Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Visit beautiful Mars!

Sometimes you just see a remark from a politician that makes you stop and ask, "Can they really be that stupid?"

Kentucky Republican, Randon Smith said this at a hearing with the Energy & Environment Cabinet official...
As you (Energy & Environment Cabinet official) sit there in your chair with your data, we sit up here in ours with our data and our constituents and stuff behind us. I don’t want to get into the debate about climate change, but I will simply point out that I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There are no factories on Mars that I’m aware of.
What!? When I read that I had to double check that I wasn't actually reading The Onion. Sadly, this elected official did utter that epically clueless statement. The fact that this man was elected does not reflect kindly on the people of Kentucky.

How is it that he can claim (with a straight face) that academia and the public in general are in agreement that Mars is the same temperature as the Earth. To be quite honest, he's the first person I've ever heard make that claim. But he said it, so lets fact check him shall we...

The highest recorded air temperature at the surface of Mars was 95°F, and the low was -243°F. The average temperature on Mars sits at the -67°F mark. Now lets look at Earth. The highest recorded temperature was a blistering 159°F, and the low was recorded at -129°F. All-in-all, Earth's average temperature is about 61°F.

So yeah, Earth and Mars are exactly the same... as long as you consider a 128°F difference in average temperature to be a trivial difference!

Oh, and also consider the differences between the daytime and nighttime temperatures. On Earth the daily high and low doesn't vary by too huge of a difference. But on Mars? Well... the daily high and low there can vary by 180°F. How would you like it if it was 80°F every day at noon, but the temperature fell to -100°F by midnight? And that pattern was repeated every single day...

The proper reaction to this level of stupid and lack of research.
Obviously Mars and Earth aren't a great comparison for the case Smith is trying to make in the first place. Mars is smaller, has a much thinner atmosphere, is much further from the Sun, etc...

But are we really surprised to hear someone that denies the evidence for climate change saying something as asinine as "Mars is exactly like Earth"? If you ask me, that statement fits in with and accents his climate denial quite well.

-Brain Hulk

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