How To

A research-based proposal for greening the world’s deserts

In a TED talk given a few years ago, a scientist named Allan Savory puts forth an interesting proposal for reversing desertification and climate change. After having worked in the field his whole life, the solution he found is an unlikely one: grazing livestock. They are commonly thought to destroy the land and contribute to global warming, but they can in fact, help restore its vegetation and thus begin to reverse global warming, if the grazing process is done correctly. Allan goes into more details in his talk, which I invite you to watch. What he proposes is a low cost solution that involves forming large herds and moving them over the land in a sigmoid pattern so they never overstay in one spot. His methods have successfully worked on multiple continents to reverse desertification and restore grasslands, so they’re proven. And even if his proposal has its detractors, who say the livestock will emit more greenhouse gases, you can’t argue with the results, which are an almost magical revival of plants, trees and water in those places where his methods are put into place.

More details here.

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Thoughts

Is global warming a cyclical event?

While most agree that global warming is occurring, they do not agree on the root cause. Some say global warming is caused by man, mainly by CO2 emissions, while others say it is part of a larger picture of cyclical global warming and cooling events that have occurred throughout history. Unfortunately, the debate is mostly one-sided, with man-made global warming proponents getting most of the media coverage, and the cyclical global warming proponents ostracized and denigrated as false scientists.

A new salvo was launched recently against the man-made global warming side, with the publication of an article by Danish professor Henrik Svensmark, entitled “While the Sun Sleeps”. As the title alludes, Mr. Svensmark believes the sun shows reduced magnetic activity and is about to go into a period of hibernation, which means a period of global cooling will likely begin soon. The full translation of the article from Danish to English is available on Anthony Watts’ blog, and I encourage you to read it. Here’s a quote:

When the Sun is active, its magnetic field is better at shielding us against the cosmic rays coming from outer space, before they reach our planet. By regulating the Earth’s cloud cover, the Sun can turn the temperature up and down. High solar activity means fewer clouds and and a warmer world. Low solar activity and poorer shielding against cosmic rays result in increased cloud cover and hence a cooling. As the Sun’s magnetism doubled in strength during the 20th century, this natural mechanism may be responsible for a large part of global warming seen then.

That also explains why most climate scientists try to ignore this possibility. It does not favour their idea that the 20th century temperature rise was mainly due to human emissions of CO2. If the Sun provoked a significant part of warming in the 20th Century, then the contribution by CO2 must necessarily be smaller.”

As for me, I’m still on the fence about this, but I’m leaning toward what Svensmark says. It makes more sense to me. While there’s little doubt that the Earth has been warming for the past few decades, that weather patterns are screwed up, and that pollution and emissions are running rampant and must be reduced drastically or eliminated where possible, I’m still not sure we’re behind the global warming phenomenon.

What tilts the balance of my opinion further away from man-made global warming is the face being used for the campaign — that of Al Gore. Try as I might, I can’t stomach the guy. When I think about his claim to inventing the internets, and his electricity-chugging lifestyle (which goes in stark contrast to what he’s saying when he speaks publicly), and his face, which just isn’t the face of a man that should be trusted — I’m sorry, I just have to look for more proof before I believe what he’s got to say. I’m also still in shock that the man got a Nobel Prize for the stuff he talks about — after all, he’s little more than a pusher of carbon credits, which are dangerously close to a green, global Ponzi scheme in my book.

Who knows, I might be wrong about Al Gore — he may be genuine for all I know — and in that case, I hope the agenda he and his supporters are pushing goes through, but right now, I believe global warming is cyclical, and only time will tell for sure who’s right.

More importantly, I believe global pollution must be addressed regardless of who’s right and wrong on global warming. Our environment is on the verge of collapse due to all the crap we’ve been pouring into it since the 1800s. Pollution is a real threat to our survival, as countless studies have shown. Let’s do something about that, right away.

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Reviews

Some interesting documentaries

Here are seven interesting documentary-type videos found on YouTube:

You’ve probably heard that Geek Squad technicians snoop around on customers’ hard drives and copy photos and other files for their own use. But have you also heard that they overcharge ridiculously for simple little repairs? Have a look below:

The metro bridge over the river Tyne at Newcastle, UK, was recently outfitted with LED lights that are programmed to never shine in the same sequence. The result is a mesmerizing light show that goes on and on:

Bill Crosby did a documentary in 1968 called “A Boy Like Me”, where he pointed out racial inequalities between black and white children. But he did it in such a poignant way that it’s really, really hard to miss the point. Watch this segment in its entirety, it’s only 3:28 minutes long.

The Falkirk Wheel is an advanced bridge for boats. It connects two bodies of water that are separated by a great height in a very interesting way:

Whether you may or may not agree with this first part of the documentary entitled “The Great Global Warming Swindle” (the other parts can be found on YouTube as well), I think you’ll realize it raises some interesting and valid points. I watched the entire documentary, and if you’ve got the time, I would encourage you to do the same.

The next video is pretty geeky in its approach, but it was made to demonstrate how IT security works for non-techies, and it does a great job of it. It’s entertaining, so you won’t get bored, either.

This last video is controversial, and I don’t know what to make of it. It’s actual news footage aired immediately after the crash of United Flight 93. It shows the crash site and surrounding areas, but the strange thing is that the place looks very much unlike a plane crash site. There are no large pieces of fuselage, no bodies, nothing — just a small hole in the ground, and that’s what makes it unusual. It just doesn’t look like a plane crashed there at all.

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