Friday, May 29, 2009

What if the Earth is warming?

Let us assume for the moment that Al Gore is right, and the Earth is warming. What potential consequences would that have for human life on this planet?

This is the premise of an insightful article by Vin Suprynowicz (link here). His article reports that cold temperatures are more hazardous to human lives than warm temperatures. He backs this up with references to many studies that prove his point, including the following:
In early 2008, the Department of Health of the UK released “Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK 2008,” an update of previous reports from 2001/2002, edited by Sari Kovats. They used IPCC models that predicted 2.5 C to 3 C mean temperature increases in the U.K. by 2100. They found that there was no increase in heat-related deaths from 1971–2002, despite warming in summers, suggesting that the UK population is adapting to warmer conditions. But cold-related mortality fell by more than a third in all regions. The overall trend in mortality for the warming from 1971–2002 was beneficial. They state, in summary, that “Winter deaths will continue to decline as the climate warms.”

His conclusion is perfect:
Global warming (if it should continue) will save lives – lots of them. Nor is this counterintuitive. Since our early ancestors developed and prospered in warm climates – most likely in equatorial Africa – why shouldn’t it hold true that our species will do best in moderately warmer climates?

Humans are masters of adaptation, but it still takes a lot more work to survive in the cold. The “climate change” we should really worry about is the next Ice Age, which could see everything north of Columbus, Ohio covered by an ice shelf a mile thick.

Do the “global warming” fanatics think we can prevent that by burning lots of coal and putting lots of miles on our SUVs? If so, shouldn’t we start right now, just in case?

Krugman's flawed thinking

Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning and liberal-minded economist, has just enough facts to support his views, but then trips up his own points with his own flawed liberal worldview.

His New York Times editorial today is a good case in point. While he makes some good points against inflation looming on the horizon, he also shows how his own liberal bias influences his thinking:
But it’s hard to escape the sense that the current inflation fear-mongering is partly political, coming largely from economists who had no problem with deficits caused by tax cuts but suddenly became fiscal scolds when the government started spending money to rescue the economy.

I would expect a "respected" economist like Mr. Krugman would realize that federal tax revenues went up during the period of President Bush's tax cuts (once more providing the truth of the Laffer Curve). Assuming Krugman is referring to the economists I think he means, rather than just making a political strawman point, those economists were appropriately, and accurately, deriding the government spending which was creating the deficits.

For a Nobel Prize-winning economist to make such a blatantly political statement, and one which is wrong on top of it, is disturbing, especially in what is essentially a well-argued opinion piece.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hyphenation hilarity

Occasionally, wives will hyphenate their last names with their new husband's last name, as opposed to just taking their husband's last name or keeping their own last name.

Click here for some examples where the wife should absolutely NOT hyphenate her last name with her husband's.

(hat tip to Sacramento's website)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Heads we warm, tails we cool


"...Is it getting cooler or warmer?

The answer, according to a new study, is that we need to concentrate on the long-term trend, which points to an overall warming tendency over these past hundred years.

The great majority of climate scientists agree that it's getting warmer in many places around the world. The cause, they also agree, is heat-trapping carbon dioxide produced by human technology.

But how does this square with the observed fact that over the past decade world temperature has actually stayed the same, or even gone down?

Two scientists, Michael F. Wehner and David R. Easterling, show that such decade-long fluctuations are quite common in weather history. From day to day, season to season, and year to year, the weather shows great variability thanks to natural factors like capricious wind patterns and ocean currents.

Changes in climate -- that is, changes in typical weather conditions over long periods of time -- are more difficult to assess."

But if it is difficult to assess, then how can one make an argument for or against Global Warming?

But let us continue:

Wehner, who works at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., says that the long-term trend really is toward a warmer planet, but that a single year, 1998, has temporarily thrown off the overall upward march in temperature.

In that year, an immense transfer of heat from the western to the eastern Pacific occurred: El Nino (Spanish for "Christ Child"), which often coincides with Christmas time. An El Nino event can have a major impact on rainfall patterns and temperatures over several continents.

El Nino and other weather factors can cause a short reversal in the warming trend for a year. A 10-year reversal is less likely, but still possible. Just as in throwing a coin, seven heads in a row is unexpected, but it does happen now and then.

In the journal Geophysical Review Letters, Wehner says that even a period of 20 years of modest cooling -- the equivalent of throwing 20 heads in a row -- would not reverse the scientific finding that long-term world temperature is trending upward; the trend is based on data now stretching back more than a century.

So basically, our understanding of recent climate change comes down to...chance.

Climate scientists can claim the long term trend is toward warming, yet their best explanation for a short term reversal is mere chance?

By the way, do you know the odds of throwing 20 heads in a row? 1 in 1,048,576. The entire Global Warming theory comes down to odds that long?

It is safe to stop calling Global Warming a "theory", and start calling it a "lottery".

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Obama Disconnect

According to CNN:

" the end of his first quarterly meeting with the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, which was created in February to provide the administration with independent, nonpartisan advice on how to promote economic growth and stability.

...Obama told the board members he's seen "some return to normalcy" in parts of the financial markets."

I would love to hear which part of the financial markets is being referred to by our Dear Leader. According to the Federal Reserve (in a different article from CNN):

"The Federal Reserve's latest forecasts for the U.S. economy are gloomier than the ones released three months earlier, with an expectation for higher unemployment and a steeper drop in economic activity.

The Fed's forecasts, released as part of the minutes from its April meeting, show that its staff now expects the unemployment rate to rise to between 9.2% and 9.6% this year. The central bank had forecast in January that the jobless rate would be in a range of 8.5% to 8.8%, but the unemployment rate topped that in April, hitting 8.9%.

The Fed also now expects the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economic activity, to post a drop of between 1.3% and 2% this year. It had previously expected only a 0.5% to 1.3% decline."

Or how about this report (also from CNN):
"Welcome to the summer of the furlough. Manufacturing workers have long suffered from these "temporary layoffs," but the white-collar world is feeling them now, too: During this recession, everyone from universities to technology companies are using furloughs as a way to cut payroll without further trimming their staffs.

And while furloughs are already underway around the nation, human resources specialists say that required unpaid days off are only going to heat up as we head into the summer months, when employees are more amenable to time off -- albeit unpaid.

"Companies have done the huge surgery in terms of offering reductions in forced and involuntary ways," says Fred Crandall with consulting firm Watson Wyatt."

Of course, if Bush had said something as incredibly moronic as what Obama said, the Media would have lambasted Bush. But since it comes from the Obamessiah, not a peep is heard.

CAFE Insanity

So I am reading this editorial at the Wall Street Journal website about the new CAFE standards proposed by Obama, "Car Crazy:
Bankrupt companies making 39 mpg autos. Are we nuts?"
. My first thought is: Is the Wall Street Journal nuts?

If they want to argue that the 39 mpg target is too high, I can buy that. But their argument seems to be centered around "the big three aren't capable of reaching that goal". I don't buy it.

Exhibit A: The Honda Fit. When I bought one for my wife, I was surprised how much fun that little car was, and is. Add in the fact it gets 27 city/33 highway mpg, and it is a tremendous buy. It is proof that a small car can be fun, affordable, and get great gas mileage.

Exhibit B: The Ford Fiesta. It has received rave reviews, and sold 170,000 units in Europe, with over 52,000 sold in March of this year. When released in the U.S. (late this year or early next year), it is expected to get close to 39 mpg. If this car is as fun as the Honda Fit, expect Ford to make a huge comeback.

Ford will already be close to hitting the target CAFE standard next year. Next time, the Wall Street Journal needs to do a little more research on what the car companies have in their pipelines before predicting something can't be done.