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Belmont Club

The Illusive Future

April 1st, 2013 - 5:44 pm

Because the future hasn’t happened yet it sometimes disappoints when it actually comes. Take for instance the Independent‘s conclusion in March 2000 that “snowfalls are now just a thing of the past”.

Global warming, the heating of the atmosphere by increased amounts of industrial gases, is now accepted as a reality by the international community. … “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

That turned out to be a miss. And besides, it’s not ‘global warming’ any more. It’s climate change or newer still, climate chaos. The Atlantic Wire reporting on March 28, 2013 wrote, “no, it’s not your imagination: Almost half of the country is getting pounded with snow — even though we’re a week into Spring … According to an expert meteorologist at, nearly half of the continental United States is blanketed in snow”.

Even the most credentialed savants can make mistakes. In 1968, Dr.Paul R. Ehrlich in his bestseller The Population Bomb predicted that “the battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.”

It didn’t work out that way. The same Independent wrote in 2012 that “Africa confronts a new killer: obesity”. “The UN said in 2006 that, for the first time, global deaths from excess had overtaken those from deficiency. That may soon apply even to the famine-scarred countries of Africa.”

By 2003 it was clear to the New York Times, which earlier praised his work,  that Ehrlich was wrong. But they knew why: he did not among other things, anticipate the AIDS epidemic. “There are also alarming reasons for the drop in the population growth rate — notably the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic. It is one of the factors the United Nations cited in revising its 2050 world population projections, from 9.3 billion people down to 8.9 billion (we’re at 6.3 billion today). The U.N. estimates that there will be a half-billion fewer people in the 53 nations most afflicted by AIDS than there would have been.”

There were it later turned out, about 30 million deaths.

Remember when Spain was the beacon of the future? The Wall Street Journal wrote in 2009 that “Spain’s renewable-energy leadership has become a template for the Obama administration and its clean-energy push”. Today, who wants to be Spain? As on Cypriot woman recently put it, “Europe was such a disappointment.”

Sometimes the feared future actually happens. And it turns out to be a good thing we didn’t get what we wanted.

In 2008 Obama promised his supporters that he would “cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems … I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop new nuclear weapons; I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material; and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals.”

In recent months President Obama reassured the public that he would build missile defenses on the West Coast and Alaska to defend Continental United States against North Korea ICBMs.  He has ordered the deployments of B-2 and F-22 combat systems to Korea, presumably because the solar powered versions don’t work so good.

It is instructive to remember that the Internet and GPS began as Department of Defense programs. Once they were evil. Today they are so important they cannot be left in the hands of the DOD and should be transferred to the stewardship of the United Nations forthwith. Given current trends, missile defense will probably join the earlier duo as those once malevolent, now luminous technologies, especially if it plays a part in deflecting some incoming extinction level asteroid in the future.

Then everyone will know that the Internet was actually invented by Al Gore; GPS by Garmin and missile defense by President Obama. What would have happened if he got what he wanted and had nothing to defend against the Nokors with?

The trickiest future, especially for those who think history is on “their side”  is doubtless the one they anticipate but  find tragic when it gets there. Troubadour at the Daily Kos for example believes that every right thinking person should wants things to be free.

How exactly is public transit “public” if the people who use it have to pay for it? They already paid when their tax money built the roads and/or tracks, and in order to guarantee that people can use the roads they own, there must be publicly-provisioned transportation. … Now, not everyone who owns a given public bus can fit on that one public bus, so obviously a different economic mechanism than markets applies to public goods: Namely, queues – i.e., first-come, first-served….

Speaking of which, why in the hell do we not have public air transit? If we are not going to be serious about building high-speed rail, then at the very least we can provide a public air travel service. Our taxes and debt build airports, funded the aeronautical research that made these aircraft possible, run the FAA, and also track and manage air traffic. We may not be entitled to sip scotch in 1st class, but we are entitled to freely use (in both the sense of “unhindered” and “without charge”) the infrastructure we own …

Public transit has to be free of charge, and access allocated only by the non-market economic mechanisms – queue, lottery, or command, or some combination thereof.  Moreover, there needs to be public air travel.  We built the air infrastructure, we own it, it’s ours, and we each have an absolute right to use it.  It should be practical to travel from one corner of this country to another without paying a single dime toward transit.

Yet if only taxpayers could embark for free think then what happens to all the low income persons?  Maybe the Daily Kos missed a step or two. No matter. ”Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you.”

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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Top Rated Comments   
In my lifetime, the citrus line has been moving south. If global warming were real, it would have been moving north.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (35)
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It seems James Hansen is going to retire from NASA and immediately sue the government.

That is an opportunity. He is used to being the government and having

"sovereign immunity".

Once he is not with the government, he loses his immunity and will be vulnerable to the law, just like any other schlub. So when he lies, and he will lie, he will become subject to the perjury statutes.

Anybody out there wnat to see Hansen

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I mentioned James Hansen in a comment below. Hansen achieved rock star status amongst the AGW crowd. His misuse of his NASA affiliation might be the real reason why he is retiring. However, Hansen is 72 years old and probably retiring simply because he's too old to continue working. I suspect that after Hansen's connection with NASA is broken, he will pass into the night and be forgotten.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wretchard: "(we’re at 6.3 billion today)" Oh yeah? Who says? Way over counted.

@Swampwoman: Hardiness zones in mid-atlantic states have jumped north a zone in last two decades. See Still, that doesn't say much as to global warming, but more as to social conditions in Africa and china that kink the Jet Stream.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ehrlich's predictions weren't destroyed by AIDS, not even close, but by an unassuming Midwesterner, Dr. Norman Borlaug. The Father of the Green Revolution (The positive Green Revolution with crops, not the lefty one.) is responsible for saving more lives than just about any human being ever.
All of you good folks have thrashed the AGW beast, but this free travel idea is one I could support. Let us regain our right of freedom of movement, not without cost but without License, without bureaucracy or searches. That was one of the early lost rights that have become privileges.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So what do we have here?
Global warming
Global cooling
Population growth resulting in catastrophe
Mass starvation
Korean initiated nuclear war
Spanish euro economic meltdown
Dearmement of the US military
UN takeover of the Internet and GPS

What else? They are going to take my couple of pistols away. Maybe I am not intellegent enough to connect all of these dots into a usefull pattern. Still it is just another working day.

Coffee is a good drink. It gets you up. Proven benefits in reducing risk of Alzheimer's disease, risk of stroke and dementia, and keeps you more productive which helps you and the economy. Low risk of side effects unless you have some conditions like hypertension or arrhythmia. Couple cups a day is fine and healthy for most people. Easy thing to do and enjoyable.

I guess my point is life is not given easy. We are terrible at prediction but pretty good at what is in front of us. There are tools right in front of us that we can use.

My Russian born grandfather looked at me when I was a child getting ready for school. He would give me a slice of buttered bread he made himself (he hated the american stuff) and a cup of juice and say 'za rabotu' go to work.

For what it is worth. I have not commented here much since the change.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Most people at Belmont Club are aware of this but what we are seeing with the Global Warming and other MSM narratives are attempts by socialists to seize further political power. In the late 19th century, it was relatively easy for Marxists/socialists to peddle their ideology. They only needed to push the narrative of the capitalists versus the proletariat along with the observation of ever worsening economic boom-bust cycles. Had the Stock Market crash of 1929 and Great Depression predated Joseph Stalin then the world would probably now be under the boot of a single Marxist-Leninist world government. Unfortunately for the socialists, the world took a good long look at Joseph Stalin and concluded that maybe having a single Marxist-Leninist world government wasn't such a good idea. Of course, being good communists, they could not let go and have been trying to repackage their ideology ever since. In this context, the global warming narrative is almost funny, i.e. Capitalism is destroying the world via global warming. There is only one solution: Establish a world government with a globally planned economy. Obviously, our wise socialist elite would know how to manage the world's economy such that we would not be destroyed by this dreaded peril. It's kind of unfortunate, that the Gramsci agitprop guys were pushing green politics back in the late 1970s. If the socialists had pulled the global warming rabbit out of the hat without prior warning, it might have worked as a new narrative.

The ironic thing about this whole line of thought is the 19th century Marxists might have been onto something with the boom-bust cycles slowly destroying the world's economy. Not that Marxism could have improved the situation in any imaginable sort of way. However it does appear that our economy is unstable as evidenced by Bernanke printing money at a rate of $85 billion/month just to keep the stock and bond markets from imploding. Of course, one could counter argue that what Bernanke is doing is simply another form of socialism and a genuine free market would have avoided our current economic problems. The irony is further compounded by the observation that if the world's economy does implode as Marx predicted, the last thing we will need to worry about is producing too much carbon dioxide.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I suspect no one here believed AGW for more than the nano-second it took to process it in our own minds. (OK if wine was involved a couple of nano-seconds). Like our entire lives, we have been essentially correct, professionally, socially, politically, and what have we got to show for it? Nada, zip, zero, ziltch.
We also know what the other side is doing. They are like teenagers (many still are) rebelling against parents, wanting to 'make their own decisions' even if wrong, just to show some sort of independence. Yet they conform to the idiocy of any given day.
What do we do?
Attack. Attack. Attack.
Especially those of you unfortunate enough to live in a highly leftward locale. Go to the town council meetings, county board meetings, democratic party things, be a subversive in your local Dem Party. Ping on them. Mercilessly. Ping. Hell run against them knowing you will loose.
Be ready for the hate, but force them to spend time and resources defending their sinecures, thus having less to continue subverting the rest of the nation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I suppose it was AGW that melted the Martian polar caps. This "settled science" argument does prove one important fact; Humans are capable of extreme arrogance.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If you want to get angry about the "settled science" refer to the following:

The American Physical Society (APS) used to be a reputable professional organization.

Also, Mars still has its polar caps and they do not melt. The Martian polar caps are mostly dry ice and sublimate directly into gas during the Martian summer. Martian weather is interesting. The surface pressure can vary almost by a factor of two between seasons. The temperature and pressure on Mars are very close to the triple point of water (no one knows exactly way). Water vapor phase change is the main driver for weather on Earth while suspended dust is the main driver for weather on Mars. With Titan and Uranus, methane phase change is the main driver for weather. Venus is almost the Earth's twin and may have once had an atmosphere very similar to ours, along with oceans and maybe even biology. Then 3 billion years ago, "something happened" that caused a run away green house effect that diverged Venus' atmosphere from being like the Earth's and turned Venus into a hell. We should be spending billions exploring Venus so we could better understand what that "something" was.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I should mention that one of the main guys behind the AGW narrative is a scientist named James E. Hansen. He's a NASA civil servant who works at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Apparently he is close to retirement. He got the AGW bee buzzing around in his bonnet after working on Venus atmospheric studies. The geological history of Venus is genuinely scary and it's understandable how someone could freak-out over that. Hansen has attracted some criticism because he used his status as a NASA civil servant to pursue his political agenda. Civil servants can not be fired unless they're caught doing something particularly stupid, e.g. coming to work drunk, running a business out of their office, etc. Hansen tended to present himself as the "voice of NASA" while pursing his AGW political agenda. His "retirement" might(?) be connected with this earlier behavior. For what it is worth, I suspect (don't know) that Venus went into thermal runaway because that planet does not have a moon and effectively no plate tectonics. Why Venus went into thermal runaway is not really known. Given its scientific importance, it's irresponsible that the United States has sent only the Pioneer Venus spacecraft to probe the atmosphere of Venus. Pioneer Venus used a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) architecture to explore Venus, i.e one large entry vehicle along with three smaller entry vehicles carried on one carrier bus. All four vehicles landed on Venus on 9 Dec 1978.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You would think that the evidence from the Hell Fires of Kuwait in 1991 would have dealt the atmospheric "scientists" a fatal blow as they (most prominently Carl Sagan) predicted a "Nuclear Winter".

At the peak of the fires, the smoke absorbed 75% to 80% of the sun’s radiation. The particles were never observed to rise above 6 km and when combined with scavenging by clouds gave the smoke a short residency time in the atmosphere and localized its effects;[18] Professor Carl Sagan of the Turco, Toon, Ackerman, Pollack, Sagan (TTAPS) study hypothesized in January 1991 that enough smoke from the fires "might get so high as to disrupt agriculture in much of South Asia...." Sagan later conceded in his book The Demon-Haunted World that this prediction did not turn out to be correct: "it was pitch black at noon and temperatures dropped 4°–6°C over the Persian Gulf, but not much smoke reached stratospheric altitudes and Asia was spared."[21]

No one expected Saddam to do a full sized experiment!!!

Check out the video of the smoke peaking out at only 19,000 feet maximum with it generally under 9,000 feet.

NUCLEAR WINTER WAS A HOAX! Note it was put forward, with Soviet collaboration, at the same time the "Progressives" were selling the "Nuclear Freeze".

Do you see a pattern here, over two decades later?

Talk about low information voters!

And TTAPS's model also ignored water vapor from fires (a major product of combustion by the way) in its model. with all those smoke particles you'd have lots of nuclei to form "raindrops" to wash the soot from the atmosphere, just as happened in Kuwait.

And that "short residency in the atmosphere" means you can ignore the Global Warming Potential of soot too.

AGW = Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO).

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Ask that question of the AGW crowd and you like lt get a blank stare.

Open this link and we'll go over the facts

Rayleigh scattering (the bottom of the "Major Components") of the chart is the answer

Now look at the "Water Vapor" versus the "Carbon Dioxide" spectra. You will see that water vapor absorbs or scatters much, much more radiation across a broader spectrum that carbon dioxide. So water vapor is a much, much better "greenhouse gas". It is also much, much more abundant with the average moisture content (humidity) of the atmosphere averaging about 1% (10,000 parts per milllion) whereas carbon dioxide is measured at about 390 parts per million.

So water is both a better greenhouse gas and more abundant. CO@ is trivial by coomparison. So SCOTUS got it wrong in Massachusetts v. EPA when Justice Stevens wrote that "carbon dioxide is the primary species of greenhouse gas".


So how bad are the AGW miodels? So bad, they ignore the "Global Warming Potential" of water vapor on a planet 70% covered by water!

"Although water vapour has a significant influence with regard to absorbing infrared radiation (which is the green house effect; see greenhouse gas), its GWP is not calculated. Its concentration in the atmosphere mainly depends on air temperature. There is no possibility to directly influence atmospheric water vapour concentration."

So in a perfectly circular argument, we do not calculate the GWP of the most important species of greenhouse gas because...

" There is no possibility to directly influence atmospheric water vapour concentration."

If we are too puny to affect it, we MUST ignore it. Or else there cannot be AGW, which is what we are trying to prove does exist! Without AGW, we will have no government subsidized research!!!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Re: increasing carbon levels. Seems to me that when this whole AGW schtick started up I looked into it and saw that whereas there is a clear correlation between temperature and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, the carbon dioxide levels are a trailing indicator, which lag temperature by an average of 800 years. So in attempting to beat back carbon dioxide levels today we are responding to system inputs 800 years old and treating the intervening centuries as zero.

Makes as much sense as blacking out your car's windows and installing a rear view camera with an eight hour delay, then putting the car in Drive with the intention of going from San Diego to New York. No one in their right mind would do such a thing, yet here we are, betting the planetary future on just such a cockamamie scheme.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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