February 28, 2007

I'M SORRY, ARE YOU A SCIENTIST?

I'm sure by now you've heard that Al Gore uses twenty times as much power as the rest of us do. In his defense, the blog ThinkProgress explains Gore's consumption and ends with this statement:

There is no meaningful debate within the scientific community, so the right-wing busies itself with talk about how much electricity Al Gore’s house uses — and even then they distort the truth.

I found this link at Jim Treacher's blog, where he makes the following hilarious post:

Not to mention that if I can barely afford my electric bill when I keep my thermostat at 68 degrees in the winter and only turn on the lights at night to keep from tripping and breaking my neck when I get up to take a piss, how am I supposed to afford "carbon offsets"?

It's great that he's using solar panels and all that, but notice he's not disputing how huge his electric bill still is. What the hell is he doing in there? Is he a Terminator from the future and requires constant recharging? (That would explain pretty much everything.)

Which led me to his comments section and to this astute thought from Mark V:

By the way, that bit about there being no meaningful debate WITHIN the scientific community is bullshit. The ONLY meaningful debate out there is WITHIN the scientific community. And then it's among only some members of the scientific community.

The problem is there is no meaningful debate among the public at large. Thanks Hollywood and MSM!

Something that people across the globe need to remind themselves of every single day. I'm not even convinced that we have enough knowledge and technology to accurately predict global weather trends, but the only people remotely approaching this level of knowledge are climate scientists. Not Al Gore, not Hollywood actors, not granola kids on college campuses. Let's all stop acting like we're outside with thermometers doing the research ourselves and stop talking in absolutes.

Now excuse me while I go put on a sweater. We can't afford to heat our house above 65.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:36 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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February 26, 2007

FREE KAREEM

I'm fumbling with how to say what I want to say this morning. I feel sick to my stomach every time I think about Kareem.

In a landmark case for freedom of expression in Egypt, a young blogger has been jailed for insulting Islam and President Hosni Mubarak, drawing angry condemnation at home and abroad.
Abdel-Karim Nabil Suleiman, 22, a former law student at Cairo's Al-Azhar University, was sentenced to four years in prison by a court in Alexandria yesterday after being arrested last November over eight articles he posted on his blog.

Rosie O'Donnell may think that "radical Christianity" is just as big of a threat, but there's no story in the US that remotely approaches Kareem's. And if militant Muslims had their way, we'd all live under sharia, and we'd all be jailed for blogging our minds.

If that doesn't give you butterflies, I don't know what will.

Posted by: Sarah at 03:44 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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HUH?

Apparently James Cameron has announced that he found Jesus' burial site. Can someone please explain to me how DNA evidence would be any use in proving that it's "the" Jesus? What on earth are they comparing it to?

Posted by: Sarah at 03:11 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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February 23, 2007

POLL

I just have one thought on a recent poll. Here's a summary from James Joyner:

A recent Gallup poll reveals that Americans are much more likely to elect a black man or a woman president than a Mormon or an old man. More interestingly, they’d rather be governed by a homosexual than an atheist

Check out the poll results for yourself.

My take? The results are less about who we'd elect president and more about who we feel comfortable discriminating against. Would you vote for a black president? Only the biggest jackasses would say no. We as a society know that it's a big no-no to say we wouldn't vote for someone based on the color of his skin. But would you vote for a homosexual? More people feel comfortable saying no, relying on their religious compass or other reasons they think this would be a bad idea. And an atheist? People don't have any qualms about saying exactly what they think of atheists. They won't speak freely about race, but they will about lack of religion.

And the fact that people say they'd sooner vote for a homosexual than an atheist? Commenter Michael provides the moment of zen:

I wonder what Thomas Jefferson would make of that…

Posted by: Sarah at 03:24 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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February 12, 2007

FORMING CLOUDS

Via Conservative Grapevine: An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change

The sun’s brightness may change too little to account for the big swings in the climate. But more than 10 years have passed since Henrik Svensmark in Copenhagen first pointed out a much more powerful mechanism.

He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun’s magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the world cloudier and gloomier.

The only trouble with Svensmark’s idea — apart from its being politically incorrect — was that meteorologists denied that cosmic rays could be involved in cloud formation. After long delays in scraping together the funds for an experiment, Svensmark and his small team at the Danish National Space Center hit the jackpot in the summer of 2005.

In a box of air in the basement, they were able to show that electrons set free by cosmic rays coming through the ceiling stitched together droplets of sulphuric acid and water. These are the building blocks for cloud condensation. But journal after journal declined to publish their report; the discovery finally appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society late last year.

I won't claim to know the reasons why journals didn't publish this report, but could it perhaps maybe slightly be be that there's little room for dissent in climatology these days?

Remember that what you know about global warming is only what you've heard. That is, what has been chosen for you to hear. As Mark Steyn says, "Most of us aren't reading the science, or even a precis of the science. We're just reading a constant din from the press that 'the science is settled,' and therefore we no longer need to think about it: The thinking has been done for us."

This reminds me of a section in Bernad Goldberg's book Bias entitled "How Bill Clinton Cured Homelessness":

In 1999 [Philip Terzian, an editor at Providence Journal] wrote a column about a Village Voice study that showed that in 1988 the New York Times ran fifty stories on the homeless, including five on page one. But a decade later, in 1998, the Times ran only ten homeless stories, and none on page one. ... The conservative Media Research Center found that in 1990, when George Bush was president, there were seventy-one homeless stories on the ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN evening newscasts. But in 1995, when Bill Clinton was in the White House, the number had gone down to just nine!

Homelessness didn't stop when Bill Clinton took office; it just stopped being front page news. But our worldview is shaped by what's showcased on the news, what the Important Issues of the day are, and it can be manipulated based on what journalists think you should hear about. The issues don't go away just because they're not reported.

Svensmark formed clouds from cosmic rays. Just because no one wants to publish it or put it on the nightly news doesn't mean it didn't happen. And it doesn't mean it doesn't have anything to do with global warming. It just means you haven't heard about it yet.

But now you have.

Posted by: Sarah at 06:15 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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