0013 - Oil and Climate Change with the Rock Doctor
Sqeaky and Mako finish up the interview with the Rock Doctor, Sean Hodges PhD. They focus on oil and climate. Then they address a number of myths that conflict with climate change or try to throw doubt on it. There is also discussion of some of the current and ongoing effects of Climate Change. This isn't something to link to a denier, this is information for you to better understand so that when you have the right information and are armed with the knowledge needed to refute their non-sense. Get the show sources and transcript at: https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/episode-13-oil-and-climate-change-with-the-rock-doctor
SQEAKY: Warning: This show contains adult themes and language, including a flamethrower that you totally don't need to worry about.
MAKO: Dysevidentia is an inability to reliably process evidence and this is a podcast all about it.
SQEAKY: This episode was released on August 4th, 2021, and we are discussing dysevidentia because it is clear millions of climate change deniers are suffering from it.
MAKO: I am Mako.
SQEAKY: And I am Sqeaky.
MAKO: We discuss logic and evidence-
SQEAKY: Because since our last episode we had an argument with someone about Miami not being three feet tall.
MAKO: You can support us by becoming a patron at patreon.com/dysevidentia. If you spent all your oil money lobbying with congress people, like, subscribe, and leave a review to help us out.
SQEAKY: If you have a paper you have written or a small business you would like to see plugged here, let us know.
MAKO: Today, we are going to discuss part two of our conversation with the Rock Doctor, existing impacts of climate change, how a myth against climate change begins, and common climate change myths.
SQEAKY: But first, I'm going on a rant.
SQEAKY: What happened on your end?
MAKO: The- Audacity just froze.
SQEAKY: I blame Windows. 'Cause my problem was I typed an "r" into our document instead of sending the "r" to Audacity to record.
SQEAKY: Since the last episode, I have gotten into three discussions about COVID safety. One had merit, the other two were dysevidentia sufferers on the internet who had their post deleted for spreading medical misinformation.
SQEAKY: Some will cry "Censorship!". I don't give a fuck. Liars don't have the right to kill people with confusion. The exact same way we don't have a right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater.
SQEAKY: Lies about COVID lower vaccination rates and increase deaths. Just as starting needless panics in crowded theaters can cause stampedes and get people trampled. Freedom of speech isn't permission to kill people with speech. Fuck, even Mitch McConnell supports a vaccination at this point, and says so out loud!
SOURCE [2:10]: Mitch Supports vaccination - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro6yufshffo
SQEAKY: I was going to address the points these harmful dysevidentia sufferers made, but someone addressed them more eloquently than I was going to. They answered the standing call for papers with a simple but well researched editorialization they wrote. Any paper, be it academic, well-researched editorial, or anything you have that relates to how we understand evidence as a species and as a society is welcome here. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or r/dysevidentia on Reddit, or @dysevidentia on Twitter. These are all available at dysevidentia.com.
SQEAKY: I will read the entirety of "One" by Jeremiah Steninger with written permission and all of their copyrights reserved by him. That will be every word after this sentence until we get to the next guitar riff, then we get to part two of our conversation with the Rock Doctor.
SQEAKY: "One", by Jeremiah Steninger.
SQEAKY: One is the amount of people I saw today that were wearing masks at my local Walmart. This number excludes myself and includes all Walmart staff that I saw. The other person was my father.
SQEAKY: One. That is the amount of rodent hindquarters I have left to give. With COVID cases on the rise, especially cases of the delta variant, the time to pretend nothing is happening is not now.
SOURCE [3:14]: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/23/covid-cases-are-rising-again-in-all-50-states-across-us-as-delta-variant-tightens-its-grip.html
SQEAKY: One. That is the approximate percentage of COVID-19 deaths amongst vaccinated individuals. 99% are unvaccinated.
SOURCE [3:26]: https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-health-941fcf43d9731c76c16e7354f5d5e187
SQEAKY: One. One is how many lives we have. One is usually the amount of chances we have. People are desperate for a second when it’s too late. What’s worse is that they easily could have prevented it.
SOURCE [3:35]: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/22/us-coronavirus-covid-unvaccinated-hospital-rates-vaccines
SQEAKY: There are still millions of Americans refusing to protect others and themselves by getting vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccinations are written off by many as being experimental, and, even if that were true in the beginning (it wasn’t), there have been well over 300,000,000 doses given in the US alone. The amount of people getting a severe reaction is around 0.0003%.
SOURCE [3:47]: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/who_table
SOURCE [3:47]: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/adverse-events.html
SQEAKY: The dysevidentia is widespread, and the irrational fear of a well-tested and safe vaccine as well as precautions against a deadly pandemic that has killed millions around the globe is dangerous. COVID-19 is currently wreaking havoc on Southern states such as Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. No surprise these states rank among the lowest in the country in vaccination rates.
SOURCE [4:23]: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
SOURCE [4:23]: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/american-south/2021/07/20/covid-19-vaccinations-delta-variant-fuel-surge-cases-across-south/7967943002/
SQEAKY: The delta variant is worse in every way. I believe that we could see numbers reach the heights seen last year if these trends continue. The worst part about all of this is the blatant refusal to understand evidence that is plain to see.
SOURCE [4:36]: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/07/covid-b-1-617-2-delta-variant-what-we-know.html
SOURCE [4:36]: https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2021-03-17/trump-tells-followers-to-get-vaccinated-against-coronavirus
SQEAKY: Some of those who lean to the right on the political spectrum may feel they are harboring loyalty to former President Donald Trump. Their actions would be misplaced as he encouraged people to get vaccinated. What is stopping unvaccinated people from taking safe precautions to protect themselves and their family? Here are three common reasons:
SQEAKY: “The vaccine is untested.”: In reality, 4 billion doses have been administered. With there only being a few thousand severe reactions, it is shown to be very safe.
SOURCE [5:10]: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/
SQEAKY: “The vaccine is worse than getting the virus.”: Your odds of dying from the vaccine are much, much lower.
SOURCE [5:19]: https://covid-101.org/science/how-many-people-have-died-from-the-vaccine-in-the-u-s/
SQEAKY: “99.9% of those who contract COVID-19 don’t die.”: By my calculations, 2.13% of people die. This is much higher than 0.1%. To put that into perspective, 2.13% of the world’s population is well over 150 million people. As the saying goes, hindsight has 20/20 vision. Get vaccinated before it’s too late.
SOURCE [5:26]: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
SOURCE [5:26]: https://worldpopulationreview.com/
SQEAKY: If you’re not going to get vaccinated, at least protect others by wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. Remember: You and your loved ones have only one life.
SQEAKY: We discussed things.
MAKO: Indeed we did discuss many things here.
SQEAKY: Sorry listener if we sound distracted, but we are about to make a whole bunch more in the way of outtakes, because our dog farted.
SQEAKY: Last episode we listened to part one of our interview with the Rock Doctor.
SQEAKY: And we had a few corrections to make, and we have a few corrections to make this episode as well. Let's just go through 'em real quick. I said that uh... I got into arguments with a guy "Kazito Mukembi". His name is actually "Kizito Moyembi." I tried, I'm sorry.
MAKO: Yeah, well, I mean, that's a... that's a decent effort, I think.
SQEAKY: Yeah. His arguments are still very wrong, and he still says lots of really bad things.
SQEAKY: Alright. I called it the "recumbent laryngeal nerve". That nerve that in all mammals runs from our brain down by our larynx then up our mouths I believe, or tongue or something.
SQEAKY: I'm not going to claim to know what it actually connects to, because then I'll have to issue another correction.
MAKO: You could look it up before making the claim- nevermind.
SQEAKY: No... it's not the recumbent laryngeal nerve. The nerve does not lay down backwards on a bicycle.
SQEAKY: It's the recurrent.
SQEAKY: Yeah because it follows... it follows a path that has to backtrack on itself. So it recurs.
MAKO: We know a few things about recursion.
SQEAKY: Yeah, just look up recursion in the dictionary.
SQEAKY: Anyway, uh... you were concerned about the pronunciation of bajou?
MAKO: Uh, yes. I was quite confident that I was going to butcher the pronunciation at the time 'cause it seems like exactly the type of thing I would accidently butcher.
SQEAKY: You weren't super far off.
MAKO: Oh, good.
SQEAKY: We just listened to it on Emma Says on YouTube.
MAKO: So it is pronounced "baw-jow".
SOURCE [7:34]: Emma says: https://youtu.be/GL3A7sGi64Y
SQEAKY: All this YouTube channel does is pronounce things.
MAKO: Thanks Emma!
SQEAKY: I wonder if Emma cares.
MAKO: Probably not, but she has my thanks anyway.
SQEAKY: Sliding on from uh, corrections. One of our listeners gave us a number of books that we'd be interested in. And I started reading a couple of these and I'm familiar with uh... the other. But there's "Conspiracies Declassified: The Skeptoid Guide to the Truth Behind the Theories". This was written by Skeptoid, a very popular skeptic podcast, and one of our listeners recommends this. There's "Outbreak: A Crisis of Faith: How Religion Ruined Our Global Pandemic". This is by Noah Lugeons, another popular podcaster. And it's about how uh... religion really fucked up this pandemic. And I've read about the first half, and then I put it down, because there's so many books. But it is really good and I'm going to go back and finish it. And finally is a children's book. "My Name is Stardust''. One of the authors is Richard Dawkins, who we mentioned last episode. And there's another author is Douglas Harris. But this book comes again with the endorsement of another one of our listeners, so please check them out. Was there any other corrections we wanted to cover now before we dive into the Rock Doctor part two?
SPONSOR [7:45] - Conspiracies Declassified: The Skeptoid Guide to the Truth Behind the Theories - https://amzn.to/2V6kL39
SPONSOR [7:45] - Outbreak: A Crisis of Faith: How Religion Ruined Our Global Pandemic - https://amzn.to/3hXZl1s
SPONSOR [7:45] - My Name is Stardust - https://amzn.to/3znOx2p
MAKO: The citrate correction?
SQEAKY: Oh. We need a correction for my corrections. I claimed that E. Coli evolved to eat metal. I misunderstood one of our sources, and it actually evolved to eat a compound in the solution called citrate... It's something citrate. But this compound allows the microbes to bond to various metals. So, they were closely together and I thought it was eating the metals directly. No, it started eating a chemical that eats metals, and usually calcium. So even then it wouldn't be your jewelry, it would be your skeleton E. coli was eating.
MAKO: Ah, so much better.
SQEAKY: You get to keep the diamond ring. You just don't get the hand.
MAKO: And you get that spooky skeleton out of you.
SQEAKY: Do you need a computer? Go to abk-kustomz.com. "abk-kustomz.com" to speak to an expert to get the computer you need. I know one of the builders over there, he is knowledgeable and eager to please. Give them code "evidence" for a 10% discount on your next computer.
SQEAKY: We probably only have you for a limited time, so we should probably move on to the oil questions. Did you want to take point on asking Dr. Sean about some of our oil questions?
MAKO: Okay so, we have a few questions regarding peak oil. Can oil run out? Eh could we, in theory, dig it all up?
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes, you could, very much in theory. So, it's a... the philosophical argument is: It's a finite substance and if you keep taking it out of the ground, by definition it has to run out. But it's... It may be true, but it's irrelevant because we can not keep taking it out the ground. Each successive barrel of oil is harder to get than the previous one. And so the last drops of oil would be so insanely difficult to obtain that the price would be- the cost to get them out would be infinite. So the economist's point of view is that: We can never get to the end of the oil because the price only has to rise of the point where something else is better value or cheaper, and we just switch to that. And that's what's happened with numerous sources of energy over historical time. And an example would be if uh... If oil became a million dollars a barrel, obviously solar panels would completely displace any demand for oil because no one is ever going to pay those prices.
MAKO: I think to the layman... I don't think they're really thinking about actually exhausting all of the oil, they're just imagining a day where oil doesn't have a place in their day-to-day lives. And yeah, from what you say that will definitely be the case one day.
ROCK DOCTOR: I think so. I mean, we'll penalize people for emitting carbon I suspect in the end-
ROCK DOCTOR: -so that will be another burden on anyone who is trying to use a carbon rich source of energy.
SQEAKY: When you say-
ROCK DOCTOR: When people say we will always need it for plastics but you can make plastics by stitching together molecules that you've sucked out of the air, in theory,. If you just have an infinite supply of energy you can just move molecules around and make whatever you want.
SQEAKY: From Nebraska, I happen to know that we can make corn out of plastic. And earlier, when you said we will punish people for releasing CO2, do you mean-
ROCK DOCTOR: Hang on. You just said corn out of plastic. Don't you mean the other way around?
SQEAKY: Plastic out of corn? Yeah that would make more sense.
ROCK DOCTOR: That would do it.
MAKO: I hope so. I would hope it would make more sense.
SQEAKY: When you say we will punish people for releasing CO2, do you mean Europe and the UK will punish people? 'Cause I'm not sure America ever will.
ROCK DOCTOR: I mean... Governments all around the world... Oh, I think car- America is the ultimate free enterprise country and the best way to deal with a problem like carbon I think is probably with the free enterprise. Which is you apply a tax to it and you influence people's choices. You leave it as a free choice, you just simply apply a skew to that choice.
SQEAKY: I believe the term we use for that is "cap and trade." We create a cap of how much you can do and then you make shares of pollution that you can buy and sell amongst people. Is that sort of the scheme you're thinking?
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah, and we do it in the price of carbon so that we already have a carbon price. And I believe quite a lot of the world is already trading carbon as a 'permission to pollute' commodity. I'm not sure how far it's got, but it seems to be gathering pace around the world.
SQEAKY: Yeah, California is doing it but Texas isn't. So...
MAKO: Go figure.
ROCK DOCTOR: Gotta love the way America can do things state by state.
SQEAKY: Do we? That's how we got rid of horrible things like slavery.
ROCK DOCTOR: And capital punishment which I thought would never go, but it's going state by state.
ROCK DOCTOR: I think the campaigners realized that was the only way they were ever going to make progress.
SQEAKY: Capital punishment is super complex on this topic. Because like California is again, successfully getting rid of it for lots of states. Like here in Nebraska, we recently exhausted our supply of capital punishment drugs, to the point where Governor Pete Ricketts when out and on his own time and bought like a single dose of the capital punishment drugs for like 10 or 12,000 dollars from another state because California is shutting the companies down that make it. You just can't get the drugs.
SOURCE [12:56]: Pete Ricketts buying drugs - https://apnews.com/article/1f4837c843074ffca2d1684583334b00
ROCK DOCTOR: I thought that was a brilliant initiative to realize that these things are limited... have very very limited production around the world. And just stop people's making or selling it.
SQEAKY: Oh yeah.
ROCK DOCTOR: It's genius.
SQEAKY: Just shame them on Twitter. Be like these people... this-
ROCK DOCTOR: What gets me is- It gets me that it's not actually very hard to kill a person but they have, for some reason, picked a few ways of doing it and it must be administratively more difficult to bring in another way of doing it?
SQEAKY: That isn't stopping I think Mississippi. So we have this cruel and unusual clause for punishment in our constitution, so we have to be careful-
SOURCE [13:45]: Execution Gasses - https://oklahomawatch.org/2018/07/17/puzzle-of-nitrogen-execution-could-present-issues-for-state/
ROCK DOCTOR: Yep.
SQEAKY: -with how we execute people gets pass that, and I think it's Mississippi- it might be Missouri. But they're creating a CO2 chamber where they strap you in, into a chair, in a small closet-sized room, and they just fill the room with CO2 and you sort of pass out and go into a sleep and never wake up.
ROCK DOCTOR: That would do it. I also understand America isn't short on opioids, and they are a well known painless way to end someone's life but somehow that isn't being proposed either. Let's not encourage them. Let's not suggest good ways they could do it.
SQEAKY: I recently- I just... Everytime people bring up opioids I... I go to this. But I believe two episodes ago... on episode eight or nine... I was highlighting how rich a billionaire is. And I calculated-
ROCK DOCTOR: Oh yeah.
SQEAKY: And I calculated on the podcast, the maximum amount of fentanyl a person could take, and it turns out that if you just put a billion dollars in a normal investment account, the interest you make every year is so much money that you can not exhaust it on fentanyl --a very expensive drug-- and survive. If you decrease the amount of money you have- If you beat interest with your fentanyl habit, you either die or get richer.
*The Rock Doctor finds this humorous*
ROCK DOCTOR: That's a very obscure way of looking at wealth. But I like it.
SQEAKY: We were trying to find the price of cocaine, 'cause one of your billionaires, Richard Branson, said a few years ago that it wouldn't be profitable to go into orbit if there were bags of pure cocaine in space, so.
ROCK DOCTOR: Even though cocaine is very expensive.
SQEAKY: Yeah. At the time it was 20,000 dollars a kilo.
ROCK DOCTOR: So the idea is that you'd go up there and harvest the cocaine bags.
SQEAKY: Yeah and he s-
ROCK DOCTOR: But it's still too expensive.
SQEAKY: Yup. And this was with regards to asteroid mining, because-
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah.
SQEAKY: -he had been talking about the economics. It's just easier to go find it somewhere on the ground, even if you have to dig a whole lot, than it is to go get a rock in space right now. But that's changed.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah I've uh... I think that's probably a worthwhile podcast topic in itself because many of the proposed asteroid mining schemes would go from dragging back the asteroid made of something valuable... [like] a billion tons of titanium rich ore, and you finally get it back to the earth and you come up with the cunning way of dropping it in the middle of the desert somewhere without killing half the planet-
ROCK DOCTOR: -all of which is incredibly difficult. Y'know, finding a way of getting it to the ground without killing lots of people or risking their lives. And having got it to the ground you immediately kill the market because you've just swamped it with vastly more than anyone needs, so the price plummets and now you're poor again. It's only uh... the business of governments I think. There's no private enterprise way of making money out of these things.
SQEAKY: I think Russia would have something to say if you went and found a big titanium rock. They'd probably try to step in. 'Cause Russias...
ROCK DOCTOR: Well they wouldn't be very keen about losing their own markets.
ROCK DOCTOR: But as I say what- To do it on the scale that might make money, you're gonna kill the market as soon as it's brought to the Earth's surface.
SQEAKY: So this might be-
ROCK DOCTOR: I think the best thing for asteroid mining is um... manufacturing in space. If you can put together a smelting place in orbit then you might be able to do something useful for making spaceships to leave Earth orbit. But bringing it down to the Earth is just too difficult.
SQEAKY: That sounds feasible.
ROCK DOCTOR: Like I said that- Musk will probably think up a way.
SQEAKY: I think there are good ways to drop tethers down and build space elevators, but that's probably a topic for another episode.
ROCK DOCTOR: Mmm, like you need new material that's strong enough. But we're gettin' there, we are gettin' there.
MAKO: Alright, so next question. What is the shortest amount of time that oil can form given the right conditions both naturally and artificially?
ROCK DOCTOR: So that one I had to look up, because it's not a standard question that I'd have ever heard from colleagues, but it turns out people have done experiments and found that if you heat suitable source rock up, it starts giving off small amounts of oil very rapidly. In a matter of weeks, months, years and we've seen that on... You take very rich source rock naturally outcropping in southern England --kimmeridge clay-- and if you heat it up in a test tube it will again, give off what looks very much like crude oil. But, it's almost the wrong question because rocks in their natural environment don't just get heated up instantly to several hundred degrees. What happens is they're deposited at the surface of the seabed or on the land surface --usually the seabed--. And then more rocks are deposited on top of them at a rate of few millimeters a century. And what we need is kilometers of burial to get the temperatures you need to cook these rocks- and it is a kind of cooking, it's a... like a chemistry set. You put them under enough pressure and raise their temperature up and that- As you push things deep into the ground, they get hotter. It's just the way the Earth's underground temperature profile is. So, the millions of years to... that it takes to form oil comes from the time it takes to bury rocks deep enough with sedimentation to get them hot enough to cook out the oil. Once the oil is out it flows through reservoirs --sandstones and so on-- quite quickly to fill up cracks. But the- no one ever asked me before how long does it take to cook the source rock to make the oil. I'd always assumed it would be hundreds of thousands to millions of years. But it doesn't really make too much difference to our models if it's instantaneous, because it still took you millions of years to get the rocks down to those depths and temperatures and pressures. But it was interesting. It was an interesting question.
MAKO: The question was mostly formed out of a curiosity if there is any way to just lab create oil to try and solve some of the scarcity problem, and I'm pretty sure I knew what the answer to that was, but seemed relevant to ask.
ROCK DOCTOR: And, yes, if you're looking at it as a surface process to create oil from nothing. I mean, straight away you're asking where's your source of heat coming from to cook the stuff up, because if you're having to burn lots of energy in order to generate this synthetic oil, you've not really ended up better than you started. You've burned lots of energy to get some energy. We're doing a similar thing with fracking. Fracking is effectively going to a shallow buried source rock that is internally expelling oil but not into a reservoir that allows it to concentrate and get trapped. And we're just saying okay, we'll shortcut the process. We will hydrologically fracture the rock to create lots of internal pathways, and then we will suck out the oil direct from the source rock. But, you are using an already mature source rock. And then another one that they're doing is in Canada: the tar sands. Oils that got trapped and biodegraded in shallow reservoirs. But now they're horrible long-chain molecules all stuck around sand grains. And they are literally digging it out with big backhoes and dumping it into big cookers and getting it hot enough to separate with centrifuges- the sand and the oil. And it's very dirty in the sense of. um... It destroys the landscape because you're just mining the material and then dumping the dirty sand back onto that strip-mined surface. It's dirty in the sense that it emits lots... it wastes lots of energy in getting out a certain amount. So they talk about barrels per barrel. Uh, none of these strike me as a viable solution in the long term. They're making it work for certain circumstances. Another company that I have worked for is Sasol, and they were making synthetic oil from coal and oxygen and hydrogen from water and the atmosphere. And that is basically a big chemistry set; stitching molecules back together to make a synthetic oil. Again, it works for certain circumstances but not really a global rival to naturally occuring crude oil.
SQEAKY: It sounds like all of those are really energy intensive and they're following-
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes.
SQEAKY: -that economic model you mentioned earlier where it gets more expensive and other energy sources might be cheaper. And just take the... y'know, cut this problem out at the knees.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah. You look at the price of oil, and as it rises up over 60 dollars, things like fracking become viable but again, at 60 you're barely making a dollar per barrel. Once you get to 100 you're making 40 dollars a barrel if your cost is 60 dollars per barrel. But then you compare that with the price of pulling oil out of Saudi Arabia's biggest oil field, Ghawar, before it needed lots of heavy remedial work. And that was... y'know, a fraction of a cent per barrel back in the day. So we're watching the price of oil rise up and up and up. And if inevitably other things start being able to produce the same number of kilowatt hours for a lower price. So solar, the manufacturing became cheaper and cheaper and cheaper, and at some point it crossed over the rising price of oil. So now looking at wind and solar are both perfectly viable alternatives as a commercial scale energy production. To be clear, if we come up with different models than the old fashion power stations they currently have, they can also be made cheaper for the same degree of safety. But there's, y'know, ultra few accidents that are horribly polluting. No ones very interested in that anymore. Fission would be the game changer. So that's why even though we've been let down over many decades and fission is still-
ROCK DOCTOR: -quite far away I hesitate to say-
SQEAKY: Do you mean fusion?
ROCK DOCTOR: -the same distance far away. Uhh yes, I mean fusion, sorry.
SQEAKY: Yeah, fusion's the one that's always twenty-five years in the future and has been for the last fifty years.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes, that was the classic schoolboy era. Fusion.
SQEAKY: No, I follow.
ROCK DOCTOR: Fission is uh... Fission is the one we've had running but only with very primitive models. We push lumps together, critical mass, lots of heat, boil water, turbine.
SQEAKY: Yeah. What's holding is up-
ROCK DOCTOR: If we ever crack fusion-
SQEAKY: What's holding us up on this side of the pond, Because we've got several generations of reactor designs, and most the ones we're running are like second and third gen. But we've got a fifth and six generation designs that are way better, but it's rules and regulations. Like, everybody doesn't want this in their backyard and we even here just shut down a nuclear power plant. It was a... the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant, that was just north of Omaha. But one year we had terrible floods and surround it in sandbags and we're like "Y'know what, if that flooded that would've been a disaster. Shut that down. We're using coal."
SOURCE [23:16]: Generations of Nuclear power - https://www.amacad.org/sites/default/files/academy/pdfs/nuclearReactors.pdf
SQEAKY: Correction. I got the details about generations of nuclear power plants incorrect. Third generation reactors are quite new. I don't think that really impact the discussion. The rest of the fact-checking didn't reveal any issues. See the show notes for details.
ROCK DOCTOR: Right, yeah. What we should be doing is shutting down and replacing all on the same site with a more modern version of the same thing with better safety built into the design. If this was- if you can compare it with the development of cars or computers, these things would be the obvious way to run the Earth's energy supplies. And electrification would be far further on than we are now.
SQEAKY: Is nuclear making more headway in the UK?
ROCK DOCTOR: Nope. We are attempting to replace some of our failing, aging reactors, but we've got an even bigger nimby problem. Because, really we're an overcrowded little island. Really nobody wants this near them. So the only places they can build new ones is where they built the old ones. So, when you see the names of these things, they all have A, Bs, and Cs in them because the A has been decommissioned, the B is coming to the end of it's life and C is under construction. But having... having got themselves a location where people have gotten used to there being a nuclear power station, that's the only place you can persuade anyone to let us a put a new one.
ROCK DOCTOR: But all the companies that signed up to build them keep going bankrupt. So the Japanese agreed to build one and then they backed out, and I think the French were going to build us one and then they backed out because, as you say, the costs keep rising, the safety concerns keep forcing design changes. It's very difficult. But they are climate-wise very clean source of energy. So yeah, they're always gonna be an attractive base-load provider.
SQEAKY: Yeah, yeah that makes a ton of sense.
ROCK DOCTOR: So then we've got other proposals to replace the gastamistic? heating because in Britain, obviously we're not worried about air conditioning we're worried about heating through our damp, chilly winters.
ROCK DOCTOR: And the only thing that looks like being a viable alternative is ground-source or air-source heat pumps. Where you multiply the energy you put in in the form of electricity. You're effectively sucking heat out of the environment and concentrating it and bringing it indoors and that can just about compete with something like gas if gas gets a bit more expensive. But it has a high installation cost if you're doing it as a retrofit, so, everything comes with problems and difficulties.
SQEAKY: It certainly does.
MAKO: Okay, so.
ROCK DOCTOR: You're sounding a bit gloomy here.
SQEAKY: Well it's just these problems are big.
MAKO: They're big and complicated.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah! I keep bringing people back to one-hundred million barrels of oil a day. Every single day we have to replace a hundred million barrels of oil.
SQEAKY: That's like-
ROCK DOCTOR: People just forget the scale of it.
SQEAKY: That's like more batteries than you can buy at Costco. That's so much power. Nah, I-
*Sqeaky and the Rock Doctor laugh*
SQEAKY: What is that, like seventeen double-A's? So much power!
MAKO: Oh my god.
SQEAKY: I don't know, what are battery... I'm talking about the little batteries like you put in your remote. What are they called over there?
SOURCE [26:33]: Wikipedia Battery Sizes - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_battery_sizes
ROCK DOCTOR: Uh double-A?
SQEAKY: Are they still double-A's? Okay, I figured they'd be different somehow.
ROCK DOCTOR: Uh, I believe it's a universal lettering. They haven't standardized the new lithium ion ones, but yeah. Triple-A, double-A...
SQEAKY: Yeah, yeah.
ROCK DOCTOR: And then the big ol' lumpy ones. The A's and the D's that no one uses anymore.
SQEAKY: Oh yeah I've never seen an A. I'm sorry, yeah. A plain old A.
ROCK DOCTOR: Wikipedia has the uh... as it has with everything, you can look up the sizes of all the things that we only have in historical memory now. Back in the day when portable meant "a man could carry".
MAKO: I remember having as a child, a portable television that was powered by... I wanna say six size C batteries?
ROCK DOCTOR: Okay. C is the intermediate one. I think D was the big fat ones.
MAKO: Yeah, D was the fat ones.
ROCK DOCTOR: One-and-a-half volts each.
SQEAKY: Yeah. So how big was this television? Was it just like the size of a roll of paper towels, about?
MAKO: It was maybe half the size of this printer.
*Mako gestures at a printer that we can't see or hear*
SQEAKY: Well, the listeners can not see a printer.
MAKO: Yeah, well...
ROCK DOCTOR: I was about to say, how does that help the listeners...
ROCK DOCTOR: You've got a printer the size of a wardrobe?
MAKO: No, definitely not.
SQEAKY: It's two wardrobes.
SQEAKY: Mako's really strong. That's why it was portable.
MAKOL No, uh the... the television was really small. I want to say it was like a... like a nine inch screen, or something like that.
SQEAKY: It was like a couple of school textbooks back in the day.
ROCK DOCTOR: I remember when the portable TVs..
MAKO: Yeah, well.
ROCK DOCTOR: I remember when the portable TVs came out they were pushing the limits of the power supplies.
MAKO: Yeah, it definitely did not get good battery life and that was one of the reasons why I stopped using it was... Like I found myself replacing the batteries more than I cared to.
ROCK DOCTOR: I had a portable TV that I lusted after as a kid. I pictured it was something out of Star Trek. You could be at school and you could look at the TV and you'd be the coolest kid, and then you- I got one and it was the stupidest thing ever. You realized there was virtually nothing broadcast during the day. This was back in the days of three channels in the UK, and daytime TV was the worst TV there was. The only time you'd ever find anything worth watching was in the evening when you were at home and there was a proper television in the corner of the room. The whole purpose of a portable TV was gone at that point.
*Sqeaky finds this funny*
SQEAKY: That's just perfect symmetry, that's great. Ahh.
ROCK DOCTOR: They created the device before there was anything to watch on it, basically.
SQEAKY: I'm just staring- I'm using my phone as a fourth screen --because I have three screens on my computer-- but then I have notes on my phone, and I've just left it on sitting here for the past, y'know... however long hour we've been talking, and it's not dimming, it's not changing frequencies, I get my email on it... I'm like, this is not a long time in the scale of development. Right, it's thirty, forty years is the timeframe we're talking about-
ROCK DOCTOR: Uh...
ROCK DOCTOR: It's utterly astonishing to me. Y'know, all of this stuff is now definitely on the scale of magic.
SQEAKY: Yeah. And if we look back in our history, I mean, pick an important historical event. The signing of the constitution or the Magna Carta for getting people leaving... Leif Erikson discovering this continent then building the pyramids, right. Then go forward or backward in times from any of these events forty years. What really changed? Like, nothing, by comparison. It's mind-bogglingly rapid advancement.
ROCK DOCTOR: Well, they talk about the singularity where the rate of change is accelerating as we go into the future. And it's... it's plausible. Certain things to seem to be accelerating, other things don't seem to be changing very much. Like, nuclear technology.
SOURCE/SPONSOR [29:40]: Kurzwiel Discusses the Age of Spiritual Machines and discusses the singularity in depth in this book Sqeaky Read - https://amzn.to/2UYKKtQ
SOURCE/SPONSOR [29:40]: Kurzwiel Discusses the Age of Intelligent Machines - https://amzn.to/2VgTKKC
ROCK DOCTOR: I think it depends where we are putting our energies. Where we are particularly enamoured of pocket computers, so all of the global energy is going into making them better on a daily basis but other areas... not so much.
ROCK DOCTOR: House building in each country is pretty low-tech. It improves on a much slower pace than other things do. Cars improve, uh, airplanes improve, far faster than quite important technologies like putting a window in your home.
SQEAKY: I think some of it is how the industries are interweaved. And I'm sort of just talking out of my ass here, I'm not going to claim to be an expert on this. We already have all of the material science we need to make tinier and tinier microchips. It's just working out the details of putting smaller transistors into these materials. But then on the flipside, you're talking about building a new airplane. You could put the same amount of effort into making a microchip half the size, which will quadruple its performance, or you can make an airplane one percent lighter, which might make it fly two percent faster. And that's the same amount of effort in both places because you have to do so much more fundamental science on the airplane, because we've been working on that problem so much longer. I don't know, it just-
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes. And those quadruple fast computers are being used to redesign the airplane, so everything advances using everything else.
SQEAKY: Totally. It's all intermeshed. Sorry, did we have more oil questions? I want to exhaust on that while we have you because you know way more on oil than we do.
SQEAKY: And I'm sure our conservatives are going to say so many silly things about oil and climate change.
ROCK DOCTOR: Well they can always rip you to pieces whatever you say. I'm mostly saying things that are boringly obvious to people in the industry.
SQEAKY: You do bring an air of authority to it and hopefully we're arming people with that information.
ROCK DOCTOR: As I say... I may have mentioned when I talked to you before. All the people I work with... lots of highly educated great scientists is all. We all accept that climate change is almost certainly correct in that the scientists have done good research and that they're getting good answers. There's very little argument against it, so the idea that the technologists inside the industry are fighting against it couldn't be further from the truth. We're all ever more concerned about the future of the planet even as we are working to find more oil which is doing harm. I think the problem occurs up at the level where the money starts being serious because these people do not want to see their companies face huge headwinds or make less money. So if you talk to the old workers in many of these industries, I think you'll find a lot of support for what the climate change scientists are saying.
SQEAKY: I think you're probably right for the most part.
SQEAKY: Mako is looking at me. What's that look, man?
MAKO: Well you started asking if there was more questions than you launched a tangent instantly before I could retort.
SQEAKY: Oh, that's why I'm getting the side-eye? I probably deserve that.
MAKO: Anyway, so.
MAKO: Next question. And to answer your question directly, yes, we have more questions.
*Sqeaky laughs more. Mako is not laughing.*
MAKO: Okay. So, while a few companies have already declared that they have hit peak oil for themselves due to reprioritizing into green energy, do you feel that we are at or near peak oil production overall?
ROCK DOCTOR: It's been a dangerous thing for anyone to predict for a while because as soon as you make a prediction, someone makes insignificant changes to make it completely wrong. So uh, you have to hedge quite a lot. Peak oil for conventional oil would be a good one. This is where you find it in a trap with a seaload at the top and you pull it out as liquid direct from the reservoir. We've been struggling in the years to keep up our finding rate so the billions of barrels per year. It's getting harder and harder because there's not much planet left that hasn't been looked at. There's a few inaccessible countries like the Congo and North Korea, but I don't think we're missing much. We've got a pretty good understanding of much of the world. Tools change technologically. So the seismic I described earlier where you send down the seismic sound waves because it's technology, it got refined and refined and refined. The development in computing has been astonishing in pulling more and more out of the signals we get back. So we can now see in some cases, in favorable circumstances we can actually see the oil in a trap underground. People don't realize how good the seismic has got. Our ability to drill in deep water. A lot of people don't realize it's quite difficult to drill in deep water. You have to lower a big tube down to the seabed and just controlling that gigantic weight of metal is difficult in itself, so you need to have bigger floating structures on the sea surface. But we've gotten better at deep drilling and imaging the subsurface. They've slowed the rate of decline of finding oil in conventional traps. But at the same time the world has been demanding more millions of barrels of oil everyday so I think it was in 1969 we had forty million barrels a day and we're now on a hundred plus million barrels of oil a day, so each one of those has to be replaced. Nowadays we have to find thirty-six-and-a-half billion barrels of oil a year to stand still and we're not finding many of these big billion barrel fields anymore. They've all been found. Every now and then one comes along so we've got the discoveries off South America at the moment, at Noco? Delta I think it is. And these are global news because they're finding big volumes of oil. But the gaps between such discoveries is getting further apart. We find less and less oil and more and more gas. We didn't use to want the gas, but now we look at the gas as a substitute. But then occasionally you make a real breakthrough that opens up new forms of oil. So fracking was a real breakthrough. This idea that you could suck oil out of a rock that would not normally flow if you drilled a hole into it.
SQEAKY: Was that pun intentional?
ROCK DOCTOR: The Americans... uh fracking...
SQEAKY: Is a breakthrough.
ROCK DOCTOR: It's short...
ROCK DOCTOR: It's short for fracturing, sorry. Everybody loves it to frack... frack off.
SQEAKY: This... I didn't mean to take you off your stride.
ROCK DOCTOR: The industry... The industry has been fracking rocks for many many decades. It was a standard technique for enhancing production from a normal reservoir. The breakthrough was taking a rock that would not be a reservoir at all and applying the biggest frack that anyones ever done, and turn it into a sort of reservoir. The problem with fracking is that unlike a conventional reservoir, you can't produce it for ten or twenty years. It flows for about eighteen months in many cases, and then you... you just have to drill another one. So it's much closer to mining oil than it is finding a huge natural deposit and then just pumping it out of the ground. You constantly have to be drilling new holes and fracking new holes and moving to new locations. So you end up with every part of the surface is being drilled and fracked, and there's little access roads everywhere and it really makes a mess of the landscape. So you can imagine that people don't like to see that but they also like to have cheap gas to put in their cars.
SQEAKY: Are you familiar with some of the problems we've had over here in the states with fracking near residential communities?
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah, I mean I know that there was the... What was the name of the film? There was a scandalous film where people opened up their taps and gas came out with the water and they were able to light it.
SQEAKY: Yeah, there was a company that was breaking all the rules, and they were putting flammable things into the ground water and this one town didn't have a good water supply, yeah. That's happened a couple times.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah, there's a lot of misleading information out there. So... I think many of the cases where people were lighting the tap water was because they were in an area that was suitable for fracking and the water well that had been drilled for their farm basically went through this area of very very rich source rock and there was gas naturally coming out with their water. And there's nothing to do with fracking, it was just they drilled a very poor quality water well. It needed to be redone properly. But um, yes, I understand there have been problems with fracking. One of the biggest problems I understand is that the cost of drilling the wells, they are trying to drive it down to make these things commercial, and so they do a poorer and poorer job of what they call completing, which is where you... you put a metal liner down the inside and then you run concrete cement down the outside of that to ideally to seal off the uh... the rock units behind a barrier. If you do a bad job there can be a leak path and so you get methane coming out the outside. And so when they fly these detector planes over the top of a fracking field, they can see all sorts of methane hotspots. And methane is a terrible greenhouse gas- worse than CO2. The only thing it has in its favor is it breaks down quite quickly. But it does a very strong greenhouse effect while it's up there. So we really have to stop methane being emitted.
SOURCE [37:40]: Gas well Completion - http://naturalgas.org/naturalgas/well-completion/
SOURCE [37:55]: Leaky wells, problems and detection - https://science.thewire.in/environment/abandoned-oil-wells-methane-climate-change/
SQEAKY: Now in that case, can we burn the methane that's coming off to convert it into CO2 to reduce that impact?
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes, we can, and... Y'know the lowest grade remediation is to light on fire surplus methane and just flare it off. Better... Better than that is to make it do some useful work.
SQEAKY: Oh absolutely.
ROCK DOCTOR: Run it through some kind of internal combustion system. But yeah, releasing it is the worst case.... What they call it venting. If you just vent off the surplus methane, you're doing the most harm you can possibly do with methane.
SQEAKY: 'Cause it will burn down eventually anyway, but in those eighteen months before it does it's capturing all kinds of heat.
ROCK DOCTOR: The eighteen months I'm not sure how long methane lives in the atmosphere for but it certainly... it breaks down faster than CO2, which is very stable.
SQEAKY: Oh! I thought I heard you say that. Maybe I might have just made that number up, forgive me.
ROCK DOCTOR: No the eighteen months is the length of time a fracked well will keep producing-
ROCK DOCTOR: -roughly.
SQEAKY: Okay, I-
ROCK DOCTOR: It's sort of asymptotic that after eighteen months it's gone down to some... maybe twenty-five percent of its original production, and then over the next eighteen months it will go down to the twenty-five percent of that.
ROCK DOCTOR: So they have what they call the long tail, but it stops being commercial quite quickly.
SQEAKY: I went ahead and looked up the half-life of methane. It depends on temperature, time, amount of light exposure. It's between five and eleven years. Still much faster than CO2. I do have an apparent disagreement on the Rock Doctor with the flaming taps, which makes me hesitant, because he's an expert and I'm a layman. But, we will save that for the next segment where Mako and I discuss this conversation. We have sources for all of this in the show notes.
SOURCE [39:30]: Methane halflife - https://www.sealevel.info/methane.html
SQEAKY: Thank you for clarifying that part. I'll have to go double-check my assumptions about those taps, then. To see if that... if my earlier research-
ROCK DOCTOR: I think there's an iconic image of someone lighting their tap water on fire. And that was found to be not due to fracking. But everybody remembers that image 'cause it was such a strong image.
ROCK DOCTOR: I think the film was called "Gas Land".
SQEAKY: Okay, we'll take a look at that and we'll make sure that we cite that... and yeah. Or-
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah check it... If you google "gas land debunked" you might find the truth behind it. As you say, the truth is slow and the lies are very fast.
ROCK DOCTOR: I forget the exact quote.
SQEAKY: And I need to always keep in mind that I am susceptible to things that are incorrect as well.
ROCK DOCTOR: Oh yeah I'm always telling people things that I thought was true... because they're so neat and then someone? discovered they're not true at all and it's like "Aw, damn it, that was such a good example", but you have to keep on top of it. The creationists keep us honest. They won't let us get away with anything.
SQEAKY: That is terrible. That is such a wasteful way to keep us honest. There is so many... awee, I'm crying.
ROCK DOCTOR: It has been said that the evolution skeptics have made the science of evolution very much more rigorous. But you do feel maybe it wasn't the best use of science time to prove that their reasonable assumptions were actual truths, because they all turned out to be true. But yeah, you've gotta face up to the challenges. Gotta bring everybody along.
SQEAKY: Sometimes it feels it would be easier if we didn't have to, but yeah, we probably should try.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah. I hate the idea that a smart kid might not hear the true version, because the true version is always far more interesting and far more worth listening to. And if there's not someone like you out there giving this source of good information, maybe that kid misses out.
SQEAKY: I hope I do reach out to more kids, and actually, it was a kid like that that inspired... maybe not inspired but he was the straw that broke the camel's back, in terms of us kicking this off. One kid out in the middle of Texas who just was surrounded by bad intellectual influences. Well like okay, we can fix it for this one kid.
ROCK DOCTOR: Well thank God for the internet where everyone has access to this stuff.
SQEAKY: I just wish the lies weren't so fast because the liars have instant access, too.
MAKO: Yeah, I was going to say there is something to be said for social media.
ROCK DOCTOR: Mmm. I do wonder- Y'know, we tend to fix problems through time no matter how difficult if they are worth fixing, and I really wonder how we are going to go about fixing the problem of untrustworthy information on the web. Maybe... maybe we reinvent media companies, but with people realizing no, they are necessary because you need some kind of a filter that says if it's under this banner then I can probably trust it.
SQEAKY: I hope that works, and I think those media companies are going to stem from the existing social media companies because of their presence and reach. And I don't even necessarily think it's going to be technically challenging. I mean, look at pornography on Facebook. If there's a- Totally again ripping off the cognitive dissonance podcast here... But if a nipple shows up on Facebook, thirty seconds later it's gone. It can be copied to a hundred different people, they will find it all out in thirty seconds and just nuke it, just blast all those nip slips and they're gone.
SOURCE [42:43]: Cognitive Dissonance Podcast - https://dissonancepod.com/
ROCK DOCTOR: This is where technology... If enough effort is put into a certain area you can actually fix it.
SQEAKY: Oh yeah, there's no reason we can't just write a little algorithm that says 'Hey, this is racist bullshit, get it off', or 'Hey, this is homophobic, get it off', or 'Oh hey, this is... we ran by our fact checkers-
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah.
SQEAKY: -Bullshit, get it off.' We don't because it's not profitable.?
ROCK DOCTOR: There are other ways of doing it, not just straightforward censorship-
ROCK DOCTOR: -of a certain type of image.
ROCK DOCTOR: But I was thinking it was a brilliant initiative. Because the distributed editing model meant that, y'know someone comes in and they make an outrageous edit to favor themselves or tell their preferred lies, but they've evolved a system where that immediately gets highlighted and then editors come in and they switch it back to the original version, and they say that this is a contested area, so we're going to change the status of that page. And other pages that have no dispute over them, like uh, y'know, fundamental physics, they don't need to have that level of caution. But anything that involves current politicians obviously is carefully guarded information, and they're forced to write very neutral articles because otherwise hundreds of our editors change it back and forth and I thought that showed maybe one way to get to a better model. And then Snopes, this idea of a place where you can go and just check if something is bullshit or true or partly true. I think people are experimenting with ways to get there, but I'm not sure there's enough people who care.
SQEAKY: Oh, there's a ton of people who care. On this topic I will be optimistic.
MAKO: Things like Snopes though, the long term concern is that if they do establish themselves as as dominant, reputable source of trustworthiness or just gauging trustworthiness, then presumably at some point someone can take interest in that influence, y'know, purchase them, and then start steering them in whatever direction they want, leveraging that trustworthiness.
SQEAKY: Like what happened with Huffington Post?
ROCK DOCTOR: Definitely need to-
SQEAKY: Oh, sorry?
ROCK DOCTOR: You definitely need an ecosystem of Snopes-like sites that effectively can be compared and can check each other.
SQEAKY: Taking the role of what oldschool conventional journalists, who used to aggregate the knowledge, write everything and publish it. Rather we need some people who just-
ROCK DOCTOR: Absolutely.
SQEAKY: We need to decompose that into different parts.
ROCK DOCTOR: We used to have government control in that they required balance, and there's still quite a lot of that in this country, but it was done away with in the states and that I would say has not proven to be a very successful-
ROCK DOCTOR: -model.
SQEAKY: The Fairness Doctrine is really interesting. I think the part that hurt us around that the most wasn't getting rid of the both sides part of it, 'cause the both sides part of it I think was kinda bullshit. People who had bullshit would just stand in opposition. And it was used to put creationism up against evolution so many times. But part of-
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes.
SQEAKY: Part of those rules was also rules around what was news. Alright, like, Fox News came about after we got rid of this stuff and they get to call themselves news because there's no rules around what calls itself news. It used to be that-
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes...
SQEAKY: -you had-
ROCK DOCTOR: And that's-
SQEAKY: -to take-
ROCK DOCTOR: That's all opinion now.
SQEAKY: Yeah! And you used to have to take a certain type of editorial stance and like... y'know fact-check and do things to be called news and now you don't. I think just that little bit of a change could make a huge difference. And it would get Fox News, Breitbart, and Alex Jones...
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah, it's-
SQEAKY: ...it'd probably hit The Guardian, too.
ROCK DOCTOR: The um uh... The Shock jock I think was the first thing that came aware of where it was effectively no holds barred broadcasting, and I had a friend who was driving around some of the states that had these Shock jocks and he said that he had to stop his car and listen to these things. He simply couldn't believe it was legal to put this stuff out over the airwaves, but there was a market for it and there was no law against it and so they broadcast. And uh, y'know... I was glad that that model didn't get across the atlantic...
SQEAKY: On that to-
ROCK DOCTOR: Just think that someone could-
SQEAKY: On the topic of things that are technically legal, should we share our raffle plans with Dr. Sean?
MAKO: Oh my god. Might as well, yeah.
SQEAKY: Right, so we're trying to grow the podcast and we want to give away something cool, right? And what's more American than firearms, right?
ROCK DOCTOR: Oh yeah, yeah of course.
SQEAKY: We can't actually give away a gun. But it turns out, flamethrowers are legal in every state. All fifty of them, they're legal! So-
ROCK DOCTOR: Wha...
SQEAKY: We figure we'll... not give away a flamethrower the first time, but we're considering it, right?
MAKO: Once we hit certain earnings milestones, we're open to the idea of purchasing a flamethrower and then raffling it off.
SQEAKY: Which I think is great because-
ROCK DOCTOR: You could always-
SQEAKY: -it's not a firearm!
ROCK DOCTOR: Yep.
SQEAKY: A flamethrower isn't a firearm! It's amazing!
ROCK DOCTOR: Even if it's one of the ones that has actual fire.
ROCK DOCTOR: Americans are crazy. Crazier than firearms.
*Sqeaky is still laughing*
MAKO: So, we actually found a few flamethrowers that have some interesting customization options, a couple of them were even napalm compatible apparently.
SQEAKY: Yeah, apparently these things that are outlawed for use in war by, y'know, some important people in Geneva, uh... they're totally cool for agricultural use.
MAKO: Yeah, uh... and we even found one of these flamethrowers- this one wasn't napalm compatible. But one that could be fixed to a drone so you could have a drone flamethrower.
ROCK DOCTOR: That sounds unwise.
*Sqeaky and Mako find this humorous*
SQEAKY: That's what we were thinking. That's why we're not gonna use it, we're going to raffle it off.
ROCK DOCTOR: I think I did see a YouTube video of someone who had attached a running chainsaw to a heavy duty drone.
*Sqeaky and Mako laugh*
ROCK DOCTOR: He demonstrated-
SQEAKY: What the fuck!?
ROCK DOCTOR: He demonstrated it by flying it to the top of a fir tree and cutting the top of it off.
SQEAKY: Oh, he's doing useful things with it.
ROCK DOCTOR: And I'm thinking-
SQEAKY: That helps a lot. That helps a lot.
ROCK DOCTOR: I think he wants to show how deadly it was, but yeah I think 'Only in America.'
MAKO: I they just found the next horror movie idea.
SQEAKY, laughing: Holy shit.
*Rock Doctor laughs*
ROCK DOCTOR: Then of course the whole thing about drones is you need a swarm of them.
SQEAKY: Sor- A swarm of chainsaw drones?
ROCK DOCTOR: Chainsaw-wielding drones chasing you across the plains of Nebraska.
SQEAKY: Mako is laughing.
ROCK DOCTOR: This is the upgrade to the uh-
SQEAKY: Mako's laughing so hard he knocked his headphones off.
MAKO: Yeah my headphones fell off.
ROCK DOCTOR: This is the upgrade of the Hitchcock film. But yeah, once you put your mind to it there's all sorts of ways of creating mayhem.
SQEAKY: Isn't technology grand?
MAKO: And it's technically not illegal.
ROCK DOCTOR: I'm gonna have to go I'm afraid, chaps.
SQEAKY: I was just about to discuss how we politely segway out of this 'cause we've asked every science question that we had. There's a couple government questions we left out but this was very engaging. One last thing. Do you want to leave any contact info if people want to ask you any questions, or do you want to plug a book or paper you've written?
ROCK DOCTOR: Uh, no plugs. I haven't got anything to- I'm not sure about direct. Yeah go for direct, I can always ignore the emails. Um, so the email I just gave you is the only one I really use because I'm not selling anything uh... I'm perfectly happy to answer questions.
SQEAKY: Oh, okay. If anybody wants to reach the podcast, you can reach us at email@example.com. If anybody has geology or-
ROCK DOCTOR: Okay.
SQEAKY: -petro industry questions, oil industry questions, for Dr. Sean Hodges, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
ROCK DOCTOR: And you probably have to spell out the "Sean" because I spell it the Irish way.
SQEAKY: S-E-A-N H-O-D-
ROCK DOCTOR: That's the one.
SQEAKY: -G-E-S at hotmail.com. Sorry, my brother is named Sean, spelled just like yours, so.
MAKO: Most of the Seans I know are that spelling.
SQEAKY: Yeah but-
ROCK DOCTOR: There's lots of... lots of varieties.
SQEAKY: Yeah. Well, thank you very much-
ROCK DOCTOR: My relatives... They seem to come up with a new one every time they send me a birthday card.
MAKO: Oh no...
SQEAKY: You've got the ones that are really weird. S-H-O-N. You're like well, thanks for trying.
*Mako finds this funny*
SQEAKY: Thank you very much for coming on the podcast. This is... this is going to be fantastic.
ROCK DOCTOR: Thank you for having me.
SQEAKY: This is going to take so much editing.
MAKO: Mhm. You said you wanted no more than two minutes but here.
SQEAKY: Well I- fuck me.
MAKO: Finish it.
SQEAKY: So we just got to cover part two of our interview with the Rock Doctor.
SQEAKY: We got a few questions in about climate change and oil. We discussed a little bit about nuclear energy, fracking... we went way off and discussed asteroid mining for a few minutes.
SQEAKY: So there are a couple things I pulled up sources for. Some things I got a little bit wrong. In there I thought Pete Ricketts, the governor of the state of Nebraska, bought the drugs with his own money. Turns out he blew 54,000 dollars of Nebraska funds on these lethal injection drugs from a shady middleman in India. Never got the money back, never got the drugs.
SOURCE [51:13 ]: Pete Ricketts buying drugs - https://apnews.com/article/1f4837c843074ffca2d1684583334b00
SQEAKY: Yay, great. Execution gases. I said CO2. When I fact-checked it, it was actually nitrogen, and three states are doing it: Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Alabama.
SOURCE [51:30]: Execution Gasses - https://oklahomawatch.org/2018/07/17/puzzle-of-nitrogen-execution-could-present-issues-for-state/
SQEAKY: I'm making sure to add all the different sources for nuclear power. The Rock Doctor mentioned the Wikipedia page with all the different battery sizes. It's actually a really cool chart. There's all kinds of battery sizes I didn't know about.
SOURCE [51:39]: Wikipedia Battery Sizes - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_battery_sizes
MAKO: Yeah. Wierd batteries for weird things.
SQEAKY: And they don't all have the same name. He said they were called double-As over there but they also like fifteen other names, like H29s.
MAKO: Oh my god there's a quadruple-A.
SQEAKY: It's so tiny!
SQEAKY: If your pet guinea pig has a TV remote and they need to power that.
MAKO: FNA23? 4SR44? Who the hell named this?!
SQEAKY: A robot. I don't know. Uh, on the robots. We talked about the singularity for a hot second there. And I actually read all of Ray Kurzweil's "The Age of Spiritual Machines". It's a sequel to another book I've read, "The Age of Intelligent Machines'', where Kurzweil goes into AI and he actually coined the term "singularity" in one of those two books. And I'll go ahead and leave a link in the show notes because I think it's an interesting read. The book's a little bit older now, so it's... It's still making predictions for today, and he got some of them right, so that's pretty cool.
SOURCE/SPONSOR [52:12]: Kurzwiel Discusses the Age of Spiritual Machines and discusses the singularity in depth in this book Sqeaky Read - https://amzn.to/2UYKKtQ
SOURCE/SPONSOR [52:12]: Kurzwiel Discusses the Age of Intelligent Machines - https://amzn.to/2VgTKKC
SQEAKY: So that's like all the little stuff. And I feel kinda bad on this one, because I disagree with the Rock Doctor on one point. And he's really smart, so I'm really hesitant to do it.
MAKO: Wow, such sincerity in your voice there.
SQEAKY: He is really smart. I wanna try and be sarcastic.
MAKO: Y'know that part I believe. Comes with having a PhD generally.
SQEAKY: I could name a few.
MAKO: It's why I said generally.
SQEAKY: So, I did exactly what he said when he told me to google "gas land debunked". And, it seems like superficially there's good reasons to disagree with the GasLand documentary. Specifically what we were talking about was people lighting their tap water on fire, right? And it is true, that there have been staged instances of people lighting their tap water on fire, and their tap water wasn't impacted by fracking. And even worse to people using that as their main point: There have been towns where there have been tap water fires for decades in the United States. I'll put a link in the show notes from the API. The American Petroleum Industry. It's like association or union or something, but it's API.org. And they have a big page pool of defenses, and as near as I can tell, everything they say there is totally true. But it's also incomplete. Because we have other scientists that aren't directly claiming to be the oil industry, showing a cause and link between other people having their tap water catch fire. So I put a link to an article from ProPublica with a digest some of these scientific papers and go over it in nice, easy to understand way for us. And I'll try to give you the shorter version of this. There's a... First, people who don't have flaming tap water sometimes have fracking happen near them, then they have flaming tap water. That doesn't demonstrate causality but-
SOURCE [53:44]: API says they didn’t cause it and point to it already happening - https://www.api.org/oil-and-natural-gas/energy-primers/hydraulic-fracturing/does-fracking-cause-flaming-water-faucets
SOURCE [53:44]: But a few scientific studies link these Fraking to at least some of these - https://www.propublica.org/article/scientific-study-links-flammable-drinking-water-to-fracking
SOURCE [53:44]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasland
MAKO: It's an interesting correlation. It raises questions.
SQEAKY: Yeah. And it's happened many times. It's many dozens or many hundreds of times, okay? So many. This isn't like they're invoking magic. This isn't them claiming UFOs and there's only hoaxes. We know the tap water catches fire after the fracking. Just looking at it as an outside observer, this is a thing that happened and it looks like at least some of those were caused by the fracking or methane drilling. And when I'm saying fracking, I mean fracking and drilling for methane.
SQEAKY: Right, they're different processes but they both have the possibility to leak methane into groundwater sources which then get sucked into either wells or into municipal water supplies. And y'know this might just be that the Rock Doctor comes from a country with a functioning government and functioning safety regulations so methane never gets into their tap water. Maybe.
SQEAKY: Well, that's just correlation still. And correlation doesn't guarantee causation. It kind of implies it, but it doesn't guarantee it. Okay. Well, some scientists went in and tried to search for markers- 'cause the methane isn't pure, there's other chemicals in it, right? And they can trace down whether it's biogenic or thermogenic methane. Kind of big words but really simple definitions. Biogenic means biogenic methane comes from decaying organic matter. Really simple. This you expect to see in tap water because tap water comes from lakes, ponds, aquifers... Places where there might be germs and other things decaying. It happens. Thermogenic means it was made through heat generally from a geological process. So like we discussed, when things get pushed down under the ground and they're compressed by many layers of rocks, you get thermogenic methane. There were wells- that people were getting their water from. There were wells that had a problem with methane, as in the tap water would burn, but it was all biogenic methane and then, fracking or methane mining would come in and the wells were still flaming but produced thermogenic, meaning that methane came directly from the fossil fuel extracting process and into the groundwater. And then one other thing. This isn't well covered anywhere. No one --even in the oil industry-- is denying that other chemicals besides methane get into the tap water. All of the arguments against this are all of the fracking and natural gas extraction companies saying "We didn't light your tap water on fire." They're saying... that... they're saying we didn't light your tap water on fire. They're not saying "We didn't pollute your tap water." They're kind of owning up to polluting tap water! It's just there's no federal maximum for how much methane you can have in your tap water, so your tap water can catch fire. And that's legal.
SQEAKY: Okay. Onto something else somewhat light. I put a source in the show notes for where you can buy grenades.
MAKO: Oh fun.
SQEAKY: The Rock Doctor had questions about that. I don't think it's actually legal in Oklahoma, but maybe you can. Check out oldsargesdropzone.com. Uh... was there anything else from our conversation with the Rock Doctor you wanted to address?
SOURCE [56:46]: Buying grenades - https://www.oldsargesdropzone.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=13
MAKO: Nothing that's coming to mind.
SQEAKY, sexily: You can support us by cumming all over your keyboard at onlyfans.com/dysevidentia.
MAKO: Are you going to be like... a weirder Belle Delphine? So they're selling bathwater, we're selling cummy keyboards?
*Guitar riff, thankfully*
SQEAKY: So... we just got done contradicting the smartest guy on our podcast ever and telling our listeners where to buy live grenades.
MAKO: Y'know... Fun stuff. We're showing growth of our podcast with this.
SQEAKY: Y'know, on the topic of growth. We're still going to do that raffle, aren't we?
SQEAKY: Yeah, I think we'll just limit it to some really nice flash drives.
MAKO: For now, for now.
SQEAKY: Yeah, yeah. So next episode we'll have details on that, but for now I guess we're gonna discuss climate change?
MAKO: Uh, yes. It's a big, big topic. And we can't possibly cover it all but we're picking a few things to focus on.
SQEAKY: Can we do a better job covering it than the Arctic is doing a better job covering Northern Canada?
MAKO: Well... Maybe.
MAKO: That's a lot of coverage.
SQEAKY: I don't think we have to support as many polar bears.
MAKO: No we... We definitely don't. That would be horrifying.
SQEAKY: You grabbed some sources on the existing and ongoing effects of climate change. Just a good way to positively assert that yeah, this is real.
MAKO: People keep talking about climate change as if it's gonna happen in twenty, thirty years, when really even twenty thirty years ago it was happening, and we're now getting into the part of climate change where the effects are accelerating still, and so we're seeing significant changes within smaller timescales. So it's getting easier and easier to point at things being like "Hey, that's not normal."
SQEAKY: So what are some things you want to point at?
MAKO: The biggest one that stands out to me.. If like most of our listeners probably in middle school or high school at some point or another, learned about the northwest passage. The idea of taking a boat over the top of Canada.
SOURCE [58:46]: The Northwest Passage - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Passage#Thinning_ice_cover_and_the_Northwest_Passage
SQEAKY: Yeah, it was mythical. It was impossible.
MAKO: Yeah, well historically there was too much ice for it to be traversed.
SQEAKY: Yeah I remember hearing about some famous explorer that I don't remember the name of. But I remember them trying to make trips north of Canada and just getting stuck and the trip being doomed.
MAKO: Yeah. And there's an enormous economic incentive for there to be a northwest passage which is why multiple expeditions launched in order to find one. And they even accounted for favorable conditions like waiting for the summer in order to try to do it when there'd be the least amount of ice. And that didn't really work. But, in recent years, and when I say recent... most of it has been within the last twelve years I believe. There's actually been a significant reduction in arctic ice to the point where a northwest passage has actually opened up.
SQEAKY: Didn't we first see it by satellite and then we just started sending boats up there and it's easy now?
MAKO: There were some satellite images gathered by ESA, the European Space Agency, that showed there was a significant decline of the ice back in 2007 and they predicted that it would be sufficiently open, but a hands-on investigation of the region actually showed that there's still sufficient amount of ice to make navigation very difficult for any ship that's not explicitly constructed for the task.
SQEAKY: Okay so that was back in two thousand...
MAKO: Seven, yes.
SQEAKY: Seven. What does it look like now?
MAKO: Well, right now it's... it's pretty clear. LIke to the point where a lot of both corporate and private interests are exploring the possibility of utilizing it more and more. So specifically back in September 2013, the Nordic Orion, which was a sea freighter, it navigated the northwest passage. It was the first of its class to do this. The Crystal Serenity, a luxury liner, carried seventeen hundred people 'cross the northwest passage from Vancouver to New York and they set a new record doing this. Their voyage took twenty-eight days in order to get from Vancouver to New York.
SQEAKY: They circumvented Canada by going north of Alaska. So step one to get to New York in twenty-eight days is go west?!
MAKO: That's the funny peculiarity of geography in the extreme north.
SQEAKY: To clarify. This luxury liner was just paying people for a cruise...
MAKO: Yeah, it's a normal cruise liner, yeah.
SQEAKY: It was just paid. So people were cruising... This was a pleasure trip.
SQEAKY: Was there anything to see up there or was it just ice?
MAKO: Uh... Ice, polar bears, seals, more ice, some ice...
SQEAKY: So would you say these people were like... going clubbing?
MAKO: That is a distinct possibility.
SQEAKY: Okay so they came back with all baby fur seal coats?
MAKO: I... didn't find any sources on that but I will stick with distinct possibility.
SQEAKY: Oh geez I am just kidding and you're talking about actual baby seal death.
MAKO: Okay. So the northwest passage did not only open up transit for humans. Gray whales are a species of whale that were over hunted in the Atlantic ocean. And specifically in the Atlantic ocean region they were believed to be extinct. They still existed in the Pacific ocean, don't panic. But in May 2010, they actually found more grey whales in the Mediterranean sea.
SQEAKY: Had they not seen gray whales in the Mediterranean before that?
SQEAKY: And why would the whales have gone north of Canada and not South of Chile?
MAKO: They were following food sources is the belief.
SQEAKY: Oh, so there's not like a good food source that goes south from South America?
MAKO: That is my understanding. They don't actually know exactly why the gray whales were spotted in the Mediterranean sea and like not somewhere else... the Atlantic or exactly how they got there, but that is the prevailing hypothesis, is that they followed food sources.
SQEAKY: That is awful suspicious that this only happened after the northwest passage opened.
SQEAKY: I think the whales were emitting the greenhouse gases the whole time.
MAKO: Stupid farting whales.
SQEAKY: So that doesn't prove it all by itself, but that is really... These are all really interesting-
SQEAKY: -things that were impossible when we were children.
MAKO: Yes. There's a lot of really interesting things going on at the northwest passage and there's a lot of companies that are eyeing it for future commercial use. The Canadian government has a few things to say about the northwest passage, like it think- considers the northwest passage to be in completely internal waters to the Canadian government itself, and most other countries are like yeah no, this is international waters. So it's kinda something that needs to be settled before business really booms there.
SQEAKY: That is interesting because the ice... or ice shelves are treated like ground 'cause you can walk on it...
SQEAKY: Park military things on it. And now all that's kind of melted away-
SQEAKY: Like what happens to Florida? International waters extend so many miles from the beaches, right? I know it's not exactly that, but if Florida sinks under the ocean are we going to claim the whole length of Florida as our territory out into the body of water that connects the Atlantic to the Caribbean?
MAKO: Raises some interesting questions.
SQEAKY: Same time of thing, right?
SQEAKY: What if Hawaii sinks? What if Hawaii just sinks into the ocean, do we still own that patch of water? And do they still own the... I presume many thousands of miles of ice that would comprise the northwest passage?
MAKO: So that's a thing.
SQEAKY: So climate change is going to lead to some court cases. Okay!
MAKO: So one company is already planning to do a bunch of things with the northwest passage. I don't know how exactly they're sorting out the legalities of it. Presumably they largely have these things sorted out already. They've talked to the Canadian government and gotten permission... is my guess. But SilverSea Cruises has recently --and when I say recently I mean like yesterday as of this recording-- announced their deployment schedule for 2023 and 2024. And in this deployment they have twelve voyages crossing the northwest passage, and they expect each voyage to take twenty-four days. This is another luxury passenger liner.
SOURCE [1:04:23]: https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/25550-silversea-launches-2023-2024-deployment.html
SQEAKY: So they're shaving another four days off the time, so it's getting easier to travel?
SQEAKY: And they feel comfortable taking rich people who can afford lawyers through here?
SQEAKY: Okay. So...
MAKO: Twelve times in two years.
SQEAKY: So... once every two months. Okay. Wow. Wow, okay, that's impressive.
MAKO: Yeah. So. And we always have a source that I picked up from BBC about the northwest passage and they bring up some interesting points but in particular they have an interactive map if you want to take a look at that... or you can slide it to either side to show you exactly how much arctic ice coverage there is between... What is it? 1990 and 2012? And it's just... it's an extreme change between the amount of ice coverage.
SOURCE [1:05:20 ]: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-57650226
SQEAKY: Yeah. So just real quick, your other source was a... Use Wikipedia to get the context but you also used cruiseindustrynews.com?
MAKO: For the Silver Sea Cruises.
SQEAKY: And was BBC the map?
SQEAKY: It's showing median ice edge... Okay so, there's where the ice was, where the ice is, and some statistical information about the ice. But it used to completely fill up all those ions north of Canada...
SQEAKY: And now it pretty much doesn't.
MAKO: Yeah. You can see how the northwest passage was completely closed off before in 1990, but it very much is not now.
SQEAKY: What's interesting is there's some places further south where more ice has been added, but it's really tiny compared to the places where the ice has been removed.
MAKO: So that same article goes into a few other things, like they talk about the reflectivity and albedo of ice and snow, and... bubububu... They talk about the vi- The increasing viability of the northwest passage for commercial purposes, but aside from like the legal issues there's also the concerns about environmental impacts and the fact that the whole northwest passage is largely undeveloped, and if any kind of accident were to occur, if a rescue needed to happen, the logistics of getting things out there, getting them safely, extracting them safely... They're all questions that need to be answered, and at the moment they are not meaningfully answered. This article also talks about how because all the ice is melting --and that's clearly turning into water because that's what happens when ice melts-- and it's not salt water ice, it's uh... largely fresh water that's being dumped into the ocean. And they touch on the north Atlantic current and how it... it's less salty than the strength of the current is diminished and that may have some larger environmental impacts as a result of a weaker north Atlantic current. And- This is something I've heard about before. I could go into a lot more detail but we really don't have the time to go into that kind of detail. Maybe if we dedicate an episode to it or half an episode probably seems more appropriate... But keep in mind the north Atlantic current is largely responsible for transporting warm water up into the north Atlantic, which is how Europe manages to keep the relatively warm temperatures that it enjoys. Because Europe- or most of Europe is at the same latitude as Siberia. And Siberia is not known for its warmth. So most of Europe is at the same latitude as Siberia. So the bad news is if the north Atlantic current does in fact get diminished enough, Europe gets a lot colder but the good news is that if we just keep pushing climate change and global warming, then Europe will heat back up. It's fine.
SQEAKY: By that point, won't like India, Indonesia, Mexico, Ecuador... won't all these places just pretty much be on fire?
MAKO: Mmm... Pretty much, actually.
*Sqeaky laughs. Maybe he wants to watch the world burn.*
SQEAKY: You sounded way too serious.
MAKO: I kinda am. Like... increasing wildfires is a... not only a prediction of climate change, but it is something we are already seeing.
SQEAKY: It is.
MAKO: And we almost certainly will see that in these regions.
MAKO: Increasing frequency of uh... just vegetation catching fire.
SQEAKY: Yeah. I didn't mean literally. I just... yeah. That kinda sucks. No, that very sucks. Ugh. Okay, so, if all the ice melts- it might. We don't know for certain, but it might interrupt this conveyance of warm water from-
SQEAKY: The tropics to western Europe. And if that stops, Europe cools down. If we keep heating the planet, Europe warms back up.
MAKO: It is based on solid science, but yes the question does remain exactly how much freshwater does it take to disrupt this system. And we have some information on how much the system has already been disrupted. And depending on which estimate you go with, it's generally between I believe- don't quote me on this. But between uh... ten and twenty percent? Like diminished strength. But going forward we don't have like a solid idea of how much further it's going to be diminished, especially since...
MAKO: Yeah. It's hard to say.
SQEAKY: Okay. So there's just a lot of details there.
SQEAKY: Like I'm not even sure what strength you're talking about. You're talking about the strength of the moving water up? Like to move the temperature into warm Europe?
MAKO: Uh, pretty much, yes.
MAKO: So the strength of the current itself and the... how that manifests is pretty much how far north the north Atlantic current will go.
SQEAKY: Gotcha. So if we keep adding more freshwater it might not go as far north, and instead of England and Ireland and Scotland getting warmed, it might just sto p at Portugal.
MAKO: Or worse.
SQEAKY: Or worse? So then Gibraltar stops getting warmed. Or something.
MAKO: If that climate model is accurate, that's the type of thing you can expect.
SQEAKY: Later on... I guess we're just gonna point out the climate change models are pretty accurate when you look at them. And when one of them gets a thing wrong, usually they all get that thing wrong because they just didn't account for it, but usually they get everything else correct. Like the one that tricked us up, was the amount of heat oceans could absorb. We just didn't factor in ocean acidity. But yeah, way more details for later.
MAKO: Hey, yeah. Uh... yeah. We'll touch on that.
SQEAKY: You had another point of uh... modern evidence of climate change, didn't you?
MAKO: A... a few more, yeah.
SQEAKY: So we've got the northwest passage opening, and the kind of problems that could cause.
MAKO: So, also, globally, there is... in addition... Okay, so this kind of is like touching on a similar topic to the northwest passage, but just the general notion of receding ice and snow. And there's a lot of information about glaciers specifically and how they've been shrinking worldwide. There's been a lot of like... shrinking growing shrinking growing that happened quite a bit until about 1980ish. And then there was a significant change from 1984 and just... Glaciers were they... pretty much just dominantly shrunk. And they continue to shrink. So we have a Wikipedia article that is a high level of review of glaciers that have been shrinking since 1850 so we got some good information going back even further than the more aggressive glacier shrinking that I mentioned. We have an AP news link that gets a little bit more specific about glacier shrinkage happening in North America. And this is something we already knew about even b- long before this AP news article came out. The reason that this article came out and was news is because they did account for it in the climate model like you were saying, but what they got wrong was the rate at which it was happening. When that happens, usually we find out that it's happening actually faster than we expected.
SOURCE [1:11:20]: Glaciers receding - https://apnews.com/article/north-america-glaciers-ap-top-news-international-news-climate-change-89bdd96ba86a445b93a53df09db784b4
SOURCE [1:11:20]: History of Glacier Shrinkage - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retreat_of_glaciers_since_1850
SQEAKY: and in this case your notes say it happened eighteen percent faster than the scientists predicted.
MAKO: In 2013.
SQEAKY: Oh. So for the one year. So...
SQEAKY: The other years they got it right, or it was even fast-
MAKO: They calculated it in 2013.
MAKO: And that's how recent of data was still incorrect and it was incorrect in the most horrifying way possible.
SQEAKY: Melting... Okay. You had one other source.
MAKO: So this is a little bit more specific to one specific location that kind of highlights the severity of this and what we can expect in more locations like it throughout the world as time goes and we continue to not address this, but the... I'm probably going to mispronounce this, I apologize in advance. The Chacaltaya Ski Resort in the Bolivian Andes. It was established sometime in the 1930s, I believe. I couldn't find any good hard sources on exactly when it was established but the... the gondola conveyer, that machine I did find was definitely installed in 1939.
SOURCE [1:13:06]: Receding Ice/Snow - https://www.snow-forecast.com/whiteroom/chacaltaya-bolivia-worlds-highest-ski-resort/
SQEAKY: Wow. That's still like an 80-year-old Gondola. That's impressive.
MAKO: Yeah. So the 1930s is when the ski resort was established. We're getting close to a century.
SQEAKY: Did they even have gondolas back then? I thought before 1940 all you had was bricks and food.
MAKO: Uh... They... The thing that I read said that they fashioned it from an automobile engine.
MAKO: Yeah, they jerry-rigged something.
SQEAKY: That's... that's amazing.
MAKO: Yeah, so. In 2005 they had already started seeing a decline in the snow and ice around the ski resort and it was predicted that pretty much all of the ice would be gone, melted, and the ski resort would no longer be a ski resort within a decade. So by 2015. They were wrong. It actually happened. in 2009, four years later.
SQEAKY: Oh great. That's... that's horrifying.
MAKO: Yeah. So the ski resort is now defunct. It was steady, stable... year-round ski accommodations for nearly a century and now there's no snow or ice there.
SQEAKY: Even in winter?
MAKO: Even in winter.
SQEAKY: Yeah okay. I wanted to clarify because I just wasn't sure if you were saying "aw, there's no snow in summer." But if there's no snow in winter, that's a big change.
MAKO: I mean, I guess I had- didn't read anything that explicitly at least said even not in winter, but they just said... everything said that there is no snow or ice there, and I am interpreting it as even in winter. I suppose there is a corner case where they mean...
SQEAKY: It is also listed as the highest ski resort so maybe it only relied on snow or ice from snow caps and it wasn't a seasonal thing.
SQEAKY: Maybe their season was snowcap.
MAKO: Could be.
SQEAKY: Right, there's places with no discernable seasons. LIke, I used to live in Death Valley. The season there is "Hot."
MAKO: So, going forward. Ski resorts is one of those things that you can see diminish over time. If you have a favorite ski resort, it probably won't continue to exist going forward, and exactly for how long depends on exactly where it is.
SQEAKY: Should we just invest in companies that make snow machines?
SQEAKY: Are you sure that's not a reasonable solution to global warming?
MAKO: I'm pretty sure.
SQEAKY: YOu just... buy snow? Certainly the free market can solve this.
MAKO: Maybe, but definitely not like that.
SQEAKY: Was there anything else you wanted to discuss on receding ice and snow?
MAKO: Uh, other than touching on those details, not particularly, no.
SQEAKY: I kept the duct tape near the soundproof panel, so remounting was easy!
MAKO: Oh that's good.
SQEAKY: Then there's one specific video I'd like to touch on.
SQEAKY: I've linked it in the show notes. It's got this right-leaning PC gaming enthusiast. He talks about Dell not being able to sell computers in six states. He of course turns this entirely political, and starts accusing these states of passing laws that make business too hard, and rather than fixing their own corruption problems, they project outwards and hurt businesses with laws instead of fixing their own problems.
SOURCE [1:16:24]: This is one spin example: https://youtu.be/HxUMqJmh1pc
SQEAKY: That's his claim. You can watch his video- it's idiotic. I don't have any good words for it, he's just... He clearly didn't research it. He's clearly more about grinding an axe. He's not citing sources. So, yeah. What I have done is gone out and got some sources to try and carefully explain this, and try to understand this, so we might understand how climate change denial, myths, and propaganda get started. Because all of these arguments that get used against climate change started somewhere. And it's hard to track back where this happened. We can catch maybe a new one in motion.
SQEAKY: There's like... There's this common belief. I'm sure if you've ever argued with a conservative or if you have been the conservative doing the arguing, there's this common belief that regulation hurts business, makes it harder to do things. And that's sort of what this whole argument stands on.
SQEAKY: They're trying to set up this dichotomy of if we want to legislate to help climate change, you're gonna hurt business. Okay. So we're just gonna pick at this, this notion, to get at how this doesn't have to be the case and this doesn't have to be true. So some things that are true: Dell can't sell gaming PCs in six states right now.
SOURCE [1:17:51]: Dell not shipping - https://www.thefpsreview.com/2021/07/26/dell-cant-ship-majority-of-alienware-gaming-pcs-to-california-colorado-and-other-states-due-to-power-consumption-regulations/?amp
SOURCE [1:17:51]: Reuters confirms - https://www.reuters.com/technology/dell-stops-some-us-gaming-pc-shipments-over-new-efficiency-rules-2021-07-28/
MAKO: Isn't it only specific PCs?
SQEAKY: Yes. Specific PCs.
MAKO: Yeah so it's not like California just passed a law that incidentally banned all Dell PCs.
MAKO: It is just specific PCs from Dell.
SQEAKY: Yes. Specific PCs from Dell are too wasteful to be sold in six specific states.
SQEAKY: These specific states base their laws on some California energy regulations. Back in 1978, California came up with the energy star... Uhh I don't want to say standard, but energy star regulations and rules. If you have ever been in a store with appliances or you've bought a new appliance and it had that big energy star sticker on it, that started off in California in the late 70s, because California wanted to mandate that efficiency be taken into account by the free market. So this is fairly minimal. If you're a company that can make appliances, you can certainly afford a sticker to put on your appliance to say how efficient it is. And the goal is to get competition on efficiency. Well, in 2015, California passed some new laws, and five other states, including Vermont, Washington, I think Oregon and Colorado... I don't recall the full list. I will make sure it's in the show notes. But they all based their new rules on California's rules. They passed these rules in 2016 and they're taking effect in staggered time periods, and one of these rules took effect July 1st this month. Okay?
SOURCE [1:18:47]: Passed in years ago - https://www.nrdc.org/experts/pierre-delforge/california-approves-nations-1st-computer-energy-standards
SQEAKY: Some of these rules specifically call out a cap on per-year power consumption, and they demand a certain level of efficiency of a device. You might start wondering "What is the efficiency of a gaming system?" Right it's not like there's an amount of units of power to units of fun, alright that's gibberish it doesn't make sense. But for those out there who aren't familiar with computers, there's a device inside that's called the power supply or PSU. If I say either of those, I'm talking about the same thing. But this converts wall power, AC, to power the computer can use, DC. And some of it's lost along the way and really efficient power supplies lose very little, and there's rules how efficient that has to be. Okay. There's also some rules about how much power a computer can use while it's in a sleep mode. And then there's rules based on whether it's a tablet, a portable gaming system, a workstation, y'know different types of computers they allowed different allowances for. And they had experts make these rules and make these charts. And I think you can tell experts did it because it's causing very few problems with anybody else.
SOURCE [1:19:38]: New rules - https://www.eteknix.com/california-bans-powerful-pre-built-gaming-pcs/amp/
SOURCE [1:19:38]: Rules about sleep may be why dell can’t ship - https://www.denofgeek.com/games/california-pc-gaming-ban-details-law-dell-controversy-explained/
SQEAKY: Okay, all of this into account. Dell isn't shipping PCs, we have several sources for that including The FPS Review, a gaming website, Reuters, we have sources for these rules being passed in 2016. We have NRC.org and eteknix.com that describe the rules in greater detail, and denofgeek.com, they gave me the details about computers needing to pass certain sleep power consumption requirements. All of this together tells us, or tells me, this is a Dell specific problem. Because I personally went and spec'd out computers at a few different stores. Uh, I went to describe what causes this problem, and as Mako pointed out it is only very high power consumption computers, so I priced how things with very high end graphics cards.These use many hundreds of watts. High-end CPUs use many hundreds of watts. The HP one had no problem. I spec'd out an HP Omen with 4,000 dollars worth of parts. No problem. Same parts that the Dell PC had, or very similar in terms of power consumption. It didn't have a problem. They could ship it. I priced out one from Origin PC. Similar stuff, didn't have a problem, was totally willing to ship to 90210, both of them. Then I checked with our show sponsor, ABK Kustomz, they will totally ship to California. I know this is self-serving, but this was totally relevant, and if you're in California and need a computer, abk-kustomz.com.
SOURCE [1:20:46]: Origin will ship - https://www.originpc.com/
SOURCE [1:20:46]: HP will too - https://www.hp.com
SOURCE/SPONSOR [1:20:46]: Support Small Business use code evidence for 15% off - https://abk-kustomz.com
SOURCE [1:20:46]: Confirms everyone else is shipping too - https://www.denofgeek.com/games/california-pc-gaming-ban-details-law-dell-controversy
SQEAKY: Sorry, I'm not trying to make light of that. But, if all these other people can do it, why can't Dell. So here's where things start seeming a little bit fallacious. People are blaming the energy efficiency rules when even these other tiny businesses can keep up, and other big businesses can keep up. You might not have heard of Origin PC but they make a ton of PCs. They're the PC assembling arm of Corsair. They were bought recently. Corsair makes a ton of computer stuff. Everybody's heard of HP. And the little guys, like ABK Kustomz.
MAKO: I think part of the reason is just the brand awareness with the Alienware brand, which is owned by Dell.
SQEAKY: Oh yeah.
MAKO: Did specifically point out that it was a... Alienware high-end computers.
SQEAKY: Yep. With people hearing of it?
MAKO: Yeah, well that were having issues with the rules.
SQEAKY: Well, there are two theories why Dell can't ship these. Because everybody else can ship.
SQEAKY: HP can, Origin PC can, ABK Kustomz can. Everybody else can ship PCs to California.
SQEAKY: Only Dell can't. So Dell's actually failing somewhere.
SQEAKY: My current thought right now is their power supplies aren't efficient enough. I've put a link in the show notes to a computer reviewer. I think that- Or I know that when you order a thing with any of these graphics cards, you need to get one with a very highly-spec'd power supply, needs to convert one thousand watts. And I think their power supplies aren't efficient enough. And another one of our sources, Den of Geeks, suspects that these computers are consuming too much power in sleep mode. Either of these are entirely plausible. But I haven't gone through all the laws, and I haven't bought a 3,000 dollar Dell computer to test it.
SOURCE [1:23:02]: Dell is shipping 1,000 watt PSUs and it is needless - https://futurism.com/the-byte/gaming-pc-power-california
SOURCE [1:23:02]: Gamer’s nexus 1 - Dell forces upgrade to the 1,000 PSU on affected variants - https://youtu.be/8ulhFi5N2hc
MAKO: Nor do I recommend you do so.
SQEAKY: This isn't a correction, but since the initial recording, Gamers Nexus has come out with additional news. Through their own testing, they have determined that the issue is Dell's power supplies are inefficient during a sleep state. So both of the hypotheses that were put forward are correct. And by looking at all of the clues involved and by taking into account all of the facts, we could narrow it down. So even if we didn't know perfectly what the problem was, we did successfully narrow it down to being Dell's problem. Just to recap, some of the important clues were that other companies could ship computers, Dell was forcing their custom power supplies on people, and that the rules specifically called out idle power consumption and power supply efficiency. We can also take this as a cautionary lesson because not all of the clues that I gathered actually mattered. These rules only affect businesses doing more than 2,000,000 dollars in revenue per year. So one of the sources I checked, ABK Kustomz, doesn't ship 2,000,000 a year I don't think. So again, let's try to help a small business. If you're going to get a new computer, consider getting one from them. Give them code "evidence" for a ten percent discount. I have included a link to the Gamers Nexus video with this extra information about the regulations. I also think it serves as a good example of showing that experts were definitely included and they go into more detail about the regulations, and show the industry standards including the power efficiency standards referred to as 80+. If you are at all interested in this kind of thing it is definitely worth a watch. And they have more examples of spin and major news outlets reporting wildly untrue things. These don't appear to be malicious, it just appears to me exemplary of how difficult nuance is to convey.
SOURCE [1:23:13]: Gamer’s Nexus did an update: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOHKLyjVSuE
SQEAKY: No, Dell's going through class-action lawsuits about screwing people over. They're in all kinds of scandals for lying about warranties... If you check out any of the tech reviewers you can see the kind of scams Dell is perpetrating. Don't buy a Dell. It's problematic.
SOURCE [1:24:55]: Dell Class action - https://www.techspot.com/news/89937-dell-hit-class-action-lawsuit-over-alienware-area.html
SOURCE [1:27:55 ]: Dell Ltt warranty scam - https://youtu.be/Go5tLO6ipxw?t=67
SQEAKY: Taking that into account. If everybody else can sell to California, but Dell can't, and Dells the only one selling... selling warranties you explicitly said you didn't want, or charging you for things you explicitly said you didn't want, or just lying and giving you the wrong thing as their class-action lawsuit states... I guess allegedly just selling you the wrong thing as their class-action lawsuit states... And everybody else has no problem selling it, this isn't an energy regulation problem. The rest of the industry has adapted. They've figured it out. Particularly because they had five years to figure it out. They had five years to sell all of their old back stock and buy the new efficient stuff and figure it out. Well, we can see that this one story where someone in a few years could say "Of course climate change regulation impairs business so we can't afford it." Look at Dell. Dell wasn't able to sell computers. This story will easily get magnified to all Dell computers, even though you clarified it's only specific gaming computers.
SQEAKY: The Alienware brand. And not even all of them, just some of the Alienware brand.
SQEAKY: It's not all computers across the industry- it's not even all gaming computers across the industry. Right, I spec'd out computers with the same specifications, with the same CPUs, the same graphics cards. Expensive high-end stuff, parts that'll easily consume five, six, seven hundred watts of power, but only the Dells can't ship. And then the right-wing people are saying "Hey, it's California's fault." This is Dell's fault. Now if we take that logic back and we look at other myths, other different beliefs about regulation hurting this, might the same logic apply? We can't get to the root of all of these different myths and beliefs, because some of them are just lost to time. But simple things like "cap and trade". We discussed this a little bit with the Rock Doctor. The notion that we limit the amount of carbon that can be released and businesses have a pay for... They pay for the right to pollute a little bit. And then they make an educated decision about whether or not they want to. And they pay money to either buy carbon credits or they pay a tax to the government, and in doing so we slowly raise that cap and businesses pollute less and eventually the problem is solved. It doesn't have to be anti-business. And maybe the cases against it are similarly baseless to this Dell argument. And I'm picking this one because it's so obvious and so apparent. I would like to hope we can compare and contrast this to other stories like this. And there are tons of them.
SQEAKY: Okay. To go over my sources one more time. I have the YouTube video that I linked, uh Dell not shipping, FPS Review, and Reuters. The places talking about the rules, NRDC.org, eteknix.com, and denofgeek.com. I have a link to Gamers Nexus where he reviews an Origin Alienware PC, and points out that you have to get the really expensive power supply on all of the units that are banned. All of the units that are prohibited from sale. They weren't prohibited from sale at the time of his purchase but he talks about the power supply. I link to futurism.com for a little bit of extra detail, and I link to each of the places that I spec'd out computers from. Did you have any questions about this or did we cover just about everything?
MAKO: Not a question, but just a side thing that we didn't really highlight. Dell was forcing people to upgrade to a kilowatt power supply?
SQEAKY: Yeah, so.
SQEAKY: This is sort of all over the place. This is way deep into what makes PCs tick as an industry. But Dell doesn't actually make any of them.
SQEAKY: Right? And that's fine. They assemble computers but they buy power supplies, they buy motherboards, they buy CPUs, they buy graphics cards and all this stuff. And when you buy bulk from fewer suppliers, you get them cheaper.
SQEAKY: So the going hypothesis is to why Dell is doing this --because they're not sharing all of this information-- is because they have a low-end power supply and a high-end power supply for their Alienwares. And as soon as you get past what the low-end can handle, you have to go to the high-end. And the video I linked to Gamers Nexus... he actually bought one with the low-end power supply, so we don't know what the efficiency rating is of the high-end one unless we go buy one and crack it open and look. But uh, once you get past five-hundred-and-fifty watts, something like that, you have to go with the thousand watt one.
MAKO: That's ridiculous.
SQEAKY: It saved Dell two cents per unit, or something.
SQEAKY: And something about those higher end machines isn't efficient enough for the state of California.
SQEAKY: And we were paying extra for it. Or whoever bought a Dell was paying extra for it as it sucked extra power out of the walls needlessly.
SQEAKY: This is such a pro-free market solution. You had five years to adapt Dell, and people now get to know a little bit about the efficiency of the devices they're buying. Like that it hit some certain minimum.
SQEAKY: Also, watch the whole review from Gamers Nexus. Don't buy a Dell; they're garbage.
MAKO: They had that feeling about Dell for quite some time.
SQEAKY: Apparently their laptops don't suck but man the inside of that desktop was scary.
SQEAKY: Missesimmi? Missisinni.
SQEAKY: You wanted to discuss uh... some things there might be a bit too many details on. Y'know, simple topics like carbon sequestration or ocean acidification.
SOURCE [1:30:02]: Overview of the complexity of Carbon Sequestration - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_sequestration
MAKO: Yeah... Oh my god. Uh-
SQEAKY: Surely we can cover these in what, two minutes? Three minutes?
MAKO: Um, no. Absolutely not. And you know it.
SQEAKY: Okay, you got seven.
*Mako sighs. Sqeaky squeaks.*
MAKO: So, when I was trying to assemble more information about what's currently going on with climate change. It is important to understand carbon sequestration. Sequestation... Sequestration...
SQEAKY: Sequesterian. So sequestation.
MAKO: Sequestation... sequestration...
SQEAKY: It's like castration but you get to keep the stuff.
SQEAKY: Mako is physically cringing.
MAKO: So, carbon sequestration is important to understand how that kind of plays into things in order to understand how the... like the the... cycles of... 'cause like... I'm already hitting the problem that trying to go into these topics is. And that is that there's a lot of really fine nuanced ideas and information that is required to understand it. You need to go multiple layers deep into it. You need to understand things like the carbon cycle. You need to understand- We already talk about how carbon is produced as a regular when we're talking about climate change, but nature itself will actually capture some of that carbon itself and do various things with it.
SQEAKY: Like every year it captures a little bit of carbon in the leaves of all of the trees, and you can measure... when I say you, typically science.
SQEAKY: Scientists would measure the amount of carbon in the air, and it goes down every summer because a lot of the carbon is captured as leaves in the trees and in winter the rate of carbon in the atmosphere because the leaves are decaying and on the forest floors. Because most of the deciduous forests are in the northern hemisphere.
SQEAKY: So again that doesn't hold true when you flip it around. If you're in the southern hemisphere the carbon goes up in winter because all the trees in the north are losing their leaves.
MAKO: So nature completely separate from humanity, releases CO2 and also captures CO2. And this was largely in balance until we started digging up a bunch of CO2 that was previously captured and re-releasing it into the atmosphere, and that is fossil fuels-
SQEAKY: Hey that sounds a lot like that coal stuff we were talking with the Rock Doctor about.
MAKO: Yes, coal is an explicit example of this.
MAKO. Yes. So, but then when you're talking about carbon sequestration, you have to acknowledge the ocean's involvement in all of these cycles. And the ocean, in case you didn't hear or know, is a very very big thing covering most of the Earth. It is a huge component in this entire cycle. And it- As soon as you start getting the ocean and all of it's complex systems involved, there's... so much... There's so much there going on it is difficult to say the least to condense it down into an episode for this purpose.
SQEAKY: So you're saying that my degree from Google isn't good enough to unravel this in ten minutes?
MAKO: No, definitely not.
SQEAKY: Oh. Huh, I wonder if any experts out there like Dunning or Kruger would have anything to say about this.
SOURCE [1:33:04]: Dunning Kruger effect - https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/dunning-kruger-effect
MAKO: Almost certainly.
SQEAKY: Ah, I have to link to the Dunning-Kruger effect now don't I?
MAKO: Eh... Yeah, probably.
SQEAKY: For listeners the two second version of that because it is a lot more simple. People who don't have a lot of information tend to think they have a lot of information. And people who have lots and lots of information, know enough to be uncertain about a thing.
MAKO: Yeah. They know enough of the framework to know where the gaps are and they know those gaps are big, vast, and complicated.
SQEAKY: And eventually if your expertise at any given topic goes up high enough, you know enough to get back some of that certainty, but never enough to be a hundred percent certain in that field again.
SQEAKY: That's why you hear all these experts in neely-mouthed ways like "We think", "We conjecture", "We hypothesis" that the climate will go up "if", "when", "maybe", "considering", y'know all these words that are like "maybe." And then we hear people who don't know a damned thing saying "I know for a fact climate change is fake."
SQEAKY: So all those people suffering from dysevidentia are on the wrong side of the Dunning-Kruger effect making light of this very complex topic that they likely don't know is very complex 'cause they haven't looked at half the maps Mako has shown me today.
MAKO: Yeah... So, oceans. They capture carbon- a lot of carbon. A shit-load of carbon.
SQEAKY: Like two whole bags of charcoal briquettes?
MAKO: Considerably more than that.
SQEAKY: Woah, that's a lot of carbon!
SQEAKY: More seriously, can you throw a number out even though it won't make any sense to us?
MAKO: So, I tried looking for a concrete number and if I kept on looking I'd probably find one, but the few sources I looked at was actually giving me different numbers, so I was hesitant to-
SQEAKY: Do we have a range?
MAKO: Yes. Different sources say between thirty and forty-five percent of all carbon that is emitted is captured by the ocean.
SQEAKY: Okay, so we're releasing gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere. So the ocean is capturing gigatons.
SQEAKY: Okay, that's a lot.
MAKO: Quite a bit.
SQEAKY: That's at least three bags of charcoal.
MAKO: At least, yes.
MAKO: Probably closer to like four or five.
*Sqeaky laughs more*
SQEAKY: Yes, four or five is closer to billions. Okay.
MAKO: Yes. Anyway.
SQEAKY: Were there any specific topics you want or specific factoids that you wanted to drop to highlight how complex this was?
MAKO: So, like I started kinda giving up on trying to talk about it in full when I kept on digging. Because we know that the pH of the ocean is actually dropping as a result of...
SQEAKY: pH is the measure of how acidic or basic a liquid is.
SQEAKY: So the ocean is becoming more acidic.
MAKO: Yes. That's been dropping, and that drop has been happening lately --when I say lately I mean like last few decades-- coinciding with a lot of our other climate change data. And it's already doing kind of a little bit of damage, but we're more concerned long-term. And I started looking up what all marine life is going to be impacted by this, how's that going to impact other ecosystems, because one thing that really really likes this acidification and the abundance of all the carbon in the water is seaweed. Seaweed loves it. So that's kinda neat, but-
SQEAKY: That doesn't make up for all the creatures that'll have thinner shells, all of the things that live in environments that don't support seaweed that are gonna get overrun by seaweed.
MAKO: Not just thinner shells, but in some cases some species their shells are just completely gone.
SQEAKY: Oh, that's... that's rough.
MAKO: Yeah. And it's just gonna get more acidic going forward... at least that's the projection. And it... That's going to apply to more and more species as it does. The destruction of coral reefs is also likely to happen.
SQEAKY: Yup. It's always the coral that's the victim.
MAKO: Yeah. We know that stuff but I was tryna get more details and get more relatable specific examples like the ski resort example and y'know just trying to sure up numbers because again the sources couldn't agree if it was like thirty or forty-five and it just... It became this huge rabbit hole where I'm like trying to connect all these dots.
SQEAKY: Connecting lots of dots. That does speak to the complexity here.
SQEAKY: There's no way we're gonna do it justice in our hour or two long podcast. It just can't be done, right?
MAKO: I would have to spend probably weeks carefully curating all the information and spend an entire episode on it probably.
SQEAKY: Wow! Okay. You're welcome to do that if you want. I will fact-check or proof for you.
MAKO: I don't know, probably not.
SQEAKY: Okay. But I think looking at the timeline of climate change will help highlight how a lot of these uncertainties when scientists speak are exaggerated and how the certain parts we understand are obfuscated.
SQEAKY: In the late 70s, scientists put out some not-great papers about a long-term cooling trend. And, to the best of my knowledge, we sort of stuck with that notion in through the 80s. And some of these trends exist, but on century-long scales, okay? So it's not like the sun and it's eleven year cycle, it's not like a single volcanic release that's going to cause the Earth to cool. No it's the notion that something is changing, maybe in a thousand years... in some huge long amount of time we expect to be in another ice age-like thing if humans don't change something. So papers like that came out and largely they seemed to be true-ish or reasonable or the best of our knowledge at the time at least. But then other scientists, caring more about day-to-day things, were like "Hey look, CO2 is increasing right now. We're putting more methane in the atmosphere, that's capturing heat too. All these things are capturing heat and heating up the planet now. So before all those long-term things matter, we're going to melt away all the ice and it's going to get really hot in here." In here being our whole atmosphere.
MAKO: Earth, yes.
SQEAKY: Largely in the 80s, people on the side of business or the oil industry or conservatives in general would have just denied climate change existed at all, because they could just point and say "Those scientists don't agree, why should we believe them." And they take the side that's convenient for their politics. Okay. In the 90s, the science mostly left the long-term cooling alone 'cause people were like hey this short-term cooling either has better evidence for today or we just don't care about the long-term cooling 'cause we're not gonna get there. Well, largely, this was still ignored because the science hasn't proliferated; it takes a long time for that to happen. But at least some people were coming around to "Yeah, maybe, maybe this is real." In the 2000s, we largely got to the point where pretty staunch conservatives were like "Yeah, climate change is real, but it's not man-made." Okay, the scientists keep beating drums, they have big a survey where they say ninety-seven percent of them agree that it is real, it is man-made, and in the twenty-teens, the past ten years or so, conservatives have largely said "Climate change is real but not a problem." I even had an argument with a troll on Twitter, that when I said that everything within three vertical feet of the ocean could have water on it, because if the ocean waters rise by three feet, which is a lot, but as much as it might rise by, that would really screw up Miami. And then he tried to accuse me of saying that I said Miami was only three feet tall. Wasn't even trying to be honest about it... he was clearly, well, not caring about the actual results, and uh... being that narcissist that reminds us of the rest of the narcissist prayer.
SQEAKY: Let me connect this for us. Conservatives said... I'm getting hyper-political partisan here.
SQEAKY: But when the Democrats get something really wrong I will yell at them. We'll get there. I'm sure it will happen, okay? They denied climate change existed. They denied it was our fault. And now they're saying "it's not so bad." The narcissist prayer is "That didn't happen, and if it did it wasn't that bad, and if it was that's not a big deal, and if it is that's not my fault, and if it was I didn't mean it, and if I did you deserved it." Of the six lines of that prayer, we've hit four of them for climate changes. The conservatives have said it didn't happen. They said if I did it, it wasn't that bad. We know it's that bad, scientists are saying it's that bad, we all agree. We know it is a big deal, literally we were talking about flooding Miami. This guy just ignored it. You can go back through the dysevidentia Twitter if you wanna see. Not a whole lot there but there really are people out there who appear to believe this stuff. And then claiming it's not our fault. That's where people are saying this climate change isn't man-made, but it really has to be. We have tons of charts showing this really closely lines up with human industry. We know what our things are putting out. We know the direct causal link. We know why things are changing. We have all this information and that gets muddled in a complex message because experts aren't confident enough to say this is definitely a problem until things start getting really bad. And experts are saying this now. Experts are coming together and doing things like saying "Yeah look, a hundred percent of us agree on this thing." And it's really hard to get that many scientists to agree on anything. So I'll go ahead and drop a link to the narcissist prayer in the show notes, and you drop some Wikipedia links to these other complex topics in the show notes-
SOURCE [1:40:59 ]: https://www.thelifedoctor.org/the-narcissist-s-prayer
SQEAKY: Because we didn't really go too in depth, because we can't. The oceans are too big to go in depth.
*Mako sighs disappointedly. Sqeaky laughs.*
SQEAKY: It also doesn't help that some sources that quote scientists get very alarmist. That also confuses the message.
SQEAKY: By and large scientists are saying this is a problem, this is a catastrophe, this will flood our cities, but then some people in an attempt to refute climate change, or to deny climate change are saying "This won't kill all humans!" No one is really saying it's gonna kill all humans.
MAKO: Well, when you say like it's gonna flood all the cities, you're invoking visions of biblical stories and...
SQEAKY: And that is because not all scientists are good- are as good as communicating at Neil deGrasse Tyson. If Neil deGrasse Tyson were telling the story of climate change, way more people would believe it.
SQEAKY: So yeah, when a scientist says "yeah all the cities within three feet of the oceans are going to be flooded", they mean over the next hundred years, one city at a time is going to have to make plans or move. 'Cause there has been human habitations that have just been erased from the map. Probably didn't involve any casualties because people got their stuff and moved, 'cause every year the water came a little closer up and then everyone's basement flooded that one year, and they kinda moved out. And the next year the, y'know, people a little further inland. Their basements flooded and eventually where the houses used to be was... hundreds of feet out into the water. That's what it's going to look like. It's slow, steady, very destructive to our infrastructure, very disruptive to our lives, and will cause a lot of people to move and a lot of wealth to be lost, but it's probably not going to cause human extinction, but it sure as heck will punish the poor...
SQEAKY: So yeah, those are lots of common ways people obfuscate and obstruct and argue this. But all the scientists are agreeing even if they're not good at making the messaging.
SQEAKY: What were some other things that don't refute climate change?
MAKO: So there's two in particular that I have personal experience with, unfortunately.
SQEAKY: Ah, I think I know what you're going to bring up.
MAKO: You probably do. But one of the first times I ever had a climate change conversation with somebody who denied climate change --long time ago-- tried to argue with me that climate change is very obviously not accurate, that the globe is not warming, and the little ice age proves it.
SQEAKY: Wait so... The fact that it was colder in the past than it is right now proves that it's not getting warmer?
MAKO: That was the gist of what they were trying to assert, yes.
SQEAKY: So to restate that. The fact that the Earth is getting warmer proves that the Earth is not getting warmer?
SQEAKY: Alright, for the listener. Me and Mako were staring directly into each other's eyes saying. We both know, and have talked to this person. Maybe not the same person, but to a person who believes this, and wholeheartedly believes that because not A, and it might be hard for you to accept this if you haven't reduced someone's beliefs down to something so critical and so obviously self-contradictory, I personally believe that something on the order of one-in-three humans, one-in-three of our fellow Americans, one-in-three of our fellow Europeans to our twenty percent of the audience that is from Europe or Asia, I fully believe that one-in-three of us believe something that is wholly and impossibly self-contradictory like the idea that the Earth is hollow and a sphere, yet flat and a disk. Again, I keep going back to this one example because it's so clear. That doesn't contradict facts, that contradicts math. This guy was a software developer of twenty years, and he was totally wrong, just numbers would not allow this belief to occur, and he had no problem holding that belief. So when someone tells me that they believe that climate change isn't real because the Earth is warmer now then they used to be, and someone close enough to them to make an emotional connection should try and have that conversation about why they are very, very wrong. Sorry for that... getting up on a soap box, but it felt like the right time.
MAKO: O-kay. So I think the... The main thing he was attempting to go for --and failing at mind you-- was that he was just trying to argue that there's normal warming and cooling trends that happen, and if there was this hyper-long pattern of warming temperatures across the globe, then a little ice age shouldn't be possible. But, yeah, I don't... He very obviously didn't really think it through.
SQEAKY: Yep. So many of these things are because people don't think it all the way through.
MAKO: Yep. For context, for the listeners. The little ice age, it refers to a cooling period that we only have some fuzzy numbers on when it started and ended, but the consensus is that it started around 1300 and ended some time around 1850, and the global average temperatures jumped about half a degree in this period.
SOURCE [1:46:42]: The Little Ice Age - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age
SQEAKY: So it was only a little ice age, not a big ice age.
MAKO: Yeah. It's dujudoo... little. But I mean that's global average. Some areas felt more extreme cooling than others, of course. And some things were disrupted as you might expect from these things. But it was just global average temperature dropped half a degree. The current warming trend that we are experiencing, and there is in the little ice age Wikipedia page there's a nice little infographic that is right near the top, and it shows a very alarmingly steep increase right at the far right side of the infographic and this infographic shows that compared to the hundreds of years where we had half a degree decrease in average global temperature, within just a century we've started to experience more than a whole degree warming.
SQEAKY: Yeah so this graph, it's what a lot of the climate change deniers refer to as the hockey stick. And they try to accuse... they have all sorts of weird ideas about this graph. They say that the international community of scientists --y'know and they'll pick whichever group they want to discredit-- they'll say that "Oh, we found some leaked emails that show them fabricating the hockey stick" and they just treat it derogatorily. So it... If you hear anyone saying "Oh, we debunked the hockey stick", this is what they're talking about. It goes when you lay the graph down, it looks kinda like a hockey stick.
MAKO: Yeah, a little bit. I can see it.
SQEAKY: It's a big flat line for most of history, especially if you get like pre-history from things like ice cores or sediment cores that we pull out. There are ways to infer temperature from that. And largely, they'll all say what the global average temperature was and it's slowly adjusted up and down within ranges that are very tiny and for the modern era it skyrockets. And the later we get in the modern era, the more it skyrockets. The temperature is exponentially rising. Now it's still only exponentially rising an average of a degree or two, which is devastating to natural stuff, but it's not going to kill all humans instantly. We're not all going to catch fire. It's going to level off at some point. But it's going to level off at some point with a new Earth, new shipping routes, flooded cities, and many millions of refugees.
MAKO: So the other thing. This one's a bit more recent because occurences of it have largely been more recent.
SQEAKY: Something happening more recently. Oh.
SQEAKY: How recent could this climate change possibly be? Ten years ago?
*Mako makes a noise*
SQEAKY: Fifteen years ago?
MAKO: Now years ago? No, uh polar vortex. In that pretty much anybody that has been in North America, particularly in the central states of the United States, has probably heard a thing or two about the polar vortex. And even experienced it.
SQEAKY: Oh so this is that thing that froze Texas.
SQEAKY: That southern-most state of the central states that really ought not to ever freeze.
MAKO: Yeah, yeah. They were very alarmed and very unprepared for the sudden freezing that occurred as a result of the polar vortex.
SQEAKY: Alright, so, I'll throw what I know out about this. It's my understanding that there's a general cold wind pattern in the arctic and the-
SQEAKY: -circular vortex of wind mostly does it's own thing and stays up there except occasionally it gets disrupted then this wind that's of a below average level of coldness comes down and mixes with the rest of the air and occasionally freezes the shit out of everything down here. And the orientation of the mountains --the Rockies in particular-- is just right to send it straight at Omaha, which is where I'm sitting.
MAKO: Kind of.
MAKO: You're close.
SQEAKY: I got it kinda right. Awesome.
MAKO: So the polar vortex is... It's not the name of something that leaks cold air down in- through central United States. It's a normal phenomenon that is constantly occurring. It is a vortex of cold air that- and there's one in the north and south poles. Uh, the arctic polar vortex and the antarctic polar vortex-
SQEAKY: So it's just there all the time.
MAKO: All the time.
MAKO: As a natural normal occurring thing. But what's not natural is 'cause this vortex of wind, it interacts with the jet stream, and they both kind of keep each other in check. The strength of the polar vortex tends to keep the jet stream uh... like...
SQEAKY: At the right latitude.
MAKO: Yes, that's the word. It keeps it at the right latitudes. And the jet stream does the same thing to the polar vortex.
SQEAKY: Okay so the cold dry air stays up near the arctic and the more warm, more moist air stays near the jet stream and floats around mid-latitudes.
MAKO: But sometimes, especially as of recently, the jet stream has a more erratic path. 'Cause like the jet stream, it follows a band around y'know a range of latitudes-
MAKO: -in the northern atmosphere.
SQEAKY: Could this have anything to do with all that cold ice that melted under it and revealed warm seawater.
MAKO: Uh, not under the jet stream itself but yes, we'll get there.
SQEAKY: Well under the polar vortex, sorry.
MAKO: Yes. Yes, yes it did. Now, the jet stream, it gets in a regular path where it spikes northward and then comes back down somewhere. I mean overall it's an east-west thing, it's not a north-south thing. So you get this irregular perturbation in the path of the jet stream, and that will push warm air up into the arctic and devastatingly cold air down south, and that's where the polar vortex that we experience is coming from.
SQEAKY: So this is how we can have cruise ships north of Canada and a frozen Texas.
MAKO: Yes. The reason that the jet stream gets that irregular shape is because the polar vortex itself actually weakens at a critical time when these things are supposed to be keeping each other in check and it's weakening because the mechanism you just described.
SQEAKY: So it's primarily weakening because of the ice. And I just kinda guessed that, I didn't know that. But that makes a ton of sense. Because ice has a low albedo, that is a high reflectivity. It captures very little sunlight and captures most light back off into space.
SQEAKY: Where seawater is relatively dark and captures most the light and warms up, so wind travelling over it- This is what I get for sitting near all those weather scientists back at the Air Force Weather Center.
SQEAKY: So I didn't write any of the math for this. I wrote software that tested the user interfaces over there but I talked to a bunch of those guys and they are really smart. But when wind travels over something it picks up some of the temperature in that thing and drops off some of its own temperature. It's kind of intuitive when you think about it.
SQEAKY: And because the melting ice sheet isn't perfectly round, lots of the polar vortex is now exposed to the warmer sea air rather than the colder ice air and warms up and the jet stream goes north and gets colder air and it all gets mixed up.
MAKO: Yeah. The polar vortex gets weaker so the jet stream pushes further north and then carries the cold air down, and then uh... Texas loses power.
SQEAKY: And then we have a thing that the Europeans call a bomb cyclone centered on Wahoo, Nebraska and all of Nebraska refreezes and we had to rebuild Interstate 80. Okay.
MAKO: Yep. That's pretty much it.
SQEAKY: Yup, that makes perfect sense.
MAKO: The thing that some people are trying to argue proves that global warming isn't actually happening because "Oh it's cold" but actually that's happening because these are vast complex systems!
SQEAKY: You're shaking violently over there. You're just- You're turning red. You're just so angry at these people denying these basic things.
MAKO: Well I wouldn't describe them as basic, but like...
SQEAKY: Well, you're right you're right. Basic's the wrong word. But this notion we should trust experts that spent like years studying and understanding and analyzing and it's like "But I'm holding a snowball so global warming is not real."
MAKO: Yeah. These are-
SQEAKY: Oh god. I have to include a video from that one Senator or Congressman who brought a snowball into the... into the fuckin' congress-
SOURCE [1:54:46]: CBS on Jim Inhofe - https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sen-jim-inhofe-climate-change-is-not-real-because-here-is-a-snowball/
SOURCE [1:54:46]: Jim Inhofe snowball video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E0a_60PMR8
SQEAKY: -"like there's no climate change. Look I got a snowball from outside, I'm an idiot."
MAKO: That actually doesn't prove anything. Yeah that's why a lot of people prefer the term climate change over global warming because it at least somewhat addresses the fact that these are very complicated systems and they're gonna have knockdown effects on other things and produce results that you would not readily expect. Like yes, sometimes the globe getting warmer means parts of the globe get colder.
SQEAKY: It shouldn't be that difficult to understand that this stuff is complex. And when you have millions and millions of square miles of a thing, it's not all gonna behave homogeneously. It's not all gonna change the same.
SOURCE [1:55:21]: Sun’s 11 year cycle - https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/solar-cycles/en/
SQEAKY: Okay. So some other things that we might hear from climate change deniers. One I hear a lot is the "sun cycle." There's always claims that "Oh, the sun is currently in a local maximum" or something.
MAKO: Yeah, it does have a cycle. It does have a maximum and a minimum.
SQEAKY: Yeah, it's only an eleven year cycle though and we've got data going back more than eleven years.
SQEAKY: Those excuses are bad excuses not based in reality.
MAKO: Yeah the... The circumstance is accurate but it's connection to climate change is nonsensical.
SQEAKY: Yeah and NASA's page on this- and if you don't believe NASA is right on this then... you are not thinking clearly, you do not know more than NASA, NASA is not some evil conspiracy, if you don't trust NASA on the sun you have some problems.
SQEAKY: If you want to discredit them produce evidence and then other people will believe you. Don't just assert this stuff; please don't. I've had that argument a ton with people recently too. Ugh, flat earthers. Had a big long argument about flat Earth with someone saying they wouldn't trust any picture from NASA because NASA doctored them citing no evidence of course. Anyway, NASA's got this great page. I went through and read most of it and there's tons of details, and they link to other things inside NASA and cite some external sources. It's really good. Uh, the other thing I brought up --again I'm citing NASA-- is about scientists disagreeing. People love to claim that "scientists disagree, there's no consensus on this". The only time anyone ever does this is when there is a consensus. Ay?
*Mako finds this funny*
SQEAKY: D- Give me one example where scientists strongly disagreed about a thing and a denier even existed. It doesn't happen, right? It's when society is trying to move on and society has agreed on a thing based on the evidence usually and somebody who wants their side heard says "No! Teach the debate. Teach the argument." That's how people are trying to get creationism taught in schools. They don't say "Look at my facts", they say "Nuh-uh, teach both sides because the argument is important" because they know their side has no basis in fact so they appeal to anything else.
MAKO: Oh. I think it might be a little of a stretch to say they know there's no basis in fact, but...
SQEAKY: Oh, I'll rephrase that. Any argument they've ever put forward, based in fact, hasn't worked for them. Because everyone else around them knows it's not-
MAKO: There ya go.
SQEAKY: -based in fact.
MAKO: There ya go.
SQEAKY: Okay, so uh, I cite NASA here. The title of it "Do Scientists Agree on Climate Change?" Yes, comma rest of sentence. NASA in turn cites eight sources and then has more reading. They have at least three of their links on their page to other documents inside of NASA. That direct climate page isn't super interesting because it says everyone agrees and then a little paragraph on it, but there's tons of things on climate change, how climate impacts things, how climate impacts when they can launch ships. Eight different well-written sourced things that are great. And then I have a Wikipedia link to the "Surveys of scientists' views on climate change". Every year it gets higher and higher, and in 2019 that survey said a hundred percent of scientists agree on this. So yeah, yeah that's a... pretty direct.
SOURCE [1:57:45]: They agree - https://climate.nasa.gov/faq/17/do-scientists-agree-on-climate-change/
SOURCE [1:57:45]: The 97% Survey - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveys_of_scientists'_views_on_climate_change
SQEAKY: I encourage people to take a look at both. Even just a quick glance at the Wikipedia page is like "Oh, if people are going to be lying about this"... I don't even know where to go with that thought. Any argument against... Any argument saying scientists don't agree is a total non-starter based on evidence.
SQEAKY: And I have no clue how to rebut this one, short on dropping all of the temperature data we've ever put out there. But I've had people try to tell me the temperature data isn't real or the IPCC, the International Panel on Climate Change, that group, that all their numbers are false and fake. Just people generally appealing to conspiracy and saying "Oh, you can't trust them they're lying with all the numbers."
MAKO: No they don't produce anything to suggest why or how they are lying about the numbers.
MAKO: And ignoring all the independent institutions that have collected data largely agree.
SQEAKY: We have so many lines of corroborating evidence and the various sources we've cited this show will confirm it. We have schools... You know actually I will. I'll go back and find the climate record from I think the University of Berlin. They have temperature ratings going back to 1701 where they just pull out a thermometer and take a temperature reading everyday. That's kind of amazing.
SOURCE [1:59:17]: Age of records - https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/bams/100/12/bams-d-19-0040.1.xml
SQEAKY: And it agrees. Then the people who dig stuff out of the ground and measure various ways to get the temperature from that, their numbers agree. Almost everybody doing this a different way, they all agree because that's what's happening. So just in order for there to even be a rigging of this, there has to be a rigging of every thermometer? It has to be a conspiracy so large... Yeah, it's a conspiracy theory. Just ignore it and move on.
SQEAKY: If you know someone believing that... Step one: Make an emotional connection with them. Find common ground. Well so that would be step two: Find common ground. And then slowly work in with weird evidence and get them to do things like trusting experts. This is why we have to have many of these conversations. There's no way you can just link them to our podcast and expect them to believe it. They'll just reject us. Of course we'll be liberal shills for the climate change scientists. That's what they'll think.
MAKO: Yep. Or that we're manipulated... that shit's so stupid.
SQEAKY: George Soros is paying us.
SQEAKY: Where's my check?
MAKO: Thanks for the new gaming PC Soros!
SQEAKY: I didn't get it 'cause I ordered a Dell.
SQEAKY: I should have bought ABK Kustomz.
*Sqeaky and Mako laugh*
SQEAKY: I would have got it then!
SQEAKY: Alright, back to... Back to being serious.
SQEAKY: There's only so many things we can touch on when climate change deniers will say something. It is trivially easy to make an excuse for why the oil industry has been correct the past forty years and why scientists have been wrong. So we need just other information. Do you have any other suggestions for what people might do or read? Or view or watch?
MAKO: While I was doing my research with other topics and the y'know... trying to find things that discussed just narrow facets of climate change. I of course included climate change in my search criteria to hopefully narrow things down but a few things popped up in the searches and I did find a couple of websites from government agencies that do have some good overview information about the effects of climate change. There is one from NASA. It's at climate.nasa.gov/effects, which uh yeah, pretty self-explanatory URL. And that's a decent website for that kind of information. But, I also found a page on the CDC website that in my opinion goes into a bit better detail. Keeping things high level but talking about like regional effects. Food security, how climate change even effects the spread of diseases. And they got some good information there for just high-level overview on these things if you want to get a little bit of a better understanding of the effects of climate change.
SOURCE [2:01:9]: https://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/default.htm
SOURCE [2:01:9]: https://climate.nasa.gov/effects/
SQEAKY: But last episode we learned we were out-evolving malaria. Surely we'll out-evolve climate change.
SOURCE [2:02:18]: https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/evolution-and-creationism-with-the-rock-doctor
MAKO: One specific population out-evolved malaria. And maybe one specific population will out-evolve climate change. But y'know, for the rest, of us-
SQEAKY: I like how you just presume it won't be you and me out-evolving climate change.
MAKO: Probably not, but y'know, one can hope.
SQEAKY: Sort of how evolution works. The vast majority of things die. The rest got lucky and live on. Why? They're slightly better. They were born slightly better.
SQEAKY: So we will freeze or burn and not being immune to fire or ice... Maybe, actually I'm pretty fat. I'm probably immune to ice. I'm feeling pretty good about this going like deeper into the polar vortex things. That would work out for me I think.
MAKO: Okay. Good luck.
SQEAKY: When the last bit of polar wind came down I was just shoveling. I don't even have a snowblower. I was shoveling the whole time.
MAKO: Yeah, I was shoveling too. Because we don't have a snowblower.
SQEAKY: Thank you. I appreciate the help. I guess it's all we have, isn't it?
MAKO: Yeah that's pretty much it.
SQEAKY: Well thanks for listening everybody.
MAKO: Thanks for listening!
SQEAKY: Was that too on the nose?
MAKO: A little bit.
SQEAKY: I'll edit it and put some subtly in there.
SQEAKY: Don't forget about our sponsor ABK Kustomz. If you need a computer go to abk-kustomz.com. That abk-kustomz.com to speak to an expert to get the computer you need. Don't forget to give them code "evidence" for a ten percent discount on your next computer.
MAKO: Thanks to all of our Patreon supports at the Evidence Investigator level or higher. Including Jarrod, DuktTape, Qeldaar, and Lazore78.
SQEAKY: Thanks for listening and don't forget to like, subscribe, leave a review, or tell a friend.
MAKO: Copyright 2021, BlackTopp Studios, Inc. Intro music was Slow by PitX, used with permission.
ROCK DOCTOR: So what are the limits on weapons in America? 'Cause you see that people get hold of some military surplus stuff and they think yeah, um it doesn't seem like there's any limit at all. Can you just buy hand grenades? Can you-
SQEAKY: In Oklahoma.
ROCK DOCTOR: Even though if it's diff- If it's difficult to source them they're still technically legal.
MAKO: So congress here has tried to ban certain things that look assault weapon-esque. Like I remember there was a ban on bump stocks, there's caps on magazine size...
ROCK DOCTOR: We all became experts with the international news after the uh... Las Vegas shooting we learned about bump stocks. And that told me that they had limits on automatic weapons- fully automatic weapons.
SQEAKY: But as soon as you switch it from-
ROCK DOCTOR: But then... There's no-
SQEAKY: -fully auto- I'm sorry.
ROCK DOCTOR: -caliber limitation on weapons is there?
ROCK DOCTOR: Or is it just not many people want to buy a-
SQEAKY: I can drive down to a Bass Pro Shop here in town in Omaha and pick up a fifty caliber rifle.
MAKO: And he knows that because he literally saw one on the wall.
SQEAKY: And I-
ROCK DOCTOR: I remember-
SQEAKY: -picked it up, held it.
ROCK DOCTOR: I'm in Europe, sorry. Fifty caliber means nothing to me at all.
SQEAKY: Oh! We're-
ROCK DOCTOR: It sounds big.
MAKO: It's the threshold where weapons start being construed as anti-material instead of anti-personnel because they just do way too much devastating damage if it hits a body.
SQEAKY: Okay so, right a caliber is-
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah it's for shooting down um uh... things like ships and planes-
ROCK DOCTOR: -and stuff rather than just shooting at a person.
SQEAKY: So a caliber is one inch. A hundred caliber would be one inch. So moving that from three units-
ROCK DOCTOR: There ya go, so it's half an inch.
SQEAKY: -over to sensible units, over to science units, that's about uh... twelve or four... twelve thirteen fourteen millimeters the bullet is in diameter.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah that's quite big.
SQEAKY: So NATO uses the five five six round. That's 5.56 millimeters in diameter.
SOURCE [2:05:37 ]: 5.56 bullets - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.56%C3%9745mm_NATO
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah. So the bullets I've ever seen were like a few millimeters.
SQEAKY: Yeah, these are gigantic.
ROCK DOCTOR: I've fired guns a very small number of times in my life and yeah, I know nothing about guns but I do know that Americans have access to almost everything that's been invented. As far as I can see, if you can get a railway track you can buy a Howitzer and then go looking for shells to put in it.
SQEAKY: No kidding, here in town there is a community of people that build and fire blackpowder cannons.
ROCK DOCTOR: We have those as well.
ROCK DOCTOR: The battle reenactors. Yeah, that's one of those bizarre anomalies that we do actually have. I'm not sure they can ever projectiles but they can make it go bang.
SQEAKY: Yeah we can have projectiles here.
ROCK DOCTOR: Okay.
ROCK DOCTOR: The most impressive thing I ever saw was someone built a ballista.
ROCK DOCTOR: You know those things where you have a dirty great big counter... a counterweight and a sling-
SQEAKY: That would be a trebuchet.
ROCK DOCTOR: -and loaded it up with this- a trebuchet maybe, yeah. And they loaded it up with a rock it took several people to lift. This was a medieval castle, and they set up a wall. And this thing flung this stone at an astonishing speed and height and then uh, yeah, it knocked down the wall So even medieval stuff is quite impressive.
MAKO: When I went to run an errand just yesterday, I saw a neighbour of ours when we were leaving the neighborhood, they had a human height trebuchet out in their driveway.
SOURCE [2:06:54] - Catapult v trebuchet - https://www.reddit.com/r/trebuchetmemes/comments/86w6za/the_virgin_catapult_vs_the_chad_trebuchet/
SOURCE [2:06:54] - Part 2 - https://askanydifference.com/difference-between-catapult-and-trebuchet/
SQEAKY: It was powered by a band. That makes it a catapult.
MAKO: Oh, was it?
SQEAKY: Yeah! It was about the size where it could hold a soda can and it was next to a sign labeled "Party Bus". So I think they were launching beers at each other. Like cans of beer.
SQEAKY: Is what I think.
ROCK DOCTOR: Ahh.
MAKO: The assembly looked very trebuchet-like to me, not catapult, but maybe.
ROCK DOCTOR: One does have to get one's medieval weapon terminology correct.
SQEAKY: Sorry to geek out on that.
ROCK DOCTOR: I read some of the American novels and they act so literal about the details of guns and all of it is completely unfamiliar to me, but the more you read the more you pick up.
SQEAKY: If you want to hear our stance on gun safety, I believe episode five of the podcast is a great place to listen to it. We tackled nine different gun myths, and we spent a ton of time researching that one.
SOURCE [2:07:42]: Gun Myths Episode - https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/shooting-down-gun-myths
ROCK DOCTOR: Excellent. Good work.
MAKO: Uh, the TLDR is that they're not safe.
ROCK DOCTOR: Gah, who knew?! Given that they were perfectly designed to kill people. We have a gun problem but it's largely on the criminal's side which is they can't get hold of them. So I hear that guns are so scarce that they can't even obtain replicas. What they do is they rent a replica for a bank job and there's a higher rate per hour for renting a replica pistol and I thought this is a sign of success. We should be trumpeting growth in the hourly rate of renting a non-dangerous weapon. But then everybody just grabs knives and knives do a good job too.
SQEAKY: We actually tackled that one as one of our main myths. The amount of gun violence decrease is proportional but not matching the amount of knife violence increase after new gun legislation clamps down on it. And we saw that across a couple countries and I think we highlighted knife crimes in London. It was like for every three gun crimes prevented there was an extra on knife crime. Something like that.
ROCK DOCTOR: Okay. So they've actually done studies on this.
SQEAKY: Oh yeah.
ROCK DOCTOR: It's quite funny when you hear people talking about the... the knife death crises in London. I live in central London and I know it happens 'cause I see it on the news. But, it's very much a tiny subset of society and in... it's gang culture in certain areas and it's mostly drug related as I understand it. Um, y'know, it is a major problem and we absolutely have to take it seriously, but people... people don't walk around worrying that they're gonna get stabbed in most normal times. It's a bit like in America where we read about the vast scale of gun death but most Americans don't walk around fearing that someone is going to pull a gun on them.
SQEAKY: So hang on.
ROCK DOCTOR: Maybe in a few bits... a few bits of a few cities. I've never heard it's very very bad.
SQEAKY: It has been less than two months since we had a... since we had a... just a broad daylight homicide with a gun at a mall, and it's the mall closest to my house. I live in a part of Omaha called West Omaha, and just about two miles from my house is a thing called Westroads Mall. It's a guy standing just in the mall, somebody walked up to him, shot him twice, and walked out. Ugh.
SOURCE [2:09:39]: Westroad mall shootings - April and March 2021 - https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/17/us/omaha-mall-shooting/index.html
SOURCE [2:09:39]: Westroad mall shootings - 2007 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westroads_Mall_shooting
MAKO: And there was actually another shooting at the exact sa- Well, not the exact same location. It's in the mall but in a different place in the mall, one month prior to that.
ROCK DOCTOR: Okay well, we're in a city big enough so that um... stabbings happen within a couple of miles of my house-
ROCK DOCTOR: -on a daily basis.
SQEAKY: Yeah but London's got like four million people, doesn't it?
ROCK DOCTOR: Exactly. Look at how many people live within that radius.
ROCK DOCTOR: And it's not so much the distance away from you it's how many people between you and that happening.
SQEAKY: Yeah, Omaha is one-tenth the size of London. We're like four-hundred thousand people.
ROCK DOCTOR: Right.
SQEAKY: And if you then-
ROCK DOCTOR: So it's-
SQEAKY: Look at the whole metro-
ROCK DOCTOR: It's a degree more shocking when something bad happens.
SQEAKY: Yeah! And even if you count all of our suburbs, right? If you get everybody around Omaha, there's like one million people.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah I believe we're knocking on the door of ten million now, depending on how far out you draw the boundary. It feels like a normal city 'cause it's the only one I've ever grown up in.
SQEAKY: I've been in smaller and bigger places than Omaha. Kind of gotten comfortable here.
ROCK DOCTOR: I've always thought of Heathrow as a normal sized airport. And then I went to visit a... Luxembourg, which has one runway, one terminal, one everything. And then I got to work in Oman where a runway was a flatter bit of the desert.
ROCK DOCTOR: And occasionally airplanes land and burst a tire and then they're out of action for a week because someone has to drive a tire in from the coast.
MAKO: Yeah by most objective metrics, Heathrow is definitely in the top three largest just... airports in the world.
SOURCE [2:11:17]: Wiki Heathrow - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathrow_Airport
SOURCE [2:11:17]: Largest airport is Saudi Arabia - https://www.flight-delayed.co.uk/blog/2019/06/25/where-are-the-largest-airports-in-the-world
ROCK DOCTOR: But it was the one I flew from most of the time I went to the US. I just thought this is an airport.
ROCK DOCTOR: And that... your kid's brain says normality is what I've seen.
MAKO: Yeah. It just- That's- One of the... the weirdest places I've seen to use as a base of comparison because just about anywhere you go it's gonna be a downgrade.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah. I think it's a... I think it's the biggest international airport in the world, or it was. I think we lost that a few years ago because of nimby purposes we were unable to expand it.
SQEAKY: Is it back to Atlanta?
ROCK DOCTOR: And other parts of the world have-
SQEAKY: Mmm? Nevermind.
ROCK DOCTOR: Think you, you win all the ones for internal flights so... or that including internal flights. But wherever we go has to be abroad or else your... you don't have enough space to take off and land again.
MAKO: Heathrow... From what I understand about Heathrow... they are dominantly funded by... by corporate interests. Whereas most airports are actually controlled by municipalities. So it leans very heavily on getting the maximum dollar for all the different fees for everything and-
ROCK DOCTOR: Yes.
MAKO: -for that exact reason they favor really long-haul flights.
ROCK DOCTOR: Right.
MAKO: So they don't really do short-range stuff very much.
ROCK DOCTOR: Yeah. I think it's... the cost of landings and takeoffs. It's prohibited for many of the... the short hops, because you can't charge enough on the ticket to pay the landing fees.
ROCK DOCTOR: But we've got four other London airports, so there's no shortage. And they keep defining airports ever further out as London something-
*Sqeaky finds this humorous*
ROCK DOCTOR: -so we have to build high-speed train to get to the so-called London Airport, as it keeps expanding the radius further and further.