Friday, March 30, 2007

And when can we expect to see the Chocolate Mohammed?

The Chocolate Jesus was released just in time for Easter.

I assume next Ramadan we'll see the Chocolate Mohammed?

Incidentally, it would be instructive to take note of how many riots, deaths, and death threats are issued over this.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Lack of Moral Authority, or Backbone?

Max Hastings of the Guardian says that Global reaction to the seizure of British marines on the Shatt-al-Arab is a measure of our loss of moral authority over Iraq.
The Iranians seem to have planned this operation for days. They wanted western hostages, probably to exchange for their own people held by the Americans, and would have been untroubled by a firefight.
Their own people being people we caught in Iraq fighting the Iranian's war in Iraq. But to the Guardian, they are morally equivalent.

More than that, because of Iraq (almost every twist of western foreign policy is influenced by those fatal words) the British position is nowhere near as strong as it should be in haggling to get its people back.
Never mind the fact that past successes exploiting that very willingness to haggle is precisely what triggered the event in the first place. Right before the UN was to vote on sanctions against Iran for ignoring the U.N.'s worthless resolutions.

Here we go again:
Here is a new manifestation of the loss of moral authority resulting from the Iraq policies of George Bush and Tony Blair. Iran is controlled by one of the most repressive regimes in the world. Its cruelties fall not merely on its opponents, but upon its entire female population. It is a proponent of international terrorism, committed to the illegal acquisition of nuclear weapons. Its president is a Holocaust denier.
In western progressive's eyes, this is true. In Amadinnerjacket's eyes, it's got nothing to do with moral authority (although he'll gladly use the disdain of western useful idiots to his advantage). No, in Amadinnerjacket's eyes, the West, or just about all that's left of what was once the West -- just gave a big signal that they are about to cut and run from Iraq like they did from Somalia. They are about to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory like they did in Vietnam. The west is the weak horse like the Islamists believe -- not in strength but in will. He knows that he can nab 15 Brits and get something out of it. It has nothing to do with moral authority. It has everything to do with moral backbone, and the West's lack of it -- which they've shown over and over again. The west believes in nothing anymore, except for its belief in nothing.
Opinion polls show many people around the world are more fearful of President Bush launching strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities than of the consequences of President Ahmadinejad acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
Which just goes to show how successful western progressives have been in demonizing nobility and nobilizing demons.

Despite the strong line towards Iran's nuclear defiance adopted by the UN security council, now with unexpected Russian support, it is generally assumed that the country will achieve its aim of making nuclear weapons.
Strong line? You mean the UN Security Council said that they were really really unhappy about it? That's a strong line? It's generally assumed that the country will achieve its aim because a) that's what it wants to do, and b) it knows that nobody in the UN will ever approve of any concrete action to stop it. What are they going to do, taunt them a third time? Amadinnerjacket is laughing.

Don't kid yourself. Do you really think if we never went to Iraq, after watching the actions of the UN leading up to the 2003 invasion -- that the UN Security Council would authorize any action to stop Tehran?
The victim culture, the belief that Iran is a beleaguered nation, oppressed economically, culturally, politically and militarily by the US and its allies, is deeply rooted. It has been intensified by President Bush's pronouncements and actions over the past six years.
How so?
The European nations have always believed that engagement with Iran is the most plausible policy, for lack of any other.

Like Chamberlain engaged Nazi Germany?

It will be a rash coalition commander in Iraq who again exposes British or American troops to Iranian arms.
I don't hear anybody saying that is going to happen.

Iran is a tormented society, flailing and thrashing in a quest for international respect and influence. So long as its only claim to these things rests upon its capacity for violence and destruction, much more grief lies ahead for its own people and the rest of the world.
I am quite sure the US and British Administrations are aware of this.

So to sum up your article, nobody should do anything concrete to stop Iran's nuclear program, because the Mullahcracy is about to crumble from within. Bush is unable to do what we shouldn't do anyway because we've lost the "moral high ground" because Bush is evil and stupid. The Brits can't negotiate for their hostages because Blair and Bush are evil - and presumably negotiating with Tehran over hostages they took specifically to bring about negotiations is ... a good thing, somehow. Child screams. Child gets ice cream. Child screams. Child gets ice cream. Child wants ice cream, child screams.

Hope you like screaming children.

Chickens coming home to roost

Can't put it any better than Sowell did.

Anti-war protesters in Washington and outside her home in San Francisco are denouncing Pelosi and other Congressional Democrats for not cutting off the money to fight the war in Iraq.

If the war in Iraq is such an unnecessary and futile expenditure of blood and treasure as Pelosi et al. have been saying, why not put an end to it?

But to do that would mean taking responsibility for the consequences -- and those consequences would be disastrous and lasting. They would probably still be lasting when the 2008 elections come around.

The Democrats cannot risk that. They have taken over Congress by a very clever and very disciplined strategy of constantly criticizing the Republicans, without taking the risk of presenting an alternative for whose results they can be held responsible.

There is no sign that they want to change that politically winning strategy now. Their non-binding resolutions against the war are a perfect expression of that strategy.

These resolutions put them on record as being against the war without taking the responsibility for ending it.

Regurgitating the Apple

An odd title for this piece, but one well worth your while. And it's about a 45 minute while, so I'd recommend putting it on an MP3 player or burning it to CD to listern to -- say on your commute.

There's also streaming video if you have more time.

At any rate, it's comedian Evan Sayet -- another former Liberal who has woken up to where Progressive™ thought has gotten us as a culture. His talk is more about culture than politics, but it does cross the line into politics when he talks about how that culture affects our politics.

Now you may not agree with every little thing the man says here, and he's got a few trivial facts wrong (I don't think civilization's been around for 50,000 years -- I think it's more like maybe 6,000 -- it doesn't affect the argument), and I know all conservatives don't agree on every issue, but if you listen to what he's saying and where he's gone with it, I think you'll recognize that he's on to something.

Evan started as a standup comic, wrote for Arsenio Hall, went to Politically Incorrect, wrote and produced TDC/Learning Channel's documentary "The 1970's - From Bell Bottoms to Boogie Shoes". Wrote a musical comedy, and was the original writer of the game show "Win Ben Stein's Money".

Go. Listen.

ht: Misha

What's the price point for Kyoto Gas?

Apparently $6.00 a gallon isn't enough for Europeans.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Support Our Iraqi Supporters

By supporting our troops and their mission.

Must reading from Mohammed at Iraq the Model.

French Immigrants from Africa

The best description for the young, angry, militant, Muslim population of France in an NPR story this morning was "the French-born children and grandchildren of immigrants from Africa."

It went on to say that "they came from the same suburban areas that erupted in riots a year and a half ago in France."

Just a coincidence, I'm sure. I mean, these put-upon people, having to deal with riots that ... well, just "erupted". The riots were like natural disasters. They just erupted and these poor youths were caught in the middle.

They listen to hip-hop. It's like being in New York.

At least they were talking about some sort of integration with mainstream French culture. Don't know which way that'll go, though.

Traditionally, immigrants assimilate into the culture to which they migrated. I worry that in this case, as the 30% of French youths that are Muslim -- may, over time with their increasing voting power -- insist with their votes that the assimilation go the other way.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Strong evidence that policy is driving the science

Correction: Editors of WorkGroup 1 of the UN's IPPC 4th Assessment Team is are throwing out the yellow flag.

Make that the red flag.

Despite the exhortation: "PLEASE DO NOT CITE, QUOTE, OR DISTRIBUTE THE DRAFT REPORT"we feel we have been left with no choice by the bizarre actions of the IPCC. What kind of "science" distributes a summary and then withholds the underlying report for a further three months editing to make it concur with the already distributed summary? Don't believe it? Neither did we but the plain language statement of intent is here (search for "grammatical" -- it's on page 4 of 15) and the original IPCC procedures document is (was) here -- in their words:

"Changes (other than grammatical or minor editorial changes) made after acceptance by the Working Group or the Panel shall be those necessary to ensure consistency with the Summary for Policymakers or the Overview Chapter."

Surely science has not degenerated to the point that research must now conform to pre-released summaries, even in the purely political IPCC.

That's right. We, the politicians have made the statement we wanted to make. We will spend the next three months editing what the scientists wrote to make sure it is consistent with what we said. That way we can say "The worlds top scientists agree. We have consensus."

Hello, people!!!!

So it wasn't the scientists on the assessment team that made the statement -- it doesn't make the point any less valid.

My Antropogenic Global Warming Skeptic's Guide

This is a link to my previous - not very well titled post.

Things I Know #3 & 4, and things we don't know

My Skeptic's Guide to Anthropogenic Global Warming

Things I know #3: Models are not fact. Models are expressions of belief. Model output is what we think should happen based on the beliefs encapsulated in the model.

If the beliefs are close to reality, model output can be quite useful. If they are not close to reality, they are garbage.

"Experiment is the sole source of truth. It alone can teach us something new; it alone can give us certainty." (Poincaré 1902).
Real evidence is in observation. Models (in physics) are our way of mathematically "explaining" what we think might be true. Models we create produce imaginary results based on what we believe happens. Another way to put it is that models are expressions of belief.

With that in mind, Let's talk about things we know, and things we don't know.

First, we'll throw up a chart of "Global Temperature" change, as best we can determine "it", for about the past 120 years.

This is based on taking average temperature readings all over the world various methods and averaging them. We won't go into any of the nuances of the validity of that. Let's just accept it for our purposes here. Looks like temperature has gone generally up since about 1920, with a bit of a flattening from about 1940 to about 1977-ish, followed by a surge leading up to about now (2000-ish).

Alarmists tend to point especially to the second part of the curve and say "look, it's increasing faster and it's higher than "ever".

I want us to note two things here (the temperature scale here is fahrenheit as opposed to celsius on most of the other charts... a one degree fahrenheit change is 1.8 times a one degree celsius change). Seriously, how many lay-alarmists even know how much the earth has warmed so far in the last 150 years? Those two things are the scale we're talking about, and the fact that the rate of increase from 1920 to 1940 doesn't look a whole lot different from the rate of increase from 1977 to now. So the increase in the last 30 years is not an unusual rate of increase. As a matter of fact one of the things we know from long term data is that these global temperature increases tend to happen rapidly, while global temperature decreases happen a bit more slowly.

Now we're going to look at Mann's famous "hockey stick" chart.

This is the main chart that has caused a good chunk of the hubub about our sudden, rapid temperature increase from "normal". Note that "normal" for this chart is defined as the average from 1961-1990. Further understand that that is an arbitrary choice as far as climate history is concerned. But that's ok, just make sure you keep that in mind. We have to put a deviation line somewhere.

The "proxy data" is data gathered from tree rings, ice cores, and possibly sediment analysis. Note the large (grey) margin of error in the proxy data. It gets smaller around the time some records started being kept around 1600, and yet smaller during the 1900's when world populating grew rapidly and more and more observations were available in more places.

But we're kind of comparing apples to oranges here. We've increasingly grafted more and more actual, real observational to the right side of the graph as time goes on, until at the end there's virtually no proxy data and very little margin of error. But note that despite all this, the temperature today is still very close to the margin of error estimated for the proxy data. Also understand that the smooth line you see down the middle of the margin of error has been artificially smoothed up to the 1990's, and the shocking end of the chart is real data. What this means is that all throughout the chart from the left to the right, the actual "global temperature" may have been anywhere within the grey area. Anywhere, any given year. The smooth line is very misleading.

On top of that, climatologists and statisticians have long since trashed this chart, yet it is still being trotted out by Al Gore et. al. today. It is a computer construct and a faulty one at that.

From Friends of Science: (and noted by many others -- this is easily verifiable)

Over the years, the graph has been subject to many criticisms from other scientists, for a number of reasons. Some complained that the well-documented Medieval Warm Period (approx. 1000-1400) and the even better known Little Ice Age (approx. 1450-1850) do not register on Mann’s chart. Others took issue with the tree ring proxy methods being used for the time span before thermometer readings were available, or with the inaccuracy of the temperature readings themselves. They maintain that instrument errors are often larger than the anomalies measured, or that the urban heat island issue skews surface data badly.

In this article in Energy & Environment (Vol 14/6, 2003) Canadians Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick reject Mann’s methodology, point to numerous errors, unjustifiably truncated data and extrapolations, and other defects. They then use Mann’s original data and recognized methodology to prove that Mann’s graph shape is an artifact and that a proper interpretation finds that temperatures around 1400 were warmer than anything in the 20th century. The widely read work by McIntyre and McKitrick has elicited much discussion in scientific circles. A more definitive version was later published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Now let's take a look at how the public is being manipulated by selecting what you see and blurring the line in the public mind between what we know and what we don't know.

First of all notice that this chart now goes back far enough to see the end of the last ice age, the halocene warm period, and Mann's obliteration of the midieval warm period is gone. We can now see that temperatures are, as far as we can tell, about as warm as they've ever been since the end of the last ice age -- and it's really not much higher, as far as climate history goes, than the lowest low since the last ice age. The difference has been less than 2 degrees celcius for about the last 10,000 years (and look how fast we came out of that ice age. Now that's a dramatic temperature increase!) But look at the right side of the chart. There's that worrisome model forecast, and it dwarfs any changes in the last 10,000 years.

But it's an illusion. It's a "thing we don't know". For the record, here's what we do know:

Well, that's not so alarming now, is it? And remember that "0" line and how I mentioned its arbitrariness? It is useful for looking at small changes, but still arbitrary. It doesn't mean, as our brains are likely to infer, that that's what the temperature "should" be. It's just what it's been for the past 10,000 years. We could put it anywhere. How about halfway in between the modern mean and the Ice Age mean? Just for fun.

Does that change our perspective any? It does, doesn't it? Looks even less alarming.

But we do have that pesky model output to address. Where did that come from? Have we figured climate out? Do we know how to forecast general average global temperature years, even decades into the future?

Well we do have blackbody equations -- which are, by the way, theoretical models of theoretical bodies. They have proved quite useful. However, they are theoretical models of very theoretical, very homogenious "systems" if you will, and of course the earth and it's atmosphere and chemistry are anything but. So we have taken these model equations and created a crude sun/earth/atmosphere model to try to describe what we believe should explain why the earth is warmer than the earth would be if it were a simple black body. And not surprisingly, those equations work out, roughly.

I majored in Meteorology, and I know how we come up with these models and equations. We have these little "constants" we throw in to adjust the equations so that they match our observations. This is often helpful when modeling. But it's still a model. Our weather forecasts are computer models. Much is made of how often they're wrong -- although they actually are amazingly accurate for what they are and the data we have over a period of a few days.

Well then we took THAT sun/earth/atmosphere model, paying special attention to CO2 as a greenhouse gas -- and plugged them into and integrated them with our climate models in an attempt to predict what might happen if we increased CO2.

Al's famous "did those two ever fit together?" graph in his slideshow/movie does show an amazing correlation between Co2 levels and mean global temperature.

Which brings us to Things I Know #4: Correlation does not mean causation.

Does more CO2 in the atmosphere cause mean global temperature to rise? Simple black body equations say it should to some extent. However, there are a zillion other factors that they don't take into account. We simply don't know what many of those factors even are. One of the ones we do know is that even in the equations (including the IR absorbtion windows in which CO2 absorbs IR radiation) the increase would not be linear. It's inverse logarithmic. At some point on an inverse logarithimic curve, large increases in CO2 means negligible increases in temperature. Eventually they become infinitesimal. And it looks as though we're getting to the high end of that curve.

At any rate, that is why we're inclined to believe that the correlation is evidence that CO2 is the driving factor. But is it? What if the models are wrong? Remember, models are not reality. They are expressions of belief.

One of the assumptions we had for a long time was that solar output was constant. Look in the models, and you will find the "solar constant". But it turns out it is not constant. Solar output varies over time, and solar output, as one might expect, affects earth's climate. In more ways than one, as it turns out -- one by delivering varying amounts of energy to the earth's position in space, and another by "blowing" on the magnetosphere, altering how much gamma radiation gets into the earth's atmosphere. That second one affects cloud formation. And it turns out that clouds have a significant role in how much of the sun's energy is kept in earth's system. They can act as a blanket, keeping some in. They can act as reflectors, keeping some out.

So, as I mentioned in an earlier, counter-snark post, let's take a look at sun activity and temperatures in the last 300 years.

Did ... those two ever ... fit together?

Seriously now, we have another correlation here. And, using Al's logic, we've got to believe that since CO2 levels correlate to temperature, and temperature correlates to sun cycle length.... that CO2 levels correlate to sun cycle length. So does more CO2 in the earth's atmosphere affect sun cycle length? I don't think even Al Gore would go that far.

So what other explanation might there be? Well let's try this one on for size. Sun cycles affect earth's temperatures. And earth's temperatures .... affect how much CO2 is in the atmosphere. So let's look at another chart which lays CO2 over these two.

That's a pretty tight correlation. Now go back up and look at Gore's Temp/CO2 chart.

Water can hold more of an atmospheric gas at colder temperatures, and less of it at warmer temperatures. Sun heats the earth, ocean gets warmer, releases CO2 into the atmosphere. Sun delivers less input to the earth, earth cools, oceans cool... absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, CO2 levels fall. Notice that the shape of these cycles is almost always abrupt (how alarming!) on the warming side, and more gradual on the cooling side. The warming forces CO2 out of solution fairly quickly, and it comes out of solution wherever the water is warmer -- not just at the surface. Once it comes out of solution the CO2 becomes a gas and rises quickly to the surface and is expelled into the atmosphere - whereas absorbtion can only occur at the surface, thus slowing down re-absorbtion into the ocean.

What does Occam's razor tell you?

Now back to the model, which, as you may recall is an expression of belief. If you believe that CO2 level is a significant forcing factor for temperature, you are going to express that in your model. If you express it in your model, then your model is going to end up "confirming" that belief. How can it not? It's programmed right in there!

What we have shown here is that the evidence strongly suggests that CO2 is not a significant forcing factor in temperature. Even if we ignore ice core evidence (and I'm not saying we should) that warming cycles actually lead CO2 fluctuations, and guess that CO2 enhances the effect as the warming starts and helps the rapid temperature increases we see at the beginning of the cycles -- there is clearly a limit to this phenomena. The CO2 IR window is effectively closed, and as temperatures fall on the down side of the cycle, with the cooling oceans drag CO2 levels behind them as they absorb it out of the atmosphere.

There is also ice core data that shows that temperatures start to go up before CO2 levels rise, further corroborating the idea that CO2 is not a major forcing factor -- at least not past about 300ppm. Before we started burning fossil fuels at any sort of high rate, something besides us drove those CO2 levels up.

In the end, we have observation that says that climate fluctuates, and recent fluctuations are not anything extraordinary. We do have extraordinarily high CO2 levels as far as we can tell (remember comparing inferred proxy data to actual data, which we've only recently been able to obtain -- has it's problems), and we have a theory that says more CO2 should trap more heat in the earth's atmosphere. We're missing anything that says this is actually happening, especially once we account for solar output and the associated processes. Observations to date are not alarming. All we have past today is model output. Model output is the logical conclusion of an expression of belief - it is not an observation. And so when you see a chart like this, keep that in mind.

and remember the extrapolated curve would fit just as easily to the curve if you cut it off at 1940, and at various other points in history.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Debate is Over?

How did I miss this at the end of Sowell's latest Random Thoughts post?

At a recent debate over global warming sponsored by National Public Radio, the audience was polled beforehand and was solidly on the side of the hysterical predictions. Afterwards, they switched to a slight majority against those predictions. Don't look for the global warming crusaders to risk doing any more debates.

Why should they, when they have virtually a monopoly in the media, in schools and colleges, and among politicians?


Wrong Turn

I read this, too. I understand what they're saying, but I think they're overstating the case -- or at least making it sound more simple than it is.

For one thing, phone numbers are not a measure of anything, and exchange rates is a bad example because we're talking about conversion rates between multiple arbitrary measures of productivity or wealth. Temperature doesn't measure a rate, it measures a state.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm a huge AGW skeptic -- but this argument really goes nowhere on its own.

I agree that it is difficult to nearly impossible to take some definitive measurement -- but that's true of any system - like say your car engine. Does your car engine have an "engine" temperature? Even when it's running, your engine has cooler parts and warmer parts. The same argument "no global temperature" would apply to the engine, but nobody would seriously argue that the engine doesn't heat up when you start it in the morning.

That being said, it does touch on something that most lay people don't get, and that's that when we are talking about "Global Temperature" we are talking about an estimated average, and we're also talking about, over tens of thousands of years, a few degrees difference. This few degrees difference often means that the margin of error overwhelms the changes we do see, and there's the whole apples to oranges argument on top of that.

Different estimation methods will yield different estimates. Tree ring analysis is one method. Ice core analysis is another. Sediment analyisis is yet another. And, of course, there's the good ole "average your thermometer readings" method.

Using these methods, we can get a pretty good idea of periods the relative amplitude of long-term temperature and climate variability, but to say that we can tell you excactly what the "global temperature" was at any given time given any combination of these is a bit of a stretch.

If we had thermometers in fixed places at a fixed height all over the world in areas unmolested by artificial local effects (such as shade trees growing over them or urban heat island encroachment) and all agreed that the average reading of those thermometers gave us an average surface temperature -- and that average went up over time, we could say that the surface is warming.

We do have satellites that can figure an average temperature in a column of air -- we're better equipped today to estimate the earth's thermal energy balance with more observations in some sort of meaningful fashion. But we've only been able to do that for maybe the past 30 or so years. To tack data like that side by side with ice core analyses can be very misleading. Analyses such as this (along with extra smoothing of the proxy data to get rid of the midieval warm period) is what gave us the famous, purposely alarming "hockey stick" graph in the 1990's.

If we defined what we want to call "global temperature" and everyone agreed that what they are talking about when they use the term is in terms of that definition -- we'd have something meaningful. We would still have to be careful about just what it is that we can or can't infer from it.

Mostly what I'm cautioning against here is skeptics arguing that we can't say the earth is warming because there's no "global temperature". When you dig into the argument, you do start to see some of the traps in saying that "we know what it is" and especially in saying "we know what it was" -- when "it" (global mean temperature) probably doesn't have an official, narrow definition. But on its face it's like saying that we can't say our car engine is heating up because there's no "engine temperature".

On the other hand, because the problems involved in defining and/or taking that temperature, especially with the small amplitude of the changes and the large margin of error, we should take people's so-called measurements with a sustantial amount of salt.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Another "Random Thoughts" post by Sowell

As usual, worth a perusal. And even those with short attention spans will enjoy this one.

a few of them as a teaser:
  • Whenever I see the kinds of expressions on the faces of people in high-fashion ads, I feel lucky that I never met them.
  • When the University of California system and the California State University system raised their tuitions, the headline in the San Francisco Chronicle read: "UC, CSU Reach Again for Students' Wallets." Apparently you are only supposed to reach for the taxpayers' wallets.
  • A reader says that he had a T-shirt made that said: "Stop Continental Drift!" It made as much sense as "Stop Global Warming."
  • When the Constitution's protection of private property was disregarded, so that politicians could rob from the rich to give to the poor, that also gave politicians the power to rob from the poor and give to the rich -- such as seizing homes in low-income neighborhoods and turning that property over to developers.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The big US Attorney 'Scandal'

It looks to me like, after it was pointed out that Clinton fired all 93 US Attorneys at once -- that the big flap boils down to this:

  • Everyone agrees that the administration is free to hire and fire appointees at will
  • Gonzalez said in front of the Senate back in January that he would never fire a US attorney for political reasons (even though everyone agrees it would be the administration's perogative to do just that)
  • 8 US attorneys -- well at least 7 of them (one says his firing was fair) were fired for what it would be fair to call political reasons (it would also be fair to call them performance reasons, depending on the context)
And they want Gonzalez to resign over this.

Actually, they don't really care about Gonzalez. They care about keeping the illusion of a scandalously power-crazy White House driven by Evil Genius™ Rove and his War-Mongering™, Corporate-Corporate-Haliburton™ Facist™ Blood-For-Oil™ Rove-bots, Chimpy McBushHitler™ and that mean old Corporate-Corporate-Haliburton™ Cheney.

Did we mention "facist"? You have to say 'facist' or the Lefty cops'll come get ya.

Whew, ok, I worked it in.

They're salivating over Rove. They're hoping beyond hope that they can ensnare him as they did Libby in some sort of perjury trap. Since everyone agrees that there was no crime comitted, that they just don't like "the way it was handled", that's the only other reason I can think of that the Pitbulls of Peace™ (that'd be the Democrats) can already taste the blood.

This is why Senate Democrats want them to testify under oath. So that they can foster another Create-a-Crime™ to "bring down" another political enemy... this time the one they've been gunning for hard all along.

If I were Rove/Gonzalez/Bush/Cheney, I'd be like -- "yeah? So?" and not even try to spin it.

ps... did I mention Haliburton? 'Cause... you know you gotta mention Haliburton, or the lefty...


Friday, March 16, 2007

Hey Al Gore! Did those ever fit together?

Every time the sea surface temperatures on Earth goes up, the number of sunspots goes up. Huh. I suppose humans are causing sunspots, too. We're runing the solar system!!!!

Note that rises and falls in sunspot activity slightly leads Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs).

For those who aren't aware, sunspot activity is proportional to solar output. Higher sea temperatures release more C02 into the atmosphere from the ocean.

Turns out cold water can hold more C02 than warm water.

Also note that, as usual, the critics in the comments do a lot of attacking of who is in the documentary (or rather, who they think who was in the documentary is associated with. Stooges! Stooges!), who aired the documentary, etc rather than what the documentary contains. The only attack on the science is "correlation does not mean causation". Yup. Good first step. Now go watch Bigfoot Al's movie again keeping that in mind.

Incidentally, WAGTV, which produced the documentary, produces documentaries for BBC, Channel4, Channel 5, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Company). They're not some "out there" whack job group.

Ok. I admit I haven't verified that chart yet. Update: I have now. Check the similar chart on this NOAA research page. What I've said here holds, though. And there are myriad papers that support it. I'll hand you one here for now while I go look for others.

Seriously, there's way more to the case against AGW than this. The documentary "The Great Global Warming Swindle" covers the highlights. Fred Singer & Dennis Avery's new book (Unstoppable global warming every 1500 years) is more in depth.

You lefties out there should at least watch the film and hear the other side of the argument. I watched yours.

The latest assault on the Bush Administration

Well, we are in the middle of March Madness, and the Democrats continue their full court press against the Bush administration.

They just finished icing the cake on Scooter Libby, the man who is being sent to prison for cooperating with an investigation into who may have committed a non-crime that was alleged against the Bush Administration in an earlier strategic point in the full-court press, for not consistently recalling excactly when he said what to whom over the course of a week or so on a matter, at the time, he didn't consider particularly important. They finished the icing on that cake by saying, yeah, it may not be fair, but it's all BushCheneyRove-iburton's fault, and they should be going to jail. For the non-crime. That ... um ... nobody comitted.

So now we have another "scandal" since that one is out of the headlines. As a matter of fact, this strikes me as very similar to the Al Queda strategy. Stay in the headlines. Wear the enemy down. Put doubt in the minds of their supporters. Kill a few here, kill a few there. Headlines. Drip, drip, drip. Slow bleed. Their unsettling alliance makes even more sense now.

The latest "scandal" is that the Justice department fired 8 U.S. Attorneys... and they talked to Bush, Meiers, and Rove .... ROVE .... mmmmm.... R-o-v-e .... about it before hand.

I don't remember who was doing the NPR interview the other day ... toward the end of the interview with someone involved in the investigation of this horrible scandal, she kept asking so will you be calling ROVE to the stand? Will ROVE have to testify? Are you going to call ROVE? and the guy finally said yeah, if we need to. What is this fixation the left has with Rove? It almost sounded as if she were salivating. (see this Cox & Forkum post)

I'd also heard a day or two earlier somewhere that the Clinton administration fired all 93 U.S. Attorneys once, but I couldn't remember where.

Thanks to Misha, I was pointed to a Wednesday Wall Street Journal article that confirms it covers the double-standard quite well.

Changing Semantics

Osama Bin Laden, 2004:
"The most important and serious issue today for the whole world is this Third World War, which the Crusader-Zionist coalition began against the Islamic nation. It is raging in the land of the two rivers. The world's millstone and pillar is in Baghdad."

Ayman al-Zawahiri (Osama's right-hand man), 2006:
"The jihad in Iraq requires several incremental goals. The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq. The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or emirate, then develop it and support it until it achieves the level of a caliphate - over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq. The third stage: Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq. The fourth stage:... the clash with Israel, because Israel was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity."
Democrats, 2006/2007

Withdraw from re-deploy from disengage from end participation in the war in Iraq.

A rose by any other name.... of course, when Cheney pointed out that this all means "being expelled from Iraq", Pelosi quickly changed the subject by accusing Cheney of questioning her patriotism.

One thing I like about Cheney is he doesn't mince words. He responded "I'm not questioning her patriotism. I'm questioning her judgement."

Looks to me like he has a very good point.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dennis Miller on Bush

Dennis says he has a lot more in common with Guiliani, but still:

"I just admire Bush's stance at this time in history against radical Islamic fundamentalism. I think he knows it's going to make him hated for the rest of his time on this planet. And I look at that and I go 'wow, I don't see that in a politician', that makes me respect him."

That statement pretty much sums up my view as well.

Review: An Inconvenient Truth

I have now seen "An Inconvenient Truth" -- I was wrong. I take everything I've said back.

Just kidding.

I have seen the movie, a few things struck me right off. One of them was the church-like atmosphere, a clergy-congregation look, Gore, of course, being the former, and the devout, respectful, somber -- dare I say sanctified looks on the congregation's faces. Then there were shots of adoring fans snapping pictures. Early in the movie, there is a Katrina footage -- the later suggestion made that "the choices we make" having huge impact cut right into Gore losing the 2000 election... clever. There's also a lot of snarkiness in this film, where the basic joke is always "duh! obviously! Why don't all those other stupid people get it?" -- all of the fans laugh in self-congratulatory knowingness.

Very interestingly, near the beginning of the movie, he uses the following Mark Twain quote:
"What gets us into trouble is now what we don't know, it's what we know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

He would do well to apply this to his own beliefs.

"But there is one relationship that is far more powerful than all the others, and it is this: When there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the temperature gets warmer. Because it traps more heat from the sun inside." - Al Gore, "An Inconvenient Truth"

This is something Al Gore "knows for sure". He sets up a snarky little "a sixth grader could figure this out" scenario, referring to an earlier anecdote by saying "did these two ever fit together?"

Well, here's another interesting fact: When people spend more time outside, the temperature gets warmer. However, as you might suspect, the cause-effect relationship is the other way around. (Now my sunbathing analogy might not be true in the tropics, but it certainly is in the subtropical zones and in the arctic, just stick with me here.) When the temperature gets warmer, people spend more time outside. Because it's warmer.

It's not quite as intuitive, especially looking at the chart Al presents, but the very ice core studies he cites showing the relationship between CO2 and temperature suggest quite strongly that Al's got it backward. If you look at the sentence Al tacked on to the end of the quote above, "Because it traps more heat from the sun inside" -- you can see the predisposition to interpret the data as a cause-effect, CO2 to Temperature, respectively -- relationship. And there is a good reason for this. There is a theory that it would hold true based on radiation/blackbody theory and relative transparency of the atmosphere to different wavelengths (visible vs infared). However, the theory applies to a highly simplified earth/atmosphere system with all kinds of assumptions.

An actual close look at the ice core data shows that increases in earth's mean temperature precede increases in CO2 by hundreds of years. In other words, when we juxtopose the two lines Al separates spatially on his graph we see that first the temperature goes up, the the CO2 levels follow. Presented with this information, I imagine even our sixth grader might come to the conclusion that it is mean global temperature increases that cause increases in CO2 content in the atmosphere.

When the earth's mean surface temperature increases, sea surface temperatures increase. Cold water holds more CO2 than does warm water, so the oceans release vast quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere when it warms up. Similarly, as the ocean cools, it absorbs more CO2 from the atmosphere, causing CO2 concentrations to go down.

Is the earth warming? Well it sure has been for the past 150 years or so. Is it hotter than ever? Probalby not. The "hockey stick" graph Al shows you in the film is tree ring data up to 1900 or so, then actual measured surface temperature data grafted to the end of it. You can't create a graph like this and draw meaningful conclusions when your measurement methods changed so radically.

Is there more CO2 in the atmosphere than ever? Again, we're talking about comparing actual, precise measurements with data inferred from gasses trapped in ice. The ice data is meaningful, but only when compared to data obtained by similar means. Our modern data, which starts to show a stark contrast to that proxy record is what is so alarming. But as Dr. Lindzen (who was on the IPCC) once said, it's like kids sitting in a closet in the dark with flashlights scaring each other to death with "what if" stories.

Later Al laments the alleged treatment of scientists who believe AGW is a fact. He says:

"I've seen scientists who were persecuted, ridculed, deprived of ... jobs, income -- simply because the facts they discovered led them to an inconvenient truth ... that they insisted on telling."

Never mind that scientists come to conclusions, not "truths". But would any of that ridiculing include calling them corporate stooges, as the Progressive movement is fond of calling skeptics? Or perhaps have people call for the pulling of their credentials as the Weather Channel's Dr. Heidi Cullen did recently? Or to compare them to Holocaust deniers as Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman recently did? Stuff like that?

Dr. Lindzen (MIT & IPCC):

... In 1992, [Al Gore] ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate alarmism. Nor did the scientific community complain when Mr. Gore, as vice president, tried to enlist Ted Koppel in a witch hunt to discredit anti-alarmist scientists--a request that Mr. Koppel deemed publicly inappropriate. And they were mum when subsequent articles and books by Ross Gelbspan libelously labeled scientists who differed with Mr. Gore as stooges of the fossil-fuel industry. ...

In Europe, Henk Tennekes was dismissed as research director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Society after questioning the scientific underpinnings of global warming. Aksel Winn-Nielsen, former director of the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization, was tarred by Bert Bolin, first head of the IPCC, as a tool of the coal industry for questioning climate alarmism. Respected Italian professors Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza disappeared from the debate in 1991, apparently losing climate-research funding for raising questions. ...

And then there are the peculiar standards in place in scientific journals for articles submitted by those who raise questions about accepted climate wisdom. At Science and Nature, such papers are commonly refused without review as being without interest.

Even further on, Al goes through a little "Secret Agent Al" bit where he shows that some (Evil, of course) Bush administration official edited something out of an EPA report, claiming it was speculation. I paused the movie and transcribed what he showed on the screen.

Warming will also cause reductions in mountain glaciers and advance the timing of the melt of mountain snow peaks in polar regions. In turn, runoff rates will change and flood potential will be altered in ways that are currently not well understood. There will be significant shifts in the seasonality of runoff that will have serious impacts on native populations that rely on fishing and hunting for their livlihood. These Changes will be further complicated by shifts in precipitation regimes and possible intensification and increased frequency of extreme hydrologic events. Reducing the uncertainties in current understanding of the relationship between climate change and Arctic hydrology is critical.

I don't know. Unless you hold that all of it is true, I think he is justified in calling a lot of it speculation. Note the sentence he did leave in, though. Doesn't look like a sinister edit. Maybe it should, and maybe it shouldn't have been made. It certainly doesn't change the meaning of the document.

Now, how about these points that the IPCC Scientists made in 1995 that the UN's political editors deleted?

"Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced."

"No study to date has positively attributed all or part of observed climate changes to anthropogenic causes."

They were replaced with the following statement:

"The balance of evidence suggests a discernable human influence on climate."

Where is the horror and outrage of AGW activists on this editing? On top of that, it completely changed the meaning of what was being said.

Since then, the pressure for stronger and stronger language has only grown, and there has been a concerted effort to silence skeptics.

He goes to a Winston Churchill quote:

The Era of Procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to it's close. In its place we are entering a Period of Consequences.- Sir Winston Churchill, Nov 12, 1936

Of course, Winston was talking about the rise and spread of Facism and Nazism and the need to go to war against it.

Oddly, this could easily be applied to the Clinton Administration's treatment of Al Queda, one consequence being 9/11... and of allowing Saddam Hussein to ignore his cease fire agreements from 1991, and resolution after resolution .... 17 of them, in the 11 years that followed. But... I do digress, don't I?

Next Al says:

Making mistakes, in centuries and generations past would have consequences that we could overcome. We don't have that luxury ... anymore.

And then cuts to a gratuitous montage recalling his Election 2000 loss in the Electoral College. Subtle, eh? With the time in this film spent on the 2000 election and Gore's "fighting the good fight" -- that's GORE fighting the good fight, lest we lose the importance of that.... then showing Bush getting out of his car at the White House and Gore staring out the window of ... somewhere, apparently looking down on it all. The implication being "opportunity lost. Y'all coulda had me." Is this a campaign movie?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Imamgate is apparently not over

Heard on NPR that the flying Imams are filing a discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Airways.

The story makes it sound like there was nothing to be suspicious about but some pre-boarding praying, "they'd knelt and prayed on their prayer rugs" and were "allegedly overheard making anti-American statements". Full context below:

"The religious leaders were returning to Pheonix after attending a conference in Minneapolis when they were taken off the the plane. They'd knelt and prayed on their prayer rugs before boarding the plane in the airport, and then allegedly overheard by passengers making anti-American statements once on board. The passenger passed a note to a flight attendent, the pilot authorities, and the men were removed. When they returned to the airport the next day, U.S. Airways refunded their fare and refused to sell them another ticket. Officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations say the Imams did not do anything on the plane that should have been considered suspicious, and say that the Imams will sue on the basis of discrimination."
Nothing about the passenger who overheard them talking in Arabic understood Arabic well. Nothing about the fact that the Imams refused to sit in their assigned seats, and fanned out to positions in the plane consistent with the 9/11 hijackings. Nothing about the fact that several of them asked for seat belt extensions while appearing not to need them, and while confirming that by stashing them unused under their seats. Nothing about CAIR's ties to Islamist extremists. No statements from any of the passengers. Nothing about other Muslims on the plane who agreed with the action the airline took. Just "well, the Imams said this, and CAIR 'officials' back them". Makes it sound all neat and tidy. Them damned "racist" midwesterners in Flyover Country are just a bunch of KKK'ers lookin' for a lynchin', just like we thought. No reason to suspect these goodly men of God just for praying and expressing their political opinions.

Well NPR, that's the impression your story leaves. Like there's no other side of the story to tell. And you wonder what people mean when they talk about biased reporting.

Monday, March 12, 2007

No matter what the weather, it's Global Warming

You really can't make this stuff up.

A couple headed for the North Pole to call attention to Global Warming (because, you know, nobody's paying any attention to it. Nope. Hmmm mmm) turned back due to unusually cold temperatures.

Atwood said there was some irony that a trip to call attention to global warming was scuttled in part by extreme cold temperatures."They were experiencing temperatures that weren't expected with global warming," Atwood said. "But one of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability."

If it's warm, it's global warming. If it's cold, it's global warming. If it's unpredictable, it's global warming.

Because... it's global warming.

Remember the good old days before global warming when the weather was predictable?

Quote of the Week

For me anyway, from House of Eratosthenes:

on the typical liberal reaction to being exposed to realities that challenge their worldview:

"It’s a bubbling stewpot of subject-changing, theatrical indignation, name-calling and sarcasm."
Pegged it. If there's one thing I love it's a concise language that descriptively captures and boils a thing right down to what it is. I need to keep that one for future reference.

Brilliant, Morgan!

Feelings, woah-woah-woah

I watched the video I linked to in my previous post, then I went out to UK Channel 4's forums where there was some discussion. I ran across a comment by someone calling him/herself "boosh bitch". It was a total Leftist screed on a documentary this person hadn't even watched yet. I couldn't help myself:
I am looking forward to this 'documentry' tonight. - anyone who cant watch it, im sure you tube will have it soon enough.

Glad to see you went in to it with an open mind.

I do, however, feel that the producers of this show are either winding everyone up or just doing it for the money. Ive just watched an interview by two of the people talking tonight.
You "feel", et? Let's all start basing public policy on what we "feel". Wait... I guess to a large extent we're already doing that.

Their argument is greatly flawed. they basically are saying that volcanoes, the ocean, the sun, animals and rotting leaves give off more co2 than humans and the masses of emmisions they give off and that we have nothing to worry about because its not our fault.
Wait, I thought you hadn't watched it yet. Anyway, tell me how their arguments are flawed? Got numbers?

Also, they are not saying "we have nothing to worry about because it's not our fault". They are saying "it's not our fault" plus "we have nothing to worry about". One argument has nothing to do with the other. The earth is warming. Why? Is it people? They say, and present a very compelling argument, "no". But it doesn't change the fact that the earth is warming. Do we have anything to worry about? They say, and present another, separate, and very compelling argument, "no". And since the answer to the first question seems to be "no", then there's nothing we can do about it anyway.

back when the world was new and even in thousands of years after that, before oil rigs, the industrial revolution, cars and macdonalds etc. The world was in a state of equal balance, a volcanoe would erupt, leaves would fall off the trees, but there was enough trees in the world to absorb the impact of the natural co2 emmsions.
Really? (I can almost hear the flute music and chirping birds, and see the soft focus on a flower-dotted green field punctuated with bright butterflies). That's news to most scientists. Most think that back when the world was new it was a blob of molten rock with no life on it whatsoever. The world's "balance" is now and always has been in a constant state of flux. This belief that humans are not a part of that shifting balance, are not a part of the earth, is a religious belief of the Eco-ists with no basis in reality.

Now, with the rainforest and amazon being cut down, nuclear power stations everywhere, families have 2+ cars each, there arnt enough trees in the world to absorb the man made emisions. This is why we are trying to deal with the impact of global warming.Im not denying that there are other facts in co2 emisions, but humans are the only ones now who can do something about it.

Careful, your agenda is showing. What do nuclear power "stations" have to do with the carbon cycle? Um... nothing. In fact, if we went to all nuclear power instead of coal/gas... there would be zero carbon emissions coming from humans except from their breath and other bodily functions. Congratulations on being able to repeat what the Eco-Clergy has instructed you to believe. If humans cut their non-biological carbon emissions to zero, CO2 in the atmosphere would continue to fluctuate in an patern essentially undiscernible pattern from one where we continued to produce them.

It is not all about fossil fuels and trees. The ocean is huge and is a gigantic carbon sink which releases CO2 into the atmosphere as the earth warms and absorbs it as the earth cools.

If everyone went vegetarian, that would greatly reduce carbon emisions, as animals are then not bred and kept in the hellish nightmare humans subject them to.
Way to repeat the PETA propaganda. You've got it down. See, Oil & Coal business aren't the only folks with a stake in this issue. Just so happens their stake is on the other side.

It was once said that you could climb through the trees from john o'groats to lands end without your feet ever touching the ground, deforestation isnt just a factor in south american countries, its a factor everywhere.
A factor in what? The carbon cycle which you obviously understand so well? (I can hear that flute music starting up again). Or perhaps it's the one you feel you understand so well.

Im positive that if all the trees where put back (it would take a hell of a long time i no), all over the world, places like africa wouldnt have the problems they have now (in terms of drought and starvation not aids thats down to the catholic church).
You're positive? And your expert creditials are???? Or you're citing what studies???? Ah, yes, drought in Africa is caused by deforestation in the rest of the world. How?

AIDS is caused by the HIV virus and is spread mainly through people who have unprotected sex with multiple partners, not by the Catholic Church. What percentage of Africa is Catholic? In which of those populations is (Catholic, or non-Catholic) is the spread of AIDS more prevalent? It seems your views are dictated by emotions, not fact and logic. Go get a book on critical thinking, mmmkay?

Feelings.... nothing more than... feelings....

An Inconvenient Documentary

Tell my why this UK Channel 4-aired documentary will be called "Propaganda" while "An Inconvenient Truth" is called a "Documentary".

And argue why that reasoning is valid.

This is a huge clue bat.

It's also quite interesting that it's on YouTube, but when "An Inconvenient Truth" gets put on YouTube, it gets pulled due to copyright violations.

Once again, we see evidence that money is a driving force behind the AGW believers. If they TRULY believed that this movie needs to be viewed by the widest audience possible to avert Global Warming Catastrophe™, wouldn't Gore and Co. remove any copyright restrictions on it?

Well wouldn't they?

I mean, how much money are we talking about them losing -- or more accurately, failing to ptentially make anyway? A few million? A few tens of millions? What a drop in the bucket this would be to Save the Planet! Didn't Gore and Paramount make this movie because they cared? Because they want to make a difference? Apparently not.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Bob takes on the co-opting of our children for "the Faith"

Bob's talking about Anthropogenic Global Warming and other Leftist religous beliefs, and leftists in public education co-opting our children into their army.

Generation Investments Management

To summarize the big takeaways from that last post, as I'll admit it was a bit of a ramble--

Bigfoot Al is co-founder and part owner of Generation Investments Management, an investment company that specializes in "long-term investment strategies". All fine and good. That's how I'd invest, too.

Their emphasis, they say, is on "Sustainability" investment. This is a code word for "socially responsible". Also all fine and good in a free market.

So his company looks around for what it considers to be "Socially Responsible" investment opportunities and presumably builds its portfolios from those.

From Chairman Bigfoot Al's statement on the website and from what he's been very good in communicating, we get this:

"Integrating issues such as climate change into investment analyisis is simply common sense."

It's pretty clear that Al & Co. invest in what they consider to be green technologies or other green-oriented funds (though they make efforts to obfuscate that issue). Maybe a Russian company that has a lot of Carbon Credits to sell? (speculation on my part here).... and there's nothing wrong with that, either.

Al jets around the country and the world pushing his view on AGW, which should drum up business and help change policy to be more friendly to the investments his company makes. Not saying that's the primary reason, and I'm not saying it's not. And there's nothing wrong with that, either.

What's wrong is that, when an oil or coal company helps fund a study, and that study comes out and says "hey, wait a minute, it looks like this AGW stuff is a lot of hogwash" -- rather than argue with the study itself, the confilct-of-interest card is paraded out and ceremoniously slapped down on the "debate" round-table insisting that for that reason the study be pulled from it.

On the other hand, here we have Bigfoot Al, the Holy Goracle of Saving the Planet™, with a financial interest in precipitating the very public policies he is promoting. Al was the major Kyoto negotiator during the Clinton administration. He would know how to use its design to his advantage. And nobody, to my knowledge, has mentioned this.

Now just because one has a financial interest in persuing a particular policy, or justice, or whatever -- doesn't mean they are wrong. Agreed?

Well try to remember that the next time somebody tries to dismiss a study by saying "yeah, but they got money from Exxon."

Since Al does not practice what he preaches in any meaningful way as far as curbing energy consumption, and much of what he does to "compensate" for his consumption falls under the jurisdiction of the higly questionable "carbon credit" idea - it is reasonable to question how much of his motivation is political and financial, and how much of it is truly personal conviction. Let's go ahead and acknowledge it. There are financial and political power interests on both sides of the table. One side pretends there isn't and claims the moral high ground.

And with that in mind, with a truly open mind, go and read what skeptics have to say about it. At least read the other side of the argument. There are far too many people who, for whatever reasons, would rather you didn't.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Correction: Gore doesn't buy Carbon Credits from himself

He gives them to himself.

He gets them as an employee benefit of his own company.

So the man pumps 20x more CO2 than the average American home CO2 into the air of the planet he's trying to save from the suposed effects of that CO2, but that's ok because he buys gives himself ofsetting "carbon credits" which "pay" for, even though he paid nothing for them, vague "researchiness" and "developmentiness" of carbon-alternative, or carbon-reduced energy technology. Or so we assume from the definition of a "carbon offset" -- not that we really know what is actually being purchased in Bigfoot Al's name.

The following quote from someone in the company was acutally put up as a part of a defense of Gore. (original article here)

"We do not invest in any activity of carbon offset. That's nonsense. We are a fund management business that does sustainability research," he added.

The confusion, Campbell said, arose because GIM pays to offset the energy use of its operations and the personal emissions of its 23 employees, including Gore.

They're saying that since they don't directly sell "carbon offsets", Gore couldn't possibly buy them from the company. They're also revealing, however, that Gore doesn't really buy them at all. His company does it for him.

One could argue, I suppose, that since he's co-founder of Generation Investment Management (GIM) and part owner, he cuts into his own profits and therefore is, in a way, paying for them. It does insulate him a bit from the payments, though -- if Al's company goes bankrupt, Al will not go bankrupt - not a luxury the rest of us have. Plus it's not like the offsets purchased don't encourage investment in companies in GIM's portfolios. Another point I'd like to make -- Al is basically saying by example is that if you're rich enough to buy the "offsets", you can pollute as much as you want. A bit of pollution class-ism.

If you look at GIM's website, it's chok full of vague language about what it is they do, but one consistent statement is "social, environmental, and geopolitical issues can materially impact a company's ability to sustain returns". In other words, they suggest that their investment philosophy is to invest in companies that can sustain profits through the very social, environmental, and geopolitical changes that Gore is trying jetting all over the world to effect.

Bigfoot Al, chairman of GIM says:

"Integrating issues such as climate change into investment analysis is simply common sense."

You know, every time an oil or coal company helps fund research investigating AGW and said research does not support it or actually counters it, it can (according to progressives) be dismissed without even reading it because of a "conflict of interest".

I'm thinking that Al Gore has a vested financial interest in using social and political pressure to steer industry toward goals in alignment with the companies you'll find in his investment company's portfolios. Mmmmm?

Michael Crichton, "State of Fear" is apparently much closer to the truth than I thought it might be.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


This looks an awful lot like a Paliwood Production.

Yeah, there are people firing guns, mat least half of them making no attempt to take cover -- and a lot of people taking video, waving their hands and hats in the air standing all around them -- with no apparent fear for their lives from any possible return fire.

It even has the requisite ambulance and people running after it.

Hat tip: Mark

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Not a Quack

Earlier I wrote a post about the Solar Global Warming Theory (which I'll call SGW as opposed to AGW -- Anthropogenic or Human-Caused....)

I said that I was holding a small bit of reservation on his theory due to the fact that National Geographic had this to say about it in it's article:

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block in Abdussamatov's theory is his dismissal of the greenhouse effect, in which atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide help keep heat trapped near the planet's surface.
He claims that carbon dioxide has only a small influence on Earth's climate and virtually no influence on Mars.
This is the bit that "The Concensus™ " uses to dismiss him. If, indeed, he was denying the existence of "the greenhouse effect" -- that is, that certain gasses in the atmosphere are very transparent in the visible spectrum but very absorbant/radiant in the infared spectrum and act as a sort of a blanket on the earth keeping it warmer than it would be without them, I'd say he's a bit suspect.

But here are the man's credentials. You couldn't be that unknowledgable about physics and especially black body radiation theory and get where he's gotten.

Habibullo Abdussamatov, born in Samarkand in Uzbekistan in 1940, graduated from Samarkand University in 1962 as a physicist and a mathematician. He earned his doctorate at Pulkovo Observatory and the University of Leningrad.

He is the head of the space research laboratory of the Russian Academies of Sciences' Pulkovo Observatory and of the International Space Station's Astrometry project, a long-term joint scientific research project of the Russian and Ukranian space agencies.

He has several published articles in the academic journal Solar Physics. I suspect he has the data to back his theory up.
So there must be some other explanation for the claim that he "dismisses" the greenhouse effect. Further into the interview, we get this:
"Mars has global warming, but without a greenhouse and without the participation of Martians," he told me. "These parallel global warmings -- observed simultaneously on Mars and on Earth -- can only be a straightline consequence of the effect of the one same factor: a long-time change in solar irradiance."

The sun's increased irradiance over the last century, not C02 emissions, is responsible for the global warming we're seeing, says the celebrated scientist, and this solar irradiance also explains the great volume of C02 emissions.

"It is no secret that increased solar irradiance warms Earth's oceans, which then triggers the emission of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. So the common view that man's industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect relations."

Dr. Abdussamatov goes further, debunking the very notion of a greenhouse effect. "Ascribing 'greenhouse' effect properties to the Earth's atmosphere is not scientifically substantiated," he maintains. "Heated greenhouse gases, which become lighter as a result of expansion, ascend to the atmosphere only to give the absorbed heat away."

In the first paragraph he talks about simultaneous global warming on two neighboring planets. He believes that variations in solar radiation output is a better explanation here than random chance. I tend to agree.
In the next two paragraphs, he discusses the effect of a warmer globe on the solubility of CO2 in the earth's oceans, and its subsequent release into Earth's atmosphere. He suggests that this may be the major underlying factor behind the C02 increase we've seen in the atmosphere over the last 100 years rather than industrial/energy generation output. This is backed up by historical climatological studies that show that CO2 increases in the atmosphere actually lag behind global temperature increases.
The final paragraph must be where they say he dismisses the greenhouse effect. A close look at his actual words as opposed to the article's author using the word "debunking" it is clear that he is saying that it has less of an effect than the current scientific wisdom thinks it does. He is describing convection that is really pretty much glossed over in the basic "prove that the earth's temperature is as warm as it is because of C02 in the atmosphere" meteorology school problem.
He's right. There are all kinds of assumptions in the solution to that problem. And he may be right that it is not scientifically substantiated in that there's a possibility that non-theoretical (that is, observation-based) studies have shown that what we model in theory is, in fact, what is actually happening.
So just to verify, I contacted the man directy, and he graciously responded.
He does not "dismiss" the greenhouse effect as it is properly defined (see most of these definitions) -- one of which is this:
The effect produced as greenhouse gases allow incoming solar radiation to pass through the Earth's atmosphere, but prevent part of the outgoing infrared adiation from the Earth's surface and lower atmosphere from escaping into outer space. This process occurs naturally and has kept the Earth's temperature about 59 degrees F warmer than it would otherwise be. Current life on Earth could not be sustained without the natural greenhouse effect.
He is not denying the existence of this natural greenhouse effect. I believe it is an artifact of translation -- English is not his first language -- that he substitutes this term for the theory of CO2-induced global warming. That is clearly what he means when you read the rest of what he has to say.

What he is doing is minimizing the role of CO2, especially additional CO2, in the process. Contrary to popular belief, he has a lot of company.

I will paraphrase what he had to say because I did not ask permission to quote him directly ( I don't think he'd mind, but I didn't ask)
He says that talking about CO2 as a major factor in the small warming we have seen isn't justified. In theory, CO2 could only be responsible for about 12% of any warming effect. Convection and mixing move heat away from the lower troposphere further reducing its potential effect. And finally, he says (and you're welcomed to look this up -- he's right) that there has been no observed correlation between increased CO2 in the atmosphere and average global temperature in the 20th Century.
Most estimates show a warming of 0.5C or 0.6C degrees over the past 100 years. This would mean that increased CO2 if the model is correct, could only be responsible for 0.0072C degrees.

Observation says that the model is waaaaaay to simple to show what effect additional CO2 has in the atmosphere, and any tweaks we make to the model are guesses. The model is not reality. Physics is not physical reality. A model is basically an essay in the language of Physics, which is a language we use to try to describe physical reality to the best of our ability.

Sometimes that ability isn't very good. Observation also shows that we haven't produced a model anywhere near capable of predicting earth's response to additional CO2.

Observation DOES, however, show that the earth has at times been much cooler with more CO2 than we have today, and also that the warmer it gets, the more CO2 we find in the atmosphere -- and get this: the increase in CO2 comes after the warming. This is observation, not speculation. This is not a model. This is what we observe.

I am quite happy to give my endorsement to Dr. Abdussamatov as a rational, qualified professional physicist who we have at least as much reason to believe as any other rational, qualified professional physicist. The qualifications I put on my endorsement of his ideas & research are hereby dropped.

Things I Know

Inspiration from the blog that nobody reads, I'm going to start my own "Things I Know" post. I'm starting small, with thing #1.

1. Evidence and proof are not synonymous.
2. There are a lot of people in the world who are quick to dismiss an argument by ascribing possible ulterior motives to the person making the argument. These people are usually not interested in addressing the pertinent facts.
3. Models are not reality. Models are expressions of belief about reality.
4. Correlation does not mean causation.
5. Multiculturalism = No Culturalism
6. The mere fact that plausible argument can be made does not mean that its conclusion is valid.
7. Tolerance and acceptance are not synonymous.
8. People are a lot more afraid of guns than they are of restrictive gun laws. This explains a few things: 1) a lot of people support restrictive gun laws, 2) crime rates are higher where there are more restrictive gun laws, and 3) crime rates are lower where there are less restrictive gun laws.
9. Narcissism is the realm of the insecure.
10. Facts don't know right-wing or left-wing. Interpretations do.
11. Anti-fashion is still fashion.
12. "Believed to be" and "is" are not synonymous
13. You don't get to decide when a war is over until you decide to lose it.
14. Imagination without knowledge is mere amusement.
15. If you don't want people to think you're an ass, it is a heck of a lot easier to just not be one than it is to constantly hide the fact that you are.
16. When people look too hard for evidence of something, they usually find it whether it's there or not.
17. In the last 200 years, at least, tyrants typically come to power via popular support from people who buy a "class warfare" world view. This view is marketed and sold by the tyrants who wish to be in power.
18. Unfortunately, sometimes war actually IS the answer.
19. When you have to be somewhere by a certain time in the morning, make sure you know how to get there before you go to bed the night before.
20. A good salesman is what you really need when what you're trying to sell is a piece of junk.
21. Racism is a part of the history of every race. corollary: Bigotry is a part of the history of every culture.)
22. There are many bad arguments for things that are nonetheless true. However, no argument will change a falsehood into a truth.
23. The flaw in Thomas Jefferson's philosophy was not in what the rights of men are, or in his ideas about limited government, but rather in whom he considered to be men at that point in history.
24. Progressivism isn't a conspiracy. It's more like a virus.
25. Dangers to a society may be mortal without being immediate. (Thomas Sowell)
26. Progressivism makes you "good" by forcing others to do what you are too weak-willed to do yourself.
27. Vehement protests that someone is not a socialist are almost invariably followed by a spirited defense of socialism.
28. Empty rhetoric can be interpreted to mean whatever the listener wants to hear.
29. I much prefer people who have standards and sometimes fail to live up to them over people who never fail to live up to theirs because they have none.
30. People are not bound by rules that they are willing to break.
31. Activism for activism's sake is a form of narcissism.
32. If someone says he's "post ideological", that person is undoubtibly a leftist. They're the ones that believe in a single, multicultural culture, that value judgements are "bad", and, of course that since their ideology is "right", it isn't really an ideology.
33. If it's got a politician's name in front of it, it's pork.
34. If A is "political" and B is opposition to A, then B is also "political".
35. There are no "false choices".  Only false assumptions about their consequences.
36. The difference between a wise man and a prideful fool is that both have a strong desire to be right, but one of them must never, ever be wrong.
37.There are few states of anxiety that cannot be at least temporarily broken, if not completely cured by a baby's laugh.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Mars Global Warming Without SUV's

After reading this National Geographic article

I'm still looking into the Russian guy's work. Likely some of the things he's said (they say he "denies" a "greenhouse effect" -- which, if true, would make him a quack in my book. (update: the man is no quack). But somehow I think he was misinterpreted or taken out of context). The National Geographic article I read started out citing the guy's work, then spent the second half of the article on rubuttals and rebukes.

When it's a pro-AGW article, you're lucky if you get a sentence or two addressing skepticism.

Some other things that have come to light

When the IPCC says "concensus" that man is causing global warming, it turns out that they base that on 928* scientists (and I think there were 933 or 935, so I guess they "conveniently" threw a few out) who "wouldn't deny" that man is contributing to the warming ( a little over 1 degree farenheit over 100 years) we've seen. I mean, I wouldn't deny it, either. I guess that would make me a part of the so-called "concensus". But a reputable scientist knows you can't disprove that we've had anything to do with it any more than he could say right now that you can prove it. So of course they would never say "nope, I'm 100% sure we're not contributing to it".

There have been studies (I've mostly been pointed to them by freinds of science and junkscience that point to a correlation between increased solar radiation and the warming we've seen. Paralell warming on Mars would support this theory. Apparently this russian scientist is one of the scientists that have studied this.

Here's what we do know:

  • The earth is a little over 1 degree F warmer than it was 100 years ago to the best of our ability to measure it in 1900.

  • Industry and energy generation, as well as fires -- release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

  • There appears to have been a substantial increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmostphere in the last 100 years.

  • There is a theory based on blackbody radiation theory equations that suggests that more C02 in the atmosphere would lead to warmer surface temperatures

  • There appears to have been an increase in solar activity over the last 150 years.
  • We have climate models based on assumptions and theories about physical processes in the earth's dynamic climate system. These models have been used to guess what might happen if we double the amount of C02 in the atmosphere.

  • Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have varied widely over time throughout history

Take away from that what you think you can.

Going down that list of facts above:

  • Anyone who has studied climate would not be alarmed at a 1.2F degree average global temperature increase over 100 years.

  • We really don't know what all is involved in the Earth's "carbon cycle". So we really can't say what happens to that carbon dioxide over time. We can guess it's due to the CO2 we're emitting. But it's just a guess. An educated guess. But much less educated than some would like you to believe.

  • There are ice core studies that suggest that increases in CO2 levels actually lag behind average global temperature increases.

  • Mathematical models are models we make up based on our understanding of a system, and believe me, we don't really understand the Earth's climate system anywhere near completely. All kinds of assumptions about the significance of other factors in the earth's surface temperature. The validness of a theory is directly proportional to our understanding of the processes involved. A model based on those theories is at least as limited. None of these models are capable of predicting future climate, or replicating current climate from past climate data.

  • Models used to predict average global temperatures for today back in the 1980's predicted higher temperatures than we have seen.

  • Increased solar radiation means that more energy from the sun is reaching the planets. Presumably, that would cause them to warm. Earth has apparently warmed slightly. So has Mars.

Now... what do YOU think?

* Incidentally, how many of those scientists were actually climatologists? AGW proponents are content to let you believe they all were.

World Protection UN Style

HT: House of Eratosthenes

Link to Ben Shapiro's story

excerpt of interest:
The UN would not be able to get together over something as simple and universal as the threat of an asteroid striking our planet. They would quarrel and babble; they might send a slightly perturbed radio message to the asteroid. And, in the end, the asteroid would nail us.

Karzai, tribal leaders sentiments back Cheney

From a VP Pool report filed by Mike Silva of the Chicago Tribune
At Cheney's luncheon with Karzai, the Afghan leader told a story of meeting with tribal leaders and trying to get them to cooperate. "The only question they wanted to ask me, was, 'Is the United States with you?" Karzai said, according to this account.

People are concerned about the US commitment to the region, and Democrats in DC talking about withdrawal from Iraq make them concerned - though that debate back home had no bearing on the VP's decision to come here, sao said. "That would have devastating consequences to what we're trying to do" in this part of the world.

Karzai was reportedly "upbeat" - with all the money and troops that the US is committing to Afghanistan, the sao said, "It's all taken as a sign" of commitment.

"They worry about that... If they see weakness on the part of the US... They worry about our commitment."

The proposals of people in the US to withdraw from Iraq have "consequences in this part of the world," the official said. "The al Qaeda strategy is based on the notion that they can break the will of the American people."
I'm going to guess "The Official" is Cheney himself in that last paragraph since it's the same wording Cheney has used before. And he's just as right. It is in Iraq as it is in Afghanistan.