Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Global Warming Roundup

Some inconvenient truths:

Christopker Monckton in The Sunday Telegraph: The sun is warmer now than for the past 11,400 years discusses the shoddy science behind the UN's 2001 report on climate change, including:

The Disappearing Medieval Warm Period Posted by Picasa

Monckton also points out a number of quetionable assumptions, all of which work in favor of global warming:

• They gave one technique for reconstructing pre-thermometer temperature 390 times more weight than any other (but didn't say so).

• The technique they overweighted was one which the UN's 1996 report had said was unsafe: measurement of tree-rings from bristlecone pines. Tree-rings are wider in warmer years, but pine-rings are also wider when there's more carbon dioxide in the air: it's plant food. This carbon dioxide fertilisation distorts the calculations.

• They said they had included 24 data sets going back to 1400. Without saying so, they left out the set showing the medieval warm period, tucking it into a folder marked "Censored Data".

• They used a computer model to draw the graph from the data, but scientists later found that the model almost always drew hockey-sticks even if they fed in random, electronic "red noise".

• The UN dated its list of "forcings" (influences on temperature) from 1750, when the sun, and consequently air temperature, was almost as warm as now. But its start-date for the increase in world temperature was 1900, when the sun, and temperature, were much cooler.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Sobering Look at Demographics

This got me:
As I say, this isn't a projection: it's happening now. There's no need to extrapolate, and if you do it gets a little freaky, but, just for fun, here goes: by 2050, 60 per cent of Italians will have no brothers, no sisters, no cousins, no aunts, no uncles. The big Italian family, with papa pouring the vino and mama spooning out the pasta down an endless table of grandparents and nieces and nephews, will be gone, no more, dead as the dinosaurs.
It's in The Future Belongs to Islam, an excerpt from Mark Steyn's new book "America Alone" at Some other depressing facts:
Greece has a fertility rate hovering just below 1.3 births per couple, which is what demographers call the point of "lowest-low" fertility from which no human society has ever recovered. And Greece's fertility is the healthiest in Mediterranean Europe: Italy has a fertility rate of 1.2, Spain 1.1.
What are the consequences? We're seeing them in Japan:
In The Children Of Men, P. D. James' dystopian fantasy about a barren world, there are special dolls for women whose maternal instinct has gone unfulfilled: pretend mothers take their artificial children for walks on the street or to the swings in the park. In Japan, that's no longer the stuff of dystopian fantasy. At the beginning of the century, the country's toy makers noticed they had a problem: toys are for children and Japan doesn't have many. What to do? In 2005, Tomy began marketing a new doll called Yumel -- a baby boy with a range of 1,200 phrases designed to serve as companions for the elderly. He says not just the usual things -- "I wuv you" -- but also asks the questions your grandchildren would ask if you had any: "Why do elephants have long noses?" Yumel joins his friend, the Snuggling Ifbot, a toy designed to have the conversation of a five-year old child which its makers, with the usual Japanese efficiency, have determined is just enough chit-chat to prevent the old folks going senile. It seems an appropriate final comment on the social democratic state: in a childish infantilized self-absorbed society where adults have been stripped of all responsibility, you need never stop playing with toys. We are the children we never had.
Steyn attributes the "enervated state of the Western world" to the nanny state:
The state has gradually annexed all the responsibilities of adulthood -- health care, child care, care of the elderly -- to the point where it's effectively severed its citizens from humanity's primal instincts, not least the survival instinct. In the American context, the federal "deficit" isn't the problem; it's the government programs that cause the deficit. These programs would still be wrong even if Bill Gates wrote a cheque to cover them each month. They corrode the citizen's sense of self-reliance to a potentially fatal degree. Big government is a national security threat: it increases your vulnerability to threats like Islamism, and makes it less likely you'll be able to summon the will to rebuff it. We should have learned that lesson on Sept. 11, 2001, when big government flopped big-time and the only good news of the day came from the ad hoc citizen militia of Flight 93.
I think this was borne out in New Orleans when Katrina hit. Read it all. Read the book.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Victor David Hanson on the Rumsfeld Resignation

Writing in The Corner:

I don't see how removing the Secretary of Defense helps either the country
or the Republicans, especially given the pre-election vote of confidence in
his full tenure. He was on the right track reforming the military; the
removal of the Taliban and the three-week victory over Saddam were inspired.

So we are down to his supposed responsibility for the later effort to stop
the 3-year plus insurgency, whose denouement is not yet known. Rumsfeld's
supposed error that drew such ire was troop levels, i.e., that he did not wish
to repeat a huge presence in the manner of Vietnam, but sought to skip the
1964-1971 era morass, and go directly to the 1972-5 Vietnamization strategy
of training troops, providing aid, and using air power.