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The Company We Keep

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“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 Freidman [1]

“I am increasingly convinced that the path to climate action is through the Republican Party.” – Yoram Bauman cited by N. Gregory Mankiw [2]

The logical process of ideology begins with conclusions and reasons backwards to assumptions. Those assumptions, even if wildly inaccurate descriptive representations of reality, are used to justify the desired conclusions. That a market based economy efficiently distributes scarce resources is the neo-liberal economist’s conclusion. If one assumes that all economic transactions are voluntary and all voluntary transactions leave both parties better off with no messy consequences one magically arrives at the desired result. In my last article I showed that economist N. Gregory Mankiw engages in just this sort of logical folly in his justification of extreme wealth inequality. He ignores the physics of randomness and inequality, the positive feedback between wealth and power accumulation, the dynamical nature of society and economics and in fact all of human history. … Continue Reading

Defending the Over-Pampered

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“The purpose of studying economics is to learn how not to be deceived by economists.” Joan Robinson, Professor of economics at Cambridge University, Basel Lecture, 1969.

“[W]hereas classisists [economists] turned the spotlight on change, flow, process and dynamics, the neoclassicists [economists] spend their time analyzing states of rest, balance, equilibrium.” – Yanis Varoufakis [1] … Continue Reading

Superforecasting a Book Review

July 25, 2016 Columns, Sustainable Planet Comments Off on Superforecasting a Book Review
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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
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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
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“[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
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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)
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“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

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“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
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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


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

The Company We Keep

noerpel_new

“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 Freidman [1] “I am increasingly convinced …

What Happens To My Stuff When I Die?

Smith0035

Amy and Dan Smith Only in the rarest of circumstances will the state receive the property of a decedent. Joint tenancy. If you hold property jointly with another person “with survivorship,” it is presumed that the survivor is entitled to …

Integrated Scientific Discovery

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde Many suggest that science is the gateway to the future. The rise in scientific discovery has driven more and more funding for research. The fact of the matter is, however, that science is far more complex …

A Man on the Move: Supervisor Ralph Buona, Vice Chairman Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Ralph Buona

By Samuel Moore-Sobel I first met Ralph Buona when I was a senior in high school. A “Youth in Government” day event allowed us to meet with our local supervisors. Chosen to sit next to the supervisor for my district, …

Dulles Air and Space Museum

airplane Dulles

You ever have those dreams, that (back – probably when you were a kid) you could fly? Not in any kind of man-made craft, mind you – I mean possessing the ability to levitate and travel the skies at will. …

New Book Helps Balance Children’s Screen-Time and Play Time

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By Amanda Clark Michael Oberschneider, a clinical psychologist and founder/director of Ashburn Psychological Psychiatric Services, has just released a book titled Ollie Outside. This book addresses the very timely and important topic of screen- and media-time management for children. Ollie …

Defending the Over-Pampered

noerpel_new

“The purpose of studying economics is to learn how not to be deceived by economists.” Joan Robinson, Professor of economics at Cambridge University, Basel Lecture, 1969. “[W]hereas classisists [economists] turned the spotlight on change, flow, process and dynamics, the neoclassicists …

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

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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

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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

September 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
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

September 5, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 6, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 7, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 8, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 9, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 10, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

A PLACE TO BE: A THOUSAND STEPS

September 11, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

Silk Scarf Painting with Penny

ART IN THE PARK

September 12, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 13, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 14, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 15, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 16, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 17, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 18, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

Artist Reception - Penny Hauffe

September 19, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 20, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 21, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

BLUE SKY PUPPETS: BARKER OF SEVILLE

September 22, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 23, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 24, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING WORKSHOP

FOBR Annual Meeting

5th Annual Leesburg Fine Art Festival

September 25, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

5th Annual Leesburg Fine Art Festival

Music With A Cause - Pas de Deux

Gallery Coffeehouse: The Comedy Cult Improv

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
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Lifestyle

Skate ‘Til Midnight at the Catoctin SkatePark Closing Party

23 Sep 2016

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Catoctin SkatePark will host a late night skate on Sunday, September 25, 2016, from 7:00 p.m. to midnight, before closing for construction. Enjoy one last ride at the original Catoction SkatePark! Construction of the new concrete skate park will begin in early October, but before the old skate park closes, you can celebrate the end of an era. On Sunday, …

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Middleburg Film Festival Announces “La La Land” As Its 2016 Centerpiece Film

20 Sep 2016

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The Middleburg Film Festival announced the highly anticipated film La La Land as its 2016 Centerpiece selection. La La Land, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, will screen on Saturday, October 22 with Oscar-nominated director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) in attendance. The Festival runs October 20 through October 23.

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Sterling Apple Festival To Be Held September 24 and 25

16 Sep 2016

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The Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum will be hosting the 12th annual Autumn Apple Festival on Saturday, September 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Sunday, September 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event will be held off Route 28 and Route 7 in Claude Moore Park in Sterling.

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Editorial

Grief and Greed

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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!

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– 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

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– 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

Comstock Understands National Security

Candidate Geary with wife

On 9-11, I attended three ceremonies throughout Loudoun County honoring and remembering those 2,977 souls that we lost on that day of infamy. Our Congresswoman, Barbara Comstock was also there …

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 …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

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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

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

outandaboutloudoun

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

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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Sports

Hunter’s First Professional Race

7 Sep 2016

hunterrace

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

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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