4/19/2015

Thoughts On A Sunday

We've had a respite form the wet weather over the weekend, but the rains will be moving in tomorrow and the ground around here is close to saturated with the runoff from the snow melt. I know this because much of the ground around The Manse (and around town) is still 'squishy', meaning it's waterlogged. With up to 4 inches of rain forecast for some parts of northern New England it's no wonder the National Weather Service has issued flood watches for tomorrow.

The sodden ground has limited the amount of yard work around The Manse to a bare minimum, meaning mostly trimming back some brush and pruning a few bushes. That means we'll have to squeeze in twice as much yard work next weekend, weather permitting.

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Now that Hillary's announced her run for the White House, it seems the media are reporting All Hillary, All The Time. Too bad they've decided to ignore what's really going on versus the media packaging prepared by Hillary's campaign.

The reality is nowhere near what the media is portraying.

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While the concept of DARVO – Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender – applies primarily to things like domestic and/or sexual abuse, lately it applies also to politics. Call it a variation on Alinksy's Rules for Radicals.

How many times have we seen Democrats who have been caught in some kind of wrongdoing use DARVO in an attempt to weasel out of being blamed for any of their own questionable actions?

(H/T Maggie's Farm)

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Sultan Knish delves into the death of the Left, primarily by its own hand. A few examples:

The West didn’t defeat Communism; it held it at bay long enough for it to defeat itself. The Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China crushed Communism more decisively than Goldwater could have ever dreamed of.

The embargo didn’t turn Cuba into a hellhole whose main tourism industry is inviting progressive Canadian pedophiles to rape its children. Castro did that with help from the dead guy on the red t-shirts.

There’s no embargo to blame in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez destroyed his own Bolivarian revolution by implementing it. The Venezuelan economic collapse really took off while Obama was in the White House leafing through the tract Chavez had gifted him blaming America for all of Latin America’s troubles.

Now Chavez, the tract’s author and the Venezuelan economy are all dead.

Chavez’s successor has desperately tried to blame America for his crisis, but Uncle Sam had nothing to do with the lack of toilet paper in the stores, the milk rationing and the soldiers stationed outside electronics retailers. It’s just what happens when the left wins.

We're also seeing the same thing happening in slow motion in Argentina, where the Kirchner dynasty is doing everything it can to make sure Argentina is the next Latin American country to see its economy collapse because of leftist economic theory.

The left is like a suicide bomber or a honey bee, it can’t win. It can only kill and die. A successful leftist regime is a contradiction in terms. The hard revolutions blow up fast and then decay into prolonged misery. The soft electoral revolutions skip the explosions and cut right to the prolonged misery.

Indeed.

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Mother of Mercy, Is This the End of the Golden State?

Yes. Yes it is.

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“Trigger warnings” at Georgetown University, oh my!

Like one of the tweets stated in response to Christina Hoff Sommers tweet about her speech at the prestigious institute of higher learning, “What are they going to do when they get out of college? Stay at home so their precious ideals can’t be challenged?”

Indeed.

(H/T Instapundit)

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You know the colleges are getting really stupid about First Amendment issues when even the lefty ACLU says they must stop violating students' First Amendment rights to free speech.

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With heavy rain on its way and a forecast for rain over the workweek, BeezleBub and I put the storage cover back on the boat. Normally I wouldn't do this, but the canvas cockpit cover didn't survive the winter, with a split right along the center seam.

I'm not upset by this turn of events as the canvas was well past its time for replacement, something scheduled for for next month. It lasted over 12 years, meaning that it owed me nothing.

Once the rains have finished I will pull the storage cover off (again) and resort to using one of my old mooring covers until the canvas is replaced.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice still covers much of the lake, open water is becoming more pronounced, and where we're still waiting for thew ground to dry out so we can finish the post-winter yard work.

4/18/2015

What It Would Take To Convince Me AGW Is Real

In the endlessly ongoing debate about Anthropogenic Global Warming, the biggest issue I and my fellow skeptics want is verifiable proof that humans are the main cause of global warming.

Do we deny that climate is changing? No, of course not. Climate has always changed and is always changing. Our biggest sticking point is that somehow all climate change is being attributed to human activity, something that is ignorant at best and arrogant at worst.

I will be more than willing to agree that AGW exists if and only if the warmist camp were able meet the three requirements laid out by Robert Tracinski. By the way, these three requirements closely align with those of the scientific method, something that has been tossed aside by the warmists in their zeal to prove their point of view is the only correct one.

A clear understanding of the temperature record.

The warmists don’t just have to show that temperatures are getting warmer, because variation is normal. That’s what makes “climate change” such an appallingly stupid euphemism. The climate is always changing.

So to demonstrate human-caused global warming, we would have to have a long-term temperature record that allows us to isolate what the normal baseline is, so we know what natural variation looks like and we can identify any un-natural, man-made effect. A big part of the problem is that we only have accurate global thermometer measurements going back 135 years—a blink of an eye on the time-scales that are relevant to determining natural variation of temperature.

A full understanding of the underlying physical mechanisms. We have to know what physical mechanisms determine global temperatures and how they interact. The glibbest thing said by environmentalists—and proof that the person who says it has no understanding of science—is that human-caused global warming is “basic physics” because we know carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide is a very weak greenhouse gas and there is no theory that claims it can cause runaway warming all on its own. The warmists’ theory requires feedback mechanisms that amplify the effect of carbon dioxide. Without that, there is no human-caused global warming. But those feedback mechanisms are dubious, unproven assumptions.

The immense, untamed complexity of the climate is reflected in the poor performance of computerized climate models, which leads us to our last major hurdle in proving the theory of global warming.

The ability to make forecasting models with a track record of accurate predictions over the very long term.

We don’t know whether current warming departs from natural variation, nor have scientists proven the underlying mechanisms by which humans could cause such an increase. But even if we did know these things, we would have to be able to forecast with reasonable accuracy how big the effect is going to be. A very small warming may not even be noticeable or may have mostly salutary effects, such as a slightly longer growing season, whereas the impact of a much larger warming is likely to cause greater disruption.

Given the abysmal record of climate forecasting, we should tell the warmists to go back and make a new set of predictions, then come back to us in 20 or 30 years and tell us how these predictions panned out. Then we’ll talk.

(Note:Some formatting was changed in the quote because I kept having problems with the word processor app I use automatically making changes I didn't want, so after 20 minutes messing around trying to get things to look the way I wanted, I gave up and reformatted. -ed.)

Much of the Catastrophic AGW forecasts are made based upon assumptions that are not backed up with experimental data or through observations out there in the real world. They are assumed to be accurate by the warmists, therefore they must be right. The climate models they've been using were wholly incapable of accurately hind-casting climate, plugging data from the past into them and seeing if the model output matches what actually happened. Not one model even came close. So how is it they can place their faith in those same models to accurately depict what the climate will be like 100 or 200 years from now?

Another thing that I find from the warmists that is difficult to take seriously is their belief that a warmer world would automatically be a bad thing. Geological and historical records imply just the opposite. The warmists assume a warmer world will have less arable land, that deserts will grow dramatically, and that everyone will die unless draconian measures are put into place. They will brook no dissent on this matter as they know it to be true, all without one shred of evidence to back up that belief.

Basing any actions upon conjecture and faith is dangerous, as history has shown us again and again. Show me the proof that what they say is accurate and true, and I will change my point of view. But I will not do so based upon the always questionable Precautionary Principle as more often than not the solution to the perceived problem is worse than the perceived problem itself.

4/15/2015

Government Doing The Same For College Education As it Did For Homeownership

I thought it was bad enough when government meddling created the housing bubble. After reading this I realized that it's also created the higher education bubble in the same fashion as it did the housing bubble, and the aftereffects are going to be just as devastating as those seen after the housing market collapsed. It seems our politicians can't help themselves when it comes to solving a 'problem' that isn't. Too bad their help often makes things worse than if they'd left well enough alone.

Politicians seldom resist the urge to “make things better” with the money and power at their disposal. That is how we got the great housing bubble. Many politicians figured that since successful people usually own their homes, home ownership itself must be good and contrived to wreck the old lending standards so that nearly everyone could obtain a mortgage. They’ve done the same thing with higher ed, Davies and Harrigan observe: “Getting the causality backward again, government acts as if a college degree causes, rather than results from, success.”

No one ever claimed these folks were geniuses, but to think that only the result matters without making sure the process itself was sustainable shows just how ignorant our politicians have become, or worse, have always been. Homeownership or a college degree aren't the cause of success, but the effects of success. There's no shortcut around it, just as too many 'homeowners' found out once the housing bubble deflated. They found themselves in over their head, owing hundreds of thousands of dollars they had no hope of paying back and unable to sell their too-expensive-to-pay-for homes at any price because the buyers and mortgage lenders disappeared.

The same can be said of college education, where money was readily available through student loans. The large supply of money drove college tuition and other related costs through the roof, rising at many times the rate of inflation. The problem is that many students wasted their time and borrowed money on courses of study that had little hope of preparing them for life out in the real world. The were handed their sheepskins, assuming the graduated at all, and then found they were only qualified for jobs they could have had right out of high school. There are a lot of barristas and pizza delivery guys out there with expensive Bachelors Degrees in the Liberal Arts that are having a hard time paying off their student loans. Some of those loans total almost as much as some home mortgages and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, so these folks will be working low paying jobs for 30 years to pay off the money they borrowed for their useless degrees.

All of this thanks to the clueless government folks in Washington who have absolutely no grasp on the concept of cause and effect.

4/12/2015

Thoughts On A Sunday

Yard work has started here at The Manse, mainly cutting back some of the brush (primarily sumac, a rather pernicious 'weed' that chokes out a lot of the other growth). Beyond that there's little else we can do because much of the ground is still covered with snow and the rest is too wet.

We thought of taking the winter cover off of the boat and using just a tarp for the next few weeks. That allows us to move it to the local boat shop for some maintenance and a few repairs. Of course it's going to be some time before the lake will be open for boating as it's still covered shore to shore with ice.

The garage has been cleaned up and things rearranged including restacking the last of the firewood to one side, draining the last of the gas from the snowblower's gas tank and moving it to the rear of the garage, storing the snowshovels and roof rake away, moving the lawnmower towards the front of the garage, storing the now empty sand buckets, and sweeping out last of the water, mud, dirt, and other detritus.

It's a good start.

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Best quote from an Instapundit post:

“You know what promotes violence? Leftist social-justice-war ideology.”

Indeed.

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This is a step in the right direction.

The Air Force general who warned that anyone speaking favorably of the A-10 Warthog could be considered to have committed treason has been removed from office.

That some of the Air Force brass would like to see the A-10 removed from service has created a divisive atmosphere, in particular with those who see the move as disastrous.

As I have written many times, the A-10 is the most successful and deadliest close air support aircraft in history. Ask any Army or Marine combat veteran about the A-10 and you'll get an earful about how effective it is. No other aircraft in the US arsenal has the capabilities of the A-10 or the survivability in a hostile combat environment. That the Air Force wants to do away with it has a lot of ground pounders spitting mad, knowing its retirement could mean more of them will die without the air support only it can provide.

If the Air Force doesn't want it, then perhaps they should give it to the Army or the Marines, or both, and the Key West Agreement be damned. You don't retire the most effective weapons platform ever seen without having and equally or more effective one to replace it. While the Air Force has been pushing the F-35 as a replacement, anyone paying attention knows it wouldn't survive under the conditions the A-10 brushes off with impunity, nor will it have the capabilities of the A-10.

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I don't think I've read anything as ignorant as this, ever.

As one who has had extensive air travel experience, I can tell you this idiot the Food Babe got just about everything wrong in regards to the conditions inside of an airliner cabin. She obviously knows nothing about cabin pressurization (honey, it's not like deep sea diving), the dryness of the air (she states the air inside the cabin is drier than that in the Sahara, but she has it exactly backwards), and she has no idea exactly where the air in the cabin actually comes from (she takes a stab at it but gets it wrong), and that's just for starters.

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Some folks never learn what history teaches, making the same mistakes over and over.

Here's one fellow from Scotland who thinks all energy production should be nationalized.

Apparently he isn't old enough to remember when energy (electricity, natural gas, petrol) in Great Britain was nationalized (pre-Thatcher) and the costs of energy were high and the reliability of the energy supplies were questionable. But he wants to go back to those days thought he doesn't realize it...or he does and sees it as a feature and not a bug. In either case he's not going to get his way because no one wants to go back to the bad old days.

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SpaceX is going to make another attempt with its reusable Falcon 9R first stage and perform a soft touchdown on an unmanned landing platform in the Atlantic Ocean.

Let's hope that this time they put in enough hydraulic fluid to run the stabilizing fins.

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It appears Earth's magnetic field may be heading for a reversal of polarity sooner than geophysicists had originally projected.

We'd best start making preparations soon because we may have only 2,000 years before the magnetic poles flip.

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David Starr reminds us again that computer models are not science, something that must be reiterated on a regular basis.

The warmists keep using the oft cited and thoroughly discredited climate models as the basis for their claims that we're all going to die unless we “DO SOMETHING!” right now. That 'something' is always draconian in nature and requires the sacrifice by everyone...except them, of course.

As I have stated more than once, I use computer models in my work and as good as they are, they aren't perfect. While using a small number of well understood parameters to model electronic circuit performance, the computer models merely give me a close approximation of how the circuit will perform. It isn't perfect because there are some parameters that cannot be modeled because we don't know what they are, such as stray capacitances or inductances, mutual couplings between adjacent elements, etc. It is only once I build the circuit and test it that I will know how it will actually perform.

Now picture a climate model that uses thousands of parameters, many of which are not well understood, and ignore thousands more of which there is little or no understanding. Compare what the model says to actual data, then ignore the fact that the data doesn't even come close to matching the model, but use the model results to 'predict' what will happen 100 or 200 years from now. That's not science. It's a fortuneteller using a computerized crystal ball, one with a buggy and defective program, to tell you what your still unborn great grandchildren will do for a living even though it couldn't tell you what your children are doing at the moment.

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Assistant Village Idiot is looking to collect data about liberals for a study.

First, let's hear from him about what's driving him to do these studies.

It is easy enough to find critical analysis on conservative websites of why liberals act the way they do.  Some articles are simply wrong.  Some seem to attempt that mind-reading of others' motives I so heartily dislike. Then there are some which are extremely negative, so that any liberal reading it would be deeply offended for himself and for his friends, and reject out of hand – and yet contain considerable truth.  I can read some of those splenetic screeds yet still say I know people like that.  I know people just like that. Even more, I can read the writings and observe the behaviors of a great many public liberals and see these worst characteristics covered by only the thinnest disguises.  In that latter group, this is the majority. How do smart folks fall for this?

Yet most of the liberals I know are darn nice people. I can see the enabling of evil in what they think and what they say, and sometimes a type of evil peeks out from them as well.  But that would hardly be untrue of conservatives or libertarians also, would it? Enabling evil and evil peeking out are the human condition. 

AVI wants comments, but no theories. He'll create his own hypothesis when he has enough input.

Be aware that he won't be doing this just for liberals, but conservatives will also be the subject of a follow-on study.

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So Hillary is going to announce her run for the Democrat nomination for President.

Big deal.

She has too much blood on her hands and a disregard for the law, something she has amply displayed over the past 20 years or so, to be President. People seem to die around her because of her actions/in-actions. Vince Foster was merely the first (that we know about).

Frankly, I think she's just too damn lazy to be president, much like the present occupant of the Oval Office. She likes the perks but isn't willing to do the work required to earn them. Certainly her record as Secretary of State and as a Senator shows that.

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I'm sorry, but you have to waste 4 billion gallons of much needed water to save these 29 fish.

No, not 29 species of fish, but 29 actual fish.

This amply illustrates the insanity that is federal government bureaucracy and its negative effect on a parched California. Four billion gallons is a lot of water. If they need to make sure those 29 fish make it to the Pacific, wouldn't it be more prudent and cheaper to catch them, put them in a tank on a truck, and release them further downstream closer to the Pacific Ocean than waste all of that water to get them there? Then again, common sense is not something any government bureaucracy possesses in any amount.

At least the director of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District has some sense, telling the unidentified federal agency “no” and retaining legal counsel to head off any legal actions. As the director stated, “This water is better used on human interests, like agriculture and homes.”

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Words fail me on this one.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where ice still covers the lake from shore to shore, the snow banks are melting away, and thoughts of the coming boating season keep intruding.

4/11/2015

The First Law Of Teaching Science

I like the way this particular post begins, with a quote from Star Trek – The Next Generation. It is something all those who teach and study science should memorize, and something all scientists should remember.

Science, whether teaching it or performing it, should be driven by one particular directive: Search for the truth.

Notice I did not capitalize 'truth', as 'Truth' is something entirely subjective and is far too often driven by political or ideological beliefs. Lower-case truth is something that can be measured, proven again and again by others, and is not changeable depending upon the aforementioned politics or ideology. It can be ignored, it can be buried by innuendo, or decried by those whose political beliefs or ideologies won't allow them to believe it because it will weaken their positions in society.

In science, if the facts change so should any conclusions drawn from them. But that has been short-circuited on an increasingly frequent basis because the facts don't fit in with the narrative du jour of one group or another, and therefore must be discredited or dismissed out of hand. Call it modern day Lysenkoism.

If you at all love science — and I mean really love it — you’ll understand immediately that science is two things, simultaneously:

1. A process by which knowledge is acquired, assembled and synthesized about the world, and

2. The sum total of all that knowledge, and the best conclusions we can reach based on it.

Although it’s slow, and full of missteps, blind alleys and spurious results, science is the process that drives the human enterprise forward.

This is something that has been forgotten by a lot of people, particularly many so-called climate scientists who are neither scientists or in any way qualified to demand draconian actions to solve a climate 'crisis' that shows no signs of being a crisis. (As Glenn Reynolds has stated many times, “I'll start believing it's a crisis when the folks calling it that start acting like it's a crisis.”)

This problem extends itself into a lot of other areas, too, like the many claims about the evils of GMO's, the validity of the much hated Renewable Fuels Mandate, and the pseudo-scientific blather about a link between vaccines and autism, just to name a few.

Science is for everyone, and anyone can learn about it, talk about it, or even teach it to another.

But before you tell that story to the world, make sure you’re getting it right. The opposite of knowledge isn’t ignorance, but rather misinformation posing as knowledge.

Too often the “misinformation posing as knowledge” is deliberate, a means of pushing an agenda that most folks would see as harmful, deceptive, and self-serving under normal circumstances. But once it is wrapped in the mantle of some kind of scientific 'principle', it's used as a bludgeon to force the people to do things they otherwise wouldn't do of their own free will, all under the guise of 'saving this, that, and the other thing'. It isn't science, it's propaganda and should be devoutly ignored. The only response to such things should be “Sod off, Swampy!”

The problem is that too many people can't tell the difference between real science and pseudo-science/junk science. And there lies the problem. It is now what drives many of our policies, from energy, air and water pollution, agriculture, medicine, and a whole list of things that affect our everyday lives. As such, it can mean government at all levels will make the wrong decisions about a wide range of issues based upon misinformation and rumor masquerading as science. They will ignore the true problems and waste time, money, and lives upon problems that are, at best, minor if they are problems at all.

4/10/2015

The Witch Hunts Return With A Vengeance

The overblown and grossly inaccurate campus rape “crisis” is creating havoc across the nation, with colleges implementing kangaroo courts at the behest of a government agency that has no such authority to make such requirements. That it is likely to cost colleges millions in damages due to lawsuits by students 'convicted' by incompetent tribunals incapable of conducting what are in fact criminal investigations of “he-said/she-said” cases is something the overwrought Social Justice Warriors care nothing about. It's all about 'justice' even though their definition of justice seems to be suspiciously close to that of lynching. It's all just another version of a witch hunt.

We've seen these before over the past 2,000 years or so. We've seen them writ large here in the US just in the past few decades. The 'satanist' inspired music that was supposedly driving teens to commit suicide in the 70's and the ludicrous charges of child sexual abuse against daycare workers (with some also being connected with satanist rituals) without a single jot of evidence and wildly outlandish 'testimony' of the supposed victims putting a lot of innocent people in prison being just two prime examples of modern day witch hunts.

The criminal cases brought against those accused of carrying out theatrical episodes of ritualized sexual abuse within the walls of American daycares look absolutely unbelievable in retrospect. The phenomenon of “recovered memories” that drove many of these cases is pseudoscientific poppycock, and the details of the abuse suffered by the children in these cases is obviously the result of adult anxiety filtered through the juvenile mind: Little girls insisted, for example, that they had been sexually violated with butchers’ knives, while others told of being buried alive, being flushed down toilets, etc. There was no physical evidence that any of this happened, of course — and even in the happy era before toilet capacity became a federal obsession, flushing an entire child down the commode was a physical impossibility — but that did not seem to matter very much. The nation was convinced — not in its mind, but in its always-unreliable heart — that there were monsters afoot, that somebody, somewhere, was doing terrible things to our teenagers and children. The parents of that paranoid time were, of course, absolutely right: Somebody was doing something terrible to the children.

It was them.

The facts don't matter. Evidence doesn't matter. Only the accusation matters, particularly if it serves the narrative du jour. And so it is with this latest manufactured crisis, the so-called “rape culture” that exists nowhere and that no one can seem to prove, particularly with actual crime statistics. It doesn't help that rape is being so loosely defined on campuses that just about any interaction between male and female students can be defined as rape, particularly if one squints and turns their head to one side.

Somebody is doing something terrible to the children young women on campus. That somebody is they themselves and the SJW's who don't give a damn about real justice. They are leaving a trail of victims in their wake, but it doesn't matter to them because, after all, they're just men and everyone knows they're all rapists, right?

That's not going to play well in Peoria.

4/07/2015

Another Call From The Left To Imprison Climate Deniers

The oh-so-tolerant Left is showing its true colors, once again calling for “a brutal authoritarian response to the vexing problem of people who have a different opinion.” This time it's another call for the imprisonment of climate deniers by clueless leftist tool Adam Weinstein of Gawker.

Man-made climate change happens. Man-made climate change kills a lot of people. It’s going to kill a lot more. We have laws on the books to punish anyone whose lies contribute to people’s deaths. It’s time to punish the climate-change liars.

Then that's almost always the response by the radical Left to people who refuse to knuckle under to their close-minded, morally bankrupt, and ethically challenged ideology. Don't even try to reason with them because, as as been shown many times over the past 100 years or so, one cannot reason with those who have no ability to do so. One might as well talk to a robot, which is exactly what they are – programmed drones incapable of independent thought. Don't confuse them with data or facts because they do not fit in with their narrative. They 'know' they are right and are willing to do anything to prove they are right even if all the evidence says otherwise. And so it is with the always controversial topic of climate change.

Dr. Sallie Luise Bailunas gave a talk about “weather cooking”, a phenomenon of the 1500's and 1600's that 'explained' the extreme weather of the Little Ice Age as being caused by witches and sorcerors. The call rose up from the 'learned' elite to eliminate the threat.


Does it sound familiar? If not, compare what Dr. Bailunas lectured about and the call by Adam Weinstein and Lawrence Torcello. It sounds like Weinstein and Torcello would have been right at home back in the 17th century, doesn't it?

4/05/2015

Thoughts On A Sunday

After the warm temps in the 60's we experienced on Friday, colder temps more reminiscent of early March have returned. It was in the 30's with wind chills in the teens yesterday and a little warmer with a bit less wind today.

The colder temps meant I had to fire up the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove. Normally by this time of year we heat with the propane furnace because it is usually needed only in the evening and first thing in the morning to take the chill off. It looks like we'll be using the woodstove the rest of this week as night time temps will be in the 20's and daytime temps will be 15 to 20 degrees below normal.

I'm just waiting for Al Gore to tell me it's all the fault of Global Warming.

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Speaking of Global Warming, I caught a report on ABC's Good Morning America this morning dealing with California's water problems, including a clip of Governor Jerry Brown announcing the statewide water restrictions. Ironic, considering a lot of the blame can be laid on Brown for killing water projects in the 70's that would have helped mitigate the present day problems.

Too many people forget that southern and parts of central California are basically arid/semi-arid climes that have been changed through the use of water from elsewhere in California and from other states. Now that the regular drought cycle has gone into the dry phase, water supplies are drying up because the snowpack on the various mountain ranges is all but gone and rainfall totals are well below the amounts needed to help fill reservoirs and restore aquifers.

Some are laying blame on AGW, but paleoclimatologists and geologists are calling “Bulls**t!” on the claim, saying these kinds of droughts are a regular thing and that the past 100 years in California were uncharacteristically wet. Now that the weather is returning to historic patterns it's all of a sudden the fault of AGW.

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Coyote Blog digs deep into the reasons why minimum wage increases are a “terrible anti-poverty program.”

His list:

Only a tiny minority of workers make the minimum wage.

Most minimum wage earners are not poor.

Most people in poverty don't make the minimum wage.

Minimum wage increases kill unskilled labor hours.

Minimum wage laws ignore substantial non-monetary benefits of entry-level jobs.

There are plenty of object lessons out there showing how raising the minimum wage, particularly to unreasonable levels, have just the opposite effect, destroying jobs and businesses. We're seeing that in Seattle and San Francisco, where both cities raised their minimum wages well above the federal level. In Seattle a number of businesses, primarily restaurants, are closing their doors because the wage increases have turned them from being profitable into losing money, something that isn't sustainable. Others are packing up and moving to more business friendly climes.

Of course I expect none of that will dissuade other cities and states from making the same mistake and watching unemployment go up and business growth stop, or even reverse. I also expect some businesses, like the franchise restaurants (McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, etc.) will replace some of their workers with ordering kiosks as they're cheaper in the long run. (No benefits, no wage increases, they don't call out from work, and don't complain about their hours.)

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State budget battles are always contentious, and so it is with my home state of New Hampshire.

The Governor's proposed budget was a bust from the beginning, increasing spending well above the revenue estimates that would have required raising or adding new taxes (again). Many of the towns and cities have level -unded for their coming fiscal year and I think they expected the same thing from the state. But instead the governor went on a spending spree.

The legislature wasn't buying it, and made a number of cuts to the proposed budget. (Here I must remind you that the proponents of expanded state spending have called the lower increase in spending 'budget cuts', their usual tactics and wholly misleading.)

Yes, the legislature did make some actual spending cuts compared to the previous biennial budget, but I think they had to start somewhere. Now that the House has passed its version of the budget, it's time for the state Senate to propose changes.

In the end I think they'll work it out, providing the needed funding while keeping spending in check, but it's going to be a long drawn out process. If nothing else it will be interesting to watch the give and take.

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Oh, no!

It appears one fragile snowflake at Harvard thinks the university's “safe space” for its totally unprepared-for-real-life students isn't safe enough.

I wonder how traumatic it will be for these cloistered students once they're exposed to the real world?

I expect the billable hours for therapists are going to skyrocket once these folks leave university.

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It appears the hate piled upon Memories Pizza has backfired upon the oh-so-tolerant Left, with donations to the media-ambushed Indiana pizza restaurant near $1 million.

The faux controversy has ended up focusing more attention on the LGBT community for it's intolerance of those who do not wholeheartedly agree with their agenda. They seem to have forgotten that tolerance runs in both directions, or worse, they really don't care. (Of the two, I'd say it's more likely it's the latter.)

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As a follow-on to the above, there's this from Ronald Reagan courtesy of Skip over at Granite Grok.

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We have many examples of Progressive hypocrisy. Here's another, posed by this simple question:

Why do progressives hate Walmart but love Apple?

So why is Walmart so reviled by progressives when its profits (and prices) are so low that it might earn a “profit day” every 31 days, and its main corporate objective is to provide low-cost merchandise to America’s low- and middle-income households? Every day that a Walmart opens its doors for business, it gives everybody in that local community a raise and makes them better off. On the other hand, why do progressives worship Apple so religiously when its extremely pricey products generate such huge profit margins (more than 7 “profit days” every month) that the company’s stock is worth almost as much as the entire Brazilian stock market? Every day that an Apple store opens for business, it stands ready to extract $24.20 in profits for every $100 spent that day, which seems like a huge transfer of wealth from Apple’s loyal customers to Apple’s wealthy shareholders. And yet the progressives worship Apple and revile Walmart – go figure?!

What makes this hatred of Walmart even more ridiculous? Walmart's employees are far more diverse than Apple's, with “twice as many women and more than twice as many blacks as a share of its workforce than does Apple.”

The answer is the one I gave above: hypocrisy.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where a strong sun and strong winds clash, boat covers have been coming off, and where the mud deepens with every day.

4/04/2015

Alternative Fusion Project Still In Play

The search for sustainable fusion as a power source continues though it appears it may be 20 years away...just as it has been for the past 60 years. While the NIF (National Ignition Facility) which uses UV lasers, and the ITER project, which uses a tokamak design, are still making small strides in generating as sustainable fusion reaction with a net energy gain, they aren't there yet.

There are a number of other fusion projects around the world trying to achieve the same goal. Of all of them, only two of these other projects appear (to me) to have a chance of success. Ironically, both of them are low budget approaches compared to the billions spent on the NIF and ITER projects. And of those two, one has had a number of successful research prototypes, that being polywell fusion. The other, a reactor design by Lockheed Martin, won't see any tests on its fusion reactor until 2017 at the earliest.

Polywell fusion, also called Electrostatic Confinement fusion, was first theorized by Harold Grad and followed up by the late physicist Robert Bussard. (This is something I've covered before, here, here and here.)

Polywell fusion has received funding in the low/mid-double-digit millions while NIF and ITER have received billions, yet it appears polywell fusion has made greater strides. With each series of prototypes and tests, the so-called “Wiffle Ball” reactors (named that because the reactor core resembles a wiffle ball) have proven out Bussard's math and predictions.

What I find ironic is that should polywell or any of the other fusion projects achieve their goals and fusion power becomes a reality, the lunatic fringe “greens” will fight tooth and nail to keep it from ever being turned into a commercially viable technology. Writes one commenter to the WUWT piece:

If a viable, commercial nuclear fusion plant was built today Greens would oppose it to their core. They will create imaginary dangers and attempt to deceive.

Oh look what I see! They started even before one is built! It’s worse than I thought!

He then goes on to link to a number statements from Greenpeace that amply illustrates their total ignorance about how fusion works and the inherent risks which are a small fraction of that of fission plants.

The lunatic greens also have a general hatred of technology as shown by this quote from Jeremy Rifkin of the Greenhouse Crisis Foundation, who said “The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.” Yeah, like this guy has any understanding of what virtually unlimited energy could do to save ecosystem. All he can see is that anything new automatically equates to “bad”.

Then you have incredibly pessimistic comments from someone like doom-sayer Dr. Paul Erlich who stated “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” This from a man who made a number of apocryphal predictions, none of which came to pass. It just shows us how much of a misanthrope he is. (According to him we should have starved to death, frozen to death, burned to death, or died of thirst by now.)

Therefore, I think it's safe to ignore Rifkin, Erlich, and all of the other “We're all DOOMED!” lunatics.

Should fusion power come to fruition and do so at a reasonable cost, the possibilities of what it can do are limited only by our imaginations and our willingness to do the work to make it so. Let's hope they succeed.

4/01/2015

Some Folks Just Don't Understand Plain English When It Comes To Tax Money

Steve MacDonald explains how liberals have redefined the phrase “not as much of a budget increase as they wanted” to mean “they're making massive budget cuts.”

While his focus is on New Hampshire's state budget, it applies equally to state budgets in general and the federal budget in particular.