Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Connecting the dots . . . . . . .

I just yesterday sent out issue #23 of the Free Fredonia Times, the newsletter I do for the Fredonia community. Trying to make the "paper" educational, I've started including a weather report. Here's what I did this time:

Connecting the dots 
The Weather Report
In September, 2014, a Danish freighter, the Nordic Orion, made the first successful commercial crossing of “the northwest passage” across a nearly ice-free Arctic Ocean, from Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada to Finland. The cargo: coal. (Reported by and other sources.)
Temperatures reported by The Weather Channel at 7:58 am on Jan. 24, 2014 –
°F in Five Points, Alabama.
°F in Nome, Alaska.
Gov. Robert Bentley has declared a state of emergency in Alabama over the threat of a propane gas shortage, suspending the rules and regulations on sale of propane gas and lifting federal transportation motor carrier laws to allow more flexibility in delivery to homes, schools and businesses. Bentley said price gouging is illegal under the state of emergency and “We make sure if that takes place, those people are prosecuted. We also make sure that people who need propane can buy it from different individuals, so all of the rules and regulations are waived.”
(, January 24, 2014)
“December 2013 was exceptionally cold in North America (9°F colder than the 1951-1980 average), and exceptionally warm in northeast Europe and Sibera (16°F warmer than the 1951-1980 average). Predictably, these weather patterns, which continued into January, caused many in the North American media to question the reality of global warming, but in fact the global December warming above the 1951-1980 average (1.1°F) was the same as the annual global warming for 2013.” (Dr. James Hansen,, data from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies)
Editor’s Note: Dr. Hansen says “There is substantial likelihood of a record global temperature in 2014 or 2015.” Of course he means a record warming, not cooling. We must realize this is just another prediction by a scientist and that our weather is highly variable – especially in a time of globally fossil-fueled economic growth.

The Times goes to around 250 people in the Fredonia neighborhood. What we call "Greater Fredonia." People seem to like the paper. I get many compliments and thanks for doing it. But I don't get much response to my educational efforts. And I doubt that many of my readers will see the picture these dots outline. Such obvious runaway positive feedbacks. And the Governor waves his hands, lifting all regulations to make for easier delivery of something we don't actually have – if there is a real shortage. Recognizing that making the propane market even freer will likely lead to profits so much higher the voters might care. But that happens in conjunction with demand shooting up, homeowners (and chicken farmers) getting panicky and wanting to "top up" before supplies run out. So the kind of thing that might actually help would be more regulation, like telling propane companies they can't deliver anything to anyone who isn't actually out of propane, or maybe within a day or running out, something like that.

Speaking of connecting the dots, I also included in this issue:

Just one dot in the Big Food picture: A recent report out of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences shows that U.S. agricultural exports from 2000 to 2009, valued at $55 billion, actually resulted in a net loss to the country of $13 billion if the accounting included the health costs (including 5,100 pre-mature deaths) of ammonia emissions, just one of the air pollutants from the exported crop and livestock production. Find details in Mother Jones magazine:
The article has a link to the original Harvard publication.

A high-resolution color PDF version of this issue of the Times is available at:

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