Friday, March 31, 2006

the simple explanation

Mars has a “global warming” problem. NASA reported last September that the red planet's south polar ice cap has been shrinking for six years.

Last time I checked there was no anthropogenic release of carbon dioxide to cause a “greenhouse” effect. Could it be that the great ball of nuclear fusion in the sky that we collectively call the “sun” is causing Mars, (and Earth) to warm up? I guess it’s possible that the one object that represents 98% of the mass of the solar system and is responsible for all energy and heat and light on Earth and in our solar system, might have something to do with the global temperature. It’s possible that the ball of fire that is 1.3 million times bigger than earth and 98 million miles away, creating 5 million tons of pure energy every second by converting 700 million tons of hydrogen into helium through a nuclear fusion process at 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit might have SOMETHING to do with the earth getting 0.6 degrees warmer over the past 100 years.

Duke University scientists have asserted that "at least 10 to 30 percent of global warming measured during the past two decades may be due to increased solar output."

But it could be my Nissan.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

ominous warnings

“There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production– with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth…Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.” ---Newsweek article from 1975

So what ominous signs were they warning us of then?
A global ice age...

And the remedy? “Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.”

So when they found a slight cooling trend of approximately .5 degrees over 30 years concerned scientists sounded the alarm bells and recommended all sorts of policy changes to those dim-witted political leaders including melting the ice caps...

The truth is that we do not know enough about how global temperatures change over time and we do not understand how all of the variables individually contribute to measurable warming and/or cooling. Is it astrophysical phenomenon, solar flares, the earth's wobble on it's axis, or other variables.

One more thought...I live in a temperate zone of the northern hemisphere--temperatures vary drastically within one day. In fact this morning it was in the upper 30's and tomorrow it is expected to approach 70 degrees. That's a 40 degree swing in about 48 hours. I know-I know weather and climate are two different things, but it begs the question---how can temperatures in almost every climate vary drastically from day to night, every day...but a virtually undetectable raise of less than one degree of global mean temperatures over the course of 100 years is enough to send us past the tipping point?

Monday, March 27, 2006


Consensus is a difficult thing to garner, no matter what happens, or how it is stated, there are going to be those that disagree. J-Dub accurately pointed out that some of the signers on the Heidelberg Appeal later went on to encourage countries endorse Kyoto. And later still there was a petition called the Oregon Petition that was signed by as many as 19,000 scientists but that petition is also criticized.

Instead of getting into a "who can get more scientists on their side" contest, perhaps we can look at the science involved, and the actual report that the scientists are either opposing or confirming...this is from page 439 of the IPCC report:

Finally, we come to the difficult question of when the
detection and attribution of human-induced climate
change is likely to occur. The answer to this question
must be subjective, particularly in the light of the large
signal and noise uncertainties discussed in this chapter.
Some scientists maintain that these uncertainties currently
preclude any answer to the question posed above.
Other scientists would and have claimed, on the basis of
the statistical results presented in Section 8.4, that confident
detection of significant anthropogenic climate
change has already occurred.

For those that require a little assistance in discerning exactly what they mean, let me paraphrase. "Some scientist think that their are too many uncertainties to come to any conclusions, others think that climate change has already occurred."

So by the IPCC's own admission, some scientists agree and some disagree. Next question?

Is the planet significantly warmer today than it was 100 years ago? 500? 1000 years?

Sunday, March 26, 2006


J-Dub is having a hard time getting his head around the fact that I don’t agree with him on one of his central tenets. At this point his argument seems to be, “EVERYBODY agrees that global warming is real, look at all these scientists, they all say it’s real, if you don’t agree you must be insane.” Furthermore, he not only swallows the global warming kool aid, he thinks that we must DO something to further prevent the destruction of the planet, regularly advocating Kyoto.

He doesn’t and cannot refute any evidence that I point to in order to contradict his views, so he dismisses me and anyone I reference as loons, or corrupt figures.

I don’t believe that man made global warming is real. Over the course of the next few posts I will show why I don’t believe.

I will start with the “consensus” that J-Dub keeps referencing as proof that everyone agrees that the planet is warming and it’s the result of man’s interference. He doesn’t like it when I reference scientists that he disagrees with so for this first part I will use the IPCC’s own words on page 411 of their report on global climate change, and the basis for the existence of Kyoto Protocol—
Although these global mean results suggest that there is
some anthropogenic component in the observed temperature
record, they cannot be considered as compelling evidence
of clear cause-and-effect link between anthropogenic
forcing and changes in the Earth’s surface temperature.

So in their own words, they do not have compelling evidence of a clear cause and effect of human created global warming.

J-Dub likes to say that thousands of scientists agree and more than a hundred countries have signed on to Kyoto, etc…further “proof” that his consensus is fact.

Over four thousand scientists, seventy of whom are Nobel
Prize winners, have signed the so-called Heidelberg Appeal. It
warns the industrialized world that no compelling evidence
exists to justify controls of anthropogenic greenhouse gas
A recent survey of state climatologists reveals that a majority
of respondents have serious doubts about whether anthropogenic
emissions of greenhouse gases present a serious threat
to climate stability. Of all the academic specialists, climatologists
(only about 60 of whom hold Ph.d.’s in the entire United
States) and atmospheric physicists are those most qualified to
examine evidence of climate change. It is those professions
that are most heavily populated by the so-called “skeptics.”
A recent joint statement signed by twenty-six hundred scientists
under the auspices of the environmental group Ozone
Action is less than compelling. A survey of those signatories
by Citizens for a Sound Economy concludes that fewer than
10 percent of them had any expertise at all in any scientific
discipline related to climate science.

So if you are placing your trust in the “concerned scientists” that all agree, there is considerable evidence that not all scientists agree that global warming is caused by humans. See the Heidelberg Appeal site for a list of Nobel Prize winners that have signed the Heidelberg Appeal.

Open your eyes to the possibility that the Kyoto dogma is wrong.

Friday, March 24, 2006

There is no evil, just varying degrees of “complexity”

Wow, thanks Madeline, further proof that there are some who just don’t get it.

When terrorists take hostages and torture and execute them, it’s not evil personified…that’s so simplistic. It’s much more complex than that…If we could just understand the “root causes” and open our minds to the nuanced diplomatic issues involved.

This is the logical extreme of postmodern philosophy—there is no right or wrong, all cultures and opinions are equally valid/valuable, good and evil are simply constructs of the people who are telling the story. Of course, most people don’t realize they are postmodernists; our educational system barely gets basic math and reading hammered into our mushy skulls. But this op-ed is breathtakingly reckless, by a former secretary of state, while there are 100,000 plus soldiers still in Iraq.

Foreign policy by procedural due process

It is now part of the liberal lexicon that liberating Iraq is/was a mistake, “Bush LIED!” is the rally cry, and the absence of WMD is proof that a “neo-conservative” (Jewish) cabal is pulling the strings on the puppet moron president.

What’s frustrating about this is at least two-fold:

1. WMD was never the sole reason for liberating Iraq. I have commented on this before, and cited the legislation, and the 23 reasons that are officially mentioned in the Senate bill that authorized the use of force-and one of them is his willingness to pursue and use or sell WMD.
We know he had chemical weapons in the past, because we saw the dead bodies of the people that he used them on, so we also knew he was willing to use them.
If you're a cop and a man pulls out a gun and points it at you, you're within your rights to shoot him, particularly if the man in question is a known criminal who's shot people before. If it turns out afterward that the gun wasn't loaded, that's not the cop's fault.

2. Opponents of the war in Iraq would hold us to a legalese procedural standard where the burden of proof is on the US to show that he was in possession of weapons, even though he had ejected our inspectors, and was claiming that he had what we said he had and what we know he at least used to have. It is irresponsible to not call that bluff and a risk that could not be taken.
If you walk into a bank with your hand in your pocket and say, “I have a gun, give me your money.” You have just committed armed criminal action, even if you used a Snickers bar to do it. Opponents of the war in Iraq could say you hadn’t actually done anything wrong, because while you said you have a gun, you only had a Snickers—and before arresting you the cop would have to prove that you are holding a weapon and not a chocolaty caramel and nugget treat.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Just making it up as they go...

If you are fully invested in "global warming," then there is absolutely nothing that could shake your beliefs. If it is colder than normal, it's global warming. If it is hotter, global warming. More snow that normal, less snow than normal...

Currently the storyline goes like this, the planet is faced with irreparable harm due to global increase in temperatures because the of the greenhouse effect that is associated with higher concentrations of CO2 (and the other "greenhouse gases".) The only way to save the planet is for Americans to drive fewer SUVs.

So there must be really compelling evidence to show that CO2 levels are significantly higher, right? not really...atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) level – reported by the WMO to be 377 parts per million (ppm) in 2004 – is 35 percent higher now than during pre-industrial times when the CO2 level allegedly was around 280 ppm.
While there’s no dispute concerning the current CO2 level, there is plenty of room to dispute the WMO’s 280 ppm-estimate for pre-industrial atmospheric CO2, according to March 2004 testimony before the U.S. Senate by Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, a senior Polish scientist who has spent 40 years studying glaciers in order to reconstruct the history of human impact on the global atmosphere.
Atmospheric CO2 can be measured directly by air sampling or estimated indirectly by, for example, studying air trapped in ice cores drilled from glaciers. Direct measurements of atmospheric CO2 taken by scientists during the 19th century – beginning around 1810 – ranged from about 250 ppm to 550 ppm, with an average value of 335 ppm, according to Dr. Jaworowski.

So there must be some pretty compelling evidence that there is a drastic temperature change recently, right? not really...Mean global temperature appears to have warmed by about one degree Fahrenheit during the 20th Century. About half that warming occurred prior to 1940, while most of the century’s manmade greenhouse gas emissions occurred after 1940. The global cooling that occurred from 1940 to 1970 – which led some worriers to sound alarms during the mid-1970s about a looming ice age – actually occurred simultaneously with increasing manmade greenhouse gas emissions.
There really are only two certainties in the debate over climate change. First, we really don’t have a sufficient understanding of climatic processes to predict with reasonable certainty the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on climate.
But we do know that mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions – like those required in Europe by the Kyoto Protocol and currently advocated in the U.S. by Sens. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Bingman, D-N.M., – will harm the economy by making energy more expensive and less available.
European nations are already choosing to forego global warming alarmism and compliance with Kyoto in favor of economic survival and growth.

italicized portions are excerpts from Steven Milloy he publishes JunkScience .com and CSRWatch .com. He is a junk science expert, an advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Is that a package?

Why do companies insist on trying to pull one over on people and sell things as a “package?”

I worked at Sprint for a few years and one of the great scams, IN MY OPINION, was that we would receive a call from someone with just ONE feature, like caller id.
We would then claim that we could, “SAVE YOU MONEY” if you would just “upgrade” to one of our custom packages.

Customer: “But I don’t want anything other than caller id, maybe call waiting.”

Salesman: “That’s OK, it will save you money and you will get ALL of the calling features including caller id, call waiting, call waiting id, call forward, return call, repeat dial, messageline, line guard and an excellent long distance plan---OK?”

(That’s called a presumptive close, you TELL the person some ambiguous crap and you tell them it is in their best interest and you finish the sentence with “OK” and the natural human response for the customer is to reply, “OK.” Taa daa….you just made a sale.)

The reality is that the “Package” almost always is MORE expensive, includes more than the customer wants, but because the customer cannot figure out X from Y because the company intentionally makes that information difficult to obtain, and the seller has an incentive to keep that information to himself----it’s a loser for the consumer.

Think about your cable bill, or your cell phone service plan, or ______ you fill in the blank.

My point is: if you are offering a good product or service at a reasonable price, you don’t have to trick your customers with pricing or package gimmicks. If your company is unwilling to be transparent with its “menu” of services, if it is unwilling to be upfront with its prices, then it probably won’t be offering that “package” very much longer.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

polls about facts are stupid

Why are polls about declarative statements of fact making the news these days?

One cannot go a day without reading something like "37% of people think that Al Zarqawi is dead, or 40% believe OBL will be captured, or 60% think that Iraq will collapse into a civil war".

Aren't those objective and certifiable facts, independent of polling data? Think about something that is factually verifiable---like I am 29 years old.
Then take a picture of me to 1000 people and ask them how old they think I am. I would be willing to bet that a certain percentage would think I was older, and a certain percentage would think I am younger.....but it's STUPID because asking a thousand morons what they think about something that is an independent fact does not make a difference because regardless of what the poll says...my age is a fact as is Al Zarqawi's status on this mortal coil, or OBL's status as fugitive...


I have to take J-dub to task...he said, "Sticking with the new branding campaign, Bush came right out and told us that we're in Iraq for the long haul. He flat out doesn't care what anyone thinks, he's doing what God told him to do. Secure the oil. Someone needs to tell him Dick Cheney is not God."

I responded---

Monday, March 20, 2006

ringing endorsement

Sometimes you know you are on the wrong track based on who agrees with you.

When a couple of Harvard blokes recently wrote a study on the power and influence of the "Israel Lobby" on American foreign policy and concluded that "neither strategic nor moral arguments can account for America's support for Israel," and therefore the only possible explanation is "the unmatched power of the Israel Lobby," they got a ringing endorsement from none other than former congressman and Klansman David Duke.
To be fair, just because Duke endorses their views doesn't mean they endorse him...

I have found occasionally that when I am on the wrong track, all the wrong people agree with me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Helpful hints to avoid H5N1

Lot's of people are worried about the coming avian flu pandemic, and while we can all agree that millions will die and it is George Bush's fault, I thought I would share some helpful health hints on how to protect yourself from infection:

1. Try not eat the feces of an infected bird, even if the bird says, "hey baby, I'm clean." Don't take it's word for it. If you eat its poop you might get infected.
2. Do not pulverize the bones of a dead infected bird and inhale them. I know this is an enticing activity, and honestly, who hasn't accidently inhaled the pulverized bones of a dead chicken?
3. Do not accidentally mutate into a bird and come into close contact with another bird that is infected and then mutate back into a human.

If we all take these three simple precautions, we can rest easy that the only pandemics we need to worry about are mad-caw, SARS, and the bubonic plague.

Called in to their thinging

My wife and I attended an excellent University here in Kirksville, Missouri--Truman State University and even though it is one of the best it occasionally falls into the same educational clap traps that the rest of "academia" falls.

I read this little quote the other day, at National Review Online, where one of the columnists, John Derbyshire, was poking fun at postmodern philosophers---

"In the naming, the things named are called into their thinging. Thinging, they unfold world, in which things abide and so are abiding ones." (Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, pp.199-200. "

I instantly recognized it, I remember laughing at how ludicrous it was and sure enough, my wife was required to read Poetry, Language, Thought in order to earn her degree.

Some other amusing and meaningless postmodern quotes:

Truths are illusions of which one has forgotten that this is what they are.

The author is therefore the ideological figure by which one marks the manner in which we fear the proliferation of meaning.

last one

Does truth, then, arise out of nothing? It does indeed if by nothing is meant the mere not of that which is, and if we here think of that which is as an object present in the ordinary way, and thereafter comes to light and is challenged by the existence of the work as only presumptively a true being.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


When I was in high school I was asked to write a philosophical theory by one of my teachers. Actually the wife of my favorite teacher--He was my Latin teacher, and his wife was my Philosophy teacher.

Anyway, in an attempt to come up with something profound I authored the idea that everything was made of infinitessimally small particles, even smaller particles than we can now fathom...I believe at the time physicists and chemists were able to at least predict the location of electrons and there was even talk of smaller particles like quarks and neutrinos, but I am talking about the parts that make those things look big.

My postulation was that everything, no matter how small, could be split into something smaller, inifinitely. Imagine a piece of paper, 8.5 by 11 and that is what we might call an atom. While it is small, (relative to the planet) it can split into smaller particles, like the wood fibers and glue and dyes, etc...just like an atom can be seen as a certain number of neutrons and electrons orbiting them. If we continuously split it down farther and farther ad infinitum we get to the very essence, the lowest common denominator, the smallest of all building blocks. I called them Jobenads, (I was 17 and at the time the most important thing in the universe.)

I didn't get a good grade.

Koan of the Week

Three Days More

Suiwo, the disciple of Hakuin, was a good teacher. During one summer seclusion period, a pupil came to him from a southern island of Japan.
Suiwo gave him the problem: "Hear the sound of one hand."
The pupil remained three years but could not pass this test. One night he came in tears to Suiwo. "I must return south in shame and embarrassment," he said, "for I cannot solve my problem."
"Wait one week more and meditate constantly," advised Suiwo. Still no enlightenment came to the pupil. "Try for another week," said Suiwo. The pupil obeyed, but in vain.
"Still another week." Yet this was of no avail. In despair the student begged to be released, but Suiwo requested another meditation of five days. They were without result. Then he said: "Meditate for three days longer, then if you fail to attain enlightenment, you had better kill yourself."
On the second day the pupil was enlightened.

Buddha Boy Vanishes!

Long time readers may remember that a long time ago I talked about the "buddha boy" that was meditating motionless under a pipal tree in Nepal.

He was supposedly going without food or water in much the same way the original Buddha achieved "enlightenment."

He has disappeared. Here's the story...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

This just in: The Sun is hot!

Reuters reports the sun is hot.

Actually they reported that the cosmic storms that the sun "spawns" may be more active in its next cycle. Somehow they know that it's a eleven year cycle. There is also reason to believe that these cyclical storms at least partially contribute to climate change.

I have frequently said that humans worrying about causing climate change is like ants farting and then standing on top of their hill and exclaiming that the whole planet stinks...

It's possible that the giant ball of super heated flaming plasma 93 million miles away that gives light and energy to everything on the planet is more responsible for the global climate than my Nissan, or your Ford.

Monday, March 06, 2006

growing like a weed

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US economy has been growing for 17 straight quarters. http://www.bea.gov/

Who would have thought? I can't recall seeing very much positive coverage of the economy. In fact, even good news has a tendency to sound like bad when a Republican is in office.

Look at this headline: "Consumer Spending Shows Big Gain In January While Construction Activity Slows," The Associated Press, 3/1/06

So the story is highlighting increased consumer spending, yet has to throw in that junk about construction slowing, just to stay "fair."

Or how about this: "Inflation Eats Up Most Jan. Income Gains," MarketWatch, 3/1/06) but the fact is that after inflation, disposable incomes have increased 2.2% in the last twelve months.

Of course, you could disregard any facts and just declare it all terrible.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Intellectual and technological vanity

I have just embarked on a new journey of technological ego-stroking--J-Dub, Scott and I are starting to record a weekly podcast.
The working title right now is Idiots Cervantes-- with the idiots being us and the reference to Cervantes as the author that created the greatest legend in his own mind ever, Don Quixote.
We are tyring to tap that Joe-Six pack kind of guy that makes references to Shakespearean era authors and has a deep thirst for public policy and current events as seen through the eyes of three unqualified commentators.

Like erotic books for children, I think it will be wildly unpopular.

We recorded our first, it ran a little long, and we got bogged down in some pretty heavy stuff, but it's fun and I have always wanted to sit in front of a microphone, even if I am the only member in the audience.

Stay tuned and I will try to link to it.