Where’s the Heat, Al?

April 26th, 2010

  

   

“Where has all the heat gone?” is what a couple of scientists asked as they published their research in Science, the official journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAA). Since access to Scienceis limited to members, I took this quote from the report in the online publication PhysicsWorld. You need no editorializing from me, just draw your own conclusions as to what it means re the Global Warming debate.   

 

Where has all the heat gone?, Physics World, Apr 16, 2010

Losing energy since 2004 …

Since 2001 scientists have used satellites to compare the amount of solar energy being absorbed by the Earth to the amount of infrared energy escaping from our planet. And just as predicted by the theory of manmade climate change, the amount of energy retained by the Earth has increased along with greenhouse-gas concentrations.

At first this extra energy seems to have boosted temperatures down here on Earth. Then something unexplained happened in about 2004 – and since then terrestrial measurements suggest that the planet is losing energy.

 

 

 

ObamaCare Bureaucracies & Regs – OMG!

March 27th, 2010

 

 

Soon there will be hundreds (some say thousands) of new agencies and boards and panels staffed by tens of thousands of new bureaucrats and government employees, all to implement our new ObamaCare World. That’s so when we want a doctor, or a pill, or hospital treatment, or operation, or consultation we can go to them and let them take care of everything.

Right now, you know, we have to get such things by phoning the doctor (we like or trust most) ourselves. Then we have to wait in the Dr.’s office (our choice, of course, is usually – selfishly enough - the one most convenient to us), by going to a pharmacy (selfishly picked to be near home or on the way home from the doctor), then waiting maybe even 15 minutes to get the thing filled. If the doctor thinks we need a specialist or surgeon or whatever, we probably let our doctor (!) arrange for the hospital he likes best, or we like best (for whatever dumb reason), and make all the arrangements and referrals to specialists or surgeons he has most confidence in! Well, soon we won’t have to put up with all that. Instead we can go into the “Health Services” offices, take a number and be served in proper order by a clerk who … well, you know … it’ll be just like going to the DMV! Now that’s fun, and efficient, right?

Some of my fondest memories come from the DMV. Or the county Building Permit office. Those places are always a trip (delight, fun): wondering where the clerks go when they keep disappearing from the front desk; wondering what’s on their minds as they drift away from our voice; what momentous decisions they’re making, serving everyone (elses’ needs); enjoying the special kindness and care they show – like I still remember that DMV clerk who was so sweet and patient helping the old guy in his slippers, leaning on his grandaughter, trying to sign the paper to renew his Driver’s License. He couldn’t see it, you see, and even when both the DMV clerk and grandaughter were pointing out the exact space for his signature he couldn’t see it, so the DMV clerk drew a red felt-tip box around it so he could scrawl a signature (I couldn’t make it out, but they were all satisfied) and walk (well, shuffle) out with his new license. It made me feel real warm and fuzzy. I just kinda appreciated waiting another half hour for my turn, because I was sure he’d be off the street by the time I went home.

I’m being sarcastic, of course. But that event, and many other “memories” of dealing with “bureaucrats” and clerks in the government, are real. That DMV really happened.

In addition to all the new agencies and bureaucrats, they say they are already working on writing literally hundreds of thousands of new rules and regulations that will mak the ObamaCare system work - fairly and rationally. I hope they will be a little more fair and rational than the rule that made me wait two years to get Medicare after I was put on Social Security Disability with a heart problem so debilitating I could only walk about 15 feet before needing rest). I survived the two years, only God knows why. I never understood, but surmised they wanted to make sure (1) I wasn’t cheating, and (2) good Medicare funds weren’t wasted on a lost cause. Like your grandma, I guess.

I really want to hope the new ObamaCare system will work well. But what I just read about the bureaucracy of the Energy Star program, which is run by the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (which Obama is now directing to take over regulation of all the CO2 – you know, your exhaled breath, car exhaust, trains and planes and household heating and lighting and stuff – he obviously trusts in those bureaucrats!). The Energy Star program is in charge of identifying energy-efficient products so we know to use them to save money and the earth.

Well, some government investigators, to test them, recently gave them some fake products to evaluate to see if they would get the gold star (rated as super efficient, even warranting rebates and tax credits). Well, they (our EPA) approved, among other fakes, a “gasoline-powered alarm clock” 18 inches tall and 15 inches wide, named Black Gold. And approved another said to be an “air room cleaner”, that was in fact a space heater with a feather duster and fly strips attached! It took only 30 minutes to award the star to that one, far less than any trip to the DMV I’ve ever made! So I must admit bureaucrats can move fast if they want to (like, lunch time or a triste in the closet?), but I’m not so sure I want the EPA deciding everything in regards my exhalions, American energy policy, or the design of our next generation trains, planes, and automobiles. Or my health care.

Mass Loss from Alaskan Glaciers Overestimated?

March 16th, 2010

“Mass Loss from Alaskan Glaciers Overestimated? Previous Melt Contributed a Third Less to Sea-Level Rise Than Estimated.”

ScienceDaily (Mar. 3, 2010) — The melting of glaciers is well documented, but when looking at the rate at which they have been retreating, a team of international researchers steps back and says not so fast.”

What you suppose that means? Maybe….

(Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100302123124.htm )

Global Warming Still Cool, Says Gore

March 2nd, 2010

 

 

Though the science community has suffered numerous hits for fraudulent studies and data and prejudicing the case by conspiracies to exclude research and publications that contradict the “consensus position that warming is a fact”, and that humans are largely to blame; and though the UN report is being rescinded for editing and corrections and reworking of the “consensus position that warming is a fact”, and that humans are largely to blame; and though the second major world climate conference has failed to get anyone to agree and develop a world program to follow through with the “consensus position that warming is a fact” … Nobel Prize winning Al Gore, who has done more than any other politico to advance the belief there is a “consensus position that warming is a fact” and that humans are largely to blame, still draws a huge crowd to his speeches and meetings promoting the consensus position that warming is a fact, and humans are largely to blame:

 

 Terrified_of_Global_Warming2.jpg

 Al Gore draws a great crowd at his latest appearance at this New York rally Feb 26, where he continues his campaign against Global Warming

Of Polar Bears and Himalayan Glaciers

February 7th, 2010

 

So what do polar bears in the Arctic and glaciers atop the Himalayas have in common? Well, for one thing, both are “poster children” for “global warming”. Both, we are told, are disappearing before our very eyes because of our wicked ways, by our profligate fossil fuel fueling of our lives and economy. Our fossil fuels are said to be filling the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and creating a greenhouse of the planet … which is for some ( including those who vacation in Hawaii or the Caribbean, etc.?) an evil thing. Alaska is better than Florida, I guess.

Never mind that that the planet’s climate cycles naturally, and throughout even recent history has been both much warmer and much colder - many times over. The two “poster children” have survived these natural, pre-human (or fossil fuel) cycles – unless you happen to believe in Creationism of the Young Earth variety, which I doubt any Global Warming Alarmists are! And never mind that neither poster child is actually in any danger! Both are doing quite well, actually.

Polar bears have even had quite a renaissance the past few decades, approximately quadrupling their population. And, generally, when and where sea ice and snow pack is diminishing, the bears should be able to re-adapt to life on land and land’s flora and fauna. That’s exactly what evolutionary theory would say they should be able to do. And lo and behold, many are. Facing loss of their presently preferred ice landscape, polar bears quickly backtrack on their evolutionary history, and start looking and acting more like the neighboring brown bears that we believe polar bears descended from. It seems even bears can naturally cycle back and forth between white and brown, ice and land.

The Himalayan glaciers, while not growing – without an ice age they shouldn’t – have been shown to not be melting away near as much as some people (including the UN “expert panel”) have said. There’s been a lot of exaggeration – an urban legend of sorts - fed by urban-living mountain climbers who just seem to remember more golden days and grander ice packs. Actual scientific and satellite observations do verify the glaciers are thinning, as they’ve done many times even in more recent times, but not near so much disappearing.

And there’s something else they have in common: neither would be benefited by any of our favored “Climate Protection Plans”, such as those from Kyoto and Oslo. Everything the pols and Al Gore want to do will have minuscule effects on present ice melting anywhere, but especially in the Himalayas. It’s not the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that’s most responsible for the Himalayan ice sheets thinning. It’s soot, particulate matter, that’s painting the snow and icepack gray and absorbing sunlight, warming them and melting them. It’s true that the soot is mostly from use of fossil fuels, but most of that is coming straight out of India and China, whose technology is crude and not at all environmentally sensitive. And both China and India reject, or are exempted from the Kyoto and Oslo plans and regs.

Even more irony: the US, whose energy plants are the cleanest in respect to soot and aerosol emissions, is still the most targeted country. So our BB gun is to be shelved while the big cannons, India and China - and the “Developing Countries” - are left to fire away.

Even more irony: Soot drops out of the atmosphere within weeks, and its effects abate. Carbon dioxide, which most of the regulatory schemes target, takes about a century to drop out of the atmosphere. So, should we actually cut carbon dioxide to zero today (extinguishing … no, eliminating all life so its remains won’t decay into methane and carbon dioxide, etc) it would still take a hundred years for it finish doing whatever harm it is doing. Of course, exempting India, China, and Developing Countries, who are growing at unbelievable rates, we are going to diminish nothing, really.

Anyway, as you can see, polar bears and Himalayan glaciers have a lot in common.

TV, Once the Heart of Family Life…

January 20th, 2010

I remember hearing, just a few decades ago, all the sociologists and family counselors, the pundits and social commentators, and I and my friends, lamenting the effect TV has had on family and friends and social life. We had all become couch potatos, and families become placid silent zombies lined along the (oversized) couch staring at the “boob tube”, having forgotten the art of talk and sharing the details of our day, of how to work out the matters and issues of lives, … yes, TV had taken the communal and interpersonal life of old and left us … well, like I just said.

But now I just read, in ScienceDaily, a science ezine covering all the latest things I just read there a most remarkable thing:

“In his dissertation work at the Department of Journalism, Media, and Communication, Jakob Bjur studied so-called social viewing.

In the past, watching TV was a social activity that brought people together. The whole family watched the same program on the same TV set, and when people went to work the next day they could be fairly sure that most other people had also seen the same program. This is no longer the case. What once brought us together is now a source of fragmentation.”(my emph)

As Yogi Berra, the sage of the last century once (or often) said, “deja vue all over again”! What’s left? As the other sage of the same last century, Janis Joplin, once (or often) sang “freedoms just having nothing left to lose”! Are we THAT close to freedom, now?

Taking the Measure of a Man

January 14th, 2010

 

I feel I should say a little more, add a second chapter, to my last post where I seemed to give (Senator) Harry Reid a pass but posed questions about (President) Obama’s excusing him. So I will, being the master of this universe.

There’s something we do with most our acquaintances, called “taking the measure of a man”. Its all about character, about assessing the moral being that’s inside someone, the pilot of their soul. It really has nothing to do with their job, wealth, education, family or social status. Those are things that may speak of or reflect on their character, but not so much.

While in Mississippi in 1965, I stayed in a small town, Sunflower. I was in the Black (called “Negro” in those days) part of town. I stayed with a tiny black woman, Sally Mae Carson, in her little two-room house (“house” is not the name you’d probably give it), where she and 10 or 12 of her kids (She had 22) lived. We slept on a more or less wall to wall spread of mattresses, and she cooked for us on a wood stove. Fed us all. Her husband was nowhere to be found, because if he could have been found he’d been beaten or killed by the segregationist resistance. I never did get to meet him, but his strength and loyalty was unquestioned. She still loved and depended on him as an anchor in her life.

Sally Mae had no fear and was as fierce a supporter of the struggle as anyone. Only that passel of kids held her back from bigger participation in the political action in Jackson. But she fearlessly adopted me, up front and in the open, for all to see (I’m white). I took the measure of Sally. She has always been the “tallest” person in my life.

Hardly any shorter in character stature was Fannie Lou Hamer. She lived just down the street, where we (Sally Mae and I) often spent the evening on her rather big front porch. Fannie Lou, herself, was much bigger than Sally Mae, had fewer kids and was more into the political action (she was once elected to Congress), so our evenings on the porch with her was where we often shared experiences and information.

Her husband was a big gentle bear of a man but rarely seen except for a few of our evenings on the porch, for the same reason – the “gallant” segregationist resistance would have treated him much worse than the women in the civil rights struggle. Even so, Fannie Lou had a serious back problem caused by one roughing-up where the “gallantry” proved less than sufficient. I took the measure of the Hamers. Both stood tall and I’d have trusted them with my life. In fact, I did!

Lucinda Wrancher was a young girl, finishing High School. She volunteered to be the “treasurer” for the Sunflower movement. I was given the responsibility of helping her learn how to open and manage a bank account. Even writing a check was a new experience for her, but she could write and do arithmetic pretty well, and was willing to face the dangers. She had hardly begun her own life, but taking the measure of Lucinda was easy. Already, she stood tall.

Color, or the hue of it, and “dialect or accent, meant nothing to any of these people. It did matter to another lady. I so regret that I cannot remember her name, but I stayed with her throughout most of my time in Mississippi. Because she was so light-skinned and spoke with such a “white dialect” (I guess) that while she lived in Sunflower, it was across the tracks in the white neighborhood. She was, what they call “passing”, living as if white, being thought of as white by the white community – and had done so for 60+ years. Yet while she chose to avail herself of the extra privileges, she also risked it all to give me shelter when the segregationists had figured out where I was and began threatening me and my hosts.

Now, I could talk about this lady’s skin tone and linguistic characteristics. They were essential to her, to the life and things she could do in 60s Mississippi. But I don’t seen how reciting them as constitutes flattery or praise her for or what she did. But they were the facts, and probably helped what she was able to do in her service to the cause.

I kinda see Harry Reid’s talk as similar. I really can’t interpret his worlds as flattery or praise. That’s where the “racism” would come in. Instead, I see them as dispassionate and coldly realistic in Harry’s mind in light of the place and time he grew up and set his basic cultural values and calculus. They were what he thought mattered, and probably did matter, to some of the Democrat Party – which is more racially conscious, if not racist, than many realize or want to know.

That’s where I got my questions about Obama. I know his politics – his real politics and agendas. I knew them and warned about them early in his campaign. It was all too clear from the way he dealt with the Reverend Wright thing, and his grandmother, and the Chicago political scene. But that’s all about his political career – a career that is deceptive and pragmatically for most politicians. It plays into “the measure” of him, but I’ve don’t feel I’ve got the measure of that man. His saying that Harry Reid’s words were merely an attempt to praise him raises questions in my mind, however, as I try to finish taking my measure of him.

Obama Raises More Interesting Questions Than Harry Reid

January 12th, 2010

Everyone’s talking about Harry Reid and whether he’s (1) racist, and (2) should resign. Well, its all Republicans talking about #2. The reason: He’s been quoted as saying that Obama’s being ”light skinned” and able to talk with no “negro dialect”, except when he wants to, would make him a great candidate for the Presidency in 08. Harry has quickly admitted to the remarks and appologized to just about every black political leader still drawing breath, including Obama of course.ppologies haven’t satisfied the Republican Party Apparatchiks who keep trying to make it a fatal mistake by Harry (who is a “mistake machine” in the order of Joe Biden … nay, even worse) that will lead to his retirement from Dem leadership, a la Trent Lott.

I have to say that, though I am no fan of Harry’s, and this generation of Democrats, I’m on Harry’s side in this one. His remarks, made before Obama elected to run, were not racist. Racial, yes. Reflecting an old fashioned racial consciousness, yes. And quite truthful/factual, yes. But Harry was promoting Obama, selling him to many in his party who are either racist, or very sure everyone else in America is. So I give him a pass on this one. And while the Republican complaints of a “double standard (that Republicans get attacked and condemned for far less “racial” consciousness and words than these) are right, their calls for resignation are tiresomely opportunistic and partisan, and even turning me off.

Maybe its good to point out to the American people, especially those “of color”, that the Dems are every bit, if not more, racially conscious/discriminating and unworthy of the pedastel they seem to be sitting on, and political loyalty they recieve, th calls for resignation are silly.

Harry is mostly an “oldtimer”, who sees social, cultural, and political realities rather clearly. His message was right on. Just not his vocabulary. In fact, he reminds me of an old man I knew some years ago, Charley. Charley was the 70+ year-old president of our community (an enclave in the Santa Cruz Mountains) water system. I was his vice-president. Charley commonly, and frequently, used nasty words, disparaging words, racist words to refer to his best friend (and former vice-president), a black man of slightly fewer years. Great guy, that one. A sweet man I loved, too, but just too busy to keep up with the needs of the water mutual. But the key I want you to see is the language of an almost 80 year-old guy (in the 60s - 70s) and his LOVE and RESPECT for the BLACK man. I think that’s a lot like Harry Reid.

No, the one surprise, the one hint of racism I detect in all this, if there is one, is Obama’s! Obama said, while telling why he held no resentment of Harry Reid, “(Harry) was just trying to praise me”. One might wonder if Obama, himself, thinks being “light skinned”, and lacking any “negro dialect” is praiseworthy, a good thing. If that’s the case, then Obama is what other Black/African Americans have themselves resented and regreted amongst themselves: people who do not like their own blackness and cultural features, and are often called “Oreo Cookies”, or “White” or Plantation Negroes”. I’m not going to say that’s true about Obama, but I think a few, at least, in the black population/electorate might think it is.

Fewer Jobs Means Fewer Jobs Lost, Right?

January 10th, 2010

I know one should always look for silver linings and glasses half-full, etc., but the happy declarations that “Our programs (stimulus, Tarp, and massive Govt expansion, etc.) are working!” because the job loss numbers are recently declining, rather ignore the fact that as millions are out of work there are just fewer left around to put out of work, don’t they?

I mean, unless the country is going to simply straight-line into near zero employment and become like some other “failed-states”, we have to reach the reasonable “bottom” of what is possible in our economy, and there are no more jobs to lose without total, 100% collapse! I would guess that, nowadays, with government (including military & law enforcement and such) being such a large part of the employment numbers, somewhere around 30% unemployed is about all there is to go unless the economy and the government both have totally collapsed and we live in a sort of “Road Warriors-like” space. And as we approach that bottom, the 600,000 per month increases in unemployment now declining to 100,000 per month is hardly evidence of “improving” as much as evidence of reaching that “it can’t realistically get much lower” point.

Considering the true unemployment is thought to be about 18 or 20%, because so many people are hardly working, or giving up trying to find jobs, or used up their unemployment “benefits” and have no reason to register their status, we could hardly expect new figures to jump 600,000 per month anymore! It could easily be the case that we are so near the bottom we won’t see much bigger declines anymore, but might just bump along the bottom with small numbers for a long time.

Jihadist’s Megamillion Sweepstakes: Two Winning Tickets!

December 31st, 2009

 

I don’t understand why the Obama Administration cannot understand the jihadist mind and ideology. Our very existence depends on their “getting it”, but there’s no sign they’re even close yet. 

Take for instance the decision to move the sheik Kahalid and his entourage for a trial, with its normal snafus and shenanigans, into the city of New York. Not just that, but into the courthouse that sits right within the same red circle of the Twin Towers, the target of the first September 11 attack That was Al Qaeda’s greatest victory. It moved them from relative obscurity into the winner’s circle. That was their first megaball win of the terrorist lottery. It could only be topped by a repeat performance, on the courthouse! Nothing could be bigger. Nothing could give them greater glory, more trash-talking rights than to hit the target again, and take out so many high profile people, the city of New York, and our vaunted “Justice System”! Obama, and his government would be destroyed. And so would a lot of our power, wealth, and national morale.

What fools we are to offer up such an inviting plum, a red flag in front of the champion bull of the jihadist world. And worst, any single lucky, or skillful, jihadist suicider could pull it off! That’s winning the big mega-lottery for any jihadist: instant glory, instant martyrdom ranking second to none, instant eternal earthly fame, to all people, us and them alike! For the century!

But wait, there’s another winning ticket in the jihadist mega-lottery, that’s surely almost as big. Maybe even more glorious in their diety’s eyes, because they not only achieve glorious martyrdom for themselves, but the dearly sought-after martyrdom of a hundred or more fellow jihadists who tried but failed, and sit helplessly in a US prison. Disarmed, defeated, no virgins and no glory. All this is possible in Obama’s second unbelievable mistake: bringing some 100 of their best warriors onto American soil and putting them into a small little red (with blinking neon signs saying “HERE!”) circle, a prison in Illinois. And again, just one man with an airplane, or one team with a smuggled nuke, could do it in a moment, while looking like a tourist on an airliner, or small private plane, or SUV full of suitcases and Disneyland ticket stubs.

Too bad for us, but lucky for them that Obama and most liberals and Dems just don’t really understand their ideology and religion, and the jihadist mind.