Mark Farmer's picture

Mark Farmer

MEMBER FOR 4 years 13 weeks


recent comments

Stossel: Fossil fuels improve life on Earth

"Warming may increase, but no one can be certain of that."

This is where I most strongly disagree with Mr. Stossel in that it reveals his general lack of understanding of science. If we assume that the physical laws that govern the universe are stable and are not simply the capricious whims of the Gods, then by understanding those laws we CAN predict the future and we CAN be certain of what will happen under certain conditions.

If you tell oceanographers what the dissolved CO2 levels are going to be they CAN tell you what the pH of the oceans will be.
If you tell climatologists what the ocean surface temperatures are they CAN tell the likelihood of severe drought or severe storms.
If you tell a geologist how much ice is melting in Greenland and how quickly the oceans are warming they CAN tell you how much average sea level will rise.
If you tell a physicist what the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are they CAN tell you how much infrared energy will be reflected back to Earth before it eventually radiates back into space and how much additional heat will be retained in the air and oceans.

What Mr. Stossel and others are saying is meant to cast doubt on the ability of scientists to predict the future, when in fact it is only through our understanding of science and nature that we have any real hope to glean what lays in store for us.
The question is not whether or not "one can be certain" of what will happen. We can be.
The question is what, if anything, we should do about it.

posted @ Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 16:49

Timberlake: Global warming is political, not scientific, issue

"A scientific document on this issue, the “Petition Project,” circulated about 10 years ago. It provided a summary of long-time global temperature variations. It was published in the Wall Street Journal, and was endorsed by more than 31,000 bona fide scientists. The study concluded that CO2 is a benign and useful gas, that the major determinant of global warming is the sun, and that anthropogenic global warming is trivial."

First of all the OISM Petition Project is NOT a scientific document. It is, by its own definition, a petition. It is an opinion piece that espouses an opinion on a scientific issue but that itself contains not a shred of scientific information.

Second, what exactly does it mean to be one of the "31,000 bona fide scientists"? Again according to the OISM these are people " with a BSc or higher qualification" but it does not restrict the discipline or area of study. Alert readers of the ABH will note that by virtue of his BSc in Chemistry from UGA, Rep. Paul Broun would qualify as a "bona fide scientist."

Third, if this number of 31,000 "scientists" is compared with the number of such individuals in the U.S. (I believe that only Americans were asked to sign) then it represents only 0.3% of U.S. scientists (Please note how disparaging Mr. Timberlake is about the impact of such a tiny, tiny percentage, 0.4% being the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere).

Anyone interested in learning more about this so-called example of scientific doubt of climate change can read details here:

And yes, I am working on a thoughtful rebuttal piece. So much for enjoying a glorious Saturday afternoon!

posted @ Saturday, November 1, 2014 - 12:00

Mitchell: Climate change is bad science

Oh Martha, Martha,

A brief look at John Coleman's biography reveals that he is a former TV broadcaster with a degree in journalism and no formal training in either meteorology or climate science. He has no professional credentials. It is like relying on former porn star Jenny McCarthy for pediatric health advice.

I too saw the interview on FOX and I asked a Ph.D. climate scientist friend about it. He confirmed that no one at the Weather Channel pays any attention to Mr. Coleman's views on the subject as they are driven purely by ideology and not by facts or data.

As for the arctic ice being in the "normal range" have a 30 second look at this video which documents sea ice volume since we began accurately measuring it in 1979. You will see that in 35 years we have lost over 65% of the ice.

The facts are real. The causes are known. Human caused climate change is a reality.

You are being misled, but it is not Al Gore nor the climate scientists who are misleading you.

posted @ Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 07:41

UGA restricts travel to Ebola countries

“It’s a disappointment to me. I’m p----d off and embarrassed and completely weirded out that a journalism institution that should be seeking out facts and details is basically pandering to hysteria,”

I echo those sentiments with regards to UGA's Grady College. Is this how we define "journalistic courage"?
By uninviting Ms. Williams UGA caved into the irrational pressure that folks like Paul Broun and David Purdue are spreading. Fear spreads a lot faster than ebola and politicians know it.
By pandering to this hysteria UGA is condoning, and fostering it. Exactly the opposite of what a school of journalism should be doing.

Ms. Williams is not sick with ebola. And even if she were, what are the chances that a UGA student or employee would come in contact with her saliva, blood, vomit or feces?

posted @ Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 08:07

Ebola concerns prompt UGA to postpone Liberian journalist's lecture

"Frankel and three other writers are also scheduled to speak about what journalistic courage means during a symposium at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication."

Such as the journalistic courage it would take to NOT feed the hysteria over a disease in which one has to come in physical contact with the body fluids of an actively sick individual in order to spread the disease?

Ms. Williams does not have ebola., And if she were to feel unwell I am certain that given what she has seen and experienced in west Africa she would not knowingly put others in jeopardy But for UGA to uninvite Ms. Williams from delivering this prestigious lecture shows how even a college that is supposedly dedicated to reporting the truth can succumb to the pressure of fear.

posted @ Monday, October 20, 2014 - 07:41

Ambrose: Further work needed on global warming issue

I wish Mr. Ambrose had attended tonight's lecture in the UGA Chapel by Professor Shepherd.
If he had he would have learned that the "no warming since 1998" is a twisting and cherry picking of the data. The warming of the worlds' oceans (70% of Earth) has continued unabated.
He would have learned of the multiple ways in which humanity has, and continues to, alter the climate both local and globally.
He would have that the "Let's not do anything right now, there is too much uncertainty" response is misguided and dangerous for our grandchildren's futures.

He would have learned something.

Please come on Oct. 9 when Dr. Dan Everett will speak about the transition to a carbon-free energy economy.

Spoiler alert!! It is not as costly as Mr. Abrose would want you to believe.

posted @ Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 20:40

Bryce: Solar energy surging, but hydrocarbons here to stay

Mr. Bryce indirectly raises an important point. All the green energy production in the world will not matter if we cannot curb the growth of our demands for this energy. We need to begin reducing our total energy demands at the same time we seek alternative non-carbon based solutions.
Every 10% reduction in demand means that many fewer coal plants.
Every 10% increase in mpg means that many fewer gallons of oil.
Every 10% reduction in the global birthrate means that many fewer mouths to feed in 2025.

Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers believes that 50 years from now we will still be generating electricity in the same way we do today.
Such thinking a century ago would mean that our homes and churches today would be lit by oil lamps, fueled from the rendered blubber of slaughtered whales.

We CAN move away from fossil fuels.
For the sake of future Americans we must.

Shameless plug for the Anthropocene lecture series.

Please Come hear:
Economics of the Transition Away from Fossil Fuels
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Dr. Daniel M. Everett

posted @ Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - 07:38

World is on brink of unprecedented wave of extinction, says UGA's Farmer

Since you are interested in this topic I hope that you will attend Dr. Everett's lecture
Economics of the Transition Away from Fossil Fuels
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Daniel M. Everett
Dept. of Computer Science & Terry College of Business

posted @ Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 12:35

World is on brink of unprecedented wave of extinction, says UGA's Farmer

[quote][b]TeeWee[/b] - @mpd0.59:
Either the professors research was so sloppy that he didn't pick up on the glitch or he was satisfied to use the false data. Because of this gross error, all his findings are suspect.

Since you are obviously too busy to check the Mauna Loa data yourself I am happily providing it for you. Below are months in 2014 and the measured and averaged CO2 levels (in ppm) for that month.

March - 399.58
April - 401.29
May - 401.75
June - 401.15
July - 399.00

The three months above 400ppm were not a "blip" as you imply but rather part of the natural seasonal cycle of CO2 flux in the northern hemisphere. As photosynthetic rates ramp up with summer, CO2 levels go down. Typically September and October have the lowest annual averages, and then it begins to climb again. The average increase in CO2 for 2013 was 2.05ppm for 2012 it was 2.66

I stand behind my statements and I provide easy to verify data to back them up.

Hope to see you at the next Anthropocene lecture. They are free and open to the public.

Like us on Facebook

posted @ Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 12:23

World is on brink of unprecedented wave of extinction, says UGA's Farmer

[quote][b]TeeWee[/b] - "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future."  Yogi Berra.  [/quote]

I am gathering from your comments that you were not present for my lecture on Thursday evening so let me recap for you. Yes, predictions can be difficult, especially when it comes to climate change. This is why I focused on ocean acidification as it is straightforward and easy to calculate and to predict. Basic chemistry really.

[quote]     Why  do we give any weight to these  wild eyed professors who run down the street with their  pants on fire shouting their radical  predictions?  
     This guy is employing false data.  The 400 ppm CO2 report was a brief blip 
 from one reporting station in Hawaii and researchers published a correction a short time later.  The reporter should have challenged  the Professor on this false statement alone.   If your foundation is built on false data, your entire structure will crumble.  Me thinks he has received funding from the Environmental/Industrial Complex.

I've never received a dime of funding from anyone other than the NSF for my research on protistan evolution. Happy to provide you with a copy of my CV.

Nope, not false data and not a blip. A steady increase in CO2. Check the data yourself here:
and here:
and here for Bermuda:
and here for the Canary islands:
and here for New Zealand:

 [quote]  This guy also fails to report that while some species may become extinct, other new species (plant and animal) are being discovered.  

Being discovered and being created are two very, VERY different things. Net biodiversity on Earth is in steep decline. To imply otherwise is disingenuous (i.e. a lie).

  [quote]   The release of e-mails from the CRU in East Anglia was most interesting. One of the leading researchers championing the CO2 theory could not understand why tons of carbon was being emitted into the atmosphere but global temperatures were not increasing.  The thought never occurred to him that his hypotheses was incorrect.  
More arm-chair quarterbacking. My lecture said nothing about changing temperatures. But since you were not there you would not know that, you can only throw stones from the sidelines.

[quote]     The  IPCC  about a year ago  was forced to admit they could not identify one specie which became extinct as a result of global  warming. 

Ughh. Again with the warming? I said that species were going extinct due to hunting, habitat destruction, and introduced pests being spread around the world by humans. Would you like the reams and reams of data that supports that?

[quote]     Depending on the reporting data, there has not been any global warming for 13 to 17 years 10 months.  Let is not forget that the Sahara was once a sea, parts of Sweden was a tropical forest the Earth has been hotter and colder than now.  

Even Forbes magazine acknowledges that June 2014 was the warmest June in recorded history:

And July was the fourth hottest ever.
But I digress, it is the changing chemistry of the oceans that worries me the most. we have somewhere between 50 and 75 years before the coral reefs around the world begin to disappear for good.

posted @ Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 11:55

Rogers: In Hostile Territory: Remembering the slaying of Lt. Col. Lemuel Penn

[quote][b]Used2baFreeCountry[/b] - This poem about a terrible incident that occurred in the south fifty years ago reminds me of the time I got lost driving a rental car late at night among high-rise urban housing projects up north.
I was terrified.

I grew up in the shadow of such northern high-rise housing projects. I never had anyone threaten me because of the color of my skin.

Thank you Jerry for keeping alive the memory of Lt. Col. Penn and for the reminder that intolerance of others is perhaps the worst of sins.
Who was it who said?
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

posted @ Saturday, July 12, 2014 - 08:24

Smith: UGA Chapel is magnificent edifice

"Today, an evolutionist would be welcomed to express his views to a chapel audience."

Indeed. Last year the Chapel served as a magnificent venue for the Origins Lecture series which dealt with everything from the origin of the universe to the origin of mankind.
This fall we hope it will prove equally wonderful for our next lecture series "Welcome to the Anthropocene" which will chronicle humanity's influences on the biology and chemistry of the planet.

posted @ Sunday, July 6, 2014 - 13:35

Conant: Step away from the screen to improve political climate

[quote][b]Used2baFreeCountry[/b] - Thanks goodness for Fox News!
By itself, Fox News balances out the liberal propaganda put out by the mainstream media television networks!

I think that once again you have missed the entire point of this article.

As for the author's advice? It really works. When my mother discovered the internet I started receiving all sorts of nonsense that supported her political leanings. When I started fact checking these with Snopes and then sending the links back via "Reply to All" she quickly became embarrassed at how easily she had been duped. Now she herself fact checks these propaganda pieces that are supposedly written by knowledgeable people and in most cases stops herself from propagating the nonsense.

Seriously people, it is now so easy to access solid data on a whole range of issues, PLEASE do some research before forming an opinion.

posted @ Friday, June 20, 2014 - 07:01

What Others Say: President's move on coal makes sense (The Miami Herald)

[quote][b]Eastville[/b] - @proftom: Carbon dioxide's not insulation .

Sorry, but yes it is. We have known how CO2 traps infrared radiation through bond bending and bond stretching for over a century. There is lots of empirical data that shows beyond any doubt that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere (the entire increase being the result of human activity) is trapping IR in precisely the radiation wavelengths absorbed by CO2. It is a cause and effect relationship, not simply a correlation.

Simply saying that CO2 is not causing global warming is pure and simple denialism.
If you are truly interested in learning about the science behind these claims take a look here:

posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 07:31

What Others Say: President's move on coal makes sense (The Miami Herald)


[quote][b]Used2baFreeCountry[/b] - I am so old that I remember when we had presidents who wanted America to have lower energy costs, instead of trying to get them to skyrocket. .

If you take away the government subsidies and other benefits offered to the fossil fuel industry then wind power is already lower cost energy. Do you get to dump your waste for free? The fossil fuel industry does. Try looking at the total picture.

posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 06:29

Sikora: Renewable energy sources offer credible options

Using peak solar and wind electricity to make hydrogen is a reasonable idea. In addition to having a potential role in transportation, hydrogen can easily be converted back to electricity when needed via fuel cells. Although one loses energy with every conversion if the initial energy is carbon-free we (and future generations) will ultimately be the winners.
People like Mr. Ambrose are no better than those who yell "Fire" in a movie theater. They are risking our future for the sake of protecting the fossil fuel industry.

posted @ Monday, June 9, 2014 - 17:50

I can only assume that Jim Thompson was required by corporate headquarters to publish this worthless bit of dreck. The ABH usually has far higher standards that to print a string of unsubstantiated lies propagated solely to incite fear for political purposes.

posted @ Friday, June 6, 2014 - 18:24

I can only assume that Jim Thompson was forced by corporate headquarters to print this utterly worthless opinion piece. It is devoid of facts and full of fear mongering lies.

posted @ Friday, June 6, 2014 - 18:17

I can only assume that upper management forced Jim Thompson to publish this opinion piece that offers no factual data to support any of Mr. Ambrose's statements. Indeed, it is nothing ore than an unsubstantiated bit of fear mongering, exactly of the sort he professes to reject.
Truly a waste of the time it took to read it.

posted @ Friday, June 6, 2014 - 12:23

"The Environmental Protection Agency says rates will sit there as if nothing is happening. My own observation is that when the government mandates changes that must at least initially be expensive, as some of these absolutely will be, the costs are passed on to consumers."

I guess that Mr. Ambrose is not old enough to recall how bad air pollution was back in the 1960's or 1970's or how the removal of lead from gasoline has dramatically improved the quality of life for millions of Americans. But I do recall these things and I am exceedingly grateful to President Nixon for having the courage and foresight to empower the EPA to make our lives better. I believe that Americans forty years from now will similarly thank President Obama for taking steps to do the same.
I have to pay the costs of having my trash hauled and disposed of at the Clarke County landfill but somehow people like Mr. Ambrose feel that those who use our common air and our community water as a free dump should not have to pay any of these costs.
I was also struck by the fact that he provided no data to back up his opinions and that he did nothing but try to engender unsubstantiated fear to win his argument.
In summary this is one of the worst opinion pieces on the subject of climate change that the ABH has ever printed. I can only guess that someone in the corporate office forced Jim Thompson to publish it.

posted @ Friday, June 6, 2014 - 10:29

Ga. GOP Senate hopefuls try to separate themselves

"Phil Gingrey, another House member and a physician like Broun, said he doesn’t agree with the administration that “carbon dioxide is definitely a greenhouse gas...There’s no doubt that methane is a greenhouse gas.”

CO2 and methane are both greenhouse gasses. We've known this for over a century. It has to do with bond bending and bond stretching and the absorption of infrared energy.

Where did Dr. Gingrey take his chemistry courses?

posted @ Sunday, April 20, 2014 - 09:24

Farmer: Hydrogen holds promise as energy source

[quote][b]kconner[/b] - The bumpy road starts when you start cutting into the profits of the oil industry.

The next billionaires are going to be the ones who hold the patents to things like artificial photosynthesis and hydrogen storage. There is a LOT of money to be made here in the coming decades. I think it would be great if the patents for these inventions were right here in the U.S.A. That way energy bullies like Russia could not use natural gas as a political weapon.
There are LOTS of good reasons for the U.S. moving away from a carbon based economy, even if China and India do not go along.

posted @ Monday, April 14, 2014 - 10:37

4.8 quake shakes Yellowstone National Park

Y'all know that there is a supervolcano under Yellowstone that if it blows will destroy most of the US that is to the east of it, including Georgia.

Sleep tight!

posted @ Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 19:24

What Others Say: Global warming isn't gravity (The Augusta Chronicle)

"Well, excuse us, but there is plenty of scientific evidence to the contrary,"

No, there is NOT evidence to the contrary. That is the whole point.

Unless you embrace the cherry picking tactics of the climate change denialists "There's been no warming for the past 16.5 years" (Technically true since 1998 was an abnormally warm year but if you calculate for the past 15.5 years, or 14.5 years, or 17.5 years then it HAS been warming). "The polar ice cover increased by 40% in 2013!" (Again, technically true, but only because ice cover in 2012 was the lowest in recorded history. If we look at all the satellite data from 1978 we see an overall LOSS of ice cover of frightening proportions.)

Kerry is absolutely correct about the data, and the vast, vast majority of climate scientists agree with his conclusion that humans are contributing to climate change.

So yes, if you choose to hitch your wagon to some climate change denier who happens to have a Ph.D. don't be surprised if he drags you over a cliff.

That doesn't mean that the rest of us want to go along for the ride.

posted @ Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 08:18

Hood: Accidental science behind Groundhog Day

Great piece! Funny and educational. Nicely done.

posted @ Saturday, February 1, 2014 - 10:05

Find us on Facebook & Twitter

Find us on Facebook Find us on Twitter


  • Andrew

    Blog: Watching movies by myself

    Summary:  I'm not saying it's lonely to be a movie critic, but we often find ourselves seated alone in an empty theatre when we're watching new stuff. I know people who say they won't go see anything unless they have at least one other person to go with, but I've always enjoyed having the place to myself. I'm not saying it's lonely to be a movie critic, but we often find ourselves seated alone in an empty theatre when we're watching new stuff. I know people who say they won't go see anything unless they have at least one other person to go with, but I've always enjoyed having the place to myself. read more

  • Jim

    No cartoons on racism

    As you might imagine, the vast majority of the editorial cartoons available these days for publication through the syndicate which supplies cartoons to the Athens Banner-Herald/OnlineAthens are addressing the situation in Ferguson, Mo., where the fatal shooting of a black teen by a white police officer has touched off a number of demonstrations -- some peaceful, but many not at all peaceful, with tear gas fired by police officers and gunshots fired by some protester. read more

see more blogs