Filed under: Architecture, Art, Freedom, Heartwarming, History, Humor, Science/Technology | Tags: Acrocanthosaurus, Don't Try This At Home, Twenty-Foot Dinosaur
Here’s a time-lapse video of how a 20-foot acrocanthosaurus is made. The Airigami team assembled the dinosaur and its ecosystem, including plants and some crawly insects at the Virginia Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Ancient Life. It took them four days, but it looks like they didn’t have to blow up the balloons, at least not there.
That is without question the best balloon accomplishment I’ve ever seen.
Filed under: Global Warming, Science/Technology | Tags: Fort Collins Colorado, Minnesota, Rumford Maine
Steven Goddard posted this picture of Fort Collins, Colorado at 7 pm on the first of May. The U.S., he says, is headed for the coldest spring on record. John Hinderaker posted a similar picture a few days ago from Minnesota.
We have had here in the Seattle area two perfect sunny warm days in a row! Our winter has not been particularly cold (La Nina) but the sun has been shrouded in vast grey clouds for months on end, when it wasn’t raining. No snow at all. Even the proprietor of Sippican’s Cottage said “It was — get this — over sixty degrees. No, really, it was over sixty degrees, all at the same time, instead of broken into pieces and spread over several days. Fahrenheit!” And he’s somewhere in Northern Maine. Anecdotal to be sure, but my goodness, the sun is welcome.
I always get the giggles when I hear that old song about “The Bluest Skies You’ll Ever See Are in Seattle.” The lyricist had either never been to Seattle, or only passed through on a particularly good day. Steven Goddard has the charts to illustrate the temperature.
Filed under: Politics, Science/Technology, Domestic Policy, Environment, Global Warming, Energy | Tags: Russia's Pulkovo Observatory, Cycles of Solar Activity, Predicting the Future
Russian scientists say that a period of global cooling is ahead due to changes in the activity of the sun. Scientists at Russia’s famous Pulkovo Observatory are convinced that the world is in for a period of global cooling that could last for 200-250 years.
Solar activity is waning, so the average yearly temperature will begin to decline as well. Scientists from Britain and the US chime in to say that such forecasts for global cooling are far from groundless.
Yuri Nagovitsyn of the Pulkovo Observatory said:
“Journalists say the entire process is very simple: once solar activity declines, the temperature drops. But besides solar activity, the climate is influenced by other factors, including the lithosphere, the atmosphere, the ocean, the glaciers. The share of solar activity in climate change is only 20%. This means that sun’s activity could trigger certain changes whereas the actual climate changing process takes place on the Earth.”
Solar activity follows different cycles, including an 11-year cycle, a 90-year cycle, and a 200-year cycle. Professor Igor Davidenko comments:
“The Northern Sea Route has never opened so early or closed so late over the past 30 years. Last year saw a cargo transit record – more than five million tons. The first Chinese icebreaker sailed along the Northern Sea Route in 2012. China plans it to handle up to 15% of its exports.”
Prediction of the future is mostly little more than guesswork, but there are trends and there is a past history of cycles. Russia is upgrading its icebreaker fleet, and new generation icebreakers are set to arrive in the years to come. Russia also has great interest in energy in the Arctic. as well as the Northern Sea Route., so they are preparing for eventualities.
While other nations are considering how to prepare for a possible long period of cooling, ours is desperately trying to save the planet from global warming and free us from our addiction to foreign oil, at the same time that they restrict every possible domestic source of petroleum from drilling. Go figure.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Global Warming, Junk Science, Media Bias, Progressivism, The Constitution | Tags: Not Exactly Peace in Our Time, Republicans v. Democrats, The Real Battle
The extreme differences between the thinking of Liberals and that of Conservatives is an endlessly distasteful obsession of mine. If you read some of the early fulminations in the media upon the election of Barack Obama, it’s clear that he was widely regarded as someone who would bring the two warring camps in Washington together. Bipartisanship. Bringing people together — peace in our time.
It was only talk. Liberals want to do away with Conservatives, not get along with them. Their hatred for Conservatives is palpable — because we disagree. They don’t just want to defeat us in elections, they want us unable to compete at all. Liberals are apt to approach subjects emotionally, to turn to those who agree with them and reject those who don’t. They say silly things about the right because their understanding comes from what their friends say — they have no direct experience of conservatives. Haven’t you noticed that they all say the same thing at the same time?
For example, Liberals want to raise the minimum wage. They feel deeply for the poor, and think it is just plain mean to expect someone to support a family on the minimum wage at $7 an hour. The minimum wage is meant to be a starting point for beginners, not families. Studies show when it is raised too much, businesses are unwilling to pay people while they are trained to perform the most minimum tasks adequately. Increasing the minimum wage eliminates the first step on the ladder of lifetime employment. Liberals are not interested in studies.
What got me started on this was a video on the Boston Herald site. A female reporter was interviewing the photographer who took the iconic photographs of the immediate aftermath of the Boston marathon bombing. She showed a photo, full screen, and asked the reporter “How did you feel when you took that picture?” Stark photos of the first-responders in among the wounded and the debris. Then she’d show another and ask “How did you feel when you took this one?” Repeat, over and over. [ I have worked with lots of photographers, I can tell you that the one thing he was totally unaware of was his "feelings." He was concerned with getting a good shot, representing the horror going on, catching the rush to help, the faces, the bodies, the wounds, the lighting, the design.] I knew Liberals thought of emotion first, but really!
Here is an important example of the liberal mindset, with three articles that make the problem clear:
— From Slate:the liberal view of global warming, Fox News, and the narrow right-wing wackos for whom Fox is their only news source.
— From the Washington Times: David Deming, a geophysicist and professor at the University of Oklahoma, explains the science.
— From the Weekly Standard: Steven Hayward, indispensable intellectual, professor, explains the rise and fall of the Climate Circus, how it happened, and why it matters.
Do read all three, they’re not long and they are keepers — that explain the confusion about the whole global warming issue. Global Warming is not just an emotional issue for Liberals, it is about as close as you can get — to a true religion. The left on the one hand talks about progress and how to fix everything that is wrong with the world today. On the other hand, their solutions are the same old failed progressive ideas that have been handed down from Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson, Clinton to Obama. Their ideas have never worked, but they are sure that this time it will be different.
Liberals are perpetually discontented. They are sure that if they can just fix the things that so annoy them, change the bad things, they will arrive at some happy Utopia — or at least a better place. They admit to no underlying principles. They would like to have some, but they just can’t figure out what they are.
On the right, you find conservatives consistently talking about principles, facts, studies, freedom and free markets and how those principles apply to the problems of the day. The Constitution is revered by conservatives as the document devised by the people, who grant limited powers to the government that exists at their pleasure. It is a simple document that states general principles and doesn’t pretend to address all the problems of a country. At 226 years of age, it is the longest serving constitution in the world, and has served us well, and most Americans take pride in it.
Conservatives are more apt to recognize ordinary human nature as rather messy and not fixable. Perhaps what makes conservatives different from liberals is that they paid attention when their mothers told them that “life isn’t fair. You just have to do the best you can.” Liberals kept whining about stuff not being fair, and are convinced that if you just trust their expertise,
they will fix it.
Filed under: Art, Fun n Games, Global Warming, Middle East, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics, Terrorism
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have charged two men living in Canada with conspiracy to carry out a terrorist attack against a VIA Rail passenger train inside Canada. The RCMP said the two men planned to carry out an “al Qaeda-supported” terror attack to derail a train, which was also aimed at harming the economy.
The Police said, at a news conference, that the two men were receiving guidance and direction from al Qaeda related elements in Iran. The men are not Canadian citizens. There was no imminent threat to the public, but had the terror project come to fruiting, innocent people would have been killed or injured.
The Obama administration has gone out of their way to make light of the threat from terrorism, but the evidence merely points out the presidents state of denial about the rising threat. CNN’s homeland security analyst, Juliette Kayyem asserted “We have not had (even) a small-scale terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.”
We have suffered a number of major attacks, and most of them have taken place on Obama’s watch. Since 2009, terrorists have attacked our military bases, assassinated our diplomats, burned our embassies and murdered innocent spectators at a sporting event and ambushed and shot police officers.
— June 1, 2009: Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad shot and killed a military recruiter and wounded another at a Little Rock Arkansas recruiting station. A convert to Islam, Muhammad identified with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
— September 2008: Afghan native Najibullah Zazi was arrested before he could blow up the New York City Subway.
— September 2009: Police nabbed Jordanian Hosam Maher Husein Smadi before he could plant a bomb in a Dallas skyscraper.
— November 5, 2009: Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major psychiatrist opened fire at Fort Hood Texas, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” as he killed 13 fellow soldiers and wounded 29. He was advised by al Qaeda operative Anwar Awlaki. Homeland Security has defined this as a workplace incident.
— December 2009: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was tackled by passengers before he could detonate explosives sewn into his underwear. He was trained in Yemen by al Qaeda.
— March 4, 2010: John Patrick Bedell, a Muslim convert, shot and wounded two Pentagon police officers at a checkpoint in the Pentagon station of Washington Metro in Arlington, VA.
— May 2010: A massive bomb was planted by Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan failed to explode in an SUV parked in Times Square. He was trained and funded by the Taliban.
— October 2010: Chicago synagogues discovered explosives packed inside two printer cartridges shipped by cargo planes from al Qaeda in Yemen. The attack failed.
— Sept. 11, 2012: On the anniversary of 9/11, al Qaeda operatives attacked the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. The armed assault targeted the consulate compound, and a nearby CIA annex. The U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens was killed along with three others and ten others were wounded in a 7 hour gunfight.
— April 15, 2013: Two Muslim jihadists set off bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 183. The terrorists shot two police officers, killed one, and injured several others. One of the brothers is dead, the other in custody.
The administration continues to downplay Islamist terrorism, and proposes talks with the Taliban and with Iran.
The “Arab Spring” was mistakenly assumed to be a movement for democracy in Arab North Africa. The movement was perhaps inspired by televised shots of Iraqis, male and female, proudly voting in free elections. That was considered the equivalent of an earthquake in the Arab Middle East, where oppressive dictatorship was the norm. But Arabs had no experience of Democracy, and the Muslim Brotherhood was ready to step in.
No terrorism here, nothing to see. Just move along.
Filed under: Politics, Science/Technology, Environment, Art, Energy, Architecture | Tags: Theo Jansen, Strandbeests, Kinetic Sculpture
Theo Jansen makes wind-fueled kinetic sculptures specifically for walking and “surviving”on the beaches of Holland. He calls them Strandbeests and they are extraordinary. His 2007 TED talk explains in more detail how “the animals” move and survive. You can find more videos on Vimeo.
Filed under: Science/Technology, Humor, Environment, Art, Entertainment, Freedom | Tags: Theo Jansen, Strandbeests, Kinetic Sculpture
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy, Junk Science, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: Overlapping Programs, Waste and Duplication, Wind Energy Projects
Accountability. Good word. You have to be responsible for your own actions. Hard to believe, but we have a Government Accountability Office (GAO) that is trying to make our government accountable. In theory each person and each department will stand up and say, yes I’m in charge of that and I screwed up. Uh huh. Not so’s you would notice. But that’s why we have the GAO, to keep track of duplication and waste. The Inspectors General are part of this office.
So we had, as you know, The Sequester. You surely know that President Obama has gone to great efforts to make sure you know that there is a sequester and the Republicans are entirely responsible. (Did I just explain accountability? The Sequester originated in the Oval Office, and was entirely Obama’s idea and attempt to trap the Republicans into giving him more money to spend). The President is not accountable, nothing is ever his fault, and his efforts to make the public feel the pain of every last cent of the $85 billion in sequester cuts aren’t working. People are supposed to freak out and demand that Congress give the president the money he wants so he can spend it.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports they have found 162 areas where services are duplicated or money is being wasted in the federal government. The annual cost of these programs is estimated at roughly $250 billion— that’s three times the amount involved in the sequester, which is only a reduction in the increases for next year, not the present budget. One would think that eliminating government waste would be more popular than ending White House tours and locking National Park bathrooms. Here’s some of what The GAO found:
— Renewable Energy Initiatives Federal support for wind and solar energy, biofuels, and other renewable energy sources has been estimated at several billion dollars a year — is fragmented because 23 agencies implemented hundreds of renewable energy initiatives in fiscal year 2010 — the latest year for which GAO developed these data.
The GAO has identified 82 federal wind-related projects being implemented by nine different agencies in fiscal year 2011. The 7 dozen initiatives are split up across agencies, and have overlapping characteristics, and duplicative financial support. Big wasteful Bureaucracy.
— Sixty-eight of the 82 programs overlapped with at least one other because of shared characteristics. They were administered by Energy, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce and Treasury. Why are all these departments involved in wind projects? These five departments collectively implemented 73 of the 82 proposals. Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing, and are they doing the same things?
The federal government should get out of the business of betting taxpayer dollars on energy projects. They should let the American people vote with their pocketbooks on which forms of energy and which projects should succeed.
Flushing good money after bad, the government has increased the production tax credit because of inflation, and wind, geothermal and biomass projects will now get 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced, up from 2.2 cents. The IRS keeps updating the tax credit. The tax break costs taxpayers about $1 billion a year, and the new increase adds another $545 million in support for the wind industry. Just as the wind industry cannot exist without subsidy, it cannot exist without support from fossil fueled power plants. The wind is intermittent and requires full-time support from a dependable power source.
— The 2008 Farm Bill assigned the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service responsibility for examining and inspecting catfish and for creating a catfish inspection program. Repealing this provision would save millions of dollars annually without affecting the safety of catfish intended for human consumption.
— The Department of Defense’s approach to combat uniforms is fragmented. Developing and acquiring uniforms could be more efficient, and better protect service members resulting in $82 million in savings in development and acquisition costs through collaboration among the military services.
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Energy, Freedom, Humor, Junk Science, Politics, Sports | Tags: A Differet Kind of Freedom, Imaginary Physics, Who's In Charge Here?
The Centrifuge Brain Project is a short (fictional !) film by German digital artist Till Nowak about making super imaginative amusement park rides that are divorced from ordinary physics and reality. As Chief Engineer Dr. Nick Laslowicz says “These machines provide total freedom…”
You could consider this a metaphor for the president’s budget released today, only two months late. Divorced from reality. But adventurous.
Filed under: Politics, Science/Technology, Domestic Policy, History, Environment, Energy | Tags: Michael Crichton, Understanding Belief, Reality and Fantasy
The late Michael Crichton’s famous speech, “Environmentalism as Religion,”to the Commonwealth Club in 2003, was widely quoted. He explains why religious approaches to the environment are inappropriate and cause damage to the natural world they intend to protect. Read the whole thing, but if you haven’t, but here’s a brief excerpt:
The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.
We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we’re told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Ever one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears. …
There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs imbibe.
It was a prescient speech that foretells much of what has happened in the intervening decade. Are we anywhere near to being ready to accept reality and attempt to address it, probably not quite yet. If you haven’t read it, it is worth your time.
Filed under: The Constitution, Economy, Environment, Global Warming, Energy, Capitalism, National Security, Junk Science | Tags: Going Around in Circles, The Triumph of Ideology, Common Sense and an Open Mind
You may have noticed that President Obama’s speeches often come with an expiration date, which is sometimes the next day. He’s good with the teleprompter, but has trouble with facts. In the debates just before the election, he rounded on Gov. Romney for claiming that government lands were not producing oil and gas. He claimed that his administration had opened up public lands and we’re actually producing more than the previous administration, and the previous president was an oil man. “Natural gas isn’t just appearing magically,” he said.
A new Congressional Research Service report states that oil production on federal lands has fallen by 23% in the last two years, and natural gas production has dropped by 33%. The president is responsible for not one drop of increased oil and gas production. The increases are all from private lands. It’s important to understand the American people’s real energy situation. It makes a difference in the price of gas at the pump. It makes a difference in the cost of electricity, for some of our power plants are natural gas fired. It makes a difference in Obama’s efforts to force a green energy regime on the country, and it makes a difference in taxpayer money poured into useless schemes.
In the wake of Deepwater Horizon, the administration put a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf. When the moratorium was finally “lifted”after bankrupting many businesses in the Gulf region, they installed a “permitorium” slowing and making impossible efforts to drill. They removed areas that were available for oil leases, took areas off-line, and placed extensive restrictions on where it was possible to drill for oil. The entire East coast became unavailable for drilling, but quite available for offshore wind turbines.
Obama is still wedded to his primary victory rhetoric “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal.” But it turns out that the oceans are not rising but a millimeter a year, and the planet is doing nicely and does not need healing. Human produced CO2 is not the cause of global warming, and the globe is not warming, nor has it warmed for nearly 20 years……………………..(click to enlarge)
All those valiant efforts to keep us from producing any carbon dioxide — the windmills, the solar arrays, the green biodiesel that’s supposed to run the Navy, but isn’t produced in any quantity yet, the electric cars, ethanol, it was all a lie, and all the billions spent were simply a waste and a fraud. Al Gore is not now and never was a climate scientist. And the fact is that most of the subsidies for producing all these green wonders went to cronies and campaign contributors.
Obama just ordered that all federal agencies cannot approve any major projects — from pipelines to highways — until they have considered the impact on global warming. Obama plans to “expand the scope of a Nixon-era law,” the National Environmental Policy Act, “that was first intended to force agencies to asses effect of projects on air, water and soil pollution.” If Congress won’t pass the laws he wants, — in this case passing a carbon tax —then Obama will just make law on his own without all that constitutional bother.
Ross Eisberg, vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, told Bloomberg that Obama’s proposal has “got us very freaked out.”
They were always wrong about carbon dioxide. It’s what we breathe out, and it makes plants grow. It is greening the earth as Matt Ridley explained at some length in this video. There has been way more CO2 in the atmosphere in the past, we are at kind of a low point, and if it increases more, so will our forests.
That’s the trouble with ideology, you fall in love with certain ideas, and close your mind to anything that does not agree with your treasured ideas. You can’t speak about how important creating more jobs is to you, and then do everything you can to shut down the possibility of growth. At some point you have to get off the merry-go-round and walk on.
Filed under: Science/Technology, Environment, Heartwarming, Junk Science | Tags: Ursus Maritimus Obesus, Arctic Sea Ice, A Conservation Success Story
1. Polar bears are a conservation success story. Their numbers have rebounded remarkable since 1973, and there are more polar bears now than there were 40 years ago. Polar bears join a long list of marine mammals whose populations rebounded spectacularly after unregulated hunting stopped: sea otters, all eight species of fur seals, walrus, elephant seals, whales (grey, right, bowhead, humpback, sei, fin, blue and sperm whales.
2. The only polar bear subpopulation that had a statistically significant decline in recent years is the one in Western Hudson Bay. A few others have been presumed to be decreasing based on suspicions of overharvesting, assumed repercussions of decreased sea ice and/or statistically insignificant declines in body condition— not actual population declines.
3. Sea ice in the Bering Sea has rebounded from record lows over the last ten years, a good reason not to be worried about polar bears in the Chukchi. A recent survey suggests that Chukchi bears are doing very well. Sea ice coverage has been higher than average.
4. A survey by the Nunavut government in 2011 showed polar bear numbers in Western Hudson Bay have not declined since 2004 as predicted and all available evidence indicates that Hudson Bay sea ice is Not on a steadily precipitous decline.
5. Population decreases in bear numbers attributed to earlier sea ice breakup in Western Hudson Bay have not been anywhere near as severe as the catastrophic decline that took place in 1974 in the eastern Beaufort Sea, which was associated with exceptionally thick sea ice.
6. Polar bears need spring and early summer ice (March through June) for gorging on young, fat seals. Documented declines in sea ice have rarely impinged on that critical feeding period.
7. There is no plausible evidence that regulated subsistence hunting is causing polar bear numbers to decline.
8. Global temperatures have not risen in a statistically-significant way in the last 16 years, a standstill not predicted by climate models, and a phenomenon even the chairman of the IPCC has acknowledged. This suggests that the record sea ice lows of recent years are not primarily due to CO2-caused increases in global temperatures. Such changes in Arctic sea ice appear to be normal habitat variations that polar bears have survived before.
9. Survival of polar bears over a hundred thousand years of variable sea ice coverage indicates that biologists who predict a doomed future for the bears have grossly underestimated its ability to survive vastly different conditions than those that existed in the late 1970s when Ian Stirling began polar bear research.
10. Polar bears are well-distributed throughout their available territory, which is a recognized characteristic of a healthy species.
Polar bears have evolved into a highly efficient predator of ice-associated seals. They are excellent swimmers compared with other bear species, the use the sea ice to travel, hunt, mate and rest. They have adapted to the annual loss of sea ice in the summer by migrating onto land. While there, they cannot hunt seals and must rely on their fat reserves to see them through until the ice returns. Though I assume they eat fish and berries.
Polar bears can swim for long distances (60 miles or more). Arctic sea ice grows in the winter and melts in the summer. Polar bear science is surprisingly new, and there is much that we don’t know about the species yet. Counting them is hard and inaccurate.Female bears have been tagged, but you can’t collar male bears as their necks are bigger than their heads.
The bears are very beautiful, and the cubs cute as can be, which is probably why environmentalists got all panicky about declining numbers. In general many supposedly endangered species turn out not to be endangered. Many times declining numbers are due to unregulated hunting or uncontrolled predators. Preservation of species is complicated, and we’re just beginning to get the hang of it. This is derived from a much longer and more informative post at Anthony Watts’ wonderful What’s Up With That website, which explains sea ice and what we know about bears and climate.