American Elephants


Hurricanes Are Not Caused By “Climate Change.” Just Nature At Work. by The Elephant's Child

President Trump was asked by “60 Minutes” Leslie Stahl about Hurricane Florence: He said:

“I don’t know that it’s manmade. I will say this: I don’t want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs.” … “I’m not denying climate change,” he said in the interview. “But it could very well go back. You know, we’re talking about over a … millions of years.”

“They say that we had hurricanes that were far worse than what we just had with Michael,” said Trump, who identified “they” as “people” after being pressed by “60 Minutes” correspondent Leslie Stahl. She asked, “What about the scientists who say it’s worse than ever?” the president replied, “You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda.

Well, you can imagine the outcry, Charles Schumer, distinguished Minority Leader of the United States Senate: “If we would do more on climate change, we’d have fewer of these hurricanes and other types of storms. Everyone knows that, except a few.” He added that The Trump administration has done nothing but “move the issue backward.”  Sorry, Senator. The president was actually scientifically, politically, and economically correct. Hurricanes are a natural phenomenon, unrelated to climate change.

“There is no trend in either intensity or frequency of hurricane strikes over the last 118 years. They have nothing to do with so called climate change. Out of the top 10 warmest Gulf of Mexico years since 1860, 7 occurred before 1970, which is before we experienced any significant warming”, according to Dr. Roy Spencer.

“So, all the “experts” can do is make vague claims about how major hurricanes like Michael are what we can expect more of in a warming world, but the data show that – so far at least – the data do not support the theory.”

The damage from Michael and Florence has been extensive, and to see so many houses flattened or disappeared is simply tragic, and the victims have our deepest sympathy. Federal aid and food and water start flowing in as rapidly as possible.

The Earth has been warming and cooling for millions of years “Global Warming” refers to the global-average temperature increase that has been observed over the last one hundred years or more. But to many politicians and the public, the term carries the implication that mankind is responsible for that warning. This website describes evidence from my group’s government-funded research that suggests global warming is mostly natural, and that the climate system is quite insensitive to humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions and aerosol pollution.

Believe it or not, very little research has ever been funded to search for natural mechanisms of warming…it has simply been assumed that global warming is manmade. This assumption is rather easy for scientists since we do not have enough accurate global data for a long enough period of time to see whether there are natural warming mechanisms at work. …

But first let’s examine the basics of why so many scientists think global warming is manmade. Earth’s atmosphere contains natural greenhouse gases (mostly water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane) which act to keep the lower layers of the atmosphere warmer than they otherwise would be without those gases. Greenhouse gases trap infrared radiation — the radiant heat energy that the Earth naturally emits to outer space in response to solar heating. Mankind’s burning of fossil fuels (mostly coal, petroleum, and natural gas) releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and this is believed to be enhancing the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect. As of 2008, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was about 40% to 45% higher than it was before the start of the industrial revolution in the 1800’s. (Do read the whole thing, not long)

The President is visiting Florida and Georgia today, and the first responders and volunteers are working in a massive Federal response:

Here’s a look at that response, by the numbers:

  • A major on-the-ground operation: More than 16,000 Federal employees, including over 8,000 military personnel, have been deployed.
  • Search-and-rescue efforts underway: FEMA, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the National Guard are working alongside state responders and volunteers. As of this morning, they have completed 110 evacuations, 4,193 rescues/assists, 15,287 shelter-in-place checks, 128 animal assists, and 16,827 structural assessments.
  • Power restoration a top priority: More than 35,000 utility workers from 26 states are working to bring power back to impacted areas.
  • Food and water distribution: In Florida, FEMA has provided 715,000 meals and 1.5 million liters of water per day. FEMA has also transferred more than 350,000 meals to Georgia, and 30+ distribution sites are being supported.

The response to Hurricane Michael is continuing. Thousands of industry workers are restoring power and volunteers are serving hot meals and providing shelter and comfort. Over the weekend the president issued a major disaster declaration for Georgia, and additional disaster assistance for Florida. FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are knocking on door to help families register for assistance.The President has called for maximum relief. When asked about his biggest priority for the trip, he said “Just making sure everyone is safe and that they’re fed.”

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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.

 



The Columbian Exchange: The Most Important Ecological Event in Human History by The Elephant's Child

Historical evidence proves that there were interactions between Europe and America before Columbus’s voyage in 1492, but Columbus’ contact began a large, impactful and lastingly significant transfer of animals, crops, people groups, cultural ideas and microorganisms between the two worlds.

In 1493, on his second voyage, Columbus brought horses, dogs, pigs, cattle, chickens, sheep and goats to the “new” world.  In the 1530’s the Spanish Conquistador and explorer Francisco Pizarro saw the potato in Quito, Ecuador, where the Incas in the Andes first cultivated the potato. Think kindly of Pizarro when next you have french fries,(that common name tells of its travels).

Alfred Crosby who wrote an important book in 1972, called The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 claimed that the commingling of plants, animals, and bacteria resulting from the Columbian Exchange is one of the most important ecological events in human history.

From the Americas to Europe
Avocados, Beans (kidney, navy, lima) Bell Peppers, Black-eyed Susans, Cacao (chocolate), Chili Peppers, Corn, Cotton, Marigolds, Papayas, Peanuts, Petunias, Pineapples, Poinsettias, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Quinine (for malaria), Rubber, Squashes, Sunflowers, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Tomatoes, Turkeys, Vanilla Beans, Zinnias

From Europe to the Americas
Bananas, Barley, Cabbages, Carnations, Chickens, Coffee, Cows, Crabgrass, Daffodils, Daisies, Dandelions, Horses, Lemons, Lettuce, Lilacs, Olives, Oranges, Peaches, Pears, Pigs, Rice, Sheep, Sugarcane, Tulips, Turnips, Wheat

And unfortunately:
Smallpox, Influenza, Typhus, Measles, Malaria, Diphtheria, Whooping Cough

And in return, the Old World got:
Polio, Hepatitis, Encephalitis, and Syphilis

And I didn’t realize that here in Seattle, Columbus is not celebrated, instead it is Indigenous People’s Day.  All part of the Democrat’s vision of redeeming us from our immoral past — or denying history to put it bluntly,  except for the parts that they like.

Denying history is a major problem. We are supposed to understand history, not deny it, and we are supposed to learn from history. But then that might lead us to examine the history of communism and socialism and prefer the capitalism that has lifted much of the world out of poverty and into the middle class.



George Gilder On The Future of Computing by The Elephant's Child

Uncommon Knowledge, from the Hoover Institution. 9/24/18

Is blockchain the technology of the future? George Gilder, author of Life After Google, argues that bitcoin and blockchain technology is revolutionizing the Internet. He sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss technology, cloud computing, big data, and the growing role of blockchain in innovating new technologies.

Gilder argues that cloud computing, while it was the hot new technology ten years ago, has reached its limits as the physical limitations of big data storage centers maxes out. Improvements in parsing big data are incremental at this point, and it’s time for the next big technology to take its place. Gilder points to blockchain as the technology of the future, with its ability to prevent corruption and manipulation of transaction data and the infinite uses it could have in third world countries.

Gilder also discusses the history of technology, artificial intelligence, and the revolutionary bitcoin. He argues that artificial intelligence can never replace human intelligence and creativity and that in principle, it is impossible for machines to take over.

For the full transcript go to:
https://www.hoover.org/research/georg…



China’s Future and Current Megaprojects by The Elephant's Child

China has more than 400 companies making inexpensive tiny electric cars called LSEVs for Low Speed Electric Vehicles. The price starts at about $1,000. U.S.
Not exactly for long road trips, I guess, but interesting for around town.

I ran into this while looking at the tiny electric cars. China seems to be going all out to modernize and make the most of technology in every way. I’m not sure what the time span for all this to be built is. When we start talking about a big “Infrastructure” project here at home, it becomes a very big deal, and
everything seems to cost too much.

How are the Chinese managing to pay for all of this? We know they do a lot of stealing technology and plans, but they clearly have fine architects and builders and technology people.

This was originally published on February 9, 2016, so it’s nearly three years old, but fascinating.  China is a very centrally controlled country. People are tracked wherever they go, and earn points (or lose them depending on their actions), if you lose too many cooperative good points, you can’t travel or enjoy many ordinary privileges.

Do click on the link just above. When people start talking about “control” we need to understand fully what is meant by the word and the urge. I find it extremely scary.



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.



The Trials and Tribulations of Contemporary Technology by The Elephant's Child

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I have been pretty negative on social media. Silicon Valley is remarkably partisan, and Congress is not only noticing, but considering what, if anything, they should do about it. I just had the experience of searching for the answer to a very simple question, which I never got, but the question was clearly partisan, (I was searching for the proper title of someone in the Trump administration) and it took me well in to the high 74th – 76th posts to even begin to get close to an answer. Every conservative has noticed that their algorithms disfavor conservative websites.

But here’s a case where technology is attempting to increase the speed and accuracy of food recalls. Walmart Inc. is requiring direct suppliers of lettuce, spinach and other greens to join its food-tracking blockchain by early next year. The move comes after 28 months of tests tracing the origins of berries, mangoes, baby food, chicken and other goods on a system developed by IBM, known as the IBM Food Trust blockchain, a group that includes Walmart, Nestlé SA, Dole Food Co, and several other food companies.

This also follows a bad outbreak of E.coli linked to romaine lettuce earlier this year that spread across 36 states, caused five deaths and hundreds of illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Outbreaks like this can hurt all distributors as shoppers who hear of it simply stop buying lettuce and other suspect goods from any suppliers, even unaffected ones. Blockchain can be used to promote transparency and greater food safety. Preventing deaths from E.Coli infection should surely be a high priority. We expect the food in our modern food chain to be safe.

Both the Food Trust group and IBM are working to simplify the process of getting data on farmers’ fields. lots and shipments into the system, including a web portal for farmers to use from a desktop or laptop to enter data, and a mobile app for accessing the Food Trust.

A further caution: The idea of Organic food came up because some shoppers were afraid of chemicals in fertilizers. Plants require nitrogen as a fertilizer, and don’t care if it comes from petroleum or from cow barns, but people who are afraid of Petroleum, oil and gas, do. So the organic label was born, and organic farmers promised to fertilize their food crops with cow manure as a “natural” response to fertilizer fear. Of course oil and gas are “natural” too, but unacceptable. The trouble is that cow manure is often the source of E.coli, and organic food costs about 35% more than non-organic.

I never buy organic food, but I once bought a bottle of organic lotion, which was really silly. It was lemon verbena, and I’m a sucker for anything in lemon verbena. That suggests that the trees that grew the lemons or the verbena bushes were fertilized only with manure, but I’m just putting the lotion on me, not in me.




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