SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens 
December 2002

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

Disclaimer: The editor speaks only for himself, and sometimes even he is wrong.


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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.

I Serge;
 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.

Guest Editorial:

Ed: An oft cited subject in this tome has been the issue of global warming and whether humans are the cause of it. Thus the following.

Debunking Modern Climate Myths

                  Are observed changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere really
                  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.  It just
                  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 carbon
                  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.  Although
                  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 global
                  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
                  Warm Period.

                  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.  Nothing
                  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
                  stable climate.

                  Fallacy 11: IPCC's predictions are reasonable.  In addition to the many problems
                  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 the
                  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:


1. Doug pens
Subject:         Re: Nov issue up, lastcall December
   Date:         Thu, 12 Dec 2002 11:20:10 -0600 (Central Standard Time)
   From:         "Douglas E. Wilken" <>
     To:         serge <>

> "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" <>


Quote(s) of the month:

"If Iraq came across the Jordan River ... I would grab a rifle and get in a trench and fight and die with the Jordanians."
-- Bill Clinton, at a Canadian Jewish Fundraiser

Fix of the month:

"Was the Trent Lott statement about Strom Thurmond a serious offense?"



1. Seattle, Dec 20: Senator Patty Murry (Dem) opined while speaking at a school that Osama bin Laden is regarded as a hero in his area of the world becuase he has helped to build roads, schools and hospitals whereas the U.S. only bombs them.
Ed: Of course, this rather ignores the times that the US has bailed out mid-East nations, Kuwait most recently.

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

During his street time, Weeks suddenly recognized that if he really was homeless, he could have gotten a job quite easily.


1. West Palm Beach, Sept: Edward Law, a paraplegic, is sueing the Wildside Adult Sports Cabaret under the Americans for Disabilities Act - becuase the lap dance room lacks wheelchair access. Plus, the bar is too high so he cannot set his drinks on it. All hail the great results of the ADA!

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.


1. San Francisco, Dec 24: Govnr Gray Davis (Dem) does his bit for child health care by signing into law a bill that would limit the wight of school backpacks of sub-teeneagers to 12 pounds or less. Not addressed, how the curriculum will be fitted into the text books.

Washington D.C.

1. Dec. 20: Trent Lott, after years of public service, steps down as Senate Rep. leader after commenting at Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100'th birthday, that had the US elected Thurmond in 1948 (when he ran on a Dixiecrat separatist platform) the country would have been better off. Lott would have been 8 years old at the time of that election.

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.

Net News;

The following was an annual tradition, and was originally submitted by Rene' Sanger-Redman.

       Well, Virginia there may have been a Santa Claus...
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
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.
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.
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
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.