And finally… GETTYSBURG REDRESS: “We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them, and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of.” Words written by the editors of the Gettysburg Patriot & Union newspaper 150 years ago in a review of president Abraham Lincoln’s famed address — and for which the paper’s present-day editors have now issued a retraction. ”Better late than never,” Honest Abe probably would have said. (Patriot & Union via CNN)
And finally… INSTAGRAM NOT ON THE MENU: A study shows that foodies who takes pictures of their meals are more likely to lose their appetites… after seeing what their food looks like in photos. Up next: a study that says selfies make you masturbate less. (NY Post)
(Hilarious stock photo by Shutterstock via the Post)
TV DOC, PLUMBER SAVE TOURIST: When a New York City cab jumped the curb and severed a British tourist’s foot, at least two folks went to work: plumber Dave Justino and a famous TV doctor, whose studio is nearby. Justino fashioned a torniquet from his work belt and stopped the bleeding before paramedics arrived. The tourist will survive. ”Just did what needed to be done, guys,” said Justino. ”There’s no hero. Just Dave the plumber.” That’s Dave the fucking Plumber, y’all. (WCBS TV)
The fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods — all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy and the most severe drought in decades and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence.
Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it’s too late. …I urge this Congress to get together, (and) pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on a few years ago. But, if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take now and in the future to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.
– PRESIDENT OBAMA, remarking on the need to address climate change, during the State of the Union
Die-hard republican climate denier breaks down in tears after seeing the climate change movie, Chasing Ice. This is her reaction just as she leaves the theater. The poor lady is trembling and crying as she apologizes to her children. Reblog if you can, thanks a lot!
The Guardian's gallery of photos from Venice underwater is positively fascinating. For one, keeping all that electrical work above the waterline so that residents don’t get electrocuted is amazing. And I know the deluge is a regular event, but this year’s floods are the worst seen in years, and… climate change, anyone?
Yes, yes, it’s unsophisticated to blame any given storm on climate change. Men and women in white lab coats tell us—and they’re right—that many factors contribute to each severe weather episode. Climate deniers exploit scientific complexity to avoid any discussion at all.
Clarity, however, is not beyond reach. Hurricane Sandy demands it: At least 40 U.S. deaths. Economic losses expected to climb as high as $50 billion. Eight million homes without power. Hundreds of thousands of people evacuated. More than 15,000 flights grounded. Factories, stores, and hospitals shut. Lower Manhattan dark, silent, and underwater.
An unscientific survey of the social networking literature on Sandy reveals an illuminating tweet (you read that correctly) from Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. On Oct. 29, Foley thumbed thusly: “Would this kind of storm happen without climate change? Yes. Fueled by many factors. Is storm stronger because of climate change? Yes.” Eric Pooley, senior vice president of the Environmental Defense Fund (and former deputy editor of Bloomberg Businessweek), offers a baseball analogy: “We can’t say that steroids caused any one home run by Barry Bonds, but steroids sure helped him hit more and hit them farther. Now we have weather on steroids.”
“Climate change is not a hoax. More drought and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future.”
Farmers across the United States hoped for rain in July 2012 as a drought of historic proportions parched key commodity crops, including corn, soybeans, and wheat. On July 11, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that more than 1,000 counties in 26 states qualified as natural disaster areas—the largest total area ever declared a disaster zone by the agency.
The extent of the damage to crops is depicted in this vegetation anomaly map based on data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. The map contrasts plant health in the central United States between June 25 and July 10, 2012, against the average conditions between 2002 and 2012. Brown areas show where plant growth was less vigorous than normal; cream colors depict normal levels of growth; and green indicates abnormally lush vegetation. Data was not available in the gray areas due to snow or cloud cover. The image is based on the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a measure of how much plant leaves absorb visible light and reflect infrared light. Drought-stressed vegetation reflects more visible light and less infrared than healthy vegetation.
The most severe damage to crops appears to be centered on Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Crops in much of the upper Midwest—southern Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and western Tennessee—also show signs of strain. States in the Mountain West that are in the midst of a busy wildfire season—Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado—have also experienced marked declines in the health of vegetation. The drought has been less severe in Iowa, a key corn-growing state.
This drought, like all extreme weather events, has its direct cause in a complex set of atmospheric conditions that produce short-term weather. However, weather occurs within the broader context of climate, and there’s widespread agreement among scientists that the climate is changing due to human activity.