American Elephants


Here is the Essential Point: by The Elephant's Child
December 8, 2009, 2:52 am
Filed under: Junk Science, Politics, Science/Technology | Tags: , , ,

Victor Davis Hanson, writing in the Corner at National Review Online Monday said:

Once upon a time, scientists, unlike prophets, were inductive. They sought to interpret evidence in empirical fashion, rather than twist it to “prove” preexisting suppositions. The Enlightenment taught them to welcome transparency and free expression, not (as in the Medieval Age) to form cabals to hound out heretics. Public intellectuals and grassroots activists were devoted to promoting proven ideas, rather than making fortunes through the shrill advocacy of unproven ideas. In the age of cynicism, penances were sold to sinners to allow them without guilt to satisfy appetites that conflicted with their doctrine; by contrast, the lives of moralists reflected the simple creed they advocated for others. Governments acted on scientific consensus, not theories that were the most favored or trafficked in popular culture. Debates, not propaganda cinema or cheap invective, adjudicated honest disagreement; people of the lab and library, not Hollywood celebrities and rock stars and their wannabes on campus, informed the public about scientific dispute.

How strange: This was to be our new age of science; instead, we are getting alchemy, the inquisition, and the reign of the superstitious.




Did you hear about this? Of course not, the media did not report it. by The Elephant's Child

Omniclimate reports today on some important conclusions revealed at the Epica 2008 “Quaternary Climate scientific conference in Venice Italy, Nov. 10-13.  The data came from a two-mile deep ice core taken at Concordia Base in Antarctica.  This is the deepest ice core ever extracted.

Epica 2008 organizer Professor Carlo Barbante of University of Venice and Italian National Research Council’s Environmental Process Dynamics Institute said that the ice core was taken from “an area where snow accumulates…25 millimeters per year.”

According to the data, Earth has gone through 8 ice ages and 8 warm ages during the past 800,000 years.

  • “We are now in one of the warm phases.  It started 10,000 years ago and, comparing it to what there’s been [in the past] it can be seen that it’s anomalous, because it has been lasting a long time and temperatures have been very stable.”

Between 120,000 and 100,000 years ago, temperatures have been up to 5C warmer than today’s, at the upper end that is, of the IPCC’s more catastrophic scenarios (or predictions).  And just 20,000 years ago, the Earth was up to 10C colder.

  • The cyclical nature  [of temperatures] provides us with the right perspective concerning the climatic changes observed at the moment; if we don’t make the effort towards reaching a better understanding of the natural mechanisms [of climate change], it will be useless to keep trying to patch up predictions on what will happen in a century or two.”

There is more, including a graph (in Italian) for those who want their data in that form.  What this all tells us is that the climate alarmists who pay homage only to their computer models have been leading us astray for years.  And of course the media has shown no interest whatsoever.

And even more, if as we have been saying, warming and cooling of the Earth are a natural process that has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years, why are we trying to rearrange our whole economy and spend billions to prevent that natural warming? Do you suppose someone profits?



The mysterious moving rocks of Racetrack Playa by The Elephant's Child
August 5, 2008, 3:25 pm
Filed under: Environment, News of the Weird, Science/Technology | Tags: , , ,

This is a fascinating puzzle, and completely new to me — the moving rocks of Racetrack Playa in the Panamint Mountains in Death Valley National Park, California. The moving rocks, also called sailing stones or sliding rocks, slide across the surface of the playa leaving long tracks behind them. A playa is a seasonally dry lake bed. No one has ever seen the stones move, but the trails indicate that they do. Nor are these all little rocks, many are as big as a man, and some are as large as 750 lbs. For more pictures and possible explanation, follow the link above.



Did you turn your lights off? Why? by The Elephant's Child

Last night at the appointed hour (8:00 pm local time, “Global Hour” — see “The NUPs Strike Again!” below) I turned on all the lights and looked out the window. I was appalled. The neighbors just below had their porch lights on, but across the valley it was a sea of darkness. Surely I couldn’t be living in such a sea of greenies. Then I realized that I wasn’t. It was snowing, and I couldn’t see across the valley.

The NUPs (naive urban people) had thought to make some important environmental point by turning off the world’s lights for one hour. I am unsure of what the point was. World Jump Day‘s purpose was a little clearer –if everyone in the world jumped at the same time, it would alter the orbit of the earth slightly and improve something or other. I’m not much on candlelight vigils or marches with big puppets either. I suspect that the time involved could be better spent reading up on the problem that is of such concern.

The problem is that if the concern is “global warming” or “global cooling” or even the revised formulation “climate change”, the implication is that there is some right temperature from which variation is a worrisome thing. Which is clearly nonsense. I’m personally in favor of something ranging from 70° to 78°, but I have skiers in the family.

It is worth noting that true believers, such as Al Gore, will not tolerate disagreement. In a preview clip from his coming appearance on 60Minutes this week, he refers to climate skeptics as “few” and “flat-earth people”. And this is typical. Just mention NASA’s Aqua satellite and note the blank stares or rude language that ensues. Bjorn Lomborg, author of the splendid The Skeptical Environmentalist, has been the recipient of attacks almost as violent as those visited upon the publication of the Danish cartoons. Lomborg, a professor of statistics, merely took official government statistics and explained clearly what they indicated.

It is very worth following up on the previous link, and reading the whole thing. This paragraph is especially worth remembering:

Well-meaning intellectual movements, from communism to post-structuralism, have a poor history of absorbing inconvenient fact or challenges to fundamental precepts. We should not ignore or suppress good indicators on the environment, though they have become extremely rare now. It is tempting to the layman to embrace with enthusiasm the latest bleak scenario because it fits the darkness of our soul, the prevailing cultural pessimism. The imagination, as Wallace Stevens once said, is always at the end of an era. But we should be asking, or expecting others to ask, for the provenance of the data, the assumptions fed into the computer model, the response of the peer review community, and so on. Pessimism is intellectually delicious, even thrilling, but the matter before us is too serious for mere self-pleasuring.



Cool Site of the Day by Emerald City Elephant
March 27, 2008, 1:38 am
Filed under: Blogging, Pop Culture, Science/Technology | Tags: , , , , ,

They’re not your father’s Lego’s. (Be sure to scroll down and watch the video at the bottom)



Another Black Spot on Al Gore’s Record by The Elephant's Child

Al Gore

Al Gore has a lot to answer for. He didn’t really understand the science that he rushed to popularize with fear-mongering about rising sea levels and a dying earth. Bureaucrats, with little understanding of the science, rushed to legislate to prevent “global catastrophe”.

When the buzz among the cognoscenti reaches a certain level, the pressure to do something becomes difficult to resist. And buzz often comes in forms of preconceived notions and oft-repeated slogans such as “big oil” or “addiction to oil”,”renewable energy”and above all “biofuels“.

A liberal Congress quickly fell victim to the common liberal delusion, as David Horowitz once said, that good intentions, earnestly expressed, are good policy. “Big oil” is obviously evil (gas prices are too high and they are making too much money). Forgotten in the haste to do something is the realization that nothing moves in this country that is not powered by petroleum. So of course they provided vast subsidies for ethanol, made for the most part in this country from corn.

But there are consequences. The U.N. World Food Program is preparing to ration food aid for the world’s hungriest poor. The richest countries are burning food in their automobile gas tanks. The mandates for biofuels by the wealthiest countries have doubled and tripled world food prices in less than three years. WFP costs are rising by millions of dollars each week, but donations aren’t keeping pace. The Program is trying to feed 70 million people, but can’t afford to meet their commitments.

Three years ago, the price of corn was $1.86 a bushel, now it is over $5.00. You have probably noticed rising prices in your grocery. Corn is not only in most cereals, but as cornstarch, as a sweetener, a thickener is found on most shelves. At the meat counter corn is in most animal feed. In paste form, it is in the drywall.

Pakistan says it will reimpose food rationing. China’s food inflation rate is 18.2%. In Yemen prices of staples have nearly doubled and at least a dozen people have been killed in food riots. The poor in much of the Third World spend over 60% of their income on food. It is expected that American farmers will plant 30% more corn this year than last, directed to the higher prices they receive for subsidized biofuel.

But ethanol delivers less energy per gallon than gasoline. Studies suggest that it pollutes more, and can only be used in engines specially designed for ethanol. Demand for better food is growing as millions of Indians and Chinese enter the middle class.

The EU is committed to provide 10% of its transportation fuel from biofuels, grown both in Europe and in Indonesia and Thailand; and they are unwilling to consider that burning food crops in our gas tanks has anything to do with high food prices.

The most extreme environmentalists hope to eliminate — from a good portion of the human life on this planet — to all of it. They have told us so often enough. So there is a little more to their refusal to allow drilling in proven oil fields in Alaska and in coastal waters than many people realize.



President Bush Reverses Global Warming! by American Elephant

President Bush Environmentalist

I kid you not. Global Warming is gone. Kaput! No More!

New figures from four of the most authoritative sources show the average global temperature has dropped enough to erase almost all the warming people were concerned about in the first place:

All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA’s GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

Meteorologist Anthony Watts compiled the results of all the sources. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C — a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. [read more]

If President Bush gets blamed because the mayor of New Orleans and Governor of Louisiana refused to evacuate their own people, refused to follow their own disaster plans, and refused President Bush when he offered to help, then he sure as hell gets credit for reversing global warming!




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