04 December, 2007

Hollywood Goes Green?


Just received an invitation to attend “Hollywood goes Green” event in a few weeks

This is an industry that is one of the most wasteful around, a typical movie shot on location involves a fleet of vehicles, most of them are larger and few carry more that one or two people getting to and from, not to mention generators and catering trucks, and of course all the crew and talent drive solo to and from, not much green there.

Then lets look at the waste from set building – on location entire towns are built as facades and then scrapped, even in the studio sets are built then scrapped - this is green?

And lets not talk about the sheer amounts of electrical power required for studio operations or render farms for CGI productions

So what is the agenda for this summit?

How to reduce consumption of resources?

How to use energy efficient lighting and reduce air conditioning and power? Don’t bet on it, you won’t see any CFL except as props on camera - this is an industry that considers a 1000 watt light bulb as the smallest instrument in the grip truck

How to minimize crew requirement during production? Don’t say that in front of a union member

There is a partial sentence discussing “…implementing environmentally sensitive practices in both day to day business operations, reducing reliance on nonrenewable energy sources…” and that’s the extent of practical “in-house” green for the industry

So what exactly is the main focus of the seminar?

Why, how to “…deliver persuasive environmental messages in film, TV, cable and music to influence consumer awareness” of course!

Panel topics include:

Pitching and financing Environmentally themed films

Green Marketing and Advertising for film and TV

On the Green Front, Pitching and financing Environmentally themed films
(yes, I know - but that’s what the invitation says)
Which reminds me, when does “The 11th Hour” hit the DVD market?
And how many acres of forest did the production lay waste to?

Special Events, Party Planning and travel
(very important subject for this crowd but I don’t see any green except for $’s)

To be fair, there are also topics on:

Fuel saving and energy efficient vehicles
(I can see it now - chase scenes where the good guys in a Prius run rings around the bad guys Hummer? – “Mr. Director, I’ve got a slight suspension of disbelief problem with this chase scene…”)

Reducing Energy Consumption and Renewable Resources (- this crowd? They might use recycled paper – as long as it has a stamp saying so and some bean counter may put in motion detectors on the lights so someone has to “prairie dog it” every time the motion sensor times out – or better yet, shut off the AC during a long weekend – without shutting down the server farm)

03 December, 2007

The Car

Again, for those of you who live where decent public transit exists this will seem to be an extreme example of indulgence but the simple fact remains for almost any California kid, particularly those of us who manage to live in the more rural areas, wheels are a necessity. And since this is, after all, California, image runs a close second.

So just any wheels won’t do (unless, like your humble Scribner you realize practical realities override primal needs to ‘go fast’ & be cool, not that I’m immune to those mind you, but sadly there are limits to budgets).

It should reflect some aspect of its owner - which has lead to months of searching and anguish attempting to find ‘the car’ for those squalling aliens that grew in to my offspring. For daughter it was more a matter of enforcing the budget and being patient enough to wait for the right ride (seeing a new Eclipse spyder elicited the gushing “…this is so my car” which was squelched with “…its so not your budget…”

Son, the rockgod in training wanted a hemi, preferably ‘68 to ‘72 vintage Charger, erm, price one of those, running, in California recently? 50k and up! After many test drives including a ‘01 cobra (awesome car - even if it looks like a mustang, it doesn’t drive or sound like one – however, “too preppie” was son’s verdict) back to searching – since son has shown some mechanical aptitude and willingness to get greasy search criteria was more on potential than current condition.

The first car son ‘really, really’ wanted was a ’68 Camaro set up for drags - including fuel shut off, kill switch and the ever important front break lock switch (required for burn outs, don’t cha know?) while the back seat was still there (why?) it was accessible only by contortionist midgets due to the roll cage, while getting in the front was not too bad, getting out without crawling to the ground on was a bit of an exercise for this aging bod and while it had a strong engine there were no wipers, headlights or heater.

OK so, I’ll concede a few points for cool, practical – its not

Finally, stumbling across this beast

While not my cup o tea (prior to children there was a long list of two seat sport cars and motorcycles) and it is a nice example of a (now) classic street rod. It looks somewhat ominous sitting there and when you fire the beast up, everyone in the area is looking for the source of the rumble - and the sound of that big V8 doing its thaing (yes, it does bury the speedo on the fast side with no difficulties) is awesome to behold!

17 October, 2007

1989, October 17th 1704 PDT

(that’s 5:04 pe-em for those that can’t handle a 24 hour clock)

One of those moments that anyone who was there and survived will never forget where they where or what they were doing.

Some were sitting in the rare sun at Candlestick Park for the first “Trans-bay World Series”.

Some were on the Cypress freeway or on the Bay Bridge or down in the Marina and were not so lucky.

I was sitting in the drivers seat of a GVG 1680 in control B, in rehearsal for the telecast scheduled the next morning. Which to date is the only air date I’ve missed in several decades of whatever it is that I do to collect a paycheck

The first indication was the rumble that was as much felt as heard then the real shaking began, I watched as the program and preview monitors (20” Conracs) slide to the ends of their rack slides and start trying to shake themselves loose, shortly followed by several structural failures making themselves evident by the noises, around this time I decided that I was not in a very good position and moved to the sound door- with it’s reinforced frame, it seemed to be the optimal place to ride the rest of the rest of the shaker out.. As I was surfing the floor I watched as a coffee pot levitated to the middle of the hall before gravity reminded it – around the time the initial shock wave passed the power spiked and died – and I got the chance to do something that I fantasized about during more than one long rehearsal or edit session, pull the main building breakers conveniently located just outside the control room.

After the shaking stopped we started getting everyone out of the building, one person was trapped in the green room (why is it called a green room? They’re never green…) when the header above the door failed, he threw a chair through the window and followed it out. Several people were still sitting at their desks stunned. In the meeting rooms large monitors had fallen to the floor along with most of the ceiling tiles and fluorescent fixtures through out the building.

In the stairwell was an 18” dagger of glass, embedded in the sheetrock - deep enough that it would have de-limbed anyone unfortunate to impede its path. Bits of glass were embedded in trees and the ground around the building, across the courtyard & pond there was a restaurant with glassware stacked 3 high that didn’t loose a thing. The worst injury in our building was suffered by one of the guards who was struck by parts of the ceiling.

As much as any single event can this one marked a definite turning point in what ever the heck it is I do for a paycheck, as I kicked off the SMPTE (that’s the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers of which I “r1”) meeting a few weeks after the quake (this is the genuine pocket protector crowd, although these daze you’ll see pocket PC’s, thumb drives and memory card readers as well) “…5 oh 4 pee emm, October 17th a new opportunity for facilities design occurred…”

For the better part of the next 3 years we were the “techno homeless” as the building was unusable (in fact, had it been almost anywhere else it would have been bulldozed but as it sat on some of the more expen$ive bits of real estate in a community where it would never be allowed to be rebuilt the decision was made by the owners to “re habilitate”) along with other reasons we would not be rebuilding in that location.

Of all the equipment in the facility, most of which was “turning and burning” at the time the only losses were the Fuji & CDC drives for the Quantel PaintBox and Still Store (these were the whopping 160MB, 7 rack unit, 100lb beasts and the removable 80MB ‘cartridges’ respectively - both of which were notoriously sensitive)

the “vision mixer” as my brit fellows refer to them in Control A, the last of the great analog live production switchers - the Grass Valley Group 300 was damaged in one of the Mix/Effects banks by one of the JBL 4412 that dropped off it’s Omni mount but aside from these and a few lighting instruments that got damaged surprisingly little else was lost – until about a 6 months later and I was putting together a temporary facility (in parts of the Labs building, don’t know of many edit suites with D.I. water and various gas lines) and since I had lots of parts, set up the audio portion of the suite with a Bi-amp’ed monitoring (over kill for the application but what the hey). When I fired it up there was no bass, thinking I had made a mistake I checked the wiring, changed amps before I finally pulled the grill cover off of the JBL’s – where the 12” drivers should have been was two wires dangling… we had 4 pair of these - all of which were missing their woofers after being in temporary storage (in a superfund cleanup site – our future home) under guard from the rent a cop agency several of which had ‘toy trucks’ with really good subwoofers.

There is a lot more to this story, on the personal side I was attending law school in the evenings and working on my second pass at the baby bar - scheduled a month after the quake – which got put on indefinite hold as I had started it as a self imposed challenge and a stretch and now I had more than enough to do - like several temporary – borrowed – rented facilities and storage spaces, doing the old ‘Glom and devour” on several smaller operations within the company – the above noted superfund clean up site and how we ended up building a unique, highly usable “state of the art” facility - in a high rent district that was disassembled 5 years after it was commissioned.

13 September, 2007

HD-DVD vs BluRay

I’ve blogged about this before Part one

Given Paramount’s (including most of Dreamwork’s output except Spielberg and Dreamworks animation) recent decision to side with Universal and only release their movie in the HD-DVD format (until this point they have released selected titles on both formats).

In the opposite camp, Sony/Fox/MGM/Disney exclusively release on BluRay, coupled with Blockbuster’s recent announcement to only stock BluRay (this is the same Blockbuster that not only provided “sanitized” versions of titles to various communities also delayed adopting DVD in favor of VHS and at one time refused to carry widescreen versions insisting that the masses didn’t like the black bars on the top and bottom of the screen but I digress) the battle lines are being drawn in the latest corporate attempts to control the access you have to media.

Stand alone players of either format until recently have been in the 1000 + dollar range and with a limited number of titles and even fewer that were encoded well there was very limited public exposure to either format.

At the moment there are a lot more Bly-Ray players out there, as they’re in every PS3 - but with the current HD-DVD ad campaign and prices dropping every week or so it will be interesting to see how the numbers stack up at the end of the year – the interesting tidbit is the technology has existed for several years now, the main reason for the delay is the content providers reluctance to release hi quality copies of their properties with out adequate controls – however, as some wonk recently observed “…preventing digital files from being copied is like making water not wet”

From a picture quality point of view, the two formats are capable of containing full length movies with extras in any of the various HD formats at equal quality and a single disk of either format is capable of holding the entire 72 original Star Trek episodes including all the outtake reels and excerpts from the various ‘cons’ & ‘fests” over the years.

BluRay has an edge in terms of total capacity but for all but a few uses the difference is not that significant.

The other major discriminator is BluRay has “enhanced” features that are enabled using Java Virtual Machine which is also where the other part that the content providers deem critical lays - “Copy Protection” although these days it is much more than that, the most commonly used acronym is DRM (Digital Rights Management). The OBTW is - that most current stand alone players are not JVM capable – and that is a moving target as the capabilities of JVM continue to evolve.

(Rhymes with Baloney) has in some aspects restaged the Beta vs VHS battle, but given recent history where (Rhymes with Baloney) has also discreetly installed some very invasive software on any ones computer who happened to want to play any of several CD audio titles off of their computers CD drive – of course, in the opposite camp is the other proverbial 800lb gorilla who various attempts to control some aspect of the Glass Teat (nod & tip of the hat to Mr. Ellison) over the years has been a long string of “nice tries” - at best (WebTv anyone?) - also has a disturbing history of invasive data gathering and ‘glitches” for users who want to access content they already ‘own’ (anyone still own a Zune?).

But, as I noted in my first post on this subject, I predict that the wining format will be the one with the most titles that people are willing to shell out their hard earned shekels, rubles, euros, dollars (whatever) to own, the next question is how many will actually view a HD image as most players default to Standard definition upon reset.

07 September, 2007

80 years ago today

it was 80 years ago today when the first electronic television image was transmitted.

And since I’m attending the IBC conference I’ll me sure to tip a pint or three in Philo’s name.

27 July, 2007

And good time was had by some

Once again I see I’ve been neglecting my blog – I’ve got the best excuse this time though, I’ve been on "vacation" and have managed to spend almost two weeks out of Cellular & WiFi range, not a mean trick in NorCal these daze

I’ve missed commenting on Al’s big flop concert, but did note that a Prius can actually make it past 100mph (although having driven a few I’m not sure I’d like to push one that fast)

I’ve also missed commenting on the latest over unity nonsense from the UK. The Engadget Interview is particularly reveling – for anyone who has spent time in the world of HiTech startups it’s a howler.

Anthony Watts and volunteers are continuing documenting weather stations of record

and I’ve come to the realization that global warming is indeed man made but not quite the way and the acolytes of the new religion would like us to believe

And I’ll leave you with the following for now, back to work and airplanes on Monday

All in a Good Cause

By Orson Scott Card

Editor’s note: Aside from the comments about the automobile this is an excellent summation of the current state of global anxiety. This article first appeared in The Rhinoceros Times of Greensboro, North Carolina, and is used here by permission.

Here's a story you haven't heard, and you should have.

An intelligence source, working for a government agency. He's not a spy, he's an analyst. He uses computers to crunch numbers and at the end of his work, out pops the truth that was hiding in the original data. Let's call him "Mann."
The trouble with Mann is, he has an ideology. He knows what he wants his results to be. And the original numbers aren't giving him that data. So the agency he works for won't be able to persuade people to fight the war he wants to fight.

Well, that's not acceptable.

Cooking the Figures

He starts with his software. There are certain procedures that are normal and accepted in his line of work. But if he makes just one little mistake, his program does a weird little recursion and if there's any data at all that shows the pattern he wants it to show, it will be magnified 139 times, so it far overshadows all the other data.

He can run it on random numbers and it gives him the shape he wants. Unfortunately, the real-world numbers aren't random — they have a very different shape. All the numbers. Even his jimmied program won't give the results he wants.

All he needs is any data shaped the right way. And so he looks a little farther, and ... here it is. It looks, on the surface, like all the other data that he's been working with. Other researchers working in his field, just glancing at it, will assume it is, too.

But it isn't. Because the source that gathered this batch of data had some other key information that takes it all away. The numbers don't mean what they normally mean. In fact, this number set is absolutely false.

If you use these numbers along with all the other data, however, the clever little program will pick them up, magnify them radically, and voilá! The final report shows exactly the shape he needs the numbers to have.

The trouble is, these numbers are supposed to be double-checked. Anybody who looks closely at his numbers and at his program will see what he's done. It's not hard to find, if you have the original data sets and can examine the program. He will be exposed as a fraud. It will do his cause more harm than good, if it's made public.

But he's not afraid. He knows how this works.

He doesn't show the program or the lists of his data sources to anybody.

Second, he is given a big boost by the fact that another researcher — we'll call him "Santer" — had his own axe to grind. He was also the author of a questionable report and got himself appointed to a position that allowed him to get to the final report before it's published, delete all statements about how "there is no way to reach a definitive conclusion," and replace them with his own conclusion, which is absolute.

And it works. Santer's report is accepted, even though it has since been proven false. Mann's report continues to be relied on, and no one questions it. The government agency issues the report which they know has been altered to fit preconceived conclusions.

Vast sums of money are expended on the basis of what he claims to have found. People's live are put at risk.

Mann and Santer didn't do it for the money, though grants do flow in their direction.

They did it for the cause. It's a noble cause. And even though the data don't actually say what they wanted them to say — in fact, they say the opposite — they are untroubled by that. Because the government actions that are being taken are the Right Thing.

Santer and Mann are true believers. They don't need evidence. Evidence is just something you create to persuade other people.

Here's the amazing thing about Mann's original report: He's not the only researcher working in this field. In fact, it's the job of many hundreds of researchers to refuse to accept his data at face value. After all, his findings disagree with everyone else's. Before they accept his results, they have a duty to look at his software, look at his data, and try to duplicate his results.

But nobody does it. Not a soul.

Nor, when it goes public, does anyone in the press check the results — because they want him to be right, too

Steve the Canadian Businessman

Not until a Canadian businessman — let's call him "Steve" — took a look at the stats and got curious. Now, it happens that Steve is in the mining business; he also happened to be a prize-winning math student in college. He knows how to read number sets. He knows what good analysis looks like.

He also knows what cooked figures look like. He has seen the phony projections that companies use when they're trying to swindle people. Their results are too perfect. Mann's report looks too perfect, too.

So Steve starts digging. First, he read's Mann's original report. He finds it an exercise in obscurity. From what he published, it's very, very hard to tell just what statistical methods Mann used, or even what data he operated on.

This is wrong — it's not supposed to be that way. Scientists are supposed to leave a clear path so other people can follow them up and replicate their research.

The fact that it's so obscure suggests that Mann does not want anyone checking his work.

But Mann used government grants in his research. Which means he has an obligation to disclose. Steve contacts him, asks for the information. He gets a runaround. He gets pointed to a website that does not have the information. He tries again, and again gets a runaround — in fact, Mann sends him a very rude letter saying that he will no longer communicate with him.

Why should he? Steve isn't a legitimate researcher in that field. He's just a businessman.

But Steve is now sure there's something fishy going on, and he doesn't give up. He gets other people to help him. Finally they are pointed to a different website, where, to their surprise, they find that someone has accidentally left a copy of the FORTRAN program that was used to crunch the numbers. It wasn't supposed to be where Steve found it — which is why it hadn't been deleted.

Also, there was a little more carelessness — there is a set of data labeled "censored." Steve can't see, right away, what's significant about it, except that a score or so of data sets are left out of the censored data.

Steve looks at the program. He finds the glitch rather easily. He tries the program on random numbers and realizes that it always yields the distinctive shape that has caused all the stir.

Sorting out the data sets is much harder. He contacts a lot of people. He does what anyone checking these figures would have to do, and he realizes: If anyone had tried to check, a lot of this information would already have been put together.

He realizes: I am the first person ever to attempt to verify these astonishing, anomalous, politically hot results. Out of all the researchers in this field who had a responsibility to do "due diligence" before accepting the data, none of them has done it.

Finally he has all the original data put together. It includes more than just real numbers — it includes "extrapolated" data, which means that sometimes, where there were holes, Mann just made the numbers up and plugged them in. This is sloppy and lazy — but it's just the beginning.

What's crucial is that Steve now understands why the "censored" data sets are smaller than the ones Mann used. The full source data includes those misleading results that shouldn't have been used. But the "censored" data sets leave it out.

This means that Mann knew exactly what he was doing. This was not an accident. Mann ran the program on the data without the misleading numbers, and then he ran it with the misleading numbers. What he published was the results that made his ideological case.

Where's the Press?

This story is true.Anybody who cares to can verify the story. In fact, one of the leading science journals was prepared to publish Steve's results. But then, before publication, they kept cutting back and cutting back on the amount of space they would let Steve's report take up in the journal.

Finally the space they were going to allot was so small that they concluded Steve could not tell his story in that number of words, and therefore they decided not to publish it at all.

Meanwhile, serious publications did publish Mann's savage response to what Steve was saying on the website where he was putting up his results for everyone to read.

Notice: Steve is making all his work transparent to the world — anyone is free to check his data.

Mann is still hiding, denying, attacking — but not providing the full information. You still have to do detective work to ferret it out.

Now, if you were a reporter — you know, those brave guys and gals who are committed, body and soul, to "the public's right to know" — wouldn't you smell a rat? Wouldn't you jump on the chance to expose such an obvious fraud?

After all, there are now governments all over the world basing their decisions on Mann's false report. Crucial decisions are being made. Schoolchildren are being terrorized with dire projections of what will happen if Mann's report is not believed and acted upon. Vast sums of money are being spent. People are treating Mann's cause as a crusade — and his fake results are the chief weapon they use to prove their case.

Where's the press? Why am I able to tell you this story in full confidence that very few who are reading it will have ever heard it before?

Because Mann doesn't report to the Bush administration. The government agency for which the result was filed was a UN agency — specifically, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

And Mann's report is the famous "hockey stick" that "proves" that global warming not only is happening, but right now we're in the warmest climate period in the past thousand years.

Ah! You've heard of that report, haven't you! The press has been all over that one! Your kids are being taught about it in school!

You have friends who look at you like an idiot or the scum of the earth if you don't get energized by it, frightened by it, determined to act on that information. Don't you care about the future of the environment?

Why haven't you joined the cause? Why doesn't the Bush administration act to save the world from the most terrible threat imaginable?

It's like the opening of the "Talk of the Town" section of the February 12th New Yorker: "Except in certain benighted precincts — oil-industry-funded Web sites, the Bush White House, Michael Crichton's den — no one wastes much energy these days trying to deny global warming."

This statement is not just false, it's stupidly false. It speaks of such deep ignorance at The New Yorker — ignorance that they're actually proud of — that it makes one despair, for this is a magazine that once prided itself on knowing what it was talking about."

By the time the IPCC publishes an assessment, it has been vetted by thousands of scientists," says The New Yorker — but we know that in fact nobody vetted the Mann paper, and nobody checked Santer except, of course, Santer — while he went ahead and removed statements of some of those "thousands of scientists" (p. 27).

In other words, whoever wrote this New Yorker piece did not check. He or she just spouted.

What is really being said here is, "We believe in the IPCC and anybody else who supports Global Warming. We believe it so much that we refuse to listen to anybody who says otherwise."The only difference between this and Jim and Tammy Baker on the old PTL Club is that nobody says "Jesus." It's all faith, no science.

They're like four-year-olds putting their fingers in their ears and chanting "La la la la" until the person talking to them goes away.

The Hockey Stick Hoax should be a scandal as big as the discovery of the Piltdown Man Hoax. Bigger, really, since so much more is at stake.

But because the media are dominated by True Believers, they are doing everything they can to maintain the hoax, to keep the public from learning the truth.

What were those bad numbers Mann plugged in to get his fake results? Modern bristlecone pine tree-ring data in which recent tree rings showed the widths that would normally mean unusually warm weather.

However, these trees were located near temperature recording stations that showed lower than usual temperatures. So instead of being a sign of warmer temperatures, the tree rings are actually responding to the increased CO2 levels.

Even the heading on this bristlecone pine study clearly stated that the wider tree rings did not indicate higher temperatures. But Mann plugged them in as if they did, producing the one dataset that showed "warmer weather" (i.e., wider tree rings) in recent years, allowing the defective software to produce its hockey-stick result.

The bristlecone pine study was real science. Mann's use of it was deliberately fraudulent.

How Can We Know What's True?

All this can be checked. I didn't even change the names. "Mann" is Michael Mann; his co-writers on that hockey stick report are Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes. "Steve" is Stephen McIntyre, and the writer of the report I'm working from is Ross McKitrick, who is a climate scientist. Their report is a chapter in Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming, edited by Patrick J. Michaels.

Do you know how True Believer scientists respond to this? Just like the ignorant New Yorker writer. There's no attempt to answer any specific charge. They simply dismiss any disagreement by saying, "All the smart scientists agree that global warming is happening; anybody who denies it is just a crank, and you should ignore them."

This is exactly the kind of bias that President Bush's enemies accuse him of having during the run-up to the Iraq War. They claim that Bush and his people only believed the intelligence reports that told them what they wanted to hear, and ignored the rest, claiming that "everybody knew" things that were false.

That's not what happened with Bush (but you don't actually have to prove accusations against President Bush these days). But with the Hockey Stick Hoax it can be proved — yet the very same reporters pay no attention at all. It's "not a story."In other words, the very people who attack Bush as a liar are actually behaving exactly as they accuse Bush of behaving.

Global Warming vs. Climate Change

If you pay close attention, you'll find that Global Warming alarmists are not actually saying "Global Warming" lately. No, nowadays it's "Climate Change." Do you know why?

Because for the past three years, global temperatures have been falling.


The thing is, we've had twenty years since the Alarmists first raised the banner of Global Warming. They told us that "If This Goes On" by 2010 or 2020, sea levels will be rising so high that coastal cities will be flooded, famines will cover the earth, and ...

Oh, you know the list. They're still making the same predictions — they just move the dates farther back.

It's like those millennarian religious cults in the 1800s. Religious leaders would arise who would predict the Second Coming of Christ in 1838. When Christ didn't oblige them by showing up, they went back to their visions or scripture calculations or whatever they claimed and report that they miscalculated, now it was going to be 1843. Or whatever.

Here's the raw truth:

All the computer models are wrong. They have not only failed to predict the future, they can't even predict that past.

That is, when you run their software with the data from, say, the 1970s or 1980s, and project what should happen in the 1990s or 2000s, they project results that have absolutely nothing to do with the known climate data for those decades.

In other words, the models don't work. The only way to make them "work" is to take the known results and then fiddle with the software until it finally produces them. That's not how honest science is done.

Why are so many scientists so wrong?

First of all, there aren't all that many scientists. You hear about how "everybody" agrees about global warming. But who is "everybody"?

I had somebody at a conference get very angry with me for even raising a question. "I have a friend who's a climate scientist and he says that the Everglades are definitely drying up!"

But that's not the question, I said. Global warming isn't even the question. The question is, what is causing global warming or cooling or climate change? Is it human carbon dioxide emissions or something else? Your friend is studying aquifers in one specific area. In what way is he qualified to speak about global climate?

The only answer I got was the answer you always get when you challenge the roots of someone's religion — fury, dismay, and a refusal to talk about it any more.

That's what happens over and over. Who are the scientists who are qualified to speak? There aren't that many. It's the relatively few scientists who are studying paleoclimate and those who are working on contemporary data collection and collation and analysis.

And here's where it almost gets funny. Even the IPCC, which was so heavily biased in favor of Global Warming alarmism, could not get its pet scientists to agree that Global Warming in recent decades is even probably caused by human activity.

What Is Driving Global Climate?

Science isn't done by consensus. It's done by rigorous testing. When a hypothesis — or a computer model — fails to correspond to the actual real-world data, you throw them out.

That's what the real climate scientists are doing. They have found, in recent years, a very close correspondence between global climate and variations in the amount of radiation the Earth receives from the Sun.

The light and heat we get varies depending on the distance and position of the Earth and the amount of radiation the Sun puts out. The Earth's distance and position seem to determine the big cycles — the Ice Ages — and the Sun's variations seem to determine the smaller climate cycles.

We have historical data indicating several global warm periods. There was one during the heyday of the Roman Empire; then there was a global cooling during the Dark Ages (beginning about 600 A.D.) The Medieval Warming kicked in about 950, followed by the Little Ice Age beginning about 1300.

The Little Ice Age ended in about 1860. You'll notice that most reports on our modern Global Warming set that as their base point, and leave out all prior warmings.

But those warm periods are real, as are the cool periods. Ice core samples from various places around the world back it up, as do ocean floor samples. In fact, the predictions based on the 1500-year (approximately) solar cycle are borne out everywhere.

There's now at least as much real-world evidence supporting the solar cycle as the cause of climate variation -- including all of today's climate variation — than there was for, say, tectonic plates or the asteroid-caused extinctions at the time when they were first plastered all over the media as the hottest science news of their day.

It's not that it's really a secret. The book Unstoppable Global Warming by Singer and Avery tells us what the media could easily have reported to us:

"On 16 November 2001, the journal Science published a report on elegant research, done by unimpeachable scientists, giving us the Earth's climate history for the past 32,000 years — along with our climate's linkage to the sun" (p. 8).

They quote Richard Kerr of Science:
... the climate of the northern North Atlantic has warmed and cooled nine times in the past 12,000 years in step with the waxing and waning of the sun.
And Kerr quotes glaciologist Richard Alley of Penn State:
The ... data are sufficiently convincing that [solar variability] is now the leading hypothesis to explain the roughly 1,500-year oscillation of the climate seen since the last ice age, including the Little Ice Age of the 17th century (p.8).

We're not talking about fly-by-night wackos. We're talking about leading scientists doing solid research.

And other scientists have found data that correlates closely with their findings all over the world. In other words, these solar oscillations account, completely, for the global variations.

The opposite is the case with the Global Warming alarmists. Their human-emitted carbon dioxide hypothesis is made ludicrous by the fact that most of the warming since the 1860s occurred before 1940, an era when human CO2 emissions were not significant. And we had significant global cooling between then and 1970, precisely the period when CO2 emissions were steeply rising.

CO2 really is rising, though. Any greenhouse heat effect seems to be dissipated by a newly discovered "Pacific Heat Vent." Moreover, CO2 emissions are provably involved in fertilizing vegetation wherever CO2 levels have risen.

Global Warming "Solutions"

We can't stop global warming or cooling. We simply don't have the power to do it. We can't heat up or cool down the sun; we can't jiggle the Earth in its orbit or change its position. We'd be idiots to try, even if such unimaginable powers came within our reach.

So we'll continue, as long as the human race persists, to have ice ages and warm periods, with relatively minor oscillations (like the Little Ice Age and our current warm period) in between.

In fact, what we have right now, while we are not yet as warm as the peak of the Medieval Warming (a fact that Mann and others have tried to deny or obscure), is a superb climate that is making life better for people all over the world. It's the cold periods that cause famines and population drops, and promote plagues and floods.

We should be grateful.

Instead we are being hit with dire warnings, every one of which is either false or a normal part of the Earth's history; our business should be to adapt to the unavoidable solar-caused warming, not to destroy the worldwide economy in order to prevent something that human activity is not causing.

Because the "solutions" proposed by the alarmists do not solve anything — and they admit it! The drastic proscriptions of the Kyoto Protocols, even if anybody were actually following them, would not have had any effect on Global Warming, even if it had been caused by human CO2 emissions.

Do you understand that? When Al Gore goes on and on about what we must do to save the Earth, he knows — and everybody involved with the Global Warming alarmist movement knows — that none of their drastic proposals would have the slightest effect on Global Warming even if it worked they way their fantasies say it does.

So why do they propose it? There are many personal motives, of course, but when you look at the non-solution "solutions" they propose, the pattern is clear: They are not trying to stop global warming. They are trying to punish the Western democracies for being richer than the rest of the world.

There are solutions to that problem (and I believe it is a problem), but they involve stabilizing bad governments, increasing international trade, and making unsafe parts of the world safer so they can take part in the global boom.

Not only that, but many of the programs the alarmists advocate are actually needed for completely unrelated reasons. It is a mark of our folly and blindness that we continue to be so ridiculously oil-dependent all these years after the oil embargo of 1973.For national security, environmental, futuristic, and personal-happiness reasons we should be working hard to change our automobile centered culture into more civilized patterns that invariably make people happier wherever they are tried.

It can't be done by cutting back on automobile emissions or even by raising taxes on gasoline — especially because these changes are hardest on the poor and the marginal middle class.

But I'll write about how and why we need to cut back on our destructive love affair with that faithless mistress, the car, in another column.

What matters right here and now is that it is time for the world's scientists to apostatize from the Church of Global Warming. It is a false religion. It is based on lies, and its leading prophets know that it is because they're the ones faking the data or stretching it to ridiculous lengths to pretend that the real world hasn't already ruled against their claims.

It is time for our school systems to stop accepting the gospel of that false religion and start doing their due diligence. Our children should be taught about the demonstrable solar cycles and the whole human-caused Global Warming theory, along with the Hockey Stick Hoax, should be taught only as another example, after Piltdown Man and pre-Copernican theories of planetary movement, of how science can be corrupted when ideology gets ahead of the data.

It is time for us to laugh at the ideologues who try to pretend that any criticism of Global Warming alarmism is idiotic and unscientific. They are the ones who ignore the data; they are the ones who believe on faith alone, without evidence; and, most important, they are the ones who are trying to stifle the opposition without answering it.

The Global Warming alarmists are the anti-science religion that is trying to forcibly indoctrinate and convert everyone while suppressing dissent. And the news media are their patsies, their stooges, their puppets.

Right now, let's start demanding that whenever the local newspaper or TV stations say anything about Global Warming, they back it up with actual data that takes into account the solar oscillations, the real climate history of the earth, and the facts about what CO2 actually does in the atmosphere.

It's time to stop letting them lie pass along other people's lies. It's time for the news media to stop doing cocktail party "research" and dig down into the science and get it right.

Read It for Yourselves

I could not possibly array all the evidence here; you must read the books for yourself

Unstoppable Global Warming is a highly accessible book written for ordinary educated readers. It's the book I recommend most highly.

Shattered Consensus, on the other hand, uses the language of various disciplines of science to a degree that makes some chapters fairly difficult for untrained readers, though the key chapter I cited here, on the Hockey Stick Hoax, is quite readable and worth looking at by everybody.

S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years.

Patrick J. Michaels, ed. Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming.. (See especially: Ross McKitrick, "The Mann et al. Northern Hemisphere 'Hockey Stick' Climate Index: A Tale of Due Diligence," pp. 20-49.)

04 July, 2007

Video wars part MXXLIV

A town in miniature

High Noon Thursday 21 June 2007



Main Street, New Effington SD

First thought – why is he trying not to swear? 2nd thought, what the heck was Old Effington like? I don’t think I want to even know where it is/was.

I’m not sure how that works

This is what brings me to this isolated area, the latest battle in the distribution wars between cable, satellite and Telcos, well not the SimulSat dish but some equipment that takes its feeds from the LNB’s in the focal arc.

Unless you are only watching analog over the air television (you do know about 19 February 2009 don’t you?) most television distribution from content providers to your TV set involves digital compression technologies for both the audio and video portions reducing the bandwidth required to transmit. Current deployed systems use what is referred to as MPEG-2.

MPEG 2 is now a bit over 15 years old now, in terms of space saving an uncompressed standard definition video signal has a bandwidth requirement of 270Mbps (video & audio) after compression the same signal now requires only 2~6Mbps (for most content) similar ratios of compression are also on the High Definition side, as uncompressed HD is 1.39Gbps and compresses down to 12~19Mbps, impressive when you consider you are in essence taking only 1 bit out of a hundred or so and still have (hopefully) pristine pictures and sound.

This is the same technology used in your DVD player or if you get your service from DirecTv or Dish, same with Digital Cable, in the RF space of one analog channel you can fit 12 to14 standard definition compressed services. Until recently all distribution was over some sort of RF network, these days there is also another method of distribution Video over IP (that’s Internet Protocol not Intellectual Property although lately I’m often involved in conversations where both terms are used) or IPTV.

IP networks are funny things, to an old broadcast engineer there are lies, dammed lies and IP network specifications – take your typical Ethernet connection, the first was 10BaseT and has a raw data spec of 10 Mbps, of course you can’t actually get anywhere near that in throughput. Coupled with the various limitations of copper wiring for “long distance” (thousands of feet) such as DSL, ADSL, ADSL2+ means that the Telco attempting to do IPTV has serious challenges in attempting to deliver MPEG 2 SD let alone HD and internet and VoIP.

Enter MPEG4, specifically part 10 h.264 AVC, now in its initial deployments. Currently it halves the bandwidth requirements of MPEG2 (and costs at least twice as much) and promises even more bandwidth savings. However it is still in the early stages of deployment which means interoperability between the various different bits in the system (from different vendors) is still a work in progress.

19 June, 2007

“…he always cited original sources”

Obscure reference I’ll admit – if my few remaining neurons are firing correctly comes from time spent at law school but the reference also applies to science, most of the more vocal proponents of both sides of the Anthropogenic Global warming debate rely on summarized and ‘corrected’ data.

When it comes to surface temperature measurements, your measurements are only as good as the device used and how closely the procedure followed.

These are the original sources

Anthony Watts over at NorCal blogs has started a program to survey reporting surface stations and document the existing conditions and has created a bit of a buzz, take a look at his series on how not to measure temperature

10 May, 2007

On posting

I know, I know long time between posts – since Feb I’ve been “on the road” and the list start to sound like that Johnny Cash song
Southwick MA
Tucson AZ
Nevada City CA
Southwick MA
Nevada City CA
Southwick MA
Sterling VA
Phoenix AZ
Las Vegas NV
New Effington SD (more about that place in a later post)
Indianapolis IN (current location)
Next week – Fargo ND and another visit to New Effington
Week after - Norfolk & Sterling VA then Rennes France – with a day back in NorCal for son’s gig – and that just takes me to the end of this month!

Add to the mix, moving to a new laptop and getting it in to usable state after the IT boys cripple it, my use of a primary laptop is a bit beyond the typical M$Orfice suite, a typical day it will be a moving map GPS, wireless survey (802.11a/b/g/n) tool or I might have to calculate look angles and Eirp, or I’ve got it setup as a web/NTP/ftp server or capturing and analyzing MPEG streams, at times its an AutoCAD/VidCAD/3DS workstation, audio & video editing / DVD authoring station, photoshop and web page authoring, on the rare occasion I’m home it might point the telescope and capture images or when I swap hard drives it’s a Linux box – haven’t gotten to the last two bits on the new PC – the interesting bit is – the software cost is almost 10 times the PC and all the accessories…

But now that things are settling in to place I will be back to posting at least a weekly basis and more often when life and the muse allow

19 April, 2007

(sort of) Bloging from NAB 2007

(I’ve been here since mid last week and leaving in a few hours so, like I said, sort of…)


I know,

No posts in over two months in cyber time and I’m not even a footnote in the blog-o-sphere, shame on me

In my defense I would like to submit the following excuses;

1. the muse has not been upon my shoulder when I have the luxury of time to capture, let alone express such

2. reel and real life have been enormous time sucks of late

and of course, springtime in a new year and that most eventful of times – for some, the few (100,000 + attendees), its called


stands for - National Association of Broadcasters, very much a misnomer these days but no one has come up with a better name, there was a point in time about 10~12 years ago when I realized that I had more computer screens in my booth (‘stand’ to my Euro readers) than television screens, its now gotten to the point where almost half of the exhibitors are not directly involved in the actual process of producing broadcast radio or television.

It is however, THE convention where (almost) everything you see and hear “broadcast” (radio or television or cable or Direct to Home or the few who have some sort of IPTV) almost anywhere on this 3rd rock from sol – and the tools to produce and provide them are hawked, the rules and regulations are discussed and major deals are made,initiated or conceived that can make or break a company.

This has been one of the cyclic markers as my time arrow continues to go ‘that way’ for the last 35 solar orbital cycles – I’ve been attempting to ascertain exactly how many I’ve participated in and my current best estimate is ‘approximately 30’ - with a high of 32 and low value of 29, I’ve lost a few neurons over the years – I know my first was in ’72 (one of the youngest ones there) I missed ‘73-‘75 (my birthday was the one of the first ten out of the draft lottery – I joined the Navy - received my draft notice in boot camp…) and a scattered few since, the balance between ’exhibitor’ and 'exposition' badges is tipping to the exhibitor side once again.

This year I’ve spent 10 days at one of the fancier accommodations on the strip, while convenient and plush with lots of restaurants, its not my first choice

- as its $20 to get a pot of coffee in your room
(NAB means I’m sleep deprived, every body part aches, it’s a race to see which one gives up first – feet, legs, knees, lower back, voice or tolerance of fools - being between me and my first cup of coffee is a dangerous and ugly place to be)

- its 9.98 a day for a wired internet connection that is not very fast

- why do they charge more than 6 pack prices for a single beer?

- why can’t I get a semi decent meal for less than a c-note a plate?

- Why is every show (not that I’ve had the time or opportunity to see one – heck I’ve still not been to the geek haven of Quark’s bar at the Hilton after all these years) a 100 bucks plus a pop?

I know, whine whine but for the last 9 daze my workday has started in the pre dawn and ended past midnight - yes, there were a few at fancy restaurants and the occasional liberal consumption of adult beverages was involved but mostly it is a grind of lines (cues) for a cup of coffee, for a bus, monorail or taxi cab or restaurants seat, endless questions and meetings.

However one of the compelling reasons I return every year – friends!

01 February, 2007

Skpetics Circle redux

Late update: Sandy over at Junkfood Science got lost in the missing bits when word poofed last night – please check out
on Hidden fats and cautionary tale of poor science, politics and money gone astray

Sorry Sandy

Skeptics Circle #53

Welcome to my obscure corner of the internet, glad you found your way here, please pardon the clutter and allow me to clear some chairs and stools we’re not accustomed to too many visitors these days.

Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth (don’t I wish) and taste (urm, does Monty Python count as a + or -?)

Whoops, wrong tape

Blogging under the non de plume of Occam’s Edge, I’m your humble host for this, the 53rd edition of the Skeptics Circle. Grab a chair, pour yourself a tall one (remember to swallow before you click on a link, I take no responsibility for monitors or keyboards!) and marvel in the, um well, perhaps marvel is not the best word – incredulity?

Tomorrow is Groundhog day, a collective day of weather related woo (and in homage to the Bill Murry movie of the same name where the same day keeps repeating over and over again) it’s once again time to place the major purveyors of bovine excrement (who have locked in to some alternate loop that only concedes with the collective delusion the rest of us describe as reality during various television ‘chat shows’ where they provide minor variations on the same theme) upon the autopsy table and see what presents.

Up first is a convicted felon – leading the links, Robert Lancaster has the definitive site
for this (rhymes with “witch”) next up, El Hombre, the most amazing, who has revised his
and is now on the offensive - such a prime target has many archers skeptico expands upon the theme and Lambic names some other prime targets, Mike adds his commentary while Thursday over at Polite Company offers another perspective



M$word just lost everything! All my pithy comments, hours of work


And I’ve got autosave, everything - and, I’m supposed to know what I’m doing...

Pie assassins are far to kind!

Attempting to reconstruct and running out of time, fortunately I have the links - I will clean this up as my schedule allows.

Moving on from the temptation turn this in to a full on Brownie roast here are some critical looks at Sky Pilots and proponents of ID (due to lack of sleep and real world pressures, its just going to be the links) Shalini is first up with a look at
Francis Collins
Clarke brings us The Way of the Master in Atheists Nightmare
One of the better names out there Hells Handmaiden
Zeno takes a look at who's still left behind
Over in Kansas, Joshua takes apartAndrew Coulson’s argument
Lord Runolfr Orthlokarr Ulfsson lets us know that the anti vaccination woo is spreading
Infophilia offers an interesting argument, is betelgeuse, evidence for god?
Matt, the master slinger takes a shot, He also has the definitive Hovind File
Coffee house Poetry takes apart The “Good Reporters” and their little Evolution Isn’t Even Logical

and other offerings to consider
From the mighty Orac
Loch Ness and other mysteries
sigh, I am cursed with the knack
math abuse
Equine excrement

true to groundhog day some climate woo (can't say I agree, but she is young - there is hope)

Cathy Checks in with two posts on "enhanced" Dihydrogren Monoxide
Dihydrogren Monoxide 1
Dihydrogren Monoxide 2

and The Next Skeptics Circle Hoasts!

29 January, 2007

Randi takes the Offensive!

Following what sounds like it was a great time had by all (other then being in lost wages)one of the great skeptics of our time has announced a change in the million dollar challenge – check out the announcement

Reminder that submissions for this weeks Skeptics Circle are due by midnight EST Wednesday 31 January 07 – please forward your submissions to OkcamsEdge(at)gmail(dot)com

23 January, 2007

Rare political comment

re: Pres. Shrub SOTU address

Well woop di do… what a waste of air time (apologies for the ellipses but they are required at this time) so which People Mag person did he miss?

Have to cringe though, Today’s mail had a “Special Notice for…

It’s the 2007 Grassroots survey of Democratic Leaders (I’m not, but Rational Anarchist is not – and most likely will never be – a recognized political party and, if it ever is, I’ll have to invent something new) with all sorts of tracking numbers and tabulation codes – so what do the Democrats see as the top ten most important issues?

How about ‘Homeland’ security?

Nope, not on the list

Border security? – stop SPP?

Unum, sorry no.

Illegal Immigration?


War on “Terror”?

War? What war?

(in their order)

Improving Public Education (start by abolishing the department of Education and reinstate the McGuffey Reader with Saxon Math)

Protecting the Environment (with rare exception every indicator in the united states has improved in the last 20 years but some of the recent pronouncements and AGW stuff is way over the top)

Iraq War (why are we still there?)

Economic/tax policy (Democrats? Right, so find out who the favored are and see if you can emulate otherwise, bend over, here it comes)

Reproductive Freedom (a viable fetus should be considered a person, a woman’s body is her own, as a male I can only be the shoulder cried upon but laws either way only affect the innocent)

Social Security reform (like any non term limited politico is going to touch that one until forced to by younger folks being bled dry if not countered by old folks who can still raise Cain)

Ethics in Government (rrriiigghhtt….)

Health care affordability (and the UK, Canada and Oregon are the best examples? Sorry, no sale)

National Energy policy (sorely needed - but not ADM subsidies for Ethanol)

Stem cell research (research is fundamental)

And the obligatory ‘other’

I just call them as I see them – but yah, I’m out there.

as far as I’m concerned anyone who voluntarily runs for public office should be automatically disqualified

Guy Fawkes was not necessarily a bad dude

20 January, 2007

Global Warming

Well perhaps, depends on the what your baseline is – compared to a measly 10K years ago when most of the north America landmass was under hundreds of feet of ice or even the “little ice age” (1300 to 1850CE) yes – compared to Jurassic and Cretaceous – or even the medieval warm period (900 to 1300CE) of the current interglacial time - no

Historic records – both direct observation and various disciplines from archeology to tree ring analysis to sediment pollen counts to ice core drilling to the geologic record itself show that this crusty ball of mostly molten silica with a liquid iron core has gone through several extremes of climate for sustained periods of time – so, what is your baseline?

Anthropogenic Global Warming

This will most likely tick off some friends and acquaintances but like orifices in the gluteus maxims we’ve all got opinions. While I make no claim to being an atmospheric scientist and have no applicable credentials (which doesn’t seem to any impediment for a former VP) the claim that mankind’s (and specifically us evil white SUV driving males in the United States) CO2 output is the cause of Global Warming – or taking the other side of the equation, a major reduction mankind’s CO2 output will somehow reduce the effect.

When it comes to ad hominem attacks and calls to suppress and harass representatives of either side, when a Weather Channel spokes mouth calls for the decertification of broadcast meteorologists who don’t conform to the cult of AGW, by invoking the Evil ExxonMobil (almost as bad as Halliburton) as funding anything that might oppose the dissemination of the light of AGW.

When it comes to ceaseless drumbeating with regurgitated and debunked (Tuvalu is not being flooded by rising sea levels, the Island is sinking) scare stories and selective reporting (the former VP’s power point presentation shows lots of shots of the 2% of the Antarctic that is warming but ignores the 98% of it that has actually been cooling for the last 35 years and increasing in snowmass)

When the political correctness reaches into Scientific American who refused to even discuss Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist

Its time to call it for what it is

AGW Is based on computer models – Try a simple experiment (depending on your local) try tracking the 24 to 96 hour forecast and correlating with the actual weather - most of the year they will be accurate but the examples of wrong calls and ‘oops’ abound.

Computer models are great things, the Club of Rome made some dire predictions back in 1972 based on then ‘State of the Art’ computer models that, had they come anywhere near to pass would be dire indeed – however, there is a saying from the dawn of the computer age – GIGO

Garbage In, Garbage Out

If the models do not conform to reality then they are wrong.- if the models can not accurately model the last two hundred years let alone the weather next week – why on earth would you believe they can predict the next two centuries?

Its time to take a close look at some of the claims with ol’Ockams edge and see which side of the blade they ends up – is there irrefutable evidence to back the claim? If not, then it ceases to be science and becomes opinion at best and politics of control at worst.

CO2 as a ‘greenhouse gas’- yes it is, it’s not the most effective heat trapping gas (Water vapor and Methane are far more important – major produces of which are the oceans being heated by the sun, and termites respectively) but it does have some effect, the question if mankind’s CO2 output in combination with all natural sources of CO2 is enough to make a significant change is open and by “their” own admission – if the Kyoto proposal was fully followed it would only result in less than one half of a degree of reduction based on their models.

CO2 makes up about one half of one percent of the air we breathe, most of it is the result of natural processes, the current best guess is mankind produces somewhere around one 10th of one percent - one Mt. Pinatubo sized volcano puts out more CO2 in a day of belching than mankind in a year and they are not unique events on the geologic time scale

CO2 as a pollutant? Well, if you consider Dihydrogren Monoxide a pollutant (it certainly is lethal in large doses) I guess so, but I find both of them in reasonable amounts to be necessary for my well being and both are absolutely required for my daily minimum ration of beer.

Besides, the ice caps on Mars are shrinking – I suppose us SUV driving old white guys are responsible for that as well.

No links – I leave that as an exercise for the students, find 10 pro AGW and 10 anti AGW scientific sites and examine the language, reports and arguments (with facts) are due next week.

05 January, 2007

The 50th Skeptics Circle

The 50th Skeptics Circle is up over at See you at Enceladus

Post holiday recovery

Reel (and Real) world have sucked most of my time for the last month and I’ve neglected my blogging duties.

A few brief notes, this blatheing excuse for a blog has passed its first Solar Orbital Anniversary last month, many thanks for the encouragement and links, please peruse the links to the right when you have the time!

And Occams Edge will be hosting the Skeptics Circle in a few weeks