Tag Archives: politics

The Dark Side of Gaia

I was reminded tonight of the Gaia hypothesis. It was quite a thing in the 1970s.

The Gaia hypothesis, named after the ancient Greek goddess of Earth, posits that Earth and its biological systems behave as a huge single entity. This entity has closely controlled self-regulatory negative feedback loops that keep the conditions on the planet within boundaries that are favorable to life. Introduced in the early 1970s, the idea was conceived by chemist and inventor James E. Lovelock and biologist Lynn Margulis.

This had a natural appeal in the early days of the environmental movement. I was skeptical back then, thinking of it as new age wishful thinking, and impossible to test. I was wrong: Its origins are far darker. Here is the abstract of Gas Guzzling Gaia, or: A Prehistory of Climate Change Denialism:

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Monday Night Irish Class, November 14, 2016

Irish Class, November 14, 2016

Rang Gaeilge, 14ú lá Mí na Samhna 2016


Fadas: áéíóúÁÉÍÓÚ


Dé Máirt seo caite

“Seachas an run sin, Mrs. Lincoln. ar thaitin an dráma leat?”


banlámh cubit f
Is fearr banlámh den lá ná dhá bhanlámh den oiche. It is better to start early than to work late. Lit. “Better one cubit in the day than two cubits at night.”

Nobody in the class had any idea how Irish folklore turned a unit of length (cubit) into an expression of time. Seems like relativity 🙂

Léigh tuilleadh

No, they were not predicting an ice age.

What were climate scientists predicting in the 1970s?

The fact is that around 1970 there were 6 times as many scientists predicting a warming rather than a cooling planet.

Their papers showed that the growing amount of greenhouse gasses that humans were putting into the atmosphere would cause much greater warming – warming that would exert a much greater influence on global temperature than any possible natural or human-caused cooling effects.

A hero of our age

Beheaded Syrian scholar refused to lead Isis to hidden Palmyra antiquities

He was a world-renowned scholar of antiquities, enchanted into his old age by Syria’s fabled city of Palmyra, which he called among the most beautiful in the world.

Not far from the spectacular Roman ruins he had spent decades safeguarding, 82-year-old Khaled Asaad met a brutal end at the hands of the militants of Islamic State, relatives and colleagues said Wednesday.

Asaad, the retired director of Palmyra’s antiquities and museum, was publicly beheaded Tuesday in a main square of the modern-day Syrian city of Tadmur, adjoining the ruins, according to a monitoring group and Syria’s antiquities chief. His executioners publicly displayed the bloodied corpse, they said.

A view from abroad

Charleston massacre: The latest American mass killing

The regularity of mass killings breeds familiarity. [….] Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard them the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing. This may, however, be a bit unfair. China seems to be making progress on pollution.