Commentary on the conversations of our time...

Saturday, April 04, 2009

"You should have a talk with your friend today"……

(originally written March 2005)

Is what my fortune cookie said last night at Dinner.

At the Presidents Luncheon of the January 2001 American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, the guest speaker was a leading scientist from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, speaking to a room full of indoor environmental engineers about the prospect of global warming (which some of us prefer to call Global Climate Change). The gentlemen tried to enlighten the Engineers that the Southern Regions of the US were facing increases in not just minor average temperature readings, but marked increases in the latent loads of the outdoor air. Latent load being the moisture content of the air which is not typically considered by lay folks when they think of temperature. Most folks would just say its humid out, we anal Engineers need to put numbers to it in order to properly size equipment.

Outdoor Air (ventilation air) brought into a building in a humid climate needs to be dehumidified before it gets inside in order to prevent mold, mildew, and other commonly known problems lumped together and referred to as Sick Building Syndrome - when the people are affected. When the people don't seem to be affected, the building just rots away. Humidity being not the only issue but the MAIN one for a lot of reasons that I will elaborate on further another day. The fellow from NOAA aptly pointed out if an Engineer wants to properly size a chiller with a 20 year service life cycle, one must consider the weather for that 20-year cycle - changing. And the message was that contrary to our Baby Boomer generation false sense of security with the life span stability status quo those in possession of the information know we are in for deep do-do, not in our generation, but in our DECADE.

This was 4 years ago. Today the Northern Arctic perma-frost is melting, the Southern Arctic is calving ice bergs at unprecedented rates, glaciers are sliding and disappearing at all corners of the globe in increasing speeds somewhere I read recently the folks who study glaciers are theorizing if the water melt/flow beneath the glaciers increases, it acts as a lubricant for increased slide. Hmmmmm.

So the fellow who was the President of ASHRAE 5 years ago (rotating 1 year post) had the spunk to have an atmospheric scientist speak to a bunch of learned (Indoor Atmospheric) professionals.

Some doing the basic ostrich trouble dance some not.

No president had before, and none have since. You see the staid, boring, and conservative voices want to take the opportunity of the Presidents Luncheon to speak to the membership regarding the state of the Society. They want to talk about decreasing membership, and bringing new younger lifeblood into the Society. DUH.

I have run into past President JW every Winter since, and he has always been gracious, and every year we seem to spend a few extra moments exchanging pleasantries, and as it turns out increasingly having a comment that makes the other smile. It is a wonderfully exciting scene to see the established PR and Socialite savvy Past-President make the social rounds, and give a moment to the radical Non Traditional IAQ student from left field (whom he had presented an award for 1st Place Team in the Student Design Competition in 2001). A pair of fish out of water from opposite poles, with a common interest in weather and climate.

So I asked Past President JW this past February in Orlando, was he familiar with the work of my fellow Michigan water/weather hound John D. Hamaker? He said no and it sounded to me like maybe he should. Well I have been buying lots of books lately, reading some but giving away many more so I said I would be happy to send him a copy of "The Survival of Civilization".

Hamaker has a lot to say about the atmospheric carbon cycle, issues of trace minerals in the soil and agriculture, global population explosions, and hungry people and the effects on politics and economics. Can you say VENTURE CAPITOL?

So as Judy still has the copy of Hamaker TSOC that she had loaned me 20 years ago, and I had never got around to ordering one for myself, I ordered one for past President JW.

And wouldn't you know it the book arrived yesterday from ThePackRatters. At the same time a 2nd package from the same mail order bookseller arrived addressed to Michael X with my address. Trying to figure out the mystery of the 2nd book (and to examine the packing slip) I opened the package and low and behold, in front of my eyes is The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerovac. Well I knew about the TV show Dharma and Greg which I though was pretty kewl in my space cadet sort of way, and I could remember a song way back in my feeble memory something about Jack Kerovac I think by Natalie Merchant yes I am a Natalie Merchant fan, I really think she blew it when she left 10,000 maniacs (rarely in a lifetime can one create artistic synergy more than once).

Any way, in The Dharma Bums on page 139 can the following words be found:


When I go to the country store to buy bread and milk the old boys there sitting around among bamboo poles and molasses barrels say, What do you do in those woods?

Oh I just go in there to study.

Ain't you kinda old to be a college student?

Well I just go in there sometimes and just sleep.

But I'd watch them rambling around the fields all day looking for something to do, so their wives would think they were real busy hard working men, and they weren't fooling me either. I knew they secretly wanted to go sleep in the woods, or just sit and do nothing In the woods, like I wasn't to ashamed to do.
End Quote.

Funny, Ive been thinking about doing a Walden Pond thing as I try and figure out where I'm going to live going forward (Ive decided to live going forward by the way). And I stumble into a book by an author who thinks like me that I had never heard of except in a song many years ago. I cant remember my appointments tomorrow, but I can remember a tune now and then. So I will mail my new book to my friend at ASHRAE on Monday. I will also mail Michael Xs book to him that came to me by accident.

And as I listen to Whitney belt out "Shelf Life" (that's a song on an album by BIT) a few times around and around while I gather my thoughts for this tell all your friends. You don't have to tell them anything, just call them and say hello friends make the world go around collaborate later, just let your friends know they have friends. Be a friend.

Like my fortune cookie said, "You should have a talk with your friend today." It didn't say talk about what. Just talk.

I've got it in me, and so damn glad I remembered before it became too late.

Rock the Boat.

RE Global Climate Change - Let’s not scare the straights.

That's right - let’s not scare the straights?

(Yes, blog title borrowed from Ghost Busters)

OK folks. I scare myself now and then, but I suppose out of kindness compassion or general responsibility, I'll try to be nice.

What's that you say, I haven’t been? Have I been insensitive? I don’t know but every now and then I try and do a reality check – just to see if I’m still walking with a left and a right shoe on the proper feet. My mind does wander, sometimes around in circles long enough that I forget where I was heading in the first place.

So, with regard to my mission to understand and in turn say something rational coherent and useful about weather climate human history human progress and uhhhhhh our future...
I’m sorry if I scare anyone.

More so, along those lines I’m sorry if any of you are scared in general with or without my help. But, and here’s the kicker, I think we should be scared.

Not because the end of the world is approaching. Believe the religious dogma if you want, but I'm unwilling to discuss it here and now – maybe another day.

But, the deal is we have lived far too long in far too easy of an artificially comfortable and safe situation.We live in mobile homes, we build in flood plains, we drink our neighbor's pee (cities with river water sources of municipal water), we live near vulnerable ocean shores, we live on fault lines, our critical life enabling infrastructure of energy, transportation and communication systems are not only antiquated, but also – uhhhhhh


And we have not only overpopulated our sparse small supportive habitat, but also become undereducated, and the baby boomer's pensions are sucking the lifeblood out of the few remaining workers not on welfare. God help the politicians if the pension checks stop coming....

(Have you heard, the auto companies may go bankrupt)

Where do we go from here? Do we run and hide, stick our heads in the sand, quit? I say we read. I say we make sure, enable our children to get a good education. I say we re-examine our priorities. I say we think through whether we want $100 tennis shoes made in China, or perhaps some good ole New Balance made in the States. I say we at least try and vote at the cash register.

And perhaps we admit that while the good ole days may be numbered or even behind us, that also the golden age of application of human ingenuity are also before us. Here and now. The time is ripe for quantum leaps forward.Perhaps when Einstein said we weren't’t smart enough to solve the problems we've created with our smarts (loose paraphrase) – just maybe he was wrong. Perhaps the context was different but the point's the same – perhaps our true gift is to get off our ass when we have to – whether we like it or not, when there is work to do we will get to it when pushed hard enough. Bucky Fuller did a good job in “Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth” of explaining why there is / are ALWAYS the resources available when the crises is of sufficient magnitude.

So here we are – Mother Nature is going to challenge us to re-examine our priorities.
(not only soon but also maybe NOW)

We either choose to adapt or perish according to the laws of Nature – survival of the fittest. I have faith some of us will survive – I also at once think our Golden Age is coming – and also fear the worst for those too busy eating bonbons, reading the Inquirer, and pretending things are different than they are.
Good luck – and may the best man win. Metaphorically of course. I will try to fight the good fight for the underdogs – we all need to make it through the next round. I would rather have people with integrity on my team, then dishonest Neanderthals who fight well. If I’m not mistaken the last time this battle was fought, it got ugly – maybe if we all pool our resources we can avoid a repeat of this land isn’t big enough for the both of us type of mentality.Still metaphorically of course – maybe - interpret, as you will.
PS - as usual, weather, climate, and life on Earth history lessons are here:

Thank you for sharing your valuable time with this humble blog.