American Elephants


It’s Cute, It Folds Up to Park in Your Garage, And It’s Amphibious! by The Elephant's Child
June 18, 2015, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, News, Science/Technology, Sports | Tags: , ,

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They have had years of delays, as is common when seeking approval for something from the federal government, but Icon Aircraft is finally getting approval for its A5 Light Sport amphibian aircraft. Futurists have been promising something like this as long as I can remember, usually a flying car. This one is a two-person airplane, which doesn’t just land on water as well as land, but it folds up for easy towing and garage parking.

The FAA issued an airworthiness certificate for this unusual plane, giving it’s official go-ahead for commercial production. Icon can now start delivering to the more than 1,250 customers who have already placed their orders.

The IconA5 is classified as a Light Sport Aircraft, a two-person plane meant to be easier to learn on than more traditional aircraft. It’s a new classification of 7F0A4457_IL-482x321Sport Pilots that can fly in lower altitude, uncongested airspace, during good weather. The appeal is that getting a license will take much less time and money than what is needed for a traditional private pilot license.

It has an Angle of Attack indicator, a feature usually on military aircraft that basically shows when a wing will stall. It also has spin-resistant design, and is one of the first planes to meet the FAA’s spin-resistance standards. An airplane specifically designed to mitigate those risks will attract attention. Full production will begin in September. The price tag is just under $200,000. Kind of cute.



Food Fetishes, Control Freaks, Food Faddists and Charlatans by The Elephant's Child
June 17, 2015, 6:53 am
Filed under: Junk Science, News, Politics, Regulation | Tags: , ,

The FDA is expected to issue a rule that will effectively ban the use of manmade trans-fat containing hydrogenated oils in all foods. There’s some controversy about the difference between the manmade variety — the trans-fats that occur naturally in beef and dairy products — and the trans fats in partially hydrogenated oils. The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 2 grams per day.

In any case, the FDA claims the ban could save around 7,000 lives per year. The agency has required food manufacturers to list the trans fat content of packaged foods since 2006. That’s helped reduce the amount of trans fats in the average American’s diet from far above to well below the American Heart Association recommendations.

So if Americans are already eating less trans fats than health experts recommend, why the push to ban them?

The ban comes as a result of a lawsuit by centenarian Dr. Fred Kummerow, a professor emeritus at the U.of Illinois who has been researching trans-fats for more than 50 years. His lawsuit forced the FDA to act. The agency will revoke its GRAS status, without that anyone wanting to sell foods containing partially hydrogenated oils would have to petition the FDA to demonstrate their safety. This follows the pattern of the ban on raw milk. And then there was the government’s complete reversal of the limits on dietary cholesterol. The recommendations to cut out the salt are on the ropes, because humans seem geared for more salt that authorities think is good for them. And the FDA seems to have caffeine needlessly in their crosshairs. Coffee just got a clean bill of health from health authorities.

The line “could save 7,000 lives per year” sounds exactly like the EPA. They regularly claim that X,000 number of children will not die from asthma because of the new regulation they are issuing. Physicians do not know the cause of asthma, which is probably why the EPA picked it.

The federal food police seem to be a hobbyhorse of mine. I have previously written five other posts about the federal government’s efforts to tell us what to eat, which surprised me. Getting rid of the committee and their guidelines seems to be high on my list. If you enter “dietary guidelines” in the search box just over Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar, you will find them all, if you are interested.

Food is a problem. There is too much information, much of it completely wrong. There is no benefit whatsoever to Organic food, unless it salves your soul to believe that you are not consuming nasty chemical fertilizers, which is nonsense. With “organic” you get cow manure.

Genetically modified organisms have been occurring naturally in crops for centuries. Some Asian countries that depend heavily on rice need Golden Rice, a GMO variety that has added a gene for beta carotene which will save thousands of children from blindness and death. The nitwits who are terrified (needlessly) about GMO foods and want their foods labeled to prove they were not genetically modified are simply ignorant about what genes are. Yet their protests make third world countries fearful and they won’t permit the GMO foods that would save the children.

Then there’s the “Food Babe” who catapulted to her ten minutes of fame by accusing Subway of using a “harmful” chemical in yoga mats to make its bread fluffy. She gets attention by fear mongering about “harmful chemicals” with little understanding of the science involved, nor of the simple idea that the dose makes the poison. And, of course there are all the little ads on many websites that proclaim that “just this one food…”



The Federal Government’s Dietary Guidelines Are Bunk! by The Elephant's Child
June 17, 2015, 6:32 am
Filed under: Junk Science, Regulation | Tags: , ,

For decades, the federal government has been telling us what to eat — not that we pay that much attention — but nevertheless they regularly establish dietary guidelines. A new article by University of Alabama Birmingham researcher Edward Archer and colleagues Gregory Pavela and Carl Lavie and published this week in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, informs us that the conclusions drawn by the federal government’s -usdacontroversial Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) are bunk. They were more polite, they said their work rests on fatally flawed assumptions about usable data, and the research used to support their work is so far off base as to be scientifically useless.

The DGAC is a rotating group of academics who have been charged by Congress since the 1990s with meeting every five years to recommend broad federal dietary policies. Unlike experiments in the hard sciences of chemistry, physics and biology, most diet studies are based on self-reported data. Study subjects are examined for height, weight and health, then are questioned about what they eat. Their food choices are then linked  to health outcomes — cancer, mortality, heart disease etc,

Edward Archer says that’s a poor way of doing science. “The assumption that human memory can provide accurate or precise reproductions of past ingestive behavior is indisputably false.” Well, yes, can you remember what you had to eat on Friday? “An analysis conducted by Archer in 2013 found that most of the 60,000 + NHANES subjects report eating a lower amount of calories than they would physiologically need to survive, let alone to put on all the weight that Americans have in the past few decades.”

They’ve just been plain wrong as well. We were told never to eat butter, but to use margarine instead. Now we are urged to eat butter and not use margarine. The grocery stores are well ahead of the feds. They hardly carry any margarine at all anymore. The dietary guidelines mistakenly urged us to rely on lots of whole grains and other carbohydrates, and the stores stocked up on lots of tasty snacks, If they are wondering where the obesity came from — there you go. And pay no  attention to the healthy plate diagram shown above. That’s bunk too.



A Graphene Heating System Would Dramatically Reduce Home Energy Costs. by The Elephant's Child
June 7, 2015, 7:03 am
Filed under: Energy, Science/Technology | Tags: , ,

A couple of years ago, in August of 2013, I wrote about the new wonder material, graphene, a more glamorous cousin of ordinary pencil lead, and the rush to file patents for potential uses. As of May that year, there had been more than 9,000 patents filed.

Dr. Geim wanted thin graphite to study its electrical properties. A doctoral student suggested using cellophane tape.”They used the tape to peel off layers of graphite until they got to a layer so thin it was transparent. Not only did it not fall apart, it was strong, flexible and possessed astonishing electrical properties.”

A startup called Xefro in the United Kingdom is working in the unheralded area of energy savings, where nanomaterials are making the biggest inroads. A graphene heating system could dramatically reduce home energy costs. This is the first time graphene has been used as a heating element. Depending on the kind of heating system currently used in a home, the company estimates that their graphene-based heating system could reduce energy costs by anywhere from 25 to 75 percent.

Xefro uses graphene-based ink that can be printed on a variety of materials and into just about any configuration. The system takes advantage of graphene’s minimal thermal mass so the heat can be turned on and off quickly, and leverages graphene’s large surface area so that energy isn’t wasted in heating up the heater itself.

Traditional heating systems are very inefficient in that they require heat to be transferred to multiple materials: for example, heating up water to heat up a radiator which heats up air and then finally heats up objects in a room, according to Harper.

The full article is here. I should have paid a lot more attention in physics!



The EPA Wants To Raise The Cost of Air Travel And Ordinary Goods by The Elephant's Child
June 5, 2015, 6:24 am
Filed under: Junk Science | Tags: , ,

The Environmental Protection Agency, in its quest to save the world from the horrors of climate change will announce:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is set to announce that it will require new rules to cut emissions from airplanes, expanding a quest to tackle climate change that has included a string of significant regulations on cars, trucks and power plants.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to report as early as Friday its conclusion that greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes endanger human health because they significantly contribute to global warming, although people familiar with the agency’s plans said the announcement could slip into next week.

That announcement, known in legal parlance as an endangerment finding, will prompt a requirement under the Clean Air Act for the agency to issue new regulations to reduce airplane emissions. The agency is expected to limit the rule to commercial aircraft, leaving out small craft and military planes.

William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, said “Aircraft are the largest remaining unregulated source of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and can only be regulated by the federal government. This presents President Obama with a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate leadership not only domestically but, indeed, around the world.”

Progressives, congenitally unable to grasp things like cause and effect, are apparently unaware that this will cause a dramatic rise in the cost of an airline ticket. Airlines will try to reduce that effect by maybe squeezing the seats a little closer together. Those who take long fossil-fueled trips to Paris or Davos will be hardest hit.

They are going after the trucking industry as well. President Obama has directed the EPA to add emission rules for big-rig trucks to a growing list of regulations to “combat the threat of climate change.” He wants them more fuel efficient, while lowering their carbon dioxide emission to lessen the effects of global warming.  Effect? Higher prices on all goods that are transported by truck. You won’t mind a little more inflation.

The amount of warming caused by extra CO² is not really a big deal. A doubling of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would cause less than 1 degree C of surface warming. The EPA’s ecobabble about effects on health are pure crap, and they shouldn’t get away with it.

On the bright side, the extra CO² in the atmosphere is greening the Sahara, just like we said it would.

(h/t: the pirates cove)



Freeman Dyson on the Global Warming Hysteria by The Elephant's Child
May 31, 2015, 2:27 pm
Filed under: Global Warming | Tags: , ,

Renowned Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Studies is interviewed by Stuart McNish for “Conversations that Matter.”



FEMA Will Deny Preparedness Funds Unless You Believe by The Elephant's Child

Starting next year in March, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will approve disaster-preparedness funds only for states whose governors have approved mitigation plans to address climate change. This does not affect funds for disaster relief after a hurricane, flood or tornado, but those funds directed to preparedness for a disaster.

Unfortunately, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes are not caused by Global Warming. Obama’s FEMA Director Craig Fugate explained back in 2012 that hurricanes are cyclical, not linked to Anthropogenic Global Warming.

“Well, I’m not a meteorologist. I’m not a climate scientist, and hurricanes are cyclic,” Fugate responded. “I do know history, and if you look at history and you look at hurricane activity, there are periods of increased and decreased activity that occurs over decades,” Fugate said. “Throughout the ‘60s, ‘70s, early ‘80s, up until about ’95, the Atlantic was actually in a period of below-average activity, even though you had significant storms like Andrew, Frederic, and David.”…

“But the reality is the history says we’ve had this period of activity, we’ve had a period of quiet,” Fugate said. “We’ve had a period of activity; we’ve had a period of quiet. And so what we’ve seen is not what we — we’ve seen this in history before.”

The whole FEMA issue of withholding funds based on accepting the administrations mantra about climate change is pure politics, not science.

The promoters of climate change are attempting to silence skeptics before the UN Paris climate summit and the next Presidential election and the implications for EPA climate regulations. They are trying to intimidate any scientists who have dared to testify before Congress. What are they threatening? They will call them “Deniers” a dire threat, for who cannot see that the climate is changing all the time, and they will claim that they are supported by oil companies. They are all quite sure that corporations are bad, and certainly the corporations that produce dread fossil fuels are the very worst of all.

It’s amazing how they can all cheerfully line up at the gas pumps, grateful for the drop in the price of gasoline, apparently completely oblivious to how that came about. They are sure that the world could run on clean solar energy and wind power, without understanding that each of those tiny sources of energy only exist because they are backed up full time with conventional power plants. But then they jet off to conferences without the slightest concern for their carbon footprints (whatever those are) or even a thought for how modern travel came about and how those airplanes were produced.

It is not hypocrisy that sends them off to attack climate scientists, but willful ignorance. They believe, and you must not challenge their religion.




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