A More Efficient Photovoltaic System?

This might be a real shot in the arm for solar electric technology.

MIT has developed a hybrid photovoltaic/electrolysis system that may make it possible to generate electricity around the clock.

A liquid catalyst was added to water before electrolysis to achieve what the researchers claim is almost 100-percent efficiency. When combined with photovoltaic cells to store energy chemically, the resulting solar energy systems could generate electricity around the clock, the MIT team said.

Currently, MIT is working with photovoltaic cell manufacturers to incorporate electrolysis using their catalyst into solar energy systems. By combining the two, excess capacity during the day could be stored as hydrogen and oxygen, then used in fuel cells at night when needed.

One of the biggest problems with photovoltaic systems has been a means of efficiently storing excess power generated during the day. While batteries have been the primary means of doing so, they aren't nearly efficient enough and need to be replaced on a regular basis in order to maintain system efficiency. But if the excess power can be used to electrolyze water, splitting it into hydrogen and oxygen, and the hydrogen stored in a low pressure system, the hydrogen can then be used to generate electricity in a fuel cell when the sun goes down.

MIT's system greatly reduces the cost of the electrolysis equipment while at the same time increasing the electrolysis efficiency to almost 100%.

This is but one more step towards affordable and efficient solar energy systems.


Union Dues Use To Fund Political Campaigns Questioned

One of the things that always bugged me about belonging to a union was the union's use of my dues money to support politicians that supported policies and laws I found objectionable. I had little say which political candidates my dues money would support.

Some things have changed since those days, but a lot of union money funds candidates which the rank and file may not support. That can lead to trouble for the union, particularly if those dues are used to support a candidate in a federal election. If members of the rank and file object to their dues going to support a candidate they do not support, it is illegal for the union to do so, at least for that portion of the dues paid by the objecting members. But that hasn't stopped some of them from doing so anyways.

The SEIU (Service Employees International Union) may find itself the subject of an investigation by the Department of Labor and Department of Justice for doing just that.

The mighty Service Employees International Union (SEIU) plans to spend some $150 million in this year's election, most of it to get Barack Obama and other Democrats elected. Where'd they get that much money?

That's a question the Departments of Labor and Justice are being asked to investigate by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. Specifically, the labor watchdog group wants Justice to query a new SEIU policy that appears to coerce local workers into funding the parent union's national political priorities.

The union adopted a new amendment to its constitution at last month's SEIU convention, requiring that every local contribute an amount equal to $6 per member per year to the union's national political action committee. This is in addition to regular union dues. Unions that fail to meet the requirement must contribute an amount in "local union funds" equal to the "deficiency," plus a 50% penalty. According to an SEIU union representative, this has always been policy, but has now simply been formalized.

No other major institution could get away with its bosses demanding that every single one of its workers step in line behind its political preferences. This is the sort of imposed political obeisance that infuriates so many workers and turns them away from unions.

It's not much different than outright robbery or strong arm “protection” rackets of the past, where money is involuntary taken from union members and given to campaigns that are the antithesis of the political beliefs of the members. Stuff like that gets people sent to prison, even in this day and age.

Just because the SEIU has always had that as a “policy”, doesn't mean it's legal, ethical, or moral. It's time for the union to realize they have to follow the laws, just like everyone else. Such strong arm tactics tend to drive people away from the unions. It's one of the reasons I left the employment of a company where I once worked. I got tired of the union BS, the mandatory dues, and the union's campaign contributions to politicians whose ideology was just this side of Lenin...or Al Capone.


Cuil Is Cool

I've been playing around with a new search engine called Cuil (pronounced “cool”), developed by a husband and wife team who formerly worked for Google. Their search engine does not prioritize the hits on a search by popularity, making it quite a bit different than Google. So far I like what I see, though it will take me a little while to get used to the differences from Google.

Give it a try.

A New Spock

I've been a Trek fan since the series first aired on NBC back in 1966 (yes, I'm that old!). I've enjoyed the various series derived from the original series, and most of the movies as well.

There's a new Star Trek movie coming out, directed by JJ Abrams (of Lost and Cloverfield fame), due to be released some time next year. I've been keeping tabs on the casting and found some interesting choices.

One of the best decisions made was to cast Zachary Quinto as one of three Spocks to appear in the film. Most of you out there may not be familiar with the actor, but if any of you have ever watched Heroes on NBC, you know him better as Sylar, the main villain in the series.

When I heard Quinto was being considered as Spock, I thought it was a pretty good bet he'd be selected. And if you need a little bit of proof, how about this:

I'd say he's a ringer for Nimoy's Spock, wouldn't you?


Thoughts On A Sunday

Cleanup continues in the area of New Hampshire hit by a tornado this past Thursday. We rarely see tornadoes here in the Granite State, but they do make an appearance now and then.

Deb and I managed to avoid the storm by pure happenstance, having driven through part of the area damaged by the tornado only an hour before it hit.

I guess timing is everything.


This is something I realized a long time ago:

The NEA is the mirror image of the Taliban.

Considering the resolutions passed by the NEA during their annual convention held over the Fourth of July, I'd say the NEA is scarier than the Taliban.

(H/T Maggie's Farm)


Neo-Neocon comments upon Obama's travels and speeches and comes to the conclusion that his actions may have played directly into John McCain's hands, showing Obama for the ambitious showboat he is.

She also links to a post she wrote over a year ago offering an analysis of Obama and stands by what she wrote back then as nothing has happened to change her opinion of him.


The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Virginia contains the seventh largest deposit of uranium in the world, but the anti-nuclear kooks are willing to do anything to prevent the mining of that uranium, even lie through their teeth.

To quote Jack Dunavant, who tries to “paint a picture of environmental apocalypse”:

"There will be a dead zone within a 30 mile radius of the mine," he says with a courtly drawl. "Nothing will grow. Animals will die. The radiation genetically alters tissue. Animals will not be able to reproduce. We'll see malformed fetuses."

It is the typically overblown rhetoric used to elicit fear even though there is no basis to make any such claim. But isn't that what many of these anti-nuclear wackos do, appeal to emotion rather than fact?


Why is it I'm not surprised that labor unions are all for making it easier to intimidate workers into forming unions?

Despite their claims of employer intimidation, supposedly abetted by the use of secret ballots, it is they who will use intimidation by requiring an “open” vote, overseen by union officials.

Related stuff here.


Eric the Viking links to an Economist article that makes the statement “the election is Obama's to lose”. This statement is based upon the state of the US economy and Obama's plans to increase taxes and redistribute wealth.


Thunderstorms had been threatening all afternoon and finally swept through this part of New Hampshire. At least they weren't as bad as the ones that hit this area on Thursday. About the only threat these storms posed was some localized flooding.

I'd take that any day over the tornadoes we experienced last week.


Speaking of weather, we're hoping to make it out on the lake Monday morning as it looks like the best weather of the day will be before noon. It's been almost two weeks since we've been able get out on the lake due to the unusual weather cycle we've been experiencing the past few weeks; morning weather great, early afternoon weather clouding up, and thunderstorms late afternoon and early evening. With BeezleBub working until 4PM most days and feeling pretty tired once he gets home, evening trips have been out of the question. So tomorrow will be our first real chance in a while.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the weather has been unkind, Leann Rimes is performing at Meadowbrook, and where we hope to get some boating in tomorrow.


An Answer To Achieve World Peace?

It seems everyone is always talking about peace, about stopping sectarian violence, brutal civil wars, and wars in general, but very few actually come up with a means of doing so. Until now.

It appears Rodney Carrinton has come up with something that just might work.

Note: NSFW

A Picture Is Worth...Need I Say More?

I saw this at No Looking Backwards. As one of the commenters to the post quipped, “Coincidence? Methinks not.”

The Socialists Strike Again

Just when I thought the Leftists couldn't get any more brazen ( or stupid), they proved me wrong. The latest round of stupidity comes from the state of New Jersey, where Governor John Corzine signed a bill into law that forces each community to build affordable housing. Never mind market forces, never mind the plans the various towns and cities may have in regards to such housing, the Big Brother of the State of New Jersey has decided for the municipalities exactly what they'll build and how much of it they'll build.

It's central planning at it's worse, and we have plenty of examples just how poorly central planning works.

It is not the government's function to build housing, and local governments are supposed to be run by the people who live in the communities which elect them. The state has no business telling municipalities to build housing at all, much less "affordable" or "low income" housing.

It is nothing less than unadulterated socialism.

And that's the idea, isn't it? That has certainly been the trend in New Jersey since John Corzine became governor.

He helped sell the idea to the electorate that an income tax would create relief from the high property taxes people were paying in order to fund their schools. The income tax was enacted, the state started collecting those taxes, and property taxes went up. The monies collected through the income taxes went to fund programs other than education, giving the state government inordinate control over the peoples' money while saddling them with a heavier burden many can barely afford to pay. How many more social programs were created with those extra tax funds? Will any of those taxes go to build that affordable housing? Maybe. But you know if the state does provide such funding there will be strings attached to them that will end up costing any community foolish enough to apply for them into doing things the townspeople will have to pay for against their will. It's a slippery slope.

It may sound like making sure towns build affordable housing is a good idea. But who has better idea what's needed and where than the individual towns and cities?

We have a problem here in New Hampshire with the lack of affordable housing for the average wage earner. During the last housing boom most of the housing built was for upper-middle and upper income buyers. Not much was built for moderate or lower income families. There wasn't as much money to be made from building that kind of housing during the boom, so not all that much was built. I have no doubt the same was true in the other states.

While demand for the big houses has waned, there's an untapped demand for low and moderate income housing. Starter homes, whether stand alone or condominium style, could open another avenue for housing. There are plenty of people I know that would love to own their own home but have been priced out of the market, even with the declining home prices. They aren't looking for big houses with a three car garage and a couple of acres of land. They want a place that has a couple of bedrooms, one or two or one-and-a-half bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and maybe a dining room. That's not much, but it means a lot to a family if it's theirs.

But this is something that should be done by private industry, not by the government. This should be housing built to be purchased, not rented out and/or subsidized by local or state government. The towns know where it's needed. The towns know how much may be needed. This is something that should not be decided at the state level. It is not something that should be “centrally planned” by the state. The last thing any of us need is a government mandate to do something many people at the local level already want to do. We don't need the socialist agenda to tell us to do something we're already doing on our own, and doing it cheaper and better than “The State” could ever do it.

New Jersey has made a mistake, and I believe they will end up becoming yet another victim of the Law of Unintended Consequences.


Add Another Group Of AGW Skeptics

It's not just climate scientists questioning the validity of the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis. Quite a few of my fellow engineers are also questioning the conclusions brought forth by the UN IPCC, conclusions based upon conjecture, some data, and unvalidated hypothesis.

I do agree with Mr. Williston that engineers should add their voice to the discussion. This is especially true because if the world adopts all the proposals of the AGW alarmists, then you can expect to spend at least twice as much for gasoline and natural gas and you can also expect to spend twice as much for electricity. In addition, the cost of every single manufactured good should go up about 25% due to the higher cost of energy. So what do we know for certain about anthropogenic global warming? Not very much for sure.

Lets go over the basis for AGW.

1)      CO2 concentrations have gone from 300ppm to 400ppm in the last century.

2)      That increase is due to human consumption of fossil fuels and burning forests.

3)      The increases in CO2 from 0.03% to 0.04% is triggering much larger increases in water vapor.

4)      The increase of CO2 and water vapor in the atmosphere that block infrared radiation out to space means that the equilibrium temperature that can radiate heat out to space is at a higher altitude.

5)      The higher altitude of the equilibrium sphere means that surface temperatures have to be hotter.

6)      The world’s climate is demonstrably getting hotter, by about a degree in the last century, so all the above is true.

7)      There are one or more tipping points, positive feedback mechanisms, that once passed will cause massive climate change and that may well destroy the human race.

8)      Hence it is a simple fact that mankind is causing all the earth to warm and if we don’t do something right away we are all going to kill our grandchildren.

Nice, but first off, it is not a theory. It is a hypothesis. See a theory is built up from a whole series of hypotheses that have been proven experimentally. There are a lot of things wrong with AGW, but the most glaring is that it is not science, no more than intelligent design is. They are both broad sweeping hypotheses that have not only failed experimental testing; real-world results often contradict the stated hypothesis.

That's one of my biggest problems with AGW. It doesn't appear to fit in with any hypothesis with any consistency. So far no one has been able to model the effects given the data available. The models are always off, in most cases by orders of magnitude even over a relatively short period of time (a year or so). So how can we possibly expect to accurately model what the climate will be like 100 years from now? The answer: we can't. No one can.

Even with this failure to prove AGW we are expected to spend billions, if not trillions of dollars fixing a problem that likely does not exist. Yet we are asked to take it on faith that if we don't do something now WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!

At first I was one of those believing in the premise of Anthropogenic Global Warming. But as time went by, I started seeing too many holes in the various predictions and hypotheses, causing me to take a closer look. What I saw changed my mind. What I saw also reminded me of the dire predictions of global overpopulation, famine, plague, and a host of other doomsday predictions that never came to be even though those making the predictions swore they had the proof. All that was required was for the rest of us to take it on faith.

Severe Weather Hits New Hampshire

While my home state of New Hampshire is rarely in the national news spotlight, we did make it into a number of the evening network news broadcasts today due to the severe weather that hit the state today.

Starting just before noon, a number of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes swept through four of the eastern counties, causing damage to over 100 homes, destroying six, and killing one person. Damage and power outages were reported in Epsom, Barnstead, Deerfield, Alton, and Wolfeboro.

Deb and I managed to miss the worst of the storms, traveling in and out of the areas hit before they arrived.

It's not often we see tornadoes in New Hampshire, yet twice in less than a week funnel clouds have formed and today they touched down. We've had weather stuck in a pattern of high humidity and late afternoon/early evening thunderstorms for more almost two weeks. I'm not surprised we've ended up at least a few funnel clouds.

Obama Tries To Gain Street Cred

While Barack Obama makes his rounds on his I'll-Show-Everyone-I-Know-What-I'm-Doing-When-It-Comes-To-Foreign-Policy Tour trying to gain some street cred, John McCain was in New Hampshire, talking to the voters.

If Obama had his way and the 147,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq were withdrawn in March and the surge in troops had never occurred, McCain said, "My friends, that would have been a catastrophe for the United States of America."

McCain repeatedly said the surge of some 20,000 additional troops in Iraq has greatly reduced sectarian violence and American casualties over the last year. McCain criticized Obama, who was in Jordan on Tuesday and scheduled to visit in Israel today, for not supporting the surge.

"Our troops will be withdrawing and coming home, but they will come home in victory and not defeat, as they would have with Sen. Obama," McCain said. The Arizona senator said the United States and its NATO allies may need to put more troops in Afghanistan to achieve the same results there as they have in Iraq.

Why is it that even today, when the surge in Iraq has achieved stunning results, Obama only grudging admits the surge did exactly what it was supposed to do – bring peace in Iraq? And even then he doesn't really.

Is his overseas trip supposed to show the voters he has the foreign policy experience needed to be President? If so, he's failed miserably, even with the MSM's fawning coverage of his every move. Visiting a few foreign lands does not give anyone the foreign policy background needed to sit in the Oval Office. If that were so, I'd be far more experienced than Obama in that regard. (Oh, wait, I am!)

For some time now we've seen the Senator from Illinois have to explain comments he's made because they were “misconstrued”. It seems he has to do that a lot. Despite his eloquence, it appears he doesn't think well on his feet, making statements sure to offend the very people he needs in order to be elected. Unless he's got a teleprompter in front of him he's likely to plant a foot firmly in his mouth. Then he has to spend time trying to undo the damage done by his non-scripted remarks. That doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.

The more I learn about Obama, the more he appears to be nothing more than an empty suit. He's long on rhetoric but short on ideas, offering nothing new to the electorate. His claim that he offers change is no different from any other candidate. Unfortunately the change he's offering is a throwback the administration of FDR, with a little LBJ thrown in. A return to the days of the New Deal or the Great Society hold absolutely no appeal to me. Neither period is an example of “the Good Old Days”.

I think that as more people come to know Obama, the less likely they'll come to see him as worthy to sit behind the desk in the Oval Office. Give him another 20 years or so experience and maybe, just maybe he'll be ready. But I doubt it.


"Fair Share" Bunkum

Over the past few years I've come to loath the term “fair share”, particularly when it comes to income taxes. Both Democrats and Republicans have used this term, though it means different things to each party. Partisan kind of guy I am, I'm going to focus more the Democrat's definition of the term.

We've been hearing more and more Democratic rhetoric claiming they're going to make sure “the rich” pay their fair share of income taxes. That's all well and good. But what exactly does “fair share” mean? For that fact, what does “the rich” mean? First, let's take a look at what the rich are paying in income taxes.

...the top 1% of taxpayers, those who earn above $388,806, paid 40% of all income taxes in 2006, the highest share in at least 40 years. The top 10% in income, those earning more than $108,904, paid 71%. Barack Obama says he's going to cut taxes for those at the bottom, but that's also going to be a challenge because Americans with an income below the median paid a record low 2.9% of all income taxes, while the top 50% paid 97.1%. Perhaps he thinks half the country should pay all the taxes to support the other half.

So the top 10% earners pay 71% of all income taxes collected and those making less than the median income level only pay 2.9%. The only way taxes on “the rich” could be increased without having an adverse effect on the economy is to redefine “the rich” as anyone with a job. Or maybe the plan is to create a confiscatory tax plan to soak even more capital out of the economy. That will work, right?

It's been tried in other countries before and all it managed to do was cause a flight of capital and a major downturn in their economies. Just ask the British what their economy was like in the late 70's into the late 80's. Top tax rates were 98% and everyone with money found ways to move it out of the UK in order to prevent the government from confiscating their wealth. The economy collapsed, the jobless rate rose to levels not seen since the Great Depression, factories closed, and countless people were forced onto welfare.

One of the biggest problems I've found most Democrats wishing higher tax rates tend to have is that they believe the myth that wealth is a zero sum condition, that wealth is finite. If someone got richer it must be because someone else became poorer, as if the rich stole it from the poor. That may have been true when wealth was based upon the possession of precious metals and other limited specie. However, those days are long gone. That still doesn't stop them from wanting to “take it back” and return it to the people from whom the rich supposedly stole it.

Wealth is something that can expand to include more and more people, lifting everyone out of poverty. Or it is something that can be taken away by the state, reducing everyone to a state of poverty. (At times I wonder if that's exactly what the Democrats want. If nothing else it gives the government total control over everyone's lives. Their philosophy seems to be that government is the answer to all problems, even the ones that government cause. It's a shame that government is so clueless and stupid, incapable of running anyone's life better than people can run their own. We've seen enough examples of that throughout history.)

In any case, the claim that the rich aren't paying their fair share is correct. I won't disagree with that statement because it's true. That's because the rich are paying more than their fair share. Even the IRS says so. They shouldn't be penalized by being forced to pay even more based upon the ignorance of those in Congress and those seeking even higher office.

Note: I actually wrote this Monday night, saved it, but never posted it. I guess I could blame a mind half-asleep.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been an interesting few days around here, with thunderstorms and even a few funnel clouds making appearances during the afternoons. It has made any idea of time out on the lake a non-starter. The idea of being out in the middle of the lake during a thunderstorm is not one that fills me with the warm and fuzzies. I've ridden out more than one storm in a boat and it was never a pleasant experience.

Maybe free time and better weather will allow us some time out on Lake Winnipesaukee on Monday.


I saw this linked on a number of other blogs and I finally got around to reading it. All I can say is it's a good thing their story aired on radio and not TV. If it had, there's no way the two women in the story would receive one bit of sympathy for their plight.


The fact that more people are shopping online to save money and gas doesn't surprise me in the least. I know the WP household has been doing more online shopping and less time going to brick-and-mortar stores.

Even more about online shopping here.


At least one celebrity environmentalist talks the talk and walks the walk, unlike Al Gore and the rest of the Gulfstream environmentalists.


Michael Gerson wonders whether the environment will survive the environmentalists? The question also brings to mind this characterization of Al Gore. All I can say is that it caused chills to run up and down my spine.


Are Barack Obama's campaign rhetoric so lacking in facts as to make his promises meaningless? Thomas Sowell things so.

As the hypnotic mantra of "change" is repeated endlessly, few people even raise the question of whether what few specifics we hear represent any real change, much less a change for the better.

Raising taxes, increasing government spending and demonizing business? That is straight out of the New Deal of the 1930s.

It also sounds like a repeat of the Democrat mantra of the days of LBJ's Great Society. Do we really want to go there?


Just who the heck does Barack Obama think he is?

Americans are beginning to notice Obama's elevated opinion of himself. There's nothing new about narcissism in politics. Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Nonetheless, has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements?

Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted "present" nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and as legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself.

He sure as heck isn't JFK or Ronald Reagan, that's for sure.


It appears Hollywood is incapable of making a good Iraq War movie. Could it be because the message Hollywood is sending is one of defeat and psychosis?

As one commenter reminded us:

There is a quote attributed to Sam Goldwyn,the classic (successful) producer of Hollywood’s own Golden Age:

“If you want to send them a message, call Western Union.”

Still true today.

(H/T Instapundit)


Is the EPA making a bid to take over the country? With their latest Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, they announced they will make CO2 a regulated pollutant. How the hell will they do that? Will they need to eliminate all sources of CO2, including people? Hasn't anyone told them CO2 is a necessary part of our atmosphere? Obviously not.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the rain doesn't want to go away, the EPA wants to regulate your respiration, and where we're still hoping to get out on the lake...sometime soon.


A Nation Of Whiners Indeed

Former Senator Phil Gramm of Texas may have been impolitic when he called Americans a “nation of whiners”, but he was actually pretty close to the mark. For a nation that has the kind of wealth across the board never before seen in history, too many of us bitch and moan about it not being enough.

When it comes to the meltdowns in the financial industry, those meltdowns caused by imprudent choices by investors and blindness to greed rather than fact by the financial institutions, the call for bailouts is heard first and foremost. As I've stated more than once, when the investment bankers gambled on the housing bubble and lost, it's their tough luck. There's no way the taxpayers should make good on their failures, their mistakes, their lack of foresight.

As Jen Rubin said during Saturday's Meet the New Press, channeling Larry Kudlow, “No one wants to believe that failure is an option anymore.” It's one of the reasons we keep hearing about bailouts of Wall Street, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and coming soon, GM. It's a dangerous precedent being set, particularly one that removes risk from risky investments. There's no way they should be able to expect the taxpayers to “insure” their gambles. It sets us up for greater failures.

If one never knows the sting of failure, then how can one measure success? Some of the most successful people failed many times before. Their failures didn't lessen them. On the contrary, it made them more driven to succeed. But todays “whiners” seem to think failure makes them less than human, something to be avoided at all cost.

Whatever happened to the philosophy of Friedrich Hayek, the great free-market economist and Nobel Prize winner, who said the great thing about capitalism is the freedom to succeed beyond your wildest dreams, but that there is also the freedom to fail? I believe Hayek once argued that if he had to choose between success and failure, failure is more important in terms of preserving the free-market system.

“Endless” success is an illusion. It is unsustainable, even with taxpayer funded bailouts. Eventually the taxpayers will no longer be able to afford it and the whole thing collapses, creating an ever greater crisis, both financial and psychological. It's something we can't afford. The madness must stop.

So I guess I was relieved to come across a passage from President Bush’s press conference last Tuesday. A reporter asked him about bailing out banks and mortgage markets, and wondered about other entities in the economy that might be crucial, like General Motors. And President Bush said, “If your question is, ‘Should the government bailout private enterprise?’ the answer is no, it shouldn’t.” POTUS went on to say, in terms of private enterprise, that no, he doesn’t think the government ought to be involved with bailing out companies.

We'll see if the President sticks to his guns, or whether the need to prevent failure of any kind will be stronger, spurred on by the “nation of whiners.”


Another Climate Scientist Changes His Mind

While some folks have maintained I am a global warming denier (or rather, a global climate change denier), they would be wrong. I am, proud to say, an Anthropogenic Global Warming skeptic, and with good reason. My skepticism comes from too much conflicting information, where some data suggests AGW may be valid, and other data suggests natural processes. There's been far too many statements made that “the debate is over.” I beg to differ. The debate is just beginning. In fact, many skeptical climate scientists were once proponents of the AGW theory. But as more data became available, their support for AGW waned and they started looking for other causes.

One of those scientists is Dr. David Evans, a former consultant to the Australian Greenhouse Office. For six years he worked collecting and analyzing data and generating computer climate models for the Australian government. The more data he reviewed, the more convinced he was that CO2 was not the driving force behind climate change. As he put it, “As Lord Keynes famously said, 'When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?'”

There were four basic facts that convinced Dr. Evans the theory of AGW was wrong.

1. The greenhouse signature is missing. We have been looking and measuring for years, and cannot find it.

Each possible cause of global warming has a different pattern of where in the planet the warming occurs first and the most. The signature of an increased greenhouse effect is a hot spot about 10km up in the atmosphere over the tropics. We have been measuring the atmosphere for decades using radiosondes: weather balloons with thermometers that radio back the temperature as the balloon ascends through the atmosphere. They show no hot spot. Whatsoever.

2. There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None. There is plenty of evidence that global warming has occurred, and theory suggests that carbon emissions should raise temperatures (though by how much is hotly disputed) but there are no observations by anyone that implicate carbon emissions as a significant cause of the recent global warming.

3. The satellites that measure the world's temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980). Land-based temperature readings are corrupted by the "urban heat island" effect: urban areas encroaching on thermometer stations warm the micro-climate around the thermometer, due to vegetation changes, concrete, cars, houses. Satellite data is the only temperature data we can trust, but it only goes back to 1979. NASA reports only land-based data, and reports a modest warming trend and recent cooling. The other three global temperature records use a mix of satellite and land measurements, or satellite only, and they all show no warming since 2001 and a recent cooling.

4. The new ice cores show that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says something important about which was cause and which was effect.

So data being quoted by some to support the idea of AGW either have no connection with CO2 or are slanted in such a way to as to make it appear so.

Data that challenges AGW is being ignored or explained away as an anomaly, even though there's plenty of anomalous data being used to support the AGW theory. One of those 'anomalous' data sets shows global temperatures have been dropping since 1998, but the AGW faithful ignore it, trying to explain it away as merely a pause in the inexorable rise in temperatures. Yet solar astronomers point to a lengthy delay in the start of Sunspot Cycle 24, a signal the Sun's output has declined and may be entering a period of relative quiet after over a century of increasing sunspot activity. Earth's climate has a tendency to track sunspot activity, with long quiet periods of sunspot activity, called minimums, heralding equally long period of colder temperatures. Are we entering one of those minimums as some solar astronomers suspect?

Regardless, it would be prudent to examine all of the data available, making sure to take into account all factors that can affect the accuracy of the collected data, as mentioned by Dr. Evans. Otherwise the theory of AGW can never be adequately debated or tested.


Is Britain Doomed?

Any of you that have read this blog for any amount of time know that over the years I've spent quite a bit of time in the UK. I've almost always enjoyed my time there, whether I was visiting for business or to spend time with friends or loved ones. Like many others, I've noticed the changes taking place there. Unfortunately too many of those changes haven't been for the better.

Another person noticing the less than welcome changes is Rachel Lucas, who enlightens us with a story of the laws of decency and of criminal jurisprudence turned upside down.

When a law abiding citizen is brought before a court for her efforts to stop a bunch of young hooligans from vandalizing a World War II memorial to Britain's fallen, you know the society is in deep trouble. Instead of the miscreants being punished for their crimes, they appear to enjoy protection by the courts. As one of them said to her during one confrontation earlier in the year when she tried to prevent them from continuing their vandalizing of public property:

“You can’t touch us, we’re 15, we can do what the f*** we like.”

That's someone who needs some serious time behind the woodshed, getting acquainted with a hickory switch. I know if I had ever mouthed off to an adult like that when I was 15, I'd catch hell from every adult within earshot, and then catch even more once I got home. Those boys need some discipline. It's obvious they aren't getting any at home.

This poor woman's situation reminded me of an experience I had with the older son of my ex-fiancée about 10 years ago when we were riding the Underground (that's “subway” in American English) between her home and central London. The poor kid was being picked on and roughed up by some of the young toughs riding the same train he took daily. This day was no different except that this time I was there.

They started their taunting almost from the time they boarded the train. Then they made the mistake of trying to intimidate me. (I have to confess to a somewhat dark period in my life. Nothing all that shocking, but it taught me a lot about handing idiots like this. You see, I used to work in Boston's notorious Combat Zone when I was in my late teens, a part of town lined with strip joints and other places of ill repute. I dealt with scumbags far worse than the jerks on the train.)

I won't go into details about my less than proper public actions and not exactly polite words to the young bullies. Let's just say that they decided it would be best if they get off at the next stop and took another train. They also decided to leave my ex-fiancée's son alone from that point on. All it took was some proper discipline applied with just the right amount verbal reinforcement and the problem was solved.

If the UK doesn't get on the ball and start enforcing their proper laws, instilling discipline, trying the criminals and leaving the law abiding citizens alone, the UK will cease to exist as a civilized nation. And that would be a shame.


Return Of The Double Nickel - Part 2

Last week I wrote about Senator John Warner (R-VA) and his idea to re-impose the National Maximum Speed Limit and why it was such a bad idea. I have no idea how far his efforts to do so will go. But even if he tries and fails, there may be another way we will see the hated 55MPH speed limit make its return, and neither Congress or state governments will have anything to do with it. Instead it may make its reappearance as a regulation created by the Environmental Protection Agency.

What kind of nonsense is this? How is it they can be allowed to set speed limits on the nation's highways when they have no part in traffic regulations and laws? By using a back door.

That back door has to do with CO2 emissions from cars and trucks. If they slow vehicles down the amount of CO2 emissions will decrease. Never mind the fact there may be additional costs associated with the lower speed limits they have ignored, one of them being time. After all time is money and the longer it takes people or cargo to get from Point A to Point B, the more it can take its toll on the economy.

Never mind the extra cost might be minimal, there's still the idea that this course of action was decided upon by a friggin' bureaucrat rather than our duly elected representative to Congress or our state legislature. The EPA is sticking its nose in where it doesn't belong and where it has no jurisdiction. Nowhere in its charter is it stated they have control over the highways and byways or the laws and regulations governing them.

If the Agency's aim is to lower CO2 emissions, would the lower speed limits apply to electric cars? Why should they be forced to drive at a lower speed if they have no emissions? (Yes, I know that ultimately they do have emissions due the the smokestack gases from fossil-fired power plants. But what if you live in an area that uses little, if any fossil fuel for power plants? Much of New Hampshire's electric power comes from nuclear and hydro, with a few coal and natural gas plants, as well as 5 biomass plants. Does that mean we'd get a pass for electric cars? Of course not.)

This proposal by the EPA is merely an end run around the legislative process, usurping the powers of Congress and the state legislatures. We should let them know in no uncertain terms to back off. Another approach is to take them to court. Yet another is to string a few of 'em up, to let them know of our displeasure. (No, we wouldn't hang them until they are dead. Just until they're mostly dead. Of course, with a bureaucrat that might be hard to do because so many of them are already mostly dead...from the neck up.)


Thoughts On A Sunday

It's been over a week since we've managed to make it out on to the lake. Between jobs, meetings, and weather, we haven't been able to pull it off. Even today is iffy due to the high winds that started late yesterday. We do have plans to make it out on the lake tomorrow, the one day that Deb, BeezleBub and I all have a day off. (Yeah, I'm on my summer work schedule, with every Monday off between now and September.)


Fellow New Hampshire blogger Bruce of No Looking Backwards is already preparing for the upcoming heating season, having procured a woodstove insert for his home. Yours truly commented, giving him a little advice about what needs to be done before he starts using it to heat his home.


Speaking of woodstoves, we start prepping the Official Weekend Pundit Woodstove next month, with a visit by the chimney sweep and the replacement of the gasket on the stove door.

We begin hauling firewood from the WP In-Laws in September...all seven cords of it. We'll make two trips in the fall, not wishing to repeat the experience we had last March.


Watching this morning's edition of Good Morning America I was surprised to see a report about how the so-called recession is more in the minds of people rather than a fact. Another surprise: they placed a lot of the blame on the media for making a weakened economy even worse by stoking consumers' fears about a recession, making many people dial back their spending. Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy.


At least US exports have reached record levels.


Will the trend towards four day school weeks/work weeks continue as energy prices continue their climb? I dare say it will. There's a lot of money to be saved by reducing the number of days kids must be bussed to and from school or workers must commute to and from their jobs. With schools, it also reduces the number of days the thermostats must be turned up during the heating season.

As I've mentioned before, my employer is considering doing something along these lines, at least as far as reducing the number of commuting days. Unfortunately sales and technical support require 5 days per week coverage, though there may be ways of working around that with call forwarding and remote access to the corporate network.


It looks like Paul Campos has got it all figured out: The Elitists will fix everything.


The shockwaves from the Supreme Court's Heller decision still reverberate among the anti-gun MSM and politicians. Some still haven't quite clued in that legally owned guns aren't the problem and never have been. Others aren't willing to believe the Framers of the Constitution meant exactly what they wrote or that the Bill of Rights didn't grant rights to the people, but enumerated them as a natural rights that cannot be infringed. John Stossel tries to set them right.


Here's yet another example of politically correct idiocy.

At a recent meeting of city officials in Dallas County, Texas, a small racial brouhaha broke out. County commissioners were hashing out difficulties with way the central collections office handles traffic tickets. Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield found himself guilty of talking while white. He observed that the bureaucracy "has become a black hole" for lost paperwork.

Fellow Commissioner John Wiley Price took great offense, shouting, "Excuse me!" That office, the black commissioner explained, has become a "white hole."

Seizing on the outrage, Judge Thomas Jones demanded that Mayfield apologize for the "racially insensitive analogy," in the words of the Dallas Morning News' City Hall Blog.

You have got to be kidding me! Making reference to an astronomic phenomenon is a “racially insensitive analogy”? Somebody needs to be taken out behind the woodshed to have this politically correct BS beaten out of them. This is the most asinine thing I've ever heard.


Coyote has some interesting links, thoughts, and comments about taxes and their effect on the economy. One commenter proves he didn't pay attention during his Econ 101 classes, assuming he even took an economy course.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where summer vacation is in full swing, gas prices are still going up, and where I don't have to get up Monday morning!


Bush Was Right To Ignore Kyoto

As much as it may pain many of the more faithful believers in Anthropogenic Global Warming, it turns out George W. Bush's approach to the reduction of greenhouse gases was the right one.

Bush has been criticized for not embracing the Kyoto Protocols, a treaty that was rejected unanimously by the US Senate during the Clinton administration. It obligated the US to onerous measures in order to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many of those measures would have crippled the US economy while those countries exempt from the limits imposed by Kyoto would have been able to continue increasing their emissions and expand their economies with no consequence. President Bush certainly wasn't going to sign on something that would do nothing but impoverish the US.

As time has shown, Bush made the right decision. Many nations that were signatories to Kyoto haven't even come close to meeting their greenhouse gas emission goals, with most of them seeing their emissions rise. On the other hand, the US has decreased its greenhouse gas emissions 3% since 2002 and they're still falling. With the large increase in energy prices over the past year, I would expect they'll fall off at an even greater rate.

The US has been doing what the Kyoto signatories have failed to do, and we didn't have to destroy our economy to do it. We did it our way, not by following draconian measures laid out by parties that do not have our best interests at heart.


Gun Control

Larry Elder ponders the question '”Why do we keep and bear arms?”, ruminating about the use of firearms by law abiding citizens and the relationship between the ability to keep and carry firearms and crime rates. However, while Elder brings up valid points, it is the comment from one of his readers that got me chuckling, if for no other reason than he's dead on about the topic of gun control.

At ease, maggots.

Sergeant Slaughter's here.

Gun control? GUN CONTROL?!

What kind of maggot thinks we don't need gun control?

Of course we need gun control!!

Without proper gun control, how the #$%@#% hell are ya gonna hit anything?

After properly training myself, I have the gun control I need to get a nice tight three shot grouping right smack dab in the middle of the &*^%&$ target!

Of course, I know you %#(@%& lefties are thinking gun control means law abiding citizens shouldn't have guns. Well, you maggots need to pull you heads out of your collective *ss!

What are ya gonna do to defend yourself? Take careful aim and throw your liberal bleeding heart at a violent intruder in your home? Yeah, pukes, why don't you see if that works?

After the intruder eats you alive for breakfast, maybe eventually the puke will decide to break into the home of yours truly, and then I can show him the meaning of proper gun control.

"Nuff said!

Fall out!



Greens Are Not Friends Of The Environment

At least someone out there understands the Greens are not friends of the environmental movement, but rather have their own agenda which has little to do with protecting the environment.


The Constitution Means Exactly What It Says

How many of you out there have heard this phrase:

“The Constitution is a living document.”

I know I've heard it hundreds, if not thousands of times. While I understand the sentiment behind it, most often spoken by the more left-wing Democrats, it is a falsehood. Why do I say that? Let me take you through my thinking about this and see if you agree (or disagree).

First, the Constitution was the template to which all laws passed by Congress or the states would be compared. If those laws violated one or more of the articles or amendments, it would be invalid. This 'template' was in place to prevent unjust or morally reprehensible laws from being created or enforced.

Second, the Framers understood that there would be times when it would be desirable to make changes to the Constitution and created a mechanism to do that. The idea was that a supermajority of the states (two-thirds) would have to agree with any amendments proposed. This requirement for ratification helps prevent trivial or specious changes to the Constitution. After the Bill of Rights (the first 10 Amendments) there have been 17 other amendments made to the Constitution, a small number when you think about it. Some corrected oversights by the Framers, others did away with laws or practices that were found to be reprehensible by any measure (slavery, denying women and blacks the right to vote, to name a couple). Others have been proposed, but failed to be ratified. Only one Amendment was ratified to negate a previous Amendment (the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment [Prohibition]).

Third, many claim we have no knowledge or idea what was in the minds of the Framers, meaning the various Articles and Amendments are open to interpretation (or re-interpretation). It is not true. The Federalist Papers give a excellent picture of the thinking behind and the meaning of each portion of the Constitution. I don't know how any claims to the contrary can possibly be entertained.

So what about the claim the Constitution is a “living document”? My question to those making such a statement: If the meaning of the Constitution can be changed by nothing more than the decision of a judge, then does it really mean anything at all? If that's the case, then any of the Articles or Amendments can be interpreted to mean anything at all, turning the meaning of any part of it upside down and inside out until it is unrecognizable. If that's indeed the case, it implies the Constitution is utterly meaningless.

Instead, the Constitution is supposed to be the rock upon which our rights are to be supported, our laws to be held to close scrutiny. If it needs to be changed to keep up with the times, then it is up to us to use the mechanism the Framers created to do so. Capricious “changes” wrought by a court and not by the people is a dangerous thing, imperiling our inalienable rights. But that's what the more radical Left wants, enabling them to push through new 'amendments' they know would never be ratified by Congress and the states because they fly in the face of the very Constitution they seek to distort. That is the so-called “living document” they praise, not the one we've been taught is supposed to be the supreme law of the land.


Doomsday Shmoomsday - Who Cares?

I don't know about you folks out there, but I am just about sick to death listening to all the doomsayers and nihilists, proclaiming that we're all doomed because [Enter favorite cause for predicted annihilation here]. There seem to be 30,000 different reasons why we're all gonna DIE. Don't any of these people talk to each other if for no other reason than to coordinate their doomsday scenarios? All any of this confusion does is panic people unnecessarily or exhausts them to the point where they stop listening, even if there is a 'good' reason to panic.

Me, I'm gonna pull the covers over my head and get some more shuteye.......


Rabble Rousers And Publicity Seekers

Sometimes it takes government time to get things right, even at the local level. And sometimes it takes the watchful eyes of citizens to point out when government gets it wrong.

In one case, two concerned and outspoken citizens blew the whistle when their county government broke the law in regards to selecting a replacement to serve out the county sheriff's term, which was left vacant when the sheriff stepped down.

According to New Hampshire state law, such an action is supposed to take place during a public meeting, but the county convention did it by secret ballot, violating the state's Right To Know law. The two citizens filed suit in state court and the court found in their favor, agreeing the county convention had erred, voting in secret when they should have voted publicly.

The convention voted on the replacement again, and got it wrong again, which prompted another filing with the court. The poor replacement for the sheriff has now been in and out of office twice, and has taken it personally, even though the two citizens involved have stated more than once they have no objection to the county's selection, only to the county's illegal procedure.

Now it's gotten ugly, with threatening letters to the two citizens showing up and a police investigation started due to those letters.

If nothing else this series of events show we have to watch our government closely, at every level, in order to ensure they follow the same laws just like the rest of us. We should never be intimidated into silence by those who are governing with our consent, which can be withdrawn at any time.


Thoughts On A Sunday

The Fourth of July weather cooperated, giving us a beautiful day. If only every summer day was like that!

Yesterday was spent at one one of the WP siblings for a family get together. Cousins by the dozen(s) attended and a good time was had by all.


High gas prices have been having an effect on people's plans for summer vacation. We've certainly seen that here in New Hampshire, with the number of out of state summer tourists down a bit, but in state tourists making up for some of it. A large influx of Canadian tourists have also been making up for the drop in out of state tourists.

One place the effect has been quite evident has been out on Lake Winnipesaukee, with boat traffic down a noticeable amount, despite reports in the statewide newspaper to the contrary. I've certainly noticed boat traffic being far less than it has been in previous years. Boat traffic was down last year when gas prices on the lake were $3.50 per gallon. This year it's about $4.60 per gallon. You can't tell me it's not having an effect on boat traffic.


Why does the MSM keep making comparisons between today's economy and the Great Depression? We aren't even in a recession, yet to hear the media tell it we're only a hairsbreadth away from our economy being worse than the Depression.

It almost seems they'll be greatly disappointed if the economy doesn't tank and the unemployment rate doesn't reach 20% or higher. It also seems they'll do what they can to make it happen, making dire predictions and scaring the crap out of everyone in order to bring about the economic collapse they want.


Will Obama have to worry about the Veterans For Freedom doing to him what the Swift Boat Veterans did to John Kerry? The VFF will start running TV ads touting the truth of the results of the surge in Iraq and the progress made there and in Afghanistan, which too much of the media has ignored.

Obama appears to be ready to flip-flop on Iraq and the VFF will undoubted hammer him on his stands on Iraq and the surge.


And speaking of Barack Obama, making a comparison between him and John McCain when each is “under fire.” The response of the two candidates after Wes Clarke slammed John McCain shows one of the differences between the two.


With the rapid rise of oil prices, both businesses and municipalities have been looking for ways to cut energy consumption.

Some businesses have shifted their work schedules to reduce the number days their employees must commute, with many of those going to 4 ten-hour work days. By staggering the work schedules the businesses remain open 5 days a week, but commuter costs drop 20%. Other businesses are allowing more of their employees to telecommute.

Some police departments have decreased the amount of miles patrol cars will cover during a shift, with officers spending more time on foot or bicycle.

Schools in the northern climes have also considered switching to a 4 day schedule to reduce their heating and lighting costs once the heating season starts. This will also reduce the amount of fuel needed to bus students to and from school by 20%.


Speaking of oil prices, is it possible oil prices could collapse? The usual driving forces for rising prices aren't really there. The rising prices seem to be more the result of a bubble, and like all bubbles they eventually deflate or burst.


It looks like al Qaeda in Iraq has finally lost its last stronghold, driven out of Mosul or killed. The once feared terrorist organization has been savaged and is a shadow of its former self. With this development the chances for the Iraqi government's success has increased.


Will the UK economy come to resemble that of the stagnant 1970's? If so, paint PM Gordon Brown gone.


And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the crowds of the Fourth of July weekend have gone, the quiet has returned, and where quiet boating awaits the rest of us.


Return Of The Double Nickel?

This is something I never thought I would see again, the old National Maximum Speed Limit. Senator John Warner (R-VA) has suggested bringing back the maximum speed limit in an effort to reduce gasoline consumption.

Sen. John Warner, R-Va., asked Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman to look into what speed limit would provide optimum gasoline efficiency given current technology. He said he wants to know if the administration might support efforts in Congress to require a lower speed limit.

Congress in 1974 set a national 55 mph speed limit because of energy shortages caused by the Arab oil embargo. The speed limit was repealed in 1995 when crude oil dipped to $17 a barrel and gasoline cost $1.10 a gallon.

Warner cited studies that showed the 55 mph speed limit saved 167,000 barrels of oil a day, or 2 percent of the country's highway fuel consumption, while avoiding up to 4,000 traffic deaths a year.

I recall some of those studies, and most were discredited when all of the gathered data was analyzed. The so-called savings were not due to people driving slower, but by people cutting back on the amount of driving they were doing. Less driving equates to less fuel being used, just as is happening today. There's no need to re-impose the NMSL, one of the most ignored and hated laws since Prohibition. It will do very little to save gas and will serve only to increase state and county coffers as the Revenue Enhancement Squads (also called such things like State Police, County Sheriff, local Police Departments, etc) will once again have an artificially low speed limit as a means to generate revenue.

I'm surprised Warner repeated the old canard “55 Saves Lives”, a statistic manipulated by what has become to be called the “Safety Nazis” and the “Anti-Destination League”.

While the NMSL was originally enacted as a temporary measure during the Arab Oil Embargo, it was made permanent when the Safety Nazis and ADL pointed out the number of traffic fatalities also fell. What they hid from the lawmakers was the fatality rate, the number of traffic deaths per millions of passenger miles traveled, also declined, just as it had been since 1926. If you looked at a graph covering from 1926 to 2003, you would not be able to pick out the period when the hated Double Nickel was in force. The downward graph shows the normal year to year variations, but the trend has always been down. Even when the control of speed limits was returned to the states in 1995 and speed limits were raised to 65, 70, 75MPH or higher, the fatality rate continued its decline. There was no “bloodbath on the highways,” as many of the Safety Nazis predicted.

To return to the bad old days of a law universally ignored and reviled is foolish. The cost of gas and diesel has already spurred most motorists to cut consumption by driving less, driving smarter (staying at or below the existing speed limits, making sure their tires are properly inflated, an so on), buying more fuel efficient vehicles, or a combination of the three.


Remember Their Mistakes

It isn't just the Founding Fathers' triumphs we should remember on this day, but their mistakes as well.

It reminds us that they were not infallible. It also makes what it is they accomplished, mainly the founding of one of the greatest nations on the earth, seem all the more incredible.

Happy Fourth of July!

This is one way to celebrate the Fourth of July:


Steyn On Obama

I have to agree with Mark Steyn's sentiment on this one:

Speaking personally, I don't want to remake America. I'm an immigrant, and one reason I came here is because most of the rest of the Western world remade itself along the lines Sen. Obama has in mind. This is pretty much the end of the line for me. If he remakes America, there's nowhere for me to go – although presumably once he's lowered sea levels around the planet there should be a few new atolls popping up here and there.

(H/T Samizdata)

Belief Is All It Takes

I linked to this WSJ opinion piece yesterday, but really should have dug into it a bit more than I did.

As Bret Stephens explains it, the true believers in anthropogenic global warming don't need proof or science or data, because they believe. They want it to be true. They need it to be true.

The real place where discussions of global warming belong is in the realm of belief, and particularly the motives for belief. I see three mutually compatible explanations.

The first is as a vehicle of ideological convenience. Socialism may have failed as an economic theory, but global warming alarmism, with its dire warnings about the consequences of industry and consumerism, is equally a rebuke to capitalism. Take just about any other discredited leftist nostrum of yore – population control, higher taxes, a vast new regulatory regime, global economic redistribution, an enhanced role for the United Nations – and global warming provides a justification. One wonders what the left would make of a scientific "consensus" warning that some looming environmental crisis could only be averted if every college-educated woman bore six children: Thumbs to "patriarchal" science; curtains to the species.

These are the “watermelon” environmentalists – Green on the outside, Red on the inside. Any excuse to exert control over the great unwashed masses (that's you and me, folks) is just fine with them. If they can't sell outright overt socialism, then they can use global warming as a back door entry into the lives of the world's population.

A second explanation is theological. Surely it is no accident that the principal catastrophe predicted by global warming alarmists is diluvian in nature. Surely it is not a coincidence that modern-day environmentalists are awfully biblical in their critique of the depredations of modern society: "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." That's Genesis, but it sounds like Jim Hansen.

And surely it is in keeping with this essentially religious outlook that the "solutions" chiefly offered to global warming involve radical changes to personal behavior, all of them with an ascetic, virtue-centric bent: drive less, buy less, walk lightly upon the earth and so on. A light carbon footprint has become the 21st-century equivalent of sexual abstinence.

Hmm. Where have we heard this line of reasoning before? Could it be from folks like the Taliban, al Qaeda, and other militant fundamental religious cults of a number of faiths? They want us to return a few centuries into the past, eschewing the modern conveniences all in the name of saving the earth. But it wouldn't surprise me that they would exempt themselves from such restrictions because they would need much of that technology to keep an eye on the rest of us, right? Of course it would also mean we would then fall prey to illnesses and diseases we rarely see anymore because the means to treat them would be against God's will...except for them, of course.

Finally, there is a psychological explanation. Listen carefully to the global warming alarmists, and the main theme that emerges is that what the developed world needs is a large dose of penance. What's remarkable is the extent to which penance sells among a mostly secular audience. What is there to be penitent about?

As it turns out, a lot, at least if you're inclined to believe that our successes are undeserved and that prosperity is morally suspect. In this view, global warming is nature's great comeuppance, affirming as nothing else our guilty conscience for our worldly success.

This last one ties in closely with the second one, and makes me wonder what our ancestors from 100 or 200 years ago would say about this foolishness.

I have little doubt the Founding Fathers would be walking around dope-slapping the lot of these AGW believers. They would see it for the foolishness it is, as would anyone from back then. This need to 'voluntarily' dismantle a society based solely upon an over-hyped and unproven theory would be seen for what it is: stupidity.


AGW - Science Or Neurosis?

In response to this post about anthropogeneic global warming, a commenter suggested I visit their blog and read their take on the issue of global warming. It is something I could have responded to immediately, but decided to hold off for a short while in order to gather my counter to the 'fact' of AGW.

My biggest problem with the whole AGW claim is that we are solely responsible for the climate change over the past 150 years or so, with too many of the so-called 'warmists' using temperature recordings over that period to prove what's happening and that it's all our fault. They conveniently ignore the previous 850 years of climate during which the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age occurred. During the Medieval Warm Period (approximately 700 through 1300 A.D.) global temperatures were warmer than they are today. The old canard about Leif Erikson conning Viking settlers to Greenland by calling it “Greenland” was disproved years ago. Greenland was actually green, with a temperate climate not unlike New England or the northern Mid-Atlantic states of today. It wasn't until the Little Ice Age descended upon mankind around 1300 A.D that Greenland became a cold and inhospitable place to live. The settlers finally had to abandon their homes when agriculture was no longer possible and fishing was too poor to sustain them.

How do we know this? Part of it is in written records kept by the Norse and part by archaeological research at the sites of the settlements, showing hundreds of years of agricultural work done by the settlers of the kind only possible in a temperate climate.

Looking back even farther in the past one must take into account the Roman Warm Period, when there was a lengthy time of well above 'average' temperatures. It was even warm enough for vineyards in northern England/southern Scotland. (The Romans never really tamed the rest of Scotland. The Picts saw to that.) Some vineyards were also prevelent during the Medieval Warm Period, but not to the extent seen during the earlier Roman Period.

Work done by Dr. Henrik Svensmark of the Danish Space Research Institute has postulated a direct >tie in with the solar activity during those two periods as well as the cold periods between them and from the Medieval Warm Period and today. There are those who disagree with Svensmark's conclusions, but also plenty of climatologists that see there is something to Svensmark's theory.

I think my biggest problem is that too many are more than willing to ascribe climate change to a single cause, particularly the AGW proponents. Far too many people on both sides of the debate are willing to cast aside data or additional theories that are in direct conflict with their beliefs or try to minimize factors that may have as great or even greater affect on climate.

One chart used by my erstwhile commenter shows changes in the CO2 and changes in temperatures. Does anyone else notice the same things I did?

First, it shows a somewhat regular cycle from the beginning of the chart to the end. Second, it shows both increases and decreases in both CO2 levels and temperatures. What is driving those cycles? It sure as heck isn't likely to be human activity, is it? Obviously not. Could it possibly be driven by the sun's change in activity in a combination of the 11 year, 23 year, and 178 year solar cycles?

Regardless of the mechanisms driving climate charge – warming or cooling – there's far too much hysteria out there making debate difficult, if not impossible. The AGW folks seem to driven to neurosis, their cause taking on the characteristics of obsession, or worse, a religious cult.

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the mass hysteria phenomenon known as global warming. Much of the science has since been discredited.

What, discredited? Thousands of scientists insist otherwise, none more noisily than NASA's Jim Hansen, who first banged the gong with his June 23, 1988, congressional testimony (delivered with all the modesty of "99% confidence").

But mother nature has opinions of her own. NASA now begrudgingly confirms that the hottest year on record in the continental 48 was not 1998, as previously believed, but 1934, and that six of the 10 hottest years since 1880 antedate 1954. Data from 3,000 scientific robots in the world's oceans show there has been slight cooling in the past five years, never mind that "80% to 90% of global warming involves heating up ocean waters," according to a report by NPR's Richard Harris.

This WSJ opinion piece goes on to claim that too much of the environmental/climate change movement has been hijacked by those with a political or ideological ax to grind, leaving the actual scientists out of the debate, except for those who are willing to trade their scientific objectivity for personal gain, political or monetary. (Let's face it, there are millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars out there for grants and research, particularly if you'll use the money to prove climate change, specifically warming, is All-The-Fault-Of-The-Evil-Humans™. That's one hell of an incentive.


The Six Week Rule

Here's a little Carlin for you, ironically enough, speaking about death and address books.

While I do not agree with his view that there is no Heaven, he does bring up some questions that do need to be pondered.

Work Now For Lower Energy Prices Tomorrow

Will Congress actually do something about energy prices, or will they continue making bleating noises while pointing fingers, and in the end, accomplish nothing? Unfortunately it appears the former is more likely than the latter. At least on Republican knows this and is trying to do something about it.

Senator John Sununu (R-NH) brings up some interesting points about what's really needed, reminding us of what's come before and how little has changed over the years since the last energy crunch.

I remember the oil spikes of 1973, 1980 and 1990. Time and circumstances may have changed, but families and small businesses in New Hampshire feel it just the same. Higher prices for heating oil, gas, and propane drain budgets and hurt the economy. This challenge, like those past, can and must be overcome.

While the date has changed, the proposals from the far left have not: Increase energy taxes, start a lawsuit, ignore the potential of nuclear power, and above all, oppose all new production of American oil and gas.

And to top it off, they'll try to convince us it's for our own good, but not actually get around to explaining why, other than to say we wouldn't understand. I guess that shows us what it is they think of the rest of us. You know...the un-enlightened. Never mind that most of the so-called un-enlightened are far more intelligent than they are because we actually understand the problems most of us face and know how to solve them without the help of the government and, most important, without them.

Maybe it's time to give them a dose of reality.