Thursday, June 29, 2006

Free or Almost Free Divorce - The Truth About Lawyers part 1

A new thread for this column is going to be to provide you, my gentle readers, with ways to avoid legal costs. As a graduate of UCLA Law School, considered the 10th best school of jurisprudence in the land when I attended, I have at least some standing to offer punditry in this arena.

I decided way back then that the U.S. legal system was in very bad shape, and it is getting worse and worse. The system rewards those who are least deserving of being rewarded, and generally hurts or fails to help those who are most deserving. I will develop these arguments in future posts. I suspect that you may already agree that this is true, but it might be good to get a bit of discussion going. Maybe we can be at the forefront of change.

Lets start with divorce. My original intent was to practice family law. I felt then and now know for a fact, that most lawyers will do nothing to keep folks together, and will do much to drive them further apart. I offer a free system right here to help you avoid divorce when the marriage is in trouble, and avoid all but minimal costs when there is no saving the union.

Part 2 will reveal the details.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Global Warming Dominating the News

George Bush has restated his belief that global warming is real, serious, and that we need to pay attention to it. This assertion makes headlines even though he has said it before. He does not, however, call for economy-busting measures to solve it. Nor does he recommend that humans try to tinker with the weather in hopes of reversing the warming that has taken place or might take place. He says we need to make progress on energy alternatives, just as he has since before his first election. When the history of the Bush years is written 20 years from now, he will be seen as precient on so many subjects. I hope he and I live to see it.

In the meantime, there are many scientists who would like to tinker with the environment. Would you trust the folks who didn't know that con trails would create global warming to mess with the weather. Whoops, we didn't know that putting all that reflective material in the desert would create a major change in weather patterns over the Great Lakes resulting in massive flooding in the upper Mississippi.

Finally, scientists are now positive that this is the hottest period in the past 400 years. Duh! Nobody disputes that, but it is 1 degree. And everybody is pretty sure that it was this hot and hotter 450 years ago.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Fear-as-Political-Tool Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Political cartoonist Matt Wuerker must have read my post of a few months ago, and the follow up on Mark Steyn. His cartoon which appeared in the LA Times today, and which can be viewed here, was right on the money - at least as far as it went. You see, he only expressed the type of fears that the Republicans use to encourage votes for conservative candidates.

Not being an artist (or even remotely close to being such), I can't give you my own version of this cartoon depicting left wing scare tactics. However, we all know they would include global warming, prayer at graduation ceremonies, fast food, book burnings, too many and the wrong kind of babies, and recently jews. (Surely you've been paying attention to the antisemitism of the left, especially the acadamy?)

In any case, I'm convinced that a great deal of how folks get and maintain power is through instilling fear. And I write here that different folks are more likely to be afraid of different kinds of potential or real threats. I conclude in that post that what you fear may largely determine how you vote.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Global Warming Chip Off the OLD Block

My number one son, Brian, has written his first editorial for his school newspaper. Subject: You might have guessed.

Isn't it hot in here?

By Brian Kirk

The media, leading scientists, politicians, and even high school science teachers are scaring people with the threat of global warming. Obviously, the earth is warming up. Right now, however, there is enough not information on the subject to substantiate the urgency they are calling for to resolve this issue.

On June 2 and 3, Caltech hosted a conference put on by The Skeptics Society that discussed whether or not humans are adversely changing the climate of the planet.

For the rest of the story go here

Global Warming, World Running Out of Oil, Transfats Hoaxes

It is an established FACT that transfats are bad for us. They cause heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and premature deaths.

NOT SO. According to Junk Science:
While there are studies that purport to link trans fats with heart disease, when you look at the data and methodology behind the studies, their claims rapidly fall apart.

Studies indicate that consumption of trans fats temporarily elevate levels of so-called “bad” cholesterol and temporarily lower levels of so-called “good cholesterol.” This simple blood chemistry is not in dispute. What is in dispute is the significance of the temporary change in blood cholesterol levels.

Trans fat alarmists would have you believe that these transient blood chemistry changes increase your chances of having a heart attack. The available scientific data, however, don’t back up that assertion. A number of studies of human populations have attempted to statistically associate consumption of trans fats with increased heart attack risk, but the only conclusion that can be fairly drawn from any of them is that, if there is a risk, it’s too small to measure through standard epidemiologic methodology.

I personally don't care or have a stake in whether or not trans fats are good or bad or neutral for human consumption. It would just be nice if we didn't race to conclusions and start making much ado before we have all the facts.

Federal Budget Deficit Obfuscation

How is George W Bush doing with regard to his pledge to halve the budget deficit within 5 years. Hugh Hewitt had an interview Friday (June 16) in which he agreed that the goal might even be reached next year. That would be amazing, if true, and just one more unreported massive victory for Bush. So I started the research. For those who hate numbers, the following will be boring. For those who have major distrust for MSM and the Congression Budget Office, it will be hugely illuminating.

Here are the actual estimates from CBO

Estimate of the President’s Budget for 2006 and future years
_________actual__without SS surplus
2005 deficit...$318........$493
2006 deficit...$371........$551
2007 deficit...$335........$527
2008 deficit...$236........$448
2009 deficit...$194........$422

Article #1 From Tribune news services....Published June 13, 2006

Federal Budget Deficit Widens
`Calendar quirks' add to shortfall; revenue continues to increase

WASHINGTON -- The Treasury Department said Monday that the budget deficit widened to $42.83 billion in May from a year earlier, a larger gap than economists expected, as spending outpaced rising revenue.
The Congressional Budget Office said the shortfall could be as low as $300 billion this fiscal year, compared to the White House's first estimate of $423 billion. Last fiscal year, the budget gap was $319 billion.

What should the headline be here? Defict Widens? Or Defict Dropping?

Believe it or not, CBS News got it right.

Budget Deficit Shows Improvement
Shortfall Down 16.7 Percent From 2005 Through First 8 Months Of Fiscal Year

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2006
According to the Treasury Department, the federal budget deficit is running well behind last year's pace. (AP)
The $227 billion total deficit for the past eight months puts the government on track to turn in a substantially smaller deficit this year than last year, when the red ink totaled $319 billion for the full year, the third-highest amount of red ink in dollar terms.

The record deficit was $413 billion set in 2004.

Now, its a bit tough to reconcile all these numbers, but it would appear that everyone was using the net deficit as the way to keep score on cutting the deficit in half. It would be easy to argue that we should all be paying more attention to the deficit including SS surplus, but once the ground rules are set, the only way to hold someone accountable is to use the rulebook.

In order to meet the goal, the deficit would have to be half of $413 billion in 2009. The current projection for this year is $300 B. The origional CBO projection for 2007 was $36 B less than 2006. That would take us to $264 B. That is surely within striking distance of halving the $413 next year. If the Republicans do their job with the budget, and if the economy continues to outperform the projections, we could hit the goal two years early.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Highly Respected Scientists Who Do NOT Buy Global Warming Histeria

I had copied down this article and was ready to post it, but Spork beat me to it. To make matters worse, she did a much better job presenting it in a blogwise way than I would have. Therefore, if you would be interested in reading a brief synopsis of leading contarian opinion regarding global warming from folks who have earned the right, go here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Dems Trying To Upstage POTUS

I don't expect the MSM pundits to see through this blatant effort on the part of democrats like Harry Reid to upstage the amazing progress in Iraq. But I hope the public gets it.

Today, the Dems paraded out one after another to talk about the Kerry bill. The bill is supposed to require troop reductions and complete withdrawal along a timetable that is yet to be divulged. However, each Dem who spoke talked about reduction in '06, and virtually 100% withdrawal by end of '07. That just happens to parrot what the new government of Iraq is saying, and what one could pretty well deduce from listening to military leadership.

What in the world do we need with democrats who claim they're staking out a different position because of ineptitude on the part of Bush, when the position seems to be identical to what will happen anyway . . . with, uh, no help from them.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Ann Coulter - Another View

I wasn't planning to chime in on this one, but one of my favorite bloggers hit the nail squarely on the head...Yes. It was Norma, again. If you aren't reading her regularly, it isn't because I'm not constanty sending you there. That's Norma's picture (not Ann's). So she says this about Ann Coulter:

But she's not a former President criticizing a sitting President during wartime. She's not a former Vice President shaking a fist and snarling at political realities. She's not a presidential rainbow coalition wannabee flitting off to other countries to act as a foreign minister ad-hoc of the moment. She's not a child of a corrupt Massachusetts political family trying to destroy the reputation of Ohio's gubernatorial candidate. She's not even a Country and Western singer appearing on national TV as a martyr. Nope. She criticized four women promoting the Democratic agenda on the graves of their husbands. Perhaps she's brought a little balance to the table and the Democrats can't take it? She's called their bluff.

Man, doesn't that just say it all. I'm not a huge Coulter fan, and didn't like the only book of hers I read. She's a bit too sharp for me even when I agree with her. I agree with her regarding these four women, but not everything that is true needs to see the light of day.

Getting "A Glimpse of 'God's Mind' " - Francis Collins

HT to Hugh Hewitt for finding this article in the Times of London.

We are forever being told by the atheists, agnostics, and such that a strong argument against the existence of God is the fact that learned folks, especially scientists, don't believe that our creation needed a creator. Of course, these same God skeptics dismiss the claim by those of us who believe that billions of other folks, learned and not, have actually experienced God. Hmmm. Figure out which way you wish to argue and stick to it.

Here then comes one of the most distinguished scientists of our time, the director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute:

Collins joins a line of scientists whose research deepened their belief in God. Isaac Newton, whose discovery of the laws of gravity reshaped our understanding of the universe, said: “This most beautiful system could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.”

Wow! Couldn't have said it better.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Importance of Salesmanship in Science

What if you had a great new idea for a way to make bicycles 10% faster with the same amount of strength. But lets say you are either not very confident in telling others about your idea, and/or you don't really know who to tell, and/or you tell one company, get turned down, and now lack the confidence to make more calls, and/or you just aren't very good at telling your story; not a very good saleman. This happens every day in the world of commerce. As the president of a manufacturing company in the bicycle and advertising specialties business, we have many, many new product pitched to us. Many,if not most of these, come from shy tinkerers who don't have a clue about how to bring a new idea to market.

As a result of this process, many good ideas never get to first base. Similary, many good ideas get to a manufacturer only to fail in the marketplace. Now, this is sometimes due to the fact that the product is not a good one, is too expensive based on the value it offers, or is just plain unlucky. But I would propose that the biggest reason for the failure of good procucts is lousy marketing. The company who takes the product on may not have the resources (money, manpower, skills, entre) to get the product into the stream of commerce. Or, as is often the case, there is inadequate product championing in the firm, so it just dies from lack of attention.

This is a very long introduction to propose that this phenomenon is also very much in play in science. Right now Al Gore is using the power of his personality, the special kind of energy found in some like him, his unique entre in the market place of ideas, and the money that he can attract to push his concept of global warming.

Others, with far less charisma, money, time, energy, and ability may have better or more correct ideas, but they will lose the battle of ideas for all these wrong reasons. The public is not very good as discerning the difference. But the peril of choosing this way on so substantive an issue is dangerous indeed.

Public Universities Not Democratic - Consequences

Another unplanned thread of the Global Warming Conference last weekend at Caltech came from the floor as questioners of the panel brought up tyranny in the scientific ranks of the acadamy. We peons who are not privy to the politics of the university science departments suspect that those who have opinions that aren't in line with their superiors are likely to find advancement difficult. But one questioner put the case in an interesting light.

He proposed that the presidents of public universities are not elected by the people, the students, or the faculty. They are appointed. This is generally also true of the boards of directors (regents.) These, in turn determine who will be department heads. The department heads might create an elected group of professors within the department to help him make decisions about hiring, tenure, etc. However, we can only imagine the power of these department heads to influence who is on the faculty, who moves up, etc.

If you should believe that it is unethical to use embryonic stem cells harvested from aborted babies or cloned babies for research, do you suppose this would effect your ability to be hired or advance at Caltech where the president of Caltech is so clearly in favor of such research? Do we need to think the entire method by which we structure our universities when they have so much power? We know how power tends to corrupt.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Bush - Our "Bravest" President

Norma, at Collecting Our Thoughts, and I agree about pretty much everything except immigration solutions, and a few days ago she quoted one of the men I admire most, Richard Land. Richard, pictured above, is president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and he is brillient, to say the least. If I didn't know this based on reading him and hearing his interviews, I would know it because he has said kind things about some of my writing. Yuk Yuk!

Anyway, Richard is now on record as calling George W. one of our bravest presidents. I would add indefatigable, tough minded, principled, and a few others. Land's point is that the president has staked out a set of principles, and he marches forward regardless of the hits he takes from the liberal press, or even sometimes his base. Norma lists some of those things where the President has stayed the course, but one she doesn't mention is immigration. See the complete post

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Global Warming Solutions

One individual who stood in long lines at the Global Warming Conference put on by the Skeptic's Society last weekend, made the point (such a new idea) that less people on the planet would help with the CO2 problem. Several of us whispered in one another's ears that maybe the questioner would like to be the first to go.

Then, I found this terrific list of 10 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet.

1. Turn off faucets when not in use. While a single dripping faucet may not seem to be much of an environmental hazzard, the numbers really begin to add up when you're hosting a Sierra Club fundraising party for Laurie David and all 10 of your bathrooms are in use. Have your domestic staff check to make sure that electonic sink sensors are working properly, and use other water conservation methods such as installing low-flow bidets. Remember to remind your guests: "If it's yellow, let it mellow."

2. Upgrade to a new Gulfstream G550. Next time you take off for Cannes

3. Crush a Third World economic development movement.

4. Don't Have Babies. Many people are shocked when they learn that fewer than 25% of the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild have been spayed or neutered.

5. Alternative fuel motorcades.

6. Go on a random killing spree.

7. "Green begins at home." ... For instance, have your groundskeeping staff lower the water levels in your koi ponds, and turn off your energy-wasting security cameras between 1 AM and 7 AM.

8. Phase out the entertainment industry by 2011. If there is one sector of our economy that typifies America's obscene energy waste,

9. Commit suicide.

10. Support eco-friendly organizations and political candidates.

This is far funnier if you read the whole thing. Go here

I would add. Just kill all the rich people in the world. They use far more energy and create far more CO2 than the rest of us.

HT to The Commons

Science Establishment Lacking in Imagination

After thinking about the Global Warming Conference for a few days, it occurs to me that with a couple of exceptions, most of the speakers that day, and most of those who are getting national attention (AlGore and others) can only imagine one scenario. That scenario is: earth is getting warmer because of CO2 concentration in atmosphere caused by man. The CO2 will continue to increase because of man, and thus the warming trend will continue. There may be a tipping point where the positive feedback will intensify this warming. In any case, the eventual outcome of this certain path is a long list of calamities for mankind, other species, and the planet itself. Lets examine alternative possibilities one-by-one.

1. The earth has been getting warmer, but might not. The change could happen as a result of lack of understanding of at least:
A. Solar Activity
B. Cloud Activity
C. Plant Activity
D. Ocean Activity
E. Healing effect of three atmospheres

2. Earth might be getting warmer not because of CO2, but because of:
A. Solar Activity
B. Ocean Activity
C. Normal historic trends not fully understood

3. CO2 increases (noted in earlier natural cycles before man and before industrial revolution) might have nothing to do with man, or only partially to do with man, and may reverse as they have in past historical cycles. Most scientists on the panel felt these increases were only partially due to man, if at all, and therefore they might continue no matter what we do or don't do.

4. There may be a tipping point where increases in CO2 concentrations and or warming might result in reversal of one or both. There may not be a tipping point.

5. Recent and ancient increases in the average planet temperature have actually been beneficial to the planet. Therefore, one or two additional degrees of warming might actually be a good thing, on balance.

6. There may be some calamities, many calamities, or none. Maybe there will even be fewer calamities if the temperature goes up. It seems odd to me that the only vision of the future that these scientists and pundits can imagine are horrific.

7. If we interfere with the climate with the intent of decreasing warming, we might exacerbate a natural trend toward cooling that we were not able to discern. Global cooling of 3 or 4 degrees might be much more troubling than a few degrees of warming. Personally, I've lived in St. Louis, and I've lived in So Cal. I prefer So Cal.

So, this is a call to global warming scare mongers. Open your mind and let a little light in. Hit your alpha zone and contemplate alternatives to the popular notion among the cloistered. I even suspect that there are another dozen or 100 alternative scenarios that I couldn't think of in this 15 minute post.

UPDATE: Here is a well written and researched article that I ran across just after finishing this post. Supports this position quite nicely.

Speaking of Something Hot . . . as in Dog

I am eclectic, or so say my friends. The Daily Spork author is slightly beyond eclectic. The folks who dreamed up this picture are way beyond strange.

What Do Men Really Want - The Answer Was In the Bible All Along

Here is yet another study, a quite extensive one, on what men want:

"So what makes a man happy in a marriage?

"Acceptance and appreciation. We want to be needed," he said.

Psychiatrist Scott Haltzman, who drew on his experience as a marriage counselor for his book "The Secrets of Happily Married Men: Eight Ways to Win Your Wife's Heart Forever," offers a similar revelation: Men have a tremendously strong sense of commitment.

"They take it very seriously. They really want to be a hero. And it's really important for a man to know that he is having an impact on you in a positive way," he said."

The rest of the article is here.

We want to thank the researches for their excellent work in confirming what the Bible said 2000 years ago in the book of Ephesians. Turn to Eph 5:33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Clouds Virtually Unexplored Factor in Climate Change

One thing was clear at last weekend's Global conference; Science knows very little about clouds. In fact, two satellites were sent into space last year with the express purpose of trying to understand more about how clouds are formed, how they disperse, and so on. I would propose the following analogy.

For the first 60 years that psychology was being developed, we studied external aspects of behavior. Stimulous/response, fight or flight, sensory perception. We drew our conclusions and made our predictions based only on these aspects. More recently, we have started to study the brain in great detail. As we have done so, pschology has moved from the couch to the pill, and even therapy is moving to behavior modification and away from long, drawn out psychotherapy.

Our efforts to understand, predict, or effect weather are similarly limited by our lack of understanding of clouds. The picture above is one of the first images coming back from the CloudSat satellite. In a couple of years we will have a substantial increase in our understanding of the brains of the atmosphere. Maybe it will help us have a far greater understanding of global weather trends. More

Coming Soon to 007

How Cool is this!?! The clandestine operator can now jump out of his plane 120 miles from the landing site, and fly himself to a pin point landing. This getup even has stealth. Most remarkable of all. It's real!!! See more here

HT to If you aren't visiting Drudge once or twice a day, you are missing a bunch.

Extreme Bias of Scientists at Global Warming Conference Not Flattering

"Dr. David Baltimore is the president of Caltech and one of the world’s most influential biologists. Awarded the Nobel Prize at the age of 37 for research in virology, Baltimore has profoundly influenced national science policy on such issues as recombinant DNA research and the AIDS epidemic. He is an accomplished researcher, educator, administrator and public advocate for science and engineering."

So states the information on the leadoff speaker at the Global Warming Conference recently produced by the Skeptics Society.He was the first, but not the last, of the speakers to engage in a rant against President Bush and gratuitously slam those who don't buy into Darwinism. His comments on these two subjects were so biased, dismissive, and hard edged, that it caused this observer to wonder how unbiased, evenhanded, and contemplative his analysis of scientific subjects would be.

The primary fixations of the Caltech President and others who followed with regard to the presidents policies were around the hot button issues of embryonic stem cell research, creation science, the morning after pill (plan B), and, of course, global warming. Other panel members and audience members added abstinence as a tool in the aids epidemic to the list.

I will, in a later post, point out the abject unfairness of the criticism in each case. However, the point of this article is to wonder aloud at whether the "academy" has become too biased to do its job? Michael Crichton would later ask this question in the context of financial interest. Others would point to the non-democratic nature of major universities and its impact on junior members' willingness to "swim against the tide" of the opinion of the "academy." One or more also wondered aloud whether those in the establishment were too insular to even be aware to the foundational issues of the "other sides" position.

At the core of our assumptions about scientists would be that they approach their subject with an open mind. While it would take great discipline, the ideal scientist would reopen his mind even as he continues inquiries into his major field. To the extent that previous research creates a bias in either the direction or the method of future analysis, we will get poor science. To the extent that political points of view and cultural lack of empathy colors ones thinking, we can have dangerous use of science (e.g. We are so much better than you, we will impose our solutions on you.)

I have been attending fundamentalist churches for the last 20 years, and have gone to countless conferences during that time. I can't remember a single time when positions were taken in those meetings that were so pompous, so biased, or so lacking in humility. Those in the leadership of the Christian "right" never say that the debate is over. In this conference, that was the refrain. I think there is a problem in our scientific community. The consequence of this problem may only result in horrible science, but it could result in tyranny.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Undocumented Workers and the Legal Concept of Acting in Reliance

reliance n. acting upon another's statement of alleged fact, claim, or promise. In contracts, if someone takes some steps ("changes his position" is the usual legal language) in reliance on the other's statement, claim or promise then the person upon whom the actor relied is entitled to contend there is a contract he/she can enforce. However, the reliance must be reasonable.

This is the legal definition as found here. The definition leaves out the fact that one might also find their contract rights have been diminished or eliminated by their failure to act. This is why you find language in any good contract that requires a writing to change the contract. However, these words do not absolutely end the rights of a defendant who has acted in reliance on the failure of plaintiff to enforce elements of the contract.

For example, a landlord might include in a lease that the tenant may not have a dog. The tenant gets a dog anyway. The landlord learns of the dog and does nothing to enforce that term of the lease. Five years later, the landlord decides to enforce the claim in hopes of forcing the tenant out. The landlord may have given up his right.

Sound anything like what we are dealing with in the immigration debate? For those who went to USC, and don't see the connection, local, state, and the the national government have all failed to enforce laws dealing with immigration. In many cases this failure has been overt, with governments specifically stopping law enforcement from doing anything to arrest or deport illegal immigrants, even when caught for another crime.

The community at large has been very welcoming of these people, hiring them to take care of their children, infirm adults, lawns, etc. This lack of enforcement and overt approval has led individuals to make decisions related to their lives that are very significant such as buying homes, getting married, starting businesses, making investments, and so on. When judges evaluate the reliance defense, equity requires that the harm to both parties be considered in deciding whether to now enforce the contract or whether the harm to the defendant would be much greater than the harm to plaintiff, and thus that aspect of the contract is void.

Climatologists Left Out at Global Warming Conference

I want to be clear. I was very pleased with the Skeptic Society Annual Convention, and its balanced view of global warming. My hat is off to Mike Shermer, founder and director, for his choice of speakers. But who was really missing? Experts in the weather.

Fox News in its special offered that climatologists and meteorologists were one group that seem very skeptical of the claims that continued warming is the most likely scenario for our planet. Here is an excellent commentary that quotes two top experts, Bill Gray who calls the scaremongering a hoax, and Roger Pielke Sr. who claims there isn't enough intellectual diversity in the debate.

The Fox story suggested that the folks most likely to know about forecasting weather recognize that the system has so many variables, that to zero in on one variable, CO2 concentrations, is not likely to yield good predictions of future weather. The impact of the Sun and clouds alone is so little understood that long term prediction over years or decades is fraught with unknowables.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Global Warming Conference - Skeptics Not Skeptical

Michael Crichton of Jurassic Park fame was one of the speakers in this weekend's Global Warming Conference. He began his talk by calling on Skeptics (the conference was part of the annual meeting of the Skeptics Society) to be more skeptical. And that would certainly be part of what I took away from the weekend.

I applaud Michael Shermer, founder and chairman of the Skeptics Society, for his excellent choices in speakers. Not only were they talented and esteemed in their profession, but they offered a broad range of opinion. However, one could sense a circling of the wagons among the "academy" as one after another, the skeptics are "flipping" to the hysteric global warming position.

For anyone who is interested in the global warming issue, the intersection of faith and science, or the isolation of the academic elites, come back often over the next few days. There is so much to report on the happenings of this conference that I am certain I could fill a book.

Here is a teaser: Everyone agrees that the earth has warmed 1 degree F over the past 100 years or so. A solid majority of the speakers at this conference and the community of scientists that study this area, agree that the warming will continue into the next century. Most folks agree that man may be contributing to the warming. But the debate revolves around the percent of man's contribution, the future of that contribution and its effects. And, within my limited scope of understanding, it all seems to come down to one greenhouse gas, CO2. More later.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Partying With Scientists

As heretofore mentioned, my son Brian (17) and I are attending a Global Warming Conference. The promise of this conference, put on by the Skeptics Society, is a presentation of both sides of the issue. To that end they have assembled a very impressive list of scientists and pundits which we will be hearing from today. We will report, probably ad nauseum, on our take of things.

Last night we were entertained by the producer and one of the stars of Mythbusters, the very popular Discovery Channel program that sets out to scientifically prove or disprove popular urban legends. For instance, they tackled the question of whether a bullet fired from inside a plane through the skin of a fully pressurized airliner would blow a giant hole in the plane, with passengers and anything else not tied down sucked out into space. Nope. This was a highly entertaining and funny hour.

Of great interest to both Brian and me was the confirmation of the stereotype of scientists as God mocking liberals. Roy Zimmerman, a very talented comedian, singer, satirist, provide a second hour of entertainment last night. We laughed in spite of ourselves as he parodied every conservative and religious leader he could think of. But the parodies, while funny, belittled and attempted to marginalize those who didn't think like Roy. To a certain extent, this is what one expects from satire, but it was pretty over-the-top. Brian was pretty sure this guy would be "Left Behind."

On the other hand, we ate our meal with an Astronomer who shared many of our views. We didn't talk religion (he was from Iran, and might well have been Muslim.) However, he clearly agreed with me that the global warming scaremongers are way out ahead of themselves, and that the sun is probably doing the lion's share of any warming that is taking place. He talked about the planets self-healing mechanisms, and thought mankind should be looking towards adaptation, not attempting to slow or stop the climatic changes.

He found that his opinions put him in a tiny minority. The fact that he is politically just to the right of center meant that his peers saw him as quite the odd duck. I may report more about this fellow later. He had very interesting things to say.