Out Of Curiosity

I’ve always been curious about things like this (seen on Facebook yesterday):

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Foreigners are “baffled by how much water is wasted…while other places in the world are in desperate need of water?”

When foreigners flush a toilet, where do they think the water goes?  Do they think it gets destroyed?   Sent into an alternate universe via a wormhole in time?

That water goes to a treatment plant of some kind or another; usually the icky stuff gets separated out, and the water goes into a holding lake, where it filters down back into the groundwater, or evaporates back into the atmosphere, to fall somewhere in the world as rain, or to float around as humidity, or (mostly) sit in the ocean.

And it’s water that’s here.  Does an American have the option of sending water from his toilet – or from the Great Lakes or the Mississippi River, for that matter – to Ethiopia or the Gobi Desert?   Is there an alternate flush button we could push to send the water (waste-free, natch) to the horn of Africa?

Who are these “foreigners” with no knowledge of the evaporation cycle, anyway?

The “Whole Foods” Vortex

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Doesn’t this just take the cake? The people who refuse to vaccinate are NOT ignorant, inbred, redneck right-wing trailer trash as we might conclude from the vitriol in the media and on the Internet; they’re Mac-Groveland types: wealthy, educated, White, English speaking Liberals as proven in a 2011 government study.

I particularly like this guy’s quip about mapping anti-vaccers by drawing a circle around Whole Foods stores.

Liberal parents won’t risk their precious children getting sick from vaccines.  Instead, they depend on everybody else’s kids getting vaccinated.  That way, their own kids get a free ride because the rest of the herd is immune.   Which works fine until all the Liberal free-riding parents put their unvaccinated kids together at, say, Disneyland, then they all get sick.

Liberals steal a free ride off everybody else . . . disaster results.  Who woulda thunk it?

Joe Doakes

Academically, I can see the libertarian case for making vaccinations voluntary.

I can also see the flip side; practicing social stigmatizing of anti-vaxxers, and barring them from any privately-sanctioned event or business to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

But I revel in the brutal irony of it all; the liberal anti-vaxxers that live in those circles around those Whole Foods stores are the same people who chant along with NPR that man-made glerbal werming is “settled science” and that they are “reality-based”, unlike those superstitious Faux-News-addled conservative rubes who hate them some science.

Settled Science

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

One year ago . . . the End of Snow.  One year later . . . Woist Blizzahd Evah!

Well, worst in our lifetimes, which is all that matters, right?

It’s possible weather runs in cycles, but the cycles last so long that humans don’t recognize them.  “It hasn’t snowed this hard in 50 years” may be perfectly true and yet perfectly normal . . . if snowfall runs in 100 year cycles.

The reason Global Warming Alarmists have to fudge their data and shift from tree rings to temperature readings to make their models work, is because we don’t have reliable data from a long-enough time period to draw honest conclusions or propose sensible solutions.

It’s like checking the thermometer at 7:00 am and again 8:00, lowering the 7:00 am temperature to account for not being fully awake when you took that reading, then drawing a line on a graph and predicting the world will be aflame before midnight unless we all stop drinking hot coffee.   If temperatures are cyclical, rising and falling with the sun, then you don’t have enough data to support your prediction – whether or not you fudge the data – and your proposed cure won’t solve anything.

Joe Doakes

What part of “settled” are people missing, doggonnit?

Extreme

How debased is the English language, as it relates to politics in the US today?

The Democrats are chanting in unison that a bill regulating abortion is “extreme”.

No shock there.

What’s “extreme” is that it would ban abortion of fetuses after the 20th week of gestation.

20 weeks.  Five months.  Over halfway there.

More importantly, long after pain is known to register with the “fetuses” – and exactly two weeks earlier than children have survived premature delivery.

Two weeks.

When the “fetus” is fully formed in every particular; just not developed quite enough to survive on its own yet; 22 weeks involves working medical miracles; 24 weeks is difficult as hell and touch and go – but doable.

Note to infanticide supporters; say what you will about a “woman’s right to choose” – but when the “choice” involves something that is physically as well as morally indistinguishable from “a baby”, you’re not making any friends outside your echo chamber, provided they know what the actual story is.  Barring abortion of a “fetus” that is two weeks away from being a viable human being is not extreme.  Allowing it certainly is.

 

 

Airborne

The President is discussing sending 3,000 US military personnel to the heart of the Ebola outbreak, in west Africa. 

The proposal has brought out the crazy…on the right.  To be fair, it’s only comment-section trolls, for the most part, but the claims – “Obamawantsto introduce Ebola to the US” – take me back to the glory days of Bush Derangement Syndrome; again, to be fair, it’s comment-section chum on the right, and MSNBC commentators on the left, but it’s still depressing.

Am I dismayed that Obama is sending troops to Africa when he isn’t securing the border?  Sure.  With that out of the way?  Not all troops do the same job; Obama’s Africa mission would, according to the reports I’ve read, be engineers and civil affairs types to build lots of Ebola treatment centers fast, and people to get the logistics, which are non-functional in large swathes of these godforsaken countries, working to the point that clinics have supplies again.  So that we can tamp down this epidemic before it kills a third of Africa, and leaves us with an epidemic that we really can’t keep from entering the US? 

And whether you agree with Obama’s priorities or not, I ask you – what organization in the US can handle building things and moving supplies into hellholes, while keeping themselves safe from a biohazard? 

“But the troops’ll catch Ebola”.  Not if they avoid physical contact with the patients or corpses – and these folks aren’t doctors or nurses. 

“But it’s airborne!”

Well, no – it’s not, and it probably won’t be anytime soon

Partly, it’s evolution:  Ebola hasn’t evolved into a respiratory virus…:

Even viruses that are well adapted to attacking the respiratory system often have a hard time getting transmitted through the airways. Consider the experience so far with avian flu, which is easily transmitted through the air in birds but hasn’t yet mutated to become easily spreadable in that fashion among people.

What’s the hold-up? “The difficulty is that those [flu] viruses don’t have the protein attachments that can actually attach to cells in the upper airway. They have to develop attachments to do that,” Schaffner says. So even if a virus were exhaled, it would need to lodge onto something in another person’s cells that are already prepared for it in the upper airway. “Since the virus doesn’t have attachment factors that can work in the upper airway, it’s very rare for it to go human to human, and then it almost always stops and doesn’t get to a third person,” Schaffner notes. Similarly for Ebola, the virus would have to develop attachments that would allow it to easily attach receptors in the upper respiratory pathway — something that neither it (nor any of its viral cousins) has been known to do in the wild.

…because it hasn’t needed to:

And yet Ebola already spreads very easily without such mutations. The delicate lock-and-key protein–virus fit required for the virus to successfully latch onto and replicate in the airway has not developed because there is no evolutionary pressure for it to do so; it simply would not be an efficient option. Epidemiologists can take some comfort in that.

I’d rather see troops latching onto illegal immigrants and building fences along the Rio Grande, too.  But if we accept the idea that the military has a business doing humanitarian missions, and that the Ebola epidemic is worth getting on top of once and for all, there are dumber decisions to make…

Climate Of Ridicule

 A friend of mine in the insurance industry sent me this:

The Minnesota Department of Commerce sent a Climate Risk Disclosure Questionnaire to Minnesota insurers yesterday and ended up on my desk. It is ridiculous.

Here’s some background to it.

Here’s the exact survey I received yesterday, it’s a pretty standard form used by other states.
Here’s how I really want to answer. I think this accurately captures how all insurance companies ought to answer.

Your friend,
[redacted]

I’ll include the survey (and my friend’s answers, in italics) below. 

———-

Climate Risk Disclosure Survey

Question One: Does the company have a plan to assess, reduce or mitigate its emissions in its operations or organizations?

No.

Question Two: Does the company have a climate change policy with respect to risk
management and investment management? If yes, please summarize. If no, how do you
account for climate change in your risk management?

Yes, we look for industries that will are particularly vulnerable to higher taxes and fees from proposed carbon credit trading and excessive carbon taxes. In addition we are monitoring industries that are vulnerable to higher energy prices caused by an expected government policies which will force industry away from cheaper, safer, and more efficient carbon-based energy sources.

Question Three: Describe your company’s process for identifying climate change-related risks and assessing the degree that they could affect your business, including financial implications.

Since all of the scientific models predicting climate change are completely unreliable, an actuarial assessment of climate-related risks would also be completely unreliable. Therefore no financial implications can be adequately factored in to our financial modeling.

Question Four: Summarize the current or anticipated risks that climate change poses to your company. Explain the ways that these risks could affect your business. Include identification of the geographical areas affected by these risks.

Since all of the scientific models predicting climate change are completely unreliable, an actuarial assessment of climate-related risks would also be completely unreliable. Therefore no financial implications can be adequately factored in to our financial modeling.

Question Five: Has the company considered the impact of climate change on its investment
portfolio? Has it altered its investment strategy in response to these considerations? If so,
please summarize steps you have taken.

Yes, we look for industries that will are particularly vulnerable to higher taxes and fees from proposed carbon credit trading and excessive carbon taxes. In addition we are monitoring industries that are vulnerable to higher energy prices caused by an expected government policies which will force industry away from cheaper, safer, and more efficient carbon-based energy sources.

Question Six: Summarize steps the company has taken to encourage policyholders to reduce the losses caused by climate change-influenced events.

We have not taken any.

Question Seven: Discuss steps, if any, the company has taken to engage key constituencies on the topic of climate change.

None.

Question Eight: Describe actions the company is taking to manage the risks climate change
poses to your business including, in general terms, the use of computer modeling.

We are monitoring the additional carbon-related taxes and fees being imposed by all levels of government and building these into our financial models which predict higher costs of doing business and we are planning to raise our premiums to cover these additional fees.

———-

I think that was a perfectly useful template.

Expertise

With the news that the “Center for American ‘Progress’” invited Christina Hendricks to speak at a summit about the plight of single working mothers (one of which she is not, but she plays one, sort of, onMad Men), a mere 20 years after non-biochemist Meryl Streep was invited to Capitol Hill to lecture Congress about the perils of Alar (a pesticide) on apples, it might be good to give Big Left some other noted experts:

We should invite:

 Expert  To Speak On:
 Aaron Paul  Youth Crime and Drug Abuse
Tom Hanks  Wilderness and Open Ocean Survival
Larry Hagman  Middle Eastern Mythology
Tom Hanks  Counterterrorism
Ron Perlman  Organized Crime in the Rural Southwest
Tom Hanks  Small Unit Tactics
Mary Lynn Rajskub  Cyberterrorism
 James Caviezel  Theology of the New Testament
 Ron Perlman  Countersniper Tactics
 Zach Braff  Non-Surgical Interventions for Ischemic Bowel Syndrome
 Justin Timberlake  Preservation of Appendages after Traumatic Amputation
Steven Colbert The Intellectual Roots of Conservatism

Any others?

All In The Timing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Is it coincidence that the Leftist areas of the nation are growing hotter fastest? Couldn’t possibly be that the weather monitoring and recording is tweaked the most there?

http://www.twincities.com/nation/ci_25899883/northeast-southwest-growing-hotter-faster-than-rest-u

The article admits cities that rely on just one weather station are the most unreliable for records. Oh really, you think? So the relocation of trees and buildings that redirect shade, wind and other elements of the weather may have something to do with the measured results over time?

I’m skeptical. I suspect weather runs in longer than 30-year cycles. For example, Great Plains drought in 1880, dustbowl in 1930’s, present drought started in 2010 or so, all accompanied by significant temperature changes from the between-drought range.

The scientists specifically say they picked 1984 to avoid cherry-picking. Spontaneous denials make me suspicious.

Joe Doakes

Somebody needs to tell Joe that suspicion just isn’t scientific, these days.

Spaced

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

In 2010, President Obama told NASA chief Charles Bolden that his foremost job was to: “ . . . find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering.” But last month, NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan said the agency’s primary focus is humans on Mars by 2035.

Is this another one of President Obama’s famous pivots?  Are we pivoting to Mars, now?

Joe Doakes

We’re lucky he hasn’t pushed an expedition to land on the Sun.

Priorities

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The President campaigned for re-election on the grounds that General Motors was alive but Osama Bin Laden was dead.

Except . . . if Global Warming threatens the very existence of human life on this planet, and autos cause Global Warming, shouldn’t he have let General Motors die?

And if Islamic Terror is merely a law enforcement nuisance, shouldn’t he have let Osama Bin Laden live?

Maybe he read the articles in the newspaper out of order and got confused?

Joe Doakes

Polar Bears don’t vote.

Two Generations Of Settled Science!

One of the problems with the current “universal consensus” among “climatologists” in re Global Warming, leaving aside the legitimate questions about the science involved and, beyond that, the political conclusion that the “science” is driving, is the track record of “settled science” from a previous generation of scientific chicken littles.

That’s right – the assembled brain trust of scientists from the original “Earth Day” (whose 34th or 35th go-around was last Tuesday), and the “settled science” of their predictions:

1. “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald

15 or 30 or 60 or 120…heck, it’s gonna happen someday

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner

Vague, untestable…settled!

3. “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.” — New York Times editorial

Vague, general, unprovable…settled!

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

Reading an Ehrlich article when I was probably 7-8 years old (in Readers Digest) scared the crap out of me; it gave me nightmares for weeks.

But one of the biggest problems facing the poor of India, Sub-Saharan Africa and China -today is obesity – which brings another meaning to “settled science”.

Oh, yeah – Ehrlich is one of the leading lights of the global warming movement.

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich

The eighties was when KFC made it to India, if memory serves.

6. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day

But while we wait on that mass starvation, we’ll have to deal with a lot of overweight poor people.  We humans are men and women of constant sorrow, aren’t we?

7. “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter

Wonder if they ever proposed “Nuremberg Tribunals” for population bomb “denialists”?

8. “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine

What would “Miami Vice” have been like if everything looked like Seattle?

9. “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

To be fair to the esteemed Mr. Watt, it has been “a matter of time” since the creation of the universe.

10. “Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich

But only at Paul Ehrlich lectures.

11.“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt

One wonders why the esteemed Mr. Watt thought someone would be waiting around the pump, in that case…

12.  “[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.” — Newsweek magazine

One wonders if the esteemed editors of Newsweek ever pondered that as the “water vapor fell and froze”, it would leave the atmosphere…?

13. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt

Huh.

Smack, Unsmacked

It’s been a staple of leftybloggers for the better part of a decade, now; every so often, some social “science” organization or another will release a “study” showing some variant “liberals are smarter than conservatives”.

This blog has made a decade-long romp out of trashing these “studies” – which are inevitably junk science.

The latest to the table in debunking this little lefty conceit is that noted conservative tool…

Will Saletan?   At Slate?

Huh.

Continue reading

The Global Carbon Credit

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Minnesota is having the worst winter in 30 years.  Meanwhile, Australia just had its hottest Summer.  Plainly, the Aussies are no allies: they’re heat thieves.  They’ve stolen our global warming and I, for one, want it back.

I say we invade at once, at least through April; then we can call it off and be home in time for the fishing opener.

Joe Doakes

Minnesotans who are that upset about weather could at least rehearse an invasion…

Appeal To Authority

Over the years, I’ve been codifying bits and pieces of (mostly liberal) human behavior into what I call “Berg’s Laws”.

I’m adding a new…well, not so much “law” as corollary to a law; an observation completely supported by the law.

The Law in question is Berg’s Fourteenth:

 The more strenuously a media organization identifies itself as “fact-checkers”, the more completely their “fact checking” will actually be checking statement for congruency with liberal conventional wisdom.

I’m adding the brand-new but utterly-sensible Maddow Corollary:

The same goes for science

I did it after reading this Glenn Reynolds piece in the NYPost, pointing out the facts behind the latest blitz of self-congratulatory articles by liberals lauding themselves for their greater supposed belief in science than conservatives.

These articles always trip the BS detector, naturally; they’re like the articles pointing out the”science” showing that liberals having higher IQ, or are less racist, or other such fripperies; bad science to reinforce a bad and – more importantly – meaningless conclusion.

Of course, as Reynolds points out, the whole tendency goes a solid level of illogic deeper.  He starts by noting that in 1974, a University of North Carolina sociologist Gordon Gauchat noted that in 1974, conservatives had a demonstrably higher likelihood to trust science than liberals.  I’m going to add some emphasis: 

Gauchat points out, correctly, that you can’t lay the blame at the feet of biblical creationists and anti-evolutionists, who were no less common in 1974. Nor is sheer ignorance responsible, as the decline in trust rose with education.

So wait – the more educated a conservative, the less likely he or she is to trust science?

Why, that suggest that this lack of trust isn’t just love of snake-handling, doesn’t it?

Why yes.  It does:

Instead, he suggests that it’s the increasing use of science as ammunition for big-government schemes that has led to more skepticism.
There’s probably something to that, but if you read the actual paper something else becomes clear. Despite the language in the coverage, it’s not science as a method that people are losing confidence in; it’s scientists and the institutions that purport to speak for them.

Reynolds does what everyone needs to do when they analyze polling information; looks at the original questions.

Gauchat’s paper was based on annual responses in the General Social Survey, which asks people: “I am going to name some institutions in this country. As far as the people running these institutions are concerned, would you say you have a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, or hardly any confidence at all in them?” One institution mentioned was “the scientific community.”
So when fewer people answered “a great deal” and more answered “hardly any” with regard to “the scientific community,” they were demonstrating more skepticism not toward science but toward the people running scientific institutions.
With this in mind, a rise in skepticism isn’t such a surprise.

Of course, people today have less faith in general in “institutions” than they used to.  Journalism, the police, the courts, the government, all are less trusted than they used to be.

So has…not “science”, as in the “scientific method”, but the institutions that run it, and especially the ones that use it toward their political ends.

“Science” – in the form of institutions – earned that distrust.  And that’s a good thing – because the root of science is skepticism.

And the push to jam down the beliefs of institutions, simply because they’re institutions, is unskeptical and, beyond that, illogical.  It is in fact a logical fallacy, the “appeal to authority“, which is also unskeptical and unscientific:

We accept arguments not because they come from people in authority but because they can be proven correct — in independent experiments by independent experimenters. If you make a claim that can’t be proven false in an independent experiment, you’re not really making a scientific claim at all.

And saying, “trust us,” while denouncing skeptics as — horror of horrors — “skeptics” doesn’t count as science, either, even if it comes from someone with a doctorate and a lab coat.
After a century of destructive and false scientific fads — ranging from eugenics to Paul Ehrlich’s “population bomb” scaremongering, among many others — the American public could probably do with more skepticism, not less.

Conservatives aren’t less scientific.  After a few years of “debating” liberals, it’s painfully clear we’re more logical.

We’re just less likely to trust someone with a PhD and a lab coat who’s come for our freedom, simply because he has a PhD and a lab coat.

Snowed In

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Our oldest son is a Senior Chief Petty Officer stationed near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  He sent this photo of his front yard, taken Tuesday, February 11, 2014.

They received 8-1/2 inches of new snow with sleet and freezing rain expected [late last week].

More proof of global warming?

Joe:  All evidence supports global warming.  As does all lack of evidence, and all contradictions in evidence.

(The real question isn’t so much “is the climate changing” as “if it is, would the best response be to give unlimited power to the United Nations and groups of unelected, meritless bureaucrats to sandbag the world’s economies even further at the time when they need prosperity the most”?).

Evidence

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

If global warming is causing the snow in Atlanta today, it must have been blazing a century ago when we saw the Great Blizzard of 1888 on the East Coast.

The prairies have always had blizzards, going back to the Schoolhouse Blizzard followed by theArmistice Day Blizzard in 1940 and the 1952 Blizzard. Nobody thinks anything of them – it is supposed to snow like mad on the prairie and that’s not evidence of anything.

But Lake Superior is freezing over for the first time in decades.  Duluth is having the coldest wintersince Kennedy was President.  That’s got to stand for something.

Joe Doakes

All evidence that supports global warming, supports global warming. On the other hand, all evidence that undercuts global warming, actually supports global warming.

There’s a pattern here.

Data

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A global warming skeptic thinks he has figured out why the computer models don’t match the thermometer outside - the government data is wrong.  Not accidentally wrong, but intentionally wrong.

According to his January 19, 2014 blog post, the US government lowered the temperature readings from years gone by but left alone current temperature readings.  That makes it look as if the Earth was colder in the past and getting warmer nowadays.  They converted a 90-year cooling trend into global warming by faking the data.

The most graphic illustration is the fifth chart down the page, an animated chart of US Temperature that shows how changing the data changes the result.  Look for this chart on the website and watch as it changes.

Next thing you know, you’ll be saying that the Government is using the executive branch to stifle speech.

Doakes Sunday: Blinded By The Cold

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

My Dad taught himself to play “Oh! Susanna” on the guitar.  The clever juxtaposition of opposites in the lyrics made us kids laugh: “rained all night the day I left, the weather it was dry.  The sun so hot, I froze to death, Susanna don’t you cry.”

Stephen Foster may have been an early advocate of global warming because alarmists are singing the same blues today – it’s cold because it’s hot.

The reason we’re freezin’ is not the season, it’s that there is no pleasin’ the freezin’ chillun drivin instead of standin’ at the light rail station.

Joe Doakes

And then with a very unpleasin’ freezin’ and wheezin’ the light rail crashed to the ground.

Then some go-kart Mozart was checkin’ out the weather charts, seeing if it was safe outside, and some early curly-wurly sat up in his hurly-burly and asked me if I needed a ride.

I guess Springsteen was on top of the weather back in 1973…