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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Give Peace a Chance: Turn Up the Heat!

What was done
Historians typically point to political, economic, cultural and ethnic unrest as the chief causes of war and civil strife. In the present study, Zhang et al. argue that changes in climate play a key role as well; and to examine their thesis, they compared proxy climate records with historical data on wars, social unrest and dynastic transitions in China from the late Tang to Qing Dynasties (mid-9th century to early 20th century).

What was learned
War frequencies, peak war clusters, nationwide periods of social unrest and dynastic transitions were all significantly associated with cold as opposed to warm phases of China's paleotemperature reconstructions. More specifically, all three distinctive peak war clusters (defined as more than 50 wars in a 10-year time period) occurred during cold phases, as did all seven periods of nationwide social unrest and nearly 90 percent of all dynastic changes that decimated this largely agrarian society. As a result, the authors conclude that climate change was "one of the most important factors in determining the dynastic cycle and alternation of war and peace in ancient China."

What it means
Historically, warmer climates have been much more effective than cooler climates in terms of helping to "keep the peace" in China. Based on this model, perhaps we should all pray for a little global warming to give peace a better chance worldwide.

Reference
Zhang, D., Jim, C., Lin, C., He, Y. and Lee, F. 2005. Climate change, social unrest and dynastic transition in ancient China. Chinese Science Bulletin 50: 137-144.

Source


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12 comments:

Anonymous said...
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i eat puppies said...

Once again, Shott, you've left me speechless..., almost.

It's an intersting correlation you've mentioned, but of course, has nothing to do with our current situation. IF even some of the predictions of the consequences of gloabal climate change come true (rising sea levels, increased incidence of mosquito-borne illness, famine-inducing droughts, etc) they will produce mass migrations, particularly from coastal areas.

This will result in increased armed conflict as countries seek to defend and/or expand their borders.

Oh, but don't take my word for it. Just ask the Pentagon.

Before I post the links, keep in mind that "Global Warming" is a misnomer, as this warming is predicted to induce climate change, which in turn can lead to global or local cooling (or not). So again your hypothesis that global warming is good, may fail, b/c global warming may actually lead to cooler temperatures, which your hypothesis says would lead to greater armed conflict.

So I guess you're damned if you do...

Here's the executive summary:

http://www.ems.org/climate/exec_pentagon_climatechange.pdf

Here's a link that will lead you to the full report. Scroll to the bottom:

http://www.ems.org/climate/pentagon_climate_change.html#report

James Howard Shott said...

You realize, of course, pup, that I had nothing to do with the piece, except to post it to my site, which I did because I thought it provocative, and I took no personal position on the theory.

My theory is that "global warming" is a natural phenomenon that occurs in cycles, and has been doing so for as long as the Earth has had a stable (more or less) environment. I think nothing man does or has done, has produced any significant effect, or perhaps even any measurable effect, on our macro environment.

James Howard Shott said...

By the way, pup, thanks for the links. I check them out a little later.

i eat puppies said...

Yeah, I figuer you were just putting it out for argument's sake. I was a little heated though, having come from the anti-war parade here in DC (as an observer). Those people really get to me. Saw Cindy Sheehan speak- doesn't seem to have anything new to say.

Regarding human impact on the earth, well, the majority of climatologists out there disagree with you, but I guess what do they know.

James Howard Shott said...

I have lost all respect for Cindy Sheehan. She has become, if she weren't always, a political shill, not a grieving mother. A grieving mother I can accept, but using her son's death, or allowing others to use it, as she is now doing, removes whatever credibility she may have had.

I think you are overstating the case regarding the majority of climatologists. I think the field is pretty well split on the subject. At least from what I've seen and heard. Perhaps each of us tends to see and hear more of the positions of those people that support our position.

i eat puppies said...

You must watch FoxNews. The field isn't split, it's closer to a 5-1 ratio among professionals who believe it is real vs. those who don't (coincidentally, a significant number of those scientists who don't believe in GW/CC receive money directly or indirectly from Exxon and other fossil fuel companies).

The reason it seems like the split isn't there is 3 fold.

1) The conservative media is very good at obfuscating the truth, for instance saying the debate isn't settled (which technically is true- as long as you have one person disagreeing, there is a debate). They also pathologically misrepresent facts and quote out of context (and in the case of "entertainers" like Rush, lie outright).

2) A "liberal" MSM who have been cowed by the conservative movement. They feel they always have to present both sides of the debate equally, even if one side is greatly outweighed by the other, lest they be accused of having a leftist agenda. Take for example the evolution/ID debate. Very few professional scientists consider ID science, yet the media reports it as a theory in the scientific sense. If they point out that it is not a theory in the scientific sense, well, they're communists (yes, I know the majority of the US pop believes not just in ID, but creationism).

3) An actual liberal media who is so irate, no one wants to listen to them.

i eat puppies said...

This is funny

http://www.uclick.com/client/wpc/nq/2005/09/27/index.html

James Howard Shott said...

The field isn't split, it's closer to a 5-1 ratio among professionals who believe it is real vs. those who don't (coincidentally, a significant number of those scientists who don't believe in GW/CC receive money directly or indirectly from Exxon and other fossil fuel companies).

I’d be interested to see some supporting source for your 5-to-1 claim, as well as your claim that the antis are in the pocket of the oil companies. Who funds the proponents of Global Warming?

1) The conservative media is very good at obfuscating the truth,

That point might carry some weight, if the conservative media was dominant. The dominant media is still heavily liberal, and predisposed to “Global Warming bias.”

2) A "liberal" MSM who have been cowed by the conservative movement. They feel they always have to present both sides of the debate equally, even if one side is greatly outweighed by the other, lest they be accused of having a leftist agenda.

The MSM does not present both sides; it pays lip service to conservative positions, despite the evidence and the charges that the MSM is liberal. However, the media is obligated by journalistic standards (mostly forgotten) to present both sides objectively and without favor.

I wouldn’t expect any scientists to support ID, unless their own field has failed to prove its case, which is precisely what has happened. There are quite a few scientists who either accept ID as a possibility, or embrace it outright. We’ve been down this road before, but if Science’s theory can’t be proved, who’s to say that ID isn’t true? If it is true, wouldn’t it then be a scientific fact?

3) An actual liberal media who is so irate, no one wants to listen to them.

The MSM’s loss of audience is due not so much to their being irate, but to their inability to provide honest, unbiased coverage.

i eat puppies said...

OK, responding in numbers to your responses:

1) The "Global Warming bias" is a result of the overwhelming determinations by climatologists that global warming and climate change are real and a cause for concern. Just b/c the coverage reflects the dearth of professional scientists agreeing with the conservative view does not make it biased. Such a bunch of cry-babies, considering they have so much power.

Even if the MSM were liberal, which it isn't, what's the solution? A conservative dominated media? Although I'd believe _you_ if you said "No, a neutral media," unfortunately your leaders would not be satisfied with that. They simply want the deck stacked in their favor instead. Just look at what they're trying to do with PBS.

2) First, there is no evidence of a MSM liberal bias. Only conservative think-tank misinformation. You can use statistics to prove anything... if you choose the right ones (see my response to your most recent post re: hurricanes).

Regarding ID, science has not failed to prove their case, they _have_ proved their case. Their case is, by judging and rejudging the evidence, evolution is the most plausible explanantion, not _the_ explanation (this is called a theory in science, and is different from the "theory" ID claims to be). It is the ID'ers who have failed in their case. But no matter, b/c ID is, at its core, a media campaign, not an effort to actually discover and establish truth. They want God in the schools.

3) Here, you confuse the MSM with my definition of the liberal media (I should have been clearer). When I say liberal media, I'm talking dailyKos.com, Air America, etc. And when you take their counterparts on the left (O'Reilly and Fox, Rush, powerline.com, redstate.org, etc) your comment regarding an inability to provide honest and unbiased coverage holds for them as well. I would just argue that the popularity of conservative media over liberal media (at least in non-internet mediums) is a result of the phenomenon of consevatives being just more willing to drink the Kool-Aid, to quote you friend O'Reilly. And why shouldn't they be- they control all 3 branches of government.

James Howard Shott said...

Talk about drinking Kool-Aid.

Your entire comment was sloshing in the stuff.

i eat puppies said...

HA! ZING!