PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 97/2001 - 4 September 2001
--------------------------------


"We detected [an unusual fireball] in 1997 and reported in 1998 at
the IAU Colloquium in Tatranska Lomnica. The fireball had a retrograde
cometary orbit, but it penetrated much deeper in the atmosphere than any
cometary fireball (such as a Leonid) of comparable velocity of mass.
Moreover, the spectrum was unusual by the absence of normally bright
sodium line. We concluded that we observed a compact body (of mass about 0.2
kg), probably of asteroidal density and non-chondritic composition on
cometary orbit (i=138 deg, q=1.01 AU, a=3.5 AU). At that time, no
asteroid on retrograde orbit was known. This changed in 1999 with
the discovery of 1999 LD31 and 1999 LE31. It is probable that the fireball
we observed is related to the group now known as Damocloids."
--Jiri Borovicka, Ondrejov Observatory, 4 September 2001


"It does not take a lot of money to provide adequate support for our
growing network of full-time near-earth object (NEO) hunting teams.
While we are capable of finding more than 1,000 NEO per year, with the
existing facilities and teams, our present discovery level is still in the
300 range. One reason the rate is still low is that funding is still much
lower than it should be. We hope global support for these programs, as
suggested at the AIAA/United Nations (March 2001)Workshop, will be
realized. The total support required, to fund all of these programs,
is still just a modest $15-20 million a year. However, it seems the
present funding is much lower that this. [...] 2001 is a good year to
resolve to do more and to press for the political support required to meet
our goal. Thanks for the great reminder, last week, Sir Arthur."
--Andy Smith, International Planetary Protection Alliance, 4
September 2001


"It is interesting that people are quite willing to suggest
gravitational capture for [Saturn's] small irregular satellites (and
for the corresponding ones of Jupiter), while denying this possibility for
the Earth's Moon where tidal dissipation is a likely mechanism. What does
this tell us about the sociology of science?"
--S. Fred Singer, 4 September 2001


(1) LOW SOUNDS DETECT METEOR BLAST
    BBC News Online, 3 September 2001

(2) A METEOR'S REMNANTS DRAW A POSSE
    The New York Times, 2 September 2001

(3) INUIT, NASA AT ODDS OVER IMPACT CRATER
    National Post, 3 September 2001

(4) DAMOCLOIDS
    Jiri Borovicka <borovic@asu.cas.cz>

(5) SPACE 2001: ASTEROID/COMET WORKSHOP REPORT
    Andy Smith <astrosafe@yahoo.com>

(6) TORINO SCALE & EARLY IMPACT PROBABILITIES
    Kelly Beatty <kbeatty@skypub.com>

(7) MARS METEORITES & SATURN'S DIRTY DOZEN
    S. Fred Singer <singer@sepp.org>

(8) MARK KIDGER ON MAGI
    Hermann Burchard <burchar@mail.math.okstate.edu>


==============
(1) LOW SOUNDS DETECT METEOR BLAST

>From the BBC News Online, 3 September 2001
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1522000/1522932.stm
 
By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse

One of the first stations of what will be a global "infrasound" listening
network, has detected a meteor that exploded over the Pacific Ocean with the
force of the Hiroshima nuclear blast.

"Infrasound" refers to sound waves that fall below the 20 hertz lower level
of human hearing. The new detectors record signals that are too faint, and
vary too slowly, to be detected by humans.

The global network is designed to monitor clandestine nuclear tests but
scientists say it will have many scientific uses as well.

It will be able to detect previously unsuspected meteor entries into the
atmosphere, volcanic eruptions, and the formation of hurricanes.

Hiroshima blast

One of the first significant signals received by the infrasound array built
by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of California,
San Diego, was of a meteor that came crashing into the Earth's atmosphere on
23 April.

The first data from the array comes through
 
Estimated at between 2-3 metres (8 - 10 feet) across, it exploded with a
yield of a few thousand tonnes of TNT, nearly the force of the atomic weapon
that was dropped on Hiroshima.

"If this rock had come into the atmosphere at a slightly different time, it
might have exploded not over the Pacific, but over a large metropolitan
area," said Dr Michael Hedlin of the Scripps Institute.

"With this global listening network we can develop much better statistics on
large meteors and get a better idea of how often these massive objects enter
the atmosphere."

Large explosions send part of their acoustic energy into the audible range,
but those signals dissipate rapidly. But they also emit large amounts of
energy into the infrasonic range in signals that decay slowly across vast
distances.

The 23 April explosion occurred 1,800 km (1,118 miles) away from the Scripps
detector. It was also detected by an infrasound array in Germany, 11,000 km
(6,835 miles) away.

'Unprecedented opportunity'

As well as meteors, infrasonic sound is generated by supersonic aircraft,
tornadoes, earthquakes and volcanoes.

The infrasound detector up close
 
According to Hedlin, scientists have already discovered that volcanic
eruptions produce strong infrasonic signals, "seismic and infrasound data
taken together give a much fuller account of activity inside the volcano
that might be indicative of an impending, significant eruption."

Scientists are also planning to build a new infrasonic array at Cape Verde
in western Africa, near to a region where hurricanes develop and emit
infrasonic signals.

"There is a lot going on in the atmosphere that we need to know more about.
The infrasound network will offer us an unprecedented opportunity to better
understand these phenomena on a global scale.

"We anticipate that this global network of listening posts that monitors
Earth's fluid exterior shell where we live will someday become as
indispensable as the global seismic network that monitors the Earth's solid
interior for seismic activity."

Copyright 2001, BBC

============
(2) A METEOR'S REMNANTS DRAW A POSSE

>From The New York Times, 2 September 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/02/science/02METE.html

By THE NEW YORK TIMES
 
ENVER, Sept. 1 - The hunt will soon be on for the remnants of a meteor that
lighted up the night sky last month, dazzling witnesses in several states.

On the night of Aug. 17, away from the city lights of this rapidly growing
region, people - whether they were sitting in a hot tub, taking a break on a
porch swing or gathering around a campfire - stopped and looked to the
stars. Witnesses from as far north as Idaho and as far south as New Mexico
said they saw a brilliant fireball. Some Coloradans heard sonic booms.

Data from an acoustic tracking system at a laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M.,
indicated that the meteor was 40 times brighter than a full moon and might
have weighed a ton as it hit the Earth's atmosphere traveling about 11.25
miles a second.

"As we were sitting around the fire talking, all of a sudden it looked like
the sun had come up," said Kent Hups, 43, a tae kwon do teacher from
Thornton, Colo. Mr. Hups was staying at a guest ranch outside of Gunnison,
Colo., when he saw the meteor with 15 other people. "As it came down, it
sizzled and broke up and then turned red. Like a minute later we started
hearing explosions."

Jack Murphy, geology curator with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science,
said: "This isn't the typical fireball. This is bigger and brighter than
anything we've worked on before."

The unusual trajectory - straight down rather than an arc - and intensity of
the meteor could mean that the remaining meteorite is made of iron instead
of stone, as most are. Mr. Murphy said that any sounds made by the meteor
were probably made as the rock moved through the atmosphere, a journey that
also burned most of its mass.

Mr. Murphy has put hundreds of miles on his car seeking out people like Mr.
Hups. Mr. Murphy has also received hundreds of telephone calls and e-mail
messages. Each interview can provide another clue in narrowing the area to
search for a meteorite, the rock that remains after a meteor falls to the
ground. Mr. Murphy leads a "meteorite posse" of mostly volunteers and plans
to keep gathering data, including witness accounts, compass bearings and
altitude measurements, for at least one more week before conducting a ground
search.

A meteorite is the property of the owner of the land it falls on, and any
meteorite hunters must receive permission from private or government
landowners to remove the space rock. "What we'd like is for the landowners
to invite our team to do a search for them," Mr. Murphy said.

The sooner the meteorite is found the better for scientific research, if for
example, there is water inside it.

"The allure of meteorites, from a scientific standpoint, is that they are
oldest things we can get our hands on," said Matt Morgan, a geologist for
the Colorado Geological Survey. "Rocks on Earth are 3.6 billion years old,
and rocks from space are maybe 4.5 billion years old. It can be a great
sample of the asteroid belt."

Mr. Morgan, the author of "The Handbook of Colorado Meteorites," did not see
the fireball but did research and planned a search in the mountains of
Colorado. "What's really cool for me is being the first one to touch it,"
Mr. Morgan said with a laugh. "It's the poor man's space sample."

Despite the dramatic light show, Mr. Morgan said, the meteorite could be the
size of a baseball or smaller, or it could be broken into thousands of
fragments. And he said that, unlike in the movies, there were no burn marks
to lead researchers down the path to the rock.

Mr. Morgan buys and sells meteorites on the Internet and said that prices
ranged from $1 to $2 a gram to thousands of dollars per gram for lunar or
Martian rocks. "They're more rare than gold," he said.

But for many the biggest thrill was just to see the meteor. "It's a pretty
big event around here," said Patti Powers, owner of the Antlers Rio Grande
Lodge and Riverside Restaurant in Creede, Colo. "The sky just lit up from
horizon to horizon, and then it was like a full moon coming down as it
actually fell."

Mr. Hups said he planned to join the search with Mr. Murphy. "This will make
finding a needle in a haystack look easy," Mr. Hups said. "I figure I can
buy a Powerball ticket or find meteorites, the odds are the same."
 
Copyright 2001, The New York Times
 
===========
(3) INUIT, NASA AT ODDS OVER IMPACT CRATER

>From National Post, 3 September 2001
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/national/story.html?f=/stories/20010903/681689.html

Community 200 km from Mars project seeks compensation from space researchers

Brad Mackay
National Post
 
NASA'S PLAN TO COLONIZE MARS CRASHES INTO NUNAVUT POLITICS: Left to right,
Tam Czarnik, Eric Tilenius and George James venture out for a "spacewalk" on
the rim of Devon Island's Haughton Crater in August. The crater is a
suitable stand-in for barren Mars thanks to a meteor impact millions of
years ago. This picture was taken by Dr. Pascal Lee, the project's principal
investigator, who added the Mars-like tint.:

Residents of a remote northern community won't allow researchers with the
National Aeronautics and Space Agency's Haughton-Mars Project on to
Inuit-owned land on Devon Island unless an agreement for benefits is
negotiated.

Two weeks ago, representatives of Grise Fiord, a hamlet of 170 people on the
southern coast of Ellesmere Island, visited the site of the NASA-sponsored
project on the rim of the Haughton Crater, the site of a 20-kilometre impact
caused by a meteor collision millions of years ago.

The international group of scientists, engineers and students have been
working on the crater site for three years as part of the Haughton-Mars
Project, which aims to eventually colonize Mars. The barren location was
selected by the research team because of its similarity to the surface of
the Red Planet.

But for the past year, Grise Fiord officials have forbidden anyone
associated with the project to use Inuit-owned lands, which comprise 70% of
the area around the Haughton Crater.

While touring the site recently, the eight-member delegation, which included
the mayor of Grise Fiord, broached the subject of compensation.

FULL ARTICLE at
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/national/story.html?f=/stories/20010903/681689.html

============================
* LETTERS TO THE MODERATOR *
============================

(4) DAMOCLOIDS

>From Jiri Borovicka <borovic@asu.cas.cz>

Dear Benny,

to add something from my field to the recent discussion on Damocloids, I
would like to mention an unusual fireball we detected in 1997 and reported
in 1998 at the IAU Colloquium in Tatranska Lomnica. The fireball had a
retrograde cometary orbit, but it penetrated much deeper in the atmosphere
than any cometary fireball (such as a Leonid) of comparable velocity of
mass. Moreover, the spectrum was unusual by the absence of normally bright
sodium line. We concluded that we observed a compact body (of mass about 0.2
kg), probably of asteroidal density and non-chondritic composition on
cometary orbit (i=138 deg, q=1.01 AU, a=3.5 AU). At that time, no asteroid
on retrograde orbit was known. This changed in 1999 with the discovery of
1999 LD31 and 1999 LE31. It is probable that the fireball we observed is
related to the group now known as Damocloids. The relatively small semimajor
axis of the fireball is a selection effect - it is more probable to see an
impact of body of smaller orbital period.

What is interesting is the compact nature of the meteoroid. It implies that,
if Damocloids are extinct comets, they may contain quite compact boulders.
Or that Damocloids are not comets at all. I am curious what will show
physical observations of 2001 OG108.

Note that collision of the Earth with a Damocloid can be quite energetic.
The velocity of the fireball we observed was 65 km/s.

Jiri Borovicka
Ondrejov Observatory

Reference

Spurny P., Borovicka J.: Detection of a high density meteoroid on cometary
orbit. In: Evolution and source regions of asteroids and comets. eds: J.
Svoren, E.M. Pittich, H. Rickman. Astron. Inst.,  Slovak Acad.
Sci.,Tatranská Lomnica, IAU Coll. 173, pp. 163-168 (1999)

=============
(5) SPACE 2001: ASTEROID/COMET WORKSHOP REPORT

>From Andy Smith <astrosafe@yahoo.com>

Hello Benny and CCNet,

We had a very productive series of Asteroid/Comet Workshop sessions at the
American Institute of
Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)/Air Force SPACE 2001 conference, last
week. Our discussions and presentations covered all aspects of
asteroid/comet emergency prevention/preparedness (ACEPP). We also had a
session on asteroid resource development. A highlight of the conference was
a video presentation by Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

Such workshops provide an excellent opportunity for technical interchange,
among the specialists, and for providing basic information about the
dangers, ongoing global research and development activities, etc. to the
public and to the media. A number of experts, in areas related to our focus,
participated with us and seemed to have learned enough, about some of the
specifics and about the importance of the ongoing and planned programs, to
join the growing ranks of ACEPP advocates.

We strongly recommend that ACEPP advocates take advantage of every
opportunity to organize sessions and make presentations at technical and
other conferences. The level of general ACEPP awareness is still much too
low and it is important to raise that level, in order to increase
governmental support for our programs.

Annual Discovery Rate Holding / More Funding Needed

It does not take a lot of money to provide adequate support for our growing
network of full-time near-earth object (NEO) hunting teams. While we are
capable of finding more than 1,000 NEO per year, with the existing
facilities and teams, our present discovery level is still in the 300 range.
One reason the rate is still low is that funding is still much lower than it
should be.

We hope global support for these programs, as suggested at the AIAA/United
Nations (March 2001)Workshop, will be realized. The total support required,
to fund all of these programs, is still just a modest $15-20 million a year.
However, it seems the present funding is much lower that this.

It is also important to get the orbiting asteroid telescopes and the large
asteroid spotting telescope (8 meters/30K x 30K CCD) on-line.

In our view, an international emergency condition exists, and the global
effort required to minimize this great danger should have the highest
priority.

Tsunami Resistant Structures

At the National Space Society (NSS) International Space Development
Conference (ISDC 2001), we started a running dialogue on improvements to
tall buildings which will increase their resistance to asteroid tsunamis and
we will continue that dialogue during the next few years. The next workshop,
on that subject, will be held during the SPACE 2002 conference, here next
March. CCNet members are invited to make submissions. Just send me an e-mail
abstract. The workshop will also address the need for an Atlantic Tsunami
Warning System (similar to the Pacific System).

Starvation Is A Major Threat

The size and mass of even a K-T level asteroid (about a #9 on our 10-step
asteroid/comet emergency or ACE scale), is very small, compared to the
diameter of our planet, and it is our view that the major threat to the
human race, from such an impact, is likely to be starvation, rather than
physical trauma. We envision an overcast and cold condition, which could
last for years.

Many areas could still have energy, transportation and other important
support systems available, after an impact, but there would not be enough
light to produce food, in the normal manner. As a result of our concern, we
are starting (and encouraging others to start) study programs aimed at
finding ways to produce food, under low-light and temperature conditions. We
are also encouraging families and communities to stockpile much larger food
reserves.

In addition, we plan to sponsor technical workshops on this subject and to
begin some experimental farming and grain packaging, this fall. Dry grain
and beans will last for many decades and these are a good starting-point for
the development of both family and community emergency food stockpiles.

In his excellent presentation, last week, Sir Authur reminded us, once
again, to take  asteroid/comet emergency prevention and preparedness more
seriously and to give it a higher priority.

We appreciate what the AIAA, the Air Force, NASA, the Department of Energy
and other U.S. organizations and volunteers have done, to-date, and what
many other governments and individuals have done and are doing. We
especially appreciate the efforts by the members of the CCNet community,
Spaceguard, Space Shield and the IAU. We, as a global team, are making great
progress....but we have a long, long way to go.

We must reduce the critical NEO inventory (100,000 plus objects) completion
time from 300 years to just a few decades and we must begin to plan a global
quick-reaponse protective system, using off-the-shelf components.

2001 is a good year to resolve to do more and to press for the political
support required to meet our goal. Thanks for the great reminder, last week,
Sir Arthur.

Cheers,

International Planetary Protection Alliance/Andy Smith

============
(6) TORINO SCALE & EARLY IMPACT PROBABILITIES

>From Kelly Beatty <kbeatty@skypub.com>

Benny...

At 05:01 PM 8/31/2001 +0100, you wrote:
>"In view of the information provided on the Torino Scale...it would be
>almost impossible not to frighten the living daylight out of a petrified
>public.

I fail to understand why you insist on being so rabidly critical of the
Torino Scale. It's imperfect, yes, but entirely analogous to the way we
assess hurricanes: we gauge their potential for destruction based on wind
strength (category 1-5) and likelihood of landfall. Yet I don't see you
beating up on  meteorologists when they call attention to some big storm in
the early stages of development that luckily ends up missing populated areas
entirely.

The root problems, it seems to me, are that (1) various dynamicists insist
on publicizing impact probabilities based upon on early orbits that are
certain to change in days, if not hours; and (2) we in the news media,
collectively at least, have yet to learn to temper our interest in such
inexact speculations, much as we've long since learned to be concerned --
but not frenzied -- about potentially devastating hurricanes still many days
from landfall. Fix these problems first, Benny, then let's deal with the
Torino Scale's imperfections.

Kelly Beatty
SKY & TELESCOPE

===============
(7) MARS METEORITES & SATURN'S DIRTY DOZEN

>From S. Fred Singer <singer@sepp.org>

Dear Benny

A belated response to John Williams and James Marple (items 9 and 10 of
CCNet 86/2001 - 12 July 2001) on Mars meteorites.

1. We all seem to assume that these objects were blasted off the surface of
Mars with a velocity of ~10 km/sec (to overcome gravity, air resistance, and
get an eccentric orbit that permits eventual impact on Earth).

2. I pointed out that the accelerations required correspond to forces that
exceed the crushing strength of the meteorite material.

3. Williams suggests that such accelerations cannot be produced.

4. Marple's idea of a "shallow" ejection only makes the problem worse by
increasing resistance.

5. We are still looking for a "gentle" acceleration mechanism. Does anyone
have a linear accelerator?


A belated response also to Saturn's Dirty Dozen (items 1 and 2 of CCNet
86/2001 - 12 July 2001)

1. Their origin is a puzzle. If one uses an ad hoc gas cloud to transform a
hyperbolic orbit into an elliptic (bound) one, then one must explain also
what mechanism removes the cloud quickly.  Otherwise the satellite orbit
will decay and enter the dense planetary atmosphere.

2.  It is interesting that people are quite willing to suggest gravitational
capture for these small irregular satellites (and for the corresponding ones
of Jupiter), while denying this possibility for the Earth's Moon where tidal
dissipation is a likely mechanism.

What does this tell us about the sociology of science?

Best wishes                                            
Fred

S. Fred Singer, President
Science & Environmental Policy Project
http://www.sepp.org

=============
(8) MARK KIDGER ON MAGI

>From Hermann Burchard <burchar@mail.math.okstate.edu>

Dear Benny,

there really can be little doubt about the identity of the magi of the
nativity, Latinized form of Greek magoi, Old-Persian MAGA (the great ones,
same root as Latin magnum, major, English much), the Persian (Iranian)
priestly clan that left us the AVESTA.  I became interested in this by
accident when while on a research sabbatical I happened to stay in an
apartment that had an old Encyclopedia Britannica (which I read, you can't
do maths all day).

One entry stated the reference in Mat. 2 to the magi was an acknowledgement
of Jesus's indebtedness to their religion. Other NT verses having similar
implications. This I found to be true upon studying the matter, which is no
secret, see the book by University of London
scholar Mary Boyce, Zoroastrianism, Its Antiquity and Constant Vigor, Mazda
Publishers, Costa Mesa, CA (1992), ISBN 093921489x, 0939214903. She
downplays the touchy matter of indebtedness, however, for which see Lawrence
H. Mills, Our own religion in ancient Persia, Brockhaus, Leipzig,
1913, reprinted by AMS PRESS INC, NY, NY (1977), ISBN 0404128114. Lawrence
Mills was an eminent Oxford linguist who has one of the best translations of
the GATHAS, oldest part of the Avesta.  The Gathas are a part of the YASNA
(liturgy).

The Gathas (hymns) are of ZARATHUSTRA's own composition (Zoroaster is the
unfortunate Greek corruption -- Zarathustra may mean a large, tawny-colored
male animal such as a bull or a steed or a camel). His family name was
SPITAMA (very white -- they may have immigrated into Iran from
further up North). The Gathas are a totally unique document preserved by a
string of historical accidents over millenia, formulated in their own
Old-Irananian dialect, Gathic, and very nearly untranslatable.  This was a
prehistoric kind of Iranian already at the time when Cyrus took Babylonia in
538 BCE.

The message of the Gathas which is repeated over and over is that to live
well we must receive six spiritual endowments from MAZ-DA (great giver,
"maz" as in English much, s.a., "da" as in Latin data) through his bountiful
SPENTA MAINYU (holy spirit). Mazda is often rendered falsely as
"wise one". Later Iranian: Ormazd from AHURA MAZDA (ahura as in Greek
kyrios).

The six gifts are VOHU MANA (good mind; later Iranian: Omanu), ASHA (truth,
Greek arete), KSHATRA (divine rule), HAURVATAT (perfection, Hebrew shalom),
ARMAITI (gentleness), and AMERETAT (eternal life, NT zoe).

Unfortunately, the world is full of evil people, the DRUG (German Trug), who
refuse to accept these gifts from Mazda. The demons are causing this
trouble, deceiving people and robbing them of the good life. Demons are
acting on command of Mazda's dualistic opposite, Angra Mainyu (later
Iranian: Ariman). Truth to tell, this interpretation of the human
predicament is pretty close to what I can observe as constituting the actual
faith of many Christians here in the American Bible Belt (and maybe other
faiths and other regions?). I had been primed for this dualism by reading
books by the psychiatrist M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled, People of
the Lie, etc).

There are NT verses such as Rom. 8,22 which experts acknowledge are almost
verbatim from the Gathas. Saint Paul's "the whole creation is groaning" in
Mills' translation corresponds to "the Soul of the Kine lamented." Parsis in
Bombay, surviving adherents of the Mazda-Yasnian faith, object to Mills' use
of "kine" (archaic for "cows"). The text of Gatha 29,9, "Geus Urvan raosta"
is rendered as "the Soul of Mother Earth bewailed" by I. J. S Taraporewala,
The Divine Songs of Zarathustra", Bombay (1951), reprinted by AMS PRESS INC,
NY, NY (1977), ISBN 0404128025.  It is what we might call the complaint of
the world-soul to her creator about her unredeemed sufferings.

It is true, however, that "geus" is correctly translated as "cows" (same
Indo-Europen root), at least considering later Iranian dialects. The Parsis
of Bombay date Zarathustra to about 4000 BCE, if I am not mistaken. This
date does appear consistent with internal evidence of a chalcolithic time
for the prophet on grounds of the material within the Gathas (my reading).
In this case, "geus" may well have signified Saint Paul's "creatures" to
Gathic speakers in that remote age. As usually, Western dates place the
prophet's life at a much later epoch. The only reason linguists have been
able to make any sense of the Gathas is the similarity of the language with
Sanskrit. It is said, however, to be of limited help, and compared to trying
to read medieval French with the aid of a modern English dictionary.  There
is a Pahlavi translation (spoken Persian during the Sassanid dynasty,
224-640 CE).

Other parts of the Avesta are of less interest to Westerners except on
historical grounds.  Parsis are struggling with certain aspects, which are
to be expected in any prehistoric partly shamanistic religion (of which the
Gathas are remarkably free).  As to history in the West, due to the clash
between Rome and Persia, the link was permanently lost and not rediscovered
until the 18th century and long doubted until people like Mills put the
accuracy of the Avestan tradition firmly on the map. The later climate of
the 20th century was not favorable to continued reception.

Mark Kidger's book that he referred to (CCNet, Aug 31) is excellent in its
historical research, full of fascinating and highly relevant facts. E.g., we
learn the Persians raided Ravenna in 614.  This was the last Roman-Persian
war, brilliantly won by Emperor Heraclius in 628. Unfortunately, the two
powers were totally exhausted and soon lost to the Muslims, who rebelled
against both in 629. The instability of Byzantian Rome had long been
smoldering in the Monophysite controversy.  One of Mark's concern is whether
the magi were Persian or Babylonian. Ever since 538 BCE, the city of Babylon
(Bab-Eli, gate of heaven) was a great metropolis of the Persian empire,
hence this would seem to be a minor matter to me.

Even the returning Jews under Nehemia were styled Pharisees (Parsis,
Persians, transcribed Hebrew ~PRS, Greek Pharisees, not separated; cf.
Daniel 5,28 were the word occurs three times in both meanings), as opposed
to the stay-at-home Tsadok (Saduccees) who did not share the Persian
belief in ameretat, angels, and demons of the Pharisees-Parsis. All this
wisdom I garnered on that sabbatical from the old Encyclopedia. The
Babylonian aspect is important as here we have recorded Bronze Age
mathematical/astronomical treatises.  The clay tablets were fired and
preserved when the palaces went up in flames (flames about the causes of
which CCNet Bronze Age experts have published much insight). Iran had not
produced its own mathematics, Kidger writes.

Best regards,
Hermann


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*

CCNet CLIMATE SCARES & CLIMATE CHANGE, 5 September 2001
-------------------------------------------------------


"There are two things here that are important. One is to make people
aware of the media having a negative slant. But I think the media
basically give the public what the public wants. We know from
countless studies that people love bad news. Even if you tell journalists
you shouldn't do it, most journalists will say, "Oh yeah, we shouldn't do
that." But their editors will make sure that they do it anyhow. [...] The
other part, of course, is to realize that green organizations are only
lobby groups, just like business organizations. We are very critical
when business organizations say, "Oh, don't worry so much about the
environment." We should rightly be critical of them. We should also be
critical of green organizations that say, "If we don't act now, the Earth
will be doomed." So we have to be critical of both."
--Bjorn Lomborg, TechCentralStation, 4 September 2001
 

"Each decade sees its new environmental obsessions. In the 1960s it
was pesticides and the population explosion. In the 1970s there was the oil
crisis, the imminent failure of the food supply and the fear of nuclear
power. In the 1980s the deserts were advancing, acid rain was killing
trees, the ozone layer was thinning and the elephant was on the brink of
extinction. In the 1990s we had retreating rain forests, falling sperm
counts, plagues of new diseases, genetically modified crops and, of
course, climate change. How many of these came true? If you take the
trouble to examine the facts, you will find a remarkable thing. On
all but the most recent scares, where the jury is still out, the alarmists
were badly wrong. There has been no rise in cancer caused by chemicals,
population growth slowed rather than accelerated, oil reserves grew
rather than fell, food production per head increased even in poor
countries, nuclear accidents were few and minor, deserts did not
advance, acid rain killed no forests, the damage to the ozone layer was
minimal, the elephant was never in danger of extinction, rain forests are
still 80 per cent intact, sperm counts did not fall. The extreme
greens have been so wrong for so long that you would think somebody might
have noticed."
--Matt Ridley, The Daily Telgraph, 25 August 2001


(1) SHOCK, HORROR: EARTH'S BECOMING GREENER
    NASA News <NASANews@hq.nasa.gov>

(2) MAYBE THE MAN ON THE MOON KNOWS HOW HOT GLOBAL WARMING WILL GET
    The Christian Science Monitor, 30 August 2001

(3) HAVE MOST GREENHOUSE STUDIES UNDERESTIMATED THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF
ATMOSPHERIC CO2
    ENRICHMENT ON PLANT GROWTH?
    CO2 Science Magazine, 5 September 2001

(4) ALASKAN GLACIERS ADVANCE AND RETREAT WITH CHANGES IN HOLOCENE CLIMATE
    CO2 Science Magazine, 5 September 2001

(5) NATURAL VARIABILITY OF CLIMATE
    CO2 Science Magazine, 5 September 2001

(6) FORMER GREENPEACE ACTIVIST DEBUNKS MYTHS SURROUNDING ENVIRONMENTAL PANIC
    TechCentralStation, 4 September 2001

(7) THE SCEPTICAL ENVIRONMENTALIST
    Booksonline, 25 August 2001

(8) BELIEVE IT OR NOT: GERMAN ARMY DEVELOPS ENVIRONMENT-FRIENDLY WEAPONRY
    BBC News Online, 4 September 2001

(9) AND FINALLY: 'GREEN BOMBS' SET FOR BATTLEFIELD OF THE FUTURE?
    Yahoo News, 4 September 2001

============
(1) SHOCK, HORROR: EARTH'S BECOMING GREENER
 
>From NASA News <NASANews@hq.nasa.gov>

David E. Steitz
Headquarters, Washington                 Sept. 4, 2001
(Phone: 202/358-1730)

Lynn Chandler
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
(Phone: 301/286-2806)

Harvey Leifert
American Geophysical Union, Washington
(Phone: 202/777-7507)

Colin Riley
Boston University, Boston
(Phone: 617/353-5386)

RELEASE: 01-178

EARTH'S BECOMING A GREENER GREENHOUSE

NASA satellite data suggest that for more than two decades there's been a
gradual greening of the northern latitudes of Earth.

Researchers confirm that plant life seen above 40 degrees north latitude,
which represents a line stretching from New York to Madrid to Beijing, has
been growing more vigorously since 1981. One suspected cause is rising
temperatures possibly linked to the buildup of greenhouse gases in our
atmosphere.

Over this same time period, parts of the Northern Hemisphere have become
much greener and the growing season has increased by several days. Further,
Eurasia appears to be greening more
than North America, with more lush vegetation for longer periods of time.

The results of this NASA-funded research will appear in the September 16
issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres.

"When we looked at temperature and satellite vegetation data, we saw that
year-to-year changes in growth and duration of the growing season of
northern vegetation are tightly linked to year-to-year changes in
temperature," Liming Zhou of Boston University said.  The area of vegetation
has not extended, but the existing vegetation has increased in density.

The authors also looked at the differences in vegetation growth between
NorthAmerica and Eurasia, since the patterns and magnitudes of warming are
different on the two continents.

The greenness data from satellites were strongly correlated with temperature
data from thousands of meteorological stations on both continents. The
Eurasian greening was especially persistent over a broad area from central
Europe through Siberia to far-east Russia, where most of the
vegetation is forests and woodlands. North America, in comparison, shows a
fragmented pattern of change notable only in the forests of the East and
grasslands of the upper Midwest.

Dramatic changes in the timing of both the appearance and fall of leaves are
recorded in these two decades of satellite data. The authors report a
growing season in Eurasia that is now nearly 18 days longer. Spring arrives
a week early and autumn is delayed by 10 days. In North America, the growing
season appears to be as much as 12 days longer.

The researchers used a temperature data set developed from the Global
Historical Climate Network. Dr. James Hansen, of NASA's Goddard Institute
for Space Studies in New York, developed this data set and said, "The data
were compiled from several thousand meteorological stations in the United
States and around the world. The stations also include many rural sites
where the data are collected by cooperative private observers."

Scientists believe the results indicate a greener greenhouse. "This is an
important finding because of possible implications to the global carbon
cycle," said Ranga Myneni of Boston University. "However, more research is
needed to determine how much carbon is being absorbed, and how much longer
it will continue."

Carbon dioxide is a main greenhouse gas and is suspected of playing a role
in rising global temperatures. If the northern forests are greening, they
may already be absorbing carbon --
a process that can impact global temperature changes.

Researchers used the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to help
determine the "greening" of plant life. Dr. Compton Tucker, of NASA's
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., is a co-author of the report
and developed NDVI to analyze spectral data collected by orbiting weather
satellites.

This work was made possible through funding by NASA Headquarters' Earth
Science Enterprise, a long-term research program dedicated to understanding
how human-induced and natural changes affect our global environment.

Additional information is available on the Internet at:
                    http://cybele.bu.edu
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/20010904greenhouse.html

============
(2) MAYBE THE MAN ON THE MOON KNOWS HOW HOT GLOBAL WARMING WILL GET

>From The Christian Science Monitor, 30 August 2001
http://www.csmonitor.com/2001/0830/p15s1-stss.html

By Peter N. Spotts | Staff writer of

New Jersey Institute of Technology physics professor Philip Goode has teamed
up with Caltech physicist and Provost Steven Koonin to establish a global
network to monitor "earthshine" from the moon's dark side. The goal is to
track changes in the solar radiation that Earth reflects back to space.

The fraction of sunlight reflected spaceward, known as Earth's albedo, is a
key indicator of how much solar radiation the planet is retaining to drive
its climate system. The researchers say measuring earthshine is an
inexpensive way to augment satellite-based albedo measurements.

"Studies of climate change require well calibrated, long-term measurements
of large regions of the globe," Dr. Koonin says. "Earthshine observations
are ideally suited for this."

Earthshine is visible to the naked eye on a clear night during a crescent
moon, but "shine" is a bit of a misnomer. The glow appears slightly brighter
than the dark sky.

But a sensitive detector on the back end of a 6-inch telescope at the Big
Bear Solar Observatory in southern California's San Bernardino Mountains has
tracked subtle variations in that glow, the researchers say. Those changes
correlate to seasonal and even day-to-day shifts in albedo.

Now, the team is building the second of two telescopes dedicated to a
long-term monitoring effort. One will remain at Big Bear, while the other
will be shipped to an observatory in Crimea. Ultimately, Dr. Koonin says,
the team hopes to plant another scope in Republic of China, and is working
with collaborators in Taiwan to develop automated "earthshine telescopes"
that would be deployed in other regions of the world.

Building on a technique used by French astronomer André-Louis Danjon early
in the 20th century, Goode, Koonin, and their colleagues used a sensitive
CCD to measure the intensity of the earthshine. Beginning in December 1998,
they took data for a total of 200 nights. They also included data from
more-limited measurements taken in 1994 and '95.

Based on those data, reported in the April 17 edition of Geophysical
Research Letters, the team calculated that Earth is returning 29.7 percent
of the sun's incoming radiation back into space (give or take half a
percent). They also found an intriguing hint that the albedo may have
dropped by 2.5 percent during the past five years - a quantity significant
to climatologists.

"More-interesting results may come from spectroscopic studies of the
atmosphere" using earthshine as a light source, says Goode. For the past two
years, the team has been using the 60-inch telescope on Mt. Palomar for such
studies.

These studies, he says, would be useful for tracking features ranging from
cloud-top heights to changes in water-vapor and greenhouse-gas
concentrations. Such globally averaged data, he adds, could help put
real-world limits on results from global climate models.

Copyright 2001, The Christian Science Monitor

============
(3) HAVE MOST GREENHOUSE STUDIES UNDERESTIMATED THE POSITIVE EFFECTS OF
ATMOSPHERIC CO2
    ENRICHMENT ON PLANT GROWTH?

>From CO2 Science Magazine, 5 September 2001
http://www.co2science.org/journal/2001/v4n36b1.htm

Reference
Deckmyn, G., Caeyenberghs, E. and Ceulemans, R. 2001. Reduced UV-B in
greenhouses decreases white clover response to enhanced CO2. Environmental
and Experimental Botany 46: 109-117.

What was done
The authors grew white clover plants (Trifolium repens L., cv. Mervi) in
four small greenhouses, two of which allowed 88% of the incoming UV-B
radiation to pass through their roofs and walls and two of which allowed 82%
to pass through.  One of the two greenhouses in each of the UV-B treatments
was maintained at ambient CO2 (371 ppm) and the other was maintained at
elevated CO2 (521 ppm).  Midway through the four-month summer growing
season, flower numbers were counted; and at the end of the season, total
shoot and root biomass was determined.

What was learned
At the mid-season point of the study, the 40% increase in atmospheric CO2
concentration stimulated the production of flowers in the low UV-B treatment
by 22% and in the slightly higher UV-B treatment by 43%; while at the end of
the season, the extra CO2 was determined to have provided no stimulation of
biomass production in the low UV-B treatment, but it significantly
stimulated biomass production by 16% in the high UV-B treatment.

What it means
The results of this study indicate that, at least for the crop investigated,
the positive effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment on flower and biomass
production are greater at more realistic or natural values of UV-B radiation
than what are characteristic of many greenhouses.  The authors thus say
their results "clearly indicate the importance of using UV-B transmittant
greenhouses or open-top chambers when conducting CO2 studies."  If this is
not done, their work suggests the results obtained may not depict the true
magnitude of biological benefits to be received from atmospheric CO2
enrichment.
 
Copyright © 2001. Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 

=============
(4) ALASKAN GLACIERS ADVANCE AND RETREAT WITH CHANGES IN HOLOCENE CLIMATE

>From CO2 Science Magazine, 5 September 2001
http://www.co2science.org/journal/2001/v4n36c2.htm

Reference
Calkin, P.E., Wiles, G.C. and Barclay, D.J. 2001. Holocene coastal
glaciation of Alaska.  Quaternary Science Reviews 20: 449-461.

What was done
The authors reviewed "the most current and comprehensive research of
Holocene glaciation" along the northernmost Gulf of Alaska between the Kenai
Peninsula and Yakutat Bay.

What was learned
Several periods of glacial advance and retreat were noted during the past
7000 years. Most recently, the authors note a general retreat during the
Medieval Warm Period that lasted for "at least a few centuries prior to A.D.
1200." Following this Medieval Climatic Optimum, there were three major
intervals of Little Ice Age glacial advance: the early 15th century, the
middle 17th century, and the last half of the 19th century. During these
latter time periods, glacier equilibrium line altitudes were depressed from
150 to 200 m below present values as Alaskan glaciers "reached their
Holocene maximum extensions."

What it means
The existence of a Medieval Warm Period and a Little Ice Age in Alaska is
obviously a reality.  What is more, it is interesting to note that glaciers
there reached their maximum Holocene extensions during the Little Ice Age.
Hence, we can infer that Alaskan temperatures reached their Holocene minimum
during this time as well.  Should it come as any surprise, therefore, if
temperatures in Alaska rise significantly above the chill of the Little Ice
Age in a natural recovery from the coldest period of the Holocene?
 
Copyright © 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


============
(5) NATURAL VARIABILITY OF CLIMATE

>From CO2 Science Magazine, 5 September 2001
http://www.co2science.org/subject/n/summaries/naturalvariabil.htm

Earth's weather is forever changing, as is its climate, on one time scale or
another, and for a host of different reasons, one of which is postulated to
be the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration that is believed to be due
to mankind's burning of fossil fuels.  Simultaneously, and against this
backdrop of complex and interconnected positive and negative climatic
forcing and feedback factors, a number of intrepid scientists are attempting
to ascertain if the observed climatic variations of the past century or so
are due to this CO2 increase or to "natural" climate variability, which may
arise from variations in everything - in this world and beyond - that might
possibly influence the planet's weather or climate.

In an ambitious attempt to answer this almost intractable question, Vinnikov
et al. (1999) compared observations of Arctic sea ice extent over the past
few decades with the predictions of several general circulation models of
the atmosphere forced by changes in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and
certain aerosols.  The statistical tests they performed on these data led
them to conclude that the probability that the observed sea ice trends were
the result of natural climate variability was less than 0.1% for the period
1953-1998.  And this paper, believe it or not, was actually published, and
in Science!

A much more logical assessment of the question of natural vs.
anthropogenic-induced climate change was provided by Hunt (1998), who used a
global climatic model to simulate climate over the past 500 years in an
effort to determine if climatic excursions such as the Medieval Warm Period
and Little Ice Age could be expressions of natural climate variability.
Comparing the results of this exercise with the temperature history of the
Northern Hemisphere over the last 500 years, the author concluded that "most
of the observed features in this climatic record can be reproduced by
processes associated with internal mechanisms of the climatic system" and
that "much of the observed climatic variability over the past millennium may
just be a reflection of natural climatic variability within the actual
climate system."  Yet people such as Vinnikov et al. will state, and the
publishers of Science and its selected reviewers will agree, that they are
99.9% sure that the behavior of Arctic sea ice from 1953 to 1998 is not
natural.

In a much more temporally expansive observational study than that of
Vinnikov et al., Cronin et al. (2000) studied the salinity gradient across
sediment cores obtained from the bottom of Chesapeake Bay in an effort to
determine precipitation variability in the surrounding Atlantic seaboard
watershed over the past 1,000 years.  These researchers found a high degree
of decadal and multi-decadal variability between wet and dry conditions and
observed a number of extremely rapid shifts in precipitation regime.  They
also discovered that the Chesapeake Bay watershed region has experienced
several "mega-droughts" over the past thousand years, some of which lasted
60 to 70 years and were much more severe than any of the past century.

Other studies further demonstrate the oscillating nature of natural climate
variability.  In an analysis of century-long records of sea ice
concentration and sea level pressure poleward of 40°N latitude, Venegas and
Mysak (2000) reported that a number of quasi-decadal and interdecadal
fluctuations accounted for a large fraction of natural climate variability
in the Arctic on timescales of 6-7, 9-10, 16-20 and 30-50 years, for which
they listed various oceanic processes that might be responsible for these
variations.  Keigwin and Boyle (2000) discussed evidence of a natural
climate oscillation with a much longer return period of between 1,500 and
2,000 years that is evident in proxy climate data pertaining to the last
deglaciation and which has continued (with reduced amplitude) through the
Holocene.  A similar, persistent natural climate oscillation with a period
of about 1,500 years was also reported by Ganopolski and Rahmstorf (2001),
who also noted that the magnitude of this oscillation is historically
amplified during colder glacial conditions, but reduced during warmer
interglacial climates.

In another review of climate variability during the Holocene, Overpeck and
Webb (2000) cite evidence indicating that natural shifts in ENSO frequency
occur at annual, interannual and multidecadal intervals, providing "evidence
that ENSO may change in ways that we do not yet understand."  In fact, they
note that data from corals seem to suggest that "interannual ENSO
variability, as we now know it, was substantially reduced, or perhaps even
absent," during the middle of the Holocene.  Overpeck and Webb also cite
evidence indicating that large abrupt changes in monsoon moisture
availability of the African-Asian Monsoon have occurred multiple times
throughout the past several thousand years, and in the case of North
American drought variability they note that "droughts of the 20th century
were relatively minor compared with those in the past," which, they say,
"opens up the possibility that future droughts may be much greater as well."

In addition to behaving in rhythmic cycles, natural climate variability can
also occur abruptly over very short time intervals.  From a study of a
160-meter ice core from Wyoming's Upper Fremont Glacier, Schuster et al.
(2000) gave "a conservative estimate for the time taken to complete the
Little Ice Age climatic shift to present-day climate [of] about 10 years."
Additionally, Alley (2000) has stated that "climatic shifts up to half as
large as the entire difference between ice age and modern conditions
occurred over hemispheric or broader regions in mere years to decades."

In conclusion, there is truly overwhelming evidence that earth's climate
naturally experiences shifts and cycles that are much greater than anything
observed over the 20th century.  To claim otherwise, as climate alarmists
and much of the media (including some prestigious science magazines)
routinely do in stating that observed climate changes of the 20th century
are highly likely to be man-induced, flies in the face of all that is
logical (and perhaps even ethical).

References
Alley, R.B.  2000.  Ice-core evidence of abrupt climate changes.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 97: 1331-1334.

Cronin, T., Willard, D., Karlsen, A., Ishman, S., Verardo, S., McGeehin, J.,
Kerhin, R., Holmes, C., Colman, S. and Zimmerman, A.  2000.  Climatic
variability in the eastern United States over the past millennium from
Chesapeake Bay sediments.  Geology 28: 3-6.

Ganopolski, A. and Rahmstorf, S.  2001.  Rapid changes of glacial climate
simulated in a coupled climate model.  Nature 409: 153-158.

Hunt, B.G.  1998.  Natural climate variability as an explanation for
historical climate fluctuations.  Climatic Change 38: 133-157.

Keigwin, L.D. and Boyle, E.A.  2000.  Detecting Holocene changes in
thermohaline circulation.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
USA 97: 1343-1346.

Overpeck, J. and Webb, R.  2000.  Nonglacial rapid climate events: Past and
future.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 97: 1335-1338.

Schuster, P.F., White, D.E., Naftz, D.L. and Cecil, L.D.  2000.
Chronological refinement of an ice core record at Upper Fremont Glacier in
south central North America.  Journal of Geophysical Research 105:
4657-4666.

Venegas, S.A. and Mysak, L.A.  2000.  Is there a dominant timescale of
natural climate variability in the Arctic?  Journal of Climate 13:
3412-3434.

Vinnikov, K.Y., Robock, A., Stouffer, R.J., Walsh, J.E., Parkinson, C.L.,
Cavalieri, D.J., Mitchell, J.F.B., Garrett, D. and Zakharov, V.R.  1999.
Global warming and Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent.  Science 286:
1934-1937.
 
Copyright © 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


===============
(6) FORMER GREENPEACE ACTIVIST DEBUNKS MYTHS SURROUNDING ENVIRONMENTAL PANIC

>From TechCentralStation, 4 September 2001
http://www.techcentralstation.com/BigShotFriday.asp?id=60 

Bjorn Lomborg isn't one to abandon his politics just because he strays from
the established line on the environment. The Danish statistics professor
would rather solve the pressing problems of the world effectively. Tech
Central Station Host James K. Glassman recently spoke with Lomborg about how
his views have evolved into a new book entitled, "The Skeptical
Environmentalist." The one-time Greenpeace member talks about sorting
environmental scares from real problems, and using the developed world's
talents and resources to aid undeveloped countries. "Since global warming is
primarily about helping the Third World," he said, "we have to ask ourselves
is this really the best way to help the Third World -- to spend an enormous
amount of money to just postpone warming for six years?" Lomborg, instead,
looks to safe drinking water and sanitation as immediate solutions
achieveable at a fraction of the Kyoto treaty's cost. "The Skeptical
Environmentalist" will appear in U.S. bookstores in early October.


James K. Glassman: You have said that you actually started researching your
book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist," to debunk what you believed to be
the myth of the late libertarian economist, Julian Simon, that resources
were plentiful in supporting a growing world population. Where in the
process of that research did you realize that in fact Professor Simon was
right?

Bjorn Lomborg: It was a very gradual thing. I bought his book and decided
that it looked sufficiently good, that it was actually worth debunking. It
wasn't just a crackpot thing. So, I gathered 10 of my best students, and we
decided to go through the book; and get alternative references; and see
where this was wrong; but also, at the same time, get a feel for what the
world was like. We got this gradual sense of, "Wait a minute, this is
actually what is stated in many of the UN references and many of the
internationally recognized statistics." That was what made us slowly turn
around and say, "Wait a minute. Why is it that this just does not match up
with what we usually think?"

I think it's important to say, that, of course Simon is now dead. So it's
kind of hard for him to defend himself. But I think at some point he was
very lax or even just held some of his viewpoints on faith, saying, for
instance, the declining sperm count is probably just going to be another one
of those scares that will turn out to be wrong. And I think that's a little
too cavalier. But on many of the most important accounts I thought he
basically had a good point.

Glassman: And the thrust of this work showed what?

Lomborg: That when you look at the issues that are important to human
beings, on all accounts, things are getting better and better. We have more
food, fewer people starving. We have better income, both in the
industrialized but most importantly also in the developed world. We have
higher education, fewer people who are illiterate, fewer people starving,
more spare time, fewer accidents. On all of the important accounts, things
are going better and better.

Now, obviously the important question in that respect is can this go on?
What I found was a less clear cut answer in Julian Simon's book. He dealt
with some of the issues, but I think it's important to go the whole way
around and look at all of our resources, all the inputs that are important
for our future well-being.

Glassman: One of the points you made is that starvation is not as rampant as
either Malthus or Paul Ehrlich, who is very much opposed to what Julian
Simon was saying, predicted in that "agricultural technology has squeezed
ever more food out of each hectare of land." Lately Europe seems to be on
something of a rampage against the next logical event in agricultural
technology, bioengineering or genetic modification. Do you think it poses a
threat?

Lomborg: Well, it doesn't pose an immediate threat. There is a problem in
the long run of not understanding that this is important to the Third World.
Europe has had a lot of food scares, and while they may be minor, there's
certainly the feeling that people haven't been told all. And there's
certainly been a sense that the genetically modified foods, GM foods, were
sort of put through without proper debate. So, I think it's important.

The GM debate has been an important one in the sense that we need to
communicate and get out the facts better, get the possible risks and also
the possible concentration of power in a few global companies. But on the
other hand, it's also very important to get people in Europe to understand
that it has costs, especially for the Third World, if we do not proceed down
this road. There are probably many environmental benefits and economic
benefits and health benefits for the Third World adopting GM Foods.

Glassman: In the case of climate change, you accept the data of the IPCC
models that have been set up for temperature ranges as I understand it, but
not the conclusion that stiff regulation of fossil fuel use is needed right
now. Is that right?

Lomborg: Yes. I think it's also important to say the IPCC does not make any
policy recommendations. That is, it does not actually go in and say we
should then do something like Kyoto. It's clear that a lot of the scientists
behind it back the Kyoto understanding, but that's not an official IPCC
policy. The idea here is, again, we need to have a good understanding of
what the world looks like and what it's likely to look like in the future.
We cannot know what the future will be, and I try to point out there's
probably an inherent tendency in the IPCC to be slightly pessimistic.

All big bureaucracies have those tendencies. It's a way to make sure they
don't make a mistake that won't later come back and haunt them. So, it makes
sense to say that maybe we get a slightly pessimistic view from IPCC. But
it's the best information we have.

However, there is very little in the new IPCC reports on what this is going
to cost us. It just doesn't help to say if there is a problem we need to
solve it. We have to ask ourselves how much can we do. How much is it going
to cost and how much is it going to help? Then I try to say the Kyoto
agreement, even if it was completed in full and the U.S. participated would
do almost no good. It would postpone warming for about six years longer than
2100. On the other hand, it will cost an amazing amount of money. The
average estimates are $150 billion to $350 billion a year. That's three to
seven times the amount of global aid we give to the Third World.

Since global warming is primarily about helping the Third World, we have to
ask ourselves is this really the best way to help the Third World -- to
spend an enormous amount of money to just postpone warming for six years? My
argument is to see that even for a fraction of that cost we could solve the
single biggest problem in the world. We could give clean drinking water and
sanitation to every single human being on Earth for less than what Kyoto
will cost the U.S., and that would save two million lives a year. It would
save half a billion people from getting seriously ill each year.

Glassman: Let's go back to the original premise of my question. Do you have
any concerns about the climate change models considering the fact that the
National Academy of Sciences and others pointed out that they really have
gigantic gaps in them?

Lomborg: Well, I think we all would love them to be better. And there are a
lot of things we have left out. On the other hand, it's the only way to
build models. You take some of these things in there and try to refine them.
So, while I think that there's a lot of tendency towards being pessimistic
both in the inclusion of different parameters and the way that the results
have been interpreted, the way you have simplified the global models and
several other things, it's very hard to do much better than what the IPCC
does. So, I agree that there's a lack of knowledge. There is a tendency
toward pessimism. But we really have to say this is probably somewhat the
best model we can get.

Glassman: You earlier said that even if Kyoto is implemented, it really
won't do very much; if there is a real problem with climate change, you feel
that we will solve it through technological change. You place a lot of faith
in technology solving problems. Is that correct?

Lomborg: Well, no. It's not a matter of faith here. The point I'm trying to
make is that there are various scenarios and we have to look into the 21st
century and see what's going to happen. But the top scenarios are the ones
that give weight to 5.8 degrees warming are just simply unrealistic in the
sense that they require us to rely incredibly heavily and use very, very
much fossil fuel at the end of this century. When you realize that renewable
energy resources have dropped in price about 60 percent per decade over the
last three decades, they're likely to at least drop approximately at that
rate in the coming decade. That means that renewable energy resources will
be competitive or even out compete fossil fuels before mid century. And if
that's true, then it's simply unlikely that we will continue to use massive
amounts of fossil fuel at the end of the 21st century. So, this is really a
discussion about whether we want to face that warming five years earlier or
five years later if we commit more to research and renewable energy
resources. Now, notice I'm only talking about renewable energy resources. We
may all be surprised if it turns that it's fusion energy or something we
haven't even thought of yet that will take over. But at least we know we
have reliable energy resources that probably will take over by mid-century.

It's not a question of placing incredible faith that we will get some sort
of solution that we can't quite figure out right now. We actually have the
technology. It's only a question if we should wait until it's competitive,
and it will be.

Glassman: And you're saying this technology is solar or wind power?

Lomborg: Solar, wind power, yes. Solar in the long run, certainly.

Glassman: Is it also possible that within a fairly short amount of time we
will have feasible carbon capture technologies?

Lomborg: Yes, there are loads of other issues, technological fixes that we
could also explore. It makes sense to me that we should look into those,
especially because we may be able to solve a fairly big problem, namely,
global warming, for a fairly small amount of money. Then, obviously, we
should do that.

Glassman: You've taken the media to task for reporting bad news without
reference to actual results. Is there any specific advice that you could
give journalists when they look at scientific data, before they report it to
readers?

Lomborg: There are two things here that are important. One is to make people
aware of the media having a negative slant. But I think the media basically
give the public what the public wants. We know from countless studies that
people love bad news. It's very hard. Even if you tell journalists you
shouldn't do it, most journalists will say, "Oh yeah, we shouldn't do that."
But their editors will make sure that they do it anyhow.

My argument says to people that we should realize that we get oversupply of
bad news and that we cannot just say the world looks like what it says in
the paper. We only see part of the story in the paper. The other part, of
course, is to realize that green organizations are only lobby groups, just
like business organizations. We are very critical when business
organizations say, "Oh, don't worry so much about the environment." We
should rightly be critical of them. We should also be critical of green
organizations that say, "If we don't act now, the Earth will be doomed." So
we have to be critical of both.

It would help journalists if the public was critical of green groups as well
as business groups. Then it would be easier for journalists also to be
critical of green groups.

Glassman: You have made the point that you are an academic, and you have no
ties to industry or any other group. And that issue is frequently brought up
-- also by the press about industry -- that its research might be biased.
Isn't this often a bogus argument, a way of attacking research, its funding,
instead of the facts? Can't research that is funded by industry or funded by
environmentalists be just as important as research that is not funded by
anybody other than, let's say, a university, which may have its own biases?

Lomborg: It's a hard question. I take your point in saying that in a sense
you could argue all science could be equally biased. But we have better ways
of controlling to what extent it's biased when it's publicly financed, or
financed through a very open organization like a university. So you will
have an uphill battle. It's important to have that criticism, certainly of
industry-funded research. Let's face it, there's a lot of PhDs out there and
at least some part of their research I'm fairly convinced you can actually
buy, if not outright, then at least get some sort of the result you want.

So I think it's important to focus on integrity and unbiasedness. Of course,
you should also realize that many of the studies that are produced by the
EPA, or certainly for the Danish EPA, will also have, certainly, an indirect
bias, because these people performing the research know that they will have
to get money again from the EPA. So there is a tendency that these guys will
have a certain interest in not annoying them too much.

Glassman: There is an intense debate going on in the United States right now
about what to do at the next UN climate change meeting in Marrakech COP-7 at
the end of October. What do you think is the appropriate step that the U.S.
and the entire group should take at this point?

Lomborg: That's a hard question for me to answer. There are two things to
say here. I'm trying to be a scientist saying if we want to do good for the
Third World, here's how should we deal with this. That really means that
this is a slightly wrong place to try to deal with the world's problems.
Because with climate change, we're trying to do very little good for very
much money when we could do a lot more good if we spend that money
elsewhere. In a sense, I'm saying the world's politicians are talking in the
wrong forum.

But I would imagine that there are two things the U.S. could do. One, it
should step up research in renewable energy resources. It's my understanding
that Bush has already said that he wants to increase that. But since the
U.S. is funding $200 million right now in renewable energy research and
development, that could be stepped up tenfold and it would cost nothing
compared to the Kyoto agreement.

The other thing, and where the U.S. could get on the offensive, is offering
the EU and other partners to step up their research. Let's actually try to
do good for the Third World and simply try to start a new way of talking
about what we should do in the UN assemblies. Let's actually pledge and
commit 0.7% of our GDP to developing countries, or spend one-fourth of what
the Kyoto agreement would cost and give that to the Third World.

It would either make a lot of money for the U.S., or it save a lot of money
for the U.S. It would certainly show that this is not ill will toward the
Third World, but it's actually in the interest of spending money well.

Glassman: As far as the areas that money could be committed, you talked
about clean water and general sanitation. Another thing that Professor
Sallie Baliunas, who is the co-host of Tech Central Station, has pointed out
is that rather than fighting global warming over a long period of time as a
means of preventing malaria, maybe we should simply go straight to the
source and immediately take care of the malaria problem that's facing the
Third World.

Lomborg: There are so many investments in the Third World that would help
the Third World so much more: education, disease regulation, general health
care, infrastructure. All those things they are very, very cheap compared to
what we're talking about with global warming. That would help the Third
World right now immensely. It also would enable them to deal much better
with global warming when it comes, because it will come no matter whether we
do Kyoto or not.

Glassman: When you say enable them to deal with it more effectively, I guess
you're saying we need to build the economy, build the infrastructure first.

Lomborg: Yes, because these are problems they will have to tackle in 50,
100, or 200 years there. It's important that they're rich, so that they will
be able to deal with those problems. We know that there is no malaria where
there's a strong health system, even if the region is naturally disposed to
malaria. In the same way, if you have a strong economy, if you have well
built-out education and infrastructure, you're able to deal with changing
climate patterns and grow new crops better suited to a new climate.

All those things are basically a question of education, infrastructure, and
economy.

Glassman: Last question, it was Lord Keynes who said to someone who accused
him of being hypocritical, "When the facts change, I change my mind. And
what do you do, sir?" But Thomas Jefferson said, "Argument only makes people
more adamant in their opinion." So, how difficult was it for you to change
your opinion on these key environmental issues? At any point did you simply
want to give up on the project that you were working on regarding Julian
Simon?

Lomborg: No, not at all. That's why I'm an academic; I want to find out what
is true. It's much more fun to be right on a controversial issue than to be
right on a trivial issue. It's much more fun to say the sun is in the center
of the universe, when everybody thinks the Earth is the center of the
universe, than going around saying the Earth is round today, when everybody
knows it is round. So in that sense, it's great inspiration to have good
arguments and try to improve the public debate. What you actually find is
that most key players, yes, they have a fixed view. And if you make
arguments, they only get more adamant.

But these players are just playing out the arguments in the general debate
for the public. The public then actually makes up its mind. I find that
people are well aware of and capable of listening to a good argument and
picking out good arguments. Certainly in Scandinavia, it has given rise to a
lot of people saying, "Maybe there is a point to be made here. Maybe all
things are not getting as bad as we think." It's not the same thing as
saying that I wonder whether most people believe I'm absolutely correct. I
think a lot of people are starting to say there's probably something to it.
That's about as good as it gets in a public debate.

Copyright 2001, TechCentralStation

==============
(7) THE SCEPTICAL ENVIRONMENTALIST
 
>From Booksonline, 25 August 2001
http://www.booksonline.co.uk/booksol?ac=005893012663755&rtmo=V1wGmxmx&atmo=rrrrrrrq&pg=/01/8/25/bogren25.html

THE GREENS HAVE GOT IT WRONG

Matt Ridley considers this to be 'probably the most important book on the
environment ever written'

EACH DECADE sees its new environmental obsessions. In the 1960s it was
pesticides and the population explosion. In the 1970s there was the oil
crisis, the imminent failure of the food supply and the fear of nuclear
power. In the 1980s the deserts were advancing, acid rain was killing trees,
the ozone layer was thinning and the elephant was on the brink of
extinction. In the 1990s we had retreating rain forests, falling sperm
counts, plagues of new diseases, genetically modified crops and, of course,
climate change.

How many of these came true? If you take the trouble to examine the facts,
you will find a remarkable thing. On all but the most recent scares, where
the jury is still out, the alarmists were badly wrong. There has been no
rise in cancer caused by chemicals, population growth slowed rather than
accelerated, oil reserves grew rather than fell, food production per head
increased even in poor countries, nuclear accidents were few and minor,
deserts did not advance, acid rain killed no forests, the damage to the
ozone layer was minimal, the elephant was never in danger of extinction,
rain forests are still 80 per cent intact, sperm counts did not fall.

The extreme greens have been so wrong for so long that you would think
somebody might have noticed. One American, Julian Simon, did try to point
this out in a series of books, but nobody wanted to listen. The temptation
of indulging in environmental guilt was too strong; repeating its message
was almost reassuring: the planet is in ever greater pain and it is all our
fault.

Bjřrn Lomborg, a Danish statistics professor, came across Simon's argument
and set out to prove it wrong. Instead he ended up proving Simon right in
almost every respect. Four years later he has put his conclusions in a
remarkable book, probably the most important book on the environment ever
written.

Its importance lies partly in its relentless statistics. With 173 charts,
nine tables and a staggering 2,930 footnotes, The Skeptical Environmentalist
will be a source of reference for years to come. But it is also a readable,
accessible and simple account of the state of the world, told as much in the
illuminating charts as in the text itself. And it is a fascinating polemic,
too. Lomborg exposes the fibs, half-truths and sleights of hand that have
been used to sustain the ultra-pessimism that so effectively gets us all
reaching for our cheque books.

There is the 'evidence' for falling food supplies consisting of three bad
years but ignoring 50 good ones on either side. There is the widely cited
soil erosion statistic that turns out to be based on one study of a
0.11-hectare sloping plot of Belgian farmland. There is the much-quoted
figure of 40,000 species going extinct each year, which started as an
assumption for argument's sake and then became a "fact". There is the
endless citation by the press of worst-case figures for global warming,
rather than most likely.

Does it matter? Perhaps excessive alarmism alerts us to the fact that there
is indeed a serious problem. Lomborg argues that instead it leads us in the
wrong direction. Greens from Al Gore to George Monbiot are perpetually
urging that we abandon consumerism so that we can avoid eco-catastrophe. But
actually it is by investing and inventing that we avoid it. We replace
copper wires with glass fibres, coal power stations with gas, and wild with
farmed salmon.

Technology, not regulation, is the solution to environmental problems.
Lomborg is confident that cheapening solar power will make fossil fuels and
their emissions redundant long before they run out or cause damaging global
warming. He points out that then it would only require 2.6 per cent of the
Sahara desert to supply all our power needs.

A counsel of despair is wrong for other reasons, too. In the 1960s the
best-selling environmentalist Paul Ehrlich suggested that India should be
denied Western emergency aid because it was in such environmental straits:
"sober analysis shows a hopeless imbalance between food production and
population". Within years of his appalling claim, Western pesticides,
fertilisers and new ("terminator") hybrid seeds had transformed Indian
agriculture so that it now supports twice as many people on one-third more
calories per head. Thank goodness we ignored Ehrlich.

With many such dud forecasts coming home to roost at the Millennium, global
warming came as a godsend to alarmists. It will be a century before we know
if the alarmists are right, so they can paint doomsday futures to their
hearts' content and rely on a compliant press to repeat them.

Lomborg concedes that mankind probably is adding to natural warming trends
by producing greenhouse gases. But he is scathing about the exaggerated
claims and mistaken remedies offered by the environmental movement, and
argues cogently that we should be spending money now on improving the lot of
the developing world, rather than trying to limit carbon dioxide emissions
by regulation. "Global warming is not anywhere near the most important
problem facing the world".

The Big Green organisations will not like it. They will accuse Lomborg of
defending Big Business, no doubt, as they did Julian Simon. But the charge
cannot stick. He has an impeccably Leftish background and a transparent
independence of mind. And he is not complacent: "By far the majority of
indicators show that mankind's lot has vastly improved. This does not,
however, mean that everything is good enough".

Matt Ridley is the author of 'Genome' (Fourth Estate). 

Copyright 2001, The Daily Telgraph

==============
(8) BELIEVE IT OR NOT: GERMAN ARMY DEVELOPS ENVIRONMENT-FRIENDLY WEAPONRY

>From BBC News Online, 4 September 2001
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/in_depth/sci_tech/2001/glasgow_2001/newsid_1525000/1525496.stm
 
By BBC News Online's Helen Briggs

"Green" explosives are being developed by German scientists, in an attempt
to reduce pollution caused by guns and military rockets.

Their ultimate goal is to produce explosives and fuels for missile launches
that give off nothing more innocuous than a puff of hot air in their wake.

In the next 20 years, it should be possible to launch a missile either for
military or for civil applications that works on a chlorine-metal-free basis
 
The researchers say that fuels and explosives emitting greener gases would
be "more environmentally acceptable" - especially around firing ranges where
pollutants are likely to be concentrated.

Acid rain

Rockets for launching missiles and spacecraft are powered by solid
propellants made up of a mixture of chemicals and metals.

Upon combustion, these fuels give off hydrochloric acid and aluminium oxide,
linked with acid rain, damage to the ozone layer and destruction of plants.

The researchers, who are working with the German army, are trying to develop
alternative fuels and explosives that would give off less noxious fumes.

Thomas Klapotke, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Munich, said
they were trying to replace conventional explosives containing chlorine and
metals with ones that contain only nitrogen, oxygen and carbon.

'Hot air'

Such chemicals would be converted into "hot air" upon combustion, he said.

Speaking at the British Association Science Festival in Glasgow, Professor
Klapotke said: "In the next 20 years it should be possible to launch a
missile either for military or for civil applications that works on a
chlorine-metal-free basis."

The research is being carried out in collaboration with the German Army. Two
greener explosives have been developed and patented so far, he said.

One obstacle to the work is the cost. New fuels are 100 times more expensive
than conventional fuels but should get cheaper in time, he added.

Copyright 2001, BBC

=============
(9) AND FINALLY: 'GREEN BOMBS' SET FOR BATTLEFIELD OF THE FUTURE?

>From Yahoo News, 4 September 2001
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010904/sc/science_rockets_dc_1.html

By Ed Cropley

GLASGOW, Scotland (Reuters) - NATO troops could one day be firing ``green
weapons'' that are just as deadly to people as their conventional
counterparts but not as harmful to the environment, a scientist said
Tuesday.

It may sound an absurd idea to develop environmentally-friendly missiles
when their whole purpose is to destroy, but scientists point out that the
vast majority are fired in training over home ground.

The new generation of green explosives are based on a mixture of carbon,
nitrogen and oxygen, beefed up by a special chemical process to pack a
bigger punch.

But unlike normal explosives and rocket propellants, the by-products
produced when they blow up are totally harmless.

``If we mix them (nitrogen and oxygen) together in a ratio of four to one,
they produce nothing but hot air,'' said chemistry professor Thomas Klaptoke
from Munich University.

Modern day rocket fuels contain a number of chlorine-based compounds which
react to produce a range of unpleasant chemicals, including hydrochloric
acid, the main cause of acid rain.

``In the very near future, say 20 years, it should be possible to launch a
missile which operates on a chlorine-free basis,'' he said.

Already green missiles are more than just a theory. Several NATO countries
are putting a lot of effort into their development and some have already
been fired on test ranges, comparing favorably with traditional explosives,
he said.

Only the exorbitant costs of making the high energy nitrogen needed to
create a big bang is keeping the technology away from the front lines.

``At the moment it is more than 100 times more expensive than conventional
explosives, but we are still in testing. When we get to mass production we
would be happy if they cost two or three times more,'' he said.

Although primarily aimed at cleaning up huge space rockets like the European
Space Agency's Ariane 4 and 5, the technology can be scaled down for
handguns, making them safer for soldiers and police officers who risk lead
poisoning from hours of indoor target practice.

There have been concerns for many years that lead particles contained in gun
smoke might affect soldiers' health.

Klaptoke was quick to point out that an environmentally-friendly grenade
appeared to be a contradiction in terms when its whole purpose is still to
destroy.

But he insisted that on closer inspection, the idea was not so stupid.

``It may seem strange that military and rocket people are concerned about
the environment, but 99 percent of all missiles are launched in training
over your own ground,'' he told the British Association's Festival of
Science. ``Why expose your own people to unnecessary risk?''

Copyright 2001, Reuters

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