Monday, July 31, 2006

Human Contribution to Global Warming

I KNOW! For some of you this is blah, blah, blah. For those who really want to be able to understand the details of this entire global warming and energy consumption issue, these are facts that matter. Facts you won't find in Time Magazine or on 60 Minutes.

The total energy consumption of humanity is roughly 10 terawatts (10 million million watts) (Fogg, 1995, p. 67). This includes all energy sources (nuclear, fossil fuels, renewable energy), used for all purposes (electricity, heating, transportation, manufacturing). Almost all of this is eventually released as heat to the environment.

The total amount of sunlight absorbed by the Earth is about 50,000 terawatts, or 5,000 times the energy used by humanity.

So you see, the amount of heat released by humanity is extremely small compared to the amount of heat released by the absorbtion of sunlight. But that doesn't quite answer the question: we want to know how artificial sources compare to global warming, which is small compared to total solar absorbtion.

The greenhouse effect reduces the atmosphere's ability to let heat at the surface escape to space. It works by trapping some of the heat released from the Earth's surface, and re-radiating it back down toward the surface again. This extra heat warms the Earth's surface. This is a natural process, but by releasing carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere, we are increasing it. Estimates of the amount are not precise, but our best guess (IPCC WG1 Assessment, 2001, p. 37) is that the human contribution to the greenhouse effect supplies an extra 300 terawatts to the Earth's surface.

To recap:
Source Global heating (Terawatts)
Sunlight 50,000
Human-caused Greenhouse Effect 300
Human energy production 10
You be the judge. This is not to say we shouldn't conserve, explore options, and be aware of how we are treating the planet. But one must ask why the commotion. If global warming continues, and becomes a real problem for man, we should be adapting, not destroying our economy trying to change what we probably can't change anyway.

See the whole article here.

Your Personal Impact on Global Warming and Energy Consumption

Following is a list of actions you take every day, and their impact on global warming. The higher the number the more impact.

CO2 Emissions in Kilograms

turn on a fluorescent light (tubes) for one hour................0.08

turn on a 100W incandescent light for one hour................0.10

turn on a computer for one hour...........................................0.10

turn on a photocopier for one hour (medium size)............0.70

brew a pot of coffee; leave on the warmer for one hour....0.20

turn on a clothes dryer for one hour.....................................2.40

cook something in the oven for one hour.............................3.20

use a hair dryer for 15 minutes...............................................1.20

refrigerator (for one hour)......................................................0.15

OK! Al Gore. Have you stopped doing any of those things, personally?

For the fellow global warming geeks, read much more here

Hawaii Calls

On Thursday the third, we will be heading South to visit our little grass shack. That might mean less blogging for a couple of weeks. But do not despair. If you are new to this blog, most of the 100's of previous posts are just as useful today as they were when the first went up. (How useful they were when first posted is, of course, something you may judge differently than me.)

But, while many of the articles are on current issues, most of the things written here are designed to be fairly timeless. So cruise around and check things out.

A Dead Israeli Baby Is a Victory to Hezbbolah ...

A Dead Lebanese Baby is a horrible mistake to Israel. And so you have an easy way to distinguish between the moral compass of the terrorist vs the civilized state. So how can so many liberals, Europeans, and even Muslims fail to make the distinction?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Energy Sources and Future Supply

Here is a bit of info you might find useful when thinking about energy usage and sources.
Total Worldwide Energy Production 10,209,142
Total Worldwide Energy Consumption 10,029,096

Breakdown of sources

Nuclear 7.5
Coal & Coal Products 25.3
Oil 36.8
Natural Gas 26.0
Geothermal .43
Solar .60
Wind .03
Solid Biomass 10.0
Biogas & Liquid Biomass .17
Hydroelectric 2.4

I take away a few ideas from this list.

A. Coal is a huge source, and is not considered to be anywhere close to fully exploited.

B. Biomass is way higher than I would have suspected. I also suspect it is a major potential for the future. This includes the production of energy from discarded biomass (garbage, yard trim, industrial bi-products and waste) as well as product specifically grown or harvested for this purpose (sugar, corn, soy, switch grass, ocean crops.)

C. Nuclear is a major contributor now, and is substantially underexploited.

D. Natural Gas is almost limitless in supply and very versatile.

E. Solar, wind, geothermal are making very little contribution, but breakthroughs seem likely.

It really doesn't seem like we'll miss oil that much, assuming we are running out. And if I were an oil company, I'd be more worried about gas, biomass, and coal as competitive threats to $75 a barrel oil, than I would about running out.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Insantity Defense Applied to Terrorism

Couldn't help agreeing with Hugh Hewitt today as I read various reports concerning the terrorist act at the Seattle Jewish Center yesterday.

There is a continuum in the media's coverage of terrorist incidents that runs from John Hinkley through Sirhan Sirhan and Oswald to McVeigh and the 19 of 9/11. Each was a political act, though in Hinkley's case there wasn't a "political" motive. But the "mental state" of a terrorist doesn't help the public sort through the implications of a terrorist act. Any crime of violence done to avenge a political grievance is an act of terrorism. Haq's murder of at least one employee of the Jewish Federation is an act of terrorism. What the public needs to know is the likelihood of other such acts being committed by similarly situated individuals. Introducing "mental illness" so early in the story is an invitation to say "lone whacko," and leave it at that. Mistake number one.

A huge debate has raged within the criminal law arena for almost 100 years: When is a person's mental state a defense against punishment for a crime. It would take a book or a shelf full of books to fully explore this subject. However, a new variation on this issue may be a huge component in how we think about and execute a war against terrorists.

If the "Muslim" who shot these defenseless Jewish women in Seattle did so party because of mental defect, does that, or should that, change our view on the entire event? Is it possible for someone to walk into a building with a loaded gun and start shooting perfect strangers for no other reason than that they are Jewish and not be mentally defective? Is it possible for someone to walk onto a bus load of perfect strangers with explosives strapped to their body, in order to kill unarmed women and children and themselves, and not be mentally defective.

Is it possible for someone to lob missles into civilian areas having no clue as to whether they will land on a grammer school, a hospital, or fellow Muslims, and be considered mentally "normal?"

Already some seem to believe that North Korean Premier Kim and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are certifiable. Does that diminish their culpability? If we try Kim for his crimes against humanity, should he go to a mental hospital instead of gulag?

In some ways, it would seem to make it easier to sell reluctant American citizens and European nations on the idea of irradicating Islamofacists if they were perceived as nutty beyond redemption. But in this era of compassion for those who are somehow deficient in one way or another, it might be the very perception of Islamofacists as Wackjobs that keep those folks from getting serious about destroying them before they destroy us.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Why Use Terrorism Instead of Other Means to Get What You Desire

My friend and uberblogger Mike Williams quotes this today.

"Conrad tells us that one of the sources of terrorism is laziness, or at least impatience, which is to say ambition unmatched by perseverance and tolerance of routine. Mr. Verloc, the secret agent, has a "dislike of all kinds of recognized labour," which, says Conrad, is "a temperamental defect which he shared with a large proportion of revolutionary reformers of a given social state. For"—Conrad continues—"obviously one does not revolt against the advantages and opportunities of that state, but against the price which must be paid in the same coin of accepted morality, self-restraint, and toil. The majority of revolutionists are the enemies of discipline and fatigue mostly."

I think this should be made into a poster and distributed worldwide. Is there a way to shorten it for T Shirts. It is so true.

For more

More About Anti-Semitism

I've purposefully left the anatisemitism post just below up for a week. This is the number one factor that may lead to a major world war. People hate Jews. They have their reasons, but these reasons are the same as Hitler and Stalin. Sometimes this anti-Semitism looks a lot like anti-Israelism.

If you don't think so, check out this biased article by Tom Hayden as reported by Hugh Hewitt.

Keep in mind that the Jews are like the canary in the coal mine. What the fascists do to the Jews today, they will do to you tomorrow. And those, like Tom Hayden and the Los Angeles Times, that don't see the distinction between Israels defense of their homes, and Iran/Syria/Hesbolah/Hamas agression against Israel with the stated purpose of destroying Israel, will rue the day.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Is Lighting the Underexposed Answer to Global Warming

I have been pouring over the web for more information on the contribution that lighting makes to our total energy use. I have found a few factoids, but still not enough to be certain of my theory: We can reduce energy consumption and global warming far more effectively, cheaply, and with less interruption of our economy by massive switching to cooler, lower energy, lighting.

Top of the list of practical measures will be light bulbs. As The Independent highlighted three weeks ago, lighting emits 518 million tons of carbon a year. The International Energy Agency believes that figure could be cut by 38 per cent if the world switched to energy-efficient lighting. Other proposals are that multinational companies should be prevented from sellingtelevisions and other electrical goods which can be switched to standby; and that energy-wasting set-top boxes should be phased out.

I need help with this. Can anybody add to this body of knowledge?

See my earlier article here.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Anti-Semitism - History Repeating Itself

Despotic, dictatorial, charismatic leaders; visionary, simplistic strategy based on clear philosophical theory; demoralized population looking for demons to blame for bad times; very small part of the population as true believers able to convince great masses to do inhumane things to their neighbors and enemies.

Who are we describing? A. Nazis? B. Communists? C. Islamofacists? D. All three?

Now what else is common among these groups? Hatred of Jews and Americans. Why do they hate Jews and Americans? Envy? Progressivism? Secularism? Sure, and so much more.

So why is there even a debate in America about the need to utterly destroy Islamofacism in the same way that we destroyed Nazism and Communism? I suppose it is for many of the same reasons that there was a debate about destroying those blights on the planet when we were faced with them:

1. Many in this country think that the Nazis, Communists, and/or Islamofascists are right, or that they will benefit if one of these forms of government prevails.

2. People don't read history, and/or don't get the parallels. Thus, they are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, unless wiser heads prevail.

3. Many, many in this country are antisemitic. This used to be a disease of the Christian community who wrongly believed in the need to rectify the killing of Christ. A fairly unambiguous reading of scripture makes it clear that this job is God's, to the extent that he wishes to judge and or discipline.

However, now anti-Semitism is largely found among the establishment elite's, especially in the academy, but also in the blogosphere on the left. (See Dailykos;

So there is virtually no outcry from the MSM or the elites when anti-Semitic activity happens on campuses, in our cities, or around the world. The defense of Israel comes from the right and from, ironically, the fundamentalist Christians.

4. Life is good here in America. Why embroil ourselves in WWIII. Sure, we were attacked a few times, and some folks died. If we just spend enough on homeland security, we'll be fine.

Meanwhile some of the same folks who are laid back about the threat to our lives from Islamofacism or internal ant-Semitism are all worked up about global warming. We've seen the results of fascism twice before in less than 70 years. It isn't that hard to predict what is coming from these new Nazis as they gain cash and weapons. We can stand on the sidelines, like we did in WWII, until the cost of containment and destruction is priced high indeed. Or we can destroy this enemy before they gain momentum.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Divorce - Without Lawyers - Part 3

The tricky part about saving $20,000 or more on divorce lawyers is that if one of you gets an attorney, and that attorney gets half of the couple all riled up, then it is hard not to fight back. Here is my recommendation.

Get a trusted friend, pastor, or other party respected by both partners involved. This individual will be the outside mediator. The things you want to agree to are as follows:

1. Cooling off period. At least 30 days of separation. Maybe even 6 months. No social contact, no dating each other, no sex. Stay away from each other so there can be some healing. This also means no yelling, no crying, no mind games, and no manipulation. If you feel like doing any of those things, call the mediator or your personal counselor.

2. Both partners need to be in individual counseling. You're marriage is not falling apart because one of you has a problem. It is falling apart because of dynamics that may include serious emotional or other problems for both individuals. You want to get your act together so that whatever course you take, you are better prepared to deal with your future.

3. Do NOT fight over the kids. Agree to some reasonable method of sharing their time and the responsibilities of parenting. Do not compete for their love. Do not put down your spouse. It just makes you look bad.

4. If at all possible, and after some cooling off, try to make a commitment to save the marriage. Almost every study shows that even the worst marital situations can be improved, and that 5 years later, both spouses and children are far better off if the marriage is saved.

5. If you can do the above, or even most of the above, sit down after 30 days, and draw up a separation agreement with your mediator helping. If the marriage doesn't make it, how would you split the assets? How would you deal with the kids needs? Who would contribute how much to child or spousal support?

6. Once you have accomplished number 5, it is very likely that you can continue with a 6 month trial separation. At the end of that 6 months things will probably be a lot more clear. You might choose to proceed. You might choose to get back together. You might choose to continue the separation. But it will likely be done much more calmly, and thus, much more wisely.


What Natural Disasters Do You Fear?

I grew up in tornado country and now I live in shake and bake (Southern California.) I was scared to death of tornadoes as a child, but I don't fear earthquakes or fires. I'd be interested in what you fear. I mean, enough to move.

You see, I know lots of folks here in LA that say they are scared to death of hurricanes, but they're still here. I know others that live in gang infested areas or high crime neighborhoods, but they haven't put up a for sale sign. How about living in the path of an active volcano. Lots of folks build their homes on old lava flows.

I never saw a tornado growing up. The year after we left, one tore through what had been our back yard. I think I felt more fear of tornadoes because there is a warning. The sky turns that special gray, it gets calm, the radio is reminding you to go to the Northwest corner of your basement...and all you can do is wait.

Earthquakes, no warning there. Big fires, you can pretty much get out of their way. Tsunamies, forgetaboutit.

So what do you fear, natural disaster wise? And what are you doing about it?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

An Optimist Gets Depressed - Man Bights Dog

I suffered from a few hours of depression this last week. Not sadness due to loss or frustration over aging. No this was the blood chemistry kind. I had an infection that made it into my bloodstream, and one of the side effects was depression. This was a completely new and foreign experience for me, as an over-the-top optimist. I'm recording here a few ideas that have since popped into my head as a result of this walk on the sullen side. These might be jumping off points for you or me to further development later. Consider:

1. While I was depressed, the negative ideas that welled up inside of me distorted my normal reality. Half full literally became half empty for me during that time. I could resist the notion of doom and gloom to some extent, but not well and not for long. Nothing in the actual circumstances had changed, only my perception of choices, outcomes, etc.

2. Once the episode passed, I was able to look back on this "unreality" and see it for what it was. I was able to laugh it off, except for the loss of time and opportunity from those hours. But in talking to friends that go through this all the time or for longer periods, there doesn't seem to be quite the ability to relegate such times, and call them what they are. I suspect this has to do with having a spending a large percentage of time in this state. The individual begins to have difficulty distinguishing between two realities.

3. The depression dramatically effected my personality, output, other emotions. I was sullen, disinterested in others, snappy, and completely unmotivated in tasks. I am never like that. I'm not proposing that it will be some huge scientific breakthrough to psychologists that depressed people are sullen, unmotivated, etc. However, for me it was remarkable at how quickly this minor change in my chemistry, change who I my very soul.

4. Not all of the changes were negative. I am generally not very tough on folks who make errors, and am not a taskmaster. I attempt to motivate others using more subtle techniques. However, I am clear that toughness sometimes works better than my methods. I was tougher, more demanding, less willing to walk away during this period. I think this was because I had this picture in my head of clear and present danger if I didn't act, and if those around me didn't come through for me. I saw that my kids might end up with problems downstream if they didn't get more disciplined about certain things today. These thoughts were pushed much closer to the front of the list than normally.

5. Might these chemical aspects of a persons make up result in substantial changes in worldview?

6. Do we want to use anti-depressents on folks who have only mild depression? Do we need their point of view and methods?

7. The Bible clearly points us to optimism, fearing not, and being anxious about nothing. God wouldn't ask us to achieve that which is impossible because of blood chemistry. Does that mean that those who are predisposed this way can overcome it? Prayer? Wise Counsel?

8. Is it really blood chemistry, totally? Could it be that our own sin sews the disease which then comes back to us as altered chemistry and "natural consequence" of our sin?


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Fear and Politics

I've started another blog specifically dealing with all aspects of fear and fear mongering, especially where the goal of the fear mongers is power, money, etc. Here is the beginning of a recent post.

One of the main themes of this blog has to do with the intersection of fear and politics. In other words, what you fear is likely to determine you party affiliation. This article makes my point so well. Please note my comments interspersed throughout the article in red.

If Only Gay Sex Caused Global Warming
Why we're more scared of gay marriage and terrorism than a much deadlier threat.

continued here....

The Rapture - The Beginning and the End

If you'd like to read my review of Tim LaHaye's and Jerry Jenkins' very last and final book in the Left Behind Series, The Rapture, head over to my new Tim LaHaye Fan Page Blog.

Monday, July 03, 2006

What They Don't Teach You in High School

Here are 7 things that we know about our educational system:

1. Small Class size (15 maximum) provides a much better learning environment
2. Teachers a underpaid compared to other professionals
3. Our schools, especially in the inner city, need more money to do a good job
4. Studies show no clear value to vouchers and choice
5. There is no way to overcome poverty, broken homes, bad parenting.
6. Masters in education and/or certified teachers are better teachers
7. Private schools do better because they have more money to spend.

None of the above are true statements. And here is the article that shows how these myths are getting in the way of improving of children's educational opportunities.

I forgot to give a HT to Norma for this one.

How Many Government Employees Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb

It would appear that all of them together can't get it done. And yet, according to this story, if just the government were to change all of their lightbulbs to efficient, cool bulbs, the global warming problem might go away. So, here is a question for you. If this article is true, and if global warming is really upon us to such a degree that we have to wreck the worlds economy to solve it, why...why...why hasn't Tony Blair done anything about the light bulbs in England?

"The UK Government alone has 50,000 buildings, with a combined annual energy bill of almost £200m, emitting 0.75 tons of carbon a year. Most of these buildings are using inefficient lighting systems. Two years ago, all government departments were given instructions to improve energy efficiency - but the 12-page framework document setting out their targets makes no specific mention of energy-efficient lighting systems.

Tony Blair did, however, make a symbolic gesture towards efficient lighting when he had a low-energy bulb installed in the lamp that hangs outside the door of 10 Downing Street."

You see, the environmental wackos don't really believe this crap. They are just using it to try and get your money and your votes. They want power (pun intended), and power commonly comes on the heals of scaring somebody.

"We Don't Know" Becomes "We Have Consensus" in Global Warming Debate

I was at a pool party yesterday and global warming became the hot topic. The group was pretty liberal, but in no way were they leading the parade on this subject. But even though they seemed to agree that there is still a bunch of questions to be answered, one of them said: "But according to articles I've read, scientists agree that 98% of the Al Gore movie is solid science." And so goes the MSM. They are convinced that New York and Florida will be under water, and that hurricanes are getting worse and worse.

Somewhere along the line, when the media and the other elites were polling scientists, they forgot to get this guys vote. Mr. Richard Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT. And he isn't exactly a shrinking violet. He has made his opinion on this subject well known for about as long as it has been an issue.

So, here is a comprehensive article about his position. Here below are a few summary paragraphs if you don't have time to read the whole thing:

"A general characteristic of Mr. Gore's approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse. Regardless, these items are clearly not issues over which debate is ended--at least not in terms of the actual science."

"When Mr. Stephanopoulos confronted Mr. Gore with the fact that the best estimates of rising sea levels are far less dire than he suggests in his movie, Mr. Gore defended his claims by noting that scientists "don't have any models that give them a high level of confidence" one way or the other and went on to claim--in his defense--that scientists "don't know. . . . They just don't know."

So if scientists just don't know, why are we getting front page stories in Time Magazine that the apocolyse is upon us?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Framing the Gay Rights Debate - LA Times Editorial

I keep wanting to drop the LA Times. I could get by without it. There is plenty of news and commentary on the web, and no one could claim that the Times has news or commentary that is better than what is available free on the web. I suppose the big thing is computers are not that easy to read at breakfast or on the throne.

But today the LA Times 2nd editorial got something so right they deserve applause, plaudits, and wide distribution of their thought. Never thought I'd say such a thing. Maybe its the new leaderhip in the editorial department. The key to the gay rights debate?

"But religious conservatives are right, in a sense, to say that the reasons some people are gay should have no bearing on their rights."

It had to be hard for them to say that. So now that the real heart of the debate has been posed, we can decide, as a society, whether the actions of homosexuals are the kinds of behavior we want to protect, promote, tolerate, or discourage. In no way should our decision result in judging the individuals as less valuable or more sinful than the next guy. But for this blogger, I vote for discourage.

Divorce and Lawyers - Explosive Mix

You and your spouse are thinking about divorce. Maybe things are way past the "thinking about it" phase, and one of you just wants out. Generally in such a situation, one or both of you is also angry. Other emotions might include hurting, vengeful, scared, worried, anxious, and/or bitter. The last thing you need in this situation is two attorneys whose job descriptions require them to be an advocate for you against your spouse. Even if you hire the most empathetic and understanding attorney in your town, it is his job to protect you at the "expense" of your spouse. The only result in such a situation is increased anger, bitterness, etc.

So stop for a minute and contemplate what the goal should be for your divided family. I would hope you would want to reduce or eliminate all those negative emotions for everyone concerned, and that should the divorce actually go through, you could be on 100% friendly terms with your ex. This would be the best outcome for your emotional health, and it will be the best for everyone else involved.

The first step to such a storybook ending is staying away from lawyers. But this can be a bit tricky, because it is very important the both of you agree to not lawyer up. The most likely way to accomplish this goal will be contained in the rest of this series of posts.