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