March 31, 2012

An Army joke, from my son...

The Army has an unofficial policy for winning hearts and minds... Two to the heart and one to the mind!

Soldiers laying in mud, Kuwait, 2003

Posted by John Weidner at 7:45 PM

March 30, 2012

Yet another Lefty lie debunked...

Glenn Reynolds, writing on that supposed finding that "Confidence in science by conservatives has declined since 1974"...

...UPDATE: Reader Mary Ritenour writes:

I tracked back to the original paper ( to see what the exact survey question was.
"The GSS asked respondents the following question: "I am going to name some institutions in this country. As far as the people running these institutions are concerned, would you say you have a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, or hardly any confidence at all in them [the Scientific Community]?" (page 172)
The confidence in "people running these institutions" was being measured, not "Science" itself. Huge difference. HUGE!

Maybe we should be skeptical of science reporting, too...

Actually if you follow the link to the article Conservative Distrust of Science, it's not "science reporting" at all. It's "sociology." Which is to say, you can presume it to be rubbish unless presented with very strong evidence to the contrary.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:21 PM

March 29, 2012

Just a bit of sneaky BS...

By Henry Blodget, Americans Angry With Obama As Gas Nears $4 A Gallon | Daily Ticker - Yahoo! Finance:

...Because oil and gas prices are likely trending upward for an excellent fundamental reason, meanwhile—increasing demand from emerging economies like India and China—the only way to bring them down permanently is to diversify the country's sources of energy and reduce the country's consumption of it. [So, you are advocating nuclear power?]

And President Obama is actually doing that. [Baloney. He is at war with all practical forms of energy, because he's a leftist and hates the idea of a strong America.]

U.S. oil production has increased over the last four years, from about 5 million barrels a day to close to 6 million barrels. [Why not be a reporter instead of a lefty liar, and mention that energy production that is under control of the Federal Government has declined by 40% under the Obama regime. All the increased production is from places where Democrats can't kill it.] Natural gas has become so plentiful that prices have crashed. [And leftists are trying hard to kill new production with phony environmental concerns about franking.] And, in part as a result of high gas prices, Americans are driving less and using less fuel. [We are poorer and weaker—ain't that Progressive.]

So the U.S. is actually making progress toward curing its foreign oil addiction. There's a long way to go, of course, and there's no quick and lasting fix to today's high prices, [I bet a President Palin could show you some stuff.] but we're making progress. And Americans frustrated with that progress should probably lay at least some blame at the feet of the Presidents and Congresses that have ignored the finite oil problem for the past 40 years [No, they should lay the blame at the feet of Democrats and fake-environmentalists.]....

Stop global warming sign covered with snow

Posted by John Weidner at 8:31 PM

March 24, 2012

An old idea. Older than you think...

The Federalist Solution - Jonah Goldberg - National Review Online:

...But what if the real compromise isn't in forcing the Left and the Right to heel? What if instead the solution is to disempower the national elites who think they've got the answers to everything?

Federalism — the process whereby you push most political questions to the lowest democratic level possible — has been ripe on the right for years now. It even had a champion in Texas governor Rick Perry, and Ron Paul still carries that torch.

The main advantage of federalism is more fundamental than the "laboratories of democracy" idea. Federalism is simply the best political system ever conceived of for maximizing human happiness. A one-size-fits-all policy imposed at the national level has the potential to make very large numbers of citizens unhappy, even if it was arrived at democratically. In a pure democracy, I always say, 51 percent of the people can vote to pee in the cornflakes of 49 percent of the people.

Pushing government decisions down to the lowest democratic level possible — while protecting basic civil rights — guarantees that more people will have a say in how they live their lives. Not only does that mean more people will be happy, but the moral legitimacy of political decisions will be greater.

The problem for conservative and libertarian federalists is that whenever we talk about federalism, the Left hears "states' rights" — which is then immediately, and unfairly, translated into, "Bring back Bull Connor."

But that may be changing. In an essay for the spring issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, Yale law professor Heather K. Gerken offers the case for "A New Progressive Federalism."...

If Federalism makes a comeback, it will be because it fits the Information Age much better than it did the Industrial Age. Top-down management by government doesn't work well any more. Actually, management in general works poorly now. Management used to mean something like the Ringmaster in the Disney movie Dumbo directing a parade of slow-moving docile elephants. Now it is like the Ringmaster racking his whip over a thousand scampering cats.

And Federalism is actually an instance of the old Catholic doctrine called Subsidiarity. Which holds that all power should be pushed as far down as possible. That is, we should not only be pushing as much decision-making to the states as possible—that's what the Constitution did until it was subverted—but also pushing power down from the states to the cities and counties. And as much of that as possible should be given to voluntary groups and churches. And, whenever possible, decisions should be made by individuals and families.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:57 AM

March 19, 2012

Just cuz it made the Weidners laugh and laugh...

Volt fire in garage, funny poster

(From Moonbattery)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:44 PM

March 18, 2012

Adherence to Mission...

I'm accumulating bits and pieces of what I hope will be a book someday. (Concerning the transition from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. Which I believe was a profound change in thinking, that arose before PC's and the Internet.) Many of them I'm just retrieving out of this blog, since Random Jottings is a big messy closet stuffed with odds and ends that interest me, and now I find that a lot of them are useful for the new project. To my surprise I've sort of been writing a book for ten years without realizing it!

But also, things I'm collecting now for the book may be worth putting into the blog. This one is from Six Days in June, by Eric Hammel, which I read years ago. It's a great book about the Six-Day War in 1967, and the history that led up to that stunning victory. Here are some quotes. I'm sure you will see what I'm getting at...

NOTE: Zahal is the Hebrew acronym for the Israeli Defense Forces. And the emphasis on speedy decisive victory is not some kind of blood-thirstiness, but is based upon the reality that Israel is a tiny country surrounded by much larger enemies. She has no room for maneuver or retreats, and lacks the resources for a long war.

The simplest definition of Adherence to Mission is that higher headquarters establishes a goal in broad terms and the unit charged with achieving the goal may do so by any means at hand. This very definition runs exactly counter to the conventional wisdom pounded between the ears of the soldiers of virtually every military force in the world. Only Zahal actively inculcates its leaders—indeed, every single one of its soldiers—with the dictum of Adherence to Mission.

Most wars fought by most modern armies—whether offensive or defensive—begin with a strategic statement from the government that is illuminated with a carefully drawn operational plan. This carefully drawn plan is known as a sequential plan, for each phase is dependent upon the successful completion of the previous phase...

...When the basic fact that war is chaos and the fog is most penetrable at the point of contact were recognized, analyzed, and institutionalized after the 1956 war, Zahal achieved the ultimate hallmark of its war-making potential.The Israelis came up with an operational doctrine based upon their own actual experience with cumulative warfare. They would intentionally allow for tactical and operational plans governing movement toward the final objective to be made on the fly by the man on the spot: Adherence to Mission...

...While all the reasons for the old method remain essentially true—senior commanders usually do have more experience and higher headquarters usually do have access to more information and broader vistas—the Israeli drive for decisive battlefield dominance—and strategic victory in the shortest possible time—cannot tolerate the time lost in passing information up the chain of command and waiting for instructions to come back down the chain...

...Far from attempting to control the chaos of the battlefield, Adherence to Mission was the first attempt by any of the world's armies to accept and exploit that chaos—virttually to employ chaos as an ally. Israeli soldiers of all ranks are taught that chaos and confusion are inevitable and that their accumulation will inevitably lead to opportunities that cannot possibly be foreseen in any sequential plan and might not be noticed by higher authority. The object of Adherence to Mission is to get every soldier at every level to recognize—and then exploit on his own authority—opportunities that are occurring right before his eyes...

M3 Halftracks, Sinai, Six Day War
(The picture is of Israeli forces in Sinai during the Six Day War. I have a fondness for the M-3 half-tracks, a great American machine. A friend who knows more than I wrote that they were designed to last only for 1,000 miles—from Normandy to Berlin. But there are many of them still running.)

Posted by John Weidner at 11:00 PM

This was written in 2005...

I blogged it in 2009...

And it still fits!

Ramesh Ponnuru:
Patrick Hynes obviously doesn't understand the basic rules of political journalism. How many times do we have to explain it? Every election that goes badly for the Republicans is the fault of social conservatives. Every such election is the death knell of the social Right. The 1992 election marked the end of the Christian conservative moment in American politics. The 1998 election, too. And now the 2005 election. Once Hynes has gotten this down, we can work on the corollary: When Republicans win elections, the big story is the danger that social-conservative excess poses to them.
It's been pretty grim-yet-funny seeing the nattering nabobs of elite conservatism and "centrism" opining that we have to rebuild the Republican party by jettisoning all that old conservative stuff about morality and God that's keeping us from hanging with the cool kids...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:12 PM

Just thought you might be interested in your masters have in store for you...

A 'modest proposal" from Scientific American, Effective World Government Will Be Needed to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe:

...Unfortunately, far more is needed. To be effective, a new set of institutions would have to be imbued with heavy-handed, transnational enforcement powers. There would have to be consideration of some way of embracing head-in-the-cloud answers to social problems that are usually dismissed by policymakers as academic naivete. In principle, species-wide alteration in basic human behaviors would be a sine qua non, but that kind of pronouncement also profoundly strains credibility in the chaos of the political sphere.

Some of the things that would need to be contemplated: How do we overcome our hard-wired tendency to "discount" the future: valuing what we have today more than what we might receive tomorrow? Would any institution be capable of instilling a permanent crisis mentality lasting decades, if not centuries? How do we create new institutions with enforcement powers way beyond the current mandate of the U.N.? Could we ensure against a malevolent dictator who might abuse the power of such organizations?

Behavioral economics and other forward-looking disciplines in the social sciences try to grapple with weighty questions. But they have never taken on a challenge of this scale, recruiting all seven billion of us to act in unison. The ability to sustain change globally across the entire human population over periods far beyond anything ever attempted would appear to push the relevant objectives well beyond the realm of the attainable. If we are ever to cope with climate change in any fundamental way, radical solutions on the social side are where we must focus, though. The relative efficiency of the next generation of solar cells is trivial by comparison....

I especially like: " Could we ensure against a malevolent dictator who might abuse the power of such organizations?" Oh, right. As opposed to the non-abusive use of: "heavy-handed, transnational enforcement powers" to cause "species-wide alteration in basic human behaviors."

Posted by John Weidner at 3:40 PM

March 14, 2012

Old loyalties...

Rush Limbaugh rejects Sleep Train's offer to resume partnership -- The Sacramento Bee:

...Carlsen hired Limbaugh to read his radio ads back in 1986, when Sleep Train owned just two stores and Limbaugh was trying to kickstart a not-so-successful radio career.

"He started doing the spots and it took off right away," Carlsen told The Bee in 1997.

The relationship with Sleep Train continued after Limbaugh moved to New York and became one of the biggest stars in radio. In a 2005 interview with The Bee, Carlsen recalled what Limbaugh told him as he was moving to New York. "When he left town he said, 'The people you meet on the way up are the people you meet on the way down. I'll always take care of you.' "

Me I'm old fashioned. To betray an old friend is unforgivable. To do it casually, out of vague mushy political correctness, and the desire to be bland... I spit upon them!

And thinking a little more about this... Rush stayed the same person as he went from poor to very rich and famous. But I can just imagine the Sleep Train execs, as they move up the ladder of success. You shed the awkwardness of your beginnings, and become smother and sleeker. Your suits cost $600. You move to the fancy neighborhood. Your wives want to be involved in tony fund-raisers. You might get asked to be on the board of some museum or dance company.

And chic society is always liberal! So all the while, as you move among the voguish folk, you wonder if your connection with Rush is like having a bit of dog poop on your shoe. And your wives squirm when little jabs are made about Rush.

So you try to pretend your old unfashionable friend doesn't exist.

I bet the Sleep Train honchos have been betraying their friend for years.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:12 AM

March 13, 2012

History should be treated with truth-loving respect...

I was looking through old posts, and thought this one worth re-posting. Just for my own satisfaction; no one else is likely to care. From November 26, 2001...

British attack in  the film Barry LyndonThe Captain [i.e. Steven den Beste, much missed in the Blogosphere] has written a great bit debunking the persistent myth that the American colonists fought the British by shooting from behind trees and rocks, while the redcoats foolishly paraded in lines.

This is a tall tale that never dies, but in fact the linear tactics were used by both sides for good reasons.

The smoothbore muskets used then were very inaccurate. An individual sniper would be unlikely to do much damage. (Even at Lexington and Concord, the majority of the British survived that long cruel day.) Only with masses of men firing in volleys was firepower effective. AND, muskets were slow to reload. While you were reloading, your only defense was the bayonet. Again, the individual was vulnerable, but a line of men could present a bristling front of bayonets.

Some colonists had rifles, which were very accurate. BUT, rifles then were VERY slow to load, and didn't have bayonets. They were a grief to the British, but never decisive in battle.

Just as important, no one back then had figured out how to control a battle when men were crawling about taking cover. It was a then-insuperable problem. (It was really only solved in 1918, when the Ludendorf Offensives almost defeated the Allies)

I have read that Baron von Steuben, who taught infantry tactics to Washington's army, was flagrantly homosexual. I don't know the details, but gays might want to keep him in mind.

Also good to remember is that the British at Lexington were peace-time soldiers who had never practiced their craft seriously; and didn't expect to find themselves at war (their position was similar to modern "peacekeeping missions".) If the same battle were fought a year later, they would have burned Lexington and Concord to the ground, and massacred any Minutemen who couldn't run very very fast.

I would add that the British at the time of Lexington had the tactics to deal with the colonial rabble. But they hadn't practiced, and were simply not ready. Every battalion (maybe 800 men in 10 companies) had a "light company." These were supposed to be agile and intelligent chaps who could move ahead of the line, dealing with enemy skirmishers and irregulars. They should have given the colonists some real difficulties, but didn't.

The famous British Rifle Regiments emerged from the Revolutionary War. They were fast-moving units clothed in dark green, with black details. They carried no flags, because they did not form a line. Bugles were used for rapid signaling. They marched twice as fast as the ponderous redcoats, and prided themselves on self-discipline and initiative. In a Rifle Regiment—they still exist—"red" is an insult! But it has nothing to do with Communism.

The French await British attack in  the film Barry Lyndon

The pictures are from Kubrick's film Barry Lyndon, set in the Seven Years War. It is very good as a historical picture—give it a try. Some of the scenes were filmed by candle-light, which was astonishing at the time, 1975. I will never forget my frustration when I went to see it, and as the British attacked in line (the picture at the top) some guy loudly said, "I never understood this!" I could have explained it to him, but alas it was not possible. The lower picture is of the French unit bracing for that oncoming British attack. White was the pre-Revolutionary French color.

Just as a crazy extra for you, the Seven Years War was actually started in America. It was started, in fact, by a colonial officer. A certain young Colonel George Washington, whose rash and bloodthirsty attack on Frenchmen who were not at war with the British, ignited a conflagration that might well be called "the first world war." Fun facts for you. Only available at RJ.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:51 PM

Something I had wondered about...

snowy bear

This is interesting to me for a couple of reasons. One, I've blogged about sunspots occasionally, and wondered how people can possibly make predictions of how intense the next sunspot cycle will be. This piece by David Hathaway of NASA lays it out...

NASA/Marshall Solar Physics:

...Predicting the behavior of a sunspot cycle is fairly reliable once the cycle is well underway (about 3 years after the minimum in sunspot number occurs [see Hathaway, Wilson, and Reichmann Solar Physics; 151, 177 (1994)]). Prior to that time the predictions are less reliable but nonetheless equally as important. Planning for satellite orbits and space missions often require knowledge of solar activity levels years in advance.

A number of techniques are used to predict the amplitude of a cycle during the time near and before sunspot minimum. Relationships have been found between the size of the next cycle maximum and the length of the previous cycle, the level of activity at sunspot minimum, and the size of the previous cycle....

The other reason? Well, I hope you are not making any long-term bets based on that Global Warmin' stuff. The bumps on the sunspot cycle charts are getting smaller and smaller. (More here on the changing predictions). And, as I'm sure you know, sunsets have historically correlated with climate. The low points of the Little Ice Age are associated with the Spörer, Dalton and Maunder sunspot Minima.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:13 AM | Comments (1)

March 10, 2012

What do I mean by "Information Age?"

The more I think about this, the more I realize that I lack a clear short statement of what I mean by the term "Information Age". It's in my head, but not down on electronic paper.

And I'm also realizing that other people are using the words in a different way. Here's Wikipedia...

The Information Age, also commonly known as the Computer Age or Digital Age, is an idea that the current age will be characterized by the ability of individuals to transfer information freely, and to have instant access to information that would have been difficult or impossible to find previously. The idea is linked to the concept of a digital age or digital revolution, and carries the ramifications of a shift from traditional industry that the industrial revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based on the manipulation of information, i.e., an information society.

The Information Age formed by capitalizing on the computer microminiaturization advances, with a transition spanning from the advent of the personal computer in the late 1970s to the internet's reaching a critical mass in the early 1990s, and the adoption of such technology by the public in the two decades after 1990. Bringing about a fast evolution of technology in daily life, as well as of educational life style, the Information Age has allowed rapid global communications and networking to shape modern society.

Well, that's good stuff, worth reading. But I don't think it quite hits the target. The change in the world was deeper than just the coming of computers and the Internet. I suspect things were changing, in quiet, little-noticed ways, for many decades before computers. And that the 1960's was the decade when many rumbles and tremors deep underground turned into earthquakes and volcanos— well before computers had much impact on the lives ordinary people.

I'm groping a bit here, so feel free to criticize or give me suggestions. But I'm thinking that the "Information Age" began when people's view of life began to change as information began to move horizontally in quantity. In the Industrial Age, the technology to move and digest information was under-developed. Mostly it was words on pieces of paper. So information had to be moved in pre-set channels, or "brokered" by agencies that gathered it and distributed it. And this meant that information moved vertically. For instance, from retail store to regional office to headquarters to the bosses. And back down.

It was the same with the "brokers." Newspapers for instance. Information moved up from reporter to re-write man to copy editor to editor... then down to printers and distributors (newsboys and news-stands) and then down to consumers. When I was young it was almost unheard of for the newspaper reader to contact the reporter of a story--that is, to move information horizontally.

Many 20th century developments tended to make it easier to go horizontal. Telephones increasingly made it easy to cut right into some big organization, if you just had the right phone number. Automobiles and better roads had a similar effect—they let you just personally GO somewhere, and get to the heart of something. Radio was a very direct and immediate form of entertainment—you were listening to Jack Benny live, in real time. All these things were working on people's minds, suggesting new possibilities, well before they resulted in the overt changes that marked a new age.

By the way, a common cliché is that getting information from the Internet is like "drinking from a fire hydrant." But this misses the real point of interest, which is that we DO drink from the hydrant, and we do so pretty well. I bet I take in 40 times as much information as I did when I was young, and don't even think it's a big deal. I browse scores of blogs and web-sites a day. Imagine that amount of information arriving as mail! Or imagine burrowing through newspapers and magazines to pick out the bits you want.

A minor frustration is that I don't have an image to accompany my scribbles. (I like this one, by photographer Graeme Nicol, on Flickr. It kinda captures my idea, but it's perhaps a bit bewildering to the eye for many people.) I need something like my little climate icons, but I can't imagine what might work...

For lack of something better, here's a piece by Jules Guerin, done (I think) for Metropolitan Magazine, 1905. It sort of expresses my mental picture, of industrial progress mounting higher and higher, until finally reaching some critical mass that initiates a new age of the world...

Posted by John Weidner at 2:55 PM

Additional thought on the previous post...

...The Catholic way is not a life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, for their own sake. But a realization that the abundant life comes through death to self, true liberty comes through slavery to Christ and true happiness is really something called blessedness... ( -- Fr. Dwight Longenecker, quoted in my previous post.)

This makes me think that it was a big mistake on the part of the Founders to change the formula in the Declaration of Independence from its original draft, which was: "Life, liberty and property." "The pursuit of happiness" implies things that are outside the preview of government, and muddies the issue of what "rights" really are.

It occurs to me that this is also is an issue concerning the Information Age, which is my current obsession. Before the current era the "pursuit of happiness" would have implied much less extravagant things to most people than it does now. Back when it mostly meant having a family and a job and enough to get by on, it would not have looked like something that is the opposite of Christianity.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

Good stuff from Fr. Dwight, but obscured with some Industrial Age assumptions...

Lent, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Blessedness:

...But these are only the superficial problems. The real crisis in the American Catholic Church is a crisis of dissent, lack of faith and courage.

To put it simply, for the last fifty years the majority of American Catholics have been more American than Catholic. That is to say, they have bought into the American Dream big time. They have swallowed the lie that life is only about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness--especially happiness. In fact they are now so stuck on the pursuit of happiness that they are willing to sacrifice the life and the liberty to get it.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness may be a noble political ideal it is pretty shallow as a goal for the spiritual life.

The Catholic way is not a life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, for their own sake. But a realization that the abundant life comes through death to self, true liberty comes through slavery to Christ and true happiness is really something called blessedness.

All of this is lost on the majority of Americans, and sadly on the majority of American Catholics. (That's why the voting record of 'Catholics' is the same as the general population) We have substituted Broadway for the Way of the Cross; entertainment for the sacred liturgy, sentimentality for the Truth of the Gospel, the Promises of God for promiscuity, and  "liberty" for license.

This is the crisis of the American Catholic Church. Why are Catholic schools closing? Because they cost too much to run. Why do they cost too much to run? Because the old teaching orders don't have any sisters and brothers to run them, so we have to pay lay people the going rate. Why don't we have any teaching sisters and brothers? Because we've told a whole generation of Catholics that they can be "just as holy" as lay people living in the suburbs with 2.5 children in a trophy house....

"Why do they cost too much to run? Because the old teaching orders don't have any sisters and brothers to run them, so we have to pay lay people the going rate..." The problem with this statement is that the the teaching orders and nursing orders were products of the Industrial Age.
Stop and note the picture on the right. What does it make you think of? Hmm? It is in fact purely secular; a Red Cross nurse of the time of WWI. (Suzanne Larsson, painted by her father the great Swedish artist Carl Larsson.)

Those orders and their tasks were mostly inventions from the time of Queen Victoria! Mass education and universally available hospital treatment are 19th century innovations, created by both the Church and by secular institutions at exactly the same time. And both the church and the secular world staffed these burgeoning new institutions with large numbers of women, women who typically lived lives dedicated to service, usually with some degree of poverty and chastity. There were additional men too, but the big difference from all the past was the large-scale utilization of educated women as staff. The Church existed for 18 centuries with female religious being far fewer than male. That flipped around the beginning of the 20th century. Now we may be reverting to the mean.

And all the "orders" broke down at exactly the same time, in the 1960's. My father was on the board of trustees of a hospital when I was young. And, some time around the early 60’s, they were having trouble with some very unhappy nurses. He told me that the board had realized with a bit of shock that they were paying their nurses less than their janitors! That was the old model, and it wasn’t going to work anymore.

The timing? I don’t remember precisely, but it was roughly the same time as the Vatican Council. And simultaneous with that, the teaching profession was changing drastically. Men were entering in ever larger numbers, and expecting living wages. That was the time of the unwise decisions to have a Department of Education, and to allow teacher’s unions. But even without those, the days of the "spinster schoolmarm" were over.

I constantly see Catholics assuming that Catholic life and practice must include schools and hospitals. (And all sorts of other ponderous encrusted organizations.) No one stops to wonder if this is true. I'm pretty sure it is not true any more. And that we need to discover new ways of being Christians in the Information Age. (I'm actually thinking of writing a book about this, about the Information Age and the need to re-invent all sorts of institutions to fit the new world we are in. It's the one thing I'm thinking about that is not being well-covered by much better minds than mine. But finding the needed time is a daunting obstacle.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:19 AM | Comments (2)

March 8, 2012

One of our regular readers...

It was kind of cool just now to notice the name of an old friend on Instapundit:

...UPDATE: Reader Robert Ethan Hahn emails:
I credit the Tea Partiers on the Clermont County Republican Central Committee, who got Jean Schmidt un-endorsed this cycle:


Races where candidates requested endorsement but where none was granted were the following:

2nd Congressional District
...those central committees are where the action is – that's where you go to take the party back....

Yep. Them Tea Parties are fading away into oblivion...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:07 PM

A little tale to tease our thoughts...

Willis Eschenbach pulls a fast one to make a point which I suspect is valid. Under the radar - the NAS Report | Watts Up With That? This is the end of his piece, so it's a spoiler. Sorry...

...Now, why is the speed of a Cray-1 computer relevant to the NAS report I quoted from above?

It is relevant because as some of you may have realized, the NAS report I quoted from above is called the "Charney Report". As far as I know, it was the first official National Academy of Science statement on the CO2 question. And when I said it was a "recent report", I was thinking about it in historical terms. It was published in 1979.

Here's the bizarre part, the elephant in the climate science room. The Charney Report could have been written yesterday. AGW supporters are still making exactly the same claims, as if no time had passed at all. For example, AGW supporters are still saying the same thing about the clouds now as they were back in 1979—they admit they don't understand them, that it's the biggest problem in the models, but all the same but they're sure the net feedback is positive. I'm not sure clear that works, but it's been that way since 1979.

That's the oddity to me—when you read the Charney Report, it is obvious that almost nothing of significance has changed in the field since 1979. There have been no scientific breakthroughs, no new deep understandings. People are still making the same claims about climate sensitivity, with almost no change in the huge error limits. The range still varies by a factor of three, from about 1.5 to about 4.5°C per doubling of CO2....

How can we understand this stupendous lack of progress, a third of a century of intensive work with very little to show for it?

For me, there is only one answer. The lack of progress means that there is some fundamental misunderstanding at the very base of the modern climate edifice. It means that the underlying paradigm that the whole field is built on must contain some basic and far-reaching theoretical error...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:06 AM

March 6, 2012

Nothing to hit back at...

Stop global warming sign covered with snow

From an essay by Pointman, on the Gleick affaire, The Climate Wars:

...The problem the alarmists had, was that there was never anything substantial to hit back at. They had the equivalents of the big guns and the massive air support but there never was a skeptic HQ to be pounded, no big central organisation, no massed ranks of skeptic soldiers or even any third-party backing the resistance. Every one of the skeptics was a lone volunteer guerilla fighter, who needed absolutely no logistical support of any kind to continue the fight indefinitely. The alarmists never understood this, preferring to think that there simply had to be some massive hidden organisation orchestrating the resistance...

...When you look at the Fakegate scandal in the light of the history of the war, the reactions of both sides reflects the nature of the combatants it produced. On the day the material was published, the realists knew something concrete straight away while the alarmists fervently hoped they had something concrete. We knew it was suspect whereas they hoped it was true.

We knew it was suspect because we each knew there was no massive hidden organisation controlling and backing our efforts and there never has been either. Given that fact, the forensics began and that's why nothing much happened on the skeptic side in immediate response to the publication. Within a few days, in a collective effort using writing style and IT analysis skills that would have put the best forensic lab in the world to shame, the identity thief had been tracked down and the faked material exposed.

The NY Times, with all its resources, went into print on it using several reporters and didn't once get in touch with the Heartland Institute, not even to get a quote. The DeSmogBlog published within an hour of receipt, again, with absolutely no attempt to verify the material. They abandoned all pretence of journalistic professionalism, because they thought they'd finally found that elusive big target they'd always believed in and hunted so desperately and proceeded to flatten it with all their firepower....

I keep hoping my checks from Big Oil will arrive. But 'till then I'm just another "lone volunteer guerilla fighter." Albeit a very minor one.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 AM