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The Stick

SUNDAY JANUARY 24, 2010

 

The Archimedes Principle of Flotation states that when a solid is immersed in a liquid, it displaces a portion of the liquid equal to itself in weight.  This means that the level of the liquid rises just as much as it would rise if a quantity of liquid had been added to it, equal in weight to the solid.  This is why if the floating Arctic ice melts it won’t matter a jot to world sea-levels.  That aside for the moment, precisely the same process occurs when a solid is partially immersed, the quantity of liquid displaced, in this case, equaling the mass of the portion of the solid that is immersed, and the rise of the level of liquid being in that proportion.  That much is known to every schoolboy and girl who ever had to endure the history lesson of Archimedes sitting in his bathtub and watching the water-level rise around him and up the side of the tub as he immersed himself.  In that instant, the sort of inspiration that comes to great men at awkward times - when they do not have quill and parchment handy - struck.  Mr A. jumped out of the tub and apparently ran naked down the street yelling “Eureka”, Greek for 'I've found it!'

 

But jump ahead 2,100 years to Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, who was also Deacon of Mathematics at Oxford University.  Writing in 1885 in "Balbus's Essay" Carroll mused that mathematics goes both ways, and if 6=4+2 then 4+2=6 as well.  So immersion=displacementalso means displacement=immersion; a simple enough statement, but it hides a mental trap.  For at this point mathematics stands at the door of science fiction.  The next conclusion is that immersion=displacement=immersion=displacement ad infinitum, which is just like what happens when you get two mirrors facing each other on opposite walls of a room and you try to gaze curiously into infinity, but your head keeps getting in the way.  

In a strictly mathematical world (or one described by computer models), one side of an equation can theoretically follow the other in an internal roundabout. So now suppose, continued Carroll, that you (1.) dip the end of a long thick stick in a bucket of water. The water displaced by the immersion rises (2.) up the side (displacement).  Now the stick is deeper in (because water went up the side..(3.) immersion).  BUT immersion = displacement (4)… so...a new displacement is now (theoretically) in the picture.  A new displacement would come with..hello... another immersion.  Then another displacementYou get the picture. So is the stick ever deeper-in?  In the mathematical world; maybe. This is the conundrum.  Does life behave mathematically, or as the models will predict?  Why shouldn’t what works for numbers also work for things?

 

As it is stated, this process must continue forever until the entire stick is under water, and anything else connected with the stick, in this case you, will also soon be deep under water.  (Global warmers, can you see where this is leading?)  Because as the Law says it, therefore, if you hold a stick six feet in length with its end in a mere half-full drinking glass and wait long enough, stick-and-you must eventually be covered in endless water.  But, you ask, where will all the rest of the water come from?  And how will it stay up above the tumbler? Well, that is precisely what skeptics of sea level rise are asking.

 

Carroll writes ".. it is rather annoying, the source of this additional water, a problem which does not of course apply to the vast sea.  Let us therefore take the instance of a man standing ankle-deep at the edge of the sea, at ebb tide, with a six-foot pole in his hand, which he points into the sea.  He remains steadfast and unmoved, and soon he must be drowned and the whole globe also."  Of course if this was the case there would be multitudes dying each day just by standing in the sea.  Yet that is what is being offered us every day in newspapers, radio and TV by the climate scientists in this climate change debate.  They cannot see the paradox.

 

In case you didn't get it first time around, let us state the problem again.  A stick placed in a pond will displace a volume of water.  The act of displacement raises the water level.  The action of water level rise results in the stick being even more immersed, which must displace more water, which in theory further, (because immersion=displacement=immersion=displacement= etc)  should continue to raise the water level and immerse more of the stick and this must keep going indefinitely.  There is no mathematical flaw, as the principle is stated, and a computer model would state the same result.  There is only a logic flaw.  And because of a simple computer-generated result, bearing in mind that the Law of Commonsense cannot be computer generated and so cannot override it, we are stuck with today’s screaming hysteria of runaway and unstoppable global warming.  Here's another version of the paradox:

 

1. We burn fossil fuels.

2. They produce CO2.

3. The Earth warms.

4. To absorb the CO2 we grow forests, which become the new measure of a country's wealth.

5. The newly wealthy countries produce more industry because they can now afford to, which means they will burn more fossil fuels in order to develop their economies.

6. This is an endless but destructive loop, the warming by which must logically bring about the end of the world.

 

Meanwhile, parallel to this time period there are extreme weather events un-explainable to current weather-science.  The correlation to recent industrialization can only mean one thing: one is causing the other.  The Unstoppable (due to the continuing growth in industrialization) is raising sea-levels which will soon drown us all.  If that doesn't do us in, the air is going to poison us through pollution.  Also, countless millions of immigrant climate refugees will kill us all by importing disease, and as the CO2 rise slowly replaces oxygen, we will all be killed all over again by suffocation.  There is no mention where the vast supplies of CO2 are going to come from to do all this dirty work, as CO2 only ever can constitute 350 parts per million of the whole atmosphere at any one time, CO2 is always heavier than air and the increase in CO2 has been 1 part in 25,000 over the past 30 years.  

 

But it is clearly a catastrophe of commonsense, not climate.  It is unlikely we will be killed by a paradox.   Is it possible that this has been completely overlooked even by some of the best brains in the world such as Stephen Hawkins, in the ever-rising and submerging wave called global climate change?  Just because a fellow is a scientist doesn't mean he has all the answers and may on occasion miss the obvious.  Perhaps Mr Hawkins loses his socks at the same rate as the rest of us.  Einstein once admitted that one night in his rowboat on the Hudson River after gazing at the heavens and meditating on relativity he forgot which way to row home.

 

Many are riding this global warming wave.  Again we the gullible consumers are paying for it. Climate science barely rated mention four years ago, now previously boring climatologists enjoy academic spotlight and higher wages with retirement packages.  Economists with media and political kudos become expensive consultants, media provide big businessmen performing environmental-do-good stunts with free advertising (e.g. the billion dollar pledge from Sir Richard Branson to help fight global warming – he only has to say he’ll do it, not actually do anything), research teams corner state-funding, governments earn mandates to impose carbon taxes, Green groups discover more political clout, oil companies inflate prices for the "scarce" oil and sell alternative energy products/services such as wind, solar and nuclear technology, and off-shore banks running the international gaming house for carbon bond trading are very kind to little fringe antipodean bit-players who like to imagine they are up to swimming with the sharks.  Entrepreneurs are everywhere.  If you don’t have a climatology degree you can always make and show a film, and charge $120,000 for a lecture.  These folk do not care for the welfare of the planet, nor scientific fact, and it is shameful that the university world that used to subscribe to truth and integrity now offers the loot-grabbers a scam dressed up in the finery of scientific respectability.

 

Yet, according to NZer Dr Vincent Gray (a former IPCC climate report reviewer), so far not one computer model of future global catastrophe has been validated.  Not one model has demonstrated quite exactly how a very tiny amount of CO2 extended briefly into the air is going to be able to overcome the atmosphere, especially the frozen upper part of which is -57C, (the same as Antarctica in autumn) and thereby engulf the whole planet with warmth.

 

There is the real world that we live in, and there is the fantasy mathematical/computer dream world of Alice in Wonderland that climate scientists inhabit. The day the globe warms will be the SAME day that you find you are able to dip the end of a long stick in the water and make the sea rise up like a huge tsunami causing a global catastrophe.

At least overhead pigs will be safe.

 

© Ken Ring


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