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Silly North Cackalackey!

May 31 2012 at 2:22 PM

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From Grist online Magazine. This kills me!


North Carolina tries to outlaw sea-level rise

By Jess Zimmerman

North Carolina is no stranger to the if you dislike it then you should have made a law against it model of legislation, but this is extreme: The state General Assemblys Replacement House Bill 819 would rule that scientists are not allowed to accurately predict sea-level rise. By all legal calculations, the sea level will now rise eight inches by the end of the century. Sure, so far models have predicted an increase of more than three feet, but if they keep that shit up, theyre going to JAIL.

OK, theres not really a prison sentence attached to this proposed rule, but that doesnt stop it from being crazeballs. See, actual sea-level rise is nonlinear, because theres feedback the warmer it gets, the more the water volume expands, and the more stuff melts, and the more it expands, etc. Thats how most scientific models arrive at their predictions, because that is how physics works. But an increase that big is extremely inconvenient for a state with a beach-based tourist trade. So North Carolinas solution is simple: Change how physics works, or at least change how people do physics.

Accordingly, this bill mandates that models use a linear increase a consistent amount of change every year, based on historical data. This will lead to predictions that are much less catastrophic, and much more reassuring for people building resorts in the Outer Banks. The predictions will also be flat-out wrong, but thats nothing new for North Carolina.

If its not obvious why this is stupid, look at it this way: In 1790, the year North Carolina is stuck in, the population was about 400,000. In 1900, it was 1.9 million. Thats an increase of 1.5 million in 110 years so if there were an analogous rule for population, the state would prepare for 3.4 million residents in 2010. Which might cause some strife among the 9.7 million people who live there now, but you know, whatever the law is the law, so screw you, math. If the 6.3 million people unaccounted for by the legal model wanted housing and services, they should have fallen in line with North Carolina reality.

Anyway, we wish North Carolina the best of luck in staving off disaster by legislating what mathematical calculations people can perform. It will probably be about as effective as fixing the health-care crisis through etymology, or balancing the budget with entry-level yoga. But if it works, Im moving to North Carolina, where living in a fantasy world has the force of law.

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If only energy consumption and water usage would follow these laws too! We could fix everything! With LAWZ, y'all!

 
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