Global Warming Imperils 4th of July

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"Global Warming Imperils 4th of July"

fireworks.jpgGlobal warming threatens our White Chistmases with winter heatwaves. And our Arbor Days with record wildfires. And now it imperils our Independence Day fireworks with ever worsening droughts.

The Drudge Report headline blares “No Fireworks.” As USA Today reports:

Dozens of communities in drought-stricken areas are scrapping public fireworks displays and cracking down on backyard pyrotechnics to reduce the risk of fires.

“From a fire standpoint and a safety standpoint, it was an easy call,” Burbank Fire Chief Tracy Pansini says. He recommended calling off fireworks at the Starlight Bowl because they’re launched from a mountainside covered with vegetation that’s “all dead.”

The record droughts around the country have nixed fireworks in a half dozen states. What will happen to July 4th’s over much of the country if as predicted in an April Science article, we have “a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest“?

Here are some of the places canceling fireworks this year:

 

drought_map.gif• Alabaster, Ala., canceled its public fireworks and Fire Chief Frank Matherson might propose at a City Council meeting Monday that all fireworks be prohibited.

“Most people will comply because they see how dry it is,” he says. Water restrictions, including a ban on watering lawns, make fireworks even more risky, he says.

A 120-day ban on fireworks in Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest took effect Tuesday, says fire management officer Mitch Gandy. The 700,000-acre forest is popular with families with their own fireworks. It’s the first ban since 1999.

“We’ve had 70 fires so far this year,” Gandy says. “Fireworks land in the leaves and set fires, which is potentially very dangerous.” The fine for possessing or igniting fireworks: $75.

• In Madison, Ala., public fireworks were canceled so firefighters can focus on possible fires from illegal but rampant private fireworks. “We’re worried about tying up the manpower because we’re afraid we’ll be busy elsewhere,” Fire Chief Ralph Cobb says.

• The July Fourth parade and festival are still on in Woodstock, but residents worried about dry conditions wrote to the city recommending that the fireworks be postponed, says city community affairs director Donna Godfrey.

There have been a record number of fire danger warnings this year, Fire Marshal Dave Soumas says. The official fireworks always cause “little spot fires” that people don’t see, he says. “Imagine how dry it is, and maybe we can’t keep those contained.”

His advice to anyone planning fireworks: “Have adult supervision and a hose or fire extinguisher in the area.”

Adult supervision — if only we had that inside the Washington, DC beltway, we might solve the global warming crisis.

Have a happy and fire-free 4th!

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32 Responses to Global Warming Imperils 4th of July

  1. Reasic says:

    Yep. I live in Alabama, and sure enough, fireworks are banned. We’ve had a few isolated storms in the past week or two, but before that, there was nothing. It has been amazing. I can’t remember a drought like this one.

  2. Mobius says:

    Please get it right: weather is NOT climate.

    Droughts have always occurred. To blame every instance of drought, or flood on Global Warming is mind-bendingly simplistic, and almost certainly false.

    Why not entitle the piece “Drought affects July 4th celebrations”?

    I know EXACTLY why: there is no mileage in that title – no shock, no horror, no FEAR, no FUD. Journalists and editors know that the two words “Global Warming” included in any title, will hugely improve the readership of the piece.

    To hell with accuracy, truth, wisdom, science, history and everyhing else.

  3. Joe says:

    Multiple extended record-breaking droughts simultaneously ain’t weather. It is true that no single weather event can be linked to global warming, but two decades ago NASA scientists predicted the chance of extreme drought would double by now — and be much, much worse in the future. The headline is completely accurate, global warming does imperil the 4th of July. Did it ruin this year’s — maybe. Will it ruin many more in the future — no question.

  4. hippie with a pistol says:

    Ever worsening droughts? Percentage cover of US in severe drought has not changed significantly. In fact 2005 a greater percentage of the US was experiencing drought in June than we have now. But nothing compares to the severe droughts of the mid-30’s and mid-50’s. In the mid-30’s percent cover of the US experiencing severe drought an exceeded 60% cover . That was not just for the summer. That was the annual average over a few years. Even still the 88-89 drought is still considered to be the worst in recent history.

    What Joe also likes to do is select areas of the US that are most likely to be in drought and portray drought events in these areas as unusual or lay blame on rep. politicians from those states.
    http://drought.unl.edu/whatis/palmer/pdi1895.gif

    Joe is just tossin bull chips.

  5. hippie with a pistol says:

    And check the Global Precipitation Climate Project (GPCP) for recent studies that contradict Seager. GPCP data does not indicate a decreasing trend in the monthly mean precipitation rate for the southwest. Yet Seager claims the southwest is in an indefinite drought now. Hardly true.

    Didn’t Trenberth predict more El Nino’s, therefore wetter climate in the southwest?

  6. Joe says:

    Our droughts today are now as bad as the 30s and 50s. And they are “hot” droughts, whereas in the 50s for instance droughts occurred both in warm and cool weather. Hot droughts are worse. In any case, we are headed toward more exteme droughts — and more extreme flooding — Hell and High Water.

  7. Well, the temperture really is hotter than heck! No matter how various pro-business persons parse this, the weather is hotter then heck!.

  8. The high daily temperatures are really hot any place (Salt Lake City and Sacramento) that I go. I mean, despite how business and corporate people parse the concept of global warming — the daily temperature is really hot

  9. GregHacks says:

    Oddly enough, Global Warming has produced record el nino flooding and precip in Texas, we are going to have our fireworks rained out, not to mention no golf and wicked mosquito’s. Mmmm…… West Nile Virus.

  10. John R. Bolton says:

    Hell I live in Canada and would love some warmer weather. Temperatures here are well below normal.

    There was no man made global warming during the droughts of the 30’s and 50’s, what caused them? It’s natural folks, stop believing the lying politician.

  11. William says:

    Here’s some good news. It would appear that climate change is greening the earth. Read here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/06/0605_030605_climatechange.html
    It states: “global climate change has eased climatic constraints on plant life around the globe, allowing vegetation to increase 6 percent over the study period.”
    So it would seem that what environmentalists are attempting to do (reverse so-called man- made climate change) will in fact harm the environment!
    What kind of enviro-apocalypse is it when even nature refuses to cooperate?
    Clean up the planet with intelligence not fear and panic!

  12. luminous beauty says:

    Hippie with a pistol,

    A cursory comparison of the maps Joe provides and the one you link to reveals you are simply wrong in your assertion that Joe is highlighting areas that are historically drought prone. Except for the Southwest, they are all zones where the likelihood of drought is >10%. Also, saying that the historical records of the GPCP contradict the future projections of Seager, et al., is disengenous in the least. Seager is careful to say current trends do not rise above the historical variations. It is the projection from climate models that indicate that the current levels of drought could well be the beginning of a trend. As such, it is but part of an accumulating body of evidence that is in agreement, which is sufficient to raise the status of what in Arrenius’ time was a simple hypothesis into a robust scientific theory based on undeniable scientific fact.

    The accusation of laying blame on Southern Republican politicians is a red herring of a purely fictitious, slanderous and disengenous nature, besides being utterly absurd.

    Regardless, your argument is a non sequitor, as it is reasonable to infer that increasing levels of drought due to global warming would first become evident in those areas that are naturally drought prone. Though over decades, it is likely that patterns of drought and, conversely, flooding will vary in their distribution from historical norms as the increasing energy in the weather system forces changes in jet stream, hadley cell formation and storm path features that are as yet unpredictable.

    The understanding of these changes cannot be derived from gross averages of rainfall or it’s lack, but more subtle observations of the patterns of weather behavior. There is consequentially a great deal of effort to develop regional climate models in order to increase the degree of spacial and temporal resolution available from the very rough extrapolations provided by global climate models.

    Consider Joe’s reporting on these regional anomalies as but a snapshot of this continuing scientific process of moving from a very general knowledge of what is happening on a global scale, to being able to make reasonably accurate predictions on the regional scale.

    Your skepticism is a valuable part of this process, as long as you are willing to not be in denial about what has already been demonstrated as irrefutable, i.e., global warming is happening and it is predominately being driven by anthropogenic causes.

  13. luminous beauty says:

    William,

    Unfortunately you are eating around the worm in the apple. You should also weigh your good news concerning the past with this cautionary note about the future from the article you cite:

    “The problem is that eventually the positive effect of global climate change on vegetation production is likely to reverse. Climate changes go in cycles and Nemani says that “we hit a good patch for the last couple of decades.”

    In the Amazon, for example, the same amount of rain continues to fall each year even though the cloud cover has changed. What happens if the region starts to dry up? “It will be catastrophic,” said Nemani. ”

    You are very reminiscient of that fellow who fell from the fortieth floor window, shouting as he passed the twentieth floor, “Everything is fine, so far!”

  14. CurtJ says:

    The official U.S. policy is… There is No Global Warming! It’s just a figment in your imagination. If there is Global Warming.. Then it is the fault of the pollutors.. The majority of whom are Republican Supporters.
    The Conglomerates, Companies, and Corporations are owned by Neo Cons who support the Political Party who gives them free rein to do as they please. They get kickbacks, bonuses, and free American Taxpayer dollars in the range of millions, billions. and trillions of dollars to rape the environment. They all have their hidey holes with their filtered air systems and water storage to outlast even the longest drought.
    The rape of America.. Morally and physically by these Neo Con Parasites emplaced into each Department of the Executive Branch..Especially the Justice Department where Non Partisan Lawyers, Judges, and Prosecutors are fired because of lack of Republican Party loyalty and replaced with Lawyers, Judges, and Prosecutors with the Neo Con Ideology to ensure that laws and regulations are put in place to ensure that the Neo Con Parasites continue to Gut and usurp the United States Constitution.. So the Neo Cons can continue to PIG OUT at the United States Treasury Trough to the tune of almost 9 trillion American Taxpayer dollars of deficits that Us, our Kids, and Grandkids will have to pay off.. Working our fingers to the bone..To ensure that the likes of the Bush Twins and Paris Hilton can live their empty lavicious lifestyles while we drudge for them living our “Simple Lives”!!

  15. william says:

    Luminous Beauty,

    You state in a previous reply: “global warming is happening and it is predominately being driven by anthropogenic causes.” and then in response to my reply you use a quote from NationalGeographic.com:”Climate changes go in cycles.” This seems to be a contradiction.

    If it is nature induced (just as it was during the medieval warming and the following mini-ice age) and therefore cyclical (as you quote) then it would appear that there is room for discussion and debate. Something that some environmentalists and their political friends at the United Nations Panel on Climate Change want to avoid. Contrary to what they claim the time for debate is not over. Isn’t debate and discussion healthy for science? If it were not we would still be living in a flat world.

    The world is a Luminous Beauty. Perhaps she’s just doing what comes naturally.

  16. Tom King says:

    I’m in Canada and the climate has changed significantly over the last 20 years. Don’t bother reasoning with any Denier, they can’t think rationally and they won’t tell the truth.

    Canada will on balance benefit from global warming because we’ll be able to plant orchards beside the Arctic ocean. For most other countries, notably the USA, there will be a steep decline in food production. Another problem is that the Arctic doesn’t have deep soils – these were pushed south by the glaciers. So, we might need to strip mine the soil from the US midwest and ship it to Canada. A large part of this GW tragedy could have been avoided, but the Deniers and their lies have interrupted rational thought.

  17. gh says:

    Historic drought – A “Permanent drought” – Wow “permanent” is a big word.

    I wonder if this permanent drought will be as permanent as the last historic drought in the SW part of the what is now called the United Sates, as it was in the 400 year long drought from 900 to 1300 AD?

    Of course the SE part of the country had historic droughts which ended in the late 1800’s, as well. Seems I remember hearing about the Cherokee canceling the fireworks, and banning campfires to help stop global warming. Mmm. Hmmm.

  18. Joe says:

    No, this one will be worse because it will be a “hot” drought that we brought on ourselves.

  19. William says:

    Tom King,

    I too am a Canadian. I am a fairly rational and intelligent Canadian as well. I love my country. It’s a beautiful place to live and it bothers me that we, in certain places of the country, live in our own filth. We pollute the air and are faced with “smog days” that leave some gasping and a few dead. We pollute the water so that in places it is dangerous to swim in. We need to clean up our country and our world.

    That all being said, I do not like being called irrational, a liar and a denier. It seems whenever those of us, who have an opinion contrary to yours, speak up we are the subjected to name calling. That is not science. That is not discussion. Yes there can still be a discussion and debate about GW because “deniers” like myself have spent time reading information from both sides and have come to conclusions different from yours. It’s called scientific inquiry and my resulting opinions are called free speech.

    I consider myself an honest person and I honestly must say that I have found the anthropogenic GW argument to be lacking. Lacking enough to question whether or not all this panic and fear of our imminent doom is warranted. (Notice that I did not disparage Al Gore or the people at IPCC?)

    I challenge you to look into the other side of the argument and find out what other intelligent caring human beings like yourself say about the global warming debate. You may be surprised.

    And by the way, that whole “Denier” label sounds like I am, in some round about way, as delusional as those who deny the holocaust. However in this case it only makes the user of that word sound so right, so justified, so righteous, so above “those others.” Don’t we create enough division between us as it is?

  20. LogicalZoomie says:

    While ALL of you continue to bicker about this issue, please take a moment, step back from your emotions, references & talking points and think about this: If we ignore the warnings of Global Warming and press on with “business as usual” then maybe we’ll be fine or maybe we won’t and will all have to face the plight of the dinosaurs. Oh-blah-dee Oh-blah-dah, [The Earth] goes on…without life.

    BUT! If we chose to do something about it, such as stringent even extreme measures in the form fuel emission limitations, larger fines for polluters, and stricter guidelines for hazardous waste disposal then aren’t we ALL better off in the long run regardless of whether Global Warming is real or not??? I mean who hear really enjoys sucking up some CO from a car exhaust or having a home located down wind from a chemical or oil refinery (especially when a hazardous chem. leak has a occurred and you’re forced to evacuate your home)??? Is it REALLY necessary to have all these chemicals in our atmosphere?? Whether if you believe the world is coming to an end thanks to Mother Nature or not, why not just focus on making the world better overall without harmful chemicals.

    Believe it or not, before it was known as a nation of “Us vs. Them” partisanship mentality, The U.S. WAS quite well known for its ingenuity and ability to find NEW IDEAS to solve its problems. Why not go back to our “Old School” ways and just find a new solution to the hazardous materials that man decided to create to begin with??

    This isn’t meant to simplify the problem by any means. Its obviously much more complex than what I’ve stated so far…but it would do well to take us away from that Us vs. Them mentality that’s polluting our brains!

  21. Joe says:

    Global warming is very real, very serious, and human caused. Those who deny this are rightly called denyers.

    Apocalypse is not immiment, but avoiding apocalypse requires immiment action. Those who say they sort of buy into climate change but who argue against strong action are what I call Delayers.

    William, if you are as reasonable as you say then I guarantee you’ll be a believer within ten years. The rest of us can’t wait unless we are prepared to ruin the planet for the next 50 generations to walk the Earth.

  22. Paul says:

    Can anyone tell me what percentage of CO2 is man made. What is the human production of other greenhouse gases such as methane and water vapor? Is there an optimal earth temperature and when has it existed? What would be the effect on global warming if all human CO2 production was eliminated today?

  23. william says:

    Joe,

    What’s going to happen in ten years? Is it going to be hotter? Colder? Wetter? Can you really know when regional weather is rarely predicted accurately? Will the fact that it’s warmer ten years from now prove that its all because of man made climate change? Shouldn’t you be sure now? I guess I should take it on faith because it seems that even Al Gore is not so sure:

    George Stephanopoulos suggested to Mr. Gore that the fact that the best estimates of rising sea levels are not as extreme as proposed in his movie, Mr. Gore said that the scientists “don’t have any models that give them a high level of confidence” one way or the other and went on to claim–in his defense–that scientists “don’t know. . . . They just don’t know.”

  24. JC Tripp says:

    Home made fireworks go off outside my window. Western N.C. is in a severe drought. It used to be like a rain forest here, now everything is drying up. Still, Main Street is crowded with tourists waving flags, smiling as if everything is just fine.

    Like anything it’s all in trends. Yes, there are ups and downs and variations but overall the earth is warming. Match that trend with global warming gas emissions and you have a probable correlation. It’s basic science but we humans would rather attribute it to any cause but our own. Deny all you want, your children and humanity will bare the most severe effects of our behavior. If you can sleep on that then you have no conscience or some reallly good prescriptions.

  25. masta shake says:

    wtf where did Kansas go?

  26. Tom King says:

    William,

    Science gets its credibility from its ability to make predictions that come true. Scientists before 1960 reasoned that since CO2 traps heat and was being released by human activity, there must be an eventual change to climate. Those predictions are now gradually proving themselves true.
    The Deniers in contrast, haven’t been able to predict anything. They first said GW didn’t exist, and now they said it might be true but isn’t man made. And their arguments include claims that Pluto is warming too, and that the Sun has only recently dramatically changed its output etc. Why try to use such complicated and silly reasoning when a real explanation is so simple and obvious?: we’re changing the atmosphere.
    Its also vital to place the Deniers into their appropriate cultural context since they present such a danger to our society. Our society is backsliding into an earlier more primitive superstitious form. It is the duty of all thinking people to try to hold the line against this anti-enlightenment malaise.
    Just like we need to trust our plumbers to sort our leaking water pipes, we must also trust our scientists when they perform their roles. To second guess people of learning is very foolish when so much is at stake. So while the Deniers dance around the fire pit, lets hope that the Rationalists continue to lead our society forward.

    Kind Regards, Tom King

  27. bruce says:

    All I can say to the deniers is that you probably figure it’s a natural cause when it gets warm in the kiddie pool. Keep drinking the yellow koolaid kid.

  28. Rob says:

    Quote:
    Just like we need to trust our plumbers to sort our leaking water pipes, we must also trust our scientists when they perform their roles. To second guess people of learning is very foolish when so much is at stake. So while the Deniers dance around the fire pit, lets hope that the Rationalists continue to lead our society forward.
    Unquote

    Good analogy but it has it’s flaws. First and foremost, plumbers and plumbing have been around about 2000 years longer than “Climate Science.” Secondarily, and I quote; “To second guess people of learning is very foolish when so much is at stake.” I just want to point out that at one time respected scientists of their day believed that the earth revolved around the sun. Now I know what you’re going to say, “But we have learned so much more since then.” This is true, but I want to point out that in the 1970’s respected scientists reported that an Ice age was imminent.

    Climate Science relies heavily on computer modeling as does weather prediction. If you follow the weather predictions, how often do they get it right? My point is if the scientists can’t predict the weather for your little corner of the world with 100% accuracy using the computer models, what make you think that they can get climate change for the entire planet correct? Furthermore, scientists will tell you that they don’t understand what causes drought, the “El Nino” effect, or if milk is good or bad for you for that mater. Had we given the blind trust to science in the 1970s we would all be living at the equator. And by the way, what makes you think that the human nature of scientist is any different than let’s say politicians? (Sorry to all you science types out there. It’s just an example. :) )

    I’m not doubting climate change, it’s happened many times before and will, hopefully, continue for many years to come. The earth is a living breathing entity constantly in flux, as such is not now or ever has been in a state of stasis. Based on these facts I do not believe we should all become like Chicken Little and run around saying “The sky is falling!!!”

    As for the premise that because of “Global Warming Record Droughts” is the cause of some people missing their fireworks, that’s just a load of BS. Check the historic record and you will find that the drought’s at present are NOT historic by any means.

    The link below to the New York Academy of Sciences will bear that out.

    http://www.nyas.org/ebrief/miniEB.asp?ebriefID=495

  29. william says:

    Tom,

    Do realize how many scientists, climatologist, PHD’s etc have spoken against man made global warming? From what I have seen, thousands. Yet when these Scientists (some even working for the IPCC) “perform their roles” they are marginalized and shunned from the scientific community. If one were to really care about the science of climate change one would seek out their reports and opinions. As far as I have seen their are no primitive superstitions or dangers in their work.

    Here is the work of one scientist who was involved in 17 glacier expeditions. In Arctic, Antarctic, Alaska, Norway, the Alps, the Himalayas, the Ruwenzori Mountains in Uganda, the Peruvian Andes and in Tatra Mountains in Poland. His findings showed that the IPCC was inaccurate in their research and findings. See here: http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/

    Being the supposed non-thinking denier that I am ushering in the “anti-enlightenment malaise” I just want you to know that I am the author of the book “Swimming with Gandhi and Einstein” http://www.swimmingwith.com (yes a shameless plug) It is a reflection and study of human consciousness related to elements of psychology, sociology and spirituality. It brings people the the idea that we are all one. You, me and all of nature. My book is about enlightenment.

    My point in telling you this is not to brag (okay, maybe only partly) I just want you to see that the characterizations you use, against those who see things differently than you, do not always fit.

    My concerns are not with the scientist involved in GW. My concerns are with the politicians and bureaucrats that (in the IPCC) are taking the lead in this issue and at times seem to be cherry-picking findings to support their dire predictions. As I stated above some scientist have shown that the IPCC has been at the very least irresponsible.

    I’m sure that as a Canadian yourself you can understand my reservation about politicians and bureaucrats.

    Take care

  30. Joe says:

    William:
    First, let’s make a bet. I say in 10 years the world will be measurably warmer according to every major group that issues measurements. I’d prefer the bet to compare the entire next decade with this decade, to minimize artifacts such as volcanoes. Since this is almost certainly going to be the hottest decade on record, and thus a statistical fluke by your standards, I’m sure you will have no difficulty taking this bet.

    Second, the world will not change in 10 years. But we will have built another generation of polluting power plants and the like and set in motion changes that will be all but impossible to undo. That is, we are not 10 years away from the actual tipping point, but we are 10 years away from being virtually powerless to stop from crossing the tipping point sometime around mid-century (tipping point being most clearly defined as the point after which we cannot stop the Greenland ice sheet from ultimately disintegrating).

  31. luminous beauty says:

    William,

    Natural cycles do not contradict AGW. It is trivial that the climate is naturally variable over extensive periods of time. AGW does not obviate natural variation, it adjusts upward the heat equilibrium point which is an add-on to natural variability. It is not in any way a question of either/or. What those who argue that 20th century global warming is natural most generally fail to do is offer an observed physical mechanism that sufficiently explains it. Solar variation and/or cosmic rays, while they may have some influence on natural climate variability, have not been observed to have increased or decreased to any degree that correlates with or compensates for present temperature change. May they have some greater influence than what is known so far? Maybe, but it is a hard argument to make.

    There is only a tiny fraction of credibility in arguing that there might be some unknown cause or mechanism that obviates or minimalizes the greenhouse effect, albedo and land use changes that are observable and quantifiable and do well explain the change we see. Of course our knowledge is incomplete and mutable, but to negate what is known simply on that basis is mere hand-waving. It is denialism. It’s not ‘I don’t believe it because a compelling case has not been made’, but, ‘I won’t believe it because it threatens my economical, political, philosophical or religious world-view’, even if the former statement is presented as a rationale. It is only human to cling to long held cognitive, perceptual and cultural biases. It is hard work to overcome them. It is scary because we invest them with our sense of self, meaning, purpose and security.

    Contrary-wise the mechanisms of AGW have been known, studied and well debated for

  32. luminous beauty says:

    William,

    Dr. Jaworowski makes the claim that adjusting upper layers of glacial ice for infusions of modern gasses is an ad hoc correction without physical explanation, but it is not. All solid crystals infuse and exhume gasses within their environment. There are known equilibrium values for such under multi-variable conditions. It requires time, pressure and some distance from the surface for ice crystals to lock-in, relatively speaking, a portion of ancient air.

    It may very well be that Jaworowski, being by profession a radiologist, is simply accustomed to seeing raw data from controlled laboratory experiments that jibe well with theoretical models or other related experimental data streams, and hasn’t the experience of earth scientists, where field data is often jumbled by a multiplicity of causes, effects and their intrinsic variables. Analysing field data is seldom a straightforward linear process, but usually an intricate puzzle that needs considerable disentanglement and a multi-disciplinary approach to get at the facts.

    What on the surface may be a conclusive seeming falsification, may often, after deeper analysis, be a quite reasonable and necessary qualification.

    Whatever number of various scientists, Ph.D’s, et al., who are skeptical of AGW, there is a very small and shrinking number of climatologists who are so. If one were to map the positions of those stalwarts over time, one would find that they have, in the aggregate, moved closer to at least some recognition of the reality of AGW, and their arguments have, mainly, shifted from confronting the theoretical ground, en toto, to questioning particular elements that are extrapolated from theory. That is a good thing. Science requires solid rational skepticism, but not at the expense of reason. Too often skepicism is an intellectual pose that conceals a cynical heart.