Thursday afternoon round-up (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesThere are a lot of things I miss about being young.  Today, I miss the ability to sleep even if the house if falling down around me.  I can’t do that anymore.  I somehow lost the sleeping knack when I had babies and I’ve never gotten it back.  Sleep seems incredibly distant lately.  Between my knee and my shoulder, both of which refuse to quiet down at night, I’m feeling grumpy and disconnected today.  This will therefore be a short round-up.

Jamie Glasov looks at Danielle Dimacali’s insane (a word I use in its literal sense) meltdown when UCLA just barely rejected the BDS movement.  He wonders if any of the atrocities committed against Jews because they are Jews would have moved her too.  It’s powerful and painful stuff, and makes quite clear just  how deranged the anti-Israel movement really is.

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Peter Wehner has a good point about politics: those of us who are most deeply committed are often the worst strategists because we have no perspective about what moves the ordinary American voter. This isn’t a Left/Right thing; it’s a “connecting to voters” thing. Now that I’ve written the preceding sentence, I can see that Obama won — twice — because he and his side had a better sense of which “voter buttons” to push. It helps, of course, that Democrats weren’t constrained by such old-fashioned notions as truth and decency, but the fact remains that McCain and Romney never connected with voters. I can’t help believe that,despite the despicable stuff coming from the Democrats, Reagan, with his sunny good humor and folksy ability to simplify complex ideas and relate them directly to voters, would have connected easily.

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My husband and I are watching season two of House of Cards on Netflix. Indeed, we expect to finish the series tonight. I agree with everything Andrew Klavan says about it.

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Kevin Williamson was adopted, a personal matter he brings up solely because he’s very concerned about a push across America to open previously closed adoptions. Being Kevin Williamson, he makes an excellent case about the right to privacy. Reading his article led me to a different thought. The Left is all about severing family ties, so that the state becomes all-powerful in people’s lives. It’s therefore funny that, in this single area, the state is all about forcing family ties where people don’t want them to exist.

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VDH has a great one about the Left’s war on science. The Left supported science when it dovetailed with Leftist ideology. Now that this dovetailing has ended (yes, life does begin before birth; no, California’s devastating drought has more to do with overpopulation and environmentalist kibosh’s on new reservoirs than it does with global warming), the Left has become defiantly anti-science — but, being the Left, it masks this defiance under the mantle of science. Always remember, Leftists are Humpty-Dumpty: they determine what words mean.

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And finally, Keith Koffler writes the scathing post Obama deserves for planning his third luxury vacation in as many months — a plane that Obama fears will be derailed because of that pesky Putin.  In 1916, Woodrow Wilson’s campaign was “He kept us out of war.”  If Obama in the next few days manages to lay to rest America’s involvement in Ukraine, his personal motto will be “I kept us out of war so that I could go on vacation.”

Tuesday tossed salad (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesOh, my gosh!  There is an embarrassment of riches out there this morning when it comes to thought-provoking, interesting, informative, or funny articles and videos.  Here are my favorites, in no particular order:

I pointed out here that terribly flawed, infantile, dangerous, and very non-scientific reasoning supported a study purporting to show that all the scientists in the world agree with anthropogenic climate change.  I didn’t have data, I just had common sense to back me up.  The data is now in, though, and it too shows how dreadful these “everybody believes in AGW” studies are.  No wonder Patrick Michaels is writing at Forbes that the age of science may end, as people view once-respected scientists as little more than ignorant shamans shaking sticks at the climate gods.  (My words, not his.)

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For a little bit of real science, this approach to sealing gunshot wounds is wonderful.  Think of all the lives that will be saved in Democrat-run cities such as Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Detroit, where Democrat voters routinely shoot each other.

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Will it surprise you to learn that Richard Hofstadter, one of the darlings of Progressive academics, was full of it?  No?  Well, it didn’t surprise me either.  (Link corrected.)

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“Zero tolerance” is one of the worst things ever to hit the Western world.  Before the dawn of that noxious notion in the West, zero tolerance was reserved for tyrannies:  Nazis had zero tolerance for Jews, gays, and gypsies; Iranians had zero tolerance for gays; Singaporeans had zero tolerance for spitting on the street; Saudis had zero tolerance for school girls with uncovered heads trying to escape burning buildings; etc.

Zero tolerance is never allied with either intelligence or human decency.  At about this time last year, in schools across America, zero tolerance was the justification for suspending elementary school kids possessing pizza slices or pastries that they’d chewed into gun shapes or little girls with water pistols that they never even brought to school.

Now, Canada has gotten into the act:  a retired Army sergeant made a wrong turn in Vermont and found himself at a border crossing.  Rather than letting him turn around as he requested, they interrogated him, searched his car, found his wife’s gun, ignored his concealed carry license, arrested him, and are now threatening him with three years in jail.  Obama’s State Department seems to be staying out of this one — no doubt because it’s thrilled to see Canada take the type of stand that Obama wishes he could.

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I wrote just yesterday that I wasn’t surprised that Philip Seymour Hoffman was a junkie who died of a heroin overdose.  To my mind, there was always something off about him.  Both Kevin Williamson and Jonah Goldberg look at the “off-ness” that lies the heart of heroin addictions.

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Here’s another addiction, one to which sick cultures always turn:  anti-semitism.

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Rob Miller (aka Joshuapundit) has another wonderful article up at The Times of Israel, this one about Israel’s reality — dealing with boycotts, lies, and intimidation.

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One wonders if the kids are getting a better or a worse education in a school captained by a principal with a great sense of humor.  I like to think that humor helps everything.  (But keep in mind that Jerry Seinfeld is being pilloried for suggesting that humor is not about skin color.)

Work day round-up

Victorian posy of pansiesWork and family call, but that doesn’t mean I’m not sneaking quick peeks at articles that I can then share with you.

Is the global warming tipping point nearing?  It will inevitably happen, but far too late to save the billions of dollars wasted, the lives lost in revolutions it fomented (e.g., Egypt’s tumultuous years were caused, in significant part, by rising food prices attributed to shortages as Egypt’s food was diverted to America’s biofuel), and the generation of children raised in apocalyptic fear.

My bet is that New York’s going to revert to savagery very quickly under Mayor de Blasio, and I have no sympathy for the more than 70% of New Yorkers who voted for him.  I have the deepest sympathy for the small remainder who are about to face Progressive Armageddon.  The Clintons, however, are banking on the hard-Left’s success in New York.

Speaking of de Blasio, he’s auditioning for the role of “bad guy” in a remake of Bless the Beasts and Children, since his first policy initiative means killing off animals (in this case, horses).

It’s Obama versus the Church, with Obama claiming to know more about Church doctrine than the Church does itself.  Hubris plays out in interesting ways.

The disaster that is America’s adoption system.  The dreadful numbers — hundreds of thousands of children languishing in foster care — are directly attributable to the Democrat’s racial agenda, which bars adoption “miscegenation” (meaning that whites are barred from adopting non-whites).

Lebanon is getting sucked into Syria’s civil war.  Expect human casualties on a massive, hitherto unseen-in-the-Middle-East scale.  Obama will wring his hands and then side with whichever strongman he can find to give him cover.  Currently, those strong men reside in Moscow and Tehran.  This will not end well — although it may give Israel something of a respite as Muslims take a break from trying to kill Jews — ultimately these internecine battles between Sunni and Shia spill over all sorts of borders.

I’m with Jonathan Last:  2014 will be the year Obama’s chickens come home to roost.  Or as another Illinois politician once said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

Keith Koffler is always interesting, so I enjoyed his analysis of the Duck Dynasty versus GLAAD match-up.

And if you were wondering where Bloomberg played Nanny in New York, here’s the list.

“I told you so” edition: Increasing proof that anthopogenic global warming was a scam

Earth__Space_HD_wallpaper

For a decade, those liberals who know that I think that anthropogenic global warming is a scam that was invented to make some people very rich (AlBore, is that you?), even while it transfers vast sums of wealth from the First World to the Third World, have called me some pretty nasty things:  ignorant, flat-earther, climate denier, stupid, etc.

That’s why I really love articles such as this one, by Michael Fumento, which neatly sum up why I was right and my critics were wrong.

Incidentally, I’ll add my usual caveat:  I believe that humans are stewards of the earth, both for those plants and animals sharing the planet with us and for future generations of humans.  We have a responsibility to encourage, not destroy, its bounty and its beauty.  But I do not like being brow-beaten by Leftists into believing that we are facing imminent apocalypse unless I give up all trappings of 21st century life and ship my money to Leftist organizations or redistribute it to fulfill Leftist utopian goals.  Nor do I like seeing my children on the receiving end of an un-ending stream of Leftist propaganda, all of it wrapped up in a global warming package.

And why shouldn’t the poor have free cars? The rich are already getting green car subsidies

Working class and lower middle class people can't afford to own this car, but they can help offset the costs for the rich guy who wants one.

Working class and lower middle class people can’t afford to own this car, but they can help offset the costs for the rich guy who wants one.

One of the things that drives me bonkers-nutso about the green movement is the way that it subsidizes rich people when they make “green” purchases.  I dislike subsidies generally, because they’re a form of wealth redistribution.  But I really dislike it when government takes taxpayer money and hands it over to the very wealthy so that they can buy themselves an electric sports car, such as the Tesla.*  I know that the rich pay the largest percent of taxes in America, but the non-rich middle and working classes are paying some taxes too, and they shouldn’t be subsidizing luxury automobiles simply because they’re “green.”  (And I’ve mentioned before that their “green” claims are dubious, since they rely on electricity generated through dirty means at far-away plants.  It seems to me that all they do is move pollution, not decrease it.  And let’s not even talk about the toxic batteries….)

In a perverse way, therefore, it makes sense for the broken and broke California government to play around with the idea of giving free green cars to poor people.  After all, since the shrinking middle class is already paying for rich people’s “green” playthings, why shouldn’t they pay for poor people’s cars too?  Each increasingly poverty-stricken middle class taxpayer can take pride in the greening of California and can only hope that he goes broke (and therefore qualifies for a free green car) before all the other taxpayers go broke too.

The worst part is that the “green” subsidy, which currently benefits rich folks, is all part of a giant con to prevent an apocalyptic event that’s not going to happen.  If anything, we should be hoping that the increasingly ephemeral, even illusory, greenhouse effect really does kick in, because we’re hosed if there’s another ice age.  Water and sunlight — both of which are plentiful during warming periods — are good for all living things.  Barren, frozen wildernesses are not.

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*These green subsidies also fund the solar panels you see on rich people’s houses.  Indeed, they fund everything green that the rich can afford without subsidies and that the poor can’t afford even with subsidies.

Same old, same old, which I enliven with predictions for the next twelve months *UPDATED*

bored-baby

Here’s an old joke:

An established comedian invited a friend to join him at a very exclusive “comedian’s club.”  The guest instantly noticed something peculiar.  In the main room, a person would periodically stand up and shout out a number.  “57,” one would say, and a few people in the room would chuckle.  After a moment’s silence, someone would holler, “18,” and be rewarded with a chorus of good-natured “boos.”

This pattern continued for a while, until someone shouted out “77.”  While a few people let out a short bark of laughter, one guy in the corner was utterly beside himself.  He roared with laughter, until tears were rolling down his face.

The guest turned to his host and asked, “What gives?  What is it with these numbers?”

“Well,” the host explained, “it’s like this.  We’re all professional comedians here and, to be honest, there are only so many jokes around.  It got tiring and boring for someone to tell a joke that everyone already knew, so we started assigning them numbers.  It’s kind of like a joke short-hand.  People still laugh — if they want — but it definitely saves time.”

“Okay,” said the guest.  “I get that.  But what about that guy in the corner who collapsed with laughter when someone shouted out ’77′.”

Oh, him,” answered the host.  “I guess he hadn’t heard that joke before.”

Yes, it’s a surreal joke, but it also explains why I’m having problems blogging lately.  When I read a story about Obamacare, I can’t add much to posts I’ve written going all the way back to 2009.  I predicted then what would happen now.  “You’ll find that in posts 384, 943, 6749, and 34052.”  Events in the Middle East?  I foresaw those too, including Obama’s love affair with Iran, and Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s entirely predictable coming together against that common enemy.  “See posts 3489 and 9492.”  Government data manipulation?  We covered that too, as we did with gun control, amnesty, foreign policy, etc.

I’ve moved out of fresh and into “I told you so.”  As a writer, “I told you so” is boring.  It’s also especially boring for all of you, because you were right there with me, making the same predictions.  We all saw all of this coming.

The only thing that’s kind of newsy now is watching the oh-so-smart Leftists figure out that they’ve been had.  It’s not actually real news, of course, because we all saw this coming too, but it’s still fun to watch.  As to these Obamabots, it’s not just that a specific politician has “had” them.  Their entire ideology is disintegrating in front of their eyes.  Most, of course, will plunge into frenetic denial.  That’s old stuff too.  For 100 years, communists have been saying that communism is perfect; it’s the implementation that’s flawed.  When today’s Leftist’s rant against the president, the party, and the people, they’re foll0wing an old script.

A few Leftists, however, will draw back and say, “We were wrong.  We were wrong about everything.”  That’s been done too.  They’ll be joining David Horowitz, Michael Medved, Thomas Lifson, David Mamet, Sally Zelikovsky, the Power Line guys, and scores of other people who already had their Road to Damascus moment when they realized that Leftism isn’t poorly implemented; it is, instead, fundamentally flawed.  I certainly won’t think as highly of these new converts as I do of the older generation.  The older generation didn’t need to see America’s economic collapse and her fade into international irrelevance to see which way the wind was blowing.

Since everything seems to be “same old, same old,” except even more so, what would be new and exciting news for a blase blogger in the next twelve months?

1.  Obamacare’s repeal, although unscrambling that egg will be virtually impossible.  Even if they wanted to, huge institutions such as heavily-regulated insurance companies and hospitals cannot turn on a dime.  The somewhat functioning market will have been destroyed, which nothing lined up to take its place.  Worse, we know that Republicans politicians are incapable of using the headwinds of repeal to revitalize the free market.  (Remember:  Democrats have bad ideas and effective politicians; and Republicans have good ideas and brain-dead cretins in office.)

2.  A groundswell of popular support for Obama’s impeachment.  Of course, that would leave Biden in charge, which is not a pretty thought.  The likelihood is that, if he could, he’d move Elizabeth Warren into the Veep seat to stymie Hillary.  It would be amusing, but just as bad for America as Obama himself.

3.  Israel’s alliance with the Gulf States to launch a devastating attack against Iran’s missile systems and nuclear centers.  With strong American leadership, this could actually have a good outcome, freeing Iranians from decades of appalling Islamist repression and destabilizing tyrannies in a way that leads to genuine freedom throughout the Middle East.  With our current leadership, a leadership that will have made such an attack necessary in the first place, one can only imagine that the Middle East, the entire Middle East, will manage simultaneously to implode and explode.  The human costs will exceed imagination and, because of oil, those costs will encompass the entire planet.  Canada, Brazil, the US, and other places may be coming up as major oil producers, but losing Middle Eastern oil in a single day would have incalculable consequences on modern life.

4.  The 2014 elections resulting in a Republican sweep the likes of which has never been seen in America.  In a way, though, coming as it would midway through Obama’s so-far disastrous second term, this would also be ho-hum news, even if both House and Senate changed hands.  What would be more interesting would be to see places such as Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco jettison their Democrat ruling class.  I’m not holding my breath on that one.  The residents in those cities routinely use elections to double down on failure.

5.  Obama comes out of the closet.  (And, come on, you know he’s in there.)  That wouldn’t affect anything politically, but it would make for great headlines, especially if Hillary refuses to be one-upped and comes out too.

6.  Schadenfreude here, but I will enjoy watching New York in the first year of the de Blasio administration.  I should start running a pool taking bets as to how long it will take de Blasio to reduce New York to its 1970s status.  We all know that it’s easier and faster to tear down and destroy something than it is to renew and revitalize.

7.  The New York Times will declare bankruptcy.  I see that as inevitable, although would actually be surprised if it happened in the next twelve months.

8.  People definitively reject anthropogenic global warming.  As with the New York Times’ bankruptcy, this is inevitable.  I just don’t see it happening in only 12 months.

9.  Oprah recants and announces that she’s no longer calling for the genocide of “racist” people who don’t support Obama.

10.  Palestinians lay down their arms.  The previous nine hoped-for headlines all have a possibility, even a small one, of coming true.  This one does not, but it sure would be great news, and it would snap me completely out of my writer’s doldrums.

And, for those joining me in ennui, some music:

UPDATE: Hmmm. A James O’Keefe tweet suggests that tomorrow may bring some news we haven’t already heard before.

An honest report on the earth’s climate that is not written by people with their hands in the till

Over at Power Line, John Hinderaker made an extremely important point about any allegedly “scientific” report that comes out now regarding climate change, especially if the report is connected with the IPCC:

The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is about to release its fifth report on global warming. One of the problems with the IPCC, and with the alarmist cause in general, is that it is impossible to determine the extent to which alarmist scientists are in it for the money. Billions of dollars in government funding flow to alarmist scientists–much of it from our own government–while nothing, or virtually nothing, goes to the realists. So if you want to live high off the hog on taxpayer money, it isn’t hard to figure out what conclusions you want to advocate.

Wittingly or not, people are biased when big money is at stake. The Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change doesn’t stand to make any money one way or another in analyzing the impact (if any) that human’s have on the earth’s climate. Their more realistic report is therefore worth reviewing.  The report is detailed, but there are two summaries that are easy to understand, and that I’ll share with you here and now:

First, the overall summary of the NGIPCC’s findings:

• Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is a mild greenhouse gas that exerts a diminishing warming effect as its concentration increases.

• Doubling the concentration of atmospheric CO2 from its pre-industrial level, in the absence of other forcings and feedbacks, would likely cause a warming of ~0.3 to 1.1°C, almost 50% of which must already have occurred.

• A few tenths of a degree of additional warming, should it occur, would not represent a climate crisis.

• Model outputs published in successive IPCC reports since 1990 project a doubling of CO2 could cause warming of up to 6°C by 2100. Instead, global warming ceased around the end of the twentieth century and was followed (since 1997) by 16 years of stable temperature.

• Over recent geological time, Earth’s temperature has fluctuated naturally between about +4°C and -6°C with respect to twentieth century temperature. A warming of 2°C above today, should it occur, falls within the bounds of natural variability.

• Though a future warming of 2°C would cause geographically varied ecological responses, no evidence exists that those changes would be net harmful to the global environment or to human well-being.

• At the current level of ~400 ppm we still live in a CO2-starved world. Atmospheric levels 15 times greater existed during the Cambrian Period (about 550 million years ago) without known adverse effects.

• The overall warming since about 1860 corresponds to a recovery from the Little Ice Age modulated by natural multidecadal cycles driven by ocean-atmosphere oscillations, or by solar variations at the de Vries (~208 year) and Gleissberg (~80 year) and shorter periodicities.

• Earth has not warmed significantly for the past 16 years despite an 8% increase in atmospheric CO2, which represents 34% of all extra CO2 added to the atmosphere since the start of the industrial  revolution.

• CO2 is a vital nutrient used by plants in photosynthesis. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere “greens” the planet and helps feed the growing human population.

• No close correlation exists between temperature variation over the past 150 years and human related CO2 emissions. The parallelism of temperature and CO2 increase between about 1980 and 2000 AD could be due to chance and does not necessarily indicate causation.

• The causes of historic global warming remain uncertain, but significant correlations exist between climate patterning and multidecadal variation and solar activity over the past few hundred years.

• Forward projections of solar cyclicity imply the next few decades may be marked by global cooling rather than warming, despite continuing CO2 emissions.

Second, the scientific problems with the IPCC’s model:

IPCC’s Three Lines of Argument

GLOBAL CLIMATE MODEL PROJECTIONS

IPCC modelers assume Global Climate Models (GCMs) are based on a perfect knowledge of all climate forcings and feedbacks. They then assert:

• A doubling of atmospheric CO2 would cause warming of up to 6°C.

• Human-related CO2 emissions caused an atmospheric warming of at least 0.3°C over the past 15 years.

• Enhanced warming (a “hot spot”) should exist in the upper troposphere in tropical regions.

• Both poles should have warmed faster than the rest of Earth during the late twentieth century.

POSTULATES

Postulates are statements that assume the truth of an underlying fact that has not been independently confirmed or proven. The IPCC postulates:

• The warming of the twentieth century cannot be explained by natural variability.

• The late twentieth century warm peak was of greater magnitude than previous natural peaks.

• Increases in atmospheric CO2 precede, and then force, parallel increases in temperature.

• Solar forcings are too small to explain twentieth century warming.

• A future warming of 2°C or more would be net harmful to the biosphere and human wellbeing.

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

Circumstantial evidence does not bear directly on the matter in dispute but refers to circumstances from which the occurrence of the fact might be inferred. The IPCC cites the following circumstantial evidence it says is consistent with its hypothesis:

• Unusual melting is occurring in mountain glaciers, Arctic sea ice, and polar icecaps.

• Global sea level is rising at an enhanced rate and swamping tropical coral atolls.

• Droughts, floods, and monsoon variability and intensity are increasing.

• Global warming is leading to more, or more intense, wildfires, rainfall, storms, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events.

• Unusual melting of Boreal permafrost or sub-seabed gas hydrates is causing warming due to methane release.

Set out in that coherent table, even a high school science student can see the fundamental flaws underlying the studies that have driven a panicked world into a frenzy of useless wealth redistribution.  (Well, not useless, of course, if your actual goal was wealth distribution, not a quixotic effort to change the earth’s climate.)

The report has other easy-to-read charts and summaries, but I find the above two the most compelling because the first has actual science, while the second exposes the fallacy underlying the study that Americans are being browbeaten into believing is God’s own truth.

As for me, I’m feeling smug.  In our household, I’m the word person, while Mr. Bookworm is the science person.  And make no mistake, he’s very smart and very good at science.  In this instance, however, he allowed his rational brain to be overwhelmed by the hysterical emotionalism coming to him from all sides in his Progressive intellectual milieu.

Despite murmurings about my being a flat-earther and a climate denier, I have assured my children for years that they need not panic.  They are responsible for taking care of the earth on which we live, simply because a clean world is nicer than a dirty one.  Moreover, we know that, when things get too dirty, we can irrevocably change the local environment or leave it needing decades or centuries of renewal.  But we do not control the earth’s entire climate.  We are too puny for that.

Frankly, it’s nice to be proven right.

I’m not deluding myself, of course, that the true believers will come around any time soon.  After all, the NGIPCC got funding from the Heartland Institute, which is funded by the “evil” Koch Brothers.  The fact that data is data is irrelevant.  Indeed, the true believers have already made it clear that, to the extent data conflicts with their Gaia-centered religion, the data is irrelevant.  Also at Power Line, Stephen Hayward caught the perfect moment when someone invested emotionally and financially in climate change brushed off facts as if they were so many pesky flies:

I think I’ve spotted the “tell” of the climate campaign knowing that the end is near (for their energy-suppression crusade–not the planet).  It comes from European Climate commissioner (who knew they had such a post?) Connie Hedegaard, who told the Daily Telegraph yesterday:

“Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?.”

This is the “tell” of someone holding a very bad hand.  Strike “some decades from now” and you have it about right.  I give it to the end of this month, when the next IPCC climate science report comes out.  (By the way, the answer to her question is “No.”)

The high cost of ineffectual actions against hypothetical man-caused “climate change”

Australian Topher Field makes some of the smartest videos out there, poking factual holes in liberal fallacies.  Here, he demonstrates with actual numbers culled from the climate changers themselves that it costs 50 times as much to “combat” climate change (oh, we puny mortals and the things we think we can do) as it would simply to raise standards of living so poverty-stricken people have some bulwark against the earth’s continuously mutating climate:

My only quibble with the video is that for some reason — and the problem may be on my computer — the sound quality is very poor.

The wheels are coming off the climate change bus

I haven’t blogged about climate change lately because any serious blogs about science change require science talk — data and stuff — and I simply haven’t had the energy to acquaint myself with and regurgitate all those numbers.  After all, that’s what the marvelous Watt’s Up With That blog is for. They do the science so you don’t have to.

Not knowing the numbers, though, hasn’t kept me from knowing a few principles with absolute certainty.  Here are my principles:

  • Al Gore is an idiot and a con man.  If he advances global warming, there’s a very good chance it’s false.  Knowing that saved me from damaging credulity.
  • The earth has warmed and cooled repeatedly.  As any history student knows, in the early middle ages, the earth was warmer than it is now, which is why Greenland wasn’t called Snow and Ice Land.  A mini Ice Age hit in the late middle ages, which is why pictures of royals in the time of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I show them attired in such heavy, furred clothes.  It wasn’t just for fashion, it was for warmth.  The Thames actually froze while Elizabeth was queen.  The earth started warming at the end of the 18th century.  We’re at the tail end of that warming period.
  • Science cannot predict next week’s weather with any accuracy.  How can it predict the next bazillion years of the earth’s warmth.  Moreover, the temperature gauges upon which “scientists” rely are placed randomly and, quote often, in positions that attract warm from heat vents, airplanes, etc.
  • Climate Gate showed the leading climate “scientists” lying about and suppressing facts like crazy.  They wouldn’t have to do that if the facts supported their theories.
  • The sun is bigger and more important than we puny humans are.
  • Pollution is awful.  I remember the filthy air and water in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  There is much virtue to being good stewards over our earth and using our wealth and knowledge to keep our environment clean. This is not, however, the same as turning ourselves back into a pre-industrial Third World nation to appease an overheated Gaia.
  • When global warming “stopped,” and the Left suddenly announced that henceforth we would deal with “climate change,” not “global warming,” that was a sure sign that there was no global warming.  When everything in the world fit neatly into the “climate change” theory, even if today’s facts proved that yesterday’s theories were false, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the whole anthropogenic global warming/climate change thing was a money-making scam for some and an article of blind faith for others.  Obama summarized that latter point when he had the audacity to say, after he won the Democrat primary, that “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”  When a Democrat with a shady background declares himself the Messiah, you’re being scammed.

With this knowledge behind me, I am not the slightest bit surprised to learn that the mainstream media is finally catching up to the fact that climate change isn’t happening.  As you and I know, it is now, and always was, a way to enrich the cognoscenti, and to transfer First World wealth to anybody but the First World (including the scam artists at the leading edge of this con). Sure, the faithful are still trying to claim that something awful is happening even thought nothing is happening at all, but those of us who refused to drink the Kool-Aid know that we’re finally seeing the end of this decades’ long scam, one that cost Americans billions of dollars and lowered their standard of living.

Here’s one thing I can guarantee, though:  The Left, its actors and acolytes, will never apologize for the children made terrified by the thought of a burning earth, or for the billions of dollars and Euros and Yen wasted on this shell game.  Instead, they’ll let a decent period go by during which time they don’t report on the earth’s climate at all, and then they’ll come up with a new scam to take our money and make us very afraid.Sick earth global warming

The hypothesis fallacy; or please explain to me why EVERY scientific experiment (whether hard or social) needs a hypothesis

Scientist

Bear with me here, because I’m about to prove how simplistic and primitive my mind is.  I need you all to help enlighten me.

Some high school students I know got an assignment to set up and complete an experiment.  Some of the experiments they came up with include looking at plant growth under different circumstances, or rust development under different circumstances, or human responses to certain stimuli.  This strikes me as a very sensible project for budding young scientists.

Plant growth experiment

My confusion arises from the fact that the students are required, as part of setting up the experiment, to include a hypothesis — or, in other words, they have to begin the experiment with an assumption about its outcome.  For example, a student measuring the effect of different fertilizers on otherwise identically situated plants, in addition to establishing the controls and variable(s), must also announce before starting the experiment that she believes that the more expensive fertilizers will work better.  Then, she’s supposed to see whether the data she collects supports this hypothesis.  (I.e., she proves or disproves her hypothesis.)

Here’s my problem:  I don’t understand why there is a scientific virtue to going into an experiment with a pre-determined conclusion.  It seems to me that it’s much more intelligent, in most, if not all cases, to go in with a question, and then to create an experiment that has sufficient controls to answer that question and that question alone.  My hostility to the hypothesis as a prerequisite arises because I suspect that a pre-determined hypothesis risks affecting the outcome.  Sherlock Holmes thought this too:

Sherlock Holmes by Sidney Paget

It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.

Exactly.  The scientist who has decided in advance that spending more on fertilizer results in better plant outcomes may subconsciously lavish a little more care or do things a little differently with the plant getting the good fertilizer.  The experiment is less likely to be tainted by the scientist’s biases if the scientist begins by asking “Which fertilizer is better?” rather than announcing “I think the more expensive fertilizers are better.”

Birth Control Pills

This is not just an idle question about high school projects.  I’ve noted the disdain that I have for Bay Area breast cancer studies that assume the culprit for the unusually high cancer rate in the Bay Area arises from too much bacon (evil factory farming) or from power lines (evil global warming).  One could just as easily announce that the hypothesis is that Bay Area women have high breast cancer rates because they get too much radiation from too many mammograms, or they have too many abortions (at too young an age), or they delay childbearing for too long, or they overuse of the Pill, etc.  If my study focused as narrowly on my assumptions, as these heavily Leftist studies focus on their assumptions, both studies would show that women who had done one or more of those things had higher cancer rates.

Establishing these almost random correlations (given the ridiculously biased parameters underpinning the various hypotheses) wouldn’t prove causation; instead, they would just prove that the scientist’s own prejudices forced the data down a narrow pathway.  Doesn’t it make more sense to find out about everything from diet, to environment, to lifestyle/sexual choices, and then, a la Sherlock Holmes, to see where the facts lead?

Global warming

This same “hypothesis fallacy,” for want of a better phrase, strikes me as one of the major problems with the whole global warming hysteria.  Various Leftists advanced the hypothesis that fossil fuels (which we know can contribute to pollution, and that Leftists believe give an unfair economic advantage to the First World) are evil, and then they set about proving their evil-ness.  If climate change is a genuine concern, wouldn’t it have made more sense to start with the question — “what’s going on?” — than to start with the answer — “Fossil fuels are changing our climate.”  After all, if your set-in-stone hypothesis isn’t even in the ball park, it means that your experiments are not only worthless, but they’ve also managed to ignore other, more relevant, data.

I understand that the hypothesis is a standard requirement for scientific experiments and has been since the Enlightenment.  I’ve explained, with a little help from Sherlock Holmes, why I think the hypothesis requirement taints, rather than advances, science.  Now that I’ve acquainted you with the contents of my brain, can you please explain to me why the scientific community is correct, and why Sherlock Holmes and I are wrong.

 

Global warming and volcanoes

Sometime ago, I posted a comment that referenced data that suggested a link between La Nina /El Nino events and underwater volcanic activity.

Basically, these volcanic events have to do with the puzzling appearance and disappearance of hot water masses in the Pacific Ocean that affect the flow of currents and, consequently, air masses that affect our global climate. The Pacific Ocean is rimmed by highly active tectonic ridges and volcanoes. This model certainly makes more sense than to claim that parts-per-million changes in the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere have massive changes on ocean water temperatures. Among other events, recent major droughts in the southern U.S. and Brazil and limited monsoon activity in southern Asia have been linked to La Nina activity.

Here is the article that I referenced:

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

This is interesting because of the recent upsurges in tsunami and earthquake-generating tectonic activity around the Pacific Rim’s “Ring of Fire”. Shifting tectonic plates (an idea bred by skeptics in 1912 that only gained currency in the 1970s) would be expected to generate more volcanic activity.

And here, from the BBC, comes a story that suggests an unusual degree of recent submerged volcanic activity creating “weird”, hitherto unrecorded effects. Pumice is a stone, created by volcanic activity, that actually floats.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19207810

Incidentally, at a meeting that I attended this spring, a climatologist predicted that the La Nina events linked to the hot summer and drought experienced in the southwest and south-central parts of the U.S. would end by late-July as an El Nino event began to develop. He was right on the money. The rains of August have returned to the Midwest.

A very beautiful history book arrived in my mail — and it (naturally) sparked some political thoughts in my brain

A couple of weeks ago, I asked you all to link to a General Knowledge Quiz that DK publishing hosts.   I disclosed at the time that this was not a purely altruistic act, even though I thought the quizzes were fun and I think the world of DK books.  In exchange for promoting the Quiz site, DK’s publicist was kind enough to send me an incredibly gorgeous, wonderful book: History: The Definitive Visual Guide (From The Dawn of Civilization To The Present Day).

I’ve always had a passion for historic surveys (and own several of them). I love seeing the tapestry of history spread out before me.  This type of book is great as a general reference book, and is also just fun to dive into, to acquaint (or reacquaint) oneself with a historic period or two.

The DK book, as one would expect, is lavishly illustrated, and the text is surprisingly accessible.  The book is comprehensive too, ranging from 4.5 million years ago through to pretty much yesterday.  Since it’s a huge book, I’ve only just gotten out of the Ice Age and the beginning of small agricultural communities, so I cannot (and, given its size, will not) offer a comprehensive review.  The early part of the book, though, strikes me as intellectually honest.

I got a real kick of the part of the book covering the climate changes that affected early Homo Sapiens’ development.  Keep in mind that, when these changes occurred, the earth was already billions of years old, so the changes were not related to a still evolving planet.  On the cosmic time line, these climate changes were a millisecond away from us:

Contrary to popular belief, an Ice Age is not a continual deep freeze, but a period of constantly fluctuating climate conditions punctuated by periods of intense cold.

[snip]

Sea cores give only a general impression of Ice Age climate change, but, as a rule, cooling proceeds relatively slowly and warming unfolds rapidly, as was the case at the end of the last cold period (glacial).  Glacial periods in the past have been longer than interglacials — brief, volatile intervals of warming conditions during the Ice Age when the climate was as warm, or warmer than, today.  These increases in temperature are caused by changes in the Earth’s path around the sun and its rotation on its axis.  Natural increases in greenhouse gases add to the warming.  We are currently experiencing an interglacial period caused by these natural phenomena that began about 10,000 years ago.  (pp. 22-23)

The Ice Age chapter goes on to describe the vast sheets of Ice that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere, and the way in which they drastically changed the earth’s landscape by storing water in ice, thereby creating the land shelves that allowed humans to spread out over the globe.

Of course, the earth warmed after the Ice Age, or we’d still be in one.  It warmed so much that Greenland was once actually green.  Then, there was a mini Ice Age, which accounts in part for the voluminous clothing people wore from the 14th century on.  In Queen Elizabeth I’s time, the Thames froze.  Then, the earth warmed again.

Warm and cold, scalded and frozen.  The earth changes endlessly.  There’s an incredible arrogance on the part of humans to say that all those previous changes were Gaia’s decision, while the last warming cycle (a cycle that stopped about 10 years ago) is America’s fault.

I will say again, as I always say, that we, as the most intelligent beings on earth, are its stewards.  As someone who remembers the pollution of the 1960s and early 1970s, I am delighted that we have developed an awareness that helps us keep our earthly garden clean and green.  I want us to continue to use our technological wizardry and knowledge, and our environmental conscience, to keep this world lovely for our children and their children.  BUT, I will not be bullied by flat earth global warmers who use every change in the weather, up or down, to justify a giant, anti-capitalist transfer of wealth from the First World, which is working hard to maintain the environment, to the Third World, which, because it lives very close to a Malthusian starvation level, has no interest whatsoever in improving the environment.

I want to lift up the Third World, but not at my world’s expense.  I believe that the best, and cleanest, future for both the First and Third world is to maximize our existing technology, and to figure out ways to optimize the one fuel on which we all can rely:  Fossil fuel.

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.

“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.

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”.

After graduation, 32 students attempted suicide

I have to say that this video actually made me giggle, because having all of Al Gore’s doom-and-gloom compressed to less than 2 minutes, and then playing Pomp & Circumstance in the background, is more like a cartoon than anything else.

Then again I didn’t have to listen to the whole blather, and I wasn’t a student who has spent my life being indoctrinated by the Chicken Little crowd.  For those students, watching this pompous boor go on and on about the imminent end of the world must have been a most disheartening end to their educational experience:

You get the message:  Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

Hat tip:  Hot Air

The importance of remembering that scientists are not mathematicians

I’ve been reading Fermat’s Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World’s Greatest Mathematical Problem, by Simon Singh.  Normally, I’d shy away from a book like this — after all, it’s about math! — but it was required reading for my book club, and it’s proven to be delightful.  To the extent there is math in it, Singh masterfully simplifies complex ideas so that even math illiterates like myself can understand them.  Indeed, I suspect that, if I’d had a teach like Singh when I was in school, one who teaches why something matters, or how it came to be, rather than just demanding that one memorize meaningless formulas, I might not be the math illiterate (and math phobe) that I am today.

But my ruminations about books and math aren’t actually why I’m writing right now.  Instead, I wanted to comment on the different types of thinking in the sciences.  I’m ashamed to admit that I never really sat down and analyzed the different intellectual approaches people on the “science side” use.  To me, the world was binary:  science mind (including math) and not science mind (including me).  Sure I knew that engineers could be a bit obsessive compulsive, but it was a trait I admired, so I never thought more about it.

What never occurred to me, however, is that specific branches of science demand different approaches to finality — or, as it’s called in math, “absolute proof.”  Let me have Singh describe this concept.  I’ll quote at some length from his text at pages 20-22 (in the hard copy version 0f his book):

The story of Fermat’s Last Theorem revolves around the search for a missing proof. Mathematical proof is far more powerful and rigorous than the concept of proof we casually use in our everyday language, or even the concept of proof as understood by physicists or chemists. The difference between scientific and mathematical proof is both subtle and profound, and is crucial to understanding the work of every mathematician since Pythagoras. The idea of a classic mathematical proof is to begin with a series of axioms, statements that can be assumed to be true or that are self-evidently true. Then by arguing logically, step by step, it is possible to arrive at a conclusion. If the axioms are correct and the logic is flawless, then the conclusion will be undeniable. This conclusion is the theorem.

Mathematical theorems rely on this logical process and once proven are true until the end of time. Mathematical proofs are absolute. To appreciate the value of such proofs they should be compared with their poor relation, the scientific proof. In science a hypothesis is put forward to explain a physical phenomenon. If observations of the phenomenon compare well with the hypothesis, this becomes evidence in favor of it. Furthermore, the hypothesis should not merely describe a known phenomenon, but predict the results of other phenomena. Experiments may be performed to test the predictive power of the hypothesis, and if it continues to be successful then this is even more evidence to back the hypothesis. Eventually the amount of evidence may be overwhelming and the hypothesis becomes accepted as a scientific theory.

However, the scientific theory can never be proved to the same absolute level of a mathematical theorem: It is merely considered highly likely based on the evidence available. So-called scientific proof relies on observation and perception, both of which are fallible and provide only approximations to the truth. As Bertrand Russell pointed out: “Although this may seem a paradox, all exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation.” Even the most widely accepted scientific “proofs” always have a small element of doubt in them. Sometimes this doubt diminishes, although it never disappears completely, while on other occasions the proof is ultimately shown to be wrong. This weakness in scientific proof leads to scientific revolutions in which one theory that was assumed to be correct is replaced with another theory, which may be merely a refinement of the original theory, or which may be a complete contradiction.

I know that, having read that, you’re thinking exactly what I’m thinking:  Global Warming.  You’re thinking of falsified data, of non-vanishing glaciers, of robust polar bear populations, and of the other cascade of data showing wrong-headed theories supported by bad, careless, or out-and-out fraudulent “science.”  Credulous people, ideologically driven people, and people who confuse scientific theory with the absolute proof of a mathematical theorem were willing to accept that “the science is settled.”  But unlike math, which can see a theorem being finally and definitively proved, real science is never settled, and anyone who claims that must be a liar.

Certainly, we know that some scientific theories are more stable than others, and we’ve built large parts of our world on that.  But when people purport to take the dynamics of the sun, the moon, the earth and predict the climate outcome years or even decades in advance, and then it turns out that they’ve done so entirely without regard to the sun, the moon, and the earth, you know you’ve got mysticism and faith, and nothing remotely approaching science, let alone the sureties of math.

I’ll leave you with a joke, also from Singh’s book, although it originally comes from Ian Stewart, in his book Concepts of Modern Mathematics:

An astronomer, a physicist, and a mathematician (it is said) were holidaying in Scotland.  Glancing from a train window, they observed a black sheep in the middle of a field.  “How interesting,” observed the astronomer, “all Scottish sheep are black!”  To which the physicist responded, “No, no!  Some Scottish sheep are black!”  The mathematician gazed heavenward in supplication, and then intoned, “In Scotland there exists at least one field, containing at least one sheep, at least one side of which is black.”

Since you’re all much cleverer than I at jokes and bon mots, I’ll leave you to imagine what the AGW “scientist” would have said upon seeing that sheep in that field.

Mark Steyn on the way in which climate change makes hucksters rich, empowers governments, and turns people into pawns

This is one of Steyn’s best, and that’s saying a lot.  Here are my two favorite parts from his column on Copenhagen:

[T]he Prince of Wales is simultaneously heir to the thrones of Britain, Australian, Tuvalu, and a bunch of other countries. His Royal Highness was also in Copenhagen last week, telling delegates that there were now only seven years left to save the planet. Prince Charles is so famously concerned about the environment that he’s known as the Green Prince. Just for the record, his annual carbon footprint is 2,601 tons. The carbon footprint of an average Briton (i.e., all those wasteful, consumerist, environmentally unsustainable deadbeats) is 11 tons. To get him to Copenhagen to deliver his speech, His Highness was flown in by one of the Royal Air Force’s fleet of VIP jets from the Royal Squadron. Total carbon emissions: 6.4 tons. In other words, the Green Prince used up seven months’ of an average Brit’s annual carbon footprint on one short flight to give one mediocre speech of alarmist boilerplate.

But relax, it’s all cool, because he offsets! According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the prince will be investing in exciting new green initiatives. “Investing” as in “using his own money,” you mean? Not exactly. Apparently, it will be taxpayers’ money. So he’ll “offset” the cost of using up seven months of an average peasant’s carbon footprint on one flight by taking the peasant’s money and tossing it down some sinkhole. No wonder he feels so virtuous. Oh, don’t worry, though. He does have to pay a personal penalty for the sin of flying by private jet: 70 pounds. Which is the cost of about six new trees, or rather less than the bill for parking at Heathrow would have been.

[snip]

Remember that story a couple of weeks ago about how Danish prostitutes were offering free sex to Copenhagen delegates for the duration of the conference? I initially assumed it was just an amusing marketing cash-in by savvy Nordic strumpets. But no, the local “sex workers’ union” Sexarbejdernes Interesseorganisation was responding to the municipal government’s campaign to discourage attendees from partaking of prostitutes. The City of Copenhagen distributed cards to every hotel room showing a lady of the evening at a seedy street corner over the slogan “BE SUSTAINABLE: Don’t Buy Sex.”

“Be sustainable”? Prostitution happens to be legal in Copenhagen, and the “sex workers” were understandably peeved at being lumped into the same category of planet-wreckers as Big Oil, car manufacturers, travel agents, and other notorious pariahs. So Big Sex decided they weren’t going to take it lying down. Yet, in an odd way, that municipal postcard gets to the heart of what’s going on: Government can — and will — use a “sustainable” environment as a pretext for anything that tickles its fancy. All ambitious projects — Communism, the new Caliphate — have global ambitions, but, when the globe itself is the cover for those ambitions, freeborn citizens should beware.

Read the whole thing here.

What’s even more amazing is that Steyn manages to be so good without mentioning Hugo Chavez!

The Communist cat is out of the climate change bag

Since the beginning, climate change skeptics have said that the hysteria of the man-made global warming movement, aside from being based on manifestly shoddy and often dishonest science, was in fact a Leftist political gambit.  The Communists, having failed to win the world over with a Cold War had regrouped and were seeking to win it over with a warm war.  By targeting Western (that is, capitalist) nations as the evildoers in the world’s imminent boiling destruction, and then playing on the fear, guilt and ignorance of those same Western nations, the Communists . . . er, global warming saviors . . . announced a solution:  the West should give up its wealth by transferring it en masse to poor nations.  The West should also give up its lifestyle, by abandoning electricity, gas and even toilet paper.  The West, in other words, should give true meaning to global warming by engaging in self-immolation.

The last month, though, has seen this Communist-inspired house of cards collapse as quickly as the Soviet bloc did back in 1989.  First came ClimateGate, which revealed to the whole world the fact that the most ardent climate “scientists” were, in fact, ideologues who cared little about science, and a great deal about achieving a political goal.  They lied about their data, destroyed their facts, and systematically set out to muzzle and destroy anyone who disagreed with them.

Second came word from Russia that the same “scientists” (and please understand that these “scientists” are responsible for almost all of the conclusions on which the hysteria was based) cherry-picked climate data from Russia.  This is no small thing.  Russia covers 12% of the earth, and it’s been the Siberian tree rings that have been at the centerpiece of the warmies’ claims.

And today comes news that definitively rips the mask off of this whole thing.  When Hugo Chavez, a man who seeks to turn his beleaguered nation into a Communist worker’s paradise, with himself as leader for life, announces in Copenhagen that capitalism is the real culprit, and is met, not with silence or boos, but with deafening cheers, everything becomes clear:

President Chavez brought the house down.

When he said the process in Copenhagen was “not democratic, it is not inclusive, but isn’t that the reality of our world, the world is really and imperial dictatorship…down with imperial dictatorships” he got a rousing round of applause.

When he said there was a “silent and terrible ghost in the room” and that ghost was called capitalism, the applause was deafening.

But then he wound up to his grand conclusion – 20 minutes after his 5 minute speaking time was supposed to have ended and after quoting everyone from Karl Marx to Jesus Christ – “our revolution seeks to help all people…socialism, the other ghost that is probably wandering around this room, that’s the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell….let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.” He won a standing ovation.

Let me translate Chavez’s speech:  “The capitalist pigs in the United States are the enemies of the people and need to be destroyed.”  Chavez’s speech, in other words, is pitch-perfect Communist Cold War rhetoric.  During the Cold War, non-Communist bloc nations would have been politely silent, even if they agreed with his sentiments.  Thanks to the brainwashing of global warming, however, people no longer feel compelled to hide their hatred for America and their desire for its destruction.

If Barack Obama had anything approaching human decency, he would use this Chavez speech — and, more importantly, the reaction to this Chavez speech — as the justification for refusing to go to Copenhagen.  He won’t though.  Obama has made it clear, time and time again, that he agrees with the Chavez speech.  He too believes that America is the cause of the world’s woes.  He too believes that America should be de-energized and debased, both because it would make the world a better place and because America deserves that kind of humiliation.  Chavez’s speech, rather than being the straw that should break the Obami back on climate change, is simply the spoken expression of of their innate beliefs.

Incidentally, I realize that I erred somewhat when I compared what’s happening now to 1989.  The difference between now and then is the media.  Although the media always hewed left, and was steadily dragging Americans into the relativist world of “Communism is just another way of life,” it was still able to recognize the shattering drama of the Solidarity movement and the physical destruction of the Berlin Wall.  These were visible symbols of a decades-long conflict, and their occurrence made for good TV.

Things are entirely different here and now.  The media, with almost no exceptions, had bought wholesale into the religion of Climate Change.  Media members don’t want to see their God fail.  Additionally, there’s no good TV here.  Instead of hundreds, and then thousands, of Polish dockworkers facing down Soviet guns, or brave people climbing a wall, again to the backdrop of loaded guns, here are have somewhat complex scientific discussions, a few disgraced academics, and Hugo Chavez (a man media people find charismatic).  They don’t want the American people to see or know anything about all of this and, because it lacks good visuals, it’s easy to hide.  There’s a revolution taking place, and the media is doing its damndest to bury it.

So folks, it’s up to us here, the ones in the blogosphere, to get word of the revolution out.  Bloggers need to write, readers need to email blog posts and news articles to their less news obsessive friends.  All of us need to put intriguing notes on facebook, linking to articles that will enlighten a population kept in the dark.  We need to write letters to our local editors chastising them (politely, of course), for missing out on the biggest story, so far, of the 21st Century — bigger even than the election of a vaguely black, completely red, man into the White House.  The one thing I suggest is that you don’t use the “I told you so” approach.  People tend not to respond well to that kind of thing.  It’s much better, in terms of piquing people’s interest, to strike a tone of incredulous amazement, or excited sense of discovery, or even vague sadness.

There’s a revolution happening here.  We have the weapons to destroy the Communist movement’s second attempt to destroy the Western world.  Don’t sit on the sidelines.  Do something!

Girl Scout cookies support climate change

My daughter is a very reluctant Girl Scout, only because her best friend, an equally reluctant Girl Scout, is in there due to parental pressure.  In Spring, we sell cookies, and I buy the minty kind.  Might have to stop selling and buying, though, because it turns out that, not only have the Girl Scouts drunk the climate Kool-Aid, but they’re aggressively using cookie monies to fund global warming mania.  You know, it’s one thing to buy cookies that help inner city girls go camping, or all girls to be in an organization that teaches them fun skills.  It’s another thing entirely to learn that you’re supporting a global fraudulent agenda:

Hat tip:  Sadie

The Wall Street Journal’s sober assessment of the fascist (yes, I mean it) EPA ruling

I can’t do better than to quote from the Wall Street Journal on the EPA ruling, which constitutes nothing more than an undemocratic takeover of all business activity and most government activity in this country:

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said yesterday that her ruling that greenhouses gases are dangerous pollutants would “cement 2009′s place in history” as the moment when the U.S. began “seizing the opportunity of clean-energy reform.” She’s right that this is an historic decision, though not to her or the White House’s credit, and “seizing” is the right term. President Obama isn’t about to let a trifle like democratic consent impede his climate agenda.

With cap and trade blown apart in the Senate, the White House has chosen to impose taxes and regulation across the entire economy under clean-air laws that were written decades ago and were never meant to apply to carbon. With this doomsday machine activated, Mr. Obama hopes to accomplish what persuasion and debate among his own party manifestly cannot.

This reckless “endangerment finding” is a political ultimatum: The many Democrats wary of levelling huge new costs on their constituents must surrender, or else the EPA’s carbon police will inflict even worse consequences.

[snip]

For now, this decision moves into the courts, and years if not decades of litigation. Yet the decision really is historic: The White House has opened a Pandora’s box that will be difficult to close, that is breathtakingly undemocratic, and that the country, if not liberal politicians, will come to regret.

Explaining hide the decline *UPDATED*

In the wake of the emails that an anonymous whistleblower published, those of us who aren’t scientists have been able to figure out that something is very, very wrong with the AGW data.  Still, all the science stuff is confusing, especially the bit about “hide the decline.”  Thankfully, at American Thinker, Marc Sheppard takes the time, and uses words of one scientific syllable, to explain what “hide the decline” really means, and why it was such a terrible fraud.

UPDATE:  Charlie Martin also has a great short form sheet, explaining, clearly and briefly, why the emails matter.