American Elephants

The French, Coming Apart. And the Rest of Us Too? by The Elephant's Child

Christopher Caldwell has a fascinating piece at City Journal about “The French, Coming Apart” He writes about Christophe Guilluy who has spent decades in France as a housing consultant in rapidly changing neighborhoods, studying gentrification, social problems, immigration tensions, deindustrialization, economic decline, ethnic conflict, and changes in politics and the rise of populist parties.  It is a ground-level look, Caldwell says, at the economic, residential, and democratic consequences of globalization in France.

France’s political system is as polarized as our own, this discussion arises in the midst of a French election which has selected Marine Le Pen described as a far-right nationalist or populist and Emmanuel Macron, a representative of France’s elite who is apt to win decisively, but to represent the status quo which is hugely unpopular. Unsurprisingly, immigration is a major issue. President Hollande’s approval rating is down around 6 percent, Macron represents more of the same, apologizes for French colonialism, and is a fierce defender of France’s open immigration system.

A process that Guilluy calls métropolisation has cut French society in two. In 16 dynamic urban areas (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Toulouse, Lille, Bordeaux, Nice, Nantes, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Rennes, Rouen, Toulon, Douai-Lens, and Montpellier), the world’s resources have proved a profitable complement to those found in France. These urban areas are home to all the country’s educational and financial institutions, as well as almost all its corporations and the many well-paying jobs that go with them….

Most of France’s small cities, in fact, are in la France périphérique.) Rather, the term measures distance from the functioning parts of the global economy. France’s best-performing urban nodes have arguably never been richer or better-stocked with cultural and retail amenities. But too few such places exist to carry a national economy. When France’s was a national economy, its median workers were well compensated and well protected from illness, age, and other vicissitudes. In a knowledge economy, these workers have largely been exiled from the places where the economy still functions. They have been replaced by immigrants.

Guilluy shows that if French people were willing to do the work in the prosperous urban centers, there would be no place for them to live. It’s an interesting look at French societal problem, but also at British and American developments. Caldwell calls it globalization, but I’m not sure that it isn’t something quite different. Working class Frenchmen no longer exist in Paris. Multiculturalism, artificial intelligence, freedom of speech, political correctness, socialism. Some of the same effects led to Britain leaving the European Union.  70% of Frenchmen tell pollsters that there are too many foreigners in France. Jews are leaving at the rate of around 7,000 a year, fearing for their safety.

I remember reading, years ago, that the globalist NGOs saw the future of America as the people crowded together in very large high-rise cities with connecting roadways, and the land returned to wilderness in between. One wondered where the food would come from, among other things. but this piece brought back that memory. The big cities of the country are becoming unaffordable, with tiny houses, and apartments made of shipping containers, to crowd more people in. My own sleepy suburb has become a high-rise city with affordable living apartments developing all over. Reports of tiny spaces renting for outrageous sums in the Bay Area abound.

It is an interesting piece and both disturbing and thought-provoking. If you want to be provoked into pondering just where we are going, I recommend it. Paul Mirengoff at Power Line writes about it as well, but mostly in reference to the French election.

Makes me wonder if in pursuit of “draining the swamp” in Washington D.C. it wouldn’t be a good idea to move some agencies out to cities across the country. It’s getting way too incestuous back there.

Solving the Problem of Good Drinking Water for All by The Elephant's Child

Members of the political left often assume that if they just had complete control, they could fix all the annoyances that bother them so much, fix or at least repair human nature, create great inventions, do away with the political right—one of the truly major annoyances—everyone would be happy and get along. Anyone who is a member of a family knows that assumption to be absurd. Human nature is fixed, immutable, and unchangeable. Governments don’t create great inventions. Great inventions are oftentimes made by accident, and blundered into. One such discovery is graphene.

Andre Geim, a Russian-born scientist at the University of Manchester in Britain, and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for isolating graphene. Dr. Geim wanted thin graphite to study its electrical properties. A doctoral student suggested using cellophane tape.”They used the tape to peel off layers of graphite until they got to a layer so thin it was transparent. Not only did it not fall apart, it was strong, flexible and possessed astonishing electrical properties.”

Back in 2013 when I first wrote about graphene. I didn’t know there was such an occupation such as a materials scientist. Andre Geim and Konstantin Novosetov at Britain’s Manchester University were playing around with scotch tape and a lump of graphite in 2004. That resulted in a shared Nobel prize, knighthood, and a £61m National Graphene Institute.

As of May in 2004, it had resulted in more than 9,000 patent applications. Companies like Apple, Saab, Lockheed Martin, Nokia, BASF SE were interested, for potential uses such as filtering salt from seawater, flexible touch screens, anti-rust coatings, sports equipment like tennis racqets, DNA sequencing devices and distilling vodka. Labs all over the world are hard at work, including the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Research has shown that graphene is better than Kevlar at stopping bullets fired at supersonic speeds.

In 2015, I wrote about a graphene heating system that would dramatically reduce home energy costs from 25 to 75 percent. Now researchers from the University of Manchester have made a breakthrough in desalinization by using the “wonder material graphene.” They have designed a graphene oxide sieve to make seawater potable, and more importantly have tweaked the graphene composite in order to make it commercially scalable. The BBC reports:

[It] has been difficult to produce large quantities of single-layer graphene using existing methods, such as chemical vapour deposition (CVD). Current production routes are also quite costly.

On the other hand, said [Dr Rahul Nair], “graphene oxide can be produced by simple oxidation in the lab…In terms of scalability and the cost of the material, graphene oxide has a potential advantage over single-layered graphene.”

Though the material is only 13 years old, its potential for applications has surged dramatically ranging from better information and energy storage to faster transistors to more efficient lasers.

 Companies have worked to include graphene into the design of objects as small as a computer chip to as large as an airplane wing. It has been called the most flexible, most conductive, and strongest material in the world, and we’re just getting started on deploying it into manufacturing processes.

Part of the hold-up on this graphene boom has to do with how expensive and time consuming it is to manufacture. That’s where these graphene oxides come in, the production of which is evidently much simpler. The latest breakthrough involves using these graphene oxides to help ensure future water security, but there’s a lot more to be excited about when it comes to this miracle material.


The Oroville Dam Drama, Explained In Full by The Elephant's Child


The pictures of the Oroville Dam spillway and the power of the vast rush of water are both beautiful and frightening. It seemed sure that the dam would collapse. So many people were evacuated. Climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer had very thorough coverage at his website: . Lots of pictures, diagrams, charts to show the watershed of the dam,  the damage to the spillway, the history, everything the armchair geologist might want to know and more. A little raw nature is a nice relief after all the raw emotion on the streets.

Why is America So Rich? by The Elephant's Child

Antarctic Sea Ice Is Pretty Much the Same as in Ernest Shackleton’s Logs of a Century Ago. by The Elephant's Child

antarctic-sea-ice-100617-02A 2008 paper by James Hanson, former Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies … showed the true gravity of the situation. In it, Hansen set out to determine what level of atmospheric CO2 society should aim for if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted. His climate models showed that exceeding 350 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere would likely have catastrophic effects. We’ve already blown past that limit. Right now, environmental monitoring shows concentrations around 400 ppm.

There were no consequences. Real-world evidence clearly demonstrates that Hansen’s hypothesis is wrong. (Scientific method)

Also in the news is that the El Nino warming effect has ended, and things are getting colder.

Scientists were shocked by what they found when pouring over accounts from the famous South Pole explorers  a century ago. The Antarctic Sea Ice is just about the same as it was 100 years ago according to the ships logs of Ernest Shackleton, in addition to other explorations in those waters. Scientists had only really looked at Antarctic sea ice levels from the 1950s onward, which shows a relative decline in sea ice. But researcher Dr. Jonathan Day and his team were the first to look at conditions prior to the 1930s. Current sea ice is just 14 percent smaller than the highest point of the 1900s and 12 percent greater than the lowest point.

Why is that a big deal? It shows that Antarctic sea ice has fluctuated throughout the 20th century—due to natural climate shifts, not man-made warming. The problem is that if you want to predict the state of the climate in a hundred and fifty years, you won’t know whether you were correct or not until 150 years from now, no matter how many computer programs you have or how many peer-reviewed papers you produce.

Arctic sea ice extent has shrunk more than 7 percent per decade since 1979 while Antarctic sea ice has actually grown about one percent per decade — despite what most climate models predicted.

A 2015 NASA study found Antarctica’s ice sheet increased in mass from 1992 to 2008. The study found ice gains in Eastern Antarctica more than offset ice loss from melting glaciers in the west.

Day’s study comes just after the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) found the collapse of a major South Pole was sparked by an El Nino during the 1940s, not man-made climate change.

Computer Problems: by The Elephant's Child
November 10, 2016, 1:05 am
Filed under: Blogging, Election 2016, Technology | Tags: , ,

I had intended to write several pieces today. Lord knows there’s a lot to write about, but I have been plagued for most of the day with an overactive mouse. The cursor simply will not behave. It will not go to the intended spot, it will not narrow a page, or allow me to correct a mistake. In the last few minutes, it has finally decided to behave. It is a complete mystery to me. Any ideas?

Dr. Fred Goldberg Squashes Climate Alarmism by The Elephant's Child

Dr. Fred Goldberg , director of the Swedish Polar Institute and a leading world authority on polar history and exploration, discusses the extent of Arctic glaciers and sea ice which have been highly variable over the past millennium.  “Warmists” have cited some recent retreats as supposed evidence of man-caused warming, Goldberg has showed that ice retreated dramatically in the 1920s—prompting a scare and fears of “a radical change in climatic conditions and  unheard of temperatures in the Arctic, then temperatures dropped again and the ice came back.  By 1977 there were fears of a coming ice age. To understand future ice conditions, he says, we need to understand what the sun is doing.

IPCC’s climate people have little knowledge about cloud formation and its effect on the climate and the influence of water vapor on the greenhouse effect.

The climate is a chaotic system and can therefore not be modeled. No climate models have been verified and it takes at least 60 years to verify a climate model.

The panic about global warming exists entirely in computerized climate programs, and the minds of the Left. And there are just too many variables that we do not understand, so they filled in with ‘educated guesses,’ wild guesses and approximations. But research on matters of climate can garner hefty grants, better salaries and new labs,  and a chance to go to all sorts of climate meetings in the lovely resorts of the world. Who’s going to worry about approximations?

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