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Archive for October, 2008

In this video CNN’s Glenn Beck takes on the fear mongering of the global warming movement in his special “Exposed: The Climate of Fear”. Glenn Beck is very popular on CNN and this video is very easy to watch and entertaining. But it is informative as well. It does a good job of refuting Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” and has several PhD scientists speaking on the subject to prove that there is no “consensus”. If you can only show one short video to a friend or relative to try to convince them that warming is not man’s fault this would probably be it.

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Along with the climate change movement comes the movement for renewable energies, one of which is Ethanol–produced from corn and sugar plantations. It’s a natural alternative to petroleum and is a cleaner and cheaper fuel. The push for ethanol and similar alternative fuels is one of the fiercest lobbies especially in US politics.

Should it be? Here’s John Stossel on an ABC News Video that lays down the facts on ethanol against the near-religious clamor:

From Charles Choi’s article in Live Science:

Critical points of contention over ethanol regard whether or not creating it requires more energy than consuming it gives off. Although a great deal of energy that goes into ethanol comes from the sun, much human effort is also required when it comes to processing raw plant material to make ethanol. And there are the efforts that go along with farming and pesticide and fertilizer use.

Read the rest of his thoughts here.

Consider also the net benefits of ethanol, as against the need to allocate farmland to produce it–thus competing with food production resource. Before one cries panacea, take a second look.

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Veteran interviewer Charlie Rose features legendary bond trader Michael Milken (of the 80s junk bond era) and economist and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus who founded Grameen Bank which pushed micro-credit in Bangladesh.

These two distinguished individuals share fantastic insights on the Bangladesh micro-credit experience and how lessons from self-employment are relevant to the global financial crisis and credit crunch of 2008.

A taste of some topics covered on the interview:

  • The problem caused by credit rating agencies.
  • How leverage and margin have contributed to the crisis. Also the problem with loans higher than collateral.
  • How micro-credit experience in Bangladesh translates to insights on where the global financial system went wrong.
  • What are ways forward to restore confidence in the financial system and avoiding future repeats of the crisis.
  • And much much more.

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This alert comes from CO2Science.Org

In a paper published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, four British scientists report that “agriculture accounts for 80-90% of all freshwater used by humans,” that “most of that is in crop production,” and that “in many areas, this water use is unsustainable.” As a result, they say that “farmers in many countries are now faced with legislative restrictions on use of water,” noting that the Chinese government “has set a target of a reduction of 20% in water use in agriculture by the year 2020,” such that “if food security for the region is not to be threatened, this must be achieved without a loss in production.” So how is this global food and water crisis to be met and overcome?

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Some interesting info I encountered, which I bet 95% of people are ignorant about regarding the climate change facts. This is regarding the famous Kyoto Protocol or Kyoto Treaty.

In case you aren’t up to speed about the Kyoto Protocol, from wikipedia:

The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC), an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 3–14 June 1992. The treaty is intended to achieve “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”

The treaty was negotiated in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997, opened for signature on 16 March 1998, and closed on 15 March 1999. The agreement came into force on 16 February 2005 following ratification by Russia on 18 November 2004. As of May 2008, a total of 181 countries and 1 regional economic integration organization (the EEC) have ratified the agreement (representing over 61.6% of emissions from Annex I countries).

The rather trivial bit I researched is that the Kyoto Treaty, negotiated in 1997, used 1990 as its base year for measuring increases or decreases in CO2 emissions amongst countries. This doesn’t strike a raw nerve? Well, not until you delve deeper into the facts and see why 1990 is significant. (more…)

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I love this quote:

science is not about consensus, it is about testing hypotheses

This was said by Australian geologist, Bob Carter, who recently did a presentation which examines the premises of man-made global warming against accumulated weather statistics and temperature changes on the earth in the past.

Carter’s research is very timely in an age when the subject of Global Warming is taken almost as gospel truth by many without first examining the premises and testing them for validity.

Philip Arrington in the Associated Press wrote a sober message in his article:

Does this mean that we are experiencing “global warming” in the fashion we keep hearing on the news? Throughout this article I have been using the phrase “warming phase” to describe current climate. I have proceeded carefully in this fashion to avoid using “global warming” to describe what’s currently happening. In my opinion “global warming” as it’s mostly used describes a stimulated warming condition caused by human activity in the form of greenhouse gas emissions by a mass population into our atmosphere. In reality although harmful to the condition of our atmosphere, animal / plant life, and air quality we simply can’t conclude that this is caused by human activities and not natural planetary cycles from such a short warming trend.

Going back to Bob Carter, his eye-opening presentation is below, which is an interesting view for those who want a more well-rounded appreciation of global warming:

(more below):

(more…)

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Coming from ronnie’s insight on the need to fill spiritual emptiness from our article on climate change, I just happen to remember that I read an email that echoes something of this sentiment–coming from a theist perspective.

I received via chain email Ben Stein’s live confession (c. 2005) about Christmas, being a Jew, and atheism. Here’s an excerpt of his impassioned message:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.  And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees..  I don’t feel threatened.  I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are:  Christmas trees.

It doesn ‘t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me.  I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.  In fact, I kind of like it  It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrati ng this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu .  If people want a crïeche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.  I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.  I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country.  I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him?  I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too.   But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

The above is verified to be true from CBS transcripts.

What’s interesting is that the final form of Stein’s confession as it arrived to me via email is actually a “longer” doctored version of the original statement he made in CBS. The addendum contains more allusions and claims to drive Stein’s point.

(more…)

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