American Elephants


Global Warming for the Two Cultures: Richard Lindzen by The Elephant's Child

The Global Warming Policy Foundation

The 2018 Annual GWPF Lecture
Global Warming for the Two Cultures”
8 October 2018
Richard Lindzen

…..Over half a century ago, C.P. Snow (a novelist and English physical chemist) who also served in several important positions in the British Civil Service and briefly in the UK government famously examined the implications of “two cultures:”
…..A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold’ it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which id the scientific equivalent of :Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?
…..I now believe that if I had asked an even simpler question –such as. What do you mean by mass, or acceleration, which is the scientific equivalent of saying Can you read? – not more than one in ten of the highly educated would have felt that I was speaking the same language. So the great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the western world have about as much insight into it as their Neolithic ancestors would have had.
…..I fear that little has changed since Snow’s assessment 60 years ago. While some might maintain that ignorance of physics does not impact political ability, it most certainly  impacts the ability of non-scientists to deal with nominally science-based issues. The gap in understanding is also an invitation to malicious exploitation. Given the democratic necessity for non-scientists to take positions on scientific problems, belief and faith inevitably replace understanding, though trivially oversimplified false narratives serve to reassure the non-scientists that they are not totally without scientific ‘understanding.’ The issue of global warming offers numerous examples of all of this.
…..I would like to begin this lecture with an attempt to force the scientists in the audience to come to grips with the actual nature of the climate system, and to help the motivated non-scientists in this audience who may be in Snow’s ‘one in ten’ to move beyond the trivial oversimplifications.
The climate system
The rest of Dr. Lindzen’s lecture is here:
It’s roughly 7 pages, admittedly a little long, but you will understand a lot more of the controversy and reality of the whole global warming issue. Unfortunately there are a lot of people in charge of states who don’t have a clue.

 

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Urban Planning From the Science Fiction Department! by The Elephant's Child

We receive a community newspaper freebie, pitched on our driveway on the weekend, with coupons, ads, many many inserts and a couple of articles by young writers hoping to become journalists someday.

“The City Council hears report on gas tax replacement”. Cars are being made with more fuel efficiency and so revenue from the gas tax is going down. That won’t do. Must have more taxes.

“Bellevue speaks at self-driving car conference”  We had a panel of an associate professor, Dr. Anne Brown, at the University of Oregon, where she studies technology and urban planning, who looks to be about 26, and another young woman who is identified as the Seattle Department of Transportation new mobility strategic advisor  who appears to be several years younger. And some man with gray hair who is Bellevue’s transportation planner who did not speak. Here are some excerpts from the article:

Brown said that there are four main areas she is concerned with: land use, curb space management, parking and the revenue implications for municipalities.  (you will notice that people do not figure in her thinking)

One of the biggest impacts autonomous vehicles could have is reducing the need for parking, not only in public places, but in homes and apartments. In the near future, single-family home owners with a garage may opt to use self-driving car rideshare services, freeing up their garage to be converted into a “mother-in-law unit” or rental unit. On city streets , massive amounts of space reserved for parking could be converted into other uses.

Some parking for self-driving cars would still be needed, and city planners should think about where these could be  placed, Brown said. Vehicles in the U.S. are parked about 95 percent of the time, and if fewer people relied on single-occupant vehicles to get around it would unlock huge amounts of space in urban areas.

“Without that, it releases all this space to be re-imagined,’ she said.

For housing, if commutes are more enjoyable it could lead to more urban sprawl as people opt to live farther away and deal with more travel time.

I didn’t include the retail part, or the Seattle Department of Transportation’s new mobility strategic advisor, Shannon Walker, ( the one who looks to be maybe 25) mentioned that the city’s goal is to encourage carpooling instead of people buying their own self-driving cars in an attempt to curb traffic.

I have never heard any ordinary person say that they wanted a self-driving car, or would even ride in one. But perhaps I am talking to the wrong people.

These two women seem to have little familiarity with the lives of ordinary people. Like a family with two kids, one in grade school, one in junior high. The one in junior high has ball practice after school, the one in grade school has piano lessons one day a week. The mom works, picks up the kids after school and the dog at the doggy day care, and has to pick up some things she forgot at the grocery store. Another day, she has to get something at Home Depot. Her husband had to leave work early for a doctors appointment, and he’s going to get a haircut if he can.

Their next door neighbors have entirely different schedules, kids of different ages and interests, and so on down the block. The other people in their workplace scatter off all over the region, with different needs and different plans.

And do remember that this is from a weekly driveway freebie drop.

PLEASE COMMENT!

 I really want to know about your reaction.  And having committed yourself to a self-driving car, how do you get to the mountains or for skiing on the weekend? Your workout at the gym before work? Oh, you have to have a car for that? So much for turning the garage into a mother-in-law apartment. Trust a self-driving car on the mountain roads I love? Fat chance! There’s a 200 foot drop-off on the left.

Reported on the radio, they are planning to force us all into self-driving cars, centrally controlled, to take us to the nearest public transportation stop. Do you think we are headed for a civil war?



Slowly, Slowly, the Truth is Coming Out by The Elephant's Child

The more one reviews accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, the worse it gets — as I expressed in the previous post. There’s the little girl “up-talk”— the last syllable at the end of a sentence goes higher in tone. It’s another little girl thing. She’s just so unsure, she needs help to recall, doesn’t name anyone who can verify her memories.

I cannot imagine how anyone who talks like that could be a professor at a university and at Stanford Medical School. Nobody would take her seriously. Yet she seems so wounded, that it’s easy for viewers to take her defenseless little girl pose as the plaintive plea of a wronged woman, and assume that she is credible.

She pretends that she doesn’t understand the questions, needing more time to reply. When we first heard from her, she didn’t really know who it was, only that someone got on top of her and put his hand over her mouth. Then she was suddenly absolutely clear that it was Brett Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge.  All four of her confirming witnesses did not confirm her story. At Breitbart, John Nolte explores the veracity of her testimony with devastating results.

Christina Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that she began having memories of her abuse returned when she and her husband put, at her demand, a second front door on their house. She said she had never told anyone about anything until May 2012 when she went to couples counseling.

In explaining why I wanted a second front door, I began to describe the assault in detail. I recall saying that the boy who assaulted me could someday be on the U.S. Supreme Court, and spoke a bit about his background at an elitist all-boys school in Bethesda, Maryland. My husband recalls that I named my attacker as Brett Kavanaugh.

The second front door was already installed by March 2011, perhaps earlier,  and apparently installed as a door to an office where she had a private business called The Couples Resource Center.

According to information found on the Internet, a business was located at the exact same address as the Ford house (please note that the address of this house was released on the Internet weeks ago). The Couples Resource Center was located at the exact same location as the Ford’s home.

Michael Walsh takes on the profession of journalism as it relates to Ford, and the media does not come off well.

Victor Davis Hanson summed it all up nicely in a single paragraph:

The “process” of memorializing Ford’s testimony involved a strange inversion of constitutional norms: The idea of a statute of limitations is ossified; hearsay is legitimate testimony; inexact and contradictory recall is proof of trauma, and therefore of validity; the burden of proof is on the accused, not the accuser; detail and evidence are subordinated to assumed sincerity; proof that one later relates an allegation to another is considered proof that the assault actually occurred in the manner alleged; motive is largely irrelevant; the accuser establishes the guidelines of the state’s investigation of the allegations; and the individual allegation gains credence by cosmic resonance with all other such similar allegations.

The descriptions of the house, what one can hear of people going up and downstairs , she contradicts herself. Supposedly her friend Leland drove her home, but Leland denies the whole thing, says she never encountered Kavanaugh at all, and has no knowledge of the party. Ford reports proudly of her polygraph, (her lawyers made her do it) and neither the lawyers nor herself as a practicing psychologist should be unaware of the limitations of polygraphs.

And at Powerline, John Hinderaker comments on the smear:

Brett Kavanaugh enjoys one of the most spotless reputations of anyone in American public life. He has been enthusiastically endorsed by those who have known him all his life–by girls he knew in high school and college, by judges he has served with, by professors and students and Harvard and Yale law schools, by judges who have worked with him, by his judicial clerks–most of whom have been women–by the American Bar Association, by sitting Supreme Court justices. In short, everyone who has ever known or dealt with Brett Kavanaugh endorses him.

I think that Judge Kavanaugh’s pristine reputation is one reason why the Democrats have unleashed against him a smear campaign unparalleled in American history. This is the message they are trying to send: If we can do this to the Boy Scout Brett Kavanaugh, we can do it to anyone. Are you thinking of serving in a Republican administration? Or accepting an appointment to the federal judiciary from a Republican president? Think twice, and then think again.

Nope, I don’t believe a word of it, including her claim that she was sexually abused. Her story just falls apart.



Joe Biden Explains FBI Investigations by The Elephant's Child

Here’s Joe Biden, a bit younger back in 1991, during the Clarence Thomas hearings, explaining that FBI investigations, such as the one demanded today of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, do not reach conclusions. That’s not their job, nor how they do things. Embarrassing to Democrats to have us dredge up ancient evidence, but there it is. The FBI investigates, but they do not reach conclusions.

Democrats really hate it when we do this. They have no concern about consistency, and hate it when we make fun of them.



California Has Become a National Joke. by The Elephant's Child

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Every time you think California has gone round the bend completely, they add something more to make it absolutely certifiable. In this case, California state legislators passed a resolution on Thursday calling on the U.S. Congress to formally apologize, and for President Donald Trump to join them in acknowledging wrongdoing in separating illegal alien family units at the border.

The California Senate resolution calls on Congress to specifically apologize to the children separated from the adult foreign nationals who illegally brought them across the U.S. border. It also petitions Congress and President Trump to acknowledge wrongdoing in separating illegal alien adults and children.

The resolution describes the policy of separating foreign nationals who have crossed the border illegally as “detrimental.” De León described the separations as “government-sanctioned kidnapping.”…

“We should apologize to these children we have permanently harmed,” said Sen. Pan. Pan compared family separation to U.S. WWII internment of Japanese citizens.

Reports say the children are well cared for by child protective services, get good food, taken to the zoo or parks. Democrats are, as usual, reacting emotionally to the initial “ripped from their mothers’ arms” theme, without further information, which apparently shows that the kids are having a good time. I’m beginning to believe that “research” is just too hard for Lefties.

If you get all excited about something you think is wrong, take a deep breath, do a little research, and see if there is actually any basis for your anguish.

It might be interesting to make a list of the things Democrats are introducing into the national conversation that are an attempt to sway votes in the coming off-year elections, that are notably false.  Nancy Pelosi just  laughed at and demeaned reliable, cheap coal powered power plants:

“And it really is a moral issue if you believe as I do that this is God’s creation [and] we have to be good stewards of it,” Pelosi said. “We have evangelicals and others with us — er, some, those who believe in God’s creation. So, in any case this was a big thing for us. I had to fight some Democrats. Senator Byrd had a coal powered plan fueling the Capitol, you know I [unintelligible] that’s gonna go, with all due respect to West Virginia we’re not gonna have a coal power plant floating around.”

President Trump is putting the coal miners back to work. Carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants are greening the earth. Technology exists to capture pollutants from smokestacks, and if needed will be installed. But the Democrats blanket “Coal Bad,  Wind Good” idea does not pass the smell test.

Addendum: New article in the Orange County Register by Joel Kotkin: “California takes the prize for environmental virtue signaling — but not much else”

Overall, California’s drive for environmental perfection — requiring reductions roughly twice that required by the Paris accords — has not been notably successful, notes a recent Chapman University report. Since 2006, the state’s reductions in GHG rank a mere 35th among the states and 41st when adjusted for population growth. Even Texas, that bogeyman of fossil-fuel excess, has been reducing its per-capita emissions more rapidly.

Worst still, this posturing has made California, and other similarly minded jurisdictions, less congenial places for middle-class homeownership or employment. Meanwhile the goodies, such as giving tax breaks from cap-and-trade funds for electric cars — we spend 10 times as much on those subsidies than on forest clearance — or solar rebates that go to generally affluent wealthy homeowners and well-connected corporations.

If you are a former Californian, you might enjoy this one. The outflow of people from California to anywhere else continues.



Going Wild — The Knepp Wildland by The Elephant's Child

Do watch this short video. It will enrich your day.

Eighteen years ago, Isabella Tree and Charlie Burrell turned their 3,500-acre farm in West Sussex, England, into a massive outdoor laboratory. They decided to cede control of their land to nature and watched it slowly grow wild again. Now, at what they call Knepp Wildland, herds of fallow deer, Exmoor ponies, and longhorn cows do battle with scrubland and tree branches, while Tamworth pigs rustle in the hedgerows and strengthen mycorrhizal networks in the soil. The result of this experiment is burgeoning biodiversity and resilience, as endangered species like turtledoves, nightingales, and rare butterflies inhabit a landscape unseen in England since the Middle Ages. Isabella Tree appears in this video to talk about what life is like in a wild world, and how Knepp has ignited a reckoning with traditional methods of land stewardship and conservation.

From The American Scholar: The Scholar Connection
scholarsconnection@theamericanscholar.org



Wars Are To Be Won, They are Not Playing Fields For Theorists by The Elephant's Child

Japanese Surrender

It was seventy three years ago today. There are few left who remember at first hand, and even new recruits who were 20 then would be 93 today. Victor Davis Hanson remarked a while ago, that history is about wars. Do we gradually become inured to war as it grows more distant? Are those most bellicose in the present the ones who are historically the most ignorant? How much of our present attitudes are related to how much, and how accurate is our knowledge of history?

This original post was written in 2009, with references to President Obama’s current words and actions about the Middle East and Afghanistan. I left that part our and reprinted the history. The first link below is to pictures of the Missouri. This one is to the history of the Last Battleship

The Emperor Hirohito, of course, did not come down to the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay for the surrender ceremonies.  To misunderstand that demonstrates a lack of understanding of the Pacific War and the relationship of the Emperor to the Japanese people. In their 2000 year history, the Japanese had never surrendered to anyone.  Japan was determined to fight on, even after Okinawa was lost.  The Japanese navy had effectively ceased to exist, but an all-out defense of the homeland beachhead was planned.  Rebellious army officers planned a palace coup which was put down.  On August 14, 1945, the Emperor recorded a speech which was broadcast to the nation at noon on the following day, August 15.

The Japanese people were stunned.  They had never before heard the Emperor’s voice.  The formal surrender ceremony took place aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. The Japanese representatives on board the Missouri were Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu (wearing top hat) and General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff.  Behind them are three representatives each of the Foreign Ministry, the Army and the Navy.

Japanese Surrender2

Worth noting is an article from The New York Times that quoted  Toshikazu Kase, a 100-year-old veteran of the Imperial Japanese government. (Second from right in middle row in the top hat).  He would write in his memoirs about the surrender to MacArthur on the deck of the Missouri:

Here is the victor announcing the verdict to the prostrate enemy.  He can impose a humiliating penalty if he so desires.  And yet he pleads for freedom, tolerance and justice.  For me, who expected the worst humiliation, this was a complete surprise.  I was thrilled beyond words, spellbound, thunderstruck.

Understanding the history of our relations with Japan is crucial to understanding our relationship and friendship with Japan today. Understanding the history of Israel and Palestine helps to keep from making mistakes about who our friends are and why.  Understanding the history of Latin America keeps a president from siding with some of the region’s worst dictators, and confusing our Constitution and laws with the constitution and laws of Honduras.

These things matter, and if a President does not have the background, it should be included in briefings. If his speechwriters don’t have the background, they should look it up.  And if the State Department doesn’t have the background, God help us .

(the headline comes from a quotation from Ralph Peters)

I ran onto this piece today, a pictorial of the Japanese memorial service in honor of those who died in World War II, with a picture of Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.That reminded me of a book I’ve had for years, an autobiography by Elizabeth Gray Vining, which I recommend highly. She became a member of the Society of Friends after her young husband was killed in an auto accident in which she survived. When the Japanese Emperor Hirohito decided to employ an American Quaker woman as a tutor for his son and the future Emperor, they turned to Elizabeth Vining. Her first book is
Windows for the Crown Prince followed by the autobiography Quiet Pilgrimage in which she tells about the appointment.She wrote:

“In the fall of 1946 a quiet Philadelphia woman was suddenly picked up, transported halfway around the globe and dropped down again in the middle of the oldest, the most formal, the most mysterious court in the world, the court of Japan. I was that woman.”

In her autobiography she includes much of what didn’t appear in the earlier book. I found the whole thing absolutely fascinating.




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