American Elephants


One More Mission From NASA Physicists and Engineers by The Elephant's Child


Unvalidated climate models that don’t correspond with physical data and the requirements of the scientific method contribute to unfounded climate alarmism, a retired NASA physicist said at the Heartland Institute’s recent America First Energy Conference.

Since America’s national security depends in part on energy security, unsubstantiated claims about global warming that prevent policymakers from making “rational decisions” with regard to the development of U.S. energy resources have become a national security threat, said Hal Doiron, a 16-year NASA veteran.

The “propaganda” underpinning climate alarmism is “causing tremendous political bottlenecks” that prevent government officials from “doing the right thing” on energy, he said.

Hal Dorion helped to develop the Apollo Lunar Module’s landing dynamics software during NASA’s moon missions. He is concerned that the U.S. military has been misdirected by climate alarmist claims that are not sound science. He poses the example of the US Navy preparing for something that is unreasonable that would also cost way too much money —extreme sea level rise— that is not supported by rigorous scientific data.

With respect to climate alarm, he says that too many academics in too many universities are writing papers that draw conclusions from models that don”t agree with physical data.

My assumption is that once alarm about the possible warming of the earth became a public concern, everybody wanted to jump on the bandwagon. Prestige, grants, new laboratories, new assistants, prestige for the university etc. etc. They assumed they could just put the whole problem in a computer program which would allow them to really study it.

They put in what was known scientific fact, then they put in educated guesses, and some assumptions, and the more they did the more money became available, invitations to glamorous conferences, interviews. There are some things we know, but there’s a lot that is  unknown and the true believers want answers now, because it has become politics—not science.

Science means that lots of others can do the same experiment and get the same answer. That’s validation. The earthly temperatures that they were all using came from temperature recording sites that were sometimes located right next to the air conditioning units’ output, or right where concrete walls reflected heat back, or at airports where there was miles of concrete runways and buildings around the recording site.

Admiral Thomas Hayward who retired from the Navy as U.S. Chief of Naval Operations and a member  of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also addressed the Heartland Institute’s energy conference.

For the past six to eight years, he said, climate change has been given “a higher priority” than the readiness of the Navy’s fleet. During that time, the U.S. Defense Department has spent $100 million on “just climate change,” while the U.S. Navy has spent “$58 billion chasing what is called the ‘green fleet.’”

That means many U.S. Navy vessels are using biofuels, but Hayward wonders how many ports around the world are equipped to accommodate U.S. Navy vessels that rely on a high percentage of biofuels, and he worries how that would work in a combat situation.

Here is the letter the Right Climate Stuff research team sent to President Trump last May. Here is the website for the Right Climate Stuff organization of retired NASA physicists and astronomical engineers, lots of good information there.

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“Energiewinde” Was A Flop That Has Driven Germans Into Energy Poverty by The Elephant's Child

Climate activists in this country looked to Europe, especially Germany, as a model of proper green virtue. Chancellor Merkel’s Energiewinde or energy revolution was supposed to solve the problem of carbon emissions. That’s solar panels and wind turbines.

People really familiar with solar panels and wind turbines, if they are not in the business of trying to sell them will explain that the problem is with the wind and the sun itself. The people selling wind turbines talk about capacity which is what a well functioning turbine will produce in the way of energy when the wind is blowing at just the right speed.

But wind doesn’t blow in the right speed steadily — it blows in gusts and puffs, steadily for a few minutes and then after a while some more puffs. Even someplace really windy. Go to White Sands National Monument sometime. Those great white sand dunes are produced by wind blowing a lot. (the mice and lizards there are white to match the dunes)

There aren’t a lot of really windy places that stay windy a lot of the time, but even those don’t meet the good flow that will match the ideal capacity that produces regular energy. Films of wind farms show some of the turbines turning and some not. Turbines break down, catch fire, malfunction, and that’s not included in the salesmen’s claims. Besides the turbines kill a lot of birds, everything from the big birds of prey like Eagles to tiny songbirds. What the decimation of the bird population will do to the environment is never mentioned.

Sunlight is more diffuse, and even in sunny places —which is where they site big solar arrays— there are clouds, moving through, cloudy days, rainy days. Clouds are not well understood in their relation to climate. If you are a summer cloud-watcher—lying on the grass and watching the clouds move by, you will notice that they are at different levels, affecting the sunlight differently.

I am by no means a climate scientist, but because I knew so little, it was clearly time to bone up. As far as I can tell, the officials who make the decisions about what to do about the climate—don’t do any studying up themselves, they just trust what others of their political persuasion say.

California Governor Jerry Brown is a true believer, who has laid his state’s problems with wildfires, flood and drought, water problems and winter and rise of the sea level, whatever on the issue of climate and an excess of CO2, and especially with President Trump’s excellent decision to fail to sign on to the Paris Climate accords. Brown was off on a ten day tour of European capitols on his way to the UN conference on climate in Bonn, to show how he and other west coast governors were ready to fight the global rise in temperatures, and possibly show how superior he was to the denier Trump, in case he might be called upon to run against Trump the next time.  Our Washington governor, another true believer, plans to try to pass a carbon tax now that Republicans lost control of the legislature.

If the Paris Climate Accords were fully adapted, climate scientists have made clear the effect on the climate by 2100 would be negligible. CO2 is what we exhale each time we breathe. It is a natural fertilizer for plants all over the world and much has been written about the greening of the planet, helping to feed the people of the world. What the Paris Climate Accords were intended to do was transfer as much wealth as possible from the worlds rich nations to the poor and developing countries. In other words it was never really about the climate at all.

But back in Germany, Chancellor Merkel has been unable to form a government. Energiewinde has not only cost far, far more than was planned, but delivered far less energy and put many a German household into energy poverty. People may not understand all the arguments about the climate and how it works, but when they can’t afford to keep their houses warm in the winter, they are not going to vote to continue freezing. Big idea, sounded good, but it didn’t work.



About Draining That Swamp… by The Elephant's Child

How about a little good news for a change? You may be astonished to learn that it comes from Canada. Conrad Black says that “the Canadian media has failed in its coverage of the biggest political news in the world in many years. Trump is the most successful U.S. president since Reagan.” (Do read the whole thing.)

But no one relying on the Canadian media would be aware that he has more than doubled the economic growth rate, reduced illegal immigration by about 80 per cent, withdrawn from the insane Paris Climate accord, helped add trillions to U.S. stock market values, created nearly two million new jobs, led the rout of ISIL, and gained full Chinese adherence to the unacceptability of North Korean nuclear military capability. He will probably pass the greatest tax cuts and reforms since Reagan, if not Lyndon Johnson, by Christmas, and may throw out the most unpopular feature of Obamacare, the coercive mandate, with it.

And here’s Victor Davis Hanson at American Greatness:

After 10 months of governance, Trump’s deregulations, a foreign policy of principled realism, energy agendas, judicial appointments, efforts at tax reform and health care recalibration, cabinet appointments, and reformulation at the Departments of Education, the EPA, and Interior seem so far conservative to the core.

In the few areas where Trump conceivably differed from his 16 primary Republican rivals—immigration, trade, and foreign policy—the 20th-century Republican/conservative orthodoxy was actually closer to Trump’s positions than to those of recent Republican nominees, John McCain or Mitt Romney.

Vast majorities of conservatives always favored enforcement of federal immigration law rather than tolerance of sanctuary cities. They wanted to preserve legal, meritocratic, diverse, and measured immigration, not sanction open borders. And they championed the melting pot over the identity politics of the salad bowl.

After the daily criticism and angst from the junior journalists, it’s nice to hear about the president’s accomplishments for a change, for there are a lot of them.  A little celebration is in order.



Playing With The Notion of What it Means to Be Human by The Elephant's Child

If you are not familiar with Melanie Phillips, you might enjoy her columns. She is a long time British journalist, and a sharp observer of the world.

If you want a break from the spectacle of Britain tearing itself apart over leaving the European Union, you can upset yourself instead watching the spectacle of the western world tearing apart the very notion of what it is to be a human being.

The knee-jerk bullying, victim-group sectarianism and repudiation of reason itself over transgenderism defy belief. The Times (£) reports that a lesbian Labour party women’s officer was allegedly subjected to months of harassment as a “Terf” — a derogatory term for “trans exclusionary radical feminist” – because she took issue with aspects of transgenderism.

Intimidation by transgender activists, in the laughable cause of promoting greater tolerance and inclusivity, has suddenly become the new norm. Examples – such as the Christian maths teacher who was suspended for addressing as a girl a female pupil who identifies as a boy – are coming thick and fast.

Little kids usually go through a period when they fantasize about being someone other than who they are — like in reality a princess in disguise, waiting to be truly recognized. There have been lots of children’s books based on just that fantasy. One of the earliest was Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. But where this current idea sweeping society here and in Europe that you can be whoever you feel like being comes from is a serious question. Melanie Phillips addresses it head on.

Bodily dysphoria appears in many forms. There are people who come to believe that they are really cats, or that one of their limbs is bad or  diseased and must be removed, sometimes going as far as removing the limb themselves. But now we are having young mothers decide that when their daughter prefers to climb trees or play with toy trucks, it’s an indication that she is transgender, and encourages the confusion. This is child abuse. Transgenderism is a disorder of the brain, not the body. It requires psychiatric help. Included in Melanie Phillips article is a link to the American College of Pediatricians and a paper on Gender Dysphoria in Children.

I posted a video of a young British mother who was doing just that, in the belief that she is doing the right thing for her child.  There are a lot of problems in our country and in the world that deserve our attention. Why are we wrapped up in a world of who sexually abused whom and how much and how many years ago, and when do we move on to the next frenzy? Is this all just a journalistic creation to keep our attention glued to their desired themes? Can we get back to reality or are we stuck in this weird world?



Paying More to Save Your Family’s Health and Nutrition? by The Elephant's Child


I’m sure your grocery store features Organic food. It costs about 30% more than the identical items in the regular displays. A program alleged to serve the well-being of the public has received a scathing report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General.

Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist who was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology, and a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He notes, writing at American Greatness, that Milton Friedman used to say that “only in government, when a program or project fails dismally, the instinctive response is to make it bigger.”

The USDA”s Inspector General details fraud, mismanagement and negligence throughout the global organic agriculture/food supply chain, Congress wants to throw more money at the problem.

Obviously, if things are not working, it’s because they need better funding?

When the organic designation was established in 2000. then-Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman emphasized its fundamental meaninglessness.”Let me be clear about one thing, the organic label is a marketing tool. It is not a statement about food safety. Nor is ‘organic’ a value judgment about nutrition or quality.” The Faso-Grisham legislation is yet another special interest bonanza designed to further subsidize domestic organic farmers and enrich the bottom line of already hugely-profitable organic businesses.

The entire industry is built on the hazy idea of some consumers that “chemicals” are poisonous and bad, therefore food that had never been contaminated with chemicals (like nitrogen fertilizer) or sprays to ward off insects somehow made that food dangerous. So organic growers use natural fertilizer like manure to supply the needed nitrogen, although that carries a risk of e-coli.

Your grocery store is a warehouse full of competing brands and products, and the competition is intense, so they use whatever selling points they can find. A good many of which are absolutely meaningless, and you are being fooled by them. Free-Range Chicken, All Natural Ingredients, Verified, non GMO, Gluten Free, No MSG,  O Trans Fat, No Artificial Flavoring and so on, and so on. The Organic label is essentially meaningless, but allows the organic farmers to charge you about 30% more. It is not a value judgment about nutrition or quality. Imported agricultural products, whether organic of conventional are sometimes fumigated at the port of entry to keep alien pests out. USDA inspectors found pesticides that are prohibited under organic protocols were being sprayed on organic shipments.

The USDA reported in 2012 that 43 percent of the 571 samples of “organic” produce tested were in violation of the government’s organic regulations. Some of the samples were mislabeled conventional products, and others had not been protected from prohibited pesticides. Dr. Miller adds:

Organic agriculture is an unscientific, heavily subsidized fraud-riddled marketing gimmick that misleads and rips off consumers. That is important because free markets don’t function efficiently when consumers are misinformed.

If you’re worried about pesticides, wash your produce carefully before you put it in the refrigerator. Genetic engineering is safe, and state-of the-art  agricultural chemicals ensure the integrity of their own sector.

 



Jordan Peterson and the Question of Gender Pronouns by The Elephant's Child

Jordan Peterson ia a professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto, and a clinical psychologist. He is very principled, very honest, and very determined. The question here is one of gender pronouns, but really of the larger question of more genders than the two assigned to us by science, custom, and chromosomes.  This one really gets into it.



Betsy DeVos Spoke Here Last Friday by The Elephant's Child

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was here last Friday to speak to the annual dinner of the Washington Policy Center at the Hyatt Regency. Protesters (read teacher’s unions) turned out to protest along with some local politicians. King County Executive Dow Constantine, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and Bellevue Mayor John Stokes all joined the protesters. Constantine stated that he was the proud son of two public school teachers, a proud graduate of public schools and his daughter would be in public school in two years. The protest crowd had giant balloons — a cat to represent “corporate fat cats” and a man in a hard hat who represented something or other.

All very strange. Betsy DeVos is advocating more charter schools—which are public schools. Charter Schools are opposed by the American Federation of Teachers. The Democratic Party depends on union money for their campaigns and union workers for their demonstrations. Some charter schools are run by businesses who have developed different organization and different programs for their particular kind of charter school. In North Dakota there is a charter school that prepares kids who don’t want to attend college for jobs in the oil and gas industry. Last year, a charity gala raised $35 million for Success Academy charter schools which will benefit thousands of underprivileged kids. But charter schools are publicly-funded public schools.

At Success Academy schools in New York, three quarters of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and nearly all are minorities. In 2015 68% of their students scored proficient in reading and 93% ranked proficient in math. In contrast only 35% of New York City students scored proficient in math and their reading abilities were even worse.

Minnesota passed the first charter-school law 25 years ago. Today nearly 3,000,000 students attend about 7,000 charter schools in 43 states and the District of Columbia. New Orleans all-charter district has raised graduation rates by 10 percentage points over the past decade. Charter enrollment is at record highs in New Orleans, Detroit, Washington DC, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and Huston.

We should work to make traditional public schools as good as they can possibly be—but where layers of rules and regulations have made reform difficult, charters offer the chance of a clean slate. As taxpayer-funded public schools, charters are open to all students and subject to the same accountability systems as traditional public schools. What makes charters unique is their freedom from the unnecessary, outdated, and counterproductive work rules vigorously defended by the teachers’ unions….

Many regular-enrollment students in charters would have been placed into special education had they gone to a traditional public school. Charters are serving these kids; they just don’t classify them as disabled. The most plausible explanation for why: students attending charters do better academically than they would have done otherwise, thus eliminating the need for extra services.

The American cities that have most improved their schools are those that have wholeheartedly embraced charters. Their success suggests that policy makers should stop listening to the unions and thinking of charters are an innovation around the edges of the public school system and realize they are a better way to organize public education.

College professors across the country are complaining about their incoming students, saying they don’t know anything, can’t write, and are unprepared for college work. There is seldom a week that goes by without a report of a public school teacher arrested for having sex with a student. In some schools the idea that one can choose their sexual identity is accepted. It is school policy in some European countries, notably Sweden, and it remains scientific nonsense. Many schools have encouraged protest against the President as part of the curriculum. There are some real problems with our public schools, and parents need to be very clear about what is being taught if they care about their kids.

 




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