrealistic the assumptions.” Milton Friedman [1].

I first read this remarkable passage by Milton Friedman a few years ago in Steve Keen’s book Debunking Economics [2]. Keen is one of only twelve economists to have predicted the recent great recession [3] so he is entirely credible. Still I’m a skeptical person and with due respect to Friedman I had to read the original paper. Even assuming Keen’s quote is accurate and it is; it may have been taken out of context, and it is not. I found Friedman’s remark so outrageous that I had to comment on it, and apparently so did a whole lot of other people. I came across the original paper along with several critiques by other economists, including Paul Samuelson, and philosophers, including Ernest Nagel, in Bruce Caldwell’s book Appraisal and Criticism in Economics, A book of Readings [4]. Economic methodology is an esoteric subject even for economists but the selections in the book are interesting and expose us to yet another example of how not to think. … Continue Reading

Willfully Ignorant

February 20, 2013 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Willfully Ignorant

“Unless we take action on climate change, future generations will be roasted, toasted, fried and grilled.” IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, [1].

“The natural state of the Earth with present carbon dioxide levels is one with sea levels about 70 feet higher than now.” Kenneth Miller [2].

“Science Literacy is a vaccine against the charlatans of the world that would exploit your ignorance.” Neil deGrasse Tyson. … Continue Reading

Bursting the Ideological Bubble

January 16, 2013 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Bursting the Ideological Bubble

“We now live in a culture in which it is entirely possible to live the vast majority of one’s life inside a[n] ideological bubble.” Slaughter and Gutenson [1]

“Right action trumps right doctrine and even legally correct ideology when all is said and done.” Slaughter and Gutenson [1]

“The problem that faces our societies is that we have developed industries and policies that were appropriate at a certain moment, but now start to reduce human welfare, like for example the oil and car industry. Their political and financial power is so great and they can prevent change. It is my expectation that they will succeed. This means that we are going to evolve through crisis, not through proactive change.” Dennis Meadows [2]

A year ago I read the book Hijacked; Responding to the Partisan Church Divide, by evangelical pastors Mike Slaughter and Charles Gutenson [1]. It made a deep impression on me and has been a topic I wanted to address but was fearful of appearing overly critical. So let me state up front that I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it. Additionally, I admire and respect both authors for their good works (right actions) and their commitments to social justice. Hopefully, my comments will be considered conversational rather than argumentative. … Continue Reading

Year in Review

December 26, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Year in Review

Happy Holidays and a Review of a Few of the Year’s Important Climate Papers

“Rates of sea level rise reached at least 1.2 m per century during all major episodes of ice-volume reduction.” Grant et al. [1]

Several recent papers have compared the climate projection of the International Panel on Climate change (IPCC) assessments with the subsequent historic record. These include Brysse et al. [2]; Rahmstorf, Foster and Cazenave [3]; and another paper by Frame and Stone [4]. David Frame and Daithi Stone compare the projections from the first assessment report published in 1990, more than 20 years ago, with the climate history to date. They conclude that “the climate is responding to enhanced levels of GHGs in accordance with historical expectations.” Climate in this context is averaged surface temperature. … Continue Reading

The New Normal

December 4, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The New Normal

“There is a new normal of new extremes and we have to be prepared for it. And the reason we have this new normal of new extremes is because global climate change is happening and is real. And we’ve tolerated the deniers for far too long in this body. But we have to face the fact that the deniers are wrong. They are just plain dead wrong. And we have to deal with that, and I think some of the courtesies that we have given to one another collegially really have to yield to the fact that some of the things that are being said in the Senate, and occasionally regrettably in this committee chamber, are just plain wrong.” – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), November 29, 2012

From http://www.skepticalscience.com/2012-SkS-Weekly-Digest_48.html

It is a pleasure to read that we have at least one honest politician. Thank you Senator Whitehouse. And speaking of honest politicians, former Vice-President Al Gore sponsors an organization called Climate Reality which trains volunteers to give a presentation on climate change. I’ve seen it three times. It is a visceral description of all of the climate related disasters humans have experienced over the last few years. I recommend attending if you get the chance. Too often we are only aware of those disasters which impact us directly or which impact the United States without realizing that climate change disasters are a global phenomenon. … Continue Reading

Once a Turkey

November 18, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Once a Turkey

“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

After spending a record amount of money (about $50 per voter in combined Democrat and Republican campaign spending) [1], Republicans are conceding that they suffered a devastating loss on Election Day. Republicans are questioning their “messaging”, strategy and tactics. Some of the party faithful are questioning the choice of “messenger”, whether Romney was too moderate or too far to the right. According to the Washington Post [2] however, they are not questioning their “message”, or the philosophical underpinnings of the party. … Continue Reading

Introducing the Loudoun Transition Initiative

November 13, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Introducing the Loudoun Transition Initiative
Loudoun Transition

By Will Stewart

Will Stewart is an engineer trained in the design of energy generation, HVAC, and solar design. He also is an enthusiastic gardener, fruit and nut landscape designer/orchardist, and all-around supporter of sustainable practices. He is the current president of Sustainable Loudoun and an avid bicycle commuter.

Sustainable Loudoun, George Washington University, and REHAU, are hosting a public forum at the Loudoun George Washington University, Loudoun Campus , 20101 Academic Way, Ashburn VA on the evening of November 30 to discuss the Loudoun Transition Initiative. Co-sponsors include Harris Teeter, providing food and Corcoran Winery providing wine. Doors open Friday, November 30 at 6:00 p.m. In addition to food and refreshments we will have local businesses displaying alternative energy and energy efficiency products. Presentations begin at 7:00 p.m. … Continue Reading

Scientists Measure Minimum Distance between Republicans and Reality: 46.6 billion Light Years

November 1, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Scientists Measure Minimum Distance between Republicans and Reality: 46.6 billion Light Years

Physicists at Eastern West Virginia University in Martinsburg led by researcher Claude Strudel have established the minimum distance between Republicans and the rest of us by examining their core scientific concepts and comparing them to the physical laws that govern our own universe. They conclude that Republicans must inhabit a parallel or alternate universe, the Republican universe or Re-verse, with entirely different physical laws. This places Republicans at a distance at least half the width of the known universe from the rest of us or more than 46.6 billion light years or more than 274,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles. Their results have been published in the scientific journal Nature Astropsychology. … Continue Reading

Sea Ice in Free Fall and 100 Million Little Boys

October 23, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Sea Ice in Free Fall and 100 Million Little Boys

“Arctic sea ice extent averaged for September 2012 was 3.61 million square kilometers (1.39 million square miles). This was 3.43 million square kilometers (1.32 million square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average extent. September 2012 ice extent was 690,000 square kilometers (266,000 square miles) less than the previous record low for the month that occurred in 2007.” – From the National Snow and Ice Center web site [1] … Continue Reading

The Real Romney

October 6, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on The Real Romney

“A rise of twenty meters would roughly approximate to the sea level some three million years ago, in the Pliocene Epoch, before the beginning of the Ice Ages. This is probably a conservative mid- to long term projection for global warming.” Jan Zalasiewicz [1]

The Reality

In my last article [2] I wrote that five meters or 17 feet of sea level rise was locked in. Of course, this estimate is at the low end of probability. Eventually sea level rise will likely be much higher, given the penchant of us humans to exploit everything in sight, and is highly unlikely to be lower. My time frame for achieving the 5 meter mark is one or two centuries but it keeps on rising after that. The consequences for our economy will be devastating, putting to bed all the silly economic arguments for not addressing climate change as these are based on deeply discounting the future or ignoring it altogether [3]. It also contradicts the Republican Party platform [4] which, in its only mention of climate change, criticizes President Obama for spending some inadequate amount of money worrying about it. Such expenditure we are reminded threatens our national security, as presumably our money would be better spent fighting yet another war for even more oil against yet another country which poses no threat to us. As you might expect, the Pentagon disagrees with the Republican Party position recognizing climate change as a national security threat. The Pentagon Quadrennial Defense Review Report published in February 2010 [5] states: “Climate change and energy are two key issues that will play a significant role in shaping the future security environment. Although they produce distinct types of challenges, climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked.” … Continue Reading

Last Tango in Tampa

September 11, 2012 Columns, Sustainable Planet, Uncategorized Comments Off on Last Tango in Tampa

“It has often been said that, if the human species fails to make a go of it here on Earth, some other species will take over the running….this is not correct. We have, or soon will have, exhausted the necessary physical prerequisites so far as this planet is concerned. With coal gone, oil gone, high-grade metallic ores gone, no species however competent can make the long climb from primitive conditions to high-level technology. [Civilization] is a one-shot affair. If we fail, this planetary system fails so far as intelligence is concerned.” – Astronomer Fred Hoyle.

I can see where this is going to be a pretty distressing read for anybody who is unaware of the consequences of climate change. I would remind you that we still are a very cool species. We are the only species to have been able to read rocks with enough competence to determine our possible fates. And we’ve managed to do it with enough time to positively act and change course. If we do drive ourselves into extinction, you can blame evolution. We are after all only what we are and evolution does not require perfection only adequacy. And it is fine to get angry with the people who are driving us there and it is quite within bounds to ridicule them. It will make you feel better and they deserve it. But there really is no “they”. We are all in this together. When I ridicule George Will, I am equally ridiculing the George Will within me. And with that, be joyful, be kind and read on. … Continue Reading

Check Sources and Follow the Money

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

“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









2016 Energy Summit – George Washington University


On Friday evening, October 28, George Washington University, Virginia Campus in Ashburn will host the 10th annual Don Sandros Energy Summit in cooperation with local businesses and non-profits. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a reception with wine donated by …

Attributing Disaster


“Humans are likely to create a catastrophe, and possibly an associated disaster, that vastly exceeds our own ability to recover from it. In the face of all our efforts, it will persist.” – Richard Guthrie [1] “Here we show that …

Concerned Parent


By Michael Oberschenider Psy.D. Dr. Mike, We recently signed our four-year-old daughter up for gymnastics. It wasn’t cheap, but her friends from the neighborhood do it, and she has been begging us to go. It turned out to be a …

Invisible Illnesses

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde It is general knowledge that when people think about illnesses, they don’t think about illnesses that aren’t physically apparent. Sure, people know about conditions such as multiple sclerosis and other diseases with visible symptoms, but many …

Robinson Park

robinson park

Looking back, now – I’m glad it wasn’t what most people would’ve considered a nice day; I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my share of hot and sunny to last me for at least a generation (especially since …

Are Your Estate and Financial Plans Shock-Proof?


Don’t wait until “what if?” becomes “what is.” Where will you live as you age? Think about your housing options now, so you have choices and won’t have to make a hasty decision should an unexpected health event force you …

In Defense of ‘Adulting’


By Samuel Moore-Sobel Most friends transitioning from college to the workforce long for the days of college, wishing to be back in class and participating in campus life. To be honest, I may be in the minority, but I have …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016


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


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


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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October 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
September 26, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 27, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 28, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 29, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 30, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

October 1, 2016

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

October 2, 2016
October 3, 2016 October 4, 2016 October 5, 2016 October 6, 2016 October 7, 2016 October 8, 2016

Virginia Outdoors Foundation 50 years of Conservation Celebration

October 9, 2016
October 10, 2016 October 11, 2016 October 12, 2016

Barefoot Puppets: Dreamtime, Tales From Down Under

October 13, 2016 October 14, 2016 October 15, 2016

Loudoun Centre Theatre: The Scamps Of Scapin!

October 16, 2016

Harvest Celebration & Fall Farm Tour


October 17, 2016 October 18, 2016 October 19, 2016 October 20, 2016 October 21, 2016

Anthony Semiao Live at North Gate Vineyard


October 22, 2016 October 23, 2016

Come Paint with us at Breaux Vineyards

October 24, 2016 October 25, 2016 October 26, 2016 October 27, 2016 October 28, 2016

October Fourth Friday

October 29, 2016

2 Pound Sterling Live at North Gate VIneyard

October 30, 2016

Music With A Cause - Music of Colonial America

October 31, 2016 November 1, 2016 November 2, 2016 November 3, 2016 November 4, 2016 November 5, 2016

OysterFest at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

November 6, 2016
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Steady and NoBull


Leesburg-Daybreak Rotary Club Sends Supplies and Funds to Haiti

24 Oct 2016


The Rotary Club of Leesburg-Daybreak shipped water purification supplies and emergency funds to Haiti following the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew. Partnering with an anonymous local corporation, the club shipped 3,000 water purification tablet packages via FedEx to Haiti. These packages, which were sent to an area battling a cholera outbreak, will clean 3,000 liters of unsafe water. Instructions translated …

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Veteran’s Day 10k Raises Funds for Veteran Causes

13 Oct 2016


On November 6, the Loudoun County Road Runners Club will again conduct the annual Loudoun 10K Trail Race in order to raise funds for veteran causes. Since it’s origin in 2011, the trail race has generated more than $90,000 with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to veteran’s charities, specifically Boulder Crest Retreat and Pets for Vets.

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FBRM Clean-Up Day at Blue Ridge Regional Park

6 Oct 2016


Join Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains for an Autumn clean-up to remove invasive vegetation from Blue Ridge Regional Park on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Some tools and equipment will be provided, but please bring your clippers, pruning shears, or saws if you can. Directions: From Leesburg, drive west on Route 7 past the turnoff …

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Grief and Greed


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 …


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


– 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


– 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

New Proposed Uses for Western Loudoun

Loudoun County Seal Color

If you live in the middle or western part of Loudoun where you enjoy a parcel of open space near your property (which probably was put into an open space …

Bennett Knows How To Make Economy Work for All


In the election for the 10th District House seat, only one candidate has a more than three decades of success growing a local business. As the owner of a successful …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm


By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

History’s Holy Places: Four Local Sites Worth Exploring This Fall


The Journey through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide trek from Gettysburg to Monticello, encompassing nine presidential homes and places, 18 national and state parks, and thousands of small and large historical sites. Dozens and dozens of these sites and related museums are short ride from just about …

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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


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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Hunter’s First Professional Race

7 Sep 2016


Drew Hunter and Loudoun Valley classmates at his first professional race, Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh, NC in early August , l to r:  Marcos Pierce, Matt Slook, Drew Hunter, Max McNerney. Hunter finished with a time of 3:57.15. Hunter turned professional and signed with Adidas.

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Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016


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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