Sunday, 20. June 2021
No Berlin cinemas + 1 thought (on planetary complexity & whether CCC groks it)

After a hard downward section in the rollercoast ride of life, mainly due to the third CoVID wave in Germany, I am resurfacing now that normalcy is beginning to return in Berlin...

So perhaps this photo, following, has a second meaning: Flush all that strife and the dark thoughts of the last 6+ months away. All that incredulity & worry - & some anger - about the brainless deeds/words of the G.O.P. (yep, the party leadership as well as the big-baby-screamin' exiting Ex), how people I've known for a long time had turned increasingly petty, Berlin politics, the ugly growing power of streaming, the dissing/overpraising see-saw of "Justice League" movie directors...

(But do read the more optimistic P.S., too!)


(My apartment toilet incl. attempt to reduce plastic use.)

CCC won

I want to start this further attempt at scepticism of Catastrophic Climate Change, which is - 15 years after good ol' Al kick-started it with his "Truth" video - seriously becoming en vogue now in all but high finance and crochetry news, with a story that begins quite small.

You see, I like my toilet to smell good & help cleaning efforts, by using a soapy freshener "brick" (yellow & blue on the photo) that gets slightly smaller with each flush - you know that stuff, right? (No need to explain how it works.)

Since a few years the manufacturer of this particular brand offers "refill" bricks for an emptied plastic holder; at first in all supermarkets, now in about 1 in 6. (Hey, no one is talking about plastic straws any more, right?)

Problem is, if you use the refills, your plastic holder has a weakness at its first bend point, where you "hang" it on the rim: After a few months of moving that holder 1-2 times a week (cleaning etc.) it broke at that bend point; 'tis not really designed to last as long as the refills, I warrant... :-P

So I pushed on through and tied the rest of the holder to a string. Now the brick still does what it should for non-solid events; for solid ones you need to remember to first take it out and let it hang free on the side, then put it back after flushing! :-P:-p

Aside from this let's-act-as-if-we-care attitude of the manufacturers, I am however trying to make another point here, entirely: I realised that the way the brick holder moves when doing the non-solid flush is a good example of how complex the physical world can be!

Because, you see, a toilet flushing is a daily example of turbulent flow (of water, in this case). Physicists understood long ago that there's two types of liquid or gas flow we experience - laminar (e.g. when you turn on your tap in a basin, and get a straight smooth jet of water) and turbulent (what happens to the incoming water when you flush your run-of-the-mill toilet). The former is well-described, i.e. predictable by a small set of formulae.

Describing turbulent flow accurately, however, is a no-no, until this day. Of course, we now live in a world where quantum physics tells us that certain data about particles are also always unpredictable; even worse, that an observer, just by looking, influences outcomes. However - as, once again, only a recent set of MCU movies has taught us ;-) - the "quantum world" merely starts at the very tiniest levels at 1/10**23 cm, or smaller. (That last bit was not in the movies...)

But even in the macro world there are physical processes that are so chaotic, that they cannot be precisely described. Getting turbulent flow right would be one of the great challenges still ahead, one of the greatest - incl. quantum - physicists once said, long ago.

I can see that every day! The way the plastic brick holder jumps to the left and the right during a flush is never exactly the same! How many times, how long it will stay on each "side"...

And this is one of the main peeves I have with climate change models. They do concentrate on the surface temperatures of our planet only, but that's still a hell of a large field of study. Are the models really up to simulating all that well enough, to predict interlocking systems behaviour in several decades' time?

Look at the short film provided by the Wikipedia entry on "Atmospheric Boundary Level", which describes the chaotic part of the atmosphere that starts from ground level up. (It's an OGG file you can download; you may have to install VLC player to actually play it.) See all those air flow arrows, with different speeds and temperatures, derived from measurements made in that single month in L.A.?

Complex interactions like this abound on our planet, not only on the surface, but higher up (cloud formation is another deep subject of study) and lower down, esp. in the ocean. (I got onto the latter, by currently incidentally reading HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER for the first time...)

Accurate predictions for complex systems are hard! You can usually measure the accuracy of your predictive theory in percent - for physics experiments, this accuracy needs to be 95% or higher for a thesis to be confirmed as supported by reality. Do you think the CCC models' predictions will ever reach this accuracy (well ahead of time of course, since that's what's being sold to us - our pallid future)?

I'm saying that there's a lot of grey below the CCC black edge, that I get told all CCC believers must remain at. Only the remaining ("few") deniers apparently attempt to handle the grey - or of course just propose it's all complete bullshit, which I for one find foolish.

The world is a wonderfully huge place. Let's dial down our self-hate for all the bad things we've done to it, and get to understanding it better, in every nook. And then act, without panic. Rather than keep repeating one element's name like a prayer in every debate, and ignoring everything else that needs to be done in the eco-system - locally (!) and globally - at the same time. (Like the current droughty days city trees in Germany are experiencing.*)

P.S.: Naturally many good things have also happened in recent months - early inoculation invites, rediscovery of an acqaintance from far Southern times, from decades (!) ago, letting ("ZOOMed") RPG back into my life after a very long hiatus...

(* Of course I acknowledge that current climate behaviour is weird; but CCC is saying that it will become steadily worse for decades - and that I want to see for myself! In the meantime I'm watering some trees near my apt./work. / ** When you see these, please say "to the power of" out loud! :-))

... Comment