Book Review: Exposing the Big Game

Exposing the Big Game

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Book Review: Exposing the Big Game

Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport

by Jim Robertson

Earth Books, 2012

Exposing the Big Game, Jim Roberton’s fire-breathing jeremiad on the evils of hunting, opens with a passage that deserves quotation in full:

During the nineteenth century, a serial killer known as Buffalo Bill terrorized the American West, shooting and dismembering his victims who numbered in the thousands. But no special agents from the FBI headquarters in Quantico were ever sent to stop Bill or the procession of copycat killers joining in the fun. The carnage was endorsed and encouraged; the targets, though gregarious, caring and benign, were nonhuman after all.

Robertson refers to the near-extinction of the American buffalo as “a holocaust to the tenth power,” with over 60 million bison massacred, sometimes by ‘hunters’ shooting from the windows of passing trains…

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Hunting: the Sport of Sociopaths

Exposing the Big Game

How can some people torment and kill animals and call it a “sport?” They must have the same merciless attitude as Canadian pig farmer, hands-on butcher and serial killer, Willy Pickton.

When asked by a Vancouver police interrogator to reveal the locations of the 49 women he’d murdered over his career (some of whose remains were ground up, mixed with pig meat and sold or given away to friends or family), Pickton asked, “Why should I do that?” To which the investigator replied, “For the families. They need to know.”

Willie’s chilling comeback summed up his entire outlook on life, “Not my problem, shit happens.”

Pickton was clearly a sociopath (or psychopath, if you prefer), and so must be those who subscribe to his “shit happens” philosophy. While a lot of folks are pretty unsympathetic about things that don’t directly affect them, hunters (like serial killers) take it a step…

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Warm Arctic Storm Tearing Sea Ice to Shreds amidst Big 2016 Heat Spike

robertscribbler

Abnormal. Unprecedented. Remarkable. Extreme. These words are supposed to describe unusual events, but in the weird world we’re now entering, the extreme has become commonplace. Some people call this emerging state of affairs ‘the new normal.’ A more direct descriptor is ‘spiraling into climate chaos.’

Chaos is an apt word to describe the scene in the Arctic this week as one of the most powerful summer cyclones ever to form rages in a place that has just experienced a record-shattering influx of atmospheric heat. This storm is hammering the sea ice, pushing it nearly to the second-lowest extent on record. But worse may be still to come as a very weak and diffuse ice pack is predicted to face off against a storm that’s expected to significantly reintensify on both Friday and Tuesday.

Record Arctic Heat

The Arctic. It’s a place we typically associate with frozen things. Due to the…

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Zero Percent Contained — Blue Cut Fire Explodes to 30,000 Acres, Forces 82,000 People to Flee

robertscribbler

Rising temperatures. Deepening drought. Worsening wildfires. Such are sadly the new climate realities for the State of California in a record hot world.

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Yesterday, amid 100 degree heat, blustery winds, and on the back of a devastating drought that is about to complete its fifth year, a dangerous wildfire sparked in the Canjon Pass in San Bernardino County. Originating near highway 15 at 10:30 AM Tuesday, the blaze fed on the heat, strong winds, and bone-dry brush. In just two hours, the fire had exploded to 1,500 acres in size. Fanning out, it began to threaten homes and buildings within this well-known section of Southern California.

(Tuesday feed tracking the early hours of the Blue Cut fire provided by CBS News on Youtube.)

By early afternoon, emergency officials were scrambling to get ahead of the fire. More than 750 firefighters were mobilized as neighborhood after neighborhood emptied…

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Powerful Cyclone to Blow Hole in Thinning Arctic Sea Ice

robertscribbler

Back in 2012, a powerful Arctic cyclone smashed the sea ice with days of wind and powerful waves. This year, a storm that’s nearly as powerful threatens to make a similar mark on late-season melt. With a very unstable Arctic weather pattern in play, there’s an outlier possibility the dynamic is setting up for something even more dramatic by late August.

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Earlier today, a strong gale roared up out of the Laptev Sea north of central Siberia. Feeding on the abnormally warm, moist air over the Barents Sea and the hot air over northwestern Siberia, the storm collided with comparatively cold air over the central Arctic. The differences between hot/cold and damp/dry air can really bomb out a storm system.

Arctic Cyclone

(Storms, heat and moisture feed up through a high-amplitude wave in the Jet Stream over northern Europe and Siberia and into a developing Arctic cyclone over the Laptev Sea during…

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For Louisiana, the Rains of Climate Change Fall Hard — More Heavy Storms Expected to Hit Central U.S.

robertscribbler

Imagine, for a moment, that the Earth’s atmosphere is simply a big storm-generating engine. Imagine that the ignition trigger for this engine comes in the form of heat rising off the land and ocean surface. And imagine that the engine’s fuel is water vapor evaporated by that heat.

Keep the level of heat and water vapor constant, and you’ll get a continuous, steady stream of storms firing off. But increase the heat and water vapor content, as we have over the past 137 or so years, and the storms that engine produces become a whole hell of a lot more powerful.

In this context, in the last few days record atmospheric and ocean-surface heat helped to produce some of the highest water vapor levels ever recorded over Louisiana. This extreme moisture content, in turn, sparked some of the worst flooding ever seen for the state. From the Pacific Standard:

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Smashing Through 490 — Fragmenting Prospects for Avoiding 2 C Warming

robertscribbler

“The IPCC indicated in its fourth assessment report that achieving a 2 C target would mean stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at around 445 to 490 ppm CO2 equivalent or lower. Higher levels would substantially increase the risks of harmful and irreversible climate change.” –Johan Eliasch

NOAA's Greenhouse Gas Index

(NOAA’s greenhouse gas index shows that CO2e concentration for 2015 averaged 485 ppm. Given recent rates of rise, the 2016 average should be near 490 ppm CO2e. At the latest, this key threshold will be crossed some time during 2017. Image source: NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory.)

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There are a few things we know about climate change that should really keep us up at night. The first is that the world is warming, and this warming of the Earth, in so many ways, is dangerous to human beings and all the other innocent creatures living here.

The second is…

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Sahara-Like Heat Marches North, Sparks Scores of Massive Wildfires Across Portugal

robertscribbler

Over the past week, Sahara Desert-like weather conditions marched north into Spain and Portugal. This extreme, abnormal heat brought with it a rash of severe wildfires. And, unfortunately, these are exactly the kinds of conditions we should expect to see more and more of as a result of human-forced climate change.

(Wildfire consumes homes, businesses and vehicles on Madeira Island, Portugal on August 10, 2016. Meanwhile, scores of wildfires are also burning over the mainland. Video Source: CV.)

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Yesterday, the temperature hit a hot, dry 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) just west of Lisbon, Portugal — temperatures more typical to the Sahara desert hundreds of miles to the south. On any normal August day, this Atlantic coastal town would expect to see readings around 28 C (83 F).

To the north, a sprawling heat dome of high pressure has tucked beneath a big jet stream wave for…

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NASA Map Shows Large Portions of Greenland are Melting from Below

robertscribbler

During recent years, as human fossil-fuel emissions have forced the Earth to warm, observations of Greenland’s surface has indicated a rising rate of melt. What has been less well-observed is melt rates beneath the ice and near the ice base. This is important because the pooling of water beneath the great ice sheet can help speed its movement toward ocean outlets, along with accumulating heat at the base of the ice — which can also quicken the pace of overall melt.

A new scientific study headed by NASA researchers has developed one of the first comprehensive maps of melt along Greenland’s basal zone, where the ice contacts the ground surface. What they have found is that large portions of Greenland are melting from below:

Greenland basal thaw map

(New, first-of-its-kind map shows extensive melt along the Greenland ice sheet base. Melt in this region is a sign that heat is building up beneath the ice…

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Hot Gulf of Mexico Hurls Rain Bombs at Florida and the U.S. Gulf Coast

robertscribbler

Rain bomb. It’s a new kind of severe rainstorm that’s capable of overwhelming a city’s flood-handling capabilities in just an hour or two. Of generating 2-inch-plus per hour rainfall events in odd places and at unexpected times. A type of severe storm that’s been enabled by all the added heat and atmospheric moisture loading resulting from human-forced climate change.

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High Atmospheric Water Vapor NE Gulf

(High levels of atmospheric water vapor over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico is fueling the potential for severe, damaging and life-threatening rainfall events across the Gulf Coast this week even as numerous severe flood events occur across the globe. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

Lately, due in large part to an atmosphere and ocean surface that’s about 1.2 degrees Celsius hotter than 1880s values and related added atmospheric moisture, the powerful, damaging, and life-threatening rain bombs have been going off hard and heavy across the globe. Last week, Ellicott City…

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