American Elephants


Could Global Warming Slow the Rise of the Sea Level? by The Elephant's Child

Since the first Planet of the Apes movie, the image of the Statue of Liberty drowning in rising sea waters has been done and done and overdone. But images are powerful and that may have helped to make many people think that a global rise in sea levels is the most to-be feared consequence of global warming. Flooding Pacific Islands, environmental refugees, panic in the streets. If I remember correctly, Santa Barbara was going to paint a line on city streets to indicate the potential rise of waters.

Remember that Obama predicted a deceleration of sea level rise when he accepted the Democratic Party nomination in 2008. “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal.”  Some scientists have predicted an acceleration of ongoing global rise, while others insist stoutly that there has been no increase in the rise of sea level. Here is climate scientist S. Fred Singer to explain the complications.

The difficulty with projections of sea level rise is nicely illustrated by the IPCC. The initial estimates of its first assessment report (1990) showed a range of 10-367 cm for sea level rise in 2100. The second report published in 1996 narrowed the range to 3-124 cm. The third report published in 2001 showed 11-77 cm. The fourth assessment report published in 2007 showed 14-43 cm in draft form but changed it to 18-59 cm in the final printed version.  As can be seen, the maximum SLR decreased successively as estimates improved.  All these IPCC projections are very much smaller than the extreme values of about 600 cm (20 feet!) by activist-scientist James Hansen (and by climate multi-millionaire Al Gore) — which assume excessive melting of the Greenland icecaps.

If you pour yourself a glass of water and add some ice cubes, as the ice melts the glass does not overflow. Keep that in mind. If you add another handful of ice, the glass may overflow.

During the strong warming of 1920-1940 there was no SLR — indicating a rough balance between the opposing effects.  In fact, scrutinizing the record, I can even discern a slight lowering of sea level, an over-compensation.  Unfortunately, back then in 1997 we had no data on Antarctic ice accumulation; so the hypothesis was not publishable.  However, now we do have sufficient data in support of such a scenario.

But if, as surmised, ice accumulation roughly balances ocean thermal expansion and contributions from melting mountain glaciers, why then is sea level rising?  Another riddle requiring a solution.

The relevant clue comes from corals and from geological observations: It seems that sea level has been rising for the past centuries at about the same rate as seen by tidal gauges in the last 100 years.  In other words, sea level was rising even during the colder Little Ice age, from about 1400 to 1850 AD.  This provides further support for the hypothesis that the observed global SLR since 1900 is reasonably independent of the observed temperature rise.  [It is also a killing argument against a widely quoted (‘semi-empirical’) theory that assumes rate of SLR is proportional to global surface temperature.]

Dr. Singer concludes that the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is not floating ice but like a mountain glacier—contributes more water to the ocean thus raising the sea level by about 7 inches per century. The melting will continue for another several millennia until the ice sheet is all gone (barring another ice age in the meantime), and there is nothing that we can do to stop this future rise. It is as inevitable as the ocean tides. Do read the whole thing. You will become an expert, able to dispel the anxieties of the true believers, and  your own, if any. Learn how they measure, and how recent studies have clarified the picture. And no, even Obama’s valiant efforts had not the slightest effect.



Can Someone Explain The Democrats’ Ideology? by The Elephant's Child

Daniel Henninger ‘s column on Thursday in the Wall Street Journal was a particular gem (subscription barrier). Like most of us he is trying to grasp the current configuration of the Democratic Party. They are stuck. Don’t know where they are going nor why, don’t understand why they lost, and their ideas are all old, very old, and very tired.

On climate change, Democrats believe they know to the 10th decimal place that Earth is on the brink of an apocalypse. But by their own admission this week, they don’t have a clue about which way the wind is blowing with the American voter.

On Monday the Democrats released something called “A Better Deal,” a set of policy ideas to win back voters. Think of it as the party laying down the first quarter-mile of blacktop on its road back to power.

The short version of “A Better Deal” is that they would bust up corporate trusts (Teddy Roosevelt, circa 1902), ramp up public-works spending ( FDR, circa the Great Depression) and enact various tax credits (Washington, circa eternity).

The more interesting question here lies in the document’s unspoken subtext: How in God’s name did we lose a presidential election to . . . him?

There’s a very famous old cover of the New Yorker magazine demonstrating the map of the United States as the mind of New York city’s elite conceive of it. Hillary referred to middle America as “the deplorables” (probably one of the reasons she lost), and how many columns have you seen since the election explaining that those who voted for Trump were working class who were not college educated. The Democrats do like to emphasize the “not college educated” and “working class” which is, of course nonsense. The working class ( doesn’t almost everybody work?) is, I suppose, identified as those who work in the trades, or factory workers.

I know lots of people who graduated from college who didn’t learn much of anything from that experience, and lots of people who never attended college and have made a great success of their lives. Sneering at “flyover country” really identifies those who (usually incorrectly) think especially well of themselves. Most Americans think of themselves as middle class patriotic Americans, and that “class distinctions” were something we left behind with the Brits when we won the Revolution, and we enjoy when we watch old British movies and root for the “underclass” in the kitchen.

The American Dream has always been that anyone can rise and they can  hope that their kids can do better than they did. Equal opportunity, not equal outcome. That everyone has the opportunity to make the most of themselves and their talents and abilities. The idea that you can make everybody equal has always been absurd, but Democrats also seem to believe that you can fix human nature, and get rid of the annoying traits that they don’t like. But human nature, by definition, is immutable and unchangeable—even with leftist indoctrination and instruction. Unfortunately, you can’t teach lefties much of anything. It all seems to be ideology.

In the news, a 20-time deported Mexican national moved to a Sanctuary City, in this case, Portland, and allegedly broke into the home of a 65-year old woman, tied her up, held her at knifepoint, and raped her. Court records show a long criminal record, besides the 20 times he was deported. Criminal aliens are drawn to sanctuary cities. Some 300 jurisdictions in the country refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities.

In another case, Sanctuary cities are protecting MS-13 gang members from deportation. Can someone explain why Democrats defend Sanctuary Cities, and ignore the fact that they lure the criminal aliens, ignore the murders and violence? Surely the idea that the sanctuary designation allows them to feel good about their compassion  is not an adequate justification. That is merely an example in a long list of what would seem to be a very confused ideology. It makes no sense at all.



Hillary has a new book in September “What Happened” by The Elephant's Child

Hillary has a new book coming out in September, clearly written in haste, to explain why she lost. It’s called “What Happened.” (ITS NOT FAIR) She will focus on Russian interference and James Comey’s interference.  Plus (ITS NOT FAIR) misogyny, and just why she lost in no uncertain terms, and counter to the messaging from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer D-NY and former Vice President Joe Biden about the party’s message. A longtime ally said that people will be surprised at how much she reveals.

Unfortunately Hillary did not lose because of Russian interference, though it may be a sop to her pain. She lost because she is not very likeable. When Hillary first became First Lady, there was the scandal about the travel office, and there were innumerable scandals about her cattle futures when she was the governor’s wife in Arkansas, but we tried to ignore all that and give her a chance. She lost me when she taught her daughter to refer to the Secret Service as “the pigs.” It must be somewhat annoying to be unable to go out in public without protection from officers of the Secret Service who are sworn to lay down their lives to protect the President of the United State and his family.

But Hillary was so antagonistic to the Secret Service people that she became noted for unleashing vile attacks on their care. Hillary has always had a mouth like a sewer, which she only uses to underlings and those who can’t do anything about it. As Secretary of State, it was reported that she was so vulgar and rude to her protective staff that they had to send new hires, because none of their regular staff would agree to work with her. That is simply bad character.

As a senator from New York, she went for a guaranteed Democrat seat when Patrick Moynihan retired, and her only bill was to name a post office. She lost the Presidential primary to Barack Obama, but he named her Secretary of State. Her accomplishments in that office were the “Arab Spring,” and refusing help to her ambassador in Libya who begged over and over for more security. She was responsible for the death of her ambassador, his aide, and the death of two brave former Seals who were attempting to save the personnel from the embassy compound.

She failed to understand that although Qaddafi was a vicious dictator, he had given up any interest in nuclear weapons after seeing what happened to Saddam. He was a bad guy, but he was keeping the lid on in a violent country. She thought it time to get rid of him, and did, and Libya erupted and has become a terrorist hell hole. If there were any other accomplishments in that office, no one could identify any.

She became noted as a compulsive liar, lying even when it was entirely unnecessary, as her claim about being under sniper fire when she arrived in Bosnia, even inventing the plane having to spiral in. Videos of her arrival with children on the landing field with flowers to welcome her, did lead her to admit “misspeaking.”

She has long bragged about being a spokesperson for women and women’s rights, but no evidence of any accomplishment there. I absolutely voted against her, as did many who pay attention to the news. It would not occur to us to be influenced by the Russians, though if Putin had a choice, I would assume he would be more opposed to Trump who seemed to be dangerously unpredictable.



Who Hacked Whom? And When? And Why? Developing… by The Elephant's Child

Remember when the media was all a-flutter with the news that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked? All those Hillary emails, John Podesta’s computer. As they say…developing.

The FBI has arrested the top technology aide to Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FL former Democratic Party chairwoman. Imwan Awan, a Pakistani born aide, was arrested on Monday as he attempted to board a flight to Pakistan, after wiring $283,000 from the Congressional Credit Union to that country. Credit union officials permitted the wire to go through.

Imran Awan had access to all emails and files of dozens of members of Congress, as well as the password to the iPad that Wasserman Schultz used for Democrat National Committee business before she resigned from that post in July 2016.

Imran Iwan’s wife, Hina Alvi, was also on the House payroll. She withdrew her children from school and left the county in March. Police confronted her at the airport, found $12,000 in cash hidden in her luggage, but did not stop her from boarding a flight Pakistan via Qatar. House authorities told members in February that Imran and his relatives were suspects in a criminal investigation into theft and IT abuses, and they were banned from the Capitol network.

Wasserman Schultz refused to fire Imran, and has blocked Capitol Police from searching a laptop they confiscated because it was tied to him. The FBI has joined the search and seized smashed harddrives from Imran’s home. Soon after Imran began working for Schultz in 2005, four of his relatives appeared on the payroll of other Democrats at inflated salaries. The Awans own numerous rental properties with questionable multiple mortgages, told renters they want payments in untraceable ways. His wife made $165,000 working for House Democrats, took out a second mortgage against a house from the Congressional Federal Credit Union by claiming that it was her “principal residence,” said that she will “occupy” the property, which she did not, but also fraudulently reported no rental income on her taxes.

Awan has also worked for at least 25 other Democrat House members as an “information technology director.” He is now under arrest for bank fraud, released on bail under constraint of a GPS locator and a limited area in which he can move, while the FBI investigates further.

John Podesta’s computer was also hacked, supposedly because he used “password” as his password, but perhaps it is not that simple. Mr. Podesta, Hillary’s campaign chairman, seems to have his own interesting Russian connections.

Russian interest in American electoral campaigns is hardly anything new. Former president Barack Obama interfered in a number of political campaigns — in Israel, England, France and Egypt. Ted Kennedy once went to Russia to beg them to interfere. Obama’s promise to Medvedev of having “more flexibility” in his dealings with Russia “after the election” was interesting as well. Eventually, the truth will out.

 



What is Fake News? by The Elephant's Child



Fake News and the Hunger for Information by The Elephant's Child

Johannes Gutenberg is widely credited with the invention of the first printing press in 1455. However Chinese monks had been using block prints even earlier, by A.D, 600, and there were attempts to create type as a means of conveying information. Too many characters in the Chinese language, and conveying important messages with blockprints didn’t really go anywhere.

The first newspaper in America was Public Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestic, and the first (and last) issue was published in 1690. The 1st Amendment to the Constitution says “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom…of the press.” The Constitution establishes a government with three branches, but it does not establish a press or a media. What it does do is try to prohibit the government from trying to control what people say in the press or outside the press. Free speech.

It’s more useful to think about the way news was disseminated before there were a wide range of newspapers and subscriptions. Try to imagine a town crier, shouting out news of marriages, births and big events as he strolls around the town. People depended on riders to convey the news from one town to another. News of war and the battlefield had to wait until a rider could be sent back to town, and farmers and small communities were out of luck until someone happened by.

Illustrated news came to be long before photographs were invented, and depended on artists who could make reproducible engravings or blockprints. Americans yearned for news of the old country, but had to wait until a ship came in. Gold was discovered in California in January of 1848, but it wasn’t until December that the first rumors reached New York. Sailing ship going around the horn — the Panama Canal did not yet exist.

Samuel Morse invented the telegraph in 1844, and Morse code, but it wasn’t until 1860 that a bill was passed in Congress to authorize the telegraph to be built across the continent. They built from each coast with fascinating stories of Indians, the pony express, and the trans-continental line was completed on October 24th, 1862, linking the continent.

So here we are with “Fake News” and a profession is disrepute. The telegraph was followed by the telephone, the Atlantic Cable, photography, radio, movies, recordings, sailing ships were replaced by steam, the Panama Canal was built. Wars intervened, and news from the battlefield, but the front lines had to communicate with Division headquarters, and the medics, so there were runners. Then there were walkie-talkies. Each improvement in communication meant changes in the way things were done. Lives were saved.

With the advent of television, everyone said it was a great step forward, the American people would watch symphonies, the best of the New York stage, lectures, history. Uh huh.  They thought the same thing when we first got computers. You can watch porn online, and pretend comedians holding up an efigy of the head of a newly elected president. A goodly percentage of the people do not pay any attention to the news, and are open to the most partisan claims because they don’t understand what is happening. Cell phones, and people get mowed down on the street because they are paying attention to their phone instead of where they are going, and ditto for cars.

Victor Davis Hanson writes on the Media Meltdown between 2008 and 2016 at the Hoover Institution’s ‘Defining Ideas,’ and how it all happened. We are being manipulated by a partisan media, and the Left is capitalizing on focus-tested vocabulary and pictures to influence the unwitting—and unfortunately all of us are unwitting at least part of the time. I emphasize “the Left,” but of course the Right tries to do it too, but is not as skilled at manipulation, and more inclined to explanation.

So now we have reached a point telephone calls are made by robots, we have the immensely annoying telephone trees when you just want to shriek “I want to speak to a human.” We can turn on the air-conditioning or close the shades at home—from the office. Ordering anything online is killing the retail industry and you no longer have to go out to get dinner, you can have it delivered, as a kit to produce your own, or as a fully prepared meal. There’s a lot going on in that sector, and we can probably look forward to a time when we don’t have to cook at all.

What is becoming very clear is that new inventions will not develop in the way we assume. Our schools are making us dumber, and human nature being what it is, we probably won’t become wise consumers, very well-informed, or lifelong learners striving to know as much as we possibly can. After all, we’re still watching movies about comic book characters and playing silly games on our computers—rather than listening to symphonies and the finest Broadway productions.



Black, Millennial, Female and Conservative by The Elephant's Child




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