April 20, 2009
Evergreen, the non-profit organization devoted to improving the livability of urban environments in Canada has a series of posters out showing how people die happy so that trees may live on.
I also think it's interesting that the writer at AdRants can't seem to finish this sentence: "Normally, sustainable environments are important parts of the fragile..."
It's as if they know it's a lot of BS too.
Keep in mind: I'm not opposed to making urban environments more livable for people. If that means getting some plants, fine. What I object to is the implication that the goal is to bring nature into the city for no other reason than to see "nature" "thrive" even at the symbolic expense of human thriving and prosperity.
But that's just what environmentalism is about, no?
March 25, 2009
September 20, 2008
Actually, I'm against the government stepping in here. I am actually for allowing all of this to take its course and pulling the government out of trade including the finance industry. It's been obvious for years that a correction is necessary and we all knew that the longer this went without correction, the more devastating it would be.
It's like how forests need fires to bring in fresh new life.
The thing that rankles me is how some people describe the government's recent socialistic actions. Naomi Klein on Real Time supports socialism and the nationalization of things like the oil industry. She didn't care for the government buying up Lehman brothers because she says "this bubble wasn't created because the American people demanded it. It was because it was spectacularly profitable for Wall Street."
Two questions Miss Klein:
1) Who is on Wall Street? I always thought there were a lot of Americans involved there, like my coworkers who are not rich people.
2) If the American people did not want this, then why did they buy into it? Someone bought all these houses. Someone ran up these credit card bills. Someone signed their names to contracts and agreements that are now coming to fruit.
For a socialist, she is shockingly ignorant of how the rich and "poor" are connected.
And that's the thing about money. Anytime these people talk politics and money, this resentment toward the rich comes up. They hate the rich for being rich. They don't think it's "fair" that the rich are rich. They're like little children who complain that it's not fair that they aren't the children of some other parents.
Miss Klein is right about one thing: "This isn't real capitalism. This is Crybaby Capitalism." Brought to you by Republicans. When things are good, they want the government out. When things are bad, they want the government to save them.
But she turns this around to suggest that having the government out in the first place is bad. She seems to think that free markets mean anarchy. She seems to think that capitalism means lawlessness.
This is absolutely false.
There has to be a government to protect people from criminals. But that's it.
I think I'll make a video ranting about this...
September 19, 2008
If the high is 73 and the average is 74, then I would bet we are at normal. Not pretty close to normal.
Now, I know most people will think, "But it's not normal. It's one degree less."
And my issue is that "normal" in this case should be used to represent a range of temperatures calculated by some fraction of a standard deviation from the mean. If your doctor takes your temperature and the reading comes back as 98.4 degrees instead of 98.6, he's not going to freak out.
The reason this inaccuracy in scientific language from my weatherman bothers me is because that is the sort of off-the-cuff remark that leads people to look at minor deviations from average as evidence for climate change.
This is the kind of thing that people look at and say, "It's the global warming, you know. Things just aren't the way they used to be."
And that makes me think that this problem isn't just with my weatherman.
June 02, 2008
What am I talking about? I'm talking Professor Schpinkee's Greenhouse Calculator. "Find out when you should die!"
The site is hosted by the Australian Broadcast Corporation and is apparently intended to teach children how to be green.
The calculator asks you a lot of questions about your lifestyle and as you answer, your pig grows and shrinks. Growing is bad because that means you're a bigger pig, see. And at the end, unless your pig is very small (<2.4 tonnes) it explodes and it tells you when you should die. If it is very small -- smaller even than the example "green pig" -- then it goes to heaven and you are allowed to live forever.
I did my calculations and apparently I was supposed to die at an age somewhere between 2.2 and 2.9 years old.
There's also a game called Planet Slayer in which you get to choose whether you want to save the planet or slay the planet.
If you slay the planet, you get to be this pretty blonde girl with cute clothes but pointy eyebrows. Her name is X-On. (What could they be referencing with that?) Then, you take your little space ship and you shoot the icons that represent "green" things, like Recycling symbols, Save the Earth signs (Don't those signs use up trees and stuff?), and little sunshines. Isn't the sun the REAL cause of global warming? Meanwhile, you have to let the earth-deadly things, like nuclear power, shopping bags, sneakers, and garbage cans.
When the "bad" things hit the earth, trees die. And between levels, you're treated to illustrations of dead and rotting animals and toxic waste.
I'm not sure why salt -- the iodized version of which is a cheap and easy way of preventing iodine deficiency which affects an estimated 2 billion people a year -- is BAD for the earth, but I just went with it. I could ask the same question about nuclear power, but don't let's quibble.
If you choose to save the planet, you get to be this horrible gutter snipe of a twat named Greena. She has torn, patched-up pants, and ill-fitting, nasty-colored shirt, facial piercings, ratty hair that is pulled into two horrid-looking ponytails. I'd also like to point out that while X-On scratches at the planet with manicured nails, Greena slams her hand into Indonesia sending tsunamis speeding into inhabited areas.
When Greena wins, she chains herself to trees and shouts hippie slogans and you get to see happy animals and stuff.
I know people like to cut environmentalists some slack and say that not everyone who considers themselves an environmentalist is a dirty hippie like Greena who wants people to live in the dirt and mud. But that's where it always goes.
This is like religionists in the Republican party. Once upon a time, religious nuts were a minority in the GOP (they still are, I guess) but they've managed to pull the entire party off into Crazytown.
And so it is with environmentalism. You nice people who think, "Well, I do think litter is bad and it's not difficult to recycle, so why not?" you're keeping company with people who really do consider human beings pests who should just die out. And slowly, it's moving from "Don't Litter" to asking children to find out when they should just die to keep from spoiling the earth.
These people aren't joking. They do not have anyone's best interests at heart. They want you to die so the weeds can get on with taking over your garden.
May 28, 2008
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - "Fred and Wilma Flintstone" were arrested as they approached the European Parliament on Monday to protest about the influence of the auto industry on proposals to curb carbon dioxide emissions from cars.Ok. So, in case you missed it. There are these people dressed up like cavemen, pushing some contraption around with their feet accusing the European car industry of being a dinosaur.The European car industry. Dinosaur. These are the people that bring us BMW, Porshe, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and others. I can't think of anything further from being a dinosaur.
Six Greenpeace activists dressed as cavemen and traveling in a Flintstones-style vehicle were detained along with three others for public order offences, police said.
A stone tablet accusing car lobbyists of driving climate change was confiscated before it could be delivered to lawmakers, a Greenpeace spokeswoman said.
"Our activists and their zero-emission vehicle are raising the alarm about the influence this dinosaur industry exercises over EU climate policy," Greenpeace transport campaigner Melanie Francis said.
(Reporting by Pete Harrison)
But in a strange twist, the environmentalists, the people who would give up the success, health, happiness, luxury, and all around joyous living that modern engineering and technology have brought us for the sake of the planet are accusing the auto industry of being antiquated, old, backwards, and whatnot? The people who would condemn human beings to lives akin to that of cave people?
I almost can't comprehend how backward this is.
But as more and more countries, businesses, and individuals come to accept the "green" way of thinking as right, the more we can expect this sort of condemnation for technological progress. Green is becoming synonymous with modern instead of dirty and hippies. Environmentalism is seen as progressive instead of de-evolutionary. And continually we are admonished for pointing out the economic devastation that environmental legislation wreaks because such black-and-white thinking is seen as old and tired.
The greens are making appalling progress when it comes to spreading their ideas and they are succeeding in business alarmingly. Green cosmetics, green house paint, green clothes, green everything. Green thinking is certainly a sign of our times, but it's not a very good sign at all.
January 08, 2008
I object to some of the terms here and I hope to explain, but also get at the core of Damon's question as well.
I don't eat ice cream slowly. I'm simply not good at relishing things in the sense of consuming it slowly and really dwelling on the pleasure of it. I like to just gobble it all up and overwhelm myself with the joy of it.
My sister is the opposite. She's always liked to save up things she enjoys with the idea that she would enjoy them another day. I remember more than one occasion when my mother uncovered months old Happy Meals in my sister's room because my sister had squirreled away french fries thinking they would be good to eat at a later date.
Obviously, there is a virtue to saving things for later use, but I think a problem happens when people save things without any intent to use them. It's very Silas Marner.
I do think a lot of green people take this stance with regard to the Earth. They think our natural resources must be preserved for some future, undetermined use and even for the use of people that don't even exist yet. I guess they just assume that some future peoples will find coal helpful in some way.
I tend to be of the mind that coal isn't even useful to me now since someone owes me a nuclear-powered jet pack for my daily commute. This coal business is entirely too 1825 for my tastes.
But there are green people out there saying that the Earth needs to be preserved and by that they mean that the "natural" state of the earth needs to be kept that way, free of the blighting touch of man. Those people are people-haters and I disagree with them completely, so I disagree with that sense that the Earth must be preserved.
The rational egoist does not want the Earth destroyed in the sense of turning it into an uninhabitable ball of dirt, but there is a third, excluded option between living in a wildlife preserve and living in a space suit on New Mercury.
The other option is to act in ways that if they modify the natural environment, they do so to the greatest benefit of human life on this planet.
Pollution in the common sense of the word is not healthy and no one wants pollution except maybe the villains on Captain Planet.
Assuming you're a rational egoist, you will consider your actions in the broad context of your entire life with small decisions supporting the greater arc of your lifelong values. This does mean that you don't want to destroy the planet and leave it to your children to clean up, but at the same time that doesn't mean you should live in misery and inconvenience to do it.
Putting aside arguments about the efficacy and politics of some green practices like recycling, and assuming that they work to reduce landfill mass and pollution and all that other stuff, it may be entirely rational (it depends on your particular context) to pursue those ends with the idea in mind that one wishes to contribute to the maintenance, improvement, or even creation a healthy, outdoor environment.
I hasten to point out that having a life-sustaining, life-fostering outdoor environment does not necessarily mean one with bugs and trees and rocks and stuff all over the place. I am fond of cities and I can imagine a clean, bright city full of fresh air and car horns.
You've seen Star Wars, right? You know that city planet, Coroscant? I love the looks of it, but I bring it up to simply call to mind the possibility of completely altering the composition and appearance of the planet's surface while also maintaining a healthy outdoor environment suitable for human life.
So, the rational egoist may pick up litter, use low-energy bulbs, and even avoid eating overfished species now and then not merely for the immediate, cost-saving benefits of some of those actions, but for the longer term goal of maintaining a world that is conducive to a happy, healthy life.
Update: Inspector has some additional, interesting commentary on this topic. Check it out!
November 05, 2007
Actually, at the University of Georgia, where I went to school, there used to be a group of preachers who would come to the Tate Student Center and preach from an outdoor stage in the common area. By "preach" I mean "scream" and if you think I meant "sermons," I really meant "names and accusations." I remember once watching the preacher call a young man a masturbater, an accusation that the man conceded and the crowd cheered. The preacher also called a goth girl a witch. It was too noisy, I think, for anyone to explain that goths aren't all pagans. And he generally referred to sorority girls as whores and fraternity guys as whoremongers.
Granted, all Christians aren't that way but the oh-holier-than-thou attitude is well-documented going back to the time of Martin Luther and his 99 theses, the 100th of which was edited out but read, "And I'm tired of all this attitude I'm getting from you priesty boys. I am totally holier than them!"
Ok, but then, Christians turn around and fling themselves upon the swords of their own moral denigrations in order to practice the "virtue" of humility before god.
Basically, they accept an impossible moral standard, and then they go on and on about how guilty they feel for not meeting it, but that should not excuse anyone else from not meeting it and feeling guilty either.
WHEW! ok. I said all of that just to draw a comparison between Christians and environmentalists.
Environmentalists are always sniffing and insulting people who drive SUVs or who don't recycle or actually want to live comfortable, happy lives. You know how they are.
Well, they are also not free of the guilt!
Introducing True Green Confessions! It's a blog where greenies can wallow in the guilt of not doing enough to save the planet.
Posts include the following:
One time when I was a young kid I decided to start an "eco club". We walked around my neighborhood and took trash we found and threw it away at my house. We had a meeting about saving the world. We even had little membership cards.
We only met once and that's the last time I ever did anything "green". We still laugh about it to this day. Maybe if we would've kept it up.... nah
I like to eat veal.
I feel guilty if I don't bring my banana peels or apple cores home to compost. I can't eat in the cafeteria or fast food because it causes me physical pain to throw away styrofoam.Most of the "confessions" I saw on the site seemed to indicate that most people missed the point of the blog. Most of them were little stories about people being picked on for being green or about how they are proudly not green. But the point of the blog is stated as:
Caring about the environment has turned into psychosis
You turn off the water while you brush your teeth, you've taken a prius for a test-drive, and you've installed at least one compact fluorescent light bulb in your house. But -- you still take a 20 minute shower, refuse to give up those pretty Fiji water bottles and just can't seem to put your newspapers in that recycling bin. In the immortal words of Kermit the Frog, it's not easy being green (at least, it's not easy all the time)! That's why we've launched True Green Confessions – for those who are trying to make a difference to those who just don't give a damn (about the planet).Those greenies are just too much!I found out about this in today's Get Trio newsletter. Enjoy!
October 12, 2007
PALO ALTO, California (CNN) -- Sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize helps underscore the urgency of the climate crisis, said former Vice President Al Gore on Friday.There are two surefire ways to get me to stop listening to you:
Gore's comments came hours after the Nobel committee announced he would share the award with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for their work to raise awareness about global warming.
"This is a chance to elevate global consciousness about the challenges that we face now," Gore said, speaking to reporters in Palo Alto, California. "It truly is a planetary emergency, and we have to respond quickly."
The former vice president said he would donate his half of the $1.5 million prize to the Alliance for Climate Protection, an organization he founded to persuade people to reduce global warming by cutting pollution.
The Nobel committee's announcement cited Gore and the IPCC "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."
1) Talk about global warming or "man-made climate change."
2) Say things about "global consciousness."
When some other person remarked that this prize seems to be awarded more for forwarding the committee's political agenda over actual achievement, Michael over at Gay Orbit cited "the link between global warming, poverty, desertification, and its future effects on peace."
I would say that many people are probably unaware of such a link. It seems like the notion that poverty is the origin of crime and war in the world and that really isn't true.
Poverty is a relative term defined as the lower quintile of income, so if you look at the world over, most all of Africa is impoverished. At the same time, if you look at just Africa, that lower quintile shifts to subsume a far more narrow group of people who, really, aren't so impoverished as they are stagnating in the sort of lifestyle that has existed in Africa since before European colonization. Those people have also been doing their tribal squabbling for that long, too.
A lot of people seem to think that when impoverished people see rich people, that's what drives them to crime. They are so overcome with envy that they kill, steal, and everything else just to get this better life that they see is possible. Of course, I think polite people don't say that it's "envy" that motivates them but an earnest desire to live a better life that they know is possible. The desire to have what others have and a discontent with one's own situation is the very definition of envy, though. Envy in this sense certainly isn't bad, but I do have to condemn the mentality that ignores how that wealth was earned. Stealing doesn't produce wealth; it consumes it. A thief isn't a producer of a wealth, but a leech. Earning assets versus depreciating assets.
No, the origin of war and crime is a failure to recognize not only the rights of others but also the primary importance of one's own life and happiness, which cannot be maintained through parasitism. You have to work for happiness.
And I saw this video on YouTube the other day:
The guy in the video breaks down his argument for supporting taking action against global warming by looking at the consequences of action or inaction in the different contexts of there being global warming or there not being global warming.
His thought is that if we act and global warming is false, then in the worst case we suffer global economic ruin. I won't say that he shrugs this off, but he does seem to fail to recognize that a global economic catastrophe would result in most of the same things that he attributes to the option of not acting in the case that global warming is true.
The best thing, of course, is for us to not act and global warming is false.
The strangest part of his argument is the case where we act and global warming is true. He sums the disadvantage as being merely "cost," but I don't know why he thinks that the global economic catastrophe he predicted in the first scenario above would be averted. On the contrary, I would predict economic ruin in any case of acting to stop global warming regardless of whether or not it is true.
And finally, if we do nothing but global warming turns out to be true, everything bad happens.
So, I would probably break his outcome analysis (with the stipulated worst-case assumptions) down more like this:
Act/False = Economic disaster, political, social upheaval and global health crises
Act/True = Economic disaster, political, social upheaval and global health crises + less CO2
No Act/False = Life continues as it otherwise would for good or bad.
No Act/True = Economic disaster, political, social upheaval and global health crises + really inconvenient weather.
I do mean to downplay the environmental effects of global warming. Even in the absolute worst case scenario, I don't believe that there is any sort of climate change that would or could (barring those induced by cosmic events eg. asteroid impacts, exploding suns, and the like) stop human progress. We will find a way. We could move to the bottom of the ocean or build big bio domes or any number of extreme measure to match the extreme changes in weather.
I've talked about global warming on this site before. I'm just not impressed by it. I also say that in full awareness of my non-scientist qualifications.
Am I interested in graphs of temperature change? Nope.
Do I want to see an analysis of how ocean surface temperatures correlate to CO2 levels? Not a chance!
Could you pique my curiosity with a chart of changing sea levels around the world? You must be joking me.
I am actually unmoved by the whole line of reasoning that leads a person to think they should be concerned about the environment, which are generally focused around this argument: SAVE THE CHILDREN!
My children will be just fine in a space ship if that's where they need to go to thrive. Note that I didn't say "survive" because I don't care to simply survive. I want me and my children to thrive and prosper and love life. And frankly, I don't much care about your children apart from the general level of benevolence that I grant to all strangers who haven't shown themselves to be evil and although that level of benevolence does describe an overarching positive view of humanity, my point is that you shouldn't start thinking you're special.
So, the bottom line is that I really don't care about global warming. I will be able to deal with it no matter what happens.
But if I am to assess the veracity of the environmentalist claims, I refer back to the fact that I'm not a scientist. Every time I've looked into this matter I've been confronted with a barrage of data with some people saying that it means we're all going to die and some people saying we won't and everyone saying that everyone else is stupid, crazy, lying, or some other colorful insults.
Due to my default stance about global warming (don't care) and my general disdain for hippies and environmentalists, I am GREATLY amused by those who question the motivations of those who argue against global warming. They say things like, "Oh! That scientist doesn't count because he was paid by an oil company!" This amuses me for a couple of reasons.
First, environmentalists have spearheaded several cases of bald deception, such as with the campaign against DDT which has left millions to die of malaria. Or the campaign against GM foods, which leave people to starve. Don't tell me you're a humanitarian when you all but whack people on the head and bury them alive.
Second, Al Gore's winning the Nobel Peace prize stands as a prime example of the fact that in today's social atmosphere there are economic motives for being Green. He won an Emmy, too, didja heard? Green stuff is also a growing presence in business -- Advertising Week here in NYC featured talks on the green movement.
I'm not sure what the problem is with having a vested interest in your arguments, though. I should hope you have some interest in being right in what you say. You'd be an idiot to argue against your interests, right? (Kind of makes you wonder why that guy in the YouTube video is so eager for economic ruination.) And in any case either the data support your conclusions or they don't.
So, what do I think of Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize? Well, didn't Yasser Arafat win one of things a while back? And Kofi Annan? And various representative and groups in the UN? I think his Nobel Prize is in line with the quality of other recipients of the award.
July 19, 2007
Telegraph UK: Eating beef ' is less green than driving'
Producing 2.2lb of beef generates as much greenhouse gas as driving a car non-stop for three hours, it was claimed yesterday.
Japanese scientists used a range of data to calculate the environmental impact of a single purchase of beef.
Taking into account all the processes involved, they said, four average sized steaks generated greenhouse gases with a warming potential equivalent to 80.25lb of carbon dioxide.
This also consumed 169 megajoules of energy.
That means that 2.2lb of beef is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions which have the same effect as the carbon dioxide released by an ordinary car travelling at 50 miles per hour for 155 miles, a journey lasting three hours. The amount of energy consumed would light a 100-watt bulb for 20 days.
Su Taylor, the press officer for the Vegetarian Society, told New Scientist: "Everybody is trying to come up with different ways to reduce carbon footprints, but one of the easiest things you can do is to stop eating meat."
First of all, that is one of the most poorly written headlines ever.
Second of all, I have just thought of several delicious ways to increase the size of my carbon footprint. Mmmmm... Steaks.
Oh! And Su Taylor? Shut up and buy an E for your first name.
I'm not trying to think of ways to reduce carbon footprints.
Further, this study does not show that not eating meat reduces carbon footprints. It just supports the claim that we might reduce carbon footprints by not eating beef. (I realize that many people call only beef "meat" and other meats are called other things.)
July 17, 2007
I just don't see what's so special about the earth that warrants my affection or even my attention beyond looking for new ways to exploit it. To be fair, I have the same low regard for pretty much every non-rational entity in the known and unknown universe.
Rocks? 'sploit 'em.
Saturn? 'sploit it.
Cows? 'sploit 'em.
Neutrinos? 'sploit 'em.
Puppies? 'sploit 'em.
Black holes? 'sploit 'em.
Yes, the universe is really just here to sustain, please, and amuse me.
So, imagine my amusement when some entities with rational capacity set out to entertain me.
Talking Hawk, a Mohawk Indian who asked to be identified by his Indian name, pointed to the river's tea-colored water as proof that the overwhelming amount of pollution humans have produced has caused changes around the globe.
"It's August color. It's not normal," he said.
"Earth Mother is fighting back - not only from the four winds, but also from underneath," he said. "Scientists call it global warming. We call it Earth Mother getting angry."
"Earth Mother getting angry." I love how that phrase is positioned as if it's the stronger, more persuasive, or even more accurate description. I mean "global warming" isn't a great phrase anyway, but from now on, green scientists should stop with this "global warming" expression and start addressing Earth Mother's emotional needs. The data seem to indicate that Earth Mother is hormonal more than anything. Midol, mommy dearest?
I really don't think people are here for my personal amusement, but every now and then they surprise me by going above and beyond the call of duty and go national with something so preciously absurd that it can only be considered a joke.
In spite of my somewhat insensitive tendencies, my opinion of people really is that high and I'm in a really good mood. At this moment, it is simply beyond the realm of possibility that anyone could be so idiotic in earnest.
The rest of the article is a litany of the most precious arguments for being good "custodians" of the earth that I've ever heard. (I really don't pay close attention to these things.) They're the sort of arational, emotional, mystic arguments that I wouldn't expect to hear from anyone over the age of four or since the bronze age. Oh. wait.
Well, I appreciate their commitment to the jest. I mean, to actually live in the mindset of a caveman just to make me laugh? That is dedication. I'd write them a thank you note, but I'm sure that the post man is a tad anachronistic and I have my doubts that my landlord would appreciate my starting a fire on the roof just to send a smoke signal.
But I am kind of tempted to take a couple days off work to see what it would take to start a buffalo stampede or something. As a science-minded person, I just want to test how well they've figured how to live in nature like barbarians.
Special thanks to Andrew Dalton for bringing this to my attention.
July 10, 2007
Out of sheer enthusiasm, I'm going to ignore the fact that I'm not very clear on what the Earth is in danger of, unless we're talking about asteroids, which are of great concern to me because sunscreen does not stop asteroids. It's true. Scientists said, "Sunscreen will not stop asteroids." Ask any of them.
And then someone told me that CO2 is a huge problem.
I didn't know it was such a huge problem because I heard that plants breathe CO2 and I exhale CO2, so it seems like CO2 is totally fine. I just know that I have no intention of not breathing, so that solution will have to be pursued by someone else.
And who else could do that? Who would be better off not breathing?
You're thinking about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, aren't you? I was. That was the first thing I thought of, actually.
And then I found out that there are over 70 million people in Iran. I would say that a very large percentage of the people there would be better off not breathing, specifically all the ones with bombs strapped to their babies and things like that.
This made me think the same thing of Syria, which has some 19 million people.
Just think of how many earths we could save if we just smothered a bunch of Iranians and Syrians!!!
Since this is clearly the best solution to Global Warming, I fully expect Hillary and Barak to call me tonight to hear my other ideas for worldwide improvement. I mean, Liberals love the planet, right?
Next headline: Democratic Presidential Candidates Support Pre-Emptive Attacks on Iran, Syria
This plan is fool proof!
July 09, 2007
Ok, but I'm not going to internalize this. I'm not going to let it impact my self esteem.
I'm sure lots of guys have small carbon footprints. Does anyone know how much carbon is in Enzyte?
I'll bet Allen sent that link to me to brag. Bastard. "Eeee! Look at me! I'm Allen Prather! My carbon footprint is 15.6 tons per year! Eeee! I'm such a big man!"
You know, not everyone can have above average footprints. I mean, average means average and that means, you know, that some people aren't. Like freaks with grotesquely oversized carbon footprints.
What can you do with a footprint that big anyway? In my experience, not much. I mean, really, if you think about it, it's better to have something closer to average or maybe a little smaller.
Men and women alike agree with me here. I mean, no one likes, you know, sitting there with your friend and, you know, maybe things are getting a little hot -- global warming -- and then you find out that they're bringing a 15 ton footprint to the party. Total turn off.
Yeah, so, anyway, I need a bigger footprint. Is there like a carbon pump or something? I'm thinking of burning stuff. Isn't there some kind of adopt-an-oil-fire thing I could sign on to?
There has to be something you can do about this.
July 06, 2007
Shortnews: Scientist Implicates Worms in Global Warming
Jim Frederickson, the research director at the Composting Association has called for data on worms and composting to be re-examined after a German study found that worms produce greenhouse gases 290 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
I was thinking about it this morning: people keep saying that I should reduce my "carbon foot print." But I'm a carbon-based life form and from what I can tell, reducing my carbon footprint will suck. I think that having a very, very large, Shaq-size footprint is really much better for me.
April 11, 2007
Hat Tip to Inspector
April 10, 2007
There seems to be a massive amount of information there in addition to a goodly amount of patronizing, condescending, utterly unnecessary editorializing. Even so, I may spend a bit of time over there reading to see what they have to say. And then I would be interested to know how the skeptics respond to it.
March 28, 2007
Real Climate: Save the World! Earn $25 million!
On February 9, The Virgin Group chairman Sir Richard Branson announced a $25 million prize for anyone who can demonstrate “a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth’s climate.”
It's called the Virgin Earth Challenge and the basic challenge is to figure out a method to remove 1 billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere in a way that can make money.
Wouldn't it be cool if they could suck carbon out of the air and turn it into diamonds?
What I love about this proposal is:
1) It is predicated by the ability to make money from it.
2) It doesn't involve passing laws or regulations on businesses.
If successful, this really could lead to new, efficient technology that actually runs on waste carbon that is otherwise mostly lost to the air.
I just hope this doesn't suffocate the rain forests.
March 27, 2007
Of course, you all also know that my position regarding the adoption of practices and especially policies and legislation designed to slow or reverse ACC is foolhardy.
Well, in my attempt to read more about these claims that people are causing the global climate to shift and wiggle about in unnatural ways, I've been sniffing around the Real Climate site.
The authors of that blog are climatologists who do generally support the notion that observed, ongoing trends in climate change are significantly linked to human activity.
I found there a letter from one of the scientists, Carl Wunsch, who appeared in The Great Global Warming Swindle. Apparently, his views on ACC were hideously misrepresented.
Make no mistake, his view on the matter is a bit more measured than what we hear from many quarters. Go read the whole letter, but here's an excerpt:
I believe that climate change is real, a major threat, and almost surely has a major human-induced component. But I have tried to stay out of the `climate wars' because all nuance tends to be lost, and the distinction between what we know firmly, as scientists, and what we suspect is happening, is so difficult to maintain in the presence of rhetorical excess. In the long run, our credibility as scientists rests on being very careful of, and protective of, our authority and expertise.
I am on record in a number of places complaining about the over-dramatization and unwarranted extrapolation of scientific facts. Thus the notion that the Gulf Stream would or could "shut off" or that with global warming Britain would go into a "new ice age" are either scientifically impossible or so unlikely as to threaten our credibility as a scientific discipline if we proclaim their reality [i.e. see this previous RC post]. They also are huge distractions from more immediate and realistic threats. I've paid more attention to the extreme claims in the literature warning of coming catastrophe, both because I regard the scientists there as more serious, and because I am very sympathetic to the goals of my colleagues who sometimes seem, however, to be confusing their specific scientific knowledge with their worries about the future.
In the part of the "Swindle" film where I am describing the fact that the ocean tends to expel carbon dioxide where it is warm, and to absorb it where it is cold, my intent was to explain that warming the ocean could be dangerous---because it is such a gigantic reservoir of carbon. By its placement in the film, it appears that I am saying that since carbon dioxide exists in the ocean in such large quantities, human influence must not be very important --- diametrically opposite to the point I was making --- which is that global warming is both real and threatening in many different ways, some unexpected.
How much is it worth to society to restrain CO2 emissions --- will that guarantee protection against global warming? Is it sensible to subsidize insurance for people who wish to build in regions strongly susceptible to coastal flooding? These and others are truly complicated questions where often the science is not mature enough give definitive answers, much as we would like to be able to provide them. Scientifically, we can recognize the reality of the threat, and much of what society needs to insure against. Statements of concern do not need to imply that we have all the answers. Channel 4 had an opportunity to elucidate some of this. The outcome is sad.
I remain confounded and frustrated by the whole global warming discussion and I think Dr. Wunsch's letter expresses knowledge related to some of my concerns.
I'm afraid that I may wind up following this rabbit down the rabbit hole and that strikes me as a dreadful thought.
March 22, 2007
It's a little bit frustrating because while I would like to see that idea thoroughly debunked, I am open to evidence to the contrary. (Emphasis on evidence.)
Recently, Al Gore took his charts and graphs to Congress and talked to them about man-made global warming. According to SciAm, some of the senators showed their butts.
Scientific American Blog: Gore Returns to Senate to Butt Heads With Climate Change Skeptics, Propose Real Solutions
As soon as the Democrats took both houses of Congress, one thing became inevitable: Gore was coming back to the Senate, if only to address his all-consuming passion, climate change.
Today at 2:30 EST, at the behest of Barbara Boxer (D-California), the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Gore got 30 minutes to speak before a packed house. Immediately after, noted climate change skeptic Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), who famously declared that global warming "is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American public," got a chance to lay in to the former vice president, at one point even attempting to ambush him by embarrassing him into signing a pledge that he reduce his
emissionsenergy use to that of a typical American household.
I haven't watched the video from CSPAN, but I think I will -- provided I can get my browser to open something with real-time streaming protocol.
According to SciAm, Gore also addresses the argument that solar energy could be responsible for the observed global warming trend, but what frustrates me about these SciAm posts is that they don't explain it, so I really don't know. I guess I should read more than their blog to find out what they think.
They also mention those pesky environmental models. I don't know about any particular models, but I know models depend heavily on the assumptions made and measures given it when they are created and they can be wildly inaccurate.
We've been over this: given the Deep Green's history of lying, no one should be willing to take them at their word.
I have to admit that I've sort of set up an impossible goal for the pro-anthropogenic global warming crowd, though. I am willing to accept evidence for any argument, really, but I'm also not interested in global warming or even climatology beyond the basic, national and local meteorology. I am not willing to actually dig into the available data at this time.
The whole political and commercial (How much money is being made by the environmentalism industry both in terms of environmental consulting, government subsidies, video sales, Oscars, etc?) aspect of this discussion is tiresome and irritating.
How could someone like me ever hope to dispassionately consider all of the evidence and purported evidence? I don't think someone like me can.
March 17, 2007
Here's one of my most favorite parts:
Q: If you look at all these things, even if you were right ...
A: ...I am right...
Q: ...Isn't there enough empirical evidence and facts we can see with our eyes that imply that Man is demolishing the planet and himself?
A: It's such a nonsense that I have probably not heard a bigger nonsense yet.
Q: Don't you believe that we're ruining our planet?
A: I will pretend that I haven't heard you.
But he does go on as if he did hear them. Still. I appreciate his moxie.
March 16, 2007
And The Independent discusses the history of dishonesty by the film's creators.
These arguments are precisely why the rational layperson has difficulty making up their mind on these issues.
March 15, 2007
Well, I was reading the comments to that YouTube video, The Great Global Warming Swindle, and one person remarked:
Could you guys stop making this about paychecks and conspiracies? Until science (!) has proven either side right. let's assume we do influecne gw, just to be on the save side and not kill oursleves.
Others made similar remarks as well. Their attitude is "since we don't know, we should err on the safe side and stop what we're doing to cause global warming."
I totally appreciate the commenter who responded to this sort of comment with this:
We shouldn't do anything to be "on the safe side." Would you jump out of a skyscraper to be "on the safe side" in the hopes you don't perish in a potential fire? Embracing Green Totalitarianism is suicide, not the safe side.
This whole "precautionary principle" thing is flawed in a very, very big way.
Prior to beginning this new line of discussion on this blog, I had little to no information about the global warming arguments. All I knew was that some people were saying that people are causing it and some people are saying that we're not. And I don't care either way.
Even without knowing who is right and who is wrong about the causes, my position was that people should NOT change their actions, laws should NOT be passed to save the planet, and people should NOT listen to PeTA, the UN, Kyoto anything, GreenPeace, any person claiming to admire Marx, Stalin, Hitler, Guevara, Chavez, or Castro. My position is that progress requires doing things as well as one can at the time; skipping from cavemen to nuclear-powered cities is not an option. And people simply have to deal with the consequences as well as they deal with the benefits of progress. That's life. (A magazine...)
But NOOOOOWWWWWW after reading about some global warming stuff, I think even less of those claims that people are causing global warming. It's a ridiculous idea and the evidence against it is clear.
Let me say this again in another way: People are not causing global warming. CO2 is not a cause of global warming. Global warming does not represent a threat to civilization in the least.
Environmentalists are people who are simply interested in the destruction of civilization and making people miserable the whole way down. Damn hippies.
Back to this Precautionary Principle bullshizzle. From Wikipedia:
The precautionary principle is a moral and political principle which states that if an action or policy might cause severe or irreversible harm to the public, in the absence of a scientific consensus that harm would not ensue, the burden of proof falls on those who would advocate taking the action.
The precautionary principle is most often applied in the context of the impact of human actions on the environment and human health, as both involve complex systems where the consequences of actions may be unpredictable.
At best, the precautionary principle is harmful and idiotic. At its worst it's an utter non sequitur in the context of this discussion.
Let's start on the sunny side of the street.
If we take the agnostic stance about anthropogenic climate change and say that we simply do not know if human activity is the cause of observed climate changes and we say it's better to be safe than sorry so we should immediately implement legal measures to prevent further harm, then we're condemning the poorest nations to stagnation, death, and mind-numbing drudgery. Environmental policies do not simply belabor progress in those nations, they present insurmountable obstacles.
Consider some poor African nation. Its people work hard to scrape out a living and suddenly they discover oil or coal reserves in their territory. Environmentalists insist that these people ignore them and not use them to generate wealth so that they can live a more civilized existence. Instead, environmentalists propose that they use solar or wind power to get electricity. Unfortunately, environmentalists have no suggestions for how these dirt-poor people will pay for these things.
This is the problem I put forth earlier when I mentioned the leap from cavemen to nuclear-powered cities. You can't do that. Rags-to-riches stories on the scale of a national economy (even if the economy is small) simply do not happen. You have to work up to those things; you have to start with wood and then move to coal and then move to oil and THEN go nuclear.
Since I've set a precedence for repeating myself: it is impossible to expect an impoverished nation to progress to the next level in economic development with the obstacle of being environmentally friendly in their way.
Now, let's consider the impact of such laws on more developed economies such as the United States.
As much as we would like to think of ourselves as space-aged, kindly, hyper-advanced, sophisticated people, we are still irritatingly dependent upon oil and oil-based products for much of our energy. For reasons that go back to government interference in trade, we simply have not developed the infrastructure to being transitioning seamlessly to more advanced, more "green" technology like nuclear power or even solar/wind/geothermal/whatever technology.
So, if we passed laws to support some draconian measures like the Kyoto Protocol, we would doom many of our small businesses to wither and die as the cost of operation leaps out of their reach over night. Larger businesses would be able to absorb the costs, but prices would rise on their products. With the dollar being little more than an I.O.U., such a blow to our economy would be extremely uncomfortable as jobs are lost, pay decreases, the dollar is further devalued, etc.
Naturally, the greens will say they wouldn't implement these changes overnight, but spreading them out over time does not suddenly change their effects from negative to positive. They simply change it from a death sentence at the guillotine to a death sentence by way of a zillion little paper cuts.
So, let's talk about the worst aspect of the precautionary principle as applied to anthropogenic global warming.
IT MAKES NO SENSE.
There isn't any reason to think that man is causing global warming. There was speculation, but the evidence offered to make the case has been undermined and unraveled. So, there isn't any reason to think people are causing global warming. Sooooo, why would you do anything at all?
Since I like humorous analogies, let's consider one.
You saw that movie Jurassic Park, right? Well, we've come quite a long way in our mastery of DNA since 1990 when that book was written. We've actually cloned animals since then!
So, now I want you to squint really hard and listen carefully to this: scientists may have actually cloned velociraptors!!!
EVERYONE, BEGIN FIRING GUNS WILDLY IN EVERY DIRECTION!!!!
That is what it's like to pass laws to slow man-made global warming.
Scientists have NOT cloned dinosaurs, not even the smallest cutest one. Velociraptors are not hunting you right now. Buying guns and shooting carelessly is dangerous and patently unwise.
It just doesn't make any sense to leap from the fact that people have cloned sheep to firing guns wildly. In fact, it's crazy.
If there were some reason to actually think that people are having some detrimental effect on the global environment, then it might make sense to build some awareness about it and encourage people to spend more money to adopt more eco-friendly technology.
I have to emphasize "detrimental" because we have yet to see how global warming is a serious problem worthy of any great concern apart from alarmist predictions about Jake Gyllenhall coming over to my apartment in a parka and I really just don't think that's such a bad thing. Further, it is NOT wise at all to pass laws mandating that people adopt eco-friendly technology. Again, this would injure the economy, prevent further development, and make things generally uncomfortable for everyone.
I think that perhaps one day human beings will master the power to affect the weather and climate on a global scale. That day is not today or any day in the near future. We are not able to do it on purpose or inadvertently and it makes no sense to act as if we are.
People who advocate the "Precautionary Principle" for global warming are doing the leg work for the "Deep Greens." They're the people who vote "on the safe side" for candidates who promise to do something about the environment. They're the people who enable and enact the destruction wrought by environmentalist legislation because they support it -- and not rational thought -- by default.
March 14, 2007
Gay marines. And gay.
Right now, this blog seems like an environmentalism blog. It's like GLOBAL WARMING! Well, except we sit around thinking of reasons to hate environmentalists and discredit claims to anthropogenic climate change.
I'm not even all that interested in environmentalism. Well, I guess I used to not be. It seems like I'm interested now.
That video that Justin showed me really irked me. And all those examples that Inspector gave of environmentalists lying. And the fact that PeTA is in with the greens. (I HATE those people.) And then Chris McKenzie's discussion of the intellectual flaws in the environmentalist arguments (even if I'm not fully on board with them). Add it all up and I'm really kind of irritated with those environmentalists.
And NOW Cox and Forkum has a cartoon up about it. They even mention the video Justin showed me. The cartoon is funny because it's true.
It shows a scientist being stretched on the rack while a druid or priest or something of environmentalism stands over him. The scientist is screaming out that he agrees with anthropogenic climate change so that they'll stop stretching him. And the priest is saying, "Very well... give the heretic back his research funds."
That's kind of what happens. If a scientist DARES question the highly questionable evidence offered up for anthropogenic climate change, then other scientists snub him and he gets his funding taken away. They probably won't even let him eat at their lunch table any more. Shady bastards.
The more you look into the history of the global warming argument and the environmental movement, the more it becomes clear that they aren't just a bunch of man-hating, communist, dirt-worshiping, hippie-freak. They're ALSO a bunch of lying, manipulative cult-leaders.
It's no wonder to me now that when Greg Perkins sees an environmentalist open his mouth all he can hear is the deafening rush of hot air from the void and all Inspector sees is bullseye. It's too bad that you can't just toss a ball in there and watch this whole global warming fuss take the plunge.
March 13, 2007
Well, they also seem to stir up more trouble with things.
Reader Justin calls our attention to this British video that attacks global warming:
And since it's appropriate to the topic, I'll just quote his comment here:
I've always been very skeptical of global climate change. But if what I saw in this documentary can be verified, I think I am now comfortable enough to reject anthropogenic climate change as an interpretation of current warming trends.
Moreover, this documentary illustrates just how intellectually dishonest people like Al Gore or the IPCC truly are.
There are three sections on the science in the documentary that I wanted to highlight.
1) The ice core samples that are constantly cited amongst fear mongers show, without a doubt, a correlation between global temperature and atmospheric C02 levels. However, the documentary claims that the C02 trend actually does not lead the temperature trend, it lags it, in some places by 800 years. Since
cause follows effecteffect follows cause, this would indicate that increases in atmospheric temperature lead to increased C02, not the reverse. This can be readily explained by the fact that the leading contributor to atmospheric C02 -- the ocean -- keeps less C02 dissolved as its temperature increases, just as any liquid has less dissolving power on any gas with increases in temperature (due to an increase in kinetic energy of the individual gas molecules).
2) C02 is in fact a greenhouse gas, but represents only 0.05% of the atmosphere's composition. By far, the most present greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is water vapor. Let's see how Al Gore expects to fix that.
3) If you plot atmospheric C02 versus global mean temperature in the 20th century, one can see a generally increasing trend. However, if you plot solar activity (as measured by cosmic radiation output) versus temperature, the two match each other on a decade-by-decade basis. Solar activity increases drastically until the 1940s, then slows down until the 80s, where it once again increased -- exactly the temperature trend. In contrast, atmospheric C02 emissions have drastically increased since the post-war boom. This is why people in the 70s were warning of "global cooling" as a result of human activity.
I have a friend who may be very upset that they're blaming Margaret Thatcher for global warming. Naturally, I will forward this to him immediately.
PETA on global warming: The most powerful step that we can take as individuals to avert global warming is to stop eating meat, eggs, and dairy products.
No, seriously. They have a website about it.
Which brings me to my new favorite website: Celebrity Wit. YAAY! From the creators of Overheard in New York! WOOHOO!
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