[extropy-chat] Ice cores show warming 'natural' (or not)

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Mon Jan 9 21:42:03 UTC 2006

On 1/9/06, kevinfreels.com <kevin at kevinfreels.com> wrote:
>  Care to elaborate on WHY neither of these has been brought the the
> attention of the lay person?

Well, the article I just briefly glanced at suggested that one has to dump a
lot more water than is in the Greenland ice cap into the N. Atlantic to halt
the Gulf Stream (and I don't have time to go investigate this in detail
right now).  In the case of the methane clathrate, I think there is
significant uncertainty as to how much of it there is, how much warming may
need to occur, and the extent to which it might cause run away global
warming.  I think the problems have been discussed but nobody wants to push
on these given the very large uncertainties that would be associated with
making a strong case for them.

It has taken a couple of decades for people to get somewhat serious about
the asteroid risk.  You may be running into general human apathy something
along the lines of "If it hasn't happened to my grandfather or my father it
isn't likely to happen to me."  Most people are *not* very good at
evaluating the relative risks associated with their aggregate hazard
function.  For example, in my remaining lifetime, which should I fear more
(a) the probability of Boston being destroyed by an asteroid; (b) radiation
risk from a terrorist nuclear or dirty bomb boing off in Boston Harbor; or
(c) the radon gas probably leaking out of the granite countertops in the
house I am now living in?

I could obviously come up with a couple of dozen examples to add to this
list without thinking very hard.  When I do things along that line, the
general response from people is usually something to the effect of, "Please
stop you are making my head hurt."


Side note: If the Gulf Stream does shut down, Boston is likely to become
colder as well, so I'd side with the Europeans in being concerned about
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