Political Angst In America

Location: Pantego, Texas, United States

Monday, December 31, 2007

Here is an interesting question. "Is Western Civilization superior to Islam?" I think the answer is clearly yes, but suspect that many on the left would answer no.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Here is an article by Pat Michaels that didn't make it into the mainstream press. (I have long thought that the surface temperature record used by the IPCC is flawed because it did not match the more reliable satellite data gathered since 1979.)

Not So Hot
By Patrick J. Michaels
Published 12/27/2007 12:07:49 AM
If a scientific paper appeared in a major journal saying that the planet has warmed twice as much as previously thought, that would be front-page news in every major paper around the planet. But what would happen if a paper was published demonstrating that the planet may have warmed up only half as much as previously thought?

Nothing. Earlier this month, Ross McKitrick from Canada's University of Guelph and I published a manuscript in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres saying precisely that.

Scientists have known for years that temperature records can be contaminated by so-called "urban warming," which results from the fact that long-term temperature histories tend to have originated at points of commerce. The bricks, buildings, and pavement of cities retain the heat of the day and impede the flow of ventilating winds.

For example, downtown Washington is warmer than nearby (and more rural) Dulles Airport. As government and services expand down the Dulles Access road, it, too, is beginning to warm compared to more rural sites to the west.

Adjusting data for this effect, or using only rural stations, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states with confidence that less than 10% of the observed warming in long-term climate histories is due to urbanization.

That's a wonderful hypothesis, and Ross and I decided to test it.

We noted that other types of bias must still be affecting historical climate records. What about the quality of a national network and the competence of the observers? Other factors include movement or closing of weather stations and modification of local land surfaces, such as replacing a forest with a cornfield.

Many of these are socioeconomic, so we built a computer model that included both regional climatic factors, such as latitude, as well as socioeconomic indicators like GDP and applied it to the IPCC's temperature history.

Weather equipment is very high-maintenance. The standard temperature shelter is painted white. If the paint wears or discolors, the shelter absorbs more of the sun's heat and the thermometer inside will read artificially high. But keeping temperature stations well painted probably isn't the highest priority in a poor country.

IPCC divides the world into latitude-longitude boxes, and for each of these we supplied information on GDP, literacy, amount of missing data (a measure of quality), population change, economic growth and change in coal consumption (the more there is, the cooler the area).

Guess what. Almost all the socioeconomic variables were important. We found the data were of highest quality in North America and that they were very contaminated in Africa and South America. Overall, we found that the socioeconomic biases "likely add up to a net warming bias at the global level that may explain as much as half the observed land-based warming trend."

We then modified IPCC's temperature data for these biases and compared the statistical distribution of the warming to the original IPCC data and to satellite measures of lower atmospheric temperature that have been available since 1979. Since these are from a single source (the U.S. government), and they don't have any urban contamination, they are likely to be affected very little by economic factors.

Indeed. The adjusted IPCC data now looks a lot like the satellite data. The biggest change was that the high (very warm) end of the distribution in the IPCC data was knocked off by the unbiasing process.

Where was the press? A Google search reveals that with the exception of a few blog citations, the only major story ran in Canada's Financial Post.

There are several reasons why the press provides so little coverage to science indicating that global warming isn't the end of the world. One has to do with bias in the scientific literature itself. Theoretically, assuming unbiased climate research, every new finding should have an equal probability of indicating that things are going to be more or less warm, or worse-than-we-thought vs. not-so-bad.

But, when someone finds that there's only half as much warming as we thought, and the story is completely ignored, what does this say about the nature of the coverage itself? Somehow, you'd think that would have been newsworthy.

Patrick J. Michaels is senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute and a member of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm too tired these days to blog much as I recover from heart surgery. Here is an interesting blurb from the blog "flopping aces." As time goes forward the CO2 driven global warming hypothesis is looking less likely, and people are beginning to realize that the so-called scientific consensus is untrue:

excerpts from:
U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007
Senate Report Debunks "Consensus"
December 20, 2007

UN IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri urged the world at the December 2007 UN climate conference in Bali, Indonesia to "Please listen to the voice of science.”

Background: Only 52 Scientists Participated in UN IPCC Summary

The over 400 skeptical scientists featured in this new report outnumber by nearly eight times the number of scientists who participated in the 2007 UN IPCC Summary for Policymakers. The notion of "hundreds" or "thousands" of UN scientists agreeing to a scientific statement does not hold up to scrutiny. (See report debunking "consensus" LINK) Recent research by Australian climate data analyst Dr. John McLean revealed that the IPCC's peer-review process for the Summary for Policymakers leaves much to be desired. (LINK)

Proponents of man-made global warming like to note how the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the American Meteorological Society (AMS) have issued statements endorsing the so-called "consensus" view that man is driving global warming. But both the NAS and AMS never allowed member scientists to directly vote on these climate statements. Essentially, only two dozen or so members on the governing boards of these institutions produced the "consensus" statements. This report gives a voice to the rank-and-file scientists who were shut out of the process. (LINK)

The most recent attempt to imply there was an overwhelming scientific "consensus" in favor of man-made global warming fears came in December 2007 during the UN climate conference in Bali. A letter signed by only 215 scientists urged the UN to mandate deep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. But absent from the letter were the signatures of these alleged "thousands" of scientists. (See AP article: - LINK )

The science has continued to grow loud and clear in 2007. In addition to the growing number of scientists expressing skepticism, an abundance of recent peer-reviewed studies have cast considerable doubt about man-made global warming fears. A November 3, 2007 peer-reviewed study found that "solar changes significantly alter climate." (LINK) A December 2007 peer-reviewed study recalculated and halved the global average surface temperature trend between 1980 - 2002. (LINK) Another new study found the Medieval Warm Period "0.3C warmer than 20th century" (LINK)

A peer-reviewed study by a team of scientists found that "warming is naturally caused and shows no human influence." (LINK) - Another November 2007 peer-reviewed study in the journal Physical Geography found "Long-term climate change is driven by solar insolation changes." (LINK ) These recent studies were in addition to the abundance of peer-reviewed studies earlier in 2007. - See "New Peer-Reviewed Scientific Studies Chill Global Warming Fears" (LINK )

With this new report of profiling 400 skeptical scientists, the world can finally hear the voices of the "silent majority" of scientists.

Over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called "consensus" on man-made global warming. These scientists, many of whom are current and former participants in the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), criticized the climate claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice President Al Gore.

The new report issued by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s office of the GOP Ranking Member details the views of the scientists, the overwhelming majority of whom spoke out in 2007.

This blockbuster Senate report lists the scientists by name, country of residence, and academic/institutional affiliation. It also features their own words, biographies, and weblinks to their peer reviewed studies and original source materials as gathered from public statements, various news outlets, and websites in 2007. This new “consensus busters” report is poised to redefine the debate.
The distinguished scientists featured in this new report are experts in diverse fields, including: climatology; oceanography; geology; biology; glaciology; biogeography; meteorology; oceanography; economics; chemistry; mathematics; environmental sciences; engineering; physics and paleoclimatology. Some of those profiled have won Nobel Prizes for their outstanding contribution to their field of expertise and many shared a portion of the UN IPCC Nobel Peace Prize with Vice President Gore.

Additionally, these scientists hail from prestigious institutions worldwide, including: Harvard University; NASA; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR); Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the UN IPCC; the Danish National Space Center; U.S. Department of Energy; Princeton University; the Environmental Protection Agency; University of Pennsylvania; Hebrew University of Jerusalem; the International Arctic Research Centre; the Pasteur Institute in Paris; the Belgian Weather Institute; Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute; the University of Helsinki; the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S., France, and Russia; the University of Pretoria; University of Notre Dame; Stockholm University; University of Melbourne; University of Columbia; the World Federation of Scientists; and the University of London.

The voices of many of these hundreds of scientists serve as a direct challenge to the often media-hyped "consensus" that the debate is "settled."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A lot of politicians are saying that President Bush is the worst president in history, that Iraq is the worst disaster in American history, etc. I suspect that even Democrats are aware that Jimmy Carter's opinions are worthless, but they want to pile on Bush so they can take complete control of the government.

Here is an article by the military historian Victor Davis Hanson that puts the present into some historical context.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

While I was in the hospital there was talk on TV about a new law on auto fuel economy. Nancy Pelosi said it was "the first improvement in auto efficiency in 32 years.' I wonder if other politicians are a ignorant as to what efficiency as she is. Efficiency is simply the percentage of input energy that becomes useful output. It is only slightly related to auto fuel mileage. On the other hand, mpg is strongly correlated to vehicle weight. Mileage improvements are usually achieved trhough vehicle weigh reduction, not through improved energy efficiency of the fuel consumed. Ms. Pelosi's law is more a social construct than anything else. She wants to force the peasants to start driving smaller cars. I don't have the data, but I suspect that there have actually been improvements in fuel efficincy over the past 32 years without any government action. One outcome of requiring only drastically smaller cars to be produced will be that the larger cars will remain on the road, maybe something like in Cuba. The new lighter cars, unless thay are very small, will cost much more to produce than current cars. This will make it attractive to repair the existing cars. I suspect that Ms. Pelosi, or her successor, will need a law to force the older cars off of the road. I have other contrarian views on this that I will write about later. I'm tired now. Open heart surgery does that to you.

Home from the Hospital at last.

I checked into Arlington Memorial Hospital on 10 December for some tests on my heart. Results were bad news. They jumped me to the head of the list (three people), and I had open-heart surgery on 11 December starting at 7AM and complete at 4:30 PM. There were some complications, but the surgeon worked it out.

I was released at 4:00 PM yesterday, and am at home now. Not feeling well. It will take three months for recovery, and I have a long rehab period.

Thanks for all the messages. It will take me a while to respond.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

One aspect of the global warming hysteria that should be a warning to the intellectually honest is the refusal of the IPCC to engage in scientific debate with those who disagree with them. Here is a discussion of the way the IPCC resists debate that I got from "American Thinker."

Bali Climate Conference Ignores Dissenters

Rick Moran

Proving once again that the United Nations is disinterested in allowing for a free and open debate on global warming, the climate change conference being held in Bali, Indonesia has refused to give credentials to a prominent group that dissents from the view that global warming is a huge problem and is caused by the works of man:

The United Nations has rejected all attempts by a group of dissenting scientists seeking to present information at the climate change conference taking place in Bali, Indonesia.

The International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) has been denied the opportunity to present at panel discussions, side events, and exhibits; its members were denied press credentials. The group consists of distinguished scientists from Africa, Australia, India, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The scientists, citing pivotal evidence on climate change published in peer-reviewed journals, have expressed their opposition to the UN's alarmist theory of anthropogenic global warming. As the debate on man-made global warming has been heating up, the UN has tried to freeze out the scientists and new evidence, summarily dismissing them with the claim "the science is settled."

James M. Taylor, senior fellow for The Heartland Institute explained, "It is not surprising the UN has completely rejected dissenting voices. They have been doing this for years. The censorship of scientists is necessary to promote their political agenda. After the science reversed on the alarmist crowd, they claimed 'the debate is over' to serve their wealth redistribution agenda."
Dr. Vincent Gray, who is an expert reviewer on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's(OPCC) published works, has debunked many of the claims of the IPCC in the past and was part of the ICSC group denied access to the conference.

Just what are the "scientists" at the climate conference afraid of? True scientists welcome open debate about their findings, recognizing that only through constant challenges can their hypothesis withstand the rigor of scholarship and criticism by their peers.

But the fake scientists at the UN conference are more interested in a political agenda than they are discussing the science involved in their findings. For them, the science of global warming is "settled."

With that kind of attitude, scientists from the 15th century would have dismissed Columbus's proposed expedition based on the "settled" science that the earth was flat. The fact is, science is never "settled" and good scientsts would never say such a thing - especially about climate which takes into account several different scientific disciplines and is dealing with a subject that we are still learning about - how earth's climate works. It is beyond rational that any reputable scientist would lend their names to a conference that refuses to follow the most basic rules of scientific inquiry

Her are some views of Global Warming by serious people.

"Dishonest political tampering with the science on global warming" -

"As a contributor to the IPCC's 2007 report, I share the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. Yet I and many of my peers in the British House of Lords - through our hereditary element the most independent-minded of lawmakers - profoundly disagree on fundamental scientific grounds with both the IPCC and my co-laureate's alarmist movie An Inconvenient Truth, which won this year's Oscar for Best Sci-Fi Comedy Horror.

Two detailed investigations by Committees of the House confirm that the IPCC has deliberately, persistently and prodigiously exaggerated not only the effect of greenhouse gases on temperature but also the environmental consequences of warmer weather." (Christopher Monckton, Jakarta Post

"Road to Bali" -

"The fate of the Earth hangs in the balance in Bali, but the issue is not whether humanity will succumb to a "climate crisis," or how the international community might craft a successor to the tattered Kyoto Accord (Let's call it KyoTwo). The real theme of this United Nations gabfest -- like that of its 12 predecessors, and of the hundreds, if not thousands, of related meetings --is whether globalization and trade liberalization will be allowed to continue, with a corresponding increase in wealth, health and welfare, or whether the authoritarian enemies of freedom (who rarely if ever recognize themselves as such) will succeed in using environmental hysteria to undermine capitalism and increase their Majesterium. Any successor to Kyoto will be rooted in hobbling rich economies, increasing the poor world's resentment, unleashing environmental trade warfare, and blanketing the globe with rules and regulations that benefit only rulers and regulators. Bali is not about climate; it symbolizes the continued assault on freedom by those who seek -- or pander to -- political power under the guise of concern for humanity." (Peter Foster, Financial Post)

I will not blog much in the next few days. I'm going to be in the hospital with some coronary artery disease issues.

It is getting colder here in Pantego today, but the past two days were the hottest on record here for those particular days of the year. This is despite 2007 being perhaps the coldest year of the last two decades. It is hard to tell much about global temperatures by monitoring one locale. The world is having a big debate in Bali about which countries should destroy their economy to reduce their CO2 emissions, despite the fact that the world is getting colder, and no one has proven that atmospheric CO2 blocking radiation from the earth's surface is a primary climate forcer. There are a lot of other activities by man that seem to me to have more effect. And, of course, I have enough experience with large system models to know that the global circulation models used by the IPCC are not reliable. (The IPCC modellers like Kevin Trenberth agree with that, and claims that they do not make predictions, but politicians don't pay attention.) Here is an interview with Roger Pielke, one of the worl's top climate scientists, that pretty closely matches my understanding of the global warming situation.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Democrats are fond of saying that President Bush lied about Iraq's WMD preogram. We now know that Bush and the intelligence agencies were duped by Saddam himself. Saddam wanted everyone to think he had WMD to protect himself from his enemies in neighboring countries. He thought his friends in France and Russia would protect him from America. He sent an agent to defect into Germany, who was designated "curveball," to convince the West that he had a secret WMD program. Then, the US acquired recordings of Saddam's staff meetings where the WMD programs were discussed. Then phone conversations were intercepted in which hiding the WMD programs were discussed. The Iraqi's knew that we were able to intercept their phone calls, but our intelligence agents were not clever enough to realize that the intercepted phone calls were fake, as were the discussions of Saddam's staff. The Iraqi military was also unaware that the programs were not real, so human intelligence we were able to obtain also confirmed the existence of the programs. Not only were all Western intelligence agencies fooled, but so was the Iraqi military. It is not clear to me why Democrats think that President Bush knew the truth when everyone one else was fooled.

Now we have a similar situation with Iran. One difference is that we know that Iran is producing nuclear materials; that is certain. Now our intelligence agencies think that Iran does not have a WMD program. (Remember, these are they guys who were unaware of the Pakistan nuclear program until the first bomb went off, and were unaware that the Soviet Union was collapsing.) Our intelligence agents are relying on a defector from Iran, General Ashgari, who says the Iranian program was stopped back when the A. Q. Khan enterprise was exposed after the US invaded Iraq. How do we know that Ashgari is not working for Iran, feeding us false information? Is there any reason to believe the latest NIE report? The Israeli's, who have better intelligence than we do, don't agree with the latest NIE report. The report was prepared by people who have worked against Bush for the past seven years, and is more a policy statement than an intelligence estimate. The report does seemingly make it more difficult for the US to get any useful sanctions program against Iran. Democrats want to negotiate with the Iranians. They apparently believe that Iran is rational. They also believe that a peace can be negotiated between Muslims and Israeli's, even though the Muslims say that they will not agree with any deal in which Israel continues to exist. Actually, I think the Muslims are completely rational because it is clear that they can eventually win, and there is no significant penalty for them if they continue to refuse to budge from their position. Iran is rational if they make the assumption that the West will not force them to stop. Saddam lost his gamble because of President Bush, but Democrats in the US have stripped Bush of the power to act. It is a long shot, but Arabs fear the rising power of the Persians, so at some point they may work with Israel to stop Iran.

I think it is instructive for young people to be aware of all of the past panics that have not come true. Here is an article on that subject by Andrew Bolt that I got from the blogspot "Antigreen." (I remember all of these past panics, but none of them ever reached the level of the global warming hysteria now evident in the politicsl classes. I think the reason for that is that all of the frustrated socialists and communists see global warming as their ticket to power.)

Memories of panics past

By Andrew Bolt

NUCLEAR winter, mega-famines, global cooling, acid rain, bird flu, death by fluoride, Chernobyl. I've seen it all and nothing scares me now. I can't remember exactly what I wrote that was so evil. So much to choose from. Was it that I refused to be freaked by this latest panic attack that global warming was blasting in and . . . Oh, God, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE! Or was it that I wouldn't listen to that frenzy of activists insisting the genetically modified canola oil I use to fry my chops would nuke us all into an explosion of pustulating tumours?

Anyway, one young reader was furious that I'd yet again stood snobbily apart, while his mob ululated warnings of some fresh horror. "You'd be on your own," he sneered in an angry email. True enough, my young critic, I do often feel lonely in this astonishing age when to panic is a sign of virtue and to reason a sign of a cold heart.

But you know my problem? It's not just that I hate mobs, knowing there's no wisdom in them. It's not even that I'm stubborn by nature, and like the answer Albert Einstein gave to One Hundred Authors Against Einstein - that all it took to defeat his Theory of Relativity was not 100 scientists but just one fact. My real problem is simply that in my 48 years I've lived through so many pack-panic attacks over nothing that I won't fall so easily for the next.

Your parents or grandparents may know what I mean. Go ask if they remember all those plagues we were told would surely smite us if we didn't sign some cheque, praise some god, or vote for some politician. Ask if they remember scares like the nuclear winter, DDT, mega-famines, global cooling, acid rain, Repetitive Strain Injury, bird flu, the millennium bug, SARS, toxic PVC, poisonous breast implants, the end of oil, death by fluoride, the Chernobyl doom, the BSE beef that would eat your brains, and other oldies and mouldies. It's amazing we're still alive after all that, let alone richer and healthier.

So, my furious friend, don't try to panic me now about global warming, GM food, peak oil or ADHD. I've seen too many. You want to know how they're tricked up? First, you get a possible problem - preferably with some skerrick of truth. You then get some expert, or maybe an Al Gore, to make wild assumptions or faulty extrapolations. You know the kind: that if a dodgy levee breaks in New Orleans, the whole world is gonna drown. And then you whistle for the carpetbaggers - journalists keen to sell a sensation, business keen to sell a cure, and politicians keen to sell themselves as the solution. And bang, you have a mass panic, with more people gaining from the scare than are game to expose it.

I guess you're shocked by my cynicism. Would it help if I gave some examples of the panics I was once fed? Here's the very first I remember. When I was a student, too, my earnest teachers used to tell me the world was running out of food, and show pictures of starving Indians, which made me worry a lot. They were repeating the hot theories of people like green guru Prof Paul Ehrlich, whose 1968 book The Population Explosion sold in the millions. "The battle to feed humanity is over," Ehrlich preached. "In the 1970s and 1980s, hundreds of millions of people will starve to death."

He was wrong, of course. Better crops, better communications, better transport, better education - and see now. Famines are now virtually unknown outside of war zones. But such apocalyptic talk was everywhere then. Take the Club of Rome, a top think tank, which in 1972 warned the world's economy was about to hit a wall. We were running out of oil, gas, silver, tin, uranium, aluminium, copper, lead and zinc, it warned in Limits to Growth, which sold 30 million copies, becoming the best-selling environmental book in history. Panic spread. "We could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade," warned US president Jimmy Carter.

Except we didn't. Instead, we've now got bigger reserves of all the things the Club of Rome said would soon be used up, except for tin. But those panics about resources were nothing compared with the full-blown hysteria that was now being whipped up over the environment. These eco-scares really took off in 1962 after Rachel Carson published her Silent Spring, using now disputed or discredited evidence to claim DDT was such a menace in the food chain we had to ban it to save whole species. So DDT spraying was largely halted to save birds and fish, even though that meant killing tens of millions of Third World children, who were left with no good protection from the malarial mosquitoes against which the DDT had been used.

Never mind! We were too busy then panicking over a fall (sic) in global temperatures. In April 1975, for instance, Newsweek ran an article, The Cooling World, warning of "ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change", exposing us to floods, "catastrophic" famines, "the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded" and "drought and desolation".

The panic attacks were now coming in waves. There was "acid rain", which the United Nations in 1986 blamed for damaging a quarter of Europe's trees. Now, of course, we know "acid rain" is hardly harmful, and Europe's trees are blooming. There was then the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, also in 1986, that was said to threaten millions of people with death and so terrified women that the International Atomic Energy Agency said as many as 200,000 had abortions. Now we know that the true death toll so far is fewer than 60.

There was the warning by British officials in 1996 that more than 500,000 people faced death by BSE, a brain disease they could catch from infected beef. Now we know - after eight million cattle were slaughtered - that the threat was wildly exaggerated, and the 100 or so victims might not have even got the disease from eating beef. But don't stop panicking! So we panicked instead about bird flu, with newspapers running screaming headlines such as: "Pandemic Could Kill 150 Million, UN Warns". But now we know the UN was just plucking figures from the air, and there's still no proof this disease, caught from heavy exposure to sick birds, can leap from human to human.

How many more scares should I describe, each quickly buried in embarrassment, rather than held up as a warning to be slow to panic? Remember the fear that the world's computers would crash the second the clocks ticked over to the year 2000? Planes would fall from the sky thanks to this Y2K bug, which the world spent an estimated $300 billion "fixing". But what happened at midnight? Tick, tick, tick . . . er, tick.

It was in the 1980s that I first declared my personal war against panic, after thousands of Australians suddenly started to complain of what they called Repetitive Strain Injury. The theory was that typing for hours gave them a crippling wrist pain that would never go away. So firmly was this believed here that by 1985, RSI was blamed for a third of all claims for compensation for disease, and every federal public servant who put out a sore hand was simply paid off.

What struck me, though, was that all the sufferers I knew seemed to be moaners by nature, or already unhappy. Even odder was that this disease seemed to hit only Australians and only in some workplaces, such as Telecom and the Commonwealth Bank - often heavily unionised or soggy with complaint.

You see, as psychologist Prof Robert Spillane says now, RSI was actually not a medical problem but a social one, suffered largely by unhappy people "who chose to become patients" and who had there-theres murmured to them by compensation lawyers and the new breed of occupational health therapists. But who gets RSI now? It's like a magic wind blew it away, overnight.

So that, my young friend, is why I refuse to join your latest panic party. Sneer at my loneliness all you like, as your howling, screaming, gasping mob gibbers in unison with a fear you seem to catch from each other. I've learned that if I wait long enough, you'll come to your senses. Until you panic all over again, that is.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

There is natural concern about what the world will do for energy when the supply of fossil fuel available at acceptable cost is exhausted some time in the future, maybe 200 years from now. One power source that would solve the probalem, if we could get it to work efficiently, is fusion power. Work on fusion power has been going on since I was in college, but I haven't followed it closely. Here is an article about fusion power research in Europe that I got from the blog "Blue crab Boulevard."

James Randerson, writing in The Guardian, describes a new initiative in Europe to use lasers to try to create a working fusion reactor.

It's a clean source of energy using fuel that can easily be extracted from sea water, and it isn't owned by Saudi Arabia. We're talking about fusion - and a multinational project led by British researchers that aims to use high-powered lasers to produce nuclear fusion, the same physical reaction powering the sun. If they succeed, they could solve the approaching world energy crisis without destroying the environment.

Although the team admits a commercial fusion reactor is still decades away, it believes using lasers to spark fusion shows great promise. The EU has agreed to fund the setup costs for a seven-year research project called HiPER (High Powered laser Energy Research) to build a working demonstration reactor. But preparing for that stage - requiring the collaboration of 11 nations including Germany, France, Canada and Russia - is expected to cost more than €50m (£35m). Building the reactor itself will cost more than €500m.

Money machine

Why such investment? Because if we can control a fusion generator, it will be self-powering, offering abundant excess energy (to convert in turn to electricity) from virtually unlimited fuel. On top of this, its waste products won't contribute to climate change or pose the long-term waste storage problem that fission - our present nuclear generation system - poses. And we desperately need new electricity sources.

But fusion is infamous for its grand claims, massive grant proposals and, so far, limited success. Physicists joke that they've been saying fusion power is 40 years away for the past 40 years. So far it's only been used in the H-bombs exploded in tests, but that was uncontrolled.

Up to now, most attention has been on so-called magnetic fusion (see panel), in which a powerful magnetic jacket brings two different isotopes of hydrogen at enormously high temperatures close enough to fuse. That releases huge amounts of energy. It's been done - but no reactor has been built large enough to generate more energy than is put in via the magnets.

It's an interesting read, but I was a bit surprised at this passage:

Laser fusion involves some mind-numbing science. CLF's laser, called Vulcan, is the most powerful laser in the world: it can focus 500 joules of energy (about the same required to lift 50 apples by 10m) into a laser burst just 40 femtoseconds (40 x 10-15) long - equivalent to one second in a million years. During that period, it's applying 10,000 times more energy than the National Grid generates

I'm not sure how to square that claim with other information. The University of Rochester (New York) has been conducting laser fusion experiments since 1970. I've known about that place for decades, even though I do not follow fusion research closely. Their OMEGA facility is supposed to be operational this year and will be able to focus as much as 40,000 joules of energy from 60 lasers - which calcs out to slightly more than 666 joules per laser. Here's the website for the UofR's Laboratory for Laser Energetics which describes their facility. Unless I'm misreading something, the European project is far, far behind the one at Rochester.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Based on my own experience with large thermal models I have severe doubts about the reliability of the global circulation models used to predict cataclysmic global warming. When the models were first discussed, it was acknowledged that they did not accurately predict the past, something that casts doubt on their accuracy. Later it was said that the models were refined so that they did project the alleged past temperature history of earth. I suspected that the modellers had put in some sort of fudge factors, which may eneble them to predict the past, since that is known, but which does not ensure that the models correctly predict the future. I say this based on my own modelling experience. The great physicist Freeman Dyson has suggested the same thing, that fudge factors are not reliable. The reason for this is that there may be an important process that is not included in the model. That makes no difference as fudge factors are applied to match past temperatures, but means the model will not predict the future. It is also known that there are many investigators who use different models, all of which predict the past now, but which do not agree on the future. (Some models even predict a temperature decline, but the IPCC rejected those results.) Here is a piece from Climate-Skeptic about this issue:

Climate Models Match History Because They are Fudged

When catastrophist climate models were first run against history, they did not even come close to matching. Over the last several years, after a lot of time under the hood, climate models have been tweaked and forced to match historic warming observations pretty closely. A prominent catastrophist and climate modeller finally asks the logical question:

One curious aspect of this result is that it is also well known [Houghton et al., 2001] that the same models that agree in simulating the anomaly in surface air temperature differ significantly in their predicted climate sensitivity. The cited range in climate sensitivity from a wide collection of models is usually 1.5 to 4.5 deg C for a doubling of CO2, where most global climate models used for climate change studies vary by at least a factor of two in equilibrium sensitivity.

The question is: if climate models differ by a factor of 2 to 3 in their climate sensitivity, how can they all simulate the global temperature record with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Kerr [2007] and S. E. Schwartz et al. (Quantifying climate change–too rosy a picture?, available at www.nature.com/reports/climatechange, 2007) recently pointed out the importance of understanding the answer to this question. Indeed, Kerr [2007] referred to the present work and the current paper provides the ‘‘widely circulated analysis’’ referred to by Kerr [2007]. This report investigates the most probable explanation for such an agreement. It uses published results from a wide variety of model simulations to understand this apparent paradox between model climate responses for the 20th century, but diverse climate model sensitivity.

One wonders how it took so long for supposedly trained climate scientists right in the middle of the modelling action to ask an obvious question that skeptics have been asking for years (though this particular guy will probably have his climate decoder ring confiscated for bringing this up). The answer seems to be that rather than using observational data, modellers simply make man-made forcing a plug figure, meaning that they set the man-made historic forcing number to whatever number it takes to make the output match history.

Gee, who would have guessed? Well, actually, I did, though I guessed the wrong plug figure. I did, however, guess that one of the key numbers was a plug for all the models to match history so well:

I am willing to make a bet based on my long, long history of modeling (computers, not fashion). My guess is that the blue band, representing climate without man-made effects, was not based on any real science but was instead a plug. In other words, they took their models and actual temperatures and then said "what would the climate without man have to look like for our models to be correct." There are at least four reasons I strongly suspect this to be true:

Every computer modeler in history has tried this trick to make their models of the future seem more credible. I don't think the climate guys are immune.
There is no way their models, with our current state of knowledge about the climate, match reality that well.
The first time they ran their models vs. history, they did not match at all. This current close match is the result of a bunch of tweaking that has little impact on the model's predictive ability but forces it to match history better. For example, early runs had the forecast run right up from the 1940 peak to temperatures way above what we see today.
The blue line totally ignores any of our other understandings about the changing climate, including the changing intensity of the sun. It is conveniently exactly what is necessary to make the pink line match history. In fact, against all evidence, note the blue band falls over the century. This is because the models were pushing the temperature up faster than we have seen it rise historically, so the modelers needed a negative plug to make the numbers look nice.
Here is one other reason I know the models to be wrong: The climate sensitivities quoted above of 1.5 to 4.5 degrees C are unsupportable by history. In fact, this analysis shows pretty clearly that 1.2 is about the most one can derive for sensitivity from our past 120 years of experience, and even that makes the unreasonable assumption that all warming for the past century was due to CO2.

I see a lot of acronyms in blogs that I don't understand, such as MILF and pwned. Here is a definition of MILF that apparently is not the real one.

Awesome: Spirit Airways Announces "MILF" Promotion
Actually it stands for -- supposedly -- "Many Islands, Low Fares."

They're not claiming the attention-catching acronym's similarity to a much better known version of "MILF" is inadvertent and an innocent mistake.

The owners of the popular "Pink Taco" chain immediately said, "Oh right, yes, us too."

I am not the only person who sees the catacysmic global warming hysteria as being driven by socialists (or maybe, Marxists). No matter what a person thinks about the merits of the man-made global warming theory, it is obvious that the UN IPCC has in mind created some sort of socialist world government. Here is an article I got from Greenie Watch on the subject.

U.N. scam shows Marxism at heart of warming movement


Apparently, I hit a nerve with a column I wrote a couple of weeks ago on global warming. Many of you took umbrage with my daring to connect the global warming movement to Marxism. Don't get me wrong. I do not believe everyone involved in the global warming movement subscribes to Karl Marx's philosophy. However, make no mistake about it. Those at the epicenter of this movement have ulterior motives, many of them socialist or even Marxist. What I wrote that caused such a fuss was that global warming is being used as a template to rob from the rich nations and give to the poor ones.

Right on cue, the United Nations issued a report last week that made my point. The headline from The Associated Press: "Poor will need $86b from rich to cope, UN says." Ah, here we go. The report says the rich nations will need to cough up $86 billion per year by 2015 to "strengthen the capacity of vulnerable people." Half the money, ostensibly, would go toward "climate-proofing" developing nations' infrastructure, whatever that means, while the other half would help the poor cope with related risks. Of course, the ambiguity is on purpose. You and I know that the bulk of this money will be skimmed off by tinhorn dictators, the same rabble that runs the U.N.

The report was conveniently released just a week before the world's nations gather in Bali to hammer out yet another Kyoto-style climate treaty. This will be another attempt to shame the developed world into turning over their hard-earned gold and silver to the rest of the world. "In Bali, we are going to very seriously discuss the price rich countries have to pay so that poorer countries can preserve their forests," said Brazil's leftist president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Ironically, Brazil is one of the world's biggest emitters of so-called greenhouse gases. They're mowing down the rain forest to beat the band, and now they and the United Nations want us to pay them to stop destroying it. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

The Bali bailout comes at a time when the Energy Information Administration reports that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are actually down 1.5 percent. Don't count on that getting much press at the conference. We're also coming off a tame hurricane season, despite the loud rantings from the global-warming crowd that this would be one of the worst seasons on record. Al Gore said in September 2005, "Now, the scientific community is warning us that the average hurricane will continue to get stronger because of global warming." We're coming off two relatively tame hurricane seasons in a row. Where are all these stronger hurricanes Gore was warning about? Does that mean he's now willing to admit he was wrong? Probably not.

Actually, the only hurricane-force winds clocked in these parts came from the wake of Al Gore's automobile. According to a report by NewsChannel5, ole Spotted Al was clocked doing a not-so-fuel-efficient 95 mph last year. At least, he'll be able to speed in style. The Tennessean's own Beverly Keel reported that Mr. Gore was spotted purchasing a Lexus LS 600h, their new hybrid model. According to a New York Times review, Al's new ride gets a whopping 21 mpg - 1 mpg less than the non-hybrid version. Atta way to save the planet, Al. Maybe there's an opening for you at the U.N.

The article mentions that CO2 generation in the US is down. You won't see that mentioned very often. Even less often will it be mentioned that North America is a CO2 sink. That is, more CO2 is absorbed over North America than is generated in North America. (North America has a lot of the world's remaining forest.) That doesn't get mentioned much because it makes those third world countries look bad.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I recently signed an oil and gas lease to allow a driller to drill for gas in the Barnett shale under my home. The 18-month (an unusualy short term) lease, which was negotiated by a committee for the town of Pantego, calls for a bonus payment of $15,000 per acre with a royalty of 25%. This sounds like a lot of money. Pantego covers just over one square mile (640 acres) so the driller paid $10 million for the lease. I did some analysis to see what the economics of the situation are.

Based on info from the internet, the Barnett Shale is about 10,000 ft. down and is 500 ft or more in thickness. The Barnett shale has a high Total Organic Content (TOC) of 4.5%. THe pressure is 4000-5000 psi. It is a tight gas formation with low porosity, and low permeability. Vitrinite reflectance in the East Tarrant County region is high at over 1.4 indicating that the gas is very dry. About 60-65% of the gas is in pores, and the rest is absorbed into the shale. When a well is drilled the gas comes out of the pores rapidly, and after the pressure is down, outgasses from the shale for a long time, perhaps 20 years. The key to producing the gas is in the fracturing of the shale so that the gas can flow into the well bore. The fracturing process involves pumping high pressure water filled with sand into the formation. The water breaks the shale, and the sand keeps the cacks from closing back up. Typically best success is achieved with horizontal wells drilled in the middle of the shale formation. Many laterals of about 5000 ft. length are drilled from a single vertical site. Typically the fracture region extends out radially about 250 ft. Thus optimum performance is achieved by drilling the laterals 500 ft. apart. Originally the information I had indicated that recovery was about 18-20% of the gas in the formation. In Sunday's Ft. Worth Star Telegram there was an article that said current anticipated recovery is about 50%.

The analysis I did yielded an estimate that there would be 149 billion scf of gas per sq. mile. The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram article estimated 150 billion scf per sq. mile. That is surprisingly good agreement, whcih indicates that the info I got from the internet on the Barnett shale was pretty accurate.

Now looking at the economics, it might cost $25-30 million to drill the well under Pantego and put it into operation. If there are 150,000,000,000 scf under Pantego, and 75,000,000,000 scf can be recovered then at $8/1000scf the total value of the recovered gas would be $600 million. After the royalty, the value would be $450 million. Of course it would take 20 years to get it. However most of the gas is recovered in the first two or three years, so the investment looks pretty good.

At a recovery rate of 20% the investment would be attractive, and at 50% it looks great. (There's a good chance that the price of natural gas will go up over the next 20 years.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

We live in a "victim" society. Everyone but white men are officially "victims." I have noticed that a lot of the "hate" crimes reported are perpetrated by the victim themselves. Apparently we oppressors do not victimize the victims frequently enough. The lates is the black fireman who "found" a noose in his locker. This "hate crime" got a lot of publicity, but has now been exposed as a hoax. Many of this type of "hate crime" turn out to be a hoax.