The Debate Is Over – PART I (Climate Science)

I was going to make a general commentary on the disturbing tendency for academics, far leftists, and the media/political alliance to declare subjects out of bounds and the deleterious impacts that such a tendency have on a free society…but I decided, instead to do this in a few parts…and let other speak for me, since I am not likely to be any more articulate than others more fully in the chattering class.

We’ll start…with a science hero of mine.  Dr. Judith Curry.  She has a personal journey that rivals few others in science…from idealistic young atmospheric scientist with a dream to help others and make the world better…to hard-line global warming agitator, to cautiously skeptical AGW supporter to full blown skeptic.

Now (and I didn’t plan this when I declared my political topic of the week) – she takes aim at the tendency of climate scientists to declare “facts” which are shaky theories and claim the debate is over.

Judith Curry – Role Model

Well worth a read, including the linked white paper she has recently published on her blog (found in the article I cross-linked).

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The Official Forecast from the IPCC Weather Experts

Because I have nothing but respect for the “science” being furthered with the latest release of the IPCC second working group report (released in the last couple of days and being digested by a lapdog media desperate for a story), I would like to share with you the official science-driven forecast for global weather and climate in the next century.  We’ll break this into categories so that you can get a better feel for exactly what these people are all about.

WINTER WEATHER:

The global models predict a gradual northward migration of the common tracks for extratropical cyclones as the arctic warms.  This will lead to warmer winters overall and increased likelihood for winter time droughts in the southern temperate regions.  However, because the arctic is warming, there will be an increased likelihood for the negative phase of the so-called “Arctic Oscillation” – leading to blocking highs over the polar regions and periodic severe cold with southward displaced storm tracks and more snow.  While all of this is going on, expect an increased likelihood for the El Nino pattern over the La Nina pattern, as shown by GCM simulations of the past in the Pacific.  Despite the fact that this El Nino pattern is linked to heavy winter rains in California, expect an increased chance of long-lasting droughts in the Golden State.

SEVERE WEATHER:

In the last 150 years, there has been an observed decrease in the frequency of tornadoes and a similar drop has occurred when looking at hail reports from the past 50 years.  However, as the planet continues to warm, this trend should reverse as regions exposed to wind shear patterns due to terrain experience more atmospheric water vapor and more instability.  Meanwhile, despite the aforementioned risk of more El Ninos, expect the bread basket of America to become a giant dust bowl with heavier individual rain events but rapid diminution of the total amount of rainfall as the storm tracks lift north.  This change will lead to worldwide famine and some of the worst dust storms (simultaneously occurring during severe flooding no doubt) in living memory.

(readers note: there has been no observed increased in atmospheric water vapor since the dawn of the satellite era, but the climate models never lie…it’ll happen eventually, just keep giving us money to make better climate models so we can tell you when)

TROPICAL CYCLONES:

Earlier research projecting a gradual increase in the number of tropical storms, hurricanes and severe hurricanes has been discredited by updated modelling, which now suggests that tropical storm intensity will increase, but with fewer overall tropical cyclones.  More Katrinas, less helpful rain-makers for the subtropics.  Storms will also increase in size, until eventually, they will cover entire ocean basins, spin in both directions at the same time, and cross the equator.  Just ask Al Gore.  Also…they might start picking up crazed sharks and spitting them into cities.

ICE COVER:

Arctic sea ice made a bit of a comeback this winter, but we assure you, this is temporary.  As noted above, this brief pause in global warming (WHICH ISN’T EVEN REAL…BUT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT IT SO WE HAVE TO EXPLAIN!!!!) will give way to more warming, and eventually we will hit a tipping point (or have hit already despite the recent reversal) and lose all of our summer time sea ice.  On top of that, the Greenland ice sheet continues to dissipate, which will increase sea levels by up to a meter.  And I hope you all enjoyed the days of widespread mountain glaciers, because not even Mt. Everest will have glaciers on it by the time this warming runs its course.  Even though we were caught lying about the disappearance of glaciers, the latest papers should be trusted.

BIOSPHERE:

Climate change will not only lead to billions of human climate refugees and mass migrations…but will result in the deaths of thousands or even tens of thousands of species of life.  Even though our best scientists can find no evidence whatsoever that global warming has altered the web of life by so much as ONE species…it will totally happen soon.  For realz.

(Readers note: pay no attention to the fact that biosphere productivity as measured by satellite has increased by 14% since 1979)

SEISMIC ACTIVITY:

We know it seems strange to talk about GEOLOGY in a CLIMATE report, but it terms out that melting land-based ice decresaes the natural pressure on tectonic plates allowing for increased plate movement around the globe and thus…more earthquakes and volcanic eruptions…and this may help to explain the recent (NOT REAL!!!) pause in global warming.  Although the USGS says there’s been no increase in earthquakes or volcanic activity globally……………………..

SUMMARY FOR POLICY-MAKERS:

Global warming is confirmed scientific fact – humans are 99% certain to be the cause and if you disagree with us, you’re a mass murderer and denier of truth and should be jailed or shot.  Governments should give us billions more dollars because although you should totally trust our models, we need money to make them better.  Governments should also begin sterilizing the population so that we can stop being so bad for mother Earth.

That is all.

Video Footage from CPAC 2012

This was one of my favorite speeches from day three:

I think McElhinney nails it; environmentalism is definitely a class issue. I have no problem with the Teddy Roosevelt sort of conservationism in which we set aside national parks for the enjoyment of the public and pursue reasonable policies to protect the environment. Really, I don’t think anyone objects to having clean air and clean water. But when people propose that we shut down large swaths of productive farmland in California for the sake of a fish – or that we block the construction of a pipeline that would bring thousands of JOBS to America’s heartland – I do have a problem. At that point, it’s not about “saving the environment.” It’s about exercising your power and screwing over people who, by the way, are probably a lot poorer than you are. Environmentalism, in essence, has morphed into a quasi-religion that our coastal elites have adopted so that they may feel better about themselves and their enormous carbon footprints.

And you know, whenever I re-watch McElhinney’s speech, I always find myself wishing we had a similar warrior on the contraception issue — someone with the cojones to call Obama and Sebelius out for the liars they are. Allowing the Catholic Church her freedom of conscience will not cut off anyone’s access to contraception. Condoms are distributed free of charge in clinics across the nation. Birth control pills are also widely available and extremely affordable. We don’t need insurance companies to make contraception “free” (as if you could actually do such a thing). No — what this is about, once again, is power. It’s about the Obama administration using the authority it was granted through Obamacare to expand the anti-life agenda and fire up its base. It’s reprehensible, it’s unconstitutional, and I’m glad our bishops are fighting back.

(By the way, the clip above was shot by Anang B., whom I met at CPAC and whose You Tube channel is here. I recommend checking out all of his videos, as they provide a good sampling of what went on over the course of the convention.)

Global Warming Propaganda at Stony Brook

It’s no secret that I am an atmospheric scientist at Stony Brook University.  I felt it prudent at this time, despite this opening up a bit of risk to my career in academia (not that I intend to stay in academia, but there you go) to forward for your reading pleasure this bit of propaganda I just received from a member of my faculty in my work e-mail box:

As reported in The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/Ah5hb3), our Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) has been launched (http://climatesciencedefensefund.org) to let scientific colleagues and the public directly help climate scientists protect themselves and their work from industry-funded legal attacks. The project is being supported and developed under the umbrella of the non-profit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).In addition to its core mission of legal defense, CSLDF will –• Educate researchers about their legal rights and responsibilities on issues surrounding their work;• Serve as a clearinghouse for information related to legal actions taken against scientists; and• Recruit and assist lawyers representing these scientists.Please spread the word far and wide so that we can increase our support.  We will be adding a Face Book page and a Twitter account soon so you can follow our progress.Thank you,……………………………………………………………………………
Scott A. MandiaProfessor – Physical Sciences, Asst. ChairT-202 Smithtown Science Bldg.Suffolk County Community College


Look at that wording!  There’s nothing at face value wrong with scientists becoming better informed on legal matters related to their craft…but listen to the first line…”industry funded legal attacks”…REALLY?  There have been about a dozen FOIA requests made of AGW-driven scientific organizations in this country…ZERO of them have come from a corporation.  TEN of them have come from think tanks and non-profits like the Heritage Foundation and the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights.  Two came from INDIVIDUAL private-sector skeptics (McIntyre and McKintruck of SurfaceStations.org and WattsUpWithThat.com fame and Willie Soon…a SCIENTIST who disagrees with the orthodox position on climate change.

To distract from the reality that climate scientists are themselves acting in a particular political interest and being backed by powerful legal arms and governmental assistance, not to mention a huge media slant in their favor, they characterize any legal action by the opposition as “industry funded.”  I suppose you could make the case that the Heritage Foundation is industry funded…but certainly, no one industry told the Heritage Foundation to file a FOIA request against NASA GISS…they have autonomy to do whatever they want with the money that gets donated by industry leaders and grassroots conservatives.  And even if the entire resistance to AGW-orthodoxy came directly from oil companies (which is ridiculous in the extreme)…they would still be funded at about 1% of the level of funding AGW proponents get from big governments and international organizations like the UN to push their version of the truth on the world.

But the biggest problem…the most unsettling part of this for me…is that a professor in my department (who shall remain nameless for his own sake) received this e-mail and happily forwarded it to EVERYONE in my department on our work-related e-mail listserv.  Scientists are not advocates…this man has no right to cram propaganda advertising down our throat.  This…in a nutshell is everything that is wrong with climate science today…it’s became fanatical advocacy on both sides and not an honest search for the truth.

Government Innovation – Oxymoron?

Or if you’d prefer a different title:

How a Week on the Inside Convinced Me of the Limitations of Government

Technically, I’ve worked inside the U.S. government before – I interned for the Army Corps of Engineers and was regailed for months by my mentor, a former Lieutenant of the Army and Air Force (both times doing weather recon and forecasting for military operations), about the spectacular inefficiency and politically-motivated arm-twisting that went on during his 22 year military weather career.  As a result of his experiences, he became convinced that, while many individual forecasters within the NWS and other weather-related NOAA offices intended to do good and save lives, the top-down philosophical mandate of NOAA (as enforced by DOC officials and other political leadership) literally prevented most of them from truly forecasting.  I’ve commented here in the past regarding the strange-seeming decisions made by the National Hurricane Center or the Climate Prediction Center that were, at best, self-serving verification hedges (if they didn’t have a watch area out, they never named the storm, even if it had all of the appropriate characteristics, e.g.)…and at worst, motivated by a desire to keep up funding.  I was just guessing, however.  I had no idea how close to right I was – in fact, there were days when the more sensible part of my brain told me to give those guys a break and the benefit of the doubt alongside.

What now follows are a series of anecdotes I experienced while shadowing a forecast office (who shall remained unnamed, since I actually highly respect this particular office for staying largely away from politicking and forecast gamesmanship) – some stories from other offices, some personally experienced moments of shear terror.  These stories will serve to shed light on precisely what’s wrong with NOAA – on why we are no longer the premiere location for scientific advances in weather forecasting and why innovations within the NOAA branches seem counterproductive these days.  And I hope they will also make a point regarding the general nature of governmental inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

(Cut for length.)

“WEATHER-READY NATION”

The Obama administratio’s top officials within the Commerce Department have recently been driving a top-down program called “weather-ready nation.”  The stated goal of this program is to improve the dissemination of accurate and timely forecasts, warnings and emergency support services to the public through collaboration between many NOAA offices and public relations personnel.  Sounds like a good idea, right?  To hear about it from the folks at the particular field office, however, “Weather-Ready Nation” was a laughingstock.  Why were the operational meteorologists and research scientists working here so skeptical?

They recalled a similar pronouncement by Clinton’s DOC made on January 14th, 2000 – this pilot program was called the “No-Surprise Weather Service.”  That buzzphrase represented government funds meant to go toward improving communications between the weather service and their public/media customers regarding the uncertainty and range of possible outcomes for a given high impact weather event, with a special emphasis on improving our ability to forecast threats in the longer ranges (3+ days).  People who live on the East Coast may remember that on January 24th, 2000…just ten days after the big roll-out of the “No-Surprises Weather Service” campaign, our models completely whiffed on forecasting a major Nor’easter which dumped 10-20 inches of snow on heavily populated regions from South Carolina to Central New York, including the DC area.  The storm, in memory of the hilarious irony, was dubbed the “Surprise Snowstorm of 2000.”

The mets there believe, you see, that every penny spent flogging campaigns designed to send a politically motivated core message and/or push decision support services beyond their real limits of reliability (meaning asking the mets to do impossible things that their customers aren’t even requesting) is a penny not being spent on weather research and (especially) infrastructure improvements.  It turns out that a huge chunk of the budget being spent on “Weather-Ready Nation” – which is more of a catchy slogan than a feasible and productive mandate – came out of the budget for a planned major upgrade to NCEP’s supercomputer mainframe.  That would be the big room full of servers that cranks out our weather forecast model output four times a day.

For a little further background, the European Center for Medium-range Weather Forecasting currently has approximately 80 times our computing power.  They produce a global forecast on a 12-km grid, while our best global forecast is on a 36 km grid.  They run a 50-member 40 km global ensemble (a series of model runs driven by the same basic physics but with slightly different initial conditions in each run)…we run a 20-member 80 km global ensemble.  Every week, they re-run their model with its’ most modern physics for the entire period from 1990 to present so that they have an up-to-date model climatology to compare with observations and future forecasts…at 40 km resolution.  We have a 2.5×2.5 degree (~250 km!) global reanalysis that does not include any actual reforecasts…only our best guess at a verification.  They initialize their model with state-of-the-art dynamic 4-dimensional analysis of the ingest data (satellite, surface and upper air observations, etc)…we are stil doing static variance analysis in 3-dimensions.  And the leaders of DOC sacrificed the supercomputer budget…to…hold a series of town hall meetings about how best to communicate model ucnertainty and disseminate warnings to Homeland Security??

One of those town hall meetings was held the third day of my trip and after it was over (I was not invited since I’m not a NOAA employee), every met in the office returned infuriated by the needless politicking.  The seasoned officers reported blantant collusion on the part of the NOAA public relations committee to plant favorable questions into the discussion and silence critics of NOAA’s ne3w policies (we’ll talk about one such policy shortly).  Your tax dollars hard at work, folks.

“NO CREATIVITY ALLOWED”

Forecasters mostly have a strong background in the science of meteorology and many of them have some computer science background as well.  So when they are routinely faced with problems that cannot be solved by the one-size-fits-all AWIPS terminal (a product of government standardization in the name of attempting to improve forecaster efficiency by focusing their weather and model viewing through one display system), they write computer applications to display the things they need.  About two weeks ago, so say the staff at the office I visited, a directive came down from NOAA brass forbidding forecasters from making their applications public, even to other forecast offices (!)…our best guess is that they made this decision because they didn’t want forecasting methods for which there had been no oversight to become common, because if someone using an unapproved technique busted, they might be blamed for non-standard practices leading to a loss of money.

This was one of the topics at the aforementioned town hall meeting and, because the NOAA PR folks knew their decision was wildly unpopular, they planted a question to start the discussion and quickly changed topics when the room didn’t buy their reasoning.  Bottom line…unless whatever trick you’re using to get a better forecast has been proven in accepted scientific literature and the admin types have come to understand what you’re doing and approve of it…you aren’t allowed to do it.  And you certainly arent’ allowed to use government resources and time to write the code for it.

Incidentally…having seen AWIPS in use, I can tell you that it is clunky, frequently tempramental, monumentally resource inefficient and, IMHO, limited in utility compared to the panoply of web sites with more useful diagnostics that can be viewed to make a forecast.  Standardizing isn’t always a good thing…each office has unique challenges and those challenges could be addressed by each office as best as they see fit.

“THAT’S MY TURF!”

If I haven’t relayed the frustrations of private sector meteorologists regarding NOAA’s position on competing forecasts, let me take a moment and do it now.  I’ve watched several private meteorologists associated with successful private weather firms grumble about things like the National Hurricane Center’s decree that they should be the only ones giving forecast information regarding hurricanes, because competing (and differing) forecasts could lead to “public confusion.” Never mind that NOAA is the only firm issuing warnings and advisories in the ciritical times when customers must make decisions regarding preparedness…never mind that NOAA’s forecast is the only one backed by government authority and therefore the only one that can order an evacuation or activate FEMA…any competing forecasts are bad.  The government wants a monopoly on weather and climate information (the climate aspect of this has been covered extensively at RightFans).  But the monopolistic imperial mindset is not limited to public vs. private.

The various offices have their own budgets and eac budget is doled out based on the admin’s perceptions about the relevance of that office’s work.  What therefore happens is that collaboration is actively discouraged despite top-down mandates that it should occur.  The Hurricane Center is uninterested in working with the Ocean Prediction Center on a surge and wave forecast for a hurricane, or in coordinating with NWS offices affected by a landfalling storm on producing a single impact forecast including landfall, rain, wind, etc.  The Climate Prediction Center and the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center both work on medium range weather forecasting – especially threat assessment…and there is austensibly a collaboration regarding threat maps and forecast discussions…but their joint forecast discussions are frequently (so say observers) pissing contests between rival factions touting their brand of forecasting tools.  There is a huge war going on between the NCDC and NASA GISS over who should take possession of the US climate records.  The various NWS branches must prove that they are needed and can’t be consolidated into fewer regions.

And it gets even sillier.  The satellite/remote sensing comunity within NOAA and the modeling group at NCEP are actively working to wrestle funds away from operations and convince Congress that the human forecaster is less relevant now that our models are state of the art while the human forecasters and their union reps are lobbying congress to downsize the satellite division.  And even within offices, I’ve heard stories of researchers actively undermining their colleagues’ potentially important work because it’s eating up a lot of the budget.  Not to mention insane things like employees getting yelled at for helping their colleagues meet forecasting deadlines or clipping the hedges in their down time for fun rather than letting the union landscapers do it.  One forecaster I spoke with at length said that he left another office after one year because it was “a living hell of territorial disputes and rock/hard place dilemmas.”

“COMMITTEE FINDINGS: A BLUE RIBBON PANEL IS NEEDED”

Say you have a new application or scientific paper or clever forecasting idea that you want to push forward to help your colleagues.  Well, in the private sector, you pitch your idea at a board meeting, they hold an up or down vote or some sort of committee reviews your findings…and a decision is made.  That’s rather painful, but in the government, you file a report with your superior officer, they file a report with their branch chief, he files a report to the congressional budget office or to NOAA’s bean counters.  They convene a committee to decide WHETHER THE IDEA SHOULD BE CONSIDERED…not whether it should be implemented…and then if they agree…they form a commission/panel to look at it and run years of experiments to prove its efficacy.

A discussion broke out about the problems the coders had been having getting snow/liquid water ratios to be accurate in the models while I was eating lunch one day.  I rattled off, based on my knowledge of microphysics from my fellow group-member who’s taking observations of snow crystals and properties in winter storms, a list of five different ways they could improve their modeled ratios.  The branch chief, who was sitting in with us since our experimental group was a high priority big budget event for his office, liked every single one of those ideas from a scientific perspective, but suggested that each one would have to be tested independently and vetted by his bosses and their committees…and that to avoid pain and bad forecasts in the short run, he was going to recommend they use site specific climatology (the average ratio of snow to liquid water for each location on record) to populate the model.

“JUST THE FACTS (THAT FIT), MA’AM”

I sat in on a seminar that was about the impact of extra flight-level observations on the forecasted track and intensity of hurricanes.  The lady giving the presentation had done a ton of hard work that involved taking the extra observations out of the model initial analyses and then rerunning it a bunch of times to try to prove that extra observations improved the forecast.  She found that they had no such impact for her three case study events.  Now she was careful to point out possible reasons for the lack of obvious track adjustments, and some of those caveats were indeed valid.  But you know what the main concern was at this office?  I’ll quote the first and fourth people to speak after she was done talking and asked for questions:

“I think you really need to be careful with the wording of your conclusions there.  You know the climate in Congress right now…if they think our forecasts will be just as effective without additional observations, you can kiss that money goodbye and we’ll be observing hurricanes with satellite only.”

(that wasn’t even a question…it was a comment…and a politically charged one at that)…and…

“I think your recommendation should be to increase observation intervals within the storm and upstream of it…we’re obviously not getting enoguh extra data if what little we collected isn’t having an effect.”

Awesome.  Forget the scientific method when money is on the line, baby.

“NOT MY PROBLEM”

And every day, I heard a new story about a really poor meteorologist or technician who couldn’t be fired because the union prevented it and the government didn’t care as long as it didn’t influence the final result.  The typical solution to a bad employee has been to turf them off to another office or put them in charge of less important tasks.  Like public school teachers and postal workers, bad employees frequently get paid to do nothing.

“CONCLUDING REMARKS”

Now you might all be tempted to think of spectacularly inefficient, politically charged private sector corporations that failed just as well as the NWS and NOAA are failing.  Or you might be tempted to point to all fo the positives that have come out of government-run weather forecasting in the US.  You would be right to do so in both cases…however:

Originally successful companies that fail always fail from the same types of in-fighting, political spin-doctoring, inefficiency and malaise that dominates every sector of American governance today (unless they fail due to incompetence…which is also a big problem in government).  And frequently those sorts of inefficiences and in-fights come about because the government literally gets into the board rooms and stock holders meetings by investing.

None of what I’ve said in this piece should be read as a criticism of the bulk of the employees at the NWS or any of the NOAA branches.  Most of them are good people and good scientists doing the best they can…and most of them are painfully aware of how badly mismanaged their organization actually is.  The NWS has a long history of leading the field in innovation, in forecasting skill, and in public correspondence and transparency.  That reputation si now eroding, but its’ accomplishments are nearly legendary.  The problem is…they happened, by in large, when the NWS was a minor agency within another somewhat minor agency within an often-overlooked cabinet-level department (Commerce).  Politics didn’t start screwing with the Weather Service as we know it until fairly recently (30-40 years ago)…and the more the NWS tries to innovate under the weight of the political machine that created it…the more it stagnates under institutional (one size fits all) thinking, territorialism, and waste.  In many ways, NOAA (and NASA, for that matter) are microcosms of the entire American experience.  Government science can do wonderful GLORIOUS things…when the entire government machine is bent on doing those things (and usually at a cost higher than necessary).  We went to the moon using a calculator to plan our course.  We standardized the format of upper air observing and surface station management.  We learned to forecast the weather using sophisticated computer models.  These are great things spearheaded by the United States.  But the government model has an upper limit on productivity…private sector growth is literally unbounded if the ideas are good and the business plan is strong.

The decay of NASA and NOAA should be mourned…but it certainly shouldn’t be a surprise.  It’s time to consider alternative strategies…it’s time to encourage innovation, cost prudence, customer satisfaction and infrastructure.  Until NOAA is liberated from government overregulation and restraint…we will never catch up with the Europeans – whose office, incidentally, is run like a business and turns a profit each year.

Food for thought.

ATROCITY – This is Not Science

I recognize that this is a long piece, but I urge you to read through it in its entirety.  The further down the post you go, the more terrified you’ll be for the state of climate science and public policy in general in re: publicly funded scientific research.

This is way…WAY worse than Climategate 1.0 – this is one of the ugliest sequences of misconduct and treachery that I’ve ever heard of in my life in science.  We all recognize the peril when a private company bankrolls science and employs people who are involved in journal scholarship…how is this any different?  Where does the money come from?  The government.  Who employs the journal editors and other bigwigs in climate science?  The government.  Who decides what information reaches the government and the media to inform policy?  THE GOVERNMENT.
Don’t even ATTEMPT to pretend with me that these folks are impartial.  Not after reading this.  Not after see with my own eyes how precisely climate research has been so besotted with tyrannical oppression of opposing points of view.
This is an utter and complete disgrace.

Welcome to Hell: Climategate 2.0

As if the repulsive string of e-mails leaked form Hadley’s Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University in England wasn’t enough to convince us all that climate science is utterly bereft of honest scholarship and integrity and completely overrun by politics and advocacy…we are now treated to round two!  Oh yes…a second Freedom of Information Act request – this time in America and directed at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (which, given its’ mandate, is completely logically pursuing climate research in…the one piece of our solar system that from our perspective cannot be labeled SPACE…*sigh*), headed by James “China is better than the US!” Hansen.

I am going to save advanced commentary on this breaking news story for now…I will however pass along a couple of links:

From Climate Depot: A Full Round-Up of the New E-Mails

From Watts Up With That: Some headlines to read…

From the news media…*crickets*

Yeah…this time they get Mann and Hansen more directly in the obvious chicanery and sloppy science.

This right here is everything that is wrong with this country in a nutshell.

I just got this in my e-mail box…a lovely way to begin an evening this pure white hot rage…really makes a guy feel centered before he starts work on his thesis.

Read it…stare in awe at the audacity and hopelessly out of touch rhetoric.

> Dear friend,Top 10 tips
>
> More than 10,000 people have joined us in urging President Obama to make our cars cleaner. Strong fuel efficiency standards could be the most important policy ever enacted to reduce our oil dependence and global warming pollution.
>
> Our oil dependence is a big problem that demands bold solutions, which is why we’re calling for a 60 mpg standard. But small changes can also add up to a big difference.
>
> Read below for our Top 10 Tips to use less oil and shrink your carbon footprint. Then share the list on Facebook to help your friends reduce their impact too.
>
> 1. Keep up on your vehicle maintenance. On average, an efficient engine could cut your gasoline use by over 46 gallons per year, saving you $139 and reducing your carbon footprint by 900 kilograms per year.
>
> 2. Keep your tires inflated and invest in low-rolling resistance tires. With well-inflated advanced tires, you’ll save over $50 per year on your gas bills.
>
> 3. Drive efficiently. Driving at a steady, reasonable pace can reduce your fuel use by as much as 15 percent. That means over $175 per year in savings on gasoline, and over a ton of carbon removed from the atmosphere per person.
>
> 4. Get rid of unnecessary weight in your car. Your fuel efficiency drops by 1 percent for every 100 pounds of stuff that you keep in your car, so it pays to clean out your trunk.
>
> 5. Carpool. Social networking websites like eRideShare have made it increasingly easy and convenient to match up with people with similar commutes. And companies such as NuRide offer discounts at restaurants, free tickets to events, and other rewards to commuters who carpool, vanpool or find other green ways to commute to work. [1]
>
> 6. Consider telecommuting as an alternative to the daily drive to work. New technologies are making it easier and easier to do more of your work from home. Working from home saves Americans an average of 46 minutes a day on their commute, which adds up to over 100 hours a year that would otherwise be wasted in traffic—more than the total vacation time many of us earn in a year.
>
> 7. Be efficient with your shopping and other travel. When you can walk, walk. When you have to drive, plan ahead and try to hit multiple stores in one trip. Shopping locally saves the gasoline consumed by trucks and ships transporting goods, and shopping online saves the gasoline costs of driving to the store.
>
> 8. When you purchase a car, consider its energy costs and impact on the environment. This summer alone, a 60 mpg car would save the average consumer over $500 at the pump. Plug-in electric vehicles, meanwhile, offer superior driving performance and can be operated for just pennies per mile while producing no tailpipe emissions.
>
> 9. Prioritize public transportation and walkable, mixed-use communities when you choose a home. Online resources such as the Housing and Transportation Affordability Index can help you figure out which neighborhoods have the most transportation choices. [2]
>
> 10. Tell your political leaders that you want real transportation alternatives to get us off oil. The first step is for President Obama to set fuel efficiency standards for passenger vehicles at 60 mpg by 2025. The second step is for Congress and state leaders to pass legislation that will provide more transportation alternatives, and invest in electric vehicles. Follow our campaign at our Twitter and Facebook pages and help get this country off oil.
>
> Help us get the word out by sharing this list on Facebook.

>
> Thanks for all your support.
>
> Sincerely,

Ben Wright
> Environment Massachusetts Advocate

Now…I have no problem with people passing around prudent suggestions for fuel economy…in this market, they can serve to help us get through the crushing Obama administration’s love of market controls on the energy industry. But it crosses the line when the entire article leads off with “we’re pushing for 60 mpg fuel efficiency standards” and finishes with “tip number 10…call you congressman and tell him to enact tough fuel standards!”

How about NO?!!! How about a big fat NO THANKS, asshole.

60 mph standards? This, right here, is everything that is wrong with America today. Washington doesn’t belong to the people anymore…it belongs to the PACs. And the PACs know not one good God damned thing about how normal Americans need to function on a daily basis…they’re largely run by ivy-league educated majors in public policy, sociology, political “science” and, yes, that most practical of all majors…English. The kinds of people who think it’s a GOOD idea to tell Americans that they should telecommute (that would be quite the trick if you’re a construction worker or a sales clerk) to work and only live within walking distance of their jobs whenever possible have never lived as ordinary Americans. They were privileged from birth, for the most part.

Hey, guess what, you pie in the sky wackos…some of us have to deal with REALITY.

And the REALITY…is that the market has not provided us with a feasible, affordable method of transportation that runs at 60 mpg. Not even my father’s hybrid has that kind of efficiency, and he paid a lot for it because he thought it was technologically cool (he’s a dork like that). And no..it’s not that the market isn’t providing these options because Americans are too stupid to demand what’s best for them. The market hasn’t provided that kind of option because the technology to make it affordable simply does NOT exist yet!

Recent history is LITTERED with examples of our government and the governments of Europe and China and Japan attempting to FORCE the market to provide what they think the people need, and the result is always disastrous for the market and for us. The bottom line is…Ivy Tower Massachusetts elitists want you all living in urban neighborhoods, eating only the food that’s locally available – especially vegetarian and organic diets now, because those are superior! – and working either from home or very near your home. They want you to give up your freedom to travel. They want you trapped in your district. And they want you to think it’s a GOOD idea. Obama’s people even tried to convince Congress to pass an energy law that would TAX YOU for each mile that you traveled by car (auspiciously so that those mileage taxes could be used to maintain our vast road network…you know…the network no one in their right mind would use if they had to pay taxes every time they did). And these folks who think they know what’s good for us, whether we like it or not, they have nothing but contempt for what we ACTUALLY want.

Here it is, liberal elitists…here is what we want.

FREEDOM! Freedom to drive wherever the hell we want whenever we want. Freedom to load up the car and travel on road trips just for the hell of it! Freedom not to feel confined to rigid train or bus schedules. Freedom not to be forced to travel with a set carpool group with whom we may…or may not!…get along. Freedom to work in the ways that make the most sense to us. Freedom! That’s what we want. That’s why we’re “addicted” to fossil fuels. WE DON’T WANT TO LIVE LIKE THEY DO IN EUROPE! In overcrowded city streets with no air conditioning and no cars and narrow roads. That isn’t who we are.

You want to save the planet. Even if I granted that CO2 emissions from cars posed a large hazard to our environment in the near term (and I don’t…but let’s put that aside)…I laud you for caring about your environment and I urge you to push for laws that make sense to the common American…not to look down your noses at him/her and assume that they’re just too selfish or too stupid to know what’s good for them.

Push for LESS government favoritism for certain businesses…not more. Get rid of oil subsidies…get rid of FARM subsidies (so that small farms again become economically viable increasing local food supplies)…get rid of tech subsidies for “green jobs” (so that the real energy industry demands can force the market freely…I assure you, the result will be better than overpriced hybrid cars for which you get a tax break)…tell your Representatives to push for unfettered free markets…that will spur growth in the energy sector, reduce the cost of your gas, and AT THE SAME TIME…push us forward into the oil-free transportation alternatives that ACTUALLY MAKE SENSE for the average American. Be patient, you college know-it-all…it won’t happen overnight…but the best things in life don’t happen quickly and society won’t accept changes that are forced on them by fiat without consideration for their preferences.

In short…grow up..get the hell out of our way…and get a real job. You know..something that doesn’t involve whining and moaning in Washington about how pathetic the rest of us are and demanding impossibly unattainable things of American society. Like the nonexistent 60 mpg car that doesn’t cost 45 thousand dollars.

Food for Thought for Granola-chewing Hippie Naturalists

As someone who studies one of our miraculous planet’s many natural systems (the atmosphere) and has an enormous appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the world in which we live – I am constantly bombarded with a modern trend toward romanticizing nature that I find disturbing. When you work with a group of people who’ve dedicated their lives to understanding nature (one way or another…in my case, a lot of oceanographers who study the life in the blue part of our blue planet), you will (perhaps understandably) encounter this massive wave of romantic sentimentality about how clean and pristine and perfect nature is without our damned dirty hands wrecking it.

To all those among us who would argue that nature is better without our influence, I present one indisputable fact of life that has made our evolution into an ordered society possible – DOMESTICATION. Humans have domesticated something like 180 unique animal species that now live either entirely or nearly entirely to benefit us in return for our protection and our assistance in their continue genetic success. What domestication, essentially, is (according to the most current research) is the tendency for humans to select animals for reduced aggression and fear (i.e. reduced adrenaline). The next time you look at your house cat or your faithful sidekick Fido…bear in mind that he or she was made possible by removing the natural (animal) tendency toward an evolutionarily necessary extremely heightened sense of fear and aggression.

Nature is red in tooth and claw and the animals that are accessible to us are the ones MOST REMOVED from nature. Which animal would the most crunchy of eco-liberals prefer to see in their bedroom tonight…a grey wolf…or his progeny hand selected by us…a domestic dog?

Keep in mind that in wild populations of dog-like species, the kind of low-adrenaline mutations that we need to make a domestic dog occur less than 1% of the time because such a trait is fatal to a wild animal. The same is true for cats – although of all domestic pets, cats may be the least domesticated, they still show decreased adrenaline and increased infantilization in their features (genetically, these things go hand in hand, believe it or not…it’s been proven in research conducted on silver foxes).

Where the human imprint goes in nature, things don’t ALWAYS get better…but there are 400,000,000 dogs, more than a billion cats, millions upon millions of farm animals, birds and even fish that are now BETTER ANIMALS than the wild things they replaced on the evolutionary tree….better in their usefulness to us, their own lifespans and qualities of life, and in their reduced capacity for violence and bloodshed…not to mention better in intelligence. As it turns out…the more hopped up you are on nature’s finest drug (adrenaline), the less capacity you have for mastering higher brain function (!)…wolves raised by humans are nonetheless incapable of focusing on human gestures and following instructions or working cooperatively with other species the way that dogs can.

Forget all of the arguments about how we’ve made our own lives better by advancing ourselves away from nature – a naturalist will call such arguments selfish anyway. How about the advances we’ve made in the lives of domestic animals? Can we really make the argument that wolves would have been better off without our meddling? Dogs are more capable of adapting to changing climate and changing land use than wolves – who are now endangered because they’ve made themselves such a nuisance that we’ve hunted them into near oblivion and because the planet is warmer than it once was. Cats can better withstand being moved to a new hunting ground than can lions, who rely on familiar surroundings. In short…we are making the animal kingdom smarter whenever we interact with it.

Yes, we have a duty to defend the bounty and richness of life on this planet as much as the realities of modern life allow, but let’s not pretend that we’ve made nature worse at every encounter…and let’s not ignore the evidence sitting in our living rooms and at the foot of our bed.