Post-modernity… July 10, 2012

…is that period in history when human beings decide that we need to be afraid of the sun.

Our strange combination of arrogant pride and jittery fear is the hallmark of our time.

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  • You know, Mark, while you are for the most part on the side of the angels, you do have your quirks, including this one. Why do you join the righties and industrialists in denying that something is going on with the climate? Record-breaking temperatures? Draught? Unprecedented wildfires? Melting glaciers? Just a coincidental fluke?
    Maybe it is not so bad in the cool northwest, but I just endured two weeks of unheard of heat, working outside, here in Ohio.
    It does not strike me as unlikely that Man can screw things up pretty badly, even influencing the climate.
    That you deny this, which the vast majority of scientists believe, strikes me as very odd.

    • Confederate Papist

      Consensus is not scientific, it’s opinion.

      The fact that it’s been hotter than the last few years means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Back in the early 1980’s we went through a summer where, three weeks in a row, temperatures were anywhere from 110 to 115, every day! There was no doomsday crier of end times spouting off about global warming or climate change, or whatever the vernacular was back then.

      What *has* been scientifically proven is that God’s Green Earth goes through weather patterns, much like we go through our own patterns of life. This is just another pattern having nothing to do with man’s influence. God trumps man every time.

      • Michael

        “The fact that it’s been hotter than the last few years…”

        last year, YEAR! Prior to this year we had been experience some cold long winters and mild summers. Global temperatures, as much as such a thing can be determined, peaked back in 1997 and have leveled off or declined since then. What we are experiencing is a few hot weeks and suddenly WEATHER IS NOW CLIMATE again in the drumbeat of propaganda from the alarmists. Please.

        • Elaine S.

          It’s one thing to believe that the climate in general is changing (getting warmer). It’s another thing entirely to conclude that this warming 1) is entirely or primarily caused by human activity, 2) will be catastrophic and therefore 3) must be stopped at all costs, up to and including consigining most of the human race to poverty, unemployment, or onerous regulations on everything they do up to and including how many children they have, what vehicles they can drive, what kind of homes they can build, etc.

          • Ted Seeber

            Especially when the *easiest* way to stop it, would be to utterly crash the artificial scarcity in the food market, creating lots of jobs and food along the way. If Human Carbon Molecule output is the problem, then Human Food Consumption is the solution to sequester the carbon in our own corpses.

    • Andrew

      What was it that Christ said, judge a fruit by it’s tree and tree by its fruit?

      Given that the large majority of ‘climate change’ scientists and advocates are aligned with leftist constituencies (academia, media, government) I think it’s very sound for people to be skeptical of their ‘research’, as one scandal after another (East Anglia anyone?) has proven.

      Given that most ideologies over the past 100+ years that deny the rights of man and increase the power of the state have failed, ‘climate change’ is only the latest ruse to get people to give up their rights for Caesar.

    • Mark Shea

      I don’t deny that something is going on with the climate. The nature of climate is to change. I don’t even deny that we may have something to do with it. Indeed, I don’t “deny” anything. What I am interested in is not the science of climate change, but the rhetoric of climate change and the way in which it is typically cast in the language of faith.

  • MarylandBill

    I am going to stay out of the climate change debate and focus on the actual topic of the post… which is sunspots. The article does have a bit of a cry wolf nature, but it essentially is true. Massive solar flares that hit us just right can play havoc with power grids and telecommunications. This is not post-modernism, but rather good solid science. Its also not post-modern to suggest that people who are from sunlight starved regions of the world (i.e., us pasty white Northern Europeans) should limit exposure to sunlight without sunscreen on.

    • Irenist


      We’ve built a civilization that is abjectly dependent on electricity on the ground and in space (for GPS, weather prediction, and communication satellites, as well as the satellite-relayed battlefield communications for American troops and drones). A violent solar flare could massively disrupt our very vulnerable technologies. Some citizens at home and troops at the front would likely perish as a result. Finding a way to make these technologies more robust in the face of solar flares is the sort of thing our leadership class would be focused on if it wasn’t so frivolous and decadent.

      • MarylandBill

        Lets not over react now either. Are power outages possible? Yes. Are communication disruptions possible? Yes. But many things are relatively resistent. Airplanes are not going to fall out of the sky, the military is pretty good about shielding its technology, etc. Most of it will be headaches. The real risk will be if power outages strike in cities undergoing heat waves.

      • Ted Seeber

        This is the only thing I took from growing up around Mormons and GAC Protestants. I have *NO DOUBT* that my family could survive a complete grid collapse lasting up to six months. We’d get very fat in the first month and then drop weight like crazy, but we would survive. We’d have to go to Beaverton Creek for our water (about a half a block’s walk) and be sure to boil it, but that would just give us a daily reason to check the crawdad traps. And once the freezer was cleaned out and defrosted, we’d have a nice large place to keep water.

  • john

    Scientists say “The sky is falling” it must be true

  • Liam

    Absolutely gorgeous

  • Funny thing: why, in an article like this, do they not address the basic and (I think) reasonable question of whether “climate change” and cycles in solar activity might actually be related somehow. Given that the most obvious driver of climate and weather is, you know, that huge ball of fire in the sky.

    • ivan_the_mad

      It’s not a ball of fire. It’s fireflies that got stuck up there.

      • Jmac

        It’s only a single Firefly, heretic. All your science words still can’t take the sky from me.

        • ivan_the_mad

          Firefly is a movie. I scorn and contemn you now and forever.

          • ivan_the_mad

            And by movie I meant TV show. It was a test and you failed, for I am always correct.

            • Jmac

              You condemn firefly?! You’re obviously not a true Catholic… or sun worshiper. Wait, what are we pretending to be again?

  • Ted Seeber

    I am afraid of the sun; but that’s due *specifically* to my medical condition. You see, when I get obsessed I don’t drink enough water, and that causes dehydration. In addition to that, the excess light overstimulates my right optic nerve and creates migraines.

    Now besides that, I’ve got proof that *SOMETHING* is happening. I don’t know if it’s manmade, or the sun, or whatever, but the glaciers in the Cascades have been *NOTICEABLY RETREATING* for decades:

    Glacial decline is very much a reality. What *causes* it is up for grabs, but to deny that there is something noticeable going on is like a geologist denying that continental drift happens.

    • Observer

      Maybe melting ice means an oncoming ice-age in the arctic?

  • All the more reason to wear sunscreen every day.

  • Lloyd Petre

    Having actually read the article, and noticing it mentions neither climate or terrestrial weather, I believe there concern is something like this happening again.

    • Ted Seeber

      Didn’t that already happen in 1997?

  • Lloyd Petre

    *their*, not there. Oopsie.

  • SecretAgentMan

    “Are we safe from the sun?” We’d better be prepared. The sun has fostered pagan religions, shines on Muslims, Republicans, Gays, and Baptists. Bin Laden’s laptop had a solar-power option, if more proof were needed.

    Drone strike. It’s the only way.

  • Alister

    In all seriousness though, solar activity does have real-world impacts on the underlying infrastructure that supports our modern world. It wasn’t much of a problem a century ago when we lacked satelliete communications and large, sensitive computer networks, and massive power grids.

    From a brief bit of reading (on Wikipedia, took my pinch of salt), the gist of it is this:

    Sun ejects large amounts of energy
    Energy slams into Earth’s upper atmosphere and forms an electrical charge.
    As electrical charges travel from high potential to low potential, the charge attempts to travel from the atmosphere to the ground.
    Power lines, being intentially designed to be highly conductive, offers the path of least resistance (electricity is lazy), atmospheric charge grounds via the power grid and overloads it, causing HV breakers to trip and taking out the network.

    Of course, a modern optical fiber based telecommunications network is immune to this kind of interference (and indeed, any form of interference short of severing the cables themselves)

    • Alister

      Also, apologies for atrocious spelling, its late at night here in upside-down land.

  • I recall a study where it said Mars is warming. I mentioned that to a liberal friend, and he said that doesn’t matter. We still need to do something about it here.