Tuesday, December 30, 2008


At the request of a few, I have decided to post a few pics from my recent post-Christmas / pre-New Year's runs into New York City.

Just after Christmas (the Saturday following) I drove into the city to spend the day with friends up by Columbia University. I brought my PlayStation 3 along for the ride because we had planned for a few people to get together and watch our way through a few fun "Earth versus the Flying Saucers" type films in High Definition and at the moment I was the only one in the group that has a Blu-ray HD DVD player (though my friends by Columbia have a home theater to DIE for... seriously, it is better than going to the movies.) I didn't bother to to bring any of my cameras because, well, I knew I was going to be indoors nearly the whole time and, well, making the run into the city is getting a little old-hat, and while it is always a good time, I don't always want to drag a bunch of stuff around.

After I setup with my friend for "movie time" we quickly realized I forgot to bring along a fiber-optic audio cable... OOPS! That's half the experience, so I pulled out my iPhone, GPSed the nearest Radio Shack and after calling to confirm they had what I was looking for, I ran out the door to walk the 10 New York blocks down to the store. It was actually a fairly nice day and lots of folks were out for a walk. Now, since the store was a few blocks over on Broadway, typically I would have walked down Amsterdam, across the Columbia campus and on down Broadway, but as I was walking I decided, "Hey, I have never taken the time to walk very far (or drive for that matter) down Amsterdam!" so I decided to go ahead and walk as far down Amsterdam as I could, before turning toward the store. That is where I ran into St. Luke's church in these pictures here. It was huge and recently restored. I didn't take the time to go inside, but I did happen to remember that my iPhone had a camera so i grabbed a few quick shots of the church and this wacky sculpture sitting outside in the garden next to it.

Then a few days later, my cousin Jay along with wife Lisa and toddler Zoe got back from a week's get-away vacation and Jay had a spontaneous desire to make a run into the city again. So now it is Sunday evening and we've made plans to hit, a bookstore, some comic book stores, do some people watching and take in a nice lunch and dinner. We headed to Newark where we hopped on the PATH train and rode all the way to 33rd St and then rode up and down on the "6" train to various locations of interest. This time I brought my little pocket camera to grab some "city" shots and so here they are! We walked a bit, listened to college kids excitedly meet up with friends in Union Park, watch a busking band play for change in the subway, went into stores, talked to people (I met a 6'4" Japanese - Egyptian Photographer in the checkout line at The Strand bookstore... neat guy!), ate at a neat Korean restaurant and had fun flirting with a waitress at a Japanese karaoke-bar in the evening ... it was a fun relaxing time.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Anthropogenic Park!

If you’ve been reading my posts about Anthropogenic Global Warming then you know I have claimed that I am absolutely interested in personal and corporate responsibility but that I am in no way convinced that AGW is good science or that the US/UN government’s “tax our way to planetary health” plan is a remotely good idea.

I recently received an email from a friend who shared a blog entry with me. The blog is that of
the famous Michael Crichton and he has a few things to say about the new religion that is AGW:


Thank you friend, for sharing the link. You are not alone and the nay-saying minority is quickly becoming the sensible majority.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Global Warming: Educate Yourself

(Video Below)

Ok, so enough discussion from me on the topic. If you have watched “An Inconvenient Truth” or read (parts of) the IPCC Report on Anthropogenic Global Warming (i.e. AGW is Global Warming as caused by human factors) you should be quite familiar with the issues. Likewise you will note the simple and easy break between being interested in responsible sustainable environmentally conscious living and buying into AGW science. Having said that, most of us will continue to depend on scientists for a trusted explanation of facts and opinions and as a result be left to make what I like to call a “second hand” decision (since some of us either won’t understand the issue in its complexities or won’t bother to research it first hand.)

Recently a co-worker told me that he feels I am getting all conspiracy-theory on the topic of AGW. The trouble is that since the 1960s AGW nearly in the forms as it exists today has been pimped by some fringe scientist and viewed as an extreme and unaccepted theory by the scientific community. It wasn’t until “public consensus” got behind it that certain non-scientist public figures declared AGW “settled science.” Oddly enough the thousands of reports generated by 2000+ “scientists” (again the governments of the world appointed individuals to the IPCC team and some of those individuals were not scientists but activist) that went into the IPCC report on AGW were never asked to sign off on agreeing with the conclusions. Their names are bibliographic references but that doesn’t mean these folks a buying into the conclusion of the report (for which only 51 people literally put their signatures to the document as approval of its conclusions—not 2000+ scientists.)

The crazy thing is that I now hear people call AGW science skeptics “flat-earth” people, meaning that people denied the roundness of the earth once upon a time and look how crazy wrong they were. The crazy bit is that a scientist promoted round-earth theories and it was the flat-earth people who called their believes “settled science” (not literally, they actually called round-earth thinkers heritics.) The flat-earth people squelched any debate, study or examination of round-earth theories and socially shunned round-earth scientists who wanted to study the issues more. It sure seems to me that when you look at AGW, their approach is closer to flat-earth than the approach of the scientists who are not convinced and who want to study it some more.

To show that AGW skepticism is healthy and relevant and not a fringe-group of “global warming deniers” who need their perspectives done away with (as proclaimed by president-elect Barak Obama) take a look at the following video. John Stossel has won awards for exposing scams perpetrated on people. He is a major co-anchor for the respected news show “20/20” and he decided to expose the socially manipulative scam that surrounds the concept of “AGW settled science.” It’s not too long and it ran on ABC, a major U.S. TV network. Here it is:

Now that you have watched the video, you can see how some of the most foundational science to do with AGW is questionable at best (what is great is that the presentation doesn’t require a degree to follow. Good job John Stossel.) And following in like mind, this month a report will hit congress from a sub-committee that has 650 signatures formally bringing into question the science behind AGW and it’s proposed conclusions. It ends up the consensus is turning, which is why proponents of AGW are getting aggressively verbal about downplaying new studies that disprove AGW conclusions or badmouthing and socially manipulating the public through stronger language about “settled science.” But the fact remains that this won’t be the first time America (or other countries) brought into question other shenanigans coming out of the U.N., and I doubt it will be the last.

In the end, if you care about the environment, and the most we will see come from AGW science is a new AGW-backed carbon tax, then we are left with the same goals we ever had: personal environmental responsibility.

All of that being said, I am not read to throw it all away. I just want a real debate on the science, which hasn’t happened to date. So far, we have a report that 51 people at the UN consider settled and a non-scientist ex-vice president (who nearly didn’t get a passing grade in science at the college level) running around the planet playing spokesmodel for the new AGW religion. It is time to get serious. According to the AGW we should be in crisis mode. The opponents agree. We only have a few thousand years to figure out if this is yet (or even) a crisis.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Global Warming On It's Last Leg

I shouldn’t have to recap my personal commitment to seeing people be personal responsible environmentally (I know folks who believe in global warming and promote it in ignorance without being able to tell me which types of plastic should be recycled… or even how to quickly figure that out) but if I don’t start with this, then people will just think I am advocating for irresponsible living (which I am not.)

In the next couple of days the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public works will be presenting a report that sites 650 published scientists from over 2 dozen countries that voices significant objections to major aspects of the so-called “settled science” (previously marketed as scientific “consensus”) around Anthropomorphic Global Warming (AGW.) In 2007, the initial report included works and support from around 400 scientists and this new report includes additional peer-reviewed studies criticizing the climate science presented in the Nobel Peace Prize winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. In fact the Washington Post previously declared 2007 to be the year that Global Warming fear “bit the dust”, but that was followed with increasing intensity around the issue in terms of alarmist language from pro-IPCC report advocates calling any AGW-denial to be equal with holocaust-denial.

Ellen Goodman, in an op-ed article in the Boston Globe declared, “Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers…”

Not a short while ago some of the same scientists who contributed to the IPCC report presented new extremist reports about 2008 having the hottest October on record, but were later exposed for fraudulently using hotter September numbers in their October analysis. The fact remains that the last 18 months on planet earth have produced a new cooling trend. This is an undeniable fact, but at the same time the length of that trend is questioned: is it long enough, scientifically, to call it a trend? Geologist Dr. David Gee, the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress and author of over 130 peer reviewed papers, seems to think so asking, “For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?”

What seems more obvious is that scientists are jumping the wall from AGW science to the skeptical side based on their own analytical work. Atmospheric Physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh: “Many (scientists) are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined.”

So, why would I care about this issue? In the words of the U.S. Senate Committee website, “progressive environmentalists believe climate fear promotion has co-opted the green movement.” In a nutshell, there are so many practical ways that people can try and do their personal part to invest in environmental responsibility. Instead, everyone is worried about a global implosion of our ecosystem due to “carbon” pollution. But is that really the issue we should be concerned with? Al Gore would have us believe it is. Other scientists like Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan, thinks AGW is a distraction with negative consequences as he explains, “CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another… Every scientist knows this, but it doesn’t pay to say so… Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver’s seat and developing nations walking barefoot.”

The fact remains that AGW has only one proposed solution to date: carbon taxes. That’s right. We can tax our planet into “safe carbon levels” according to this great cloud of AGW expert witnesses that defined the IPCC “settled science.” Logically one might ask, “Who are these experts?” and as a result you might remember the IPCC (and, again, Al Gore) claiming something like 2,500 of the world best scientific minds. What they don’t tell you is that while many reports from many sources (easily 2,500 authors) may have gone into the bibliography of the IPCC report, only 51 scientists signed off on the report’s conclusions. Let me type that again…. NOT 2,500…. 51!

Let’s do some quick math together. This initial scientific report that debates the validity of AGW scientific conclusions had 400 published scientists signing off, and this updated report shows signatures from 650 scientists. With the IPCC “settled science”-consensus report on AGW having 51 names, and this new report containing 650 names, the new report dwarfs “consensus” by a factor of 12! To put that in Global Warming terms, if a Toyota Prius can hold 5 adults, then the AGW group fits into 10 Pruis cars. That is a fairly long processional drive to the world’s global warming funeral. At the same time, the anti-AGW group currently occupies 130 Prius automobiles. The important thing to understand is that those 130 cars are equally concerned with the health of the environment and want to take back the green movement, focusing on waste management, food creation and storage to fight starvation, recycling, cleaner water, and personal and corporate responsibility in ways that matter more than “carbon” taxation.

A friend recently asked me, “If we remain skeptical and AWG continues to the point that we are doomed, how did being skeptical help us?” After much thought, I would have to reply with a question: Since the IPCC report (and the more important social milestone of Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth”) what have these award-winning AGW-“scientists” (understand that of all of the individuals who collectively won the Nobel Piece Prize, not a single one was a geologist) proposed that we could do, outside of pay new carbon taxes or invest in non-regulated green-power (which isn’t a viable solution for most people), to solve the situation? Why are taxes really the answer? Would the world not be in a better place ecologically if we focused on more practical non-AGW science where there seems to be more real consensus?

I think what the average person looses in the hype of AGW are timeframes. It took a generation to supposedly ramp up the carbon problem (understand that AGW has been proposed and rejected since the 1960s and only now does it seem to have momentum.) It took the industrial revolution to be exact. Do we have the time to get real consensus, or should we just buy into this and accept carbon taxes as the answer (again, it is the only answer proposed)? The fact is that geologic-ecological-atmospheric science is seldom a sprint more than it’s cycles are like a long distance run. We won’t likely kill ourselves to take a less alarmist look at the science and then support a real agenda for improvement. And if carbon taxes are a part of a solution, then we should have a better understanding of what those tax dollar would be spent on to better the situation (i.e. I get it that on one hand the tax is a punishment for exceeding carbon limits in a given nation. But on the other hand, the UN is establishing a carbon credit trading market where largely industrial countries like America can buy carbon credits from less industrialized nations like Chad, but what is to ensure us that Chad doesn’t then industrialize in the wrong manner and continue the problem?)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Human Global Warming: Bringing Hole-ness

If you've read my blog for a while, you know that I am interested in serious measures that people can take to bring healing to our environment and encourage personal responsibility. I also believe in researching the research that is made available and being comfortable and clear with dealing in the hard questions. I have hard questions as do others and we need to patiently pursue wholeness of understanding.

I preface with that because I have done as much reading on human causes of global warming as I have done on the counter science and I am not yet convinced of the science for human causes for global warming (though i am not dissuaded from pursuing and encouraging personal responsibility.)

Recently MIT revealed a new study that defied an atmospheric menthane environmental trend that was necessary for the theories/science shared in "An Inconvenient Truth" and in the summary to the UN Report. You can read about the MIT atmospheric methane issue here. The very basic idea here is that the global methane atmospheric saturation level should be consistant and any anomoloes should be the result of human causes. But the methane saturation in the northern hemisphere in 2007 defied that science, which basically means... we don't know why that is going on.

Unfortunately, Al Gore was asked about this and he blew it off as a "little report" saying that stuff like this crops up from time to time and we need to stick to what he has called the "settled science" meaning, whether the science is right or not, it is the accepted science and apparently the "little report(s)" can be blown off without sciencific examination. Heaven forbid this become true. I have written previously about my ascertion that Al gore doesn't really understand the science he is pimping, which may be the real reason he is so quick to blow of questions.

The sad thing is that I don't think Al Gore understands what this discovery does to Human Causes of Global Warming. For the next year additional studies are being pursued to attempt to pinpoint the causes of atmospheric methane saturation, but in the mean time, this is a fairly large chink in AGW science. We shouldn't fear that. We should examine it. We shouldn't blow it off. We should look at it.

My logic goes like this. What if the earth is warming up to the degree that it hurts us or the planet? What if it isn't human causes? What if it is just earth cycles and we are about to be phased out like what the iceage supposidely did to the dinosaurs? Could we still attempt to do something about it? Is "settling the science" and focusing on "carbon taxes" really the scientific thing to do? In a global warming scale of mean temperature where "smart" is 44 degrees and "stupid" is 48, Al Gore just scored an idiot's 100. I think it would be better if he just outed himself as the spokesmodel for Anthropomorphic Global Warming, rather than pretending to be a scientist.

Apple Environmentally Friendly?

I am a mac... no wait, I am a PC... hold on,... I am a mac, on a PC, with Vista inside the mac! Yes. I am an OS-X-Vista mac-tel.

More importantly, while I am friendly to mac, is Apple friendly with the environment? Well, according to the EPA, on 23 mandatory and other optional criteria, Apple Computers is in the top 5 companies for EPA environmental friendliness. Cool huh? I think this can be explained by the fact that they have been working with Al Gore to tighten up that score. Way to go Steve and Al! You did it!

Hold on. I believe in equal time. A while back I wrote a blog entry about "green washing" which basically means performing a few tricks to qualify as green, but once under the microscope maybe it ends up only being a green hue as opposed to green through-and-through. Is Apple one of these companies? Well, Al Gore didn't just work with Apple to advize them, he became a board member. And what does that mean? Well, I have no idea, but I am guessing that their might be a small connection between Apple - Al Gore - EPA. At the minimum, Al likely showed them how to qualify as "EPA Green." Is that a bad thing? I don't think so. I encourage it. What do other "green" groups think of it? Well... a well known group called "Green Peace" also makes a list of who is naughty and who is nice, when it comes to being Green. And to be fair they measure everything from recycling to work conditions for employees in factories around the world associated with the computer creation process. On their list, compairing a large list of companies, Apple is DEAD LAST! What? That's right. The EPA says "silver star" Apple... you are green! While at the same time Green Peace says, "Rotten Apple!"

Personally, I find that completely confusing. How does EPA say they are near the top of green with Green Peace claim that they are the absolute worst (not poor or sadly in the middle... the worst!)? I don't know, but I will venture a small guess in the style of the boardgame clue... Al Gore, with an Apple, greenwashing in the bathroom!? On a more serious note, it would be nice to hear more from Apple about their Green Peace score and how or if they intended to deal with some of their recycling and 3rd world production issues.

As a side note: It wasn't too long ago, in the world of the web, that one of the largest opponents of Adobe Flash (then, Macromedia Flash) technology was explaining to the world about how non-user-friendly and clumsy Flash technology was. As a result, and a short while later, Adobe hired that same critique to sit with the designers of Flash and architect a more acceptable future. A version or so later, the world fell in love with Flash and the still-independant opponent of Flash became not a proponent, but rather a friend to the company. In a similar thread, inviting Al Gore onto the bench at Apple is like hiring the hottest baseball player to come play ball for you. Does it ensure that you are a better team? Not necessarily. But one thing is true, they did suddenly score very high on the EPA ranking system. A Silver medal is nothing to bawlk at. The fact is that under Al Gore, Apple created a friendly competition for competativeness to get high scores, but surprisingly Dell and HP received the "Gold" not silver like Al Gore's Apple. Well, that doesn't mean Apple is the worst, but it does reduce all of the buzz to, well, buzz at best. I say that because Dell and HP together had over 200 pieces of hardware under EPA EPEAT review and are both in the top 20 PC manufacturers, as compaired to Apple's 21 pieces of equipment under review. Needless to say, it seems that if you respect Green Peace and the EPA, the real winners are Fuzitsu and HP... if going green is your priority.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanks Giving

This is my favorite American holiday. In the words of a dear friend, it is a mostly un-commercialized day where people come together to be thankful.

President Elect Barack Obama reminded the American people about the history of Thanksgiving on the site change.gov where you can view him talking about the 150 year old history of our holiday. In that video he quotes from President Abe Lincoln, using Abe’s admonition that this time should be set aside to have “gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”

That is neat stuff! What is even more amazing is that Obama seems to have cherry-picked the heart right out of what was being communicated by President Lincoln (why!? not sure... but he did.) Specifically, rather than generally, Abe Lincoln was dealing with the Civil War and knowing that his country was struggling through a tumultuous time both as a government and as a people, he wanted everyone to take a look at the bigger picture, and see God in the middle of all of it.

In the world of examining historical text, Barak did what literary folks like to call “proof-texting” which means that he takes a smaller phrase out of a bigger statement, to validate a particular perspective, but equally so invalidate another (or at the least diminish another.) For those still paying attention, here is more of what Abe Lincoln said (emphasis mine):

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand
worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God,
who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.
You see, Abe was just one guy, doing his best to be a helpful president, but clearly not compartmentalizing his sensibilities with his faith and intelligence. As a president only 150 years ago, he didn’t read into the constitution the idea that the government should not establish a state religion and turn that into a claim that the government cannot make sound decisions for our country that are directly related to faith and that refer to our “Father who dwelleth in the heavens” (let alone refer to God or faith.) It is one thing to argue that the founding fathers were wrong, and it is another thing completely to rewrite history. If you follow the link above to the full statement, Lincoln said that America was pushing forward and working hard while it was in the middle of it's most devistating war. He saw the efforts as a blessing, but was clearly counting the cost as well. That is pretty bold stuff. Abe seemed to want America to look into the rough times and deal with our sins and be thankful for Gods mercies (remember this is a President and not a preacher, right!?) I digress!

I am thankful for so much this year and I want to see the fruit of thankfulness pour out of the abundance of each of us toward those without abundance. That is where my hope starts. I also hope that we will, both in the good and the bad, be found talking with God and searching the Bible for His mercy toward us. I pray that you find Him standing there in the middle of your situation with a practical dose of mercy to see you through. Nothing is more valuable.

Personally, I think we get their by remembering, not selectively and with an eye toward agnostic self-reliance, but with thankfulness to our Father and to one another, remembering the details – the good, the bad and the ugly, along with the happy, blessed and lovable ones (and yet finding the thankfulness toward Him in the middle of all of our situations, for the important stuff… obviously not for the crappy stuff but for, as Lincoln said, the “mercy” to make it through tough times.)