January 19, read through the Holy Bible in a year in Power-point, with comments.

Today’s three chapters makes for fantastic reading, even if it is only read as literature. There is deep spiritual meaning in the Bible, and the New Testament chapter should be mandatory reading for all, to help us understand our history and literature.

January 19: John 18, Genesis 40, Genesis 41 (click on the chapter to begin reading)

John 18 deals with the last 24 hours of Jesus life, the prayer in the garden of Gethsemane and the subsequent arrest of Jesus, the trial before Annas, Peter’s first denial, Jesus trial before Caiaphas, Peter’s second and third denial, the cock crowing, Jesus paraded before Pilate, seeing a way out, Pilate sent him to Herod, who sent him back to Pilate, Pilate offered to release Jesus or Barabbas, the people demanded that Barabbas be released.

Genesis 40 deals with dreams. Joseph’s two fellow cellmates in prison each had a dream, Joseph interpreted the dreams that the cup-bearer will be released and restored to his former position, while the baker will be hanged on a tree.

In Genesis 41 Pharaoh himself had a dream, and Joseph was released from prison to interpret the dream. It dealt with seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Joseph interpreted the dream so well that Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all affairs of Egypt. The seven years of plenty came and good harvests filled the storehouses. Then came the seven years of famine.

Breaking news. Do not worry about methane.

Break wind is the habit of cows,

far more than what clean air allows.

Let’s collect all their gas,

give the cows some pizzazz;

the food a methanotrop chows.


Fullsized image

Fear not, dear Greta: This is the solution.

On second thought it isn’t. Methane, even if it is a much stronger greenhouse gas than even CO2 when analyzed by itself , is an irrelevant gas.

Water vapor has already absorbed the very same infrared radiation that Methane might have absorbed. (You cannot absorb more than 100% of the radiation emitted in any given band)

Guest essay by Dr. Tom Sheahen

Q: I read that methane is an even worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and cattle are a big source of methane emissions. How are they going to regulate that? Not just cattle, but dairy cows as well! That doubles the worry.

Fortunately, there is really nothing to worry about, scientifically. The main thing to worry about is over-reacting politicians and another layer of unnecessary government regulations.  

To understand methane’s role in the atmosphere, first it’s necessary to understand what absorption means. When light passes through a gas (sunlight through air, for example), some molecules in the gas might absorb a photon of light and jump up to an excited state. Every molecule is capable of absorbing some particular wavelengths of light, and no molecule absorbs all the light that comes along. This holds true across the entire electromagnetic spectrum – microwave, infrared, visible, and ultraviolet.

The process of absorption has been studied in great detail. In a laboratory set-up, a long tube is filled with a particular gas, and then a standard light is set up at one end; at the other end of the tube is a spectrometer, which measures how much light of each wavelength makes it through the tube without being absorbed. (Mirrors are placed so as to bounce the light back and forth several times, making the effective travel path much longer; this improves the precision of the data.) From such measurements, the probability of radiation being captured by a molecule is determined as a function of wavelength; the numerical expression of that is termed the absorption cross-section.

If you carried out such an experiment using ordinary air, you’d wind up with a mixture of results, since air is a mixture of various gases. It’s better to measure one pure gas at a time. After two centuries of careful laboratory measurements, we know which molecules can absorb which wavelengths of light, and how likely they are to do so.

All that data is contained in charts and tables of cross-sections. Formerly that meant a trip to the library, but nowadays it’s routinely downloaded from the internet. Once all the cross-sections are known, they can be put into a computer program and the total absorption by any gas mixture (real or imaginary) can be calculated.

The many different molecules absorb in different wavelength regions, known as bands. The principal components of air, nitrogen and oxygen, absorb mainly ultraviolet light. Nothing absorbs in the visible wavelength range, but there are several gases that have absorption bands in the infrared region. These are collectively known as the GreenHouse Gases (GHG), because absorbing infrared energy warms up the air – given the name greenhouse effect.

The adjacent figure shows how six different gases absorb radiation across the infrared range of wavelengths, from 1 to 16 microns (mm). The vertical scale is upside-down: 100% absorption is low, and 0% absorption (i.e., transparency) is high.


It’s important to realize that these are shown on a “per molecule” basis. Because water vapor (bottom bar of the figure) is much more plentiful in the atmosphere than any of the others, H­2O absorbs vastly more energy and is by far the most important greenhouse gas. On any given day, H2O is a percent or two of the atmosphere; we call that humidity.

The second most important greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2), which (on a per-molecule basis) is six times as effective an absorber as H2O. However, CO2 is only about 0.04% of the atmosphere (400 parts per million), so it’s much less important than water vapor.

Now it’s necessary to scrutinize the figure very carefully. Looking across the wavelength scale at the bottom, H2O absorbs strongly in the 3-micron region, and again between 5 and 7 microns; then it absorbs to some degree beyond about 12 microns. CO2 has absorption bands centered around 2.5 microns, 4.3 microns, and has a broad band out beyond 13 microns. Consequently, CO2 adds a small contribution to the greenhouse effect. Notice that sometimes CO2 bands overlap with H2O bands, and with vastly more H2O present, CO2 doesn’t matter in those bands.

Looking at the second graph in the figure, methane (CH4) has narrow absorption bands at 3.3 microns and 7.5 microns (the red lines). CH4 is 20 times more effective an absorber than CO2in those bands. However, CH4 is only 0.00017% (1.7 parts per million) of the atmosphere. Moreover, both of its bands occur at wavelengths where H2O is already absorbing substantially. Hence, any radiation that CH4 might absorb has already been absorbed by H2O. The ratio of the percentages of water to methane is such that the effects of CH4 are completely masked by H2O. The amount of CH4 must increase 100-fold to make it comparable to H2O.

Because of that, methane is irrelevant as a greenhouse gas. The high per-molecule absorption cross section of CH4 makes no difference at all in our real atmosphere.

Unfortunately, this numerical reality is overlooked by most people. There is a lot of misinformation floating around, causing needless worry. The tiny increases in methane associated with cows may elicit a few giggles, but it absolutely cannot be the basis for sane regulations or national policy.

So, dear Greta, go back to school and learn some physics, some chemistry, and learn how nature really functions. Then you would not be as worried any more. There is a great temperature regulator, called water vapor. Yes, water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas, and without it the earth would be so cold that no life would be possible. Not only that, but water vapor is a condensing gas, and it forms clouds, which are the main regulator of temperature here on earth.

Have you ever noticed that it is cooler in the shadow?

And by the way, what are methanotrop bacteria?

Methane-utilizing bacteria (methanotrophs) are a diverse group of gram-negative bacteria that are related to other members of the Proteobacteria. These bacteria are classified into three groups based on the pathways used for assimilation of formaldehyde, the major source of cell carbon, and other physiological and morphological features. The type I and type X methanotrophs are found within the gamma subdivision of the Proteobacteria and employ the ribulose monophosphate pathway for formaldehyde assimilation, whereas type II methanotrophs, which employ the serine pathway for formaldehyde assimilation, form a coherent cluster within the beta subdivision of the Proteobacteria. Methanotrophic bacteria are ubiquitous. The growth of type II bacteria appears to be favored in environments that contain relatively high levels of methane, low levels of dissolved oxygen, and limiting concentrations of combined nitrogen and/or copper. Type I methanotrophs appear to be dominant in environments in which methane is limiting and combined nitrogen and copper levels are relatively high. These bacteria serve as biofilters for the oxidation of methane produced in anaerobic environments, and when oxygen is present in soils, atmospheric methane is oxidized. Their activities in nature are greatly influenced by agricultural practices and other human activities. Recent evidence indicates that naturally occurring, uncultured methanotrophs represent new genera. Methanotrophs that are capable of oxidizing methane at atmospheric levels exhibit methane oxidation kinetics different from those of methanotrophs available in pure cultures. A limited number of methanotrophs have the genetic capacity to synthesize a soluble methane monooxygenase which catalyzes the rapid oxidation of environmental pollutants including trichloroethylene.

Sounds excitig, doesn’t it. Harvesting methane, put it into warm water (about 45C) and let the bacteria do their job, producing fish food. It may even be profitable.


January 18, read through the Holy Bible in a year in Power-point, with comments.

The four chapters chosen for today are all great literature, as well as  spiritually deep.

January 18: John 17, Genesis 37, Genesis 38, Genesis 39 (click on the chapter to begin reading)

John 18 is commonly called Jesus’ high priestly prayer. In some conservative circles it is also called “The Lord’s prayer.” In it Jesus prays for himself, then he prays for his disciples, and then he prays for all future believers. In the end of the chapter he prays that the believers will see his glory, the glory God gave him before the creation of the world.

Genesis 37 tells of Joseph’s dreams, outrageous as they were they made his brothers jealous, so they sold him into slavery to Potiphar in Egypt.

Genesis 38 tells  the story of Judah and Tamar. One of the rules of the Old Testament is that if a man dies without producing an heir it was the duty of his brother to try to produce an offspring to his widow. Onan shirked this responsibility, and that was the sin of Onan. Tamar was thus still barren, so she tricked Judah into committing adultery. You can read it for yourself. Judah finally confessed: She is more righteous than I.

Genesis 39 then picks up the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. The story is a classic, and for doing the right thing, Joseph is falsely accused and thrown in jail.

January 17, read through the Holy Bible in a year in Power-point, with comments.

The three chapters chosen for today are all different. John 16 is full of promise and trouble, more promise and trouble in Genesis 35, followed by a chapter on genealogy.

January 17: John 16, Genesis 35, Genesis 36 (click on the chapter to begin reading)

In John 16 Jesus continued his instructions to his disciples, beginning with explaining why it is good he leaves and sends the Holy Spirit. He ends with this encouragement: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Genesis 35. Jacob returned to Bethel, got rid of all the idols and built an altar. Moving on from Bethel, Rachel gave birth to Benjamin, a birth so hard Rachel died in childbirth.  Finally it tells of the death of Isaac.

In Genesis 36 is recorded the genealogy of Esau and the rulers of Edom.

January 16, read through the Holy Bible in a year in Power-point, with comments.

The four chapters chosen for today are full of promise, but also trouble and conflict.

January 16: John 15, Genesis 32, Genesis 33, Genesis 34 (click on the chapter to begin reading)

In John 15 Jesus continued his instructions to the disciples. There are many memorable quotes from this chapter: “I am the true vine, I am the vine, you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing, as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you, love each other as I have loved you, greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends, this is my command: Love each other” and “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

In Genesis 32 Jacob, schemer as the was, prepared to meet Esau. He figured Esau wanted to kill him, so he split up his company in two, and gave instructions to his messengers on what to say to make Esau less vindictive. Then the Jacob family crossed the Ford of Jabbok. On the other side they camped for the night, and Jacob wrestled with an angel of God and prevailed, but got a limp in his hip. God then ggave Jacob a new, spiritual name, Israel.

In Genesis 33 Jacob finally met up with Esau, and it turned out that Esau was rejoicing to see Jacob and all his children.

Trouble started in Genesis 34. Dinah was violated by an uncircumcised person, two of her brothers executed revenge on not only the violator but every male in the whole town, killing them all. Jacob said: “You have troubled me to make me a stink among the inhabitants of the land.” And so trouble started.

January 15, read through the Holy Bible in a year in Power-point, with comments.

The three chapters chosen for today deal with departures, promises, and yes, deceit.

January 15: John 14, Genesis 30, Genesis 31 (click on the chapter to begin reading)

John 14 records the events of the hour after the Passover meal before they all depart to Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples he is going away to prepare a mansion, more precisely a dwelling place for them. Since he was leaving he promised to send another comforter or advocate. (I have put in a short explanation on the difference in the interpretation of this passage between Christianity and Islam). Jesus then explained clearly he will be going away and send the Holy Spirit in his place.

Genesis 30 records the remaining children born to Jacob (except Benjamin, who will be born later). It also tells a story about Rachel, desperate to get a child of her own was bargaining with Leah for Reuben’s mandrakes. After Joseph was born, Jacob wanted to leave and go back to the promised land, but Laban bargained with him to stay and make them even more prosperous. Through selective breeding Jacob acquired the majority of the flocks, and became wealthy.

This displeased the sons of Laban, so in Genesis 31 Jacob fled from Laban. However, as Jacob, wives and children all were set to depart, Rachel stole Laban’s idols. Laban found out the idols were missing, pursued Jacob and caught up with him. Laban looked for the idols, at no avail, Rachel had hid them under the saddle of her camel and sat on it claiming she had her period. Finally Laban gave in, said farewell to all and he and Joseph established the Mizpah.

January 14, read through the Holy Bible in a year in Power-point, with comments.

The chapters chosen for today deal with servanthood, betrayal, promise and deceit.

January 14: John 13, Genesis 28, Genesis 29 (click on the chapter to begin reading)

John 13 begins the last 24 hours before the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet before the Passover meal, a task normally performed by the lowest servant. During the meal he announced his betrayal, and then he gave the disciples a new commandment “love one another”. He also predicted Simon Peter’s denial.

In Genesis 28, Jacob went to Paddan Aram to get a wife. On the way he had a dream, commonly known as “Jacob’s Ladder”. Meanwhile, Esau took yet another wife, the daughter of Ishmael. The promise of Jacob’s dream was that God was to give the land to Jacob’s descendants. Jacob made a vow to God and named the place Bethel.

Jacob arrived in Paddan Aram in Genesis 29, fell in love with Rachel, worked seven years to be allowed to marry her, but her father Laban tricked Jacob, so he got Leah instead. Then he worked another “seven years for Rachel”. But it was Leah that gave him his first four children, Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah.