June 23, 2013

Climate thinking that smells right to me...

Take a look at this graph, from the work of Dr Syun-Ichi Akasofu, of the International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks. [Link]

I spend a lot of time wandering the realm of climate studies. So I'm not ignorant. And Dr Akasofu's graph makes a heap of sense to me. That dashed line is the general warming trend, about 1°C per 100 years, as the earth recovers from the Little Ice Age, which hit its low point about 1800.

The observed climate forms a sine wave superimposed on that warming trend. The box shows the time period with good observational data being considered. Note the darker red line within the box. That follows the increasing temperature trend as the wave leaves the low point of the 1970's, and rises during the 1980's and early 90's.

What happened in that period? Computer climate models were invented. And baked into all the models was the assumption that increasing CO2 would result in warming. And those models all matched reality--the world really was warming at that time! And they all predicted that the globe would continue to warm, since CO2 was continuing to increase. The pink area labeled IPCC (The UN International Panel on Climate Change) can be considered the combined predictions of all the models.The models have come to be treated as if they are the climate themselves, and nature is just a dullard that isn't conforming very well to the software of reality.

Once it dawned on the world's leftists (which includes most scientists) that this predicted warming was a perfect excuse to seize power and wealth, and crush freedom and democracy, warmist scientists were showered with grants, tenures, prestige, and trips to luxurious climate conferences in posh venues. So, surprise surprise, scientists produced ever more of the kind of research that was being rewarded. And any dissenters were attacked and ostracized, so they mostly kept their heads below the parapets.

Akasofu's climate graph

BUT, the sinusoidal wave always turns back. Sometime in the 1990's the climate leveled off. This was assumed at first to be just a random fluctuation. But during the "noughties" (is that a word?) the leveling-off continued, with maybe some signs of cooling, and by, say, 2010, was becoming too obvious to ignore. And people like me made our popcorn, and settled back in our seats to watch the commies squirm and make excuses and lash-out in their desperation.

One of the many reasons that Akasofu's works smells right to me is that I was there back in the 1970's, when predictions of an imminent ice age were being made. And the same power-grabs were being attempted, although they didn't have time to really take effect before the wave headed upwards.

Pollution and cooling requires sacrifice democracy

UPDATE: Here's a very interesting piece on the Little Ice Age. But I was amused by the fear evidenced in this author's intro...

Note to general public:
My position on the current global warming is the same as the overwhelming majority of international climate scientists: the current rate of global warming is unprecedented and is being caused by humans. In no way can my summary of the research regarding the impact of regional climate change on the Viking civilization and Europe during the Little Ice Age be used to "prove" the current global warming is due to a natural cycle...

Of course his work, while not proving anything, is a strong indicator that current warming is in fact natural. The same is true of the Medieval Warm Period. That's why the warmists have used foul deceits to try to make those variations go away.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:55 AM

June 22, 2013

The last thing our world needs is more schools...

Catholic Schools Fall on Hard Times | Via Meadia:

...In the past, Catholic schools have routinely outperformed public schools on standardized tests, and they boast college admissions rates near 100 percent. Just as important for many Catholic parents, the schools have also helps parents bestow the values and culture handed down to them through the generations. Unfortunately, the decline of Catholic schools will be difficult to reverse. The NYT points to the expansion of charter schools, large tuition increases, the evaporation of cheap labor as nuns leave the teaching profession, and migration from urban environments to the suburbs and the South as important factors. None of these things are likely to change anytime soon. It's an interesting take on the decline of a long-standing American institution and the effect it could have on the marginalized communities these schools have served for years....

What Mead fails to see is that Catholic schools "worked" in a particular time and place.

The Industrial Age was a big step up in the complexity and size of human activities. But in order for these new activities to work, and to continue to grow, many factors had to be upgraded simultaneously. One of these was that workforces needed to be of higher quality. Smarter, healthier, more disciplined. The industrial world needed ever-increasing numbers of people who were literate and numerate. It needed ever-increasing numbers of managers and executives and professionals and all kinds of "white-collar" workers. And the "blue collar" workers also had to upgrade to fit with more complex organizations and machines.

This resulted in a titanic struggle to improve education. A battle that is almost invisible to us, because we take universal education for granted. And the Catholic Church was at the heart of this. Was often a leader. Both private and governmental sectors extracted increasing amounts of money from the people, and invested it in education. Which paid off! Catholic schools were a big success, in simple dollars-and-cents terms. They resulted in stronger and wealthier Catholic communities, which could support more education.

But we are now in a new age of the world. Commonly called the Information Age. (More of my thoughts on the is age here.) I think that transition happened roughly in the 1960's. And when it did, many things that had worked well in the Industrial Age started to come apart. They didn't "pay off" anymore. We are now surrounded by failing institutions, because our world has stubbornly insisted on keeping industrial age solutions going long after they became obsolete.

What the world needs now from the Catholic Church is not more education. Our world is over-supplied with education. And, I think, under-supplied with Truth! Wisdom! The Church is the original firm for that product, but we have forgotten how to live it and teach it.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:56 AM

June 16, 2013

Everything is divisible...

Taylor Marshall, Should you say "Individual" or "Person"?:

...What does that word "individual" mean? It means "undivided one." Stop for a moment and consider this, you "undivided one." Isn't "undivided one" a strange way to refer to people?

Referring to people as "individuals" became common in European languages after 1600, especially in English. It's a feature of the so-called Enlightenment. 

Recall that the Enlightenment was that so-called Era of Light after the so-called Dark Ages of Christendom. For historical reference, the Enlightenment began after the state establishment of the Protestant Reformation and ended with the bloody guillotines of the French Revolution...

The Enlightenment posited that the nation is divisible. The Church is divisible. The city is divisible. The town is divisible. The family unit is divisible. Even marriages were divisible. However, the person is not. He or she is triumphantly individual. 

The problem, you see, is that viewpoint becomes a very individualistic way of looking at reality. Now all major intellectual shifts succeed after linguistic shifts have become previously established. The debate over the definition of "marriage" is a contemporary example. The move away from person to individual signified the enshrinement and idolization of the human individual. Man truly became the measure of all things. 

You can see how the Reformation paved the way for this kind of language. To be an Enlightenment Christian all you need is yourself and the Bible. That's it. 

We traded in the old communion of the saints and the universal fellowship of Christendom of previous centuries for that new shiny title of individual. Denominations will divide, but the believer never will. And so the individual believer trumped everything. ...
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Posted by John Weidner at 6:06 PM

June 9, 2013

Alternate history....

Katie Couric Daytime Show 'An Unmitigated Disaster':

... But success ruined Couric. Over time, she became a Media Diva and a divisive, hysterical left-wing partisan. Whatever your politics, it is impossible to dispute that Couric went Hollywood -- and narcissism is never pretty (or perky).

In the wake of her chilling metamorphosis, Couric has only met failure. Her stint as the anchor of CBS News was a major humiliation. But her latest endeavor, a daytime talk show, is making Couric's time at CBS look like the glory days of a fast-fading career:...

Ha ha. What a maroon she is. She has totally deserved her failure and disgrace. I laugh.

But imagine how things could have been different. Imagine that instead of sandbagging Sarah Palin, she had, as a good interviewer should, brought out the best in Sarah. (The un-edited tapes of that interview are still locked up. So you know Sarah looked a lot better in them than she did in the heavily-edited version.) She might now be show-casing interviews with Vice-President Palin. Or, if the stress of office did for poor old John McCain, then President Palin. Couric might be a major media star now, instead of a dud and a has-been, and yet another banal leftist...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:32 PM

Tolerance is a sin...

Cambridge Struggles to Accept Marathon Bombing Link - NYTimes.com:

I was going to fisk this piece, but haven't found the time. But the blindness is just stunning, and is the same blindness I see in SF every day. This is how the nihilism I've often written about works out in real situations.

The only virtue in Cambridge is "tolerance." And tolerance is, literally... NOTHING. Tolerating everything means believing in nothing. The young brothers Tsarnaev were given nothingness at every turn, and then these people in Cambridge are bewildered when something real fills up the vacuum they have nurtured. Duh.

...he was probably more welcomed and more easily incorporated into the environment at C.R.L.S. than he would have been at almost every other high school in the country, but that doesn't mean there aren't big gaps."... So, the most "welcoming" high school in the country isn't "welcoming" enough. So let's heap on more of this "welcoming." Jesus nailed it, "Your son asks for bread, and you give him a stone."

In the past liberals could at least have offered liberalism as some kind of solid food, but they no longer believe even in that. They are just wearing liberalism (or Quakerism or pacifism or "social justice") as a disguise--it's not something they would fight for. Like the Invisible Man wore bandages, to cover his "nakedness." His nothingness.

...The brothers moved to Cambridge in 2002 from Dagestan, when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was 8 years old. Because of his age, he left a deeper impression on the city than his older brother, spending much of his life in the city's schools. He graduated in 2011 from Rindge and Latin, where 57 flags represent its students' countries of origin and about 75 native languages are spoken.

"On my wrestling team, we have 28 kids -- 14 would be from different countries," Mr. Payack said. "The point is that when Dzhokhar was part of my team, he wasn't a minority. There were no minorities. He had an accent, but everyone had an accent."

Jeff Young, the superintendent of Cambridge Public Schools, said the experience had been disorienting for the district. "How is it," he asked, "that a person who grew up in a place like this ends up in a place like that?"

Parents and students here have asked that question often, wondering about the relationship between Mr. Tsarnaev and this community -- some of whose own residents were gravely injured in the attack.

"In another school, a kid like that could have felt really alienated, but that's really not the case at that high school," said Nancy Alach, a parent of one of Mr. Tsarnaev's classmates. "It's hard to figure out how he felt so angry or alienated, that he was able to get to the point of doing something like that."

Bob Binstock, a 55-year-old writer who has lived here for more than 35 years, found himself looking repeatedly at a photograph of one of his daughters and Mr. Tsarnaev, who graduated alongside her.

"I think that Cambridge is like a paradise of some kind," Mr. Binstock said. "The fact that you can say about Dzhokhar, for instance, is that he was probably more welcomed and more easily incorporated into the environment at C.R.L.S. than he would have been at almost every other high school in the country, but that doesn't mean there aren't big gaps."

Mr. Binstock's daughter, Rae, said she and her classmates found themselves defending a hometown that many of them, now in college, are trying to move beyond. "Respect is a big part of it, and it's a very big part of Cambridge," said Ms. Binstock, 19, who is studying playwriting and anthropology at Columbia University. "Other communities don't have to deal with the idea that lots of communities of different people have to coexist."

Her father continued, "Maybe this is something we can learn from this." He added: "Cambridge is very welcoming, and it's very diverse. Maybe the acceptance to that blinds us to the fact that there may be more difficulty than people realize."

Some of the Tsarnaevs' fellow immigrants have taken things more personally.

"Cambridge is a very progressive city that is at the forefront of many social issues in this country," said Samuel Gebru, a 21-year-old senior at Concordia College who graduated from Rindge and Latin in 2009. "And one of those social issues is welcoming immigrants and respecting diversity -- not only tolerating it, but celebrating."

"Those of us who are immigrants -- they are probably the most betrayed," said Mr. Gebru, a native Ethiopian who moved to Cambridge from Sudan when he was 3. "This country has provided me everything, and it has provided you everything. How dare you turn your back? That's what really angered me, more than everything..."

So, Mr Gebru, does Cambridge teach about America? Her greatness and specialness? Her freedom, her equal opportunity for all? The hundreds-of-thousands of heroes who have died defending her? Her traditions of self-sufficiency, self-defense, and limited government ? And the Christianity that all of what we are and have flows from?

No way. What they teach is "diversity." "Multiculturalism." "Welcoming." Which are all words that really mean nothingness. They don't care about you, Mr Gebru; they have treated you like dirt.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:17 AM

June 5, 2013

I witnessed something just like this...

Secret Man Caves Found in EPA Warehouse:

...A warehouse maintained by contractors for the Environmental Protection Agency contained secret rooms full of exercise equipment, televisions and couches, according to an internal audit.

EPA's inspector general found contractors used partitions, screens and piled up boxes to hide the rooms from security cameras in the 70,000 square-foot building located in Landover, Md. The warehouse -- used for inventory storage -- is owned by the General Services Administration and leased to the EPA for about $750,000 per year....

I used to own a bookstore. It was called Civic Center Books, and it was close to SF's Federal Building. (The old ugly tyrannical one, not the new ugly nihilistic tyrannical one.) The State Building was close too. My main customer base was government workers. A nice bunch in general.

But there was one ugly and smelly middle-aged guy I could have done without. He always wore the green uniform of the people who clean and maintain the Federal Building. And his outfit was always sort of grimy and greasy, as if it hadn't been washed in a long time. Smelled like it too. Every day he came in and bought two copies of the Wall Street Journal.

Then one day we read in the newspaper (remember them?) that it had been discovered that he'd been living in a store-room of the Federal Building for 20 years!

Posted by John Weidner at 12:14 PM

Fire is part of the natural environment...

An image of the Powerhouse Fire in California:

...According to the CBSnews.com, "Nearly 3,000 people from some 700 homes were under evacuation orders Monday as a wildfire north of Los Angeles kept growing, feeding on old, dry brush, some of which hadn't burned in decades.

The blaze had burned about 46 square miles in the mountains and canyons of the Angeles National Forest, destroying at least six homes and damaging 15 more."...

"some of which hadn't burned in decades." That's the problem, one we already know how to solve. Fire suppression causes fuel to accumulate to the point where a fire can be like letting off tactical nukes. What should happen is that this area that is now burning should henceforth be targeted for intentional fires every 3 or 4 years. Done during cooler and wetter times. Presumably starting with carefully controlled back-fires moving outward from the inhabited areas. And these fires would not produce a devastated burned-over landscape. They would be patchy and of low intensity, with plant life quickly recovering.

But it probably won't happen. Because this would require a cultural change. A change in thinking. But people won't re-think.

The chit-chat of people in a fire-danger area should change from, "Why can't big government take care of these fires?" to "Should we burn this year? Looks like about time to me." Like so many of our problems, this is partly an issue of lingering Industrial Age thinking. We assume that a problem must be handled by a few "experts," not by the linked brain-power of the many.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:48 AM