Somebody famous once asked “if time travel is possible, where are the time travelers?” Presumably they would disguise themselves to fit in, but you have to assume there would be lapses. Maybe the people we think are crazy are really time travelers. That might explain things. Or maybe the people who think they are time-travelers are crazy.

Thingy posted some musings of her own about Andrew Basiago’s story, and it set me thinking more about time travel. Personally, I’m quite confident that Basiago is either playing a hoax or else a bit touched in the head–I swear, “project Pegasus“. Really?– but I do wonder about it on a theoretical level.

The most plausible means of time travel was that I’ve read went something like this: if something could go into a black hole and not be destroyed, it could theoretically reappear at any point in the Universe and at any point in time. The problem is, nothing that we know of can survive going into a black hole. (Obviously, I’ve oversimplified a lot here, mostly because I don’t understand it too well myself. This might help.)

Then, of course, there are all the paradoxes that arise with time-travel. They make for good stories, but they also seem to suggest it’s impossible. Oh, well. It’s a question better minds than my own have had difficulty grappling with, I know that.

So, in my last post, I expressed some disbelief about the claim this one dude made that the government has time-traveling capability. But he also said they have teleporters, which even though highly unlikely, is at least theoretically possible. Even though I don’t think it’s true, it is fun to think about. So, naturally, I read up on teleportation.

It’s all pretty interesting; especially the part about how if teleportation were made possible for humans, it would mean that when a person steps into the teleporter he effectively “dies” and a clone is created on the other end. All in all, I think I’d prefer to take the bus. Still, it would be useful for moving stuff from place to place.

On the other hand, one of the major life lessons I’ve learned from video games is that teleportation experiments inevitably lead to an invasion of evil monsters from another dimension.

ThinkProgress has a good article about how global warming is causing the recent outbreaks of extreme weather. The article is worth reading in full,  and also includes this video, which does a pretty good job explaining things:

You know, my Republican friends often say: “What global warming? It’s nice and cool outside right now.” That’s why the term “climate change” was introduced; because “climate” is basically an averaging of what the weather is doing. So, global warming does not mean it will henceforth be warmer than previously all day, every day, but rather that the average trend is towards warming.

And moreover, slight changes in averages can have a major ripple effect throughout the whole system.

Well, I’m not a scientist, but the video features people who are. They explain everything pretty well.

(Hat Tip to Private Buffoon.)

I watched a NOVA program about the deadly 2011 tornadoes last night. One of the tornado researchers they interviewed said some thing to the effect that the way to prevent such tragedies is to improve warning systems, so that people get warned hours in advance.

Today I see that weather forecasters are predicting strong tornadoes in the Midwest for tomorrow. 24-hours warning; that’s pretty good. So, everyone in the danger zone should head to their safe-rooms or basements until Sunday.

The problem is, for many people, that’s unfortunately not practical. That’s why the idea of tornado prevention fascinates me so much, even though I suppose it’s more likely that we will figure out how to mass-produce tornado-proof buildings before we learn how to do that. I posted about it earlier this year, and I still wonder about how we could go about preventing tornadoes.

My layman’s understanding is that tornadoes form when a cold front hits a warm front, so it seems to me that something to either cool the warm front or warm the cold front is in order. So, why wouldn’t putting silver iodide into the warm front help? (Obviously it wouldn’t, because we’re not doing it,  but I still don’t quite understand why.)

This started out as a comment on Thingy’s blog, but for some reason, I couldn’t get it to accept it. Apparently, I fail the robot test.

I’m sorry, Blogger, I’m afraid I can’t do that.

Anyway, a guy named Robert Krulwich says that the color pink doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion in our minds. My understanding was that this was the case with all colors–they are just how our brains interpret light reflected at different wavelengths. And the scientist they quote in this Time magazine article says something similar.

When they say pink is made up color, I guess they mean that only the human eye is capable of perceiving it; that other eyes might not have blend the wavelengths the same way. Whereas, red wavelengths are still being reflected no matter what is looking at it. (That doesn’t mean they appear “red” to some non-human entity, but they are consistently seen as that wavelength.) If I’m reading this right.

Ok, I just confused myself. If anyone with actual knowledge reads this, please enlighten me. In the meantime, I’ll be re-reading Ambrose Bierce’s The Damned Thing for a crash course on why this matters.

We’ve had an unusually warm winter in the U.S, and yesterday there was a deadly outbreak of tornadoes. Here is a Reuters article by Deborah Zabarenko from over a week ago about experts in the field predicting a bad tornado season. To quote from the article:

Climate change is indirectly related to this forecast because strong thunderstorms create conditions where tornadoes can form, and strong thunderstorms could be fueled by the warmer-than-normal surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico, according to Paul Walker, senior meteorologist at Accuweather.

Obviously, you can’t say “it’s climate change” just based on two bad tornado seasons in a row. But it’s still an important–and tragic–data point.

I’ve often wondered if there’s any means of dissipating a tornado, or lessening its force somehow. They seem to have pretty good advance warning about them, so there might be time to put something together. I was reading about Project Stormfury, and even though it was a total failure, I wonder if it might be the germ of an idea for something worthwhile, either because tornadoes have different properties or else by seeding them with different substances. I also found this forum discussion on the topic of tornado prevention, for what it’s worth.

Or we could decide to believe that humanity has no impact on the environment. That’s also an option.

Fox News headline: “Alien life clues in Antarctic Ice?” The story says, in part:

[Scientists] don’t expect water samples from Lake Vostok will hold alien life, though any life it contains may have taken a slightly different evolutionary path than what appears on the planet today.

As the rest of the article goes on to say, it wouldn’t be “alien” life at all–just other forms of Earth life. So the headline is perhaps slightly misleading, although it does sound like it could hold some interesting stuff. But the scientists’ hopes that it will tell us something about alien life are all so heavily based on conjecture–they’re hoping to find life that might resemble life that might exist in some similar places that are “suspected” to be on the moons of Jupiter. It’s hard for me to get too excited about that.

I just wish they wouldn’t “hint at strange survival in terms which would freeze the blood if not masked by a bland optimism.” And it’s the Antarctic, which automatically demands a Mountains of Madness reference.

(Just so you know, I’ve always treated these real-life similarities with Lovecraftian tales as mere humorous coincidences.*)

*But sometimes, “I am inclined to wonder—and more than wonder.”

I see that Rick Santorum said at a campaign event “I’ve never supported even the hoax of global warming.” I’m sure this is quite a popular statement among his supporters. I know quite a few people who I’m sure applaud this claim.

Whenever I write about global warming, or climate change, or whatever you like to call it, I always feel obligated to mention that I’m not a climate scientist, and thus my opinion goes for very little.

I know that lots of credible scientists do say that there is such a thing as climate change–specifically, man-made climate change–so that’s a point in favor of that idea. But of course, they could be wrong. It can happen in science. Or, as some of my conservative friends suspect, they could be part of a massive liberal conspiracy. This strikes me as highly unlikely, but it is not actually possible to entirely disprove the allegation.

No, I rely on, as a conservative might say “good ol’ common sense.” Or should that be “commonsense”? Turning it into one word has been popular lately; it seems kind of like Newspeak to me, but whatever.

The world’s human population has just hit 7 billion recently–some say it happened last October, some say it a little later, but the point is there are more humans on the planet then ever before. The planet, however, has not grown to accommodate them.

Now, I believe the typical human body temperature is around 98.6 Fahrenheit. That means the planet now has more 98.6 degree furnaces on it than ever before. If you have a room with ten furnaces in it, and you put another furnace into the room, does the room become hotter?

Obviously, it’s a big planet. It can take quite a bit, so this isn’t going to have major repercussions. Maybe it doesn’t even register. Beats me. I don’t know the first thing about biology, chemistry or physics. But still, I assume it has some effect. It would be kind of weird if it didn’t, right?

When you add in the fact that humans have started engaging in activities over the last century that had never occurred previously in the history of the planet, you again have to suspect that this has some effect on the atmosphere. Again, if it’s not having some effect, it seems to me it means rethinking most of what we know about causality and the nature of reality.

What the probable effects of this are, I can’t tell. Trained climate scientists presumably can, but of course they, along with any members of the press who transmit their findings, will automatically be dismissed as members of the liberal conspiracy.

But it seems to me that believing in the general concept of human activity changing the climate does not require you to put any store by what these scientists say. It seems to me that it can be worked out by simple logic. I mean, if I could do it, surely anyone else could.

P.S. If anyone with any scientific training reads this, and has anything to add, for or against climate change, your comments would be most welcome.

You know, it’s rarely my intention when reading the news, to find things that sound like something out of an H.P. Lovecraft story. But these things just seem to happen. As National Geographic reports:

“Birds of a feather usually flock together—but not in the case of a rare “white” mutant penguin, spotted Monday in a chinstrap penguin colony in Antarctica.”

I’d never heard of anything other than normal black-and-white penguins–except, of course, in the pages of At the Mountains of Madness, where the giant albino penguins serve as fodder for the Shoggoths. Coming on the heels of news about a hidden mountain range in the Antarctic makes this even more disturbing.

Okay, so I’m kidding around. These kinds of stories don’t actually worry me.* But I do think they’re both pretty cool.