Tag Archive | "Haiyan"

FF Podcast (Audio): Edwina Rogers of Secular Coalition for America (Conversations for a Cause)


Edwina Rogers of Secular Coalition for America

We talk with Edwina Rogers, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, and discuss her experiences as a freethinker working with conservative political figures.

Conversations for a Cause is a series of interviews with celebrity freethinkers, part of an online donation drive to support ongoing Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) relief and rehabilitation efforts.

You may also download the podcast file here.




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Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

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Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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FF Podcast (Audio): Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist (Conversations for a Cause)


Conversations for a Cause is a series of interviews with celebrity freethinkers, part of an online donation drive to support ongoing Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) relief  and rehabilitation efforts.

Hemant Mehta

This week in our series of Conversations for a Cause, we interview Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist. We talk to him about the stereotypes atheists have to deal with and living life as an atheist.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

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Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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FF Podcast 025: Do Believers Give More to Charity?


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This week we talk about believers giving more to charity than atheists. Then, we discuss what encourages charity and altruism.

 

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

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FF Podcast (Audio): A Conversation with Peter Boghossian on his book A Manual for Creating Atheists (Conversations for a Cause)


Conversations for a Cause is a series of interviews with celebrity freethinkers, part of an online donation drive to support ongoing Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) relief  and rehabilitation efforts.

Peter-Boghossian
 

In this episode, Red Tani interviews Peter Boghossian about his book, A Manual for Creating Atheists. They talk about Street Epistemology, Peter’s suggested method for performing interventions on people infected with the faith virus, and the practical and ethical differences between proselytizing with faith and disabusing people of their faith.

You may also download the podcast file here.



Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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A Conversation with Peter Boghossian on his book: A Manual for Creating Atheists


Conversations for a Cause is a series of interviews with celebrity freethinkers, part of an online donation drive to support ongoing Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) relief  and rehabilitation efforts.

Peter-Boghossian
 

In this episode, Red Tani interviews Peter Boghossian about his book, A Manual for Creating Atheists. They talk about Street Epistemology, Peter’s suggested method for performing interventions on people infected with the faith virus, and the practical and ethical differences between proselytizing with faith and disabusing people of their faith.

You may also download the podcast file here.

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FF Podcast (Audio): A Conversation with Daniel Dennett (Conversations for a Cause)


Daniel Dennett

This is the first in a series of interviews with celebrity freethinkers, part of an online donation drive to support ongoing Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) relief  and rehabilitation efforts.

You may also download the podcast file here.



Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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FF Podcast (Audio) 023: Is the Filipino Spirit Waterproof?


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This week, we talk about inspirational Filipino memes during times of crisis and the response of Filipinos to tragedies.

This was recorded on November 16, 2013 as part of our live all-day webshow to raise funds for Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) relief.

You may also download the podcast file here.



Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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FF Podcast (Audio) 022: What is Freethinking?


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This week, we talk about the basics of freethinking and tackle the common misconceptions people have about both Filipino Freethinkers and freethought in general.

This was recorded on November 16, 2013 as part of our live all-day webshow to raise funds for Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) relief.

You may also download the podcast file here.



Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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FF Podcast (Audio) 021: Microwave Storms and Criticism During Crises


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This week we talk about the conspiracy theory that microwaves were used to generate the devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Then, we discuss when it’s okay to criticize in times of crisis.

Join us on our live webshow on November 16, 2013. 10 AM to 8 PM (GMT +8). Help raise funds for relief efforts for victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

You may also download the podcast file here.



Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

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FF Podcast 021: Microwave Storms and Criticism During Crises


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This week we talk about the conspiracy theory that microwaves were used to generate the devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Then, we discuss when it’s okay to criticize in times of crisis.

Join us on our live webshow on November 16, 2013. 10 AM to 8 PM (GMT +8). Help raise funds for relief efforts for victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

You may also download the podcast file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

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Filipino Freethinkers Livestream and Meetup for a Cause


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The super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) left in its wake thousands dead, injured, and missing. Even more have lost their homes and lost contact with family members. Estimates of damage in the agricultural sector alone are almost 4 billion Pesos. Victims of Haiyan in Visayas and neighboring regions are in need of food and drinking water, among many other necessities.

Filipino Freethinkers urges everyone that can help to give what they can. On Saturday, November 16, 2013, we will be live streaming a show, hosted by FF President Red Tani, to get the freethinking community in the Philippines and in the world to raise funds to support those affected by this horrific tragedy. The show will be available on Twitch as well as our site.

From 10 AM to 8 PM, we will be aggregating pledges donated directly to the Philippine Red Cross, either online, bank deposit, or through SMS via Smart or Globe. Donors will receive a tracking number from the Red Cross and we encourage freethinkers around the world to tell us how much they donated. We will also be counting donations by freethinkers to other charities of their choice, such as the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center.

Donors of any amount will get a shout out during the live broadcast.

Donors of P1,000 and above will get to have their topic of choice (not necessarily typhoon/relief related) discussed live by FF. Freethinkers can donate even before the live show. Email us the charity, the amount donated, and the tracking number (if available) at [email protected] and we will add it to the tally. You can also message us through Facebook or join the conversation on Twitter using #FFFundraiser as the hashtag. Share with us how you and others can help.

Join us on November 16, 10 AM to 8 PM live on Ustream. Help our fellow Filipinos in this time of crisis.

About Philippine Red Cross: The Philippine Red Cross is a secular charitable institution that “endeavors to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever and whenever it is found.”

About Citizens’ Disaster Response Center: The Citizens’ Disaster Response Center is a secular non-governmental organization that promotes “community-based disaster management in the Philippines.” It has been chosen by the American humanist charity Foundation Beyond Belief as its recipient of $10,000 in support of relief efforts in the Philippines.

On Sunday, November 17, 2013, we will be hosting a regularly scheduled meetup at the Episcopalian Holy Trinity Church.

Location: Holy Trinity Church, 48 Mckinley Road, Forbes Park, Makati
Date: Sunday, November 17, 2013
Time: 2:30pm – 5:30pm
Google Map: http://goo.gl/wCMAl

Topics
– Effective Altruism
– Looting During Disasters

During the meetup, we will also be coordinating donations from FF members. We will be donating these contributions to the Philippine Red Cross. Material donations will be delivered to LBC, which the Red Cross will also receive. Please note, though, that charities have items such as old clothes in excess.

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Microwave Storms: Full Of Hot Air


There have been conspiracy theories going around suggesting that Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), which wreaked havoc in central Philippines last week, was man-made. This writer is not pertaining to scientifically sound speculations that Typhoon Yolanda’s unprecedented strength might be due in part to the effects of climate change, but rather to grossly outlandish claims that the super typhoon was caused by powerful electromagnetic beams that were released by human-made machines.

While these conspiracy theories should be easy to dismiss and do not deserve a lengthy rebuttal, what with the need for lending a helping hand to the survivors and all, it is unfortunate that such speculations were recently given media airtime as if they were somehow in the same league as sound scientific hypotheses. As such, a quick debunking is in order.

The following list is far from exhaustive, and is only meant as an illustration that the conspiracy theories are wrong by orders of magnitude. That said, here are some reasons why Super Typhoon Yolanda could not have been caused by microwave beams emitted by human machines.

Sorry fellow Red Alert fans, but not yet. [Image credit: forgeforums.com]

Sorry fellow Red Alert fans, but not yet. [Image credit: forgeforums.com]

1. Making clouds is like boiling tons of water.

To make a storm, you need clouds, lots of clouds. Since clouds are masses of condensed water vapor, you need to convert a lot of water (sea water, in particular) into water vapor. This is not an easy task, as water is a substance with an unusually high heat capacity and latent heat of vaporization. Translated in everyday language, this means that water is really, really hard to vaporize. Making large clouds thus requires a gargantuan amount of energy. Dozens of storms can form over warm oceans only because their source of power is no other than the Sun, which produces energy via nuclear fusion.

In science, a Fermi estimate is an order of magnitude approximation of a certain quantity. What follows is a Fermi estimate of the amount of energy required to produce a storm-sized cloud system. For a storm that rains down 300 mm of water on the central Philippines alone, this totals to approximately 56 billion tons of water. Now let us assume the temperature of seawater in the central Pacific to be evaporated is 30°C. The amount of heat required to convert 56 billion tons of seawater into water vapor, around 39 trillion kW-h of energy, is more than 500 times the energy consumed in the entire Philippines in the year 2012. In order to produce this amount of energy in a month (assuming it takes a month to create a typhoon), about 39 thousand nuclear power plants must simultaneously operate! According to the World Nuclear Association, there are only “435 operable civil nuclear power nuclear reactors around the world, with a further 72 under construction.

Peter Tyson of PBS Nova has this to say about the power of storms: “The total energy released through cloud and rain formation in an average hurricane is equivalent to 200 times the worldwide electrical generating capacity.” Just image if we are able to harness even just a fraction of this energy for the improvement of human lives.

The swirling vortex of clouds and wind that was Typhoon Haiyan. [Photo credit: theguardian.com]

The swirling vortex of clouds and wind that was Typhoon Haiyan. [Photo credit: theguardian.com]

2. Making rain is not cheap. 

Contrary to the popular joke, off-key singing is not enough to make it rain. Cloud seeding, the technique of dropping crystals into pre-existing clouds to cause rain, is expensive and difficult. Using data from the United Nations Environment Programme, the average cost of seeding is around $1.5/cu m/ha/season (this cost was in 1985). This places the Fermi estimate of the cost of seeding an entire storm at around $ 1.5 billion billion. This value is more than 140 thousand times the number of US dollars in the entire world as of July 2013, which, according to the Federal Reserve, was $ 10.5 trillion.

 

3. Storm formation involves planet-wide chains of cause and effect.

Even if you have the required amount of rain clouds, gathering all those clouds into a spinning, swirling vortex that is a storm is no easy task. Certainly, it is not a task that can be accomplished by manipulating a portion of the Earth only. The development of a typhoon might seem local at first sight, but scientists have known for decades now that storm formation involves complex interactions between a region and its neighbors over long periods of time. This is why the initial stages in the formation of a storm usually happens far from where it will first be spotted as a low pressure area or tropical depression. It is for this reason that scientists studying hurricanes in the Atlantic also study air circulation patterns in west-central Africa, and those who monitor typhoons in the Pacific also concern themselves with atmospheric conditions over China and Siberia.

The very, very tangled web of global air currents. (And that is NOT even the entire picture.) [Image credit: go.grolier.com]

The very, very tangled web of global air currents. (And that is NOT even the entire picture.) [Image credit: go.grolier.com]

The interconnectedness of the Earth’s climate systems means that one cannot isolate the north central Pacific and manipulate only its climate by releasing supposed EM beams in the vicinity of a low pressure area, as what the conspiracy theories will have us believe. We are still a long way from having the technology that will allow us to control weather in the macroscale, but from what we do know, future attempts to manipulate the weather must be global and not local in scope. (One way in which we humans affect, although not manipulate, the climate on a global scale is our inadvertent and uncontrolled changing of the climate through an enhanced greenhouse effect.)

 

4. The energy of the storm winds is immense.

Even if we ignore the many physical errors involved in supposing that a beam of microwave radiation can make a cloud system spin, the math of the energies involved simply does not add up.  Ignoring the stupendous amount of energy required to produce the storm clouds (see Item 1), the kinetic energy of the winds in an average storm amounts to about 36 billion kW-h per day. If, for the sake of argument, we pretend that a microwave pulse can produce a vortex in a low pressure area, the required force exerted by the beam would be equivalent to the force exerted by 25 simultaneous nuclear explosions per day. That is something no global conspiracy can hide.

"Let me unleash the power of a dozen nuclear bombs on you." [Image credit: Marvel Enterprises.]

“Let me unleash the power of a dozen nuclear bombs on you.” [Image credit: Marvel Enterprises.]

5. Coincidence is not causation.

Videos showing the emission of several microwave beams in the north Pacific region around the time of Typhoon Haiyan’s formation simply confuse coincidence with causation. The emission of electromagnetic beams around the same time and area as the formation of a typhoon in no way implies that the storm was caused by the beams. This is neither rocket science nor climate science, it’s just basic science.

 

Back to basics

As this writer noted in a previous article, Typhoon Yolanda reminds us that when it comes to our dealings with the natural world, we should all go back to basics. After all, an appreciation of the scales involved and the basics of scientific reasoning are not just handy in battling nutty conspiracy theories, they also can, and should, be used to save lives in the future. Now that we have this nonsense out of the way, it’s time to talk about solid science in order to mitigate the effects of future natural catastrophes.

 

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