Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for independence.
-- C.A. Beard
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On last month's Fix;
the answer to last month's Fix,
"Suppose a US/UN coalition gets Saddam out of Iraq. What next?"
This point has been largely ignored by the press, but hopefully not the U.N and U.S. govt. To simply remove Saddam will not accomplish much, as any of the likely local replacements are just as bad (or in the case if his muderous sons) worse. What this means is if there is to be any peace in teh region, is that it will require a long term occupational force to install a representative and stable govt. It is doubtful the US public has the stomach for another Marshall Plan, so the onus would fall again to the U.N. Is there a concensus within that body as to how to bring that about? Not that I have heard.
To make matters worse, the world is waking up to the fact that N. Korea is a much bigger threat, at least in nuclear terms. The good news here is that all the memebers of the U.N. security council, even the Chinese and Russia, are in agreement that N. Korea must not join the nuclear club (although that may be just so that they can sell nucs to them). In any case, a strong and decisive move by the U.S. to bomb those "research" reactors would render the N.Korea threat impotent - and the situation would devolve back to the status quo.
Of course, it goes without saying that this being the Xmas issue, I know that Steve, Sheryl as well as myself wish all of you the best of joys and good will during this season and for the next year.
Debunking Modern Climate Myths
Are observed changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
dangerous? This is the title-question of a major review article by C.R. de Freitas of the
School of Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Auckland in New
Zealand, which was published in the June 2002 issue of the Bulletin of Canadian
Petroleum Geology. Its focus is the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content and what the
consequences of that phenomenon might be for earth's climate and biosphere.
In broaching this subject, de Freitas focuses on certain key questions:
Is global climate
warming? If so, what part of that warming is due to human activities? How good is
the evidence? What are the risks? Finding answers to these questions, he says, "is
hindered by widespread confusion regarding key facets of global warming science," and
it is these several fallacies or misconceptions that he addresses.
Fallacy 1: Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing at alarming rates.
ain't so, according to de Freitas, who notes that annual CO2 concentration increases
appear to be leveling off in recent years. He also wonders what is alarming about the
aerial fertilization effect of atmospheric CO2 enrichment, which dramatically stimulates
the growth rates and enhances the water use efficiencies of essentially all of earth's
Fallacy 2: Humans are big players in the global carbon cycle. In
reality, says de
Freitas, "anthropogenic CO2 emissions are only about 3% of the natural carbon cycle
and less than 1% of the atmospheric reservoir of carbon." He also notes that the
increase in the air's CO2 content over the past few centuries could well have been the
result of earth's oceans giving off the gas in response to the planet's recovery from the
Little Ice Age.
Fallacy 3: There is a close relationship between changes in atmospheric
dioxide and global temperature. De Freitas debunks the implied message of this myth,
i.e., that it is changes in CO2 that drive changes in temperature, by citing many
well-documented cases where just the opposite occurred, over periods ranging from
months to millennia, reminding us that correlation does not prove causation and that
cause must precede effect.
Fallacy 4: Global temperature has increased over the past two decades.
data gathered by various types of thermometers do indeed indicate warming in many
places over this time period, the concurrent growth of cities and towns, according to
numerous scientific studies cited by de Freitas, has increased so dramatically that much
- if not all - of that warming may be due to an intensifying of the urban heat island
Fallacy 5: Satellite data support IPCC claims on observed and projected
warming. No way, says de Freitas; climate models predict significant warming of the
lower atmosphere, which is not evident in the satellite temperature record. Hence, the
only data set that provides a truly global perspective of atmospheric temperature
actually provides "direct evidence against the IPCC global warming hypothesis."
Fallacy 6: Global climate trends during the past century are very unlike
those of the
past. This highly-heralded falsehood is soundly refuted by de Freitas, who cites the
results of a host of scientific studies that demonstrate the warming of the past century is
but the most recent phase of a natural climatic oscillation that over the past millennium
brought the world the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age, and now the Modern
Fallacy 7: There are reliable forecasts of future climate. No credence
can be given to
this claim, says de Freitas, until the models making the forecasts have been verified,
which likely will not happen anytime soon. In fact, he notes that "earth's atmosphere
has warmed only about 10 per cent as much as climate models forecast, averaged over
the last 30 years." The reason? "Large uncertainties associated with most model
Fallacy 8: Significant anthropogenic global warming is underway.
First of all, as de
Freitas has noted, there may not be any warming currently occurring. Second, as he has
demonstrated, much of what may be occurring may be natural. Third, much of what
little man-induced warming may exist may not be due to CO2 emissions, but rather to
urbanization, changes in land use, and various other greenhouse gases and particulates.
Fallacy 9: Global warming will produce a rise in sea level. Again,
not so, according
to de Freitas. For one thing, he notes there has been no acceleration in long-term sea
level rise over the past century. Plus, he cites the work of many scientists who suggest
that warming could result in greater snowfall over the polar ice caps, transferring large
amounts of water from the oceans to the ice sheets and possibly halting sea level rise.
Fallacy 10: Global warming will result in more extreme weather events.
could be further from the truth, as de Freitas demonstrates. Whether it be extremes of
heat and cold, droughts, floods, hail, tornadoes or hurricanes, there is absolutely no
evidence that these phenomena have increased globally over the twentieth century. In
fact, there is much empirical evidence to suggest that more warmth leads to a more
Fallacy 11: IPCC's predictions are reasonable. In addition to the
associated with current climate models, IPCC warming predictions are based on future
greenhouse gas scenarios that are patently unreasonable. Over half of their predictions,
according to de Freitas, assume that atmospheric CO2 is increasing twice as fast as it
actually is, while methane concentrations have fallen steadily for the past seventeen
Fallacy 12: Observed temperature trends are those predicted by climate
models. It is
difficult to see how this statement can be believed when, as noted by de Freitas, (1)
"observed global warming is so much less than predicted by conventional climate
models," (2) so fantastically less than the high-end warming that is used to leverage
political action, (3) possibly due to other causes than CO2, or (4) even non-existent.
Fallacy 13: There is a consensus that greenhouse induced climate change
is a major
threat. Quoting de Freitas, "scientists are a well-educated, diverse and ill-disciplined
assortment of freethinkers." To believe such a group would reach a consensus on so
complex an issue is ludicrous in the extreme. Indeed, de Freitas' own paper, with its
many references, is ample proof that true science is alive and well ... and dissenting.
Fallacy Fourteen: The threat of human-caused climate change justifies taking
action proposed in the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol. If there is a consensus on
anything related to this issue, it is that Kyoto's effect on temperature "would be
imperceptible," writes de Freitas. "So," he continues, "in addition to being ineffective,
costly, and unfair to industrialized nations, the Kyoto Protocol is also unnecessary."
Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso
de Freitas, C.R. 2002. Are observed changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide in
the atmosphere really dangerous? Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology 50:
> "Suppose a US/UN coalition gets Saddam out of Iraq. What
Nobody knows. No long term game plan has been put forth by the
current administration. I find that very frightening.
Got a *bad* feeling about this one. Could easily see this
turning into a war between the entire middle east and us.
2. And Brian D makes an elegant summary of his ususally loquacious self
Subject: RE: Nov issue up, lastcall December
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2002 10:05:20 -0600
From: "Donahue, Brian" <brian.s.donahue@Vanderbilt.Edu>
To: "serge" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
2. Seattle, Sept: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer paid at least 2 free-lance reporters to take time off from their regular jobs and become "homeless". Derick Clark and Scotty Weeks, both in their 20's, took time off from web designer jobs to work the Seattle waterfront fro 2 weeks. They had access to a laptop and an internet cafe so they could report on their squalidness at www.homelessweek.com
During his street time, Weeks suddenly recognized that if he really was homeless, he could have gotten a job quite easily.
2. Miami, Sept: The Afghami family of Gathersburg MD was booted off
the Carnival Cruise Ship Victory for packing Killer bees in their
luggage. Security put the family ashore where they were returned home.
The Afghami's are - naturally - sueing under the American Civil RIghts
Act, claiming discrimination becuase of their Iranian heritage.
2. Oct: In Loudin County VA, people are too dumb to know when they need
lights on or not. Or at least that is the view of County Supervisor Bill
Bogard who is a member of Arizona based Dark Sky International. The group,
headed by activist astronomers and environmentalists, believe there is
too much energy waste and light pollution and Bogard is trying to set a
9 PM curfew for outdoor lighting and non-blacked-out homes.Elizebeth Alvarez,
Dark Sky's Assoc Directer, says their mission is to inform people where,
when and how much light to use.
Well, Virginia there may have been a Santa Claus...
SOME NUMBERS ON THIS SANTA CLAUS GUY...
1) NO KNOWN SPECIES OF REINDEER CAN FLY
But there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be
classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does
not completely rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever
2) THERE ARE 2 BILLION CHILDREN (persons under 18) IN THE WORLD
But since Santa doesn't (appear to) handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish
& Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total -
378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average
(census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million
homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.
3) SANTA HAS 31 HOURS OF CHRISTMAS TO WORK WITH
This is due to the different time zones and the rotation of the
earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This
works out to 822.6 visits/second. This is to say that for each
Christian household with good children, Santa has .001 second to
park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the
stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat
whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back
into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of
these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth
(which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our
calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78
miles/household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles; not counting
stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours,
plus feeding & etc.
So Santa's sleigh must be moving at 650 miles/second, 3,000 times
the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made
vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4
miles/second. A conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles/hour.
4) THE PAYLOAD ON THE SLEIGH ADDS ANOTHER INTERESTING ELEMENT
Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego
set (2 lb), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa,
who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional
reindeer can pull no more than 300 lb. Even granting that "flying
reindeer" (see #1) could pull 10 times the normal amount, we cannot
do the job with 8, or even 9 reindeer. We need 214,200. This
increases the payload - not counting the weight of the sleigh - to
353,430 tons. This is four times the weight of the ocean-liner Queen
5) 353,000 TONS TRAVELING AT 650 MILES/SECOND CREATES ENORMOUS AIR
This will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft
reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will
absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy.
Per second. Each.
In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously,
exposing the reindeer behind them, and creating deafening sonic
booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized
within .00426 of a second. Meanwhile, Santa will be subjected to
centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250 lb
Santa (seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his
sleigh by 4,315,015 lb of force.
If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.