Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




Total Pageviews

Monday, December 14, 2015

MOTHER EARTH HAS A FEVER


The announcement yesterday of the big international agreement on climate change got me thinking once again about something that has long puzzled me:  How does one measure the temperature of the earth?  I mean, you cannot just  stick a thermometer in Mother Earth's mouth while you take her pulse and blood pressure.  As always,  Google took me to the answer.  It seems the idea is something like this [I hope I have this right]:  you divvy up the surface of the globe into a grid of squares, two or three degrees of latitude or longitude on a side.  In each one you position a measuring device.  [Never mind measurements taken in the troposphere.]  Each year, you compare the result to the fifty year average from that grid location, and you note an "anomaly," which is to say a temperature above [positive anomaly] or below [negative anomaly] the average.  Then, with some complicated weightings of one sort or another, which of course give rise to different results depending on what weightings you use, you average the anomalies. 

There are, it seems, four different world-wide systems of measurement going on, and their construction and premises differ from one another, depending on the fineness of the grid, and -- big consideration -- what you do about various under-represented parts of the earth's surface.

Regardless, the news is pretty awful, but you knew that.

No comments: