Tag Archives: unlike

Most Ohio conservatives want to pay for renewables and stop propping up coal.

Here’s the idea: Build underwater barriers in front of the glaciers most vulnerable to collapse, keeping warm ocean water from sloshing in to melt them.

Princeton glaciology postdoc Michael Wolovick presented this concept at the American Geophysical Union conference in December, as the Atlantic reports.

The Antarctic glaciers Wolovick studies are subject to disastrous feedback loops: The more they melt, the more they are exposed to melt-inducing seawater. Recent studies have suggested these massive stores of ice could collapse much faster than previously thought, potentially raising sea levels by 5 to 15 feet by the end of the century (that’s seriously bad news for coastal cities).

Wolovick has been researching the feasibility of slowing that collapse with ‘sills’ constructed out of sand and rock along the fronts of these vulnerable glaciers. Unlike a seawall, they would be entirely underwater, but would keep warm ocean water from reaching a glacier’s vulnerable base.

That could stall glacial retreat dramatically, and maybe even reverse it. In Wolovick’s virtual experiments, even the least successful version of the sills slowed a glacier’s collapse by 400 or 500 years.

It’s all still a huge if, Wolovick admits, that requires more research. But if it works, it could buy some crucial time against sea-level rise.

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Most Ohio conservatives want to pay for renewables and stop propping up coal.

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Why Have Teen Abortion Rates Plummeted?

Mother Jones

In the New York Times today, Scott Arbeiter writes about abortion:

The Guttmacher Institute reported last month that the rate of abortions per 1,000 women has fallen to the lowest rate since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. While the causes for this decrease are complex, many of us who are pro-life found this to be good news.

I’m not sure it’s all that complicated, especially for teen abortions. Take a look at this chart, which uses Guttmacher data on teen pregnancy rates and teen abortion rates:

As you can see, the teen abortion rate almost precisely followed the teen pregnancy rate from 1979-88 and 1995-2011. So there’s not a big mystery about abortion per se: when teens get pregnant less, they get fewer abortions. The exception is 1988-95. For some reason, teen abortion rates declined fairly dramatically even though pregnancy rates stayed about the same. So there are two interesting questions here:

Why did the teen pregnancy rate go down? The most obvious possibility is increased contraceptive use, but since 1995, at least, that doesn’t really seem to be the case (1995-2006 here, 2007-12 here).1 Another possibility is that teens became less impulsive starting around 1990 thanks to lower rates of lead poisoning.

What happened in 1988-95? Beats me. Teen pregnancy rates were fairly flat. Ditto for contraceptive use. But the abortion rate plummeted by a third.

The primary answer to the question of declining teen abortion rates is that teens are simply getting pregnant a lot less than they used to. That’s the issue to focus on.

UPDATE: A reader emails with a possible explanation for the 1988-95 mystery:

As a child of the 80s who sat through many health classes, I think you may be missing an important factor in the decline in teen pregnancy: AIDS. In the 1988-1995 period you describe, I can tell you that it was drilled into teenagers’ heads that unprotected sex would lead to AIDS and death. This was the era of Magic Johnson, Philadelphia, TLC’s Waterfalls, etc. Unlike earlier in the 80s, AIDS was no longer seen as confined to homosexual communities. Relatedly, condoms became widespread and “cool” for teenagers, in a way they weren’t in the 70s and 80s.

Maybe! It sounds pretty plausible, anyway.

1Data on teen contraceptive use is frustratingly hard to get. If anyone knows of a reliable data series that goes back to the 70s, I’d be obliged. It’s also worth noting that although overall contraceptive use has been fairly flat since 1995, the use of highly effective methods has increased.

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Why Have Teen Abortion Rates Plummeted?

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Here’s Why "Repeal and Delay" Is Suddenly So Hot Among Republicans

Mother Jones

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As long as we’re talking about health care this morning,1 it’s worth mentioning why Republicans are suddenly so gung-ho about “repeal and delay”—that is, repealing Obamacare now but waiting a couple of years to replace it with something else.

The official excuse is that health care is hard. Sure, Republicans have had six years to come up with something since the passage of Obamacare, but dammit, that’s just not enough time! Unlike Democrats, who jammed Obamacare down everyone’s throats in a mere 14 months, Republicans want to do the job right. They care about policy details, you see?

Does this sound unlikely? Your instincts are sound. Both Paul Ryan and Tom Price have legislative templates that could be turned into statutory language in a few months if Republicans wanted to. So why don’t they want to?

There are two reasons. First, they’re hoping that the mere passage of a repeal plan will cause insurers to abandon the exchanges and destroy Obamacare without any Republican fingerprints on it. But that’s dangerous. It could leave a lot of registered voters completely uncovered until the replacement plan passes. Even worse, there’s a chance this could destroy the entire individual health insurance market, not just Obamacare. That would earn them the ire of the insurance industry, the health care industry, and plenty of Republican voters.

So why take that chance? Because of the second reason for delay: If Republicans offer up a replacement plan immediately, it will inevitably be compared to Obamacare. And that won’t be pretty. There will be lots of losers, and every one of them will suddenly barrage their representatives with complaints. The media will aid and abet this with endless point-by-point comparisons of the two programs. The contrast with Obamacare will be so plainly and obviously negative that even outlets like Fox News will have trouble spinning the GOP alternative as a good thing.

Smart Republicans are keenly aware of this, and under no circumstances do they want to unveil a concrete plan that can be concretely compared to Obamacare. This is the reason for delay. The rest is just pretense.

1Remember, it’s still morning in California.

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Here’s Why "Repeal and Delay" Is Suddenly So Hot Among Republicans

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Climate change is driving fish crazy, literally.

Turns out the largest sea creatures are most likely to go extinct, according to research published today in Science.

The research, led by Stanford’s Jonathan Payne, compared modern marine vertebrates and mollusks to their ancestors in the fossil record, all the way up to the last mass extinction 66 million years ago. Today, unlike in any previous time studied, a 10 percent increase in body size means a 13 percent increase in extinction risk.

This differs from a run-of-the-mill mass extinction, when your likelihood of dying off has a lot more to do with, say, where you live in the ocean or where you fall on the evolutionary tree.

And the biggest-is-not-best pattern has human fingerprints all over it — just think of the mastodon and moa.

“Humans, with our technology, have made ourselves into predators that can go after very large animals,” says Payne. But there’s an upside. Unlike the huge environmental changes that spurred mass extinctions in the past (and perhaps the near future), human activity has been known to do a quick 180.

After all, the oceans have seen very little extinction in the Anthropocene. “We still have a huge opportunity to save almost everything,” Payne says.

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Climate change is driving fish crazy, literally.

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Obama brags about low gas prices, but he shouldn’t.

Turns out the largest sea creatures are most likely to go extinct, according to research published today in Science.

The research, led by Stanford’s Jonathan Payne, compared modern marine vertebrates and mollusks to their ancestors in the fossil record, all the way up to the last mass extinction 66 million years ago. Today, unlike in any previous time studied, a 10 percent increase in body size means a 13 percent increase in extinction risk.

This differs from a run-of-the-mill mass extinction, when your likelihood of dying off has a lot more to do with, say, where you live in the ocean or where you fall on the evolutionary tree.

And the biggest-is-not-best pattern has human fingerprints all over it — just think of the mastodon and moa.

“Humans, with our technology, have made ourselves into predators that can go after very large animals,” says Payne. But there’s an upside. Unlike the huge environmental changes that spurred mass extinctions in the past (and perhaps the near future), human activity has been known to do a quick 180.

After all, the oceans have seen very little extinction in the Anthropocene. “We still have a huge opportunity to save almost everything,” Payne says.

Original link – 

Obama brags about low gas prices, but he shouldn’t.

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