Unsettled Science

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

New article in Nature says the Earth is getting greener, more plants sucking more CO2 out of the air.
The article mentions that elevated atmospheric CO2 explains some of the greening but carefully avoids linking CO2 levels to temperature. But if green plants suck CO2 out of the air, then shouldn’t global greening lower atmospheric CO2? And if global warming is caused by CO2, which more plants are now sucking out of the air, shouldn’t that mitigate global warming?
I wonder if the computer models used by climate scientists incorporate enough CO2 reduction due to global greening?
Joe Doakes

The models do what they’re told to do.

Failure Is A Green Orphan

Ten years or so ago, when Germany embarked on a trillion-dollar campaign to phase out fossil and nuclear power and replace it with wind, the Greens, the Climate-Change Mafia and the media – along with a whooole lot of Green Energy scammers – applauded like Comintern members at a Stalin speech.

Today?  Crickets.

The government plans to cap the total amount of wind energy at 40 to 45 percent of national capacity, according to the report. By 2019, this policy would cause a massive reduction of 6,000 megawatts of wind power capacity compared to the end of 2015’s capacity.
“The domestic market for many [wind turbine] manufacturers collapses completely,” Julia Verlinden, a spokesperson for the German Green Party, told Berliner Zeitung. “With their plan, the federal government is killing the wind companies.” Verlinden goes on to blame the political influence of “old, fossil fuel power plants.”

They can “blame” the fact that “Green energy” is not economically sustainable.

At all.

Settled Science

When I was a kid, the world’s social justice warrior crowd warned us that the world was headed for inevitable catastrophic famine.  Some of the very voices behind “global warming” today – Paul Ehrlich springs to mind – warned (and profited greatly from warning) us that India would be down to under 100 million people by 1990, and that Africa was going be pretty much revert to nature, its human inhabitants all starved out.  Even the US was going to be the subject of “inevitable” food riots by the mid-eighties.

Naturally, the only possible remedy was to socialize the world economy.

Today?

People are wondering with a straight face if we have “too much food”, as the world has more overweight than malnourished people for the first time in history.

I fully expect to see a Kyoto Treaty for fat, sooner than later.

Extreme Measures

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It occurs to me that the Obama administration may be quietly supporting a Final Solution to global warming.

World population increased from 2 billion in 1950 to 7 billion today.  All those extra people exhaling carbon dioxide, raising cattle that produce methane flatulence, heating their homes with natural gas, driving cars, charging their iPhones with electricity generated from burning coal . . . they all contribute to global warming.  Hey, Liberals are right, global warming IS produced by mankind: the world simply has too many people emitting too much carbon.

It wouldn’t, if we could reduce world population back to 1950 levels.  But how would we do it in a politically acceptable way?  No Blood For Oil is still a favorite Liberal hymn.

If we support policies that undermine world-wide oil prices, the economy will collapse in oil-producing countries, leading to mass starvation, reducing the population, freeing up carbon credits for Americans.

If we release terrorists from Gitmo and also foment insurrection in Arab countries, civil war will break out leading to bloodshed, disease and starvation, reducing the population, freeing up carbon credits for Americans.

If we unleash the Ebola virus in Africa and the Zika virus in South America and warn women not to get pregnant for three years, we reduce the birth rate below replacement level, reducing the population, freeing up carbon credits for Americans.

If we let felons out of prison and decline to prosecute killers based on color, thousands will die in inner cities, reducing the population, freeing up carbon credits for wealthier Americans.

Europe is getting ready to eliminate millions of asylum seekers.  North Korea is making noises – maybe a major war on that peninsula will draw in some neighbors to die fighting?  And how are things between India and Pakistan right now, any chance they might massacre a few millions of each other’s citizens for us?

Genocide could turn out to be nicely guilt-free, as it’s not a choice, it’s a necessity to survive global warming.  Settled science, doncha know?  Maybe President Obama really will halt the rise of the oceans and begin the heal the planet.  Boy, would I have egg on my face.

Joe Doakes

Omelette/eggs.  Just saying.

Fog Of Social War

Minnesota – the state where everything that isn’t mandatory is banned – jumped down hard on “vaping”, the “smoking” of electronic cigarettes (or “e-cigs”).  E-cigs, which create a vapor out of water with flavoring and nicotene, are a vastly lower-risk alternative to smoking cigarettes, without the tar and most of the known carcinogens.

Summary:  people enjoying something that looked like, and bore a superficial relationship (there’s something that looks like smoke!) to something the ruling class abhors (but for the tax money) but the declassé enjoy?  Ban it!

And so the state’s behavior police, sensing illicit enjoyment, leapt into action, grunting out a series of laws that, while scientifically vacant, made vaping the equivalent of smoking.

But with a little luck, the push for conformity may have taken a hit in, of all places, New York, with a judge noting the radical notion that, with vaping, nothing is burning:

“An electronic cigarette neither burns nor contains tobacco,” said the court. “Instead, the use of such a device, which is commonly referred to as ‘vaping,’ involves the inhalation of vaporized e-cigarette liquid consisting of water, nicotine, a base of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin and occasionally, flavoring.”

And also, the subversive idea (at least in the age of Obama( that the law means what it says it means:

The issue was brought to the court in the case of People v. Thomas, after vaper Shawn Thomas was issued a citation on the subway and subsequently challenged the citation in court. New York law defines smoking as “the burning of a lighted, cigarette, pipe or any other matter or substance which contains tobacco.”

Let’s hope this sparks (heh) a continued legal rebellion.

 

Help Me Out Here

To:  Colgate
From:  Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re:  Your Super Bowl Ad

Colgate,

So I watched the teaser for your Super Bowl spot:

I get it.  There’s big money in appealing to the altruism of the soft-core social justice warrior.  There’s a whole generation of Millennials out there who are impressed by symbols.

And I am not one of the people who “wastes” water like the guy in the ad.  I’m way too frugal for that.

But I have a question.  Several, actually:

  1. If I did leave the faucet running, what do you think would happen (other than inflating my water bill)?   Would the water disappear from the face of the earth, never to be seen again?    Of course not; it runs down the drain, through the sanitary sewer, back to sewage plant and a holding pond, where it evaporates, turning into humidity, clouds, and eventually rain or snow, falling…somewhere in the world, usually to repeat the cycle over and over and over.
  2. For that matter, what do you think happens to the water I drink?  That it disappears from the earth for good?  No – it comes back out in one form or another; #1, #2, sweat, tears, spittle, whatever.  It eventually gets back to the environment, where it evaporates and becomes humidity, clouds, fog, snow, rain, ice, glaciers, or something.  And then repeats the cycle, over and over again.
  3. You end the ad with a young, ethnically-ambiguous girl (Asian? Central American?  Briilliant casting, actually) thirstily and heart-rendingly slurping up every drop of the “wasted” water she can get her hands, literally, around.  Now, I live in a part of the world blessed with a lot of water.  My city water comes from the Mississippi River.  And any water I don’t physically consume eventually probably gets back there, or seeps down into an aquifer, or evaporates back into the atmosphere to go heaven-only-knows where.  So please tell me; if I don’t use a gallon of water, how do you propose that it gets to that little girl in Myanmar or Honduras?  Can I pack it up in a jug and send it there, with Colgate paying the freight? Will you be holding a water drive?  How is my use of water – which, between nature and a government that handles basic services with some degree of competence, is plentiful where I live – related to the availability of water in a third-world hellhole beset by banana-republic socialists, corruption and incompetence?   Can the water I don’t use be re-purposed to drowning the successive waves of dictators that have managed to make places like the little girl’s hometown short of water, even though they’re by a freaking rain forest.

Thanks in advance.

Climate Change Via Hunter S. Thompson

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Driving SUVs burns fossil fuels gives off carbon, which causes a greenhouse effect, which heats the planet, causing global warming.

Except the planet isn’t getting warmer, according to temperature measurements.

Ah, but that’s because driving SUVs burning fossil fuels also gives off sulfate aerosols which cool the local area where they’re generated and therefore causes artificially low temperature readings, masking the extent of heating elsewhere around the world.

End result: global warming is worse than we thought because it’s hidden.  Secret Global Warming.  So hand over your money, quick!

I preferred “epicycles,” that was a more elegant solution to explain why the theory was correct in spite of the evidence.

Joe Doakes

I have a hunch Hunter S. Thompson’s legendary Samoan Lawyer is behind it all.  “It’s not necessary for you to understand the theory, or even that it be legitimate.  Merely that you keep the checks coming”.

Be The Racket You Want To See

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

What the world needs now, is tin pot mayors and local dept heads to flit off to Paris, to save the environment by telling everyone else to stop using fuel to flit about. And to agitate for more outdoor refrigerated hockey rinks so no child ever needs to know the tragedy of soft ice in a January thaw.

Idiots. Has all the class and sense of a local ordinance to condemn war in the holy land, or to admonish the Boko Harem kidnappers, or other sweeping consequential mouthings of liberal platitudes.

Check out the list of dept heads, bike czars, you name it. Anyone with a government expense account is getting in on this one. Exhibit director at the Science Museum? I suppose that makes them the anointed climate expert? What with having created from plaster of paris and scraps of cloth an exhibit that is every bit as scientifically sound as the so-called consensus evidence.

Also – look who’s paying for it. Some do-gooder group. Which is funded by tax dollars. Which are contributed by cities, run by the politicians who are getting a free vacation in Paris. Money-laundering their graft and pretending it’s noble effort to save the planet. They never hold these conferences in Darfur or Mogadishu.

joe doakes

If this were the private sector, the regulatory authorities would squat on it like a rhinoceros with diarrhea.

Peak Wrong

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Then:

WORLD’S OIL WILL RUN OUT IN TEN YEARS

The latest measurements confirm that the world’s oil and natural gas supplies are running out too fast. At some time between 2010 and 2020 the world’s supply of oil and gas will fall below the level required to meet international demand.
The US government is aware that we are about to endure a disastrous international energy shortage. According to Dr James McKenzie, a senior member of the climate change programme at the World Resources Institute in Washington, USA: “That’s why we went to war in Iraq.”

Now:

 

“It is better to choke back than to sell into this market,” Henderson said.
“There is just too much gas,” said Kastner. “I expect to see a downturn for the next two years.”

Joe Doakes

And yet Paul Ehrlich isn’t earning a living scrubbing pans in an Olive Garden.

Thanks, all you “I F*****ng Love Science”-reading hamsters on the left!

Unintended But Inevitable Consequences

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Britain is ahead of the US in shifting to green power generated by wind and solar panels, the cost of which is subsidized by government.

Except when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow; then they need back-up power provided by diesel generator farms, the cost of which also is  subsidized  by government.

You might want to talk to your pals on the Met Council about requesting additional funding now to establish diesel backup generator farms alongside the solar panel farms, to keep the lights on when the sun goes down and the wind goes calm. No point waiting for a crisis to re-invent the wheel in Minnesota when we can see clearly how it’s already being done in Britain.

Joe Doakes

I know that they used to have these…things that utilized huge generators and economies of scale to generate massive amounts of power, powered by gas, oil, coal, or even nuclear power.

What were those?

 

Repeat What Often Enough?

JoeDoakes from Como Park notes the same thing I did yesterday:

Global warming alarmists lie with statistics to panic the public, hoping they’ll react in fear instead of reason.

This article from Powerline explains how to make a chart look scary by changing the scale.

I think gun controllers do it, too. I’ll look for examples.

Joe Doakes

You can pretty much name the issue:  “war on women”; “Obamacare will lower the deficit”; Obama has added less to the debt than any president since the War; more gun laws equal less crime; the science is settled.

The Big Lie is a key part of the Democrat Party’s approach; to make up an alternate reality for their low-information base, without fear of being “fact-checked” by a media that is their PR agency Praetorian Guard.

 

 

Science!

SCENE:  Interior shot at local hardware store. Mitch BERG is grabbing a bag of sidewalk salt.  Suddenly, Avery LIBRELLE, holding a bag of various parts, steps around the corner.

LIBRELLE:  Hah, Merg!  Your statistical analysis is shit!

BERG:  Say that again like you’re having a civil conversation in polite company.

LIBRELLE:  Your statistical analysis is bad.

BERG:  That’s a little more like it.  Care to get more specific?

LIBRELLE:  Tuesday on your blog, you said that urban gun violence correlates with Democrat-controlled cities.

BERG:  Yep.  Because when you run through the numbers, both homicide and violent crime rates are statistically much higher in cities controlled by Democrats.

LIBRELLE:  Hah!  Those were crap statistics.

BERG:  They were from the Department of Justice.

LIBRELLE:  Well, look at this!  Stats from the CDC!  And lookie there!  All those red counties with higher gun death rates than all those blue cities!  Hah!  You are an idiot and stupid and your head is full of poop!  Hahahahahaahahahahahaahaha!

BERG:  Yeah, Avery – we’ve dealt with this same exact chart on this blog before.  You don’t see how this is a non-sequitur, don’t you?

LIBRELLE!  It’s science!

BERG:  Yeah – it’s also comparing apples to axles.  My story yesterday covered homicide and violent crime rates.  This chart covers all gun deaths.  You do see the difference, don’t you?

LIBRELLE:  I see that you are a stupid idiot.

BERG:  “All gun deaths” also counts suicides, Avery. Suicides are between 65-70% of the gun deaths in this country. And it’s a form of suicide “preferred” by rural, white men, mostly lonely and socially isolated, very frequently deeply depressed and/or terminally ill. It’s especially prevalent in…the rural west.  And, being prevalent in lots of sparsely populated rural western and southern counties, it means that the gun death rate will look very high – and it comparably will be.  But that’s not the homicide rate.  Which, you will note, is almost nonexistent in most of those rural, western counties with a high “gun death rate”.

Suicide is a tragedy – but no worse than any other form of suicide (the US’s suicide rate is much lower than many countries that control guns strictly).   And it’s morally not the same as murder – which is taking someone else’s life, by definition against their will.  Which was what my story covered.

So, Avery – what does this mean.

LIBRELLE:  It means that you hate women and science and are a racist…

(LIBRELLE, gesturing expansively, knocks an elbow against a shelf.  A gallon can full of paint falls, conking LIBRELLE on the head)

BERG:  (Rushing to LIBRELLE’s assistance)  Are you OK?

LIBRELLE:  (head lolling about in mild delirium) What it really means is that it’s my statistical analysis that is “shit”, and that I should really stop playing at being a “fact checker” until I learn how to do the job, because I make myself look like an ignorant laughingstock.

HARDWARE STORE ATTENDANT:  (Rushing from the counter) Is h…,er sh…is this person OK?

BERG:  Just having a moment of clarity.  It’ll pass.

(And SCENE)

 

Imports

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A pair of graduate students from the U of M came to the office to learn about Minnesota’s system of land title records.  Seems they’re hoping to institute a new system in Kenya where land records are not reliable, making investment risky which discourages entrepreneurship and that leaves people in poverty, dependent on government hand-outs.  The students propose a computerized system (which will reveal changes and who made them) based on GPS coordinates (that can be re-established in the field by any hand-held GPS receiver).

The students are cargo cultists.  They propose a technological solution to a cultural problem.  I’m skeptical.

Kenya left the British Empire in 1963 and for the last half-century: “the use of land as an object of patronage to engender support and consolidate power has been exacerbated by corruption, forced eviction, government backtracking, and lack of redress for those who have lost land through violence.”

Suppose the computer gives me absolute iron-clad proof that the land records clerk altered the records to give my land to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s friend.  Suppose when I show up in court, the President’s friend arrives with a thick envelope of “last-minute evidence” for the judge, then glances meaningfully at his Reece Squad escorts and says “So, judge, how are the wife and kids?  Be a shame if anything happened to them.”  What are my chances of getting my land back?

Technology can’t solve that problem.  It takes a culture of incorruptibility, of self-less devotion to the Rule of Law, and that culture takes hundreds of years to grow.  Kenya threw that away when it kicked out the British.  Americans are letting our own Kenyan throw it away today.

Joe Doakes

Barack Obama’s worst facet?  He’s bringing the worst facets of Third World/Chicago governance to a national stage.

I’m going to say that before the IRS shuts me down.

 

Doctors Orders

If you’ve had a checkup over the past ten years, you may have noticed your doctor (or their nurses) asking you or your kids if there are any guns in the house.

It is, of course, part of a politically-motivated campaign to a) try to compile “public health” data attacking our right to keep and bear arms, and b) an attempt by left-leaning medical organizations to use the prestige of the medical profession to bully people out of owning guns.

I’ve always answered “No”. I figure “backdoor to registration”.

Turns out there may be a better approach to take. 

Uncool

Here’s the send-off line of Michelle Malkin’s piece on the ill-advised nature of the Pope’s jeremiad against air conditioning:

If the pontiff truly believes “excessive consumption” of modern conveniences is causing evil “climate change,” will he be shutting down and returning the multi-million-dollar system Carrier generously gifted to the Vatican Museums?

If not, I suggest, with all due respect, that Pope Francis do humanity a favor and refrain from blowing any more hot air unless he’s willing to stew in his own.

What is Malkin talking about?

Read the rest of the piece.

I’ve been saying for years – when you add politics to science, you don’t get scientific politics – you get politicized science.

I can’t see how the same doesn’t go for religion.

Much Ado About Ado

The left, in its tireless search for crises not to waste, is going – some of them, anyway – back to that old warhorse, the Metric System.

Charles CW Cooke:

Examined in a vacuum, there is nothing obviously virtuous about the imperial system of measurement. If the United States were starting from scratch, à la Thomas Paine, its people would almost certainly elect to conform to the global standard, if only because it would make it easier for scientists who work on collaborative projects. But this is rather beside the point, for we do not live in a vacuum, and the United States is not to be started anew. Instead, we are discussing the future of a well-established and extraordinarily successful country that is full of living, breathing, habit-forming people. Were Americans to follow Lincoln Chafee’s counsel and, in a “bold embrace of internationalism” agree to “join the rest of the world and go metric,” it would almost certainly make Germany and Lithuania and San Marino feel a little better about themselves. It may help things on the International Space Station, too. But it would not, pace Chafee’s blasé claim, represent an “easy” transition. Au contraire: To pull the roots out at this late stage in the game would be extremely tough. The imperial system developed as it did for a reason — to wit, it makes intuitive sense. To push people out of their intuitions is a hard task indeed.

 

I’m going to disagree with both sides.

For starters, as the old saw says, there are two types of countries; ones that use metric, and ones that’ve been to the moon.  We clearly don’t suffer much from using metric.

And beyond that?  Every American that needs to use metric – scientists, doctors, soldiers – already does.

And seriously – is it really that hard to switch between the two?  A meter is about a yard.  There are three kilometers to two miles.  A kilo is 2.2 pounds.  A liter is a quart with a little change.  There are about 2.5 hectares to an acre, not that anyone in n a country that is actually self-sufficient for food measures land in hectares (except maybe Australian and Argentina).  9 millimeter is the same as .38, .357 and .380 ACP.

 

Settled Science

The NYTimes sloooooowly backs away from the “Settled Science” of 47 years ago:

The New York Times just published an extraordinary “retro report”—a short video paired with an article—looking back at Paul Ehrlich’s “population bomb” theory, the fear that an uncontrolled human population would outstrip the ability of the Earth to support it.
The Times lays out some of the evidence for the theory’s failure, including the fact that the world’s population was about 3.5 billion when Ehrlich first made his apocalyptic prognostications in 1968. It’s 7 billion now, and we haven’t starved, we haven’t run out of resources, and we’re better off than we’ve ever been.

Although they never really admit wrongdoing:

And the Times is still committed to an outgrowth of the same apocalyptic theory. It cites British journalist Fred Pearce: “In Mr. Pearce’s view, the villain is not overpopulation but, rather, overconsumption. ‘We can survive massive demographic change,’ he said in 2011. But he is less sanguine about the overuse of available resources and its effects on climate change.” Perhaps some day they’ll do a look back on the failure of the global warming hysteria—though at this rate, we should expect to see that some time around 2062.

Or not.  The existence of billions of people who weren’t supposed to be alive is pretty easy to prove.  The climate is nice and nebulous and ambiguous.  It’s the perfect lefty crisis-not-to-be-wasted.

The LA Times Is To “Science” As Public Rest Rooms Are To “Rest”

I’ve been beating up media figures and their attempts to besmirch the Second Amendment and its defenders for most of the past thirty years, in one form of media or another; talk radio, newsletters, email list-servers, the blog, and talk radio again.

And I’ve noticed two major trends:

  • As the actual facts about guns and society get out to real people, and the pendulum swings ever-further in favor of human rights,  the true, die-hard orcs just get worse and worse, and sloppier and sloppier, at plying their dubious trade.  Example:  Heather Martens has never been one to fall back on fact in stating her case (she’s never once in her career made a substantial, factual original statement), but lately she’s sounded more and more like a banana-republic dictator protesting the health of her regime as things swirl down the drain.
  • On the other hand, the orcs continue to excel at their one useful skill; manipulating a biased, gullible and un-bright mainstream media.  And the latest tool toward that end is “science”.

No, really;  Harvard professor David Hemenway pretty much leads off his piece in the LATimes by not only trying to wrap himself in “science”, but admitting that it’s a tool for bludgeoning people into obeisance:

 

One of the reporters I complained to said that he had covered climate change for many years. He explained that journalists were able to stop their “balanced” reporting of that issue only when objective findings indicated that the overwhelming majority of scientists thought climate change was indeed happening, and that it was caused by humans.

So we’re off to a great start.

Hemenway’s goal; to do to coverage of the Second Amendment what politicized science has done for coverage of climate change.

And the method toward this “science” is the kind of intellectual clown car that might pass muster with leftybloggers, but not with anyone who can outthink sea monkeys:

So I decided to determine objectively, through polling, whether there was scientific consensus on firearms. What I found won’t please the National Rifle Assn.

The NRA might not have been “pleased” by what Professor Hemenway had to say, but only because they, like all of us pro-human-rights media activists, are so un-freaking-Godly bored by refuting the same intellectual effluvium, over and over and over again.  Which, naturally, they have done.

But this is my article – and to paraphrase the great Dexter, it’s a wonderful day to throw rocks and garbage at BS that’s mislabeled “science”: 

My first step was to put together a list of relevant scientists. I decided that to qualify for the survey the researcher should have published on firearms in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and that he or she should be an active scientist — someone who had published an article in the last four years. I was interested in social science and policy issues, so I wanted the articles to be directly relevant. I was not interested in scientists doing research in forensics, history, medical treatment, psychiatric issues, engineering or non-firearms (for example, nail guns, electron guns).

Most of the scientists who were publishing relevant articles were from the fields of criminology, economics, public policy, political science and public health.

So let’s recap:

  • Hemenway sought “scientific consensus” – a term that is itself unscientific.
  • He sought it primarily from “researchers” in fields that are, except for public health, not really “sciences” at all, and are generally famous for their shoddy standards and politicized nature of their research.
  • He sought it from people working at institutions (and even moreso, academic departments) where Constitutionalist, Originalist, conservative/libertarian thought has been largely extinguished, where academics who exhibit same can find their tenure denied and careers threatened.
And his conclusion:

This result was not at all surprising because the scientific evidence is overwhelming. It includes a dozen individual-level studies that investigate why some people commit suicide and others do not, and an almost equal number of area-wide studies that try to explain differences in suicide rates across cities, states and regions. These area-wide studies find that differences in rates of suicide across the country are less explained by differences in mental health or suicide ideation than they are by differences in levels of household gun ownership.

I’ll let you read the entire thing at your own leisure; the howlers keep coming.

I’ll sum it up for you; Hemenway:

  • managed to find a stratum of academics who manage to generate “scientific” effluvium about the danger of guns that manages to ignore the statistical fact that while the number of guns has skyrocketed and the liberality of gun laws has vastly increased in the past 20 years, violent and gun-related crime has dropped by half
  • found “public health” researchers who claim – via “metastudies”, or studies of other studies – that suicide is related to the availability of guns rather than mental health, even though the suicide rates of many nations that strictly control or ban guns are vastly higher than ours.
There are times that I wish the orcs could at least come up with an advocate who’d make it interesting.