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Archive for the ‘Earth and Planetary Sciences’ Category

R.B. and the Volcano

June 5, 2010 4 comments

The Arizona Republic is running a story about Robert “R.B.” Trombley, head of the International Volcano Research Center (INTLVRC). Trombley has appeared in a number of media outlets as an expert on volcanos after the recent Icelandic eruption.

Now it turns out that the media were using a definite non-expert in their rush to generate opinion. Trombley’s “PhD” came from Dallas State College, a degree-mill in Texas that has been defunct since 1975. This didn’t stop Trombley claiming credentials in astronomy, expertise in volcanology, and a record of peer-review:

Trombley said his work has been peer-reviewed and told The Republic he was published in Eos, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. No work bearing Trombley’s name could be found in a search of AGU’s archives.

But my favorite bit has to be this claim by R.B.:

“I don’t have a degree in geophysics or geology, per se, but it’s like I’m so close … I’ve worked in the field so long and been to so many different volcanoes and stuff, that, you know, I haven’t found one thing I’ve said yet that hasn’t been true.”

The INTLVRC is run out of Trombley’s home – a pink trailer in Apache Junction. One look at the INTLVRC website would have indicated that a certain professionalism was missing. It seems that journalists at CNN and the WSJ need to learn how to do basic research.

A YEC take on anthropogenic global warming

June 3, 2010 5 comments

I was browsing Answers Research Journal today and noticed the following contribution by Rod J. Martin – “A Proposed Bible-Science Perspective on Global Warming.” The abstract – somewhat predictably – reads:

Media coverage of global warming has been increasing for over twenty years. Major proponents include the United Nations, politicians, environmentalists, and celebrities. Oddly, the church has had little to say on the issue and has made scant use of Scripture to evaluate the alleged problem. This paper will identify the major goals of global warming advocates, propose a biblical (young-earth creationist) framework for evaluating the issue, and highlight basic scientific data related to the alleged claims. It will be shown that the Bible provides sufficient counsel to enable Christians to evaluate the claims of global warming and arrive at a confident position that is in accord with real science. The contention that man’s activities are causing global warming, as described in the media and by its advocates, is a myth. There is no reason either biblically or scientifically to fear the exaggerated and misguided claims of catastrophe as a result of increasing levels of man-made carbon dioxide (CO2[sic]).

As an insight to the standards of ARJ, I’ll just note that that CO2 typo occurs throughout the article, as is O2, though in fairness, the PDF of the article has the correct subscripts.

Here’s the end of the paper:

Why there is no reason for alarm

  • O2 and CO2 in the atmosphere were created, they did not evolve.
  • Today’s atmosphere likely contains significantly less CO2 than before the Flood.
  • CO2 is necessary for life, and was created prior to plants and animals.
  • CO2 is not a pollutant.
  • Increasing levels of CO2 are beneficial for plants.
  • Decreasing levels of CO2 could be a serious problem.
  • Burning fossil fuels simply returns CO2 to the air, from which it originated, in the pre-Flood atmosphere. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere does not reverse a billion year old evolutionary trend and upset the delicate balance of nature.
  • The present levels of oxygen in the air are adequate without any unusual efforts to plant trees or to further limit the forestry industry.
  • Plants were created as food for humans and animals. They are not necessary for storing carbon or for generating O2.
  • Glaciers have been retreating for thousands of years since the Flood. Most of the glacial melt occurred before man began burning fossil fuels.
  • Ice age glaciers melted due to cooling seas, not warming seas.
  • Climates have been constantly changing since the Flood. Consider all the major climate changes since the Flood and initiated by the Flood.
  • Plants, animals and mankind have been adapting to climate for thousands of years.
  • Recent global temperature histories are insufficient for developing reliable conclusions about trends or impending catastrophes.
  • Increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will continue to improve crop production around the world, benefiting mankind.
  • Neither melting glaciers, increasing CO2, changing climates, nor earth’s surface temperature history are proof of global warming.
  • God is in control of history and the earth’s climates, not man.

I haven’t encountered Martin (an “independent researcher” in Santa Clarita CA) before and the googles are doing nothing. Any reader know anything about him?

You are here

June 2, 2010 Comments off

Screen shot 2010-06-02 at 9.06.36 AM.png

Since this image has proven popular (some 190,000 hits last month alone), here’s something in the same vein. The first photo of Earth taken from another planet, in this case taken from Mars by Spirit on March 8th 2004.

Phoenix declared dead

May 25, 2010 1 comment

Many of you may already have read that the Mars Phoenix Lander was declared officially dead yesterday. After losing contact with mission control  last November, the lander suffered damage to its solar panels during the harsh Martian winter. Phoenix’s “last words” apparently were “01010100 01110010 01101001 01110101 01101101 01110000 01101000“.

The highly successful project was a collaboration between the University of Arizona and JPL. The latter put together the brief video posted above. Much data analysis remains to be done.

Opportunity

May 20, 2010 Comments off

oppy-avoid-dunes.jpg

Opportunity today passed the Martian surface longevity record set by Viking 1 (six years and 116 days). As UniverseToday reminds us, orbiters have lasted longer; Mars Global Surveyor operated for more than 9 years and Mars Odyssey is on track to beat that record late this year. Opportunity’s sibling, Spirit , has not been heard from since March 22, but if she wakes from hibernation and resumes communication, then she will claim the Martian surface longevity record.

The above photo shows tracks left by Opportunity as it traversed the martian landscape.

Earthquake!

April 4, 2010 Comments off

Sixteen years in the desert Southwest and felt my first earthquake today. A magnitude 7.2 quake with an epicenter SW of Yuma. Sitting at home and had a sudden feeling akin to being on a boat. As Douglas Adams once said, it was unpleasantly like being drunk. More details of the actual quake here.

The Earth is flat!

February 24, 2010 2 comments

Article in the Guardian on the International Flat Earth Society:

Zeteticism, Shenton says, ­emphasises experience and reason over the ­”trusting acceptance of dogma”

Sound like any other group we know?

Some more information here.

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