Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Future is Now: When Less IS More

George Marshall's article: Back to the Future: When Less Was More is set in England, yet contains remarkable parallels with the way I grew up and continue to live today.

I fondly remember growing up in a large two-story house in Broken Bow, Nebraska, where life centered around the Beast in the dining room, a large metal grate covering the huge gas furnace in the basement, that was originally coal-fired, then converted to natural gas. I ranged my toy cowboys, horses and Indians in what had been the coal bin in the basement, now converted with paint and carpeting into a cozy play room by the furnace.

There was no heat forced into the other rooms of the house. The upstairs bedrooms, including the one sheltering the bunk bed my brother and I shared, were heated by small metal grates set into the floor that let the heat from the Beast waft naturally upward into our room. Many winter nights my brother and I lay on the wood floor with our ears glued to the grate, listening to our parents and Grandparents talk about mysterious adult subjects in the room below, while the wind piled the snow in deep drifts outside. When Mom heard our giggles and yelled up at us through the grate to go to bed, our flannel sheets were always icy cold, and we curled up in fetal positions to keep our toes warm. No TeeVees or other electronic appliances in our rooms. The height of my audio-visual experience was my Boy Scout flashlight under the covers that allowed me to read Jim Kjelgaard's Irish Red books until I fell asleep.

Better yet was to come in out of the cold and take off my wet wool clothes standing on the huge grate over the Beast, the very warmest place in the house. I can still feel the little metal squares pressing into my sock feet.

Somehow our family of four kids made it through each winter warm and healthy, despite the lack of central heating, 24 hour TeeVee (remember the test pattern?), and all manner of electronic distractions. We had time for thought, personal introspection, experimentation and a well developed sense of our Self.

My wife and I now live in an 800 square foot home with only a wood stove for heat in the winter and only cooling breezes through open windows for cooling in the summer. The wood stove creates a welcome island of warmth between living room and kitchen. We can't walk by it without stepping over and holding out our hands to glowing fire within. It's the warm, cozy center of our room.

The Central Heating Generation is coming into power on waves of electronic gym-crackery. I shudder to think what it will be like when the whole world is centrally heated.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holly Days



With all that is happening in the world these days, it's good to sit back, relax, think of family and friends... and project those good feelings into the future.

If I had but one wish before the end of my life, it would be peace for every living thing, everywhere on this Earth.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

If Weather is not Climate... What is it?

George Monbiot's article: Cold Burn requires a more careful response than "Oh yeah? Is everything caused by global warming?"

In short, Monbiot's article makes the claim that recent cold and snowy weather in the UK and elsewhere is due to warming in the Arctic due to reduced Arctic ice causing the ocean to absorb more heat from the sun, forcing Arctic cold further south. Therefore, severe winters are caused by global warming.

The errors in this in this conclusion are as semantic as they are scientific.

First of all, from the Niggling Small Details Department, the ocean doesn't absorb heat from the sun. Heat does not travel from the sun to the earth. Energy travels from the sun and is transformed to heat by being absorbed in the atmosphere, land and ocean.

Secondly, and more importantly, the Earth is in a cooling phase at the moment (see Akasofu, 2010 Natural Science at http://www.scirp.org/journal/NS/) and is likely to remain so for the next 20 years or so. What Monbiot is referring to is regional warming, not global warming, which is far more important in terms of yearly weather patterns, aka, the white stuff we shovel off our front walk.

As one might expect, it turns out there is more to this story than meets the UK journalist's computer keys. "Everyone" knows that the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the Earth, right? NASA says it, James Hanson says it, Monbiot says it.

How do we know this to be true? Who is doing the measuring?

Well, lots of people actually, and one is no surprised to learn that they don't all agree.

There are several databases of global temperature records. The above mentioned NASA and James Hanson have one called GISS. HADCRUT is the database for the Hadley Centre of the Met Office and the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, of email fame.

Guess what? They don't agree.

It seems that the GISS database has been manipulated to fill in Arctic and Antarctic temperature records with those from land data sources, while HADCRUT reports only the records from their true sources.

And guess what? GISS reports 3 degrees C warming in the Arctic and HADCRUT reports 2 degrees cooling. Who you gonna believe?

From many winters I spent in the Arctic screwing trees, I learned (at least) one thing: winter temperatures vary wildly from place to place, from hill top to river valley, from land to ocean, from snow to ice. When I rode my bicycle eight miles to work in Fairbanks, the temperature would vary from 20 below zero at home, to 40 below zero as I rode through the river valley, back up to 20 below zero on the hill top overlooking the valley.

Computer manipulation of Arctic temperature records results in an electronic version of Arctic climate variation that bears little relationship to that experienced by the Inuit who live there.

The "Climate Change causes cold air to move south" scenario is a cartoonish attempt to bolster reputations built on global warming alarmism based on a speculation feedback loop forcing the global climate modeling industry.

Weather is not climate, regional climate variation is not global climate change, climate change is not Anthropogenic Global Warming.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Just in time for Christmas...


BBC News - Troops back armoured underwear dubbed 'combat codpiece'

From the "News Mirrors Fiction Department," albeit camouflaged and packaged in an elegant retractable model, combat fashion revives the ancient and venerable cod piece.

After all, what good does it do to conquer new territories if our returning troops can't father a new Baby Boom generation of consumers?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Someone at NASA is paying attention

In an article on the NASA web site: What are the primary forcings of the Earth system? - NASA Science, the unattributed author states:

"According to scientists' models of Earth's orbit and orientation toward the Sun indicate that our world should be just beginning to enter a new period of cooling -- perhaps the next ice age."


This chart from NOAA (click to enlarge) shows temperature cycles during past glaciations. We're over on the right.




This chart by Tom Ruen illustrates global CO2 levels over the Pleistocene.

There's no causal relationship demonstrated by these graphs, just correlation. The important point is this pattern was active long before humans started producing greenhouse gases. This is a natural pattern of global climate change that humans cannot modify.

Don't get rid of your long johns just yet!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Climate Science - 97% consensus?

There are a couple of important papers available on the web recently.

We've all heard the oft-repeated claim that "97% of climate scientists believe in anthroponic global warming," referring to human CO2 production as responsible for increasing average global surface temperature, and, therefore, we can "stop global warming" by reducing human CO2 output.

In Climate Consensus Opiate, the 97% Solution, Dennis Ambler lays to rest the myth with an examination of the survey that started the consensus rumor. Hint: it's really .73% of climate scientists!

Questioning the very idea of unprecedented increases in average global surface temperatures, McKitrick and Michaels, JGR 2007 demonstrates that temperature records really are skewed by the Urban Heat Island Effect, such that temperature increases are at least half what is claimed by global warming enthusiasts, placing present temperatures firmly within the range of normal global temperature variation.

No climate deniers here, just well documented and accessible science.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Why we love a good Apocalypse

In The Climate Apocalypse Industry, Doug L. Hoffman reveals how we love to contemplate The End that is Near, and how Gloom and Doom is good for business.

At least it's better than the Military-Industrial Complex!