Liberal vs Conservative Brains

In college I began to ponder the oddities of political identification. It made no sense to me. It was like people had a paper bag, labeled it “Conservative/Republican” or “Liberal/Democrat”, and threw items in it with little concern if they made much sense together.

This was clearest to me with the Conservative bag where there was “Pro-Life” (and thus anti-Planned Parenthood, more on that in a moment), pro death penalty, and large war budgets. Now clearly in my mind, the basic principle, the prime motivator, of this set of issues was not supporting and nurturing life. Something else had to be going on despite the words being uttered.

And what goes into the bag and out can change too. A recent NPR Fresh Air podcast Continue reading

CO2 Breaks 650,000 Year Old Record

 This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements, provides evidence that atmospheric CO2 has increased since the Industrial Revolution. (Source: NOAA)


This graph, based on the comparison of atmospheric samples contained in ice cores and more recent direct measurements, provides evidence that atmospheric CO2 has increased since the Industrial Revolution. (Source: NOAA)

Being a Keynesian, budget deficits were my biggest government policy concern for about 25 years. After all if the US had stretched its credit too far then during a fiscal crisis it couldn’t borrow what was needed for enough fiscal stimulus.

Then I began to read about and understand climate change issues. I harkened back to a time I was watching the Today Show while getting ready for school and one of the hosts had a globe on their desk. They said the ink on the globe was as thick as a something like over half the atmosphere. I remember how shocked I was that such a thin layer of air made such a difference to a planet. (I recalculated this. There would have to be quite a few layers of ink to be that thick, the thickness of a human hair is much closer to the size.1) With something so thin we had to be very very careful.

CO2’s greenhouse effects can be measured in a laboratory. The only question is how much of it is piling up in the atmosphere when mile long coal trains were rolling by my old house three times an hour, and I’m stopped in miles of cars all burning their gasoline.

The chart above is showing not all of the CO2 is being absorbed as new records are being established.