Archive for June, 2006

SmadaNek’s supporting the Shepherd Ocean Fours rowing race

Friday, June 30th, 2006

Effective July 11, 2006, Fausta’s blog moved to Please update your bookmark and your blogroll.

Friend of this blog SmadaNek has been following the progress of the Shepherd Ocean Fours rowing race. Take a look:

This is really a phenomenal race — four teams of rowers (four men each) set out from New York on June 10th, bound for Falmouth, England. Twenty days into the race, three of the teams have covered over 1,000 miles. The fourth had a mechanical failure and is safely back in port.

The enormity of this task is really daunting — take a look at this map to get a feel for what they’ve accomplished and what they have left to do (the rings are 500 nautical miles each!):

Send the rowers a message, or donate to charity. Go to Smadanek to find out how.

(technorati tags: Shepherd Ocean Fours, Rowing)

Judicial outrage of the day, money and happiness, and today’s articles

Friday, June 30th, 2006

The judicial outrage of the day, via And Rightly So!: Confession May Be Tossed in Fla. Slaying. John Evander Couey actually told investigators detectives he kidnapped, raped and killed , and where to dig up the body of his victin, a 9-year-old girl, and that it was sick and “stupid” to kill her. Now he may walk. In other sex offender news, Abdallah Ait Oud, a 38-year-old convicted paedophile, has been arrested for the murder of two stepsisters in Belgium. If Couey walks we know what will happen next.

At the blogs
Jawa is back

Money and happiness
Via Maria, here’s another study saying that Money Does Not Buy Much Happiness. The study puts the cart before the horse by saying that

According to government statistics, men who make more than $100,000 a year spend 19.9 percent of their time on passive leisure activities such as watching television and socializing. Meanwhile, men whose annual income were less than $20,000 spent more than 34 percent of their time dedicated to passive leisure.

I dare speculate that the reason the guys are making $100,000+/yr is because they aren’t spending more than a third of their waking hours loafing around.

Today’s other articles from Maria
At Real Clear Politics, Bush’s Decency Highlights Democrats Incivility while Rosa Brooks of the LA Times is asking Did Bush commit war crimes?

Call me Gilraen
Via Beth, Elvish Name Generator. That’s Elvish, not Elvis.

Breaking news on Supreme Court/Gitmo

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

The US Supreme Court has ruled that the Bush administration does not have the authority to try terrorism suspects by military tribunal.

(Hat tip Rosemary, who called the House of Representatives 888-355-3588 in protest.)

Declare them POWs and keep them jailed until there are no Islamists attacking the USA, then?

Swiss guys tourism

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

Milking the tourist cash cow for all it’s worth: today’s video

Dear girls, why not escape during the summer’s World Cup to a country where men spend less time on football and more time on you?”


Update: The Anchoress likes the mountain climber.

(technorati tags , , )

Yesterday at the Church of Oprah

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

I wasn’t feeling well yesterday afternoon (cold? allergies? flu?) and decided to have some tylenol and lie down. While lying down I turned on the TV and the Church of Oprah had a service on global warming, with Leonardo di Caprio as guest celebrant.

Leo’s catchphrase was AlGore’s “most pressing environmental issue of our time: global warming.” bs:
Leo says global warming is not only the number one issue affecting the environment—it’s one of the most important issues facing all of humanity.

Oprah was dazzled by Leo’s brilliance and, I’m not making this up, asked him “You’re so young. How did you learn so much?”

Now, Leo, who played Howard Hughes, one of the greatest aeronatical innovators of all time, was born in 1974. He’s well into his 30s.

  • By age 27, Howard Hughes had formed the Hughes Aircraft Company division of Hughes Tool
  • By age 30, Howard had not only built and personally test-piloted the world’s most advanced plane, but was already breaking speed records in it.

Leo is not a rocket scientist, he only played one on screen. I could only think of Keith Burgess-Jackson‘s article on the common fallacy about the transferability of expertise and authority (update the term for which is Argumentum ad Verecundiam).

I rolled my eyes, turned off the TV and listened to some Mozart, another young achiever.

The Church of Oprah: “your leading source for information about love, life, self, relationships, food, home, spirit and health”; but not for science. Stick to telling us HOW TO LOOK (AT LEAST) 10 YEARS YOUNGER, O.

Update: So if Oprah is a church, what is The View? Or do I even want to know?

(This week’s previous posts on global warming here and here.)

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Again, there is no "consensus" on global warming

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

I posted on Monday the very words written by Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with which he titled his WSJ article. The reaction to my post by the true believers of global warming, a contradiction in terms, was, as expected, rude, and the emailers’ argument was focused on my intellectual attributes, specifically, speculation on what kind of moron I am, not on anything Richard Lindzen wrote.

I’d say that if I’m a moron, I’m an opinionated moron. At least I’m in good company. But I digress.

While my post was on how faulty science can be used as a political issue and lead to disastrous public policy, Dr. Lindzen specifically addressed in his article the issue of rising temperatures, a pillar of the alarmists’ creed:

A learer claim as to what debate has ended is provided by environmental journalist George Easterbrook. He concludes that the scientific community now agrees that significant warming is occurring, and that there is clear evidence of human influences on the climate system. This is still a most peculiar claim. At some level, it has never been widely contested. Most of the climate community has agreed since 1988 that global mean temperatures have increased on the order of one degree Farenheit over the past century, having risen significantly from about 1919 to 1940, decreased between 1940 and the early ’70s, and remaining essentially flat since 1998.

As you can clearly read from his own words, Dr. Lindzen contradicts Wikipedia‘s assertion that “There are no longer any such scientists who contend that the Earth is not warming”; Wikipedia even lists Dr. Lindzen among the scientists supporting the Wikipedia assertion, when he clearly doesn’t. What Lindzen is saying is that (pay attention now, because I’m going to repeat it)

global mean temperatures have increased on the order of one degree Farenheit over the past century

and they have decreased or remained flat over the last 60 years.

A commenter at Babalu read the Lindzen article and still insists that there is a consensus on warming, but not on the causes. As a true believer, his faith is strong, yet his reading skills are weak.

(If instead you are not a true believer but are going to base your opinion on Wikipedia, you should read their section on the Maunder minimum; as a commenter in Kobayashi Maru‘s blog pointed out, there is adequate evidence that the earth IS approaching another Ice Age.)

But Dr. Lindzen is not alone: Scientists respond to Gore’s warnings of climate catastrophe

Concerning Gore’s beliefs about worldwide warming, Morgan [Dr. Dick Morgan, former advisor to the World Meteorological Organization and climatology researcher at University of Exeter, U.K.] points out that, in addition to the cooling in the NW Atlantic, massive areas of cooling are found in the North and South Pacific Ocean; the whole of the Amazon Valley; the north coast of South America and the Caribbean; the eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caucasus and Red Sea; New Zealand and even the Ganges Valley in India. Morgan explains, “Had the IPCC used the standard parameter for climate change (the 30 year average) and used an equal area projection, instead of the Mercator (which doubled the area of warming in Alaska, Siberia and the Antarctic Ocean) warming and cooling would have been almost in balance.”

So really, as the very title of Dr. Lindzen’s article tells you, there is no “consensus” on global warming.

What there is, instead, is the theology of global warming, as Kobayashi has discussed

the instantiation of environmentalism (and global warming specifically) as a kind of secular religion against which no fact-based heresy will be tolerated lest it erode the blind, unreasoning faith of true believers. Simply calling it a religion begins to explain much about how the ‘debate’ is conducted and how the word “science” is at risk of becoming merely a sound that people make with their mouths – signifying nothing.

The Anchoress knows that Yes, Global Warming is Hoo-Hah. She points out that the true believers in global warming

have way too much invested in other narratives

Flopping Aces has a movie you should watch, by Friends of Science. It’s 1/2 hr and has no fake scientists. Now that we are in hurracaine season, keep in mind that there are more cyclones when there are cooler temperatures.

As for An Inconvenient Truth, which was playing downtown for the past 3-4 weeks, it’s been replaced by Pirates of the Caribbean. Next thing you know, there’ll be a consensus on the existence of ghosts.
Update Big Lizards checks out one survey, and finds that 81% of climatologists surveyed didn’t see the movie or read the book. I think the Pirates will do better.

Update 2 Sigmund, Carl and Alfred are hitting hard today: ‘Can We Verify That Falling Sky’ And What Does A Past President Of The NAS Know, Anyway?. SC&A link to The Economist’s 2001 article The truth about the environment.

Ignorance matters only when it leads to faulty judgments.
Bjorn Lomborg

Here’s a lecture from Dr Art Robinson of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine

A review of the research literature concerning the environmental consequences of increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide leads to the conclusion that increases during the 20th Century have produced no deleterious effects upon global weather, climate, or temperature. Increased carbon dioxide has, however, markedly increased plant growth rates. Predictions of harmful climatic effects due to future increases in minor greenhouse gases like CO2 are in error and do not conform to current experimental knowledge.

How’s that for consensus?

Update 3 Shrikwrapped explores Recourse to authority.
Talk about Inconvenient.

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Death taxes for us but not on Buffet’s plate

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Best of the Web points out that Warren Buffet, “an avowed supporter of the estate tax”, is doing his outmost to make sure his estate isn’t taxed:

As an avowed supporter of the estate tax, Mr. Buffett could have let the government take its share of his estate after he dies. But just as Mr. Buffett has accumulated his vast wealth without paying much personal income tax, he has found a way to avoid the tax man in this maneuver as well, even writing in his letter to Bill and Melinda Gates that a condition of the gift is that the foundation “must continue to satisfy legal requirements qualifying my gifts as charitable and not subject to gift or other taxes.”

As Taranto points out,

When billionaires back the death tax, keep in mind that they have no intention of actually paying it. They are being “generous” with other people’s money. This is the way in which the superrich wage class warfare against the merely affluent.

You can bet on that.

Gulags on Ellis Island, and today’s articles from Maria

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Maria and her family, who were intimately familiar with the Soviets, are outraged at this, for good reason: Gulags on Ellis Island: A dissonant note of moral equivalence at an exhibit on communist horrors.

But then, abruptly, the spell is broken, and in a dispiriting if not alarming way. “Brutal systems have played a prominent role in many countries, including the United States,” one of the exhibit’s last panels tells visitors. By itself, that one clause–“including the United States”–would be bad enough. But the panel continues. “Although slavery ended after the American Civil War, its consequences persist. The repercussions of the Holocaust in Europe and apartheid in South Africa reverberate even today. Similarly, Russians face the legacy of the gulag. How can citizens in these countries face up to the horrors of the past?”
Just as it is the small details of the Gulag exhibit that lead one to consider the depth of the deprivation its captives endured, it is the word “similarly” that so effectively undermines what has just been shown. After all, if the Gulag is “similar” to anything in American life or history, does it teach us anything about the Soviet Union–or about anything at all? “If you cannot distinguish between levels of evil, you are a cause of evil.” Such was the astute reaction of a man whose father spent a decade in the Gulag, when confronted with this moral equivalence in the paragraph above.

It is certainly true that learning about evils perpetrated in other times in other countries can too easily lead to a comfortable sense of moral superiority. That can, in its own way, undo what might otherwise be a teaching moment. All the same, however, things are not all the same. If the Gulag is interesting only as a means of turning a mirror on the injustices of our own penal system, it is arguably not interesting at all. The Gulag was, and is, a reductio ad absurdum of sorts of the Soviet system itself. It was where “counterrevolutionary” elements were sent to learn the virtues of work and of collectivism, but the lesson was predominantly that of man’s inhumanity to man. All prisoners were slowly starved to death, and those too weak to work were starved faster than the strongest. Thus the weak grew weaker and the strong stronger. The overwhelming impression at the heart of the Gulag exhibit is just this–that cruel and arbitrary power lay at the heart of a system that purported to redress inequalities but instead etched them in stone.

The Soviet Union tried throughout most of its existence to forcibly prevent its citizens from seeking freedom in the West. The rest of Ellis Island tells a very different story about a quite different country and system. It’s the story of a country that, for centuries, people have risked their lives to reach. No moral equivalence there.

Joanne Mandel’s book review of While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within (emphasis added)

The fruits of a long-standing commitment to political, academic and economic cooperation between the European nations and Arab governments resulted in Europe achieving a steady supply of Arab oil and open markets for their exports. In return, Europe welcomed unprecedented levels of Arab immigration and enthusiastically joined Arab efforts to de-legitimize American and Israeli interests in the Middle East. Mr. Bawers explains that this relationship with the Arab world gave Europeans a sense of security, believing that they would be safe from terrorist attack.

The European media played a central role in maintaining this fantasy. The author tells us that most Europeans have “been pumped full of America-hatred all [their] lives by teachers, professors, politicians, and journalists.” That is why they ‘know’ that America is plagued by severe poverty and extreme inequality and has no system for helping those in need. Likewise, journalists demonize Israel’s treatment of Arabs to a shocking extent. Coverage of the “Jenin massacre” is a prime example. The fact that it never occurred did not matter.

New star Murtha is worrying Dems

Meanwhile, in Brazil, João de Deus has a following, Is ‘John of God’ a Healer or a Charlatan?

At the blogs
TigerHawk can’t get the BBC’s World News home page, Technorati, or blogs hosted on Blogspot while in China.

Today’s video
From Spain, an ad (in Spanish, of course) about a talking post denting your car Linea Directa

Piglet at the Palace

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Piglet banned in Turkey this week. Or maybe not.

God save the Queen

Long-time readers of this blog would remember that Piglet was nearly banned in the UK; more here, and click on photo:

Wishing Queen Elizabeth II a very happy birthday,

(technorati tags )

Saddam and al-Qaeda, and today’s articles

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

AQ Leaders Negotiated With Saddam Regime For Training. The MSM had reported on this in January 1999.

At the blogs
Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t: Jane Arraf tells Mike Fumento that he has no idea how bad a Baghdad hotel could be. If he doesn’t, it’s because he didn’t exactly stay in the hotel.

Dr. Sanity’s post SHAME, THE ARAB PSYCHE, AND ISLAM, censored by the Beeb

Today’s articles from Maria
Move over, Bob Dole: Limbaugh Detained After Viagra Found
As Ron White says, when life gives you lemons, find someone whose life has given them vodka and have a party. I suggest that Rush’s people get together with Pfizer’s people and get their vodka and lemons together.

Bring out the fireworks? I wonder how this will impact (pun intended, as always) global warming: Huge Asteroid to Fly Past Earth July 3

National Security Be Damned: The guiding philosophy on West 43rd Street
The Quisling Effect

Spinning Haditha

Implants Help Sleep Apnea

Microsoft takes partners for communications push

Smart Pill to Report from Inside the Body. Sounds better than having a colonoscopy. But will it clog the septic tank?

Market Forces Pushing Doctors to Be More Available. MARKET FORCES.

How to Get the Best Exchange Rate (and Avoid Fees)

‘Breathtaking’ Waste and Fraud in Hurricane Aid. As one would expect from a government agency.

THE CROSS-DRESSING DEFENSE. Did his shoes match that bag?