Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for September 7th, 2016

When will NYC sink under the rising ocean? New York takes a look.

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Andrew Rice writes in New York:

Klaus Jacob, a German professor affiliated with Columbia’s University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is a geophysicist by profession and a doomsayer by disposition. I’ve gotten to know him over the past few years, as I’ve sought to understand the greatest threat to life in New York as we know it. Jacob has a white beard and a ponderous accent: Imagine if Werner Herzog happened to be a renowned expert on disaster risk. Jacob believes most people live in an irrational state of “risk denial,” and he takes delight in dispelling their blissful ignorance. “If you want to survive an earthquake, don’t buy a brownstone,” he once cautioned me, citing the catastrophic potential of a long-dormant fault line that runs under the city. When Mayor Bloomberg announced nine years ago an initiative to plant a million trees, Jacob thought, That’s nice — but what about tornadoes?

For the past 15 years or so, Jacob has been primarily preoccupied with a more existential danger: the rising sea. The latest scientific findings suggest that a child born today in this island metropolis may live to see the waters around it swell by six feet, as the previously hypothetical consequences of global warming take on an escalating — and unstoppable — force. “I have made it my mission,” Jacob says, “to think long term.” The life span of a city is measured in centuries, and New York, which is approaching its fifth, probably doesn’t have another five to go, at least in any presently recognizable form. Instead, Jacob has said, the city will become a “gradual Atlantis.”

The deluge will begin slowly, and irregularly, and so it will confound human perceptions of change. Areas that never had flash floods will start to experience them, in part because global warming will also increase precipitation. High tides will spill over old bulkheads when there is a full moon. People will start carrying galoshes to work. All the commercial skyscrapers, housing, cultural institutions that currently sit near the waterline will be forced to contend with routine inundation. And cataclysmic floods will become more common, because, to put it simply, if the baseline water level is higher, every storm surge will be that much stronger. Now, a surge of six feet has a one percent chance of happening each year — it’s what climatologists call a “100 year” storm. By 2050, if sea-level rise happens as rapidly as many scientists think it will, today’s hundred-year floods will become five times more likely, making mass destruction a once-a-generation occurrence. Like a stumbling boxer, the city will try to keep its guard up, but the sea will only gain strength.

No New Yorker, of course, needs to be reminded of the ocean’s fearsome power — not since Hurricane Sandy. But Jacob began trying to sound the alarm about the risk more than a decade ago. He sent students into the New York subways with barometers to measure their elevation, and produced a 2008 report for the MTA, warning that many lines would flood with a storm surge of between seven and 13 feet. He urged policymakers to “muster the courage to think the almost unthinkable” and install flood defenses while considering whether, over the long term, climate change might necessitate radical alterations to the transit system, like moving back to elevated tracks. In 2011, while working on a government panel, Jacob produced a study that mapped how subway tunnels would be inundated in the event of a hurricane. The next year, he was proved right. After Sandy, Jacob was hailed as a prophet. . .

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Written by LeisureGuy

7 September 2016 at 6:23 pm

This Ancient ‘Mass Death’ Offers a Glimpse Into Early Tetrapod Life on Land

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Fascinating description of the analysis that derived so much knowledge from a lucky find. Becky Ferreira reports in Motherboard:

The history of life on Earth is filled with tales of intrepid organisms that broke into new territories and niches to secure an evolutionary edge.

One of the most dramatic examples is the colonization of land by aquatic tetrapods, a giant leap that enabled the emergence of countless species, including humans. Given that we owe our very existence to this bold move, scientists have long been fascinated by how our tetrapod ancestors pushed out of the sea to become “part of that world,” to channel The Little Mermaid.

Research published Wednesday in Nature sheds new light on this pivotal transition. A team led by Sophie Sanchez, an evolutionary biologist based at Uppsala University in Sweden, studied the remains of at least 20 individuals from the early Acanthostegatetrapod clan, preserved in what scientists called a “mass-death deposit,” discovered in Greenland.

Dating back 365 million years to the Devonian epoch, this group was likely swept away by a sudden flooding event that left them stranded the in isolated pools. These temporary safe havens eventually dried up, killing the exposed animals en masse. . .

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Amazing that a fairly large contingent of the US reject the theory of evolution. Not a good sign, I would say. That is, if one is looking for positive signs about the state of our nation, this would not, IMO, be a positive sign.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 September 2016 at 11:24 am

Posted in Evolution, Science

The childhood impact of environmental lead lasts one’s entire life.

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The link between childhood exposure to lead in the environment (for example, in the drinking water of many US schools) and violent behavior persists through one’s entire life, as Kevin Drum notes in this post.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 September 2016 at 10:23 am

Gillette Fat Boy goes to auction

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Fat side

This Gillette Fat Boy just went up on eBay.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 September 2016 at 9:21 am

Posted in Shaving

Dapper Dragon and the Standard

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SOTD 2016-09-07

The Fine Classic is a wonderful brush, IMO, and it had no trouble at all in making a great lather from Dapper Dragon’s Jasmine and Vanilla, a very nice fragrance. I used the Standard head on a Wolfman WRH3 handle: three passes to a smooth face, but I think I’ll replace the blade before the next shave with this razor.

A good splash of one of my favorite aftershaves, Anthony Gold’s Red Cedar, carried by The Copper Hat in Victoria BC, and the day slowly gains momentum.

Written by LeisureGuy

7 September 2016 at 9:12 am

Posted in Shaving

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