Monday, April 30, 2007

Anthro-centric global scare-mongering, XXXV

A whole host of news on the anthopogenic global warming front today, some on the scare-mongering side, some on the skeptic side. We'll start with the scare mongers.

Agence France Presse reports that France has experienced the hottest April since reliable nationwide record-keeping began in 1950
with the average temperature four degrees Celsius higher than the usual 10 degrees (50 Fahrenheit), the national weather office said Monday.

In the northern half of France, averages recorded between the first and the 24 of April were between 8 and 12 degrees higher than the seasonal norm, said Meteo France.

Holy cow! That oughta give global warming a huge boost, don't you think? But at the end of this brief article comes a review of the GW data:
Amid growing fears over global warming, experts say average temperatures have already risen 0.74 degrees Celsius over the past century and predict that they will rise another four degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

So it would appear that 8-12 degrees higher than seasonal norms doesn't translate into a big uptick in the rate of global warming temperature increases. But couldn't the conclusion be drawn that the press adds the global warming reference to forward the idea that those huge increases in seasonal temperature norms are caused by global warming?

Next, our erstwhile Vice President has stuck his oar in the water of environmental politics in Canada. According to the AP:
Canada aims to reduce the current level of greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020. But the government acknowledged it would not meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, which requires 35 industrialized countries to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

The country's emissions are now 30 percent above 1990 levels.

So Mr. Gore said:
...the plan did not make clear how Canada would reach its 2020 emissions goal. He also criticized the plan for allowing industries to pollute more if they use emissions-cutting technologies while increasing production.

"In my opinion, it is a complete and total fraud," Gore said Saturday. "It is designed to mislead the Canadian people."

At least he also acknowledged that, as an American, he had "no right to interfere" in a Canadian decision. But, by golly, he was going to get some TV time by denouncing them!

Then there's a story about how a British airline has rejected the advances of numerous "snake oil" carbon offset entrepreneurs and decided to offer carbon offsets to its passengers by itself. This whole area is one that messes with my head. According to the Guardian story:
Carbon offsetting is one of the most popular means of atoning for CO2-generating activities such as flying or driving to work. It allows consumers to contribute to projects such as tree planting to negate the effect of their flight or commute.

"Atoning?" What the heck does that mean, you ask? Well, it beats my pair of jacks! Atone for what? Elsewhere in that same article comes this:
There is also debate about the efficiency of such schemes. Scientists warned recently that one of the most popular offsetting investments, in planting trees, could contribute to global warming if the trees were planted outside the tropics because they would trap heat and absorb carbon.

So if you do your personal part to save the planet by planting trees, you might be making things worse by forgetting that tree-planting to offset your carbon dioxide emissions only works if you live in the tropics. At least, that's the way it sounds to me.

Now, to get away from the fever swamps of the global warmists, more from the United States' leading hurricane forecaster:
global ocean currents, not human-produced carbon dioxide, are responsible for global warming. William Gray, a Colorado State University researcher, also said the Earth may begin to cool on its own in five to 10 years.

Well, hallelujah! Don't let up on 'em, Mr. Gray! This story appeared in the Daily Telegraph relating Gray's presentation before a group of Members of Parliament in England:
Dr Gray had harsh words for researchers and politicians who said man-made greenhouse gases were responsible for global warming.

"They are blaming it all on humans, which is crazy," he said.

"We're not the cause of it."

Dr Gray said in the past 40 years the number of serious hurricanes making landfall on the US Atlantic coast had declined even though carbon dioxide levels had risen.

He said increasing levels of carbon dioxide would not produce more, or stronger, hurricanes.

Dr Gray, 77, has long criticised the theory that heat-trapping gases generated by human activity are causing the world to warm.

Music to my ears!

And this from Mars:
From The Sunday Times
April 29, 2007

Climate change hits Mars

Mars is being hit by rapid climate change and it is happening so fast that the red planet could lose its southern ice cap, writes Jonathan Leake.

Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.

Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena.

I like that last bit: "...could be natural phenomena." As if somehow it could be un-natural, perhaps human-caused phenomena! Say! Maybe it's all of those Martian exploration bots that we've been sending up there lately, and those rockets that orbited the planet and polluted the atmosphere!

And, finally, the Daily Mail reports that UN scientists – the ones that brought you the IPCC report that has been so much in the news in the past couple of months – are suggesting something very interesting to save the planet:
Nuclear power will save the world, UN scientists claim

30th April 2007

Leading scientists are today expected to back a major expansion of nuclear power as a way of saving the world from global warming.

Other measures in a United Nations report include the use of GM crops to produce biofuels and the "capture and storage" underground of harmful CO2 gases.

The new report is the third this year by the UN climate panel. An IPCC report in February said it was at least 90 per cent certain that mankind was to blame for global warming and on 6 April it warned of more hunger, droughts and rising seas.

"We're moving from two very sobering reports to what we can do about climate change," said Achim Steiner, the head of the UN's environment programme. "And we can do it."

As well as plans for more nuclear power, genetically modified biofuels and carbon storage, the report sets out a vision of the future that is a mixture of existing policies, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy from wind and wave farms, and more futuristic ideas for hydrogen car fleets and "intelligent" buildings which can control energy use.

Of course, not all global warmists are happy about this development:
The report has also angered environmentalists. Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth said: "Nuclear reactors are dangerous and land clearance and chemical pesticides and fertilisers used to grow fuel crops can cause huge environmental damage."

My, my! You just can't please these people!

Tax Freedom Day '07

How long do you work each year in order to unload your tax burden? The Tax Foundation calculates "Tax Freedom Day" every year. Today, April 30th, is that day for the United States as a whole, though states vary quite a bit, from April 12th in Alabama and Oklahoma up to May 20th in Connecticut. In other words -- as if you needed to be reminded -- your total tax burden is discharged only after working for four whole months, 1/3 of the entire year. Do you think you're getting your money's worth? Will Rogers said, "Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for."

All the data and rankings are here, but I thought I'd reproduce a few of the graphics, just to make you feel good about your government! (Note: click on the graphics to see larger versions)

First is a chart showing where Tax Freedom Day has fallen in the past up to today. Note the big dip after the Bush tax cuts:

How many days, on average, do Americans work to pay their various kinds of taxes (sales, property, income, etc.)? This chart tells you. (NB: Did you know that you're on the hook for corporate income taxes?):

Finally, how much, on average, does an American work to earn his daily bread compared to how long he works just to pay his taxes?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Anthro-centric global scare-mongering, XXXIV

I'd say bovine Beano would do the trick:
New law sounds full of hot air

April 28, 2007

BARMY Euro MPs are demanding new laws to stop cows and sheep PARPING.

Their call came after the UN said livestock emissions were a bigger threat to the planet than transport.

The MEPs have asked the European Commission to “look again at the livestock question in direct connection with global warming”.

The official EU declaration demands changes to animals’ diets, to capture gas emissions and recycle manure.

They warned: “The livestock sector presents the greatest threat to the planet.” The proposal will be looked at by the 27 member states.

The UN says livestock farming generates 18 per cent of greenhouse gases while transport accounts for 14 per cent.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Anthro-centric global scare-mongering, XXXIII

If any more evidence was needed to prove that global warmists are politically motivated and not, repeat not, motivated by the truth, there is this story from the Associated Press on efforts by a group of British scientists to edit a film openly skeptical about anthropogenic global warming:
Film on Global Warming Is Challenged

Wednesday April 25, 3:22 pm ET
By Raphael G. Satter, Associated Press Writer

Scientists Demand Changes to Global Warming Skeptic's Film

LONDON (AP) -- A group of British climate scientists is demanding changes to a skeptical documentary about global warming, saying there are grave errors in the program billed as a response to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth."

"The Great Global Warming Swindle" aired on British television in March and is coming out soon on DVD. It argues that man-made emissions have a marginal impact on the world's climate and warming can better be explained by changing patterns of solar activity.

An open letter sent Tuesday by 38 scientists, including the former heads of Britain's academy of sciences and Britain's weather office, called on producer Wag TV to remove what it called "major misrepresentations" from the film before the DVD release -- a demand its director said was tantamount to censorship.

Can you imagine the "heads of Britain's academy of sciences" writing such a letter to the director of a movie openly skeptical about, say, evolution or the Big Bang? I hear no outcry from these "heads" regarding the exaggerations and hyperbole in Gore's film.

Speaking of our erstwhile Vice President,
Gore has been hired as an adviser to the British government, which plans to send copies of his film to schools around England.

So, according to the article,
British broadcast law demands impartiality on matters of major political and industrial controversy -- and penalties can be imposed for misrepresentations of fact.

Oh, really? Then they must already have decided that "An Inconvenient Truth" is the gospel according to Gore. No misrepresentations there, no sir! No fixation on the absolute maximum possible negative effects of any and all conceivable factors contributing to climate change to make it look like humans are the major and most destructive players. No, it's completely politically neutral! Honest!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Zero intelligence, C

This will be the final posting under the title "Zero intelligence" or "I love stories like this". This is the one hundredth posting. I find it fitting that the series ends with this story:

Boy jailed over clock change mix-up

Thursday, April 5, 2007

A fifteen-year old boy in America was incarcerated for twelve days, wrongly accused of making a hoax bomb threat - because his school had forgotten that the clocks had gone forward.

Cody Webb was arrested last month, after Hempfield Area High School received a bomb threat on their student hotline – which provides a range of information to students about the school - at 3.17am on March 11th. They believed they'd found the culprit when they traced the phone number they thought was responsible to Webb.

Unfortunately, they forgot that the clocks had switched to Daylight Saving Time that morning. Webb, who's never even had a detention in his life, had actually made his call an hour earlier.

Despite the fact that the recording of the call featured a voice that sounded nothing like Webb's, the police arrested Webb and he spent 12 days in a juvenile detention facility before the school eventually realised their mistake.

Webb gave an insight into the school's impressive investigative techniques, saying that he was ushered in to see the principal, Kathy Charlton. She asked him what his phone number was, and , according to Webb, when he replied 'she started waving her hands in the air and saying “we got him, we got him.”'

'They just started flipping out, saying I made a bomb threat to the school,' he told local television station KDKA. After he protested his innocence, Webb says that the principal said: 'Well, why should we believe you? You're a criminal. Criminals lie all the time.'

All charges against Webb have now been dropped.

So, might he at least get some extra credit for his extended field trip?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Inane, ineffectual, counter-productive and insulting to the intelligence

That's what The Telegraph's Toby Harnden has to say about the boycott of Israeli goods by the British National Union of Journalists (NUJ). Why, you might ask, would journalists boycott a country's goods? Excellent question! According to Mr. Harnden, a member of the NUJ,
because of the "savage, pre-planned attack on Lebanon by Israel".

You might ask:
Israel's "savage, pre-planned attack" on Lebanon? Er, am I missing something or wasn't last summer's conflict sparked by Hezbollah firing rockets and mortars at Israeli border villages and kidnapping two Israeli soldiers (who still have not been released) and killing three other troops?

Harnden goes on:
[I]f the NUJ is going to go in for this sort of posturing, how about boycotting goods from countries that really abuse human rights? A glance down the list of NUJ motions reveals a childish fixation with trendy-Leftie causes. There's a Guantanamo motion that expresses "concern" (that'll make a difference) about "the systematic violation of human rights by the US Military".

Another "applauds the advances made by the Venezuelan people and government in redistributing the country's wealth" and condemns "disinformation" that encourages "unjustified stereotypes of the Venezuelan president as a dictator who is repressing the local media".

So the NUJ is now dictating that its members should all write that Hugo Chavez is a great chap? Clear the front pages. And if you read the anti-Israel motions, you will spot a complete absence of any sense of journalistic impartiality. The "slaughter of civilians" by Israel is condemned (no mention of suicide bombings or human rights abuses by Palestinian militias, needless to say), as is the "savage, pre-planned attack on Lebanon by Israel" and "continued attacks inside Lebanon following the defeat of its army by Hezbollah".

Well worth your time.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Weren't they supposed to be safe now?

Shades of the 7th century! The Moors are coming! The Moors are coming! So says this story:
Thursday, April 12, 2007 at 13:11

Alarm in Spain over al-Qaeda call for its "reconquest"

By Sinikka Tarvainen

Madrid (dpa) - The emergence of a new al-Qaeda-linked organization in Northern Africa is alarming Spain, which is concerned about Islamists' calls for the reconquest of the country they regard as a lost part of the Muslim world. "We will not be in peace until we set our foot again in our beloved al-Andalus," al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said on claiming responsibility for an attack which killed at least 24 people in Algiers on Wednesday.

Al-Andalus is the Moorish name for Spain, parts of which were ruled by Muslims for about eight centuries until the last Moorish bastion, Granada, succumbed to the Christian Reconquest in 1492.

The terrorists will undoubtedly attempt to extend their offensive from Northern Africa to European soil, anti-terrorism judge Baltasar Garzon warned, cautioning that Spain was at a "very high risk" of suffering an Islamist attack.

The reference to al-Andalus was not the first by al-Qaeda, which has also vowed to put an end to the Spanish "occupation" of the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the Moroccan coast.

Such announcements worry the security services in Spain, where 29 mainly Moroccan suspects are on trial for the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 and injured about 1,800 people.

Ohhhh! That's why there's all the hub-bub. That train bombing was punishment for Spain's part in the Iraq War; but the Spaniards weren't supposed to actually go after the perpetrators! I get it! If Spain would just have taken its lumps, just turned the other cheek like a good Christian nation, nobody else would get hurt! Nobody's country would be overrun by islamo-fascists!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Zero intelligence, XCIX

It had to come to this eventually: white people in Seattle must acknowledge their "destructive power" by sending their kids to the White Privilege Conference at the University of Colorado. The Seattle School District
presumes racism is institutionalized in Seattle schools and that students of color are inherently disadvantaged.

Great way to start the day, isn't it, knowing that you're either advantaged or disadvantaged?

This is the Mission Statement of the WPC:
The Conference on White Privilege serves as a yearly opportunity to examine and explore issues of white privilege, diversity, multicultural education, multicultural leadership, social justice, race/racism, sexual orientation, gender relations, and other systems of privilege/oppression. It provides participants the opportunity to get honest about the type of society in which we live, and the advantages that accrue to some but not others. The conference offers a means to develop and sustain ongoing work to dismantle this system of white privilege, white supremacy, and oppression.

"Ongoing work to dismantle this system of white privilege." Did you know this was going on?

There is an incredible ... er, unbelievable ... um, interesting Q&A regarding the conference. Here's the whole ball of wax rolled up into the answer to the critical question (emphasis mine):
Q. Is this about proving how bad white folks are?

A. Our attempts to dismantle dominance and oppression must follow a path other than that of either vilifying or obliterating Whiteness... Whites need to acknowledge and work through the negative historical implications of 'Whiteness' and create for ourselves a transformed identity as White people committed to equality and social change. Our goal is neither to defy or denigrate Whiteness, but to diffuse its destructive power.

To teach my white students and my own children that they are 'not White' is to do them a disservice. To teach them that there a different ways of being White, and that they have a choice as White people to become champions of justice and social healing, is to provide them a positive direction for growth and to grant them the dignity of their own being.

Ye gods! Why can't we just teach the kids manners instead? Or is that "too white"?

Monday, April 09, 2007

What he said

"Richard S. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has always been funded exclusively by the U.S. government. He receives no funding from any energy companies."

OK, are we clear on that point? Fine. Now what does the Professor have to say?
Why So Gloomy?

By Richard S. Lindzen
Newsweek International

April 16, 2007 issue - Judging from the media in recent months, the debate over global warming is now over. There has been a net warming of the earth over the last century and a half, and our greenhouse gas emissions are contributing at some level. Both of these statements are almost certainly true. What of it? Recently many people have said that the earth is facing a crisis requiring urgent action. This statement has nothing to do with science. There is no compelling evidence that the warming trend we've seen will amount to anything close to catastrophe. What most commentators—and many scientists—seem to miss is that the only thing we can say with certainly about climate is that it changes. The earth is always warming or cooling by as much as a few tenths of a degree a year; periods of constant average temperatures are rare. Looking back on the earth's climate history, it's apparent that there's no such thing as an optimal temperature—a climate at which everything is just right. The current alarm rests on the false assumption not only that we live in a perfect world, temperaturewise, but also that our warming forecasts for the year 2040 are somehow more reliable than the weatherman's forecast for next week.

If you're a global warmist, you won't like the rest of this story, so you'd better just skip it.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

It's about time

I lost my aldermanic re-election bid to former Park and Recreation Commission President, Lee Hillstrom last Tuesday, 518-496. There are two polling places in the 3rd District in Neenah. I manned one at poll-closing time while my wife, Janet, manned the other. The vote total at my polling place was 310-305. For a fleeting moment I offered up a prayer that Janet would bring me a margin of victory from the other polling place of 6 votes. But then I remembered that Mr. Hillstrom lives in that part of the District and that he'd probably win by 100.

Janet came to pick me up and looked rather forlorn as I got into the car. I said, "Well, did Hillstrom win by a hundred?" "No," she said, "17."

So out of 1014 votes cast I lost by 22. I dropped Janet off at home and went out to pick up the rest of my yard signs – I wasn't going to risk any displeasure with my signs left up beyond Tuesday night. I then went to The Capitol Dome, the tavern owned by our 55th Assemblyman, Dean Kaufert. I had several beers with Mark Lange, the winner in District 1 over former police officer, Gary Radtke, and Mark's wife, Sue; Nick Piergrossi, the other District 1 alderman, 2nd District Alderman, Marge Bates and her husband, Forrest; Patricia and Larry Wirth.

We all got a chuckle from Channel 5's coverage of the Neenah elections. Not to say that I didn't appreciate how they presented the results on-screen. Channel 26 displayed every single solitary race from Marinette to Ripon. I saw my vote total at one point, but then waited 20 minutes without seeing it repeated; and the races weren't even in alphabetical order by municipality. So we switched to Channel 5, which did list the races by city and had far fewer of them. But when my race came up, here's what I saw:

My hat's off to Nick Piergrossi for capturing this image at his home after Channel 5 broadcast it for a couple of hours. Besides the entertaining dummies on-screen, the vote total of the politicians appears at the bottom and, holy cow! I'm winning! I was winning all night, according to Channel 5!

Turns out that they had neglected to include the vote totals from the two touch-screen voting machines. But that picture is now my PC's wallpaper; something I'll treasure until I regain a Council seat in the future.

Oh, yes. My blood is up, as they say. Just as I started to get the hang of campaiging, the race was over and I'd lost by 22 votes. I won't claim that I did everything possible. No, I only visited about half the neighborhoods in my door-knocking rounds. That was a mistake I will not make a second time.

When will I run again? I'll let you know. Until then, vote! Don't forget!

I'm just saying...

...nobody talks about global warming when it snows on the cherry blossoms in April!

...or when there's a 17 degree wind chill at the Masters:

...or when there's a foot of snow on the baseball diamond:

Friday, April 06, 2007

Zero intelligence, XCVIII

13-Year-Old Arrested In School For Writing On Desk

Principal Urges Cops To Arrest Girl For Writing 'Okay'

Chelsea Fraser was arrested at the Dyker Heights [New York] Intermediate School on March 30 along with three other male students. She says she was made to empty her pockets and take off her belt. Then she was handcuffed and led out of the school in front of her classmates and placed in the back of a police car.

That pretty much says it all. The girl was handcuffed to a pole at the police station for three hours. Some things are beyond parody.

Zero intelligence, XCVII

I suppose one could feel a mort of compassion for the principal in this story, but it sure is a reflection of modern times, don't you think?
Principal Sues Youths Over MySpace Fakes
Apr 6 01:21 PM US/Eastern

HERMITAGE, Pa. (AP) - A school principal sued four former students who he claims posted parody profiles saying he smoked pot, kept beer at school and liked having sex with students.

In the lawsuit, Eric W. Trosch alleged that the three profiles created in December 2005 on the social networking Web site damaged his reputation, humiliated him and hurt his earning capacity.

The profiles "went far and beyond what you would see on a bathroom wall in a school," said Trosch's attorney, John E. Quinn.

Trosch was co-principal of Hickory High School at the time the profiles were created and is now principal of Hermitage Middle School, in the same western Pennsylvania school district.

According to the suit, which seeks unspecified punitive damages, a profile by defendant Justin Layshock said Trosch smoked marijuana and kept a keg of beer behind his desk. Trosch alleges that another profile created by Thomas Cooper said his favorite movie was pornographic, and a third created by brothers Brendan and Christopher Gebhart said Trosch liked having sex with students and brutalizing women.

Layshock was suspended and sent to an alternative program after Trosch learned of the profile. In an effort to return to regular classes he sued, claiming the profile was protected by the First Amendment, but a judge last year declined to order the school to transfer him back.

Layshock's father, Donald, said he could not comment on Trosch's lawsuit because of the pending federal suit. Attorneys for Cooper and the Gebharts also declined to comment to The Herald of Sharon, Pa.

Quinn said it remains unknown who created a fourth Myspace profile that he described as "the most graphic and lurid of them all."

Great speeches by Democrats

Best of the Web Today often features a recent quotation by a leader of the Democrats at the bottom of a brief, but trenchant, list of quotations from past Democrat leaders. Here's that short list:

  • "One man with courage makes a majority." – attributed to Andrew Jackson
  • "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." – Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • "The buck stops here." – Harry S. Truman
  • "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." – John F. Kennedy

Note that last one. Now note the following question posed to Presidential candidate, John Edwards, at the University of New Hampshire on Monday:
I need to be able to look to my leader and see words of encouragement, words of hope. I need to be able to trust that person. I need to be able to know that I'm going to be grow [sic in transcript] in a world that's not going to be full of hate and prejudice and racism and to know that I matter, that I wasn't just dumped in this world for no particular reason whatsoever.

I'm busting my ass in school, I work 25 to 30 hours a week, and it's just me and my dog. So what can you do for the people that are in my situation, that are trying their damnedest in school, wanting to go to grad school, is going to be hit with the loans--and, uh, I have no idea what I want to do when I grow up. I don't know what I want to be when I'm an adult. But I'm 22 right now, so people are like, "Honey, you are an adult." You know what? It's about me. It's about me voting for you or supporting somebody who's going to be the next president. So it's all about me right now. Just give me something.

This, reportedly was greeted with a standing ovation. I guess the questioner never heard of President Kennedy.

Please, please read this

It's a Cato Institute article published in the San Diego Union-Tribune on March 11th. The author is Patrick Michaels, senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute, and a research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia. He has some fascinating things to say about the International Panel on Climate Change study.

For instance, do you want a metaphor for what the Panel has come up with in terms of news about global warming?
Despite breathless news reports, there's very little in it that's new to anyone involved in global warming science. Instead, there have been dozens of stories about how scientists now believe there is a definite human influence on mean global surface temperature, and that, in recent decades, much of the warming can be attributed to the effect of increasing amounts of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere.

Scientifically, this is tantamount to concluding that because Las Vegas is awash in poker chips and prophylactics, we now have high confidence that much of the recent decades' increase in economic growth has something to do with the prevalence of gambling and hanky-panky.

You probably want more meat than that gives you, so here are some highlights of Michaels' analysis of the IPCC report (emphasis mine):
The biggest story in the summary was largely missed by the environmental media. The IPCC now projects, in its mid-range scenario for carbon dioxide emissions, that the maximum rise in global sea level in this century will be around 17 inches. That's a reduction of 30 percent from what was in the Third Scientific Assessment, published just six years ago.

That's huge news, or it should be. But instead of listening to what the IPCC is saying, people are opting for the science fiction of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," whose central disaster scenario is that Greenland sheds the majority of its ice this century, raising sea level as much as 20 feet. Much of Florida disappears, and the Mall in Washington goes under water. The U.N.'s sea-level projections "include a contribution due to increased ice flow from Greenland and Antarctica, but these flow rates could increase or decrease in the future."

That's excellent hedging by the IPCC, because the authors of the summary surely knew that a paper was about to appear in the journal Science showing that an increase in the loss of ice from Greenland's big glaciers in 2004 had stopped and reversed by 2006. And was the loss of ice ever as gargantuan as Gore's imagery? Hardly. Satellite data, also published in Science last October, show that Greenland was losing a total of only 25 cubic miles of ice per year. That's teeny. There are 630,000 cubic miles of ice up there. Dividing 25 into 630,000 and multiplying by 100 gives the rate of loss: 0.4 percent of Greenland's ice per century.

I have to stop here and point out one of my pet peeves about any kind of publication that uses numbers to support a conclusion: the authors are often, shall we say, relaxed about presenting those numbers. I will not even spare Professor Michaels.

His article says "Dividing 25 into 630,000". What he meant was "Dividing 25 by 630,000".

Dividing 25 into 630,000 gives us useful information: 25,200 years (252 centuries) for all the ice in Greenland to melt assuming current melting rates. Dividing 25 by 630,000 gives us useful information, too: the percentage of the Greenland ice pack that disappears each year. If we multiply that number by 100 we get the percentage of the Greenland ice pack that disappears each century: 0.4%. That's the number Prof. Michaels derived, though the global warming student would have gone down the wrong computational path following his instructions.

Thank you for listening to that plea for correct math representation in the media. Now, back to Prof. Michaels. He mentions the level of carbon dioxide at the beginning of the 1900's:
Right now, we're only about 1.3 times that value, and there's a reasonable debate about whether we will ever get to twice that figure, because in the time frame required, technology is likely to change dramatically, in ways we can't imagine today.

For an interesting thought experiment, consider the energy and technology world of 1900, and a vision of the future. "Scientists will discover a new element called plutonium," some placard-carrying crackpot on the horse-infested streets of New York might say, "and if we compress a few pounds of it, almost all the buildings on Manhattan will be destroyed, along with their inhabitants." What a wacko! And that's nothing, compared with his assertion that, by 1975, people would fly from New York to London in a little over three hours, 65,000 feet in the air, or that all of the information in all the libraries of the Earth could be on everyone's desktop by 2000.

But that's how technology changes in a century. There were similar changes between 1800 (horse power and hand-carried letters) and 1900 (iron-horse power and the telegraph, etc.), so it's a real stretch to say we will go all the way to four times the 1900 concentration of carbon dioxide and then stay there for over a millennium. Does anyone seriously believe we will be a fossil fuel-powered society, industrially respiring massive amounts of carbon dioxide, in the year 2500?

Very much worth your time.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Zero intelligence, XCVI

I have to ask, why wasn't he simply expelled?
Fla. student who mooned teacher sues

Wed Apr 4, 7:47 PM ET

CLEARWATER, Fla. - A high school senior acknowledges he went too far when he mooned a teacher. But he thinks the decision of school officials to send him to a new school for the rest of the year was too harsh, so his family is suing.

Tyler Tillung, 18, mooned a teacher "suddenly and without thinking about the consequences" in February, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday. The teacher had declined to let him into a Feb. 21 school lip sync show that was full. He was suspended for six days and reassigned to a new school.

But the teen wants to graduate with his Palm Harbor University High class in six weeks and complete his final season on the varsity baseball team, the lawsuit said.

"We're talking about his graduation," said Tillung's lawyer, B. Edwin Johnson. "That's an important event in a guy's life. ... This kid deserves a break."

School Board Attorney Jim Robinson said administrators stand by their decision.

"Without knowing the allegations, we're confident in the administration's position on this case," Robinson said. Palm Harbor principal Herman "Doc" Allen described the mooning as "disgusting" and the teacher as "traumatized."

Kick him out; let him get back in to school to graduate next year.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Remember to vote!

It's been a busy week, and I've had just about zero chance to write anything here. I haven't had a week-long gap in my blog for I don't know how long.

Tomorrow my re-election campaign ends and we'll find out whether I've been given another go on the Neenah City Council. I've put together an Issues web site at if you're curious.

But please get out and vote wherever you are!