Sunless, Squidless.

So apparently I’m attending The Waterloo Festival For Animated Cinema this weekend. I’m there right now, in fact.

I am surprised to learn this, since I haven’t left Toronto today. I haven’t even left the Magic Bungalow. In fact I haven’t even got out of bed, except to feed the fur and the fins, and to put Bailey’s in the morning coffee. I actually did get an e-mail from these Waterloo folks a few weeks back, asking if they could call me up and discuss the prospect of my appearance, and I said sure; but I never heard from them after that. So here I am, at three in the afternoon, in Bed with BOG and BUG and Bailey’s. Just as happy as I’d be in Waterloo, probably.

Also, I know this whole rogue planet thing is yesterday’s news and has already been all over the Internet, but I thought I’d mention it in passing for its obvious personal relevance. And also because I think they should be looking a lot closer to home.


This entry was posted on Saturday, November 17th, 2012 at 12:25 pm and is filed under astronomy/cosmology, public interface. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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Mr Non-Entity
Mr Non-Entity
11 years ago

@Peter: I guess you’ve seen the film “Melancholia”. 😉

Noted in passing: “Study Says Human Beings Are Getting Dumber“.

Mr Non-Entity
Mr Non-Entity
11 years ago

Sorry to follow myself, but the World Bank has just released “Turn Down the Heat: Why a Four Degree C Warmer World Must Be Avoided” (PDF). That link is to the summary, prepared for World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics.

World Bank is taking an alarmingly deep new interest in climate change, and has gone so far as to create a website dedicated to looking at it from a international banker and development organization’s viewpoint. It’s at

From the report’s executive summary:

This report spells out what the world would be like
if it warmed by 4 degrees Celsius, which is what scientists
are nearly unanimously predicting by the end of the century,
without serious policy changes.

The 4°C scenarios are devastating: the inundation of coastal cities;
increasing risks for food production potentially leading
to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer,
wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions,
especially in the tropics; substantially exacerbated water scarcity
in many regions; increased frequency of high-intensity
tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity,
including coral reef systems.

And most importantly, a 4°C world is so different
from the current one that it comes with high uncertainty and
new risks that threaten our ability to anticipate and plan
for future adaptation needs.

The lack of action on climate change not only risks
putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people
in the developing world, it threatens to roll back
decades of sustainable development.

It is clear that we already know a great deal about
the threat before us. The science is unequivocal
that humans are the cause of global warming,
and major changes are already being observed:
global mean warming is 0.8°C above pre-industrial levels;
oceans have warmed by 0.09°C since the 1950s
and are acidifying; sea levels rose by about 20 cm
since pre-industrial times and are now rising at 3.2 cm per decade;
an exceptional number of extreme heat waves occurred
in the last decade; major food crop growing areas
are increasingly affected by drought.

Despite the global community’s best intentions to
keep global warming below a 2°C increase above
pre-industrial climate, higher levels of warming are
increasingly likely. Scientists agree that countries’ current
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
emission pledges and commitments would most likely result in
3.5 to 4°C warming. And the longer those pledges remain unmet,
the more likely a 4°C world becomes.

Data and evidence drive the work of the World Bank Group.
Science reports, including those produced by the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, informed
our decision to ramp up work on these issues, leading to:
a World Development Report on climate change designed
to improve our understanding of the implications of a warming planet;
a Strategic Framework on Development and Climate Change,
and a report on Inclusive Green Growth. The World Bank
is a leading advocate for ambitious action on climate change,
not only because it is a moral imperative, but because
it makes good economic sense.

It’s always nice to have a large pile of heavily footnoted peer-reviewed documents handy with which to thump the politicians about the head and shoulders.

It’s even better when it’s published by a transnational dev org with extremely deep pockets and a big stick.

11 years ago

Fascinating! Would probably be a terrible place to live, though. Reminds me of that quote by Lovecraft about humanity’s fear of mass extinction. Way to stick it to that Anime festival btw. Nerds!

11 years ago

I come back to rifters to see a new comment in another thread, and notice in the side bar some more activity in this thread. which at first looked like some long poem, woa kick ass…. no,wait, it’s just how my small screen is formatting blockquotes. oh well, was expecting something like a scientific report in verse. where does that secondary world live?

so this rambling has me a request. would our host’s web monster enable a general rss feed for comments rather than or in addition to per-post rss feeds?

11 years ago

Peter Watts: Sure, if I can do that in three steps/five minutes or less.Is there some tag or pointer I can sub into the general crawl link that connects to all comments from any post? I’m not seeing it on the tutorial, and I don’t have time to to start hunting further afield.

I am the wrong person to answer that. as far as I’m concerned blog software is bad magic that I will pay someone else to do for me. I’d probably know just enough to shoot myself in the foot.

let me see if I can find some nice tutorial in a few minutes

11 years ago

woa, you don’t have to do anything. It’s already part of wordpress.

I should have rubber ducked more.

Mr Non-Entity
Mr Non-Entity
11 years ago

@Sheila, who wrote in-part: […] was expecting something like a scientific report in verse. where does that secondary world live?

When resorting to blockquote tags, and never knowing how people’s browsers and/or screen/font settings might alter it, I do go out of my way to break up the lines in a way that’s intended to parse a meaningful phrase per line without going over 80 characters wide. Doesn’t exactly scan, but WTF.

For a while back there before I finally gave up on UseNet,
I resorted to explaining things to people in what I thought
would make me look all full of Zen and Wisdom.

The theory was that if you explained things to people
in easily parsed and intellectually digestible bites
they’d have less trouble understanding, and would be
more easily convinced.


11 years ago

Mr Non-Entity:
When resorting to blockquote tags, and never knowing how people’s browsers and/or screen/font settings might alter it, I do go out of my way to break up the lines in a way that’s intended to parse a meaningful phrase per line without going over 80 characters wide. Doesn’t exactly scan, but WTF. […]

These days I only hard-return in bug reports where we insert log excerpts. Those excerpts can have seriously long lines that go way way past a gazillion columns. The bug tracking tool at one point could not handle the formatting gracefully when they weren’t broken up. It drove me bat shit insane with annoyance. I opened up a bug report titled: Stop the horizontal scrolling madness!

anyway, oh here we go Put In Another Methyl Group: A Villanelle. With a link to a famous rhyming organic chemistry journal article, Comparative mobility of halogens in reactions of dihalobenzenes with potassium amide in ammonia.

I hope this inspires people.