Experts and the Temple of Orthodoxy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Superstorms coming?

Are we entering the next ice age?

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

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

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

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

Scared yet?

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

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

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

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

Corrupt science and climate

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

Is global warming hysteria responsible for Egypt’s revolution?

Track me on this one:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Must see TV about the devastating costs of climate change hysteria

Hat tip:  small dead animals

Kind of like Al Gore

Doesn’t the information below about the lying autism/vaccination doc remind you of Green Billionaire  Al Gore and his fellow wealth redistribution (into their own pocket) fellow travelers?

According to new research published in today’s BMJ, Wakefield’s motive for the fraud was money — and lots of it. Wakefield “planned secret businesses intended to make huge sums of money, in Britain and America, from his now-discredited allegations,” according to a BMJ press release.

MSM is not connecting the dots (are we surprised?)

Every morning, partly out of habit, partly out of martyrdom, and partly out of the same fascination that drives us to rubber-neck roadway accidents, I check out the San Francisco Chronicle on line.  It is certainly a nicely laid out home page.  It has clear links to its own columns and articles, and a nice little box constantly updated with the latest from wire services.  This neat layout was what made two headlines — one the Chronicle’s own and one from the WaPo (which went out over a wire service) — leap out at me.

Here’s the Chronicle’s headline: “ Food prices rise sharply – and there’s more to come.”  The article describes huge price increases (oh, joy!) and adds at the end that the problem seems to stem, in part, from rising gas and diesel costs.

And here’s the WaPo/wire headline:  “Fox News bias on climate change shows in e-mail.”  This article tracks on an email release showing that Fox’s official policy about global warming stories was to be skeptical.  What’s so funny is that the data is showing that Fox’s skepticism was exactly right.  While the climate is certainly changing, as it has done with regularity and frequency for the past 300 years, there is less and less evidence that humans are responsible, and more and more evidence that (a) we’re not going to immolate any time soon and (b) the “science” driving the whole global warming furor was a politically motivated show aimed, in significant part, at forcing the US to redistribute its wealth to needy Leftists.

What I find amusing about the two headlines/stories in one paper is that I doubt anyone at the Chron is looking at the food prices story and thinking . . . hmmm, maybe if we stopped panicking about global warming, which leads to demonizing fossil fuels, rather than working to us them more productively and cleanly, we might have lower food costs.  And while we’re at it, perhaps it’s a mistake to let the enviro-nazis turn California, which was the most productive food supplier in the world, turn into a desert.

My blog’s motto (“Conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts”) applies with startling force to the cognitive dissonance that is the MSM’s daily diet.

(Garbled writing in the first paragraph corrected.  I’m going on vacation soon, and that’s probably a good thing.  My brain seems to need a break.)

A Leftist party is worth a thousand words

Hat tip:  Power Line

“I’m a denier”

Hat tip:  Soccer Dad

The Little Ice Age (1300-1850) and Global Warmists

For my book club, I’m reading The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850.  The title is self-explanatory and the book’s premise simple: Following a fairly halcyon early medieval period that saw global warming, and with it a rare stability in an intensely agrarian world, the world cooled down, with devastating effects on the people unlucky enough to live as subsistence farmers (which, in those days, was most people).

The book isn’t very good. Okay, maybe it’s good, but I lost respect for the author when he spent pages and pages and pages explaining about air pressure, sun spots, currents, etc., all of which have affected the earth’s weather for millenia, and then somehow managed to conclude by saying that the recent fairly minor fluctuations are anomalous in that they are all our fault. Still, aside from that fatuity,the author has clearly done his work about weather trends during the Little Ice Age.  They were devastating.  They killed crops, flooded land, froze people, shifted or destroyed animal populations, etc.

The author describes the way in which people, utterly bewildered by the devastation wrought by these climate changes, hunted desperately for explanations.  The top explanation was, of course, God’s wrath.  The second tier bet was witch craft.  One couldn’t do anything about God, but one could go after the witches.  Thousands of people, mostly women, died as people tried to avert climate changes too great for them to understand.

As I read about the witch burnings, I kept thinking of today’s Global Warmists.  As were the people of the pre-scientific era, they’re incapable of understanding that the earth marches to its own (and the sun’s rhythm).  And as did the people of the pre-scientific era, they look for scape goats.  The repulsive 10:10 mini-video is just one example of the need to make blood sacrifices to sooth Mother Gaia’s bewildering wrath.

For more about the blind fear of the earth worshipers, and the way that fear leads to the modern day equivalent of witch burning, check out Ed Driscoll’s round up on Green Supremacists.

My two cents about solar panels on the White House

I found the report about the White House solar panels interesting.  In theory, I think solar panels are a fine idea.  In practice, here in the land of PG&E, I do not.  You see, we have solar panels.  It cost us roughly $15,000 to install them.  Before we even purchased them, it was obvious that the only way for us to recoup that expense within say, a ten year window and bring us economically into line with where we would have been had we not bought solar panels, was to adhere to a rigid electricity use scheme that is the bane of my existence.  (A less rigid scheme would have left my existence unchanged, but would have been very costly, on top of the expense we incurred installing the panels in the first place.)

What most people don’t know — at least, under the PG&E system — is that you don’t actually use the electricity your solar panels generate.  Instead, you can think of your house as having a line going out, and a line going in.  The line going out feeds electricity from the solar panels to PG&E, which buys this electricity from the homeowner.  The line going in sells electricity from PG&E to the homeowner, same as always.

Except that it’s not actually the same as always.  The way we structured things, in order to recoup our sizable investment on the solar panels sometime before our eventual deaths, is that we operate under “peak, semi-peak, and non-peak” rules.  Peak corresponds to the time of day during which our solar panels make the most electricity, semi-peak is medium production, and non-peak is no production.  During the summer, peak and semi-peak take one from 10 a.m. to 9 .m.  During the winter and on weekends, it’s a little easier, with peak running from only 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. or something like that.

If we use electricity during peak time it costs us both arms, and both legs; during semi-peak we’re charged about 1.5 arms and 1.5 legs; and during non-peak, we’re charged almost nothing.

All of the above sounds wonderful in theory.  In fact, that’s not how a household work.  My dishwasher and laundry baskets do not fill up with non-peak precision, and magically empty with peak regularity.  Instead, they accrue dirty stuff throughout the course of the day.  In the old days, I would have run them when they were full.  Now, as often as not, their being full coincides with peak or semi-peak, making them too costly to run.  And by the time non-peak comes around in my busy household, not only is my dishwasher full, so is the sink and the counter.  Likewise, if I don’t get up at the crack of dawn so that I have time to both wash and dry not just wash a load during non-peak time, I better hope it’s a cool day, because I can’t get it in the dryer until evening, when non-peak rolls around again.  On hot days, while it’s sitting in the washer waiting for cheap dryer time, it tends to get mildew.  (The mirror image is true for hot evenings, when I have to stay up late to both wash and dry a load, or risk a washer barrel full of slightly mildewy laundry in the morning.)

The result is that I end up using my appliances more than I ever used to.  I run a dishwasher every night, no matter how empty it is, so that I don’t get stuck halfway through the next day with a full dishwasher, and no ability to wash it.  I’m using cheap electricity, but I’m using twice as much for ordinary tasks, and doubling my water use too.  Laundry turns into a weekend long odyssey, as I try to cram in load after load during the day time hours.  We have dirty laundry around all week, and my weekends are not fun.

It’s also very irksome to have someone monitoring my electricity use constantly.  My husband checks the meter every day and quizzes me on energy spikes.  To his credit, he also praises low energy days, but I really don’t like to be watched that closely.  And this is my husband we’re talking about!  Wait until we’re all on smart meters, and its our utility company staring over our shoulders with such oppressive fervor.

I have no idea how White House solar panels are going to be set up.  There are other pricing plans that are less onerous to the solar owner but, as I mentioned at the top of this post, they’re also much more costly.  Considering how expensive solar panels are to begin with, I foresee a heavy taxpayer burden unless Obama gets private funding for those panels.  You see, either they’ll cost a fortune up front or, because the White House is going to use lots of peak electricity during the summer season, it’s going to be paying a heavy electric bill.

I think solar panels have the potential to create massive amounts of truly clean energy.  Right now, though, the set-up is definitely not consumer friendly, whether because it’s very costly, or because it forces homemakers into usage patterns that are inconsistent with the rhythm of a busy household.

Thank Goodness! The parodies of the 10:10 “no pressure” mini video have begun *UPDATED*

Unless you’ve been on a camping trip in a remote wilderness for the past few days, you’ve heard about the video that a British climate change advocacy group prepared.  The short video takes you through a variety of settings (classrooms, workplaces, sports fields), in which people are encouraged to diminish their carbon footprint and, importantly, assured that there is “no pressure” on them to cooperate.  Then after a show of hands of those who willingly respect mother Gaia, those who don’t get with the program are blown up, with an accompanying shower of blood and guts.  Here’s the video, but I do warn you not to watch it around small children or people who don’t like gross and disturbing images:

Isn’t that first scene, in the classroom, with the remaining kids covered in gore, a comedy classic?

Oh!  Didn’t I tell you?  This is meant to be humorous.  In the words of the group that created the video:

With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh. We were therefore delighted when Britain’s leading comedy writer, Richard Curtis – writer of Blackadder, Four Weddings, Notting Hill and many others – agreed to write a short film for the 10:10 campaign. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn’t and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.

Clearly, if you’re offended, it’s because you’re a puritanical stick in the mud.  Because so many people had fun with this video, and because it makes such an excellent point about the “little things” we can do to save Gaia, the group is going to keep the video up on the internet (although off their website).  This way, the ones who “get the joke” can still have a jolly good laugh.  I’m sure the group is also grateful for the free advertising they’re getting from sites such as mine which, through criticism, are helping it go viral.  After all, no publicity is bad publicity, right?

In answer to my own question, I think this group has, rather uniquely, run counter to that little advertising truism.  Here’s my question for you:  Having seen the video, do you now want to rush out and bow to your carbon neutral overlords?  Do you think any normal, decent person would?

I don’t know about you, but a video like this, with it’s jokey threats of extreme violence, makes me want to make an extra drive around the block every time I come home, just to be spiteful.  I won’t, of course.  I’m not a wasteful person, and I enjoy having a clean environment as much as the next person.  I do that, though, not because of the green police, but because I believe the Biblical injunction that I am the earth’s steward.  I really don’t like the threat implicit in that “funny” video and do have the urge to push back.

Speaking of push-back, it’s already begun.  The video below is the first one I’ve found.  Rather than pushing back directly against the AGW fascists, its creators recognize some remarkable similarities between one type of religious fanatic and another:

(By the way, I recommend Ed Morissey’s post at Hot Air for a good round up of intelligent and moral takes on the video, including Ed’s own.  Not surprisingly, he includes The Anchoress, who sees much larger spiritual implications here.)

UPDATE:  Here’s Zombie’s take, which as always, makes for enjoyable reading.  Ed Driscoll also has a great post on the video.  Be sure to watch the Mastercard commercial you’ll find there.  Then you can debate with me whether that smug, supercilious, condescending child made that commercial even more gross and horrifying than the 10:10 spot.

Just a thought about climate change

Alaska is the land of many, many glaciers.  During my trip, I had the great pleasure of seeing Glacier Bay, the Hubbard Glacier and the Mendenhall glacier.  They are magnificent.  What I found amusing, in an icky kind of way, was the approach the museums, the Park Rangers, and the information sites all took to the glaciers.  To wit:

For thousands of years, since the big Ice Age, glaciers in Alaska have advanced and retreated.  The gorgeous valley or bay in which you now find yourself is the result of retreating glaciers over the hundreds and thousands of years.  This is a natural process.  Except….

Right now, in the year 2010, to the extent some of the glaciers are retreating — it’s all your fault.

Do they even listen to themselves?

Quick hits on a sunny Friday afternoon *UPDATED*

It’s the first day of summer for my kids, so I’ve been in mommy mode all day (expect when I was in martial arts mode, which was, frankly, more fun).  Things cross my radar, though, and there are three things that came my way that I wanted to put onto your radar.  In no particular order:

An homage to Medal of Honor winner Robert L. Howard, who died with no fanfare last year, but was an American warrior, first, last and always.

A few days ago, I did a silly little post called “man caused disaster,” in which I intimated that we, the American voters (not all of us, but a majority), created a “man caused disaster” in the form of . . . well, check it out here.  Mike, a fellow Watcher’s Council member who blogs at The Provocateur, liked what I did, but thought I stopped too soon.  He therefore ran with the idea (which is, as you know, one of the great things about the blogging community), and came up with this.

Lastly, Bob Etheridge, who looks like Lurch after a bad, boozy night, has suddenly gone from being the clear favorite to being the “hanging in there by his fingertips” candidate.  What’s really great about all this is that his opponent, a Tea Party nurse named Renee Ellmers is worthy on her own terms to go to the House.  She just needed a little traction, and Etheridge’s assault gave her the media presence she needed.  You can read an interview with her here, at Right Wing News.

I just want to say one other thing, which sounds shallow and frivolous, but can also be scary or uplifting, depending on how you view it:  In our modern age, things change with incredible speed.  There.  I’ve said it.  It’s obvious, but it’s also important.

As I mentioned the other day, while I was reviewing my old blog posts it became clear to me that the extremism that is Climate Change, a hysterical approach to our climate that managed to move apocalyptic climate fears from the fringe to the center, was only coming into being in 2006.  Climate Change concerns existed before, but they didn’t dominate political and social discourse.

By the beginning of 2009, a mere three years later, every Leftist government in the world (including Obama’s) was using Climate Change hysteria to force vast economic changes on the world, and the masses were in a panic of Armageddon-like proportions.  By the end of 2009, however, that house of cards was collapsing, destroyed by truth and a bad economy.  It was a short, intensive, painful run, but it seems to be over.

The same holds true for anti-Israel animus (or at least I hope so).  The open letter from Spain’s former prime minister warning the world against abandoning Israel reflects the mindset of a leader who left office only six years ago.  In 2006, despite gross media malfeasance, the American public supported Israel during the Hezbollah war.  Up until January 19, 2009, America had a fiercely pro-Israel president.

In other words, the dramatic and active hostility towards Israel (as opposed to the passive disdain that’s been building on the Left for years), is a fairly recent phenomenon, and that’s despite the fact that it seems, at an emotional level, to have been around forever.  If Israel is unlucky, much badness will happen to her in the near future.  However, if she is lucky, this cycle will collapse as quickly as the Climate Change hysteria faded away.  People have short memories and, if something happens to slow or, better, destroy the momentum of a false ideology, that’s the end of it.

UPDATE:  Here’s a perfect example of an April 2007 post in which I note, as a new phenomenon, the rising Climate Change hysteria.

The former Spanish prime minister reminds us that the past had different standards

It tells you how quickly the world is moving that José María Aznar was prime minister in Spain as recently as 2004.  It’s impossible today to imagine any current world leader, including our own President, writing this about Israel.

I’ve posted Aznar’s message on both of my facebook sites, emailed it to all my friends, and am publishing it here.  I urge you to broadcast it to as many people as possible too.  What he says is very important.  Also, to the extent he’s proposing the creation of a Friends of Israel initiative, we should keep our eyes open.

Change happens quickly.  As I go through my old posts (I’m trying to consolidate them in one place with an eye towards publication), I was surprised to learn that the whole man-made global warming hypothesis was still gathering steam in the popular consciousness as late as 2006.  Somehow I thought that Al Gore’s drum beating had effectively robbed the world of common sense long before that.

Where it goes wrong – by guest blogger Danny Lemieux

I spoke with a fellow parishioner today about our children. This well-meaning, socially aware good fellow (an attorney) was extolling how well his son was progressing in his Ivy League undergraduate education. And, I asked, what was he studying? Environmental sciences. Ah, I said…that’s an interesting and certainly timely field of study: had he been of a technical or scientific bent in high school? Not really. Did he enjoy studying the sciences? Not really. Was he taking any scientific courses, like physics, biology or chemistry? Not really. In fact, he really wasn’t very interested in “hard” sciences at all and did not plan on studying any of them. So…what did he plan to do with an “environmental sciences” degree? Go to law school. He wanted to make policy, you understand. He was going to make the world a better place.

So, in an age where everything involving the environment demands a basic scientific knowledge, whether it be understanding the engineering challenges of alternative energy; the underlying geophysics, chemistry and biology of climate change; or the physics, engineering and biology needed to address the Gulf oil spill disaster, the term “environmental sciences” has now been degraded at the Ivy League level to a hack policy-making discipline where know-nothings can expound their ideologies free from the tyranny of facts. It is, in fact, the divorce of science and reason from sound environmental management. There was a time when “environmental science” was a noble field…an applied science that drew from many hard disciplines. No more, apparently.

If we are left to wonder why the government is so absolutely inept at dealing with real-life disasters, perhaps it is because “policy” has become politics divorced from material reality. It has become lazy: it’s so much easy to huff and puff utopian ideals and solutions when one need not trifle with facts and consequences. Solutions appear so much simpler when distilled down to simplistic “just plug that d*mn hole!” rhetoric and blithe “solar and wind power” propositions. We live in a hyper-complex age that demands the breadth and depth of Renaissance thinkers and solution providers. Instead, we are left to draw upon the talents of shallow social policy makers and academic rent seekers. It was Sir Isaac Newton who observed with humility that “I was able to see further because I was standing on the shoulder of giants”. Today’s crop of philosopher-king wannabes suffer no such humility: they slouch on the shoulders of dwarves. And they will lead us to disaster.

After graduation, 32 students attempted suicide

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

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

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

Hat tip:  Hot Air

I think I’ve finally figured out how to end global warming once and for all

I’ve been following Al Gore’s global warming hysteria with all the attention it deserves.  I’ve understood about the boiling frogs; the way he gets to fly around, live in mansions, and drive SUVS, while the rest of us don’t; and our responsibility to use only a single square of toilet paper regardless of circumstances.  I get all that.  But what I really get is that the enemy is CO2.  Bad, bad, bad CO2.  (Funnily enough, growing up, I always thought carbon monoxide was the dangerous one, considering that it can suffocate us where we lie.  Silly me.)

Our mission, should we choose to accept it, therefore, is to rid the world of CO2.  Well, I finally figured out where most of the CO2 is coming from, and I know how to get rid of it:  ban carbonated beverages.  You see, I saw a Modern Marvels episode last night about soft drinks.  Turns out they account for 30% of drink sales in the US, and they all have CO2 pumped into them for that fizzy taste Americans like.  Well, you and I all know exactly what happens when you open a soft drink — the CO2 leaves the drink and enters the atmosphere.  You can readily imagine the amount of CO2 that soft drink guzzling Americans are releasing daily into our overheated atmosphere.

If we banned soft drinks, voila! no more climate change.  Or, even better, if we proposed a ban on soft drinks, Americans might realize what a farce this whole thing and turn against Al Gore’s personal billion dollar boondoggle once and for all.

Does algore have any tone other than hysterical?

I truly intended to fisk algore’s op-ed at the New York Times, in which he explains why global warming is still so important that the world should continue its task of turning him into the first green-based billionaire.  I was foiled, however, by the fact that I couldn’t step giggling as I read his hysterical hyperbole.  I mean, really, just look at this opening paragraph (italicized emphasis mine, although I’m sure algore heard that shrill emphasis in his own head as he wrote):

It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.

The hysteria continues unabated in subsequent paragraphs:

Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil.

[snip]

We would no longer have to worry that our grandchildren would one day look back on us as a criminal generation that had selfishly and blithely ignored clear warnings that their fate was in our hands.

[snip]

But unfortunately, the reality of the danger we are courting has not been changed by the discovery of at least two mistakes in the thousands of pages of careful scientific work over the last 22 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, the crisis is still growing because we are continuing to dump 90 million tons of global-warming pollution every 24 hours into the atmosphere — as if it were an open sewer.

And so it goes, with one overwrought opining after another.  What’s incredibly funny, though, is algore’s attempt to defuse the collapsing science.  Taking it like a man, he admits that there are just a few problems:

It is true that the climate panel published a flawed overestimate of the melting rate of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas, and used information about the Netherlands provided to it by the government, which was later found to be partly inaccurate. In addition, e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain showed that scientists besieged by an onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics may not have adequately followed the requirements of the British freedom of information law.

But fear not, fair climate panic maidens — mistakes happen.  Fortunately for those whose life’s goal is to line algore’s pockets, consensus still exists notwithstanding these “little” mistakes completely undermining the AGW theory.  Read what algore writes carefully.  He offers no science to support AGW despite the mistakes.  Instead, he simply assures us that there is consensus and, to justify his assurance, reiterates, boot-strap style his existing, and increasingly discredited, theories:

But the scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes. What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged. It is also worth noting that the panel’s scientists — acting in good faith on the best information then available to them — probably underestimated the range of sea-level rise in this century, the speed with which the Arctic ice cap is disappearing and the speed with which some of the large glacial flows in Antarctica and Greenland are melting and racing to the sea.

[snip]

Here is what scientists have found is happening to our climate: man-made global-warming pollution traps heat from the sun and increases atmospheric temperatures. These pollutants — especially carbon dioxide — have been increasing rapidly with the growth in the burning of coal, oil, natural gas and forests, and temperatures have increased over the same period. Almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are melting — and seas are rising. Hurricanes are predicted to grow stronger and more destructive, though their number is expected to decrease. Droughts are getting longer and deeper in many mid-continent regions, even as the severity of flooding increases. The seasonal predictability of rainfall and temperatures is being disrupted, posing serious threats to agriculture. The rate of species extinction is accelerating to dangerous levels.

I don’t know about you, but it seems tacky that algore ignores the icky little fact that earth’s climate has changed constantly for the past, oh, about 3 billion years.  Or maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that an incredibly wooden guy has a hard time comprehending a fluid situation.  (And yes, that’s a nasty, ad hominem attack on my part, but there’s no getting past the fact that, when you think algore, you don’t think of a flexible mind).

Suspecting that the ordinary American, after the past couple of years of cold winters and cooling global temperatures, might be inclined to discount his ravings, algore assures us that you should definitely discount the information of your own eyes and senses, not to mention all those newspaper articles you’ve been reading:

Because these and other effects of global warming are distributed globally, they are difficult to identify and interpret in any particular location. For example, January was seen as unusually cold in much of the United States. Yet from a global perspective, it was the second-hottest January since surface temperatures were first measured 130 years ago.

Algore’s reasoning, which seems to say that actual weather proves nothing, should come as a surprise to everyone who has noticed that, no matter the weather — heat, cold, snow, ice, sun, hurricane, even earthquakes — we are constantly assured that everything results from AGW.  So contrary to algore’s statement, one can apparently tell what’s going on just by looking out the window, as long as one always attributes what one sees to anthropogenic global warming.

If you feel the yen to giggle and be dismayed periodically, please take the time to read algore’s hysterical diatribe refuting collapsing science with algore-approved conclusions.  As for me, I’m simply grateful that the whole edifice is collapsing.  As the earth’s stewards, it is our responsibility, and it works to our benefit, to keep our environment as clean and beautiful as possible.  Doing so, however, does not require mass wealth transfer to algore and other Third World Nations (that word “other” is deliberate there), it does not involve upending our economy and lifestyle, and it does not require destroying our national security needs.  Instead, it simply requires us to use our American ingenuity to make things better, rather than to use our algore induced paranoia to make things insane.

The importance of remembering that scientists are not mathematicians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hitler on climate change

I don’t know how people get these to market as fast as they do, but this is one of the funniest Hitler in the Bunker parodies (language alert):

Are we finally seeing the death knell for AGW and the IPCC?

I’d like to think that Climategate, this extraordinary winter, and myriad other evidence about the fraud that is Anthropogenic Global Warming will finally de-Gore-ize a scarred world.  In a logical place, change should come about given information distributed in posts such as this one, at American Thinker, attacking IPCC methodology and myriad climate frauds; or in this one, in which AJ Strata catches an IPCC admitting what we all know, which is that the IPCC is a non-scientific body that exists to redistribute wealth.

I’m not so sanguine, though, that the world is going to get off this insane track.  While we ordinary people have figured out what’s going on, whole bureaucracies have sprung up that exist only to redistribute wealth to “battle” this imaginary AGW.  As we all know, old bureaucracies never die or fade away.  They exist in perpetuity, sucking away at wealth and expanding themselves at the expense of freedom.  Too much is already invested in AGW for governments, especially in Europe, to back down.  Add to this the fact that many of these governments desperately want wealth redistribution, and AGW theory may be here to stay, all contrary facts notwithstanding.

Life imitates the Twilight Zone

Rod Serling was certainly a creative genius, but who knew he was a clairvoyant, with the ability to predict the future?  Or, more specifically, who knew that, back in November 1961, he had the ability to predict the Winter of 2010, a record-breaking American winter playing out against the hysteria about Global Warming and imminent immolation?

I realized that Serling had peered into the future when I kept thinking there was something familiar about the pattern we’re seeing now, an extreme winter following on intense fears about the earth literally cooking to death.  Then it hit me:

“The Midnight Sun” is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

[snip]

Opening narration

Mrs. Bronson mentions what she’s heard on the radio, and shudders, “And that’s why we’re….we’re-”

“The word that Mrs. Bronson is unable to put into the hot, still, sodden air is doomed, because the people you’ve just seen have been handed a death sentence.

One month ago, the Earth suddenly changed its elliptical orbit and in doing so began to follow a path which gradually, moment by moment, day by day, took it closer to the sun. And all of man’s little devices to stir up the air are now no longer luxuries – they happen to be pitiful and panicky keys to survival. The time is five minutes to twelve, midnight. There is no more darkness. The place is New York City and this is the eve of the end, because even at midnight it’s high noon, the hottest day in history, and you’re about to spend it in the Twilight Zone.”

Synopsis

The Earth has begun moving away from its usual orbit. The sun is gradually growing larger and will continue doing so until the seas boil and the earth is a raging blaze. A prolific artist, Norma, and her landlady, Mrs. Bronson, are the last people in their apartment building. The rest of the people in the apartment complex either moved north where it is much cooler or perished from the extremely high temperatures. Norma and Mrs. Bronson try to keep each other company as they see life as they know it slowly drain away. They watch in terror as their water supply is turned on for merely an hour a day, and their electricity is being greatly conserved. Food and water are growing to be extremely scarce. As mentioned by a radio reporter, all citizens are to remain indoors and to remain prepared for a looter rampage. The radio reporter also states that you can “cook eggs on your sidewalk and cook soup in the oceans”.

As time progresses, and as the temperature grows hotter and hotter, it is visibly noticed how much the two women perspire. Mrs. Bronson’s mind cannot handle the psychological pressures of the conditions any longer, and wishes that Norma paints a picture of a topic other than that of a burning city. Footsteps are heard from outside the apartment door. Norma asks her landlady if she locked the doors of the apartment complex. Mrs. Bronson thinks for a moment, and is uncertain if she did. They hear a knock on the door and Mrs. Bronson starts to answer it as Norma screams for her to not open the door under any circumstances. Norma threatens the mysterious man with a gun as he breaks his way into the apartment and drinks their supply of water. After several moments, he begs for their forgiveness and claims that he is an honest man and would never hurt them.

Unable to cope with the literally unbearable conditions of the raging sun, Mrs. Bronson collapses to the floor and perishes. The thermometer surges past 120°F, and eventually shatters. As Norma’s oil paintings melt from the extreme heat, Norma screams and also collapses.

The scene cuts to the apartment at night. In the inconceivably frigid darkness outside, the weather is anything but hot. The same thermometer reads -10°F and there is a blizzard outside. Norma is bedridden with a high fever, and is accompanied by Mrs. Bronson and a doctor. She was only dreaming that the Earth was moving closer to the sun. In reality, the Earth is moving away from the Sun, which will eventually lead to the earth freezing over. Norma tells Mrs. Bronson about her nightmare, adding, “Isn’t it wonderful to have darkness, and coolness?”

Mrs. Bronson replies with a sense of dread in her voice, “Yes, my dear, it’s….wonderful.”

Closing narration

“The poles of fear, the extremes of how the Earth might conceivably be doomed. Minor exercise in the care and feeding of a nightmare, respectfully submitted by all the thermometer-watchers in the Twilight Zone.”

Brilliant, nu?

The last six minutes, for your enjoyment and edification:

That Audi Superbowl commercial

I think it’s pretty clear that Audi meant to show that its car is so environmentally pure, it can withstand any scrutiny.  (Michelle Malkin shows just how committed to environmental “purity” Audi purports to be.)  However, its Superbowl commercial very effectively (and probably inadvertently) managed to show precisely what life will be like in a totalitarian environmentalist dictatorship:

My strong suspicion is that some creative type at the ad agency is working as a double agent:  pretending to be ultra green as a way of exposing the ultimate danger of environmental fanaticism, especially when it is our government that becomes fanatic.

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

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

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

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

[snip]

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

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

Read the whole thing here.

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

The Communist cat is out of the climate change bag

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

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

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

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

President Chavez brought the house down.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Russians say CRU ignored relevant data to falsify outcomes

Some things go out with a whimper.  Global warming may well be going out with a bang.  The latest news from Russia is the claim that the global warming scientists didn’t just have faulty code and highly massaged numbers.  It turns out that they also messed with the underlying data, falsifying it or ignoring data that didn’t match their political goals:

Climategate just got much, much bigger. And all thanks to the Russians who, with perfect timing, dropped this bombshell just as the world’s leaders are gathering in Copenhagen to discuss ways of carbon-taxing us all back to the dark ages.

Feast your eyes on this news release from Rionovosta, via the Ria Novosti agency, posted on Icecap. (Hat Tip: Richard North)

A discussion of the November 2009 Climatic Research Unit e-mail hacking incident, referred to by some sources as “Climategate,” continues against the backdrop of the abortive UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen (COP15) discussing alternative agreements to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that aimed to combat global warming.

The incident involved an e-mail server used by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, East England. Unknown persons stole and anonymously disseminated thousands of e-mails and other documents dealing with the global-warming issue made over the course of 13 years.

Controversy arose after various allegations were made including that climate scientists colluded to withhold scientific evidence and manipulated data to make the case for global warming appear stronger than it is.

Climategate has already affected Russia. On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data.

The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations.

The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century.

The HadCRUT database includes specific stations providing incomplete data and highlighting the global-warming process, rather than stations facilitating uninterrupted observations.

On the whole, climatologists use the incomplete findings of meteorological stations far more often than those providing complete observations.

IEA analysts say climatologists use the data of stations located in large populated centers that are influenced by the urban-warming effect more frequently than the correct data of remote stations.

The scale of global warming was exaggerated due to temperature distortions for Russia accounting for 12.5% of the world’s land mass. The IEA said it was necessary to recalculate all global-temperature data in order to assess the scale of such exaggeration.

Global-temperature data will have to be modified if similar climate-date procedures have been used from other national data because the calculations used by COP15 analysts, including financial calculations, are based on HadCRUT research.

Whoops! Can we now return to our normal lives and stop the hysteria?

Normal lives should include trying to generate as little pollution as possible, treasuring the earth’s resources, and generally being good stewards. Normal lives should not include the breakdown of the American economy nor should it continue to render America incapable of relying on its own energy resources to serve its own energy needs. It is insane that we’re funding oil drilling in Brazil, buying oil from Saudi Arabia, and letting Iran continue to get rich, all the while sitting on our own massive reserves. We should be drilling, although we should do so with discipline and a focus on the cleanest, least environmentally harmful methods possible.

Yet another downside of being green

The law of unintended consequences is a fascinating one.  I blogged the other day about the tax on restaurant food that’s eaten “here” as opposed to “to go.”  In cafes, smart people order food “to go,” and then consumer it here.  The result is garbage cans filled with food containers.  Oy, the pollution!

Here’s another, and much more fatal, example of the law of unintended consequences:

Cities around the country that have installed energy-efficient traffic lights are discovering a hazardous downside: The bulbs don’t burn hot enough to melt snow and can become crusted over in a storm — a problem blamed for dozens of accidents and at least one death.

“I’ve never had to put up with this in the past,” said Duane Kassens, a driver from West Bend who got into a fender-bender recently because he couldn’t see the lights. “The police officer told me the new lights weren’t melting the snow. How is that safe?”

As reader Lulu says, it is important for conservatives to be stewards of our beautiful earth.  There is no excuse for unnecessary waste, and we don’t need to pollute simply because the greenies’ hysteria is driving us nuts.  Nevertheless, greenie hysteria leads to a thoughtlessness that is scary dangerous.  As for me, I’m expecting a rash of decisions in coming years describing situations in which women are raped in parking lots and stairwells as a result of the darkness created by landlords trying to be green.

(On the other hand, apparently there are some pleasurable aspects to being green.)

All the stuff I can pack into a single post — and weekend *UPDATED*

Every year, there’s that one December weekend when every event converges.  This past weekend, which really ended only yesterday, was that weekend.  Friday we went to the Cirque du Soliel.  I’ve seen every show since the Cirque burst onto the national scene in the mid-1980s.  This show was exquisitely beautiful, with some of the most charming and amazing costumes I’ve ever seen.  The music was often very good.  The acts, however, weren’t consistent.  The comedy act was dreadful, some of the acts were ordinary, some were really good, and some superb.  In other words, although I enjoyed myself a great deal, it wasn’t up to the Cirque‘s usual standards.  I still recommend seeing it, though since the really good and the superb acts alone were worth the price of admission.

Saturday was another busy day, partly because of the planned activities, partly because of the weather and partly because of my own inefficiencies.  My son’s choral group was having its big performance Saturday, so I had to get him to the City by 11 for call time.  Normally that wouldn’t be a problem.  What made it challenging was that I had to gather my kids from their respective slumber parties, pack for a weekend away (more on that later), rendezvous with a carpool, and then drive through a heavy downfall.   I actually managed to get all that done, only to discover when I arrived in the City that I’d left our tickets at home.  So, instead of a leisurely time in the City, we turned right around, drove back home (same downpour), picked up the tickets, drove back into the City (same downpour), and went to pick up a friend who’d taken the train into the City to see the concert with us.  Despite having given myself 50 minutes for the 30 minute ride to the train station, I was still late:  the rain, the traffic, and the insane San Francisco “traffic flow” rules meant that it took over an hour to get to the train.  Then, of course, the 15 minute ride to the concert hall took another 30 minutes, and that didn’t even include the hunt for parking.  San Francisco is a challenging city.

Ultimately, all of the hassles were worth it, because the concert was just lovely.  I’m a sucker for youth choral groups (I love the sound), and I’m a sucker for Christmas music.  Put the two together, and what could be better?  The only problem, really, was the Benjamin Britten collection of Christmas carols, which was drab and atonal.  I wasn’t surprised, although I know the two aren’t connected, to discover from the program that Britten was a total Leftie politically.  (As an aside, it turns out that my daughter’s choral group is going to be performing precisely the same Britten piece at its holiday concert.  Aagh!)

From the concert, we headed out of town for a social/business dinner.  (That is, the dinner was social, but we knew the people through business.)  Stopping only long enough to drop the kids off at a friend who was kind enough to babysit, my husband and I drove further into the rain to go to a two star Michelin restaurant.  I’ve never been at a restaurant of this caliber, and have to say that it was impressive.  The food wasn’t to my taste (I have simple tastes), but the service was extraordinary.  Every dish was presented simultaneously, with a server behind each diner whispering what the dish was.  These whispers were necessary, since the restaurant sure didn’t rush its customers.  By the time my third dish came, 2.5 hours after ordering, I’d completely forgotten what I’d ordered.  I wouldn’t eat at this restaurant again, since both the price and the food weren’t my thing, but I’m glad I had the experience.  Add to that the fact that our dinner companions were delightful, and it was certainly an evening for the memory books.

The very next day, I got up at 6, collected the kids from our friend, and  drove to Oakland, where my son was performing with his choral group again.  Unfortunately (a) it was raining and (b) they were performing outdoors.  The kids performed valiantly, but everyone was cold, wet and tired when it ended.  The only antidote — at least as far as my kids were concerned — was a shopping trip.  So we descended into my idea of hell:  the Nordstrom Rack, on a sales day, two weeks before Christmas, with two tired, excited children.  We survived the experience, though, and the kids left the store satisfied that they had gotten the best clothes possible, clothes that would satisfy not only their basic requirement for protection from the elements, but also their need to fit in socially.  Yay.

Next stop, not home, but a party.  This was an excellent party, hosted by a couple in my book club.  I’ve never belonged to a book club before, but this one is special:  we’re all political conservatives, so we don’t read mushy, Oprah-esque books.  It’s also special because the people in the book club are wonderful:  smart, informed, verbal, charming.  No surprise, then, that this couple would host a good holiday event.

At the party, I met one man there who especially delighted me.  Like me, he is an ex-liberal who woke up after 9/11 to realize that the answer to America’s ills does not lie with either liberalism nor the Democratic party.  It helps that, like me, he’s fiercely pro-Israel (and, unlike me, he’s actually a religious Jew).  He’s incredibly courageous.  Although he didn’t boast about it, another guest told me that this man attended an anti-War rally, set up a table and, all by his lonesome, handed out leaflets explaining why the war was a good thing.  Considering how violent the peaceniks are, this was brave almost to the point of insanity.  Oh, and did I mention that he’s gay?  He and his partner (also conservative) were there with their darling baby.  In other words, this is a man who is able to pit his innate principles against every group with which he’s associates:  Jews, the liberal world of the Bay Area, and gays.  As to each, he recognizes his place within the group, but doesn’t allow them to set his moral compass.  I like that in a person.

And then, finally, the weekend ended yesterday when I skipped ahead two belts in martial arts.  I didn’t skip because I’m so wonderful.  I skipped because they forgot to give me a belt a few months ago when I earned it.  Yesterday, I simply leapfrogged into my rightful belt status.  Considering how hard I work at martial arts, and how much pleasure it gives me, you can imagine how happy I am.

And all of the above is why I haven’t been blogging.  (That, and paid work, of course.)  As I get back to speed, here are some things to chew on:

John Hawkins, at Right Wing News, got word from a well-placed source that the Senate won’t be able to pull off ObamaCare before the new year.  Considering that the bill is grossly expensive, that it will decimate the middle class, that it provides an economic disincentive to marriage, that it will further bankrupt Medicare (and that’s despite Reid’s yanking the bizarre buy-in plan he floated), and that it will inevitably result in government rationing, one hopes he is correct.  I get nervous, though, when Lieberman, who’s been the only rock on this, starts waffling.  If the rock moves, the slender reeds left behind will be of no use whatsoever.  Considering the public’s well-thought out disgust with ObamaCare, I have to admit to my own disgust with nanny state politicians who are so certain that they know what’s right that they are willing to ignore the people’s will entirely. I like Jennifer Rubin’s take on the whole thing, which is that the Democrats are suffering from a mass delusion.

Is anyone surprised lately when Al Gore is wrong again?  He’s wrong so often.  On the Wednesday show before Thanksgiving, Rush aired a recording of a 1992 TV talk show (maybe Ted Koppel’s?) on which he and Al Gore were guests.  Already then Gore was bloviating about the world coming to a boiling hot end.  I didn’t realize his hysteria started so early in time.  So did the lies.  When Rush said that scientists did not all agree with this global warming theory, Gore said, “That’s a lie.”  Well, of course, the only lie was Gore’s, since there have always been scientists who disagree with the human induced global warming theory.  It’s just that, until ClimateGate, no one but Gore and a few others fully understood how the scientific establishment, in precisely the same way as the Inquistitorial Church in the Middle Ages, was systematically and brutally stifling all dissent.  Rush also predicted on that same 1992 show that the whole thing was meant to fund Third World nations, decrease U.S. power, and make a lot of people rich.  Smart man that Rush.  Dumb man that Gore.

Speaking of Al Gore and that 1992 date, am I imagining it or was Gore pretty damn silent, or at least ineffective, about global warming when he spent 8 years as second man in the White House?  The moment he got actual power, or close to actual power, it ceased to be a pressing issue so far as I know.  I mean, I wasn’t as politically aware now as I was then, but I still paid attention.  It was only when Gore was a politician-in-exile that he suddenly got hysterical again.

Okay, no links here, just a question:  Do any of you think that it makes sense for the Obama team to remove the radical Islamic Gitmo detainees from the indubitable comfort and control of the Gitmo facility, and place them in an ordinary Chicago prison, where their creature comforts will be substantially diminished, where they’ll have access to the full panoply of civil rights granted to the American prison population, and where they’ll have the opportunity to indoctrinate and radicalize fellow prisoners?  As to the last, let me remind you (again) what my cousin, the prison chaplain, had to say:

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

In other words, the very nature of a prison population makes it a perfect breeding ground for the spread of radical Islam.

More to follow.  Check in later.

UPDATEInteresting article in the WSJ about the problems the big New York firms are having with recruitment, and that’s despite sweetening the pot to an incredible extent.  What’s really amazing is that law school grads have figured out without even going to the big firms how dreadful it is to work for them.  Sure, the pay is sweet, but the stress and boredom are astronomical.  Big firms also aren’t the stable work places they used to be.  Both the big firms I worked at after law school have vanished from the face of the earth, as have the big firms I clerked at while in law school.  They survived for 50, 70 or 100 years, but they all vanished in the late 90s and early 21st century.  That’s also a hint that the whole big firm paradigm may be over.

I was speaking with a liberal this weekend who was bemoaning the costs that pension plans put on Cities.  I suggested that there might be a problem with unions.  “Oh, no,” he said.  “Employees are being abused by giant corporations.”  Nevertheless, having made this blanket liberal statement, he agreed that SEIU is a completely corrupt outlet and that government unions are a terrible drain on the economy.  When he made that last statement, he hadn’t even read this, as yet unpublished, article:

San Francisco voters may soon have the opportunity to decide major changes to the city’s pension and retiree health care systems – both of which have seen their costs skyrocket as the city grapples with consecutive years of major budget deficits.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, with support from Mayor Gavin Newsom, will introduce a charter amendment at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting that would drastically reshape the city’s pension system.

Ten years ago, the city paid $383.7 million to health insurance for active and retired workers, retirement contributions and Social Security. This year’s tab is $890 million, a 132 percent increase. In fiscal year 2013-14, the projected amount is $1.4 billion.

Read the rest here.

Girl Scout cookies support climate change

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

Hat tip:  Sadie

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

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

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

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

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

[snip]

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

Explaining hide the decline *UPDATED*

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

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

Global Warming is in trouble when Jon Stewart attacks

I don’t find Stewart at all amusing — but I love the fact that, through his leaden efforts, a generation that relies on him for the news is being told that they’ve been force-fed Kool-Aid.