Uninvented History

Guest post by WUWT regular Caleb Shaw

I am always seizing upon things people tell me, parking the statements in my memory, and only years later learning they are untrue.  It is not merely urban myths, (such as the myth about crocodiles living in the sewers of New York,) which I must discard, but all sorts of tidbits of history and quotes by famous people.

Of course, until I stand corrected, I am a purveyor of misinformation.  I hate to admit it.  After all, I love Truth, and do my best to be honest.  However there is no filter you can clamp on your brain, as you wander through life, which automatically screens the false from the True. If you are eager to learn and ask many questions, your openness and honesty can also make you naïve and gullible, and you ingest all sorts of balderdash. After you have ingested this crud, the best (and sometimes only) way to be rid of it is through embarrassment. It is rough on the old ego, but, having something you honor as “fact” publically proven to be claptrap, and cringing in the consequential embarrassment, is a way to the beauty of Truth.

In my experience, (after roughly 56,257 of these embarrassments,) you eventually start to develop an ear for Truth, and also to recognize balderdash when you hear it. One thing that I often used to say is, “Harry Truman once said, ‘The only thing new under the sun is the history you haven’t read.’” Recently I had the sense this quote didn’t quite ring true.  After all, the atomic bomb definitely was a new thing, when Harry Truman used it.

After searching, I found that Truman died in 1972, and the first reference to him saying that quote was in a book about him published in 1974. Not that the writer fabricated the statement, but Truman may have been quoting Mark Twain, for I found an even earlier reference attributed to Mark Twain. (As I recall, it was in a Washington financial journal from the 1940’s.)  However, to further confuse matters, I could find no evidence Mark Twain himself had ever actually written what was attributed to him.

Mark Twain’s attitude towards history was more relaxed, and a little cynical, more along the lines of his famous quote, “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.” He was well aware people bend the truth when telling a tale, and felt history was no different.  In fact, if he had actually written the quote, it likely would have been, “The only new thing under the sun is the history you haven’t yet invented.”

We all like to be knowledgeable, and to strut with authority, even in situations when we perhaps should be more humble. Sometimes it simply fattens our already fat heads, to think we are smart and the other person is not so smart.

Mark Twain tells a tale of meeting a person on a steamboat who had no idea he had ever captained a steamboat, and instead mistook him, (due to his clothing,) as a rube from the east.  This person then began explaining to Twain how a steamboat worked, making up absurd and outlandish facts, and Twain simply nodded, as if he was extremely gullible. After the fellow was done he walked down the deck, and Twain later saw him helplessly leaning on a rail, convulsed with laughter. The prankster felt it was the funniest thing that he was so smart, and the rube from the east was so stupid, or he felt that way until the actual captain of that steamboat came down the deck and loudly hailed Mark Twain, speaking to him as one steamboat captain to another steamboat captain.  Then the joker abruptly didn’t feel so smart.  He suddenly realized he’d been speaking absurd and outlandish untruths to a person who knew exactly how absurd and outlandish his statements were, and who was in fact smarter. The humor then escaped the prankster, and he stopped collapsing in laughter, and instead slouched about with a garlic face.

I know how that man felt. However it is not Mark Twain who puts me in my place.  It is life. However I try not to wear the garlic face.  Life is too short.

Recently life played one of its jokes on me, involving my skills as a forecaster.

I too like to be knowledgeable, and to strut with authority, and in this case I simply noted that the first half of our New Hampshire winter had been quite open, and the second half very snowy.

When the winter is open there is no blanket of snow to insulate our earth, and it can freeze as solid as permafrost down to a depth of five feet.  (Such rock-like earth should have a name. It can’t be “permafrost” because it isn’t permanent. Perhaps it should be called “tempafrost?”)

In any case, this rock-like layer of earth keeps water from draining downwards, and being absorbed into the earth beneath, in the manner a summer rain is absorbed.  The water instead pools atop the rock-like layer, turning the upper soil to mire, and making a messy situation called “Mud Season.”

During the time before the rock-like layer melts, and water can again drain downwards, we can have terrible floods in New Hampshire.  A warm spring rain falling on, and melting, a deep snow cover can create a foot or two of water, which cannot drain down into the earth, (even if the water table is low in a drought,) and instead must run off into the brooks, steams and rivers.

The worst-case scenario occurred in the spring of 1936, when two warm and drenching rains fell on a deep snow pack.  The man-made flood control reservoirs had not been built yet, and the natural flood control reservoirs, (namely beaver dams,) were greatly reduced because beavers had not yet made their amazing come-back, (after their population was reduced to nearly zero by the fashion for beaver top-hats, such as the one Abraham Lincoln wore.) The tremendous 1936 spring freshet likely will never be matched.

Fortunately both natural and man-made flood control reservoirs were in place a decade ago, when a different worst-case scenario occurred.  In this case the ground had frozen deeply, perhaps as deeply as five feet, and only the top four feet had thawed when the warm, drenching rains came.  In this particular situation we had four feet of drenched earth on top of a sleek and slippery foot of frozen earth, and all of a sudden we were having California mudslides in New Hampshire.  In Milford, New Hampshire an entire grove of sixty-foot-tall white pines slid down a hill and blocked Route 101, a major cross-New Hampshire highway. To this day one cannot drive to Greenville on “Greenville Road,” from New Ipswich, New Hampshire, because the southern shoulder of that road collapsed into the Greenville Millpond during those rains.

Knowing all this, I noted this winter that heavy snows followed our “open winter,” which had frozen our soil deeply. The snows included a couple of “NESIS” storms.  Because our east-facing slopes do a very good job of gathering snow from east winds, we twice had more than three feet of snow laying on the level, and even as these depths shrank it made a gritty snowpack which contained a great deal of water. I knew what one drenching and warm spring southeaster might do.

I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t go into Alarmist mode. Knowing what I knew, I surely should have run about like Chicken Little.  I didn’t.  I would like to think I didn’t because I was old and wise, however it was likely due to the fact I was preoccupied by doing my taxes, and also had a bad case of the sniffles.

In any case what has happened is something I haven’t ever seen before.  After a period where it seemed we got the worst of every storm, we have entered a period that is the opposite.

Every storm misses us.

I suppose you could call it a “drought,” but it’s hard to call it that, when the streams are brimming and there are no plants in my garden to wilt.  The only thing that has shriveled is the snow.

Roughly a week ago, out on my pasture, the back of a plastic version of an “Adirondack Chair” was totally covered by snow, (and the top of that chair is over three feet tall.)  Today I shifted that chair three feet to the left, in an inch of corn snow, and sat down on it, in glorious sunshine and amazingly dry air.

The air pouring over us had low humidity even when it was over Canadian snows and was ten degrees (F).  Warm that air to near fifty, and it has Arizona dryness.  What then happens is that our snowpack does not melt.  It “sublimates.”

Sublimation is a mysterious process wherein a solid doesn’t need to melt before it evaporates.  The only time you see sublimation, in ordinary life, is if you boyishly put a snowball in your freezer, (so you can throw a snowball in July,) but then see that snowball shrink in your freezer, despite the fact your freezer is never above freezing.  It happens because you have a “frost-free” freezer, (old-fashioned freezers had a problem with frost,) and your freezer’s frost-free option utilizes sublimation.

I have just lived through roughly a week of a frost-free New Hampshire.  I’ve headed out in the morning, planning to scrape the windshield of my car, but morning after morning there has been no frost on the windshield, despite the temperatures being down nearly 20 (F.)

Just as a snowball can shrink in your freezer, our snowpack is shrinking.  It is also melting, and streams are brimming, but not to the degree I would expect.  In fact my expectations, and predictions, are all wrong.

This is a spring I have never seen before.  Over three feet of snow are quietly and all but apologetically vanishing before my eyes.  There’s hardly even a mud season, and at times the dry wind whips up a cloud of dust from the drive, or litters a crisp shower of brown leaves from the snowless south-facing side of my farm’s pasture to the still-snowy north-facing side.

I often say, “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst,” but in this case my preparations make me look like a bit of a dope.  However to become garlic faced about looking like a dope would be foolish. It would be like building a bomb shelter, and then being disappointed there wasn’t a nuclear war.

Sometimes it is good to be wrong.  I gaze about at the golden sunshine, breath deeply the dry, Canadian air, and don’t feel all that bad that all my past experience hasn’t amounted to a hill of beans.

But isn’t that the definition of spring?  Something you have never seen before?

I think so.  Spring is never, “The same old spring.”

When you have been sick, and again become well, it is never “the same old wellness.”

Even in the case of a womanizing rake, who is forever ditching fine girls he should be loyal to for his next fling, what he is forever seeking (and never finding) is not “the same old lady.”

When a bitter and cold night ends with the dawn, it is not the “same old dawn.”

Every day holds the promise of something fresh and new.  And, if we truly value what is fresh and new, what value has that which is tired and old? This brings me back to the fact we all like to be knowledgeable, and to strut with authority.

Think twice about it. Face to face with springtime, could anything be more stupid?

To be truly knowledgeable is to be omniscient.  IE:  God.  God is the only one omniscient. He has nothing left to know.

However we mere mortals have lots to learn.  We should leap from bed thirsty to learn more.  As much as we like to share what we already know with others, we should never rest content with that little, fanning the feeble fire of our ego, when we could instead venture forward into the sunrises and healing and springtime and new love of Truth.

The alternative is stagnation.  It is to pretend you know it all, when you don’t.

It is to say, “The science is settled.”  Science is never settled, unless and until you are God.

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April 5, 2013 3:28 pm

Under the headline “Uninvented History” should be the subheading, “Warning, preachy sermon follows.”

April 5, 2013 3:32 pm
April 5, 2013 3:38 pm

I like it. Nice reflection. May there ever be change. 🙂

Mac the Knife
April 5, 2013 3:44 pm

Science is never settled, unless and until you are God.
As succinct a statement of fact, as I have ever read or heard, Caleb!
Thank you.

Ben D.
April 5, 2013 3:53 pm

Enjoyable read, thanks…

April 5, 2013 3:55 pm

According to Yogi Berra, “I really didn’t say everything I said. […] Then again, I might have said ’em, but you never know.”

Doug Proctor
April 5, 2013 3:55 pm

I, too, pick up this and that, things that seem reasonable or I thought they were, until I find out otherwise. Which can be terribly embarrassing, but as I proclaim (thus setting myself up a defense that I might need), most of us are more interested in being entertained than in being educated. If the story is good, go with it until you are forced otherwise.
In the case of climate science, the story was very good with CAGW. But now the Trenberth Events, Positive and Negative, have come to ruin the story, i.e. observations vis a vis models are either missing or the wrong type. Mann or Gore or Suzuki with a “garlic face”? You have to have some sense of being human and not a God (or His prophet, in Gore’s case), to shuffle off, red-faced.
Greetings to another garlic-eater! The humble won’t inherit the world, but they can be counted on to have a good laugh at their own expense.

April 5, 2013 4:02 pm

What? This is like Willis’ Rime of the Ancient Mariner pieces.
Watts? Be careful letting Willis and Caleb (as wise as they maybe) spew whatever they like. WUWT might become WTF?

April 5, 2013 4:12 pm

“(Such rock-like earth should have a name. It can’t be “permafrost” because it isn’t permanent. Perhaps it should be called “tempafrost?”)”
Well… In my part of New Hampshire, we call that “granite”.
Never seems to melt, though.

April 5, 2013 4:25 pm

I learned one more funny story about Mark Twain, cool.
Thanks, Caleb.

April 5, 2013 4:26 pm

I often find the guest posts bring a certain balance to Anthony’s excellent blog, that allow us to pause a little while and reflect, then go back to the affray refreshed.
They are like little pools of sanity, thank you.

April 5, 2013 4:28 pm

What a smashing piece of writing, maybe not to everyones taste, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
For those who don’t appreciate what you say just take Willis’s advice and don’t press the underlined link that invites you to read on!

April 5, 2013 4:29 pm

The socialist propaganda of yesterday becomes the history of today.

April 5, 2013 4:29 pm

Wikipedia, changing history, one page at a time.

James at 48
April 5, 2013 4:30 pm

New England, meet Great Basin. LOL!

April 5, 2013 4:30 pm

If you learned it in school, its probably a lie.

Stuart Elliot
April 5, 2013 4:33 pm

I appreciate Anthony providing a platform, and encouraging a select few writers to stand on it. I don’t have to agree with everything, nor even read it to the end. And it would be strange to waste time reading something I didn’t like, then waste more time complaining about it. Right, Old Fossil?
During my lifetime I have been entirely convinced I was right, at pretty much every point in the spectrum between atheist and evangelist. And during climatology classes in the early 70s, regarding cooling, come to think of it. Then later I saw things differently and wondered what had been wrong with me before. Thankfully, the world is big enough for that, and so is God, whoever or whatever He/She/They/It might turn out to be.
So let’s get behind the importance of having an open mind, of knowing that parts of reality are not known to us although they might be known to others.
[A]n open mind, to be sure, should be open at both ends, like the foodpipe, and have a capacity for excretion as well as intake. Northrop Frye, The Great Code: The Bible and Literature New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983, p. 44:

April 5, 2013 4:35 pm

There must have been a glitch in the transmission, as the spaces between paragraphs vanish about a third of the way through. Sorry about that. It makes it harder to read.
[Added. Mod]

April 5, 2013 4:41 pm

A most enjoyable post; thanks for taking the time to write it.

Darren Porter
April 5, 2013 4:42 pm

My quote that gets most mis-attributed (and really gets my goat) – is the one that keeps getting attributed to Gandhi but he never actually said. The one about ‘first they hate you then they ignore you then you win etc”. That was from America in the 30’s from a labour union guy

April 5, 2013 4:49 pm

Sorry “oldfossil,” I guess my essay wasn’t your cup of tea.
Isn’t “preaching” where you tell others how to live? I have a hard enough time living my own life, and don’t want the responsibility of running other people’s lives.
Mostly I want to share my views and experiences. Likely I am more of an example of what not to do, than of what to do. For example, if you see my footprints lead out onto a frozen pond, to a large hole in the ice, then perhaps you might learn something from my example, even if you aren’t a “follower.”

Lil Fella from OZ
April 5, 2013 4:55 pm

History books in schools are filled with error even though they weren’t touched by the 1984 Orwell’s characters. One comment I remember hearing going through school was that the Sahara Desert was growing by 100 miles every year. I think that was green before green became in vogue. If that was fact where would the Sahara extremities be half a century later?

Dan in Nevada
April 5, 2013 4:57 pm

Caleb, very poetic and a pleasurable read. Thank you.

April 5, 2013 5:02 pm

As I have grown older I have become less certain about ‘facts’.
How many times have I read this quote attributed to Gandhi?

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Then I’m told Gandhi never said that! Or did he? Was it Nicholas Klein? It’s things like this that should make everyone tread carefully. To err is human.
Political misquotes: The 10 most famous things never actually said

April 5, 2013 5:09 pm

Samuel Clements was a Mississippi river boat pilot, an entirely different thing from a river boat captain. The pilot was responsible for knowing the channel for safe passage up the river and memorizing it mile by mile so as to guide the passage in bad weather and poor visability. Clements discrbes the rigors of his education as a pilot in Life on the Mississippi and clearly designates the pilot as separate from the Captian whose duties envolved more mundane and less critical desicions. His discription of the force of mind and good judgement of the ‘Lightning Pilot’ Bixby in a crisis is a great reminder of what kind of men built this country.

April 5, 2013 5:11 pm

Why are ‘good’ quotes so powerfull?

Mark Bofill
April 5, 2013 5:13 pm

🙂 Thanks Caleb, I enjoyed it.

Joseph Bastardi
April 5, 2013 5:18 pm


Chris R.
April 5, 2013 5:23 pm

Different, but fun read, Caleb. Here’s a quote for you about history. George
Santayana is quite famous for having said, “Those who cannot remember the
past are condemned to repeat it.” This is frequently paraphrased, modified, etc.,
particularly with the word “history” substituted for “the past”.
However, an even more fun quote from Santayana directly about history,
exists. This one goes:

History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by
people who weren’t there.
George Santayana

April 5, 2013 5:24 pm

Thank you, Caleb, for a refreshing piece. I loved the ending, exactly how many of us here see things.

April 5, 2013 5:32 pm

“To be truly knowledgeable is to be omniscient. IE: God. God is the only one omniscient. He has nothing left to know.”
That suggests that God is not much of a creator.
And perhaps suggests that God needs humans or that God could be surprised by humans.
The bible tends to support this idea that humans can surprise God- free will and all that.
From my prospective, it would be rather disappointing for God if God as a creator had
nothing left to know.
More encouraging, if God were more like a technological singularity- a beginning of infinite accelerated knowledge, rather than an end of gained knowledge.
“The technological singularity is the theoretical emergence of superintelligence through technological means. Since the capabilities of such intelligence would be difficult for an unaided human mind to comprehend, the technological singularity is seen as an occurrence beyond which events cannot be predicted.
Proponents of the singularity typically postulate an “intelligence explosion”, where superintelligences design successive generations of increasingly powerful minds, might occur very quickly and might not stop until the agent’s cognitive abilities greatly surpass that of any human.”
With the addition aspect of “it might never stop”, even if “cognitive abilities greatly surpass that of any human”.

April 5, 2013 5:35 pm

“The tremendous 1936 spring freshet likely will never be matched.”
Don’t tempt her !!

April 5, 2013 5:44 pm

I liked this reflective piece–thank you.

John Bell
April 5, 2013 5:47 pm

IN GOD WE TRUST (all others bring data and evidence)

April 5, 2013 5:52 pm

TY Calib, interesting post.

April 5, 2013 5:54 pm

Great post Caleb, it is the wonders.

April 5, 2013 6:06 pm

RE: gbaikie says:
April 5, 2013 at 5:32 pm
“That suggests that God is not much of a creator….”
I would argue otherwise, but perhaps we don’t want to go there. (Or, to be honest, I actually do want to go there, because I delight in talking about stuff I can’t possibly know about, however I find it utterly derails blogs.)
The very concept of being “all-knowing” should be enough to cross the eyes of any ordinary intellect. It is like one of those pictures of deep space that has as many galaxies as stars, and comprehending how many stars are in the picture. To be “all knowing” would involve nor merely knowing every star, but every atom of every star, and more. I like contemplating such stuff, but when push comes to shove, half of the time I don’t even know where I left my car keys.

lowercase fred
April 5, 2013 6:08 pm

Crocodiles in the NY sewers. What a maroon!
Everybody knows it’s alligators.

April 5, 2013 6:11 pm

OMG there are so many off-topic articles on WUWT recently. Sorry but I have to say something. Firstly there was the seemingly endless stream of massive articles from Willis reminiscing about his youth, and now this.
What has this site become? It used to be about science and AGW etc… now it seems to be 50% rambling articles about other things. I do not mean to insult the authors of these interesting articles, and they really are interesting articles and I do enjoy reading them, but WUWT is not the place for them. They just do not belong here.
Of course, it is up to AW what goes on his site. But I am just saying that these style/type of article are not what I am looking for when I come to WUWT. It was meant to be about critical examination of Climate Science, not an opportunity to post lengthy semi-biographical guest articles.

Lonnie E. Schubert
April 5, 2013 6:12 pm

For what it’s worth, thumbs up. Thanks

April 5, 2013 6:17 pm

“…If you are eager to learn and ask many questions, your openness and honesty can also make you naïve and gullible, and you ingest all sorts of balderdash. After you have ingested this crud, the best (and sometimes only) way to be rid of it is through embarrassment…”

Sounds normal to me.

“…In Milford, New Hampshire an entire grove of sixty-foot-tall white pines slid down a hill and blocked Route 101, a major cross-New Hampshire highway…”

It’s called erosion no matter where it occurs. It is how mountains become hills. As rock weathers it can form clay beds, beds of fine grit sand (covers a large grit sizes), pebbles and so on. Hillsides with excessive weathered soil layers will break free and slide down hills. It is just a question of sooner or later.
California, actually the whole west coast along with all newer mountain ranges have frequent hillsides falling down slope. The older ranges suffer fewer hill slides mostly because all the easy stuff fell ages ago.
Every community in America operates under a building code structure. Part of the code defines how deep one must bury water or waste pipes, establish footings, etc.. This depth is based on historical maximums for frost depth. I assume, based on your story that all water pipes in your area must be buried below five feet; a tough thing to accomplish in New Hampshire what with all the granite. Not that I doubt you, but if your pipes are not more than five feet deep, then it is unlikely that the ground froze that deep or you might’ve mentioned all the water lines freezing, walls buckling.

“…It happens because you have a “frost-free” freezer, (old-fashioned freezers had a problem with frost,) and your freezer’s frost-free option utilizes sublimation…”

Aah, not quite. Frost free freezers have a warming cycle. The idea is to warm up the interior just enough to melt any frost and let it evaporate. Most freezer/refrigerator combinations cycle air from the freezer into the refrigerator disposing of any gain in humidity. This warming/freezing cycle is what causes freezer burn in all of those sealed packages by causing defrosting droplets to condense out on the package’s interior. It’s also another reason why vacuum packing items for freezing preserves them with the vacuum packed items do not provide the air layer for humidity formation.
All better freezers have a ‘lock phase’ when you close the freezer’s door and yes there is enough pressure drop that opening the door is harder right after closing. Any sublimation that occurs is probably maximized at this point and for a short period after. So yes, frost free freezers do have some sublimation occurring, but that isn’t what makes the freezer frost free. And yes, I have heard salespeople tell me the sublimation thing. But they turn kinda green when I ask them why ice cubes stored in a plastic bag also shrink; but there is a near equal amount of frost in the bag matching any water loss. The same goes for peas, corn and anything else you put in the freezer. If the water in those items truly sublimated out then the food would be ‘freeze dried’ not freezer burnt.
I’m not pushing any particular product but this is from GE’s site

“Refrigerator – Benefit of FrostGuard Technology
Frost-free refrigerators defrost automatically. Most defrost based on time, regardless of whether or not it’s necessary. Adaptive defrost means that the refrigerator will only defrost as needed. It accounts for door openings and usage to determine when it’s necessary to defrost and how long the defrost cycle needs to run. It also utilizes a “Pre-Chill” function to lower the freezer temperature prior to the defrost cycle. This lowering of freezer temperature allows the freezer to return to it’s set temperature point more quickly once the defrost cycle is complete. All this amounts to less thawing of foods and refreezing during the defrost cycle. Result – reduces freezer burn.”

Your windshield? Yup, that’s most likely sublimation.

“…making a messy situation called “Mud Season.”…”

Mud Season can occur any time the earth is water soaked or water logged. Especially when thawing.

“…“The science is settled.” Science is never settled, unless and until you are God…”

An absolutely wonderful summation and closing statement!
I assume atheists and heathens can substitute ‘Eternal Omniscient’ for God. (I’d suggest ‘Supreme Omniscient’, but I think some of the team would believe that describes them; so until they live forever (God forbid).

April 5, 2013 6:19 pm

Various academics in Germany have studied the Dresden firebomb raid, and concluded..yes, it was terrible, and about 20,000 (mostly civilians) died in one night. This was about 4 weeks before the surrender, and one of good old Joe Gobbles last forays into the “tell a lie often enough, loud enough, and long enough…” (Variously attributed to Gobbles and Adolf Hitler) was to demand that the Dresden death count be given as ONE HUNDRED and TWENTY THOUSAND.
For those disposed to the concept that there is no justification for WAR under any circumstance, that number has been used as a “cause celebrity” for years and years. Again, based on an “imagined” history. As an interesting counter point, the Tokyo fire bomb raids, according to the record at the EDO (old name for Tokyo) museum, (visited by me in 2004), listed the death count at 90,000. Where the USA estimation is 250,000 to 300,000 died. (Which, is very tragic, we did not realize that the devices intended to destroy industry, would ignite a firestorm which would burn the adjoining “living areas” for the war workers..) So WHY would one want to UNDERSTATE such tragic losses?
Again, “imagined” history! After all, when you are killed by a nuclear weapon, you are much more DEAD than when killed by a conventional weapon. THEREFORE one cannot admit that a night of bombing with CONVENTIONAL weapons, was far more deadly than TWO nuclear weapons!
Yep, the author is right: Beware of “imagined” history!

April 5, 2013 6:50 pm

After my long and probably full of errors post, I’ll freely admit that I thought ‘Doh!’ embarrassment learning methods were my personal monopoly for the longest time. And sometimes, I think it is again.
I learned about others enjoying ‘how stupid can I seem’ moments otherwise in a slightly different embarrassment method called relations.
I married into a family with relations who farm. One of my in-laws studied agriculture and is degreed in in the field. His specialty is orchards and has grown apples and peaches commercially for decades. I feel like a child in knowledge about fruit trees around him; and he is extremely polite, circumspect and very ‘Southern Gentleman’ in the truest sense.
A sibling of mine who is known to ‘know everything’ attended a family event where even the obnoxious relations get invited. I came around a corner and ran into this sibling lecturing my farmer in law about the proper way to raise apples. It didn’t matter that the sibling had never raised apples. Meanwhile, the Southern Gentleman kept his demeanor and never let on, just nodded and smiled. I was embarrassed for years and I didn’t even do it!
As far as I know, there is no definitive list of Samuel Clemens quotes. Samuel Clemens went on a speaking tour worldwide till he could cover all his debts. He often spoke extemporaneously and his talks would change. I do not believe there is a transcription for all his talks; but given his brilliance and wry viewpoint I am sure there are a lot of Clemens’s quotes that people enjoyed personally during his talks and repeated in their own way for years after.

April 5, 2013 6:50 pm

RE: Zek202 says:
April 5, 2013 at 5:09 pm
Thanks for pointing out my error, and the difference between a captain and pilot in Mark Twain’s time.
I think the tale I recounted might actually have been from “Life On the Mississippi,” but was writing off the top of my head, and don’t have a copy on hand. Do you remember it?
Most people know “Tom Sawyer,” but Twain was a thinker, and some of his lesser-known writings are pretty interesting. While he was very pragmatic, he couldn’t help but notice odd coincidences that occurred when he was writing. There were no words “mental telepathy” back then, so he coined his own words, “mental telegraphy,” and then proceeded to write about it.

April 5, 2013 7:00 pm

RE: atheok says:
April 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm
Thanks for teaching me. I gather that what you are saying is that, if I put my snowball into an airtight plastic bag, it still would shrink.
Blast. The only way I’m going to have a snowball fight in July is to get invited to Australia.

April 5, 2013 7:14 pm

“(Which, is very tragic, we did not realize that the devices intended to destroy industry, would ignite a firestorm which would burn the adjoining “living areas” for the war workers..) ”
In fact, we (the USA) intentionally designed our firebombing raids to “burn out the workers”. We built replicas of the flammable Japanese housing in the deserts of the US to test out these terrible weapons and “perfect” them. A US warrior (Curtis Lemay) had a large part in this, it was the task assigned to him.
We (the USA) wanted it OVER. The Japanese were effectively beaten in mid 1944 (No Navy, No Airforce, Isolated ground forces), they just would not QUIT. Most of the civilian deaths occured later in 44 and in 45. They (the Japanese Leadership) could have stopped it, but it took TWO Atom Bombs before they finally admitted defeat.
War is indeed HELL, why any sane person starts one makes you wonder.
My father was a very young man that served as a P-51 pilot in the Eight Air Force supporting the bombing of Germany, and it haunted him till his final days. He answered his country’s call, and I think his life would have been much more peaceful if that call never came.
Cheers, Kevin.

John R T
April 5, 2013 7:17 pm

‘Commentary on life, nature,…’
Sounds about right, to me, Anthony.
Grace-full writing – Thanks

Sam Pyeatte
April 5, 2013 7:45 pm

Very good column, a good bit of reflection.

April 5, 2013 7:50 pm

Stuart Elliot said at 4:33 pm – Exceptional!
KevinK said: “… I think his life would have been much more peaceful if that call never came.”
True, peaceful is good.So is volunteering to stop crazy dictators who want to take over your country and kill your family. Which is exactly what most everybody not in Germany and Japan believed was true at the time and emminantly actionable.
Good for your father, he’s now one of my heroes.

April 5, 2013 8:18 pm

Great read Caleb.

April 5, 2013 8:27 pm

Science is never settled, unless and until you are God.
The first two below are on topic. The rest are fun to read anyway.
In the beginning, God created Weatherman and endowed him with just
enough ability to almost always incorrectly guess what tomorrow’s
weather would be. Then, taking a rib and a map pointer from
Weatherman, He created Weatherwoman, whose powers of climate-related prophesy were not much better, but she was more perky, and thus more fun to watch.
Despite satellites, sophisticated computer programs and masters degree
university courses in the science/voodoo of weather predicting, there
continues to be a somewhat ironic aspect to weather prognostication.
It’s almost as if God wants to emphasize that no matter how
smarty-pants humans become, He still has control over the Xbox weather
Verily, Weatherman and Weatherwoman mysteriously evolved into one
generic life form called “meteorologist,” a designation curiously
unrelated to meteors. (Well, maybe not completely. An early
meteorologist, upon seeing a meteor the size of Madagascar smash into
the Earth near the Yucatan Peninsula 60 million years ago, correctly
predicted “partly scattered dinosaurs and a 55 percent chance of an
ice age. Overcoat and umbrella recommended.”)
Apparently, the main reason for the creation of the term
“meteorologist” was to render all weathermen, weatherwomen and
weatherperson jokes and witticisms null and void. (Bob Dylan, for
instance, never said, “You don’t need a meteorologist to know which
way the wind blows.”)
It was the spotty track record of weather predictions that led to an
entire genre of jokes about those who attempted to predict the
weather, such as, “A weatherman and weatherwoman walk into a train.
They didn’t see that coming either.”
The last truly funny weatherman jokes came from comedian George
Carlin’s “Hippy Dippy Weatherman,” who reported “Tonight’s forecast:
Dark. With continued dark until partly scattered light in the morning.
We see that overnight our low was 35. The high was 215 degrees. That
was during a fire at the weather bureau.” You’ll note that the
venerable Carlin, though he continues to perform despite being 127
years old, has never had to update that bit.

April 5, 2013 8:36 pm

atheok says April 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Aah, not quite. Frost free freezers have a warming cycle. The idea is to warm up the interior just enough to melt any frost and let it evaporate.

I don’t know how today’s new fridge/freezer specifically accomplish this task, but my +30 yr old Ward’s Signature series as a matter of fact during a “defrost cycle” _melts_ the _ice_ that collects on (literally: “freezes onto in a conformal manner”) the *evaporator* (cooling) coils. The ‘melting’ is accomplished via heating elements in close proximity to (in intimate contact with) the evaporator coil.
(Mechanical compressor-based refrigeration basically uses these four items in this order: Compressor, Condenser coil, and in the ‘cold box’ area: an Expansion valve and then the Evaporator coil. The evap coil output is routed back to the compressor inlet.)
The defrost cycle was (used to be) done on a timed basis about once a day, but I have been invoking the ‘defrost’ cycle manually for better than 5 years now once a week since the defrost timer failed … the defrost cycle result is always a ‘dribble’ of water from the evap coil into the “water collection pan” (or tray) that rests in the very bottom area of the refrigerator frame below the fridge/freezer ‘cold box’.
The “water” that dribbles out was once *vapor* in the ‘cold box’ of the fridge whether it arrived there via apples or carrots in the crisper or comprised ice cubes in the freezer section or existed in the very air that entered when I opened the freezer or fridge doors to grab the ice cream or the milk jug.

April 5, 2013 8:39 pm

‘Such rock-like earth should have a name. It can’t be “permafrost” because it isn’t permanent. Perhaps it should be called “tempafrost?”’

I think the technical term would be “rotten permafrost”.

April 5, 2013 8:48 pm

atheok says April 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Your windshield? Yup, that’s most likely sublimation.

Assumes facts not in evidence; (1) the dew point may have been too low to allow formation of dew or frost in the first place (‘dry’ conditions IOW), (2) it may have been overcast WHICH also inhibits dew/frost formation owing to inhibited radiative cooling to an exposed night sky, (3) sufficient wind could have been present offsetting the radiative cooling below the dew point (which would have then lead to dew/frost formation).
I think that covers it. </very dry humor>

Luther Wu
April 5, 2013 8:51 pm

Adam says:
April 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm
Howdy Adam,
You could just consider these threads as open threads, or whatever, or you could just go fish.

April 5, 2013 8:53 pm

Entertaining read Caleb, but very frustrating too – I kept expecting that somehow along the line the story was going to segue into something science related. Anthony & mods & authors, these types of posts could really use an up front warning/disclaimer that they are for enjoyment and aren’t directly tied into science.
Caleb, create a third category in your mind “Possible, but not proven.” Stash everything there until verified such that you can move it into either “proven” or “false.” That’ll save you a lot of embarrassment.
By the way, KevinK says: April 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm is absolutely correct – when we firebombed Tokyo and other Japanese cities, it was with full intent to start massive fires, and the further they spread, the better. That was the hell of war back then. If a nation went to war, their citizens were fair game, and you tried to do the most damage possible with every attack. If enough citizens were hurt, starved, or displaced, etc., then they would stop fighting and prevail on their government to end the war. After all, they are responsible for their government, was the thinking (with some merit). So those bombs were specifically designed for that purpose – creating massive fires that would spread as far as possible and damage as much as possible. Far more people died from the firebombing of Japan than from the nuclear bombs.
Dresden was similarly firebombed, with massive loss of life also. See: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/firebombing-of-dresden
Since then, firebombing has been outlawed by international agreement/laws of war.
Anthony, for whatever my input is worth, I really do hope that you’ll consider adding an up front note to posts like this, letting us know that they are literary in nature rather than more heavily vested in science issues… that way we can enjoy the read without being frustrated to not discover some science by the end, or choose to move on to the next post as one sees fit at the time.

April 5, 2013 9:03 pm

Ahhhh, Sublimation… this is what we experience every winter in Colorado. It is amazing to see snow evaporate within a day or two after a heavy snow fall…. not much ground water or run off….but you can definitely see and measure the moisture in the air during and after the sublimation process. We kiss it good bye… realizing that it wasn’t ours to keep….and hope that the plains get enough moisture for spring planting & summer growth.

April 5, 2013 9:04 pm

After WWII my dad finished college and attended medical school, graduating in 1952. He said that one of the medical professors told his class that within a decade they would discover that 50% of what they had been taught in med school would no longer be true – and there was no way to know which 50% was incorrect.

April 5, 2013 9:04 pm

To be truly knowledgeable is to be omniscient. IE: God. God is the only one omniscient. He has nothing left to know.

I would remind Caleb of the “image and likeness” clause in the Bible as it relates to how mankind was created in relation to (WRT) God, e.g. Gen 1:27–28, Gen 5:1–3 and Gen 9:6.
To that end, I would proffer that we can know a great deal, but, in some manner, way, shape or form we will be limited. Those ‘glimpses’ of knowledge or insights may also (do) come at some price (expenditure) of energy or time as it relates to study of a subject and of course the non-recoverable ‘time’ spent in that endeavor or pursuit of ‘knowing’ (knowledge).
Furthermore, we have no inherent limitation in that area, in other words, we are not restricted from knowing, we just have ‘human’ limits since we are finite vs being “infinite” (this is self evident or a ‘tautology’).

April 5, 2013 9:36 pm

I can only reiterate, the most literate scientists on the planet.

April 5, 2013 9:47 pm

”Do you realize what this means? It means that this damn thing doesn’t work at all ”
Doc Brown in Back to the Future

John F. Hultquist
April 5, 2013 9:48 pm

Adam says:
April 5, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Someone once said something about opinions and facts. It seems opinions are not facts and you are stuck with the latter while the former you can adjust as the situation warrants.
You ought to be aware of this phrase: “Commentary on puzzling things in life, . . . ”
You can find this statement at the top of all WUWT postings in the headline banner. It sounds ‘fact like’ to me, rather than ‘opinion like’, but I have been known to be mistaken. I have been reading WUWT since Sept. 2008 and do not find Caleb’s post odd in the context of the many posts I have read here. I think it is interesting. That, of course, is an opinion.

April 5, 2013 10:11 pm

While not as evocative of pleasant memories as an Adirondack chair, one metric of mine about the spring melt is the sump in our basement. Ordinarily sumps are where water goes to drain. In New Hampshire, they seem to be what water comes out of to flood the basement.
Ordinarily I set up the sump pump early in March and it can spend weeks pumping water into the sewer drain. Some years I’ll set up a siphon with a garden hose and run down the hill close to Main St. This year the water in the sump hasn’t gotten more than a few inches high, way short of the limit switch for stopping the sump, let alone starting it.
Kinda nice having a quiet melt season, especially without being in drought conditions.
OTOH, given the persistent cold until the last week or so, I won’t be surprised if it snows in May.

April 5, 2013 10:23 pm

John F. Hultquist says:
April 5, 2013 at 9:48 pm

I have been reading WUWT since Sept. 2008 and do not find Caleb’s post odd in the context of the many posts I have read here. I think it is interesting. That, of course, is an opinion.

One of my metrics for reading WUWT posts is “If it’s from New Hampshire, it’s bound to be interesting – to me.” Well, except for my posts, which are from New Hampshire. For those, I find the comments interesting, especially ones from New Hampshire. 🙂
A quibble – you say “I think it is interesting” is an opinion. I argue that it is a fact that you found it interesting, albeit one that only you can verify.

old engineer
April 5, 2013 10:34 pm

I got a kick out of the sentence: “In any case what has happened was something I haven’t ever seen before.”
Living in Vermont, you lived for a long time before you saw snow sublimate. However, if you had grown up Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I first encountered snow (as a college student, having grown up in Miami, FL), you would expect snow to behave that way. Snow in Albuquerque never turns to slush, it just disappears. The low humidity guarantees it.
Maybe we need a new un-atributable quote: “All climate is local.”

old engineer
April 5, 2013 10:45 pm

I got a kick out of the sentence: “In any case what has happened was something I haven’t ever seen before.”
Living in Vermont, you lived for a long time before you saw snow sublimate. However, if you had grown up Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I first encountered snow (as a college student, having grown up in Miami, FL), you would expect snow to behave that way. Snow in Albuquerque never turns to slush, it just disappears. The low humidity guarantees it.
Maybe we need a new un-attributable quote: “All climate is local.”

April 5, 2013 10:48 pm

“There is no new thing under the sun” was Ecclesiastes

April 5, 2013 11:36 pm

Some people have commented about this and some of Willis’s posting not being about the general topic of climate science and out of place in this blog. Myself with this blog and others, I have a hard time trying to keep up with the reams of articles and information. I was supposed to do my taxes tonight but now it is sack time, taxes not done.
I am a steamer by trade and I find an article like this along with Willis’s allows me to blow off steam. This evening I first popped over to Icecap, started to raise a head of steam. I then moved over to Jo Nova’s site, pressure increasing, into the upper range. Gave fellow Canadian Donna Laframboise’s blog a read, well that Suzuki dude got my pressure tickling the safeties (safeties ready to pop). Finished off my evening reading Caleb’s contribution, pressure dropped into normal operating range. Can now calmly head for bed.

P. Solar
April 6, 2013 1:43 am

” However to become garlic faced about looking like a dope would be foolish. It would be like building a bomb shelter, and then being disappointed there wasn’t a nuclear war.
Sometimes it is good to be wrong. ”
Interesting contrast to warmists’ attitude.
They live in fear of terrible climate change. But when it doesn’t happen they do into denial and try to carry on shouting “it’s worse than we thought”.
Initially changes did give rise for concern and scientists were right to sound the alarm. However, the vast majority of the envro movement now clearly does not want the threat of global warming to disappear before we allow them to dictate policy.

April 6, 2013 2:19 am

It is not merely urban myths, (such as the myth about crocodiles living in the sewers of New York,) which I must discard,….

Are storm drains part of the sewage system in New York?

New York Post – August 22, 2010
At least one alligator really does live in New York City’s sewers.
Cops apprehended an 18-inch gator that crawled out of an overflowing Astoria storm drain and hunkered down beneath a parked car this afternoon, delighting onlookers and giving fresh meat to the urban myth that the carnivorous critters are living below the Big Apple.

More at NBC News and New York Times.

April 6, 2013 2:20 am

Apparently it was a spectacled caiman crocodile.

April 6, 2013 2:42 am

Thanks Caleb, for a great read! About your remark;
“When the winter is open there is no blanket of snow to insulate our earth, and it can freeze as solid as permafrost down to a depth of five feet. (Such rock-like earth should have a name. It can’t be “permafrost” because it isn’t permanent. Perhaps it should be called “tempafrost?”)”
In Norway this is called “barfrost”, which perhaps can be translated into something like “bare frost” or “naked frost” in English, when the plants sorely miss their comforting blanket of snow.

R Barker
April 6, 2013 3:06 am

Thanks Caleb and Anthony. A change of pace is welcome by most, if not all.

Robert Scott
April 6, 2013 4:15 am

This post may not be directly “about science” but I learned a few things I didn’t know from it and for that I’m grateful. The comments that followed, some of them about science, others about history and the remainder about life in general, added a lot more, so I for one thank Anthony. Why, though, is it a sad fact that the warmist blogs don’t seem able to generate civilised and knowledgeable comment and discussion like this?

April 6, 2013 4:57 am

Actually, in the Twain story, the other pilot DID recognize him after a while as he talked. The pilot told Clements that he carried on with his tall tale to see what he was up to, pretending to be a rube when he was well-known as a pilot.

April 6, 2013 5:02 am

People who think they know everything are very annoying to those of us who do.

Rick Morcom
April 6, 2013 5:04 am

I love these posts, which include some science as well as a lot of personal life experience. And if the author describes a “light-bulb” discovery, I like it all the more. Thank you, Anthony and Caleb.

April 6, 2013 5:26 am

Thanks, Caleb. I enjoyed the post.
I also wanted to commend you on your perseverance. I stopped counting my lifetime embarrassments after 50,000.

Gunga Din
April 6, 2013 6:16 am

Michael Palmer says:
April 5, 2013 at 8:39 pm
‘Such rock-like earth should have a name. It can’t be “permafrost” because it isn’t permanent. Perhaps it should be called “tempafrost?”’

I think the technical term would be “rotten permafrost”.

How about “icecrete”? “Frostcrete”?

April 6, 2013 6:21 am

I never counted my lifetime embarrassments. The big ones that still make me wince make up for all the rest.

Gunga Din
April 6, 2013 6:32 am

RobRoy says:
April 6, 2013 at 5:02 am
People who think they know everything are very annoying to those of us who do.

I don’t know the origin of this quote but I first heard it from my old boss when I lived in New Hampshire. “Lord, it’s hard to humble when you’re perfect in every way.” 😎
But one of my favorite secular quotes is still Will Rogers’, “Everybody’s ignorant … only on different subjects.”

Gunga Din
April 6, 2013 6:44 am

I thought I made a mistake once. But I was wrong.

April 6, 2013 6:44 am

RE: Ric Werme says:
April 6, 2013 at 6:21 am
I call them “cringe experiences.” It’s pretty amazing that they can still make us flinch, even after years. However I did finally get over the shame I felt for something I did in third grade, after a half century. So there is hope.
I took note of your observation about your sump pump. It may not exactly be “scientific data,” but that is the sort of detail my mind is always seizing upon.
Another bone-dry air mass is passing over today. Humidity could drop down near 10% this afternoon. There are “Red Flag Warnings” for areas where the snow cover is gone. I suppose I ought dust off my Alarmist side, and start freaking out about the chance of drought and wildfires…or maybe I’ll put that off until tomorrow.
By the way, thanks for pointing me in the right direction, concerning starting a website. I am a complete clod, concerning computers.

April 6, 2013 7:27 am

I’d like to thank the people who have commented. The ideas they shared have my mind moving in a new and interesting direction, regarding the topic, “What is science?”
I assert I am scientific, even though I avoid math. Is science without math possible? (Think of a really good hunter, who can neither read nor write. As he tracks down his game, can his knowledge be called science?)
Those who compare me to Willis are flattering me, but may be offending Willis. Willis is a true math “whiz,” and can figure things out on the back of an envelope in five minutes that I could not do in months, if ever.
I could tell some very funny stories about me and math classes, but few would involve much math. It is amazing to think I spent thirteen years in those classrooms, and learned so little. Pity my teachers.
I actually went through a spell as a radical hippy where I was certain math wasn’t spiritual. Fortunately I recovered from that derangement.
I then came close to being at the forefront of the computer revolution. Not that I thought computers would ever catch on. However I needed a job, and was all set to start work at a computer place outside of Santa Cruz in California, back in 1983. Then one of those odd twists of fate occurred. Perhaps some angel looked down from heaven, and was appalled at the idea of me becoming a computer geek. In any case the place went bankrupt, and I went wandering off to what was next. And what was next? Within a year I was learning about repairing typewriters, in Window Rock, Arizona.
Talk about a useless skill!!! Does anyone even remember what a typewriter is? However someone in Washington was determined to help the Navajo become modern, and therefore your tax dollars went to building a modern office and filling a room with desks and typewriters, and I wound up there, although I’m not Navajo.
In any case, rather than learning about computers I learned about typewriters. But that didn’t keep me from being very observant. I have all sorts of observations to share; I just happen to know next to nothing about math and computers.
I did observe sublimation of the snow. However there wasn’t much snow, in that area. I was at around 7000 feet, and I think you had to get above 8000 feet to get much snow. What I do remember is how nasty the wind could get, mixing the dry snow with red dust and even, when the wind really blasted, with sand. There is nothing quite like that, in the east.
Anyway, thanks again to all for the comments.

Lonnie E. Schubert
April 6, 2013 7:32 am

To Adam et al., this site is what it has always been, worth reading. I suspect it will as long as Anthony wishes to maintain it.

April 6, 2013 7:36 am

Rational Db8 says:
April 5, 2013 at 8:53 pm
“Since then, firebombing has been outlawed by international agreement/laws of war.”
How very nice of the Brits and the Americans. Who did not commit war crimes in WW II; as, by definition, only axis forces could commit them.

April 6, 2013 7:38 am

I recognize whoppers from my 60’s-70’s “education” all the time. Just a few from an endless list:
1. Hitler & Nazis were right-wing extremists.
Wrong, they were National socialist extremists.
2.McCarthy was a right-wing alarmist without credibility.
Wrong, he was spot-on about the infiltration of socialism. Look at the present results.

April 6, 2013 8:22 am

On the subject of melting snow, and something that deserves to be researched, at least as a high school science fair project, is the influence of dew point on snow melt.
There’s an old aphorism about “fog eating snow,” but I think that has cause and effect switched.
There are basically three cases to consider. Let’s ignore the Sun, and assume a gentle breeze just enough to mix the air around the snow.
Case 1: Air temp below freezing, hence dewpoint below freezing.
Snow doesn’t melt. It can sublimate, but I’m talking serious end of winter snow melt that fills the rivers.
Case 2: Air temp above freezing, dew point below freezing.
Snow does melt (or may still sublimate). However, even with temperatures around 50°F (10°C) it’s not very quick. I think an inch or two (few cm) a day is about it.
Case 3: Air temp above freezing, dew point above freezing.
Now, in addition to the conducting heat from the air, we have dew forming on the snow, much as a glass of ice water in the summer gets wet on the outside. As the dew condenses, it releases the latent heat in the water vapor (2260 J/g) which melts some of the snow (334 J/g, meaning each gram of condensed water vapor melts nearly 7 grams of snow). I posit this condensation makes case 3 far more effective at melting snow than case 2.
Also, the conduction melting of the snow also chills the air and as that goes below the dewpoint, water vapor condenses into fog. It’s not so much that the fog is melting snow as it is melting snow creates fog.
It would be a really fun science fair experiment.

April 6, 2013 8:53 am

Yes!Yes!Yes! Very good. This reminded me of myself stepping in it
as I am wont to do. I often say,”I have a million bits of trivia stuck in
my head,put them all together,add $8.95,you get a small cup at S B’s.

April 6, 2013 8:59 am

Oh. And for the ones who didn’t like it…..
You expect Anthony to 24/7 so you can get out of bed
have coffee and read what YOU want. How can you say
“what has this site become”. Give the man a week end off.
(but not too many) hee hee

John R T
April 6, 2013 9:15 am

@ Robert Scott
? looking for “… civilised and knowledgeable comment and discussion …”?
Please let me know when it occurs: full link, please; I believe it is not impossible.
Caleb, when you make adjustments to your site, keep the ‘cover’ image,

April 6, 2013 9:24 am

“_Jim says: April 5, 2013 at 8:36 pm
…I don’t know how today’s new fridge/freezer specifically accomplish this task, but my +30 yr old Ward’s Signature series as a matter of fact during a “defrost cycle” _melts_ the _ice_ that collects on (literally: “freezes onto in a conformal manner”) the *evaporator* (cooling) coils. The ‘melting’ is accomplished via heating elements in close proximity to (in intimate contact with) the evaporator coil…”

I believe the basic physical design approach is similar. The differences are in timing and target. Year ago, the target was the actual frost on the coils and food. Nowadays the target is mainly the warm moist air that enters the freezer so the cycle is more frequent. Warm the air slightly along with all of the food surfaces which raises the freezer air’s moisture holding potential and prevents most of the humidity from condensing out as frost. The warmer air is technically drier and this will sublimate some of the exposed ice.
Plastic bags are still somewhat permeable; so snowballs kept in freezer bags will lose some moisture over time. But for the most part you can scrunch up the frost in the bag back onto the snowballs and have most of the snowball available. They’re kinda hard though; the recipient will not like it! (Yes, tried on a sibling and no, not the referenced sibling above)
Or, you can obtain a non-frost free freezer. I have two freezers. The frost free job that comes with the refrigerator and a large non-frost free freezer for long term storage. That way I can store large amounts of food fairly long term; as my rural area suffers frequent power outages I do lose food occasionally even though the big freezer will keep food frozen for several days after the power’s out. Still, the effects of opening and closing the freezer will still cause freezer burn eventually. Meat, wrapped well is good for several years. Fruit packaged in a light sugar syrup is good indefinitely. Fruit and vegetables wrapped well are good for one and half years to two years tops. The same or less goes for a lot of seafood.
Every couple of years I have to put all of the food into coolers or the other freezer and I defrost the non-frost free freezer. Takes about a day to a day and a half with most of that time letting the freezer get cold enough again.
I’ve noticed that some folks posting unkind statements about your thread here. Don’t take it hard. For my part, I try to read every thread Anthony allows. After a couple of paragraphs I have a good idea of whether I want to continue reading or to move on to a different thread.
Anyone who takes into their mind that they want to post unkind opinions after reading an author’s submission; well, not everyone learns from embarrassment actions/opinions. As for those who post unkind opinions when they didn’t read your submission…
Seriously, critiques of Anthony’s choices or publications should utilize Anthony’s tips and notes page.

Luther Wu
April 6, 2013 9:40 am

Ric Werme says:
April 6, 2013 at 6:21 am
I never counted my lifetime embarrassments. The big ones that still make me wince make up for all the rest.
Those are “gotcha”s. Everyone has them. Regardless of the gotcha, it is in the past. That’s what I remind myself…

Mark T
April 6, 2013 9:46 am

Wrong, he was spot-on about the infiltration of socialism. Look at the present results.

Technically communism IIRC, but yes, he was right. Fortunately, we live in a free society in which personal beliefs about socio-economic systems are not illegal. Unfortunately, however, that there are enough people stupid enough to fall for the lie that is socialism.

Luther Wu
April 6, 2013 9:49 am

DirkH says:
April 6, 2013 at 7:36 am
I suppose you never heard of the bombing of London, or the 12 million+ Nazi- murdered civilians, or the countless atrocities which the Nazis committed, everywhere they went. You must never have heard of Manila, or Nanking, or civilians used for target practice or the myriad atrocities committed by the Japanese forces, everywhere they went.

Luther Wu
April 6, 2013 9:52 am

DirkH says:
April 6, 2013 at 7:36 am
You, DirkH, can go pound sand.

April 6, 2013 10:00 am

I tried to comment before but lost the internet as I pressed the send button.
Thank you to Caleb for an interesting read.
I love coming to this site. It is really full of fascinating stuff and I just wish I had more time to follow it all. It is surely up to Anthony to decide who to host on his site. We are so lucky to have access to it. The same goes for Jo Nova’s site. Those who do not wish to read a particular post are not forced to press the continue reading button, for Heaven’s sake! The home page items surely give an adequate taste of what is to come!

April 6, 2013 10:20 am

I liked the Truman version of the line better: it’s practical and the modified version smacks of idealism.

April 6, 2013 11:22 am

At April 6, 2013 at 9:46 am you write

Unfortunately, however, that there are enough people stupid enough to fall for the lie that is socialism.

Fortunately, there are very many more people – including me – who proclaim the truth that is socialism.

Rational Db8
April 6, 2013 11:57 am

re: Caleb says: April 6, 2013 at 7:27 am

What I do remember is how nasty the wind could get, mixing the dry snow with red dust and even, when the wind really blasted, with sand. There is nothing quite like that, in the east.

Ah yes. Sandblasting, a term normally reserved for using power equipment to blast sand at high velocity against metal or other surfaces to strip the top layer off entirely, takes on a whole new meaning in the American Southwest. You know you’ve been properly sand blasted out here when visibility is seriously reduced due to horizontal blowing sand, and 10 or 20 showers and days later you are still discovering sand on yourself in various nooks and crannies. You are absolutely right, there’s nothing quite like a good ‘ol Southwestern sandblasting. :0)
Which makes me think also of the incredibly beautiful heat lightning storms we can get out here too… talk about fabulous to watch, standing out at night, perfectly dry, and watching all the lightning!
Or, tying back to your story’s bits about sublimation and lack of humidity… one of the most beautiful things that’s also frequently seen in the Southwest, and is a direct result of very low humidity, is virga – that’s when a thunderstorm (or actually it can happen with any storm) is raining, but the humidity is so low the rain evaporates before it hits the ground… so it looks like a lacy veil that just disappears mid air. Go to google images or any search engine image search, and search on virga and you can find many really pretty photos of this phenomena – but they never look half as beautiful as actually seeing it yourself. Not long ago I saw a very surprising, to me, very bright shining white virga. While I’d see virga before with streaks of white (which I had always thought were tricks of light, but maybe I was wrong), I’d never seen a fairly large virga where the entire thing was a very bright shiny silver. I later discovered, courtesy of my very-knowledgeable-on-these-sorts-of-phenomena-Dad, that this apparently happens when the virga consists of ice crystals rather than water!

Rational Db8
April 6, 2013 12:17 pm

re: DirkH says: April 6, 2013 at 7:36 am

Rational Db8 says: April 5, 2013 at 8:53 pm
“Since then, firebombing has been outlawed by international agreement/laws of war.”

How very nice of the Brits and the Americans. Who did not commit war crimes in WW II; as, by definition, only axis forces could commit them.

Dirk, are you under the misapprehension that it was only or even primarily the Allied forces that firebombed? If so, you are forgetting the Blitz of London and so on – and that Japan apparently started the first firebombing in WWII. See the bit I copied below. As to who commits war crimes, unfortunately it has always been the nature of man such that the victor winds up trying the losers for various crimes – and typically the victor who writes history too. I’m not saying these practices are reasonable or right, just that it’s nothing new and has occurred probably as long as man has existed. Regardless, I don’t see how you get the vitriol against Brits and Americans exclusively on this issue, when pretty much every nation involved in war throughout much of history used incendiaries.
from the notoriously-incorrect-but-oh-so-convenient-wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firebombing
Although simple incendiary bombs have been used to destroy buildings since the start of gunpowder warfare, World War II saw the first use of strategic bombing from the air to destroy the ability of the enemy to wage war. The Chinese wartime capital of Chongqing was firebombed by the Japanese starting in early 1939. London, Coventry and many other British cities were firebombed during the Blitz. Most large German cities were extensively firebombed starting in 1942 and almost all large Japanese cities were firebombed during the last six months of World War II.
This technique makes use of small incendiary bombs (possibly delivered by a cluster bomb such as the Molotov bread basket[1]). If a fire catches, it could spread, taking in adjacent buildings that would have been largely unaffected by a high explosive bomb. This is a more effective use of the payload that a bomber could carry.
The use of incendiaries alone does not generally start uncontrollable fires where the targets are roofed with nonflammable materials such as tiles or slates. The use of a mixture of bombers carrying high explosive bombs, such as the British blockbuster bombs, which blew out windows and roofs and exposed the interior of buildings to the incendiary bombs, are much more effective. Alternatively, a preliminary bombing with conventional bombs can be followed by subsequent attacks by incendiary carrying bombers.
and from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incendiary_device
Incendiary weapons, incendiary devices or incendiary bombs are bombs designed to start fires or destroy sensitive equipment using materials such as napalm, thermite, chlorine trifluoride, or white phosphorus.
Incendiary bombs have been used since ancient times. Greek fire, which was used by the Byzantine Empire, is a prime example; it was the cause of many naval victories….
Originally, incendiaries were developed in order to destroy the many small, decentralized war industries located (often intentionally) throughout vast tracts of city land in an effort to escape destruction by conventionally aimed high-explosive bombs. Nevertheless, the civilian destruction caused by such weapons quickly earned them a reputation as terror weapons with the targeted populations, and a number of shot-down aircrews (e.g., in German, Terrorflieger) were summarily executed by angry civilians upon capture.[citation needed] The Nazi regime began the campaign of incendiary bombings with the start of World War II with the bombing of Warsaw in World War II, and continued with the London Blitz and the bombing of Moscow, among other cities. Later, an extensive reprisal was exacted by the Allies in the strategic bombing campaign that lead to the annihilation of many German cities. In the Pacific War, during the last seven months of strategic bombing by B-29 Superfortresses in the airwar against Japan, a change to firebombing tactics resulted in some 500,000 Japanese deaths and 5 million more made homeless. Sixty-seven of Japan’s largest cities lost significant area to incendiary attacks. The most deadly single bombing raid in all history was Operation Meetinghouse, an incendiary attack that killed some 100,000 Tokyo residents in one night…. [note, as you can imagine the estimated deaths are quite controversial – I suspect, but may be wrong, that those listed here are high end estimates]
Incendiary weapons and laws of warfare
According to the Protocol III of the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons governing the use of incendiary weapons:
**prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against civilians (effectively a reaffirmation of the general prohibition on attacks against civilians in Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions)
**prohibits the use of air-delivered incendiary weapons against military targets located within concentrations of civilians and loosely regulates the use of other types of incendiary weapons in such circumstances.[6]
Protocol III states though that incendiary weapons do not include:
** Munitions which may have incidental incendiary effects, such as illuminates, tracers, smoke or signaling systems;
**Munitions designed to combine penetration, blast or fragmentation effects with an additional incendiary effect, such as armour-piercing projectiles, fragmentation shells, explosive bombs and similar combined-effects munitions in which the incendiary effect is not specifically designed to cause burn injury to persons, but to be used against military objectives, such as armoured vehicles, aircraft and installations or facilities.

Robert of Ottawa
April 6, 2013 4:01 pm

ISuch rock-like earth should have a name.
It’s called Canada!

April 6, 2013 4:02 pm

RE:Rational Db8 says:
April 6, 2013 at 11:57 am
I remember the “virga.” The Navajo word for it translated to “lady rain.” (The “man rain” was the rain that reached the ground.)
The late spring days would start cloud-free and cool and completely calm, and then, as the blazing sun heated the earth, beautiful cumulous would start puffing up, turn purple, and then those streamers of virga would fall. Lightning would often shoot down the edge, as if rain was some sort of leader. That was the sort of lightning that started forest fires up in the hills, because the lightning reached the ground and the rain didn’t. Also, though the rain evaporated before it reached the ground, the downdraft kept falling, and sometimes you could see a cloud of dust kicked up in the distance where the wind hit the ground.
I had to pay attention to that wind, because I was working on “The Great American Novel” at that time, and it involved being very poor, and living at Red Rock Campground east of Gallup, New Mexico. They hadn’t fixed the place up yet, and the good lady who ran the campground charged me $25.00 a week to pitch a pup tent and type all day at a picnic table. I had to watch for the wind, or my various papers would all be blown to kingdom come. I’d put everything away around ten in the morning, which was when the wind kicked up, and also when it was getting too hot to sit in the sun.
One time I became engrossed in my writing and didn’t pay attention to the sky. A shadow fell, and even before I could make a grab for my manuscript the blast of wind from the downdraft hit. I clutched the bulk of my manuscript and just about threw it in my car, and then turned to start chasing down the first fifty pages. I then saw a lovely sight.
A moment before the campground had seemed completely deserted, without a soul in sight, but now people had spilled out of every tent and camper, and they were all running around like crazy chasing down pages for me. They were all grinning, as they walked up and handed them back to me.
Whenever I feel my faith in human nature sink to a low ebb, I remember that bunch of complete strangers.

April 6, 2013 4:47 pm

RE: Ric Werme says:
April 6, 2013 at 8:22 am
Joe D’Aleo wrote an interesting piece about Snow-eater fog on his Blog at WeatherBELL. I think it was just before, or while, New Hampshire had the warm storm at the very end of January. He talked about the exact thing you mentioned: Latent heat released when water condenses on snow, the same way water condenses on the side of a glass holding a cold drink in the summer.
It was a good thing that warm storm and its snow-eater fog wiped out so much of our snow-cover. Can you imagine what the rest of the winter would have been like, with an extra foot under the snow we eventually got?
I run a childcare at my farm, and the boys were gloomy about the snow all vanishing and the sledding being ruined. (They could not see in the future, to a blizzard ten days ahead.) While dealing with their complaints I wound up trying to explain latent heat being released, as water condenses on snow, to a six year old. It was interesting, (especially as I likely don’t fully understand the process myself.) I later described the experience in http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/why-fog-hates-the-snow/
The essay is largely about childcare, but other topics leak in.

April 6, 2013 5:47 pm

Some of the comments here take offense at the nature of this post.
In doing so, the commentators reveal their profound limitations.
“Old Fossil” declares he will not be preached to. Whether this refers to the substance of the content, which he is clearly incapable of absorbing, or to the use of “God” triggering some knee-jerk aversion, thus demonstrating a complete incomprehension of its meaning as a way of recognizing that absolute understanding is not possible to any human, which exists regardless of any religious connotations, this demonstrates an abysmally truncated relationship with existence which can only flow through to a limited capacity in any field – very particularly science.
Others have derided this as “literary”, and have equated it to anything that seems to be a “story”, including Willis’s recollections, and therefore dismiss it as merely personal and as having no place on this site. But although related as personal experience that is not the intent or the achievement: the personal element acts only to illustrate something of much wider and general significance. Failure to see this is a judgement on the viewer not the writer.
Yet others say simply it is not science. Insofar as it is not an example of the mechanics of scientific method this true. For anyone who actually understands the nature of scientific inquiry, or any inquiry, and its motivations and claims to legitimacy, it is not. To exclude such considerations renders anyone merely a functionary imprisoned in a system.
This post is about fallibility.
To illustrate it as it has been is a much more accurate and accessible depiction than will be achieved by placing it in a nominally philosophical or technical context utilizing analytical terms. It demonstrates a truth.
To those who might decry it on the basis that it is a homily, already understood and acted on, it is only necessary to survey the “Climate Change” landscape – and in fact many comments made on this site – to see that whatever its status historically might have been, or should be now, it is not a universally perceived truth. Precisely the opposite.
Rather than being irrelevant, or incidental to WUWT, “Climate Science”, or anything that claims a basis in science, it is fundamental.
The contemporary technocrat whether dressed as scientist or economist, or a multitude of other forms, can exist only because, in association with a primaevalism expressed as dishonesty and desire for structural ascendancy, an ultimate reference point such as this is ignored.
Thus everything about “Climate Science”: from assertions in 1988 by Hansen that the “science is in”, to the devotee who “knows” that it must be so.
When the history of AGW is written, if that is ever possible, the core, foundational points in understanding it will not relate to science as it has been practiced or abused in detail. It will distill down to this and similar issues.
Nothing could be relevant at any time. And from this point on, any discussion and analysis of AGW will increasingly be addressing these very issues.

April 6, 2013 8:31 pm

On “uninvented” vs. ‘invented’ history:
Uninvented: the Hittite-Minoan-Mycenean Warm Period; the Roman Climate Optimum, the Medieval Warm Period (uninvented because they happened, no thanks to compromised scientific ethics).
Invented: No Hittite-Minoan-Mycenean Warm Period; the Roman Climate Optimum, the Medieval Warm Period (invented because they didn’t happen, all thanks to compromised scientific ethics).

April 6, 2013 9:38 pm

oldfossil says:
April 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm
Under the headline “Uninvented History” should be the subheading, “Warning, preachy sermon follows.”

Under the heading “oldfossil” should be the subheading, “Warning: old grouch.”
/Mr Lynn

Rational Db8
April 7, 2013 12:51 am

re: Caleb says: April 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm
Caleb, LOVED reading these bits from you – particularly about the unsolicited help folks gave you. The Navajo translation bit was intriguing too. Anyhow, THANK YOU for that post.
It reminds me of something somewhat similar that happened to me a few years ago. I once sat in my car in a parking spot at a Costco, waiting for an elderly lady to work her way with her walker out of the car beside me. Once she was out from between our cars I got out of mine. Locking my keys in the car because I’d set them down beside me while waiting for her. I realized what I’d done almost immediately, and I think I dropped my forehead to the car or something. You know, I did the proverbial “face palm” utilizing the car instead of my palm. Her husband notice. He asked what was wrong. He then offered to drive me to my apartment so I could get spare keys! I told him it wasn’t at all necessary, I didn’t want to inconvenience him, and it was a good 10 miles or so away. The gentleman insisted, and I relented. His wife headed on in to start shopping. On the drive I discovered that he was 84, and as you’d expect, a very nice fellow and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with him on the way. I had to pop into the complex office to get a key to my apartment (because of course, my own was locked in my car along with the car keys), then to my apartment, and then back to the store. He was never the least bit impatient, just a nice guy all the way around (and yes, even at 84 he was an excellent driver :0) ).
There are many very nice people out there, more than willing to help someone in need. Personally I think most people are good hearted. Regardless, as you said, it’s experiences like these that restore one’s faith in humanity. Your situation must have been particularly wonderful, with not one hero coming to the rescue, but many!

Steve T
April 7, 2013 2:17 am

The meek shall inherit the earth – if that’s ok with you guys. 🙂

Julian in Wales
April 7, 2013 3:57 am

I think it is much easier to lie than tell the truth, the truth is often unattainable and illusive.
For instance language causes us to focus our attention on only one aspect of a thing that has many aspects. “This is a valuable book”, that is definitely the truth, it is full of useful knowledge and very well written, but “this is a pile of worthless paper between two pieces of cardboard” is equally true, no one in the house is interested in reading it, there are million other copies, the paper cannot be used for writing on because it is covered with print. True statements can mislead.
There is that famous pattern of a duck rabbit, when you see a duck you cannot see the rabbit, when you see the rabbit you cannot see the duck. Our minds make up their minds whether it is a duck or a rabbit, and none of us can see both simultaneously. And it neither a duck or a rabbit, because in truth it is a pattern on a piece of paper.
Sience is particularly subject to becoming misleading, because your use of words becomes atomised, and your conclusions are built on other narrowly defined discoveries, so what you have in the end is a very narrow aspect of the properties of the object you are discussing
Lying is easy – we can call a pile of paper a pile of plastic, and that is a straight lie.

Gail Combs
April 7, 2013 4:39 am

<i?"…I have just lived through roughly a week of a frost-free New Hampshire… "
Your morning frost followed me down to North Carolina. (temp as low as 26F on March 28th & 29th)

Julian in Wales
April 7, 2013 4:47 am

If I walk down the street and meet a man of 94 I call him old, if I find a piece of rock which was formed a million years ago I call it very young rock. Old Fossil might think he is old, but quite probably he is under 100 years old and a very young fossil.

April 7, 2013 5:54 am

@ Julian in Wales says:
April 7, 2013 at 3:57 am
It is accurate to say that truth is, at any one moment for any one person, in a perception. Or is the perception. So your above examples are not offenses to that nor do they, however numerous or complex, support any truth outside themselves. And they don’t have to. Because they have reality, and therefore utility and meaning, only to those that perceive them, with nothing else contingent on that. What you present as an intractable conundrum is not. You are transposing the significance of any perceived truth by an individual unchanged and therefore in conflict with anothers. This is not how existence is. In your above example describing a book, there is no confusion in incorporating both perceptions within an individual or between two or more parties.
It is in fact the recognition that this individual perception of a truth is contingent entirely on that limitation that requires the acknowledgement that any meaningful truth beyond that individual must incorporate other perspectives. This may be one, as in a pile of paper, or it may be an amalgam of many. in anything that has been called general truth, this is its character and it reflects this process. Where truth is considered to be general and also has practical utility that is in itself seen to be true because its immutability is generally agreed, this exists outside individuals, or any consensus between individuals. What you describe as a basis for considering that truth does not exist in effect, is firstly to qualify the nature of the individual perception as a truth because it cannot be precisely shared, and then to say adequate communicate cannot exist because of that. The communication required is not one which can capture the individuals perception in entirety because that individuals perception cannot exist in totality more generally. What is required is that which can establish a truth that can exist outside the individual. That will vary in expression and scope. It is however not just possible but routine. There can be no interaction between people without it. There may well be confusion as to what is being communicated through inadequate familiarity, and indeed what this actually means to any given individual when internalized will differ even if minutely. But this is because the manner in which it varies between individuals is in integration with other individual perceptions of truth, not, unless confused, in the general shared truth that is being apprehended by more than the individual. So in that, it does not matter for the general, and retains the full complexity of individual perceptions.
So to collapse in the face of apparently unknowable general truth as you seem in effect to advocate is not obligatory, and is itself at odds with existence as it actually occurs.
A rather rushed and despite its atypical length for this forum, obviously truncated note on a subject that requires rather more detail. Suffice to say in summary that I think your position reflects a collapse in belief in the legitimacy of any truth that can exist at a wider than individual level, and that I think this is both incorrect and ultimately wrong. Wrong in the true sense of the word as it pertains to morality which is itself an expression of the necessity to have shared truths between people in order to function as part of a wider group of individuals.

April 7, 2013 6:20 am

@ Julian in Wales says:
April 7, 2013 at 3:57 am
I should just add, in relation specifically to this post, the knowledge that any one individual perception of truth cannot be complete as it relates to others as described above, let alone absolute, does not represent the extinction of truth itself. Quite the opposite.

April 7, 2013 8:15 am

Gail Combs says:
April 7, 2013 at 4:39 am

“…I have just lived through roughly a week of a frost-free New Hampshire… ”
Your morning frost followed me down to North Carolina. (temp as low as 26F on March 28th & 29th)

I think my wife and I deserve some credit. I drove her down to hike the Appalachian Trail and got to drive in a little Georgia snow. I left her March 11, but after more days avoid snow, ice, and cold than hiking, she’s back in NH.
She’ll try again in a week or two, a friend of hers has a car that needs a one-way trip to NC, so watch out!

Luther Wu
April 7, 2013 8:57 am

Truth is like a shining diamond and facts are mere facets of that diamond.

Luther Wu
April 7, 2013 9:04 am

Steve T says:
April 7, 2013 at 2:17 am
The meek shall inherit the earth – if that’s ok with you guys. 🙂
Not so much in the US of A, not anymore. The tax-free power structures are inheriting the earth; the Mormon Church, as example, or the beneficiary inheritance trusts of Ted Turner, and on and on.

April 7, 2013 11:08 am

@ jc:
I rather suspect that what Julian in Wales is leading us to is not that truth is subjective, but that our understanding of truth is individual, indistinct and subjective. To one person, a book could be a wonderful source of information. To another, it is a wonderful source for reflection. To another, it is worthless because it offers no blank pages to write upon.
Nature offers us many vantages to listen to its story. The trick is to learn the language. I think that Mr. Williams’ point is that our limited grasp of Nature’s vernacular is largely governed by our aims.

Julian in Wales
April 7, 2013 1:16 pm

@jc Thank you for addressing my contribution so completely. I do not altogether understand your point, I lost track but I suspect we are coming towards the same conclusion from opposite directions.
I do not deny a book is truthfully a book, I am really saying that when we take something to be the truth we are usually handling an aspect of it, not the whole thing. I was very influenced by Daniel Dennett’s conception of multiple draft model of consciousness, which I have found useful in solving otherwise impossible to solve problems with drawings of movement which is my field of work. For years I have believed that there was a way that we conceive of seeing a ballet dancer move through the air, but I could not reconcile the bending of straight objects with the conception that dance is about straight lines which we apparently can see when the dancer is moving, and I used up many decades trying to catch that “truth” on paper. Then I understood that my mind actually held quite a few explanations of what it was seeing concurrently, and what I put on paper was always just one of the many concurrent goings on in my head. Once I understood that my drawing ability moved ahead very fast.
This may sound like a very long way from science, which actually has a scaffold of empirical data and proven hypotheses (plural?) on which more complex theories and hypotheses are hung and tested (please correct my amateur attempt at defining what you do). Science works really well, you have conquered the world with your inventions, we all love to use our motor cars and computer screens. But it is a very narrow way to look at the world, it is so successful that we end up believing that we understand things that are ultimately beyond our comprehension. And our hubris leads us to think we know what will happen to ice when the Spring comes, and we are surprised to be surprised.
I think there are scientists who close their minds, believe too implicitly in their cleverness and neatly perceived and calibrated view of the world. I could say they are not scientists, because the very closed-ness of their minds makes it impossible for them to really call themselves scientists.

April 7, 2013 9:53 pm

RE jc says:
April 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm
Thanks. That was a very thoughtful bit of writing. And I think you understood what I was trying to say, in my homespun way.
Lastly, I would like to thank Al Gore for “creating the internet.” The only way anyone can understand the pleasure I get from the above 112 comments is to imagine going roughly 35 years, and getting nothing but lone rejection slip, as a comment after writing something.
Just imagine writing the above essay, and the lone comment would be, “We regret to inform you that your submission does not meet the requirements of our publication at this time.”
After 35 years of treatment like that, even “oldfossil’s” comment was a wonderful breath of fresh air. It was honest, true-to-his-heart, and man-to-man. I wish the gate-keeper editors of old-fashioned magazines the class of “oldfossil,” when they rejected, but they had no class, which may explain why they are going out of business.
The conversations that get going on WUWT are wonderful, instructive, sometimes amazing, and I feel thankful to be part of them. May God bless this site, and everyone who contributes.

April 7, 2013 11:43 pm

Hi man,
I love your style…keep it up!
That quote from Mark Twain made me smile 🙂 It’s refreshing to see people like you out there…
Thanks for this post.
Cris (the light warrior) 🙂

April 8, 2013 2:21 am

@ Julian in Wales says:
April 7, 2013 at 1:16 pm
“…I am really saying that when we take something to be the truth we are usually handling an aspect of it, not the whole thing.”
I agree, with the proviso that we are always handling an aspect of it. Thus a degree of what can only be called humility must be part of all this. We can’t really have that in our minds at the time of actually fully addressing something, or being fully involved, or we would be made non-functional by it.
Your description of the impact of pre-conception, or maybe of pre-formating, on your drawing is interesting. In such things most people would assume that your “seeing” must be direct and absolute, but as you say, it must be translated. So I guess it could be said that what was to you one truth – or maybe something you thought should be a truth – has now been either subsumed or incorporated in a wider view of what is true.
The proposition that what is classified as science – even with the inclusion of the bogus “sciences” – does not constitute the only way to comprehend existence will get no argument from me. Objectively, if not scientifically (!), that is observably untrue.
To me, science is just the formalization of a curiosity about the material world. Such things as scientific method and empirical experiment are structures to ensure that potential confusions in intent, actual occurrences, meaning, and communication are removed or minimized. It has (or should have) that clarity or precision.
I think this is and should be part of any human, not as scientific process in itself, but as a basic reconciliation of experience, but it is not human experience in entirety simply because not all things can be known, as Caleb’s post illustrates, or known in that way. Some things, as shown in art, are more fully expressed in other ways, even if any truth in them, again incomplete, cannot be reduced to the empirical.
When “scientists” are created by accreditation and ratification rather than by demonstrated vocation to reconciling curiosity and the material experience, the result is functionaries within a system applying a process who lack the core requirements for the task. This is, in and beyond science, rampant. These are not “scientists” in the true sense, since, as you said, minds are enclosed by this. No doubt a perennial issue, and a perennial risk for anyone, but now unrestrained and fully alive in the “Climate Scientist”!

April 8, 2013 2:31 am

@ Pluck says:
April 7, 2013 at 11:08 am
“…our limited grasp of Nature’s vernacular is largely governed by our aims.”
True enough. And for a pragmatic relationship with nature or the material world, that is to a large degree not only needed but is enough. If we want to extend that in any way at all though, we must not become prisoners of prior, assumed, or in the case of “Climate Science”, demanded, knowledge. The first is stagnation, the second brings mistakes, the third brings all the disaster of arrogance.

April 8, 2013 2:52 am

@Caleb says:
April 7, 2013 at 9:53 pm
For what its worth, I’d like to express appreciation of your post. Not just the post itself, which I think is well structured, thought through, and written – and I think you underrate by calling homespun in a deprecatory way: the stylized and elaborate often add up to little after the initial sensation passes – but for the idea of the post itself.
As I said earlier, I think “Climate Change” would have never have got off the ground if such “homespun” wisdom had been applied. Hopefully, even now, it will be given its proper place, and it will take efforts such as yours to do that.
As to the frustrations of a writer, it is a truism that what is open to being received, not just by any system but by people or society generally, is out of a writers control, and it can only be hoped that what someone wants to say will, if things change, find interest. At least you have something to say and the capacity to say it. Many don’t.

April 8, 2013 6:26 am

@ Luther Wu says:
April 7, 2013 at 8:57 am
“Truth is like a shining diamond and facts are mere facets of that diamond.”
Well put. And a hell of a lot more succinct than my ramblings. The problem in contemporary life is that the cultural norm is now to be transfixed by the light of whatever facet is visible, and an unwillingness to shift the gaze to take in the whole in case the simplicity of gratification is fractured, even if only for awhile. Also, the reflections of any facet become a mirror and are an excuse to indulge in the pleasures of self-appreciation.

Julian in Wales
April 8, 2013 9:36 am

Thanks jc – appreciated and as I suspected our minds were not that far apart.

Rational Db8
April 8, 2013 10:57 am

With regard to “The Truth“… science is a fabulous method of investigating and evaluating “The Truth.” Each paper addresses a facet (the hypothesis) of “The Truth.” It then proceeds to lay down the exact context of just when that facet is actually True (methods and materials, etc.), and provides boundaries to further specify just when it is True (elimination of confounding factors, specification of conditions, etc.).
Thus the results tell us if the facet is really a facet or was only someone’s imaginings that doesn’t hold up to others perceptions (failed experiment, hypothesis = not True), or if the facet will be true to everyone regardless of perception, so long as it’s within the stated parameters.
Then the conclusions tells us how this facet of The Truth can be useful, and how this Truth meshes with other already known Truths. Finally it takes baby steps into where this singular Truth may lead to wider Truth.
Science is a BEAUTIFUL thing!!! It is all about The Truth – even while it acknowledges that it is only able to evaluate a myriad of facets, but not the entire diamond at once. It is all about The Truth, as it brings some order and understanding to what our human nature otherwise turns into jumbled mush of relativistic musings wherein nothing holds solid and each individual’s perception may proclaim that the same thing is really something different. Science is all about bringing order to chaos – order that all can agree upon, and that’s a miracle.

MT Geoff
April 8, 2013 1:19 pm

I too enjoyed the read. If I may address Pilot Twain and both Caleb and Zek202:
Sam Clemens was indeed a riverboat pilot, not a captain. The captain was in overall command of the riverboat — I would be slow to say his (they were all men at that time) job was less critical than the pilot’s job. The pilot was responsible for essentially the movement of the riverboat and its safety while under way. The river system around the Mississippi is complicated now and was more complicated then. I must paraphrase now — I don’t have my copy of “Life” handy either — but as Twain, Clemens writes that a pilot had to know the Mississippi as many rivers: a high-water river, a low water river, a river in many kinds of light.
The captain was responsible for the pilot’s job and for all other elements of the riverboat’s operation. I’m sure this could make tense relations between pilot and captain. The two experienced, responsible men might well disagree on the condition of the river and the best action. As I understand their roles, though, the pilot gave the final orders if captain and pilot disagreed on the management of the boat’s movement.

Reply to  MT Geoff
April 8, 2013 2:35 pm

It has been nearly 40 years since I read “Life on the Mississippi.” I borrowed it from the school library so I have never owned a copy and am not in a position to do any fact checking. I loved the book and I believe that I remember quite clearly the referenced story. What I can remember differs from the reported story at some points. As I recall, an alligator patrol to rid the river of dangerous alligators that would pose a serious threat to navigation factored into the story. Samuel Clemens drank in this man’s fabrications with outward interest but inner contempt.
I have never understood exactly why Samuel Clemens despised the young liar: it is exactly the sort of thing that he would have done himself. I have two theories on that point. Either he despised the man for his lack of skill in fabricating plausible lies, or he despised the man for not owning up when he realized that his lies had been discovered. I tend to favor the second theory. I think that if he had fessed up, he and Samuel Clemens would have parted as good friends.

Rational Db8
April 8, 2013 4:10 pm

@ Pluck says: April 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm

“I have never understood exactly why Samuel Clemens despised the young liar: it is exactly the sort of thing that he would have done himself.”

Or perhaps as is so common in humans, he despised in others the very trait he most despised in himself (whether he even recognized it in himself or not)….

April 9, 2013 3:34 am

Looks Like I will have to re-read “Life On The Mississippi.” I’m glad, for I was looking for an excuse to do so.
It is very interesting to read a book again, especially after 30 or 40 years. You see things you completely missed the first time.
I also may glance over “Huckleberry Finn” and even “Tom Sawyer.”

Brian H
April 12, 2013 8:43 am

All that dried drier dry Canadian air is surely a sign the Big Chill is imminent.

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