Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Climate Change

I just learned today that temperature records of the Earth only started being kept around 1850. 167 years ago.

Conversely, for the past 3 years, I've worked among geologists and, recently, edited a 400-page textbook detailing the history of Texas geology for the past 1.7 billion years.

Our planet itself is said to be  4.5 billion years old:

We're currently officially in an "Ice Age" (within an Ice Age, there are "glacial" and "interglacial" periods; Earth is currently in an interglacial period):

Interglacial optimum

An interglacial optimum, or climatic optimum of an interglacial, is the period within an interglacial that experienced the most 'favourable' climate that occurred during that interglacial, often during the middle part. The climatic optimum of an interglacial follows, and is followed by, phases that are within the same interglacial and that experienced a less favourable climate (but nevertheless a 'better' climate than during the preceding/succeeding glacials). During an interglacial optimum, sea levels rise to their highest values, but not necessarily exactly at the same time as the climatic optimum.
In the present interglacial, the Holocene, the climatic optimum occurred during the Subboreal (5 to 2.5 ka BP, which corresponds to 3000 BC-500 BC) and Atlanticum (9 to 5 ka, which corresponds to roughly 7000 BC-3000 BC). Our current climatic phase following this climatic optimum is still within the same interglacial (the Holocene). This warm period was followed by a gradual decline until about 2,000 years ago, with another warm period until the Little Ice Age (1250-1850).

Alternating with Ice Ages over the past 4.5 billion years are Greenhouse periods:

 The Eocene, which occurred between 53 and 49 million years ago, was the Earth's warmest temperature period for 100 million years.[13] However, this "super-greenhouse" soon became an icehouse by the late Eocene. It was believed that the decline of CO2 caused this change, though there are possible positive feedbacks, or added influence that contributes to the cooling.
The best record we have for a transition from an icehouse to a greenhouse period where plant life exists is during the Permian epoch that occurred around 300 million years ago. In 40 million years a major transition took place, causing the Earth to change from a moist, icy planet where rainforests covered the tropics, into a hot, dry, and windy location where little could survive.

Modern conditions
Currently, the Earth is in an icehouse climate state. About 34 million years ago, ice sheets began to form in Antarctica; the ice sheets in the Arctic did not start forming until 2 million years ago.[5] Some processes that may have led to our current icehouse may be connected to the development of the Himalayan Mountains and the opening of the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica.[citation needed] Scientists have been attempting to compare the past transitions between icehouse and greenhouse, and vice versa to understand where our planet is now heading.
Without the human influence on the greenhouse gas concentration, the Earth would be heading toward a glacial period. Predicted changes in orbital forcing suggest that in absence of human-made global warming the next glacial period would begin at least 50,000 years from now[17] (see Milankovitch cycles).
But due to the ongoing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, the Earth is instead heading toward a greenhouse earth period.[5] Permanent ice is actually a rare phenomenon in the history of the Earth, occurring only during the 20% of the time that the planet is under an icehouse effect.

In the 4.5 billion year history of the Earth, there have indeed been vast swings in climate. But said "vast swings" have taken place over millions of years. Earth temperature records have only been kept for the past 167 years. Because the last 10 years or so have been hotter than the average since 1850, people have suddenly surmised "We're killing ourselves!" Perhaps, instead, Earth is just doing what it's always done for the past 4.5 billion years.

RE the current dismay over the potential plight of polar bears:

Polar bears are thought to have diverged from a population of brown bears that became isolated during a period of glaciation in the Pleistocene[22] or from the eastern part of Siberia, (from Kamchatka and the Kolym Peninsula).[21]

In other words, polar bears started out as regular ol' brown bears. If they have to return to being regular ol' brown bears, it's not anywhere close to a drama or tragedy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Movin' Out!

I'll have some fond memories of this place. One, because it was the first genuine place I had after 4-1/2 years in a one-room apartment in Austin after returning from NYC (which I'd taken and then stayed in because I had no choice financially). My current/soon-to-be-former place, at nearly 800 sq ft, allowed me some space to express myself with my new-found money to buy furnishings.

The first thing I wanted after 4 years in one room was a study. Specifically a study that I could hang my 2 new Weehawken, New Jersey (circa 1898) prints in. I got a study, decorated it how I liked on my slightly expanded budget. (Love my "Thought Fox" pillow.) But within a week of my moving in to the apartment in February 2015, I soon discovered that the neighbor below me had his headquarters directly below my "study." Where he yelled (either at his wife or on the phone) for hours upon hours each evening. His yelling drove me completely out of the room within a couple of months. I never hung the Weehawken prints (was/am now still saving them for a special place). The room became just a storage place for my books.

I liked my living room.

But I didn't want to spend ALL of my time in it! I wasn't allowed a cable connection in the bedroom, so I often spent nights on my living room couch going to sleep while watching TV. And, because I was driven out of my study, I moved my computer to the kitchen table directly to the right of the living room --- instead of some sort of writing/reading "sanctuary," I instead got to hear all of the comings and goings from the parking lot and from the jerk hanging out next door.

And I liked my bedroom.

But almost entirely because of my own decorations. The bedroom, too, had a parking lot right outside. And an apartment staircase right behind the wall. And, as it turned out, the bedroom wall, advertised as "not adjoining" anything, did indeed adjoin the punk 20-something next door, with whom I had a music battle for 3 months last August through October (eventually quieted by the apartment manager after my many complaints).

In October 2015, I had the first apartment flood. Repeated again 4 times in the past month (December 2016 thru January 2017).

The fifth flood was the last straw. My lease wasn't officially up until much later this year, but upon the last non-fixed roof leak (last Friday), I now have "permission" to move out early!!! For the past few months, I'd been mentally counting down the long months... Now, I'm moving very soon, at a date that I chose, which is many months sooner than when my official lease was up. (Apartment management was, perhaps, grateful, that I didn't pursue a big, stinking lawsuit.)

I actually liked this place, space-wise and location-wise. The leaks I didn't like, of course. But... had there not been the obnoxious yelling man downstairs, I probably would have stayed. (The recent loud music and last year's loud kids, the management took care of. But there was still the ongoing loud motorcycle guy and firecracker kids and partying kids, etc. Always something constantly going on. The loud man is the primary reason, though; according to management, that couple has been living in the apartment below me for a whopping 17 years. I would have NEVER escaped that man's voice.)

B'bye, place! Time to move on.

Things are extremely expensive in Austin right now, though. Although I have $1200 per month in my budget to spend for rent (I'm paying $1000 per month for the current shitty place), I have scoured Craig's List, and... I'm not going to get much better than what I have right now. What I'd like for the new place: (1) QUIET NEIGHBORS! (2) No children screaming in the daytime, no 20-somethings screaming in the nighttime. (3) My own washer and dryer. (4) A walking neighborhood? (Ha! If I truly want "quiet" and sans kids of all ages, I'm probably going to have to go west. I don't know "west." I'm pretty sure I hate "west." Much as I don't really like Austin now, I've always, for the past 30-something years, lived within the core of the city. And now I'm about to be driven out.)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Bay City Rollers Reunion in Manchester "Bye Bye Baby" 29th Dec 2015

Les McKeown, Woody Wood, Alan Longmuir --- 3 of the 5 original Bay City Rollers --- in Manchester, 2015, singing their very first hit from 1975.

Original '70s fan chant at beginning. And a rousing "Loch Lomond" at end.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Regina Spektor - Grand Hotel (with lyrics)

I woke up around 3am to THIS on the #2 Austin PBS TV station (KLRQ2) a couple of mornings ago. What the hell! So darkly interesting and surprising! Whatever show was on (Artists Den?) didn't ever identify the singer during the program while I watched. Had to do a Google search for "Grand Hotel" the next day and wade through millions of things to find out what uncomfortable, scary, and profound thing I'd just been through.

"Somewhere below the Grand Hotel
There is a tunnel that leads down to hell..."

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bay City Rollers - Bye Bye Baby (1975)

Bay City Rollers "Summerlove Sensation" (1974)

Favorite Teenage Albums

A friend on Facebook just asked "List 10 albums that made a lasting impression on you as a TEENAGER, but only one per band/artist." A few from this friend:

4. Atrium Musicae de Madrid - Musique de la Grèce antique
5. Jean-Michel Jarre - Oxygène
6. David Munrow - Instruments of the Middle Ages and Renaissance
7. Pink Floyd - Meddle
8. The Balinese Gamelan: Music From The Morning Of The World  

My most influential/most constantly listened to (from my first album at age 11 in 1976 to when I was a freshman in college in 1983) were more mundane:

Bay City Rollers "Dedication"
KISS "Double Platinum"
Cheap Trick "Live at Budokan"
Beatles "Rubber Soul"
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
Eurythmics "Touch"
Go-Gos "Beauty and the Beat"
The Knack "Get the Knack"
Paul McCartney "Tug of War"
Prince "Purple Rain"

I still listen to all of these today.

Cheap Trick: Look Out (Budokan 1978)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Donald Trump Calls CNN on Bullshit

What Trump Does For Me

Trump makes me feel that I'm not crazy because of how I felt when I moved from Austin to San Francisco to attend grad school in '94-'95.

I'd moved there after being in Austin for 10 years. Went thinking SF was still the town of Jack Kerouac and The Beats --- i.e., loose and creative. I was wrong. The writing program at San Francisco State was rigid and PC. I was mocked (by educated people) for being from Texas ("what do you do there for fun, toss cow chips?"); I was mocked for admitting (when asked by a poetry professor) that I'd been reading Norman Mailer the summer before; I was mocked by my thesis advisor (Frances Mayes, of "Under the Tuscan Sun" fame) for mentioning to her that my mother was German ("Germans always deny the Holocaust"). I was shut down when an in-house girl was going on about Ted Hughes, claiming that he'd "killed" "TWO wives" --- she wouldn't be placated when I pointed out that Assia Wevill was never a "wife."

Other crappy things: While there, I read in the paper that a girl "went missing" and then was found stuffed down a chimney. Her companions were identified, but the local police didn't follow up for months. Oh, until it turned out the girl had rich parents and subsequently put pressure on the police to figure it out. They didn't do it on their own.

I also hated the 1995 mayoral election that occurred during my time in SF: A black guy, an Asian, a lesbian, the incumbent "white guy," etc. The town claimed (and claims) to be "diverse" but the mayoral election was just each niche voting for each niche. The "black guy" Willie Brown won in a runoff, with the support of the "official lesbian" Roberta Trachtenburg, who'd lost earlier in the primary.

I hated that SF, while I was there in '94-'95, passed a law forbidding smoking on the streets. ("Never in Texas," I thought to myself at the time -- HA!) I hated that in SF I got a ridiculous ticket for jaywalking. ("Never in Texas," I thought to myself at the time -- not quite there yet.)

I hated the black guy on the bus who wouldn't pay his fare, even when a nice old white lady tried to hand him a dollar, thinking that he was poor rather than his just being an asshole thug trying to argue. We passengers sat there and sat there and sat there while the thug argued with the driver over nothing. I remember thinking "I wish I were back home in Texas; no self-respecting white guy would ever put up with this guy's shit."

I hated walking into a record store in San Francisco, and seeing "REDNECK" graffitti scrawled across a stand-up of George Strait. (When I lived in Texas, I never saw a similar "NIGGER" graffitti on any black artist's face in a record store.)

When I worked part-time in a movie theater on Geary Street, a female patron once came up to me at the popcorn stand and mentioned that she heard my "Southern accent." When I said I was from Texas, she whispered "conspiratorially": "I love Texas --- but there are too many MEXICANS." I was taken completely aback --- Living in Texas, I'd never thought anything about Hispanics or any other groups. In Texas, I'd never, ever heard any such thing as "There are too many Mexicans." Never until San Francisco, a so-called "diverse" town.

Another couple of racial things while I was working at the movie theater: One time, a group of teenaged Asian kids tried to sneak into the theater without paying. When caught, they actually yelled (to no one in particular) "You're all racist!" (The manager of the Geary Theater was Asian, by the way.) Another time, a couple of black women tried to sneak in; when I personally caught them, I got "Frizzy-haired white bitch!"

(A side-note: Years later, in 2003, I went back to SF for a showing of Joan Crawford's "Mildred Pierce" and meet-up with other Joan fans, mainly gay. While there, I was informed by a gay male Joan fan that there was a party that night --- but just for gay men. Solely because I was a woman, I wasn't invited. San Francisco in a psychotic nutshell.)

San Francisco was a shit-storm of chaos and irrationality. When I high-tailed it home to Texas the minute after getting my Master's degree, I thought I'd never have to see such idiocy again. In '95, that was the case. By 2016, though, I discovered that, to my horror, San Francisco "ethics" had somehow spread, like a cancer, across the country, into the formerly laid-backly rational Austin, into all national media. All that had so horrified me in SF had suddenly become the norm for the nation.

No escape, EVER? Trapped in a nightmare for the rest of my life?

After over 20 years... And after seeing the same cancerous psychotic behavior turn up nationwide... As it turned out... Trump might just be the escape. The last gasp of rationality. He sounds crude on the surface, but he actually makes nearly perfect sense.