Monday, October 31, 2005


An Idaho weatherman says Japan's Yakuza mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina to strike America. Meteorologist Scott Stevens, a nine-year veteran of KPVI-TV in Pocatello, said he believes the artificially created hurricane was a bid to avenge Japan for the Hiroshima atomic bomb attack -- and that this technology will soon be wielded again to hit another U.S. city. Stevens said he had been struggling to forecast weather patterns starting in 1998 when he discovered the theory on the Internet. It's now detailed on Stevens' Web site.

Scientists discount Stevens' claims as ludicrous. "I have been doing hurricane research for the better part of 20 years now, and there was nothing unusual to me about any of the satellite imagery of Katrina," said Rob Young, a hurricane expert at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. "It's laughable to think it could have been man-made."

Stevens, who is among several people to offer alternative and generally discounted theories for the storm that flooded New Orleans, says a little-known oversight in physical laws makes it possible to create and control storms. That's especially true, he contends, if you're armed with the Cold War-era weapon said to have been made by the Russians in 1976. Stevens became convinced of the existence of the Russian device when he observed an unusual Montana cold front in 2004. "I just got sick to my stomach because these clouds were unnatural and that meant they had (the machine) on all the time," Stevens said. "I was left trying to forecast the intent of some organization rather than the weather of this planet."

Stevens said oddities in Hurricane Katrina storm patterns underpin his theory. And, according to his Web site, so does the fact that Katrina and Ivan -- the name given to a destructive hurricane that hit Florida in September 2004 -- both sound Russian.

Stevens' bosses at KPVI-TV say their employee can think and say what he wants -- as long as he keeps the station out of the debate and acknowledges that his views are his own opinion. Bill Fouch, KPVI's general manager, compared Stevens' musings to political or religious beliefs that journalists suppress on the job. "He doesn't talk about it on his weathercast," Fouch said. "He's very knowledgeable about weather, and he's very popular."



An amused comment by Bob Carter, professor of paleoclimatology at Australia's James Cook University, on some recent pandering to Greenie fantasies by Australia's Environment Minister

The debate on climate change is over, says Ian Campbell. Claiming to be speaking on behalf of the federal Government, and expressly John Howard, the Environment Minister, according to the front page of this newspaper yesterday, said "he agreed broadly with the contention promoted recently in ... Tim Flannery's book The Weather Makers". The report summarised Campbell's opinion as follows: "As far as the Howard Government is concerned, Australians must accept that humans contribute to global warming and adapt their behaviour to save the planet."

Fine environmental rhetoric, which could have come straight out of Flannery's book. But what exactly is the threat that is now proclaimed to be beyond doubt and that we are being exhorted to avoid? Is it "global warming"? Unlikely. Earth's been there and done that plenty of times before, without our help. During the past 5000 years, in Greenland there have been five previous gentle warming cycles similar to that of the late 20th century. Two of these attained temperatures a little higher than was achieved in 1998, which marks the apparent peak of our most recent, and seemingly entirely normal, warming cycle.

Or we could go back another few thousand years, to the earlier part of our present warm, interglacial interval. Climatic records from many places in the world record temperatures then that were 1C-2C higher than today's, which is why that period of time is sometimes called the early Holocene climatic optimum.

We could take a deeper breath and think about four earlier interglacial intervals during the past 400,000 years, when on each occasion temperatures lasted for about 10,000 years at levels comparable with today's.

Each such interglacial interval also features a short, especially warm climatic optimum. Counting backwards in the Antarctic ice core record, these optima attained temperatures respectively of about 4C, 1C, 6C and 3C warmer than today. Must have been lots of parrots dropping out of the trees in Cairns on those heatwave occasions. Where are their bodies?

Ah, but surely it is "human-caused global warming" that's the problem? Who says? The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? Recall that its 2001 report said that "there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the past 50 years is attributable to human activities." Well, not much credibility left there. Not only has some of the pivotal science of the IPCC report been undermined by later analysis, but its econometric modelling has been so bad that Nigel Lawson, former British chancellor of the exchequer, has recently recommended to the US Senate that the panel be closed down. He is not alone in this view. It seems, then, that it wouldn't be sensible for Australia to base its climate policy on advice from the now-discredited IPCC.

Humans certainly have an effect on local climate. For instance, the surrounds of Melbourne are now about 1C warmer than they were before European settlement. This, the urban heat island effect, is because modern metropolises comprise extensive areas of concrete, macadam, steel, bricks and glass, all of which act to trap more solar energy than did the preceding virgin landscape.

You might think that this effect, aggregated all over the world and added to by other landscape changes associated with modern agricultural practices, would produce the human-caused global warming signature that the minister seems to be worrying about. You might think so. But truth to tell, and IPCC views notwithstanding, no global human temperature-change signal has yet been detected that stands out from the natural background vagaries of the climate system. And this despite worldwide expenditure of about $US50 billion on climate-related research since the early 1990s.

So, finally, it must be the increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that's worrying the minister, who says he has "spent an enormous amount of my time getting to understand the problem and getting to understand the solutions", noting that the world's carbon levels began spiking alarmingly in the 1950s and were headed for dangerously high levels. But why is the minister worried about this? Dangerously high? Is this more IPCC mythology? All the evidence is that atmospheric carbon dioxide is beneficial to the ecology of the planet. There have been many times in the geological past when carbon dioxide levels exceeded those of today by up to an order of magnitude. The main result was lush plant growth and a diversified ecology.

The minister may be right to assert that the debate on climate change is over. But only in two ways: that contemporary climate change is proceeding in the same manner as known earlier episodes of natural climate change; and that any human-caused global climate signature is buried in the noise of the climate system.


Books that question the conventional wisdom on the environment

As summarized by MICHAEL CRICHTON

1. "Playing God in Yellowstone" by Alston Chase (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986).

That raw sewage bubbles out of the ground at Yellowstone National Park--after more than a century of botched conservation--would come as no surprise to Alston Chase, who 20 years ago wrote "Playing God in Yellowstone: The Destruction of America's First National Park." Mr. Chase, a former professor of philosophy turned journalist, presents a clear critique of ever-changing environmental beliefs and the damage that they have caused the actual environment. As a philosopher, he is contemptuous of much conventional wisdom and the muddle-headed attitudes he calls "California cosmology."

2. "The Culture Cult" by Roger Sandall (Westview, 2001).

In "The Culture Cult: Designer Tribalism and Other Essays," anthropologist Roger Sandall explores romantic primitivism--the myth of Eden and the Noble Savage. Mr. Sandall's histories of utopian communities (Robert Owen's New Harmony, John Humphrey Noyes's disastrous Oneida) are vivid, and his portraits of leading primitivists, from Rousseau to Mead to Levi-Strauss, are sharply drawn. This ignorant nostalgia for our tribal past ignores the truly horrific reality of tribal initiation, warfare, mutilation and human sacrifice.

3. "Man in the Natural World" by Keith Thomas (Oxford, 1984).

Don't be put off by the academic title of Keith Thomas's "Man in the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England 1500-1800." The book's a delight. Mr. Thomas's account is both detailed and charming as he guides the reader from the Tudor view, that nature was made for man to exploit, through the later sense that nature was to be worshipped and cherished (such that trees became pets and aristocrats gave names to their great estate trees and said good-night to them each evening). Still later came the Romantic preference for untouched nature and rough settings, a rarified taste that required "a long course of aesthetic education." At every turn, Mr. Thomas emphasizes the contradictions between belief and behavior.

4. "The Skeptical Environmentalist" by Bjrn Lomborg (Cambridge University Press, 2002).

No one should miss Bjrn Lomborg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist." The author, a Danish statistician and former Greenpeace activist, set out to disprove the views of the late Julian Simon, who claimed that environmental fears were baseless and that the world was actually improving. To Mr. Lomborg's surprise, he found that Simon was mostly right. Mr. Lomborg's text is calm and devastating to established dogma.

5. "The Logic of Failure" by Dietrich Doerner (Perseus, 1998).

Future environmentalists will heed Dietrich D"rner's "The Logic of Failure." Mr. Doerner is a cognitive psychologist who invited academic experts to manage the computer simulations of various environments (an African herding society, a town in Maine). Most experts made things worse. Those managers who did well gathered information before acting, thought in terms of complex-systems interactions instead of simple linear cause and effect, reviewed their progress, looked for unanticipated consequences, and corrected course often. Those who did badly relied on a fixed theoretical approach, did not correct course and blamed others when things went wrong. Mr. Doerner concludes that our failure to manage complex systems such as the environment reflects bad habits of thought, overreliance on theory and lazy procedures. His book is brief, cheerful and profound.


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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