April 10, 2014

Thank you Senator!

Senator Harry Reid (Hypocrite-NV) vigorously defended federal funding for a Cowboy Poetry Festival in his state 3 years ago, slamming Republicans who sought to cut it from the federal budget as "mean spirited."

He might feel that move has come back to haunt him, as the manager of a ranch under siege by the Obama Administration's Bureau of Land Management for letting cattle eat desert grass, as the family has done since about 1870, seems to have benefited from the event.

"They're trying to take our stewardships,

And run us off the land that we love best.

But I think they'll find the hard way,

that we're still willing to fight for this here west.


I hope them fellers soon hump their holes

or some of us will lose our souls,

'cause killin' it ain't right

but don't expect to take this land without a fight.


The fire is ragin' once again in the western man's eyes,

and these eastern folks are gettin' thicker than flies.

We're tyin' our ropes into twelve-coil knots,

our guns are loaded and our hammers are cocked.


So you'd better help us find a solution

or pull your hats down tight and get ready for the western revolution.


-Derrel Spencer, Ranch Manager

I wonder who he would say is more "mean spirited" - Republican legislators or armed BLM agents engaged in cattle rustling?

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:26 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

A mendacious old codger from Searchlight,
Thought your tax dollars his birthright,
Koch brothers he fought,
While liberty's sons sought,
His majority's eventual twilight.

Posted by: jk at April 10, 2014 8:08 PM

January 31, 2014

All Hail Geraghty

I enjoy Jim Geraghty's "Morning Jolt" newsletter and quote little bits of it frequently. He's not unlike a Jonah Goldberg or Mark Steyn in his capacity to get a point across entertainingly [subscribe].

Today he documents a huge victory of the environmentalist movement, linking to and quoting a piece by William Dietrich. Worth a read in full but the upshot is that the bulk of the Pacific Northwest lumber industry was shut down over the spotted owl -- a species almost nobody had heard of until it graced TIME magazine's cover in 1990.

Well, lumbering was shut down and the spotted owl population continues to decline. It seems barred owls are killing them. So in our best werefromthegovernmnetandwereheretohelp mode, the Feds are removing the barred owls. Talk about picking winners and losers, eh? Geraghty:

That terminology is a bit Orwellian, isn't it? We "removed" the owls by tracking them, attracting them, and then blasting them full of birdshot until they were dead. Remember that next time the Fish and Wildlife Service ask you to "remove" your trash.

So the environmentalists' plan to save the owls . . . is to shoot other owls.

Now, come on. We're conservatives. We know that this isn't a real solution. Put aside the concerns that this constitutes big government meddling in Charles Darwin's biological free market.

This is a territorial dispute between two species, and one is aggressive and invasive. The only thing that stops a barred owl . . . with a gun . . . is a spotted owl with a gun. It's time to arm the spotted owls and enact a "stand your ground" law that guarantees the spotted owl's right to use deadly force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation.

You will get the spotted owls' guns when you take them . . . from their cold, dead talons.


Posted by John Kranz at 10:33 AM | Comments (8)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... or even just sat at home and watched cartoons?"

That would be more than a removal of their negative economic impact; it would be a positive. Think no further than the increased sales of Mountain Dew and Pop-Tarts it would engender, and the stimulus that would have on the economy.

JK: I'll take the "Against" of your resolution. The possible benefit in terms of acid rain and the ozone layer are more than offset by the added costs of developing and producing unleaded fuel, the profits of which, being made available for improvement in gasoline technology, might have been reaped today. One might as well say that the scarcity and high prices caused by the Arab Oil Embargo and Carter's disastrous policies were a good, because they forced us to develop more efficient engines. Break a window to stimulate the economy?

We could also introduce ethanol and the replacement of R-12 with R-134a to this discussion, if you'd like...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 31, 2014 2:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Correct me if I'm misinformed, but "acid rain" was a consequence of high-sulfur coal. Tetra-ethyl-lead in gasoline was targeted as a purported source of environmental lead poisoning - a claim which may also have been dubious. (I'm certain that the removal of lead from electronics for the same reason was dubious.) BUT...

I bear no ill will toward those who strive to reduce pollution. The environmentalism industry however has several faults: Zeaolous extremism that prevents any sense of balance or judgement in cost benefit analysis, a shortage of enough legitimate causes to support full-time employment, and a fertile environment for co-option by anti-modernity and anti-progress elements, being just a few that come to mind.

Posted by: johngalt at January 31, 2014 2:53 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm just a software guy. It could all be caused by bovine flatulence...

I think the question is hugely important from a freedom perspective. I agree with both of you about the abuses of the green lobby (excepting the sea-foam green guitar industrial complex). And I agree that the net is negative.

But the foundation of the pro side is that there are negative externalities whose only mitigation is through regulation. The camel's nose has been invited into the tent. One foot down the slippery slope.

Posted by: jk at January 31, 2014 3:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The foundation of the pro side is that those negative externalities outweigh the combination of all of the positives. And since in a capitalistic system they contend that all of the positives accrue only to the person engaged in industry, any negative consequence whatsoever is sufficient, in their estimation, to compel the industrialist to cease and decist.

Further, environmentalists always assume that the negatives are greater than they really are.

Posted by: johngalt at January 31, 2014 6:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Don't worry. At midnight I turn back into jk...

Wit' all due respect, no. The pro side is "see, we need some regulation, we need some governmental environmental oversight. Now that we've established what you are, we may quibble about price."

The pro side establishes that there is a line to be set and a role for the EPA's existence. The against side would document how property rights and laissez faire policies could manage these. I'd love that to be true, but I have not seen it.

Posted by: jk at January 31, 2014 8:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"But who would protect the air? Even if your free-market capitalist pipe dream really worked, nobody can own the air."

I was trying to answer that rebuttal before anyone made it. Now I've the pleasure of lobbing it at your reasonable point of view.

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2014 11:50 AM

January 3, 2014

Another "dirty little secret" of renewable energy

I wonder if readers will be as surprised as I to learn that the energy required to produce a 1,000 watt solar panel is on the order of 20,000,000 watt hours? That is the gist of this 1997 Australian whitepaper - Can Solar Cells Ever Recapture the Energy Invested in their Manufacture?

It depends on the particular type of panel of course, and efficiencies may have improved but still, I wonder how many solar PV evangelists know that the energy produced in the first 2-10 years of their system's operation all goes to pay back the energy consumed to create the things in the first place? "Woo hoo, halfway through my solar PV warranty period I'm finally net energy positive! Feel the clean power baby!"

I heard this topic discussed on a local liberty-oriented radio show last night, where the claim was that the energy of manufacture exceeds the energy produced over a lifetime. While that may be true at extreme latitudes it's a credibility-destroying exaggeration.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:17 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

And the batteries in that plug-in Prius already have 40,000 miles of equivalent impact on them.

Talking with a friendly on FB (yeah, there's one -- I met him at LOTR-Flatirons), I'm concerned about something else photovoltaic: From Dr. Gray's Global Warming speech, the solar energy hitting earth is ~4W/m2 -- is that not a maximum? 5 x 5 m to light a 100W bulb? Good thing they're illegal.

Me missing something?

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2014 5:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, 4 watts is way low. Click the Atlantis Farm Weather widget on the sidebar any time to find a graph of real-time solar radiation in watts per square meter. In winter the peak is about 500 and in summer about 1000. Even averaged over a 24-hour period it is about 80 watts in winter and 160 in summer.

Which means, now that I think about it, a 1kW peak power panel can't produce that much year-round, which means the years to break even is higher than advertised.

Posted by: johngalt at January 3, 2014 6:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Very cool, thanks. Me need to read Dr. Gray again.

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2014 6:13 PM

October 31, 2013

None are Safe

I've had an office in Boulder County since 1988. I now work from home, but it is virtualized to Boulder space. I've seen a lot of nonsense. When the floor is opened for questions at a company meeting, and one can ask anything of any of the executive leadership team, a frequent choice of this valuable resource is to inquire as to "why the CEO was seen three weeks ago Tuesday throwing an aluminum can in the trash!"

I've inured to the zip code somewhat. But I sometimes let my mind slip to dream of what it would be like to work for the Koch Brothers or the Ayn Rand Institute, or AEI and ...

Oh. Wait: Et tu AEI?

Freedom. Free markets. Individual initiative. Independence. The pursuit of happiness unencumbered by the opinions and constraints of officials, "experts," and other such busybodies. Don't Tread On Me.

Those are the principles for which AEI stands, and I came to AEI precisely so that my work would promote them. Or. So. I. Thought. Until this morning, when upon entering my office--rested and ready for a productive day of work--I found... a recycling box. And not just any recycling box, but instead one listing on the sides in bold lettering "Acceptable" and "Not Acceptable" classes of trash respectively deemed kosher and treif for deposit in this equivalent of the Ark of the Covenant for the religious fads of modern political correctitude.


Gotta go, we always have the Tofu Chili contest every year on Hallowe'en...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:47 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Pedants: does the title bother you? I am helping a friend through a grammar book and was surprised to find that "'None' is always singular" is now considered archaic.

Modern usage is to consider it plural as a replacement for "not any" and singular as a replacement for "not one."

Archaic. I consider it more "old school..."

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2013 1:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We are all archaic now.

Posted by: johngalt at October 31, 2013 3:35 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And "archaic" is but one small step from "obsolete." Perhaps Rod Serling might share a bit of wisdom on that subject:

"... He was obsolete. But so is the State, the entity he worshiped. Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete."

http://youtu.be/ZymJAsxHbVg

(From back in the days when television wasn't yet a vast, intellectual wasteland. How old-school is that?)

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 31, 2013 4:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I recall a few episodes of The Twilight Zone in re-runs during my youth. I never saw, and would not have understood at that tender age, this one. A hundred thanks, dear brother. It has been said before and I will echo: Rod Serling was a genius.

Posted by: johngalt at November 1, 2013 3:15 PM

August 20, 2013

Subsidies: Useless or Harmful?

So a report from the National Academies, commissioned by Congress bifurcates green energy subsidies. The WSJ Ed Page:

Take ethanol and other biofuel subsidies, which the committee calls a "most striking" example. The 45-cents-a-gallon ethanol tax credit expired in 2012, but before it died it was increasing carbon emissions by five million tons every year, at a cost of $5.26 billion. As they say, it's not easy being green.

But fear not, Boulder denizens. Most of them do not harm the environment -- they just waste a ton of money and impede innovation.
Other tax provisions are more useless than harmful by the green lobby's anticarbon standards. The renewable electricity tax credit for wind and solar will reduce emissions by roughly all of 0.3% by 2035, which is still minuscule globally.

The panel also tried to study tax credits for home energy efficiency improvements, but these programs "resisted analysis" because they are so complicated, which is a running theme in the report. One of the committee's main conclusions is that "the best existing analytical tools are unable to determine in a reliable fashion the impact of some important subsidies."

Ponder that one: The roughly $24 billion that the U.S. spends annually on energy subsidies is so complex that its impact can't be understood by America's top scientists and economists.


Of course, at the end of the day, the report concludes that a carbon tax would be better than multiple, ill-conceived subsidies. Freedom never seems to be on the menu with these people.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:11 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

U.S. government energy subsidy impacts are too complex for America's "top scientists and economists" to understand, yet they have reached some "consensus" on the impacts of prosperity on the global climate. How's that again?

Posted by: johngalt at August 20, 2013 12:36 PM

July 29, 2013

Matt Ridley, Call your Office!

In his superb "The Rational Optimist" [Review Corner], Matt Ridley describes an optimistic and rational view of feeding the planet well and returning agricultural acres to wilderness. One might think the environmental crowd would be onboard. But, alas and alack, it uses technology.

Missouri farmers Blake and Julie Hurst take to the pages of AEI to have sport with a snooty locavorist column in The Smithsonian. The whole thing is great, but this section caught my eye:

We just bought a new planter here on our corn and soybean farm in Missouri. It will allow us to move a bit further toward adopting "precision farming." The planter communicates directly with global positioning satellites and will, using yield maps developed over several years, allow us to vary seed population rates over the field. We will plant more seeds in places where yields are typically high, and sow fewer seeds where yields have been lower. The machines that fertilize the farm will have access to the same information and satellites, allowing us to apply the optimal amount of nutrients precisely on each fractional acre in the field. We will be farming with a level of precision, economy, and individuality that has never before been possible. We will be spoon feeding our crops in a way that means each corn field might as well have been grown by, well, an artisan. We'll have that local knowledge that Wendell Berry so eloquently wrote about in the books and essays that were the founding documents of what is now the "food movement."

I cannot imagine any of my lefty pals enjoying that paragraph like I do. It encompasses capital, innovation and making life better. It describes truly sustainable agriculture Yet little of it would be popular in Boulder or on my Facebook feed.

(POSSIBLY UNDERMINIG THE THESIS) UPDATE: Kyle Smith:

What is "the cheapest, most nutritious and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history" Hint: It has 390 calories. It contains 23g, or half a daily serving, of protein, plus 7% of daily fiber, 20% of daily calcium and so on.

Also, you can get it in 14,000 locations in the US and it usually costs $1. Presenting one of the unsung wonders of modern life, the McDonald's McDouble cheeseburger.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:10 PM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2013

Boulder Libertarians Fight Bag Ban

Libertario Delenda Est is suspended for a post. Here we find L:ibertairians doing something useful -- and the Boulder Daily Camera actually prints a guest ed about it!

It was only a few years ago that libertarians warned that growing corn to make ethanol as a gasoline substitute was a really dreadful idea. We were proven right and there is now almost universal disdain for the use of corn to make ethanol, except, of course, by the ethanol industry.

So now in the City of Boulder we have another really bad idea: tax ten cents for nearly every plastic shopping bag.

What could possibly be wrong with what the City Council documented in its disposable bag fee ordinance?
[...]
The council calls this new bag tax a fee, but, of course, it's a new tax on those who wish to use a product. According to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, new taxes require a vote of the citizens and fees don't. So the City Council calls it a fee. George Orwell's famous quote is worth repeating, "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."

So what are we Libertarians going to do about this?

We are considering (a) Organizing a citizens' initiative to place on the ballot a prohibition on this new tax. (b) Handing out free plastic bags in front of the stores of cooperating retailers.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:03 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

They were keeping their powder dry until a really big issue came along. One that only they could solve. Colorado faces constitutionally dubious new laws regarding arms, energy and the democratic process but Boulder Libertarians come out in full-force for... "free plastic bags."

Life really is too easy in America.

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2013 11:12 AM
But jk thinks:

Whoa! The quality of mercy is not Brother jg...

I'm offering organic, gluten-free olive braches to Boulder LPs because this is something of a pet issue of mine.

Plus we might never reach our other-sided friends on arms, fracking, or the GOP's War on Minority voters. But sometime -- I hope -- they might see unintended consequences in more picayune legislation.

Blog friend sc disarms opponents in abortion debates by immediately switching to antitrust rulings in Major League Baseball. Sometimes, replacing the hot button emotional issue with an allegory, like laying down a solid bunt up the third base line, is a good play.

(Not that I ever reached on bags either, but one must keep trying...)

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2013 11:54 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Bah. Summer soldiers and sunshine patriots, the lot of them.

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2013 1:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Yay!!!!

Posted by: jk at July 25, 2013 6:38 PM

July 13, 2013

The "Producer's Pledge"

"I am proud of my company's product and the profit we make by selling it to others - freely, and to our mutual benefit. Since certain government entities have materially restricted my ability to produce and profit it is no longer beneficial for me to sell my product in the jurisdictions of those government entities. I therefore pledge that I will no longer sell my product through distribution channels that serve the state, county, or local governments that restrict or prohibit my ability to produce my product."

The idea here is that when the voters of, say, Boulder County, Colorado, find their gasoline prices spiking and supplies becoming scarce they will finally make the connection between their voting habits and the supply of daily conveniences that they have come to take for granted.

If you are interested in the supporting "rant" for this idea, read on below.

Ayn Rand said,

"Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man’s life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work—pride is the result."

Anyone who has ever felt the gratifying sense of an accomplishment after making or building something has a hint that this is true. But the central purpose? The central value? To answer those questions ask this one: What else, other than productiveness, gives man pride?

Just as the passage of the 2009 "Stimulus" Bill precipitated a civil uprising known as the TEA Party, the partisan overreach of Colorado's 2013 legislative session produced a movement advocating that many rural Colorado counties secede from the rest of the state. Practical problems with that idea spawned a call to rearrange Colorado's legislature such that every county is represented by its own state senator, regardless of population, as is the case regarding the several states in the United States Senate. But this too has a practical problem. The same problem that led to both the 2013 Colorado legislature and the 2009 United States legislature being controlled by a single political party. The problem is something Americans have long been taught to hold as a virtue. The problem is democracy.

Democracy is not the same thing as freedom. Democracy is the idea, not that people decide how to live their own lives, but that a large enough group of people can decide how everyone is to live his life. To understand if an idea is virtuous or not imagine its extreme. The extreme of democracy is ochlocracy. (Look it up.) The extreme of freedom is, liberty. And to understand just how mixed up and turned around political philosophy has become, consider the fact that those who once advocated for extreme freedom, whether from a monarch or from a religion, were called "liberals" but those known as liberals today are advocates of "social equality" and/or "environmental protection" via democracy - a decidedly anti-liberty prescription.

The men and women of rural Colorado have many reasons to seek separation from their neighbors in the urban counties but as one county commissioner said, "The mandate that tells us what kind of energy sources we may use was the last straw." And understandably so. In addition to producing food that feeds the urban county populations, many of the rural counties produce another valuable export product that results in billions of dollars in wealth creation and millions of dollars in tax revenues to state and local governments. That product, actually many products, is known as oil and natural gas.

For economic reasons the fastest growing process used today to extract oil and gas in the United States is hydraulic fracturing, or fracing. (Also spelled "fracking.") The only real difference between fracking and conventional drilling is that a water-based solution is pumped into the well after drilling and before pumping to create pathways through which the oil may escape to the well bore. That's it. It's not polluting and it's not sinister, although its detractors do everything possible to convince us, the people who vote, that it is both of those things. And many people are convinced. One such person is Washington County resident Steve Frey who said, "I don't want be [sic] in a 51st state. I don't want any part of their fracking that they're doing in Weld County."

I could not possibly agree more with Mr. Frey's contention that he has a right to be free from every aspect of the oil extraction process called "fracking" that he disagrees with, for whatever reason he chooses to do so. Industry must begin taking immediate steps, doing everything in its power, so that those who oppose its practices must not be forced to accept the severance tax revenues accorded to their local government by fracking. Unfortunately, government holds the reins on virtually every aspect of this unfair treatment of Mr. Frey and others similarly situated. Industry has but one thing it may control. Namely, to whom and to where it chooses to sell its product.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:56 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Well said and well thought. But it strikes me as a very tough sale.

Trying to think of a producer who would eschew a sale, it would probably have to be more direct. Maybe I wouldn't sell to the Taliban, but withholding gas from a poor stupid Boulder guy's Subaru? It doesn't take many cycles to rationalize away that.

My employer sells bucketloads to gub'mint. I read your pledge first, as you presented and thought "we're not going to leave that money on the table" while he rest of your post loaded.

NED bless Magpul (though principled stands might be a plus in that industry) but while government seems pretty close to Atlas, I think business is light years away. And for every principled Galt, there are a dozen James Taggarts to patch things over. In fact, we probably make the Progressives' favorite error of conflating business-folk with Capitalists.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2013 12:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. Your very last point is key. And it is the only way we can convince producers to do this, as a moral issue.

"Do not conflate winning special favors from government with achievement. Cronyism and achievement are each other's mortal enemies."

(I quote because I just said it on Facebook.)

Just as peaceful Muslims lose credibility when they fail to denounce the crimes of Islamofascists perpetrated in the name of their faith, capitalists lose credibility when they fail to denounce and distinguish themselves from crony-capitalists.

I'm not thinking we would encourage individual gas stations to refuse fueling Subarus (while still selling to SUV owners) but for oil producers or refiners to stop selling to retailers who don't agree to temporarily padlock their pumps in those cities and counties. The producers will still have a world market to sell into. The retailers will be under public pressure to make a decision. If one agrees he will be the only one in the region to receive fuel shipments. This applies to all counties, even the ones that allow fracking.

There are details to be worked out, for sure, but to any extent such a plan is executed, especially just before an election, it will bring an important question into the public square: Do producers need consumers, or do consumers (and government) need producers?

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2013 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"We will rebuild America's system on the moral premise which had been its foundation, but which you treated as a guilty underground, in your frantic evasion of the conflict between that premise and your mystic morality: the premise that man is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others, that man's life, his freedom, his happiness are his by inalienable right." | Atlas Shrugged
Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2013 11:01 AM

July 11, 2013

Some Rational Optimism for Thursday

Very much in the spirit of his "The Rational Optimist" [Review Corner]. Sadly very much not in the style of "saucily exhibiting Kelly Slater's package".

Posted by John Kranz at 4:47 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

How much would we have to pay Kelly to recite this speech for a promo video?

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 6:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

STOP NET REFORESTATION NOW!

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 6:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Lies! All lies! Ridley is obviously a shill for Big Prosperity.

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2013 6:54 PM

July 9, 2013

On Pipelines...

I must write about the train crash in Quebec, thought this humble blogger last night. A serious post about the unintended consequences of economic activism. Fighting pipelines is swell business and all: print up some T-Shirts, have a march, meet at Starbucks, try to hook up. . . what a great day.

But the cost of fewer pipelines is borne by more rail transport. And rail accidents are more likely, more serious, and *ahem* more horrific than pipeline accidents. This has the makings of a serious post.

What's this? Bret Stephens, a serious writer on the serious editorial page of the nation's most serious publication weighs in: "Can Environmentalists Think? Think of the Keystone XL pipeline as an IQ test for greens." Ouch.

It lacks the correct moral and contains an inconvenient truth.

Not that the disaster lacks the usual ingredients of such a moral. The derailed 72-car train belonged to a subsidiary of Illinois-based multinational Rail World, whose self-declared aim is to "promote rail industry privatization." The train was carrying North Dakota shale oil (likely extracted by fracking) to the massive Irving Oil refinery in the port city of Saint John, to be shipped to the global market. At least five people were killed in the blast (a number that's likely to rise) and 1,000 people were forced to evacuate. Quebec's environment minister reports that some 100,000 liters (26,000 gallons) of crude have spilled into the Chaudičre River, meaning it could reach Quebec City and the St. Lawrence River before too long.

Environmentalists should be howling. But this brings us to the inconvenient truth.

The reason oil is moved on trains from places like North Dakota and Alberta is because there aren't enough pipelines to carry it. The provincial governments of Alberta and New Brunswick are talking about building a pipeline to cover the 3,000-odd mile distance. But last month President Obama put the future of the Keystone XL pipeline again in doubt, telling a Georgetown University audience "our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution."
[...]
The first application for a Keystone XL pipeline permit was filed with the U.S. State Department in 2008. Since then, the amount of oil being shipped on rails has risen 24-fold. Environmentalists enraged by this column should look at the photo of Lac-Mégantic that goes with it, and think it over.


Yes, one would hate to see a rise in CO2:

quebec_train_crash.jpg
Photo credit: Paul Chiasson/Associated Press

Posted by John Kranz at 9:05 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

"Check your premises" the mythical beast called 'rational environmentalist' would say. You base your case on the premise that humans should extract and consume petroleum products. We have demonstrated "new" ways to live that are not DEPENDENT on such dangerous anachronisms.

[Purposefullly left high and slow, right over the plate, for whomever is next to bat.]

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2013 11:00 AM
But jk thinks:

& that's Stephens's point once you get beyond a great and enjoyable oil slick of snark -- we truly require conservation and environmentalism that is divorced from green religion and bounded in reason.

My shoulder's a little stiff, I'll leave the high hanger. But I must offer Bjorn Lomborg as an example of a reified corporeal rational environmentalist. At least I think he's real...

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2013 11:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I considered Bjorn when I wrote that, but I don't think he would agree that every man deserves as much prosperity and consumption as he can earn.

You may, however, think of me as an -ahem- environmaa-haa-ha, well, conservationist. My new palacial home, about to leap off of the drawing board, is designed with geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling. Powered by electicity, with efficiences of about 400%, ground-source heat pumps are thought to be so friendly to the earth that congress pays people like me to buy them, via a tax credit offsetting part of the cost.

And, since insulation is being made so inexpensively today, I'll be insulating to levels higher than required by building codes for even less energy consumption.

Then there's the wood burning fireplace. At 87% efficient, EPA emissions approved, and centrally located in the highly insulated building with ducting for outside combustion air, I expect heating requirements via the heat pumps to be greatly reduced whenever I enjoy the ambience of a real fire. And I no longer cower in shame from this indulgence, having learned that heating appliances that use "biomass fuels" (wood and wood pellets, among others) are eligible for a tax credit of their own. Hurry though - this one expires at the end of the year.

I think I'd like a pair of Birkenstocks for Christma - err, Kwanza.

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2013 2:50 PM
But jk thinks:

We'd each find 100 things to disagree with Lomborg over in the first hour of interrogation -- even before the waterboard came out. But he is capable of rational thought and avoids the enviros' sin of comparing something (say a pipeline) to an ideal (nuclear unicorn flatulence) instead of to an actual alternative, such as a freight train of rail cars.

Your house and President George W. Bush's ranch. My understanding that that was an environmental wonder. Funny that the media never compared it to VP Gore's two BTU-hog mansions.

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2013 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If the former president could autograph my Birkenstocks that would be extra cool!

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2013 4:52 PM

June 17, 2013

Quote of the Day

Any attempt to reform the system will run into just the problems that Yandle points out. If you explain the economic inefficiencies, the moral wing of the coalition will smite you: "Don’t you care about the environment?" And if you show that post-consumer retail mandatory recycling is actually bad for the environment, the smooth corporate lobbyists of the economic wing will cite figures that show that recycling creates jobs and employs people in local communities. This new version of the Broken Window fallacy actually goes so far as to claim that after you break the window, you should recycle the glass! -- Michael Munger, in a great Baptists & Bootleggers look at mandatory recycling.
UPDATE: Fairness (huh? on ThreeSources?) dictates that I link to a recent post from the same author.
Almost everything that’s said about recycling is wrong. At the very least, none of the conventional wisdom is completely true. Let me start with two of the most common claims, each quite false:
He then lists two claims. One of which is what everybody in Boulder thinks to be true. The second is what I think thought to be true. I had emailed a tweet to myself to post about this and did not get around to it. But it is worth a read.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:51 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

The next step in this rent-seeking parade is to mandate some percentage of recycled cereal boxes be added to gasoline for use as a motor fuel. And any vehicle engines damaged or destroyed by the fuel are ever more broken windows.

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2013 2:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I will comment before reading beyond the open, only to say that the second question IS true. It only fails in practice because of the market manipulation: "officials need keep landfill prices artificially low to discourage illegal dumping and burning." If that's the case I'm here to tell you, it ain't working. Stuff is dumped along county roads all the time. Perhaps more would be if landfill costs were not subsidized, but this is beside the point vis-a-vis recycling.

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2013 11:14 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Anecdotes:

During a recent visit to the recycling drop-facility at the landfill, Fort Collins resident Cassidy Velazquez said she learned about the importance of recycling when she was in high school. "Now it's just part of what we do," she said. Velazquez said she would like to do more, although composting might be a problem in her Timberline Ridge neighborhood. She would support greater recycling efforts around Fort Collins. "Absolutely – let's go to zero waste," she said. "We'll probably create more jobs and create less waste: That would be great."

But what if we don't?

Fort Collins resident Jan Harrison said large businesses and institutions, such as hospitals and schools, should be required to provide sophisticated recycling programs and composting. Harrison said the city should consider stricter regulations aimed at keeping recyclables out of landfills. "I don't know if that's by raising the rates at the landfill or how that gets done, but I'd like to see it get done," she said.

I'd like to be younger and richer.

"Probably" and "don't know" could end up costing Fort Collins residents a lot of money. And for what? Because now "it's just part of what we do."

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2013 3:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll happily leave the final word to Penn & Teller.

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2013 4:58 PM

April 22, 2013

Quote of the Day

Happy Earth Day!

Which brings us to the Book of Modern Environmentalism, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, a deeply disingenuous propaganda exercise that nonetheless transformed pesticides -- DDT in particular -- and economic growth into political poison. How many mere humans, most of whom existed in grinding third-world poverty, have died because of it? The typical estimate is one of Stalin's statistics: at least 50 million.

Well, omelets require broken eggs. As that great philosopher Dogbert has noted: "You can't save the Earth unless you’re willing to make other people sacrifice." -- Benjamin Zycher

Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | Comments (0)

Happy Kill-and-compost-your-girlfriend-day!

How did I not know this? Is this for real?

But the charismatic spokesman [Ira Einhorn] who helped bring awareness to environmental issues and preached against the Vietnam War -- and any violence- had a secret dark side.

That is dark side as in "Seven years later, police raided his closet and found the 'composted' body of his ex-girlfriend inside a trunk." Not a penchant for heavy metal music or something.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:40 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Wouldn't we all have expected the NYT to carry this on page 1? But I never read it either. Strange.

Posted by: johngalt at April 22, 2013 1:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

February 28, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

"There are many fine people who are concerned with the environment. Indeed, we all should be. But the movement known as environmentalism is not only a false religion, it is one that allows human sacrifice."

I would be more impressed had this passed the lips of an A-list Hollywood celeb - Darryl Hannah is clearly more than one could hope for, being too far gone into the mist - but it is still a good quote from a good article by fellow traveler Dennis Prager.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:11 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Methinks my blog brother might enjoy Walter Russell Mead today.

The epidemic of power outages and "rolling blackouts" which nearly shut down California in the early 2000s may be returning. Back then, the culprits were unscrupulous energy providers like Enron and a poorly-thought out process of deregulation. This time, renewable energy would be to blame, as the state has pushed to increase the use of solar and wind energy without ensuring that there is enough traditional power generation to keep the grid stable on cloudy, windless days.

Posted by: jk at February 28, 2013 2:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yep. See related post above.

This Central Planning business is just so complicated! How can anybody know everything about every industry? Why can't we just find a way to have experts in every field make every decision based on all of the factors, taken into account at once and evaluated to arrive at the best course of action? And to make sure they do their jobs well and act wisely we could even make their paychecks depend on getting it right!

But I digress. Clearly there is no such utopian system on earth.

Posted by: johngalt at February 28, 2013 3:25 PM

February 11, 2013

ThreeSources Health Tips

Just making sure you guys are all properly caring for your shopping bags:

Is San Francisco's bag ban a killer? Conceivably, yes, but probably not.

Intuitively, the Wharton findings make sense. The city's anti-bag laws are designed to drive consumers to reusable bags. Consumer advice types warn people about the dangers of said bags becoming germ incubators. I got this from the TLC website:

"Designate specific bags for meats and fish. Wash these bags regularly -- preferably after each shopping trip -- to get rid of bacteria. If your bag is fabric, toss it in the washing machine with jeans, and if it's a plastic material, let it soak in a basin filled with soapy water and either the juice of half a lemon or about a quarter cup of vinegar."


If only there were some inexpensive material that could be used for sanitary, disposable shopping bags...oh, well, someday maybe...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Aren't disposable diapers illegal there too? Same merde, different day.

Posted by: johngalt at February 11, 2013 4:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Nah, just soak them in the sink with the juice of half a lemon.

Posted by: jk at February 11, 2013 5:36 PM

February 6, 2013

A Rant is Clearly Required

<rant>
These ^&!@*^ing people have a lot to answer for!

Ranting is not my thing, but we sit back and let "them" push "these things" through.

We know better. We knew about ethanol mandates. We knew about plastic bag bans. We knew about the moronically foolish inefficacy of Kyoto. And yet, these predictable policy train wrecks keep happening.

San Francisco's Plastic Bag Ban Kills About 5 People A Year

I was aware of the negative economic consequences of plastic bag bans and plastic bag taxes, both for bag manufacturers and businesses that use the bags. I was also aware that when you raise the price of things (as the plastic bag tax does in places like D.C.), you make things harder for the people least able to adjust to arbitrary price increases -- the poor. And I was aware that any environmental benefit we're likely to see from bag bans and bag taxes is speculative at best.

I was not aware that the plastic bag bans have a death toll, as Ramesh Ponnuru writes in Bloomberg:


Ponnuru offers a novel; suggestion: how about leaving people alone?
The authors argue, not completely convincingly, against the idea that regular washing and drying of reusable bags would solve the problem. They point out that the use of hot water and detergent imposes environmental costs, too. And reusable bags require more energy to make than plastic ones. The stronger argument, it seems to me, is that 97 percent figure: Whatever the merits of regularly cleaning the bags, it doesn't appear likely to happen.

The best course for government, then, is probably to encourage people to recycle their plastic bags -- or, maybe, just let people make their own decisions. Plastic-bag bans are another on a distressingly long list of political issues where I cannot see eye to eye with Eva Longoria.


Like ethanol. There is NO BENEFIT (see, it is a rant if you use all caps!). It is a non-solution to a problem that may or may not exist. Yet, undeterred, they'll be on to their next big fix, ignoring the hungry Guatemalans and dead infected Americans in the wake of previous "successes."
</rant>

Posted by John Kranz at 2:32 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Huzzah! Imagine the benefit to society if government, and the media which drives much of its behavior, instead focused its considerable resources on issues of greater import, e.g. how many squares of toilet tissue Eva Longoria uses in the loo.

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2013 6:29 PM
But Steve D thinks:

Who cares if washing the bags will happen or not? The best course for the government is to sit down, shut up and no run around banning anything and everything they see.

Posted by: Steve D at February 8, 2013 5:30 PM

December 29, 2012

Sometimes the good guy wins

It's an old story: Special interest group sues profitable corporation for alleged harm to animals or cattails or whatever Loraxian victim said group can conjur. But this time the story has a happy (for capitalism and individual rights) ending. Animal rights group settles lawsuit with Ringling. That's right, animal rights group settles, NOT Ringling.

An animal rights group will pay Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus $9.3 million to settle a lawsuit the circus filed after courts found that activists paid a former circus worker for his help in claiming the circus abused elephants.

That's a 9.3 million share of dollars donated to the group by weepy sensitive souls, motivated by all those sad "abandoned puppy" picture ads in the back of Redbook and Good Housekeeping.

The ASPCA said in a statement that "this litigation has stopped being about the elephants a long time ago" and that officials decided it was in the group's best interest to resolve the lawsuit after more than a decade.
Yeah, that and the fact that their little entrapment scheme blew up in their faces.
Posted by JohnGalt at 1:47 AM | Comments (0)

December 3, 2012

Heinleinian "Bad Luck"

An 80-year-old business of oyster farming is shut down.

Salazar ordered the Park Service to help the oyster company remove property, oysters and racks from the estuary and assist oyster company employees in relocating and finding jobs and employment training.

"We are taking the final step to recognize this pristine area as wilderness," Salazar said. "The estero is one of our nation's crown jewels, and today we are fulfilling the vision to protect this special place for generations to come."


My first thought was that this operated on leased Federal land and the operators should not be too surprised by political vicissitude. The real trouble being that there is Federal land, not the surprise of its being managed capriciously.

But the back-to-the-caves argument grows within me, watered by schadenfreude tears of disappointed Marin-county organic foodie customers. Rachel Maddow asks why we don't build Hoover Dams anymore -- her people won't let you dig a clam out of the sand.

California is a beautiful place. But it is more amazing for its rational achievement. Steve Martin's L.A. Story talks about the people who made a magical place in the desert. Steinbeck chronicled migration to the Golden State's agricultural wonderland. Silicon Valley's contribution to wealth and culture will be studied for centuries.

But it's over, kids. Human reason is no longer welcome there. And one fears the bright folks on the West Coast may once again be leading the nation.

"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded -- here and there, now and then -- are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as 'bad luck.'" -- Robert A Heinlein
UPDATE: Good video story on this.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM | Comments (3)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

It occurs to me that some Three Sourcers might enjoy the discussions at the Heinlein Facebook Forum: http://www.facebook.com/groups/41168255694/.

Sign up and stir up some trouble!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at December 3, 2012 5:21 PM
But Jk thinks:

I signed up. I have a feeling I'm going to get my ass kicked, but that can be fun.

Posted by: Jk at December 3, 2012 9:36 PM
But dagny thinks:

Thanks for the invitation and I have been a Heinlein fan since before I could drive but I just cannot afford another electronic time sink.

Posted by: dagny at December 4, 2012 11:53 AM

November 12, 2012

"Living like animals"

That is presumably a quote from one of the victims of Hurricane Sandy, a storm more powerful than Katrina, and was taken from the headline of this UK Daily Mail story.

The rest of the headline: Sandy victims hit out after being forced to spend 12 days without power

"Forced?"

Another quote, this time from former New York City police officer Diane Uhlfelder at the protest of Long Island Power Authority:

‘The kids have been out of school for more than a week,' Uhlfelder said. 'All the food is totally ruined, it's expensive eating out every day, so most of the time it's McDonald's, but the cold is the worst. It's been hell.’

Does it occur to anyone else that if this storm had passed over Haiti instead of America the number without power would become the number of dead?

If you click through to the second link, the 'Living like animals' story, you can find a 1:30 video [near the bottom] of Governor Andrew Cuomo doing a photo-op aid hand-out (featuring loads of WalMart bags full of stuff) where he took time out to tell a news crew that "all of the utility companies have failed in many ways." Seems they "didn't prepare well enough." Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, pot.

How well was the state prepared? Or the city? Or private individuals?? Who "forced" them to live in a coastal metropolis, or to eschew their own electric generator, or gasoline storage, or freakin' flood insurance? "There is a lot that needs to be fixed here" I heard a middle-aged, apparently able-bodied man tell a Fox News Channel reporter this morning. "Who's gonna take care of it? I still don't know." Dear sir, is there yet a functioning mirror in your privately owned home?

As for Diane, the ex-cop: "Burn your passport and move to the rainforest. And bring your mother there!" [2:30]

"And if it weren't for you, most of those who are here would be left helpless at the mercy of that wind in the middle of some such plain."

UPDATE: jk busting in, so I can add a graphic to my comment. A beloved relative on Facebook posts this:

The poster neither enjoys engagement nor is particularly predelicted to reason, but I was astonished to hear that on the entire eastern seaboard, there were no people who prepared or evacuated. I don't really care their party affiliation.

But this is what we are up against. Everything comes from government. Everything.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

True story: about a year ago, we had some pretty fierce windstorms here in scenic Southern California that knocked out power in a patchwork pattern. Some areas went without power for twelve hours, some as much as six days. My neighborhood, made up of everything within about a three-quarter-mile radius, went almost four days.

Though there was significant wind damage (my damage was limited to the loss of a section of fence), this was NOT apocalyptic. And I hasten to point out the patchwork pattern because, though my home was without power, my office a mere twelve miles away had electricity after just a day, and many others were only down for a few hours.

I make an issue of how mild a "crisis" this was because of the number of my neighbors who were devastated - not in terms of physical damage, but in terms of the dependency. Dozens of my neighbors who were wont to cocoon in their homes most of the time suddenly found themselves walking outdoors, sporting the famous thousand-yard stare. "We have no computers! No Internet! No HBO and no microwaves! The end is nigh!" they wailed. "Who will help us? Who will save us?"

Cecile and I enjoyed candlelight dinners, basking in the warm glow of the fireplace, listening to news on my little hand-crank radio from my bug-out bag, cooking meals over the Weber (and for the love of all that is holy, I know that my neighborhood has plenty of backyard grills...). My gosh, the Golden Arches were fully available just eight blocks away; it's not like civilization had collapsed and the Visigoths and the Vandals had come pouring in. Perhaps it was the withdrawal symptoms, I don't know.

I'm surrounded by people who, had they been on Long Island instead of here, would have no clue how to survive. "FEMA isn't here yet! It's dark at night! There's no basketball game to watch! I'm going to have to eat my cat to survive!"

When the zombie apocalypse comes, these people are going to be doomed.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 12, 2012 6:38 PM
But jk thinks:

No doubt every action of government contributed to a more reliable infrastructure and every regulation facilitated repair. It would probably still be dark today without the brain trust in Sacramento.

Posted by: jk at November 12, 2012 6:49 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Don't knock cat meat until you try it. Certain national leaders say it tastes a lot like dog.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 12, 2012 9:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good point KA. Southern Californians no doubt make Long Islanders look like a hybrid of Bear Gryllis and MacGyver. After all, they've experienced temperatures below 40F in their lifetimes.

But I do have to ask about your zombie apocalypse reference. My dear brother, do you not know where the zombies come from??

Posted by: johngalt at November 12, 2012 11:50 PM

August 9, 2012

Cannot Please Everybody

A good friend with whom I tussle on Facebook has commented on a very old post.

"Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief." -- Frantz Fanon

Three Sources should consider re-branding to "Three Sources of Cognitive Dissonance" ;-) Rationalize, ignore and deny anything that does not fit within your core beliefs. Spotted owls, fracking, deforestation, pollution, environmental degradation and job loss included. Cheers! ;-)


I'll confess to being a bit concerned by the tone. I verified on FB that he is okay and no more peeved at me than usual. I get passionate, he is certainly allowed.

There is (unsurprisingly) a Buffy quote that is perfect for this situation. At the risk of flippancy I recall Cordelia's "Project much?" My friend is completely convinced that we are destroying the planet. He rejects my suggestion that innovation is the best path to a cleaner environment and the elimination of poverty.

Fine. Many people reject my sagacity. And I do appreciate his willingness to engage. But I suspect that I have been at least as flexible in my positions than he.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:36 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

This was the subject of June 29's RAHQOTD.

It is of course rich irony that he accuses you of cognitive dissonance, when that is exactly what is required to simultaneously describe the concept and be a glittering example of it.

The last hope is to ask, "Do you acknowledge the existence of reason?"

Posted by: johngalt at August 9, 2012 12:27 PM

July 5, 2012

"Colorado Burning" because "Climate Changed?"

Anyone who has read many stories on the Colorado forest fires has surely seen at least one account that links the events with "climate change." Stories like Huffpo's "Stunning NASA Map Shows Severe Heat Wave Fueling Wildfires" are an extreme example. But Colorado state climatologist Nolan Doesken has a much different explanation:

While it’s true that this June was the hottest June on record, averaging 75 degrees, or 7.6 degrees above normal, he said extreme heat was just one of the ingredients–and maybe not even the most important one–involved in this year’s perfect wildfire storm.

Mr. Doesken noted that July is inevitably hotter than June, but there are fewer wildfires in July because it’s also wetter. May and June are typically drier and windier than July and August, which are hotter but more humid.

He said the key to this year’s wildfire season was the lack of snow in March, which left trees more stressed than usual going into the dry spring. Was that caused by manmade climate change? His answer: a definite maybe.

"It’s tempting to say, ‘Ah-ha, this is the face of climate change,’ but it might not be. Or it might be one of several things," said Mr. Doesken. "The forests burn when the meteorological conditions are right, and when that’s the case, it’s going to happen with or without anything we call climate change."

The story continues, exploring more likely factors:

Forest-health advocates say there’s one thing missing from the climate-change-causes-wildfires theory: The forests are so poorly managed that it doesn’t take much for them to go up in flames. Twenty years of reductions in timber sales and environmental lawsuits have gutted logging on public lands, resulting in densely packed, tinder-dry trees that are practically designed for crown fires.

Bill Gherardi, president of the Colorado Forestry Association, said the state has historically seen 20 to 80 tree stems per acre in its national forests. Today, he said, the density has increased to 400-1,200 stems per acre.

The problems associated with the lack of forest management are well-documented. A 2011 report by the Forest Service found that the bark-beetle outbreak was partly the result of a drastic reduction in timber sales driven by appeals and litigation by environmental groups, as well as an inability to reach some areas due to inadequate roads.

In Region 2, which includes Colorado, the timber industry declined 63% from 1986 to 2005. “Consequently, few industrial resources were or are available to help the Forest Service in applying management practices in response to the bark beetle outbreak,” said the report, which was requested by Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

So one explanation is 7.6 degrees warmer temperatures for a month and the other explanation includes 15 to 20 times higher density of trees that are diseased and dead, at least partially due to that very overcrowding. Given that tens of thousands of wildfires occur each year in the United States, Colorado's fire disasters are unprecedented for their severity rather than frequency. And that severity is driven more by wind and fuel density than by a dubious, anti-scientific theory called climate change.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

I cannot believe you are letting gun owners off the hook so easily.

Posted by: jk at July 5, 2012 4:29 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Glad you provided that link to the good ol' days when the Climatgate emails came out. I've been reading some archives but there are seven years of stuff here and I doubt I'll get to it all. I read some from around the 2008 election to get a flavor, and it was Good. Classy, If BHO wins a second term I don't think I'll be able to keep as cool as you guys.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 5, 2012 5:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. If this president wins a second term I don't think I will either!

Posted by: johngalt at July 5, 2012 5:27 PM
But JC thinks:

"Sometime people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief. - Frantz Fanon

Posted by: JC at August 2, 2012 9:45 PM
But JC thinks:

"Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief. - Frantz Fanon

Posted by: JC at August 2, 2012 9:46 PM

July 2, 2012

Forest Fire Analysis Paralysis

Given the utter devastation that can result from forest fires near urban areas, and the near unanimity about why their frequency and magnitude is peaking, one may wonder why no efforts to reduce the threat seem to be under way. The good news is that 11 years ago, five federal government agencies joined efforts to create an integrated wildland fire managment system called Fire Program Analysis or FPA. A comprehensive computer modeling system, FPA would "help them weigh the benefits of fire suppression versus forest thinning, evaluate where to station people and equipment and decide how many planes to buy." The bad news is that the effort was undertaken by federal government agencies. Denver Post:

The idea was to figure out how much money to devote to fire suppression, and to reducing fuels to improve overall forest health, and where to do it.

But when the tool was used for a preliminary analysis in 2006, not everyone liked what it found, Botti said. The results showed which areas needed more resources and which needed less, throwing into uncertainty budgets used for staff programs and some administrative overhead, he said.

For instance, one recommendation was to move resources from coastal Alaska, where wildfires are relatively rare, to California, where they regularly wreak havoc in populated areas, Botti said.

"We're talking about a couple of billion dollars in federal wildland-fire funds here," he said. "Any time you tinker with that, it becomes political in a hurry. There was pushback from the bureaus that the answer was not acceptable.

Part of the problem turned out to be the presumption that a computer model could provide a sort of holy grail of fire management planning.

"Quite honestly, I don't think there was any plot" to scuttle the original system, he said.

But he agreed that people in Forest Service field offices feared -- and still fear -- a computer model that could deprive them of people and equipment.

Naaaah, nobody ever invests too much confidence in the pure and objective conclusions of comprehensive computer models!

But the failure of the computer modeling solution seems to me merely a scapegoat.

Asked how this year's fire outbreak might be different if the original FPA were in place as planned, Rideout said: "I think the responses to fire would be more cost-effective. I'm not sure whether we would have gotten to these fires any faster or later or better, or with less expense."

"More cost-effective" but not sure there would be "less expense?" How's that again?

Most officials seem to agree on the basic problem:

In 2008, the GAO reported to Congress that federal wildland-fire costs had tripled since the mid-1990s to more than $3 billion a year, citing three factors: "uncharacteristic accumulations of vegetation" from fire suppression; increasing human development in wildlands; and severe drought "in part due to climate change."

Setting aside the suggested causes for accumulations of vegetation and severe drought, both are clearly evident conditions. So why has the firefighting aircraft fleet been cut from 40 planes to 9? And why, during this period when the air fleet was dismantled, have federal wildland-fire costs tripled? Unfortunately, sometimes technology prevents the application of common sense: More potential for fire - expand fire mitigation and suppression resources. QED.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:39 PM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2012

Gov. Hickenlooper and the Bark Beetle Epidemic

A few stories found with the search terms "Hickenlooper" and "bark beetle" - arranged in chronological order.

Summit County: Forest health pow-wow at Keystone - November 14, 2010

Forest health, fire risks and wood utilization will be on the agenda at the Keystone Conference Center Nov. 15 as top state and federal officials hold a forest health summit meeting. This image by Derek Weidensee shows an area in Montana where a fire burned through stands of mature lodgepole pines, while an area cut previously for regeneration apparently withstood the blaze relatively unscathed.

Top state and national officials, including Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Gov. Bill Ritter and Senator Mark Udall, will gather at the Keystone Conference Center Nov. 15 for the Governor’s Bark Beetle Summit in a public meeting that hasn’t received much publicity.

Governor-elect John Hickenlooper has also been invited.

Gov. Hickenlooper appoints new Director of Paper Distribution in the Department of Natural Resources - April 1, 2011

“Scott’s success in selling paper will help Colorado effectively and efficiently move the large amount of bark beetle lumber from the forest and into the marketplace, creating tons of jobs and making lots of money,” Hickenlooper said. “This is a unique opportunity to resolve Colorado’s forest health and budget issues.” (...) “Scott will be a wonderful addition to our paper team, focusing particularly on the use of beetle kill in paper production,” Hickenlooper said. “We hired him based on his skills, personal drive and love for ‘That’s what she said’ jokes.”
112 homes hit by northern Colo. fire - June 15, 2012
Firefighters have been in a see-saw battle with the northern Colorado blaze, extending their lines along the eastern flank but losing ground on the west and north sides as flames burn through a dry forest thick with trees killed by bark beetles. (...) Investigators said lightning triggered the fire, which is about 15 miles west of Fort Collins and 60 miles northwest of Denver. (...) The fire is burning on land owned by private parties and the U.S. Forest Service. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who oversees the Forest Service, is scheduled to meet with fire managers on Saturday.

A 30-acre blaze near Lake George in Park County was 50 percent contained. It started Wednesday and was also caused by lightning.

Separately, a fire believed to have been caused by lightning destroyed a house four miles outside Rollinsville on Friday. Gilpin County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cherokee Blake said no one was hurt.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order Thursday banning open burning and the private use of fireworks throughout Colorado.


Posted by JohnGalt at 7:16 PM | Comments (3)
But Robert thinks:

Thr second item really got me since it was on the official colorado.gov site :)

Posted by: Robert at June 27, 2012 8:59 PM
But jk thinks:

My blog brother's summation?

I have to admit that I have been pretty impressed with His Hickness (hey, when I vote for a Democrat...) both before the fire and after.

Beetle kill is a huge problem surrounded by passionate opinions but I can think of no better solution that harvesting it for paper.

Was this a big wet kiss for our Governor? Knowing my bro, I suspect not.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2012 11:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

My take is that using the dead timber issue as joke fodder looks, at the least, very insensitive in retrospect and that the governor should have known better even then. I know that I remember it being in poor taste.

Yes, harvesting the wood for any use is a good solution. So why isn't it happening? As I have heard but not yet verified the answer can be given in a single word - Environmentalists.

And finally, I couldn't help noticing the impotence of the governor's knee-jerk response of banning open fires and fireworks since every fire mentioned in that story was sparked by lightning.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2012 12:06 PM

June 18, 2012

Obama cuts Fire Fighting Aircraft

According to blogger Sean Paige at the Monkey Wrenching America blog, a contract with Aero Union, a fire fighting company with seven 4-engine slurry bombers, was canceled during renewal negotiations in August, 2011. No reason was given, just "We don’t want the airplanes, have a nice life." This brought the US Forest Service air tanker fleet down to 11 heavy aircraft, and today it's only 9. The report cites Rep. Dan Lundgren(R-CA) saying the fleet was 40 planes a decade ago.

This reminds me of that old lefty bumper sticker, "Wouldn't it be great if the Air Force had to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber?" Apparently, now they do.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2012

This Calls for a Pointless Gesture!

Great Reason piece today on the City of Angels:

There's a crisis in Los Angeles. Is it the city's projected $250 million budget deficit? The city's $10 billion shortfall in pension obligations? Its crumbling infrastructure? A public school dropout rate approaching 50 percent? No, the City of Angels is facing catastrophe in the form of grocery bags.

So great is the menace that the City Council is poised to impose on the good people of Los Angeles the country's strictest grocery bag ban, prohibiting the distribution of both plastic and paper bags.

Author Jay Beeber compends a great list of the stupidity of this: disease, environmental costs of reusable bags, economic costs of nannyism, &c. But one of the interesting factors was what a small part of the waste stream grocery bags are. For all the talk of the scourge, it remains a miniscule portion of waste.
California's Statewide Waste Characterization Study shows that "Plastic Grocery and Other Merchandise Bags" consistently make up just 0.3 percent of the waste stream in the state. That's three-tenths of 1 percent. In comparison, organic waste such as food and yard clippings makes up 32 percent while construction debris comprises about 30 percent. The effect of eliminating free grocery bags on the amount of waste generated in the city would be insignificant.

Can't believe they beat Boulder to this.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:13 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And this about this, economists: the grocery bags are most decidedly NOT free - they are included in the price of the groceries. Did you notice the cost of groceries being reduced by the cost of supplying those bags? Me neither.

(Yes, yes, I know the price is negligible by comparison. There are grocery stores here that have started charging between three and five cents per paper grocery bag as a way of encouraging people to bring their own "environmentally conscious" reusable grocery totes - or they'll be happy to sell you their store-branded ones. Did the cost of the previously-free grocery bags come off the price of the groceries? Nah.)

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 23, 2012 10:44 PM

April 24, 2012

Happy #@#&ing Earth Day

From Gateway Pundit: Green Activists Completely Trash Park on Earth Day

Hat tip: Fox Nation, via Drudge

UPDATE: KA's comment made me think of the "Keep America Beautiful" PSA from my youth. That was the beginning of the environmental movement and it seems we can see where it has ended up. Although, if you read to the end of the UPDATE link you will find it is probably all Coors' fault.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:12 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Watermelons. Green only on the outside.

The word that keeps coming to my mind about this tribe is "feral."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 24, 2012 8:17 PM

January 25, 2012

Jobs vs. Environment

Thousands of loggers lost their jobs in the American Northwest because of dubious claims about wiping out the last of the spotted owls. This is just one example of environmental extremists' non-linear cost benefit analysis doing irreparable harm to the livelihoods of American workers.

The latest glaring example of this is TransCanada Corporation's Keystone XL Pipeline project. Despite the safety record showing pipelines to be the "safest, most efficient and economical way" to move the natural resource called crude oil, environmental activists have chosen spill hazards as the primary reason to oppose private construction of the new pipeline. But America is already criss-crossed by 55,000 miles of oil pipelines, many of which are small, old and in disrepair. And the spill rate [pg. 9] for those lines is 0.00109 incidents (spill of 50 bbl or more) per mile per year. That calculates to 60 spills every year. The estimated spill rate for the modern new Keystone XL [pg. 10] is 0.186 spills per year, anywhere over its entire 1371 mile length. (.000136 incidents per mile per year)

So the question every American voter should ask himself is, would I quit my job and ask 19,999 of my neighbors to quit theirs in order to avoid increasing the pipeline spill incident rate by 0.3 percent? (And have you even noticed any of the sixty-odd spills that already happen each year?)

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:57 PM | Comments (1)
But J thinks:

"Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief. - Frantz Fanon

Three Sources should consider re-branding to "Three Sources of Cognitive Dissonance" ;-) Rationalize, ignore and deny anything that does not fit within your core beliefs. Spotted owls, fracking, deforestation, pollution, environmental degradation and job loss included. Cheers! ;-)

Posted by: J at August 8, 2012 5:22 PM

December 7, 2011

A Valuable Lesson.

Pupils at Ansford Academy in Castle Cary, Somerset, were forced to grip their pens through thick gloves and wear their coats and hats in class as temperatures dropped to 1C.

The school's headmaster, Rob Benzie, shut down the radiators as an experiment to show students how the school could cut its carbon footprint.


Freeze in the dark! That remains the best way to cut one's carbon footprint. And yet, the Daily Mail reports that some parents are angry.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

December 5, 2011

BOYCOTT!!

I find political boycotts of consumer goods tiresome, and generally oppose them even when I agree with the goal.

But I think I may lead one here. Those Coke® commercials featuring a donation to the WWF over the junk science claims of endangered polar bears graduated from eye-rolling to perturbation yesterday.

Now the Telegraph (HT: Taranto) claims that customers don't like the white cans and the company is backing off.

The cans featured the company's iconic logo in red, set against an all-white background and featuring a picture of three polar bears plodding through the snow, in what the company described as a "bold, attention-grabbing" move to publicise conservation efforts by the World Wildlife Fund.

"We're turning our cans white because turning our backs wasn't an option," read the campaign logo, with the company urging buyers to make $1 donations to the cause, which it pledged to match up to the value of $1 million, to help protect polar bear habitats.


It just goes until March, I don't buy that much, and I can easily choose another brand (prob'ly store brand). My way of sticking it to the man! Just a few months, join me -- the WWF is one of the worst environmental groups out there.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:56 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

I've enlisted dagny in a private boycott of Target stores because of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, Target part owner and heir, whose position in that state's budget battle was opposite that of the TEA Party "influenced" state legislature.

Now it appears we're not alone, albeit for far different reasons.

Posted by: johngalt at December 6, 2011 3:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Hey, I used to work at Target®!

Now I don't know your personal involvement or preference for Target but I suspect, like most boycotts, it is doing you a lot more harm than Governor Dayton. And that if it is effective, it will be to spur them into a donation of $63.7 Trillion to better support Democratic Gay Candidates and this win their loyal customers back.

My Coke nonsense may not be any better, but a) it is temporary; b) it really does not discommode me much if any; c) it adds up to the desirable outcome of their focusing on business and not politics. Purists are PO-ed because the can is not Red, Enviros are grouchy that they caved, and I am miffed that they supported a bad cause in the first place. Lesson: Milton Friedman was right!

But good luck all around!

Posted by: jk at December 6, 2011 4:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And there you've hit upon my reason for limiting the boycott to myself and dagny. Target has nothing we can't get from either WalMart or Costco. Ergo, NO WAY TARZHAY.

Whether for having lefty ownership or for trying to placate lefty activists in the first place, I shed no tears for Target's lost business.

Posted by: johngalt at December 6, 2011 7:48 PM
But jk thinks:

It can feel good that "my money" isn't going someplace. I don't know about Costco but watching Walmart line up behind Obamacare, then get a waiver irked me to no end. Tarzhay really worse?

Posted by: jk at December 6, 2011 8:00 PM

August 31, 2011

Ten Ways to Save the World

Insty buries the lede badly today. It is not that people are mocking KSU's "EcoKat" environmental mascot.

Nooooooosir. The story is how mockable EcoKat is:


Even the attempt to rip off Buffy did not sway me. I only increase my mocking.

This would be incredibly clever for a 5th Grade class project. Ten ways to save the world? Don't let the faucet run?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:39 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Dumkopfs. "One K-State student uses $600/yr. in energy costs." So just find that student and wrap her in spandex and a cape so that everyone will know who to mock.

On your "conserve water" example, they write "Letting a faucet run for 5 minutes uses as much energy as a 60-watt bulb that burns for 14 hours." Perhaps, if it is a HOT WATER faucet.

Why is it that the students who get behind these causes are the ones with no technical knowledge? Coincidence?

Posted by: johngalt at August 31, 2011 3:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Surely you have not forgotten "Cole's Law" used to convert energy to water.

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2011 3:42 PM

August 16, 2011

A Triple Win!

"A triple win," is how Biden characterized it.
"It" was a big win for Seattle -- $20 Million in Federal Jack for weatherization and retrofitting. Green Jobs, baby! How's that hopey ch...
But more than a year later, Seattle's numbers are lackluster. As of last week, only three homes had been retrofitted and just 14 new jobs have emerged from the program. Many of the jobs are administrative, and not the entry-level pathways once dreamed of for low-income workers. Some people wonder if the original goals are now achievable.
The President is very concerned that we may not have the money for more of these triple wins.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 7:01 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

If the GOP gets their way, we might have to start settling for double wins -- and we're a triple-win country!

Posted by: jk at August 16, 2011 7:09 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Not to be the math geek here, but...

Twenty million dollars, to retrofit three homes over the course of a year... that's six and two-thirds million per home. How much would it have cost to scrape the lots clean and built entirely new, modern homes?

To create just fourteen jobs for a year... that's a million and a half per job.

I take it Biden isn't any better at math than he is at most other intellectual pursuits. Math is hard!

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 16, 2011 7:32 PM
But jk thinks:

"[S]crape the lots clean and built entirely new, modern homes" does not sound very environmentally friendly to me.

Posted by: jk at August 16, 2011 7:50 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

More economically-friendly that what they did, though, and odds are, not all that much harsher on the environment.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 17, 2011 12:10 AM

July 10, 2011

Yeah, But...

That's my witty rejoinder to Frank Cagle. Insty links to his "Conservatives for Conservation: Conservatives should remember they can hate Al Gore, but still be for clean air, water."

Cagle frustrates in the same manner of my infamous Facebook friends. First he conflates Republicans and Conservatives and fails to limn a liberty line toward either. So, it's okay to not pollute because:

Republican Teddy Roosevelt started the national parks. Richard Nixon create the Environmental Protection Agency. Republican East Tennessee joined with FDR to establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Man, I feel better, you? Wage and price controls are Conservative, too! And anti-trust legislation! Hey, Teddy was a Republican!

I need to query my EE-credentialed hardware betters at this blog. But I am completely ready to call "bull***t" on him and the NYTimes study he links claiming that LEDs and "instant-on" electronic devices are now the energy hogs. I admit that my TiVo is always on, and from its heat output I suspect it is cranking a few watts. But I have been warned of vampire power leaving my cell phone charger plugged in (mercy!) and Cagle's descriptions of LEDs in the home, killing the planet with microscopic drain.

I mean, far be it from me to question the veracity of a NYTimes story on the environment, but when the refrigerator or A/C kicks in, the LCDs millicurrent seems as small as the tax-depreciation exemptions for corporate jets. Me wrong?

I guess I join Cagle in rolling eyes at Republicans that disparage environmental stewardship at all costs. But how does he phrase it?

It is distressing today to hear Rush Limbaugh encourage his listeners to drive gas guzzlers as a protest. For Republican officeholders to disparage environmentalists. Yes, conservatives certainly have the obligation to argue the issue from the standpoint of their principles. Someone needs to point out that Cap and Trade is one of those public/private partnerships where the Wall Street boys make money and the taxpayers keep breathing bad air.

Bad Wall Street Boys! Bad air full of CO2! Swing and miss, Mister Cagle. The question is protection of liberty versus environmental protection -- and you don't seem to get it.

UPDATE: Fixed last name (Cage -> Cagle) mea maxima culpa.

UPDATE II: Cag(l)e does not link, but I found the article he referenced.

UPDATE III: My TiVo is rated at 40W (that's 350.4 KWh per year, right hardware guys?) Being on all the time allows it to download schedules and software updates any time it pleases and to provide instant on service for recording and viewing. Seems fair.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:57 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Your math is correct software guy. But is that 40 watt rating the peak or the average? Insofar as there is a personal computer in the box that surpasses the original moon rocket by many times, 40 watts seems a trifle.

Those "vampire" loads you referenced can be demonized through the power of collectivization. Each one is maybe 50 milliwatts (0.050 watts) but if one aggregates (all of them in a home) x (all the homes in a city, state, nation) x (all the hours in a year) the result is a scary number like "4.2 nuclear power plants total output!!!!" But unplugging all of them in one house is barely noticable, hence the need to mandate that all of us (except Algore et. al.) unplug them. Or at least, in the case of the 2007 energy act referenced in the previous (below) post, mandate a ridiculously low standby power draw forcing an industry wide redesign with associated waste and inefficiency.

No, we don't disparage environmental "stewardship" "at all costs." Like taxation, we say we've had enough already. Dump thousands of drums of glow in the dark cyanide compounds into Kentucky coal mines? [Watched "Fire Down Below with Steven Segal last night.] No. Double the cost of every economical fuel through Pigouvian taxes that are then redistributed to third-world nations (after a healthy personal rake-off by diplomats, bureaucrats, and dictators) because the nascent "science" of climatology thought for a time that their scope-limited mathematical models could accurately predict cause and effect between a benign carbon compound and global armageddon? Again, no.

Among many ironies of the left is that while they preach "moderation" and "compromise" as principles they are dogmatically absolutist on every question of environmental emission by man, however miniscule.

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2011 5:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks. I suspected as much on vampire power. The TeeVee news people in the morning were suggesting that I buy a MonsterCable® power strip for my cell phone charger. For, I think it was $169, it would sense and shut down that drain. I didn't get out the calculator but guessed that little jewel would pay for itself in about 3,000 years.

The 40W is just that on a sparse spec sheet. I too thought it modest as the last time I replaced a desktop power supply, I think it was 500W.

Posted by: jk at July 11, 2011 10:52 AM
But jk thinks:

An always thoughtful reader emails that I could plug two cell phone chargers into the power strip and pay it off in only 1500 years.

Posted by: jk at July 11, 2011 1:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The onus for making the MonsterCable powerstrip economically viable is on MonsterCable. If they redesigned it so that it would "sense and shut down" every trickle current in your entire town it might pay for itself in your lifetime.

(But then it would be an actual monster, not just a MonsterCable.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2011 2:46 PM

June 14, 2011

EPA: "Employee salary is our highest budget priority"

On his radio show today Mike Rosen read a copy [2:00 to 4:55] of an internal memo from EPA Regional Administrator James Martin to all Region 8 EPA employees. Subject: Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Decisions.

I want to update you on the status of Region eight's budget. The most important thing to tell you is that we continue to protect salary for our on-board EPA employees. It is our highest budget priority and that has not and will not change.

Our OCFO has been able to provide us with some relief for our payroll shortfall. This will allow us to maintain our support services at the current levels as we work to meet our agency's mission. We are continuing to work with headquarters for additional relief. In the meantime, to meet the remaining payroll needs we'll be reducing our programmatic funds by 30 percent, as well as some regional support funds.

A distinct difference, to be sure, from EPA's stated policy on private sector jobs.

EPA: Jobs Aren't a factor when making new regs

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:29 PM | Comments (0)

May 4, 2011

Intellectually Bereft

One hates to kick an adversary when he's down. Especially down from his own candid assessment.

But George Monbiot, the lefty at Britain's leftiest newspaper is doing a little soul searching:

Let's face it: none of our environmental fixes break the planet-wrecking project
[...]
[Simon Farlie's] article exposes a remarkable but seldom noticed problem: that most of those who advocate an off-grid, land-based economy have made no provision for manufactures. I'm not talking about the pointless rubbish in the FT's How To Spend It supplement. I'm talking about the energy required to make bricks, glass, metal tools and utensils, textiles (except the hand-loomed tweed Fairlie suggests we wear), ceramics and soap: commodities that almost everyone sees as the barest possible requirements.

Are people like Fairlie really proposing that we do without them altogether? If not, what energy sources do they suggest we use? Charcoal would once again throw industry into direct competition with agriculture, spreading starvation and ensuring that manufactured products became the preserve of the very rich. (Remember, as EA Wrigley points out, that half the land surface of Britain could produce enough charcoal to make 1.25m tonnes of bar iron -- a fraction of current demand -- and nothing else.) An honest environmentalism needs to explain which products should continue to be manufactured and which should not, and what the energy sources for these manufactures should be.


Did I mention that Monbiot was not a big liberty advocate? The autocratic paternalism is stunning. But move beyond that and appreciate the honesty of the piece. Even if two guys are willing to tell the entire United Kingdom what they may manufacture and purchase, it still doesn't work! None of their plans do any good!

Then, an admission that none of my Facebook Friends will make (well, except for Brother jg):

The problem we face is not that we have too little fossil fuel, but too much. As oil declines, economies will switch to tar sands, shale gas and coal; as accessible coal declines, they'll switch to ultra-deep reserves (using underground gasification to exploit them) and methane clathrates. The same probably applies to almost all minerals: we will find them, but exploiting them will mean trashing an ever greater proportion of the world's surface. We have enough non-renewable resources of all kinds to complete our wreckage of renewable resources: forests, soil, fish, freshwater, benign weather. Collapse will come one day, but not before we have pulled everything down with us.

None of their predictions have come true, none of their plans offer any long term help, and even were this not the case, nobody wants them anyway.

Honesty. Candor. Kick.

Hat-tip: Walter Russell Mead

UPDATE: In completely and totally unrelated news, the BBC reports "Six Scottish windfarms were paid up to £300,000 to stop producing energy, it has emerged."

Posted by John Kranz at 10:45 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Let me restate this (the UPDATE): Private wind energy companies were paid tax dollars not to operate the equipment they were given tax dollars to build? Damn, I guess Lord Keynes was right after all.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 2:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In related news (to the main story that of "the planet's real nightmare: not too little fossil fuel – but too much") the planet also seems to have too much food, too much comfort and too much biological diversity. [Coincidence?] We're constantly reminded that we are overweight, underworked and... whatever happened to all of that oil BP spilled in the Gulf of Mexico last summer?

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2011 3:16 PM

April 26, 2011

What I Believe

I appended this to a three-digit comment count discussion on Facebook.

Stephen Hayward lays out beautifully what I have been trying to say. That the role of affluence and innovation -- contra the environmental movement -- is hugely beneficial. And that the greens should embrace wealth creation instead of promoting asceticism.

At first sight, the connection between rising material standards and environmental improvement seems a paradox, because for a long time many considered material prosperity and population growth the irreversible engines of environmental destruction. Paul Ehrlich, the famous author of The Population Bomb, which predicted that runaway population growth would lead to mass starvation and ecological devastation, offered a seemingly scientific formula for this relationship: I = PAT, where I = impact on the planet, P = population, A = affluence, and T = technology. In other words, to minimize our impact on the planet, there need to be fewer humans, we need to be poorer, and we need to have less technology.

In the 1970s, the common theme was that the world was in danger of running out of key natural resources perhaps as soon as the year 2000. The 1972 Limits to Growth study, for example, predicted that the world would run out of gold, zinc, mercury, and oil before 1992; the U.S. government's1980 Global 2000 report predicted that the world would face an oil shortage of 20 million barrels a day by 2000 and that oil would cost $100 a barrel. As recently as 1993, David Brower published a full-page ad in the New York Times featuring a headline that read, "Economics is a form of brain damage." Not long before, at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, environmental activist Hazel Henderson suggested that economists should be sent to re-education camps.

Today, the "population bomb" looks very different than in 1968, and there has been a revolution in thought about how to regard resource scarcity. Far from experiencing runaway population growth, fertility rates have fallen so fast around the world that the UN now forecasts global population will peak sometime after mid-century--within the lifetime of young adults alive today--and then probably begin declining by the end of the century. There are many factors in the fertility rate decline, but the most powerful correlation appears to be the spread of individual freedom and democracy.


The piece is well worth a read in full and a bookmark.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:22 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Unlike Gary Johnson's issue positions, I don't agree with all of the Hayward piece. I do, however, strongly agree with his exposition on the beneficial effects to the environment from private property rights. This turns classic environmentalist dogma on its head.

Posted by: johngalt at April 26, 2011 3:01 PM
But J thinks:

Here is one of the best talks I have seen on population growth. Well worth the time and a fine compliment to the book noted above. Enjoy!

Posted by: J at August 8, 2012 5:28 PM
But J thinks:

A link to the talk:

http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_on_global_population_growth.html

Posted by: J at August 8, 2012 5:29 PM

April 22, 2011

Happy Mother Earth Day, Citizen!

I'll bet you forgot to buy a card and gift, didn't you? Boy, is your face red!

Did you even know it's International Mother Earth Day today, citizen? Socialist despot Evo Morales and his buddies at the United Nations sure do. You see, in April 2009, they passed a unanimous resolution to celebrate this important event every year. In the accompanying speech, Morales explained to his colleagues that "Mother Earth was now having her rights recognized" and expressed his hope that the present century will be known as the "century of the rights of Mother Earth." He explained to the UN that its member states "now had the opportunity to begin laying out a Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth."

And don't worry -- you'll be pleased to know that they're making great progress toward this goal.


This from a lengthy (but superbly entertaining) Ben O'Neill post on the Lv Mises Institute site. He quotes Rand, he delves into rights, where does a guy stop excerpting?
If the Earth really is a rights-holding entity, on par with a human being, then this implies that humans may not interfere with the body of the Earth without its permission, just as a person cannot interfere with the body of another person without their permission. Since all physical resources required for human survival come from the Earth, and are a part of this "living system," this implies that humans cannot do anything -- they cannot even exist on Earth -- without the permission of the Earth. And if governments are the representatives of the Earth in exercising its rights, then this logically implies that people cannot do anything without the permission of their government. This is the real purpose of the doctrine. It logically eradicates any possible human rights.

Well, citizen, as a rights-holding entity, I cannot force you to read the whole thing, but...

Posted by John Kranz at 10:34 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I want to see the government's Power of Attorney from Mother Earth.

Posted by: johngalt at April 22, 2011 11:53 AM

Happy Earth Day!

Reason.tv

(Or here's a charming Earth Day Rap)

Posted by John Kranz at 12:00 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"More people are being fed better today than at any time in human history." Yeah, a little too much better if you ask the First Lady.

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2011 12:09 AM

April 21, 2011

Oh please, oh please, oh please...

Please, may this prove to be true:

Peter Braun, who carried out the tests at the Berlin's Alab Laboratory, said: "For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment."

The bulbs are already widely used in the UK following EU direction to phase out traditional incandescent lighting by the end of this year.

But the German scientists claimed that several carcinogenic chemicals and toxins were released when the environmentally-friendly compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) were switched on, including phenol, naphthalene and styrene.


Posted by John Kranz at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

April 4, 2011

Wait: Hg in light bulbs not a good idea?

If only somebody could have seen this coming:

The nation's accelerating shift from incandescent bulbs to a new generation of energy-efficient lighting is raising an environmental concern -- the release of tons of mercury every year.

The most popular new light -- the curly cue, compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs -- account for a quarter of new bulb sales and each contains up to 5 milligrams of mercury, a potent neurotoxin that's on the worst-offending list of environmental contaminants.

Demand for the bulbs is growing as federal and state mandates for energy-efficient lighting take effect, yet only about 2 percent of residential consumers and one-third of businesses recycle them, according to the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:08 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

There is a very simple Obama Administration solution to this. Just pass a law that says mercury is no longer required to make fluorescent lighting technology work.

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2011 2:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Perhaps a bold plan to reduce mercury in CFLs 83.7% by 2040...

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2011 3:24 PM

Tax the Poor!

Strange complaint in the hallways of ThreeSources, but I am frequently amused at the regressiveness of the "green economy."

Jay Wieser at AEI calls it Green Socialism for the Rich.

Mr. Shiels and Ms. Kiely, the couple profiled in the article, have a "sprawling ranch house" in Glendale, Arizona (average daily high temperature June-August : 103 degrees), with an annual electric bill that has topped $5,000. Two government incentives for owning such an expensive-to-cool house: income tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes.

Having subsidized excessive electricity consumption, the government decides the problem is that it's the wrong kind of electricity consumption, so Shiels and Kiely eliminate their annual electricity bill by installing $80,000 of solar panels, of which all but $27,200 is paid by subsidies.
[...]
Worse, the Glendale utility's solar subsidies are funded by an average $4.05 charge on all customers' bills. So lower-income customers, who, unlike the subsidy-sucking couple, don't have $27,200 out-of-pocket cash to buy solar panels, pay higher electricity rates.


Meanwhile, back at the 'lectriccar factory, what else can we do for the lunch bucket worker who wants a $100K+ second sports car.
Some are ready to crown [Tesla Motors] as the plus one of the Big Three plus one:
Morgan Stanley ... dissected the business case for Tesla Motors and issued a research note Thursday that called the Silicon Valley company "America's fourth automaker" and raised the price target for Tesla's stock to $70. That's more than doubling what the shares are trading these days, at mid-$20s. Shares shot up as much as 21 percent on Thursday on the news of the report.

This is absurd. They've sold maybe 1500 cars. Their only current model is a high end sports car and their next model will be a high end sedan. How do they compete with the cheaper models in the pipeline from established makers? Not to mention the whole range question. Can a Tesla get me to Vegas on a single charge?

I don't suggest the GOP should become the party of class warfare, but someone has got to point out what a bassackwards wealth transfer these green toys are.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:59 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

As are all of the DAWG-spawned redistribution schemes. As I've tried to explain on Facebook, not all of us can afford to be "green." Making electricity and gasoline cost more hits the poor the hardest. Maybe you are willing to "pay a little more" to assuage your assumed environmental guilt but millions of Americans are just trying to stay warm and buy groceries (delivered by trucks whose refueling cost is one-thousand dollars per fill up.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2011 3:47 PM

March 31, 2011

Quote of the Day

Chuck's email tagline reads: "Notice: It's OK to print this email. Paper is a biodegradable, renewable, sustainable product made from trees. Growing and harvesting trees provides jobs for millions of Americans. Working forests are good for the environment and provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. Thanks to improved forest management, we have more trees in America today than we had 100 years ago." -- Allman Brother and Tree Farmer Chuck Leavell
Posted by John Kranz at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2011

Imputing Reason on the Impervious

(The title could be upgraded to a category someday...)

Kenneth Green thinks "Two recent studies might end the great grocery bag debate."

The traditional, thin plastic bag, though increasingly demonized and taxed, has better environmental performance and is likely to be considerably safer for human health than alternatives.

Yeah, let's all put $100 in the pot and bet on when environmentalists will read the studies and realize that plastic grocery bags really are best. I'll even consent to storing the money in my account while we wait to pay out.

The article is interesting and well worth a read in full; but I do not share Green's optimism.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2011

Growth Skepticism

While JK reads how to Make Peace With the Planet I am reminded of the strange dichotomy whereby "Progressives" oppose prosperity. For most of my life I took as a fact of nature that human prosperity is a necessary component of a happier and more rewarding life. For a long time it never seemed necessary to defend that idea, as it must certainly be universal held.

In Let it Grow, Daniel Ben Ami explains that the anti-growth agenda of Progressives is not merely a yearning for ecological preservation or social equality, but a reflexive response to what they viewed as the death of social progress.

Finally, and probably most important, is the demise of believing in social progress. For a long time, economic growth was closely linked to the more general idea of progress, including scientific and cultural advances. A more prosperous society was also seen as having the potential to be more humane. But as social pessimism has gripped America, the vision of the progressive potential of economic growth has also diminished.

What caused this social pessimism on the left?

This social pessimism has emerged over several decades. Its roots can be seen in the counterculture of the 1960s when the political Left, traditionally the most ardent supporters of social change, began to embrace green ideas. Rather than consider humans capable of reshaping nature for their own benefit, the outlook switched to one obsessed with natural limits.

The downbeat attitude was further reinforced with the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s. It was widely understood that this represented the death of socialism's traditional conceptions. Less commonly appreciated was the general acceptance that no form of improved society is possible. The "end of history" proclaimed at the time was really the end, at least for the time being, of the idea of progress.

Just as one America was going to the moon and inventing bioengineered crops and ever cheaper sources of energy, the other America viewed the death of the Soviet Union as the end of hope for a just society. For them, the vision of technological achievement no longer had any application. And if man can't even perfect his own social order, what business has he trying to perfect any other aspect of life on Earth?

In response I say, check your premises. What if socialism really isn't the perfect social order?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:16 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Both Mises and Postrel discuss a yearning for a utopia that never existed. Before capitalism, everything was swell.

Umm, yeah, if you don't mind freezing in the dark, dying at 42, devoting most of your time to sustenance...

Posted by: jk at March 15, 2011 5:58 PM

November 16, 2010

It Would be Wrong to Laugh

Neil Young warehouse blaze started in hybrid 'LincVolt' car

The three-alarm blaze that caused $1.1 million in damage to a warehouse filled with rock legend Neil Young's music equipment and memorabilia appears to have started in a one-of-a-kind hybrid car stored at the site, a fire official said Monday.

Flames began in a 1959 Lincoln Continental dubbed LincVolt, which runs on electric batteries and a biodiesel-powered generator, and then spread to the warehouse at 593 Quarry Road in the early morning of Nov. 9, according to Belmont-San Carlos Fire Marshal Jim Palisi and a website devoted to the car.


Quit snickering in the back! Somebody could have been hurt!

Hat-tip: Blog friend Sugarchuck, who adds "Couldn't happen to a nicer guy."

Posted by John Kranz at 3:32 PM | Comments (1)
But Lisa M thinks:

At times like these, words can't adequately express my feelings. Then I go here.

Posted by: Lisa M at November 16, 2010 9:19 PM

November 15, 2010

Physics. Economics, Remain Unappealed

Rant alert. Skip to the next topic for reasoned, informed commentary...

I have a new most-hated commercial. After bravely defending Toyota in the Christine-Prius imbroglio, this proud owner is ready to file off the logo from his MR2. Anybody who watched football this weekend (how 'bout them Broncos?) probably saw it a few times. A young man drives around in his Toyota Hybrid with a young child. Precious as can be the driver (not the four year old, mind you) suggests that Toyota's regenerative braking should be employed on the roller coaster "to create a self-sustaining amusement park."

At last! Perpetual motion is discovered! The Second Law of Thermodynamics is repealed! You capture energy from the descending coaster and use it to send it back up! And light the lights! And make the popcorn! And power nearby communities!

There's a web site where you can post your own sanctimonious ideas, irrespective of any knowledge of physics or chemistry.

Or economics! In a similar vein, Kenneth P. Green (It's the eponymy, stupid!) says I Told You So California...

Despite a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government, Solyndra, a maker of solar panels in the southeast San Francisco Bay Area city of Fremont, will close one of its manufacturing plants, lay off 40 permanent and 150 contract workers, delay expansion plans of a new plant largely financed with the government-guaranteed loan and scale back production capacity more than 50 percent.

Despite the hype and tax money, Solyndra seems unable to compete with Chinese manufacturers, whose prices are lower.


Did California listen? No, they've got a plan to put generators on roller coasters...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:24 PM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Toyota's plan will work if they just outfit the roller coaster with a gasoline engine.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 15, 2010 2:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I blame the President, who told us we could drive hybrid cars all day and then plug them in at home to make our meters run backwards.

But what's with Solyndra? The China problem is easy: Bigger subsidies! After all, "China is dumping solar panels in the US market. Tariffs! Domestic incentives! Quick!" [yawn]

Posted by: johngalt at November 15, 2010 3:31 PM

October 19, 2010

More fallout from the Dr. Hal Lewis Resignation

One of the Update links at the linked article in the Dr. Hal Lewis resignation story was a copy of the APS's public response with rebuttal by Dr. Lewis and two others interspersed in context. While the resignation letter itself is scathing evidence of Global Warming as hoax, it doesn't directly address the issue of "well-funded people believing" and thus, it "not going away." This does: [First the APS' statement, then Lewis' rebuttal.]

Dr. Lewis’ specific charge that APS as an organization is benefitting financially from climate change funding is equally false. Neither the operating officers nor the elected leaders of the Society have a monetary stake in such funding.
The chair of the Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) that re-endorsed the 2007 APS Statement on Climate Change sits on the science advisory board of a large international bank http://annualreport.deutsche-bank.com/2009/ar/supplementaryinformation/advisoryboards.html The bank has a $60+ billion Green portfolio, which it wishes to assure investors is safe…not to mention their income from carbon trading. Other members of this board include current IPCC chief Pachauri and Lord Oxburgh, of Climategate exoneration fame. The viability of these banks activities depends on continued concern over CO2 emissions. Then there is the member of the Kleppner Committee (that reviewed the APS 2007 Statement prior to POPA) who served on that committee while under consideration for the position of Chief Scientist at BP. The position had been vacated when Steve Koonin left to take a post in the administration at DOE. Soon after the Kleppner Committee report in late 2009, this committee member took the BP job. BP had previously funded the new Energy Laboratory at Berkeley, which was headed by current Energy Secretary Steve Chu.

UPDATE: Reformatted for clarity and bolded text for emphasis.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2010

Global Warming takes another body blow -

- This time from a renowned nuclear scientist.

Last November 20 I posted this first news of Climategate, which included James Delingpole's headline: Climategate: The final nail in the coffin of 'antropogenic global warming?'

JK was more circumspect but by December 1 admitted that the scandal was a "game changer." Yet, he still hedged: "But it does not expose a hoax as some have claimed. The believers truly believe. As long as well funded people believe, it is not going away."

Today, or rather October 8, the hoax is exposed.

Harold Lewis - Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board - resigned from the American Physical Society over events that have transpired since Climategate.

In discussing the publicly released resignation letter Anthony Watts says,

This is an important moment in science history. I would describe it as a letter on the scale of Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door. It is worthy of repeating this letter in entirety on every blog that discusses science.

From the letter:

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford's book organizes the facts very well.) I don't believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

He then goes on to expose the calculated lengths that APS management went to defeat his efforts to establish a Topic Group on Climate Change within the APS. Sharp, smart and irretrievably damaging to APS and the Climate Change movement.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Put me down as still hedging, brother. The letter you link says "What I would really like to see though, is this public resignation letter given the same editorial space as Michael Mann in today’s Washington Post." I fear this sermon will be heard only by the choir.

It's "Green Week!" at work. Thankfully, as a remote worker, I am impervious to all but eye rolling. Onsite workers went without lights for some time today and were told to shut off and unplug computers overnight for baseline current measurements.

This is from a private company, headed by a CEO who doesn't generally buy in to such nonsense. I guess they are buying off the earnest young employees. Whatever the case, we ain't won yet.

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2010 6:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I included your complete original "hedge" on purpose, to show it's a step-by-step process.

The believers do still believe, and as long as well funded people believe it is not going to go away. BUT, this does expose a hoax.

Posted by: johngalt at October 19, 2010 2:44 PM
But JC thinks:

No hoaxes here just a bunch of horses blowing hot air out their tail pipes! I have been studying this issue for several years. Based on the recent increase in reputable scientific organizations that accept "antropogenic global warming" as fact, Harold Lewis' single resignation letter fails to provide "an important moment in science history". The one and only effect of his resignation letter is that of providing fuel for the bloggers and non-believers.

Posted by: JC at April 1, 2011 9:47 PM

Trouble in Green Paradise

Governor Ritter touted the benefits of the "new energy economy" as including not just new jobs, but clean jobs in clean energy. Alas, it seems that reality still exists. Fort Collins Coloradoan: Vestas Using Potentially Harmful Chemicals

A two-month investigation by the Coloradoan shows that a handful of employees working at the Vestas facility, 11140 Eastman Park Drive, have been injured by an epoxy resin used in the blade manufacturing process.

(...)

OSHA fined Vestas $1,500 and cited the company twice with eight separate violations for failure to train employees how to properly use respirators as well as a failure to complete incident report forms for injuries at the facility.

Vestas has had similar problems in Europe.

More than a year ago across the Atlantic, Vestas found itself in a similar situation. In June 2009, the Isle of Wight County Press newspaper in the U.K. reported that Vestas Blades Newport turbine factory, which has since closed, was fined almost $800,000 for health and safety violations pertaining to 13 employees who suffered dermatitis after exposure to epoxy resin between 2005 and 2007.
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Hahahahahhahahahahahaha! That's the greatest thing I ever read. If only some children had contracted cancer working 15 hour days, it would be truly perfect.

The only thing close is Penn & Teller's show on Recycling. Everybody is touting "all the great jobs" created. P&T go to a sorting facility and stand in waste deep trash crying "why oh why do we have to be Las Vegas entertainers when there are great jobs like this?"

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2010 12:12 PM

October 1, 2010

Blowing up Children

Un. Bee. Leave. Able.

It's okay. It's for the environment. It's "edgy" to splatter a roomful of schoolchildren with the blood and particulate remains of their less green classmates.

Hat-tip: Telegraph.uk via Instapundit who says "It always ends up as mass murder, real or fantasized, with these people. That’s what they do. Treat them with all the respect they deserve."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:58 PM | Comments (8)
But T. Greer thinks:

Blogger Fabius Maximus, no friend of conservatives, hit the nail on the head with this one:

This belief in curative value of spilling blood is a commonplace in history (especially in the last century), a bleak backdrop to this film. Many on the Left would go berserk at something similar if produced by the Tea Party or evangelicals. And rightly so. The “just kidding” defense doesn’t work when the writers so obviously wish their fantasy were true.
Posted by: T. Greer at October 1, 2010 5:06 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Shannon Love, over at Chicago Boyz, also had a good post on this matter.

Posted by: T. Greer at October 3, 2010 12:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks, tg. This is my monthly Facebook Political post and I passed that link along to a good friend who claims "there are extremists in every bunch..." That this was a high-budget production by BBC's biggest director, with A-list celebrities and football stars from France and the UK did not faze.

Posted by: jk at October 3, 2010 6:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

James Delingpole writes, Eco-fascism jumps the shark: massive, epic fail!

"With No Pressure, the environmental movement has revealed the snarling, wicked, homicidal misanthropy beneath its cloak of gentle, bunny-hugging righteousness."
Posted by: johngalt at October 4, 2010 11:38 AM
But jk thinks:

Yet paid no price, whatsoever. It angered some of its enemies but none of its friends. I don't think there is any chatter about this. When you bring it up to somebody in a month, they will stare at you blankly, having never seen it.

If a tea partier had... oh. nevermind!

Posted by: jk at October 4, 2010 11:49 AM
But Mr. Xyz thinks:

Here's a new No Pressure video

Using multiple short parody clips it tells the story backward.

"Was This Originally A Prank? (gore obscured)"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnVp7TdbTa8

Posted by: Mr. Xyz at October 21, 2010 12:55 PM

September 17, 2010

Black Helicopters Appear in Broad Daylight...

...embarking from the White House.

Republican candidate for CO governor Dan Maes took some heat in early August for suggesting that statist influences at the United Nations are inserting themselves into state and municipal governments through an organization called ICLEI. I'll admit that if you've never heard of these self-important busybodies the whole idea can sound a bit conspiratorial. Even our own jk joked "See the bikes all come in black helicopters..."

Yet today, from the "just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not really out to get me" department, we have the White House's Ocean Policy Initiative.

What the administration in effect is putting in place is an alternative power structure that circumvents existing state and local decision-making bodies and replaces them with made-in-Washington zoning. All of this is taking place without the consent of Congress, without the consent of the governors, and, most important of all, without the consent of the governed.

Suddenly the idea that similar efforts to influence local decision-making by the U.N. might "threaten our personal freedoms" doesn't seem like such a crackpot remark. JK commented "Let's pick smarter fights than this, boys." I'll counter with, "Someone has to start connecting the dots for voters sooner or later. Let's hope that when they do it isn't too late to get our liberty back using the ballot box."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:06 PM | Comments (0)

September 9, 2010

I'm Beginning to See the Light

Ann Althouse summed it up pretty nicely yesterday, but there is a great column in The American today. The rationale for taking our freedom away is to promote "all these green energy jobs" when in reality it is accelerating the push overseas:

“See, when folks lift up the hoods on the cars of the future, I want them to see engines stamped ‘Made in America,’” Obama said in an August 16 speech at a Wisconsin plant. “When new batteries to store solar power come off the line, I want to see printed on the side, ‘Made in America.’ When new technologies are developed and new industries are formed, I want them made right here in America.”

But as the upcoming closure of America’s last major incandescent lightbulb factory shows, such claims are generally bunk. Even the Washington Post, not exactly famous for its conservatism, points out that while the Obama administration pledges 800,000 “clean energy” manufacturing jobs by 2012, “the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States has been shrinking for decades, from 19.5 million in 1979 to 11.6 million this year, a decline of 40 percent.”

The Post also observes that those lightbulb jobs aren’t just moving across town, they’re moving overseas


I'm a big fan of globalization, and a new Chinese factory factors not into my sleep loss. But it would be better if we did not make profitable and desirable domestically produced products illegal.

(Plus a suggestion to ramp up the stockpiling of incandescents. Stimulus baby!)

Posted by John Kranz at 2:57 PM | Comments (0)

September 8, 2010

And We're Here to Help

Ann Althouse:

"The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month...."

Oh! It is so sad. It is doubly sad. The workers are losing their jobs, and we, who love traditional light bulbs are being deprived of a product we want. And those vile CFL bulbs? They're made in China.

Thanks a lot, Congress.

Now, how many incandescent bulbs do I need to stockpile last until the end of my life? I need to buy them before 2014....


Do I have untill 2014? I was afraid that was next year. I plan to buy some serious casage and don't want to wait too long.

Citizens? Nay, subjects. Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 4:47 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You'll buy your 40 cases of light bulbs, and ten minutes later, the price of electricity will skyrocket - as promised. The optimist is buying incandescent lights; the pessimist is buying candles.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 8, 2010 5:26 PM
But jk thinks:

..like you're going to be able to afford matches...

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2010 6:19 PM

September 1, 2010

Tweet of the Day

@AceofSpadesHQ [Discovery Channel Enviro-gunman] Lee Smith thought he'd die due to increasingly lethal weapons technology. *Spot on,* dude!
Posted by John Kranz at 6:13 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2010

Trashy Summer Reading

You have two choices. You can watch Penn & Teller's B******t on recycling and be treated to topless women, cruel torment of innocent and sincere Angelinos. It's a great show and I recommend it highly.

Or, if you prefer less profanity (none as I recall), you can read PERC's awesome paper on the myths of recycling. It's 30 pages, but they are double-spaced, full of pictures, and very readable. PERC even goes a little deeper into the cost structure then my favorite libertarian magicians.

Both share a concern that the public mission of the trash barge Mobro in 1987 convinced all of America of a shortage of landfill capacity that was not real. This "crisis" was played by the enviro movement to create a decades-long boondoggle of subsidized recycling. The other thing they have in common is their conclusion: "Recycling is B******t!".

Posted by John Kranz at 7:05 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I lived in Boulder for 20 years so I'm ahead of the curve on "recycling is bullshit" awareness. I'm a militant anti-recycler. Except for aluminum cans, which I once read save the energy equivalent of 8 ounces of gasoline (recycled vs. new metal from bauxite ore.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 26, 2010 2:40 PM
But jk thinks:

...which explains the real, free-market value of scrap aluminum that has existed since I was a kid. The 3R fiends love to include stats like that, implying thatthe convesion of soda bottles to insulation is as effective.

Posted by: jk at August 26, 2010 3:37 PM

May 28, 2010

King Barack the Verbose

On the heels of Charles Krauthammer's King Canute reference, [third comment] Mark Steyn fills us in on the background.

In the age of kings, we were taught that kings were human, with human failings. Now, in the age of citizen-presidents, we are taught that government has unlimited powers over "heaven, earth and sea." Unlike Canute and Alfred, the vanity of Big Government knows no bounds.

You won't be sorry if you read it all. He even takes a whack at the Euro.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2010

Miserable F-ing Lead-Free Solder!

Some years ago I wrote at some length about an EU regulation that was infecting the electronics industry worldwide, causing higher costs, greater ecological damage and more importantly, less reliable electronics.

Fast forward to last Friday, where my blogging from a Colorado political event was hamstrung by battery charging difficulties. (I did have an extra battery, I just couldn't charge either of them!) We've been struggling with the charging plug on this laptop for months if not years. This morning I finally concluded that the issue was inside the computer and not the charging adapter. I removed about a million dinky screws and opened roughly half a million teensy snaps to gain access to the main board. The solder joints on the charging socket did appear suspect. Under magnified inspection I deduced that repeated mechanical flexing stress had cold-worked the terminals where they passed through the solder barrels in the PCB. The solder, with the tell-tale dull satin finish of lead-free, had opened up into little funnel shapes around each of the 5 pins on the connector. The electrical connections were reliant upon faith and good fortune (and you probably know how much of both we have around here.) I reflowed all 5 connections with good old tin-lead solder (like our grandpappys used to use) and put the well used laptop back into service.

I can't help but wonder how many fewer electronic devices would be clogging our landfills if this idiotic enviro-nonsense had not been foisted upon mankind in the name of keeping hazardous materials out of landfills.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:00 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Heh. I think every laptop I've tossed has been that socket breaking or disconnecting. My soldering skills are limited to patch cords and the occasional tube socket. PC boards are replacement parts to this cowboy,

Posted by: jk at May 23, 2010 5:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Exactly right. Only the most fortunate laptops end up in the homes of electrical engineers with NASA soldering training. (I guess one might call them the Dalai Lama laptops. Reincarnation anyone?)

Posted by: johngalt at May 23, 2010 6:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And I also sought to take some of the heat off of you for your nautical language, though I couldn't bring myself to type the complete f-word.

Posted by: johngalt at May 24, 2010 8:15 PM

April 26, 2010

Life Imitates Penn & Teller

An awesome episode of Penn & Teller's B******t, is the one on recycling. In the intro, the hosts admit that "they kinda believe it" but nevertheless, the purveyors of reason must conclude that recycling "is B******t!"

The show is entertaining and informative, of course, but one of the great bits is when they walk serious young LA homeowners through the new system. A man with a clipboard instructs on the proper contents of the eight different color bins. It's hilarious because they cannot get a Californian to complain no matter how bad they make it.

Well, in the land of Orwell, they're bringing this skit to life:

recycle.jpg


This is from a story in The Daily Mail -- an excitable publication to be sure, but I'm guessing there's a very good chance this is legit.

Hat-tip: Taranto.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:04 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

See, I've always suspected that with all the extra bins curbside, the underlying motivation was to make us peasants limit the number of cars we own - after all, they leave us no place to park them, forcing us to eliminate a polluting gas-guzzler.

But surprise! The big win in the greeniness category is our cars! This article has persuaded me that I'll be trading in my 2004 model next year for the 2011 - yes, the one with the green, environmentally-friendly 302 that, coincidentally, generates 412 horsepower:

http://tinyurl.com/2vr733n

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 26, 2010 7:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Clearly, Keith's love of country and the environment know no bounds. Good for You!!!

Posted by: jk at April 26, 2010 7:45 PM

April 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

While President Obama notices what’s happening [environment improving], apparently the folks over at government-run TV (PBS) didn’t get the memo, offering up this week a two-hour American Experience Earth Day documentary on “the inspiring story of the modern environmental movement.” Not much inspiration here; to the contrary, the film is so drearily conventional that it’s about as inspiring as a bad tribute cover band trying to recreate Beatlemania in an Elko, Nevada ballroom. -- Steven F Hayward
I used to play in Elko...
Posted by John Kranz at 5:08 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2010

Truth in Media (no, REALLY)

Just when you thought it wasn't safe to consume any establishment media news product comes this in US News and World Report: Global Warming, Ethanol, DDT and Environmentalism’s Dark Side

Those who question global warming alarmists’ claims and policy prescriptions have been compared to holocaust deniers. Yet what are we to call environmentalists whose policies have resulted in the deaths of millions and could exacerbate poverty and hunger? The movie title Not Evil, Just Wrong may be too charitable.

Snap! Now that's what I call 'Hope and Change' in the news business. How did this happen? The story was written by Carrie Lukas, VP of Policy and Economics at the Independent Women's Forum (because "All issues are women's issues.") Their mission:

The Independent Women's Forum is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and educational institution. Founded in 1992, IWF focuses on issues of concern to women, men, and families. Our mission is to rebuild civil society by advancing economic liberty, personal responsibility, and political freedom. IWF builds support for a greater respect for limited government, equality under the law, property rights, free markets, strong families, and a powerful and effective national defense and foreign policy. IWF is home to some of the nation's most influential scholars—women who are committed to promoting and defending economic opportunity and political freedom.

OK, sounds good so far. They may have been founded in 1992 but it's hard to believe this has been their mission all along. I think JK'd have linked 'em by now! ;) Better late than never though.

UPDATE: Here's the link to the entire US N&WR entry and not just the excerpt on balanced-ed.org. It's an editorial. Oh well, the flicker of hope felt really good for those few minutes. Still check out iwf.org though.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:16 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

In my defense, I have linked to the filmmakers several times.

Posted by: jk at April 20, 2010 4:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't think iwf.org is affiliated with 'Not Evil, Just Wrong' but I could be wrong, not evil too.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2010 5:23 PM

April 19, 2010

Earth Day Looming

Balanced-ed.org is working on leveling the playing field, fighting back against bias in environmental education in public schools.

In Pa, they've done interviews with Dom Giordano and Bob Durgan.

They're looking for personal stories about it for publication... thing like showing Al Gore's "documentary" An Inconvenient Truth & etc.

You might recall that British schools have been ordered to run disclaimers when presenting An Inconvenient Truth in the classroom.

The move follows a High Court action by a father who accused the Government of 'brainwashing' children with propaganda by showing it in the classroom.

Stewart Dimmock said the former U.S. Vice-President's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is unfit for schools because it is politically biased and contains serious scientific inaccuracies and 'sentimental mush'.

He wants the video banned after it was distributed with four other short films to 3,500 schools in February.

Mr Justice Burton is due to deliver a ruling on the case next week, but yesterday he said he would be saying that Gore's Oscar-winning film does promote 'partisan political views'.

This means that teachers will have to warn pupils that there are other opinions on global warming and they should not necessarily accept the views of the film.

Posted by AlexC at 7:26 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

My brother and his sons were telling me about Gore indoctrination at their swanky Boulder County private school. I sent him the link to tell his story. I'll try to refresh my memory and put the story here too.

Thanks for the link. It led to some other good stuff.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2010 3:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK, here's the story (third hand): The day after screening Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' in class from start to finish my brother sent his son in with a 5-minute Stossel segment "where he had a bunch of people debunking the theory." To her credit the teacher did share part of it with the class, although she didn't see fit to let it run to the end of the "whole" 5 minutes.

Do you suppose Stossel changed her mind that fast?

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2010 3:26 PM

March 31, 2010

Headline of the Day

Cloudy with a Chance of Global Warming

Greenpeace now has cloud computing in its crosshairs. If you ever wondered why the huge data centers were being built as close as possible to large hydro plants, now you know—cloud computing is an energy hog. Expect to hear more about this going forward. It will be interesting to see if green groups try to demonize the high-tech industry the way they’ve demonized coal and other fossil fuel firms.-- Nick Shultz


Got to comment: yeah, guys, much better to distribute that power among a million old servers in air-conditioned data centers powered by a variety of sources.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:54 PM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2010

International Club for Meddling with Local Government

One of moderator Amy Oliver's questions at last night's CO-4 GOP debate was about an international organization called the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives, or ICLEI. They've changed their name to ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.

Apparently they encourage local governments to impose environmental regulations all over the world. They describe "members" as "the strongest allies of ICLEI by contributing a yearly membership fee, but also by hosting ICLEI offices, financing events or contributing staff time to projects and activities." That would be staff time of the local governments they work for, paid by local tax dollars.

The online membership directory is unavailable: "Please accept our apologies. We are presently working to update our membership information pages. This page will be available again shortly."

They do, however, list the 1124 local governments these members come from. They include:

Arvada, Aspen, Boulder, Breckenridge, Carbondale, Denver, Durango, Ft. Collins, Frisco, Golden, Gunnison County, La Plata County, LAFAYETTE, Loveland, Manitou Springs, San Miguel County, and Westminster in Colorado.

Haverford Township, Lower Makefield, Meadville, Montgomery Township, Mt. Lebanon, Narberth, Nether Providence Township, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Radnor, Upper Dublin Township, and West Chester in Pennysylvania.

Find your town. Complain to your city council. I DON'T WANT MY TAX DOLLARS, IN THE FORM OF STAFF TIME, SPENT ON ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:13 PM | Comments (0)

February 8, 2010

Green Appeal of the Green Police

If you already knew I'm an Audi afficianado in addition to being a green-basher you weren't surprised when I called the Green Police on the new ketchup pouch. The ad had me guffawing wildly, yet Grist Magazine's David Roberts argues that "the teabaggy interpretation just doesn't quite fit."

The ad is not just another pot shot at greens. It's an appeal to a new and growing demographic that isn't hard-core environmentalist -- and doesn't particularly like hard-core environmentalists -- but that basically wants to do the right thing.

Yeah, sure it is. Personally I think that movement peaked prior to 1998. Tea anyone?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:16 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Jim Geraghty will have a cup. He tweets:

Green Police: Biggest zeitgeist sign since Garry Shandling tried to "Kelo vs. New London" Tony Stark. http://tinyurl.com/yzu5gt6

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2010 4:15 PM

December 16, 2009

Copenhagen

I understand kleptocracy:

In theory, the money is supposed to help poor countries pay for their transition to a carbon-neutral future. But the developed world has been pouring trillions of dollars into development aid in various forms for decades, with little to show for it. The reasons are well-known: Corruption, political oppression, government control of the economy and the absence of rule of law combine to keep poor countries poor. And those factors also ensure that most aid is squandered or skimmed off the top. Recasting foreign aid as "climate mitigation" won't change any of that.

Still, Copenhagen's fixation on who pays for these huge wealth transfers is instructive because it lays bare the myth that greening the global economy is a cost-free exercise. The G-77 scoffed at a European offer of €7.2 billion ($10 billion) over three years. Instead, the Sudanese chairman of the group, Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, suggested in an interview with Mother Jones magazine that something on the order of a trillion dollars, or more, would be appropriate.


But I don't understand environmental protesters:
BBC video showed truncheon-bearing Danish police shoving the crowd backward as protesters gasped and covered their faces to avoid breathing tear gas.

Now if the Heritage Foundation, Wall Street Journal, CEI, Exxon, and ThreeSourcers were braving the Danish Truncheons I could dig it. But what do the enviros get from disturbing the global warming conference?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith thinks:

jk: since when do they need a reason? Reason implies logic. Logic implies rational persons.

QED.

Posted by: Keith at December 16, 2009 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The ex-communists who run the UN and it's subordinate organizations like the IPCC just aren't "Progressive" enough for this lot of "environmental" protestors. They were calling for the Copenhagen Summit to be turned into a "Peoples Assembly" long a goal of World Government advocates.

The "environmental activists" at Copenhagen appear to be from the People's Movement on Climate Change. Here is the 5-point plan that the PMCC calls the "Peoples' Protocol on Climate Change:"

1. "...differentiated and equitable" global effort to "stabilize CO2 concentrations at 350ppm and hold global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

2. "...reparation of Southern countries and the poor by Northern states..."

3. Reject ... corporations from harming the environment, new and greater opportunities for profit, corporate control over natural resources and technologies.

4. "Struggle for ecologically sustainable, socially just, pro-people, and long-lasting solutions.

5. Strengthen the PMCC.

Any questions?

Posted by: johngalt at December 17, 2009 12:42 PM
But jk thinks:

No, Comrade. I got it.

Posted by: jk at December 17, 2009 1:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Let's sing along:
http://www.hymn.ru/internationale/index-en.html

The Internationale unites the human race!

Posted by: johngalt at December 17, 2009 2:43 PM

December 3, 2009

Quote of the Day

Lifted from the good folks at Samizdata:

"Leute wie Sie standen auf den Mauer-Wachtürmen der roten Sozialisten, Sie überwachten die Wachtürme der braunen Sozialisten. Und, ..., Leute Ihres Schlages werden auf den Wachtürmen der grünen Sozialisten stehen und deren Umerziehungslagern zu klimatologisch korrekten Staatsbürgern."

("People like you stood in the guard towers of the red socialists' wall, they stood in the brown[shirt] socialists' guard towers. And people of your stripe will stand in the guard towers of the green socialists and their reeducation camps for climatologically correct citizens.")

- Commenter Frank39, who appears to have lived in East Germany, responding to another commenter on a post on Climategate from the German "Science Skeptical" blog. My thanks to the anonymous correspondent in Germany who pointed this out and provided me with the translation.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:01 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2009

The Didn't Take Long

Obama administration politicizing science?

Say it ain't so.

Posted by AlexC at 11:43 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

With this and the firing of the Inspectors General, it is almost worth abandoning liberty to see our friends on the left contort themselves. Almost.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2009 11:59 AM
But AlexC thinks:

As I have observed from my liberal co-workers....

Never underestimate the power of willful ignorance.

Posted by: AlexC at June 28, 2009 4:37 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

You want to talk about co-workers... Remember that woman who said "He's going to help me pay for gas and my mortgage"? I work near two just like that. The one good thing that came out of Obama's primary victories is that these two actually learned the names of some states they probably hadn't heard of before.

As long as whitey gets stuck with the cost, they don't care.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 28, 2009 7:02 PM

May 29, 2009

Rational Economic Actors

Hat-tip: Don Luskin

Posted by John Kranz at 5:31 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2009

Quote of the Day

No, I'm not sucking up and I do not intend to ask blog brother jg for a loan. But this line from his comment is a gem:

This plays right in to a discussion of the idea that our nation should be ruled by its laws and not ruled by men - or by wise latina women.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:55 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I can't take credit but I can't give a full attribution either. I heard a guest on Fox News this morning say this:

“The issue at the very heart of this nation’s founding, the reason we fought for independence from Britain, was the idea that we would be a nation ruled by laws and not ruled by men – or ruled by wise Latina women.”
Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2009 7:43 PM

April 22, 2009

Exploit-the-Earth Day

In 1970 a US Senator created 'Earth Day' to "inspire awareness and appreciation for the earth's environment." But this movement has since metastasized from "appreciating" the earth's environment to deifying it. As a result, any productive human activity can be villified as "pollution."

In contrast, Objectivist philosopher and publisher Craig Biddle wrote that the correct moral path is to celebrate "Exploit-the-Earth Day" instead. [email article - Click 'continue reading' for the full text.]

Environmentalism rejects the basic moral premise of capitalism—the idea that people should be free to act on their judgment—because it rejects a more fundamental idea on which capitalism rests: the idea that the requirements of human life constitute the standard of moral value. While the standard of value underlying capitalism is human life (meaning, that which is necessary for human beings to live and prosper), the standard of value underlying environmentalism is nature untouched by man.

For at least 45,000 years human beings have been exploiting the resources of earth and nature for their survival and prosperity. There is certainly no rational reason to quit now. In celebration of exploiting the earth I have created two original prints and I publish them here now for free public use.

There is no middle ground here. Either human life is the standard of moral value, or it is not. Either nature has intrinsic value, or it does not.

On April 22, make clear where you stand. Don’t celebrate Earth Day; celebrate Exploit-the-Earth Day—and let your friends, family, and associates know why.

Hat tip: jg's friend, henceforth (and long overdue) to be known as 'brother' Russ.

{Hint: Right-click on 'save target as' not 'save picture as' below so that you'll get the high resolution versions.}


________________________________________________________________________
Op-ed from The Objective Standard

On April 22, Celebrate Exploit-the-Earth Day

by Craig Biddle


Because Earth Day is intended to further the cause of environmentalism—and because environmentalism is an anti-human ideology—on April 22, those who care about human life should not celebrate Earth Day; they should celebrate Exploit-the-Earth Day.

Exploiting the Earth—using the raw materials of nature for one’s life-serving purposes—is a basic requirement of human life. Either man takes the Earth’s raw materials—such as trees, petroleum, aluminum, and atoms—and transforms them into the requirements of his life, or he dies. To live, man must produce the goods on which his life depends; he must produce homes, automobiles, computers, electricity, and the like; he must seize nature and use it to his advantage. There is no escaping this fact. Even the allegedly “noble” savage must pick or perish. Indeed, even if a person produces nothing, insofar as he remains alive he indirectly exploits the Earth by parasitically surviving off the exploitative efforts of others.

According to environmentalism, however, man should not use nature for his needs; he should keep his hands off “the goods”; he should leave nature alone, come what may. Environmentalism is not concerned with human health and wellbeing—neither ours nor that of generations to come. If it were, it would advocate the one social system that ensures that the Earth and its elements are used in the most productive, life-serving manner possible: capitalism.

Capitalism is the only social system that recognizes and protects each individual’s right to act in accordance with his basic means of living: the judgment of his mind. Environmentalism, of course, does not and cannot advocate capitalism, because if people are free to act on their judgment, they will strive to produce and prosper; they will transform the raw materials of nature into the requirements of human life; they will exploit the Earth and live.

Environmentalism rejects the basic moral premise of capitalism—the idea that people should be free to act on their judgment—because it rejects a more fundamental idea on which capitalism rests: the idea that the requirements of human life constitute the standard of moral value. While the standard of value underlying capitalism is human life (meaning, that which is necessary for human beings to live and prosper), the standard of value underlying environmentalism is nature untouched by man.

The basic principle of environmentalism is that nature (i.e., “the environment”) has intrinsic value—value in and of itself, value apart from and irrespective of the requirements of human life—and that this value must be protected from its only adversary: man. Rivers must be left free to flow unimpeded by human dams, which divert natural flows, alter natural landscapes, and disrupt wildlife habitats. Glaciers must be left free to grow or shrink according to natural causes, but any human activity that might affect their size must be prohibited. Naturally generated carbon dioxide (such as that emitted by oceans and volcanoes) and naturally generated methane (such as that emitted by swamps and termites) may contribute to the greenhouse effect, but such gasses must not be produced by man. The globe may warm or cool naturally (e.g., via increases or decreases in sunspot activity), but man must not do anything to affect its temperature. And so on.

In short, according to environmentalism, if nature affects nature, the effect is good; if man affects nature, the effect is evil.

Stating the essence of environmentalism in such stark terms raises some illuminating questions: If the good is nature untouched by man, how is man to live? What is he to eat? What is he to wear? Where is he to reside? How can man do anything his life requires without altering, harming, or destroying some aspect of nature? In order to nourish himself, man must consume meats, fruits, and vegetables. In order to make clothing, he must skin animals, pick cotton, manufacture polyester, and the like. In order to build a house—or even a hut—he must cut down trees, dig up clay, make fires, bake bricks, and so forth. Each and every action man takes to support or sustain his life entails the exploitation of nature. Thus, on the premise of environmentalism, man has no right to exist.

It comes down to this: Each of us has a choice to make. Will I recognize that man’s life is the standard of moral value—that the good is that which sustains and furthers human life—and thus that people have a moral right to use the Earth and its elements for their life-serving needs? Or will I accept that nature has “intrinsic” value—value in and of itself, value apart from and irrespective of human needs—and thus that people have no right to exist?

There is no middle ground here. Either human life is the standard of moral value, or it is not. Either nature has intrinsic value, or it does not.

On April 22, make clear where you stand. Don’t celebrate Earth Day; celebrate Exploit-the-Earth Day—and let your friends, family, and associates know why.

***

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:18 AM | Comments (2)
But Keith thinks:

In honor of Earth Day, I suppose we should remind everyone of the awesome power of green energy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKcD_aLZ9EI

Well, okay, it's more of a bluish-green.

Posted by: Keith at April 22, 2009 8:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

HA! The people waiting with breathless anticipation remind me of the ones on the train in the 'Atlas Shrugged' tunnel scene.

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2009 12:33 PM

December 21, 2008

Bummery

If you look forward to getting your meal from a dumpster, you're not some form of environmental nobility.

You're a frigging bum.

You don't get celebrated.

You don't feted.

You're a stinking bum.


Veneration of these guys
gets on my nerves.

Posted by AlexC at 4:08 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

It should bug you, ac; you have a righteous cause against the Freegans. I have little problem with those who want to do live that way. It doesn't grab me but I'll call it a valid "lifestyle choice."

Yet I wholeheartedly (hoof hearted?) agree that those who celebrate them as heroes are the people Karl Popper warned would send up back to the caves. We spent thousands of years developing the affluence that the Freegans can take for granted. Rather than innovate and contribute, these urban hyenas will live off the surplus of those who do.

Posted by: jk at December 22, 2008 11:15 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

I just think the word is funny. freegan

Try and use it in a sentence with a straight face.

"To guard against freegans, Whole Foods put up a fence."

See? You just cannot do it. I laugh everytime I say the word.

~T. Greer, not a freegan. Hehe.

Posted by: T. Greer at December 22, 2008 11:53 AM

October 1, 2008

Die Obamajungen Arbeitet

Sure they're cute when they're singing. But wait untill they are empowered in a green cause:

"This just in from the you-couldn't-make-this-stuff-up-if-you-tried department. A new website designed by npower, a British electric company, is recruiting children using games, badges and cartoons to enlist as "Climate Cops"; their duties are to actively keep records on their parents and neighbors for violations of "energy crimes" against the planet. Children then use the results of their spying to build a "Climate Crime Case File" on the perps, which they then "report back to your family to make sure they don't commit those crimes again (or else)!" The site also warns children that they "may need to keep a watchful eye" to prevent future violations. Did I mention I'm not making this up? It gets worse."

Posted by John Kranz at 4:01 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Arbeit macht frei.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 1, 2008 5:16 PM

July 3, 2008

jk, this one is for you

With all the talk about Pigouvian taxation, I thought I would highlight Bryan Caplan's recent thoughts:


I'm not going to say that Pigovianism is inherently totalitarian. But I will say that if intolerant preferences are widespread, then Pigovian thinking justifies totalitarianism. There's no denying it: If most people are horrified by the sight of an unveiled woman, then Pigovian logic requires a massive tax on visible female faces.

Happy commenting!

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:45 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Thanks, hb, that's a superb piece. I only wish you had excepted more. He makes my argument (sigh) a lot better than I do,

Posted by: jk at July 4, 2008 10:51 AM
But jk thinks:

I visited Mike's Economics Blog and he has linked to Caplan's piece as well.

Posted by: jk at July 4, 2008 11:12 AM

May 27, 2008

Wi-Fi Allergy

Stop the earth - I want off.

Seriously, didn't most people have that same reaction to the 1970's nutjobs who wanted to outlaw drilling for oil in this country because it was "dirty?" Leave the idiots alone and look what it gets you - politicians who say things like "gasoline prices are not based on supply and demand, they're being driven up by reckless speculators and obscene oil company profits" and "we can't drill our way out of this problem" when, in fact, that is the ONLY way to bring gasoline prices down. And it makes us "less dependent on foreign oil" at the same time.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:33 PM

February 18, 2008

It's The Secondhand Drowning...

This Telegraph blog post has to be read in full, so I have "nicked it:"

Bottled Water is Immoral

Drinking bottled water should be made as unfashionable as smoking, according to a government adviser.

"We have to make people think that it's unfashionable just as we have with smoking. We need a similar campaign to convince people that this is wrong," said Tim Lang, the Government's [natural] resources commissioner.


Bottled water generates up to 600 times more CO2 than tap water


Phil Woolas, the environment minister, added that the amount of money spent on mineral water "borders on being morally unacceptable".

Their comments come as new research shows that drinking a bottle of water has the same impact on the environment as driving a car for a kilometre. Conservation groups and water providers have started a campaign against the Ł2 billion industry.

A BBC Panorama documentary, "Bottled Water: Who Needs It?", to be broadcast tomorrow says that in terms of production, a litre bottle of Evian or Volvic generates up to 600 times more CO2 than a litre of tap water.


Y'know breathing outputs quite a bit of CO2. These are the people Karl Popper warned us about. They want to send us back to the caves.

Hat-tip: Samizdata. Perry DeHavilland says "Very telling, no? People deciding to spend their own money on something 'borders on being morally unacceptable'. Let me what you what is morally unacceptable: that force addicted control freak tax parasites like Phil Woolas have the gall to tell people how to spend their own damn money. 'Immoral'? You do not know the meaning of the word, Woolas."

Posted by John Kranz at 4:05 PM | Comments (2)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

You know, traditional tap water burns up a lot of energy resulting in C02 ... we should just take big slurps from the Thames, eh? Yeah, they all the populace of London-Town would be visited by a new plague and remove the human blight from the landscape. Veiled intent?

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at February 18, 2008 10:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I imagine that enlghtened BBC workers and Guardian writers would get an exemption -- this is in The Telegraph fer cryin' out loud!

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2008 3:30 PM

December 17, 2007

Quote of the Day

Samizdat Perry DeHavilland points out the popularity of multi-bird roasts, then shares a comment he left on the site to which he links:

This year for Christmas we are having one of these wonderful multi-birds and I am very much looking forward to it. However after reading some of the comments here, next year we are going to eat a PETA activist stuffed inside a Greenpeace activist stuffed inside a Animal 'Rights' activist stuffed inside Gordon Brown's voluminous carcass (with a non-'Fair Trade' apple stuffed into his mouth).

Merry Christmas and God Deliver Us All... from priggish activists of all stripes.


Merry Christmas, Perry!

Posted by John Kranz at 7:30 PM

November 30, 2007

CBS is hiring!

Are you looking for a job as an environmental reporter? Great news. CBS is hiring. Here is the job description:


CBS is expanding its coverage of the environment. We seek a talented reporter/host for Internet video broadcast. We are looking for smart, creative, hard working up and comers, who can bring great energy, creativity and a dash of humor to our coverage. A deep interest in the environment and sustainability issues will serve you well.

You are wicked smart, funny, irreverent and hip, oozing enthusiasm and creative energy. This position requires strong people, reporting, story telling and writing skills. Managing tight deadlines should be second nature. Knowledge of the enviro beat is a big plus, but not a requirement.

Responsibilities include reporting and hosting two to three news packages per week plus daily writing for our blog. You should be comfortable using a video camera and the Internet. Be prepared to see America. Heavy domestic travel.


I think that speaks for itself.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 7:19 PM

October 9, 2007

Inconvient Truths

*snicker*

Posted by AlexC at 10:17 AM

August 15, 2007

Rooting For Global Warming

Canadians. Really.

A "drain hole" in the St. Clair River caused by dredging and other commercial projects is costing Lakes Huron and Michigan a combined 2.5 billion gallons of water each day, according to a Canadian study released Tuesday.

That exceeds the amount diverted from Lake Michigan to provide Chicago's daily water supply, the Georgian Bay Association said. The group based its findings on water level data compiled by U.S. government agencies.


Lake St Clair is two feet shallower than it should be.

Time for some glacier melt, man.

Posted by AlexC at 12:31 AM

June 28, 2007

Growing Glaciers

In case you were wondering, the glacier on Mount St Helens is enbiggening.

... and that with lava beneath it.

I blame global warming and man's pernicious influences.

Posted by AlexC at 11:30 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Anthropogenic Global Lava Cooling is Real!

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2007 12:07 PM

May 22, 2007

2007 Hurricane Season

Batten down the hatches.

Government forecasters warned of a busier-than-normal hurricane season Tuesday.

National Weather Service forecasters said they expect 13 to 17 tropical storms, with seven to 10 of them becoming hurricanes.

CBS News reports they also believe that 3-5 of the storms will be Category 3 or higher.

An average Atlantic hurricane season brings 11 named tropical storms, six of which become hurricanes including two major ones, NOAA said.

The forecast follows that of two other leading storm experts in anticipating a busy season.


Does anyone remember the forecasts of 2006's first post-Katrina season?

I've been reading a number of stories this morning about the upcoming season, and none mention it.

Here's one from forecasting guru William Gray.

The 2006 forecast calls for:
17 named tropical storms; an average season has 9.6.
9 hurricanes compared to the average of 5.9.
5 major hurricanes with winds exceeding 110 mph; average is 2.3.

Another busier-than-normal season.

Wikipedia shows what really happened.

Total storms: 10
Hurricanes: 5
Major hurricanes (Cat. 3+): 2

Um, kinda below average.

But let's base major policy decisions from here on out on weather modeling.

Posted by AlexC at 3:27 PM

April 22, 2007

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day.

It's also Lenin's birthday.

Just so you know.

... I imagine it's coincidental.

Posted by AlexC at 8:26 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

It's also the date, in 1915, when Germany introduced poison gas in WWI. These sound to me like three good reasons not to read the news on this date - no tellin' what other gems are in store for future April 22nds.

My favorite line from the Earth Day wiki entry was this:

"The idea that the date was chosen to celebrate Lenin's centenary still persists in some quarters,[13][14] although Lenin was never noted as an environmentalist."

Hmmm. Wonder why so many people still see a connection then. What could it be? (I'd spell it out but really, if you can't figure it out, you probably won't read Threesources.com again anyway.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2007 3:11 PM

April 17, 2007

I AM Going to Sell Carbon Offsets

I have occasional sport with our homegrown Boulder County granola Marxists, but I realize how sheltered I am from these people.. The link takes you to a NYTimes story about a woman in a gated community South of LA. She is experimenting with a linear, entropy-powered clothes dehydration system:

I decide to rig a clothesline as an experiment. My mother died many years ago and the idea of hanging laundry with my own daughter, Isabel, who is 13 and always busy at the computer, is oddly appealing. I’m also hoping to use less energy and to reduce our monthly electric bills which hit the absurdly high level of $1,120 last summer.

Tim Blair links to the story as a defense of his own clothesline usage, but the gem is Lileks's comment:
Imagine you’re an editor at the New York Times. It’s the apogee of the profession. You’re in a brand-new skyscraper, built at great expense. You’re editing a piece about clotheslines, which are good because they’re nicer to the earth, and you’re all about being good to the earth. (You don’t get on the elevator to go up to your 45th floor office unless there are at least eight others in the car.)

You read this line:

In the meantime, our electric bill has dropped to $576 in March from its high last summer, reflecting a series of efforts to cut energy. (That’s still too high, so we’re about to try fluorescent bulbs.)

You get on the phone. “Kathleen?” you say. “Reading your clothesline piece, and I love it. Just wondering, what was your electric bill before?”

“Before what,” she asks.

“You say your electric bill dropped to $576 in March from its high last summer. What was your high last summer, and do you have an air conditioner?”

“I don’t see how that’s important,” she snaps.

“You’re right!” you say, and you hang up.

Ah, time for lunch!


I run my A/C foolishly long in the summer (MS patients tend to be very sensitive to heat) and a $200 utility bill is an eyebrow raiser. Who are these people of four-digit monthly power consumption? I don't care but why do they write NYTimes articles begging for us to praise their conservation? A few fluorescents, and she'll get that baby down to $523.50.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:42 PM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

We've never had a four digital utility bill but mid-three aren't unheard of.

We do combine natural gas and electricity though.

Posted by: AlexC at April 17, 2007 8:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, you have that sprawling Edwardsesqe mansion. We're just simple folk out here.

I got to laughing after this post. For a DAWG skeptic, I have a small "carbon footprint." I telecommute, drive a small car and am so dull I basically go to bed when it's dark. I bought fluorescent bulbs early on because I hate to change bulbs (Q: How many software developers...A:It's a hardware problem!). Other than my rapacious A/C use (for which I have a medical deferment) I am mister freakin' green!

Posted by: jk at April 18, 2007 10:01 AM

December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

... in Philadelphia it's 42 and raining.

I blame global warming.

    In 1902, the Los Angeles Times reported that the great glaciers were undergoing "their final annihilation" due to rising temperatures. But by 1923, it was the ice that was doing the annihilating: "Scientist says Arctic ice will wipe out Canada," the Chicago Tribune declared on Page 1.

    So it was curtains for the Canadians? Uh, not quite. In 1953, The New York Times announced that "nearly all the great ice sheets are in retreat." Yet no sooner did our neighbors to the north breathe a sigh of relief than it turned out they weren't off the hook after all: "The rapid advance of some glaciers," wrote Lowell Ponte in "The Cooling," his 1976 bestseller, "has threatened human settlements in Alaska, Iceland, Canada, China, and the Soviet Union." And now? "Arctic Ice Is Melting at Record Level, Scientists Say," the Times reported in 2002.

    Over the years, the alarmists have veered from an obsession with lethal global cooling around the turn of the 20th century to lethal global warming a generation later, back to cooling in the 1970s and now to warming once again. You don't have to be a scientist to realize that all these competing narratives of doom can't be true. Or to wonder whether any of them are.

Posted by AlexC at 9:00 PM

December 13, 2006

Academic Freedom

"Here's more evidence that 'academic freedom' doesn't apply to anyone actually on or near a campus" opens an OpinionJournal Political Diary item by Holman Jenkins, Jr.

The chancellor of British Columbia's Thompson Rivers University has become a public enemy after uttering judicious words on global warming on a Canadian Broadcasting breakfast show last week. Chancellor Nancy Greene Raine, previously an Olympic skiing champion and national heroine as Canada's official "female athlete of the century," told listeners: "In science, there's almost never black and white. We don't know what next week's weather is going to be. To say in 50 or 100 years, the temperature is going to do this, is a bit of a stretch for me."

The result was a "furor on campus," reports the local Kamloops Daily News. Professors have demanded Ms. Greene Raine's ouster from the ceremonial post. A Canadian government meteorologist "questioned why Greene Raine would offer comment about something on which she is not versed. He noted that no one comes to him for advice on skiing."

In fact, poor Ms. Greene Raine was making exactly the judgment that all citizens and politicians are called upon to make in the global warming debate: How reliable are long-range climate predictions? How should we weigh the costs and benefits of various policy prescriptions? Nor is she alone. Freeman Dyson, the legendary physicist and mathematician, offered similar views in a commencement address at the University of Michigan last year. For that matter, Ms. Greene Raine was kicked off a film of Canadian celebrities talking about global warming in 2005 when the producers discovered she thought spending money on poverty and disease was more urgent than spending money on climate change.

Questions of whether to adapt to climate change or try to prevent it, of how much to spend on CO2 reduction and the like, are questions the public is apparently supposed to shut up about. Message to Ms. Greene Raine and anyone else: Your job is merely to register support for "good" environmentalists versus "bad" skeptics, then submit to whatever policies the Al Gores of the world prescribe for our salvation.


The email version curiously features a picture of Vice President Gore. That may be a stretch, but it is not a stretch to point out that soi disant free academic thinkers will tolerate no questioning of their conclusions.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:05 PM

December 8, 2006

Light A Match

Not on a plane. Not to cover smell. Do it to save the planet.

Russell Seitz writes in OpininJournal Political Diary:

The Pollution Solution

When it comes to climate change, not much is new under the sun. In 1751 Ben Franklin spied civilization altering the balance of solar energy "by clearing America of woods and so making this side of our globe reflect a brighter light." When the first Earth Day dawned ten generations later, it led to America's Clean Air Act, which has since cut sulfur dioxide emissions by ten million tons a year and -- incidentally -- contributed to global warming by letting more light penetrate the atmosphere.

One fact of natural history is that a relatively small mass can cast a great deal of shade. Combusting just a few tons of jet fuel can transiently cast a mile-wide sun-reflecting contrail from coast to coast. Now Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen and global warming whistleblower Tom Wigley have floated the notion of having aircraft generate stratospheric sulfur aerosols to stop global warming cold. "It was meant to startle the policymakers," says Prof. Crutzen. "If they don't take action much more strongly than they have in the past, then in the end we have to do experiments like this."

Mr. Crutzen's attempt to pry open the narrow orthodoxies of the global warming crowd comes not a moment too soon. Daring yet affordable ideas don't figure in Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe's dogma-enforcing attack on ExxonMobil (see above). Al Gore excluded them from "An Inconvenient Truth" too. But Prof. Crutzen is not alone. Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson soberly observes that it's unwise to regard global warming as "a moral crusade when it's really an engineering problem. The inconvenient truth is that if we don't solve the engineering problem, we're helpless."

If the same atmospheric computer models the global warming worriers invoke are to be believed, a few pounds of sulfur per capita per year globally -- in some decades, major volcanic eruptions naturally inject far more -- might be enough to arrest the melting of the polar ice caps. Such an aerosol arctic sunbonnet might cost roughly as much as the power bill for running the Internet. Little wonder, then, that Mr. Gore and his communitarian cohort are aghast. Such modest post-modern proposals threaten to cut their fantasies of Deep Green societal control -- and moral superiority -- down to economic size.


Or we could just stop the growth of the entire world economy.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:54 PM

December 4, 2006

DAWG Bites DAWGMA

Wikipedia tells us that Claude Allegre is a "French geochemist and politician" and "member of the French Socialist Party." Google news search tells us... nothing. (Well, nearly nothing. There's a letter to the editor of the BYU paper mentioning what I'm about to mention.) The French (tabloid? newsmagazine?) L'Express.fr printed an editorial by Msr. Allegre stating, in part, "So, the question that arises is whether there is climate warming or not? [...] Greenhouse effect plays no significant role in these processes." (English translation here.)

Fox News Channel told me, and the Majority members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works corroborates, that Allegre's skepticism is "newfound" and that "one of the most decorated French geophysicists has converted from a believer in manmade catastrophic global warming to a climate skeptic."

The Senators write:

Allegre's conversion to a climate skeptic comes at a time when global warming alarmists have insisted that there is a “consensus” about manmade global warming. Proponents of global warming have ratcheted up the level of rhetoric on climate skeptics recently. An environmental magazine in September called for Nuremberg-style trials for global warming skeptics and CBS News “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley compared skeptics to “Holocaust deniers.” See: http://www.epw.senate.gov/fact.cfm?party=rep&id=264568 & http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2006/03/22/publiceye/entry1431768.shtml In addition, former Vice President Al Gore has repeatedly referred to skeptics as "global warming deniers."

This increase in rhetorical flourish comes at a time when new climate science research continues to unravel the global warming alarmists’ computer model predictions of future climatic doom and vindicate skeptics.

Allegre concludes:

Glaciers’ chronicles or historical archives point to the fact that climate is a capricious phenomena. This fact is confirmed by mathematical meteorological theories. So, let us be cautious. But the exposure of man’s responsibility as regards global warming allows us to sit idly by (the effect of the measures advocated will be felt only in half a century!). On the other hand, the crusade against extreme theories can be led with tangible results! However, as this is not fashionable, we choose to remain passive. In the meanwhile, the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!

Which is more incredulous: That a long-time DAWG might actually recant, and, become active for a "not fashionable" cause, or that the only source for this news in America is a bunch of Republicans on a senate subcommittee? Wait - don't answer that.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:17 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Dammit, jg! If you keep supporting this "Obfuscation agenda," the US Senate is going to shut ThreeSources down.

"Glaciers’ chronicles or historical archives point to the fact that climate is a capricious phenomena."

Writing your own Taranto headline is left as an exercise to the reader.

Posted by: jk at December 4, 2006 3:58 PM

DAWGMA

Two United States Senators have declared not only that the science is settled but also that dissent will not be tolerated. Sens. Olympia Snowe (RINO-ME) and Jay Rockefeller (!RCB-WV) have sent a letter to Exxon Mobil telling them -- as the WSJ ED Page paraphrases, "Start toeing the Senators' line on climate change, or else."

The letter is so over-the-top that we also wonder if Mr. Rockefeller in particular has even read it. (He and Ms. Snowe didn't return our call.) The Senator hails from coal-producing West Virginia, where people know something about carbon emissions. Come to think of it, Mr. Rockefeller owes his own vast wealth to something other then non-carbon energy. But perhaps it's easier to be carbon free when your fortune comes from a trust fund.

The letter is of a piece with what has become a campaign of intimidation against any global warming dissent. Not only is everyone supposed to concede that the planet has been warming -- as it has -- but we are all supposed to salute and agree that human beings are the definitive cause, that the magnitude of the warming will be disastrous and its effects catastrophic, that such problems as AIDS and poverty are less urgent, and that economic planners must therefore impose vast new regulatory burdens on everyone around the world. Exxon is being targeted in this letter and other ways because it is one of the few companies that still thinks some debate on these questions is valuable.

Every dogma has its day, and we've lived long enough to see more than one "consensus" blown apart within a few years of "everyone knowing" it was true. In recent decades environmentalists have been wrong about almost every other apocalyptic claim they've made: global famine, overpopulation, natural resource exhaustion, the evils of pesticides, global cooling, and so on. Perhaps it's useful to have a few folks outside the "consensus" asking questions before we commit several trillion dollars to any problem.


At issue is Exxon-Mobil’s funding of research which contradicts the beliefs of two members of the world's most deliberative body. The Impudence!

When the media, or NCAR, or the Sierra Club try to shut down their opposition, it's one thing. But the Senate, as the editorial points out, wields great coercive power over the firm and its shareholders.


Imagine if this letter had been sent by someone in the Bush Administration trying to enforce the opposite conclusion? The left would be howling about "censorship." That's exactly what did happen earlier this year after James Hansen, the NASA scientist and global warming evangelist, complained that a lowly 24-year-old press aide had tried to limit his media access. The entire episode was preposterous because Mr. Hansen is one of the most publicized scientists in the world, but the press aide was nonetheless sacked.

The Senators' letter is far more serious because they have enormous power to punish Exxon if it doesn't kowtow to them. A windfall profits tax is in the air, and we've seen what happens to other companies that dare to resist Congressional intimidation.


Posted by John Kranz at 3:00 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

It seems that these two senators are threatening to challenge the judiciary for chutzpah.

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2006 3:53 PM

November 6, 2006

Politics? No. Climate

Holy mackeral.

Don't believe the hype.

    The Royal Society says there's a worldwide scientific consensus. It brands Apocalypse-deniers as paid lackeys of coal and oil corporations. I declare my interest: I once took the taxpayer's shilling and advised Margaret Thatcher, FRS, on scientific scams and scares. Alas, not a red cent from Exxon.

    In 1988, James Hansen, a climatologist, told the US Congress that temperature would rise 0.3C by the end of the century (it rose 0.1C), and that sea level would rise several feet (no, one inch). The UN set up a transnational bureaucracy, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The UK taxpayer unwittingly meets the entire cost of its scientific team, which, in 2001, produced the Third Assessment Report, a Bible-length document presenting apocalyptic conclusions well beyond previous reports.

    This week, I'll show how the UN undervalued the sun's effects on historical and contemporary climate, slashed the natural greenhouse effect, overstated the past century's temperature increase, repealed a fundamental law of physics and tripled the man-made greenhouse effect.

    Next week, I'll demonstrate the atrocious economic, political and environmental cost of the high-tax, zero-freedom, bureaucratic centralism implicit in Stern's report; I'll compare the global-warming scare with previous sci-fi alarums; and I'll show how the environmentalists' "precautionary principle" (get the state to interfere now, just in case) is killing people.


Read it all.

Posted by AlexC at 7:40 PM | Comments (4)
But sushil_yadav thinks:

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.


Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.


When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.

FAST VISUALS /WORDS MAKE SLOW EMOTIONS EXTINCT.

SCIENTIFIC /INDUSTRIAL /FINANCIAL THINKING DESTROYS EMOTIONAL CIRCUITS.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY CANNOT FEEL PAIN / REMORSE / EMPATHY.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY WILL ALWAYS BE CRUEL TO ANIMALS/ TREES/ AIR/ WATER/ LAND AND TO ITSELF.


To read the complete article please follow either of these links :

http://www.planetsave.com/ps_mambo/index.php?option=com_simpleboard&Itemid=75&func=view&id=68&catid=6

http://www.earthnewswire.com/index.php?option=com_forum&Itemid=89&page=viewtopic&t=11


sushil_yadav

Posted by: sushil_yadav at November 6, 2006 11:37 PM
But jk thinks:

I cannot improve on what sushil says, I don't think I'll even try.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2006 11:24 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The people you attract by posting cartoons of chocolate bunnies!

I followed the vociferous incongruous one's link to earthnewswire and found that he also claims, "Intelligence is a curse" and "Life can never be good."

If intelligence is a curse, sushil is clearly blessed.

As for that "life sucks" thing, a Heinlein quote comes to mind:

"The man who says something cannot be done should not interfere with the man who is doing it."

Posted by: johngalt at November 7, 2006 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Actually got me with "Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet." Glad to see sushil doing his/her part.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2006 4:25 PM

October 30, 2006

Global Warming

Arnold Kling provides a brurtal fisking of Her Majesty’s Treasury's Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change.

The post is funny, but Josh@ The Everyday Economist (inline hat-tip) and I like the close. Responding to the assertion that ignoring the problem will take 5-20% off GDP, and fixing it would only cost 1%, Kling states:

One percent of global GDP is a lot--close to one trillion dollars. My guess is that if you think outside the box, you can eliminate global warming for a lot less money. Suppose you told scientists and engineers to come up with a way to monkey around with chemicals and stuff to reduce global average temperature. My guess is that the total cost of that approach, including research and implementation, would be only a few billion bucks, give or take.

Fighting man-made climate change with more man-made climate change almost has to be more cost-effective than fighting man-made climate change by trying to de-industrialize. But it would not satisfy the religious and political longings that are at the heart of the global warming crusade.


Did you order Mine Your Own Business Yet?

Posted by John Kranz at 7:32 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

This "Stern Review" thing smacks of the RoHS scam that I wrote about: http://www.threesources.com/archives/003306.html

"If it's big enough, and official enough, it must be true."

Posted by: johngalt at October 31, 2006 3:11 PM

Mama Must Be So Proud

Belgium has named a tax after VP Al Gore!

The WSJ Ed Page has the details

Earlier this month, Mr. Gore spent a day in Brussels to promote his film on global warming. "Our planet has a fever, and the fever has been getting steadily higher," he said in a speech. "It is in fact a full-scale planetary emergency." Within days, Belgian politicians were rewriting their tax laws to do something about this looming calamity.

Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt invoked his American visitor in proposing a new "environmentally friendly" tax on packages that would penalize users of aluminum or plastic and provide incentives to switch to paper or cardboard, whose production releases less CO2 into the atmosphere. The details have yet to be worked out, but the idea is for milk sold in, say, a plastic bottle to cost more than milk sold in a cardboard container.

"We must take Al Gore's message seriously," Mr. Verhofstadt told parliament the other day. The measure, introduced into the draft 2007 budget, was fast dubbed "the Gore tax." Also in the works are tax breaks for car pollution filters and deductions for energy-efficient investors.


This is what's fundamentally wrong with government. You say that's Belgium, but I live in Boulder County, which I might start calling "Little Belgium." Such a tax would pass here in an instant.

While in the Senate, Sen. Al Gore, Jr. decided that government should design toilets. Now he is encouraging the EU (which needs little encouragement to meddle) that the government should make packaging decisions. The Hayekian idea of innovation from multiple sources being sorted out in the market as abandoned.

Let Trent Lott design milk cartons? Ted Kennedy might bring some innovation to Scotch bottles, but I’d still rather trust the market.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:04 PM | Comments (1)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

The Gore tax ... heh, are not they all?

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 30, 2006 1:19 PM

October 8, 2006

The Sun

The Sun, giver of light and of warmth.

Global warmth.

    cosmic rays created by the explosions of distant stars play an important role in cloud formation in the earth’s lower atmosphere. Those clouds have a cooling effect on the planet. The sun’s magnetic field, however, interferes with this process to some degree, and that field has doubled for some reason in the 20th century.

Posted by AlexC at 12:23 PM | Comments (2)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Soo .... global warming is increasing because we have too little clouds and too much magnitism? I KNEW we should have kept on burning coal! Dammit, Somebody get Ohio on the line and tell them to crank up them steel mills.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 9, 2006 12:32 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

The Sun, giver of light and of warmth.

Huh,..and here I thought he was the picth man for Jimmy Dean breakfast sausages!
;)

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 9, 2006 9:37 PM

October 6, 2006

The Anti-Moore

Coming soon to Review Corner: MINE YOUR OWN BUSINESS

I remember a time, not so long ago, when the man with the sandwich board warning the world that the end is nigh was a comic figure. He appeared in cartoons and comedy sketch shows as the clownish, nerdish figure that others made jokes about.

Similarly it is not long ago that the bearded man, with the religious collar and evangelical zeal, warned us to change our ways or we would be visited by plagues and pestilence was viewed as a throwback to a conservative, less sophisticated past.

Most educated westerners feel that no longer believing these spreaders of doom and apocalypse is a sign of progress and how our society has matured.

But remove the glasses and the grubby raincoat from the man with the sandwich board and replace it with an ethnic shirt, maybe a pair of sandals and write on the sandwich board that we are all going to be damned because the oil will run out, Or maybe the message is that we are all going to be doomed because we have cut down the forests or because of global warming and suddenly we take the man with the sandwich board very seriously indeed.

Similarly remove the collar from the man with the evangelical zeal and make him a member of an environmental organisation and suddenly we start paying serious attention to these modern day prophets of doom.

Once, according to our religious leaders, it was our sins that were leading us to damnation. Now, according to our environmental leaders, it is polluting actions of man that will lead to our damnation.


That is from a director's statement by Phelim McAleer, who has created a documentary about unemployed Romanian coal miner Gheorge Lucian

OpinionJournal Political Diary's John Fund describes the film as an anti-Michael Moore look at leftist idealism:

In it, Mr. Lucian, the Romanian miner, is seen hop-scotching around the globe confronting environmentalists in the style of Mr. Moore with the real-world consequences of their ideology.

He finds plenty of pincushions to stick needles into. Belgian environmentalist Francoise Heidebroek pompously tells Mr. Lucian that he and his fellow Romanian villagers prefer to use horses rather than cars, and to rely on "traditional cattle raising, small agriculture, wood processing" to live. In Madagascar, Mr. Lucian finds an official of the World Wide Fund for Nature who argues that the poor are just as happy as the rich and then insists on showing Mr. Lucian his new $50,000 catamaran.


You can order the film off the website for $12.95 with PayPal.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:44 PM

September 27, 2006

AGW

Ursula K. Leguin's Earthsea Trilogy posited that to get power over something, you had to know its true name. Joss Whedon and Tim Minear use that in the climax of Season Four of Angel ("Peace Out"), destroying Jasmine (Gina Torres of Firefly fame) by speaking her true name.

Professor Glenn Reynolds gives man made global warming its true name in a TCS column: "anthropogenic global warming."

"Do you believe in Global warming?" Why yes, but I'm skeptical of anthropogenic global warming. The MS-Word spellchecker recognizes it. If it's good enough for Bill Gates and Glenn Reynolds, it's okay by me.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:49 PM

September 26, 2006

Rams vs. Buffaloes

An intrastate rivalry is deepening. AlexC sends a link to a DenverPost.com story about a CSU professor (well covered on these pages) and an NCAR scientist in Boulder.

The words "global warming" provoke a sharp retort from Colorado State University meteorology professor emeritus William Gray: "It's a big scam."

And the name of climate researcher Kevin Trenberth elicits a sputtered "opportunist."

At the National Center for Atmospheric Research, where Trenberth works, Gray's name prompts dismay. "Bill Gray is completely unreasonable," Trenberth says. "He has a mind block on this."
Only 55 miles separate NCAR's headquarters, nestled in the Front Range foothills, from CSU in Fort Collins. But when it comes to climate change, the gap is as big as any in the scientific community.


The article is pretty balanced, enumerating what is and is not disputed. The author leans on consensus and majority as favoring the existence of man made global warming. I repeat that science is not democratic, look more to Karl Popper's epistemology and less toward focus groups.

Yet the story is a pretty balanced look at the controversy and worth a read.

I just hope Dr. Gray doesn't call Dr. Trenberth "macaca."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:56 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Hey, careful there. My beloved Buffaloes have nothing to do with NCAR.

As for taking sides in this fight I think you know where I'll be. For 16 years I lived just down the hill from NCAR's envied perch at the base of Boulder's Flatirons. Whenever someone mentions "ivory tower" the NCAR building is my mental image. (See thumbnail photo at: http://www.ucar.edu/org/about-us.shtml)

Comparing the two men, Bill Gray's degrees are in geography, meteorology, and geophysical sciences. Trenberths are in mathematics and meteorology.
http://www.atmos.colostate.edu/dept/facmembers/gray.php
http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/trenbert.html

One of the biggest criticisms of global warming theorists is that their theories are based upon the "predictions" of their mathematical "climate models." Trenberth appears to fit that mold perfectly. Gray, on the other hand, predicted weather in the air force to begin his career and is a research professor at a land grant (read: agricultral) college at the present. Which would you expect to have a firmer grip on reality?

Posted by: johngalt at September 26, 2006 3:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, you're right; my characterization is inaccurate. I should have lumped it into a Boulder-Ft. Collins rivalry.

However -- comma -- to get a serious, heartfelt apology from me, I'll need a link to a CU professor's taking a stance against anthropogenic global warming.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2006 7:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

HA! Fat chance there. But I did actually go to the CU website and searched for "anthropogenic." There was a single hit. From 2004: http://www.cu.edu/sg/messages/3652.html

"Some wonder if a long-term increase in carbon dioxide and methane -- greenhouse gases of anthropogenic and natural origin -- are making the clouds more prevalent."

So the scientists at CU proposed to build two instruments to study the wandering polar clouds.

If a CU faculty member opposed "anthropogenic global warming" it would certainly have a chilling effect upon taxpayer financed research grants.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2006 1:18 AM

September 21, 2006

Easy to be Hard

I think I can be a climate scientist.

It's easy to be always right.

    Despite the long term warming trend seen around the globe, the oceans have cooled in the last three years, scientists announced today.

    The temperature drop, a small fraction of the total warming seen in the last 48 years, suggests that global warming trends can sometimes take little dips.

    In the last century, Earth's temperature has risen about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.56 degrees Celsius). Most scientists agree that much of the warming in the past 50 years has been fueled by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities.

    "This research suggests global warming isn't always steady, but happens with occasional 'speed bumps,'" said study co-author Josh Willis, a researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "This cooling is probably natural climate variability. The oceans today are still warmer than they were during the 1980s, and most scientists expect the oceans will eventually continue to warm in response to human-induced climate change."


Is global-warming, pardom climate change the only branch of science that has never been wrong?

Sheesh. A little introspective, please.

Posted by AlexC at 11:39 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Perhaps there was a brief heat bump in the global cooling trend. Worrisome.

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2006 2:18 PM

September 20, 2006

Tax Carbon, Not Jobs

Josh at Everyday Economist has a great riff on global warming. He links to CSU professor Bill Gray's claims that global warming is real but not man-made.

Then he links to Don Luskin discussing a speech by VP Gore that suggested "taxing carbon dioxide emissions instead of employees’ pay."

We've had varied discussions on these pages, but I want to point out the unseriousness of the opposition. Kyoto is obviously not gong to do anything but further impede the economies of its EU signatories. If anybody wants to take the former VP's idea and imbue it with any seriousness, I'll play along but think we'd all agree that it's a bit problematic at best.

An opposing view to Professor Gray makes a curious case:

There are uncertainties. It’s not like you change your light bulbs today, you’re going to have better weather tomorrow,” he said. “It’s even better if those actions you’re taking make sense for other reasons, like getting off Middle Eastern oil or saving money.-- Roger Pielke Jr., director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado

Y'know, sir, if it saved money you wouldn't have to coerce anybody to do it. That 's the thing about proposals which make economic sense. You are asking us to spend more and to forego pleasures to prevent an unproven phenomena.

The warmies want to enact the solution first, then prove the problems. That is unserious.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:19 PM

September 14, 2006

"Lead-Free" - The International Environmental Boondoggle

In honor of today being the unofficial "L day" I'm posting this item that came to my attention last Monday.

In case you wonder what might have happened if the Kyoto Protocol had been adopted and implemented world wide, consider what happened when the EU unilaterally determined that the lead in solder used to produce electronic devices is a "hazardous substance" and mandated its elimination from all products marketed in Europe by the July 1, 2006.

On Monday a colleague emailed several of us a list of issues related to lead-free electronics manufacturing that was provided to him by our assembly vendor. Before reading the attachment I had no idea just how disruptive this lead-free process business is. Why would we voluntarily evolve into a process that is less reliable, more expensive, fraught with extra hoops to jump through and, by the way, is WORSE for the environment?

This all stems from an EU directive called the "Reduction of Hazardous Substances" directive, or "RoHS" adopted January 27, 2003. Here's what I found when I investigated.

From “The ultimate in fatuity” on EU Referendum blog (based in UK):

According to the authors, "The study presents extensive data that show that heavy metal concentrations in leachate and landfill gas are generally far below the limits that have been established to protect human health and the environment."

By then, it was too late – the "train had left the station" and the momentum for new legislation was too great. But, by 2005, the US Environmental Protection Agency had got its act together and produced a 472-page report, assessing the full, life-cycle environmental impact of banning lead solder.

From this work, it emerged that when the impact of mining and refining substitutes was taken in to account, the higher energy consumption in using the lead-free solders, which require higher temperatures, and all the other issues were factored in, the banning of lead – far from having a positive impact on the environment (and worker health) – actually had a significant negative impact. Amazingly, though, this work had never been done by the EU and the legislation was, by then, already in place.

And then there are the long-term reliability concerns. Also from the EU Referendum blog:

On the basis of this charade, proprietors of firms not obeying this cretinous law can face unlimited fines and imprisonment yet, worryingly, there are still many serious doubts about the reliability and suitability of lead solder substitutes, so much so that military equipment has been exempted.

And this isn’t just some mad right-wing anti-environment rant. In the comments on the blog is a reference to this article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoting a Canadian environmental scientist who doesn’t support lead-free:

But not all lead is the same. Lead in paint and gasoline is easily absorbed into human cells. Lead in metallic forms such as solder is not.

In addition, evidence indicates that soldered lead, once inside landfills, does not leach out into drinking water, said Laura Turbini, a materials science faculty member at the University of Toronto.

Turbini has studied and tried to help diminish the impact of industry on the environment since the days of CFCs in refrigerators. Her presentations declare "humanity is off course" environmentally. She also strongly advocates recycling electronics. But she does not support lead-free.

"From cradle to grave," Turbini said, "lead-free soldering is not better for the environment." Replacements for lead solder cost more to mine and require more energy to use and produce.

As for “state mandated deadlines for compliance” are we sure there are, or will be, any? Consider this, also from the news article:

No U.S. firm is legally bound to use lead-free solder. Only California has any restrictions on lead, and no federal laws are pending. But not conforming to European standards means giving up a lucrative market, and potentially that of China and Japan. China is expected to announce a restriction policy soon.

But since our market is exclusively the U.S. and not even Canada, much less Europe or East Asia, it appears that we should do everything possible to avoid lead-free like the plague. The problem with this strategy is that component manufacturers, forced to comply with RoHS by customers who market products in Europe and eager to avoid the added cost of parallel leaded and lead-free product lines, are gradually discontinuing the leaded components.

And so we have a world-wide economic and environmental travesty all because one man, the EU minister of state for energy, Malcolm Wicks, signed the final RoHS document declaring, "I have read the regulatory impact assessment and am satisfied the benefits justify the costs."

And angry-left nutjobs worry that we are sliding into a monarchy!

Take the disruptions, cost increases and environmental unintended consequences of this and multiply them by ten, or even a hundred, and you'll have an idea of what Kyoto could have wrought.

(Click "Continue Reading" to see the list of issues related to lead-free soldering processes.)

Company x’s Lead – Free Process Issues
1. Lead-Free assemblies are less reliable: Company x says we should expect 30% more solder joint failures in a lead-free process.
a. Through-hole joints will not be filled up to IPC-Level 1, but should conform to the IPC Level-2 soldering standard.
b. Our QA group should expect to see less flow and poorer overall solder joints. These joints are more susceptible to mechanical stress and vibration.
c. Tin solder will “grow” thin shards (whiskers) over time. These whiskers can eventually short higher density designs
2. Lead-Free assembly processes cost more: You will see why as you read the issues here.
3. Gold PCBs: Company x prefers Immersion Gold on top of Nickel. Company x is having issues soldering to our Immersion Silver boards:
a. The silver oxidizes fairly quickly, so the PCB shelf life isn’t very long with silver
b. Company x uses a lot of cardboard, which is one of silver’s worst enemies. They try to be careful, but find they still set a lot of bare boards directly on cardboard.
c. The flux isn’t powerful enough to break down the silver oxide when soldered
d. The lead-free solder doesn’t adhere well to silver even when it is not oxidized
Company x prefers 180-200 micro-inches of Nickel over the copper and 3-8 micro-inches of Gold over the Nickel. This finish has a good shelf life, doesn’t react with materials used in handling and storage, and readily adheres to the tin solder.
It may cost us more per board up-front, but Company x is saying due to the soldering issues, it saves us money on the overall assembly.
4. High-Temp FR-4: Most assembly houses request a higher temperature rated FR-4 material for lead-free processing. Company x hasn’t seen any PCB issues due to the higher oven temperatures yet. However, de-laminating and warping may occur, especially on PCB areas with few parts. Data Circuits/Merix hasn’t charged us more for this material in the past, so I suggest we start using it on all of our PCBs.
5. High-Temp Parts: Company x has settled on 245 C as their lead-free oven temperature. Many aluminum electrolytic capacitors and connectors will be destroyed at these temperatures. I have found that many ROHS rated aluminum electrolytic capacitors aren’t specified to handle this temperature and are rated to only 235-240 C, especially the larger caps. All of the parts we want to run through a lead-free reflow process must handle at least 245 C, although 260 C is preferable, but hard to obtain in the larger caps. Due to the higher oven temperatures required for lead-free reflow, we must re-evaluate each part in the assemblies we want to become lead-free.
6. Hand soldering is difficult: Lead-free solder not only requires a higher temperature to flow properly, but it doesn’t wet, flow, or adhere as well as lead based solder. Interestingly, soldering iron tips only last 8-10 hours due to the aggressive tin reaction to the tips themselves. To increase the soldering temperature, the soldering iron tips are larger which makes it more difficult to solder small parts. Company x has asked us to change the following in our designs:
a. Increase annular rings around hand-soldered holes or anything we will want to ever be re-worked. 15-20 mil per side is desirable. Use elliptical holes for finer-pitch parts.
b. Try to always use thermal rings to connect pads (SMT and thru-hole) to ground planes and copper pours. The pads must get hotter for good reflow and direct plane/copper connections pull that heat away.
7. Wave Soldering:
a. Only boards stuffed completely with lead-free parts can run through a lead-free wave soldering process. Otherwise the lead will contaminate the solder, costing upwards of $50K to empty, clean, and refill the wave soldering pot. So we must be absolutely certain all of our parts are lead-free before we request a lead-free wave process. Lead-free wave soldering requires a higher temperature pre-heater for the board, which is not desirable.
b. Due to higher reflow temperatures, Company x does not want to run parts through the wave soldering process for a second reheating. Many parts won’t survive a second re-heating, which is 500C. To prevent damage to SMT parts on the bottom side of the PCBs, they are using “selective wave fixtures” that attach to the boards and only exposes the parts needing wave soldered. These fixtures costs $300-$400 although they may need several to allow them to continue running boards as other fixtures cool enough to be handled. The fixture rules are:
i. No SMT component on the bottom side of the PCB can extend more than 0.125" from the PCB surface. If they are taller, then a more expensive fixture can be built (double layer) or they will have to hand solder the parts. Either way costs us more for assembly.
ii. All SMT parts should be at least 0.100" away from the parts to be wave soldered. This leaves room for the fixture to fit tightly to the PCB. Obviously all of the parts can’t adhere to this rule. In these cases, we should provide build instructions to specify to either glue the intruding part to the PCB and wave solder it (indicating it can handle the heat for a second pass) or to have them hand solder the part to the PCB after the wave process.
8. Pre-Fabrication DFM Review: Company x wants 24 hours to review our PCB artwork before fabrication. This allows them time to review the board and suggest changes for better manufacturability. This also gives them time to look at some of the parts to see if they can handle the lead-free processes and high-pressure post-washing.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:46 PM | Comments (3)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

I'm fighting with the whole R22 vs R410A refrigerant issue right now with regards to getting a new AC unit. A lot of the seasoned HVAC guys want to eat their eyes over this knowing damn well that the replacement is so much less effective that it takes a lot more energy to gain the same benefits. This creates more damage than it avoids. DDT v2.0

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at September 14, 2006 11:19 PM
But jk thinks:

...and I got one of those 1.75 gallon Al Gore Toilets. My contractor begged me not to replace the old contraband 3 gal unit but I wanted colored fixtures.

They should put the (then) Senator's picture on a plunger -- it's his fault you have to use it so often.

(Andrew Sullivan blazed the trail in bathroom plumbing blogging, I'm just a copycat.)

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2006 11:30 AM
But AlexC thinks:

JK, you might want to add a little fiber to your diet. ;)

But the Al Gore plunger is a great idea!

Posted by: AlexC at September 15, 2006 11:34 AM

August 30, 2006

Saturday Was Climate Change

Yet nobody told Samizdata. Or maybe it's the time difference.

In The Church of Global Warming Robert Clayton Dean offers some fun for the skeptics:

How can you tell who someone's god is? You look to see whose name they invoke as the cause of all things, good or bad. By that standard, the god of the devout Left is Global Warming; here is the Psalm of Al, from which the faithful constantly quote (King James Version):

1. Great storms ravage our cities, and the wise man saith: Global Warming hath done this.

2. Drought keepeth all storms at bay, and the wise man saith: This also hath Global Warming done.

3. Global Warming maketh the oceans rise; it maketh deep snow to fall;

4. Flood and fire, feast and famine, typhoon and tornado, hail and lightning, all things good and bad that come from sky or sea, Global Warming hath made them all.

5. And when our homes are beneath the waves, we shall know that Global Warming in its wrath hath seen our sins.

6. For our vehicles that glut themselves on oil, for the trees we cut and land we clear,

7. For the cooling and heating of our houses, for the plowing and harvesting of our fields, we are punished.

8. Whenever we burn carbon and release it into the air, we shall know that Global Warming seeth it, and is wroth.

9. O man! Thou hast flouted the great god of the sky, and by three degrees of temperature we shall be burned,

10. For Global Warming is a jealous god, and small and annoying is man.


In the comments, one Perry E. Metzger, offers a thoughtful libertarian view of global warming that brother Silence might enjoy:
I'm about as radical a libertarian as one can find, but I'm also educated in the sciences, and so far as I can tell, global warming is not a myth.

I don't see how the usual batch of knee jerk socialist responses are going to fix the issue. I'm also not exactly a fan of the "everyone drive less and use more efficient lightbulbs!" pabulum.

However, it is stupid to deny scientific facts. Yes, you can find plenty of web sites that will cite very biased information and claim global warming is a myth, just as you can find web sites that claim that evolution is a myth and provide "evidence" for it, but at this point, there is a mountain of reproducable studies that say the issue is real.

What do I think should be done about it? "Leave the market alone."

Let the market switch us to solar and nuclear power as the price of fossil fuels goes up and as the price of other technologies go down. My biggest worry is that insane greens who have a completely irrational hatred of nuclear power (burning coal pollutes the world far worse) will block it.

Libertarians should not be denying scientific fact. We should instead spend our time combating the religious impulse of people to think the modern world is evil and that we must repent for our sins by living cruddy lives and waiting for (in their minds) our inevitable and justified doom at the hands of a wronged Gaia.


I'm a bit more skeptical than Metzger, but his words are consistent with the new jk manifesto: believe or don’t, but don't use it to stop modernity.

UPDATE: The comments, as usual in the Samizdata post are superb. They run heavily skeptical, but they are bright and informed.

UPDATE II: Except for mine, I tried to bring Dr. Popper inito it, as his "Open Society and its Enemies" appears in their logo. But I muffed the html. Harrumph.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:43 PM | Comments (3)
But rick tennesen thinks:

global warming liberals who smoke...how much do you think the net smoking of people in the world contributes to this phenomenon?

they will quickly pass on this as it can only the the fault of big business.

Posted by: rick tennesen at August 30, 2006 9:39 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

Good post on Samizdata for sure, good to see the debate reaching a higher level.

You mentioned the yellow sphere in the sky and how can we humans have more influence that the sun? Space may be the answer, we're 93 million odd miles closer.

Posted by: silence dogood at August 30, 2006 11:24 PM
But jk thinks:

I must quote the famed astrophysicist Eric Idle here: "Orbiting at 19 miles per second, so it's reckoned, the Sun which is the source of all our power."

As the Sun is recognized to be the sole source of heat, the proximity argument fails to move me. I once saw a comparison of solar activity to temperature which correlated quite closely.

Thanks for the comment, Rick, and welcome to the blogroll. The Keystone Staters continue to dominate...

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2006 10:02 AM

August 26, 2006

Warmer... Cooler.... etc.

Saturday has apparently degenerated into global warming climate change day here at ThreeSources.com

UPI

    Abdusamatov and his colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences astronomical observatory said the prediction is based on measurement of solar emissions, Novosti reported. They expect the cooling to begin within a few years and to reach its peak between 2055 and 2060.

    "The Kyoto initiatives to save the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off until better times," he said. "The global temperature maximum has been reached on Earth, and Earth's global temperature will decline to a climatic minimum even without the Kyoto protocol."


Can we settle on a direction here?

Posted by AlexC at 2:50 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

But it's clear there is "no debate amongst serious scientists" that global warming is real and poses a threat to Earth.

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2006 12:10 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

So with published articles running thousands to one supporting versus refuting global warming you figure it's about a draw? I know I am alone around here, but to review the facts, there are multiple independent sources of data showing warming of the earth and lower atmosphere, lab tests that show the IR absorbing capability of CO2, and fairly simple chemical equations showing CO2 as a byproduct of combustion. Can we completely and irrefutably connect the dots? No. Will we ever? Perhaps not, when your "system" is basically the entire world we live in with all of the variables that suggests. Valid discussion still exists on the topic, but the amount of BS hoisted out there by the "refuters" borders on the ridiculous. To be clear, recent and current models do predict actual measurements we are seeing, the global cooling JK often refers to from the '70's was a very short lived prediction at the very beginning of the study of climate change, and water vapor is part of all of these studies, in fact there are wavelengths of IR that pass through water vapor but are absorbed by CO2 so while the concentration of these gases relate to each other, their affects can still be additive.

So while I agree with JK that more research is needed I disagree with the notion that no policy decision should be made at this time. I don't see it as a leap of faith to accept the theory that we have the capability to upset the balance of nature, small scale evidence of that is all around. The points of discussion should be more about what the opportunities are for greener energy, for economic as well as environmental reasons. Even taking the most cynical attitude that this global warming is a liberal myth and nothing more than environmental marketing, good marketing is a proven money maker and investing some of our energy dollars away from oil and gas exploration and toward "greener" sources seems like a very good bet.

Posted by: silence dogood at August 28, 2006 2:51 PM
But jk thinks:

You just wanted to comment 'cause we have your favorite password today.

The reasons that you describe support Global Warming as a theory. I just think it ignores two small things: the amount of plant life on this planet and that hot, round thingy in the sky. These variables make computer modeling difficult at best.

I've seen zero studies where predictions matched future data but many results where they shoehorned exigencies to fit theory. That is one step above "making stuff up."

In the post below, I point to serous flaws in the theory vs. data sphere, by two people who believe in man-made global warming. To defer to Dr. Popper again, science is not a democracy. You probably had 1000-to-one scientists believing Aristotelian dynamics. But they didn't settle it by election, Signori Galileo apocryphally dropped some stones off a tower.

No, it would not hurt to invest some money in other technologies; private firms likely should. But that is NOT what the climate change lobby is calling for. A large contingent are anti-moderns who want to impede progress and punish prosperity. When they will come out and admit the Kyoto treaty is one of the stupidest ideas of all time and seek -- like the folks in my post below -- some realistic solutions based on science and not politics, I might just surprise you and climb aboard.

Posted by: jk at August 28, 2006 4:32 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

Guess I better get another one in before my favorite password expires!

Point taken concerning Mr. Galileo, but if I had quoted a UP article from the Russian Academy of Sciences would you have rushed to support me? My point was that you can find hundreds of papers that make the opposite case and yet this is the one you cling to.

So, you know greenhouse gases exist, it is this effect of our atmosphere that keeps us from looking like Mars. You know that the primary two are water vapor and CO2 and it is easy to measure the increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Further it is proven that CO2 absorbs IR and we see evidence of warming from melting ice and shrinking glaciers. From here however you are not willing to even entertain the concept that we could be changing our environment as a whole? Maybe the dots aren't all connected, but there sure are a lot of dots.

I can't speak for this climate change lobby but I do know that there is lots of discussion of alternative energy. This is not no energy, but alternate sources and systems. I think you demonize too much the whole topic based upon the shoutings of a few fringe elements.

Posted by: silence dogood at August 29, 2006 12:29 AM
But jk thinks:

Go Blue Devils!

Back to Popper. A thousand articles supporting a theory are not as important as one refuting it. Thousands supported Aristotelian, then Newtonian mechanics, the final word was Mr. Einstein's Special Relativity in 1905.

I'm not saying the Russian paper is somehow dispositive of Global Warming. To be fair, this is Alex's post and JohnGalt's comment. I will say that it reinforces my opinion in the post below that we do not know enough to affect policy.

I might demonize the environmental movement -- they give me a lot of material. I'm cool with alternative energy sources and continued research. overturn Raich v Gonzales and let the hemp people power our cities. But the Sierra Club and other K Street environmental groups want us to all live in Manhattan densities and return everything else to the wild. There is a huge anti-modernity base in that movement. Were it expunged, I would probably sign up.

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2006 10:04 AM
But johngalt thinks:

My intent was to transparently bait Silence on this post. He's been absent far too long 'round here.

But my comment is valid: Silence has said before that there is "no debate amongst serious scientists" that man-made global warming is real, and he apparently continues to do so.

JK and Karl Popper's excellent points about science and democracy address the veracity of the theory. My point regarded the claim that the debate was settled at all, without regard for whether that "consensus" is (or was) wrong.

I'll certainly give a little credit to the scientific wherewithall of the Russian Academy of Sciences astronomical observatory. After all, it's not the "astrological" observatory.

Posted by: johngalt at August 29, 2006 2:59 PM

Global Cooling

Blog brother AlexC sends me a link to a Q and O blog post on global warming.

Written by Dale Franks (neither a Q nor and O), the post captures my position very well. Silence and I have talked past each other on these pages about whether global warming exists. While I remain skeptical, I am going to change my pattern. The point is not to argue against its existence, the point is to argue that we don't know enough to make policy decisions.

Franks nails this:

The Argo data on ocean cooling over the past few years merely highlights that problem. Over the past few years, about 20% of the warming of the past 50 years has simply disappeared. Apparently, it just radiated away back into space, since we can't seem to find any of that heat down here.

Why did the cooling occur?

By what mechanism was the heat transported away?

Will this current cooling trend continue, or reverse itself?

What are the global climate implications if the cooling continues, or conversely, the implications if it reverses itself, and begins warming again?

Aren't these questions important? Or should we dismiss them because they don't conform to the orthodoxy?


Franks, as it happens, does indeed believe in global warming and he believes that it is to some extent man-made.

I'm skeptical of both those assertions but agree with Franks that until we can codify and quantify what is happening and what causes it, we cannot "fix" it. If we are causing global warming by using so much battery power, those damn hybrid drivers will have to answer up.

I'm a big fan (I know I've bored you before) on the epistemology of Dr. Karl Popper. I don't know how much he created and how much he documented, but he defines the procedures where scientific theory progresses to acceptance or is discarded.

The first step is predictive power. Einstein’s Special Relativity made several predictions that were not testable at the time of its creation. Over time, experiments have been done, and they all support the predictions of Special Relativity. Ergo, it is commonly accepted (though Popper points out theories can only be disproven, never really proven).

The original global warming theorists made predictions based on computer modeling. It would start at the poles, reduce the length of the cold season in the cold climes, and proceed at a steady rate. Facts have not supported this prediction at all. warming has started at higher elevations, warmer climes, and has not been steady: CSU climate scientists point out two years of ocean cooling.

This is a very important observational study of changes in climate system heat content. While the models predict a general montonic increase in ocean heat content (e.g. see (Figure 1) ), the new observations in Lyman et al 2006 show an important decrease. The explanation of this temporal change in the radiative imbalance of the Earth’s climate system is a challenge to the climate science community. It does indicate that we know less about natural- and human-climate forcings and feedbacks than concluded in the IPCC Reports.

More research. We are all in agreement.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:05 AM

August 4, 2006

One for The Other Side

I've posted before about MIT Professors, Bjorn Lamborg, and other scientists who are concerned that outrageous Global Warming claims are unfounded.

It's only right that I offer a "fair and balanced" link to a Reuters Story about a new convert.

"We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels. It is getting hotter, and the icecaps are melting and there is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air."

This week the heat index, the perceived temperature based on both air temperatures and humidity, reached 115 Fahrenheit in some regions of the U.S. East Coast.[providing] "the most convincing evidence I've seen on global warming in a long time."


This from 700 Club Atmospheric Physicist Pat Robertson. Okay, I'm convinced.

Hat-tip: Taranto

Posted by John Kranz at 4:37 PM

July 28, 2006

Stop Discussing, You're Confusing People

If you include frequent commenters, we have a pretty broad spectrum of views on climate change, though we certainly lean skeptic.

I'm all for continued research, just don't let the 535 Atmospheric Physicists in the District of Columbia decide. Here's TCS with a report on two Congressional hearings.

Only Wegman [Edward J. of George Mason University] and his colleagues found -- as did a National Academy of Science's panel previously -- that Mann's statistics were fundamentally flawed. They were prone -- as two Canadians, Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre, found in an ad hoc statistical investigation -- to create hockey stick shaped graphs.

Rather than accept that result, Democrats on the committee went on the offensive, pummeling Wegman -- who voted for Al Gore in 2000 -- as a stooge of the big business and calling the hearing itself a sham. "We don't debate gravity any more," Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington argued, ignorant of string theory, "and we should not debate whether there is a human contribution to climate change." He went on to suggest that the press not report alternative views. "The press is creating doubt where there isn't any," he argued.


Shhhh! Stop discussing the issues, you're confusing people...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:36 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Mort Kondracke, on "The Beltway Boys" (Et tu, FOXNews?), said "This is the warmest first six months in the US since they've kept records, beating 2005."

Fred Barnes: "So?"
Mort: "Global Warming is real!"
Fred: "But it's not made --" [roll end credits]

Every time any weather record is broken, global warming is proven.

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2006 1:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Global Warming is expected to end on Wednesday, with forecast high temperature in the upper 70's... in JULY! Prepare for the coming ice age. Hey... I'm theer-ee-ul!

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2006 1:12 PM
But jk thinks:

When we conflate weather and climate, we're being willful and ignorant. But it's okay when they do it. I haven't quite figured that out.

I have been waiting and watching for ManBearPig for months. That is sooo funny. "Kids, I don't want you hanging around with that ex-Vice-President any more."

Wednesday, however, will be August.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2006 3:17 PM

July 22, 2006

Carbonized Cash

Redstate points to a ludicrous idea from "do-gooders."

    Here's the premise: Britain and other countries are thinking about mandating emissions-trading programs for business. But, says Miliband, individuals -- not business -- account for almost half of all of Britain's emissions through their use of planes, trains, automobiles, electricity, various heating fuels -- and, presumably, belching and exhaling. "Imagine a country," says Miliband, "Where carbon becomes a new currency."

All I can imagine is an economy where the government gives people these credits. Controlling "capital" as it were.

Sounds like a recipe for a disaster.

Posted by AlexC at 2:32 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

And to think that Silence chastised us for suggesting that exhaling might be made illegal. Under this proposed plan (only in Britain for now, thank NED) a little girl could only blow on dandelions if she had enough government coupons.

Posted by: johngalt at July 23, 2006 12:52 AM
But jk thinks:

My inner economist likes the idea of cap-and-trade to control pollutants. Its a good way to control something if you've decided it warrants government control. I had posted about Martin Feldstein’s similar plan for gas credits (http://www.threesources.com/archives/002899.html).

We will be forced to decide whether we want to use state coercion to control CO2. Forces of anti-modernity will use global warming to try and return us to penis-sheaths and Gilligan's Island technology.

I'll add a local report. It's hot around here. In July. Freaky...

Posted by: jk at July 23, 2006 11:44 AM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

I was really chastising the commercial for appearing to claim that without fossil fuels we would all become starving people grinding corn with a stick. Alternative energy can and does provide us with the same creature comforts we have now, that is precisely the point. I am not sure where the vast 'anti-modernity" crowd is, JK can you point me in their direction? Are they the anti-matter of the vast right wing conspiracy? By the way, I missed chastising JK also for his comment a bit ago that he could use short term stats to show global warming, say from December to June. Best of luck with that - think southern hemisphere.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at July 24, 2006 12:51 AM
But jk thinks:

Silence, if I can pick the time period I can certainly pick the hemisphere. I like your idea, though. I'll do a two part study, the North, then the South. I concede that there is much to debate on the global warming question. In a way that's my point, that it is unsettled.

I will not for a second, however, accept that there is not a large, well funded, and vocal alliance that is dedicated to opposing modernity. I'd accuse mainstream groups like The Sierra Club or Wildlife Refuge. Even if you disagree with that, can you say the "new economics foundation" does not fit my description? http://www.threesources.com/archives/003133.html or scroll down to July 20.

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2006 10:38 AM

July 14, 2006

Climate Con

Climate consensus? A report commissioned by the House Energy Committee, due to be released today, refutes the "hockey stick" as being a small slice of available data. The WSJ Ed Page calls it WSJ.com - Hockey Stick Hokum (Paid link, sorry!)

It is routine these days to read in newspapers or hear -- almost anywhere the subject of climate change comes up -- that the 1990s were the "warmest decade in a millennium" and that 1998 was the warmest year in the last 1,000.

This assertion has become so accepted that it is often recited without qualification, and even without giving a source for the "fact." But a report soon to be released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee by three independent statisticians underlines yet again just how shaky this "consensus" view is, and how recent its vintage.

The claim originates from a 1999 paper by paleoclimatologist Michael Mann. Prior to Mr. Mann's work, the accepted view, as embodied in the U.N.'s 1990 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was that the world had undergone a warming period in the Middle Ages, followed by a mid-millennium cold spell and a subsequent warming period -- the current one. That consensus, as shown in the first of the two IPCC-provided graphs nearby, held that the Medieval warm period was considerably warmer than the present day.


The charge is that they airbrushed away hotter periods in the Middle Ages and focus on just part of the curve. I could show temperatures from December to July and show good warming trend as well.

climate_con2.gif

Inconvenient.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:35 AM

July 8, 2006

Fires: Bush's Fault!

"I see this as one of the first big indicators of climate change impacts in the continental United States," said study coauthor Thomas Swetnam, director of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “Lots of people think climate change and the ecological responses are 50 to 100 years away. But it's not 50 to 100 years away—it's happening now in forest ecosystems through fire."
I guess the science is settled. The Director of Tree Ring Research and all says so in the Journal Science, picked up by Yahoo! News I suggest the increased population in forested areas and the devotion of academics and greens to wilderness preservation spiked in the late 1980s as well. I further suggest that the list of articles on this week's online version of the journal Science is telling:
  • Top 10 Ways to Destroy Earth
  • Natural Disasters: Top 10 U.S. Threats
  • Scorched West to Sizzle All Summer, NOAA Says
  • In a Twist, Forest Products Viewed as Green Energy
  • Snow Melting Earlier In Eastern North America
  • Drought Lands Doubled
Not a lot of "up" news this week. I'm sensing a trend.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:43 PM

July 5, 2006

Bush's Fault!

Insty links to some interesting weather news: No Tornadoes Confirmed In Nebraska-Kansas Area This Year

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Meteorologists at the National Weather Service office in Hastings are feeling lucky this year.

The 30-county area they serve in central Nebraska and north-central Kansas hasn't had a confirmed tornado for the first six months of this year. That hasn't happened since 1950.

There were two years that came close, 1966 and 1981, when a single tornado was reported during the first half of each year.

"It's quite unusual," said Steve Kisner, warning coordination meteorologist in the Hastings office. "We're glad Mother Nature is keeping everybody safe -- again showing the unpredictability of the weather."

Between five and 10 tornadoes usually hit the office's coverage area between Jan. 1 and June 30, Kisner said.


This might be a good trend, Sugarchuck tells me moving to McCook, NE is a good idea. Weather is one thing that gave me pause. Don't tell everybody, but the Front Range of Colorado has a perfect climate. A few hot weeks in the summer, a few cold weeks in the winter, all four seasons, and 300+ days of sun. I'm never in a rush to give that up.

Damn President, didn't sign Kyoto.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:12 PM

June 26, 2006

Global Warming Consensus

Global Warming advocates like to claim that "the science is settled" and that "there is a consensus in the scientific community" which believes in man-made climate change. To disagree engenders quizzical looks and assumptions that you must be a creationist and a flat-earther as well.

The TCS scientists and columnists are faulted for the substantive funding they receive from petroleum companies. Perhaps that's legitimate, but I do not understand why the converse isn't true: government scientists have an equal or greater stake in perpetuating research.

So, my new buddy is the Alfred P. Sloane Professor of Atmospheric Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I don't think anybody ever accused MIT of hiring professors who don't know their science because they're right-wingers. I have quoted Richard Lindzen before, but today he writes in the WSJ Ed page about this consensus which is not a consensus.

When Mr. Stephanopoulos confronted Mr. Gore with the fact that the best estimates of rising sea levels are far less dire than he suggests in his movie, Mr. Gore defended his claims by noting that scientists "don't have any models that give them a high level of confidence" one way or the other and went on to claim -- in his defense -- that scientists "don't know… They just don't know."

So, presumably, those scientists do not belong to the "consensus." Yet their research is forced, whether the evidence supports it or not, into Mr. Gore's preferred global-warming template -- namely, shrill alarmism. To believe it requires that one ignore the truly inconvenient facts. To take the issue of rising sea levels, these include: that the Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940; that icebergs have been known since time immemorial; that the evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average.
[...]
So what, then, is one to make of this alleged debate? I would suggest at least three points.

First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists -- especially those outside the area of climate dynamics. Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam. That is an inauspicious beginning to what Mr. Gore claims is not a political issue but a "moral" crusade.

Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we may have farce -- if we're lucky.


Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM

June 6, 2006

Climate Change

TCS has a good article about climate change. (Not something Gore would want to read; he wants reality to follow his bidding...that comes from his education...influenced by John Dewey...influenced by Immanuel Kant, who said 'reality is a social construct.')

Snowfall here in the Northeast and across much of the Hemisphere relate to decadal scale cycles in the Atlantic and Arctic. Two atmospheric oscillations which generally operate in tandem -- the North Atlantic and Arctic Oscillations -- have significant control over the weather pattern including storm tracks and temperatures in both Europe and the eastern United States.

Over the last decade the behavior of the NAO/AO has been similar to the 1930s and 1940s (Taylor, 2005) when the NAO moved from a positive to increasingly negative state. Interestingly, that was the last time the Polar Regions were this warm and the summer polar ice this thin and reduced in coverage (Polyakov et al, 2004). Unlike Antarctica where the ice sits on land, in the arctic it is floating on water and the water from one ocean (the Atlantic) can readily flow beneath the ice and if unusually warm, melt more of the ice from beneath.

As George Taylor summarized on this site in his story "Arctic Sea Ice -- Is It Disappearing?"
"A number of researchers have suggested that inflows of Atlantic water into the Arctic profoundly affect temperatures and sea ice trends in the latter ocean. Polyakov, et al (2004) are among these. The first sentence of their paper states 'Exchanges between the Arctic and North Atlantic Ocean have a profound influence on the circulation and thermodynamics of each basin.' The authors attributed most of the variability to multidecadal variations on time scales of 50-80 years, with warm periods in the 1930s-40s and in recent decades, and cool periods in the 1960s-70s and early in the twentieth century. These are associated with changes in ice extent and thickness (as well as air and sea temperature and ocean salinity). The most likely causative factor involves changes in atmospheric circulation, including but not limited to the Arctic Oscillation"

By the way, this latest mode of the North Atlantic Oscillation is the one that Dr .William Gray talks about that favored the sudden increase in Atlantic hurricane activity since the middle 1990s. Last year, Atlantic temperatures were the warmest on record, helping contribute to the record 28 named storms.

Snowfall has been on the increase in parts of the United States and the world to record proportions in recent years even as summer snow and ice levels reach multi-decadal lows. The changes relate to natural cyclical changes in the Atlantic Ocean and atmosphere that favor both more tropical activity in summer and more snowfall in winters.

The whole article is worth reading. It has some good graphics to help grasp the NAO/AO phenomenon.

Posted by Cyrano at 10:53 AM

June 5, 2006

Who's Stupid?

Jonathan Chait at TNR thinks he has discovered a new intellectual low: the Competitive Enterprise Institute and its anti-global warming ads.

Chait's column, titled On carbon dioxide, conservatives take Americans for fools first establishes his street cred as a lip-curled cynic:

I had always thought that nobody had a lower opinion than I as to the analytical capacities of the American public. Then I discovered the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The institute is a conservative think tank in Washington that is less embarrassed than most conservative think tanks about raking in gobs of money from oil companies and propagating views that happen to comport precisely with those of their donors. It has been running ads attempting to cast doubt on the notion that fossil fuels bear any relation to global warming.

The oil companies'--sorry, I mean the institute's--approach to this challenge is to make people think fondly of carbon dioxide. It turns out to be a deeply misunderstood molecule. "We breathe it out," a narrator explains in one ad. "Plants breathe it in." We see an image of a young girl in pigtails blowing on a dandelion. The ad proceeds to explain that all this good stuff faces some sinister, amorphous peril. "Now, some politicians want to label carbon dioxide a pollutant. Imagine if they succeed. What will our lives be like then?" Plants will suffocate for lack of carbon dioxide! Little girls blowing on dandelions will be thrown into prison!

Can anybody actually believe this?


Over here! Jonathan! The bald guy in the blue shorts! Yes, I believe it!

I think one of the most misunderstood aspects of the Global Warming debate has been the difference between pollution and products of combustion. Perfect hydrocarbon combustion produces CO2 and water. If carbon dioxide had a nice, non-threatening name, like "water" there would be less capacity to whip up furor about it.

Imperfect combustion releases carbon monoxide (CO) and particulates, and Nitrous oxide and nitrous dioxide. Newer, cleaner engines have reduced these impressively and the smog statistics show the effects.

The pernicious thing about reducing CO2 is that you cannot have combustion. And, Mr. Chait, it is a natural compound, and plants do indeed "breathe" it. The difference between curbing CO and CO2 emissions is a world apart and when somebody comes along to educate people on this, they are called names by TNR and have their motives questioned.

ON THE OTHER HAND, the former Vice President of the US, and a man who was nearly President, has released a whopper of a movie that is packed with the most outlandish over-predictions, bolstered predominantly by untruths.

Chait does not mention "An Inconvenient Truth." But he finds time to write a column about a think tank that is using petro-chemical dollars to present their side of the story, which happens to be factual.

The concept is so unpersuasive, even on its own terms, I can't believe that Americans are stupid enough to fall for it. People may be dumb, but if they were that dumb, the world would be a different place. There would be thousands of technicians on call to help us operate our flush toilets. Emergency rooms would be filled with people who attempted to clean out their earwax with steak knives

Well, Mr. Chait, I guess we agree that somebody is stupid.

UPDATE: Watch the ads here

Posted by John Kranz at 1:30 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

I read the section you mentioned twice when I read the article, the prison terms for little girls convicted of dandecide are Chait's words, not the commercial's. Michael Moore in "Bowling for Columbine" took the accepted-as-over-the-top Willie Horton ad, and added graphics to make it worse. Chait does the same here.

I added links so that you can see the ad. I challenge you to find one thing in it that is factually incorrect or even overblown.

You're tired of overblown rhetoric and welcome rational debate, put 'er there buddy! It is the "warmies" that over-hype and use doomsday scenarios that are unfounded. The rhetoric is 100 times more overblown on the other side.

No, that's overblown. It is only 83.4 times more overblown. I really shouldn't exaggerate.

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2006 5:38 PM
But jk thinks:

And I didn't mean to dodge direct questions. I would not counter the existence of man-made smog.

CO and NOx are clearly poison in all but small quantities, without a trained dentist's supervision. Although they occur naturally, adding more to the atmosphere seems an easier sell as a no-no.

Back 'round to my point. I like this commercial for pointing out the difference. And it gets bonus points for pointing out the lifestyle advantages of using energy for wealth creation.

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2006 6:19 PM
But jk thinks:

And the word I was looking for is "dandeleocide." My mistake.

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2006 7:39 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

No problem JK, the whole premise of the ad is not factual. There is a current attempt to label CO2 as a greenhouse gas, which factually it is. There is no attempt to label it a pollutant, the ad does not point out the difference, it mixes the two completely.

So what is factual in the ad? We do exhale CO2 (no mention of the all important quantities) plants do absorb CO2 (breathing it would require a respiratory system, but I'll give them that one), and the burning of fossil fuels for energy has developed civilization to how we know it today.

Overblown rhetoric? How about the image of the gaunt woman grinding grain with a stick? Kinda ignores a few centuries of civilization don't you think? Even completely removing the use of fossil fuels would still leave us a long way from that, but images of a farmer plowing a field with a horse or a water wheel grinding grain doesn't pack quite the punch of a malnourished woman with a stick. The words are not stated, but the implication is clear that controlling CO2 emissions is going to cause you to take time away from writing code to grind your corn meal with a stick to make your dinner. Ditto for the implication that something as natural as CO2 could not possibly be bad for you.

It is not so much what you say, as how you say it, or for complicated scientific topics like this how you mix pieces of real science with a bunch of so called common sense mumbo jumbo. How dare we allow the mixing of toxic, explosively unstable metals with poisonous chemicals (table salt).

Dandelions are lawn terrorists and combatants and should be locked away indefinitely, and we should contemplate building walls around our lawns to control their movement.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 6, 2006 10:21 AM
But jk thinks:

I strongly disagree that people are not moving to label an regulate CO2 as a pollutant. If not directly, they throw it in a basket with its unfriendly cousins. The point of the ad is to pull it out and look objectively at what it is.

Are you proposing the rock as the technological advance to the stick? Because most of the ones which come to my mind use energy. Yes it's a long way from here to there, but the Institute makes an important point that using less energy is going to cost us.

(Don't knock the stick -- my wife's preparations for Y2K were to buy an old fashioned coffee grinder and some bottled water. We have a wood stove and figured we could live without everything else. The grinder has a place of honor now as the bullet we dodged.)

In the end it baffles me that we see this so differently. They don't say we're going back to the stick, they show the benefits of innovation. VP Gore, conversely, says that the trade center memorial will be underwater. I think we're comparing poetic license to polemic.

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2006 1:34 PM
But silence dogood thinks:

No, I think we will have to disagree on this one. On the cataclysmic scale it is tough to beat total global destruction, or at least massive flooding, but to imply that with limited CO2 emissions we are headed for African subsistence is a bit of a whopper as well. I also extremely dislike the slippery slope argument that CO2 will soon be a full fledged pollutant. If we take the slippery slope concept to its conclusion, we should never decide anything for fear that our politicians will misuse the information.

Everything uses energy JK, at least anything that does work over time. I was simply thinking that stock footage of Amish folk in this country would be a much closer approximation than an image obviously from an impoverished African nation.

Coffee grinder and bottled water, I love it. Conservative you may be, but that is very bohemian.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 7, 2006 2:39 PM

June 1, 2006

Hype for Me, Not for Thee

Josh at The Everyday Economist nails our former VP without even bringing up the ManBearPig. VP Gore says:

“I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.”

Ummmm, okay, but TEE points out:
Now I want you to insert “Iraq” into the parentheses and re-read his statement. Now isn't that what Gore and many Democrats have accused President Bush of doing? So why then does Gore think its okay in this case?

ManBearPig. It's real!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM | Comments (1)
But Cyrano thinks:

Amen. It's another example which goes to show that Gore's thinking and ideas are based on feeling and what he wants to be true -- not on fact. His ideas are NOT objective, based on what reality and reason say. Accordingly, Gore "takes" himself outside of reality, and therefore outside of moral, practical consideration. (But he obviously grants some recognition to reality, else he could not survive...and he would be certifiably insane, which he is not -- he is simply irrational and immoral.)

Posted by: Cyrano at June 1, 2006 7:02 PM

May 27, 2006

The Coming Global Catastrophe

Borowitz

    The election of former vice president Al Gore to the White House could result in a disastrous phenomenon called “global boring” in which millions of people around the world would fall asleep in an unprecedented narcoleptic pandemic.

    That is the message of a new documentary about the 2000 Democratic Party standard-bearer that has been produced and narrated by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and is being released in selected cities today.

    The documentary, entitled “An Incoherent Truth,” collects moments from some of Mr. Gore’s most mind-numbing speeches to make a persuasive case that a Gore presidency would set off a doomsday scenario of global tedium.

Posted by AlexC at 3:09 PM

Ozone Hole

It's closing.

    The good news: In the upper stratosphere (above roughly 18 km), ozone recovery can be explained almost entirely by CFC reductions. "Up there, the Montreal Protocol seems to be working," says co-author Mike Newchurch of the Global Hydrology and Climate Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

    The puzzle: In the lower stratosphere (between 10 and 18 km) ozone has recovered even better than changes in CFCs alone would predict. Something else must be affecting the trend at these lower altitudes.

    The "something else" could be atmospheric wind patterns. "Winds carry ozone from the equator where it is made to higher latitudes where it is destroyed. Changing wind patterns affect the balance of ozone and could be boosting the recovery below 18 km," says Newchurch. This explanation seems to offer the best fit to the computer model of Yang et al. The jury is still out, however; other sources of natural or manmade variability may yet prove to be the cause of the lower-stratosphere's bonus ozone.

    Whatever the explanation, if the trend continues, the global ozone layer should be restored to 1980 levels sometime between 2030 and 2070. By then even the Antarctic ozone hole might close--for good.


One thing that is exasperating with environmental and ecological scientists is that when things are going "wrong," there is only one reason. Man. Specifically industrialized man and CFC's.

But when things improve? There's head scratching.

It makes me wonder if the former should also include some head scratching.

Posted by AlexC at 12:37 PM

May 26, 2006

Truth is Inconvenient to Al Gore

Tech Central Station has some good articles rebutting fallacious claims in Gore's deceivumentary.

Questions for Al Gore” by Dr. Roy Spencer, 25 May 2006

Dear Mr. Gore:

I have just seen your new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," about the threat that global warming presents to humanity. I think you did a very good job of explaining global warming theory, and your presentation was effective. Please convey my compliments to your good friend, Laurie David, for a job well done.

As a climate scientist myself -- you might remember me...I'm the one you mistook for your "good friend," UK scientist Phil Jones during my congressional testimony some years back -- I have a few questions that occurred to me while watching the movie.

1) Why did you make it look like hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, floods, droughts, and ice calving off of glaciers and falling into the ocean, are only recent phenomena associated with global warming? You surely know that hurricane experts have been warning congress for many years that the natural cycle in hurricanes would return some day, and that our built-up coastlines were ripe for a disaster (like Katrina, which you highlighted in the movie). And as long as snow continues to fall on glaciers, they will continue to flow downhill toward the sea. Yet you made it look like these things wouldn't happen if it weren't for global warming. Also, since there are virtually no measures of severe weather showing a recent increase, I assume those graphs you showed actually represented damage increases, which are well known to be simply due to greater population and wealth. Is that right?

4) Your presentation showing the past 650,000 years of atmospheric temperature and carbon dioxide reconstructions from ice cores was very effective. But I assume you know that some scientists view the CO2 increases as the result of, rather than the cause of, past temperature increases. It seems unlikely that CO2 variations have been the dominant cause of climate change for hundreds of thousands of years. And now that there is a new source of carbon dioxide emissions (people), those old relationships are probably not valid anymore. Why did you give no hint of these alternative views?


5) When you recounted your 6-year-old son's tragic accident that nearly killed him, I thought that you were going to make the point that, if you had lived in a poor country like China or India, your son would have probably died. But then you later held up these countries as model examples for their low greenhouse gas emissions, without mentioning that the only reason their emissions were so low was because people in those countries are so poor. I'm confused...do you really want us to live like the poor people in India and China?

...

Mr. Gore, I think we can both agree that if it was relatively easy for mankind to stop emitting so much carbon dioxide, that we should do so. You are a very smart person, so I can't understand why you left so many important points unmentioned, and you made it sound so easy.

Your "Good Friend,"

Dr. Roy W. Spencer
(aka 'Phil Jones')

©2000-2006 TCS Daily


Inconvenient Truths Indeed” by Dr. Robert C. Balling Jr., 24 May 2006

Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" opens around the country this week. In the film Gore pulls together evidence from every corner of the globe to convince us that climate change is happening fast, we are to blame, and if we don't act immediately, our Earth will be all but ruined. However, as you sit through the film, consider the following inconvenient truths:

(1) Near the beginning of the film, Gore pays respects to his Harvard mentor and inspiration, Dr. Roger Revelle. Gore praises Revelle for his discovery that atmospheric CO2 levels were rising and could potentially contribute to higher temperatures at a global scale. There is no mention of Revelle's article published in the early 1990s concluding that the science is "too uncertain to justify drastic action." (S.F. Singer, C. Starr, and R. Revelle, "What to do about Greenhouse Warming: Look Before You Leap. Cosmos 1 (1993) 28-33.)

(2) Gore discusses glacial and snowpack retreats atop Mt. Kilimanjaro, implying that human induced global warming is to blame. But Gore fails to mention that the snows of Kilimanjaro have been retreating for more than 100 years, largely due to declining atmospheric moisture, not global warming. Gore does not acknowledge the two major articles on the subject published in 2004 in the International Journal of Climatology and the Journal of Geophysical Research showing that modern glacier retreat on Kilimanjaro was initiated by a reduction in precipitation at the end of the nineteenth century and not by local or global warming.

(3) Many of Gore's conclusions are based on the "Hockey Stick" that shows near constant global temperatures for 1,000 years with a sharp increase in temperature from 1900 onward. The record Gore chooses in the film completely wipes out the Medieval Warm Period of 1,000 years ago and Little Ice Age that started 500 years ago and ended just over 100 years ago. ...

(4) You will certainly not be surprised to see Katrina, other hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods, and many types of severe weather events linked by Gore to global warming. However, if one took the time to read the downloadable "Summary for Policymakers" in the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), one would learn that "No systematic changes in the frequency of tornadoes, thunder days, or hail events are evident in the limited areas analysed" and that "Changes globally in tropical and extra-tropical storm intensity and frequency are dominated by inter-decadal and multi-decadal variations, with no significant trends evident over the 20th century."

(5) Gore claims that sea level rise could drown the Pacific islands, Florida, major cities the world over, and the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. No mention is made of the fact that sea level has been rising at a rate of 1.8 mm per year for the past 8,000 years; the IPCC notes that "No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected."

Dr. Robert C. Balling Jr. is a professor in the climatology program at Arizona State University, specializing in climate change and the greenhouse effect.

©2000-2006 TCS Daily


Posted by Cyrano at 10:27 PM

There Oughta Be A Law...

...against the sun.

    Global warming has finally been explained: the Earth is getting hotter because the Sun is burning more brightly than at any time during the past 1,000 years, according to new research.

    A study by Swiss and German scientists suggests that increasing radiation from the sun is responsible for recent global climate changes.

    Dr Sami Solanki, the director of the renowned Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Gottingen, Germany, who led the research, said: "The Sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures.

    "The Sun is in a changed state. It is brighter than it was a few hundred years ago and this brightening started relatively recently - in the last 100 to 150 years."

    Dr Solanki said that the brighter Sun and higher levels of "greenhouse gases", such as carbon dioxide, both contributed to the change in the Earth's temperature but it was impossible to say which had the greater impact.

(tip to Bit Heads

Posted by AlexC at 11:14 AM

May 25, 2006

CEI Has the Right Position, But the Wrong Argument

The Competitive Enterprise Institute made some commercials in response to Al Gore's movie coming out soon. The commercials are here and here.

I am not impressed. They strike me as weak and ineffectual. They suffer from the outlook of a lot of modern advertisements: slick and full of cute pictues, but having no substance. Showing me a picture of children getting into a car does bring out some paternal "instincts," yes, and showing me trains does make me think of adventure -- but don't do that, then say carbon dioxide is part of life, and expect me to take it as an argument.

Where is the raw hard data? Where is the objectivity? Where is discussion of the fact that more carbon dioxide makes more plant growth possible? Where is the hard, passionate, rational connection of technology and fossil fuels to human life and a good standard of living?

It ain't there. The people at CEI should have consulted with the people at the Ayn Rand Institute, if they wanted a really compelling commercial.

Posted by Cyrano at 1:13 AM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

I understand that at a movie screening in Philadelphia recently, the former Vice President was chauffered in two vehicles. A Lincoln Town-Car AND a Prius.

Guess which one went to the airport and train station, and which one went to the theatre.

Sadly, there were no sightings of ManBearPigs

Posted by: AlexC at May 25, 2006 1:48 AM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Stolen Data:

Since 1970, the year of the first Earth Day, America’s population has increased by 42%, the country’s inflation-adjusted gross domestic product has grown 195%, the number of cars and trucks in the United States has more than doubled, and the total number of miles driven has increased by 178%.

But during these 35 years of growing population, employment, and industrial production, the Environmental Protection Agency reports, the environment has substantially improved. Emissions of the six principal air pollutants have decreased by 53%. Carbon monoxide emissions have dropped from 197 million tons per year to 89 million; nitrogen oxides from 27 million tons to 19 million, and sulfur dioxide from 31 million to 15 million. Particulates are down 80%, and lead emissions have declined by more than 98%.

When it comes to visible environmental improvements, America is also making substantial progress:

• The number of days the city of Los Angeles exceeded the one-hour ozone standard has declined from just under 200 a year in the late 1970s to 27 in 2004.

• The Pacific Research Institute’s Index of Leading Environmental Indicators shows that “U.S. forests expanded by 9.5 million acres between 1990 and 2000.”

• While wetlands were declining at the rate of 500,000 acres a year at midcentury, they “have shown a net gain of about 26,000 acres per year in the past five years,” according to the institute.

• Also according to the institute, “bald eagles, down to fewer than 500 nesting pairs in 1965, are now estimated to number more than 7,500 nesting pairs.”

Environmentally speaking, America has had a very good third of a century; the economy has grown and pollutants and their impacts upon society are substantially down.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at May 25, 2006 10:03 AM

May 23, 2006

Here We Go Again...

As if we didn't have enough irrationality out now in the form of "Hoot," Al Gore has a movie (supporting the environmentalist witch doctors) coming out this summer, entitled "An Inconvenient Truth." Is that supposed to mean that the truth is inconvenient for him, as it is for every pragmatist who ever lived?

Read some John Dewey, a founder of the philosophy of Pragmatism, and you will see what I mean. Dewey believed that if an idea worked for a long time, it had to be wrong -- reality always changed, by his metaphysics, so an idea could not be true for long. He was really annoyed at Aristotle's logic, saying 'it had worked for so long, it, damn it, had to be wrong!! Grrrrrr!!! (with much gnashing of teeth, growling, barking, and howling at the moon).' He also believed, being a disciple of Immanuel Kant, that truth was a social product.

Anyway...more to come on real Truth...though it will be inconvenient for the likes of Al Gore...

P.S. John Dewey is the single biggest influence on modern education, and the hero of most all educators...so is it any wonder modern American education is in such a sorry state???

Posted by Cyrano at 11:54 PM

A Hero in the Battle for Human Life

There are some organizations dedicated to human life on earth -- not destroying it, as ALF seeks to do. (I need to dig out a sheet of paper I have with quotes from the heads and from spokespeople of some of these "animal rights" organizations, so you can see their wholesale hatred for human life. I mean, it should be apparent enough already, but thoughts and ideas together speak louder than either alone.)

One such organization is Pro-Test, an organization founded in Britain by a 16-year old, to support animal testing. The boy who founded Pro-Test was Laurie Pycroft. He wrote a blog describing the experience he had, which motivated him to found the organization -- i.e., to stand up for human life qua human, qua rational animal. Here is the beginning:


Laurie a.k.a. Sqrrl101 (Laurie Pycroft) - a sixteen-year-old from Swindon - was so appalled by the antics of the animal rights extremists campaigning against the Oxford University animal lab that he decided to stand up to them. Here he tells the story of the founding of Pro-Test - an organisation which is campaigning in support of the Oxford University animal lab.

I've always been a very scientific and extremely logical person. From a reasonably early age, I've felt that science and knowledge are the most important things humanity possesses, and indeed what defines humanity as a species, and separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. My view is that humans are the dominant race on this planet and, not for any spiritual reasons, but pragmatically, we therefore have a right to use lower life forms for our benefit. I'm not talking about using animals simply for our amusement, and I'm not suggesting that animal welfare isn't an issue, but what I do believe is that if an animal can be used to save a human, or even significantly improve human quality of life, then that's entirely justifiable.

The morning of 28th January started as normally as could be expected. I woke up, dressed and so forth as normal, and set out on my way to Oxford to meet two friends of mine. The journey, too, went fairly smoothly and without incident, if you don't count the bus-replacement service that's normal for a Saturday train journey. As I remember, the train got in at about eleven, and I waited an hour or so for my friends to meet me.

They arrived, and we began walking in search of somewhere pleasant to sit and chat, and perhaps get a nice injection of caffeine goodness. Our search was fruitful, as we chanced upon a coffee shop. We went in, ordered our respective beverages, sat down, and began talking about this and that. Whilst we chatted away, I happened to glance out of the window, and noticed an abnormally high police presence - a few pairs of officers were walking along the street, and I could see a couple of police horses. As I was wondering about the reason behind this, I noticed a group of people marching towards the building in which I was seated, waving their placards and chanting:

stop the Oxford animal lab!

Admittedly, at this point, I only knew vaguely of the planned animal research laboratory in Oxford, but owing to my personality and long-held views on animal research, I immediately decided to go out and strike a blow for the scientific community.

Now there is a heroic character. We should be reading about someone like him -- not trash like Sheehan or McKinney. Pycroft acually has something to say.

Posted by Cyrano at 10:05 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"One man with courage makes a majority."
-Andrew Jackson

Posted by: johngalt at May 24, 2006 3:20 PM

Draft Pierre!

If we cannot get Secretary Rice to run in 2008 (and I'm not conceding that we can't -- a patriot will be there when her country needs her), let's draft Pierre "Pete" Du Pont. He was governor of Delaware, Congressman, presidential candidate in 1996, and is a weekly contributor to the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page.

He's a thinker, a supply-sider, an American exceptionalist, and should be tapped again for a GOP run in 2008. (About Pete).

Today he delivers some truth and sense about global warming in his Outside the Box column.

Since 1970, the year of the first Earth Day, America's population has increased by 42%, the country's inflation-adjusted gross domestic product has grown 195%, the number of cars and trucks in the United States has more than doubled, and the total number of miles driven has increased by 178%.

But during these 35 years of growing population, employment, and industrial production, the Environmental Protection Agency reports, the environment has substantially improved. Emissions of the six principal air pollutants have decreased by 53%. Carbon monoxide emissions have dropped from 197 million tons per year to 89 million; nitrogen oxides from 27 million tons to 19 million, and sulfur dioxide from 31 million to 15 million. Particulates are down 80%, and lead emissions have declined by more than 98%.


He then enumerates all the environmental factors that have improved in the last thirty years, and remembers the fears that led the pages back then.
If it all sounds familiar, think back to the 1970s. After the first Earth Day the New York Times predicted "intolerable deterioration and possible extinction" for the human race as the result of pollution. Harvard biologist George Wald predicted that unless we took immediate action "civilization will end within 15 to 30 years," and environmental doomsayer Paul Ehrlich predicted that four billion people--including 65 million American--would perish from famine in the 1980s.

Yeah, I did own a leisure suit and a few loud print rayon shirts to wear underneath. The music was terrible. Maybe that's why my best memories of the 70s are the catastrophic predictions.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:34 PM | Comments (1)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

I'm going to throw a monkey wrench into this by saying he's a bad choice because of his name.

The DuPont family tree has dropped quite a few nuts over the years and the opposition will play that to the hilt.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at May 23, 2006 7:37 PM

Hurricane Science vs. The Witch Doctors

Dr. Patrick Michaels discusses the fact that "global warming" is not the cause of an increase in the number of strong hurricanes in the article "Global Warming Not Featured in New Hurricane Study."

We will be hearing a lot of such nonsense, blaming Republicans and Bush and capitalism for the increase in the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the near future. Well, we have been hearing some already.

Course, the Muslims "know" that it is Allah sending the hurricanes to punish the "evil, decadent" America, the "Great Satan." And Pat Robertson knows it is "God" sending the hurricanes to punish modern Soddom and Gomoras, since modern American cities allow the "evil" of homosexuality!! Oh my God!!! Holy Cow!!!

Such witch doctors' immoral spoutings aside, Dr. Michaels discusses some real facts about hurricanes. He says:

Over the last few decades, hurricane climate experts have largely eschewed linkages between global warming and increases in the number or strength of hurricanes. That is, until late last summer, when a series of highly publicized papers claimed otherwise. The papers pointed out that sea-surface temperatures (SSTs), the essential fuel of hurricanes, have been increasing in the primary hurricane-development regions pretty much globally since 1970 (the start of global satellite hurricane track and intensity records). Over that time, hurricane intensities have also been on the rise. And since global warming causes SSTs to rise, that must be the cause of the recent spate of strong hurricanes.

The problem with this logic is that hurricanes require a very specific environment to flourish. High SSTs are a necessary but not sufficient condition to spin up strong storms. It is also important that there be very little change in the winds with height; that near surface winds blow in such a manner to cause moist air to gather near the storm's center; and that temperatures decline rapidly with height to promote a very unstable atmosphere, among other factors. One criticism of the studies from last summer is that the focus was almost entirely on SSTs only. In order properly to link hurricane trends to SSTs (and global warming), you need to discount trends in these other, critical variables.

...

An examination of the number of category 4 and 5 storms from 1945-present shows that we are indeed currently experiencing a high frequency of major storms. But recent years are comparable to another fairly active period in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The aforementioned Science papers only considered the period from 1970 onward, because those data are believed to be the most accurate and internally consistent. However, the long term data from both the Western Pacific and the North Atlantic (the world's two most active regions) are reasonably good, especially with respect to the number of strong storms, which are obviously more likely to be detected.

Another factor in the recent spate of strong storms is a long-term cycle in SSTs. In the Atlantic, for example, all hurricane researchers are aware of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO), a somewhat periodic cycling between high and low SSTs in the North Atlantic, including the primary hurricane formation zones. Figure 3 shows one of several incarnations of the AMO. Note the clear tendency toward positive AMO values beginning in the late 1960s. There were a lot more strong hurricanes from the 1940s through the mid-1960s (positive AMO), which was followed by a quiescent period (negative AMO). Any evidence of increasing SSTs based on a data set that begins around 1970 will identify an artificial trend that is really part of a longer-term cycle. The Science authors had perfectly legitimate reasons to begin their analysis in 1970, but a broader perspective is needed before you can call that increase a global warming signal.

Dr. Michaels provides some very good graphics to show trends in hurricanes.

In his "Figure 2", he shows "The number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes observed in the Western Pacific (top) and North Atlantic (bottom) oceans since 1945. The counts in recent decades are not so much different than the counts in the 50s and 60s."

In his "Figure 3," he shows the "Time series of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO). Again, notice a big trend since 1970, but nothing unusual in the long term (source: Knight et al., 2005)."

The whole article is worth reading, and passing on to friends and relatives.

Posted by Cyrano at 12:53 AM

May 3, 2006

Low Ozone & Smog, Yawn

That wicked George Bush is taking all the smog and ozone out of the atmosphere! How long are we just gonna sit back and take it?

Seriously, why do the enviros run from good news. I understand that they have to show alarm to justify spending, but wouldn't showing victories help as well? Say we have accomplished this, now we should address this.

I don't know. But TCS has some news you won't see in the New York Times.

Ozone smog levels have plummeted during the last three years. Between 2003 and 2005, the fraction of the nation's ozone monitors violating the federal 8-hour ozone standard plunged from 43 percent down to a record-low 18 percent.[1] The last three years were the three lowest-ozone years on record.

Environmental fear factories aren't celebrating. Shortly after the 2005 ozone season ended, the environmental group Clean Air Watch proclaimed "Smog Problems Nearly Double in 2005."[2] Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection warned "Number of Ozone Action Days Up from Last Year."[3] And EPA's New England regional office noted that "New England Experienced More Smog Days during Recent Summer."[4] Writing on 2005 ozone levels in Connecticut, a New York Times headline warned "A Hot Summer Meant More Smog.[5]
Ozone levels were indeed higher in 2005 when compared with 2004. 2005 was only the second lowest ozone year since the 1970s, while 2004 was the lowest. Ozone levels were so improbably low in 2004 that it would have been astounding if ozone wasn't higher in 2005.


Posted by John Kranz at 1:27 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Hey, this is precisely the opposite story I read in an article from the Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald that ran just before "Earth Day."

I followed the link. I read the entire article. TCS and the DRH both cite the same source: The American Lung Association's "State of the Air Report." But while the small-town Colorado newspaper swallowed the stuff whole and then regurgitated it to unsuspecting readers, TCS declared it "nonsense on stilts."

Loveland paper: "But ozone pollution has reached dangerous levels in the region, causing the county to receive a grade of “F” for ozone pollution in the American Lung Association’s 2005 State of the Air report."

TCS: "ALA's claim of high ozone levels today is thus based on a spike in ozone that occurred four years ago, back in the summer of 2002."
(Graph shows "average number of days per YEAR exceeding the federal ozone standards increased from 2 in 2004 to just over 3 in 2005. This compared to about 9 in 2002 and between 10 and 23 for every year prior to 1989.)

Thanks for the "rest of the story" JK.

Loveland article: http://www.lovelandfyi.com/Top-Story.asp?ID=4868

Posted by: johngalt at May 3, 2006 3:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And another thing! (Thanks Dennis)

You asked, rhetorically perhaps, why the enviros don't say, "We have accomplished this, now we should address this."

Try replacing the first "this" with "racial equality through affirmative action."

Now you know why even good news is still cause for alarm amongst class warriors.

Posted by: johngalt at May 3, 2006 3:19 PM

April 28, 2006

Climate Change

Heh

Posted by AlexC at 11:30 AM

April 17, 2006

Short Toyota?

I love my Toyota and suspect the company is in good shape to increase shareholder assets. But I am convinced that hybrid cars have "jumped the shark." I was in a drive through yesterday behind a Toyota Prius and couldn't stop think of the South Park "Pious." Between South Park, and Popular Mechanics, I wondered if sales mightn't slump.

Now the right wing thugs at The New York Times Editorial Page have taken some whacks.

For years, most of the world's big car makers have shied away from building hybrids because while they are technologically intriguing, they are also an inelegant engineering solution — the use of two energy sources assures extra weight, extra complexity and extra expense (as much as $6,000 more per car.) The hybrid car's electric battery packs rob space from passengers and cargo and although they can be recycled, not every owner can be counted on to do the right thing at the end of their vehicle's service life. And an unrecycled hybrid battery pack, which weighs more than 100 pounds, poses a major environmental hazard.

You read it first on ThreeSources, kids, the hybrid craze is over.


Posted by John Kranz at 7:46 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

April 15, 2006

Crushing of Dissent, II

I had posted a (paid) link to the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT's guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Professor Lindzen is skeptical on global warming projections. Without claiming it is fallacious, he pours cold water and humidity on some of the more outrageous claims.

The real focus of the article is the opprobrium heaped on scientists who do not preach the Gospel of man made climate change. In Gore (14:7) -- I mean Vanity Fair Magazine -- it is called a "threat graver than terrorism," by VP Al Gore, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, and the noted atmospheric scientists Julia Roberts and George Clooney.

Nick Shultz, writing Vanity Scare in TCS, notes that the professional reputation of a noted, 94 year old scientist is slandered in the article because his views do not match Hollywood's.

The article in Vanity Fair is part of a so-called "Green issue" that includes a call to arms from Al Gore and friendly profiles on climate change alarmists such as NASA's Jim Hansen, Ed Begley Jr., Bette Midler, Ed Norton and many others. Since global warming is a "threat graver than terrorism," the magazine tells readers on its cover, it's cool to want to fight global warming. "Green is the new black," Vanity Fair tells us.

In keeping with that spirit, the magazine is trying to blacken permanently the reputation of Seitz, one of America's highly regarded scientists, for not toeing the fashionable line on global warming.

To find out if the startling claim was true -- that Seitz "directed a 45M tobacco industry effort to hide health impacts of smoking" -- I called him at his apartment in Manhattan. Unless there is more to the story, the accusation appears to be a willful distortion, if not an outright lie.


This article is free, and I have pasted the entire text of the other article in my post below.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:15 AM

April 12, 2006

Crushing of Dissent!

The Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT writes a guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal today, called "Climate of Fear."

He questions several global warming orthodoxies, among them, global warming's being the cause of the hurricanes:

If the models are correct, global warming reduces the temperature differences between the poles and the equator. When you have less difference in temperature, you have less excitation of extratropical storms, not more. And, in fact, model runs support this conclusion. Alarmists have drawn some support for increased claims of tropical storminess from a casual claim by Sir John Houghton of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that a warmer world would have more evaporation, with latent heat providing more energy for disturbances. The problem with this is that the ability of evaporation to drive tropical storms relies not only on temperature but humidity as well, and calls for drier, less humid air. Claims for starkly higher temperatures are based upon there being more humidity, not less -- hardly a case for more storminess with global warming.

More interesting was his description of the contempt shown to scientists who refuse to play along.
But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.
[...]
All of which starkly contrasts to the silence of the scientific community when anti-alarmists were in the crosshairs of then-Sen. Al Gore. In 1992, he 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.

Sadly, this is only the tip of a non-melting iceberg. 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.

UPDATE: I have stolen copied the entire piece below, click "Continue reading..." to read it.

Climate of Fear

There have been repeated claims that this past year's hurricane activity was another sign of human-induced climate change. Everything from the heat wave in Paris to heavy snows in Buffalo has been blamed on people burning gasoline to fuel their cars, and coal and natural gas to heat, cool and electrify their homes. Yet how can a barely discernible, one-degree increase in the recorded global mean temperature since the late 19th century possibly gain public acceptance as the source of recent weather catastrophes? And how can it translate into unlikely claims about future catastrophes?

The answer has much to do with misunderstanding the science of climate, plus a willingness to debase climate science into a triangle of alarmism. Ambiguous scientific statements about climate are hyped by those with a vested interest in alarm, thus raising the political stakes for policy makers who provide funds for more science research to feed more alarm to increase the political stakes. After all, who puts money into science -- whether for AIDS, or space, or climate -- where there is nothing really alarming? Indeed, the success of climate alarmism can be counted in the increased federal spending on climate research from a few hundred million dollars pre-1990 to $1.7 billion today. It can also be seen in heightened spending on solar, wind, hydrogen, ethanol and clean coal technologies, as well as on other energy-investment decisions.

But there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.

To understand the misconceptions perpetuated about climate science and the climate of intimidation, one needs to grasp some of the complex underlying scientific issues. First, let's start where there is agreement. The public, press and policy makers have been repeatedly told that three claims have widespread scientific support: Global temperature has risen about a degree since the late 19th century; levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased by about 30% over the same period; and CO2 should contribute to future warming. These claims are true. However, what the public fails to grasp is that the claims neither constitute support for alarm nor establish man's responsibility for the small amount of warming that has occurred. In fact, those who make the most outlandish claims of alarm are actually demonstrating skepticism of the very science they say supports them. It isn't just that the alarmists are trumpeting model results that we know must be wrong. It is that they are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right as justifying costly policies to try to prevent global warming.

If the models are correct, global warming reduces the temperature differences between the poles and the equator. When you have less difference in temperature, you have less excitation of extratropical storms, not more. And, in fact, model runs support this conclusion. Alarmists have drawn some support for increased claims of tropical storminess from a casual claim by Sir John Houghton of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that a warmer world would have more evaporation, with latent heat providing more energy for disturbances. The problem with this is that the ability of evaporation to drive tropical storms relies not only on temperature but humidity as well, and calls for drier, less humid air. Claims for starkly higher temperatures are based upon there being more humidity, not less -- hardly a case for more storminess with global warming.

So how is it that we don't have more scientists speaking up about this junk science? It's my belief that many scientists have been cowed not merely by money but by fear. An example: Earlier this year, Texas Rep. Joe Barton issued letters to paleoclimatologist Michael Mann and some of his co-authors seeking the details behind a taxpayer-funded analysis that claimed the 1990s were likely the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year in the last millennium. Mr. Barton's concern was based on the fact that the IPCC had singled out Mr. Mann's work as a means to encourage policy makers to take action. And they did so before his work could be replicated and tested -- a task made difficult because Mr. Mann, a key IPCC author, had refused to release the details for analysis. The scientific community's defense of Mr. Mann was, nonetheless, immediate and harsh. The president of the National Academy of Sciences -- as well as the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union -- formally protested, saying that Rep. Barton's singling out of a scientist's work smacked of intimidation.

All of which starkly contrasts to the silence of the scientific community when anti-alarmists were in the crosshairs of then-Sen. Al Gore. In 1992, he 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.

Sadly, this is only the tip of a non-melting iceberg. 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. However, even when such papers are published, standards shift. When I, with some colleagues at NASA, attempted to determine how clouds behave under varying temperatures, we discovered what we called an "Iris Effect," wherein upper-level cirrus clouds contracted with increased temperature, providing a very strong negative climate feedback sufficient to greatly reduce the response to increasing CO2. Normally, criticism of papers appears in the form of letters to the journal to which the original authors can respond immediately. However, in this case (and others) a flurry of hastily prepared papers appeared, claiming errors in our study, with our responses delayed months and longer. The delay permitted our paper to be commonly referred to as "discredited." Indeed, there is a strange reluctance to actually find out how climate really behaves. In 2003, when the draft of the U.S. National Climate Plan urged a high priority for improving our knowledge of climate sensitivity, the National Research Council instead urged support to look at the impacts of the warming -- not whether it would actually happen.

Alarm rather than genuine scientific curiosity, it appears, is essential to maintaining funding. And only the most senior scientists today can stand up against this alarmist gale, and defy the iron triangle of climate scientists, advocates and policymakers.

Mr. Lindzen is Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT.

Posted by John Kranz at 8:17 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Silence asked some time back for evidence supporting my claim of "an equal number of scientists who dispute global warming theory as support it." I couldn't remember the source of that impression and didn't have time to seek it out. This letter from just one such scientist goes a long way towards explaining why the MSM doesn't tell us about those scientists either.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2006 11:03 AM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

I could not read the whole editorial, being a freeloader not a paying customer, so maybe I am talking out of school here, but he seems to be questioning some of the claims of global warming, not dismissing the concept itself. The hurricane thing is bunk, even the National Weather service guys debunked that. How much scientist are pressured to accept certain findings I don't know, but there must be more than a few wealthy corporations who would fund contrary research, cough, Exxon, cough.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at April 15, 2006 12:24 AM
But jk thinks:

Silence, I have since added the complete text, click "Continue reading..."

Also see "crushing of Dissent, II" April 15 with another example.

You're aware of my respect for your positions, but I have to jibe you. Your reaction to an article about discrediting scientists who take a heterodox position on global warming is to discredit a large group of scientists as being bought off by Exxon.

So, all wise good and true scientists believe in Global Warming, although their funding is dependent upon it. (The hurricane meme is repeated everyday and I suspect beloved by more than half the country.) The opposition are all evil wicked diabolical-laugh scientists on the payroll of multi-national corporations.

?

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2006 11:22 AM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

No, no, you misunderstand me. My Exxon point was that the free market can fund research as well. If the concern is that government funded scientists around the world are being pressured to only present one side of the story than those corporations who feel under attack from this research can and do fund scientific research as well. Funding will always somewhat bias results, often no matter how hard the funders and the fundees try to avoid it. Scientific research will eventually uncover the truth as personal egos come into play as well and the top researchers want to be right more than anything else. Biases just take a while to sift out sometimes.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at April 15, 2006 1:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair enough. Much as I like to whack government about, I'm not sure they're to blame for this. Rather, I see a large mass of environmentalist scientists, regulation happy politicos, anti-modernity folks, and Hollywood activists that have declared a monopoly on their side of the theory.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2006 1:51 PM

April 7, 2006

Global Warming

BBC News

    Reduced air pollution and increased water evaporation appear to be adding to man-made global warming.

    Research presented at a major European science meeting adds to other evidence that cleaner air is letting more solar energy through to the Earth's surface.

    Other studies show that increased water vapour in the atmosphere is reinforcing the impact of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

    Scientists suggest both trends may push temperatures higher than believed.

    But they say there is an urgent need for further research, particularly at sea.


More research means more money. That's what this whole thing is about.

Posted by AlexC at 4:42 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

The answer is obviously a hybrid car that expels a lot of smoke. If you love the environment, you'll buy one.

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2006 5:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Just the right amount of smug in the air would be beneficial too. If only we could count on George Clooney and his Hollywierd pals to control their smug outbursts, a general smugginess over the US could be safely maintained. Alas, general smugness will precipitate "I'm more smug" reactions from them.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2006 10:38 AM