Sunspot update: Activity declines in August to just above prediction

On September 1st NOAA released its update of its monthly sunspot cycle graph, showing the Sun’s sunspot activity for the past month. That graph is below, annotated to show the previous solar cycle predictions and thus provide context.

In August sunspot activity dropped from July so that it was only slightly above the prediction of NOAA’s panel of solar scientists, as indicated by the red curve. The blank streak at the very end of July ended on August 2nd (a streak of seven days and the longest in years), but was followed during the month by an additional five blank days.

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The knives aimed at SpaceX are getting sharpened

Starship must be banned!
Banning Starship: The new goal of our leftist masters.

Two stories today mark what appears to be a growing political campaign focused on squelching by any means possible the continued unparalleled success of the company SpaceX. And the simultaneous publication of both stories on the same day also suggests that this campaign is deliberately timed to force the FAA to shut down SpaceX at Boca Chica.

First we have a story at Space.com aimed at SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, making it the big villain in the growing threat of satellite collisions.

SpaceX’s Starlink satellites alone are involved in about 1,600 close encounters between two spacecraft every week, that’s about 50 % of all such incidents, according to Hugh Lewis, the head of the Astronautics Research Group at the University of Southampton, U.K. These encounters include situations when two spacecraft pass within a distance of 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) from each other.

Lewis, Europe’s leading expert on space debris, makes regular estimates of the situation in orbit based on data from the Socrates (Satellite Orbital Conjunction Reports Assessing Threatening Encounters in Space ) database. This tool, managed by Celestrack, provides information about satellite orbits and models their trajectories into the future to assess collision risk.

Though his data appears accurate and the growing risk of collisions is real, it appears from the story that Lewis, one of only two experts interviewed, has a strong hostility to SpaceX. He doesn’t like the fact that SpaceX is so successful in such a short time, and appears to want something done to control it.

The article also nonchalantly sloughs off one very significant fact: Very few satellite collisions have actually occurred. While the risk is certainly going to increase, that increase is not going to be fueled just by SpaceX. At least four large constellations are presently in the works, all comparable to Starlink in some manner. To focus on SpaceX in particular makes this article appear like a hatchet job.

Then we have a news story from CBS and its very partisan and leftist news show, Sixty Minutes+, providing a loud soapbox for the very small number of anti-development environmentalists fighting to block SpaceX’s operations in Boca Chica, Texas.
» Read more

Sunspot update: Another month of greater activity than predicted

NOAA this past weekend released an update of its monthly sunspot cycle graph, showing the Sun’s sunspot activity for the past month. That graph is below, annotated to show the previous solar cycle predictions and thus provide context.

In July the Sun’s hot streak of sunspot activity continued. The number of sunspots on its visible hemisphere continued to exceed the prediction of NOAA’s solar science panel, with the numbers in July easily topping June’s numbers. Only at the very end of July was there a streak of five blank days, the first time the Sun has been blank of sunspots since May 6th, a stretch of activity not seen for years, since the last solar maximum was ramping down to solar minimum in ’16-’17.

The political consequences of this continuing high activity could be quite profound.
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FAA, local Texas DA, and environmental group out to get SpaceX and Starship

Two news articles today suggest that a number of government officials, environmental groups, and some news media are beginning to team up to damage SpaceX and hinder its ability to succeed.

First we have this Verge article, aimed at suggesting that SpaceX violated its launch license and ignored FAA warnings not to launch during a December 9th test flight of the eighth Starship prototype.

Minutes before liftoff, Elon Musk’s SpaceX ignored at least two warnings from the Federal Aviation Administration that launching its first high-altitude Starship prototype last December would violate the company’s launch license, confidential documents and letters obtained by The Verge show. And while SpaceX was under investigation, it told the FAA that the agency’s software was a “source of frustration” that has been “shown to be inaccurate at times or overly conservative,” according to the documents.

The article generally takes the side of the FAA, suggesting that SpaceX was lax and nonchalant about the risks relating to weather and launch conditions, and proceeded with its launch even though FAA officials thought it unsafe. It also quotes Wayne Monteith, the head of the FAA’s space division, blasting SpaceX for showing “a concerning lack of operational control and process discipline that is inconsistent with a strong safety culture,” claiming that FAA software showed a risk to nearby buildings and homes should the rocket explode in the air.

However, buried far down in the article it also notes,
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Sunspot update: Activity in May continued to exceed predictions

Time for our monthly sunspot update. On June 1st NOAA updated its monthly graph showing the Sun’s sunspot activity through the end of May 2021. Below is that updated graph, annotated as always to show the previous solar cycle predictions.

As has happened now for almost every month since the Sun’s sunspot cycle began to increase following the long and deep minimum in 2019, the activity in June exceeded the numbers predicted by the computer models of NOAA’s panel of solar scientists. While the activity dipped slightly from April, it still was more active than predicted.

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Today’s blacklisted Americans: Biden administration working to blackball fossil fuel companies from obtaining financial services

Disagree with John Kerry? No more bank services for you!
Disagree with John Kerry?
No more bank services for you!

They’re coming for you next: The Biden administration, under the leadership of its “climate envoy” John Kerry, is apparently working behind the scenes to force banks to blackball fossil fuel companies from obtaining financial services.

Not surprisingly, the initial news stories from the mainstream press in mid-March describing this effort were written to hide the Biden administration’s goals. For example, Politico described a number of meetings arranged by Kerry and the Biden administration both with climate activist groups as well as financial institutes aimed at making those financial institutions “put your money behind your climate PR,” but the article only hinted at what the goals were.

Kerry has pitched banks on creating a U.S. net-zero banking alliance following the climate commitments from six major Wall Street banks, according to two people familiar with the discussions. Citi, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs all set 2050 net-zero goals and JPMorgan Chase has said its lending would be aligned with the Paris agreement although Kerry and his team are pushing for more specific financial commitments as part of this effort.

Kerry also wants clear near-term actions from banks by 2030, which would align with the Biden administration’s timeline for the new emissions target it intends to submit as part of the Paris Climate Agreement process. [emphasis mine]

Doesn’t meeting “net-zero” goals for climate change sound wonderful? But what does it mean?
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Today’s blacklisted American: All conservatives on Facebook

The Bill of Rights cancelled at Facebook and Instagram
No first amendment on Facebook.

The new dark age of silencing: It isn’t really news to post an article describing the effort at Facebook to silence and squelch conservative thought. I along with many others have already done so repeatedly, with the worst and most blatant banning beginning with the wave of censorship that these big social media sites initiated just after January 6th. Nor has Facebook eased up in subsequent months. For example, in April Facebook blackballed a mother for daring to criticize the radical Marxist and racist policies of her school board.

Since then, Facebook has shut down a pro-Israel Christian site with 77 million followers and blocked the viewing of reviews of a climate book by former Obama science advisor Steve Koonin that raised doubts about the theory of human-caused climate change.

In the former case, it appears that Facebook allowed itself to be influenced by a orchestrated attack by radical Islamic organizations, which posted more than a million comments of complaint to the site in an effort to get it canceled. Facebook of course complied.

In the latter case Facebook took on faith the complaints made by pro-global warming websites, which claimed that the book was false simply because it disagreed with those pro-global warming sites. None of them actually cited any incorrect facts put forth by the reviewed book. And even if they had found errors and falsehoods, the right answer to bad speech is never censorship, but an educated response.

Facebook claims that this censorship campaign is not really aimed at any particular political point of view, but is instead designed to reduce the overall political content on Facebook. And yet, their own description of their effort illustrates its partisan nature:
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Sunspot update: Sunspot activity continues to exceed predictions

The uncertainty of science: On May 1st NOAA updated its monthly graph to show the Sun’s sunspot activity through the end of April 2021. As I do every month, I have annotated it to show the previous solar cycle predictions and posted it below.

In my sunspot update last month I reviewed in detail the range of predictions by solar scientist for the upcoming solar maximum, noting that based on the higher than expected sunspot activity that has been occurring since the ramp up to solar maximum began in 2020, it appeared that all of their predictions might be wrong. The continuing high activity that occurred in April continued that trend.

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Starship #11 debris fuels environmentalist opposition

They’re coming for you next: The debris that fell as far as five and a half miles away when SpaceX’s Starship #11 prototype exploded just before landing on March 30th has increased the already vocal opposition from various environmentalist activists of the space project.

Environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, the Friends of Wildlife Corridor, and concerned citizens in the environmental research field have expressed their dissent about the SpaceX activities at Boca Chica.

Chris Sandoval, a science teacher in Brownsville with degrees in Wildlife and Fisheries and Ecotoxicology, has put forth a research paper explaining the possible effects of SpaceX activity in the surrounding natural habitats and economic consequences as a result of their expansion in the region.

Sandoval says research would show that contamination from rocket fluids would harm wildlife in the surrounding area. “Contaminants such as those of hydrocarbons are able to kill aquatic life, both vertebrate and invertebrate, at very low concentrations, especially when it’s in a semi-enclosed area as the Lagunas are,” explained Sandoval.

And yet, none of these claims seem to apply to the government-run spaceports in Florida and California, both of which are also surrounded by wildlife refuges. Why is that? Why do these environmentalists have a particular opposition to the spaceport of this private company, but none or little opposition to the government’s? Could it be that what they really oppose is private enterprise, and are using the environment as a tool to destroy it?

I should add, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that manages this refuge, SpaceX has been working closely with them on mitigating the damage, which in the end I suspect will be quite minimal. The ecology is far stronger than these environmentalist like to portray it. What SpaceX did hardly compares to the damage a hurricane would cause, and that is not an unusual event at this Gulf coast location.

Whether this environmental opposition to SpaceX will result in any major delays or obstacles remains to be seen. Under a Trump administration I would not be too concerned. Under today’s Democratic Party Biden administration, who knows? The tendency of Democrats is to regulate, and to use their power to squeeze others. So far that has not yet happened aggressively in connection to SpaceX, though there have been signs that the Biden administration is interested in increasing the regulatory roadblocks SpaceX must face. We will only have to wait and see.

Above all this increases the urgency for SpaceX to shift as soon as possible its Starship and Super Heavy test flights to the two oil-rigs it purchased and are refitting as floating launch and landing platforms. Once the bulk of those test flights are far away, out in the ocean, the political clout of these protesters will be minimized.

Sunspot update: Higher than predicted activity continues

The uncertainty of science: Time for our monthly update of the Sun’s on-going sunspot cycle. Below is NOAA’s April 1, 2021 monthly graph, showing the Sun’s sunspot activity through the end of March 2021. I have annotated it as always to show the previous solar cycle predictions.

The higher than expected sunspot activity that has been occurring almost from the moment the ramp up to solar maximum began in 2020 continued in March. The numbers weren’t as high as they were in December and January, but they were still higher than the predicted sunspot number.

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Sunspot update: February activity declines to predicted values

Time to do another sunspot update. Below is NOAA’s March 1, 2021 monthly graph, showing the Sun’s monthly sunspot activity. It is annotated by me as always to show the previous solar cycle predictions.

February continued the decline of sunspot activity seen in January after a very unusually active November and December. Though the actual sunspot number was more than the prediction, the difference in February was trivial.
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Giant Antarctic iceberg disintegrates, missing South Georgia Island

NASA photo of disintergrating iceberg

Chicken Little was wrong again! The giant Antarctic iceberg, that some scientists were terrified would crash into South Georgia Island and harm the wildlife that lives there, has done exactly what every other iceberg has done since scientists began tracking them by satellite, disintegrate and float around the island, doing it no harm at all.

The NASA satellite photo to the right shows the situation on February 11, 2021. In November the iceberg was almost exactly the same shape and size as South Georgia island, and was heading right for it. (See the graphics from my earlier post.) At that time there were cries of impended disaster from our typically panicky and fear-driven scientists of the environmental community, claiming that the berg might become grounded against the island to do harm to the wildlife there, even though thousands of bergs of all sizes have all routinely floated around the island harmlessly.

Since then the iceberg has broken up and (surprise!) floated around the island harmlessly, as shown by the satellite photo. The doomsayers were wrong again, as they are and have been routinely for decades.

Considering the terrible track record of predictions by the environmental movement, you’d think people would stop buying into its cries that the sky is falling, but sadly they still do, and apparently will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Sunspot update: January activity returns to expected levels

Though I am a bit late this month, it is once again time provide my monthly update of the Sun’s on-going sunspot cycle. Below is NOAA’s February 1, 2021 monthly graph, showing the Sun’s monthly sunspot activity. I have, as I do each month, annotated it to show the previous solar cycle predictions.

After two months of relatively high activity, activity that was very high so early in the ramp up to solar maximum, the number of sunspots in January dropped down to closely match the predicted value. It was still higher, but not by much.

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Environmentalists cheer FAA blocking of Starship test flight

Two Starship prototypes now on launchpads
Two Starships are better than one!

They’re coming for you next: It appears the environmentalist movement is thrilled that the FAA and the Biden administration blocked last week’s test flight of SpaceX’s ninth prototype of Starship.

It also appears they are gunning to end Starship entirely, and might now have the right people in charge to get it done.

Jim Chapman, president of the nonprofit Friends of the Wildlife Corridor, says it is unusual for a federal regulatory agency to allow a company to conduct tests prior to completion of an environmental review and licenses issued.

He and other environmentalists have repeatedly expressed concerns to Border Report of what they say is a lack of oversight by the FAA on this site. But Friday’s actions gave Chapman some hope. “The fact that the FAA is going by the book for a change is a good development,” Chapman said. “They’re following the law by doing that and they’re supposed to do the environmental evaluation before they issue new licenses and up until now they kind of haven’t been doing that.”

The irony here is that these environmentalists are claiming that SpaceX’s rocket facility at Boca Chica will threaten the local beach wildlife, when we have more than a half century of evidence from Cape Canaveral that a rocket launch facility does the exact opposite. When the federal government established its Florida spaceport it reserved vast tracts around it for safety, but also reserved that land as a wildlife preserve. The result has been that the beach wildlife at Cape Canaveral has thrived, and been protected.

What these environmentalist really want to do is prevent SpaceX from flying, merely because they hate the development of new technology and the advancement of human capabilities. The environmental movement is routinely against anything new, and has been for decades.

With the Democrats controlling Congress and the White House, their allies are now in power. I would not at all be surprised if the FAA’s action last week is also tied to this environmental review. If so, expect future test flights at Boca Chica to be further delayed and stretched out.

Meanwhile, this past weekend SpaceX rolled out its tenth Starship prototype, placing it on a second launchpad right next to prototype #9, as shown by the screen capture above from the LabPadre 24/7 live feed this morning. The company sure is making it clear that the only reason they have been stalled is the government.

Giant iceberg from Antarctica breaking up

As should have been expected, the giant iceberg the size of Delaware that had broken from the Antarctic ice pack in 2017 and was drifting directly towards South Georgia Island (a wildlife preserve), is now breaking up without doing any harm to the island itself.

Seawater has been cutting like a knife through A-68A, the enormous Antarctic iceberg drifting in the southern Atlantic Ocean. On January 11, 2021, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-20 satellite acquired this image showing the remainder of A-68A, along with two large pieces that broke off in December 2020.

The U.S. National Ice Center (USNIC) reported on January 8 that A-68A measured 74 kilometers long and 44 kilometers wide. That equates to an area about twice the size of Houston—still sizable, but quite a bit smaller than its Delaware-sized status in July 2017 when it calved from the Larsen C Ice Shelf. The pieces that broke from A-68A in December (forming A-68D and A-68E) are smaller, but remain large enough to be tracked by the USNIC.

Every report about this, including today’s, waxes eloquently about the terrible threat the iceberg poses to the wildlife on South Georgia Island should it become grounded there, even though all past data, let me repeat, all past data indicated that it would not hit the island but drift around as it broke up.

And, surprise surprise, that is exactly what it has been doing.

Wealthy environmentalist picks his preferred UK spaceport

Capitalism in space: A wealthy businessman who is also involved in environmental causes has invested almost 1.5 million pounds in the proposed spaceport planned for the Shetland Islands, the northernmost British islands.

What makes this investment especially interesting is this same environmentalist’s opposition to a different spaceport proposed for Sutherland, Scotland.

Danish businessman Mr Povlsen, who is reportedly worth £4.5bn thanks to his Bestseller clothes retail empire, and his wife own thousands of acres of land in Sutherland, and on other estates in the Highlands. [Their company] Wildland Ltd has raised concerns about Space Hub Sutherland’s impact on the Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Special Protection Area, and has sought a judicial review of Highland Council’s permission for the satellite launch project.

Another of the Povlsens’ companies, Wildland Ventures Ltd, has invested in Shetland Space Centre.

This apparently is the ultimate in NIMBY (not in my backyard!). It seems this couple is throwing its weight behind the Shetland site in order to help keep the Sutherland site (in their backyard) from being built.

Giant iceberg heading to possible collision with South Georgia Island

Track of iceberg in the past three years

Close-up comparing iceberg with South Georgia Island.

The largest section of a huge iceberg that broke off from Antarctica’s Larson ice shelf in 2017 is now headed directly for a collision with remote South Georgia Island.

The first image to the right shows the iceberg’s movement since 2017. The second zooms in to show that the iceberg and island are almost the exact same size, 100 miles long.

South Georgia Island, 1,000 miles east of South America, has no permanent human inhabitants, though explorers, scientists, and mountain climbers do go there periodically. Instead, it is a wildlife preserve:

Around five million seals call the islands home, as well as 65 million birds of 30 different species. Migrating whales and various fish species populate the surrounding waters and there is a large penguin population.

The first link above, from the European Space Agency (ESA), typically shivers with the modern mindless fear that seems to permeate everything our culture considers:

About the same size as the South Atlantic island, it could ground in the shallow waters offshore and cause real problems for the island wildlife and seafloor-dwelling life. Penguins and seals need access to the sea to feed so the iceberg could easily block their foraging routes and life on the seafloor could be crushed if the berg grounds. The fear is that if the berg does anchor against the South Georgia coast, it could remain there for up to 10 years. When the A38 grounded here in 2004, many dead penguin chicks and seal pups were found along the shoreline.

All maybe true, but then, the arrival of icebergs this large to South Georgia Island while likely rare is also quite normal. The sea life there has had to adapt to these events, or else it would not have survived to today.

Also, note the blue lines. Those are the tracks of past icebergs as recorded from orbit. Not only is it common for icebergs to be aimed at South Georgia Island, the currents appear to guide them around the island once they get close. While this new berg is so huge it might plow into the island anyway, the data here suggests it will not.

Regardless, this somewhat rare event provides scientists a opportunity to learn something about the survival of species in hostile environments. We can’t prevent such things, but we can learn their consequences as well as how life adapts under such conditions.

Bezos sells another $3 billion of Amazon shares

Jeff Bezos continues to accelerate his sale of his Amazon stock, selling another $3 billion this week.

In August, Bezos offloaded more than $3.1 billion of Amazon shares, after selling more than $4.1 billion worth of shares in February. The sales this week bring his total cash out in 2020 to more than $10.2 billion so far, which is a notable jump from 2019, when Bezos sold $2.8 billion worth of shares.

While Bezos had originally said these sales were for financing his space company, Blue Origin, it now appears that the bulk of this new money is aimed at funding environmental political organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Wildlife Fund.

Sunspot update: An active October heralds the likely end of solar minimum

With the start of a new month it is once again time to publish another sunspot update. NOAA yesterday updated its monthly graph for tracking the Sun’s monthly sunspot activity. As I have done now every month since this website started in 2011, it is posted below, with additional annotations by me to show the past solar cycle predictions.

Unlike September, which saw almost no sunspots, October was a very active month, with the amount of sunspots far exceeding prediction. Furthermore, every sunspot during the month had a polarity assigning it to the new solar cycle, not the last.

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Climate scientists are science’s biggest frequent flyers

From the people who want to shut down all fossil fuel technology: A newly published survey of 1,400 scientists from 59 countries has found that climate scientists fly more than researchers in any other field.

Climate experts — who accounted for about 17% of respondents — take five flights per year on average, the study found, whereas researchers who specialize in other fields took four. Climate scientists also fly more often for work than their peers, but take fewer international flights for personal reasons. Air travel becomes more frequent with job seniority across all disciplines, with climate-change professors flying on average nine times per year, and those in non-climate disciplines flying eight times.

Although the difference isn’t enormous, it adds up to a “colossal amount of flying”, says Lorraine Whitmarsh, an environmental psychologist at the University of Bath, UK, who led the study. “These figures are really quite stark, I think, and should be a wake-up call for all of science.”

The survey took place prior to the Wuhan panic, and thus does not tell us about the new fear-driven flying patterns of scientists.

That this story comes from the journal Nature,. which in recent years has become increasing controlled by the leftist propaganda machine, suggests the data is quite convincing. Nature wouldn’t allow any publication of any paper that throws a bad light on global warming or its researchers, unless the data was overwhelming and impossible to ignore.

It also tells us that climate scientists themselves don’t really believe their own doomsday predictions about global warming. Before the Wuhan panic they would routinely run numerous international conferences, often in wonderful warm-weather vacation spots in the midst of winter, and would flock there in the thousands to enjoy that warm weather even as they repeatedly called for government restrictions on everyone else. The article quotes one scientist, who tries to justify this travel:

International conferences might also have an influence, says Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Meetings to coordinate global mitigation efforts — such as of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — involve hundreds of researchers from different countries. “You need to have a frequent series of meetings to keep up with the data, to advance our findings, to make sure that they are disseminated across the community,” says Cobb. [emphasis mine]

I highlight her quote because her reasons for attending such conferences are unadulterated garbage. While it is important to personally get together periodically with other scientists in the field to exchange results (something that is unfortunately no longer happening because of fear of COVID-19), you don’t need to do this “frequently” in today’s intenet society. Nor do you need to do it to “keep up with the data” or to distribute it to everyone else. If anything, such conferences are very inefficient for achieving these goals. The internet does it far better.

No, the purpose of many of these very big climate conferences had nothing to do with science. I’ve attended a few, and noticed how little real science was discussed. Instead, these conferences were political gatherings, aimed at organizing political action and regulation, as determined by these high-flying climate politicos. And they were always in nice warm weather locations, in winter.

To sum up: Until the climate field acts like it believes its own pontifications about the evils of fossil fuels, no one else should.

Sunspot update: Practically no sunspots for a month

It is sunspot update time again! NOAA today updated its monthly graph for tracking the Sun’s monthly sunspot activity, and I have posted it below, with additional annotations by me to show the past solar cycle predictions.

July and August had seen sunspot numbers higher than the new NOAA prediction (shown by the red curve on the graph below). September however was almost totally blank, with only two weak sunspots for the entire month, as shown on the SILSO graph below.
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California to ban all gas-powered vehicles

This is not the Babylon Bee: California Democratic governor Gavin Newsom today announced that as of 2035 the state will outlaw all gas-powered vehicles.

Newsom said that his new executive order would “eliminate” the sales of “internal combustion engines” and move to electric vehicles — a move that he said would create jobs and allow California to “dominate” the market, and address climate change. Those who currently own gas-powered vehicles would still be allowed to operate them and to sell them on the used market.

2035 happens to be the same year that former Vice President Joe Biden has set as a deadline for the U.S. to eliminate fossil fuels from electricity production, five years later than originally proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in her “Green New Deal.” Ocasio-Cortez led the climate change panel on the “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force” earlier this year.

The ignorance displayed by this policy decision is spectacular. These Democrats obviously believe that the power from electric cars comes from magic. They also seem to believe that new technology can magically be decreed, by government fiat.

What this degree will do is bankrupt California, and make living there a living hell, suitable only for the very very rich or the very very poor (whose survival will be wholly dependent on those very very rich).

Remember this when you go to vote in November. Newsom, Ocasio-Cortez, and Biden are very typical of the modern Democratic Party. Give it power and it will do the same for the entire nation.

Scientists declare solar minimum over, with next sunspot maximum coming

Scientists from the government agencies of NOAA and NASA today announced that the solar minimum of the past sunspot cycle occurred in December 2019, and that the ramp up to the next solar maximum has begun, which they predict will be as active as the last weak maximum.

The announcement and prediction was put forth by “the Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel, an international group of experts co-sponsored by NASA and NOAA.” While this group is made up of legitimate scientists studying the Sun, its press releases tend to be lobbying efforts for government programs, which nicely describes today’s release as well. The release not only touts the importance of their work, it links this work to the Trump administration’s Artemis program to get back to the Moon.

Note also that this announcement only makes official what has been obvious for months, as I have noted in my monthly sunspot updates. See for example this quote from my September 7th update:

What is clear is that the activity does herald the next maximum. As in the past few months, the sunspots in August all had polarities that assigned them to the new maximum. While it is not impossible for there to be a handful of sunspots in the next few months that belong to the last maximum, it now appears that the last cycle is pretty much over. We are entering the ramp up to the next maximum, presently predicted by a portion of the solar science community aligned with NOAA to be a weak one.

The only change is that it appears they are upping their prediction for the next maximum slightly. Before the prediction panel had said that the next maximum would be weaker than the past maximum. Now they it appears they are saying it will be the same.

Empty Chinese apartment complex overrun with plants and mosquitoes

The coming dark age: A Chinese apartment complex, designed to be an “eco-paradise,” has instead become an empty jungle overrun with plants and mosquitoes.

An experimental green housing project in a Chinese megacity promised prospective residents life in a “vertical forest,” with manicured gardens on every balcony. All 826 apartments were sold out by April this year, according to the project’s estate agent, but instead of a modern eco-paradise, the towers look like the set of a desolate, post-apocalyptic film.

The problem? The mosquitoes love the plants too. Only a handful of families have moved into Chengdu’s Qiyi City Forest Garden because of an infestation, state media reported.

The pictures at the link are quite incredible. Imagine being surrounded by neighbors who allow their property to fall apart and you have a sense of what these buildings look like.

Sunspot update: More evidence of an upcoming maximum

NOAA last week updated its monthly graph for tracking the Sun’s monthly sunspot activity. As I have done now for every month since 2011, I am posting that graph elow with additional annotations by me to show the past and new solar cycle predictions.

August 2020 sunspot activity

The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community for the previous solar maximum. The green curves show the community’s two original predictions from April 2007 for the previous maximum, with half the scientists predicting a very strong maximum and half predicting a weak one. The blue curve is their revised May 2009 prediction. The red curve is the new prediction, first posted by NOAA in April 2020.

August continued the trends seen in the past two months whereby sunspot activity actually exceeded the prediction for this particular month.

Does this mean the prediction of a weak maximum in 2025 will be wrong? Hardly. Sunspot activity in any given month can easily be above or below the prediction, as is obvious if you compare the fluctuations of the last maximum with the prediction. We will not really know if these higher numbers the past few months mean anything until a lot more time has passed, with the gathering of a lot more data.

What is clear is that the activity does herald the next maximum. As in the past few months, the sunspots in August all had polarities that assigned them to the new maximum. While it is not impossible for there to be a handful of sunspots in the next few months that belong to the last maximum, it now appears that the last cycle is pretty much over. We are entering the ramp up to the next maximum, presently predicted by a portion of the solar science community aligned with NOAA to be a weak one.

Above all, the real scientific mystery remains: Scientists do not really yet understand the causes and processes that produce this sunspot cycle. They know without question that it is caused by cycles in the Sun’s magnetic dynamo, but their understanding of the details behind this process remain quite unknown.

Furthermore, the Sun’s importance to the climate on Earth is unquestioned. What we still do not know is its precise influence on long term climate changes. There is circumstantial evidence that it causes cooling and warming of the climate on scales of decades and centuries, but this remains unconfirmed. Once again, our understanding of the details behind the changes in the climate remain quite unknown.

And as always, the devil is in the details.

Sunspot update: Hints of the next maximum

It’s time for another monthly sunspot update! NOAA yesterday updated its monthly graph for tracking the Sun’s monthly sunspot activity, and as I do every month, I am posting it below with additional anotations by me to show the past and new solar cycle predictions.

July 2020 sunspot activity

The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community for both the previous and upcoming solar maximums. The green curves show the community’s two original predictions from April 2007 for the previous maximum, with half the scientists predicting a very strong maximum and half predicting a weak one. The blue curve is their revised May 2009 prediction. The red curve is the new prediction, first posted by NOAA in April 2020.

July continued the trend from June, with a slight uptick in activity. The SILSO graph below for July illustrates this.
» Read more

Midnight repost: The absolute uncertainty of climate science

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Tonight’s repost adds more weight to yesterday’s about the uncertainty of any model predicting global warming. Rather than look at the giant gaps in our knowledge, this essay, posted on January 28, 2019, looked at the data tampering that government scientists are doing to their global temperature databases in order to make the past appear cooler and the present appear warmer.

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The absolute uncertainty of climate science

Even as the United States is being plunged right now into an epic cold spell (something that has been happening repeatedly for almost all the winters of the past decade), and politicians continue to rant about the coming doom due to global warming, none of the data allows anyone the right to make any claims about the future global climate, in any direction.

Why do I feel so certain I can make this claim of uncertainty? Because the data simply isn’t there. And where we do have it, it has been tampered with so badly it is no longer very trustworthy. This very well documented post by Tony Heller proves this reality, quite thoroughly.

First, until the late 20th century, we simply do not have good reliable climate data for the southern hemisphere. Any statement by anyone claiming to know with certainty what the global temperature was prior to 1978 (when the first Nimbus climate satellite was launched) should be treated with some skepticism. Take a look at all the graphs Heller posts, all from reputable science sources, all confirming my own essay on this subject from 2015. The only regions where temperatures were thoroughly measured prior to satellite data was in the United States, Europe, and Japan. There are scattered data points elsewhere, but not many, with none in the southern oceans. And while we do have a great deal of proxy data that provides some guidance as to the global temperature prior to the space age, strongly suggesting there was a global warm period around the year 1000 AD, and a global cold period around 1600 AD, this data also has a lot of uncertainty, so it is entirely reasonable to express some skepticism about it.

Second, the data in those well-covered regions have been tampered with extensively, and always in a manner that reinforces the theory of global warming. Actual temperature readings have been adjusted everywhere, always to cool the past and warm the present. As Heller notes,
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Midnight repost: The uncertainty of climate science

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Tonight’s repost, from 2015, can be considered a follow-up to yesterday’s. While many global warming activists are absolutely certain the climate is warming — to the point of considering murder of their opponents a reasonable option — the actual available data is so far from certain as to be almost ludicrous.

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The uncertainty of climate science

For the past five years, I have been noting on this webpage the large uncertainties that still exist in the field of climate science. Though we have solid evidence of an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we also have no idea what the consequences of that increase are going to be. It might cause the atmosphere to warm, or it might not. It might harm the environment, or it might instead spur plant life growth that will invigorate it instead. The data remains inconclusive. We really don’t even know if the climate is truly warming, and even if it is, whether CO2 is causing that warming.

While government scientists at NASA and NOAA are firmly in the camp that claims increasing carbon dioxide will cause worldwide disastrous global warming, their own data, when looked at coldly, reveals that they themselves don’t have sufficient information to make that claim. In fact, they don’t even have sufficient information to claim they know whether the climate is warming or cooling! My proof? Look at the graph below, produced by NOAA’s own National Centers for Environmental Information.
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Midnight repost: Murder for the sake of climate idealogy

The tenth anniversary retrospective of Behind the Black continues: Tonight’s repost follows directly from yesterday’s, though it was written seven years earlier in 2010. Mindless hate always begets mindless violence, and Americans could have seen the mindless violence of today’s leftists a decade ago, if they had only being willing to look.

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Murder for the sake of climate idealogy

This video has been making the rounds on the web. Though I warn you that is somewhat graphic, it is essential that you watch it.

When I first saw this about a week ago, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. It was so vile and offensive I could not believe that it was legitimate. It obviously wants to pay some homage to Monty Python, but even Monty Python never went this far. How could anyone possibly think that killing small children in the name of environmentalism was in any way funny? And how could anyone ever believe that this video would persuade anyone to go along with the 1010 environmental campaign? If anything, the video does an excellent job of discrediting this organization and everyone involved with it.

Thus, despite what some bloggers were saying, I held back commenting, just to make sure the video was real and not a terrible prank meant to sabotage.

There is now no reason to hold back. Late last week, the 1010 organization itself issued an apology, admitting that this video was their handiwork. Before I continue, I think it is worthwhile for you to also read their apology, in all its venal glory. In many ways, it condemns them and their allies far more than the video did:
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