• Member Since 28th Oct, 2012
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Particle Physics and Pony Fiction Experimentalist

More Blog Posts319

  • 1 week
    Rainbow Lasers

    In Spring Breakdown:

    Rainbow Dash: I'm talkin' rainbow lasers!
    Sunset Shimmer: Is that a thing?

    Fascinating question...

    Read More

    9 comments · 146 views
  • 2 weeks
    Felicia the Fermilab Ferret

    Nice to see this long overlooked player in particle physics research now getting the recognition she deserves:
    Why Physicists Tried to Put a Ferret in a Particle Accelerator

    11 comments · 101 views
  • 2 weeks
    The Art of Polar Vortex Explanation

    New story out now. Check it out here:

    EPolar Vortex
    Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle seek to track down the causes of extreme cold weather at the Cloudsdale Weather Factory.
    Pineta · 4.6k words  ·  37  0 · 292 views

    Read More

    1 comments · 122 views
  • 3 weeks
    Put It To The People March London Tomorrow

    If British politics were an Equestria Girls film, we would now be at the scene where the Prime Minister has transformed into a megalomaniac winged demon, and is now hovering above the Palace of Westminster, sending out shots of dark magic while cackling with laughter, yet frustrated with people’s efforts to thwart her evil plans.

    Read More

    35 comments · 307 views
  • 4 weeks
    Polar Vortex

    Preparing for my next story. Tell me, dear readers, what do you think the Polar Vortex is in Equestria?

    1. A band of westerly wind that swirls around 50km above the polar cap during summer months. Usually stable, but can be disturbed by disruptive weather created by inexperienced weather ponies, with unforeseen consequences?

    Read More

    16 comments · 145 views

More on Clouds · 12:18am February 18th

On Friday, while thousands of school students were taking to the streets to call for radical action to fight global warming, I went to a lecture by Bjorn Stevens from the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, who is widely regarded as a world leading expert on clouds. This was a physics talk, mostly about the way clouds interact with radiation, the role they play in transporting water and energy in the atmosphere, and how to include them in climate models to improve the accuracy and better predict the impacts of climate change.

This is important. Water is a greenhouse gas, like carbon dioxide. As the planet warms, more water evaporates, increasing the greenhouse effect as water vapour in the atmosphere absorbs more thermal infra-red radiation from the Earth. However this is partially offset as more water vapour means more clouds, which reflect solar radiation so less energy reaches the surface.

There is still a lot of uncertainty about how these feedback loops work, and learning more will be necessary to know how best to fight climate change.

I found a public talk he gave is available online. Well worth watching if you want to spend an hour learning about this most nebulous branch of knowledge.

However this was not all physics. He also talked a bit on more the more fluffy side of cloud watching. This is a topic where science, philosophy, art, and many types of culture meet. He is a lecturer who likes to throw a few cultural references into talks. In that one he discusses The Lord of the Rings and praises Tolkien’s attention to detail in making the descriptions of the morning sky in one part of a chapter match the subsequent weather just as one would expect for the arrival of a warm front.

After discussing different artists’ ideas of clouds, he said his preferred depiction of their nature is this classic image of Totoro:

Because clouds are big, comforting, a source of warmth, and reflect solar radiation, or something like that.

We can only imagine what he would make of the cloud depictions in the My Little Pony skies.

Report Pineta · 170 views · #clouds #meteorology
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Comments ( 8 )

Of course, how do you explain to people that the expanding contrails illuminated by the red setting sun are not toxic chemicals when by sight its obvious they are to them. :pinkiesad2:

5015527 Because, regrettably, IQ *averages* at a hundred, and for every bright bulb you encounter, there's one that wouldn't light up with ten thousand volts put through them. No matter how much we want to.


And when drivers were interviewd, 85% of them said they were better than average. :pinkiehappy:

5015591 Oh, it gets better. The Dunning-Kruger effect means that the ones who think they're the *best* are actually the *worst* drivers.


The good news is that psychologists have had to adjust IQ for increasing scores every few years so that 100 is still the average, so your average person today has a higher IQ then an average person a few decades ago.


5015628 Yeah, I can see that kids are better nourished, more practiced at taking tests, and learning faster due to the lightning speed of communication nowadays, but I swear they're getting dumber by the day anyway. Three words: Green New Deal.


Psychologists generally agree that the increase in unadjusted IQ really does have an increase in general intelligence behind it.

But they are toxic... :pinkiehappy:


...each successive generation has been exposed to richer optical displays than the one before and may have become more adept at visual analysis...

Interesting theory...


I work with young people and often visit schools. I think today's kids are smarter than ever and will do a better job of running the world than our generation. They give me hope for the future.

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