If it woes, it leads

We’re backing into the climate future/present with woes leading the way. It’s the perfect media framing and supports the status quo – yes everything is awful. We’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas, let’s see how we can keep cheap gas going a little bit longer. It’s this way, in part, because ALL of the progress is boring. For instance, wide bandgap:

Silicon and silicon carbide are useful in electronics because they are semiconductors: They can switch between being electrical conductors, as metals are, and insulators, as most plastics are. This ability makes semiconductors the key materials in transistors — the fundamental building blocks of modern electronics.

Silicon carbide differs from silicon in that it has a wide bandgap, meaning that it requires more energy to switch between the two states. Wide bandgap, or WBG, semiconductors are advantageous in power electronics because they can move more power more efficiently.

Silicon carbide is the senior citizen of WBGs, having been under development as a transistor material for decades. In that time, engineers have started using younger upstart WBG materials, like gallium nitride, or GaN. In the 1980s, researchers used gallium nitride to create the world’s first bright blue LEDs. Blue light comprises high-energy photons; gallium nitride, with its wide bandgap, was the first semiconductor that could practically produce photons with the sufficient energy. In 2014, three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for that innovation, which became ubiquitous in devices like TV screens and light bulbs.

Lately, researchers have started using gallium nitride to improve power electronics. The material reached commercial fruition over the past few years in adapters for charging phones and computers. These adapters are smaller, lighter, faster-charging and more efficient than traditional ones that use silicon transistors.

“A typical charger that you buy for your computer is 90 percent efficient,” said Jim Witham, chief executive of GaN Systems, a Canadian company that supplied the transistors in Apple’s gallium-nitride laptop chargers, which were released last fall. “Gallium nitride is 98 percent efficient. You can cut power losses by four times.”

Keep going, science.

Climate Debate: Over

In a quadruple over-time thriller that went so far past the wire it might be too late to do anything, climate change deniers are now providing evidence that climate change is actually happening and the scientific community was actually, uh, right:

In the press release announcing the results, Muller said, “Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK.” In other words, climate scientists know what they’re doing after all.

The BEST report is purely an estimate of planetary warming, and it makes no estimate of how much this warming is due to human activity. So in one sense, its impact is limited since the smarter skeptics have already abandoned the idea that warming is a hoax and now focus their fire solely on the contention that it’s man-made. (And the even smarter ones have given up on that, too, and now merely argue that it’s economically pointless to try to stop it.) Still, the fact that climate scientists turned out to be careful and thorough in their basic estimates of temperature rise surely enhances their credibility in general. Climategate was always a ridiculous sideshow, and this is just one more nail in its coffin. Climate scientists got the basic data right, and they’ve almost certainly gotten the human causes right too.

Graphs and other keys to the idiocy at the link.

Well-funded liars = still liars.

Spending their Dime

Climate Progress has both the skinny and the ‘gras’ on what the Koch brothers are getting for the quarter mil they dropped on members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to hold a hearing Wednesday to discuss blocking the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to reduce carbon dioxide pollution.  We can expect the same old half-truths, misstatements, and outright lies from the new majority, with an extra dose of special interest pandering.

So… they line up a slew of paid contestants people to testify that it’s all a hoax, but how does this come off? What does it look like to the average non-Fox viewer, non-Rush listener? What about the perception that they might be protesting a little too much? Do they begin attacking teh Globalwarmingisrealism as a threat to America that must be eliminated? Into the mike? You and I might think this is already happening but… this is a formal committee process where these charlatans have to speak clearly  and on the record. I think it will take more than a mere refutation of the facts as construed to get the Koch brothers’ point across; they’ll feel the need to go on the attack to stop the traitorous EPA from protecting the common right of access to clean water and air. Because it won’t be enough to merely hold the line and play one side, and because that’s what they actually are paid to believe. And to do.

I smell overreach.