The news business at the front end of the 21st century, is built on a foundation of hyperbole: A swan drops dead in France and it is further evidence of the BIRD FLU PANDEMIC!
Another favorite pandem-esque subject for the Western press is the issue of Global Warming.
It is quite clear that we are in a period of warmer temperatures but I remain unconvinced that too many SUVs burning too little corn is the cause of it.
In any event the popular press got another case of Global Warming vapors over the weekend when NASA reported that over the past three years, Antarctica has been melting “at the rate of 152 cubic kilometers (plus or minus 80 cubic kilometers) per year over the past three years.”
Because a huge percentage of the world’s water is locked up as ice in Antarctica, headlines like Bloomberg.com’s “Antarctica's Annual Melt Equals Water in Lake Tahoe, Study Says” flooded the Internet.
And, because I have no life, I decided to do some calculating.
For instance. According to the government of Australia, Antarctica is about 13,661,000 square kilometers in area. The Aussies further inform us that the ice is about 4 km thick so – counting on our fingers and toes – we multiply the surface area (13,661,000), times the depth (4) and we get a pretty big number: 54,664,000 cubic kilometers. That’s over 54 MILLION cubic kilometers.
With me so far?
Ok, now let’s divide the total amount of ice (54,664,000) by the amount which is melting each year (152) to see how long it will take for the last ice cube to disappear into the sea.
Assuming we are still counting years the same way, it will be Frozen Marguretiaville for the continent sometime in the year 361,506.
Even Zager and Evans didn’t look that far ahead.
Ok, the big deal with this calamitous melting is the amount of ice which is being released into the ocean equaling, as we have seen, the volume of Lake Tahoe.
The actual number is .4 millimeters per year. Four-tenths of a millimeter.
Four-tenths of a millimeter equals just a hair – a very, very thin hair – over .015 – fifteen thousandths of an inch.
Each and every year.
So, in a thousand years, the melting of the Antarctic snow cone will raise sea levels by … fifteen inches.
That means if your trendy beachfront house this very day sits at 30 feet above average high tide, in the year 3006 it will be 28 feet nine inches above high tide. But you, likely, won’t care.
Just to demonstrate how long a 1,000 years is: Guess who was the King of England in the year 1006.
First swallow your coffee. I swear this is true. Ready?
Ethelred, the Unready (978-1016 AD).
I suspect, if you had asked old Eth whether he thought he would still be a household name a thousand years into the future, he would have had your head chopped off – just as soon as he got ready.
New Topic: The Washington Post had a page four piece yesterday about a testy meeting between DNC Chairman and the Democratic Leaders of the House and Senate – last month.
It seems that How-Weird Dean is not raising money fast enough and the money he is raising is going toward “funding organizers for state parties in strongly Republican states … rather than targeting states with crucial races this fall.”
A massive strategic fracture at the highest levels of the Democratic party would seem to me to be … news. Big news. Partisan-pandemic news.
And here’s why it is: Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid know that if they can’t take control of the House or the Senate this year, Antarctica might melt before such an opportunity comes their way again. Ethelred, the Unready. Where does he find this stuff?
On a the Secret Decoder Ring page today: An enormous amount of stuff: An explanation of the title; Links to the NASA story, to Australia’s Antarctica web page, to Zeger & Evans, and to the Washington Post piece on the Dems. PLUS! A Mullfoto demonstrating my scientific theory about rising water levels and an on-topic Catchy Caption of the Day.
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