Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Atlas Gone, New Energizer Bunnies, What Contradiction?

Ed Cline has a good but depressing post at Rule of Reason on how businessmen are caving in to the power lusters in congress. This time it's Altria, formerly Phillip Morris. I think all of the businessmen who would have defended themselves are gone, replaced by the mixed economy versions that are all to happy to become partners of the government and do what they are told. Another thought: this can't bode well for labor unions. I don't think the Gettlefingers and Hoffas see what's coming. Once businessmen are gone, the unions will be dealing with an all powerful government. Then again, maybe they like that idea.

****************************************

Dennis Chamberland at Quantum Limit has an amazing success story: the Mars rovers are the new Energizer Bunnies. They just keep going and....
(links to some photos too)
****************************************

JunkScience.com links to the website of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works which partially reprints a 2001 Chicago Tribune story on how eco-friendly Bush's ranch at Crawford is. Of course this is to be compared to the recent revelation of how eco-friendly Al Gore's house isn't.

Now I don't care how much energy Al wastes. If he's paying for it he has the right to waste it all if he wants. But why is he allowing himself to be such a two-faced hypocrite by demanding everyone else reduce their so-called carbon footprint while he enlarges his own?

I think if government encouragement causes men to regard the issue of truth or falsehood as irrelevant, then related concepts such as 'contradiction' will also be irrelevant. They treat such concepts as floating symbols (not even abstractions) to be used to achieve certain range of the moment goals, but which are not connected to reality in any way.

That is why Sen John Kerry was able to say during the 06 presidential debates "I have never waivered" even though his wavering is a matter of congressional record. He was just trying to achieve an immediate concrete bound goal--to posture as a man of uncompromising conviction--because he believed that others believed that such a posture is a virtuous thing. Such concepts as contradiction, waivering, flip floping, fact, have no meaning to such people. That's why Mr. Gore can preach to the world for years and not notice the hypocrisy. Such a concept is just a linguistic tool, not a real thing.

I won't go into why Mr. Gore is so adamant on global warming here. That might be another post, but I do think the smallness, almost childlike minds of those who would lead us is astounding, and frightening.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Growing Privatization, Good or Bad?

Back in Feb. 06 I posted on Indiana's desire to sell one of its toll roads to private enterprise. I wrote:

"In the print edition of today's Detroit Free Press the Associated Press has an article "Hoosier highway may go private" that looks promising. Any government social service that gets privatized is something I support."

Well, Indiana did lease it for 75 years for $3.8 billion to a consortium of Spanish and Australian financial firms.

Now, the Feb 22nd 07 Detroit Free Press has a story titled "Toll Road Leases Sought" by Gannett News Service writer Raju Chebium. It claims eleven "cash-strapped states ready to make deals."

What with a handful of states trying to sell their lotteries and others selling their roads and some municpalities privatizing such things as trash pick-up, this might bode well for the future. The good that may result would be the general population noticing that the private ownership of some government services begets more efficient services than the government was providing and may spawn a call for more privatization.

Then again, even if privatization works beautifully, it's not likely the MSM would print very many articles informing their readers of it. The MSM is solidly anti- private enterprise. Even the microscopically right of center Detroit News wants free-enterprise regulated in the "public interest" same as the Freep.

Another bad thing is that the money will be used to pay off the various state debts but will do nothing to address the cause of those debts-increased social programs and regulations over their citizens.

Still, if the people see that privatization works better than government control, there is hope for the future.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Envy, See the Light, Eco-Devils

At the end of one of its editorials on 2/21/07, the Detroit Free Press had a P.S.:
"As you slog through the cold and ice to get to the kids to school today, console yourself knowing that a bunch of millionaires are gathered in the Florida sunshine to play baseball for a few weeks."

Now is that designed to stir up feelings of envy and contempt for those who have more or what? Pathetic!

*********************************************

Lubos Motl has a good post on the war of the light bulbs. I didn't know some fluorescents had mercury in them.

*********************************************

Paul Ashton at Global Warming is Good posts on how enviros do more harm than good. He links to a Washington Post article which includes a review of a new book Eco-Freaks by John Berlau of the CEI. It shows how New Orleans would not have flooded during Katrina but for the environmentalists.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Introducing Pedagogically Correct

I recommend all my readers sign up for the free Pedagogically Correct Newsletter by Lisa VanDamme. Below is the most recent one sent to me today.

Pedagogically Correct
Volume 1, Issue 6February 14, 2007
"Pedagogy": The art and science of teaching.
:: Can Classical Education Save American Schools?
:: Announcement: "Physical Science II" now available on CD!

:: Recommend Pedagogically Correct to five friends, get Lisa VanDamme's e-book, "Reclaiming Education," for free!
:: Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog
Dear Readers,
In addition to writing regular short pieces for Pedagogically Correct, I also periodically deliver lectures and write extended essays on education.
I am happy to announce that my latest essay, "Can Classical Education Save American Schools?" will be published in the Summer 2007 issue of The Objective Standard, a quarterly journal of culture and politics. TOS has published two of my previous essays "The Hierarchy of Knowledge: The Most Neglected Issue in Education" and "Teaching Values in the Classroom." These are available here.

Can Classical Education Save American Schools?

By Lisa VanDamme
The Regress of Education and The Classical Rebellion
Here are a few stories about today’s American schools.
In E.D. Hirsch’s bestselling book Cultural Literacy, he cites a Washington Post article entitled "The Cheerful Ignorance of the Youth in L.A." in which the author says:
"I have not yet found one single student in Los Angeles, in either college or high school, who could tell me the years when WWII was fought... Nor have I found one who knew when the American Civil War was fought... Only two could even approximately identify Thomas Jefferson. Only one could place the date of the Declaration of Independence. None could name even one of the first ten amendments to the Constitution or connect them with the Bill of Rights..."

A recent study by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (or NAEP) concludes that the average eleventh grade student is an incompetent writer. To evaluate their writing ability, testers asked high school juniors to write a paragraph based on notes they were given about a haunted house. The performance of half the students was judged to be either unsatisfactory or minimal. The following is a "minimal" response:"The house with no windows. This is a house with dead-end hallways, 36 rooms and stairs leading to the cieling [sic]. Doorways go nowhere and all this to confuse ghosts."

This is the student’s complete, word-for-word response—and represents the performance of nearly half of all eleventh graders. Most of the other half were evaluated as writing "adequate" paragraphs. Just two percent wrote something that was judged to be “elaborate,” a step up from "adequate."

In Dumbing Down Our Kids, Charles Sykes tells a chilling story about a straight-A student in the 8th grade named Andrea, who was very eager to learn science. Unfortunately for Andrea, her school, like most today, stressed the importance of "creativity" over "dreary" facts, and of "hands-on," "active" learning over "dull," didactic instruction. This bright young girl with a thirst for scientific knowledge spent her time in science class picking up cereal with a tongue depressor (to simulate the way birds feed), hunting for paper moths on a wall, and drawing pictures of scientists. When Andrea wrote a letter complaining that she had gotten nothing out of the class, she was expelled for being rude and disrespectful.
...
What has brought education to this state of disintegration, superficiality, and mindlessness?
The philosophy that has most influenced modern education: Progressive Education—a movement based on a fundamental disdain for the human mind and its needs.
...
[Progressive Education founder John] Dewey attacked traditional, intellectual education as forced, artificial, and irrelevant to the child’s true needs. He urged an approach to education that is "child- centered," allowing for his instinctive and spontaneous development—as well as one that eventually provides for the "socialization" of the child. In Schools of Tomorrow, Dewey praised Rousseau for seeing that a proper education allows the child’s mental development to be as natural and spontaneous as physical growth. He said, "If we want, then, to find out how education takes place most successfully, let us go to the experiences of children where learning is a necessity, and not to the practices of schools where it is largely an adornment, a superfluity, and even an unwelcome imposition."

If formal, reality-oriented, intellectual education is an "imposition" on childhood, it is an imposition that has long since been removed. Dewey’s Progressive method, founded on the rejection of reason, knowledge, and intellectual training, and enshrinement of emotional impulse and "social adjustment," has dominated American schools for the last century. The "remote," “musty" subject of history has been replaced by the disintegrated mash of allegedly "relevant" knowledge known as social studies. The "futile," "lofty" attempt to systematically teach abstract principles of science has been replaced by the fun, child-focused "learning-by-doing" method of making collages and finding moths on a wall. The "distant," "antiquated" works of world literature have been replaced with contemporary, hip "boy-makes-good tearjerkers" that appeal to the immediate concerns of the most childish children. Rigorous training of the intellect has been replaced with, in the words of the Progressive educators, a more "practical," "child- centered," "humane" approach to education.

The practical result of all of this has been legions of ignorant children unequipped for human life.
The movement known as "classical education" finds nothing cheerful in the ignorance of today’s youth—or in the Progressive movement that it rightfully holds responsible for this ignorance. It argues for an intellectual, rigorous, curriculum covering the core subjects of math, literature, science, and history. Understandably, many parents, including many home- schoolers, have turned to the classical education movement as an antidote to the intellectual poison in so many of today’s schools.
...
The Classical movement indicts Progressive Education on two basic counts: it produces students who are both ignorant of the facts necessary to be a functional adult, and that—even more important—it produces students who are incapable of proper, rigorous, critical reasoning. Thus, they say, Progressive Education prevents students from being able to effectively acquire later knowledge, and paves the way for them to be seduced by cultural charlatans.

Foundations School, a leading practitioner of Classical Education, writes: "There is no greater task for education than to teach students how to learn. The influence of ‘progressive’ teaching methods and the oversimplification of textbooks make it difficult for students to acquire the mental discipline that traditional instruction methods once cultivated."

Writes Dorothy Sayers in her hugely influential essay "The Lost Tools of Learning":
"the tools of learning are the same, in any and every subject; and the person who knows how to use them will, at any age, get the mastery of a new subject in half the time and with a quarter of the effort expended by the person who has not the tools at his command...we let our young men and women go out unarmed, in a day when armor was never so necessary...[they experience] the incessant battery of words, words, words. They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects...young men and women are sent into the world to fight massed propaganda with a smattering of 'subjects'; and when whole classes and whole nations become hypnotized by the arts of the spell binder, we have the impudence to be astonished."

A wholly different type of education, she writes, is necessary "to produce a society of educated people, fitted to preserve their intellectual freedom amid the complex pressures of our modern society."

And the Classical exponents claim to achieve such an education. As Foundations School advertises on its website: "The classical method develops independent learning skills on the foundation of language, logic, and tangible fact...Classical education teaches students facts, provides them with logical tools to use those facts, and perfects the student’s ability to relate those facts to others. This fundamental skill-set is more valuable today than it has ever been...Classical education helps students draw original, creative, and accurate conclusions from facts and then formulate those conclusions into logical and persuasive arguments."
Such a goal, as stated, is noble—and seems like an educational panacea compared to most of today’s schools.

But does Classical Education live up to its billing? More broadly, can it provide the foundation for a positive revolution in American education?
To find out, read the rest of this essay in the Summer 2007 issue of The Objective Standard.

Recommend Pedagogically Correct to five friends, get Lisa VanDamme's e-book, "Reclaiming Education," for free!

Lisa VanDamme's educational career began when a group of parents, disillusioned with standard public and private schools, hired her to educate their children. In 1998, she chronicled her successes homeschooling and explained the methods that made them possible in a lecture, "Reclaiming Education." The audience, fascinated by her insights about education, and inspired by the stories she told, gave her a standing ovation. In 1999, she made "Reclaiming Education" available in written form, to the delight of thousands of readers. Since 1999, the essay version of "Reclaiming Education" has been unavailable. Until now.

For the first time in almost 8 years, we will make this remarkable work available. And we are giving it away for FREE as an e-book to those who help us grow Pedagogically Correct by recommending it to their friends. Just send enter the email addresses of at least five friends who might appreciate an invitation to receive PC--along with a brief personal note, or our standard note below. We will not add anyone to our email database without their permission.
Click here to refer five friends and get your copy of "Reclaiming Education."

Announcement: "Physical Science II" now available on CD!
Learn Science the VanDamme Academy Way
Most people are impressed--and depressed--when they find out that our students know more about most subjects than they do.
We are often asked by adults how they can get a VanDamme-quality education. Now, we have an answer: take our courses on CD or DVD.
Our first course for sale to the public is David Harriman's amazing science course, "Introduction to Physical Science."

Most physics teachers present scientific truths--like Newton's laws of motion or the structure of atoms-- as bolts from the blue that scientists somehow know. Mr. Harriman does the exact opposite. He shows you the evidence and reasoning by which scientists arrived at these truths. Starting with the first scientific theories in Ancient Greece, and continuing through the 19th Century (in Part II of the course), Mr. Harriman teaches students the fascinating series of steps by which scientists gained their vast knowledge of the physical world-- the knowledge that makes possible all the amazing technologies we use today.

This course will give you real, fascinating, firsthand knowledge of physics-- not just a series of statements and formulas to memorize and then forget after the test. And you'll be amazed at how much fun you have as you learn more and more about the world around you--like the discoveries that make it possible for a refrigerator to be hot on the outside, yet cold on the inside.

Physical Science: "The Scientific Revolution" and "Electricity, Magnetism, and the Nature of Matter," over 30 DVDs or 50 CDs each, are now available for as low as six ultra-affordable payments of $88.
Invest in your education today!Order Now!

Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog
www.pedagogicallycorrect.com
Check out our new 'blog, which will contain much (but not all) of the material we sent out in our newsletters. Spread the word!


VanDamme Academy encourages you to forward our newsletter to your friends or post it on your website or blog. If this newsletter has been forwarded to you, you can sign up to receive Pedagogically Correct every week, for free, at www.vandammeacademy.com.
Happy Learning!
VanDamme Academy--Experience the Power of a Real Education
VanDamme Academy
email: custserv@vandammeacademy.com
phone: 949-581-1881

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Truth Irrelevant

Readers of this blog know that my masthead contains the following quote from Ayn Rand's essay "The Establishing of an Establishment" from the book Philosophy: Who Needs It:

"Governmental encouragement does not order men to believe that the false is true, it merely makes them indifferent to the issue of truth or falsehood."-Ayn Rand.

Although she was writing about government encouragement of the arts, that principle is valid regarding any government encouragement of market activities. Not only is it true as regards the arts but it's true of education and science and health care as well. We can see this principle at work in the so-called global warming "scientific" debate. A bonanza of examples exists in a series of articles called The Deniers part 1 thru 10 by Lawrence Solomon in the Canadian paper National Post.

For example, in part one "Statistics needed" Mr Solomon writes about the findings of Dr. Edward Wegman who was asked to lead a team of statisticians to examine the infamous "hockey-stick" graph of Michael Mann . Mr. Solomon writes:

**While Wegman's advice -- to use trained statisticians in studies reliant on statistics -- may seem too obvious to need stating, the "science is settled" camp resists it. Mann's hockey-stick graph may be wrong, many experts now acknowledge, but they assert that he nevertheless came to the right conclusion. To which Wegman, and doubtless others who want more rigorous science, shake their heads in disbelief. As Wegman summed it up to the energy and commerce committee in later testimony: "I am baffled by the claim that the incorrect method doesn't matter because the answer is correct anyway. Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science." With bad science, only true believers can assert that they nevertheless obtained the right answer.**
Shades of Dan Rather? Truth is irrelevant.

In pt. 2 Mr. Solomon tells of Richard S.J. Tol's critique of the recent "Stern Report" by economist Sir Nicholas Stern. "Because of his immense reputation, the Stern report itself relied on Tol's work in coming to its conclusions. But Sir Nicholas twisted Tol's work out of shape to arrive at unsupportable conclusions."
This is shades of Rachel Carson who twisted DeWitt's findings to make it look like DDT was causing egg-shell thinning. Truth doesn't matter.

In pt. 3 we see NOAA hurricane scientist Chris Landsea resigning from the IPCC because his findings were misrepresented to the media by his boss Kevin Trenberth who declared that there was evidence that global warming was causing more hurricanes even though the evidence didn't exist.
Truth is a non-essential.

All ten of these reports are examples of this indifference to truth. What is taking the place of truth as the ultimate goal? Well for some it is a hatred of capitalism and a desire to bring about the UN goal of "sustainable development" which means a return to the life style of the primitive. For others it's just a quest for money or fame or maybe just fear of not pleasing the powers that hand out the money, parasites feeding on the dying body. In the same essay Ayn Rand writes:

"Most men are quick to sense whether truth does or does not matter to their superiors. The atmosphere of cautious respect for the recipients of undeserved grants awarded by a mysterious governmental power, rapidly spreads the conviction that truth does not matter because merit does not matter, that something takes precedence over both." (Her em) (p-170)

What is that something? How does it work? She elaborates on this in another essay called "An Untitled Letter" in the same book: "It is a conspiracy, not of men, but of basic premises--and the power directing it is logic: if, at the desperate stage of a losing battle, some men point to a road logically necessitated by their basic premises, those who share the premises will rush to follow." (P-103)

Who are those rushing to follow? It is those who have been told of contrary evidence and ignore it. It is those who use words like denier or skeptic to silence and discredit contrary facts. And it is those who appeal to authority instead of reality. It is the IPCC who produce Summarys that do not accurately reflect what the scientists wrote in the actual Assesment Reports. It is most of the media who choose not to report these discrepancies thusly misleading all their readers. It is NGOs who have no use for mankind and are just hating the good for being the good. It is someone like meteorologist Heidi Cullen who wants to decertify all those in her profession who disagree with the GW dogma. And Dave Roberts who wants Nuremberg trials for everyone who doesn't work for Heidi. And Sen Henry Waxman who doesn't want the government to oversee the reports of other government agencies but says nothing when the IPCC bureaucrats make changes to the 1996 Assesment Report section 8 behind the scientists' backs, to change the meaning of the words.

What are those basic premises? The biggest one is that sacrifice is virtuous which means to suffer which means that if you are not suffering you can't be virtuous which means you must be evil and must be destroyed. Since capitalism produces people who are generally happy, smiling, about 20 lbs. overweight, driving SUV's, planning for their futures... wait, this can't be an acceptable image of sacrificial suffering and virtue can it? Not according to the morality of altruism. In fact it is precisely this image that is denounced and hated by all the intellectuals and many plain folks around the world. Overweight is denounced as an obesity epidemic, SUVs are polluters, amassing wealth to secure a good future is condemned as hoarding or greed, getting a good education is being priveleged and all of these thing are said to be manifestations of selfishness which everyone is told is evil.

Nothing is going to change I fear, until people realize that only a non-sacrficial way of life can provide man with a right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness and all the benefits these make possible. Objectivism does just that.

(For more info on the book Philosophy: Who Needs It go here.)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Global Warming Smackdown LTE Printed

Today's Feb. 10th. Detroit Free Press printed an LTE of mine in its entirety. I know that ridicule by itself is not an argument. So this was my attempt to make a rational point then a little ridicule.

**I was disappointed to see Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., buying into the global warming consensus ("Rise to global warming challenge," Feb 6). There is an old saying in scientific circles: "If you need a consensus your evidence isn't strong enough." To have a consensus is to admit that one has only weak evidence, and to call that "settled science," as some are doing, is less than honest.

The first assessment report in 1990 said man's influence on climate change was possible. The second report, in 1996, said it was discernable. The third, in 2001, said it was likely. The fourth now says it is "very likely." The fifth will no doubt say "really very likely," then "really, really very likely." Give me a break.**

I think it's time to start ridiculing and laughing at some of these fools and their foolish notions. It's a tactic they use on the public so why not use it back on them? Of course, ecoInquirer does a good job of that now.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

New Discovery Channel Series

I have been informed by email that the Discovery Channel will be broadcasting an 11-part series starting March 25th called Planet Earth. Here is the intro paragraph I recieved:

"I wanted to let you know about, and to offer you content from one of the most highly anticipated shows to come from the Discovery Channel in quite some time. PLANET EARTH, which premieres March 25, is a groundbreaking 11-part documentary series featuring never before seen footage of some of the world’s most beautiful and remote places. Shot in HD with brand new camera technology, the series captures stunning views of the Earth and its wildlife, many of which are captured here for the first time ever. I'm reaching out to you because I thought that your readers would enjoy content from the show."

Here are links to a few very short video clips.

Bird of Paradise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDEBNoQs4Mc

Baboons in the Water: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgiKWUHDFG0

Great White Shark Jump: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USksVnUiaMI

"Award-winning actress and conservationist Sigourney Weaver will narrate PLANET EARTH, which premieres on the Discovery Channel Sunday, March 25, 2007 at 8 PM ET/PT. The PLANET EARTH series earned the top ratings in its time slot on the BBC when it premiered this year in the UK, and it’s sure to make waves here as well."

I don't know if this series will have any enviromentalist spin on it or not but I will be watching. If any of my readers have seen the British version, perhaps you could leave a comment or two. I might even do a review of a few episodes.

Update: I'm adding this info from the email:

"(Silver Spring, Md.) More than five years in the making, PLANET EARTH redefines blue-chip natural history filmmaking and continues the Discovery Channel mission to provide the highest quality programming in the world. The 11-part series will amaze viewers with never-before-seen animal behaviors, startling views of locations captured by cameras for the first time, and unprecedented high definition production techniques. Award-winning actress and conservationist Sigourney Weaver joins Discovery Channel as narrator. PLANET EARTH airs on consecutive Sundays from March 25 through April 22, 2007 on Discovery Channel and in high definition on Discovery HD Theater.
“PLANET EARTH is natural history for the 21st century,” says Discovery Channel Executive Vice President and General Manager Jane Root. “The sheer scope of the locations and brilliant clarity of the images, captured using revolutionary film techniques, will immerse viewers into a majestic world that only Discovery Channel can deliver.”
A technological marvel, PLANET EARTH employed new filmmaking methods to put wildlife into context with the epic landscape where it lives, for the first time. One of the new innovations is the Cineflex heligimble, a pioneering stabilization system that uses an extremely powerful camera lens attached to a helicopter, captured distant objects and creatures in close-up without disturbing the wildlife. The series also pushed the limits of high definition cameras to capture ultra low light images, deep sea marvels and incredible time lapse sequences."


(footnote, I'm probably wrong but the clip showing the Great White Shark Jump looks like an Orka to me, but I'm not very familiar with the two species.)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Global Warming News and Intrigue

Paul Ashton at Global Warming is Good is back bloging again as of a few days ago. Go there and get caught up. Also, in his post "AL Gore's Nemesis" Paul notices the "Gore Effect" which I mentioned in this post:

"(I like Mr. Motl's identification of the "Gore Effect" regarding Boston. Evidently Gore gave one of his GW speeches there and now they are iced over. This could be a new general principle: Al Gore says one thing and reality shows us the opposite. Seems to be working out.)"

And Paul says:

"I heard recently, while listening to an NPR podcast, that every time Al Gore gives one of his special presentations of the global warming scare movie "An Inconvenient Truth" the weather turns several degrees colder at the venue. Not that he has given a presentation at this location!"
(Baffin Island)
Like I said, seems to be working out.

****************************************

Gus Van Horn has a post on Canada's climatologist Timothy Ball who says AGW is " the greatest deception in the history of science." Definitely!

****************************************
I knew this was coming:

Today's Feb. 6th, Detroit Free Press has a guest editorial by Michigan's senior Senator Carl Levin titled "Rise to global warming challenge." The first half of the op-ed tells of the Senator's commitment to the GW "consensus" and calls for an international agreement that would include all the obstinate "developing" nations. The second half presents the big But:

"Unfortunately, many people in Washington have a misguided focus on increasing arbitrary fuel economy standards, known as CAFE. Expanding CAFE is a plan for plenty of economic pain but almost no environmental gain. By 2012, the world is projected to produce nearly 32 billion metric tons per year of carbon dioxide. The U.S. contribution to that will be about 6 1/2 billion metric tons. If CAFE standards were increased by 4% per year, as some are proposing, the U.S. contribution would be reduced by only about 5 million metric tons. That's a measly one-tenth of one percent of the U.S. contribution.

Because of the way CAFE is structured, it is highly discriminatory against U.S. companies and workers. It pushes consumers from U.S. vehicles to foreign-made vehicles that have the same fuel efficiency. With our automakers already facing trade barriers and an uneven international playing field, imposing on them the discriminatory features of the CAFE structure costs America jobs without improving the environment."

"[M]isguided"? "arbitrary"? "economic pain"? "highly discriminatory"? You'd think that if CAFE were so destructive, Mr. Levin would be introducing legislation to repeal all those regulations. We know however, that such a move would cost him his green credentials and probably the next election. So, by promising to go along with the impossible if someone can achieve it, (bringing all the dissenting nations aboard) he keeps his green cards while posturing as the reasonable moderate who doesn't want to go to extremes on this issue.

So, we have House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who wants to bring the hammer down on auto emissions and a 30 yr. veteran Senator who is saying "cool it lady." This ought to be interesting.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The IPCC SPM4

Well, the new Summary for Policymakers (SPM4) released Friday Feb 2nd takes dishonesty to a new more brazen level. On page 4 I'm told is a phrase that says that the actual Assesment Report, which won't be out until May, will be "adjusted" to reflect what is now in the Summary. My point is---what's the point?

When I was in high-school I was taught that a summary of a report was supposed to reflect the same conclusions as the report being summarized. I guess that is not the case anymore. I'm willing to bet that if someone asked the IPCC why they are reversing cause and effect, they will answer something like "Oh, that's been standard procedure for a long time."

Steven Milloy at Junk Science has a special Saturday post on the SPM4. In it he correctly points out:

"But it is the science summary that always gives rise to the jamboree -- with journalists, politicians and eager environmentalists desperate to claim that this particular report is the last word on climate change, that it represents a true consensus, that the world is doomed, and that we must recant our fossil-fuel ways. Moreover, as in 2001 with the Third Assessment Report, Friday's release was preceded by speculative leaks, the political shenanigans and spinning beginning even before the final text had been haggled over and agreed upon."

Yes. On Monday Jan. 29th, the Detroit News carried an article by Associated Press writer Seth Borenstein titled "Experts: Climate report omits crucial data." Evidently, some non-IPCC scientists are angry that this new SPM4 is slightly toning down its gloom and doom posture. But notice the slant the reporter, Seth Borenstein puts on it:

"WASHINGTON -- Later this week in Paris, climate scientists will issue a dire forecast for the planet that warns of slowly rising sea levels and higher temperatures.

But that may be the sugarcoated version.

Early and changeable drafts of their authoritative report on climate change foresee smaller sea level rises than were projected in 2001 in the last report. Many top U.S. scientists reject these rosier numbers. Those calculations don't include the recent, and dramatic, melt-off of big ice sheets in two crucial locations."

Obviously, Mr. Borenstein wants his readers to dismiss the part about "slowly rising sea levels" as a "sugarcoated version." If true, what would this mean? Would it mean that IPCC scientists aren't telling the truth? Why would the IPCC scientists sugarcoat anything? The reporter gives no answer.

Now look at the adjectives used by the reporter. The report, by IPCC scientists, is said to be "authoritative" while those who disagree are said to be "top" scientists.
So does that mean that "authoritative" scientists are not "top" scientists? Or vice-versa? What does it mean to be an "authoritative" scientist? Does it mean he has superior reasoning abilities? Or has the power of government behind him? (This has all the makings--and credibility--of Godzilla vs Rhodan) If "top" scientists dispute the findings of IPCC scientists, why should American citizens trust the IPCC findings? The article concludes:

"The prediction being considered this week is "obviously not the full story because ice sheet decay is something we cannot model right now, but we know it's happening," said Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate panel lead author from Germany who made the larger prediction of up to 55 inches of sea level rise. "A document like that tends to underestimate the risk.""

"...we cannot model right now..." is to me another reason for skepticism on this report.
It is my opinion that when reporters use adjectives like "authoritative, top, reputable, leading" etc., it's because the reporter has bought into whatever the scientists are advocating.

On Friday Feb 2nd, the same AP reporter Seth Borenstein had another article carried by the Detroit News. It starts with:

"PARIS -- The world's leading climate scientists said global warming has begun, is "very likely" caused by man, and will be unstoppable for centuries, according to a report obtained today by the Associated Press." And:

"The 20-page report, which was due to be officially released later today, represents the most authoritative science on global warming."

Here we go with the "Leading scientists" and "authoritative science" adjectives again. It is my contention that the constant use of such adjectives is intended to be recieved by the reader as an epistomological security blanket which is in turn intended to convey the idea or feeling "You don't have to concern yourself with questions of truth or credibility because these scientists are "leading" and have "authority" so you can easily trust what they say." Of course, implied is the notion that scientists who happen to dissent are not "authoritative or "leading."

I was pleased to see one thing though. Mr. Borenstein referred to the IPCC as "...a group of hundreds of scientists and representatives of 113 governments." I have heard their numbers were in the thousands. "Hundreds" is more in line with what MIT scientist Richard Lindzen has observed when he was on the IPCC.

Putting out a summary of a report before the factual report is finished, then adjusting the reported facts to fit the preconcieved conclusions of the summary is blatent dishonesty. But what can one expect when our universities teach students that when using your mind, reality is a fluid flux, that there are no absolutes, that certainty is impossible, that what is true today may not be true tommorrow, but when using your feelings, mans' evil is absolute, that computer predictions of today are gospel 100 years hence, and that the science behind GW catastrophe is certain.

Well, politically, disaster in the long term is just about assured at the hands of the Dems. But in the near term I see the Democrats doing a lot of posturing and saber rattling. They'll make sure a lot of corporations can make big money off buying and selling government permissions (carbon credits). Those corporations of course will then make big contributions to Dem coffers. The posturing will be all about money.

But you may ask "Why do you think disaster in the long term is almost assured?" One reason is a Detroit News cyber poll in today's News that asked the question "Would you object to a school science class being shown the Al Gore documentary 'An Inconvient Truth' on global warming?" Yes-38% No-62%

It seems then that parents don't mind having their kids indoctrinated, probably because they too have been indoctrinated. Gore's movie has lots of anecdotes in it and how many of today's kids have been taught that anecdotes are not evidence? I'll bet their teachers don't even know that. I do think that when the Dems start taking things away from the people the people will protest and the Dems will then back off a little. They care about getting re-elected more than GW. I don't know how much time that will leave but despite the gloom, I'm still somewhat optimistic.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Short Interruption

I have been called upon for baby sitting duties for Friday which will take just about all day. I was planning to blog on the Friday release of the IPCC's 4th Assesment Report. But that's not going to happen. What is being released Friday is the Summary For Policy Makers 4 (SPM4). This is the hyped up version where all the gloom and doom adjectives are added. I probably won't be able to blog until sometime Saturday.

In the meantime, some of the SPM4 has been leaked and Climate Audit is posting on it right now. I'm sure they'll have more to say later Friday. You can bet Junkscience.com will post on it. In fact, he's got links to articles on it now as well.

Also you can go to any of the sites I listed here and they should have insights to report.

If you are wondering if the IPCC has any credibility left, (the answer is no) I invite you to read my commentary "Has the IPCC Lost All Credibility?" published March 12th 2005 at Fred Singer's site SEPP. Scroll down to Item #4.

So it's off to baby sit my infant grandson Jack. I will try to watch the news channels and maybe take notes between burpings and stuff. That's what grampas are for you know.

Lil' Round Up Feb 1st

Sandy Szwarc at Junkfood Science has a good article titled "Anatomy of an Epidemic" which I highly recommend. She focuses on studies that show that a media hyped increase in the autism epidemic was actually the result of more and wider diagnosis. This is also an example of government encouragement of science resulting in the issue of truth and falsehood being treated as irrelevant.

****************************************

Gus Van Horn has a neat and revealing video-15min-on the state of modern math as taught in elementary schools. We need a lot more people like Ms. McDermott.

****************************************

Andy Clarkson at the Charlotte Capitalist reports on House members trying to pass legislation to prevent companies like Walmart and Home Depot from opening up banks in their stores. He goes in-depth on the falacy of it all.

****************************************
What I'm listening to:

I just finished listening to the 2 CD lecture "Scientific Method: Ptolemy vs Galileo" by David Harriman which can be had here. Just before that I had listened to "Physicists Lost in Space" also by Mr. Harriman which can be had here. I liked them so much I have decided to order more science lectures from the Ayn Rand Book Store here. I've heard that bad philosophic ideas are working their way into the practical sciences from reading various Objectivist articles on the subject. I had no idea the damage was this bad. Readers of this blog know that I sometimes post on scientific junk, especially on the global warming farce. So to me it is worth knowing about those ideas and how to spot them and maybe even refute them.