Archives for the month of: August, 2014

Young-earth creationists like to assert that they know what the Hebrew word מִין ( and its variants mean in the Bible. Assuming my internet-based tools (and my skills in using them) are adequate, this word is not actually used in the Bible.

These words are:

לְמִינָ֔הּ ( 12 occurrences

לְמִֽינֵהֶ֗ם ( 1

לְמִינֵ֔הוּ ( 14

לְמִינ֔וֹ ( 4 occurrences.

The word is translated kind or kinds consistently, but apparently it also means schismatic or heretic. Perhaps worth pondering another day.

This isn’t the only Hebrew word translated “kinds” in the Bible, but there seems little use in delving into the others. This one has several occurrences. We should be able to figure the context.

If you click through the links above, you see the obvious, the creation account at the beginning of Genesis, then the similar statements in the story of Noah.

Now look at Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Here we see the same usage of the word with very specific differentiation.

Look at Leviticus 11, starting in verse 13, with the list of birds that are not to be eaten or handled. Eagle, bearded vulture, black vulture, kite, falcon of any kind, every raven of any kind, ostrich, nighthawk, sea gull, hawk of any kind, little owl, cormorant, short-eared owl, barn owl, tawny owl, carrion vulture, stork, heron of any kind, hoopoe, and bat.

Look at how clearly the Bible is using kind here and differentiating between kinds of vultures, kinds of owls, kinds of water-shore birds, and bats. Don’t forget that the bible calls bats birds rather than mammals. Clearly “kind” means something much more specific than “family” in biology.

The statement about insects is interesting: 20“All winged insects that go on all fours are detestable to you. 21Yet among the winged insects that go on all fours you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, with which to hop on the ground. 22Of them you may eat: the locust of any kind, the bald locust of any kind, the cricket of any kind, and the grasshopper of any kind. 23But all other winged insects that have four feet are detestable to you.

The statement is that all insects are unclean. Then, well, okay, you can eat the ones with jointed legs for hopping. Then it specifies four categories of locust/grasshoppers and says all of the kinds in those categories. The usage of kind here is consistent with species and subspecies. Of course, all winged insects have six legs, not four. I’m just not sure what to make of that.

The passage goes on to lists a few kinds of lizards, and refers the kinds of the great lizard. Again, we must be at least at the level of what we all call species in everyday life. Not families or orders.

Deuteronomy reiterates.

There is one more use of kinds in Ezekiel 47, where he describes the waters flowing from the temple. Ezekiel stipulates many kinds of fish. It says many kinds of trees, too, but the Hebrew doesn’t use the same word. A transliteration would be closer to “all trees” grow there. So, for sense, all kinds of trees. Neat vision. Not real clear what it means, but it has always seemed to me that Ezekiel was concerned with recording his visions, not explaining them.

So, to the usage and definition of kinds, it seems that the common understanding of species and subspecies applies as the Bible itself uses the word. The Leviticus usage (reiterated in Deuteronomy) rules out genus or above for any biblical usage of the word.

So, when someone is trying to define “kind” as a biological family or higher, point them to Leviticus 11 and ask how many kinds of falcon there are. Ask whether an observant Jew would need to include in every kind of falcon the several species and the few subspecies of every one of the species of falcons extant and extinct. Be sure to mention that with the exception of the list of unclean birds (which included bats), all other birds are clean. God commanded Noah to take 14 (seven pairs) of all the clean birds. (Or was it all birds? Is it clear that only one pair of unclean kinds of birds were commanded?)

BTW, everyone knows that moose, elk (all deer for that matter), and giraffe are clean, right?

Good resource. Solid information.

Watts Up With That?

Siemens_big_wind_TV_adFacing trouble abroad, Siemens ads seek to tap into US taxpayers and wind welfare system

Guest essay by Mary Kay Barton

If you watch much mainstream TV, you’ve probably seen Siemens’ new multi-million-dollar advertising blitz  to sell the American public on industrial wind. Why the sudden ad onslaught? Watch the video below.

The wind business abroad has taken a huge hit of late. European countries have begun slashing renewable mandates, due to the ever-broadening realization that renewables cost far more than industrial wind proponents have led people to believe: economically, environmentally, technically, and civilly.

Siemens’ energy business took a €48m hit in the second quarter due to a bearings issue with onshore turbines, and a €23m charge due to ongoing offshore grid issues in Germany – on top of subsidy and feed-in tariff cutbacks, recent articles have pointed out.

As Siemens’ tax-sheltering market dries up…

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There is a simple rule with rotating machinery, build it big and massive compared to the load on it. Such is not possible in windmill applications. Keep the rotating machines well lubed, and they will last a while. That proves very impractical on top of a tall tower. Accordingly, without adequate mass, without adequate maintenance, and without adequate lubrication, what goes around, stops, especially in marine environments.

Windmills do not work, and they will never work. Just can’t.

How much pain will we take before we wise up?

Watts Up With That?

Story by Eric Worrall –

wind_turbine_bearings[1]A few years ago, I used to know a senior wind turbine engineer. One evening, over a few beers, he told me the dirty secret of his profession:

“The problem is the bearings. If we make the bearings bigger, the bearings last longer, but making the bearings larger increases friction, which kills turbine efficiency. But we can’t keep using the current bearings – replacing them is sending us broke. What we need is a quantum leap in bearing technology – bearing materials which are at least ten times tougher than current materials.”

At the time there was very little corroborating online material available to support this intriguing comment – but evidence seems to be accumulating that bearings are a serious problem for the wind industry.

Siemens citing bearing failures as part of the reason for a substantial fall in profit;

In the announcement of…

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Evidence. The facts are that nothing is happening that hasn’t happened many times in the past. The facts are that some places are certainly warmer and other places are certainly cooler. Of course, the alarmist have been busy hiding the cool spots. Makes things look worse than they are. Mainly, look around. It is as it has always been. It was warmer in Oklahoma when my father was a child. It was warmer than that when when Granddad was born. Cycles. That’s climate. Always changing. Besides. Warmer is better. We used to call the warm spells climate optimums, rather than just warm periods. We called them optimums because the world was a better place during the warm periods.

Watts Up With That?

Yesterday we posted on BoM’s bomb on station temperature trend fiddling. where BoM claimed the trend difference was a result of a station move. Apparently, BoM can’t even keep track of their own station histories! Today, Dr. Jennifer Marohasy writes: Who’s going to be sacked for making-up global warming at Rutherglen?

She writes: HEADS need to start rolling at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The senior management have tried to cover-up serious tampering that has occurred with the temperatures at an experimental farm near Rutherglen in Victoria. Retired scientist Dr Bill Johnston used to run experiments there. He, and many others, can vouch for the fact that the weather station at Rutherglen, providing data to the Bureau of Meteorology since November 1912, has never been moved. Senior management at the Bureau are claiming the weather station could have been moved in 1966 and/or 1974 and that this could…

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For record

Watts Up With That?

From Jo Nova: BOM finally explains! Cooling changed to warming trends because stations “might” have moved!

It’s the news you’ve been waiting years to hear! Finally we find out the exact details of why the BOM changed two of their best long term sites from cooling trends to warming trends. The massive inexplicable adjustments like these have been discussed on blogs for years. But it was only when Graham Lloyd advised the BOM he would be reporting on this that they finally found time to write three paragraphs on specific stations.

875141-a5eda3f6-2a03-11e4-80fd-d0db9517e116[1]Who knew it would be so hard to get answers. We put in a Senate request for an audit of the BOM datasets in 2011. Ken Stewart, Geoff Sherrington, Des Moore, Bill Johnston, and Jennifer Marohasy have also separately been asking the BOM for details about adjustments on specific BOM sites. (I bet Warwick Hughes has too).

The BOM…

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A market is a place where individuals can meet to cooperatively interact, voluntarily, as individuals. The Market is the same. It simply facilitates the cooperative actions of individuals. It cannot be personal. It cannot have objectives. It is simply the mechanism whereby individuals do what individuals agree together to do. What’s not to like?

The gravest sin of humanity has nothing to do with equality or inequality, it is simply coercion. If I force you against your will in anything, I am a grievous sinner, having sinned against you, against your Creator, even against all humanity and what being human means.

GARY M. GALLES writes for here,, and he takes the Pope to task for anthropomorphising the market.

Sure, the market is impersonal, but it doesn’t exist except for the individuals that participate in it. There is no snowstorm if there are no snow flakes. There is no market if there are no individuals. There is no morality except in an individual and in recognizing each individual’s God-given uniqueness and worth.

It is simply a fact that no external force can truly control an individual. Each individual must exercise self-control and act morally in all. It is a heart issue. When all participants in any interaction act morally and with integrity, then all benefit. Not only does each get a fair (though unequal) slice of the pie, the pie gets bigger. The market helps facilitate the right actions of each individual, but it is the individual heart where it starts, or it cannot happen. Out of the corrupt heart, flows only corruption.

Noteworthy quote, “Restricting markets does not mean that what would take their place would be caring, personal relationships—it may well be abuse of others by governments (as so dramatically demonstrated by our past century’s experience). Overriding the voluntary arrangements people create for themselves means depriving them of their liberty and forcing them into collectivized alternatives they do not choose. That in no way guarantees a more loving or caring society. That cannot be created by force.”

That last line is particularly important. Nothing good can be created by force. Nothing can. It is impossible for compulsion and coercion to create any good. Good can arise in spite of coercion, but that is because of the nobility of the human spirit and the unlimited power of a determined soul.


Real world data. Snow in summer. Obviously due to global warming.
Remember, cold kills; warmer is better.

Watts Up With That?

Plus, there have been new snowfall records, almost unheard of in summer.

See the table:

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Regarding the fact that the article appears to be announcing a possibility for a cheaper system for extracting hydrogen from water, I agree that is likely to be a good thing if it proves out. Regardless, it won’t help with large scale power. Hydrogen is a complicated system that addresses the need filled by batteries. Batteries are simple. Batteries will win in almost all circumstances. Hydrogen will never be significant in transportation nor in grid-level power systems.

Hydrogen is not a fuel. It is an intermediary like a battery. Hydrogen does not exist. Specifically, the burnable form of H-H doesn’t exist on its own where we can collect it for burning. Petroleum and carbon containing gases do exist where we can get them, and we already know how to cost-effectively refine and use them.

As to the Hindenburg, JJ’s response above is noteworthy (, but sure, it is harder to make hydrogen explode than people tend to think. However, see this: It is far from certain that the fabric doping had anything to do with the tragedy. The fact remains, hydrogen is dangerous and potentially explosive. This link poo-poos the notion the skin had anything to do with the fire. It probably was impossible to ignite aluminum powder in the skin. The fire should have never been hot enough, at least not until it was much too late.The organic components would surely have burned, but I suspect all of the aluminum power remained unoxidized. I don’t understand why iron oxide would have been mentioned. (It is already burned,duh.) The assertion seems to be that iron oxide can supply oxygen and act as an oxidizer. Well, under the right conditions, sure, but overall iron likes its oxygen too much to give it up easily. The oxygen in the air provided all the oxygen the fire needed. For me, I’ll stick with uncertain and say it is foolish to assert the skin was the root of the problem. Hydrogen has high energy potential. It can make a very large kaboom, as often demonstrated in lab classes or science shows with a flame touched to a hydrogen filled party balloon.

I’m not finding a reference, but as I recall success against tethered hydrogen observation balloons was poor until aircraft machine guns were loaded with a special explosive incendiary bullet alternated with a special round that was designed to break apart and make large holes in the balloon. It is hard to get, by accident, a mixture of the hydrogen and air that is within the explosive limits. Further, hydrogen does not spontaneously ignite or explode. Blowing up a party balloon with your breath and with hydrogen will give the exact same result if the balloons are poked with a needle. The results will be dramatically different if a flame is set to each.

So, my point here is that while hydrogen is relatively safe, how many explosions will be tolerated? Does anyone remember the Ford Pinto?

The assertions about making electrical energy cheaply enough to warrant making hydrogen from water are shortsighted in my opinion. Batteries are likely to always provide a better means of storing energy. Hydrogen is simply hard to work with, no matter how cheaply we can make it.

Assertions about using plentiful, cheap electricity for producing liquid fuel from water and air are more pie-in-the-sky. Sure, if the conditions are met, it would make some sense, but there are likely to be better alternatives for most applications. It’s like making electricity from methane.

We collect the methane and pipe it to where we need to use it for direct heat. Very efficient. When I turn on the burner under my tea kettle, 100% of the methane is being used to heat my water. Of course, there are inefficiencies. I cannot hope 100% of the energy from burning will go into my water, but the same applies when I’m using an electric heat source. Approximately the same amount of heat is applied to the bottom of my kettle, and expended from the burner, whether the source is burning methane or applying electrical energy for heat. The difference is in getting the energy to the burner. None of the methane’s energy was lost before it reached the flame under the kettle. Over two-thirds of the methane’s energy is lost before it gets to the electric burner if the methane was used to fire a turbine that generated the electricity for the electric heater, perhaps more loses depending on system inefficiencies at the power generation station and in the electrical distribution grid.

Generating electricity from natural gas is a sad state of affairs when we have such better and more efficient options for its use.

Watts Up With That?

From Stanford University something familiar to most anyone who has taken science – electrolysis of water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Stanford scientists develop a water splitter that runs on an ordinary AAA battery

Stanford scientists have developed a low-cost device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas. Gas bubbles are produced from electrodes made of inexpensive nickel and iron. Credit: Mark Shwartz/Stanford Precourt Institut for Energy

In 2015, American consumers will finally be able to purchase fuel cell cars from Toyota and other manufacturers. Although touted as zero-emissions vehicles, most of the cars will run on hydrogen made from natural gas, a fossil fuel that contributes to global warming.

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An article in Nature seems to say that inconsequential mutations within our genes and proteins can be as significant as extinction in determining the evolutionary path we living creatures have taken since the beginning.

Michael J. Harms & Joseph W. Thornton published

Historical contingency and its biophysical basis in glucocorticoid receptor evolution


They say their “findings demonstrate that GR evolution depended strongly on improbable, non-deterministic events, and this contingency arose from intrinsic biophysical properties of the protein.”

My friends with “design” leanings will assert that God directed these highly improbable events. It is interesting to contemplate, along with all the other improbable constraints that coalesced to bring us to where we are, but the fact remains, these events are natural, not supernatural. The fact remains, it is impossible to please God without faith; it is impossible to come to God without first belief that he is and that he is a rewarder of them who diligently seek him.

The article, being at Nature, is expensive, and I won’t be buying it, so I’ll quote the editor’s summary,

Can evolutionary biology become a predictive science? The answer to that question depends largely on whether it proves possible to develop a quantitative measure of the role of chance historical events in shaping evolutionary paths. With that objective in mind, Michael Harms and Joseph Thornton start from a database of thousands of variants of an ancestral form of the glucocorticoid receptor to look for mutations paving the way for the appearance of a larger-effect mutation creating a new ligand specificity, and they find none besides the historical permissive mutations. Their result shows that the evolution of this class of hormone receptors is critically dependent on rare non-deterministic events, constrained by protein biophysics. Evolutionary contingency is often seen in terms of chance external forces such as extinction by asteroid impact or climate change, but this work points to the internal organization of biological systems as a further powerful source of contingency.

Just an annoying aside: I don’t know why editors allow “non” to be needlessly hyphenated.

As to the use of “predictive” in the editor’s first sentence, I suppose he is indicating the use of predictive models based on our understanding of evolutionary biology and mutation in order direct evolutionary change in organisms in order to get new ones with specific characteristics and traits. I think he mainly means we have to understand a lot better before we really move beyond trial and error in these regards.

I’ll add that there is plenty of references on the Nature page to keep someone busy for a long time, and many libraries will have free [to use] access to many of the resources. So, you can check it all out expending only your time.

One last comment from my studies long ago, a researcher once found that E. coli could consistently beat extreme odds of starving [and surviving] by mutating to eat an alternative food in their culture dish. The story goes that the researcher forgot to add the nutrient to a set of culture dishes one night, and he was disappointed to see his failed experiment the next morning. However, a couple of the cultures had survived. He investigated and found they had mutated such that they could eat an organic component of the culture gel, something that was not supposed to be able to happen. Odds against it were several million to one. So, he tried again with the same results. Then he tried various directed experiments along those lines and kept finding that the E. coli could consistently be extremely long odds. One experiment necessitated a contingent mutation, as the authors of the article here cited discuss. That is, the E. coli had to mutate ineffectively before a useful mutation was possible–a two step mutation pair. The E. coli managed. That is, while starving they mutated in a way that didn’t help them eat, yet that mutation allowed them to make a mutation that did enable them to eat and survive.

I’ve never managed to find again the specific references when I’ve tried. Perhaps the information is readily available now, but it will still require the right search. Regardless, such research continues, and the almost limitless variations and abilities of life grow more astonishing as we understand it better.


Oklahoma has nothing on Iceland! That one little island is having 50 an hour.

Watts Up With That?

yearly_activity[1]From the Icelandic Meteorological Office:

A summary of seismic activity, written Tuesday evening 19th August 2014 at 20:00

Around 1.000 small earthquakes were detected in the Bárðarbunga region from midnight (18/19) until Tuesday evening 19th August at 20:00. All of them were smaller than magnitude 3 and most were located in the cluster east of Bárðarbunga.

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Willis speaks well. I find it interesting that Doctors for Disaster Preparedness found it so important to renounce the disastrous effects of the President’s policies on coal.

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

My thanks again to Dr. Jane Orient, Jeremy Snavely, and the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness (DDP). I previously described how they invited me to Knoxville to speak at the DDP conference.

However, they’ve now outdone themselves and posted my speech online, and have my further thanks for doing so. Here’s the video, featuring me cleverly disguised in a coat and tie. 

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Just ‘cuz.

Watts Up With That?

(WUWT readers, please excuse this distraction while I holler at WUWT’s hosting provider, As Willis would say, “my blood is mightily angrified”.)

I have generally been supportive of most upgrades, for example the recent upgrade to allow the top editor bar to float with scrolling is a HUGE time saver.

Unfortunately, the new Beep Beep Boop “upgrade” is a crash-and-burn moment in user interface design.

Top 10 reasons the new WordPress Beep Boop Boob editor is a stunning failure.

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Sure, we humans affect things around us, even reefs, but out burning is not part of the problem. Perhaps with a fair-minded realization of the real problems, we can see good results. After all, do we really need urchins and parrotfish in our private aquariums? And can’t we farm the ones we do want? We don’t need to take them from the wild.

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I’ve written a few times on the question of one of my favorite hangouts on the planet, underwater tropical coral reefs. Don’t know if you’ve ever been down to one, but they are a fairyland of delights, full of hosts of strange and mysterious creatures. I’ve seen them status and trends of caribbean coral reefsfar from the usual haunts of humanoids, where they are generally full of vigor and bursting life.

I’ve also seen them in various stages of ill-health, including the bleaching caused by occasional high temperatures (which a healthy reef recovers from in a few years). In all of my writings on this subject, I’ve said that the health of the reef depends in large part on parrotfish. I’ve proposed that atoll nations declare the parrotfish as their national bird, just to bring attention to the fish that are responsible for the very existence of the atolls themselves.

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I haven’t written enough lately, and a friend on Facebook suggested we are about to get an NFL team here in OKC. So, while I listen to Gunger, a few lines:

I find myself less than optimistic. First, OKC has raised taxes on itself a lot lately. We are doing lots of good things around here, but some of it, not so much. I don’t think we’d vote a new tax for a new stadium. We’d need new roads and other infrastructure too. Can be done, but not soon. (I’ll call soon ten years plus or minus eight. 😉 )

Where to put this potential new stadium? Downtown seems out of the question, but who knows. I suppose it depends who takes the largest share of the cost. There are lots of reasonable sites around this sprawling metro of ours. I don’t suppose land will be an issue unless the decision comes down that it has to be squeezed in downtown. I expect there are some other good locations that would work out well if a thorough campaign ensued from beginning to get those affected involved and on board. A couple of possibilities near the capitol exist. These would have to be community projects, objections dealt with fairly. I find myself thinking again that this could not be done in five years. I suspect a stadium in three years is impossible. Four years seems workable if there is no fight over the location and infrastructure support is worked in properly.  Read the rest of this entry »

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