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« vis-co-e-las-tic-i-ty ex-pi-al-ido-cious or... what can't you do with carbon nanotubes? | Main | dueling dualities »


Is there any value at all to planting trees? Or carbon offsetting?

The above figures indicate we're doomed & shouldn't even try. Don't even start kids thinking about the environment. They might encounter bad data, for starters. If they took action, they'd be a part of "the big lie".

When you destroy a position, I often wonder if there's a better alternative.

RA: Planting trees can be a positive thing if you plant the right trees in the right places, but just planting trees isn't going to solve the problem by itself. Planting trees isn't bad. My objection is that stunts like give people the wrong idea of the impact their actions have. The first step is knowledge. Then you can make a choice as to whether you think you should change your behavior. Of the 'reduce, reuse, recycle', we've focused much more on the latter than the former.

Agree with your outlook regarding learning how to think, especially thinking critically. Honor is where you find it and no group or association has a lock on it. One of the greatest pleasures of teaching is finding and helping create a resonance in thinking minds, and then of course one of the greatest downers is in not finding it at all.

Your brief analysis is a good example of how to react to bald faced statements and claims that are as ridiculous on their face as they are common. However, it can also serve as a good example of how impossible it is for science to claim it can model complex natural events. For instance, tropical forests are not all active throughout the year as those who live in such areas know. Many 'tropical' forests are deciduous and their leaves turn all the lovely colors of fall we see in our temperate climes and drift to the ground every year. Currently I am somewhere around the 20th latitude, lots of the trees are in fall colors and mounds of leaves cover the yard and walk ways. Many that are consistently green are not really trees as we think of them but rather are rhizomes, the best known being the beautiful and useful banana 'trees', which do not contain any hard cellulose based 'wood' as we know it, and which unceasingly and vigorously sprout anew from a parent rhizome in communal bliss.

Which brings us to another point which is that plants convert a lot of CO2 into flowers and fruit. Wood is about individual survival, flowers and fruit are about the continuation of the species and the host of symbiotic relationships that make up a system too complex for mortal man to understand except as art and love with some mysticism thrown in for good measure.

"I really do believe that the biggest danger we face as a society is a populace that doesn’t want to think for themselves"


(PS: But there's hope!)

Oh, so helping buy a plot of land in the rainforest when I was in Kids for Saving the Earth was actually the best plan! Good to know.

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.