Azimuth on Google Plus (Part 1)

Google Plus is here… and it’s pretty cool.

If you’re on Google Plus, and you want to get Azimuth-related news items, please let me know, either here or there. I’ll add you to my Azimuth circle.

Or even better, tell me how to broadcast items on Google Plus so that 1) everyone can see them, but 2) only people who want Azimuth stuff needs to see them. I can send stuff to “Public”, but so far I’ve been using that for fun stuff I think everyone would enjoy. Maybe future improvements to Google Plus will help me solve my dilemma.

Here’s a sample of Azimuth items on Google Plus. But note: these look a lot nicer on Google Plus.

Solar panels could reduce heat reaching the rooftop by as much as 38%. So, while making electricity you also spend less energy cooling your building in the summer. Not so nice in the winter, maybe.

Japan has been paying the dues for other countries in the International Whaling Commission — and then these countries vote against banning whaling. Japanese academic Atsushi Ishii said that this form of vote-buying was “very likely,” but added “I would not call it corruption.” Yeah, right. But the good news: now things may change a bit, since the International Whaling Commission has decided to ban this practice!

A plastic bottle filled with water refracts sunlight and acts like a 55-watt bulb — during the day, if you have a hole in your roof. For many that would be a good thing.

Congress may finally kill a $6 billion annual subsidy for turning corn into ethanol. This would be a good thing in many ways. Even some bioethanol producers say they don’t need this subsidy anymore. After all, there are laws requiring the use of ethanol in fuels, and as oil prices continue to rise, ethanol is becoming competitive.

Koch Industries Inc. and Exxon Mobil helped write legislation that’s been introduced in Montana, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Oregon, Washington and other states in the USA. It includes these words: “a tremendous amount of economic growth would be sacrificed for a reduction in carbon emissions that would have no appreciable impact on global concentrations of carbon dioxide.” They did this through an organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

See all the things that are wrong with scientific publishing today. On Google Plus we’ve been discussing ways to solve these problems.

Paleoecologist Micha Ruhl of Utrecht University has a new paper on the Permian-Triassic extinction. It argues that a fairly small release in CO2 from volcanoes was enough to make the sea floor release methane and cause the world’s worst mass extinction event. How much is “fairly small”, I wonder?

There’s a new Canadian study on “astroturfing”. Students who viewed a fake “grassroots” website with arguments against the existence of manmade global warming not only became less certain about the cause of global warming; they also believed that the issue was less important than before! Worst, the responses of participants who had viewed sites “Funded by Exxon-Mobil” weren’t different than those who had viewed sites funded by the “Conservation Heritage Fund,” by “donations by people like you,” or sites that didn’t list the source of funding at all.

And just for fun, especially for those of you suffering from the US heat wave… here’s what happens when you throw boiling water into the air at -35 °C:

But why isn’t she wearing a hat?

47 Responses to Azimuth on Google Plus (Part 1)

  1. Physicalist says:

    Oh sure. Rubbing it in that the COOL kids are already on G and we’re not.

  2. dugancm says:

    Yes, your articles look much nicer on Google+ than Google Reader. Please add me to the Circle.

    This makes me wonder if widgets for opting into a Circle (or equivalent social networking function), with associated blog-to-circle auto-uploading, could be a better way to implement RSS feeds.

      • peadarcoyle says:

        Could I be added too?

        • John Baez says:

          Yes, as soon as I get access to Google Plus. It’s not working here in China, at least not yet.

          (The error message says “The site could be temporarily unavailable or too busy. Try again in a few moments.” However, this is the error message I always get when (accidentally) trying to view censored websites in China, like the BBC or Wikipedia. I’m glad Azimuth is available.)

  3. sb says:

    Can you please add me to the Azimuth circle? Thanks.

  4. Robert Smart says:

    It seems obvious that: you should be able to put tags on g+ posts; that sending to certain circles should automatically add particular tags; that you should be able to specify which tags you do (or do not) want to see from particular people.

    • John Baez says:

      Right. I’m always a bit confused about this stuff, but right now it seems you cannot post articles that everyone can see, with tags so that only people who want to see them will see them in their incoming stream.

      By the way, could you comment on the Australian carbon tax discussion that Peter de Lacey and I are having here? What I really want is facts more than opinions. In politics facts are precious and hard to obtain, while opinions are cheap and often worthless.

      For example: how will the tax be imposed? Does it really depend on your age, as Peter claims? Does the “assistance” depend on your age?

      (Please comment over there, so people will know where to look.)

  5. Tim van Beek says:

    John wrote:

    But why isn’t she wearing a hat?

    So, why isn’t she?
    If I had to guess I’d say she is outside only for a short time, and it is windless…

    • John Baez says:

      Perhaps when someone is making a movie of you, you don’t want to be completely hidden by a big heavy hat.

      • Robert Smart says:

        Hats make your hair go flat… Only guessing.

        • Tim van Beek says:

          Oh. I had hoped that there is a witty answer involving wind speeds, water vapor concentration, latent heat and effects of heat conduction. Like “it was so windstill and dry that the rate of cooling was comparable to a -2 °C day at an average winter night at the north sea”.

          Although I know that I wouldn’t last 5 minutes on a dam at the north sea at storm force 10 at -2 °C with or without a hat (even with hat soon after arriving without one, probably).

  6. John Huerta says:

    I would like to be in the Azimuth circle, please.

  7. Giovanni says:

    Please, add me in the Azimuth circle. Thanks!

  8. Here is some more thermal science fun, courtesy Azimuth. Watch this video, where the lady pours hot water into an atmosphere of air at about -35 ° C […]

  9. Az-circle me too please! I don’t contribute much to the discussions here, but I do enjoy reading and thinking about them.

  10. Tad Thurston says:

    I’d like to be in the Azimuth circle as well. Thanks!

  11. David Lyon says:

    I would like to be added to the Azimuth circle as well.

  12. Iain Chapman says:


    I’d love to be added to the Azimuth circle when you have a chance.


  13. John Baez says:

    Giovanni wrote:

    Please, add me in the Azimuth circle. Thanks!

    Okay, you’re in!

    Richard Elwes wrote:

    Az-circle me too please! I don’t contribute much to the discussions here, but I do enjoy reading and thinking about them.

    Okay, you’re in! By the way, your publisher never got a copy of your book to me. I went back to UC Riverside near the end of May, and I didn’t find a copy there. Nor has a copy shown up at my current address in Singapore.

    Tad Thurston wrote:

    I’d like to be in the Azimuth circle as well. Thanks!

    Okay, done! I also added you to my “Physicists” circle. If you get too much physics spam from me, just let me know and I’ll remove you. Right now I seem to be producing about one message per week on physics, the last one being about some anomalous behavior of top quarks.

    David Lyon wrote:

    I would like to be added to the Azimuth circle as well.

    Okay, you’re in! There are 6 people named ‘David Lyons’ on Google+, but I just added what appears to be the unique David Lyon – you, I hope.

    Iain Chapman wrote:

    I’d love to be added to the Azimuth circle when you have a chance.


    I’m glad you also applied to join the Azimuth Forum. Sorry to trouble you, but please reapply using your whole real name ‘Iain Chapman’ rather than just ‘Iain’ as username. I’m sorry that our policy was not clearly stated in the instructions for how to apply; I’ve fixed that. The idea is that since climate change is an extremely controversial field, we want people’s identities to be 100% clear.

  14. Davide says:

    I would like to be added to the Azimuth circle on google + thanks

  15. Georgiaberry says:

    John, I have added you to my ‘following’ circle, could you add me to your Azimuth circle? I am still a bit fuzzy on how g+ works – not sure if me adding you is enough for me to see the Azimuth posts…Thanks!

    • Georgiaberry says:

      Sorry, find me at Georgiaberry Mobley on g+

    • John Baez says:

      Hi! Google+ works like this: if you’re not in some circle, you can’t see posts that were posted to that circle. But now you’re in the Azimuth circle.

      By the way, a while ago you applied to join the Azimuth Forum, and I had to reject that application because you hadn’t chosen your full name as username. If you could reapply here using ‘Georgiaberry Mobley’ as your username, I’d be delighted to accept your application. We need all the help we can get!

      • I will be happy to register again if necessary – but I actually thought my membership was accepted. I got an email from someone about it at the time, and I assured them that “Georgiaberry Mobley” was my real name LOL. I can log in to the forum. I have never tried to post anything, so I don’t really know. Thanks for letting me in on all these great conversations. Truly it is giving me hope for the future.

        • John Baez says:

          No, your membership was not accepted.

          I got an email from someone about it at the time, and I assured them that “Georgiaberry Mobley” was my real name LOL.

          That was me. I wrote:

          Hi. Sorry to take so long to reply! We have a policy of using real names as usernames. For example, if your name is “Georgia Berry”, it would be best to apply using that as your username.


          I’m sorry – that wasn’t very clear. I must have been in a rush. I can’t change your username for you, so I had to reject your application, and I was trying to tell you to reapply using “Georgiaberry Mobley” as your username.

          Sorry – but please try it again!

      • Phil Henshaw says:

        John, You say:

        Hi! Google+ works like this: if you’re not in some circle, you can’t see posts that were posted to that circle.

        That’s intriguingly also just how the organization of natural systems works too…, and is why they are such excellent hiding places for their own organizational data… Everything else in the universe is simply *out of the loop*.


  16. Phil Henshaw says:

    How about asking things like where the natural limits are for things we’ve never asked about before. You might ask what’s the natural limit of increasing productivity is, for example, i.e. where it becomes unproductive.

    Could you define that, specify what measures would be needed to determine it? Or is it the kind of thing that you could only know after the fact, so you wouldn’t learn anything from trying to anticipate it?

    • Phil I am actually reading a book by Clive Hamilton Requiem for a Species, which is addressing this issue. I would not have chosen that title but then he has been advocating and researching these issues and the book is both about why we are ignoring the warnings from scientists and also the limits to continued growth and what to do about it.

  17. Phil Henshaw says:

    Staffan, I was also trying to point to the questions beyond that. What about the conundrum that you need time to respond to natural limits but it seems there’s no way to know where they are till you’ve hit them?

    Asking that question years ago was one of my more productive ones, leading me to study how many kinds of natural systems act as if they can anticipate limits before it’s too late for them to respond. Interest in that question is also one of the reasons my blog is called “Reading Nature’s Signals”, as anticipating limits takes a kind of learning process that complex systems often display.

    There’s a highly glaring and curious present example of the grandly ineffective human way of learning from environmental responses. That’s in how clearly the world’s resource markets are signaling *collective shortage* and *absence of substitutes*. World resource prices have steadily diverged from normal and lost their ability to recover from shocks without undermining growth.

    The odd thing is there’s virtually no discussion of it whatever, not in public anyway, and even in private little evidence of people knowing how to discuss it as a systemic problem. I haven’t gotten a single comment on the nice article I wrote on it, though it’s had a fair amount of exposure. A decisive moment for Investing in Sustainability

  18. Diego Mingorance says:

    Hello, J. Baez, I’ve added you to one of my circles because I like to follow news from Azimuth on G+. Thank you.



  19. Blake Stacey says:

    I had planned on waiting for Google++; however, if there’s an Azimuth circle, I might as well look into it now.

  20. Hi John,

    I’ve enjoyed following your blog and am interested in how it looks in
    G+. Could you add me to your circle?


    • John Baez says:

      Sure, you’re in!

      But I don’t post another copy of this blog in the Azimuth Circle in Google+. Instead, I post short comments and links… some of which eventually grow into full-blown blog articles here.

      On Google+ I also post links to the blog here… but I post those to the “public”: you don’t need to be in the Azimuth Circle to see those.

  21. […] is one more thermal science fun, courtesy Azimuth. Watch this video, where the lady pours hot water into an atmosphere of air at about – 35 […]

  22. Alex Lang says:

    Hi John,

    I’d like to subscribe to your azimuth circle.


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