Welcome to Medary.com Friday, June 14 2024 @ 06:54 AM CST


Spin vs. Reality

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Spin, courtesy Yahoo News/AP:
US drops plan to force diplomats to Iraq
(Actual headline)

Reality (reported in the story, but somehow not making it into the headline):
volunteers have filled all 48 vacant positions at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and in outlying provinces, The Associated Press has learned.
Perhaps a less disingenuous headline would be:
US fills open diplomatic posts in Iraq
I really don't need any more evidence to convince me that the vast majority of journalists today are implacably opposed to American success anywhere in the world, and in Iraq in particular.  Really, I don't.

Another Inconvenient Truth

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NASA says that the thawing of the Arctic Ocean is due to . . . well, read for yourself:
A team of NASA and university scientists has detected an ongoing reversal in Arctic Ocean circulation triggered by atmospheric circulation changes that vary on decade-long time scales. The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming.

The team, led by James Morison of the University of Washington's Polar Science Center Applied Physics Laboratory, Seattle, used data from an Earth-observing satellite and from deep-sea pressure gauges to monitor Arctic Ocean circulation from 2002 to 2006. They measured changes in the weight of columns of Arctic Ocean water, from the surface to the ocean bottom. That weight is influenced by factors such as the height of the ocean's surface, and its salinity. A saltier ocean is heavier and circulates differently than one with less salt.

The very precise deep-sea gauges were developed with help from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the satellite is NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). The team of scientists found a 10-millibar decrease in water pressure at the bottom of the ocean at the North Pole between 2002 and 2006, equal to removing the weight of four inches of water from the ocean. The distribution and size of the decrease suggest that Arctic Ocean circulation changed from the counterclockwise pattern it exhibited in the 1990s to the clockwise pattern that was dominant prior to 1990.

Reporting in Geophysical Research Letters, the authors attribute the reversal to a weakened Arctic Oscillation, a major atmospheric circulation pattern in the northern hemisphere. The weakening reduced the salinity of the upper ocean near the North Pole, decreasing its weight and changing its circulation.

"Our study confirms many changes seen in upper Arctic Ocean circulation in the 1990s were mostly decadal in nature, rather than trends caused by global warming," said Morison.

"While some 1990s climate trends, such as declines in Arctic sea ice extent, have continued, these results suggest at least for the 'wet' part of the Arctic – the Arctic Ocean – circulation reverted to conditions like those prevalent before the 1990s," he added.

The Arctic Oscillation was fairly stable until about 1970, but then varied on more or less decadal time scales, with signs of an underlying upward trend, until the late 1990s, when it again stabilized. During its strong counterclockwise phase in the 1990s, the Arctic environment changed markedly, with the upper Arctic Ocean undergoing major changes that persisted into this century. Many scientists viewed the changes as evidence of an ongoing climate shift, raising concerns about the effects of global warming on the Arctic.
(Emphasis mine).

It shouldn't be long before the climate change zealots figure out how to argue that this non-global-warming related phenomenon is caused by global warming.

The fact is that we do not have a good understanding of how the overall climactic system of the Earth works.  The computer models which are the core of the alarmist camp's arguments are just that--simplified computer models which make a whole raft of assumptions about how the Earth's climate operates.  Not all of those assumptions are necessarily so.

Is is smart to get off of hydrocarbons and to generally conserve energy?  Of course.  But claiming that disaster is right around the corner is, to be blunt, not supported by the science.

A new theory of everything

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The Daily Telegraph:
Garrett Lisi, 39, has a doctorate but no university affiliation and spends most of the year surfing in Hawaii, where he has also been a hiking guide and bridge builder (when he slept in a jungle yurt).

In winter, he heads to the mountains near Lake Tahoe, Nevada, where he snowboards. "Being poor sucks," Lisi says. "It's hard to figure out the secrets of the universe when you're trying to figure out where you and your girlfriend are going to sleep next month."

Despite this unusual career path, his proposal is remarkable because, by the arcane standards of particle physics, it does not require highly complex mathematics.

Even better, it does not require more than one dimension of time and three of space, when some rival theories need ten or even more spatial dimensions and other bizarre concepts. And it may even be possible to test his theory, which predicts a host of new particles, perhaps even using the new Large Hadron Collider atom smasher that will go into action near Geneva next year.
Recall if you will that Einstein was working as a patent office clerk when he first thought through relativity.

I have no idea if Lisi's theory is true or not, but the fact that it's an actual, honest-to-Darwin, falsifiable scientific theory (unlike, say, string "theory") intrigues me . . .

Here's what I'm REALLY tired of

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Political partisans taking something their opponents have said or written, willfully misunderstanding or misinterpreting it, then going off on a rant on how fundamentally evil the other side is.

I look forward to much more of that as the election comes nearer.

United and Delta looking at merger?

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Kansas City Star:

There is a sense of urgency in the most recent talks, which have been going on for some time and continued as recently as a week or so ago, the official with knowledge of the talks said Wednesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly. The official stood by the assertions about the talks after learning of the statements by Delta Air Lines Inc. and United, a unit of UAL Corp.

"They want to get something done before a new administration gets in and so they get the clock ticking on" federal regulatory approval, the official said.

Financial details were not clear. But the talks involve United being the name of the combined airlines, the headquarters staying in Chicago and Delta's Atlanta hub being an operational center for the two carriers, the official said.
Interesting . . .

Not enough sleep equals less control over emotions

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LiveScience via Kansas City Star:
"When we're sleep deprived, it's really as if the brain is reverting to more primitive behavior, regressing in terms of the control humans normally have over their emotions," researcher Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, told LiveScience.
"Your emotions . . .
Make you a monster"

The view from the other side of the world

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I'm traveling, so posting has been nonexistent for a while.  But now, I'm sitting in a hotel lobby on the side of the world that's in the light when it's nighttime back home in the USA, and it's a depressing thing.  No, not the hotel lobby itself, which is as fine as any you could hope for.   But this side of the world is ugly, nasty, poor, and heartbreaking.  It's disgusting, messy, and dirty.  But people live here, laugh here, have fun with friends here.

The news is filled with terror attacks, monkey attacks on city assistant mayors, more terror attacks, cricket, more terror attacks, Bobby Jindal, and more terror attacks. 

Time to start thinking about coming home.

The Poopybutt Chronicles

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Power Line takes note:

These exhibits come together in Dionne's latest column. It's called "Meanies and Hypocrites," which could be the title of roughly 80 percent of his columns. The meanies and hypocrites are always Republicans and conservatives who disagree with Dionne's views. Today, they are conservatives bloggers, including the Power Line crew.

We stand accused of "assaulting" the family of the 12 year-old boy the Dems selected to give their radio address. The boy is Graeme Frost, who urged President Bush not to veto the expansion of the SCHIP program, which subsidizes health care to children in low income families.

The Democrats' use of Frost for this purpose was cynical at many levels. First, it's ridiculous to have a 12 year-old go on national radio to deliver advice about policy. Second, Frost is already covered by SCHIP and would continue to be covered under legislation that Bush is prepared to sign. Thus, the particulars of his situation, which he set out for the audience, are irrelevant to the policy debate. Third, the particulars of a given child who actually would obtain coverage through an expansion of SCHIP are also irrelevant. The expansion proposed by the Democrats would bring at least one million middle class kids into the program. The individual circumstances of their families will vary widely. Thus, hand-picking one child to discuss his or her situation adds nothing to the debate.

Poopybutt.  Meanie.  Hypocrite.


(Not that it's not happening the other way, too . . . ref. Ann Coulter.)

Newspapers and rice

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Michael Totten:
This is what it’s like now in and just outside Ramadi. This mission is the kind of thing embedded journalists see, which is why most war correspondents embed somewhere else. Soldiers Hand Out Newspapers and Rice isn’t much of a headline, and it’s even less of a scoop. But this is the kind of work soldiers do now every day in what was recently the most violent place in Iraq.

That doesn’t mean reporters who go somewhere else aren’t doing their jobs, but it mostly explains why you rarely see coverage from Anbar.

Unintended consequences

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Let's see . . . biofuels are good, right?

Not so fast . . .
Soaring food prices, driven in part by demand for ethanol made from corn, have helped slash the amount of food aid the government buys to its lowest level in a decade, possibly resulting in more hungry people around the world this year.

The United States, the world’s dominant donor, has purchased less than half the amount of food aid this year that it did in 2000, according to new data from the Department of Agriculture.

“The people who are starving and have to rely on food aid, they will suffer,” Jean Ziegler, who reports to the United Nations on hunger and food issues, said in an interview this week.

Corn prices have fallen in recent months, but are still far higher than they were a year ago. Demand for ethanol has also indirectly driven the rising price of soybeans, as land that had been planted with soybeans shifted to corn. And wheat prices have skyrocketed, in large part because drought hurt production in Australia, a major producer, economists say.
So, go ahead and feel virtuous using your ethanol and E-85, knowing that what you're burning in your car might otherwise have gone to feed the poorest people in the world.

Here's an idea--let markets decide what we burn as fuel and what we eat as food, not governments and for Christ's sake, not the U.N.

Hat tip:  Instapundit