Friday, July 21, 2017

When Accountability Is A Plague - 4

"Mack The Finger said to Louie the king"
A bit more than seven years ago, Dredd Blog began this series that is focused on a fundamental characteristic of democracies, which is also a characteristic missing in non-democracies.

So, as despots know, remove accountability and you have removed democracy ... and replaced it with demockracy.

The shocking news today is about whether or not the president can pardon himself, his family, and his staff, but not only that, an associated discussion to that news is "when will the president fire the Special Investigator Mueller" (Washington Post: Can Trump pardon anyone? Himself? Can he fire Mueller? Your questions, answered).

The essence of this discussion was portrayed, in the first post of this series, as:
Most any academician will have a rap for this subject of accountability, which will go something like:
Accountability is the missing conceptual link in the current debate over how best to advance democracy. Democracy affirms the need to justify decisions made by citizens and their representatives: it is a system that connects the values of the individual with the decisions of the collective. The preferences of citizens revealed by fair elections (representation) or organized and definitive discussion (deliberation) are the starting points of democratic legitimacy.
A clearly defined accountability system is crucial to any system of representative democracy because citizens, through their vote, legitimize or give authority to leaders to act.
(The Accountability Ladder, PDF, emphasis added). As it turns out, accountability is an important, required, and essential ingredient for U.S. Democracy.
(When Accountability Is A Plague). There is a parallel concept that goes along with the notion of accountability, in the sense of the other side of that coin, which is called immunity:
This is offered to replace the more difficult way, which is "follow the money", because that way has become very difficult, what with all the secret offshore banking systems that are now operational:
The mantra for such investigations used to be "follow the money", but (since that requires looking into offshore banking systems) for we amateurs there is an easier mantra: "follow the immunity."

Ask "who has committed these crimes against the American people and their Constitution?"

Then list their names, and then finally ask: "have they been held accountable?"

If not, follow their dealings and their associates through the shadows, because since they are immune from prosecution for their crimes they have committed with impunity, they are in with those who have pulled off the coup (A Tale of Coup Cities - 4).
(ACLU vs. Clapper, Alexander, Hagel, Holder, and Mueller - 3). Take for example, Dick Cheney, who still brags about torture in public, but fears no prosecution.
(Follow The Immunity). The mantra "follow the money" leads to a place on Highway 61 that is not the end of the road.

Assume that following the money leads to  a criminal indictment of friends, family, and officials of the president, and that he pardons them.

They are then immune from accountability.

If any administration gets too cozy with pardons, which extinguish accountability, the next stop on Highway 61 is the land of impunity:
"Impunity arises from a failure by States to meet their obligations to investigate violations; to take appropriate measures in respect of the perpetrators, particularly in the area of justice, by ensuring that those suspected of criminal responsibility are prosecuted, tried and duly punished; to provide victims with effective remedies and to ensure that they receive reparation for the injuries suffered; to ensure the inalienable right to know the truth about violations; and to take other necessary steps to prevent a recurrence of violations."
(Wikipedia). Think of the dictator of North Korea as a matured form of impunity, and think of the current president of the Philippines as a sprouting example.

It all starts with a decline in accountability, and accelerates when impeachment is off the table (Duterte impeachment attempt fails) due to gerrymandering (Gerrymandering - Geological Deceit?, 2, 3, 4).

The previous post in this series is here.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The World According To Measurements - 7

Fig. 1 Climate Central
Since the Thermodynamic Equation Of Seawater - 2010 (TEOS-10) became available some have wondered about it.

The freely available toolkit comes in several programming languages and can be easily downloaded (TEOS-10 Software).

As to relevant changes brought about by TEOS-10, nothing has changed with regard to taking measurements, a point that the scientists involved emphasize:
"Importantly, while Absolute Salinity (g/kg) is the salinity variable that is needed in order to calculate density and other seawater properties, the
Fig. 2 Sea level change measurements
salinity which should be archived in national data bases continues to be the measured salinity variable, Practical Salinity (PSS-78). To avoid confusion while the use of Practical Salinity in scientific publications is phased out, published values of salinity should be specifically identified as being either Practical Salinity with the symbol SP or Absolute Salinity with the symbol SA."
(TEOS). In other words, keep on measuring in situ, but analyze those measurements with the new techniques that will result in more accurate and coherent discussions.

The heat being stored in the oceans takes exacting measurements and processes in order to track and study it:
"Roemmich estimates that at depths from 500 to 2000 meters, oceans are warming by .002 degrees Celsius every year, and in the top 500 meters, they’re gaining .005 degrees C. annually. While that may not seem like a
Fig. 3 Sea level impacts compared
big temperature jump, it amounts to a staggering load of heat when multiplied throughout the depths of this immense system that covers 70 percent of the planet.

Temperature gains are larger at the sea surface, which heats faster than the ocean as a whole. The top 75 meters have warmed an average of .01 degrees C per year since 1971."
(Yale, cf Fig. 1). The ".002" and ".005" values are tiny because the ocean is so voluminous that it can take a truly vast amount of heat, but it can also distribute that heat widely enough that detecting it in the deeps is a science in itself.
Fig. 4 Practical and Absolute Salinity

That said, I prepared some graphs to show how I distinguish between the "practical salinity" (measured in the ocean "in situ") and "absolute salinity" so as to keep the two concepts clean.

As the TEOS site suggested ("the salinity which should be archived in national data bases continues to be the measured salinity variable") I store the in situ data that I download from the World Ocean Database (WOD) in an SQL database in the original values (except the ~1% that are out of bounds, as noted here).

Fig. 5 Conservative and In Situ Temperatures
I like to be transparent so I prepared some graphs using a software module that processes both SA ("Absolute Salinity") and SP ("Practical Salinity" or in situ or measured salinity) separately.

The graph at Fig. 4 compares Absolute Salinity with Practical Salinity, and the graph at  Fig. 5 compares the TEOS-10 concept "Conservative Temperature" with the in situ or in place measurements stored in the WOD database.
Fig. 6 Volume Change Comparison

I even did a graph that compares thermosteric volume change using Absolute Salinity and Conservative Temperature (TEOS concepts) with thermosteric volume change using measured temperature and salinity (Fig. 6).

These graphs use different colors for each type, and use a granularity that makes it easier to see the differences than panel graphs do (Fig. 3).

That said, it is still obvious that the relevant "thermal" condition is not expansion (it is contraction) no matter which type of graph is used for comparison.

The previous post in this series is here.

Lyrics to All Along The Watchtower available here ...