Archives for the month of: March, 2014

This post is about how absurd it is to suppose that windmills can maintain an ever-increasing prosperity on earth by providing sufficient energy. It cannot be done!

The title I gave this post is my assertion that we MUST burn fuel to have enough energy to live without slaves. Specifically, inexpensive and freely available energy is what allows all of us westerners to live like kings of old. We accomplish with fuel and electricity what used to be accomplished only with grueling human labor. Read the rest of this entry »

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I came across an InterVarsity blog, and Andy Walsh wrote an article I find particularly interesting. http://blog.emergingscholars.org/2014/03/science-in-review-the-art-of-public-science-communication/

He makes some very insightful comments regarding the new Cosmos and the first three episodes aired so far. I agree with him. It seems that at least part of the point in Cosmos is to confront religion.

I like his points about communication, and I especially like his comments regarding vaccines. The comments to the article are worthwhile too.

Vaccines are God’s gift for human health. I thank God that our doctors and researchers have figured out how make them and keep them effective.

My how time flies. I can hardly believe Willis wrote this over four years ago (over nine, given his statement that he originally wrote it in 2005), but it is relevant to so much thinking in science. Look at the data. Regarding extinctions, there are good data available. Obviously, the situation is not as alarmists assert. To my knowledge, the thinking Willis debunks here is still entrenched in such recent rulings as the lesser prairie chicken. Anyway, to anyone reading this on my blog, know that I consider everything Willis has written to be worthwhile reading. Highly recommended. (Most is at Anthony’s site, but Willis writes a lot elsewhere, and he has a few papers in journals.)

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Abstract

The record of continental (as opposed to island) bird and mammal extinctions in the last five centuries was analyzed to determine if the “species-area” relationship actually works to predict extinctions. Very few continental birds or mammals are recorded as having gone extinct, and none have gone extinct from habitat reduction alone. No continental forest bird or mammal is recorded as having gone extinct from any cause. Since the species-area relationship predicts that there should have been a very large number of recorded bird and mammal extinctions from habitat reduction over the last half millennium, I show that the species-area relationship gives erroneous answers to the question of extinction rates.

Figure 1. The Object of My Quest — The Corpse of an Extinct Bird

Background

A recent study in Nature [Thomas 2004] stated that 37% of all species might soon go extinct because of habitat…

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I hear bad things about the Noah movie. (Mostly the same as what was worried about before it was out.)

It is kinda disappointing. My expectations were quite low. I figured it would be an environmentalists movie rather than anything resembling the biblical account. Still, I figured it would be a worthwhile movie, but from what little I’ve read, it looks like it probably isn’t even worth the time to watch on video.

I’m a metallurgical engineer, and I have a thorough understanding of metals. I suspected I’d have to have my “suspension of disbelief” set to maximum just from the movie poster where Crowe stands with an iron ax in his hand. Per traditional biblical dating, Noah was a full millenia before anyone had iron tools, Tubal-Cain not withstanding. (And “brass”? That alone should eliminate any “KJV-only” assertions.)

I’ll probably still see it. I suspect at least Nathan will want to as well, but I sure ain’t spending good money on it. A buck will be my limit for something like this.

I don’t fully endorse these reviews, but they are representative of what I was reading. One I read written by a Lutheran Pastor thought it would be okay to go, that is–not sinful, but he couldn’t get over how horrid it was from a biblical perspective and how poor it was as a movie. It does sound like it will have some big-screen moments, but I suspect I’d be unable to get in to it for all the nonsense going on.

http://godawa.com/movieblog/deconstructing-noahs-arc-godawful-storytelling/

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/noah-2014

With the daily and annual temperature changes most species of everything endure constantly, the assertion of extinction due to purported global warming has always been hyperbolic.

Watts Up With That?

In 2007, the IPCC predicted that rising global temperatures would kill off many species. But in its new report, part of which will be presented next Monday, the UN climate change body backtracks. There is a shortage of evidence, a draft version claims.

Global warming is said to be threatening thousands of animal and plant species with extinction. That, at least, is what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been predicting for years.

But the UN climate body now says it is no longer so certain. The second part of the IPCC’s new assessment report is due to be presented next Monday in Yokohama, Japan. On the one hand, a classified draft of the report notes that a further “increased extinction risk for a substantial number of species during and beyond the 21st century” is to be expected. On the other hand, the IPCC admits that there…

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Worth note. Bottom line regarding burning fossil fuels, the proposed cure is far worse than even the wildest predictions regarding the purported disease.

Watts Up With That?

Art for WSJ by David Klein

Climate Forecast: Muting the Alarm

Even while it exaggerates the amount of warming, the IPCC is becoming more cautious about its effects.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will shortly publish the second part of its latest report, on the likely impact of climate change. Government representatives are meeting with scientists in Japan to sex up—sorry, rewrite—a summary of the scientists’ accounts of storms, droughts and diseases to come.

But the actual report, known as AR5-WGII, is less frightening than its predecessor seven years ago.

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I love science.

I happened upon an assertion that BPS is worse than BPA. I honestly can’t explain why anyone would care. EPA has caused far more harm than anything related to plastics, and EPA is getting worse, metastasizing to corrupt and deteriorate all that is good in America.

First, I have difficulty finding any information on BPS. I cannot tell that it has been substituted for BPA in plastic products. Bisphenol A is a common component of many plastics. As well as I can tell from a few minutes of internet search, Bisphenol S is only used in some epoxy resins. Epoxy resins are uncommon in most plastic products.

As to BPA, well, here is an article mentioning in passing while talking about chemistry in general, and Chemist Dr. Joe Schwarcz, http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/13-02-27/ Frankly, the concerns about BPA are exceptionally over hyped.

It astonishes me how the media will hype news of doom and gloom. When study after study (go do your own research–you won’t believe mine anyway) finds BPA to be inconsequential, the hype goes on, drumming on a few factoids and other studies that suggest maybe.

The climate change scare is the same. We can all look around and see it is not getting warmer. It is easy to review history and geology and see it has been warmer, much warmer, in the past. Yet, the scare continues, and people like me are likened to holocaust-deniers.

When it comes to most of the “chemicals” around us that are supposed to be so dangerous, I can only wonder why our life expectancy and general health continue to improve.

If everything is so bad for us, why do we keep living longer?

We Americans have so many problems because we have no real problems. (This applies to most of the world today, especially the rest of the Western world.)

The biggest threat to the well-being of the average person is government regulation. EPA is the most dangerous thing on earth. We will be better off to abolish it.

 

A photographer was working with her camera and trying to help her second-grade daughter with her math homework, which was Common Core aligned. She happened to catch a now famous photo of her daughter’s frustration.

Math, the hard way.

The original photo is here: https://scontent-b-dfw.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/t1.0-9/1902803_714460471932456_838701478_n.jpg

The write-up at this link is worth your time to understand the photo:

http://www.bizpacreview.com/2014/02/14/photo-the-heartbreaking-face-of-common-core-100613

Another mother, a teacher, expresses her frustration here, http://teachersletterstobillgates.com/2014/03/21/five-hours-of-gates-led-kindergarten-common-core-map-tests-testhearingsnow/, specifically addressing the Gates Foundation and some other contributors to the Common Core State Standards. She addresses five hours of baseline testing for five-year-olds. Her open letter to the Gates Foundation is a bit emotional, but she makes the case that CCSS and the mandatory testing that is being implemented with it are more of a corporate takeover of education, rather than the latest honest effort at reform. Ms. DuFresne sees these testing requirements as child abuse.

Even if you support the Common Core State Standards, you must stand up and ensure excesses as described above are not allowed. These fuzzy math examples may be exceptional, but they are in line with the “think outside the box” attitude built into the implementation efforts. It is also certain that too much is being expected of those under 11 years of age.

The big problem is coercion and externally imposed requirements. Requirements must start with consideration of the child and the parent, individually, case by case. The more steps above the child and parent from whence the imposition is foisted, the more perverse will be the results. Coercion is always immoral. Perhaps CCSS isn’t the root of the problem, but it certainly is exposing problems that it cannot hope to fix.

Somehow it was movie weekend. Just worked out that way. My wife and I saw Nonstop. (“Non” is a prefix in English. Hyphens are not required for prefixes.)

Nonstop was as good as expected. It is a relatively decent even-paced thriller that gave good twists and turns. Overall, recommended.

Then we saw Divergent. My daughter says the book is much better than the movie, but she thought the movie did well enough. She agrees it was good and recommended as well. Note that Divergent is a romance at the core. It is a dystopian thriller, yes, but mostly it is about the triumph of love. Quite enjoyable. The backstory was too superficial for me to ignore, but it wasn’t very distracting. Being an engineer is not conducive to movie watching. Oh well. Overall good show. Well acted.

Finally, we took the boys to see God’s Not Dead. Joseph is a fan of the Newsboys, particularly the God’s Not Dead song, and the movie promises to be talked about enough to think it worth watching just to know what is being talked about.

I think if this wasn’t such an openly religious movie, the headlines would include, “Feel-good hit of the year!” Really. It was excellent all around.

I am confident that those who want to throw stones will find plenty to work with. Still, I don’t find anything objectionable. The theology was sound, at least from my Wesleyan perspective, though it sure didn’t appear there was any effort to be Wesleyan. I suspect there was an effort to be nonsectarian. The main story was simple faith and providence. I’ll refrain from details because I don’t want to give anything away.

It pulled in several modern difficulties and dealt with none of them deeply but all of them well! It was a word-to-the-wise type of approach. The overall effect could hardly have been better.

It was quite intricate. One does have to pay attention. No one moved when the movie ended. Part of it was that it was not obvious that it ended. The credit screen immediately started listing the legal cases that influenced the content of movie, and it was obviously a composite of some number of such cases, and probably some good invention.

The other factor that obviously kept everyone seated at the end was that it was quite emotional. It seemed no one wanted to move. I suppose the bits that affected me most will not be the same for others, but I truly believe everyone will find scenes that speak to them and touch their emotions. I don’t mind admitting I cried some. I wasn’t the only one.

I honestly expect this is the kind of movie that everyone can go and enjoy. Sure, it will make some uncomfortable, but it is not preachy. It takes an honest look within. If you aren’t intentionally running from God, you should find this to be the kind of movie that reaffirms you. It deals with sadness and bad things straight up. It shows that among the hard things in life, God is there.

The bottom line of the movie was close to my own bottom line. There is much evidence that supports belief in God, but even the Bible says that faith is required, that one must believe. There are no easy answers, and this movie didn’t pretend to offer any. It left a lot of questions unanswered, but it offered hope and encouragement.

Belief is a choice. The movie set that down simply. Believe or don’t. It is your choice. Everyman must make the choice. No one can do it for him, and no one must be allowed to coerce the choice in any direction. Even though I am a Christian and truly believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, I am certain that God alone is the judge, and no heart answers to anyone but God, the judge. CS Lewis put a scene in the Last Battle that allegorizes it for me. Jesus is the way, but who am I to judge how anyone but me might come to Him and follow in that way?

I recommend this movie to everyone. It really is that good. It will encourage you and help you if you let it.

A US News and World Report article provides some details of Common Core State Standards past. 2010 is when CCSS started, but there was some effort to get it started back in 2008. 

Given we have been slapping reform after reform on our educational system for decades now, the years here can hardly be considered slow and methodical.

Still, that is kinda the point the USNews article is trying to make. I don’t buy it.

Supposedly Janet Napolitano started it. She released an August 2006 initiative statement as chair of the Governors Association (a position held at the moment by my governor, Mary Fallin). Here is the statement:

The National Governors Association’s Innovation America initiative focused on strengthening our nation’s competitive position in the global economy by improving our capacity to innovate. The goal was to give governors the tools they need to improve math and science education, better align post secondary education systems with state economies, and develop regional innovation strategies.
To guide the Innovation America initiative, we assembled a bipartisan task force of governors, corporate CEOs and university presidents. Working with the NGA Center for Best Practices, this task force provided valuable advice on innovation strategies in general and assisted in the development of the initiative’s reports and forums. Through a variety of events and publications, we collected and shared best practice information to ensure that every state—and the nation—is equipped to excel in the global economy.

There is a 75 page paper that goes with it:  http://www.nga.org/files/live/sites/NGA/files/pdf/0707INNOVATIONINVEST.PDF

Governor Fallin is a conservative, but left leaning in some areas, including education. She and our State Superintendent have pushed, and continue to push, for the CCSS. The Governor’s position seems to be shifting, perhaps. It is hard for me to believe that a Republican Governor and Republican State Superintendent of Education can support something started by the likes of Napolitano. I should think anyone who asserts personally conservative political views would recognize the CCSS as left leaning from inception to implementation. Close examination shows it is progressivist. I find progressivism in all its forms entirely against the human soul. 

The Napolitano statement has carried through to the final version of the CCSS now adopted by most states. The tone I find so alarming, like lifter noise in an engine, like the rattle the doctor listens for with the stethoscope to your back, is the perverted, or at least corrupted, nationalism in the statement. It is collectivist. There is no consideration for the individual, only the state. 

That is wrong. It is the cancerous core of the Common Core. Read the rest of this entry »

For posterity. Our media and most of those who will be interviewed by them are practically brain-dead. Don’t trust them. Go look it up. Figure it out for yourself, and stay skeptical.

Watts Up With That?

And we thought this one was bad:  CNN talking empty head (Feyerick) asks Bill Nye if approaching Meteor was a result of global warming….

OK that set the stage, what could be dumber than that? Now study the picture below, and ask yourself, what’s wrong with this picture? Note the plane, a Boeing 777.

black_holes_777_CNN

And here is what was said: 

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Fascinating post, and the comments are an education. Dr. Leif Svalgaard is always worth paying attention to.

Watts Up With That?

“This has been like looking for a needle in a haystack, but instead we found a crowbar…”

South Pole station where the scientists made the discovery The 10-meter South Pole Telescope and the BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) Telescope against the Milky Way. BICEP2 recently detected gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave background, a discovery that supports the cosmic inflation theory of how the universe began. (Photo: Keith Vanderlinde, National Science Foundation)

From the Stanford Report, March 17, 2014 (h/t to Dr. Leif Svalgaard) video follows

New evidence from space supports Stanford physicist’s theory of how universe began

The detection of gravitational waves by the BICEP2 experiment at the South Pole supports the cosmic inflation theory of how the universe came to be. The discovery, made in part by Assistant Professor Chao-Lin Kuo, supports the theoretical work of Stanford’s Andrei Linde.

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Global warming does not cause cold springs. It is time for the enviro-fundies and alarmists to admit the consensus is wrong. Cold kills. Warmer is better.

Watts Up With That?

Another massive cold wave headed for Eastern US next week to put temperature 20 degrees below normal

Senior WeatherBell Meteorologist Joe Bastardi commented:

I am 58.. never seen anything close to this for late March.

and

[The] pattern next week has as much extreme potential for the time of the year as I can find. Coldest opening to calender spring in 50 yrs at least.

Weather forecast models such as the ECMWF and NCEP, both of which have had good track records this year in identifying polar vortex outbreaks in advance, are now forecasting a massive cold blast for the beginning of spring. See maps:

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Some of us remember the scaremongering and alarmism regarding global cooling and the impending ice age. Some of us even remember our use of fossil fuels was posited as proximate cause. Oops.

Keep in mind: Cold kills. Warmer is better.

Watts Up With That?

Steve Goddard tips me to this article in the Canberra Times on May 16th, 1974:

SUPPORT FOR A THEORY OF A COOLING WORLD

It has some interesting claims in it that sound much like climate change claims made today. Apparently they detected large albedo changes via satellite, with a 12% increase in snow and ice in the Northern Hemisphere that started in 1971, and continued through 1974 when this article was published:

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