Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Good Sowell reading in his area of Expertise


I know. Economics is boring. That's why so few people really know that much about it. You fall asleep before you can wrap your head around it. Which is why Communism is so successful ... not as socio-economic system, but as a revolutionary force. It just sounds so good to the disgruntled masses. But it isn't.

Don't worry. This won't hurt. Sowell is a good writer.
Tuesday, November 20: Income Confusion
Friday, November 23: Inside The Income Statistics
Tuesday, November 27: That 'Top One Percent'

Quote of the day

From Mark Steyn:

When there’s no longer a sufficiently strong moral consensus and when the state actively disapproves of a self-reliant citizenry, what’s left is the law. And law detached from any other social pillars is not enough, and never can be.

You've got to be kidding

I was looking for information on DIY cabling for diplexing satellite and UHF/VHF signals for television, and I came across an article that stated:

... in the UK you must have a TV Licence to watch TV.
I did a double take. Surely, that must be sarcasm.

It's apparently not. You may own a TV without having a TV license, and you can use it to watch pre-recorded programing such as DVD/VCR's and home video.

But get this:

Practical points: a)The TV in question should not be connected to an aerial. The only reason why a TV would be connected to an aerial is to receive broadcast feed. If a TVL visiting officer saw an aerial connected to the TV then both he and a court would assume broadcast reception. b) The TV must also show 'white noise' and not tv stations when clicked to various channels. c) It is probably best to inform any tvl visiting officer that you do not receive broadcast signals and leave it at that, then ask him to leave. Admitting TV use for video/DVD only, whilst perfectly legal, can cause problems. TVL visiting officers are commision based, so want you to get a licence or be 'nicked'. A TVL visiting officer could use your admittance of having a TV to try and incriminate you in his zeal for commision. There was a case in Cardiff recently where a TVL visiting officer was actually forging peoples signatures on 'confession' forms in order to get commision. He was subsequently found guilty in court.

And... and... it's £135 a year... which corresponds to roughly, what, ~$270?

Yeah, all you progressive Europhiles. Let's emulate them!

I realize it's state TV being broadcast over the airwaves, but if they're going to do that they should scramble the broadcast and distribute descramblers with the license. You shouldn't be peanalized for having a TV in your house and recieving what comes over the airwaves.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Disasters, AGW style

So I'm watching this thing on Discovery the other night ... "Fearless Planet" or something, and they're talking about the Sahara desert. About how it's grown, about how it used to be a lush paradise, about how it was once hit by an asteroid, of all the upheavals it's gone through.

Then the narrator (the wife says it was Sigourney Weaver) said something like "but there is a new disaster facing the Sahara." And I assumed, correctly, that that disaster would turn out to be "Global Warming".

Sure enough, that's what she said. But the disasterous effect Global Warming would supposedly have on the Sahara, she went on to say was....

are you ready for this?

... that it would turn back in to a lush jungle!!! *GASP*!!!!!!!


That's right, it would supposedly cool and get wetter due to changing circulation patterns, turning the famous barren wasteland into a font of life and diversity. You know, more lungs for the earth. Undiscovered cures for diseases we're always hearing about coming from our (disasterously disappearing) jungles and rainforests. Habitat for jungle creatures. Livable conditions for humans. Gigantic carbon sink. Disaster!

So apparently any change, anywhere -- in the climate has known for the past few hundred years is apparently a defacto disaster, then, to Enviroligionists.

Part of the enviroligion is the idea that "earth is in a delicate balance". But that is a myth. The earth has been changing from the very beginning. Plant life --- trees themselves -- dramatically "changed" the earth, its atmosphere, its climate. Bacteria. Algae. Huge impact on the climate and makeup of the atmosphere. But somehow, humans are separate. We are a cancer. As if we are not just as much from and of this earth as any other life form we see around us.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I Like This

If you read me much you know I'm impressed by conciseness. Definitions that distill words, yet express all the meaning they need to to cover the bases. This is a thoughtful article, and I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with the premise. It's this little bit that popped out that I like.

As we anguish over the possibility of collateral damage, this enemy practices collateral damage as a tactic of war.
There you go.

terrorism /ter-or-izm/ n. collateral damage as a tactic of war.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I'm pretty much sick and tired of O.J. The only thing I care about in this whole thing is when are they going to stop pretending this matters to the nation.

I liked O.J. playing football. I liked him in the Hertz commercials. I liked him in the annoucer booth. I liked him in the movies. I was upset that he was suspected of brutally murdering his wife/ex-wife ... I didn't want it to be true.

He got off on that one, though it would be my guess that he was, in fact, the responsible party. Few people think I'm going out on a limb there, I'm sure.

But it looks like we're doomed to months and months of all O.J., all the time again. I can't turn on the news with out O.J. this and O.J. that and frankly, no offense O.J., but I just don't give a bloody rot. Let the courts and the lawyers do their thing and tell me how it turns out. Or not.

Someone pointed out on one of those 24 hour news channels (had to have been Fox because I don't think anyone else would have allowed this to be uttered) .... that things must be going well for the U.S. and Iraqi's in Iraq because it's not headline, all bloody murder and bombs and no American Heroes all the time anymore -- we're talking about O.J. and some machisimo reverse-rip-off of some sports garbage. (In the mean time, Fox is also flooding us with Juice.)




And that's all I have to say about that.

Peaceful Purposes

Obfuscation. It keeps people off their toes. Iran keeps saying that their centrifuges are for peaceful purposes, for nuclear energy. Of course, let's not forget that "Islam" supposedly means "Peace" (actually "Submission") so "Peaceful Purposes" could mean "Islamic Purposes", or more accurately, to force the rest of us into "Submission".

Amir Taheri's column in today's post brings up the following, which I submit to those who buy the "peaceful purposes" arguement. ("Hey, why shouldn't we take what Ahmadinejad says at face value? After all, he says there are no gays in Iran!").
[UN Inspector Baradei's] report should debunk Ahmadinejad's claims by stating unequivocally that Iran has violated the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty on 32 issues over more than 18 years.

He should also expose Ahmadinejad's bogus claim that Iran is enriching uranium as fuel for power stations. Iran has no nuclear power plants and thus has no need of enriched uranium. The only nuclear plant under construction is to be completed by Russians at an unspecified date. But the uranium enriched by Iran at Natanz isn't suitable for that plant, which needs a specific type of fuel - the specifications for which Moscow has refused to give to Tehran.

Because nuclear fuel has a lifespan of three to four years, the Natanz uranium can't be intended for any of the 22 nuclear power plants that Ahmadinejad says he wants to build in Iran over the next 25 years. If told that the centrifuges are working to train Iranian scientists, Baradei should know that, at the level of scientific research, Iran already could enrich uranium in 1978.

The centrifuges working at Natanz can only be producing ingredients for nuclear warheads. Baradei should tell that truth to the Iranian people and the world at large.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This is friggin' excellent (Mark Steyn)

The Pasture is Prologue

It’s one of the curious features of the age that man demands the natural environment be preserved in an artificially unchanging state while being entirely insouciant to the abandonment of large slabs of his own broader environment. Had 53% or even 39% of the Antarctic ice shelf melted away, even we naysayers might be silenced. Yet the all but complete secularization of virtually the entire western world except the United States in little more than a generation is assumed to be the merest adjustment with no possible downside, unless you’re the benighted paranoid Americans too superstitious to get with the program.

Another Sowell Moment

He's good. Really good.

There are many ways of coping with tragedies. One of the less promising, and often dangerous, ways is to launch a crusade.

Crusades may be emotionally satisfying, politically popular and welcomed by the media. But crusaders are not known for caution, for weighing evidence or for counting the costs, which may extend well beyond the cost in money.
He was talking about the rush to diagnose autism. But it applies in so many other places.


I've been largely ignoring "Plantgate" -- where Clinton staffers apparently planted a questioner at one of her ... uh, town hall, or whatever -- campaign stops.

I don't want to accuse anyone of anything, but I would venture to say that she is not the first politician to do this.

My interest was mildly piqued this afternoon when I heard on Bob Parks' program what the "question in question" was... and it happened to be an AGW question. And I'd heard this morning that another person had come forward who had been given a question at one event but time ran out before they got to him.

But this... this looks like it's pretty systemic. It looks like Ms. Animatronics needs some high, fat pitches to hit out of the ballpark with prepared answers to appear strong in her convictions about "the issues that matter™", especially after her not being sure about whether or not illegal aliens should get drivers' licenses.

Speaking of issues that matter, I heard one I liked from Newt Gingrich last night on Fox... I think every candidate should be asked this question:

"Do you believe English should be the official language of our government?"
I'd sure like to hear the various answers to that one. He also said there were 11 other such issues listed on a new site I'm guessing he has his fingers in, Americansolutions.Com. Matter of fact, this is pretty good. Go out here and see how much of this you agree with.

I like what I've seen so far.

Rosie O'Doughnut


gave a speech recently, apparently, trashing Bush up one side and down the other (no surprise there). I saw the video on O'Rielly in one of his "read the body language" segements with body language expert Tonya Reiman.

I used to like Rosie back in the VH1 Comedy Spotlight days. I thought she was actually a pretty funny comedian. But now that she thinks she's really important and speaking truth to power, I don't think I could even sit through one of her old comedy routines.

In this speech, after claiming that Bush would actually have to physically take a dump on the actual Constitution (the document) to get impeached, she went on to say:

"This speech coule be considered a threat to national security. I could be thrown in jail."
Which is, of course, nonsense. But not in her head.

In her world, which is her stage, she is bravely speaking truth to power. She actually fantasizes that there is real danger. But I ask, of all that vile, slanderous, and often traitorous things that have been said and done by liberals since... well, the 2000 election, how many people have been arrested, much less put in jail, for uttering anything but a direct, physical threat?

The data does not support the theory here, rosie.

I sense a pattern here.

"First time in history fire has melted steel! Physically impossible!" - (O'Doughnut)

Of course, fire can and does melt steel. That's how it's made. Steel starts its life --melted. By fire. In the case of WTC building 7 which she was so expertly blabbering about repeating what she had been instructed to believe by freak conspiracy theorists -- the fire didn't melt the steel. But it did heat it to about 1,200 degrees. At which point it loses about half its strength. Of course, steel and steel work not being cheap, if half the strength of the steel that was used was all that was needed to hold the building up, I'm thinking they would've used less of it. So, miss know-it-all-o-doughnut??? The building fell because the steel columns and beams holding it up were structually weakened by 7 hours of fire. Fire fed by diesel lines that were meant for backup generators.

The steel didn't melt, but it had, in effect, "gone all wobbly" as the British would say. Not physically impossible at all. But of course, neither is fire melting steel. Granted, it takes a well tended fire to melt it. But it's not physically impossible.

When rosie got booted off the View, there were cries of "save free speech!" "Defend Rosie O'Donnell!" "ABC can't fire her! "

But free speech means the government can't arrest her, not that ABC or anyone else can't fire her. And contrary to her public preening display of "daring", nobody has even thought about throwing her in jail (satisfying as that might seem to some of us). She is free to blather on and we are free to say what we think about her blathering. If ABC thinks her blathering is reflecting badly on them, they have every right to say "buh-bye".

People don't seem to get that. Especially liberals. Their whole understanding of the world is a bit fuzzy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

BBC Climate Questionnaire

I took the BBC climate questionnaire, just for grins.


1 Do you believe that the global average surface temperature has risen over the last 50 years?

It has risen, fallen, and risen again. It is apparently slightly higher than it was 50 years ago.

2 If yes, do you agree with the IPCC's range for that rise of between 0.10 and 0.16 Celsius per decade - alternatively, what figure or range of figures do you believe to be correct?

We have no way of knowing what is "correct". Every method is merely an estimate based on different premises.

3 If you do not believe that the global average surface temperature has risen over the last 50 years, what is your explanation for increasing temperatures recorded by ground-based instruments over that period?

Climate varies. The fact of the matter is, we don't know. Even if we did, I doubt it would be one single factor.

4 Do you agree that the oceans have warmed to depths of several kilometres over the last 50 years?

I haven't seen any data, but I haven't looked. However, one shouldn't be surprised that if Earth's atmosphere has warmed in general, that the oceans would as well.


5 Do you believe that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases have increased over the last century or so?


6 If so, do you agree that the rises are principally due to anthropogenic factors?

Maybe some of it. Maybe all of it. Maybe very little to none of it. We don't know.

7 For carbon dioxide, do you accept the broad figure of 280ppm in the post-glacial but pre-industrial era, and the current figure of about 380ppm?

Not blindly, but for now, sure.


8 Do you agree with the principle that rising concentrations of greenhouse gases will increase radiative forcing?

In theory it should in a homogeneous black body model with no negative feedback processes such as variations in albedo due to cloud cover. By that same theory, each unit of CO2 increase should have less of an impact than the previous unit. More importantly, the earth/atmosphere system is not a homogeneous black body with no negative feedback mechanisms.

9 Do you agree that the relationship between CO2 concentrations and radiative forcing, given current levels, is logarithmic?

Again, on that theoretical black body, yes. Do you know what logarithmic means? It is the opposite of exponential (or another way of putting that is that the exponent is negative). Each additional unit of CO2 would theoretically contribute less to such a warming than the previous unit.

10 If you answered 'Yes' to question 1, do you believe that rising greenhouse gas concentrations are the most important factor behind the observed increases in the global average temperature? If not, what would you say is/are the principal factor(s) behind the observed rise?

Probably not. See the answer to question 3.

11 If you answered 'No' to question 1 but 'Yes' to questions 5 and 8, what is your explanation for why rising greenhouse gas concentrations, associated with higher radiative forcing, have not resulted in a rise in the global average temperature?

I did not answer 'No' to question 1, but I did answer yest to 5 and 8. Again, check the answer to question 3. There are probably many contributing factors, most of which would have been here in our absence. But right now we can't prove which ones contribute how much because we really don't have that good an understanding of the system.

12 What value, or range of values, would you estimate for climate sensitivity?

Sensitivity to what? CO2? In the past it appears that temperature increases drove CO2 increases, not the other way around. My speculation would be very little if any.


13 What would you say is the maximum amount by which the global average annual surface temperature can vary over the course of a century due to natural variability?

Well, there's a certain ignorance imbedded in that question about what constitutes natural variability and what can and can't happen. Obviously variations in solar output would be a major contributor. Volcanic actvity can wreak havock on what we consider normal by ejecting particulate matter into the atmosphere, as would asteroid collisions. Other than that variations in the tilt of the earth seem to have the largest impact, but it happens too slowly to notice and wouldn't figure in to a 100 year analysis. Climatologically speaking, glancing at a temperature chart covering the last 3,000 years, it doesn't appear that 0.5-0.7 degrees is uncommon at all. Go back 10,000 years and it gets a little crazy. What is clear is that there is no "correct" temperature and that global temperature has rarely remained steady for very long in geological time.


14 Do you believe that if concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases rise significantly higher than they are now, there is a chance of dangerous climatic change resulting?

Gut feeling? No. Data to the contrary would convince me. Right now there isn't any.

15 If you answered 'No' to the previous question but 'Yes' to question 8, could you explain why you do not feel rising concentrations might prove dangerous?

I don't believe CO2 is a significant temperature driver in the earth/atmosphere system. Models say it should be, but data does not back it. In fact it may actually contradict it.

16 Do you think it would be wise for the global community to set a maximum limit for atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, or of carbon dioxide equivalent? If so, what limit would you recommend?

Pollution in general is bad. Conservation in general is good. Arbitrary caps without credible justification are wrong.

17 If anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions increase broadly in line with "business as usual" projections over the next 20 years or so, which of the following statements would most closely reflect your opinion of the likely impact of emissions over that period:

· they will not have any deleterious impacts on human societies or the natural world

· they will have some impacts on human societies and the natural world, but nothing that cannot be dealt with quite easily

· they will have major impacts on some human societies and some aspects of the natural world

18 Which of these statements most reflects your view of the Kyoto Protocol:

  • it was a worthwhile attempt to tackle an issue of global significance
  • it was the wrong approach to tackling an issue of global significance
  • it was meaningless, because there is no reason for attempting to curb greenhouse gas emissions at present (caveat -- CO2 emmisions in general are usually accompanied by actual pollutants -- that would be a reason. But the presumed reason here is that CO2 will drive temperature, and that is not a reason. Which is why this is the "best" answer for me.)


19 Do you believe that computer models, when used in conjunction with observational data, can in principle make meaningful projections of future temperature and climate trends at global and regional scales?

Is it theoretically possible? Yes. With the knowledge we have now? No.

20 If so, would you say current models are, on the whole:

· very accurate and useful

· quite accurate and useful

· not very accurate or useful (assuming you are talking about climate models)

· completely useless

21 If you answered c or d to the last question, could you explain what it is that you believe to be wrong with current models?

Models are expressions of belief, they are not fact. They prove nothing. Another way of putting it is: models are always wrong, but sometimes they're useful anyway. Models can only include approximations of what we understand, or think we understand. The more we understand, the better the model should be, and the better our mathematical approximations of what we understand, the better the models should be. Our mathematical approximations of what we do understand aren't the main source of error. The problem is that we don't understand nearly enough about how the entire earth/atmosphere system works to have a useful climate model. We have useful short-term weather forecasting models, but out past about 10 days they become pretty useless. Here we're talking about years, decades, and centuries.

22 If you answered 'No' to question 19, what approach would you prefer to computer modelling as a way of forecasting future climate?

Keep working on what we have, but don't pretend it means much until we understand the system well and/or it verifies fairly reliably (which would infer, but not prove, the former).


23 Which element(s) of your academic background is/are relevant to climate change?

B.S. in Atmospheric Science, ABD Masters course work in Atmospheric Science.

24 Could you please supply a list of scientific publications (not exhaustive), or a weblink to such a list, which demonstrates your expertise in the climate field?

Nope. Don't have any.

25 Have you ever received funding from a company involved in fossil fuel production or use, or from an institution which receives such funds? If so, please give details.

No. And if I did, what then? The IPCC is an intergovernmental organization which has an
interest in making itself relevant. It is funded by governments which have agendas. Government grants go to people whose research supports AGW. Publications reject papers that tell the other side. There is general interest, though short of a conspiracy, in keeping this idea alive. The money that pays for it is no less an incentive, to those looking to be published, to color research in a certain direction than it might be for someone whose research was partially funded by a fossil fuel company. The fact of the matter is that the fossil fuel industry's contribution to research is paltry, especially compared to what you can get from a government grant or from someone with an environmentalist agenda (no matter how well-meaning it might be). It just might be that the fossil fuel industry chooses to give funding to researchers whose research doesn't back the AGW theory. It would make sense. Perhaps their independent research attracts the funding rather than what the implication is here -- that the funding attracts tainted research. When I listen to skeptics like Lindzen and Christy, I hear people who are talking like scientists talk. When I listen to AGW believers, I often hear scientific language... but they don't talk like scientists. Scientists are natural skeptics and want theories to be backed by data. If it is not backed by data, they couch their opinions in the language of opinion. AGW proponents tend to talk like believers, as if they know the truth and those who don't believe are idiots, or infidels.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Useful Tool

Via Mark Steyn:

Handy tool the Anthropogenic Global Warming theory is. Listen in on environmental activist Johh Feeny:
We must end world population growth, then reduce population size. That means lowering population numbers in industrialised as well as developing nations.

To which Steyn adds, most insightfully:
It's fascinating to observe how almost any old totalitarian racket becomes respectable once it's cloaked in enviro-hooey. For example, restrictions on freedom of movement were previously the mark of the Soviet Union et al. But in Britain, they're proposing limits on your right to take airline flights to other countries - and, as it's in the name of environmental responsibility, everyone thinks it's a grand idea.

Move Over Heidi Cullen

Weather Channel founder John Coleman has a little something to say about "The Debate That's Over™".
It is the greatest scam in history. I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it.

I've had quite a bit to say on it myself, if you're not a regular reader.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Like you care says I'm an Uber Cool High Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

I Like This

HT: Michelle Malkin

Left as a comment by txvet2 on one of her posts.

Newspeak V1 word for "good"


Fair = Good

Keep that in mind when listening to campaign-speak. And ask...

"Why you keep using that word? I dunut think it means wha' you think it means."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Redefining Reality

I was just over commenting on this post on Morgan's blog, the House of Eratosthenes.

And it reminded me of this post by yours truly a few days ago and the fact that there's more to the story. There's a bigger picture here.

The real big picture is that Newspeak is, in fact on our doorstep.

Words are being substituted for others in a systematic way, vocabulary is being reduced in an attempt to subvert and eliminate critical thinking. Analysis is reserved for an elite group of official spokespeople.

"Racist" was being extended to include any action or thought against any non-caucasian individual rather than what the original definition was. It has even been extended to religions... which aren't races at all.

When thinking people woke up and began to call the progressives on this, they have actually attempted in more than one case to formally re-define racism so that only "whites" can be racist. They even went so far as to specificy that in the definition, and include in the definition the blatantly racist statement that all whites are racist.

Similar things have been done with sexism and bias against sexual orientation.

Everyone agrees racism is bad. By re-defining racism to include anything which progressives don't like that has anything to do with anyone from a country, culture, religion... or actual race that isn't of caucasian and Christian cultural lineage, progressives daily bludgeon the culture that made America great. Even to the extent that this very culture being bludgeoned has evloved from it's own basic principles to reject prejudices against race, sex, and peaceful religions and cultures appears to be bludgeoning itself in some sort of bizzare, medieval penitent ritual of self-flagellation. It condemns one thing while the progressives have re-defined it to reflexively include classic Western Civilization itself and all it stands for.

And while this is going on, Newspeak version 2 is already in development. Eventually, "sexism", "racism" and any other such "-ism" is on track to be replaced by one word.


We're off to a flying start on our way to "ungood".

Just listen. Read a progressive blog or progressive trolls in the comments of conservative blogs or news stories that lay out a conservative argument. "Hate". It's becoming ubiquitous.

All who know me know I am not a conspiracy theorist. I'm actually a conspiracy skeptic. I'm not saying there's a grand, top-down orchestrated conspiracy to do this. Rather, it is being done out of political convenience by many groups that share some similar goals. It is a useful tool to their aims and ends, and they probably use it independently. It is a tool used to obfuscate the issues so that people can be told what to think by defining the language they must use, and re-defining any language their opponents use to mean what they, under the various sub camps under the progressive banner, want it to mean.

Another Thing I Know?

"The only thing they really care about is that you think they care."

Heard this morning on the radio talking about the new religion of Environmentalism (which I call Enviroligion).

This is something I know... maybe I should add it to my list of "Things I Know". But this is the best I've ever heard it put. Succinct. Accurate.