Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

December 6, 2007

Global Warming and Snow

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:21 am

The U.S. Senate has marked Washington, D.C.’s first snowstorm of the year by passing a bill aimed to prevent “global warming”:

Jeff Poor reports:

Nothing inspires taking on the “planetary emergency” of global warming like the first snow of the winter in Washington, D.C.

As two inches of snow accumulated outside the U.S. Capitol, the Senate’s Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee debated “historic” global warming legislation sponsored by Sens. John Warner (R.-Va.) and Joe Lieberman (I.-Conn.).

“We look around right now and see the snow on the trees – standing out here and say ‘Where is global warming when you need it?’” Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.) said to the Business & Media Institute.

The pending vote is seen as historic because “the Senate would impose for the first time a cap on greenhouse gas emissions.”

Of course, the fact that there is still snow proves that, “Despite ‘historic’ vote, groups say climate bill needs improvement.”

Heh.

December 4, 2007

Jew Against Channukah

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:08 pm

Some Jews — in Israel, no less — are now against Channukah. On the grounds of … Global Warming!

In a campaign that has spread like wildfire across the Internet, a group of Israeli environmentalists is encouraging Jews around the world to light at least one less candle this Hanukka to help the environment.

The founders of the Green Hanukkia campaign found that every candle that burns completely produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide. If an estimated one million Israeli households light for eight days, they said, it would do significant damage to the atmosphere.

“The campaign calls for Jews around the world to save the last candle and save the planet, so we won’t need another miracle,” said Liad Ortar, the campaign’s cofounder, who runs the Arkada environmental consulting firm and the Ynet Web site’s environmental forum. “Global warming is a milestone in human evolution that requires us to rethink how we live our lives, and one of the main paradigms of that is religion and how it fits into the current situation.”

United Torah Judaism MK Avraham Ravitz called the environmentalists “crazy people who are playing with the minds of innocent Jewish people.” He said the campaign would only convince people who do not light candles anyway.

“They should encourage people to light one less cigarette instead,” Ravitz said.

But if they do that, they’ll only make people live longer, and produce more carbon emmissions!

July 14, 2006

Hometown is burning

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:14 pm

Well, it’s not literally my hometown, but an area that holds a lot of special memories for me is literally under fire. The Los Angeles Times has a map and an excellent photo series.

They also have a lousy article, which blames the lightning-sparked fire on global warming. The theory, according to the article, is that global warming causes an increase in precipitation, which causes lots of grass to grow — and global warming also causes a decrease in precipitation, so the plants dry out. It doesn’t seem to occur to the intrepid reporter that these two can’t possibly be true. But then again, everything that happens is because of global warming, as LuboÅ¡ and I have pointed out before.

June 20, 2006

Backyard Global Warming

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:49 pm

James Taranto points to this gem from ABC News, which sounds like the sort of thing you’d see in the satirical newspaper, The Onion:

Witnessing the impact of global warming in your life?

ABC News wants to hear from you. We’re currently producing a report on the increasing changes in our physical environment, and are looking for interesting examples of people coping with the differences in their daily lives. Has your life been directly affected by global warming?

We want to hear and see your stories. Have you noticed changes in your own backyard or hometown? The differences can be large or small — altered blooming schedules, unusual animals that have arrived in your community, higher water levels encroaching on your property.

Well, I’ve noticed that in my community, there has been significant warming over the past six months. And yesterday, there was a massive rainstorm which caused a much higher-than normal water level in my backyard.

I guess by ABC’s standards, that’s proof of global warming!

May 22, 2006

Gore’s Contribution to Global Warming

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:33 pm

About the latest showing of Al Gore’s new movie about global warming, Comments (4)

April 28, 2006

How to “solve” the “energy crisis”

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:40 am

It seems everybody is asking what President Bush is going to do about the energy crises. For example, is he going to develop alternative fuels? Now Bush is not a scientist or an engineer, so they don’t really expect him to develop anything. What they really mean is, is he going to put your tax dollars into research on alternative fuels?

Perhaps it never occurs to anyone that it’s not the President’s job to finance alternative fuels with other people’s money, any more than it’s his job to develop the fuels himself in a lab in the basement of the White House.

But Don Boudreaux reports on whose job it really is — and they’re doing it:

This story ran yesterday on NPR’s Morning Edition. It reports on Andrew Perlman, a young entrepreneur in Illinois who is working feverishly to find ways to convert coal into clean natural gas.

My favorite line in this story is the one in which Perlman says that just a few years ago there were only three venture-capital firms focused on energy companies; today there are 76 such VC firms. So much money seeking ways to find new sources of energy!

Those entrepreneurs and investors who succeed will become fabulously rich; those who fail will be poorer than they would have been had they not entered the quest.

And those of us who do nothing but freely choose which fuels to purchase will benefit enormously.

I love this market process. People such as me — people who lack even a whiff of creativity, people who are terribly risk-averse, people who lazily prefer to read novels and work at secure jobs and spend our evenings at home dining and drinking with family and friends — just sit back and wait for profit-hungry hard-working anxiety-ridden creative entrepreneurs, each in competition with others, to find new ways to improve our lives. And we don’t even have to accept what they devise. If we like it, we buy it. If not, we don’t buy it.

I almost feel like a free-rider, a lazy bum, a poacher. I do nothing entrepreneurial, and yet my daily life is filled with the marvelous fruits of entrepreneurial creativity and effort. It’s an incredibly good deal.

I suppose this sould be a good time to point out, as Julian Simon did, that when there are more people around, there are more creative people, so it’s more likely that someone, somewhere, will be able to solve any given problem.

The question is, is our population big enough to generate a solution to the energy crises?

April 11, 2006

Is Global Warming Real?

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:00 am

A bunch of recent news stories and editorials lately are saying that “global warming is real” and a recent survey shows that 71% of Americans believe it.

Apparently, they aren’t listening to the climate scientists, who do not believe it.

The latest salvo from the scientists is an open letter signed by sixty climate scientists from around the world, addressed to the new Canadian Prime Minister asking him to revisit Canada’s climate-change plicy in general and the Kyoto protocol in particular. The letter says in part:

Observational evidence does not support today’s computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future. Yet this is precisely what the United Nations did in creating and promoting Kyoto and still does in the alarmist forecasts on which Canada’s climate policies are based. Even if the climate models were realistic, the environmental impact of Canada delaying implementation of Kyoto or other greenhouse-gas reduction schemes, pending completion of consultations, would be insignificant. Directing your government to convene balanced, open hearings as soon as possible would be a most prudent and responsible course of action.

While the confident pronouncements of scientifically unqualified environmental groups may provide for sensational headlines, they are no basis for mature policy formulation. The study of global climate change is, as you have said, an “emerging science,” one that is perhaps the most complex ever tackled. It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth’s climate system. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases. If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.

“Climate change is real” is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural “noise.” The new Canadian government’s commitment to reducing air, land and water pollution is commendable, but allocating funds to “stopping climate change” would be irrational. We need to continue intensive research into the real causes of climate change and help our most vulnerable citizens adapt to whatever nature throws at us next.

We believe the Canadian public and government decision-makers need and deserve to hear the whole story concerning this very complex issue. It was only 30 years ago that many of today’s global-warming alarmists were telling us that the world was in the midst of a global-cooling catastrophe. But the science continued to evolve, and still does, even though so many choose to ignore it when it does not fit with predetermined political agendas.

Take a look at the full letter, and the list of signatories. It’s a quite impressive list.

April 7, 2006

Clean Air Causes Global Warming?

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:09 pm

Well, you can’t win for losing, if this study reported by the BBC has any truth to it:

Research presented at a major European science meeting adds to other evidence that cleaner air is letting more solar energy through to the Earth’s surface.

The decline in Soviet industry and clean air laws in western countries apparently reduced concentrations of aerosols, tiny particles, in the atmosphere.

These aerosols may block solar radiation directly, or help clouds to form which in turn constitute a barrier; or both effects may occur.

So there you have it: If we increase pollution, we cause global warming — and if we decrease pollution we also cause global warming. And as I’ve pointed out before, higher temperatures are evidence of global warming, and lower temperatures are also evidence of global warming. This is how we know that global warming is not really a scientific theory — a scientific theory has to be subject to evidence. That is, it need to make “falsifiable predictions” — predictions that, if contradicted, would be regarded as evidence against the theory. If any possible outcome can be viewed as consistent with the theory, then it’s not really a theory since it doesn’t explain anything.

The BBC article also had the following interesting tidbit:

Between the 1950s and 1980s, the amount of solar energy penetrating through the atmosphere to the Earth’s surface appeared to be declining, by about 2% per decade.

This trend received some publicity under the term “global dimming.”

It was also called “the New Ice Age.” I’m just old enough to remember reading in the mid-1970s in elementary school — in the Weekly Reader distributed in over 90% of American elementary schools — that the burning of fossil fuels was causing pollution that would eventually block out enough of the sun’s rays to cause a “New Ice Age.”

In retrospect, this must have come about from the research of Dr. Murray Mitchell, and reported in the famous article Peter Gwynne wrote in Newsweek in 1975 – i “The Cooling World” (excerpted here):

The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic. “A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,” warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, “because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.”

A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.

The BBC article on the more recent research quotes the lead author as follows:

The reversal of “global dimming” has been proposed in some circles as an alternative explanation for climatic change, removing the need to invoke human emissions of greenhouse gases.

Dr[. Martin] Wild dismissed this picture. [We can't have anything contradicting the theory of human-caused global warming, now, can we? --DR] His analysis suggests that “global dimming” and the man-made greenhouse effect may have cancelled each other out until the early 1980s, but now “global brightening” is adding to the impact of human greenhouse emissions.

So if I understand this correctly: we used to have high levels of pollution, which caused both a decrease in sunlight penetrating the atmosphere (“global dimming”), and an increase in heat retained in the atmosphere (“global warming”). These two effects cancelled each other out. Now, however, we have lower levels of pollution, so there is more global warming than global dimming.

This doesn’t make any sense, unless the theory is that low levels of pollution cause only warming, but high levels cause both warming and dimming. I’m not sure what sort of theory would predict that, but if that’s the theory, then emission-reduction programs like the Kyoto treaty will increase global warming — and I kind of doubt that’s what Dr. Wild meant. It would also mean that before the industrial revolution, when fossil fuel emmissions were (presumably) lower, that the temperature should have been higher. I think the opposite is actually true — the “Little Ice Age” ended around 1850 — and it’s certainly the opposite of that the global warming crowd claims.

I’m going to give Dr. Wild the benefit of the doubt here and assume the BBC mangled the quote or took it out of context. That happens all the time to scientists. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough information in the article to allow me to find Dr. Wild’s paper yet, so I can’t see what it really says.

March 27, 2006

Just the “facts”

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:37 am

On Sunday, March 26, 2006:

  1. Jeffrey Kluger wrote in Time magazine:

    Never mind what you’ve heard about global warming as a slow-motion emergency that would take decades to play out. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the crisis is upon us.

  2. The National Weather Service announced a record low temperature in Palm Beach, Florida, as reported by the Palm Beach Post:

    Sunday morning’s low of 47 degrees at Palm Beach International Airport, recorded at 6:36 a.m., was the coolest on record, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.

    The old record was set in 1979, when the overnight temperature dropped to 48 degrees.

    That’s not the coldest March 26 — that’s the coldest temperature ever recorded at Palm Beach.

  3. AP reported:

    6 Die in Collision During Wyoming Blizzard

    LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) – At least 20 vehicles crashed on a rural Wyoming interstate in blizzard conditions Sunday, killing at least six people, officials said.

    Troopers at the scene reported zero visibility due to strong winds and blowing snow. Interstate 80 was closed for about 100 miles from Cheyenne to Rawlins.

    Part of Interstate 80 was closed because of the blizzard conditions, and about 50 miles from Cheyenne to Laramie was closed at the request of Laramie officials, who said there was no parking left in the town for semitrailers.

    Maybe they should start up all those semitrailers, and hope they can make global warming real quick to end the snowstorm!

Now I know that global warming is supposed to be about averages, and a few record cold snaps are not by themselves enough to swing the average much. But this sort of thing happens all the time. These cold snaps are not isolated events — and global warming advocates cite cold temperatures as “proof” of global warming! I said it before, and I’ll say it again, until everyone gets it:

So, if you are a global warming believer, then if temperatures go up it’s because of global warming – and if temperatures go down, it’s also because of global warming. There is no conceivable, let alone actual, evidence that might indicate there is not global warming. No matter what happens, it’s because of global warming.

Global warming is thus inherently unfalsifiable – which means it is not a scientific theory. The most basic requirement for a scientific theory is that it must be in principal falsifiable – that is, it must make some prediction which, if found to be untrue, would be regarded even by the promoter(s) of the theory as evidence that the theory is wrong.

The new motto for the global warming warning crowd ought to be: “Who you gonna’ believe? Me, or your lying eyes?”

March 13, 2006

“Artist” Turns Synagogue Into a Gas Chamber

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:38 pm

Yes, this is the year 2006, and a Spanish “artist” has turned a German synagogue into a gas chamber:

An artist [sic] invited Germans to come and be symbolically gased with car exhaust fumes in a former synagogue.

Santiago Sierra, a Spanish performance artist [sic], pledged on Monday to hold talks with Jewish community leaders outraged by his project to give people a sense of the Holocaust by pumping lethal car exhaust fumes into a former synagogue and letting visitors enter one by one with a breathing apparatus.

Sierra, known internationally for his controversial [No! Really?] work, led hoses from the exhaust pipes of six parked cars into the building in the town of Pulheim-Stommeln near Cologne to create lethal levels of carbon monoxide there.

Note that it is a “former” synagogue because most of the Jews near Cologne were sent to real gas chambers almost 65 years ago.

The “artistic community” has gone from, “It’s OK for art to be provocative” to “Offensive is just a form of provocative, so it’s OK for art to be offensive,” to “If it’s not offensive, it’s not art,” to “If it’s offensive, it must be art” — unless, of course, it is offensive to Muslims. Can you imagine the reaction if a “performance artist” set up an exhibit in which European women were symbolically stoned for not having a long enough burka? It would be worse than the reaction to those cartoons.

Of course, if it were for any purpose other than “art” it would probably be illegal to concentrate carbon monoxide like that. Where are the Greens when you need them?

March 7, 2006

Global Warming Causes Record Snowfall, Right?

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:57 pm

As is his wont, Clayton Cramer has put together another post that mocks global warming with a roundup of record cold weather around the world. This time, it even includes snowstorms in Algeria, a country more noted for the Sahara Desert than any other geographic feature. This is in addition to record cold temperatures across the United States.

As soon as I read this, my first thought is that it would take about 37 seconds to find somebody somewhere who is arguing that record snowfall is proof of global warming, rather than evidence against it. And sure enough, on the first page of my first Google search, I found this little gem — a comment on LuboÅ¡ Motl’s blog (which you may recognize from my blogroll), on a January 26 post noting record snowfall in Boston:

Snow as previously moisture in the air. More snow means there was more moisture in the air. More moisture in the air means more evaporation. More evaporation means that the winds were stronger or the water & air were warmer. More warm, moisture laden air is making its way upto Boston where it collides with Arctic cold air and precipitates snow. It might be a sign of global warming.

Now it is true that snow requires previous evaporation, and more heat means more evaporation — but it will not actually fall as snow unless it is actually cold somewhere. The evaporation could just as easily come back as rain, and if global temperatures were rising, we would expect that the mix of precipitation would involve more rain and less snow. Or even just more vapor staying in the atmosphere, without an increase in overall precipitation. After all, if the heat causes evaporation, it can also cause the water to stay evaporated.

LuboÅ¡ — a physics professor at Harvardresponds appropriately:

“It might be a sign of global warming.”

Well, it’s because for deep religious people, everything is a sign of God, Hell, or Global Warming, whatever their religion is.

Science and rational thinking work very differently, however. One must formulate sharp statements, and if they’re falsified, the theory is dead.Well, it’s because for deep religious people, everything is a sign of God, Hell, or Global Warming, whatever their religion is.

Science and rational thinking work very differently, however. One must formulate sharp statements, and if they’re falsified, the theory is dead.

And this is why global warming is such a great theory politically and such a lousy theory scientifically: regardless of what happens — heat waves, cold spells, more snow, less snow, whatever — it is always spun as something that “might be a sign of global warming.”

After all, it was just over two years ago that record cold temperatures in Europe were being heralded as the latest evidence for global warming. The “theory” was that warming the oceans would foul up the Atlantic gulf stream (which keeps Europe warm), thus driving European temperatures down.

Without the Gulf Stream, temperatures in the UK and north-west Europe would be five degrees centigrade or so cooler, with bitter winters at least as fierce as those of the so-called Little Ice Age in the 17th to 19th centuries.

So wrote Bill McGuire in The Guardian, in an article which was headlined — apparently without intended irony — “Will global warming trigger a new ice age?”

So, if you are a global warming believer, then if temperatures go up it’s because of global warming — and if temperatures go down, it’s also because of global warming. There is no conceivable, let alone actual, evidence that might indicate there is not global warming. No matter what happens, it’s because of global warming.

Global warming is thus inherently unfalsifiable — which means it is not a scientific theory. The most basic requirement for a scientific theory is that it must be in principal falsifiable — that is, it must make some prediction which, if found to be untrue, would be regarded even by the promoter(s) of the theory as evidence that the theory is wrong. The Theory of Gravity is like this. It predicts that things will fall down, unless supported by something — your hand, a table, or in the case of hot-air balloons, denser air. If you drop a bowling ball and it doesn’t fall down, that would be proof that the Theory of Gravity is wrong. Even Isaac Newton would have accepted that proof. But with global warming, there is nothing you can imagine — let along that has actually occured — that would be regarded as a disproof of the global warming theory.

ADDENDUM (3/8/06): Clayton Cramer concluded his post with the statement:

I suspect that the “Global Warming” fantasy will continue until polar bears start to eat environmentalists at global warming conferences in Miami.

I want to go on record as disagreeing — slightly. I think the global warming fantasy will go on until it they switch to warning us against global cooling. Which is what they were warning us against before they started warning us about global warming. As Peter Gwynne wrote in Newsweek in 1975 — in an article entitled “The Cooling World”:

The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic. “A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,” warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, “because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.”

A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.

Well, we see how that prediction worked out.

February 2, 2006

Kyoto Hypocrisy

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:09 am

You might recall a few years ago that Western European governments were excoriating the U.S. and George W. Bush for not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. (Never mind that the Senate had voted it down 99-0 during the Clinton administration; it’s still Bush’s fault!) Well, now Dan Seligman reports in Forbes that — it’s actually Europe’s fault:

And yet it appears that even western Europe is not reducing emissions. The Kyoto rules say that western Europe must get their emissions to a level 8% below those prevailing in 1990. But virtually all those countries–the only significant exception is Germany–are going in the wrong direction. The latest available data, covering emissions through 2003, tell us that in the years since the treaty was negotiated, carbon dioxide levels increased by 7% in France, 11% in Italy and 29% in Spain. The increase for western Europe as a whole was 5.4%.

After many years of European chatter about the monstrous evil perpetrated by George W. Bush in rejecting Kyoto, it is of possible interest that the increase in carbon emissions in the U.S. during those years was slightly lower (4.7%).

January 11, 2006

Whole Foods Buys Wind Energy to Increase Pollution

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:31 pm

I can’t believe this guy said this with a straight face:

Whole Foods Commits to Wind Energy

By Steve Quinn, AP Business Writer
Tue Jan 10, 6:56 PM ET

Natural-food grocer Whole Foods Market Inc. said Tuesday it will rely on wind energy for all of its electricity needs, making it the largest corporate user of renewable energy in the United States.

The Austin-based company said it is purchasing 458,000 megawatt-hours of wind energy credits a year — enough to power 44,000 homes annually — from Renewable Choice Energy of Boulder, Colo.

The decision follows the publicly traded company’s mission of environmental stewardship without losing sight of the bottom line, Whole Foods regional president Michael Besancon said.

“It’s a sales driver rather than a cost,” he said. “All of those things we do related to our core values: help drive sales, help convince a customer to drive past three or four other supermarkets on the way to Whole Foods.”

Right: so Whole Foods is buying wind energy so they look to the public like good environmentalists, to convince environmentally-conscious customers to drive more.

If this doesn’t convince you that environmentalism is a religion, what else is it? Environmentalism has rituals — like “use of wind energy” and “recycling” and “shopping at Whole Foods” that believers engage in because they believe in them — even if those activities demonstrably increase pollution, such as driving farther to get to Whole Foods, sending two garbage trucks down every street instead of one (the second to pick up “recyclables”) and so on. It also has beliefs that are not subject to scientific or logical scruitiny, like the idea that recycling is “good for the environment,” and the idea that both warmer temperatures and colder temperatures are evidence of global warming. (Which means, of course that no matter what happens, there never be evidence against global warming.)

Of course, a cynic might say that Whole Foods is just one big corporate scam artist taking advantage of consumers’ beliefs. Kind of like the Church of Scientology and the “Televangelists.”

This is especially the case when you realize that it’s all just a publicity stunt — no “wind energy” will actually end up in Whole Foods stores or offices:

Because power does not flow from wind farms directly to a home or business through a utility grid, Whole Foods is purchasing energy credits — like a voucher — that assure wind energy eventually gets placed on the grid.

So they are not actually “rely[ing] on wind energy” for anything, let alone “all of its electricity needs.” Even if the wind farms go dark, Whole Foods’ lights will stay on. That’s not “relying.”

But still, the gullible reporter writes:

The company began rolling out wind energy for all 173 stores in the United States and Canada last month. Prior to that, 20 percent of its electricity had been from renewable sources.

So, “power does not flow from wind farms directly” to their 173 stores, but they will, nevertheless be “rolling out wind energy for all 173 stores.” But if power does not flow from wind farms to the stores, what can that possibly mean?

Personally, I think it means that a publicity campaign touting their alleged use of wind energy will be rolling out at their 173 stores.

Besancon declined to discuss the cost of the purchase but said it was in line with the company’s current utility budget.

He won’t tell you how much his other adversiting programs cost, either.

January 5, 2006

Global Warming Has Shifted Ocean Currents

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:22 am

55 Million years ago, anyway….

An extraordinary burst of global warming that occurred around 55 million years ago dramatically reversed Earth’s pattern of ocean currents, a finding that strengthens modern-day concern about climate change, a study says.

The big event, the Palaeocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), saw the planet’s surface temperature rise by between five and eight degrees C (nine and 16.2 F) in a very short time, unleashing climate shifts that endured tens of thousands of years.

Between 5 and 8 degrees Celsius! Egads! Even nowadays, the most pessimistic estimates nowadays say we’ve only had 0.6 of a degree in the last century.

Gosh, what kind of SUVs must they have been driving 55 million years ago? Is this what wiped out the dinosaurs? Or was it too many fire-breathing dragons?

December 15, 2005

Howard Dean Lied, People Died

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:52 pm

You probably remember that Howard Dean, Kayne West, and other illustrious Democrats claimed that the death toll from Hurrican Katrina was due to racism. Howard Dean said, “We must … come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color, age and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not.” Kayne West was more blunt: “George Bush doesn’t care about black people!”

Now, for the facts:

Statistics released by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals suggest that fewer than half of the victims of Hurricane Katrina were black, and that whites died at the highest rate of all races in New Orleans.

According to the 2000 census, whites make up 28 percent of the city’s population, but the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals indicates that whites constitute 36.6 percent of the storm’s fatalities in the city.

African-Americans make up 67.25 percent of the population and 59.1 percent of the deceased. Other minorities constitute approximately 5 percent of the population and represented 4.3 percent of the storm’s fatalities.

Overall for the state, 658 bodies have been identified. Forty-seven percent were African-American and 42 percent were Caucasian. The remaining bodies were either non-black minorities or undetermined.

To put it another way, a white person was 48.7% more likely to die from the hurricane than a black person.

Of course, we should not expect Howard Dean, Kayne West, and all the others to take back their claims. In fact, I fully expect that activists will continue to make the same sort of claims — and the media will not call them on it. Because being on the left means being entitled not just to your own opinion, but to your own “facts” as well.

(Hat tip: SoCalPundit.)

UPDATE: Keith Boykin has a list of similar comments here.

December 7, 2005

Climate Change

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:08 pm

AP Reports:

Record Low Temps Seen in Parts of U.S.

By CATHERINE TSAI
Associated Press Writer
Dec 07 5:55 PM US/Eastern

DENVER - Bitterly cold air poured southward across the nation’s midsection Wednesday, dropping temperatures to record lows from Montana to Illinois. The mercury dived to a record 45 below at West Yellowstone, Mont., the frequently cold spot at the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park, the National Weather Service said. The old record for Dec. 7 was 39 below, set in 1927.

The cold even extended south to the Texas Panhandle, where Lubbock shivered at a record low 6 above zero, the weather service said.

Global warming is starting to sound like a good idea!

In fact, it could even save lives:

The body of a homeless man was found huddled next to a fence in Denver, where the temperature hit 11 below Wednesday, and authorities were trying to determine if he froze to death. He apparently had shed his jacket in a phenomenon called “paradoxical undressing,” where victims of hypothermia become disoriented and hallucinate, deputy coroner Amy Martin said.

The Denver Rescue Mission opened all available space for the homeless.

Does this mean that those who advocate policies to prevent global warming are insensitive to to plight of the homeless?

Or perhaps it is an issue of church-state separation — “Denver Rescue Mission” sounds like a faith-based organization, so cold weather promotes religious affiliation, so the government must act to stop …. no wait, that’s backwards … perhaps the ACLU should sue the environmentalists by advocating politicies that drive the homeless into the arms of religious organizations?

;-)

December 5, 2005

Part of Hawaii Falls into the Ocean

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:29 am

But it’s going to be tough for the global warming crowd to blame this one on SUVs:

44 Acres of Coastline Collapse in Hawaii

Dec 02 7:02 PM US/Eastern

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Hawaii (AP) — About 44 acres of coastline collapsed into the ocean this week, setting loose a glowing stream of lava that shot out from the newly exposed cliffside 45 feet above the water. The plume, 6 feet in diameter, sent up a tower of steam as it hit the water and began forming a ramp of new land.

Jim Kauahikaua, scientist-in-charge of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said a collapse warning was issued in June because the shelf had become large and had formed cracks. Large collapses had happened in the area before.

Rumblings tipped scientists to Monday’s collapse, which took about 4 1/2 hours. Even at that relatively slow pace, the effect was spectacular.

“The cliff just caved away like a glacier,” said park spokesman Jim Gale. “It just sheared off that old wall. There’s this gigantic steam plume and you see the red just falling down _ an incredible fire hose display.”

The National Park Service has maps, and the U.S. Geological Survey has pictures.

Amazing.

(Hat tip: Matt Drudge.)

December 2, 2005

Someone actually bought one!

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:50 pm

A few months ago, I posted this story about a company that sells “Car/SUV guilt reduction” — that is, for $30-$80 depending on vehicle type, they will sell you a bumper sticker and claim they are using the money to offset your car’s pollution. After expenses, of course, which no doubt includes a salary for whoever thought this thing up — and a target profit margin that exceeds that of the oil companies.

It’s basically like selling indulgences, which got a certain other religion (i.e., not Environmentalism) into trouble almost 600 years ago.

Well, people are actually buying them. Or at least, one person who works in my building bought one. I saw the bumper sticker in the parking garage this morning.


'Clean up after your car'

Which just goes to show — some people will buy anything. And that I will never be rich, because I can never figure out what “anything” people will buy. :-(

November 27, 2005

EU Bans Safe Electronics

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:02 pm

OK, the title is a slight exaggeration. But only slight. The EU is going to ban lead solder in electronic devices, but the only available substitute can cause short-circuits, leading in the best case to device failure and in the worst case to fire. So why ban solder? To appease the environmentalists.

Environmental groups around the world have been campaigning for years to replace lead-containing solders and protective layers on electronic components with non-hazardous metals and alloys. In response, the European Union (EU) will ban the use of lead (and five other hazardous substances) in all electrical and electronic equipment sold in EU nations starting in July 2006.

However, pure electroplated tin and lead-free tin alloys tend to spontaneously grow metallic whiskers (thin filament-like structures often several millimeters long) during service. These defects can lead to electrical shorts and failures across component leads and connectors.

Aside from placating environmentalists, there is an alternative explanation for the ban on solder. It might be a form of trade protectionism:

U.S. manufacturers must comply with this requirement in order to market their products overseas.

Which may (or may not) be the reason the (U.S.) National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is looking into solving the problems with non-lead solders.

Meanwhile, the rest of us have a good reason to avoid buying electronic products sold in EU countries — or if we must use them, at least keep our fire insurance up to date.

November 7, 2005

Greenpeace Fined for Environmental Damage

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:05 am

Hot on the heels of the news that PETA workers have been arrested for cruelty to animals, we have this little gem:

Greenpeace to be fined as Rainbow Warrior damages Philippines coral reef

Mon Oct 31, 9:50 PM ET

TUBBATAHA REEFS, Philippines (AFP) – Greenpeace is to be fined after its flagship Rainbow Warrior II damaged a coral reef in the central Philippines during a climate change awareness campaign, marine park rangers said.

The ship and its crew were assessed a 640,000-peso (11,600-dollar) fine after the 55-meter (180-foot) motor-assisted schooner ran aground at the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park on Monday, park manager Angelique Songco told AFP.

The Rainbow Warrior II arrived in the reservation in the middle of the Sulu Sea, about 600 kilometers (375 miles) south of Manila, last weekend as part of a four-month Asia-Pacific campaign to promote earth-friendly energy sources, said Greenpeace campaign manager Red Constantino.

He said the crew made dive sorties to inspect the effect of global warming on the coral formation, which is listed among the World Heritage sites of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

I guess this proves that global warming damages coral reefs — indirectly, because it attracts Greenpeace boats that damange them!

“The chart indicated we were a mile and a half” from the coral reef when the ship ran aground, Constantino told AFP. He said the August 2005 navigational map was provided by the mapping office of the Philippine government.

Or maybe global warming causes reefs to grow so fast, they’re a mile and a half longer than when they were last measured. Maybe they inadvertently proved that global warming is good for coral reefs!

Constantino said the healthy state of the Tubbataha Reefs did not disprove the theory of global warming, which he described as an “extremely complicated science.”

Well, that just about says it all — as far as the scientific integreity of Greenpeace goes. The hallmark of science is the primacy of observational evidence over opinions and theories, as expressed through the notion of a “refutable proposition” — the notion that a theory must predict some facts which in principle might turn out not to be true, and when facts are found that are inconsistent with that theory, the theory must be discarded or modified.

Greenpeace has said that this particular experiment produced facts inconsistent with the theory of global warming, but that this does not disprove the theory of global warming. Of course the theory is “complicated” and it may well be possible for global warming to occur without damaging coral reefs. But you can be sure that if the reefs were found to be damaged, Greenpeace woudl have been right out front attributing the damage to global warming.

Which just goes to show that Greenpeace has the scientific method exactly backwards — according to Greenpeace (and many other “scientific” political organizations) they find facts that agree with their theory “prove” it, but facts that contradict their theory do not disprove it. The scientific method is based on precisely the opposite principle:

If the experiments bear out the hypothesis it may come to be regarded as a theory or law of nature … . If the experiments do not bear out the hypothesis, it must be rejected or modified. What is key in the description of the scientific method just given is the predictive power (the ability to get more out of the theory than you put in; see Barrow, 1991) of the hypothesis or theory, as tested by experiment. It is often said in science that theories can never be proved, only disproved. There is always the possibility that a new observation or a new experiment will conflict with a long-standing theory.

Keep in mind that the environmentalism is a political movement, not a scientific movement.

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