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( waynetyson )

Comments made by waynetyson

USD Scientist Getting The Word Out On Global Warming

As a consumer of research, not a researcher, I am probably in some kind of never-never land between "the public" and "science." I believe that I have a lot of company, but people like me tend to try to hold the authorities to their own rule-sets. That is often interpreted by "the scientists" as opposition, or at best, impertinence.

Science is supposed to thrive on questioning, but all too many scientists take any questioning by non-scientists as a personal challenge to their authority. But “arguing from authority” has long been recognized by scholars and other disciplined thinkers as fallacious. Arguing from authority is, however, not only common in science and everyday culture as not only acceptable, but “the way things are done.”

No scientist wants to have his or her intellectual discipline challenged. This is the fundamental dilemma of not only the global warming issue, but of much of human discourse. This may be more of a threat to the survival of “the” species than global warming.

April 3, 2012 at 12:39 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Is It Time To Move Fish Farming Into Open Waters?

(I apologize--I posted this on the Ed Joyce piece of 2009 by accident. I also corrected one error here.)

Our (San Diego's own) late local marine ecologist, Raymond (Ray) Gilmore, who was always very positive, and who always suffered fools (like me) gladly, once told me, "Wayne, don't forget--the suspension of judgment is the highest exercise in intellectual discipline!"

I’ve forgotten who said “Nine-tenths of the hell being raised in the world is well-intentioned!”

The former is a pretty good starting-place to move the nine-tenths to eight-tenths and beyond.

Now to the comment I had for the guest (and “the environmentalists”) to set up my question:

Real (biological) ecology is not so complicated that the ecological context needs to be avoided in such discussions. Why, then, do the talking heads (headless in the case of radio, I guess) persist in generalizations and pat solutions at the media interface? Why are the most relevant aspects of ecological context, ones that would clarify so much, left out or avoided in such sound bytes? Is it salesmanship? Is it the media habit of dumbing-down content to hammer a subject into a slot? Is it part of some Grand Conspiracy (woo, woo-woo)? Or is it the blind-spots created by privilege? I truly don’t know if it’s any of these or none of these, but just what is it? Or, if my implied assertions, the spirit, the specifics of my observations and questions are just plain wrong-headed. If so, please tell me specifically why!

WT

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education." --Albert Einstein

July 12, 2011 at 1:49 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Fish Farming Gets Boost Locally From Federal Government

Our (San Diego's own) late local marine ecologist, Raymond (Ray) Gilmore, who was always very positive, and who always suffered fools (like me) gladly, once told me, "Wayne, don't forget--the suspension of judgment is the highest exercise in intellectual discipline!"

I’ve forgotten who said “Nine-tenths of the hell being raised in the world is well-intentioned!”

The former is a pretty good starting-place to move the nine-tenths to eight-tenths and beyond.

Now to the comment I had for the guest (and “the environmentalists”) to set up my question:

Real (biological) ecology is not so complicated that the ecological context needs to be avoided in such discussions. Why, then, do the talking heads (headless in the case of radio, I guess) persist in generalizations and pat solutions at the media interface? Why are the most relevant aspects of ecological context, ones that would clarify so much, left out or avoided in such sound bytes? Is it salesmanship? Is it the media habit of dumbing-down content to hammer a subject into a slot? Is it part of some Grand Conspiracy (woo, woo-woo)? Or is it the blind-spots created by privilege? I truly don’t know if it’s any of these or none of these, but just what is it? Or, if my implied assertions, the spirit, the specifics of my observations and questions just plain wrong-headed. If so, please tell me specifically why!

WT

"The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education." --Albert Einstein

July 12, 2011 at 1:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Study Examines Opportunities For Improving Region's Fire Service

PS: One place to get the money is from the several million dollars that the County of San Diego plans to spend setting "prescribed" fires in wild brushlands, chopping up brush (inadvertently creating ground fuels that can become firebrands), and other activities far from the immediate interface where fuel separation would actually do some good, not harm. "Prescribed" fires can and do "escape," and anybody who's ever been around one can readily see, any fire is an disaster waiting to happen. That money would be better spent of suppression facilities and staffing than so-called "fuel reduction" in the outback, which is not only a loony waste of money, it's a dangerous, counterproductive thing to do.

And as Gary and Ghio said, the important thing is response time. But that is only relevant to FIRESTORMS before they become FIRESTORMS. That means early detection and rapid response--THAT'S THE TIME to throw everything available at it, because even then, there's no time to spare. If a fire starts at night or near dusk, or in poor visibility, air operations often are not possible without a very high risk to aircrews and even making the fire situation worse if there is a crash and fire.

This is only the tip of the flame where misconceptions about fire are concerned. It’s a hot issue emotionally (where cool heads seldom prevail), and no fire professional who’s concerned about keeping her or his job can afford to address these EMOTIONAL FIRESTORM issues head-on. Meanwhile, we wait for the next disaster so the same mistakes can be repeated.

The reality is that there’s a LIMIT to what fire suppression forces can do. And that limit doesn’t even come close to suppression of FIRESTORMS.

May 25, 2010 at 12:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Study Examines Opportunities For Improving Region's Fire Service

It is misleading to suggest that more fire equipment, organization, and personnel will have any effect on FIRESTORMS, which are, by definition, those which have advanced to a size and speed that exceeds all of the resources that can be thrown at them.

If that isn't bad enough, it is a huge inside joke that FIRESTORMS are affected by air drops, fire engines, crews, and cutting fire lines. All of that stuff is political CYA and theater, because the public cannot and will not be convinced that the reality is that it is suicide for anyone to get in front of FIRESTORMS except maybe in a tight structure such as a house or commercial building or fire shelter (which are practically unknown). Once a fire has reached FIRESTORM status, nothing can stop it except a change in the weather (e.g. wind speed reduction).

Putting firecrews in front of a real FIRESTORM is murder or attempted murder, and only the most inept will knowingly do it. "Accidents" do happen, but most frequently because the political tail is wagging the professional dog. In other words, politicians threaten fire professionals with career-ending retaliation if they don't "throw everything they have" at the FIRESTORM, even though it's insane to do so--after all, it isn't the politician's family that's being put at hazard, it's the fire boss' firefighter family.

Aircraft are similarly impotent against FIRESTORMS. They are valuable as a first-strike and for drops in life-threatening situations or to save property that is at risk but not yet fully involved. Such drops are rarely effective, and they are dangerous, both to people on the ground and crews, besides putting very expensive equipment at risk of loss.

Fire suppression can be effective in limiting losses and reducing fire spread along the fire's flanks (90 degrees to the wind direction), but a change in wind direction can change that.

So while there is no question that adequate suppression forces are VITAL, the primary value is for suppression of fires OTHER THAN FIRESTORMS (which, of course, includes attacking spot fires, especially structures, well in advance or to the sides of FIRESTORMS).

So please, do not imply that additional firefighting equipment and forces are necessary, or even particularly useful, against FIRESTORMS. The public has been mislead enough already.

May 25, 2010 at 12:49 p.m. ( | suggest removal )