Historic flooding here this week and the human-induced climate crisis

A quick note about that flash flooding in Houston Texas USA this week. I drove into it Monday morning, April 18, 2016. It was raining cats and dogs. I left home at 5:30 AM, but I made a U-turn and stayed home. I was in the heavy rain on a wide freeway for about an hour.

Seven people died in this flooding in this Houston area during those 2 days, Monday and Tuesday.

Here is a link to an excellent article from Texas Climate News. (They depend on donations, by the way.) Here is that headline:

“The new abnormal” – the latest Houston flood disaster’s climate context

Houston Public Media provides a photograph which makes a blog post here more helpful. To give credit for the photograph, here is the link to that Houston Public Media article.

Below is that photograph:

Above: Photograh of Houston flooding. Image credit: Houston Public Media. See above for the link to the article. (Click to zoom.)

Above: Photograh of Houston flooding. Image credit: Houston Public Media. See above for the link to the article.

Racial caste in the USA; Human-induced climate crisis globally

Those two subjects in the title were connected for me by Naomi Klein; The human-induced climate crisis relates to the Industrial Age, starting about the time of the James Watt steam engine. That Age relates to colonialism, slavery, and capitalism.

Klein suggests we keep capitalism, but not the 1929 and 2008 versions. A female Black American guest on the Tavis Smiley show stated that capitalism requires inequality. Globally and especially in the USA, we see obscene inequality and distribution of wealth. I conclude that most money, especially in the USA, is inherited, not earned. We all need money for necessities and luxuries. A work ethic is failing. Addressing the human-induced climate crisis, Klein states that only radical solutions remain, thanks to the success of radical conservatives.

I listen to the audiobook The New Jim Crow often now. It is a 2010 book by Michelle Alexander, with a forward by Dr. Cornel West. (Unrelated, the Ashlee Vance Elon Musk biography is great, and the Kindle ebook version is $1.99. Thanks to Brad in the Apple Store for mentioning it to me.)

The Alexander book leads me to the recently discontinued PBS television show Moyers & Company (though the website continues at www.billmoyers.com). Moyers introduced me to Ian Haney-López and Ta-Nehisi Coates. They both talk about our racial caste system in the USA, but I continue to listen to the 2010 Alexander audiobook often this week. I must buy the e-book so that I can look up some of those passages.

An image file will help to close this blog post. Public domain: Alexander and Wikipedia? Other things are on my mind, but priorities are important.

Above: HAWTHORNE, Calif. - A look through the open hatch of the Dragon V2 reveals the layout and interior of the seven-crew capacity spacecraft. SpaceX unveiled the new spacecraft during a ceremony at its headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. The Dragon V2 is designed to carry people into Earth's orbit and was developed in partnership with NASA's Commercial Crew Program under the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability agreement. SpaceX is one of NASA's commercial partners working to develop a new generation of U.S. spacecraft and rockets capable of transporting humans to and from Earth's orbit from American soil. Ultimately, NASA intends to use such commercial systems to fly U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Image credit: By NASA/Dmitri Gerondidakis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. (Click to zoom.)

Above: HAWTHORNE, Calif. – A look through the open hatch of the Dragon V2 reveals the layout and interior of the seven-crew capacity spacecraft. SpaceX unveiled the new spacecraft during a ceremony at its headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. The Dragon V2 is designed to carry people into Earth’s orbit and was developed in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program under the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability agreement. SpaceX is one of NASA’s commercial partners working to develop a new generation of U.S. spacecraft and rockets capable of transporting humans to and from Earth’s orbit from American soil. Ultimately, NASA intends to use such commercial systems to fly U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Image credit: By NASA/Dmitri Gerondidakis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. (Click to zoom.) As Ashlee Vance stated in that biography of Elon Musk, Finally! A modern spacecraft for human space missions! 

Uninhabitable in our Lifetimes; Our Human-Induced Climate Crisis

[From Democracy Now! of January 7, 2016]

TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: TransCanada Corporation has sued the U.S. government over its rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. On Wednesday, it filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court alleging President Obama’s rejection of the pipeline exceeded his power under the U.S. Constitution. TransCanada also filed legal action under NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, claiming the pipeline permit denial was, quote, “arbitrary and unjustified.” It’s seeking $15 billion as part of its NAFTA claim.

President Obama rejected the cross-border crude oil pipeline in November, after years of review and one of the most vocal grassroots campaigns this country has seen in decades. At the time, he said approving Keystone would undermine global efforts to stop climate change.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that’s the biggest risk we face: not acting. Today, we’re continuing to lead by example, because, ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground, rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.

Above: Good news about the human-induced climate crisis. See the blog at the NASA climate website.

Above: Good news about the human-induced climate crisis. See the blog at the NASA climate website.

Inconvenient to Know

Job applicants (in Texas, for example) and immigrants in the USA might be required to answer in writing questions about moral turpitude. The Wall Street Journal supported the investigative journalism of Douglas A. Blackmon which led to his 2009 Pulitzer Prize for his 2008 book Slavery by Another Name, a PBS one-hour television show of February 13, 2012. He explains, as I recall from the audiobook, that starting about ten years after the Civil War in the USA, moral turpitude was one of many excuses to send black Americans, especially men in the South, to prison to work in a system worse than slavery, convict leasing.

Intentional ignorance? In a New York Times interview, Noam Chomsky or his interviewer used the phrases intentional ignorance and inconvenient to know.

This reminds of the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates, including his 2015 book Between the World and Me. Would we prefer to continue to dream to be white rather than to be free?

Impossible Escapes!

We told the pest exterminators that glue traps were not allowed for the mice, but they were used effectively enough last year. The spare traps were still here this week and we caught a small rat (maybe a large mouse). This morning it caught a small lizard, a brown anole or chameleon here in Houston Texas USA, but it was still alive!

A glue trap is a rectangular plastic plate about 10 inches by 4 inches with glue all over it like shallow water. Peanut butter (or cheese) is added to the center. Very cruel, but effective.

The lizard was alive and well, so I spent two hours setting it free. Long story. I was left with 4 more of those glue traps, so I threw them all in the trash.

In a way, I have been in a trap often. I sometimes think of those universal traps as the monkey trap. A metal jar is secured and something to eat is placed in it. The monkey sticks its had in there, but its closed fist cannot come out because the opening is too small. It would rather hold on to that food than escape.

Ta-Nehisi coats says (in the 2015 book Between the World and Me) that white people in the USA would rather continue dreaming to be white for now than to be free.

The lizard could not have escaped without me, that is certain. I was happy to help, and its future is uncertain, but that result is as good as it gets.

Supergirl has been good on television. It is a new CBS prime time television show this year. One hour per week. This week she lost her powers, so she was human like all of us for a few days. I used the fast forward often, but it was a great show. Every week has been worth watching. She escapes, too. Even when she is super, she needs her friends.

Every blog entry needs an image, so here is a public domain images of Supergirl, but this is image shows a different version of Supergirl. In the new television show, one of her great friends is the cameraman journalist Jimmy Olsen of Superman fame, but in this version of the story, he is a black American, and his acting is a good as the acting of the woman playing the role of Supergirl.

Human-induced climate change requires urgent action (AGU, 2013), but tomorrow Senator Ted Cruz of Texas (USA) is holding a hearing in Congress in Washington DC advertising four climate science deniers (Christy, Curry, Happer, Steyn); “Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate.” Quite a few people in the USA and elsewhere are dishonest climate science deniers. I recommend the 2010 book Merchants of Doubt, the NASA climate website, the United Nations IPCC, reports from every national science academy, etc. Escape? We already guaranteed a global average surface temperature increase of 1.4 C since the start of the Industrial Age (the James Watt version of the steam engine), and the increase is already 1 C. (Convert an increase to F by multiplying by 1.8.) Will we reach 1.4 C by 2040? Will that measurement vary greatly from 2040 to 2100 based on how much mitigation we undertake now, after decades of institutionalized delay implemented by conservatives? [Brull] We must reduce our use of fossil fuels by about 80% now (yesterday), but will we do it? Will we escape? Not if we leave it to others, such as our leaders. We cannot just tell our leaders to fix it. We must tell them how to fix it. [Hansen, Democracy Now, this week, in Paris France.] Tax & dividend? Cap & trade? Government regulation? Segregationists never went away, they became small-government conservatives. [Britney Cooper, Salon.com.]

Web page design practice for new paragraphs

Sorry to bother you here, but at www.aiaahouston.org (IAC page, History TC page, Astrodynamics TC page, etc.), where TC stands for Technical Committee, and IAC stands for International Activities Committee, I need to be able to add a new paragraph break that works no matter the size of the user’s computer screen or mobile device screen. Following the choices made by that webmaster, my blog here uses Bluehost and for web site design, WordPress.

Creating blog entries allows me to use a GUI (Graphical User Interface), but sometimes I must edit the HTML code. For example, new paragraphs. What exactly is the HTML code? Break? New Line? New Paragraph? New Section? A carriage return in the GUI is not the answer; it has no effect.

[The Problem: When I insert a (small) image with its caption below it, then start a new paragraph, I want that new paragraph to start left-aligned below the caption, not to the right of the caption, not beside the image and beside the caption.]

Line1

myAlt

AlignNone, so to speak.

Line2

MyAlt

AlignNone, so to speak.

Line3

Line4

This is
a para
graph with line breaks

Line5

[Solution?: Try Align Right for the image (and caption), not the default Align Left. I found more sophisticated HTML code, but this is simpler. I will avoid the more complicated code which might or might not exist. Keep working below:

Above did not show the problem. Below shows the problem. Above is the solution, actually. Keep going:]

Line1

Alt Text can go here if I like but this is an experiment with HTML and Safari

AlignLeft, so to speak.

Line2

Line3

Line4

Line5

Line6

Line7

Line8

Line9

LineA

LineB

LineC

[That was AlignLeft for the image and caption. Found Amersandnpsb; that is to say,   as a new idea. It was auto-added. I did not add it. Can try it later. First, try above with AlignRight, so to speak.

Ignore nbsp preceded by an ampersand. That is for a blank space on the same line.

Here (below) we see AlignRight did not fix the problem.]

Line1

Alt Text can go here if I like but this is an experiment with HTML and Safari

AlignRight, so to speak

Line2

Line3

Line4

Line5

Line6

Line7

Line8

Line9

LineA

LineB

LineC

That is not what I wanted. I wanted a left-aligned image and caption, both left-aligned on the page, and the following text (new paragraph) to start left-aligned below all of that, not to either side of the image and caption.

Line 1

Alt Text can go here if I like but this is an experiment with HTML and Safari

AlignNone, so to speak

Line2

Line3

Line4

Line5

Line6

Line7

Line8

Line9

LineA

LineB

LineC

[Above we see AlignNone fixed the problem I was having. Now review www.aiaahouston.org/iac to see if problems remain. I might need a bigger screen (bigger than 15 inches) to know if a problem exists.]

Bulleted lists with WordPress and Safari

Our AIAA Houston Section Webmaster fixed this problem after an Apple Store helper found the CSS trouble (“liststyle: outside none none,”, see below). The bullets in bulleted lists were gone in Safari, but visible in Firefox. Here is a bulleted list of 3 items:

  • Item
  • Item
  • Item

Here is a note from our Webmaster:

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I’ve updated style.css. Safari is not as relaxed as the other browsers in interpreting the stylesheet rules. Safari expected the list-style rule to state the list type, list bullet position, and list bullet image – in that order.

I’ve change the suspect rules from:
ul {
list-style: outside none square;
}
ol ol {
list-style: outside none upper-alpha;
}
ol ol ol {
list-style: outside none lower-roman;
}
ol ol ol ol {
list-style: outside none lower-alpha;
}

To:
ul {
list-style: square outside none;
}
ol ol {
list-style: upper-alpha outside none;
}
ol ol ol {
list-style: lower-roman outside none;
}
ol ol ol ol {
list-style: lower-alpha outside none;
}

My Apple Store helper explained that in Safari preferences, we can select a Develop menu, then select Show Web Inpector. The file style.css. contained the problem (“none none”). Removing those two words provided a temporary fix, until the page was refreshed, etc.

Actually, I see that the bulleted list above is already working for my blog here, so no problems there. The other website is www.aiaahouston.org.

Obama to rename Mt. McKinley as Denali

The Los Angeles Times was the first to inform me of a climate change voyage to Alaska this week by President Obama. Alaska already renamed North America’s tallest mountain as Denali instead of McKinley. Obama will now do that for our federal government. I will link to that article and include my own graphic image (a montage of 3 images).

Above: Mount Denali. We will no longer call it Mount McKinley. President Obama makes this announcement during a climate change voyage to Alaska this week, the state of my birth. Image credits are noted in the image.

Above: Mount Denali. We will no longer call it Mount McKinley. President Obama makes this announcement during a climate change voyage to Alaska this week, the state of my birth. Image credits are noted in the image. (Click to zoom.) 

New NASA Medallion Commemoratives

[2015 08 20] August 20, 2015

I visited Space Center Houston last week. I found and purchased two new NASA medallion commemoratives, one for the Apollo 45th anniversary, and one for Orion EFT-1. The Apollo coin is sold in a nice package, and both are sold in a plastic coin-shaped transparent container, as always. Both are probably created by Winco; the package explains that the Apollo coin is made by Winco. I think the Apollo coin cost $19.99 and the Orion coin cost $14.99.

Here is a link to the Apollo coin at the Space Store. Here is a better image link from the collection of Timothy Perri. Here is a link to the Orion coin using a UK link for the Space Shop. We can see more detail in the Orion coin at this Amazon link. Here is the best image of the Orion coin, available with this link from collectSpace.

NASA and Winco did a great job over the years. The Apollo 40th anniversary medals are inspiring. They created more of them, including Curiosity.

If you find the stands for these medallions, please let me know. I have more medals of this size than stands. Racks would be of interest, too. Maybe someone with a 3D printer can make the stands available. I ordered stands from numismatists, but they were not good for this purpose.

Change the Flag Mississippi

[2015 08 31] Update! August 31, 2015

The Guardian presents a news article today with good news. The University of Texas at Austin is moving its statue of the President of the Confederacy to a private museum. This was the action I recommended below, and I hinted at the complexity of that task, while predicting that we will start this task in the USA quickly and make rapid progress toward rapid completion. I will not define how rapid, and it will take place in a just manner, a fair manner, but enough is enough.

I added a book to the list of references at the end of this article, Slavery by Another Name, the Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, by Douglas A. Blackmon. Surprisingly, the Wall Street Journal is to thank for that book, since they assigned the author to do the in-depth investigative reporting. [The 2010 book Merchants of Doubt explains the harm done to climate change reporting by the Wall Street Journal, not just in its editorial pages, but also on page 1.] Today I found the website of Blackmon’s book. Its opening page features this quote from the author, “Why must the Confederate banner come down? Because it is the battle flag of white cowards, And those angry that white privilege is ending.” That is the title of his blog entry, which I will read later today.

My great friend and neighbor tells me the Confederate flag represents heritage, meaning it need not be removed from government property in the USA. The coming changes are part of another heritage. Civil War historian Douglas McPherson said Reparations are not appropriate since we already paid with the lives and other sacrifices in the Civil War. I paraphrase his comments, probably from a recent interview on National Public Radio. That comment is probably a reference to the June 2014 cover story for the Atlantic magazine by Ta-Nehisi Coates. My first thought was, “What about Reparations for events since the end of the Civil War?” Today, as I think of the coming changes to flags, statues, and more, I say that these changes are in part to honor our heritage.

[2015 08 18] August 18, 2015

This seems obvious to me now. Change the flag, Mississippi! This can happen quickly, but we need public support. An online petition might help.

No Confederate flag is appropriate for any government institution or government property.

The flag of the state of Mississippi. Image credit: Wikipedia.

The flag of the state of Mississippi. Image credit: Wikipedia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the USA, we have many such urgent tasks ahead of us in the near future.

Oddly, PBS television repeated a show this week about Muscle Shoals and two famous music recording studios, hit-makers. It was a great show. At one point, they put the spotlight on a band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, but they showed some live concert footage featuring a giant copy of this Confederate flag on the stage. The show defined Southern Rock starting with Duane Allman, an amazing guitarist, and the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert was a private event, not a government event. (They became big stars after opening for the Who on a two-year concert tour, as I recall from the show.) With time, that Confederate flag will lose its popularity. Its popularity keeps increasing as part of the huge backlash following events such as civil rights movements. That Confederate flag’s popularity received a big boost in 1948, too. Michelle Alexander explains (below) that Dr. Martin Luther King moved his focus from civil rights to human rights, by the way.

A year or two ago I photographed a small flag of the state of Mississippi on an ocean-going ship of the federal government of the United States of America! It was a NOAA ship. I will post that photograph here when I find it. No rush. Obviously, Americans will not long tolerate any form of any Confederate flag on any federal vessel. The change will come soon. Things are changing. When this change comes, it will be fast.

[2015 08 19] August 19, 2015: While looking for my photograph of the NOAA ship flying the state flag of Mississippi in Galveston Texas USA, I came across this article from the Guardian dated June 23, 2015. “Mississippi to propose removal of Confederate emblem from state flag.” The article and its web page link to a few related articles in the Guardian. One link leads to an article explaining that six other state flags contain symbols that require changing as much as the state flag of Mississippi:

[2015 08 20] August 20, 2015: While reading Salon (salon.com) today, Britney Cooper’s article mentioned a Confederate memorial on the grounds of the Caddo Parish courthouse in Louisiana. Internet search engines show plenty of images. As I mentioned above, this work is in our near future. Of course, there are many such examples, such as Confederate memorials in public parks in Charleston, South Carolina USA. The reference below to Michelle Alexander’s book explains that the ongoing backlash against civil rights was handled well by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he moved his focus from civil rights to human rights. An earlier Britney Cooper article at Salon convinced me that endorsing a small federal government in the USA was always (and still is) a way to keep the Blacks down. That compromise or design in 1776 and 1789 (a weak federal government) was a central principle in our history. It changed with the New Deal, a complex story. We will keep most of those New Deal changes, including a strong federal government, despite the work of Movement Conservatives described in the writing of Heather Cox Richardson.

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Florida
  4. Georgia
  5. North Carolina
  6. Tennessee

Some references about race relations and the USA:

  • Ta-Nehisi Coates appeared on PBS television on the Bill Moyers show, and that interview can be seen online at www.billmoyers.com. The subject was the June 2014 cover story for the Atlantic magazine, The Case for Reparations. See also two books written by Mr. Coates, the Beautiful Struggle and Between the World and Me. I recall reading his blog at the Atlantic magazine website, too.
  • The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, the 2010 book by Michelle Alexander. The book ends with a quote from James Baldwin’s book, The Fire Next Time.
  • The 2014 book Dog Whistle Politics, How Coded Racial Appeals Have Wrecked the Middle Class, by Ian Haney-Lôpez. He also appeared on Moyers & Company on PBS television, and those episodes are available at www.billmoyers.com. Ian Haney-Lôpez wrote some blog entries there, too.
  • Soon after Bree Newsome climbed that flagpole and removed that flag in Charleston, South Carolina, it was voted down, so to speak, so the flag was removed permanently. I will link to her website here later. Many thanks to her friends and helpers, including the friend spotting for her at the base of the flagpole.
  • The 2014 book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, by Naomi Klein. Once the James Watt version of the steam engine arrived, the Industrial Age started, and now we know that greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from fossil fuels, caused damaging global warming, 0.85C (Multiply by 1.8 to convert to F.) so far. Most nations agreed in 2009 to 2C as a guardrail. Earth is now at a point of no return, and that point is moving in a bad direction. The Industrial Age is linked to slavery (and capitalism, and colonization).
  • [Update Monday, August 31, 2015] The 2009 book Slavery by Another Name, the Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the End of the Civil War to World War II. by Douglas A. Blackmon, a book created thanks to his Wall Street Journal investigative reporting. The website of the book is excellent!