EPA hides fact that electric cars are indeed similar to a plastic-wrapped chunk of meat at the supermarket

A few weeks ago, I asked just how energy efficient electric cars really are because it seemed to me that, as is the case with pre-packaged meat at the supermarket, all the dirty stuff is happening behind the scenes:

People hostile to American consumerism (that would be the AGW/Green crowd), as well as vegetarians and PETA people (often the same people as the AGW/Green crowd), like to point out that Americans, by buying their meat neatly packaged at the grocery store can ignore the living, breathing animal behind that ready-to-cook slab of meat.  They can also ignore the slaughtering process, and the slicing and dicing that follows slaughter.  American consumers are also mercifully separated from the pollution that the whole meat industry creates, whether at the farm end or in the abattoir.

With that in mind, can someone explain to me cars that are entirely electric, such as the Chevy Volt or the Nissan Leaf.  Hybrid cars create their own electricity, but these 100% electric cars need to be plugged into an outlet, in exactly the same way as that energy sucking computer or electric dryer.

Sure the cars run clean at the car end, but aren’t they the car equivalent of packaged meat?  The electricity that powers them has to come from somewhere and, unless you can tell me otherwise, I’m assuming it comes from coal or fuel burning power plants.  Likewise, I understand that the process of making these cars’ batteries is pretty darn dirty, not to mention so expensive that the only way rich people can afford to buy them — or are willing to buy them — is with hefty government subsidies.

My question resulted in 151 comments arguing the pros and cons of electric cars.  One of the main things that came through in the discussion was that government interference hides real costs, both economic and environmental.  It turns out that the government may not just be interfering with real costs, it may be fudging them too:

The Green Machine is now exposing how the US Government can choose to create data that disobey the laws of thermodynamics so that the worthless government policy of favoring plug in vehicles over gas or diesel powered vehicles can be supported by the public. Yes the US EPA chooses to make 34.4% equal to 100%.

[snip]

The EPA allows plug in vehicle makers to claim an equivalent miles per gallon (MPG) based on the electricity powering the cars motors being 100% efficient. This implies the electric power is generated at the power station with 100% efficiency, is transmitted and distributed through thousands of miles of lines without any loss, is converted from AC to DC without any loss, and the charge discharge efficiency of the batteries on the vehicle is also 100%. Of course the second law of thermodynamics tells us all of these claims are poppycock and that losses of real energy will occur in each step of the supply chain of getting power to the wheels of a vehicle powered with an electric motor.

I started thinking about all of this last night when my wife asked me how the Honda Fit that is now available as an electric vehicle could get 118 MPG as the equivalent rating from the US EPA? I told my wife that was because the US EPA believes in Political Science and not Real Science and that I would investigate this claim for her. Well it is simple the US EPA uses a conversion factor of 33.7 kilowatt hours per gallon of gasoline to calculate the equivalent MPG of an electric vehicle.

Dr. Chu Chu of the Department of Entropy is instructing the EPA on thermodynamics in coming up with the 33.7 kwh per gallon. On a heating value of the fuel 33.7 kwh equals 114,984 BTUS which is indeed the lower heating value of gasoline. The fit needs 286 watt hours to travel a mile and the Green Machine agrees with this for the 2 cycle US EPA test with no heating, cooling or fast acceleration. Using this amount of energy per mile and the 33.7 kwh “contained” in a gallon of gas, the EPA calculates the Fit gets 118 MPG equivalent.

In other words, the government data about electric cards on which so many “greenies” rely, is hiding not only the cow, but also the cost of the feed, the environmental impact of the manure production, the ugliness of the slaughterhouse , the fuel used to ship meat to market, and the cost, waste and labor of packaging. Please be sure to read the whole Green Explored post here.

(Hat tip:  Breitbart)

UPDATE: Mike McDaniel, who is surely one of the most graceful writers in the blogosphere, has more — much more — on the Volt’s myriad hidden costs and on the Obama politics driving this government boondoggle.

La Media – Misleading by Misdirection

Years ago, the Bookworm Room took a leadership position in challenging man-made global warming dogma and I would comfortably assert that we have been winning the arguments. However, the battle is far from over.

Today’s Chicago Tribune posted a column published by two credentialed climate scientists from the U. of Illinois, attributing this winter’s warm winter conditions and tornado activity to man-made CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/ct-perspec-0606-climate-20120606,0,1084142.story

This column misleads by misdirection.

The warmer-than-normal weather this winter and early spring was the result of an extended Pacific Ocean-warming phenomenon called “La Nina”. This phenomenon has been linked to diverse weather conditions around the world, from severe drought conditions in our Southwest and Brazil, to warmer-than-normal winters in the upper Midwest to reduced monsoon activity in southern Asia. Warmer-than-normal winter and spring temperatures are also conducive to tornado formation when they clash and create turbulence with cold air from the winter jet stream.

Keep in mind that one of the paramount principles of scientific endeavor, routinely violated by man-made climate change proponents, is “Occam’s Razor”, which stipulates that you look at the simplest, most obvious explanations first!

So, let’s ask the question… are increasing levels of atmospheric CO2, present in concentrations measured in parts-per-million, responsible for massive warming events in the central Pacific? Does this sound like a reasonable explanation?

The best leading indicator of a La Nina event is not the amount of CO2 in the air, but subsurface water temperatures (i.e., below the ocean surface, not at the surface where CO2 would be absorbed from the air) around the Pacific Rim. The most likely cause for these temperature upwellings, supported by satellite and deep-sea surveyor data, is underwater volcanic activity, which we are only just beginning to understand. Bookworm aficionados are very well-read and aware, so they will recall reading that these past few years have been seismically active around the Pacific Rim. Undersea volcanos, like terrestrial volcanos, release huge amounts of heat, which must go somewhere. In water and in air, heat rises.

http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/18084

After La Nina ended this spring, we returned to cooler than normal temperatures in the Midwest and eastern U.S., which will probably persist through 2012, as a countervailing, cooling El Nino begins to form in the Pacific. In fact, the last 10 years have seen a consistent, measurable period of global cooling, not heating, even as atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased.

In addition, the pioneering work of Danish astrophysicist Henrik Svensmark, a man who’s name may one day rank in the Astronomer’s pantheon with Galileo and Copernicus, has laid out testable theories on how solar activity affects cloud cover, precipitation and global temperatures that are completely changing perceptions regarding climate change and, frankly, render the effects of CO2 (which, in the end, is just an insignificant greenhouse gas when compared to water) on climate as irrelevant. Thus far, the tests of his theories are coming out very positive and serve to explain both observed climate warming and cooling cycles.

The facade of man-made global warming is crumbling, but far too many credentialed “scientists” have vested their reputations and research budgets in man-made global warming postulations for them to give up lightly. So, they double down because they have to. Unfortunately, too many citizens will be fooled by their credentials to question their premises.

Given the credentials of the authors of this Chicago Tribune column, they in all likelihood knew all of this. They just didn’t feel that the Chicago Tribune’s readers should know about this details, because it doesn’t happen to fit their ideological meme. So, they misdirect.

Can someone explain electric cars to me? *UPDATED*

People hostile to American consumerism (that would be the AGW/Green crowd), as well as vegetarians and PETA people (often the same people as the AGW/Green crowd), like to point out that Americans, by buying their meat neatly packaged at the grocery store can ignore the living, breathing animal behind that ready-to-cook slab of meat.  They can also ignore the slaughtering process, and the slicing and dicing that follows slaughter.  American consumers are also mercifully separated from the pollution that the whole meat industry creates, whether at the farm end or in the abattoir.

With that in mind, can someone explain to me cars that are entirely electric, such as the Chevy Volt or the Nissan Leaf.  Hybrid cars create their own electricity, but these 100% electric cars need to be plugged into an outlet, in exactly the same way as that energy sucking computer or electric dryer.

Sure the cars run clean at the car end, but aren’t they the car equivalent of packaged meat?  The electricity that powers them has to come from somewhere and, unless you can tell me otherwise, I’m assuming it comes from coal or fuel burning power plants.  Likewise, I understand that the process of making these cars’ batteries is pretty darn dirty, not to mention so expensive that the only way rich people can afford to buy them — or are willing to buy them — is with hefty government subsidies.

So, what’s the difference between a Volt and a nice slab of this:


UPDATE: Having read everybody’s contributions, I’ve concluded that government machinations preclude an accurate answer to this question.

Help wanted to understand a climate change post

I’ve been skeptical of climate change because (a) I think Al Gore’s an idiot; (b) the climate changers see everything in terms of climate change, which is nonsensical; (c) the Climate Gate emails indicated fraud and information suppression to advance the climate change narrative, suggesting that the actual facts do not advance that narrative; and (d) the manifest goal of those backing climate change is to transfer wealth from America to other nations and to downgrade the American standard of living.  I therefore wholeheartedly believe blogs such as Watts Up With That? when they put up posts challenging the climate change narrative.

The problem for me is that I’m not well-versed in science, and can easily be led down the primrose path.  So, while I have practical and ideological reasons for rejecting climate change, I can’t boast that I understand science well enough to add scientific reasons to my skeptical stance.

This gets me to the crux of this post.  One of my liberal Facebook friends, writing with a big “A-ha!”, linked to a blog post that claims to prove that climate change skeptics are cherry-picking data and are scientifically ignorant.  Since I’ve already admitted to scientific ignorance, I’m as incapable of analyzing this post, with which I disagree on principle, as I am of analyzing the Watts Up With That posts, with which I agree on principle.

So here’s the help I need from you:  Do those of you with better scientific chops than I have (that would be just about everyone) have any opinion on the relative merits of the post contending that climate change skeptics are arguing out of their rear orifice?

“Alien Encounters” — The subtle propaganda of a pseudo-documentary

The Science Channel’s Alien Encounters is a two-part pseudo-documentary that interweaves footage of real scientists and novelists talking about possible alien encounters, with faux footage of the world dealing with an actual alien encounter.  Alien Encounters has gotten decent press from the usual suspects.

I disagree.  As a science show, it’s not impressive.  The children, who are sophisticated media consumers, were perpetually confused about what was real and what was faux, and eventually walked out on the show in frustration.  We grown-ups didn’t fare much better, as we kept falling asleep.  A show that induces narcolepsy probably isn’t a very good show.

I did stay awake long enough, though, to be concerned about those children and those adults who stuck it out despite the show’s muddled story line and sleep-inducing presentation.  In addition to having some vaguely scientific content (Cue Twilight Zone music and repeat after me — “We are not alone”), the show has a very strong Progressive tone.  This is stealth politics. A rumination about aliens contacting earth should be about space and science.  As is typical, though, for anything Progressives touch, their politics and biases  just kind of ooze out.

In pertinent part, the plot goes as follows:  The SETI Institute, which was established to monitor the cosmos for other life forms, picks up a signal from space that is quite obviously meant to communicate with earth.  It proves, as the SETI people have long realized, that we here on earth are not the pinnacle of evolution — someone else (or something else) obviously is, because that other culture can communicate with us.

At least, that’s what Jill Tarter, who’s head of the SETI Institution and one of the show’s writers, says.  She also says that we’re not ready for alien contact because we have pollution or wars, or something like that.  (She was a bit muddled there.)  Tarter’s fascination with outer space may have come about because she obviously doesn’t like us here on planet earth.

Tarter’s statements about war and pollution, and her general disdain for humanity, have the virtue of being explicit.  Tucked into the show were other messages, however, ranging from silly to mean.

The first more subtle political message showed itself in the usual “global warming” stuff that is by now par for the course for any non-conservative production.  Indeed, bows to global warming appear in shows with the same frequency as Obama’s “ums” and “uhs” and “ers” when he’s speaking off teleprompter — which is to say, way too often.

In Alien Encounters, we learn that the alien beings have included in their message a code sequence that is light years (pardon the pun) more sophisticated than any computer code ever devised here on earth.  The hip young things paying attention to this cool alien invasion immediately appreciate the ramifications of this code.  The words “reverse global warming” are flashed across the screen at least twice.  (I may have slept through subsequent iterations.)  Yes, the secret to resolving global warming is . . . wait for it . . . an alien invasion.  Woo-hoo!

That’s the obvious propaganda.  It’s heavy-handed, but probably harmless, because it’s just another piece of white noise in the Progressive universe.  Although I must say I find rather amusing that an ostensibly scientific institution (that would be the SETI Institute) so blindly accepts global warming, despite the burgeoning body of evidence to the contrary.  But that’s another story….

The less obvious propaganda is what really irked me.  In an obvious effort to stretch a thin one-hour show into a two-hour show, the writers repeat themes, images and words over and over and over again.  Thus, we hear repeatedly that some people will be excited and open-minded about this invasion, while some will be scared and hostile.

“Scared and hostile” is represented by a moustachioed old white man who sits alone, drinking, and writing “end of the world?” and “danger” on reports about the alien encounter.  Later, he is shown stockpiling booze and weapons for his survivalist retreat.  And still later, the show finally reveals the hitherto cryptic writing on his baseball cap:  “82nd Airborne.”

Yup — the only ones who might be somewhat worried that a vastly more intelligent life form is heading towards our seriously imperfect (and overheated) world are the crazy, drunken, old militarists .  The show hints, although it’s too tactful to say, that drunken old survivalists are the scarier of the two invaders.

I haven’t actually seen the aliens land yet.  When I finally succumbed completely to sleep, they were still making their way to planet earth.  I’ll watch the last half hour tonight on my TiVo and get back to you on whether or not we survive our contact with this fine alien culture.  I do wonder, though, whether these aliens, who clearly have the potential to bring about the “moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal,” will bear an uncanny resemblance to Barack Obama.  After all, there are those who have posited that, based upon his fixed smile in official state photos, he might not be of this earth:

Barack Obama’s amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.

When it comes to the climate crowd, Zombie proves that it’s the same words, with a slightly different melody

I’m not the most observant person in the world.  It was probably in around 1976 when I suddenly realized that the CBS nightly news, which my parents watched religiously, was no longer giving daily updates about the number of dead and wounded in Vietnam.  That information had provided a backdrop to my childhood dinners, so much so that I completely tuned it out.  When the numbers vanished, I was still tuned out.

Thinking about it, I also missed the transition from Global Freezing, which was the nightmare scenario of my 1970s youth (along with nuclear Holocaust, of course), to Global Warming, which is the nightmare scenario of my own children’s youth.  Perhaps, though, it wasn’t that I was so absent minded, it was also that the message with both calamitous scenarios has been precisely the same.  Zombie has written a very detailed post (not to worry, though, ’cause it’s also fascinating) comparing the two climate movements.  I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I saw that Zombie’s thesis is as follows:

In both cases, proponents of the theory-du-jour say that in order to stave off disaster, we must reverse the march of civilization, stop our profligate use of carbon-based fuels, cede power and money from the First World to the Third World, and wherever possible revert to a Luddite pre-industrial lifestyle.

I realized: The solution (commit civilizational suicide) always remains the same; all that differs are the wildly divergent purported “crises” proffered up to justify the imposition of the solution.

Seen from this angle, the entire Climate Change field should be more properly reframed thus:

In order to weaken and eventually destroy the existing industrialized nations, we must devise an ecological “crisis” so severe that only voluntary economic suicide can solve it; and if this first crisis doesn’t materialize as planned, then devise another, and another, even if they flatly contradict our previous claims.

“Keynes” and other back-pats

Here’s a Robert Samuelson article, “bye bye Keynes” that should give us all pause: the arguments he uses to write Keynes’ obituary are arguments that we all posited in our own excoriation of Keynes in years past, in response to a string of commentators, ranging from A to Z.

I’ve been reviewing our last few years at Bookworm Room and I think that we all deserve a round of huzzas and raised beer mugs or wine glasses, whatever is at hand. We’ve been so right about so many issues, be it “Keynesian”economics; anthropogenic global warming; the Islamist threat; U.S. fossil fuel reserves; “green” energy; Iraq; Obama; the EU’s collapse…and on and on und so weiter.  Sometimes, our prescience has preceded events on the ground by years.

To all of you Bookworm guests and, especially, to Bookworm, our hostess: I’m so d*** proud to know you! I am so much smarter for having enjoyed the many experiences of your insights and commentary.

Climategate Part II

For those of you interested in the fact that several thousand more East Anglia climate change emails are now available for public consumption, many of which indicate that the climate change proponents were aggressively pushing a theory in advance of actual data, here are four good links:

Watts Up With That

Yid With Lid

Power Line

Ace

It’s Thanksgiving 2009 all over again.  I remember walking the dog near my in-laws’ house on a cold, cold morning, listening on my iPod to a Rush show taped a couple of days before, in which Rush eviscerated the emails.  That was also the show that had Rush playing a wonderful clip that was perhaps a decade old, that had him on a talk show with Al Gore.  Gore was bloviating about global warming, and Rush said then that it was a scam to enrich certain individuals and to redistribute wealth from the West to other, favored nations.

Roger Simon cleans Paul Krugman’s clock

Paul Krugman, aided by more than 500 commenters, launched a hysterical rant about the Republican war on science, all of which is embodied in Perry’s skepticism about anthropogenic global warming.  Krugman and his acolytes are unanimous in their opinion:  Republicans are anti-scientific, book burning, people burning, Galileo hating, troglodytes.  (Neither he nor his groupies are as elegant or eloquent as I in saying so.)

There’s only one little problem:  in his rant, Krugman kind of forgot, just a little bit, er, science.  Roger Simon explains it to him, using simple words that even Paulie could probably understand.  Here’s a taste:

But wait a minute. I don’t want to be unfair to Paul. He may not be up to speed on the latest findings, but he knows how you prove things scientifically. He tell us “…the scientific consensus about man-made global warming — which includes 97 percent to 98 percent of researchers in the field, according to the National Academy of Sciences — is getting stronger, not weaker, as the evidence for climate change just keeps mounting.”

I get it. The more people that believe something, the more it is true…. Oh, no. Sorry, Paul. I have to tell you you just flunked seventh grade general science. Or you forgot it. The number of people who believe something is irrelevant. What proves something to be true is that it can be replicated by experiment.

Heh.

Dying certitudes

On the heels of Bookworm’s excellent, hard-hitting essay on narcissism comes a nice coda on man-made global warming that is emblematic of Bookworm’s theme.

Because of major discoveries involving the interaction of atmospheric aerosols and cosmic radiation, “climate models will have to be revised,” stated a communication from CERN that promises to completely overhaul scientific understanding of climate science. CERN is the European center for nuclear research. These discoveries are important, because they deal directly with the dynamics of the overwhelmingly dominant atmospheric greenhouse gas, water.

The complete article by Andrew Orlowski, in the U.K.’s The Register, is found here complete with supporting links:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/25/cern_cloud_cosmic_ray_first_results/

These recent discoveries regarding cosmic ray effects on climate pretty much render obsolete all previous climate prognostications by self-proclaimed experts. To use an analogy, it is as if these experts had tried to authoritatively explain the inner workings of an automobile by studiously ignoring the engine.

“When (leading CERN physicist) Dr. Jasper Kirkby first described the theory in 1998, he suggested cosmic rays “will probably be able to account for somewhere between a half and the whole of the increase in the Earth’s temperature that we have seen in the last century,” continues The Register‘s Orlowski.

The underlying theme here, however, is not cosmic rays or global warming, it is hubris. It is the self-righteous certainty and self-proclaimed wisdom with which scientists, politicians, media ideologues and demagogues could claim sufficent knowledge and command to engineer huge changes to society on the basis of their own self-righteous objectives. Their narcissism, in other words. In their world, their view was revealed truth, all else was anathema. We ourselves discovered some of this self-proclaimed righteousness from previous commentators on this blog. This is exactly the “fatal conceit” of which Friedrich Hayek.

http://www.amazon.com/Fatal-Conceit-Errors-Socialism-Collected/dp/0226320669

A qualifier is in order: I am in no way suggesting that the work by CERN is definitive. It does, however, illustrate how little we know and that, when pursuing any form of scientific inquiry, humility is a stellar virtue. No doubt, many more blockbuster revelations await us regarding  the complexities of climate dynamics, but we the main point is that we fallible humans are in no position and will never be in a position to mandate radical changes to either the globe or humanity on the basis of perceived knowledge. The believe otherwise is not just unwise, it is, forgive the term, stupid.

The CERN  announcement is emblematic of what is happening today, as we see other revealed truths such as socialism, Keynesianism, multiculturalism, peak oil, environmentalism and government central planning collapse under the repeated poundings of 2x4s called “reality”. It’s a painful process but, hopefully, it signals the birth pangs of a more practically-focused world to come, where the humility, skepticism and spirit of inquiry bequeathed by our Western philosophical traditions can once more hold sway over ignorance, dogma and ideology. Given the $-trillions of resources and human capital that have been wasted to date in pursuit of climate science and the other myths and illusions of our time, this would be a good thing.

We desperately need it.

Global warmists — garbage in, garbage out

Jim Lacey explains clearly the problem with global warming science:  it’s so hopelessly corrupt that it’s no longer possible to tell what the truth is any more.

Incidentally, this corruption is not a new problem.  In 1934, the now-forgotten author C.P. Snow, was a trained physicist, examined scientific dishonesty in his book The Search.  I don’t own a copy of that book, but Dorothy L. Sayers did, and she used it as an important plot device in Gaudy Night, a murder mystery set at an Oxford college.  Here’s her summary (emphasis mine):

“I never read the book,” said the Warden.

“Oh, I did,” said the Dean.  “It’s about a man who starts out to be a scientist and gets on very well till, just as he’s going to be appointed to an important executive post, he finds he’s made a careless error in a scientific paper.  He didn’t check his assistant’s results, or something.  Somebody finds out, and he doesn’t get the job.  So he decides he doesn’t really care about science after all.”

“Obviously not,” said Miss Edwards.  “He only cared about the post.”

“But,” said Miss Chilperic, “if it was only a mistake –”

“The point about it,” said Wimsey, “is what an elderly scientist says to him.  He tells him:  ‘The only ethical principle which has made science possible is that the truth shall be told all the time.  If we do not penalize false statements made in error, we open up the way for false statements by intention.  And a false statement of fact, made deliberately, is the most serious crime a scientist can commit.’  Words to that effect.  I may not be quoting quite correctly.”

With that point in mind, consider this passage from Lacey’s article, one of many pointing to the corrupt practices climate change scientists use.  Through these practices, they have so seriously debased the scientific coin that it is no longer possible to distinguish truth from lies.  No wonder, reading this, that people around the world are turning their backs on climate change:

The scientists at Great Britain’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) admit to using statistical sleights of hand to change the temperature record, so as to show more warming. And then, in a total flouting of the scientific method, they tossed out all the original raw data so that no other scientist could check their work. Remarkably, a panel — including a number of persons who stood to gain financially from a global-warming panic or who were personal friends of the accused — found nothing wrong with what the CRU scientists did. Move along; nothing to see here.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is responsible for feeding data into the United States’ Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) temperature record has been caught in a number of “unintentional” mistakes. One of my favorites is replicating Russia’s September temperatures as October’s, thereby significantly increasing the global average. In this regard, I have often wondered how it is that every “mistake” the high priests of global warming make is in the direction of increased warming. Why don’t they ever make a mistake that shows any cooling? My presumption is that after altering the laws of physics, altering the law of averages was child’s play.

Guess the context for this quotation

Fourth of July, the national celebration of combustion, presents an opportunity for atonement.

Are

you

thinking?

Have

you

figured

it

out

yet?

Do

you

know

why

you

should

atone

on

America’s

Independence

Day?

You

may

have

a

hard

time

believing

this

one,

from

the

NYT:

FOOD is responsible for 10 to 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. By many estimates, cooking represents more of a meal’s carbon footprint than transport. For certain vegetables, it accounts for more emissions than agriculture, transport and disposal combined.

[snip]

Now for the burgers and dogs. First, a green disclaimer. Beef is an environmental disaster, no matter how you cook it. However, if you can’t resist grilled cow, your big decision is between charcoal and propane.

[snip]

And finally we come to dessert. Skip the pie. Baking is so energy profligate that the government hasn’t yet figured out a way to reward any residential ovens with the Energy Star label.

Yup.  Having run out of other cudgels with which to bludgeon Americans, we’re now being told that our 4th of July grill is an ill-conceived idea that’s destroying the world.  This kind of ties in with my earlier post today about the fact that Republicans haven’t “appropriated” July 4th; instead, Democrats haven’t just abandoned it, they’ve spat all over it.

I was originally going to avoid cooking on July 4th, since I don’t like to cook.  However, even less than liking cooking, I don’t like being hectored, bullied, blackmailed and intimidated.  It’s hamburger and cakes this July 4th!

The Dark World of Krugman

We have an odd family friend. Fundamentally, she is a nice person and sports a very unconventional view of the world that occasionally emotes great insights into the human condition. She has a major flaw, however, one that she admits as a character flaw: she is an unabashed hater. Despite her husband, kids and friends being conservative, she targets her venom at conservatives. We who love her nonetheless, understand: “conservatives” remind her of her father, a redneck sort of fellow who was a very bad father. She blames him for her mother’s suicide, which occurred when she was very young.

 

If you dig deep into people’s psyches, you can often find the reason for visceral hatreds and, usually but not always, they have to do with childhood experiences. As Oprah (an abused child) famously remarked, some people seem incapable of shedding their childhood baggage.

 

So, what is it with Paul Krugman, once a brilliant economist and now a dark troll fulminating ugly thoughts under stone bridges in Liberal-land? This article, contributed by Peter Foster in Canada’s Financial Post, does a brilliant dissection of Krugman’s visceral hatreds and the warped views he espouses on economics, conservatives and climate change (some of which have been repeated rote on this blog by certain participants).

http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/06/28/peter-foster-the-demons-in-krugmanomics/

 

What the article doesn’t do is explain from whence do Paul Krugman’s demons arise. What happened to cause his descent into madness?

 

 

And a little puppy shall lead them — greenies, children and cute animals

I suspect that this has been happening for a while, but I only became aware of it now:  my kids’ science classes are using animals as a way to bring children into the environmental, global warming movement.  This is more than lonely polar bears standing on shrinking icebergs, an iconic warmist image that ignores entirely the fact that the world polar bear population is, in fact, quite robust.  My son’s most recent “science” project, which was ostensibly to understand how to graph data, focused entirely on endangered species.  At the same time, a neighbor child was taking a poll about some vanishing whale population, which ended with the child (very sweetly and earnestly, I might add) lecturing us about the exactly numbers of whales existing in 1580, versus their virtual nonexistence now.  She was taken aback when I asked her (nicely, I assure you) how we know the exact number of whales in 1580.  (More on that point later.)

My sudden awareness that it’s not just polar bear pictures but whole curricula that are being aimed at children targeted a free form cascade of thoughts in my brain.  I’ll share those thoughts with you here.  Pardon my obvious incoherence.  I’ll probably develop this theme over a series of posts, and hone my thoughts a bit better.  Also, I would very much appreciate your corrections and comments.

First, it seems to me that modern environmentalists are using the endangered species list, not to protect animals, but to stop humans.  What I discovered when I helped my son do the computer research on the various animals that he had to study was that some of the animals he was looking at were, in fact, doing very well.  There is no doubt that, back in the 1970s, when people first started getting worried about animal populations, many of these animals were on the verge of extinction.  Since then, animals such as the wolf, the polar bear, the eagle, and the mountain goat, to name but a few, have had population increases, some so much that they’ve been removed from the endangered species list. (Other animals, interestingly, aren’t doing well despite massive and economically costly efforts.)

The environmentalists ought to be celebrating these victories, because they are indeed victories.  Instead, despite the fact that, numerically speaking, the animals are doing well, the environmentalists are adamant that they are still endangered.  When local communities affected by the onerous burdens of the Endangered Species Act try to challenge an animal’s listing, the environmentalists go haywire.

One could say that the environmentalists are just making a distinction between the fact that a species is no longer trembling on the verge of extinction and a species that is actually robust.  The former is still worthy of consideration; the latter . . . not so much.  I think, though, that there’s more going on than over-caution.  The Endangered Species Act  stops humans in their tracks.  Depending on an animal’s habitat, humans cannot build homes, factories or farms.  They cannot hunt or fish.  In other words, for environmentalists, it sometimes seems that their hysteria has more to do with stopping humans than it does with protecting animals.

Second, the data on which the kids rely is suspect.  A good example is a post dedicated to debunking Bjorn Lomborg, the man who claims that polar bears are doing okay.  In his book, Cool IT : The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming), Lomborg says that “[m]oreover, it is reported that the global polar-bear population has increased dramatically over the past decades, from about 5000 members in the 1960s to 25,000 today, through stricter hunting regulation.”  After rightly taking Lomborg to task for the phrase “it is reported,” debunker admits that Lomborg’s numbers come from a New York Times article, which itself airily refers to unnamed sources.  Here’s what the debunker has to say (emphasis in original):

Well here is a named expert, Dr. Andrew Derocher again:

The early estimates of polar bear abundance are a guess–there is no data at all for the 1950-60s. Nothing but guesses.

Think about that:  “Nothing but guesses.”  My little neighbor girl is lecturing me about the whale population in the 1580s, versus today’s population, but even for polar bears in the 1950s and 1960s, we have nothing but guesses.  How can we know the population was vanishing by the 1970s, if we have no idea what it was before the 70s?  All that really seems to matter is that the world population is about 25,000 today, which seems like a robust number.

The other problem with the debunkers is that they’re invested in a polar bear narrative that is predicated on climate change.  While Lomborg was talking real numbers — 25,000 today, regardless of the 1960s — the debunkers are hypothesizing worst-case scenarios based upon global warming.  Since warming seems to have stopped, the hypothesis is wrong.   (I can’t find my link for that right now.  I’ll add it later.)  Additionally, as many have pointed out after the failed “Rapture,” the Left is much given to apocalyptic scenarios, none of which (yet) have occurred.

Third, when we were kids, the environmental education was focused on human populations deliberating killing animals.  We were made to understand that, for every fur coat, a cute little baby seal got clubbed.  That was actually a very real cause-and-effect.  Stop wearing fur coats and they stop clubbing those cute little guys.  (In the same way, the 19th century saw some bird populations brought almost to extinction, until women were encouraged to change their hat styles.)  Now, children are presented with the more amorphous “climate change,” which is an imprecise “science” at best, predicated on an inaccurate theory.  Direct cause and effect is impossible.

What remains unchanged, but is getting lost in the global warming noise is our obligation not to have industrial strength abuse of animals for frivolous reasons.  The current debate in California is about a ban on shark fins, which are a Chinese delicacy.  I’m no vegetarian, and have no problem whatsoever with eating any part of the shark one wants.  (Although having once had shark fin soup, I hope never to have it again.  Ever.)  The problem — and the proposed law’s target — is the way in which shark fins are collected:

The law takes aim at a practice known as finning, in which a shark’s fins and tails are cut off before the animal is thrown back into the ocean to die. Supporters say that businesses in California have skirted a U.S. law banning the practice by buying fins collected in international waters and noted the catastrophic collapse in the worldwide shark population in recent years.

That strikes me as an indescribably cruel practice and one that humane people ought not to countenance.  To me, that’s a very reasonable environmental stand to take, one based on measurable cause and effect:  Finning is animal torture.

Fourth, the line between animals and humans gets ever smaller, as is demonstrated by PETA’s latest initiative to use in its advertising the criminal case of a woman who put her baby in the microwave.  This is part of the whole “Holocaust on a plate” campaign that makes animals have the same values as humans.  I love my dog.  I admire animals.  I respect their place in the grand scheme of things.  I think we have an obligation not to waste them or torture them or willfully or carelessly destroy them.  But they are not humans.  They exist at a different level, and it is a terrible mistake to try to anthropomorphize them or dehumanize us.

Fifth, not only are animals being used to advance climate change ideology, they’re apparently also being used to advance gender issues.  If cute little other species can have inchoate gender identities, why can’t we?  Well, primarily because we’re not cute little other species.  We’re humans.  And while there are definitely humans who are born with mixed up hormones or body parts, that’s not normative.  Such people should never be bullied, and they should be accorded the respect due all humans, but they shouldn’t be the template for sex education in American schools.

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land, available in e-format for $4.99 at Amazon, Smashwords or through your iBook app.

The road to greenie Hell is paved with good intentions

To get from my house to the freeway, one needs to drive down a fairly well traveled four lane access road (two lanes in each direction) that’s a little over a mile long.  The speed limit on the road varies between 30 and 35 miles an hour.  There are three short traffic lights.  If you’re lucky, you can miss all three of them.  Normally, it takes me about 3-4 minutes to drive down this road.

Yesterday, though, when I left the house early to get to my computer repair technician, I unexpectedly found myself in a traffic jam.  Traffic was backed up for about a half mile.  The reason was quickly obvious — one of the two freeway bound lanes was closed.  The 3-4 minute trip took ten minutes at stop-and-go speed.  I could see my fuel gauge fall by the second.  This driving was not optimum efficiency driving for either my traditional minivan or the Prius in front of me.

What’s amusing, in a perverse way, was the reason for the lane closure.  As part of a green initiative, a nearby school had designated Friday as “walk to school day.”  Because small children were involved, this involved hiring police officers to protect them from traffic and closing off the lane.  When I drove up, about 10 little kids were trotting along the sidewalk with their parents and, to their right, there was an empty lane to further insulate them from traffic dangers.  In the remaining lane, there were dozens of cars, spewing fumes.

I suspect the irony of the whole thing was lost on the participants, who were no doubt quite proud of their commitment to the environment as demonstrated by a short walk through a long exhaust-laden fog.

 

Known Unknowns in Climate Research

I know that we have been round and round on climate issues in our always edifying Bookworm Room discussions, so here is an interesting lecture that I found at our friends at Flopping Aces.

The lecturer, Prof. Courtillot, professor of geophysics at the University of Paris, does an excellent job summarizing both historical data and new understandings of how climate “works”. Note, first and foremost, his refreshing humility (and that of other true scientists) in how they approach new information and refuse to draw conclusions based on herd dynamics.

There is a lot of technical detail included that can be skipped over without losing the thrust of the presentation.

If nothing else, this presentation should help reinforce how much we don’t know about our planet, its climate and the sun.

This is how real science is done.

Experts and the Temple of Orthodoxy

Most of us here in the Bookworm Room express a healthy skepticism of “experts” in general. Most of us revel in our ability to think and discourse critically for ourselves, while others lament that socially-anointed “experts” are not solemnly revered through incense, incantations and burnt offerings made before the Temple of Orthodoxy. Ah well.

Age plays a factor. As a student in the sciences, I revered all my profs until I learned to see through their intellectual facades. By graduate school, I was far more discriminating. Don’t get me wrong – I was privileged to be able to study and discourse with true intellectual giants.  I recognized that a common trait of these models and mentors was their ability to constantly question convention and reexamine their premises. They could also doubt themselves. I admire them to this day and I wanted someday to be like them. I am still trying.

However, there was also another group of intellectual wannabees, professors and classmates, for whom the sole objective of the id was the ego. Their entire sense of self revolved around a desperate need to be recognized for their “credentials”. This group was highly insecure and many were not particularly bright. I recall PhD students who were already penning their “expert” bestsellers before having completed their orals. Alas, such “scientists” were so intent on creating unwarranted reputations for themselves that they would cause great intellectual mischief in my professional field. Thus do I take any claim to self-proclaimed expertise  or consensus opinion with a healthy grain of salt.

The point I am making is that scientists are humans, subject to all the quirks, foibles and fallibilities of other humans. However, because of their credentials, it is too easy for lay people to accept uncritically what these scientists profess. Scientists, like all other people, can also fall prey to herd mentalities and egos too often pose insurmountable barriers to self-reflection. For many of us, as we get older, realism displaces idealism and teaches many of us the need to think for ourselves. It’s part of our journey into adulthood.

I bring all this up because, at No Frakken Consensus, there is a delightful book review on “The Experts Speak: The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation”, by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky.

The book is a historical record of the many, many times that scientific, political, historical and social thinking and consensus have been proven wrong…badly wrong. It’s an intellectual journey sprinkled with entertaining footnotes and guide posts to help one navigate beyond the intellectual facades of credentialed experts (one of my favorites: “funding and forecasting may be dependent variables”).

If you click on the image of the book, it takes you to the Amazon website, where you can peruse pages thereof.

It’s a fun read and I am sure that all critical-thinking Bookworm Room aficionados could have loads of fun for years to come in adding to the book’s list of defrocked orthodoxies (it was most recently republished in 1998). It certainly yields more-than enough holy water with which to give the Temple of Orthodoxy a thorough scrub.

Superstorms coming?

Are we entering the next ice age?

One of the foundations of scientific inquiry is skepticism. Contrary to what some believe, science is not about consensus but about leaving all doors of inquiry open to all possibilities. It takes only one point of evidence to disprove an entire theory. Progress in science has occurred largely because of breakthrough insights made by individuals, not committees. Another aspect of science is that it is the study of realities much bigger than ourselves: to think otherwise is hubris. We use science to understand the world around us, we use technology to try and manipulate such knowledge to our benefit. However, not all things are within our control. Third, scientific progress depends upon skepticism. Skepticism is good, because it constantly puts conventional wisdom to the test. Conformity to conventional wisdom doesn’t equate with progress.

This is why I present the link below (h/t, http://qando.net/). It provides a different perspective on our future and explanations for many of the weather and climate phenomena we have been witnessing. It provides a very dark and troubling alternative vision of our future. The points it raises are ones of which scientists were already well aware during my university days many years ago. Thus do I know that it contains at least a kernel of truth.

The thrust of this linked article is that we are about to lose the earth’s magnetic shield, resulting in massive and destructive climate disruption that could be civilization altering and plunge us into the next ice age.

http://salem-news.com/articles/february042011/global-superstorms-ta.php

Scared yet?

Well, this article just appeared in an MSM publication published for people who are likely to be only vaguely aware of its scientific merits. Many of the points made in the article appear logically presented and certainly square with information of which I am already aware. However, the article lacks the rigorous detail needed for me to make any judgment of its merits. It is sensational and manipulative. The citations include publications that I consider of highly dubious quality (Scientific American, National Geographic). It does not cite countervailing points of view (which I can be sure exist).

Do I believe the conclusions implied in this article? Nope. Do I disbelieve them? Nope.

I will thus file away the information as evidence of an alternate hypothesis to explain the weather and climate changes that we have observed in our world. A third hypothesis to anthropogenic climate change is solar cycle theory, which also predicts a period of protracted global cooling). It’s a hypothesis that demands a healthy skepticism rather than a frantic reaction. However, it does broaden the terrain of debate on climate change.

I shall file it under “interesting, possibly true”.

Corrupt science and climate

After reading this excellent article, it’s clear that, even if there is anthropogenic global warming, we’ll never know, because agenda-driven “scientists” have so hopelessly corrupted the available data that scientific truth is impossible.  As it is, you all know that, while I’m an environmentalist (I believe we should cherish our environment as much as reasonably possible), I rigidly refuse to believe in anthropogenic global warming.  Back in 1992, Rush said AGW was a Leftist scam aimed at taking down capitalism, and events proved him to be absolutely right.

Is global warming hysteria responsible for Egypt’s revolution?

Track me on this one:

1.  With help from Al Gore, Hollywood, and the entire Leftist panoply, global warming fears reach hysterical levels.

2.  As part of their apocalyptic battle against rising seas and dying polar bears, warmists declare ethanol is one of the answers (never mind that it turns out that it takes 1.5 gallons of fossil fuel to produce a gallon of ethanol).

3.  Did I mention that ethanol comes from corn?  In the old days, people used to eat corn.  Now they drive it.

4.  To satisfy the panic-stricken need for drivable corn, food crops are diverted into fuel production.

5.  The cost of staples rises substantially around the world.

5.  In 2008, food riots break out, including riots in Egypt.  (Here are three links supporting the ethanol/riot connection, one from a free market site, one from a technology site, and one from an organic food site.)

6.  Although food riots haven’t been in the headlines lately, what do you bet that, with ethanol production still causing producers to divert food crops into the energy market, marginal economic societies such as Egypt continue to feel the effects of food shortages?

7.  Voila — riot conditions.  For history aficionados, remember that, in the 1790s, the French had suffered aristocratic depredations for centuries; it was the food shortages that triggered revolt (a la “Let them eat cake,” not that Marie Antoinette actually said that).  The same pattern showed up in Russia, with rising discontent reaching a fever pitch with WWI shortages.

In other word, what’s happening in Egypt is Al Gore’s fault.  (And yes, I’m being snarky, but it’s not a completely unreasonable supposition.)

Cross-posted at Right Wing News