We make holes in teeth!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Winter and Hurricanes

The days are getting longer now but the temps are still dropping. They will continue to do so until February 1/2/3 when the average low and high bottom out at 37 and 19, respectively. For now be happy with the fact that the sun rises earlier and sets later. While we're only 1 month into winter it gives you something to look forward to. In 2 weeks it will be halfway over and we'll crawl slowly towards spring after that. By February 29th your averages will be 43 and 24.

We paid for our tickets to Taiwan yesterday, so that's on the pretty short-term radar. We head out on March 8 and I come back 2 weeks later on March 22, the day before Easter. Nat comes back 2 weeks after that. So I'll have 2 weeks of total freedom which will likely leave me totally puzzled at what to do with myself.

My weekend wasn't as productive on the bike as it could have been. I went out Saturday for 2+ hours where my saddle sore screamed in pain at times. I just didn't have the energy to put the disc brakes on the Trek because I was worried the sore was going bad fast. I ended up on the trainer Sunday, Monday, and this morning which is totally weak for a 3 day weekend. On the flip side I got the hardtail setup and ready to go for this coming weekend where I hope to get 2 off-road rides in. The road is just brutally cold right now.

In the home stretch with the environment book and I should be done by Friday. I think I'm less than 50 pages now and I'm looking forward to having that done with. I'm on the global warming chapter which is, as usual, somewhat eye opening but not as much as the other ones. There seem to be a few takeaways here. First of all we really don't know how much impact humans have on global warming. There seems little debate that we have some. But global temperature increases have been happening since 1850 which does not coincide with the rise of CO2 emissions, which is a relatively "new" phenomenon when looking at a time scale of 150 years.

The second is that the cost of global warming isn't really very clear and in some cases it seems there is little cost at all. Crops will flourish due to longer growing seasons. Additionally, claims of more severe storm damage, floods, cyclones, more frequent hurricanes, and the like are not corroborated by actual data. There are many lines of discussion on this topic but one that is easy to grasp is the of hurricane damage.

Hurricanes are said to be stronger now than ever, causing more damage. But in reality there are 50 times more people living in the 2 highest impact counties in Florida than there were in 1940. That's 50 times. On top of that, the average wealth of each person living there is substantially higher than it was in 1940, using 2000 dollars. So without question a hurricane in 2008 is going to cause more damage than it would have in 1940. In 1926 an unnamed category 4 hurricane hit roughly where hurricane Andrew landed in 1993 (I think) which experts estimate would have been more costly than Andrew was. Yet it cost little because it affected so few people and those it did affect were of relatively lesser wealth than those living there today. On the other hand, I think this is somewhat inaccurate as well because houses and buildings in 2008 are likely more hurricane resistant than in 1926 or 1940. Still, the example is worth illustrating I think.

The discussion can go on and on in this vein. A lot of good stuff in the book, and it doesn't claim that there aren't problems, just that "the litany" the media and environmental group spouts off about is just a lot of smoke that isn't substantiated by fact.

Regardless, I've had enough of it. I need something else to read.

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