American Elephants


Why is America So Rich? by The Elephant's Child



Did You See The Image of the Lava Jet Stream from Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano? by The Elephant's Child

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Here it is, pouring into the ocean in a spectacular stream.and here is a report from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory showing the collapse of the cliff at Kamokuna in all of its stages. Fascinating. Probably more than you ever wanted to know about a a Hawaiian volcano that you may never see. Beautiful but scary pictures and a clear explanation of what has happened. A great geology lesson.



How To Win Back Rural Voters, Or Not. by The Elephant's Child

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The Left are having a hard time understanding how they lost the election and why it happened. President Obama cannot understand why rural Americans did not turn out for him and his successor since he did so much for them, plowing so much money into rural communities, for green energy. Democrats firmly “believe that they can win back rural voters by ratcheting up their pre-election mission of moving the country from fossil fuels to green energy.”

They are using calls to drastically reduce carbon emission to convince middle-class voters, many of whom voted for Trump, that green energy can provide thousands of jobs to replace those once held by coal workers. Democrat plans to phase out fossil fuels come despite the president-elect’s campaign to restore lost coal jobs.

“This is fundamentally a jobs message,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters last week in reference to Democrats renewed focus on green energy. “We represent a horizon of job creation that is as great or greater than any other industrial sector.”

Our embarrassingly ineffective governor wants to pass a carbon tax to raise an estimated $2 billion in revenue to pay for education and clean energy projects. Uh huh.

They keep saying that green energy projects create lots of jobs. This is nonsense. Wind farms and solar arrays are made elsewhere, installed by the people who build them, and attended by the people who install them. I haven’t seen a single installation anywhere where they brag about all the new jobs. Washington is blessed with the Columbia River which has many electricity producing dams that already are “clean energy.”

Wind energy is a favorite alternative energy source for advocates of all things green — and we use wind energy as an example of what happens when we deviate from using real science: we end up with high-cost, low-benefit boondoggles. (Much the same could be said about solar.)

The main justification for wind energy by its promoters, is that it will substantially reduce the threat of climate change. Unfortunately this is a political science position, not one based on real Science. No scientific assessment has proven that wind energy saves a consequential amount of CO2 — or that it is a NET societal benefit to us. NET, of course, is the key word.

True believers in global warming are essentially members of a religious cult. They have been told that green energy will save the planet from overheating or something devastating anyway. They are passionate, because what can be more noble than saving the planet. They have installed low flow showers and toilets in their homes to save water, while the government that forced the lousy showers and toilets on them insists that we must beware the rise of the seas which will inundate our coastal cities. Saving water because we’re running out and too much water on the coast does not make sense.

Global warming exists in the computer programs of the scientists in universities who have gotten all sorts of funding from the federal government to work on global warming.

Rural people who farm corn in the Midwest are very much in favor of adding vast quantities of ethanol to your gasoline. It has raised the price of corn significantly. Other than corn farmers, rural people are not apt to be true believers. They spend their days with the climate and understand hot summers and cold winters and cool summers and the lack of snow.They understand when environmentalists bewail the potential endangered species in a certain location that there are apt to be plenty more on the other side of the hill. City people who live in apartments don’t have that daily interaction and are apt to be far more gullible.<

I remember when earlier in President Obama’s first term, he and Michelle were visiting one of the Southern Adirondack resorts, and they went for a walk in the woods—apparently the first time they had done so. That’s not what a Westerner thinks of as “woods.” I think that was the first time I really realized how little city people know of nature, and consequently how little they understand of environmentalists claims.

No, you are not going to win over rural voters with “green energy.”

Currently, most of our energy and environmental policies are NOT Science based. Instead these policies have essentially been written by lobbyists representing clients with economic or political agendas. The predictable result is that almost all of these policies cost taxpayers, businesses, etc. considerably more than originally promised — and accomplish significantly less than we were assured. Additionally, there are usually numerous “unintended consequences” of these lobbyist driven policies that make the net effects even worse.

Wind energy is a favorite alternative energy source for advocates of all things green — and we use wind energy as an example of what happens when we deviate from using real science: we end up with high-cost, low-benefit boondoggles. (Much the same could be said about solar.)

The main justification for wind energy by its promoters, is that it will substantially reduce the threat of climate change. Unfortunately this is a political science position, not one based on real Science. No scientific assessment has proven that wind energy saves a consequential amount of CO2 — or that it is a NET societal benefit to us. NET, of course, is the key word.

Democrats, as true believers, are sure that climate change will defeat Donald Trump’s nominees. Mike Pompeo, nominated to the Central Intelligence Agency because of his expertise in intelligence and spycraft, and his mission to defeat terror groups was questioned persistently by Kamala Harris, the new California senator about the scientific consensus on global warming, and asked if he had any reason to doubt NASA’s findings? He responded that he would prefer not to get into the details of the climate debate because the agency’s role is to collect foreign intelligence.

Ben Carson was questioned by Elizabeth Warren  who wanted to learn what the doctor thought about CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, because flooding poses “a significant risk to public housing.” She also wanted to know what “other actions will you take to adapt to or prevent climate change while you are HUD Secretary.”

Perhaps they are just practicing up for the day when Scott Pruitt will be grilled about leading the Environmental Protection Agency. They really have it in for him. Patty Murray, our very own Washington State Senator called the Oklahoma Attorney General “a climate change denier.” Jean Shaheen of New Hampshire claimed he was a “capitulation to polluters.”

They keep explaining why they lost the election, and they’re right, but it isn’t exactly what they claim, but what they make evident that they do not understand.



Repealing ObamaCare, and The Problems Involved. by The Elephant's Child

medical_doctorsRepublicans are planning to repeal ObamaCare immediately.
They have a lot of good ideas about how to make a health care program more effective and less costly, like allowing health insurance to be sold across state borders. As it stands, each state has an insurance commissioner who approves or disapproves insurance policies for their particular state, so you get 50 different kinds of regulations.

An increase in competition always makes things cheaper and more efficient, because bad ideas get weeded out because they cannot compete. Freedom to solve problems and the promise of reward for solving them has resulted an an astonishing rise in the standard of living in the whole world.

All sorts of scholars have been working for 8 years to come up with better ideas for doing health insurance. The best idea, however, came from Thomas Sowell, and he stated it very simply:

If we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs now, how can we afford to pay for doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical drugs. in addition to a new federal bureaucracy to administer a government run medical system?

The federal government has no business putting a bunch of bureaucrats in charge of American’s healthcare. The federal government has demonstrated over and over that they do not know how to do healthcare, with the VA, with Medicare, with Medicaid, and with the Indian Health Service.We don’t need top-down central planning.

ObamaCare wanted national records of healthcare practices so at  they would have more knowledge about how to make healthcare more efficient.They ordered hospitals to computerize, get rid of the handwritten notes of patient encounters. Medical centers spent enormous sums of money buying computer systems for each office and examining room. The basic idea was totally wasted because the computer systems can’t talk to each other. They were all different setups.

Patients weren’t all that happy about their private health records being available to anybody who could log onto the system. It also meant that doctors were spending their time interacting with computers instead of patients. Doctors hired scribes to take notes on the computer while the doctor actually interacted with the patient. Think about how much all that added to the cost of doing healthcare.

I think it was Medicare that ordered their physicians to limit patient encounters to 7½ minutes. Great way to cut costs, except the encounters are with real human beings with very different reasons for going to the doctor. Stupid.

Bureaucrats decided that the place to cut costs was in what medical professionals were charging for their services. You’ve seen your insurance records, the medical establishment charged $150 for the encounter, the insurance company allowed $47, and you paid half that in your co-pay. So, quite naturally, a good many physicians will not see people on Medicaid, Medicare, or the Indian Health Service, and so far veterans are stuck with the VA. You’re left hunting for someone who will see you, and are they the less accomplished doctors?

Bureaucrats think all doctors are rich, and some of them are. However, they spent a long time studying to be able to get into medical school, after that studying for their specialty, and interning. Most have huge school loans to pay off, and their offices have medical assistants, lab technicians, receptionists, nurses, a respectable office with all sorts of equipment and several examining rooms with all sorts of equipment. Doctors have years and years of training compared to ordinary bureaucrats, and at some point they expect to reach a point where they can live fairly well. Bureaucrats see them as the part of medical care that can be slashed to save money.

It’s not the doctors that cannot be afforded, it’s the bureaucrats. The federal government needs to get out of the business of running health care. They don’t know how to do it, they are no good at it. Turn it over to private enterprise, to find ways to provide care that the country can afford. The Left does not believe in private enterprise, they think competition is a bad thing, they believe that they are the smartest and most able people around, and they cannot understand why a heart surgeon should make more money than they do.

Consider the outcry against Trump’s nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to HUD because he had no experience in government. That’s a revealing, and typical, Leftist response.

Here’s a post from 2012 about the Oklahoma Surgical Center which would seem to suggest that there are real possibilities out there. I have not followed up to see if it is still as successful.

I am afraid that Republicans in Congress will just devise another government-run program that will have some better ideas, will not solve the problem of escalating costs, and when the Democrats return to power, as they will at some point in the distant future, we’ll do it all over.

Republicans believe in private enterprise, and freedom. When people are free and encouraged to find better ways and rewarded for so doing, miracles happen every day. How did you think Dr, Leonard McCoy got those amazing instruments that he used on the Enterprise?



The Deception of Human Caused Global Warming by The Elephant's Child

Dr. Tim Ball gave a lecture on November 3rd in Vancouver, Canada. He explains, point by point, how we arrived at our present state, and just what the believers stand to gain from their deception.

If you are at loose ends on New Years Day, badly hungover, or just exhausted with a year of electoral campaigning and the Left’s childish reaction to not getting their way, you may enjoy this. Dr. Ball is an entertaining speaker, and funny. The subject is serious. the video is fairly long, but I enjoyed it thoroughly.



A Vaccine For A Virus: Burying Ebola by The Elephant's Child

How about a little good news for a change? An invention has come along that has changed the landscape completely.

A vaccine invented in Canada was tested in a large scale inoculation in Guinea and Sierra Leone by the World Health Organization to assess just how well it protected people against Ebola—the dreadful virus that ravaged Africa in 2014, killing 60 percent of the people who were infected. What happened? It succeeded spectacularly. It protected 100 percent of the people who received it. This is the first and only therapy for Ebola other than the previous supportive measures.

The vaccine, which is a glycoprotein (1) called rVSV-ZEBOV, was tested in Guinea and Sierra Leone. The group gathered samples from an individual, either alive or dead who had a positive lab test for Ebola, and then identified a cluster of their contacts, contacts of the contacts, and the contacts of the contacts who weren’t around when the team arrived. Each uninfected person got a single injection of the vaccine in the arm. The results are stunning.

The group identified a total of 4539 people in 51 clusters between March 2015, and January 2016. About half (2119 people) received the vaccine immediately, and another 2041 got it 21 days later.

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The name of the vaccine sounds daunting, but it’s really not. The “r” means recombinant—formed by alteration of viral DNA, which can be done using standard molecular biotechnology techniques. VSV stands for vesicular stomatitis virus—the virus that was modified (2). ZEBOV is short for Zaire Ebola virus, which was the most deadly circulating strain.

This is a very big deal. The safety profile is excellent, and only two adverse effects were attributed to the vaccine itself. It is an enormous achievement, and could rid the world of a very scary, very dangerous disease.

The epidemic in 2014-15 claimed the lives of 11,300 people in West Africa, spread the virus as far as New York and Texas, and demonstrated the failures of the world public health system.”The public health bureaucracy resists therapeutics, which threaten traditional manpower-heavy quarantines and tracking.” By 2015, cases were low and declining and researchers were able to gather real world information on an accelerated schedule. The study was so successful that it was stopped early since not providing the vaccine to the control group was unethical.

Ebola is a complex and mutating pathogen, and no scientific triumph is ever final. But the public-health bureaucracy demonstrated no such humility, and its overconfidence showed how unprepared the world is to respond to biological threats. Developing and deploying more vaccines like rVSV-Zebov may be the best defense.



It Snowed in the Sahara Desert! by The Elephant's Child

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This image was taken Monday afternoon. The Sahara Desert experienced its first snowfall in 37 years. It is the first time since February 1979 that snow has fallen in Ain Sefra, Algeria. The last time it snowed in the area, the snow only lasted for about an hour. Told you it was getting colder.




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