This from Anthony Watts, friend of PJM and occasional contributor:
Please have a look at this, and thank the Japanese.
BTW, in case it isn’t obvious, this find throws the “hottest ever” claims of NOAA/NCDC/NASA into serious question, since the temperature peaks of the last decade are well below that of the NOAA/NASA/Met office data set.
What are they going to say, that Japanese scientists “did it wrong” when they cite it in their own publications?
What we really need to see is the unadjusted CLIMAT data reports plotted prior to 2000. I’m betting NCDC will be loathe to do that, for obvious reasons.
Read the whole thing, but basically the difference between warming in US models and no-warming in the Japanese models comed from the systematic adjustments applied.
Just to be clear here, these data are not the result of a prospective, predictive sort of climate model; however, the way the raw data is combined into a curve and the adjustments applied are the result of a statistical model.
When the nation gathers around its television sets this upcoming Sunday to watch the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers face off for best title in the NFL, Americans everywhere will be feeling the effects of our weak energy policy (even if they don’t know it).
Chicken wing consumption during this year’s Super Bowl is estimated to be 1.23 billion wings, down 12.3 million from last year. One of the culprits culpable for the decline is high ethanol prices, which have driven chicken companies to produce one percent fewer birds due in large part to “record high corn and feed prices,” according to the 2013 Wing Report by the National Chicken Council. Meanwhile, the Renewable Fuels Standard diverted 40% of the nation’s total corn production to be used as motor fuel, in the form of ethanol. This, combined with severe drought conditions last year, has driven the price of ethanol to record highs, which in turn forced chicken farmers to reduce the size of their flocks. Thus, Americans are seeing painfully higher prices at the grocery store.
According to Gallup, nearly 76% of Americans say higher food prices are hurting their family’s finances, and this year’s Super Bowl festivities will be the latest manifestation of that fact. Prices are only estimated to get even higher. Converting 40% of our animal feed to gasoline because of the renewable fuel standard is not helping consumers or their pocketbooks, as misguided energy policies continue to “peck” away at our recovery.
As Bridget Johnson tattled this morning, polls show support for women in combat. There has been a lot of discussion regarding Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta lifting the ban on women in combat positions. As Fox News posted on January 24:
The change would open hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs to women. Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey both approved the change Thursday, and the White House separately said it endorsed the decision. The groundbreaking move recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff overturns a 1994 rule banning women from being assigned to smaller ground combat units. Panetta’s decision gives the military services until January 2016 to seek special exceptions if they believe any positions must remain closed to women.
Slate had a piece from a veteran, Kayla Williams, which detailed that women have been on the frontlines for years. In fact, 150 U.S. servicewomen in our armed forces have been killed in Iraq of Afghanistan. It also could be to our advantage, as we try to maneuver ourselves out of Afghanistan since:
[T]hose who served in Iraq and Afghanistan came to understand that in complex counterinsurgency operations, especially in Muslim nations, the presence of women troops is a vital way to interact with the civilian population—so important, in fact, that military leaders have long been skirting the old regulations by placing women in combat units.
However, Williams is a realist about this policy shift, and noted that it’ll be phased in over the years.
Much work remains to be done to implement this landmark reform. It is likely that the military will follow a multiyear process for phasing in changes, similar to that planned by the Australian military….the U.S. military services (particularly the Army and Marines) may argue that some jobs, particularly in the Special Forces, should remain closed to women. But as women continue to prove their abilities in a growing number of positions, those exclusions will become harder to justify.
It is true that not all women can handle the physical demands of military service. However, neither can all men. In fact, only 25 percent of today’s young people qualify for military service at all—the rest are too obese, too poorly educated, or have criminal backgrounds that bar them. Today [Jan. 24] Panetta is acknowledging that to maintain the high standards of the military, assignments should be based on ability, not gender.
The administration has promised that there will be no reduction of physical standards to accommodate women in combat roles, but that promise almost certainly is false — and Senator McCain, who has endorsed the move, should know better than to pretend otherwise. The political mandate to integrate women into the military had disastrous consequences for standards at West Point, as Walter Williams documented the last time we had this debate. The use of “gender-specific” physical standards meant that female candidates were given passing marks on tests when underperforming their male counterparts on such common benchmarks as push-ups, sit-ups, and running 1.5 miles.This repeats the experience of similar civilian agencies, such as police and fire departments, in which standards have been lowered under the guise of revising them for professional relevance. One particularly comical feature of these developments has been the authorities’ insistence that they are acting independently of political pressure while simultaneously acknowledging that they are motivated by the fear of litigation brought by feminist groups. The ideological absurdity at play here is hard to exaggerate: When members of the Los Angeles city council demanded hiring quotas for the LAPD and a consequent relaxation of standards, they argued that concerns about physical difference could be overcome by implementing a “feminist approach to policing.” We pray that we may be spared a feminist approach to national security.
The military is strong in part because it is the most discriminatory workplace in the nation. You can be kept out, fired, or barred from promotion simply for being too tall, too short, too thin, too fat, too sick, too injured,too stupid, and the list goes on. Every move it has made in the direction of political correctness has been a move away from strength.
… deployed to Anbar Province, Iraq. When I was active duty, I was 5’6, 130 pounds, and scored nearly perfect on my PFTs. I naturally have a lot more upper body strength than the average woman: not only can I do pull-ups, I can meet the male standard. I would love to have been in the infantry. And I still think it will be an unmitigated disaster to incorporate women into combat roles. I am not interested in risking men’s lives so I can live my selfish dream.[...]Regarding physical limitations, not only will a tiny fraction of women be able to meet the male standard, the simple fact is that women tend to be shorter than men. I ran into situations when I was deployed where I simply could not reach something. I wasn’t tall enough. I had to ask a man to get it for me. I can’t train myself to be taller. Yes, there are small men…but not so nearly so many as small women. More, a military PFT doesn’t measure the ability to jump. Men, with more muscular legs and bones that carry more muscle mass than any woman can condition herself to carry, can jump higher and farther than women. That’s why we have a men’s standing jump and long jump event in the Olympics separate from women. When you’re going over a wall in Baghdad that’s ten feet high, you have to be able to be able to reach the top of it in full gear and haul yourself over. That’s not strength per se, that’s just height and the muscular explosive power to jump and reach the top. Having to get a boost from one of the men so you can get up and over could get that man killed.
The number of women who are the equal to reasonably well-developed men in upper-body strength and who have the same stamina and endurance is vanishingly small. Because the number of women who will meet the military’s already debased physical-fitness standard will not satisfy the feminists’ demand for representation, the fitness standard will inevitably be lowered across the board or for women alone, as we have seen in civilian uniformed forces.[...]If a woman is taken prisoner, will special efforts be made to rescue her to save her from the risk of rape? If so, the necessary equality among unit members will be destroyed. If, however, policy requires that she take her chances along with the male captives, we are requiring men to squelch any last remaining vestige of their impulse towards protection and appreciation of female difference.
Team Obama may want to reconsider their frivolous pursuit in stemming the speed of so-called global warming. On January 23, PR Newswire wrote that, “a group of 20 ex-NASA scientists have concluded that the science used to support the man-made climate change hypothesis is not settled and no convincing physical evidence exists to support catastrophic climate change forecasts.”
H. Leighton Steward, chairman of CO2isGreen.org as well as the educational non-profit, PlantsNeedCO2.org, makes the following comments regarding the TRCS posting, which can be found at www.therightclimatestuff.com:
- The science of what is causing global climate change or warming is clearly not settled and never has been.
- There is no convincing physical evidence to support the man-made climate change hypothesis. The standard test of a hypothesis is whether it is supported by real observations, which seems to have been ignored by climate alarmists.
- Claims made by proponents of catastrophic man-made warming are dominantly supported by non-validated computer models and the output of these models should not be relied upon by policy-makers. Some TRCS team members have been making critical decisions using complex computer models for decades.
- There is no immediate threat of catastrophic global warming even if some warming occurs. The sea level is not going to suddenly begin a steep acceleration of its 18,000-year rate of rise. Global sea level rise is not currently accelerating despite what climate change alarmists claim.
- The U.S. Government has overreacted to a possible catastrophic warming. The probable negative impacts to the economy, jobs and an increased cost of food, transportation and utilities will be severe and hurt the poor and middle class the most. Real experiments show that Earth’s habitats and ecosystems could be damaged if CO2 levels are actually reduced. Environmentalists have been grossly misled to believe CO2 is a pollutant.
- Empirical evidence shows that Earth is currently “greening” significantly due to additional CO2 and a modest warming.
- Money saved by abandoning a premature rush to lower CO2 emissions could be better spent by continuing research on alternative energies that are not currently competitive or reliable.
Legendary teevee man Sir David Attenborough admits that he is a maximum misanthrope.
He said the only way to save the planet from famine and species extinction is to limit human population growth.
“We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now,” he told the Radio Times.
Well if the natural world is doing it anyway, what’s the problem? Isn’t that Darwin in action?
What we see here is both the incoherence and the agenda of the global warming, stop all development crowd. If humans are mere accidents of nature, then anything we do is natural. The left will push that line or a similar one when it comes to sexuality and other social issues. But when it comes to developing the world around us, then they don the moral scold cap and tell everyone how wrong and even evil we all are. Or that we’re a plague that must be controlled. We only become moral agents in their eyes when it’s convenient to use morality as a mace to beat us with.
Despite this brief burst of mild weather in the middle of January here on the east coast, this isn’t the phenomenon of global warming. In fact, according to the Daily Mail on January 12, global warming, or climate change, ended sixteen years ago.
Last year The Mail on Sunday reported a stunning fact: that global warming had “paused” for 16 years. The Met Office’s [ Meteorological Office] own monthly figures showed there had been no statistically significant increase in the world’s temperature since 1997. We were vilified. One Green website in the US said our report was “utter bilge” that had to be “exposed and attacked.”
But then last week, the rest of the media caught up with our report. On Tuesday, news finally broke of a revised Met Office ‘decadal forecast’, which not only acknowledges the pause, but predicts it will continue at least until 2017. It says world temperatures are likely to stay around 0.43 degrees above the long-term average – as by then they will have done for 20 years.
So, the jury is still out on this subject. Hence, we can do away with absurd declarations, like global warming being a bigger threat than a nuclear armed Iran, which was a point Senator John Kerry (D-MA) made on the Senate floor. Furthermore, claims of 2012 being the hottest year are also inaccurate. Steven Goddard wrote on January 11 that “1934 is about 0.1C or 0.2F cooler than 1998. In other words, the total downwards adjustment of 1934 is almost 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit relative to 1998. The current NOAA claim is that 2012 is 1.0 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than 1998, but 1934 used to be 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than 1998. This means that prior to adjustment, 1934 was hotter than 2012.”
Even NYT’s Andrew Revkin admitted on January 9 that global warming has “stalled since 1998.”
While global temperatures are the highest they’ve been since formal records began in the 19th century, warming has largely stalled since 1998. Climate change occurs in fits and starts, and there’s plenty of research finding that pauses are normal, but if the current pause persists through 2015 or beyond, questions will build.
Questions like, when will Obama’s green energy monomania end?
- 2013: The Year To Strike a Blow Against Climate Alarmism, by Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris. The next UN climate report will be released this year. Be prepared to refute it.
- Instavision on PJTV: The Singularity: Will Technological Innovation Doom Our Species? By PJTV. Click to watch Glenn Reynolds’ newest video.
- Notes from Atlantis, by Ed Driscoll. Sir Kenneth Clark’s 1969 video history of civilization, from the perspective of a civilization that’s now already history.
- Doomsday Preppers Week 8: Of Castles and Kings, by Bob Owens. The worst part of the “Brent experience” was watching him attempt to train his kids how to shoot.
- Leftism and the Dangers of Modernity, by Michael Widlanski. The futile quest to save us from ourselves.
- Public Highlights Mass Murders, Ignores Most Murders: Racism? By Clayton E. Cramer. Cornel West’s assertion is as simplistic as that of gun control advocates.
- The Worldwide Evolution of Life Expectancy, by Theodore Dalrymple. Life expectancy in Angola, Ethiopia, Niger and Rwanda has increased by 10-15 years since 1990.
- Interview: The History of Epiphone Guitars, by Ed Driscoll. Veteran Gibson historian Walter Carter discusses his latest title, The Epiphone Guitar Book: A Complete History of Epiphone Guitars.
- Obama Authorized U.S. Participation in Botched French Somalia Mission, by Bridget Johnson. U.S. combat aircraft entered Somali airspace in the Friday operation, “in furtherance of U.S. national security interests.”
- Piers Morgan, Filleted, by Roger Kimball. This is CNN, where the Constitution = “Your little book.”
- A Review of David Solway’s The Boxthorn Tree, by P. David Hornik. A masterful look at Israel’s history and current dilemmas.
Noted scientist and singer whose voice sounds like a cat whose tail has gotten caught under a rocking chair would have us all know that fracking is a very bad thing indeed.
“Fracking kills,” [Yoko] Ono said. “And it doesn’t just kill us. It kills the land, nature and eventually the whole world and our dear planet, which we think is a beautiful one.”
Well, she killed the Beatles, so we’re all even.
The science on fracking is in, by the way, and it’s safe. It’s also helping fuel an energy boom that’s providing one of the few bright spots in our blighted economy.
University of Graz (Austria) professor Richard Parncutt has no training in the hard sciences. He’s a professor of systemic musicology. He also claims that he opposes the death penalty for murderers, on the logic that killing killers does not bring the dead back to life.
But on his university’s website, he wrote out a lengthy and quite logical argument proposing the death penalty for those who hold an opinion that differs from his, on the subject of global warming. Or climate change. Whatever they’re calling it this week.
Parncutt wrote the piece, then heard from critics and lawyers and probably from his employer, the University of Graz. So he retracted it, and replaced it on the university’s web site with an apology intended to make the professor sound harmless as a kitten. His university surely called him into the dean’s office for a chat.
Too late, Professor Parncutt, the Internet is indelible. You may read his proposal to wield the power of the state to kill people over their scientific opinions here. It’s chilling for its cheery call to kill. Parncutt writes:
If my argument is correct, it has clear political consequences. Here is a scenario for what might happen if my argument is broadly accepted, both democratically and politically.
- The universal declaration of human rights and every national constitution would be amended to include the rights of future generations. Incidentally, that would also make national debts illegal, because they oblige future generations to pay them. Getting rid of national debts would in turn solve an important aspect of the “global financial crisis” (more), which currently belongs to the list of common excuses for not investing money in the prevention of GW.
- The proposed legal change would be announced and widely publicized for an extended period before it came into force. During that time, GW deniers would have a chance to change their ways and escape punishment.
- The police would start to identify the most influential GW deniers who had not responded to the changed legal situation. These individuals would then be charged and brought to justice.
If a jury of suitably qualified scientists estimated that a given GW denier had already, with high probability (say 95%), caused the deaths of over one million future people, then s/he would be sentenced to death. The sentence would then be commuted to life imprisonment if the accused admitted their mistake, demonstrated genuine regret, AND participated significantly and positively over a long period in programs to reduce the effects of GW (from jail) – using much the same means that were previously used to spread the message of denial. At the end of that process, some GW deniers would never admit their mistake and as a result they would be executed. Perhaps that would be the only way to stop the rest of them. The death penalty would have been justified in terms of the enormous numbers of saved future lives.
After logically working through the numbers of dead he believes global warming “deniers” will be responsible for, and therefore why said “deniers” deserve to die, Parncutt concludes that future generations will regard him as a hero.
Right now, in the year 2012, these ideas will seem quite crazy to most people. People will be saying that Parncutt has finally lost it. But there is already enough evidence on the table to allow me to make the following prediction: If someone found this document in the year 2050 and published it, it would find general support and admiration. People would say I was courageous to write the truth, for a change. Who knows, perhaps the Pope would even turn me into a saint. Presumably there will still be a Pope, and maybe by then he will even have realised that condoms are not such a bad thing! And by the way 2050 is rather soon. Most people reading this text will still be alive then.
I don’t want to be a saint. I would just like my grandchildren and great grandchildren, and the human race in general, to enjoy the world that I have enjoyed, as much as I have enjoyed it. And to achieve that goal I think it is justified for a few heads to roll.
All this from a gentle music professor. If Parncutt does nothing else with his life, he has solved the question of how the Nazis and the Islamists and the Communists and the eugenicists all became such systematic and successful mass murderers.
To paraphrase the big haired guy on Ancient Aliens, I’m not saying it’s aliens, but…just look at the thing. It looks like something Sigourney Weaver would want to nuke from orbit.
Archaeologists digging near Mexico’s Sonora desert have discovered what appears to be the burial ground of an early Mesoamerican society, including signs of deformed skulls.
According to a story at Past Horizons Archaeology, the burial ground consists of 25 individuals; 13 have intentional cranial deformation and five also have dental mutilation, cultural practices which are similar to those of pre-Hispanic groups in southern Sinaloa and northern Nayarit, but until now, have not been seen in Sonora…. Archaeologist Cristina Garcia Moreno, director of the research project…said that, “Cranial deformation in Mesoamerican cultures was used to differentiate one social group from another and for ritual purposes, while the dental mutilation in cultures such as the Nayarit was seen as a rite of passage into adolescence. This is confirmed by the findings at the Sonora cemetery where the five bodies with dental mutilation are all over 12 years in age.”
The main significance to archaeologists is that the discovery suggests the presence (or influence) of Mesoamerican societies much farther north than previously believed.
And we hear about this just a day before the world is supposed to end. Uh huh.
It’s not the end of the world as we know it, and NASA feels fine.
The National Space and Aeronautics Administration has come a long, long way under the stewardship of President Barack Obama. The agency was once a world changer that put humans on the moon, developed or encouraged technological innovation on a vast scale, and put a collection of telescopes into space that have fundamentally changed our understanding of the universe. It has long been my opinion that the Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer space telescopes are America’s answer to the pyramids of ancient Egypt and will stand the test of time as paradigm-altering pieces of technology and efforts to understand the nature of the cosmos. Long after we’re gone, people will still be learning from the data those telescopes have collected and delivered.
What has NASA done lately, though? Well, the Mars rovers and orbiters are amazing, but the fact is we can no longer even get humans to space without the Russians. And apparently we’re left to see the US space agency gloat over debunking something the Maya may or may not have believed hundreds of years ago.
This, I humbly submit, is sad.
I’m not blasting NASA here. I get what they’re doing with this video — getting into headlines on a story that millions are closely watching, and trying to do science in a cool way in a time when science just is not cool. The agency is doing its best to cope with an administration that has been hostile to its true mission of exploration, discovery, and keeping the United States ahead of everybody else and in the lead to keep hold of the highest hill available. Since its founding NASA has played a vital national security role. Obama tried changing the agency’s missions to some sort of Islamic outreach program, and has scuttled the shuttle fleet without a serious thought to advancing us toward the next human spaceflight platform. His campaign slogan was “Forward,” but under his watch the space agency has gone backward. This is a shame. The moonshot astronauts point out that we’ve lost a great deal of space flight talent along with these decisions, some of which will go into the private spaceflight industry and that’s good, but much of which will just evaporate. That’s not good.
But hey, at least we’ve proven the Maya were all wrong, or something.
This ought get the black helicopter crowd spinning. It was shot on Nov. 5, 2012.
Our brand new drones aren’t the only things becoming increasingly autonomous. This newly-released video of a November 5 flight over the Diablo Range in California shows a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter autonomously navigating through hills and valleys at low altitude. While the Army has released no plans to automate its workhorse fleet of Black Hawks, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center is using the platform to demonstrate autonomous technologies that will enable the automation of next-generation helos.
The helo is flying autonomously, creating a terrain map with its sensors and then avoiding the hazards it sees. That makes the chatter you hear all the more interesting.
[T]he most interesting aspect is the radio chatter between the human pilots onboard and the other mission participants. At several points it is evident that they don’t know exactly what their helicopter is going to do next, but each time it comes up with a satisfactory solution.
This is what happens when climate change cultists are elevated to official government status.
Greg Barker, the environment minister, has a provocative turn of phrase. Earlier this week he described wind farms as “wonderful and majestic” and said they had become tourist attractions in his Bexhill and Battle constituency. Today he trumped that by claiming that the UK will “pay the price in British lives” if we don’t spend £2 billion of taxpayer’s money (that’s £70 per household) on programmes to help developing countries switch to green energy.
Tourist attractions? Do you really want to waste valuable vacation time taking your kids to see dead birds?
As The Telegraph article points out, carbon footprints aren’t really a problem in the countries Mr. Barker feels will fall apart without windmills.
Carbon emissions from the most backward economies, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, are minuscule. A report published last year by Price Waterhouse Cooper put sub Saharan emissions at barely one ton per capita – the figure for the US is 20 tons. Wouldn’t western aid be better spent on economic development rather than ensuring that the populations of these countries continue to live in low-carbon poverty?
NASA’s Messenger spacecraft has sent an intriguing message back to Earth from Mercury: There’s water ice and organic compounds on the planet closest to the Sun.
New observations by the MESSENGER spacecraft provide compelling support for the long-held hypothesis that Mercury harbors abundant water ice and other frozen volatile materials in its permanently shadowed polar craters.
Three independent lines of evidence support this conclusion: the first measurements of excess hydrogen at Mercury’s north pole with MESSENGER’s Neutron Spectrometer, the first measurements of the reflectance of Mercury’s polar deposits at near-infrared wavelengths with the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA), and the first detailed models of the surface and near-surface temperatures of Mercury’s north polar regions that utilize the actual topography of Mercury’s surface measured by the MLA. These findings are presented in three papers published online today in Science Express.
Neumann and his colleagues report that the first MLA measurements of the shadowed north polar regions reveal irregular dark and bright deposits at near-infrared wavelength near Mercury’s north pole.
According to Paige, the dark material is likely a mix of complex organic compounds delivered to Mercury by the impacts of comets and volatile-rich asteroids, the same objects that likely delivered water to the innermost planet.The organic material may have been darkened further by exposure to the harsh radiation at Mercury’s surface, even in permanently shadowed areas.
Both the ice and organics likely came from comets slamming into Mercury at points in the past. Ice can exist on the planet because of its extreme environment. Its sunward side bakes at 800 degrees F, but its night side and poles are deep freezes at -300. Stuff that falls in craters, or slams into the planet to create craters, in the polar regions tends to get frozen forever.
The presence of water ice at the poles does suggest that spacecraft could extract the oxygen to refuel there. While you’re gassing up it’s probably not a good idea to step out for a little sun without serious protection. If you stepped into the sunlight you’d burst into *flames.
There has been speculation that the Mars rover Curiosity found organics in the soil of the red planet, but that was shot down yesterday. Whatever Curiosity has found, it’s not organics. Maybe the rover found one of the many lost orbiters sent to check the place out. Or Jimmy Hoffa.
At any rate, organics ended up being found on Mercury first.
*Or, you would, if Mercury had an atmosphere capable of supporting flames, which it doesn’t. But it’s still lethally hot. Maybe we can convince Harry Reid there’s a cowboy poetry festival there that he just has to attend.
The Net has been buzzing with speculation that the Mars rover Curiosity has found something important on the surface of Mars.
The Curiosity rover may have found organic compounds on Mars, Jet Propulsion Laboratory director Charles Elachi told conference attendees in Rome on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.
“Perhaps Curiosity has found simple organic molecules,” Elachi said at La Sapienza University, according to La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno. “It’s preliminary data that must be checked (on) organic, not biological, molecules.”
The statement figures to set off a new round of speculation and excitement about the possibility of life on Mars, although JPL representatives maintain that no major announcements are forthcoming.
Earlier this month, Curiosity project scientist John Grotzinger told NPR that recent data would be “one for the history books.”
“One for the history books.” Well, we can rule out organic compounds because JPL announced today that that isn’t what Curiosity has found.
I’m not sure that finding organic compounds fits the “history books” bill, though it would be an interesting find. We haven’t found them on Mars yet and my knowledge of this area of astronomy is a bit rusty, but organics were found in comets years ago. It would not be much of a shock to find simple organic compounds on or or near the surface of Mars. Unless the organics had some trace of biological origin. Then, it would be a whole new ballgame. Or we might be back to an old ballgame. But it would be interesting. Supposedly we’ll find out what Curiosity has found on Monday at the American Geophysical Union’s meeting in San Francisco. My hat is off to the public outreach folks at JPL, who have done a great job ramping up curiosity about Curiosity.
By the way, if you happened to look up in the night sky near the Moon last night, you saw a very bright object glowing just above it. That wasn’t Mars, but it was Jupiter. The giant and Venus are both easily visible this month, and Jupiter and the Moon happened to be bright and in the same vicinity last night.
Anthony Watts looks at the real viewership of Al Gore’s “24 Hours of Climate Reality” — as well as the pseudoscience involved — and learns Many Interesting Things:
The data gathered from the broadcast doesn’t support the 16 million viewer total. Asanalyzed by a telecommunications expert it suggests the final number might be inflated, especially since the Gore team apparently had the “current viewers” count removed from the USTREAM video player, leaving only the total views count. If you look at any other USTREAM live feed, you’ll see two sets of numbers, representing current and total viewers. The current viewers count on Mr. Gore’s channel remained in the 10,000-12,000 range during the part of his broadcast where that number was available. The question is, why would they need to remove the “current viewers” counter mid broadcast?
A second independent analysis of the data suggests that some electronic virtual viewers were involved, concluding from a mathematical analysis of the numbers that “At least 85% of total views were bots cycling every 10 seconds.”
Recall that Todd Akin’s and Richard Mourdock’s series of unfortunate events began with needling, difficult questions that exposed their religious beliefs. Those questions, and the two men’s answers to them, wrecked their sure-fire candidacies and helped keep the Senate in the hands of the devious Harry Reid. I’m not defending them; they gave bad answers, and Akin in particular allowed his stubbornness to override good sense.
Recall also that Democrats are almost never asked needling, difficult questions that expose their religious beliefs, even though if they are Christians as they claim to be, their answers ought to be identical to the answers given by most Republicans.
With all of that in mind, take a look at this exchange in Sen. Marco Rubio’s interview with GQ, which appears in the lad mag’s December 2012 issue.
GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.
“How old do you think the earth is?” That’s a question to ask a rising politician who has a compelling life story and is one of the most interesting and dynamic leaders America has today? It is, if you want to lay out a marker for him to defend later in the face of hostile leftist questioning. Rubio does well enough in his answer but it comes off as a waffle. He’s much more self-assured when describing what he likes about Eminem than what he understands is going on in Genesis’ first chapter. That, actually, is a common issue with evangelicals. We know what we believe, but we’re very deep on why we believe it, and we’re too embarrassed about our own culture to confidently project and protect it. Too many of us believe that science is the enemy, too, which can lead to incuriosity.
Charles Darwin scored some 4,000 write-in votes against Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) after the congressman’s comments that evolution and the big bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell.”
Broun ran unopposed for the seat he’s occupied since 2007.
“God’s word is true. I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior,” Broun, a physician, said at a late September banquet at a Baptist church.
“You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says,” continued Broun, a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
Jim Leebens-Mack, a University of Georgia plant biologist, started a “Darwin for Congress” Facebook campaign in response.
Write-in candidates won’t be detailed until the secretary of state issues certified election results.
Athens-Clarke County, though, released a list of its write-ins to local media Thursday morning. “I can’t ever remember seeing a (write-in ballot) report that long,” said Athens-Clarke County Elections Supervisor Gail Schrader, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.
Also receiving votes were “Anybody but Broun” and “Bill Nye, the Science Guy.”
A veteran House conservative is seeking the chairmanship of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee in a quest to stop the Obama administration from manipulating science “for political ends.”
“I am seeking the chairmanship for the House Science Committee because our nation’s science and space policy is at a critical juncture,” said Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.). “The committee requires strong and effective leadership, and I want to bring my experience and proven record of legislative success to the committee.”
Sensenbrenner is currently vice-chairman of the committee, having chaired the panel from 1997-2001. He was the ranking Republican on the Dems’ House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming, which was killed by the GOP in the 112th Congress.
The current chairman is 89-year-old Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-Texas), who handily won his re-election with 73 percent of the vote Tuesday. Hall is a middle-of-the-road congressman who was a Democrat up until 2004.
“If given the opportunity to serve as Science chair, my first priority will be to pass smart science and space policy that spurs job creation and ensures America’s future competitiveness. Specifically, we must responsibly fund our research and development programs, refocus NASA and foster the developing private space industry, and put the United States back on a path toward being a leader in STEM education,” said Sensenbrenner.
“Additionally, it’s more important than ever that the House exercises our constitutional oversight role. The Obama Administration has shown its willingness to manipulate science for political ends and threaten our domestic energy production and our economy in the process,” he added. “I have a record of effective oversight, and I will continue to keep the Administration accountable for their use of science in crafting regulations and policies.”
After a day in which the president called his rival a “bullsh***er” and in which we learned that the secretary state was part of a plot to scapegoat a filmmaker to distract us from a terrorist attack that killed four Americans, I don’t know about you but I need some reassurance that our future will be brighter than our present.
I’m not sure that this is it. In fact I’m pretty sure that this video is a harbinger of the brutal droid wars to come. In the video below you will see a flying robot organize other robots on the ground into carrying out tasks either by themselves or in groups. It’s equal parts cool and absolutely horrifying.
And of course, I want a bunch of them to use to mow my lawn and things like that. So I’m conflicted.
“The Obama-EPA plans to move full speed ahead to implement this agenda if President Obama wins a second term,” Inhofe writes. “These rules taken together will inevitably result in the elimination of millions of American jobs, drive up the price of gas at the pump even more, impose construction bans on local communities and essentially shut down American oil, natural gas and coal production.”
Here’s just one job crushing tidbit from the report:
The report also singles out pending federal regulations on such issues as farm dust, air quality, coal ash and water-quality in Florida.
The ozone standard if enacted would cost at least $90 billion annually and would eliminate 7.4 million jobs, the report states, citing federal analysis.
The looming regulatory onslaught is expected to proceed unimpeded in a lame duck term of a president who has already shown himself to be so oblivious to the consequences of his ideology that he still counts green “investments” as part of his successes. These were mentioned by President Obama during the second debate, which occurred the very same week as a another round of bad news about them was crashing around him.
This administration quickly looked to the EPA as a way to bypass the legislative process and, fortunately, met with at least some resistance in the first term.
A second term may actually see tilting at windmills instituted as policy.
- It’s Romney’s Race to Lose, by Rick Moran. The Republican must close the sale by offering himself as a credible alternative to Obama.
- Instavision: Is Atlas Shrugging? Job Creators Are Giving Up on the U.S. Economy, by Glenn Harlan Reynolds. Click to watch video.
- Meet Tom Smith, the Farmer and Businessman Who May Seal Pennsylvania’s Transition from Blue to Red, by Bryan Preston. Democrat incumbent is vulnerable.
- Director Andrew Marcus Discusses Hating Breitbart, by Ed Driscoll. Marcus discusses his new documentary on the late Internet impresario, which debuts this weekend.
- Time to Read Ayn Rand? By Keith Lockitch. That copy of Atlas Shrugged has been sitting on your shelf for a while. Time to open it up?
- Why People Now Ignore Paul Krugman, by Roger Kimball. And I suspect that Paul Krugman is going to find his street corner even more lonely in the weeks to come.
- Redirecting Human Organs to the Third World, by Theodore Dalrymple. Hello, can we have your liver and give it to a Jordanian?
- Paranormal Activity 4 Serves Up Enough Spooks for a Satisfying Sequel, by Bridget Johnson. What the horror world needed: another creepy kid.
And the Japan Times is very very enthusiastic about the government’s huge new tax hike.
The new tax covers all forms of fossil fuel including coal, oil products and natural gas. It is designed so that ¥289 will be imposed on one ton of carbon dioxide emitted. The tax rate will be set at a low level at first and then gradually raised in three stages — October 2012, April 2014 and April 2016.
The tax will take the form of a surcharge over existing oil and coal taxes. For example, ¥250 will be imposed on one kiloliter of gasoline or kerosene from Oct. 1, rising to ¥760 in April 2016.
The new tax will increase the costs of doing business and the financial burden on consumers because the increased costs will be passed on to prices of such items as electricity and gasoline.
It is important for enterprises and consumers to realize that they have been responsible for carbon dioxide emissions, the main cause of global warming, and shed the feeling that they are victimized by the environment tax.
The start of the tax should be viewed as a chance for them to participate in combat against global warming. Some industries are against the environment tax. But they should realize that their activities have caused environmental deterioration. It is clear that they should follow the “polluters pay” principle.
And so forth. The editorial never details the drag on the frail Japanese economy resulting from the energy tax. It mentions it, but then quickly scolds everyone engaging in any activity that uses fossil fuels. It never contemplates how a full green regime in Spain helped drive that county to the brink of catastrophe. Instead of considering the economic impact, the Japan Times opines:
The rise in fossil fuel prices due to the introduction of the environmental tax is expected to accelerate energy saving and the shift to renewable energy sources. All revenue from the tax will be used to strengthen efforts to save energy and to promote green energy sources. It is hoped that the tax will facilitate technological innovation by encouraging enterprises to find opportunities for improving energy savings and developing green energy sources. It is estimated that the environment tax will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 0.5 to 2.2 percent in 2020 from the 1990 level.
The government should inform the public of the significance of the new tax and its subsequent effects. It should also consider changing oil and coal taxes into a full-scale environment tax based solely on the amount of carbon dioxide emitted.
And solar-powered unicorns will fly out of the emperor’s hindquarters!
Along with South Korea, Japan is the lynchpin of America’s strategy to keep the peace in Asia. America needs an economically strong Japan as a counterweight to China in the Asia-Pacific region. These taxes will weaken Japan.
More: Fed chairman Ben Bernanke hearts the Japanese economic model, which has delivered economic stagnation for about 22 years now. Great.
- Fear and Shame on the Campaign Trail #6 — Who’ll Stop the Rain? By Roger L Simon. Obama’s people are in charge of the stringent security here at the Republican Convention. What do they fear?
- Graffiti on Trees, High-Speed Rail to Nowhere — the Wages of Liberalism, by Victor Davis Hanson. How the liberal mind retreats when it cannot cope with the concrete ramifications of its own ideology.
- Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Budget, by Frank J. Fleming. But didn’t know to ask Frank J. Fleming for the answers.
- The Paradox of AIDS and ‘Harm Prevention’ Drugs, by Theodore Dalrymple. $10,000 a year to reduce the chance of HIV transmission 90%?
- RNC Shuffles Monday Speakers Into Rest of the Week, by Bridget Johnson. What would the “optics” be if Isaac strikes areas on the Gulf Coast as a Category 2 hurricane while the GOP parties in Tampa?
- RNC ‘Delegates’ from Working Families, by Mary Grabar. My unforgettable interaction with with four individuals sent to Tampa by the Pennsylvania Working Families, a front group for ACORN.
- (UPDATED) Tracking Tropical Storm Isaac, Check back here with Brendan Loy often for the latest on the threat Isaac poses to Florida and the Gulf Coast.
- E-Mails to My Past Self: 5 Facts I Wish I Could Send Back in Time, by John Hawkins. Like Hot Tub Time Machine, but with e-mails!
Paul Ryan came and spoke today in Lakewood, Colorado, very near my home. The high school gym was packed, with over 3000 present. Most of the folks there were local, but one couple seated next to me was from Durango and had driven six hours to get there.
To say the crowd received Ryan with enthusiasm would be an understatement. In fact, his reception became literally thunderous, as many started stamping or pounding on the gym benches, and they repeated this several times when Ryan made strong points.
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) delivered what his office termed a “major address” in the Senate yesterday. Kerry used that address to argue that “climate change” is every bit as much of a threat as the Iranian mullahcracy’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons and long-range missiles to deliver them.
“I believe that the situation we face, Mr. President, is as dangerous as any of the sort of real crises that we talk about – today we had a hearing in the Foreign Relations Committee on the subject of Syria, and we all know what’s happening with respect to Iran, and nuclear weapons and the possibility even of a war,”
“Well, this issue actually is of as significant a level of importance, because it affects life itself on the planet,” he said.
Kerry went on to say that you can’t even say “climate change” in public anymore, thanks to a “concerted campaign of disinformation.” “Climate change” replaced “global warming” a few years ago as the preferred term, when scientific data failed to show a warming of the planet, and when Al Gore’s “global warming” alarmist speeches were consistently interrupted with blizzards. Fabricated evidence uncovered in the Climategate emails further damaged the “global warming,” now “climate change” cause. Kerry never addressed the falsified data in his speech.
Kerry, who has never held a private sector job, married twice for money, is not a scientist and has no formal scientific experience whatsoever, went on to lob a smear at those who disagree with him.
“We have in effect, with respect to climate change in America today, what is fundamentally a flat-earth caucus, a bunch of people – some of them within the United States Congress itself – who still argue, against all the science, all the evidence, they argue that somehow we don’t know enough about climate change, or they argue that the evidence isn’t sufficient, or they argue that it just is a hoax.”
Smears are nothing new to John Kerry. He returned from service in Vietnam to build his political career accusing fellow servicemen of systematically committing war crimes and atrocities “in a fashion reminscent of Jenjis Khan.”
Meanwhile, Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons and is ramping up the threats to annihilate Israel.
It was 43 years ago today that the world held its collective breath as Neil Armstrong guided the Eagle landing craft down to the moon’s surface. Although most of us didn’t know it at the time, landing on the moon that day was actually a very near thing, as Armstrong discovered that the planned landing site was strewn with dangerous boulders and he had precious little time to find an alternate site.
With less than 30 seconds of fuel left, the footpads of the Lunar Module touched the surface of the moon and man had achieved what seems even today, the most stunning technological triumph in human history. A thousand years from now, the 20th century may be remembered for only a couple of things; one of them is certainly going to be the voyage of Apollo 11.
Veteran space journalist Jay Barbree gives an account of the day:
Forty-three years ago, Neil Armstrong moved slowly down the ladder. He was in no hurry. He would be stepping onto a small world that had never been touched by life. A landscape where no leaf had ever drifted, no insect had ever scurried, where no blade of green had ever waved, where even the raging fury of a thermonuclear blast would sound no louder than a falling snowflake.
Across a vacuum-wide 240,000 miles, billions of eyes were transfixed on black-and-white televisions. They were watching this ghostly figure moving phantomlike, closer and closer, and then, three and a half feet above the moon’s surface, jump off the ladder. Neil Armstrong’s boots hit the moon at 10:56 p.m. ET, July 20, 1969.
All motion stopped. He spoke: “That’s one small step for a man — one giant leap for mankind.”
Lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin stayed aboard Eagle to keep watch on all the lander’s systems. The LM was Aldrin’s responsibility, and as soon as it was safe for him to leave their lander, he came down the ladder and joined Armstrong.
“Beautiful, beautiful! Magnificent desolation,” Aldrin said with feeling. He stared at a sky that was the darkest of blacks. No blue. No green. No birds flying across an airless landscape. There were many shades of gray and areas of utter black where rocks cast their shadows from an unfiltered sun, but no real color. And there was the lack of gravity. They seemed to weigh a little more than nothing. In spite of their cumbersome spacesuits, both astronauts found moving about in the one-sixth gravity exhilarating and described the experience as floating.
Armstrong had strong doubts that he’d make it back alive, while behind the scenes, NASA gave the mission only a 66% chance for success. Some of the individual engineers and scientists were even less charitable in their assessment of the mission’s chances. President Nixon had a speech all ready to deliver if the worst happened:
Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon in explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.
These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.Those two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.
In ancient days, men looked at the stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, hut our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.
Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and will remain the foremost in our hearts.
For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.”
Thankfully, Nixon’s heartfelt address is just an historical curiosity.
NASA wouldn’t dare take those kinds of chances today. This is one reason why we won’t be watching any manned space flights in America until at least 2014 and more likely, 2015. Plans to return to the moon are on the back burner and forget about going to Mars for the next couple of decades.
Space news for the foreseeable future will be dominated by private companies and their efforts to get the commercial use of space off the ground. But even they would admit that they are only standing on the shoulders of giants who paved the way for our current efforts to live, work, and explore the cosmos.
Many in Congress were incensed when the US Navy used $26 a gallon bio fuels during an exercise last month (the regular naval fuel costs about $5 a gallon.)
Not to be outdone by anything the Navy does, the Air Force purchased some synthetic jet fuel at $59 a gallon.
The Air Force bought 11,000 gallons of alcohol-to-jet fuel from Gevo Inc, a Colorado biofuels company, at $59 a gallon in a program aimed at proving that new alternative fuels can be used reliably in military aircraft – once, that is, their pricing is competitive with petroleum, which now costs $3.60 a gallon.
The cost of the Air Force demonstration – $639,000 – was far less eye-catching than the $12 million the Navy spent for biofuels to power a carrier strike group on alternative energy for a day.
But it was part of the same Pentagon push, which has escalated under the administration of President Barack Obama, to adopt green solutions to rising fuel costs.
Some Republican lawmakers have criticized the high price-per-gallon paid by the Navy as wasteful Pentagon spending at a time of significant budget cuts and a shrinking fleet.
They have also blasted Obama for making green energy a cornerstone of his agenda, with federal funds flowing to alternative energy companies that may not make economic sense, as in the case of bankrupt solar-panel maker Solyndra.
Jeff Scheib, Gevo vice president for fuels, said the alcohol-to-jet fuel made for the Air Force was expensive as it came from a small demonstration plant in Silsbee, Texas, which makes only 7,500 to 8,000 gallons of biofuel a month.
Once the company builds a commercial-scale refinery, expected around 2015, “we believe we can be cost competitive on an all-in basis with petroleum jet fuel over the life of a contract,” Scheib said.
Mr. Scheib is a good salesman for his company, but he’s lying. No doubt he is salivating at the idea that he could supply the fuel needs of the Air Force if the government goes “all in” for his scheme.
But that won’t happen for years — if ever. So taxpayers will be stuck paying 5 or 10 times more for jet fuel all to prove that even the Air Force can go “green.”
In the immortal words of Harry Callahan: “That’s a helluva price to pay for being stylish.”
Fifty years ago today, the first transatlantic television broadcast was beamed to Europe via the newly launched Telstar 1 satellite.
I remember sitting in my basement watching the Cubs game as WGN flashed the news across the bottom of the screen that parts of the contest were being transmitted to Europe. It seemed remarkable to me at the time that pictures and sound could be beamed almost instantaneously thousands of miles away.
Prior to Telstar, footage of news events overseas were shot using a film camera, flown back to the states, and processed for broadcast on the nightly news. If news broke after noon eastern time, networks were out of luck. Transatlantic flights at that time took 8 hours. Some of the planes had film processing and cutting equipment so that the film would be ready to air the minute the plane touched down.
Telstar initiated a revolution in many fields.
The Telstar 1 satellite, which became the world’s first active communications satellite, launched on July 10, 1961 from Cape Canaveral, Fla. Two days later it made history by transmitting the first global television signal from the Andover Earth Station in Maine to the Pleumeur-Bodou Telecom Center in Brittany, France.
The first images beamed to Earth in that broadcast included the views of the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, remarks from President John F. Kennedy, clips from a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs, shots of the American flag waving in the breeze, and images of French singer Yves Montand.
“Live broadcast of events happening throughout the world are taken for granted today, but 50 years ago transmissions enabled by Telstar captured the attention and imaginations of people everywhere,” Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian, said in a statement. “The 50th anniversary reminds us how far we have come, and how much potential there is [in] the new era of digital communications.”
While the Telstar 1 satellite was only operational for a few months, it successfully transmitted a variety of signals from orbit, including television, fax, telephone, data and still pictures from several locations across the United States and Europe, Smithsonian officials said.
Two weeks after it launched, the Telstar 1 satellite facilitated a multinational broadcast on July 23, which was carried by the American networks CBS, NBC and ABC, as well as CBC in Canada and Eurovision in Europe, Smithsonian officials said.
Telstar 1 was only operational until November of that year, but its legacy is still being felt today. Communications satellites are a huge business and make possible much of the modern world we now take for granted.
It’s good to remember that humble beginnings that all of our wondrous technology sprung from.
Report: Tree Ring Evidence Says Earth was Warmer in the Roman Period and Has Been Cooling Ever Since
Researchers from Germany, Finland, Scotland, and Switzerland examined tree-ring density profiles in trees from Finnish Lapland. In this cold environment, trees often collapse into one of the numerous lakes, where they remain well preserved for thousands of years.
The density measurements correlate closely with the summer temperatures in this area on the edge of the Nordic taiga; the researchers were thus able to create a temperature reconstruction of unprecedented quality.
The reconstruction provides a high-resolution representation of temperature patterns in the Roman and Medieval Warm periods, but also shows the cold phases that occurred during the Migration Period and the later Little Ice Age.
In addition to the cold and warm phases, the new climate curve also exhibits a phenomenon that was not expected in this form.
For the first time, researchers have now been able to use the data derived from tree-rings to precisely calculate a much longer-term cooling trend that has been playing out over the past 2,000 years.
In case you’re wondering, the scientists who conducted the study are warmists themselves. So when they say the following, it’s significant.
‘This figure we calculated may not seem particularly significant,’ says Esper, ‘however, it is also not negligible when compared to global warming, which up to now has been less than 1°C.
‘Our results suggest that the large-scale climate reconstruction shown by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) likely underestimate this long-term cooling trend over the past few millennia.’
What drives the cooling trend? The relative distance between the earth and its sole energy source, the sun. Warmists consistently downplay earth-sun relationship and even ignore the sun’s cyclical activity patterns.
- Texas Voter ID on Life Support, by J. Christian Adams. Four items are working against Texas.
- California Prefers Trains to Nowhere over Rocket Ships, by Rand Simberg. A private space company is pulling up stakes in the once-Golden State and heading for Texas.
- Signs of Hope Among America’s Political Class, by Roger Kimball. Character matters, and some of our politicians have it: note Governor Scott Walker.
- The Associated Press Embraces Corporatism, by Ed Driscoll. AP drinks deep the economics of Liberal Fascism, going all-in to throw Obama a life preserver.
- Can Dark Chocolate Reduce High Blood Pressure? By Theodore Dalrymple. What if the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down becomes the medicine itself?
- Study: EPA’s Probe Into Fracking’s Effect on Drinking Water Isn’t So Clean, by Bridget Johnson. PLUS: Celeb anti-frackers to descend on D.C. to demand Congress end the shale extraction technique altogether.
- ‘That’s the Ultimate Race, Poor People’: In Praise of Adam Carolla’s Brutal Honesty, by Kathy Shaidle. Even “Carolla-tards” who know all the Aceman’s tales by heart will be surprised by one particularly revealing story.
The conclusion of this unique study may seem counterintuitive, but it isn’t. Once the end of life is clearly in sight — when the patient has weeks, days, or hours to live — extraordinary means to extend life do little to improve the mental outlook of the patient and may contribute to panic and depression.
Patients dying of cancer have a better quality of life towards the end if aggressive, life-prolonging measures are avoided and if they are able to die at home, a multicenter study suggested.
Being admitted to the intensive care unit during the last week of life was the strongest negative factor, accounting for −4.4% of variance in patients’ quality of life, according to Holly G. Prigerson, PhD, and colleagues from Harvard University in Boston.
Also strongly influential was in-hospital death, which explained an additional −2.7% of the variance, the researchers reported online in Archives of Internal Medicine.
Although some earlier research has focused on general aspects of end-of-life care, such as pain management and physician responsiveness, the specific factors that matter most to patients with terminal cancer and their families have not been fully explored, the researchers said.
“The concept of quality of the [end of life] in cancer patients has been underexamined in cancer medicine in the quest to develop newer, more advanced, and effective modalities of interventional cytotoxic therapies,” wrote Alan B. Zonderman, PhD, and Michele K. Evans, MD, of the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, in an invited commentary.
To this end, a prospective study termed Coping With Cancer has been examining the concerns of a wide variety of patients and their caregivers, who were interviewed at baseline about sociodemographic factors, physical and psychological status, treatment preferences, and support structures.
The factors in improving quality of life for the dying — and those that are detrimental — depend on how aggressive treatment to extend life might be.
(Zero and above improves quality of life)
Pastoral care in the hospital or clinic, 1.60 (P=0.052)
Therapeutic alliance with physician, 1.45 (P=0.09)
Intensive care unit stay, −5.61 (P<0.001)
Death in the hospital, −3.03 (P=0.003)
Religious activities prior to cancer diagnosis, 0.66 (P=0.005)
Worry or anxiousness, −0.39 (P=0.002)
Chemotherapy during the last week of life, −3.46 (P=0.04)
Feeding tube during the last week of life, −3.54 (P=0.03)
Another factor is the attitude of the physician:
“Physicians who are able to remain engaged and ‘present’ for their dying patients — by inviting and answering questions and by treating patients in a way that makes them feel that they matter as fellow human beings — have the capacity to improve a dying patient’s [quality of life],” Prigerson and colleagues stated.
The debate over end of life care is one that is going to become more and more contentious and necessary once baby boomers begin to reach the end stages of their lives and Medicare, which is billed for much of the extraordinary effort to extend life , begins to bankrupt the nation. About 25% of all Medicaid spending is dedicated to treating patients in the last year of their life and that number is expected to rise substantially in the next two decades. Even if Obamacare is repealed, this debate is going to happen and we are going to have to come to grips with a problem that doesn’t appear to have a satisfactory solution.
The issue goes to the core of the western way of death; our attitudes toward extending life; the love of our families; the care and concern of the medical profession; and the unanswerable question of how to apply medical resources to the dying that is both compassionate and cost effective.
- ‘Seasonally Adjusted’ Hijinks? The Questionable June Jobs Report, by Tom Blumer. The raw numbers show little to no momentum.
- An Interview with Historian Walter Laqueur on the Arab Spring, by Barry Rubin. “To read now the comments of the correspondents of the New York Times reminds one of Alice in Wonderland.”
- Khamenei in Isolation as Revolutionary Guards Threaten Mayhem, by Michael Ledeen. Despite intended appearances, the opposition has not been crushed.
- The People v. the Democratic Party, by Michael Walsh. The party of slavery, segregation, secularism, and sedition.
- The Little Blue Book: Quotations from Chairman Lakoff, by Zombie. Communication breakdown.
- Your UN: Tax Proliferators for the Planet, by Claudia Rosett. It’s all about the money. Your money.
- The 5 Most Fantastic Technical Advances Coming in Our Future of Abundance, by John Hawkins. Algae, replicators, and robots, oh my!
- Muslims vs. Archaeology, by Robert Spencer. Muslims in northern Mali last week moved against their own country’s heritage.
- Campaign Like It’s 2010: Obama Doubles Down on Bush Tax Cuts, by Bridget Johnson. The Republican response: Why do you want to kill small businesses when the economy’s still as lame as it is?
Following the crash of C-130 aircraft, a key component of the firefighting efforts in Colorado and North Dakota, the military has decided to ground the entire fleet of 7 planes until they determine the cause of the crash.
“You’ve basically lopped off eight air tankers immediately from your inventory, and that’s going to make it tougher to fight wildfires,” said Mike Archer, who distributes a daily newsletter of wildfire news.
“And who knows how long the planes will be down?” he said, adding that investigators will take time to make their conclusions.
The C-130 from an Air National Guard wing based in Charlotte, N.C., was carrying a crew of six and fighting a 6.5-square-mile blaze in the Black Hills of South Dakota when it crashed Sunday, killing at least two crew members and injuring others.
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced Tuesday that two people had died in the crash. He didn’t identify either victim.
The crash cut the number of large air tankers fighting this summer’s outbreak of wildfires by one-third.
President Barack Obama signed a bill last month hastening the addition of seven large tanker planes to the nation’s rundown aerial firefighting fleet, at a cost of $24 million, but the first planes won’t be available until mid-August.
C-130 air tankers have crashed on firefighting duty before. In 2002, a privately owned civilian version of an older-model C-130 crashed in California, killing three crew members. The plane broke up in flight and an investigation blamed fatigue cracks in the wings.
The crash, in part, prompted a review of the airworthiness of large U.S. air tankers and led ultimately to a greatly reduced fleet of large civilian tanker planes. The 44 planes in the fleet a decade ago has dwindled to nine being flown on U.S. Forest Service exclusive use contracts right now.
You really have to read Robert Zubrin’s excellent article on the home page about how these wildfires were totally preventable. The Western Pine Beetle has contributed to the deforestation of a wide swath of the American west and the reason they thrive is because environmentalists have launched literally thousands of suits to prevent the one course of action that would bring the beetle population under control and make wildfires if not rare, then certainly less devastating.
The answer is logging and the greens go into hysterics if there is a proposal to cut down a single tree. From “Incinerating the West”:
There is one word that sums up the required course of action: logging. The beetles have been spreading uncontrollably because continuously connected and extremely thick forests densely populated with mature trees provide the ideal environment for their proliferation. Logging to thin the forests of mature trees that afford the beetles their favorite homes would slow their growth considerably. Logging out tree-free gaps between sections of forests would impose quarantine limits on the epidemic. Logging out trees that have already been killed would remove fuel for the otherwise inevitable conflagration.
These facts are well-known, and in many places there are those who would be delighted to do the logging (not everywhere, unfortunately, as the shutting down of 90% of the American timber industry by the environmentalists over the past two decades has forced many local sawmills to shut down) because pine beetle kill wood is fine timber. Indeed, its striking blue stain endows it with beauty prized by many carpenters for ornamental purposes. Yet time and again, plans to allow controlled preemptive logging to proceed have been blocked by spurious lawsuits from a multitude of self-described environmentalist groups, who additionally have used these suits to bilk the taxpayers of billions of dollars.
The arguments that the putative environmentalists have used to justify their campaign have been risible. For example, in a legal brief filed August 29, 2011, on behalf of itself and several other groups, the South Dakota-based Friends of the Norbeck said:
“Yes, bark beetles are killing many trees, but that won’t necessarily lead to large fires. Even if it did, there’s not much humans can do directly to forests to influence fire risk, except to begin reducing human causes of climatic change. Logging the forest will not significantly influence fire spread, and removal of dead trees has many negative impacts on forest ecosystems.”
Robert also recommends the use of DDT, a move that would kill around 95% of the beetles. DDT has been banned since the 1970s for its purported damage to birds. In the intervening years, the scourge of malaria, once almost wiped out, has claimed millions of lives. The greens, who see the DDT ban as their crowning achievement, would probably have apoplexy if anyone proposed re-authorizing its use.
Wildfires that are mostly preventable with a little common sense forest management are destroying hundreds of homes and laying waste to vast stretches of the western pine forests. The greens blame “global warming.” But if they were truly honest with themselves (a stretch I know, since they aren’t honest with us), they might look in the mirror to find the answer for who is to blame for this catastrophe.
After all, you wouldn’t want to oversleep or anything, right?
The planet’s timekeepers are adding an extra second to the clock at midnight universal time Saturday night. And if you blink, you just might miss it.
The so-called leap second is needed to synchronize the world’s official atomic clocks, said John Lowe, who heads the time and frequency services group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The reason? Earth is spinning just a bit slowly. The time it takes Earth to rotate on its axis — which is the definition of a day — is now about two milliseconds longer than it was 100 years ago, said Geoff Chester, spokesman at the U.S. Naval Observatory, in an interview with the Associated Press. Over the course of a year, that adds up to nearly three-quarters of a second.
A second might not seem like much, Lowe said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “But if you allow that accumulation to go on, it starts to become apparent.” The seconds would stack up and “sunrise” would eventually take place at sunset. And “spring” would arrive in the dead of winter, Lowe said.
“Soon you’d have an obvious problem,” he said.
Obvious? Perhaps if you had a lifespan of a few thousand years, yes. With 86,400 seconds in a day and a gain of less than a second a year, it would take an awful long time to have “sunrise arrive at sunset.”
No matter. Now if I can just figure out how to reset my atomic clock without blowing up Streator, Illinois…