Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Higher fuel standards to cost 2000+ lives a year?

Back in 2002, the National Academy of Sciences did a study on the effects of CAFE. They found that over the three decades CAFE has been in effect, downsizing of cars and trucks for fuel economy has cost us about 2,000 lives per year.

Less steel framing and smaller size equals more miles per gallon. It also means you’re rolling down the road in a vehicle with much less crashworthiness, making you more vulnerable to every stationary object, to that semi behind you … and to the guy in the normal-sized car.

This death toll figure was arrived at long before President Obama recently upped the CAFE standards by 30% and more. The death toll going forward will be even higher.

I have twice been at the scene of fatal one-car accidents. Once where I knew the crash victim personally, and once where I happened to come upon an accident before the police arrived. Both of these were situations where the person would have lived had they been driving something larger — a Prius in the first case and a Ford Fiesta in the other.

In both cases, they were convinced to value a gallon of gas over their own lives, and paid the price.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

GW bill on the brink - your help needed!!!

May I suggest that you send your congressional representative this story with a request to read it on the floor. And while you are at it, the EPA shenanigans and my surfacestations report. – Anthony

WASHINGTON (CNN) – House Democratic leaders are furiously lobbying their members and moderate Republicans to support a landmark energy bill in the face of resistance from some conservative members of their own party, and staunch opposition from the GOP — roadblocks that are making it difficult to find the 218 votes necessary to pass the measure, according to Democratic leadership aides.

“There is no question that the cap and trade bill will cost millions of jobs and it is pretty evident, I think now, given the word that we are hearing that the other side has 190 votes at this point, far short of that which are needed to pass this bill,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Virginia.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Will Western Civilization commit suicide?

In April of 1856, a fifteen-year-old girl named Nongqawuse heard a voice telling her that the Xhosa must kill all their cattle, stop cultivating their fields, and destroy their stores of grain and food. The voice insisted that the Xhosa must also get rid of their hoes, cooking pots, and every utensil necessary for the maintenance of life. Once these things were accomplished, a new day would magically dawn. Everything necessary for life would spring spontaneously from the earth. The dead would be resurrected. The blind would see and the old would have their youth restored. New food and livestock would appear in abundance, spontaneously sprouting from the earth.

The resurrection of the dead was predicted to occur on the full moon of June, 1856. Nothing happened. The chief prophet of the cattle-killing movement, Mhlakaza, moved the date to the full moon of August. But again the prophecy was not fulfilled.

The cattle-killing movement now began to enter a final, deadly phase, which its own internal logic dictated as inevitable. The failure of the prophecies was blamed on the fact that the cattle-killing had not been completed. Most believers had retained a few cattle .... Worse yet, there was a minority community of skeptical non-believers who refused to kill their livestock.

The repeated failure of the prophecies could only mean that the Xhosa had failed to fulfill the necessary requirement of killing every last head of cattle. Now, they finally began to complete the killing process. Not only cattle were slaughtered, but also chickens and goats. ...

Serious famine began in late spring of 1857. All the food was gone. ... To the end, true believers never renounced their faith. They simply starved to death, blaming the failure of the prophecy on the doubts of non-believers.

By the end of 1858, the Xhosa population had dropped from 105,000 to 26,000. Forty to fifty-thousand people starved to death, and the rest migrated.

Like the prophet Mhlakaza, Al Gore promises that if we stop using carbon-based energy, new energy technologies will magically appear. The laws of physics and chemistry will be repealed by political will power. We will achieve prosperity by destroying the very means by which prosperity is created.

David Deming is associate professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma.

Copyright © 2009 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Scientists: genetically modified food is safe

During its 2008 EU presidency, France, with the support of nine member states, pushed for socioeconomic factors to be taken into account during the risk-assessment process of GMOs, which might push scientific evidence into the background and politicize the whole process even more, said Agriculture Ministry spokesman Petr Vorlíček.

Drawing from field studies of the Biology Center at the Academy of Sciences in České Budějovice as well as the Crop Research Institute, the White Book's authors conclude: "GM crops are more profitable for farmers and more environmentally friendly than comparable technologies."

"Two key advantages of GMOs include the reduced need for insecticides and tolerance of herbicides," said Luboš Babička from the Czech University of Life Sciences.

Štěpán Čížek, head of agricultural co-op ZD Mořina, which has cultivated Bt corn since it became legal in 2005, echoes these findings. "[Bt corn] yields at least 20 percent more," he said of the co-op's 500 hectares of crops in Mořina, south of Prague. "The corn is much healthier, not infested at all by the maize moth, and that's also why it vegetates for longer periods."

From the report's press release:

Many European scientists are disturbed by the fact that political factors and ideology prevent unbiased assessment of the GM technology in some EU countries, with a negative effect on the whole Community. Being aware of the responsibility their country bears during the EU Presidency, Czech scientists working with GM crops prepared a White Book summarizing their experience and analyzing relevant EU legislation.

The report is available here: White Book - Genetically Modified Crops

Correlation is not causation

During a ten year period, the number of cancers for the population under the age of 25 in the affected county rose at a rate more than three times faster than that for the rest of the state; it rose from 18.5 cases to 23.4 cases per 100,000 people. In the rest of Michigan, the rate rose from 20.2 cases to 21.9 cases per 100,000 people.

Since there are about 50,000 people under the age of 25 living in this particular county, the normal number of cancers in people under 25 is an average of nine ...

The increase in the rate of cancer (18.5 to 24.3 cases per 100,000), as discussed in the health report, is based on three additional cases of cancer. This difference, 9 cancer cases versus 12 cancer cases, is not out of line of what we would expect based upon random variability. We would expect up to 17 in any given year.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is the global warming debate over?

The thermostat of the Earth?

The Thermostat Hypothesis is that tropical clouds and thunderstorms actively regulate the temperature of the earth. This keeps the earth at a equilibrium temperature.

The stability of the earth’s temperature over time has been a long-standing climatological puzzle. The globe has maintained a temperature of ± ~ 3% (including ice ages) for at least the last half a billion years during which we can estimate the temperature. During the Holocene, temperatures have not varied by ±1%. And during the ice ages, the temperature was generally similarly stable as well.

...some scientists have claimed that clouds have a positive feedback. Because of this, the areas where there are more clouds will end up warmer than areas with less clouds. This positive feedback is seen as the reason that clouds and warmth are correlated.

I and others take the opposite view of that correlation. I hold that the clouds are caused by the warmth, not that the warmth is caused by the clouds.

A thunderstorm can do more than just reduce the amount of surface warming. It can actually mechanically cool the surface to below the required initiation temperature. This allows it to actively maintain a fixed temperature in the region surrounding the thunderstorm.

When tropical temperatures are cool, tropical skies clear and the earth rapidly warms. But when the tropics heat up, cumulus and cumulonimbus put a limit on the warming. This system keeps the earth within a fairly narrow band of temperatures.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Important report on global warming released by NIPCC

In “Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC),” coauthors Dr. S. Fred Singer and Dr. Craig Idso and 35 contributors and reviewers present an authoritative and detailed rebuttal of the findings of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on which the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress rely for their regulatory proposals.

The scholarship in this book demonstrates overwhelming scientific support for the position that the warming of the twentieth century was moderate and not unprecedented, that its impact on human health and wildlife was positive, and that carbon dioxide probably is not the driving factor behind climate change.

The authors cite thousands of peer-reviewed research papers and books that were ignored by the IPCC, plus additional scientific research that became available after the IPCC’s self-imposed deadline of May 2006.

The World is (NOT) Running Out of Oil

The important thing is that you feel guilty

...there is no precedent for today’s media enlistment in the crusade to promote global warming “awareness.” Concerning this, journalism, which fancies itself skeptical and nonconforming, is neither.

The incessant hectoring by the media-political complex’s “consciousness-raising” campaign has provoked a comic riposte in the form of “The Goode Family,” an animated ABC entertainment program ...
Gerald and Helen Goode, their children and dog Che (when supervised, he is a vegan; when unsupervised, squirrels disappear) live in a college town, where T-shirts and other media instruct (”Meat is murder”), admonish (”Don’t kill wood”) and exhort (”Support our troops … and their opponents”). The college, where Gerald works, gives students tenure. And when Gerald says his department needs money to raise the percentage of minority employees, his boss cheerily replies, “Or we could just fire three white guys. Everybody wins!” Helen shops at the One Earth store, where community shaming enforces social responsibility: “Attention One Earth shoppers, the driver of the SUV is in aisle four. He’s wearing the baseball cap.”

The New York Times television critic disapproves. The show “feels aggressively off-kilter with the current mood, as if it had been incubated in the early to mid-’90s, when it was possible to find global-warming skeptics among even the reasonable and informed.”

That is a perfect (because completely complacent) sample of the grating smugness of the planet-savers, delivered by an entertainment writer: Reasonable dissent is impossible.
...when a Goode child apologizes to his parent for driving too much, and the parent responds, “It’s OK … what’s important is that you feel guilty about it,” the program touches upon an important phenomenon: ecology as psychology.
Green consumption became “positional consumption” that identified the consumer as a member of a moral and intellectual elite.
That's some nice writing. Not much I can add, so go feel guilty! It'll make you feel better.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Why the global warming models are wrong - a simple explanation

A great explanation of why the global warming models used by the IPCC are wrong:

...the most important debate is global warming research today is the same as it was 20 years ago: How will clouds (and to a lesser extent other elements in the climate system) respond to warming, thereby enhancing or reducing the warming? These indirect changes that further influence temperature are called feedbacks, and they determine whether manmade global warming will be catastrophic, or just lost in the noise of natural climate variability.
We analyzed 7.5 years of our latest and best NASA satellite data and discovered that, when the effect of clouds-causing-temperature-change is accounted for, cloud feedbacks in the real climate system are strongly negative. The negative feedback was so strong that it more than cancelled out the positive water vapor feedback we also found. It was also consistent with evidence of negative feedback we found in the tropics and published in 2007.

In fact, the resulting net negative feedback was so strong that, if it exists on the long time scales associated with global warming, it would result in only 0.6 deg. C of warming by late in this century.
Even though they never say so, the IPCC has simply assumed that the average cloud cover of the Earth does not change, century after century. This is a totally arbitrary assumption, and given the chaotic variations that the ocean and atmosphere circulations are capable of, it is probably wrong. Little more than a 1% change in cloud cover up or down, and sustained over many decades, could cause events such as the Medieval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age.

As far as I know, the IPCC has never discussed their assumption that global average cloud cover always stays the same.

Oh my, not that!

Canada is moving closer toward the obvious: using nuclear power to extract oil from the vast fields of oil sand deposits instead of burning tons of natural gas to do the same job.

The nuclear option received a boost last fall from the Canada West Foundation, an economic and public policy research group representing the four Western Canadian provinces, which released an analysis that concluded “the opportunities outweigh the challenges with regard to the expansion/development of nuclear power in Alberta and Saskatchewan.”
However, according to groups-who-oppose-anything-with-the-word-nuclear-or-genetic-in-its-name, Canada had better not even think about it:

...the project may serve to further impair Canada’s international reputation on energy policy. “The first country to use nuclear power to produce fossil fuels will not be highly regarded on the planet.”
Oh no! Maybe the UN will work up a "strongly worded statement of international disapproval," aka, pieces of paper with ink on them that dictators ignore with contempt but which apparently cause some Canadians to shudder in fear.