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Comment on An Interview with Omar Khouri by Vulcan

13 hours 56 min ago

I second that. And also add a vote for HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed. The UAE should be an example for all the Arabs to follow.

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Comment on An Interview with Omar Khouri by Akbar Palace

Sat, 2014-11-22 02:16

Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s interview with Brent Baier of Fox News was great. Need more leaders like this man.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Ray

Fri, 2014-11-21 22:17

Demand and Supply.

Such a democratic process.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Ray

Fri, 2014-11-21 22:13

That explains the uptick in Oil prices today :)

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Mustap

Fri, 2014-11-21 18:49

The Wise Foreign Minister of the Wise Kingdom tutored, in the last two days, Russian Putin on matters concerning world affairs. Putin was very appreciative and receptive to the words of wisdom he heard from the wise minister.

Among other things, The Wise Minister raised the level of Putin’s understanding on how the world should look like especially in the Syriac region. An agreement was struck on removing the obstacles impeding the resolution of the Syrian problem. Syria will have as a result of this agreement a future free of Assad thuggery and tashbeeh.

Putin was very grateful for the visit of the Wise Minister and wished such visit took place much earlier so that Russia and much of the world could have avoided the many pitfalls that they went through. Russia, in particular, suffered greatly as a result of its deprivation from wisdom for quite sometime, but now brought to it by the recent visit.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Ray

Fri, 2014-11-21 14:32

A good article on Walid Joumblatt’s foray into the Twitter world.

A man that always adapts to the changing environment around him, brilliantly.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/susannahgeorge/lebanons-most-outspoken-politician-wants-to-talk-to-you-on-t

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Comment on An Interview with Omar Khouri by Akbar Palace

Thu, 2014-11-20 21:15

Ray,

I don’t agree with the Haaretz editoral, and I rarely do. Haaretz is the most liberal Israeli newspaper and, not suprisingly, has the smallest readership.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Ray

Thu, 2014-11-20 19:23

Anyone caught wind of the Haaretz editorial yesterday?

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.627279

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Comment on An Interview with Omar Khouri by Akbar Palace

Thu, 2014-11-20 18:18

Maybe we should continue our discussions here since it isn’t weighted down by hundreds of posts.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Ray

Wed, 2014-11-19 20:24

I’m not sure what one should make of a Lebanese Sunni leader that advocates interfaith marriage amongst Lebanese, but would never condone his children marring outside his/their Sunni faith.

?

#SaadHariri

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Ray

Wed, 2014-11-19 18:46

It’s not a conspiracy … it is a reality of demand and supply that only the Saudis understand. Not the Russians. Not the Iranians. Not the Americans.

It’s just business.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/19/us-opec-idUSKCN0J30WB20141119

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Samer Nasser

Tue, 2014-11-18 20:44

Akbar Palace,

Of course there were times in the “distant past” (ie. thousands, millions, billions of years ago) when the Earth was warmer and wetter than it is today. Earth’s temperature over long time scales has been all over the place in both hot and cold directions.

So yes, your statement that sea levels were higher say, 5,000 years ago, is correct! The difference between then and now is today there are trillions, if not tens of trillions, of dollars of infrastructure accomodating hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people along coastlines that are vulnerable to sea level rise and the associated storm surges that will come with it.

You have to understand that the anthropogenic climate change movement is not concerned with long time scales. It recognizes that it has no control over what happened slowly and naturally thousands of years ago or what might happen slowly and naturally thousands of years from now. The anthropogenic climate change movement is far more modest in its ambitions, and just wants to survive to the end of this century (ie. 2100). In such a short time-frame, relatively benign long-acting climate influences like Earth orbital changes or intensifications of volcanic activity don’t hold as much sway as the very dramatic human activity we are witnessing.

According to climate science, our greenhouse gas emissions are forcing the Earth’s climate in a given direction in a very short amount of time. Plus, there is a lot of inertia in the system so we need to plan what we do very carefully and well in advance. For example, even if greenhouse gas emissions were to magically stop today, there is enough inertia already in place that the world will continue to warm for decades at least and the seas will continue to rise accordingly. Granted, there are still a lot of complexities to be sorted out in the science, but they are relatively minor. For example, if you ask a researcher why he is bothering to study the dynamics of melting ice sheets at the poles, he will simply respond, “I want to know how much time we have.” He basically understands that eventually coastal cities are going to get flooded worldwide, but he wants to have a better handle on when and how it will happen.

The whole idea of the climate change movement right now is to buy time for humanity to wean off existing carbon-based energy sources, find a way to scrub carbon dioxide from its atmosphere, and hence master its climate moving forward. Granted these are all very ambitious technical goals with very long odds of success, but if we don’t achieve them within 50 years or so, for all practical purposes, and pardon my profanity, we’re f*cked!

I recognize that there is a lot of legitimate, libertarian fear of stupid, corrupt, authoritarian climate change mitigation strategies that won’t even work, which is why I am very tolerant of climate change political dissent, provided it is, and here is the caveat, scientifically literate. The Charles Krauthammer (CK) tack of labelling opponents “white-coated propagandists” who worship a “man-made religion” and “false messiahs” is very stupid and needlessly hostile (as is the adversarial counter-argument that CK-types are “spineless and sociopathic shills for big oil and big coal”).

Then you get sophisticated dissenters like Bjorn Lomberg and Matt Ridley who argue that yes the long-term view is dismal but in the intermediate-term the “cure” to climate change is worse than the disease, and it is strategically preferable to adapt. Of course this flies in the face of the inertia problem I mentioned above, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and hear them out a little. They argue things like “More people are living through warm winters than are dying in summer heatwaves” or “on an inflation-adjusted basis, storm damage is no more expensive today than it was a generation ago”. And when I say I’m not interested in the politics, I mean that I am not erudite enough to audit or validate these assertions, let alone question whether they will still apply 85 years into the future, let alone try to convince any constituency to endorse a given policy (which I don’t even have) based on information like this. I bow out of these discussions entirely, and find that I’m only interested in the climate and Earth science. The intersection of the science with economics and then politics is a complete mess as far as I’m concerned. But it’s not my job to sort it out.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Akbar Palace

Tue, 2014-11-18 06:10

Samer,

Sorry if my POV offends you. Near as I can tell, no one here is upset or tired of your posts. Conversely, we enjoy them and appreciate them.

I started looking at your link and decided to read more about sea level change. And as expected, I am more confused. Apparently, sea levels have been HIGHER in the past than today. Sea levels rates have also been higher. All these changes before man discovered metal arrowheads.

How were sea levels and rates so high thousands of years ago?

Since the Last Glacial Maximum about 20,000 years ago, sea level has risen by more than 120 m (averaging 6 mm/yr) as a result of melting of major ice sheets. A rapid rise took place between 15,000 and 6,000 years ago at an average rate of 10 mm/yr which accounted for 90 m of the rise; thus in the period since 20,000 years BP (excluding the rapid rise from 15–6 kyr BP) the average rate was 3 mm/yr.A significant event was Meltwater pulse 1A(mwp-1A), when sea level rose approximately 20 m over a 500-year period about 14,200 years ago. This is a rate of about 40 mm/yr. 

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Samer Nasser

Tue, 2014-11-18 04:52

And to provide a link out of courtesy, here’s the Charles Krauthammer article I mentioned above. I will grant that it might have its hard-to-describe intellectual merits that Krauthammer is perhaps best known for (what do you call this stuff? philosophy? political theory? government?), but from a strictly climate scientific perspective, there is nothing redeeming here at all. It’s pure garbage:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-the-myth-of-settled-science/2014/02/20/c1f8d994-9a75-11e3-b931-0204122c514b_story.html

P.S.: I assure people who might be getting frustrated with my comments here that I plan to go quiet imminently and don’t worry, I am not going to blab about climate any longer! I’ve said my piece and I’m done for now! My work and my life beckon … :)

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Samer Nasser

Tue, 2014-11-18 03:40

Akbar Palace,

For the record, I don’t get my climate insights from Obama or any other Democrat. I also don’t get them from the WSJ or any other newspaper (I wasn’t able to access that article you linked to by the way because it was blocked behind a paywall and I don’t have a WSJ subscription). I get them from a lifelong consumption of science journalism, interest in science and reputable science blogging, and a solid technical education.

If you want to engage me on climate, get ready to geek out or let’s not even bother! Don’t come armed with only the politics, because frankly I don’t give a damn about the politics! Your people don’t think there’s a scientific consensus on the subject? Do you seriously think I care? Consensus to me has no technical or scientific merit at all. It is not even applied science or engineering. It is merely policy-making, and I don’t necessarily have a problem with the current policy so I’m not going to put up a fight.

Your talk of “man-made religion” and “false messiahs” was totally the kind of language that so put me off that Charles Krauthammer (CK) article that I mentioned earlier about Climate Change and Hurricane Sandy.

In all that asinine, contrived obfuscation, CK got even the most basic thing wrong about Sandy. He was so obsessed about it being a tropical depression at landfall and not a hurricane, and spent so much effort trying to discount it as an extreme weather event. He thought it was all about wind, because maximum wind speed, from what I understand, is how hurricanes differ from tropical depressions.

But Sandy wasn’t as much about wind as it was about storm surge! In all the footage of the storm, the main villain was not air, it was WATER! And yes, whether CK likes it or not, sea levels are rising (they’re called the world’s only reliable thermometer) which exacerbates this risk, regardless of how high the wind speeds of a storm are or how frequently storms occur.

As for all that other similarly asinine and contrived talk of “people falling in love with their climate models”, again CK was wrong here as well! The Europeans forecast six days before landfall that Hurricane Sandy was going to hit a “blocking” high pressure system over the North Atlantic and get re-diverted to the US Mid-Atlantic coast, when everybody else was hoping it would head off into a watery oblivion! It took the Americans a few days to corroborate what the Europeans were saying but they eventually got on board! Every properly equipped and informed climate scientist on Earth knew exactly what the storm was going to do a full three days in advance, which aided in taking the necessary precautions and sparing a lot of human suffering! Do you seriously think these people who were there when it mattered have the slightest care what CK thinks of their modelling in convenient, biased and completely ignorant retrospect? :)

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Akbar Palace

Mon, 2014-11-17 23:00

Snarky Alert

I will only leave the link below and dare, double-dare, triple-dare you to read it and thoroughly understand it before making your next snarky comment about Global Warming.

Samer,

If the WSJ and thousands of other, more knowledgeable scientists can’t agree, why should I believe Obama and the know-it-all liberals who assume Global Warming is a given and something we have control over? I believe this Global Warming thing is a man-made religion.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303480304579578462813553136

But I will try to get to to your link nevertheless, since you took the time to contact me.

Needless to say, I am only a humble and hapless amateur in this complex area, but I at least believe what the credible, diligent climate scientists claim.

Samer,

I think you are one of the most knowledgeable posters here, yet, don’t fall for false messiahs.

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Samer Nasser

Mon, 2014-11-17 20:53

Akbar Palace,

Yeah, the radio on my morning commute said it was 6 degrees F here today. But I know that the US only occupies 2% of the world’s surface area, 6.6% of its land area, and so US weather is hardly representative of the world as a whole. I am also all but certain that when the year closes out, despite all the cold that the US experienced at its start and towards its end, scientists will announce that 2014 was the warmest year on Earth in recorded history. They will also say that this is particularly alarming because 2014 was a weak La Nina/El Nino year. The record-breaking, hottest years are supposed to be strong El Nino years, but El Nino has been acting very strangely lately, and nobody really understands why.

Yeah, there’s all this talk in the US about the polar jetstream weakening and meandering, therefore letting weather events push it around, and being unable to prevent polar air from spilling south. This is partly due to “arctic amplification”, named so because the Arctic is the fastest warming region on Earth. A rapidly warming Arctic weakens the thermal and atmospheric (the atmosphere is thicker around the equator than around the poles) gradients that drive the polar jetstream that has such a dramatic effect on US weather.

But alas, I will stop here for fear of boring you to tears. I will only leave the link below and dare, double-dare, triple-dare you to read it and thoroughly understand it before making your next snarky comment about Global Warming. I’ve had this link bookmarked on my computer for over a year and am yet to find the time to slog more than a fraction of the way through it. Needless to say, I am only a humble and hapless amateur in this complex area, but I at least believe what the credible, diligent climate scientists claim:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/jetstream-guide.html

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Ray

Mon, 2014-11-17 20:35

Samer,

You wouldn’t happen to be North Kortea’s Kim Jong-un wanting people here to enlighten you on what actually is going on in the real world?

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Mustap

Mon, 2014-11-17 20:34

That’s a good one.

Colonel Mustard = Hassan Hizballa
General Yellow = Michel Aoun

Even the colors match.

Keep coming and give us some more clues about future trends. We badly need insightful Yellowish Sunny Rays in these troubled oily times.

What’s the General’s outlook for the market before the cartel’s meeting coming up soon end of November?

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Comment on Of Maps and Men by Ray

Mon, 2014-11-17 20:07

Agent Orange reporting to Colonel Mustard.

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