Wednesday, December 30, 2009

bye, Fred

Yesterday sucked. I work for a medium-sized family-owned company in a small community. The owner, Gabby, works there as does his brother Sam. Another brother, Fred, used to work for the company and his house is across the back alley. Yesterday morning Gabby came running in yelling "call 9-1-1!" while making a beeline for the phone himself. I said "Fred?" and he said "yeah" and I ran over to Fred's house. Fred had already had several heart attacks and was in poor health; a few months ago he said that the doctors told him his heart was down to about 18% functionality.

I went inside and saw him laying on the floor on his side, turned him over on his back and tried to find a pulse... nothing. Still warm, no heartbeat, no breathing. I started doing CPR, what I could remember from a St. John's Ambulance course years ago and from a dinner table conversation over Thanksgiving - fifteen pumps on the chest and one breath, repeat.

All the while three of Fred's brothers (Gabby, Sam, and Bill) are standing there praying and crying, with Bill so desperate to help Fred that he was holding Fred's ankle and pumping the leg in an effort to get the blood flowing, or taking over Fred's breathing with such effort that I had to remind him that Fred needed to breathe out, too. I told Gabby that someone needed to stand outside and make sure the ambulance found the place right away, and just kept pumping.

I kept giving him CPR until the paramedics came and then just pumped his chest while they got to work and kept doing that until a second set of paramedics with shock paddles came and took over for me.

Then I went back to work. What else could I do?

A while later the ambulances left with their lights off.

If someone has a heart attack, they need help within about four minutes before other systems start shutting down for good. Maybe we didn't reach him in time. Maybe his heart was so far gone that nothing short of a new heart would save him. Bottom line is, he was a good guy and I tried to save him and I couldn't and he's gone.

On Sunday, he was showing me a picture taken of him in 1981, laughing and joking. Today's they're making plans for his funeral.

You never know when your time is up, people. If you knew that today was your last day, would you hold a grudge? Would you hug someone?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What's the Big Deal?

From a comment on the previous post:
"The problem with Climate change is; It is real and people discount it to prolong profits unimpeded by research costs, etc. If we are wrong and it is not real, whats the worst thing that can happen? Everyone gets solar panels and doesn't have to pay for electricity? On the other hand if we are right and do nothing because people distract us or mislead us what will all the deniers do to fix their mistake? After society collapses into rich vs poor and disease and hunger spread with the changing climate. I don't think "I told you so" would cut it..."
This comment encompasses so many ideas that are (1) well within the mainstream of center-left ideology and (2) quite mistaken that I simply must respond point by point.
The problem with Climate change is;
So far, we are in agreement. There is indeed a problem here.
It is real
Yes indeed. The climate does indeed change. There are many reasons for the climate to change. First of all, there is a very big bright ball in the sky which is the source of all our energy, which might have something to do with things. Every time there is a big coronal mass ejection we get aurorae and blackouts in the electrical grids - do you think those are the only effects of millions of tons of solar plasma hitting the earth's magnetic field at a million miles an hour?

The Earth's orbit around the sun isn't a perfect, continuously-repeating-exactly-the-same-forever ellipse, either: there are other objects besides the Earth and Sun which tug gravitationally on both objects, such as Jupiter and Saturn, which cause minor orbital variations. And a relativistic effect causes the Earth's orbital precession over a period of roughly 21 thousand years:

In this diagram, the area of each quadrant is proportional to the time, and right now the northern hemisphere's spring and summer are longer than the fall and winter, whereas 2500 years ago the northern hemisphere's summer and winter were about equal length, but spring was much longer than autumn. That has a little something to do with the climate changing, too. There is not a darn thing that humankind can do to affect the Earth's orbit one iota.

Volcanic eruptions can change the climate as well: the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 caused the "Year Without A Summer" in 1816.

I suppose that mankind might be able to cause some sort of nuclear winter if we were so foolish as to have an all-out nuclear war. However, consider this Google Maps image of part of the Nevada Nuclear Test Site, with the biggest craters I could find there:

Note the scale at the bottom left of that image. The Nevada test site was one of the most active nuclear test sites in history. Compare that image to this Google Maps satellite image, of an area just a few humdred miles away, at the same scale:

This is Meteor Crater in Arizona. It was formed when a meteor about 50 meters wide moving somewhere around 12-20 km/s collided with the Earth about 50 thousand years ago; about half of the meteor vaporized in the atmosphere and most of the rest vaporized on impact. Or how about this image, again at the same scale:

This is Mount St. Helens, which as you may recall caused some climate havoc. I include these three pictures to show how man's influence is absolutely dwarfed by nature.

And that brings us to the central questions of the whole climate change debate. Does man have an impact on the environment? Unquestionably, yes. But by how much does mankind affect the environment? Is it enough to actually change the climate? And what would the effects of that climate change be? Would such effects be, on the whole, positive or negative? And the answers to all these questions, if we are being honest, is that we don't know.

Getting back to the comment:
and people discount it to prolong profits
There is so much that is staggeringly wrong with this statement that the mind boggles. Is climate change real? Yes. Does mankind have a statistically-significant effect on climate change? We don't know. Is the net effect detrimental or beneficial? We don't know.

That is not discounting anthropoegenic global warming, but it is a million miles away from "the science is settled". And being honest that we don't know is held as some sort of dastardly trick in order to allow something even more heinous: "prolonging profit". Without profit, no business can survive; if the income exactly balances expenditures then the business is on the knife edge of failure, and if the income drops below that level for even a short time the business can go under. What is bad about profit?
unimpeded by research costs, etc
Are you freakin' kidding me. Who do you think pays for the vast majority of research worldwide? How ironic that someone could write that comment on a computer and transmit it over a network of fiber optic cables and satellite links and coaxial cables, completely oblivious to the contributions of Bell Labs or General Electric or a million other businesses' research departments to his ability to make that comment. Is it possible that this person thinks that without the global warming scare there would be no research done by business?
If we are wrong and it is not real, whats the worst thing that can happen?
The person asking this obviously did not ask this of themselves. The short answer is if the world economy is destroyed then billions of people will die of starvation. That's what happens one one third of agricultural land is no longer producing food, but is instead making biofuel - worldwide the price of food has doubled. For people in the first world that might not seem like a big deal, but for the majority of the people on the planet that is a huge problem: there were food riots in over a dozen regions of the world in the last two years.
Everyone gets solar panels and doesn't have to pay for electricity?
Of course! Why didn't I think of that? Oh, that's right, I have a job and bills, and I know that I can't get something for nothing. I have to work to get the things I own. So where are these solar panels for everyone supposed to come from? Should the government buy them for us? And where does the government get the money? Should it be taken out of Social Security, or Medicare, or should the government just print up more money as it needs it, like Zimbabwe?
On the other hand if we are right and do nothing because people distract us or mislead us what will all the deniers do to fix their mistake?
This past Saturday, the official temperature recorded at the airport ten minutes from where I live was minus 47 degrees Celcius, with a wind chill making it seem like minus 56 degrees C (minus 69 Fahrenheit) - for a short time it was the coldest place on the entire planet. I am damn glad of the modern technological conveniences that kept me from freezing to death in the dark. My great-great-grandparents didn't have those conveniences 119 years ago when they pioneered this area, and life was a lot harder for them.

If Al Gore is right (and he isn't and he knows it or he wouldn't have purchased a $4 million condo within walking distance of San Fransisco Bay, but let's just follow the hypothetical anyhow) then in the next century the sea levels will rise by some small value and the global temperature will rise by some other small value. Coincidentally over the next century our level of technology will continue to advance, so long as the economy is not held back by onerous taxation. The same technology that makes my life easier than that of my great-great-grandparents will be even more advanced as and if we encounter problems in the future - as long as we don't cripple our ability to make technological advances.

Let's turn the accusation around. In the 1960's Malaria was nearly wiped out through the widespread use of DDT, with around 50 thousand deaths a year. Then DDT was banned and the deaths skyrocketed to a million a year, for 40 years, until the UNWHO lifted its ban on the use of DDT. Rachel Carson has the blood of 40 million people - mostly children - on her hands, 40 million who died needlessly because of the ban on DDT, and where is she to answer for the carnage she caused? How does she fix her "Silent Spring" mistake?
After society collapses into rich vs poor and disease and hunger spread with the changing climate. I don't think "I told you so" would cut it..."
I will answer this and end with a quote by Robert A. Heinlein:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as "bad luck."

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Tiger Woods has been famous for a decade. Today I did a Google search on his name and got 27.9 million hits. I did another Google Search on Climategate - a word that didn't even exist a month ago - and got 16.1 million hits (interestingly, half as many as a week ago).

I don't see how Tiger Woods's personal life merits as much attention as the Climategate story. It is convenient for the "professional" "news" organizations to misdirect the hoi polloi while the biggest news story so far this century goes on under the radar, as the very reason for the COP15 conference - the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming - is shown to be built on a collapsing house of cards. Jon Stewart scooped CNN: Jon Stewart on Climate-Gate Video

And Rex Murphy is apparently the lone voice of reason on the CBC:

Other than that, crickets chirping. Quite literally trillions of dollars at stake over the next... well, forever, in an unbreakable treaty that forces Canadians to freeze to death in the dark. Rand Simberg was right: it isn't Climategate, it's Climaquiddick. The former gatekeepers of information are trying to keep the information secret. Before the internet existed, they would have gotten away with it.

It ain't how science is supposed to work, and it ain't how journalism is supposed to work.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Scientific Prostitution

If you haven't heard by now, you should. The entire Anthropogenic Global Warming scam has been blown wide open by a probable whistleblower in the East Anglia Climate Research Unit. The CRU is one of the most influential climate research centers in the world, and its results are used by other institutions (like NASA) to calibrate their own measurements. Here is the .zip file containing the "hacked" emails and most importantly the computer code. The HARRY_READ_ME.txt file is particularly interesting.

Right now in Copenhagen there are twety thousand delegates from some 194 countries around the world crafting a "Climate Treaty". They are using the fraudulent data used in the IPCC reports to show a man-made climate change problem that does not exist in the real world, but only exists in the fraud perpetrated upon you and me. How inconvenient is that truth?

The file was made available to the BBC a few weeks before it was posted on a Russian server and went ├╝berviral. It is the biggest scientific fraud of all time, with delegates in Copenhagen right now divvying up a quarter of the world's total economy in a treaty that would actually override the US Constitution and the Canadian Constitution.

We have to put a stop to this. This was science as prostitute, with a thesis so full of possibility for increased government involvement in your life and increase in the scope of government - in fact, the beginning of a World Government. It's like watching Atlas Shrugged unfold before me at a slightly quicker pace than actually reading the book itself.

Lord Monckton gave a speech in St. Louis in mid-October, a month before these files became public. Here it is. (>90 minutes)

Take that, Al Gore.