Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

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Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

As things fall apart

Heat rises (i.e. moves up toward the stratosphere in any possible direction from the Earth, or other celestial body), but one can determine when a campfire was extinguished by feeling under it, with but a bit of experience at doing so. So, heat radiates, but more against gravity than in the direction of its pull.

Today I read on a site I often quite like, the “newsletter” Counterpunch (“Turning Tricks, Cashing In on Fear” by Alexander Cockburn) that from about 800 (CE) to 1300 the Earth was hotter than now, that in the past 8 years average, or mean, temperatures have not risen, and that the polar ice caps are not shrinking (“the average temperature of the atmosphere and the oceans near the surface of the earth has decreased significantly for the last 8 years or so. CO2 is a benign gas essential to life, occurring in past eras, long before the advent of manmade emissions, at five times present levels”). Perhaps ocean levels are not rising either, but our waters sure have gotten dangerously polluted, and humanity would do very well to take much more responsibility for the mess it creates, global warming or no.
Elsewhere on a quite recent post, global warming was taken for granted as a pressing emergency we fail to deal with. Somehow I feel sure I’m not missing anything important by not studying up on the recent global warming summit and Obama’s perhaps pseudo-vindication there!
In the article dismissive of a controllable warming trend, it was mentioned that heat cannot travel from a colder area to a hotter one. And about the importance of that I just don’t know. Although a warmer stratosphere can’t send heat down, it may well suck up less heat, or absorb it at a slower rate, amounting to close to the same thing.

All this may say more about the current status of news reporting than about anything else… except maybe also that of academic science (particles reaching our stratosphere at great speed should burn entirely before reaching planet surface - but don’t, purportedly because of time contraction due to the great speed. But why posit time changing at great rates of speed, when reference to altered density and slowed rates of chemical and physical activity is sufficient? Occam’s Razor got thrown out the window so fast no-one even saw it leave. Demonstration: ever see it yourself, or hear of anyone seeing it? Denouement: it’s gone, way gone… almost as if it never had been. But why bring up mysteries of time when explanations we can actually comprehend will do?)…

The mention of that warmer time period greatly interests me, though, corresponding as it does to a very important rise and fall – that of Mongolia. It took a lot of men to conquer so much! Yes, the Mongols used others, as foot soldiers, but it was their ponies that carried the day (their ponies and their riding skills, anyway). And maybe only because of warming was there a sufficient population of men and ponies to sweep out of that cold, desolate land and conquer so much of the “known” world.
Maybe the warming contributed to the Black Death, and maybe cooling to its end.
I’ve often wondered about Genghis Khan brooding, like Achilles, in his tent (well, yurt) after having alienated almost all of his compatriots. It seems he knew he could rise to power, and now I’m wondering if he might have been aware of a population increase causing changes to dynamics in local (well, Mongolian) power politics.

I don’t know, and can easily suspect no one else does either. But I know the North Pole did melt – especially due to hearing an urban-legend type story about Russian neuvo-riche helicopter excursions to the pole for “lunch” ceasing ($10,000 per person cheap), for there no longer being any place to park.
And, from an airplane, I’ve seen the many miles high cone of filthy smog above the New York metropolitan area. I’ve also read of the fantastic claims that windmills would ruin the scenic beauty of the North Carolina coast (claims made, of course, by the very rich). But hey, who wants to get real when we can be self-indulgent?

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