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Mark Farmer

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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 - 09:24

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 - 14:35

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 - 08:01

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 - 08:31

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 - 07:29

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 - 18:50

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 - 19:24

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 - 19:17

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 - 13:23

"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 - 11:29

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 - 10:24

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 - 11:37

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 - 20:24

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 - 09:18

Hood: Accidental science behind Groundhog Day

Great piece! Funny and educational. Nicely done.

posted @ Saturday, February 1, 2014 - 11:05

Weisbrot: New economic approaches could address climate issues

More and more free enterprise experts are supporting a carbon tax and an interesting approach is being advocated by former South Carolina Republican congressman Bob Inglis, Executive Director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative

They advocate taxing carbon and at the same time reducing corporate taxes (revenue neutral). This would reduce something we don't want (increased CO2 in the atmosphere) and promote something we do want (increased corporate productivity and full employment).

Not sure I can see a problem with this approach.

posted @ Saturday, January 25, 2014 - 11:29

Stossel: Time to chill on global warming

@Jerry NeSmith: Thank you Jerry. That is EXACTLY the point I wanted to make. Mr. Stossel's assertion that increased CO2 is no big deal is completely at odds with the scientific data.
The Vostok ice core data gives us a very good idea of what has happened in the past 400,000+ years. Namely CO2 levels naturally varied between 280 ppm to a low of 175 ppm. Today we are over 400 ppm.
Not only that the but natural variation was at an average rate of 1 ppm per 1000 years. Today it increases at a rate greater than 2 ppm per year.
That is the difference between driving a car at 60 mph or cruising down the highway at 120,000 mph.
We biologists are concerned about the RATE of change for the simple reason that gradual environmental change = evolution. Rapid environmental change = extinction.
It's the Ecology stupid.

posted @ Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 21:43

Farmer: The dangers of anecdotal evidence

@davidxto: I brought up the Koch brothers because they were the primary financial backers who funded Dr. Muller's Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature "BEST" project. Thus they are relevant to this discussion and Dr. Muller's work not solely because they support conservative political causes but because as ones who make millions from the fossil fuel industry they cannot be considered unbiased participants. So yes, some of this IS political.
Yet if scientists such as Dr. Muller were truly in it for the big bucks as some claim, then he had no greater teat to suck from than that of the Koch brothers. Instead he chose to extoll what the data indicated. That global warming is real and that human activity is largely to blame.
This was the central premise of my piece. Sorry if you missed it.

posted @ Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 22:09

Farmer: The dangers of anecdotal evidence

From Wikipedia:
The inner core of the Earth, its innermost part, is a primarily solid ball with a radius of about 1,220 km (760 mi), according to seismological studies. (This is about 70% of the Moon's radius.). It is believed to consist primarily of an iron–nickel alloy, and to be about the same temperature as the surface of the Sun: approximately 5700 K (5430 °C).

So Mr. Gore may have gotten the specifics wrong but he is essentially correct about the Earth's inner core temperature. It is REALLY hot.

He is also correct about human influence on the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and scientists dating back to the 1940's have shown that CO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas in that it helps the atmosphere retain the radiation of solar heat back into space.
The planet is heating up and human activity has had a major role in bringing it about this more quickly than is natural.
Those are simply the facts. Supported by lots, and lots and lots of data.

Don't believe me? Read up on former climate skeptic Richard Muller, a darling of the Koch brothers and congressional conservatives:

If Muller is now convinced about the reality of AGW what data do you present to counter him?

posted @ Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 23:02

East Athens neighborhood avoids potential wildfire disaster

@Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass:
It is not the job of the local newspaper.

There WILL be a cop or firefighter to help you when things are tough because you pay taxes. The same is true if you lose your job, fall sick or are injured, have someone pollute your water, try to cheat you in the marketplace or discriminate against you. Not to mention educate your children, insure the safety of your food or test the medicines your doctor recommends. On and on.

Those whose rail against the need for government quickly forget that these and other vital services are NOT provided by the private sector. They are provided by government.

Thank you ACC fire department. My taxes well spent!

posted @ Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 22:39

Sikora: No reason for vegetarian smugness

"I would say that farming fruits and vegetables is one of the most serious causes of environmental devastation." - Walter Sikora

This has to be the seventh dumbest comment I've ever seen published in the ABH. Where does Mr. Sikora get his beef, chicken and pork or does he advocate an all wild game diet (about as sustainable for 7 billion people as is organic farming). I have never been a big meat eater and am now mostly vegetarian (for health reasons) and because I can afford it nearly all of my produce is locally grown organic. But to imply that a carnetarian diet is superior to one of mostly fruits and vegetables, and that it is better for the environment, is just a crock of industrially raised, corn fed, hormone injected, bovine fecal matter!

Pesticides and Animal Feed

Approximately 80% of the corn and 22% of the wheat produced in the US every year is used for animal feed, while 30 million tons of US-produced soy meal is consumed annually as livestock feed. This grain is grown by intensive industrial farming G operations that use large amounts of pesticides and other inputs, and often rely on genetically engineered (GE G) crop varieties. Common genetic modifications include plants that are bred to contain insecticides within their genetic makeup (e.g., Bt corn) or to withstand direct application of herbicides (e.g., glyphosate resistant soybeans).

In addition to causing environmental damage, when grain is grown with pesticides and then fed to livestock, pesticide residues can accumulate in the animals' fatty tissue and milk. Pesticides, such as arsenic compounds, are also included in livestock feed to control intestinal parasites and other pests.

posted @ Saturday, November 30, 2013 - 09:23

Denero shaped Athens in many ways

Hard to believe that as recently as the 1970's East Athens had unpaved roads and homes without water and sewar. Sounds like this man did more to bring Athens into the 20th century than did any mayor or politician.

Thank you Walt.

posted @ Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 14:56

Today's editorial cartoon

Green eggs & ham has a lot in common with Obamacare.

Both are hated by grumpy, close minded people. Until they actually try it.

posted @ Friday, October 18, 2013 - 11:27

Sikora: Climate comments confused issue

[quote][b]davidxto[/b] - Scientist run the full spectrum on the science of AG climate change. [/quote]

While this is technically true (if one includes the extremes of opinion and also depending on where one draws the line defining a "scientist") it is important to distiguish this from the question of consensus.

A recently published paper looked specifically at this issue and concluded that 97% of climate science papers agree that current warming trends are attributable to human activity.

To those who deny that human activity can change the envirionmental landscape, please learn something about how farming practices in the US led to the great Dustbowl and the subsequent economic collapse of our country in the early 20th century.

While it appeals to our sense of fairness to give voice to dissenting opinions, this should not be confused with giving equal credence to all opinions.

Some opinions are better than others. I tend to listen most closely to informed opinions.

posted @ Monday, July 22, 2013 - 12:29

Sikora: Climate comments confused issue

"Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' [linking smoking with disease] that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy...if we are successful in establishing a controversy at the public level, there is an opportunity to put across the real facts about smoking and health."
-1969 Brown & Williamson internal document discussing cigarette advertising

Harold Brown has stolen a page from the Brown & Williamson playbook. Why? Because it still works with a poorly informed electorate.

posted @ Monday, July 22, 2013 - 11:58

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