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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-2015, 08:16 PM
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Sorry - I forgot to answer your question about who's funding the Blob studies. Most of the work has been piggybacked on other studies, and there are lots of people out there doing research that bears on it (hence the need for a workshop of people who happen to have data - they hardly ever talk otherwise!). The state and federal governments fund a lot of the research, though our new congress is trying to cut all funding for earth science. Apparently if we stop learning about global climate change, it will go away. There is funding from private foundations as well, though it tends to be small. A lot of it is unfunded - people just use their time to do science that interests them, and try to get funding after something interesting pops up. But I'm guessing the bulk of the funding comes through NOAA, NSF, DOE, a little from NASA and the Navy.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-2015, 10:42 PM
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Good science always generates more questions; sometimes not as many answers!

I have a few as a result of this discourse:

You mentioned an abundance of plastic particles in the oceans and we have all heard of the massive raft of garbage floating in the mid-Pacific. Would either of these phenomenon cause an insulating effect that would hinder the transfer of solar heat back to the atmosphere from the water? Is the water more absorbent of heat? After all, cozy fleece clothing is plastic....

Oil is mostly biogenic in origin, as is coal. Some oil is believed to have formed abiogenically from meteor impacts, but that represents a very small portion of producible oil. If all that oil and coal was once living plant matter, wouldn't that indicate the the amount of free carbon in the environment has been naturally diminished over the eons? When it was live plant matter, the planet was host to massive dinosaurs that each consumed tons of food every week. Wouldn't that indicate that the earth was more hospitable to life in its prior state than it is now?

I might be a great project for a grad student.
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2015, 12:20 AM
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Excellent points and questions, Alex. And yes, science seems to generate more questions than answers. But with luck they are better questions!

The floating plastic will probably increase the heat absorption of the water, though that will depend on its albedo. Phytoplankton are designed to absorb light; they can cause a fraction of a degree of warming if they are dense enough. There are some interesting studies (mostly computer models) of that process. White plastic might be more reflective than water, and decrease the heating by sending the light back out. This is actually one proposal to decrease global warming: float a bunch of plastic "icebergs" in the ocean to reflect the sunlight. (It's a very, very bad idea.)

Black plastic, on the other hand, might contribute to heating of the water - probably less than phytoplankton (no metabolism, lots of reflection). So, in spite of all the other things that floating plastic does (poison organisms, tangle things, ruin digestive systems, etc.), warming the water is probably not a major one.

Both the amount of CO2 and O2 have decreased in the atmosphere over the last billion years. Interestingly, the oxygen that you're breathing is about half due to phytoplankton in the ocean. Back when the Earth was formed, there was no atmospheric oxygen - it was a "reducing" atmosphere. About 3 billion years ago, photosynthesis evolved in the oceans, and the phytoplankton started producing oxygen as a waste product of photosynthesis. Over about 1 billion years, they gradually farted out so much oxygen that they converted the atmosphere from its thermodynamically stable state (reducing) to an atmosphere dominated by oxygen (which we have at present). There was a time (I think it was about 1 billion years ago, but I could be wrong) when the oxygen concentration was many times higher than it is now. During that period organisms could get quite huge without needing lungs, so we have dragonflies with meter-long wingspans. Over the last few tens of millions of years, the CO2 and O2 have been fairly stable in the atmosphere - until the last 100 years, when CO2 has risen remarkably fast, and to levels that we haven't seen in several million years. The really important point, though, is that the ratio of CO2 to O2 to N2 in the atmosphere has never (as far as we know) looked like it does right now. We've never had so much CO2 relative to O2. This is because biological processes are fairly tightly coupled: plants use up CO2 and produce O2 in a fairly fixed ratio, while consumers use up O2 and produce CO2 in the same ratio. So when CO2 goes up, so does O2. That's not happening now: CO2 is going up, but O2 is not. That's part of the problem.
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2015, 02:31 AM
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The really important point, though, is that the ratio of CO2 to O2 to N2 in the atmosphere has never (as far as we know) looked like it does right now. We've never had so much CO2 relative to O2. This is because biological processes are fairly tightly coupled: plants use up CO2 and produce O2 in a fairly fixed ratio, while consumers use up O2 and produce CO2 in the same ratio. So when CO2 goes up, so does O2. That's not happening now: CO2 is going up, but O2 is not. That's part of the problem.
Perhaps that explains the increase of ADD and lower IQs in humans.
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Old 05-08-2015, 04:12 AM
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Perhaps that explains the increase of ADD and lower IQs in humans.
That and all the shite being put in what is classed as food these days. Not to mention the poison, Flouride being forced upon the people through drinking water, especially you guys in the U.S.
Flouride was first introduced in drinking water by the Nazi's in the POW camps and death camps to help keep the prisoners dumbed down and calm.

Last edited by Okami; 05-08-2015 at 04:15 AM.
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2015, 10:05 AM
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I do drink a lot of tap water and am fairly calm...
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Old 05-08-2015, 11:33 AM
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I do drink a lot of tap water and am fairly calm...
Seriously, I'd recommend You put high quality filters in Your home to filter out the fluoride.
Big Berkey Water Filter - Free Shipping + 50% Off On Selected Items !

More people drink fluoridated water in the US alone than in the rest of the world combined. In Western Europe, for instance, 97 percent of the population drinks non-fluoridated water.
Fluoride is a waste product, and the main ingredient in many rat poisons
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2015, 03:11 PM
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I do drink a lot of tap water and am fairly calm...
I wear a tin foil hat, it protects me from everything.

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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2015, 03:52 PM
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Curiously, San Diego does not fluoridate its water.

Almost any compound is poisonous in large quantities. Arsenic, for instance, is required by the body in trace amounts. But in large amounts, it will kill you. Same with iron, zinc, manganese, copper, cadmium, strontium, and even water. Fluoride is a good example of such a compound.

And, while tin foil is good for filtering out the mind rays, what you really want is a lead-lined hat, John and Rutager.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 05-08-2015, 04:02 PM
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And, while tin foil is good for filtering out the mind rays, what you really want is a lead-lined hat, John and Rutager.
My lead-lined hat is for formal occasions only.

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