Saturday, January 31, 2015

Moment in History: John Kerry's Military & Academic Records

"John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004 was hobbled by outrageous attacks on his war record, which Kerry might have been able to bury by releasing all his Navy records. He wouldn’t, until long after the race was over. Then reporters discovered that everything about his military career was exactly as Kerry had portrayed it. The only news was in his college transcript, which was included in the file and pretty dismal. I’ve always wondered if the entire course of modern American history would have turned out different if John Kerry had not wanted to conceal the fact that his academic performance at Yale was worse than George W. Bush’s."

Segmented Sleep "or" Insomnia?

"We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night – but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.

"In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month.

"It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep…."


"…Today, most people seem to have adapted quite well to the eight-hour sleep, but Ekirch believes many sleeping problems may have roots in the human body’s natural preference for segmented sleep as well as the ubiquity of artificial light.

"This could be the root of a condition called sleep maintenance insomnia, where people wake during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep, he suggests.

"The condition first appears in literature at the end of the 19th Century, at the same time as accounts of segmented sleep disappear.

“For most of evolution we slept a certain way,” says sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobs. “Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology.”

"The idea that we must sleep in a consolidated block could be damaging, he says, if it makes people who wake up at night anxious, as this anxiety can itself prohibit sleeps and is likely to seep into waking life too....."

Comment: unspoken is the need to make sure that you schedule your sleep/awake/sleep times and activities to allow for a sufficient total to be rested

Global Warming: Cryosphere Shrinking Dynamics

Today, about ten percent of Earth's land surface is covered by ice, in the form of glaciers, ice caps, and ice sheets. These areas of ice grow and shrink in response to changing climate. (Glaciers at the height of the last ice age, some 20,000 years ago, covered much of North America and Europe.)

At the current rate of retreat, ocean levels will continue to rise no matter what we do about CO2 levels in the future. CO2 levels would not decrease at a significant level even if we suddenly stopped burning all fossil fuels. This means that current global temperatures are enough to melt all remaining glaciers within fifty years. Continuing temperature increases will force the huge Greenland ice sheet to raise sea levels by twenty feet before this century is out. The Antarctic ice sheet is showing dangerous signs of increased ice flow.

Watch a fascinating NOVA episode called "Extreme Ice":

Global Warming: Greenland Ice Pack Tells A Tale

"In the past, the cycle of ice ages and periods of warming were caused mainly by shifts in the earth's orbit around the sun, but now, humans seem to be driving these changes. Since the Industrial Revolution, our burning of fossil fuels has ratcheted up the output of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, which trap heat in the atmosphere. Temperatures are climbing, and the ice is melting faster than ever......"

"At the National Ice Core Lab, in Lakewood, Colorado, a giant freezer stores over 45,000 feet of ice, drilled from 34 sites around the cryosphere. Dating back hundreds of thousands of years, these ice cores are time capsules that allow us to peer deep into the history of ice......

is interesting, 'cause it has a couple of things you can see, right away. One is there are bubbles throughout here. These bubbles are little packets of air. It's these bubbles we can take out and measure CO2 and methane and nitrous oxide. It's the only medium that really collects the atmosphere itself.
The other thing you can see in here, quite clearly, is you can see the layers, and the thickness is going to tell you how much snow fell that year, so you get a couple of pieces of climate information and a dating scale, just out of visually looking at this ice core."
"Most importantly, scientists have identified a direct historical link between increases in greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, and steep rises in global temperatures.
At every peak, big rises in sea level followed as Greenland's ice sheet shrank.
The ice core records also reveal a particularly telling moment in Greenland's history. Roughly 125,000 years ago, temperatures rose by about seven degrees Fahrenheit; the entire southern portion of the ice sheet melted, and global sea levels rose by over 10 feet.
It was caused by a change in the earth's orbit around the sun, which increased temperatures and released carbon dioxide from the oceans.
The more recent ice core record shows the potential for a similar meltdown. Right now, greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere are even higher than they were 125,000 years ago, higher than they've ever been in the last half-million years. Temperatures are already following suit."
The best and best explanation is the burning of fossil fuels.

Worthy Videos About Climate Change and Global Warming
“4.6 Billion Years of Earth’s Climate History: The Role of CO2” (24 min.):
For more, search “Richard Alley”.