Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cool picture, sad story

What's big and bigger, grey and grey/blue/black/clear, has wheels, is part mechanical and part biological, and doesn't move very fast?

An elephant pushing a stranded bus! - click link for the story and the cool picture

Elephants are cool. They're probably my favorite animal (besides, of course, my children, who sometimes act rather animal-like :). One Christmas my family gave me a gift of "adopting" the two elephants in the Nashville zoo. That was cool! An interesting and unique gift idea (no, I didn't guess that one!). Sometimes I wish I had an elephant. If I did, I'd probably ride it to work one day. Hey, inspiration (the following is to the tune of "Mary had a little lamb"):

Tony had an elephant, elephant, elephant! Tony had an elephant its skin was grey as rainclouds.
He rode it into work one day, work one day, work one day! He rode it into work one day and left it at the door.
It wandered through the research park, research park, research park! It wandered through the research park and caused a big to do.
Cars, they swerved and wrecked all 'round, wrecked all 'round, wrecked all 'round! Cars, they swerved and wrecked all 'round to avoid the elephant.
Tony saw it on the news, on the news, on the news! Tony saw it on the news and said, "Hey, that's my pet!"
He ran to find his elephant, elephant, elephant! He ran to find his elephant because he loved it so.
His elephant was eating trees, eating trees, eating trees! His elephant was eating trees, which made the research park owners mad.
Tony took his elephant, elephant, elephant! Tony took his elephant, and then they headed home.

Boy, that was longer than I expected! But about as senseless. Of course, if I had an elephant, I wouldn't have any place to keep it, or enough food for it - they eat 300-600 pounds of food daily as adults (according to Wikipedia's elephant entry), partially due to the fact that they only digest about 40% of what they eat (the other 60% leaves them without being digested).

Anyway, back to Bangladesh. Sad story, that; the cyclone (storms known as hurricanes in the Atlantic, or maybe it's just in the US/Western Hemisphere, I can't recall) was very bad to Bangladesh. Killed a lot of people (just saw one headline that put the death toll over 1600), damaged the economy, destroyed homes, etc. Of course, this was a natural disaster. What about this story on Reuters about a man-made dam in China, damming the Yangtze River, which is now having geological implications to the surrounding communities, damaging homes, and threatening villages? Now there's a real impact man is having on the world, although fairly localized.

Global warming? According to this article on the NASA website, "not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming." Personally I don't think that global warming is all that real of a phenomenon... State of Fear by Michael Crichton (available at, among other places) is an interesting read. Weather Underground has a review of the book here - and note that this is a critical report, so I'm offering you to make your own decision. They do have links to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (as well as direct links to some of their work and findings), probably a good place to start your own research if you're interested in the topic of Gobal Warming. Here's another good place to look: Weather Channel Founder: Global Warming ‘Greatest Scam in History’ - just thought I'd throw that out there. And, a final note: be objective, not emotional, when studying the topic of global warming - look for facts, not tales of woe. For additional research, check out the CO2 Science site. (That link goes to a page within the site that describes the reason for their work and research; you can navigate from there all around the site.)

I'll offer my own suggestion for helping to abate global warming: run the AC full blast with all your doors open. :)


Anonymous said...

Tony, re the global warming. last time I was in a geography class, they were telling us we were right at the end of the last ice age - i.e. we're just getting toward the "normal" temperature. And no, when I was in that geography class glaciers did not still cover most of the United States. So, unless we're heading toward another ice age, the world is supposed to be getting warmer. How much impact we as humans have? pretty hard to tell. I have read (in the Michael Crichton research at the end of his book, if I recall) that things like cities appear to be the biggest impact we as humans have. Cities are simply warmer than rural areas.

Tony M said...

I think I recall the same thing about cities... of course, that makes sense. More people, more stuff, more heat. But a localized phenomenon, and very slight compared to the entirety of the atmosphere and the overall temperature of the earth. I imagine that areas where forest fires are burning are also warmer than their surrounding areas, at least for a few days. Same for volcanoes, etc.

I have read the same stuff about coming out of an ice age, and in fact (if you read the meteorologist's comments), back in the 70s (I think that was when) they were all worried about "the coming ice age" - which obviously never materialized.

I think his comments about doing research that gets them funding is spot on - if they can create something to get governments to basically pay them to continue their research, then that's what they're going to do. You'll have some who won't go along, and if you look you can find their research and analysis. It's just more difficult to find because they don't have the funding - and thus marketing - of the ones who are government-backed and media-hyped.

Just another thought or two.

Unknown said...

It's not fair that Ray can figure this out and I can't.