Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Global Warming Voodoo on Ice

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Slow Boil or Hot Air?

As the nation stands in the path of record cold temperatures, the media is doing its very finest to ignore the implications for “climate change” proponents. In Antarctica, an Australian team aboard a Russian research vessel became entrapped in ice, and now the Chinese icebreaker that provided helicopter rescue to the passengers of the Russian ship also needs to be rescued, itself having become trapped in the expanding ice sheet.  The media reports the entrapment, and the rescue, and now the second ship’s plight, but there are two words they have avoided in coverage of this entire debacle: “Global Warming.” The truth of the matter is that they’ve spent so much time and energy propagandizing on the issue that they dare not tell you the facts: Any measurable global warming halted more than one and one half decades ago.  Telling you this would not comport with their earlier reporting, since in all these years, global CO2(carbon dioxide) levels have continued to rise, but temperatures haven’t followed. According to their theory, global warming should come fast on the heels of any rise in CO2, but that hasn’t been the case.  All of it is predicated on their desire to control human activity, and human use of energy resources is the key.  Why?  Simply put, the global warming/climate change crowd are statists who wish to control everything, everywhere, in every case.  Accusing mankind of wrecking the climate is their sledgehammer, but the global temperatures haven’t been supporting their attack.

They won’t tell you that the very expedition the researchers had been wanting to replicate never experienced the ice levels that this new voyage has experienced.  They won’t now tell you that the purpose of the expedition had been to document shrinking Antarctic ice.  Therefore, team leader Professor Chris Turney dare not tell you that their ship became entrapped some forty miles short of the bay into which Douglas Mawson steamed in open, ice-free waters of Commonwealth Bay in 1912. Here’s video from original footage of that arrival more than a century ago:


These are the sort of inconvenient truths on which hucksters like Algore should spend a good deal of their time, but it doesn’t fit their tax-justifying agenda, so they refuse to acknowledge all contrary information.  When asked about this, Professor Turney concocted an excuse about the ice that blamed it all on global warming!  There’s more ice than in recorded history on and around Antarctica, but this fool wishes to blame “global warming” or “climate change.”  It’s as though a cosmologist would blame the accelerating expansion of the universe on the long-debunked “steady state” theory.

Sadly, most Americans don’t see the big deal with the current Antarctic ice sheet, because so many Americans don’t realize it’s not Winter, but Summer in the Southern hemisphere.  Mawson’s 1912 expedition was timed to make arrival after the Summer solstice precisely because ice ought to have been at its minimum extent.  What the “warmists” refuse to acknowledge is that there is currently more ice in Antarctica than has existed for 100,000 years.  At present, the combination of Arctic and Antarctic ice is at an all time record.  If this is the case, the global warming hypothesis looks pretty weak, and plainly wrong, but the mainstream media will not tell you this.  Instead, you are faced with having to trawl through site like, which one could consider like the Drudge Report of climate science, or, another such site, and there are fantastic blogs like WattsUpWithThat by Anthony Watts.  The problem is that to get any contradictory information, one must venture outside the mainstream media, or risk falling into the mire of group-think that pervades the popular media culture.

I realize that among my readers, there are those who have their doubts, and who worry that perhaps humanity is indeed negatively affecting the environment, but I would suggest to them that humanity’s impact tends to be localized, but not global.  What now becomes clear is that despite all the claims of warming disasters, humanity has little if any effect upon ice in the polar regions. Despite the evidence, we have the preposterous spectacle of the ill-fated expedition’s media director, Alvin Stone, claiming that the ice in which his ship is still lodged is the direct result of global warming. You simply could not make this up.  The truth is that despite all their rationalizations, the facts of nature do not support the foolish, apocalyptic claims of climate doomsayers.

Here are some facts you ought to consider: The life of our sun is roughly nearing the half-way mark.  There is no source in our solar system that can affect climate on Earth like our sun.  As the sun consumes its hydrogen through the process of nuclear fusion, it will expand and grow hotter.  This is inevitable.  The sun will make life increasingly difficult on the Earth until life here becomes impossible.  While this outcome is millions of years away in the future, it is nevertheless an absolute fact.  The truth is that on the largest time-scale, the Earth should be warming, and the sun ought to be delivering the added heat.  When the sun begins to expand dramatically some three billion years hence, life on Earth will be at an end.  Global warming is factually inevitable, but it will have nothing to do with your SUV, or mankind’s use of fossil fuels.

If that is too distant a timescale to contemplate, consider that in a mere one and one-half million years, the star Gliese 710 will pass very close to our solar system.  Having roughly sixty percent of the mass of our sun, it will almost certainly cause gravitational perturbations in the outer regions of our solar system that may send many comets and asteroids heading toward Earth.  Should that happen, unless we’ve concocted a practical method of deflecting or destroying these massive natural missiles, life on Earth could perish.

Still too distant? In the next several decades, there are at least two known asteroids that pose a substantial risk of collision with Earth.  Should that occur, we may go the way of the dinosaur, and it will be an epic calamity that could wipe out the entire human population, and all larger species, though some microbes and slightly larger species may endure.

Is this still too far off in the future to consider? Consider then Wolf-Rayet star 104(WR-104.) This massive star is very near the end of its life. It could explode as a supernova at any moment.  In fact, it may have exploded already, but at a distance of an estimated eight-thousand light-years, the light would need to have traveled that distance (and that many years) for us to learn of it.  If WR-104 had exploded as agriculture began to spread into Europe, and the human population of Earth was around five million, we would learn of the supernova only now.  Worse, we would have no warning whatever, as the arrival of its probable gamma-ray burst would punctuate its end, but also perhaps our own.  There are many stars capable of delivering deadly gamma-ray bursts, but the proximity and orientation of WR-104 makes it more likely to have significant effects on Earth than all the others.  Supernovae that emit a gamma-ray burst do so in blasts from their poles, so that much of the energy is focused in two narrow and opposing beams racing away from the dead star at nearly the speed of light.  If Earth happens to fall within one of these relatively focused beams, and within a few thousand light-years, life might well be wiped out by the radiation.  Though there are now some questions as to WR-104’s precise orientation, such a star’s death could simply poison those exposed to the radiation, or it could strip off the atmosphere and roast us alive.  Some claim it could even vaporize the entire planet. The most energetic events in the universe are not a circumstance with which to trifle, and from our perspective, they could occur at any time.

The point of all this is to recognize the fact that life on Earth will end. There exists almost an infinite range of possibilities for how it will end, but it’s mostly a question of what gets us first, and not whether we’ll be gotten.  The climate change acolytes know this every bit as well as their skeptics, but only the discussion of anthropogenic global warming or climate change gives them an opportunity to command human behavior.  In order to control your lives, they must create some justification, and it’s nearly always couched in terms of some exigency.  I submit to you that the hypothesis of “anthropogenic global warming,” or “climate change,” is precisely that sort of ploy.  When I was a child, they spoke in dramatic terms of a coming ice age.  Then as a young adult, I was bombarded by the global warming hysteria.   In fact, the Earth goes through periodic cycles, as does our sun, and some of those cycles span many human lifetimes.  In that context, it is foolish to pretend that what mankind has done or is doing must be the cause of every fluctuation in the thermometer, never mind to attempt to control all mankind on the basis of these fluctuations. Pretending that mankind is the greatest threat to the planet permits them an excuse to regulate all humans.

When politicians spout dire warnings about global warming, or anything else of dubious human origination, we ought to take the time to politely listen, but then examine their supporting evidence, or the lack thereof.  Now we witness the ignominy of an activist professor, Chris Turney, looking for some way to explain away the fact that his ship got stuck in ice nearly fifty miles from where was once open water at this same time of year, and he absurdly claimed it is because the planet has been warming.  I cannot say with certainty that mankind is having exactly zero effects upon global temperatures, but I can say with certainty that pseudoscience won’t help us, never mind save us. We don’t need modern witch doctors propagating their voodoo to a vast but sadly, too often ignorant audience, and the best way to combat it is to lift the veil of ignorance that has descended over the eyes of our popular media culture. Our lives and our liberties, and indeed the future of mankind depends upon it.



Where Have You Been?

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Bits in the Wind

Being a less than enthusiastic fan of popular culture, I sometimes get dragged into conversations on subjects about which I know roughly nothing, and they frequently resemble something like this:  “Did you see [TV-Show] last night?”  Me: “No, I’ve never heard of it.”  Questioner: “Where have you been?”  The implication is that I’m some kind of a dolt because I don’t watch much of the pop-culture garbage being spewed out of television networks and movie studios.  It’s true, but only if your standard of reckoning is measured against knowing what had been on television last night.  In light of Edward Snowden’s disclosures, there has been a good deal of shock and a widespread sense of contempt for a government that is able and willing to spy on the intimate details of the daily lives of Americans.  Stories have been cranking out about the degree to which government is able to record all the daily activities of citizens, and the extent to which large corporations have climbed into bed with government to provide information on their own customers.  Perhaps it is because I have a little of the Devil in me, or perhaps it’s because I have this innate compulsion to say “I told you so,” but either way, to all those Americans who are breathlessly gobsmacked over the spying our government does on its own people, I can ask only: “Where have you been?”

Ladies and gentlemen, the truth is that in some form or fashion, this has been going on for years.  I fully expected that government would be in bed with every cellular provider and you should have expected it too.  After all, those companies have broadcasting facilities dotting the countryside, and just as you asked the government to do, these companies are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.  Is it really so incomprehensible that with a little twisting of licensees’ corporate arms, government would be given access to this data?  Every networking device in the country bears an FCC label, from the Network Interface Card in your computer to the routers and switches through which your Internet traffic passes.  These devices and anything like them are all subject to some form of regulation by the FCC.  Did you think that would never come back to bite you?  You didn’t know?  Where have you been?

From the moment government first put its claws into the regulation of communications, it was inevitable that the government would begin the process of controlling, managing, monitoring, and even shaping communications to its own ends.  It was a temptation too great to avoid, because those who seek power seek it for a reason: Control.  This is the nature of government, but it is the key element in building the sort of command-and-control structures that even now have become too large to be concealed in the shadows.  The sad, sickening reality is that in one form or another, you’ve asked for this, and in many cases, you’ve been driven into demanding it.

If you’re alive in 2013, for the span of your entire life, you have been told (and you have mostly accepted) that the government has a natural interest in regulating everything that goes over the air, or through public spaces.  You’ve accepted the notion that the Federal Communications Commission should have the unlimited authority to exert control on radio and television programming, and aghast at some of the content you’ve seen on the Internet in the past two decades, you’ve even asked the government to intervene in that medium as well.  Seldom does anybody question the primary premise on which all this regulation is based:  The government, acting on behalf of the public, must have effective ownership of all means of transmission through the public spaces with users, whether individual or corporate, are merely licensees in some form or fashion.  It needn’t have been true, and the fact is that this assumption has caused the aggregation of vast wealth into a few hands when it need not have been.  Just as we had “land rushes” sponsored by government to populate our Western landscape, we might just as easily have done something similar with frequencies in well-described locales, conferring ownership of airwaves rather than licensing of them.

Unfortunately, there will be no going back.  Every website you’ve ever visited has been recorded.  Every phone call you’ve placed or text message you’ve sent has been open to monitoring and recording, and it has grown to such an extent that now your electric meter may well record spikes in usage that denote a pattern of when you are home, when you’re awake, when you’re watching the TV, and when you’re microwaving your supper.  In some places, water metering devices can now reliably discern between a quick washing of the hands or a flushing of a toilet, and all of this information being gathered is said to improve the ability to serve customers.  Meanwhile, the US government builds alliances with corporations, mostly coercive in nature despite any carrots offered to sooth the blow, and those enticements to businesses include the sharing of government data that will be helpful in marketing to customers.  It’s very cozy, but it’s nothing new, and it’s been done this way since the advent of mass mobile communications and Internet access, and in truth, for many years before.

The disclosures provided by Edward Snowden should only really shock you if you’ve been doing as I’ve been accused when I can’t identify a movie actor: “Living under a rock.”  For decades now, it has been supposed that anybody who believed all this monitoring is possible was some sort of “conspiracy kook,” but the problem is that those of us in the technology fields have understood that this was a growing reality from which there could be no escape, in part because we have helped to build it. Others imagine that the bulk of information being captured is just so large that it is unmanageable, and that there is no possible way in which any sense can be made of it in a thoroughly threatening way, but if they believe that, I think they’ve significantly underestimated the ability of government to aggregate and correlate data.  Vast government server farms exist that are devoted to nothing but the accumulation and storage of this data, for eventual analysis and correlation.

One young woman recently asked me what good it would do the government to have all of this data on all Americans, and how it would constitute a threat to their privacy, since in her view, she doesn’t do anything unusual or threatening.  Frankly, knowing all I do about how government collects data, and how corporations are the continual source for so much of that information, I could not fathom how she did not see and understand the threats to her privacy.  In order to impress upon her how thoroughly oppressive this could become, I asked her to detail her day, and at each step along her daily course, I explained how that information could be used to build a picture not only of how she lived on a particular day, but would also provide a very good set of red flags that she had an atypical day.  How much information do you think is necessary when collected at the level of granularity now available to build a complete picture of your average day?  Once your “normal” daily routine is established, spotting anything out of the ordinary is not difficult.

What this means to the average citizen of the United States is that there are few ways to escape the “grid.” Do you work? Do you have a bank account? Credit cards? Cell phone?  Smart meter on your electric service?  Ditto for water?  Cable television?  Satellite?  Is your car recording driving data that can and will be used against you if there’s a mishap?  Now, add to this your medical records that will soon come to be under wall-to-wall Federal management, and then consider retailers able to link your purchases to all of these, and the picture that results should be shocking to every person:  There is virtually nothing that you may now do alone, and without company of some spying eye, whether direct governmental watching, or through a third party like your cell-phone company.  You can scarcely go to the bathroom without somebody knowing it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I will not pretend to you that I know much about popular culture, but I am intensely aware of technology and its use in tracking human activity.  There is virtually nothing we do in this modern frame that isn’t being collected as an event, analyzed, and categorized for later recall.  The reason this is possible is because for the most part, when you hear of the details, you shrug and go on, feeling helpless to do anything about it.  The truth is, however, that to a larger degree, it is born of our intellectual sloth.  To the degree we’re unaware, it’s only because we don’t want to know.

It’s 6am, and a light turns on.  It’s 6:05, and a toilet flushes and moments later, there are the connections necessary to check email on some distant server. The email is downloaded and read while a cup of coffee is consumed, the brewing machine having activated at 5:45am sharp in anticipation of your impending alarm, and then the television comes on, and a news channel is selected.  There is the running of more water, consistent with a shower, and then a burst of electric demand, indicating something being heated in a standard microwave.  There is some flipping of channels, and then there’s the first phone call of the day, and the first three text messages too, the first to the office, the other three in a hurried, playful exchange with a lover.  Then there’s another flush, because the spouse has arisen.  Another television pops on and another smart phone comes to life, as the earlier riser rushes out the door.  The central air kicks in because a door has opened and closed, the exchange of the warmer air outside triggering the thermostat, and thus recording the power spike as the compressor motor turns on.

An engine comes to life. Down the road it goes. Triangulation from the cellular towers in the vicinity record the strength of the signal from the driver’s phone, recording distance.  One tower knows only your distance from it.  Two towers with overlapping range fix your position to one of two possible points at the intersections of their coverage, and a third tower now finalizes location, permitting your speed and direction of travel to be recorded.  Overlaid on a map, this information can tell us if you were speeding, since on that stretch of roadway, the speed is set to 60mph, but you were moving much too quickly for that.  More texts come in, again from the lover, to whose home you’re speeding for a quick stop on the way to your job.  The conversation is noted, and the exact location of each device is recorded, and as the monitors watch, one device converges on the other.

The spouse calls to say “Don’t forget, we have a PTA meeting tonight.”  This too is recorded, and so is the sound of the driver saying, “Okay, talk to you later… Love you too… Bye…”  Another text comes in… “How long?”  The response: “5.”  The driver turns off the highway, and down a side-street, pulls into a gas station, using the ATM. Location for the transaction is recorded, along with the face of the banking customer.  No time for gas, have enough until later.  Just a minute away now.  A warm embrace, cellular networks respectively recording the correlation of locations on distinct devices complete with timestamps.  A few painfully short minutes later, back in the car, down the road, now running late for work because the driver tried to steal more minutes from the day than should be possible. The logging device in the car records a near-stop, as the driver artfully rolls a stop-sign.  A watching police officer falls in behind, the lights turns on, and a traffic stop is born. 

“In a hurry?” asks the officer.  “License, insurance, registration, please.” In a dispatch center miles away, the radio traffic between dispatchers and the officer buzzes with information.  License, license plate. Warrants?  Clean? Okay.  The officer compares the picture on his screen to the one on the license to the driver he’s just stopped.  Checks out okay – same person. “I’m letting you go with a warning, but watch those stops, okay?”  In a records management system, the completed event now registers time, date, location, make, model, driver, infraction, and links to the dash-cam video that would be used in defense against a civil suit if you had been unhappy about your treatment by the officer.  As it is, the driver is late, but in the hurry to get to work, a drivers’ license is dropped.

 The officer is understanding.  People are in a hurry in this economy.  When he gets a moment, he sends a terminal message to dispatch to look up the driver again, and see if there’s a listed number.  There is, a home phone number, and three seconds later, that phone rings.  A person answers, and in the background, the dispatcher can hear the sounds of children getting ready for school, and a breathless parent saying: “Dropped the license where?”  Meanwhile, a driver arrives at the office.  The missing license is finally noticed, but it’s too late to turn back.  It’s probably fallen between the seat and the door anyway.  One minute later, after explaining to the boss that except for an unfortunate traffic stop, the driver would have been on time, a cell phone rings.  It’s the spouse.  “Lose something?”  Having dropped the children at school, the spouse’s location is noted by a cellular network, as the car converges with another point on the map: A private investigator’s office.

So it goes. In barely more than two hours, a family is in danger of disintegration, a cheat is revealed, and all of it is recorded somewhere, waiting for somebody to notice the links. If you think this is impossible, think again.  If you think that the government hasn’t the capacity to sort and correlate all such data, you don’t understand the technology.  Any one of these tiny electronic transactions would be meaningless in most contexts, but in the aggregate, they can be used to build a fairly complete picture of a given subject.  Does the government need your cooperation?  How can they twist your arm if they do?  How can the institutions of government control you?  How can they manage you?  How much will you take?  What will cause you to bend? What can be exchanged for your silence or compliance?  This form of unlimited control of a populace has always been a subject of much speculation and fear, but now, we are on the cusp of its birth as a real, ordinary process of daily life.  We empower it.  We permit it.  We feed it, and we give our silent assent to all of it.  Mostly, we’ve permitted them to build it in utter contempt of our wishes to the contrary.  We’ve listened to the promises of safety and security, and we’ve permitted the governing class to use social programs as a facade behind which to build this vast network of command-and-control structure, with nothing so secret as to avoid detection.

After a brief stop at the PI’s office, it’s time to get on to the doctor.  That appointment has been nagging since it was scheduled.  Ten years and three children into the marriage, that same feeling is back, and while it’s not certain, somehow, chemistry being what it is, she knows.  The doctor beams at her. He’s delivered her three children, and the news is now noted that there is a fourth growing inside her, but the tears into which she bursts are not those of joy.  The children at school are going blissfully about their day, but she has a mortal decision to make. She knew her husband was stepping out.  That’s why she hadn’t let him touch her in months.  The cellphone chimes with a text as her best friend asks: “Well?”  She sobs uncontrollably, and rushes from the doctor’s office.  She calls him, his number concealed in her phone under “Pool Service,” he answers, not sure who she is, at first.  How could he?  It was just that once for her, and now she’s faced with what to tell him, whether to tell him anything, or what to do.  The phone signal tapers away.  He asks her “Well, what do you want to do?  I don’t want to be a father…”  A few minutes later, her cellular service records her arrival on the seedier side of town.  There’s a clinic there, and for an hour, she sits there looking at the clinic, but trying to see her future.  She does Internet searches, looking up terms like “abortion, adoption, divorce lawyer, marriage counseling, and Plan B.”

If you think the government can’t learn a great deal about you, even from much less dramatic information, remember that there are only really three things they need to know:  Name, time, location.  Associating those three attributes with any given event, also fixed in location and time, gives them all they need to know to build the most complete picture.  It’s a puzzle made up of multidimensional pixels, where time and location define four, but the color of the pixel reveals one more bit of the overall picture of you.  If you’re not frightened, you’re a fool.  If you think that you live a perfect, upstanding life, and that you are beyond reproach and much beyond the aims of any extortion or coercion, remember that all of this information is recorded, but there is nothing that says it cannot be modified to invent times, places, and events associated with you for which there had been no factual record.  Who would a court or a jury believe?  You, or the machine?  After all, what possible interest could government have in framing you?  What possible interest could any people prone towards freakishly controlling behavior have in managing you in a direction they find more appropriate to their own ends?

This is the searing question raised by Edward Snowden’s disclosures, but I it mystifying that it’s taken this long for the discussion to gain attention in the popular culture.  In our popular culture, it’s always the dark and sinister CEO of some corporation driving these monstrous “conspiracies” that now appear uncomfortably too much like the reality we are coming to know.  The question we never ask is: “If they’re pulling our strings, who is pulling theirs?”  If you’re the head of a multinational corporate entity, why would you cooperate with government?  A quid pro quo?  This for that?  What are these people buying with their cooperation with government?  Silence?  Coordination?  Profit?  Whatever your inclination, you can rest assured it will be all of these and more.  Do you need to eliminate or hamper a competitor?  Do you need to quash a earnings report?  Do you wish to preserve your reputation in front of the world?  What is your price?  How can you help us?

Naturally, such global-scale thinking needn’t be the sole function or motive of such systems as PRISM or those like it.  Sometimes, it’s about a broader, more general compliance among the populace, and if you don’t believe you’re the target of that, I can only repeat my earlier question: “Where have you been?”






“God Particle” Discovery?

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

On the Smallest Scale...

Wednesday, CERN(the European Organization for Nuclear Research) announced the discovery of a new particle.  They are 99.9999% certain it is real, and that it exists, and many researchers suspect it is the long-sought Higgs boson, first described nearly five decades ago by British physicist Peter Higgs.  That’s the theory.  Of course, in popular physics, the Higgs boson has come to be termed the “God particle” both because of its amazing alleged properties, and because of the heretofore extreme difficulty in proving its existence.  Many people understandably become offended at that term, but apart from the offense some take at this label, the discovery, if it is what it purports, relieves some tension in mainstream science.  Some worry that this discovery is mostly a put-on, done up to justify the expense of the extraordinary Large Hadron Collider straddling the border of France and Switzerland.  CERN has spent a mind-boggling sum of money, much of it derived from governments, mainly in Europe,  but also including a sizable chunk of dough from the US.

To make any sense of this, you must first plumb the depths of the quantum world.  In sub-microscopic space, too small even for our ordinary instrumentation to see, the universe is a sea of tiny particles.  We think in terms of atoms, and perhaps their well-known constituents, the electron, neutron, and proton, but the particles being examined in the LHC at CERN are much smaller, and are the parts of matter that are the building blocks of all of these, or so it’s thought.  Strange things happen at the quantum scale, and there are odd rules for how particles behave.  For instance, a particle’s velocity and precise position can never be known simultaneously, known as the Uncertainty Principle.  More, the act of observing a particle appears to change its behavior, meaning that by merely looking at a thing, you are changing it, and seemingly changing its state in the recent past.  This is known as the quantum enigma.  It’s all very strange compared with the seemingly orderly world we observe when just out for a stroll in the park.

One of the questions that has plagued physics for many years is the relationship between quantum theory, or “Quantum Mechanics,” and the larger scale universe seemingly described most accurately by General Relativity, the body of of work that had been Albert Einstein’s.  The problem in linking the two has always been the question of gravity.  Einstein’s theory doesn’t work at the quantum scale, and nothing has seemed to make sense way down at the most fundamental levels of matter.  What gives matter the mass we observe?   Why does a lead ingot weigh so much and a feather weigh so little?  How does gravity interact with either?  How does gravity work at all?  These are some of the questions the Higgs boson was proposed to answer.

The Higgs boson is a particle said to exist in a field, and that field interacts with ordinary matter, so they theorize.  In this theory, the Higgs boson gives mass to particles that would not otherwise exhibit any.  Think of the various particles as being weightless, but by the addition of a soup of Higgs particles, the other particles get mass.  Another way to envision this might be to think of elementary particles experiencing a kind of drag through otherwise empty space, like a ship plowing across a sea.  Larger particles experience more drag, while smaller ones experience minimal resistance, and it is this measured resistance that equates to what you and I observe as mass, and here in our ordinary existence, “weight.”

Remembering that in the quantum world, all the particles are in motion constantly, whether examining that chunk of lead or that bit of down, this may explain why a piece of matter, whatever its particulars, seems to have a static weight even when it’s not moving(mass.)  You might wonder why any of this is important, but the fact of the matter is that for all our technical sophistication, there are many things we do not yet know about how our universe works, and still many things to be learned about even some of the most fundamental properties of the things we experience in daily life.

Gravity is one of those things.  Sir Isaac Newton described it mathematically, yet even the father of modern physics could not explain how it functioned.  Asked if he believed that gravity was a pull or a push, he responded that he knew not, but only that he could show the math on predicting its behavior.  Of course, Newton’s laws were what we relied upon going to the Moon, and as we discovered in the process, Einstein’s General Relativity was a better estimation.  Einstein described gravity as a force derived by the bending of space-time, in the presence of mass.  His math works, and more closely than Newton’s, but when applied to the smallest scales of matter, it doesn’t make any sense at all.

Mainstream physics has been undergoing a sort of dueling battle for nearly two generations, because quantum theory seems to hold up in the laboratory, but General Relativity seems to hold up at the large scales of the universe, but the two theories simply cannot agree.  This has led to a nervous tension over what is known as the “standard model,” and what has been needed all along is to somehow rectify the chasm between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.  This elusive solution is known variously as the “Grand Unified Theory,” or more simply, “the Theory of Everything.”  The basic notion is that one single theory ought to be able to mathematically describe the whole universe, from the largest to the smallest phenomenon, from the big bang to the tiny particles that constitute the smallest bits of matter.  Such a theory, if ever derived and tested, could offer us the ability to create many more technological wonders, and would answer some of the basic questions about our existence.

A Virtual Map of the Large Hadron Collider

This explains why CERN built the gargantuan LHC, because to observe particles on such a small scale requires unbelievable energy. At the LHC, they are flinging bundles of particles around a 17 mile ring, through a super-cooled tube, where the path of the particles are influenced by supermagnets, slightly altering their straight-line proclivities in order to stay within the curves of the circle.  These bundles of hadrons are traveling at some fantastic fraction of the speed of light, over 99%, and they are collided with another bundle, traveling the opposite direction.  At each of the point about the ring where these collisions occur, they have vast detectors, and in a sense, you could imagine these detectors as being like gargantuan digital cameras.  When the bundles of hadrons collide, some pass harmlessly without interaction, but a relative few smack head-on into their onrushing counterparts in the opposing beam.  What results is fireworks.  An explosion of smaller particles is released, and energy and radiation of various sorts, flying off and spinning and roiling briefly as they are annihilated.

LHC ATLAS Detector at CERN

All of this is being undertaken in order to try to understand how our universe works. What we have discovered over the course of the last century is that to understand the vast scale of our universe, its origins, and its function, we will first need to grasp in intimate detail the workings of the smallest fragments of matter and energy.  Understanding the interactions between and among the trillions of atoms in the human body, or the very strange concept of Quantum Entanglement(whereby the mere observation of one particle seems to effect its entangled partner particle instantly even across vast distances) will be key in developing new technologies.  On the other hand, there is a certain danger to all of this, and it comes in the form of mistakenly arriving at the conclusion that we can know everything.  While in theory, we should be able to discover everything about the physical world around us, still, it would be easy to slip into a sort of intellectual smugness by which we decide we’ve understood it all.

The trouble is that with all our fancy instruments, and all of our experimentation, we really haven’t seen nearly so much as we imagine we’ve seen.  At the quantum scales under examination, much of the work is a statistical analysis, looking for signals and traces and any evidence at all to support a hypothesis.  That’s not to say that we haven’t learned a great deal, but it is to suggest that we should not leap to conclusions too easily.  It’s true to say that CERN has evidence that they’ve found something, but whether it is really the Higgs boson, or whether it is something else entirely remains a matter of speculation.  For all the fanfare, it really comes down to this: There’s something there, but what exactly it is, and how it functions and fits into the standard model, we cannot yet say, and we should not rush in foolishly in order to justify a rather large science project, and while we’re at it, let’s lay off the labeling that puts many in a mind to call it all blasphemy.  Let us experiment, and find the answer if we can.  That is what science is all about.




GM Temporarily Halts Volt Production – Blames Politics

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Cutting the Cord

The Hill is reporting that GM is putting a temporary halt to its production of its Chevy Volt, an electric car promising wonders, but failing to convince customers.  Volt sales are already heavily subsidized by the Federal government, but the problem with the car isn’t merely its price.  It has a short range, it’s impractical, and its design can lead to fires stemming from its batteries even after relatively minor collision damage.  Of course GM and the Obama administration promise this will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but I don’t see how that’s possible.  GM complains that the Volt has gotten a black eye from the politics, but the truth is that the Volt suffers another problem:  Consumers don’t want it.  For most Americans, the prospect of buying an expensive Volt with all the associated hassles is roughly as inviting as a root canal.  They have good reason to balk.

The electric current to re-charge the volt comes from power plants using a variety of sources including coal, natural gas, petroleum products, and nuclear energy. Transmitting power over a network of lines to your charging station is inefficient, because the longer the lines, the more energy is wasted along the way.  I blame much of the hype surrounding the Chevy Volt on people who understand only buzzwords, but do not understand science, or engineering.  One of the other concerns is what happens when one experiences a power outage at home.  You’re stuck if your car is not fully charged prior to the outage.  More, having to leave the car plugged in means time.  Filling a gasoline tank takes a few minutes.  Charging a Volt?  Plan on hours. Up to ten.  That means that when I leave for work at 6am, if I had arrived home at 9pm the evening before(and that’s not uncommon,) the silly thing may not be fully charged.  Most Americans can’t afford that kind of inflexibility.

In total “carbon footprint,” including its manufacture, its batteries, and its use of electrical energy from some source, an electric car is no more friendly to the environment.  The simple truth behind all of these green schemes is that until we come up with an entirely different energy source, you still have all the same basic problems.  Sure, you can burn residual fuel oils at electric generating stations, and therefore centralize the pollution, but by the time you calculate all the inefficiencies of generating electricity in one location, transmitting it many miles to another location, losing some energy every inch of the way, only to be placed in a storage cell where some is lost both charging and discharging, never mind the cost of providing outlets all over the place, and the reduced range of most of these vehicles compared to fossil-fuel powered vehicles, what you may find out is that the total impact on the environment is even greater with electric vehicles.

The only way electric vehicles become substantially better is for their source of energy to become substantially better.  At present, the best hope of so doing is to perfect nuclear fusion.  No worries about radiation or waste(or only a tiny, tiny fraction.) No worry about meltdowns.  No worries about finding new sources of radioactive materials.  Nuclear fusion promises the power of the sun, but the real obstacles are in how to technically do it.  Many programs, mostly funded by government, are carrying out designs studies and experiments.  If ever the technical difficulties are overcome, cheap and abundant electricity will be a reality, making electric cars much more practical.

Meanwhile, as GM spins its wheels chasing a technology that is not much more than a nifty science fair project in terms of its practical application in the lives of most Americans, we’re missing the big picture.  The answer lies not in how to move cars electrically, but instead how to create electric energy more cheaply.  That is what our economy fundamentally needs, and it’s a goal that may be achievable if we want it.  The problem is that at the end of the day, the environmentalists don’t want it.  What they want is a contraction in the amount of energy available to humanity, so as to suppress humanity. What that means for you is what you have seen under Barack Obama: A reduction in your standard of living and an escalating cost for every form of energy.

If you wish to make the Volt or its successors a reality, the best answer is to find the way to make electricity more cheaply.  We’ll always need the highly portable energy source that are fossil fuels, because electrics really aren’t feasible in some applications, but if we can convert most of our energy uses to electric in a environment of inexpensive electric generation, we can make that supply of fossil fuels stretch many millennia. Chasing electric cars in the near term is as frivolous as opening a baseball factory when there are no bats or ball-players.  That’s why the Volt is so heavily subsidized.  That’s why it will remain No Sale with the  American people.


Climate-gate 2.0: The Scandal Continues

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

The Hoaxers Get Caught Again - Media Silent

For those who harbored any doubts about the political nature of the scientists running the “Global Warming” or “Global Climate Change” hoax on the world, those doubts should have been erased now and forevermore.  A new batch of 5000 emails has been delivered to the press anonymously, and these emails are even more damning than the first round of emails released two years ago.  What these emails demonstrate is both the degree to which politics motivates the so-called “science” and the extent to which the conspirators have gone to conceal the totality of the evidence.  It’s the same list of climate hoaxers, and the same axis of dishonesty becomes readily apparent.  What’s even more stunning is that the US government is in collusion with the hoaxers. From the Forbes piece:

“I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI [Freedom of Information] Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process,”writes Phil Jones, a scientist working with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in a newly released email.

“Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden,” Jones writes in another newly released email. “I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.”

You may remember Phil Jones as the man at the center of the first email scandal two years ago, and it seems Jones hasn’t learned any lesson but one:  He must work even harder to conceal the truth from the world than ever before.  Rather than simply resort to science, Jones’ emails show the intent to continue the fraud, and hide the data from the public, and here he admits that the US Department of Energy is agreeable to keeping the original temperature station data secret.  You pay for this agency, and yes, the same agency is at the center of the entire “Green Energy” scam, so what we clearly have is a rogue agency of the United States government that is acting contrary to the public interest.  So much for “openness and transparency.”

If this isn’t bad enough, Michael Mann has been looking for “journalists” who would investigate and smear skeptics:

“I have been talking w/ folks in the states about finding an investigative journalist to investigate and expose” skeptical scientist Steve McIntyre, Mann writes in another newly released email.

This is simply outrageous conduct for a so-called “scientist.”  Clearly, Mann is more interested in trying to harm Steve McIntyre than to refute his research.  This is horrendous, but as bad as this attempt at smearing others may be, the motive for the smear is made clear in other emails:

“Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary,” writes Peter Thorne of the UK Met Office.

“I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run,” Thorne adds.

That says it all.  They have to fake it to make their case, and rely upon one dubious study while ignoring many more that contradict their general claim.  In short, they are lying to you, and to the UN, and to all the people in all the nations who are being ruled by those sympathetic to their scam, which at this point clearly includes the Obama Administration and the EPA as well as the Department of Energy.

Phil Jones may be engaged in outright fraud.  He has gone to great lengths to conceal information from various FOIA requests:

“With the earlier FOI requests re David Holland, I wasted a part of a day deleting numerous emails and exchanges with almost all the skeptics. So I have virtually nothing. I even deleted the email that I inadvertently sent. There might be some bits of pieces of paper, but I’m not wasting my time going through these.”

Add to this that a new study by Dr. Andreas Schmitter of Oregon State University that strongly suggests the concerns over Global Warming  due to increasing CO2 is vastly overstated, according to the Daily Mail:

‘The results imply less probability of extreme climatic change than previously thought.’


Dr Schmittner told the Daily Mail that it would be ‘virtually impossible’ for a doubling of carbon dioxide to cause temperatures to rise by 8c or 10c.

Let’s be perfectly honest about what this means.  It cannot be claimed that there is a “consensus” on Global Warming, or CO2’s impact upon it, never mind mankind’s effect on the climate.  One recent study indicates that the actual culprit in any observable warming may not even be terrestrial in origin.  Henrik Svensmark’s work supports the notion that cloud formation is greatly affected by cosmic rays, and that cloud formation plays an important role in climate.  CERN recently confirmed his earlier findings, but what this demonstrates is that in the real world of science, outside of the control of politically motivated hacks at the UN’s IPCC(Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) that science is far from any alleged “consensus” on the matter.

Meanwhile, the hacks continue to carry on as though they’ve not been caught.  What is needed in this instance is a complete withdrawal of US Government support for the whole Climate Change/Global Warming Hoax, to include de-funding of the UN’s IPCC and any other politically motivated group related to this issue.  What many have long argued in criticism of the global warming regime is that it was intended as a method by which to enact new taxes on energy consumers.  Whether that is the only motive is unclear, but it certainly makes sense.  After all, for what other reason would this entire hoax be carried off if not to make us believe in a crisis as justification for further governmental involvement in our lives?  I think the Congress should investigate, and if proven, those involved should be prosecuted for fraud.  How many have made a living from this hoax?  How many have plotted to defraud the American people, and indeed, people all around the globe?  Climate-gate 2.0 is surely just the latest disclosure, but probably not the last.  One would hope more responsible scientists would step forward to say to the Phil Jones/Michael Mann/Climate Hoaxer crowd: “Enough is enough, you’re ruining our good name.”  With even some warmists now criticizing all of this, it seems there is a chance that the myth of “consensus” will finally be broken.

My question is:  Will the Nobel Committee ask Al Gore to return the prize and the cash?

For more reading on Global Warming:

Large Asteroid to Pass Near Earth Tuesday

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

When? Not "If."

A quarter-mile wide asteroid is going to pass within 200,000 miles of the Earth, which is very close in astronomical terms, and closer than the orbit of the moon.  The object, named Asteroid 2005 YU55, is set to scream past the Earth around 6:30 pm EST, on Tuesday evening.  Conspiracy theorists are already proposing that this object is the reason for the EAS test scheduled for the 9th, at 2pm.  The problem with that theory is that this object, were it to hit the Earth, would have wiped out a huge number of people the night before, so the timing is off, so let’s assume that conspiracy theory is busted.  Still, it’s interesting to consider what the impact of such an object would bring to our planet, because in the history of Earth, collisions of that sort have happened countless times.

Movies such as Armageddon and Deep Impact portray efforts by the government to stop such an event by various means but in truth, we’re very nearly powerless to stop them at present.  Worse, we’re blind to most of the objects floating around our solar system that could create such devastation, because we spend so little on monitoring the skies.  It’s a reminder of how small is our little place in the universe, and how thoroughly vulnerable we remain to calamities well outside the scope of our powers to mitigate.

Here’s an interesting but decidedly over-sensationalized video:


Assuming that NASA’s calculations are correct, the .0022 AU distance (Astronomical Units) should provide plenty of margin for safety, although the video above is sensational in its presentation.  Nevertheless, an object of this size would create a global catastrophe far exceeding anything recorded in human history.  It would unleash an explosion that would level everything for hundreds or even  thousands of miles, and would rain ejecta down around the globe from the newly-formed crater.  The skies would darken in short order, making agriculture nearly impossible, and most of the surviving human population of the planet would be subjected to bitter cold and gnawing starvation.

This is one good reason why we ought to be funding those projects that scan the sky for such objects and other natural phenomena, because in truth, it’s a matter of global defense.  We spend so little on this that it’s improbable that we would even notice most of the objects that pose a threat.  Consider this:  These objects are named for the year in which they are discovered.  This one is labeled 2005 YU55, and that means we didn’t even see this thing until 2005.   It’s been in an Earth-crossing orbit for a long time, much longer than we’ve had telescopes to explore the inky blackness of space, so what you must conclude is that there are likely countless others out there, and even if this one doesn’t have our name on it, there is one somewhere out there that does.

Meteor Crater, Arizona

An object this large is estimated to hit the Earth every few million years.  Smaller, but still devastating objects like the one that created Meteor Crater in Arizona strike every hundred-thousand years or so.  While that seems like a long time, in the context of the life of the Earth (somewhere around 4.5 billion years,) it’s not very long at all. For context, the object that created Meteor Crater is though to have been only fifty meters across, but it carved out a notch in the earth over 1200 meters across, and 170 meters deep.  It was thought to be traveling at 28,000 mph. The blast was thought to have been equivalent to a ten megaton nuclear bomb.    An object the size of 2005 YU55, around 400 meters, would have a much more devastating effect. It would likely excavate a crater miles across, and have devastating global consequences.

NASA assures us this object will pose no threat to the Earth, or the moon, but what we should consider carefully is how we spend money on useless boondoggles like Solyndra to enrich a few people, while all of humanity is vulnerable to devastation by natural causes that we may not identify until it is too late to react.  Time is everything with such objects, because the sooner we know of their existence, and the sooner we can plot their orbits, the sooner we can make plans to affect their orbits, tweaking their paths slightly, to avoid a collision with Earth.  Part of the purpose of NASA is to investigate such things, and to devise ways to protect us, but with a budget that has been slashed with the cancellation of major projects, and the lack of focus on this aspect of what NASA is tasked to perform, there’s still a very good chance that some other asteroid will sneak up on us without us having seen it coming.  You can’t prepare for that about which you do not know.