Climate shift denialists 1 – Business and politics

Trump and other denialists reject climate change.  Why?

On June 1, Pres. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the international Paris Agreement On Climate Change and pushed climate change into one of the major stories of the year. This has opened many more questions than can be covered in any single post.

We consider only that small facet of the climate change argument about why many business and political leaders deny it is happening. This is the first of two discussions on why leaders deny that Earth’s climate is changing at an unnatural rate. In Climate shift denialists 2, we will discuss why some religious leaders might become denialists.

Climate shift is real  (A) Prologue

Human-caused climate change is happening right now, and we will start with that.  It is a “feature” of chaos shift events that effects, once done, can never be reversed.  The sea level is rising now. Example: islands, coastal towns, bays and bayous are being swallowed by the ocean  and scoured with its currents and tides. Even if the level drops in a century or so, these features will never be same again. Weather is becoming fiercer; all who die because of extended day temperatures of 120° to 140° F (50°-60° C) will be lost forever.  Although real and currently happening, it is strongly disputed (in the US). We start with the fact of its existence  Definitions …

  • Weather – what happens every day. It is like a snapshot across the your street. Today your image shows part of a bakery, a white panel truck and a blue SUV. Tomorrow you see a different part of the bakery, a florist shop, bicyclists, and a pickup.
  • Climate – the long average of the weather. It is like adding together a series of snaps of your street scene. If you average a large number of pictures, the incidental traffic, no matter how large, will be removed and all the shops become apparent.
The Climate Escalator

Fig 1 Climate Escalator. World average temperature rose 0.18 C (0.324 F) every decade since 1970

Skeptical Science features the world temperature graph by Dana Nuccitelli. Fig 1 is from the author’s YouTube presentation. Click the image for a readable version.

World weather is the jagged green line.
World climate is the straight red line.

Temperature changes are just one of the indicators of our shifting climate. Others such as desertification and rising sea coasts may have more impact on us (as a species).

Check the Skeptical Science website for the 10 top alt facts used by denialists.

Katharine Hayhoe

Fig 2  Katharine Hayhoe, Environmental Scientist

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe (Fig 2) of Texas Tech University is one of the many scientists who talk about the climate-shift problem. Watch as she discusses various climate facts, false and true to a group of interested people.

It is climate that is shifting, the weather will just grow more violent as the change continues.  So…

Q: Why do Americans doubt climate change?
A: Their leaders and TV talking heads tell them to.

Q: Why do people in authority deny what is happening?
A: Motives of  business execs and politicians are easy.  Religious leaders?
     The second post will be my very personal answer to Christians in denial.

Climate shift is real  (B) Why are business leaders climate denialists?

Business resistance is totally understandable – Check the relation between stock prices and executive compensation.

This an issue is about how people work. The people who run large businesses are among the highest compensated in the world, many fought their way up to extreme wealth, many were born to it.  If stock goes down in the short term, terrible things happen, so corporate planning strategies usually have a 3-6 month timeline.

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Donald Trump is Man-child – Maybe

Is Donald Trump a child in a man’s body?  … or something more disturbing.

This question has been discussed a lot.  How would you interpret all the public aspects of Donald Trump (fig 1)?

Trump in 6 facits

Fig 1  6 faces of President Trump

Trump is a Man-Child

In recent weeks, this interpretation has been discussed a lot. Here are a couple examples:

David Brooks

Fig 2  David Brooks, OpEd columnist, New York Times

Columnist David Brooks (fig 2) wrote When The World is Led By A Child (2017 May 15) and lists 3 issues that challenge Donald Trump, but which most people solve by the end of puberty.  This is an informative read.

  • Control and focus of attention.  Trump’s attention span is controlled by his short-term impulsive shifts.  His churning thoughts can jumble together threads of thought into any statement.  “Trump is still a 7-year-old boy who is bouncing around the classroom.” My comment – He appears unable to actually study anything.
  • Sense of Self  Most adults achieve some understanding of themselves. “But Trump … need[s] perpetual outside approval to stabilize his sense of self, so he …[tells]… fabulist tales about himself”  My comment –people who doubt their own adequacy need  continuous reinforcement.  These are symptoms of deep feelings of inferiority.
  • Theory of Mind  Most people develop a bit of empathy or some at least some understanding of how others respond to events.  It appears Donald Trump never generated a model of how the rest of us think.

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President Trump, Triumph of Chaos

Against all reasonable odds, Donald Trump rose from a discounted Republican candidate to take the President’s oath of office. “How did this happen?”  How is because Trump is the product of self-focused personal ambition and pushed himself forward at exactly the right time. The real puzzlement is why did it happen against all expectations and so quickly, too?

Maybe Trump’s election is no big deal. After all, the sky has not yet fallen – conditions have not actually changed all that much. Nice idea – but… You cannot immediately identify what happened to our stability, nor even that a stability change occurred.  You can see the event clearly, but only after the passage of time.  The issue – we live in a chaotic world where present reality emerges when the tangle of uncountable things that could happen condenses into those that actually do.

Donald Trump - President

Fig 1  Swearing in 2017 Jan 20

The 20th century lifestyle ended in 2016 Nov 08, not 2000 Jan 01.  But the new 21st Century paradigm may well have begun 2017 Jan 20. (Fig 1).

Trump happened because we were ripe for chaotic social change.

We are experiencing a societal chaos-shift

First, a techno-break to discuss what we mean by chaotic orbits, and shifts in our social life patterns.  Next section –  the Donald Trump phenomena. You may skip to there, if you wish.

Think of our social structure as a basically stable system with gentle shifts among its interconnected parts.  For example, our states of inequality and economic opportunity were essentially stable in American (US) society from WW-II until a bit after 1981.

One key feature of chaotic stability is the ‘pendulum swing’ effect.  You can see it in the voting records.  Voters first want  (slightly) conservative leaders, then (slightly) liberal leaders; then again, then again.  You could think of this as the occasional but almost regular oscillation about an average center. With more than one kind of political influence thread, you get a quasi-stable orbit (rather than an oscillation) about a conceptual center for our political stability.

Visualize Chaotic Orbits   Suppose there were only 3 activity threads that influence the state of society. Each of these would be independent of the others except for cause-and-effect interactions between the results from each thread.

We visualize this as the concept graph in Fig 2.  Each of the three influence threads is an axis direction (vector).

Orbits about fixed point Attractor

Fig 2  NOW moves in a chaotic orbit about (+), the fixed point attractor.

The blue swirling line is the path of the net effect due the ‘pendulum’ swings  in each thread.  This path through the concept graph is like a jet airplane’s contrail.  Our current location (NOW) is the round yellow endpoint.

Notice the fixed point ( + ) as the apparent center of the motion.

Choose 3 conceptually independent influence threads that show pendulum swinging:

  • Influence 1 – Anxiety   (over living conditions)
  • Influence 2 – Ethnicity   (for inclusion in social acceptance; includes biases in race, religion – even wealth)
  • Influence 3 – Inequality   (economic gain or loss of earnings potential compared to other segments of society – other kinds of inequality exist, too)

These are LastTechAge names for markers recently identified by Yascha Mounk and Roberto Foa as The Signs of Deconsolidation of democracy in world politics. Foa and Mounk’s ideas have been discussed by, for example, Amanda Taub (New York Times), and Jonathan Rauch (Atlantic Monthly).

Although  Anxiety, Ethnicity and Inequality seem to be useful to trace Donald Trump’s rise, there are certainly many thousands of such threads that influence the direction of social change.  For simple visualization, the choice of any three does not matter.

In a world of 7 billion people, there may be thousands of millions of mutually interacting, independently swinging threads affecting social stability.

If there is a forcing function at work on some of the the influences (dimensions), the “fixed point” ( + ) will move. Small pushing forces usually cause small drifts in a system’s fixed point, and Fig 1 does display a slight drift in its center as the NOW point moves in its orbit.

A Chaos-Shift can happen if the push is strong enough   If the pushing influences are too large, the direction of the motion of NOW (through concept space) may abruptly shift the “fixed-point” attractor ( + ) to an unpredictable location. Fig 3 shows a such a chaos-shift with our diagram.  An observer must wait at least one full orbit to estimate the position the new ‘fixed’ attractor point.

Chaos shift to new attractor

Fig 3  A strong push of the influences causes shift to new indeterminate attractor

An unpredictable jump in the orbit’s fixed point is much more likely than a minor shift in its position if the active NOW value has drifted too far from its attractor, or if the forcing function is too large or too abrupt. But chaotic systems are not predictable (not causal) so a chaos-shift might just happen.

Chaotic orbit effects happen for almost every system you can image, not just politics. For any system, plot each influence as in Fig 1; the system average will show some type of chaotic orbit.  See James Gleick’s 1987 bestselling popular discussion Chaos; or Melanie Mitchell’s 2009 Complexity, A Guided Tour – one of the best popularized discussions of chaos and complexity theory.

Donald Trump’s election is a chaos-shiftand is still in process

President Trump 2017

Fig 4  President Trump 2017

Today, we still have people saying the Trump presidency (Fig 4) is not a disaster in progress. We do not see any parts of the sky falling, so government will end up as it always does. After all “the best predictors of the future are the past trends.”

Well, not in our chaotic world where myriad probabilities converge to form reality. But the current state must orbit its quasi-fixed point at least once before its details can be identified. Continue reading

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Trump invites Brit Theresa May over for tea

Breaking new just from Politico, “President-elect Trump invites British prime minister for a visit”.

Donald Trump President USA

Donald Trump (b 1948) President-to-be, United States of America

Ass or arse?Ms May is an attractive woman.  Think about what The Donald said … about the most important quality for a woman to have is her “good ass.”

My main advice would be for her to step over to the British Museum and borrow an old suit of knight’s armor.  Its just the thing to wear for this meeting.

Theresa May Prime Minister UK

Theresa May (b 1956) Prime Minister, United Kingdom. Leader of the Conservative Party

Trump sets difficult stardardsThink about it… The Donald says he always grabs a woman’s “pussy” because he can.  This indicates the dire need for armored suits to avoid an international incident.  I would hate to have a war with our British Allies!


Charles J. Armentrout, Ann Arbor
2016 November 10
This is listed under  Politics in the Politics > Pres Trump thread
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Quench the Bern? … yet the fires rage

Bernie Sanders has been quenched, but populist passions still burn – in both parties.

By June 2016, Bernie Sanders appeared to have lost in his push for the Democratic nomination, and in early July, he formally backed the heir apparent, Hillary Clinton.

And HC is the nominee. This is due   –to the fact of Super Delegates, chosen by the party leadership, and  –to the coordinated efforts by the party and the “liberal” media to reject him and his issues.

2016 Bernie-Sanders

Fig 1: Sen. Bernie Sanders, 2016

Bernie Sanders campaigned to end the inequality that has grown in the American experience like a metastasized cancer spreading throughout the body politic leaving necrotic waste where once healthy industry flourished.

Inequality in opportunity and income is the basis of unrest that permeates American political reality.  In these days following the BREXIT vote, it is apparent that such unrest underlies much of the developed world.

The social fires are not extinguished. When Sanders made his endorsement speech (2016 Jul 12), a large block of his supporters stood and walked out of the hall.

This spring and summer we has seen the populist rise of Bernie Sanders, the numerous deaths of black people by the police, the killing of the police on our city streets, and the apparent populist rise of Donald Trump (Il Duce wanna-be?) to presidential nominee for our very rightist Republican Party.  Are these events related?  Our viewpoint– probably yes.  Certainly they bubble out of the same nasty brew that is our past history.

Of course the various events are not directly related, but the experiences of our present are correlated by common past happenings.  Re-phrase this:  The events that formed our reality during the past several generations are the preconditions that guide the determination of Now;  current events become the prior events that shape the cloud of probability from which future reality precipitates. Past events create the conditions for future events.

With all that is happening, it is clear is that the leadership in both our parties “just don’t get it.”  Social/Political elite do not understand why Sanders and Trump  resonate with the population – young and old alike.  But they had better learn! Continue reading

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Piketty on the U.S. Presidential race

Piketty makes upbeat comments on Bernie Sanders and what he implies about US inequality trends.

Just to pass on a very optimistic comment from Thomas Piketty, on our on-going struggle against the American convergence to a government controlled by an emerging aristocracy.

Thomas Piketty 2015 The Guardian

Fig 1 Thomas Piketty published an Opinion piece in The Guardian

In the 2016 Feb 14 on-line edition of The Guardian,  Piketty published an opinion piece on the U.S. election. He is shown in Fig 1, picture from here.   He discussed the phenomenon of Bernie Sanders having anything more than a tiny token part of the process we use here to get candidates nominated by the parties.

He reviews the position America had as the world leader in the growth of equality, right up to the end of the 1970s, and our horrible decent since then.  He discusses Bernie Sanders and what he might mean.  His final sentence…

However, new forms of political mobilization and crowdfunding can prevail and push America into a new political cycle. We are far from gloomy prophecies about the end of history.

Hugely positive, considering Piketty’s comment in his book C21 (Capital in the twenty first century).  He ends his book observing that the convergence to total inequality is not deterministic, which is  nice way of saying this is where the momentum from the recent past is pushing our Ship Of State.  His current upbeat tone became even clearer when compared another one of his comments – the world does not have to regress to an aristocratic feudal state, although he thought it very unlikely that we, the people of the world, would change this future end result (my rephrasing).

We now resume our annual blog pause for Autumn and Winter.

Charles J. Armentrout, Ann Arbor
2016 Feb 20
This is listed under Politics … a post in the Politics > 2016 thread
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Of Time and Physics

Physics and Timepath are compatible views – the past is real; the future – messy probability; the Now separates them.

Well-trained, reputable physicists have published claims that the past is fixed, the future is just like the past but stretches in the other direction, and that the present Now is the point that joins the two. Some even publish that it is possible to travel through time.  Are such positions sensible, or, as we believe, are they ideological beliefs supported by wishful thinking?

This is our concluding post in the 4 part series that introduces our Timepath picture of reality.  Timepath is not yet a model with new predictions ready for physics testing. It is a pre-hypothesis; a suggestion of how to view world processes to remove the feelings of strangeness generated by (for example) quantum ideas. We begin by discussing the three physics worldviews (paradigms) and compare how they mutually interact. The Timepath description follows, along with a discussion of how the quantum paradigm and Timepath views can work together.   Click any image for full resolution 

Overview:  The Three Paradigms of Physics 

This section is a quick summary of the three distinct physics worldviews.

  • The Newtonian view of the classically famous 3 laws of motion.
  • The Relativistic view with its ‘Special’ description and its cosmological ‘General’ extension.
  • The Quantum view that accounts well for the atomic world of the ultra small.

A more complete description for non-technical general audiences can be found in our Physics In 3 Paradigms.pdf.

Newtonian Paradigm (NP)

Isaac Newton’s Laws form the oldest paradigm in physics that that actually works.  NP was developed in the mid 1660s. It was released several decades later as the 3 famous laws that students learn in their first classes in physics. NP is deductive and causal in that current interactions cause subsequent motion.  NP is also called deterministic.  It described and explained activities in ways not possible before.

Sydney Harbor - Newton's Laws

Fig 1  Australia’s Sydney Harbor.

Nearly every object in the Sidney Harbor view (Fig 1) owes its existence to the success of NP analysis.  All the constructed things we use today – bridges, complex buildings, vehicles, lighting, aircraft, etc.  show Newton’s success.

They connect the beginnings of NP (accurate descriptions of planetary orbits) to modern explorations of our local environments (underseas, ground-to-atmosphere, and near-Earth space).

NP is our foundation paradigm to understand the world. For this reason it is called Classical Physics.

Relativistic Paradigm (RP)

Relativistic Inertial FrameSpecial Relativity (SR), the initial form of RP, was released in 1905 and extended NP to high velocities, and accelerations in inertial reference frames only. SR is the attempt to find the form of physics ‘laws’ that can be expressed exactly the same way in all inertial frames, independent of any relative velocity (valid laws must be covariant).  It assumes that the speed of light has the same numeric value in each reference.  These two requirements – covariant laws and invariant light speed – led to startling predictions.

  • Relativistic Proper ValueThe length of a moving object is always less than its proper length.
  • The duration of a time interval (like the time between successive clock ticks) is always longer than the proper duration.
  • If there is in inertial frame where two events are detected to occurring simultaneously, they will not occur simultaneously in any other moving frame.

SR has been strenuously examined through extremely detailed tests.   Because it has passed every one of these test, SR now is generally accepted.  But to the old NP physicists, it did not “feel like” physics – sure, it made new predictions, but it seemed closer to a philosophical discussion.

General Relativity (GR) is the upgrade to SR and is its natural successor.  GR combines the speed of light and simultaneity with gravitational mass to describe the universe as a whole. GR predicted that accumulations of mass will warp straight lines through space and was immediately used to explain the classical anomaly in the precession of Mercury’s orbit as well as the bending of star light around our sun.  In its GR form, RP has passed the myriad tests of its predictions.

Physicist John Wheeler (1911-2008) is often quoted to have said

Mass tells space-time how to curve, and
space-time tells mass how to move

Andromeda galaxy and general relativity

Fig 2 The Andromeda galaxy, M31

About 20 years ago, the structure and behavior of the Andromeda galaxy (Fig 2) was found to differ a bit from GR calculations, a fact that led to the proposal of dark matter.

So far, no one has observed “dark matter” – does this invalidate GR?

Think about this – neutrinos started as a math tool to let quantum relations work. But. If neutrinos were only a math contrivance, Quantum mechanics would be as acceptable as epicycles or phlogiston.  Twenty six years after being proposed, Cowen and Reins (link) detected their very real existence.

Frankly, I am not worried about dark matter – our understanding of galactic dynamics and the universe as a whole is based on the success of GR theory.

Although the SR subset of the RP is accepted by nearly everyone, its GR generalization still makes some physicists squirm, even though it has passed every challenge during the past 100 years. It is in continuous daily use: the GPS location devices use GR calculations in every measurement. Without GR, GPS could not work.

As with its NP predecessor, RP provides accurate deductive predictions from causal relationships. Both are deterministic world views – If you can specify something’s initial state and keep it fully isolated from everything else, you can know with perfect precision what will be happening at any time after the starting point.

Quantum Paradigm (QP)

The physics discipline that underlies the QP is Quantum Mechanics (QM), which describes an atom as a tiny positive central nucleus surrounded by a definitely shaped though diffuse cloud of negative electrons.  Since you cannot distinguish between identical electrons, no prediction can be made for any particular one.  This means that QP can not provide deterministically predictive descriptions – only most likely ones.

Orbital dz2 probability distribution

Fig 3 Artist’s image of the calculated dz2 atomic orbital

QM‘s “diffuse but definite” cloud is the density of the probability in which the various states that the collection of electrons could exist. The gaseously diffuse  probability is called the state’s wave function, and has required decades to understand (assuming we actually do so, now).

Wave function calculations proved precise explanations for what we observe, and accurate predictions about what we should expect.  We can picture these as in Fig 3, our artistic conception of the dz2 wave function for the orbital electron distribution in an atom. It shows a distinct though blurry solid against a background of all the general probabilities in the atom’s environment.

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