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The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future
The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future
by Richard B. Alley
Edition: Paperback
60 used & new from $1.66

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Burning coal, oil and gas may cause sudden, extreme climate change, March 20, 2013
It is scientifically established that our burning of fossil fuels and the resultant carbon dioxide emissions will result in global warming, and ultimately may cause dangerous climate change. But how fast can that happen? 'The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change And Our Future' by climatologist Richard B. Alley, explores climate scientists' answers to these questions.

Alley is one of the climate scientists who has spent years collecting and analysing ice cores; these are long samples of ancient ice which have been extracted from the two mile thick Greenland ice cap. This massive layer of ice has been forming for over 100,000 years, and is an repository of historical evidence to climate scientists. The snow deposited each year is still visible as layers in the ice, and these annual layers preserve much chemical information from which scientists can extract a record of past snowfall and temperature. Of particular importance is what the ice cores have revealed of the end of the "Younger Dryas" ice age.

'At the beginning of this book, we met the Younger Dryas, the last cold gasp of the ice age between about 12,800 and 11,500 years ago... Standing in the science trench in Greenland, I measured how thick the annual layers were in the [ice] core across the end of the Younger Dryas. I found that... many thick layers were followed by one slightly thinner layer, one scarcely more than half as thick, one scarcely more than half as thick, another slightly thinner than that, then a lot of similarly thin ones grouped around a spike of thicker ones. This is most directly explained as a twofold change in three years, with most of that change in one year... So I cannot insist that the climate changed in one year, but it certainly looks that way.' (pages 110-111).

So science tells us that very significant climate change can occur in just a handful of years. Similar warming may well be in store for us, given that our carbon emissions are changing the atmosphere far more rapidly than any natural process has in the past. Alley proceeds to give details of the sudden, extreme temperature change that occurred at the end of Younger Dryas ice age:

The most direct interpretation... is that the surface of Greenland warmed by about 15 F (8 degrees Celsius) in a decade or less. (page 112)

This should frighten us. This sort of warming today would mean the end of the world as we know it. Climatologists estimate global warming of 5 to 6 degrees Celsius today would render most of the world too hot for agriculture (except a narrow northern band comprising Canada, northern Europe, Russia and Siberia). Widespread famine, starvation and war would be the norm. The vast majority of humanity would almost certainly perish.

Alley's conclusions regarding the climate change which ended the Younger Dryas ice age should serve as a wake-up call. The reason that no action has been taken by governments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and stop global warming is that climate change is assumed to be something that will happen very slowly, and thus only impact the distant future. However, this assumption is questionable given the findings of climate science. The scientific record of the Greenland ice cores shows that when climate change does occur, it can be both quick and extreme. In that case it is not just nameless future generations that our carbon emissions endanger. Rather, our addiction to fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas may well sacrifice the lives of our own children and grandchildren. All of us who wish for a better future than this need to start lobbying our governments to quickly replace fossil fuels with solar, wind and nuclear power.


Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth's Climate
Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth's Climate
by Stephen H. Schneider
Edition: Hardcover
71 used & new from $2.45

5.0 out of 5 stars A scientific view of climate change and our future, January 11, 2013
I live in Bangladesh, the low-lying and heavily populated country which is widely acknowledged to be at greatest risk of suffering from climate change. I looked around for a book with some figures regarding what would likely happen to this country of 165 million people, and found it in this book. Schneider's book is an illuminating work by a prominent scientist. In 2007, Schneider received the Nobel Peace Price on behalf of the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), along with Al Gore. His book is a recounting of his efforts over three decades to get the US government and the rest of the world to pay attention to climate change science.

The basic question which climate science has tried to answer is: how serious is climate change? But communicating a scientific answer to this question has been impossible, Schneider says, as politicians, journalists and the average person on the street does not understand that scientific predictions and models of climate change can only predict probabilities of particular outcomes. Unfortunately, the public and the politicians have shown little desire to understand the significance of these scientific probabilities. Instead, they are generally interested in climate science only the extent that it supports their own pre-conceived political beliefs that climate change is insignificant.

If the above sounds familiar, a particular example for which Schneider presents some numbers should frighten all of us. For low-lying countries like Bangladesh, one of the critical questions of climate change is how high sea level rise will be. The answer to this actually depends on whether or not the Greenland ice cap melts; this event would release enough water to raise global sea levels about 25 metres (about 80 feet). This would be the end for Bangladesh, sinking perhaps 75% of the country. It would also be the end of most of the world's coastal cities like New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC and London. Here are Schneider's estimates of how likely this is:

"For Greenland to irreversibly melt, my own [estimate] would be roughly a 2.0 to 5.0 per cent chance that it is already too late and it will happen over the long run. At one degree Celsius more warming, I'd raise the odds to 25 per cent...".

So this is the problem of climate science in a nutshell; the likelihood of a major catastrophe like 25 meter sea level-rise could be theoretically be as low as 2.0 to 5.0 per cent. So in the US, Republican politicians like George W. Bush as well as numerous Democrats whose political campaigns rely on donations from oil and coal companies will always focus on the 2.0 per cent probability and dismiss climate change a waste of time. However, for those of us who have not been paid off and can think for ourselves, the rest of the sentence should be shocking:

"...and at 2 degrees Celsius to 60 per cent, at 3 degrees Celsius to 90 per cent, and so on."

Critically, the basis for all international climate negotiations is to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (as most governments in the world have already decided that it would be too expensive to do anything more than that). This international consensus means that 2 degrees of warming is inevitable, as everyone has accepted that it will happen and will not even try to prevent it. Given that fact, Schneider's odds for a 25 metre sea level-rise and the destruction of Bangladesh becomes 60% to 90% (the 90% figure is still relevant, as it is always possible for countries to fail to cut carbon dioxide emissions enough to limit global warming to 2 degrees).

What to do now? The only people who care about Bangladesh and have the capacity to change anything are the Bangladeshis living in the Western countries. If they really care about Bangladesh, they should all become climate activists and pressure their governments to do something to prevent this. People in Bangladesh have only two options; firstly, invest vastly more in education and hope people can emigrate before the country sinks. Secondly, invest vastly more in birth control, targeting a 22nd century population of only the 25 million people, which would be the maximum number that the country could support if it was reduced to pockets of high land in Rajshahi division and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Unfortunately, Professor Schneider died from cancer in 2010, and now there is one fewer climate scientist to tell us how we can save ourselves from catastrophic global warming.


The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines
The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines
by Michael E. Mann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.62
80 used & new from $1.43

51 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clearing the political fog which obscures climate science and global warming, January 7, 2013
For the past 15 years, a largely invisible struggle, critical to the future of the planet, is being fought between the global community of climate scientists on one hand and fossil fuel companies-funded think-tanks and politicians on the other. During this time, climate scientists have reached an overwhelming scientific consensus that the carbon dioxide emissions caused by our reliance on coal, oil and gas have already caused significant global warming, and will ultimately endanger our planet unless all fossil fuel usage is rapidly phased out. Simultaneously, the fossil fuel industry has run a huge misinformation campaign to keep the public in the dark about climate change. Ground-breaking scientist Michael Mann writes about in this struggle in his new book.

The critical study which solidified scientific opinion about the truth of global warming was the "hockey stick graph" discovered by author Michael Mann himself in 1998, and highlighted in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" documentary on global warming. Mann's graph showed global average temperatures slowly decreasing towards a distant new ice age for most of the past 1000 years, only to spike sharply upwards in the last one, like the end of a hockey stick. The hockey stick graph was strong evidence that man-made global warming was real, and was already happening. The hockey stick graph was confirmed by many subsequent scientific studies; the handful of studies, which contradicted it, were found to have critical errors. Among climate scientists, there is no longer any doubt about the reality and seriousness of global warming.

The fossil-fuel industry, composed of multinational coal and oil companies, sought to protect their business interests by sowing public doubt in global warming, and was quick to strike back at climate scientists. They funded think-tanks and websites propagating reports by their own "experts" who cast doubts on the hockey stick. These experts were usually economists and meteorologists/TV weathermen who knew little of climate science, as well as an ever-shrinking minority of climate scientists. The misinformation campaign took advantage of a public and media largely ignorant of science, and unable to appreciate that the real scientific debate on climate change was over.

US congressmen in the thrall of oil and coal lobbyists undertook an official witch-hunt of climate scientists in 2005. Congress was unable to find any problems with the climate scientists' views; but the damage was done. Widespread media coverage of politicians like Senator James Inhofe saying that climate change was "the single greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American public" ensured that doubts about global warming continued in the public mind.

The anti-climate science campaign ultimately descended to criminal acts of hacking and baseless accusations of fraud directed at Mann and his fellow scientists. In the "Climate-gate" incident in 2009, unknown hackers stole thousands of e-mail messages from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in the UK. One particular e-mail from another climate scientist to Mann was repeatedly used as evidence to claim that Mann had used a "trick" to falsify his hockey stick data and was thus able to "hide the decline" in global temperature.

Climate change deniers had a field day. In fact, the word "trick" is commonly used among mathematicians and scientists to describe a clever means of solving a difficult problem, seemingly by magic; it did not imply any wrongdoing. Likewise, the "decline" in that was being hidden was a series of temperature measurements from one particular study acknowledged by the original author to be doubtful due to pollution. A number of subsequent inquiries were conducted, and none found any wrongdoing on the part of climate scientists. Again, the damage was already done; public belief in global warming and political will to tackle it both fell dramatically.

The fog of public doubt created over global warming had long-term consequences; firstly, Barack Obama's attempts at regulating carbon emissions were rejected by the Congress. Secondly, the Climate-gate hacking had been timed to occur just before the Copenhagen summit on global warming in December 2009. Due to doubts raised by Climate-gate as well as Obama's failure to pass any carbon dioxide emissions legislation in the US, Copenhagen failed to produce any meaningful international agreement to prevent global warming.

This failure has left the planet in continued peril of global warming and consequent sea level rise, cyclones and drought. Hurricane Sandy, US/Russian crop failures and high food prices in 2012 are the beginnings of what is in store for us unless the public and politicians start taking real action to replace fossil fuels with nuclear, solar and wind power.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 7, 2013 5:32 PM PST


Open Source ERP
Open Source ERP
by Redhuan D. Oon
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good training manual for Adempiere, May 8, 2010
This review is from: Open Source ERP (Paperback)
Written as courseware for a class in open source enterprise resource planning (ERP), this book is a good way for novices to learn about ERP in general and the Adempiere ERP software project in particular.


ADempiere 3.4 ERP Solutions
ADempiere 3.4 ERP Solutions
by Bayu Cahya Pamungkas
Edition: Paperback
Price: $54.99
26 used & new from $31.84

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handy reference, May 8, 2010
If you're interested in Adempiere open-source ERP, one way to learn about it is to download loads of documents from the web. However, this book brings together lots of information in a convenient volume. Will save a lot of time for a beginner.


Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an: Individual License Single User (Encyclopedia of the Qur'ā N)
Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an: Individual License Single User (Encyclopedia of the Qur'ā N)
by Jane Dammen McAuliffe
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much cheaper than print, and doesn't kill trees, April 22, 2006
This is indispensable for anyone interested in Islamic studies. The price is steep, but cheaper and more environmentally friendly than getting all of the massive printed volumes.


Introduction to the New Testament, Vol. 2: History and Literature of Early Christianity
Introduction to the New Testament, Vol. 2: History and Literature of Early Christianity
by Helmut Koester
Edition: Paperback
Price: $61.60
60 used & new from $16.95

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful scholarly analysis of early Christianity, October 1, 2005
This was by far the best course text on Christianity that I studied while at Harvard Divinity School, and not surprisingly it was written by one of the best professors who taught there. Koester's grasp of the world from which Christianity emerged is simply masterful, and his writing is both clear and succinct.


Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources
Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources
by Martin Lings
Edition: Paperback
62 used & new from $1.98

16 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only one-volume traditional biography available, August 21, 2005
Since Alfred Guillaume's "Life of Muhammad" is no longer in print, this is the only one-volume traditional Muslim biography of Islam's prophet available.

Unfortunately, it relies only on Ibn Hisham's edition of Ibn Ishaq's biography, and so leaves out the whole "Satanic verses" episode. If you want to read that, you'll have to get the translated Meccan volumes of the History of al-Tabari.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 17, 2010 2:02 PM PDT


Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective
Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective
by Amina Wadud
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.95
88 used & new from $3.83

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this, August 21, 2005
Most Muslims are not Arabs, and consequently don't speak Arabic, the language of the Qur'an. So an awful lot of Muslims themselves have never actually read the Qur'anic verses about women and tried to make sense of them. On the other hand, most non-Muslims have never read the Qur'an, and tend to assume that the Muslim view of women is more or less that of the Taliban or the Saudis. This book, written by an progressive Muslim American academic with a Ph.D. in Arabic, should be essential reading for both the above groups.


Readings in the Qur'an: Selected and Translated
Readings in the Qur'an: Selected and Translated
by Kenneth Cragg
Edition: Paperback
24 used & new from $1.59

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful arrangement of verses by topic, March 26, 2005
Wish I'd had one of these years ago. One of the big difficulties of investigating any particular Qur'anic view or story is that the relevant verses are scattered throughout the book. So one spends a lot of time with an index or concordance. Fortunately, Cragg has organized about 2/3rds of the Qur'anic text according to subject matter in a very readable format.


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