Saturday, April 30, 2005


Interesting comment from a reader about Quiggin's unsubstantiated claim that the great majority of climate change sceptics are also creationists:

Wow is this guy off base! I have yet to meet a creationist (I used to share an office with one) that believed the world was older than a few thousand years (varies from 5000-50,000). Given that much of the climate data, such as the graph used, spans a far longer period, the size of the group of people who are A) Creationist and B) Believe in an Earth of over a 100,.000 years is so small a group they would probably fit in this guys bathroom.


Chinese farmers growing genetically modified rice produced larger crops, saved money on pesticides and were less likely to get sick from exposure to poison intended for insects. An analysis of dozens of farmers growing two strains of rice modified to resist insects showed they used much less pesticide than those using conventional rice. None of the farmers using only the genetically modified (GM) crop was sickened by exposure to pesticides.

In contrast, 8.3 percent of farmers in the study growing only conventional rice reported pesticide-related illness in 2002, while 3.0 percent of them did so in 2003, researchers report in Friday's issue of the journal Science. "Small and poor farm households benefit from adopting GM rice by both higher crop yields and reduced use of pesticides, which also contributes to the improved health of farmers," said Carl Pray, an agriculture, food and resource economics professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Pray and researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of California at Davis studied farmers using two rice strains that had been modified in different ways to make the plants resistant to rice stem borer and leaf roller. In 2002, researchers studied 40 farmers using modified rice on all or part of their farms and 37 farmers using only conventional varieties of rice. In 2003, they looked at 69 farmers who were using modified rice on all or part of their farms and 32 who were growing conventional varieties. The farmers were not paid for their effort and were not assisted by technicians. They made their own decisions about using pesticides by studying their fields. On average, farmers working with genetically modified rice used pesticides once a year while those with conventional varieties applied pesticides 3.7 times annually. The researchers found that the total amount of pesticides used was eight times to 10 times more for the conventional farmers than those with the genetically modified crop, saving the farmers with the new strains a lot of money. Yield for the insect-resistant rice averaged 14,033 pounds per hectare compared to 13,563 pounds per hectare for the conventional crop. A hectare is about 2 1/2 acres.

The researchers said they included pesticide-related illness in their study because it is common in developing countries. They asked farm family members if they experienced any headaches, nausea, skin irritation, digestive discomfort or other health problems during or after spraying pesticides on their farms, and whether they had visited a doctor, gone home to recover or taken other actions to deal with the symptoms. If they had, it was recorded as a case of pesticide-induced illness.

Although China has commercialized cotton modified to produce a natural pesticide against the bollworm, it has not developed any genetically modified food crops for the commercial market, the researchers said. In the United States, genetically modified soybeans, corn and canola are in use as well as squash at some times of year and papaya from Hawaii, according to the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

This Chinese study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Chinese Academy of Science.



"Peak oil" is the name for the ever-popular but constantly-disproved theory that our oil supply has "peaked" and will hence soon run out. The following post is lifted whole from the libertarian blog The arguments are familiar to anyone who knows anything about economics but there are regrettably few of those and this post does access some nice graphs:

"People are getting worked up about peak oil theory. I'll reply to some of the deluge of mail in the next day or two but first, three things:

(1) Lawnorder, the blogger at Daily Kos who I wrote about in "Oil and Instinct," has written a follow-up posting ("Peak Oil Myth and the Easter Island ecological disaster") in which she corrects a previous (and unintentional) misrepresentation of my perspective on peak oil theory, while still disagreeing with my perspective. I guess this shows that it actually is possible to have a polite blog debate.

As to Lawnorder's new arguments: I'll repeat that societies that include significant levels of self-ownership and private property, along with a low-friction exchange system ("money") tend to have a "price mechanism" that creates incentives for producing, conserving and replacing scarce and desired commodities. Unless the economies of Easter Island and North Korea included this price mechanism they're not counterexamples. And North Koreans didn't starve because of a shortage of national natural resources. There may even tend to be an inverse relationship between natural resources and wealth-creation; see for example The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria:

"Wealth in natural resources hinders both political modernization and economic growth. Two Harvard economists, Jeffrey D. Sachs and Andrew M. Warner, looked at ninety-seven developing countries over two decades (1971-89) and found that natural endowments were strongly correlated with economic failure. On average the richer a country was in mineral, agricultural, and fuel deposits, the slower its economy grew -- think of Saudi Arabia or Nigeria. Countries with almost no resources -- such as those in East Asia -- grew the fastest. Those with some resources -- as in western Europe -- grew at rates between these two extremes. There are a few exceptions: Chile, Malaysia, and the United States are all resource rich yet have developed economically and politically. But the basic rule holds up strikingly well."

(2) Reader Philip Brydon (letter below) has brought to my attention an article by geologist David Deming, "Are We Running Out of Oil?," that makes some of the same arguments that I've made but that contains information that I didn't know. Everyone interested in the subject should read this short and readable article.

(3) Republicans, Democrats and peak oil theorists seem to agree that "dependence on foreign oil" hurts Americans. As in Bush's: "Our dependence on foreign energy is like a foreign tax on the American Dream -- the tax our citizens pay every day in higher gas prices, higher cost to heat and cool their homes -- a tax on jobs. Worst of all, it's a tax increasing every year."

The Theory of Comparative Advantage is hard to understand but how hard is it to understand that oil companies import oil into the USA because foreign oil is cheaper than domestic? If oil companies depended on only domestic suppliers (all things being equal) oil would be more expensive for American consumers, so depending on foreign suppliers is like a tax rebate."


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.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, April 29, 2005


For some reason, the old theory that oil is a "fossil" fuel is still generally accepted in the Western world (though not in Russia). I guess it helps scare us about oil running out to think is the product of some relatively small-scale process. American physicist Thomas Gold and others, on the other hand, say that oil comes up from deep in the earth as the result of purely physical processes and is not the product of biological activity at all. Louis Hissink notes below a recent find that requires some squirming from the fossil theorists. Another difficulty for the fossil freaks that I have noted previously (on 17th) is here

"The small Norwegian oil company DNO finished drilling the Nabrajah-2 in Yemen's Block 43, at a TD of 8,350 ft. The well confirmed oil in the Qishn interval, which is the main reservoir. However, well logs indicated that at there was hydrocarbon further downhole, at TD, in the lower basement. A subsequent production test in the basement interval flowed 3,000 boe per day (15.2 MMcfgd and 313 bpd condensate). Nabrajah-2 is the first of two appraisals to determine the size of the Nabrajah oil discovery reported earlier this year. The second appraisal, drilling in the western area of Tasour field in Block 32, spudded on September 2. When the Nabrajah-2 test is combined with the results from earlier Nabrajah-1 basement tests, there are indications that the hydrocarbon discovery could be of significant size. DNO is the operator of both Block 43 (56.67%) and Block 32 (38.95%)

Basement is generally considered to be composed of igneous and metamorphic rock and in some cases, other types of very low intergranular-porosity rock, with very different properties from the overlying rock. It is a loosely defined term that usually means the surface below which there is no current exploration interest, since there are no sediments at or below basement. However, hydrocarbons are sometimes found in basement, possibly due to downward expulsion or some other mechanism. Oil is produced from basement in both Block 14 operated by Nexen, some 25 mi from the Nabrajah structure, and Block 10 (operated by Total).

Oil in Basement? Shock Horror, but not to the scientifically literate - after all oil CANNOT be produced from dead fish, dinosaurs or vegetable matter for thermodynamic reasons, so this oil being discovered in the basement is NOT misplaced oil from sediments further up in the sequence, but oil being continuously produced in the upper mantle, known as the Russian-Ukrainian Abiotic Oil theory here"


Huber, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute's Center for Legal Policy, specializes in technology. He also holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from MIT and a law degree from Harvard. Mills holds a BS degree in physics from Queens University and was a consultant to the White House Science Office. They argue that our society thinks there is an energy "problem." The authors see energy as a "solution," and thus inject fresh air and counter-conventional thinking into a debate dominated by buzzwords and slogans such as "energy efficiency" and "don't be fuelish." Huber and Mills state, "Everything we know about 'running out of energy' isn't just muddled and wrong; it's the exact opposite of the truth. The more energy we capture and put to use, the more readily we will capture still more."

The authors advance seven "heresies" that are in direct juxtaposition to how our society has come to view energy. For example, "The more efficient our technology, the more energy we consume." The more efficient technology the more people will do at a faster pace, creating more demand for energy.

The authors also explain why the federal government raised corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards and required that automobile manufactures build fuel-efficient vehicles to meet the new mileage standards. The reasoning by Congress and the regulators held that fuel-efficient vehicles reduce energy consumption. Thirty years of experience with CAFE standards prove the opposite. Andrew Kleit, an Energy Economics professor at Pennsylvania State University, wrote that the "CAFE standard increases affect only new vehicles and do nothing to reduce driving. In fact, they tend to encourage increased driving as costs per mile driven decline."

(CAFE standards, which require smaller and lighter cars, have become the norm. But for the last three decades it has been known that heavier vehicles inflict damage on the lighter, presumably more energy-efficient models.) Of course, materials are being developed that are lighter weight and strong enough to prevent serious accidents.

To "waste" energy horrifies many people, but not Huber and Mills, who argue, "It is only by throwing most of the energy away that we can put what's left to productive use." Converting energy into fuel is compared to a Ponzi scheme, in which useless energy is discarded while higher grade energy is refined and converted into power.

At the turn of the 20th century, consumers deemed the incandescent lamp to be valuable because it provided heat and light, and offered more light than a candle or gas lamp. Similarly, a pickup truck requires more gallons of gas than a car but conserves more energy when transporting heavy tools and construction equipment. Bear in mind that only 2% of the oil extracted from beneath the ocean will be developed to propel your pickup. On the other hand, it sure beats using a horse and wagon.

The authors (acknowledging the work of Century French engineer Sadi Carnot) hold "[t]o structure, organize, move and increase order -- of anything, anywhere -- you have to add high grade energy at one end, and then discard some fraction of it are enormous and have proven true when placing a log on a fire or boosting a rocket into outer space." Concentrated fuel is required to propel a car because the heaviest objects are the engine and the fuel tank, not the passengers. Politicians and environmental groups long have advocated the research and development tax and government mandates to produce energy-efficient cars run on electricity.

Huber and Mills make clear that more energy-efficient vehicles are being manufactured, but not because of mandates issued by the states or the federal government or the European Union or the United Nations. Silicon chips are being used to replace conventional brakes with electro-hydraulic brakes and belt-driven radiator cooling fans with silicon-controlled electric cooling. Car engines eventually will become smaller and be more fuel-efficient because of the silicon chip.

The authors foresee the manufacture of electric cars that indeed are efficient and economical. "It will take heavy-duty wiring and substantial silicon drives and electric motors to propel a hybrid-electric SUV down a highway at 70 mph - but they'll be far smaller than the steel structures in today's power train. Cars will shed many hundreds of pounds, and every key aspect of performance will improve considerably." It remains to be seen what kind of energy best will power car motors, but in the view of Huber and Mills the best thing government policymakers can do is to do nothing. Let the auto manufacturers and consumers -- not regulators -- decide what works best.

Another heretical belief cited by Huber and Mills holds that there remains a supply of fuel to be drilled and mined. That belief may be taken for granted by many people but there is certainly not a shortage of self-proclaimed experts warning of energy depletion, particularly oil. Believe it or not, our State Department warned Americans in 1951 that global oil reserves would be depleted within thirteen years. We experienced an energy crisis in the 1970s and during the last few months but no one truly can say there is not a drop of oil left....

Their book is not written for the layman, but their complex message is one that realistic thinkers, policymakers and journalists should consider carefully and disseminate its message in simple language. We've seen the mileage the Left has gotten from such wrong-minded thinkers as Ehrlich. It's time we start pumping up our volume to counter their nonsense. The ideas presented in this book can provide the jolt of sound reasoning we need.

More here


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.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Thursday, April 28, 2005


In political circles, it is common knowledge that Democrats at all levels rely on generous financial support from plaintiffs' lawyers. Indeed, during the last election, the American Association of Trial Lawyers (ATLA) gave more than $2.1 million to Democrats. And contributions to Democrats at all levels from individual members of the plaintiffs' bar probably totaled more than $100 million. So when ATLA recently threatened to postpone and curtail its fundraising efforts for Democrats, it sent a clear and powerful signal: ATLA is scared to death. What has the nation's leading assemblage of ambulance chasers quaking in their wing tips? It's the proposal now in the Senate to create a trust fund, paid for by manufacturers and insurers, not taxpayers, to consider and settle asbestos-related claims.

As we've argued before, such a fund will ensure swift justice for real asbestos victims and provide certainty for companies now facing an endless number of claims and the infinite payouts that accompany them. Most important, the asbestos trust fund will remove claims from the courts where plaintiffs' lawyers have created a cash cow for themselves that yields buckets of money in legal fees. And that's why the ATLA and its members are now in high freak.

The trial lawyers' obvious fear, manifested in their highly unusual public threat, ought to send an equally clear signal to Senators who are still pondering whether or not to support the trust fund proposal. ATLA's threat makes it painfully obvious that the plaintiffs' bar will resort to even the most drastic measures to preserve the current system and its never-ending gravy train. Of course, that means that more companies, many of which have nothing to do with asbestos, will be driven into bankruptcy, costing thousands of jobs and putting retirees' pension and 401(k) benefits at risk. Meanwhile, trial lawyers will continue clogging the courts with frivolous ? and sometimes fraudulent ? asbestos claims.

The trial lawyers can't bear the thought that their jackpot of asbestos cash might disappear, even though the fund will ensure that real victims are compensated fairly and quickly for their illnesses without having to hand over a third or more of their settlement to a lawyer. To be sure, real problems remain with the asbestos trust fund proposal. For example, the current draft provides that if the fund runs out of cash, claims would be returned to the courts. Some businesses and insurance companies are concerned that the fund is too large. Some conservatives argue that creating the fund will amount to a massive expansion of government and a federal grab of state judicial authority. And at this point, it is Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who are holding up the legislation because they are not yet sufficiently comfortable with the trust fund plan.

These Senators ought to take comfort in ATLA's fear. Surely a proposal that elicits unprecedented public anxiety from the trial lawyers is one that legal reformers can get behind. And those interested in partisan politics ought to consider that with their asbestos cash spigot turned off, ATLA and its members will have less money available to fund their pet political projects. No matter what the rationale, it's time for the Senate to fix the remaining problems with the bill and move it forward. Doing nothing simply isn't an option. Allowing asbestos cases to continue to clog our courts denies justice to real victims and threatens our economy. Meanwhile, only the lawyers get rich. Of course, that's exactly what they want.



Post lifted whole from Matter of Opinion:

Now, considering where I work, I know a lot of climate change skeptics. So this nuanced side note by John Quiggin blindsided me.

"Fun Factoid: As I’ll argue in a bit more detail later on, the great majority of climate change sceptics, globally speaking, are also creationists".

Oh, you'd better argue that later on. He leaves us cold with that gem of scholarship. As far as I can tell, the clearest link between creationists and climate change skeptics is that they are despised by the left.

The strongest argument that skeptics have - in my mind - is that the increase in temperature over the last hundred years is within the natural variation. The reason we argue this is because we can see enormous changes over the geological record of temperature, well before the invention of the SUV.

For instance, have a look at this extraordinary graph which appears to show that the earth is plummeting rapidly into an ice age, rather than the opposite:

(Available in a very entertaining powerpoint presentation here - ignore the Russian and scroll down to the text “The Kyoto Protocol: an Assault on Economic Growth, Environment, Public Safety, Science and Human Civilization". Or just click on the PPT. 3+ megs)

I tried to follow the source on this a little while ago, but gave up when I read the abstract. My final conclusion was "science is hard".

I can't possibly intrepret the extremely technical nature of modern science. And this is why I'm not about to ignore the scientists who dissent from the scientific "consensus" on climate change. What we need to do is emphasize that this is a debate, not ignore - or in Quiggin's case, vilify - those who disagree.


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.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Wednesday, April 27, 2005


This story was uncritically reported in ALL the mainstream newspapers that I know of. Below is a demolition of it. See the original report here for the graphics mentioned

Last week on Earth Day, AP newswire led with a real scare story: "Study Shows Antarctic Glaciers Shrinking." In doing so, the press, yet again, predictably distorted a global warming story.

By "Antarctica" they actually meant the Antarctic Peninsula, which comprises about 2% of the continent. It's warming there and has been for decades. But every scientist (or for that matter, everyone who has read Michael Crichton's "State of Fear") knows that the temperature averaged over the entire continent has been declining for decades.

The underlying science behind the AP story was published in the April 22, 2005 issue of Science magazine, under the more appropriate (and accurate) title, "Retreating Glacier Fronts on the Antarctic Peninsula over the Past Half-Century." A research team led by Alison Cook of the British Antarctic Survey carefully measured the historical position of 244 glaciers as determined from a 60-year collection of images including aerial photographs and satellite pictures. By comparing the position of glacier termini over time, the researchers were able to determine the timing and speed of glacial changes.

The results presented in Science weren't even based on the entire Peninsula, but rather the northern portion. While a more comprehensive continent-wide investigation of coastal glacier changes is underway, only the results from the Peninsula were written up.

Figure 1 shows the temperature trends from 1966-2000 over Antarctica as reported in a study by Peter Doran and colleagues and published in Nature magazine in 2002. The region that encompasses all 244 of the glaciers in the Science study is highlighted. While it is clear the there has been warming in the localized region around where the Antarctic Peninsula glaciers are located, it is also clear that the majority of the rest of the continent has been cooling. Just how much has been cooling was also calculated by Doran (Figure 2), and shows that about 2/3rds of the continent outside of the Peninsula has been cooling over the past 35 years or so.

Furthermore, studies have been made investigating the overall status of sea ice around Antarctica. NASA announced the results of their study in 2002 with a press release headlined "Satellites Show Overall Increases in Antarctic Sea Ice Cover." While there are regional variations from this trend, including a decline in sea ice around the Antarctic Peninsula, the area of sea ice around much of the remainder of the continental margin has been increasing, at least over the past 25 years. Obviously, a story proclaiming "Antarctic Sea Ice Rapidly Diminishing" and focusing on the Peninsula region would paint an incomplete and unfair picture of the actual circumstances there.

The fact that a report that glaciers are melting over one extremely small portion of Antarctica that is showing warming, while the rest of the continent is cooling, grabs not only newspaper headlines but finds its way without a regional perspective into a prestigious publication like Science is troubling. If objectivity, rather than scariness were the purpose, Cook et al. would certainly have referenced Doran's work for background. Or perhaps the editors at Science could have asked for it?

The general cooling of Antarctica is highly scientifically significant because climate models run under increasing levels of greenhouse gases predict that the Antarctic continent as a whole, not just the Peninsula, should be rapidly warming. This is clearly a model failure and no amount of going on and on about the impact of warming in the Peninsula, is going to change that fact.

There's a 2004 book that details the repetitive nature of global warming exaggeration, called Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media. If it were still being written, the sad story of Earth Day, 2005, would have surely merited a chapter.

Even simpler: If the facts don't fit, make them up

"An email from Donna Martinez alerted me to a press release sent out yesterday by a group called The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, calling on people to show up and protest George Bush's Earth Day visit to the Smoky Mountain National Park.

In the release the SACE stated that “last year, ozone levels in the Smokies rivaled those in major cities such as Atlanta and Los Angeles.” I immediately asked one of our trusted interns to call the contact number on the release to ask where the data for this claim came from. After apparently being hung up on the first time he called back and politely noted that he somehow got disconnected. He then asked his question once again and once again was hung up on.

So I decided to do a little fact checking myself. In 2004 for 9 ozone monitors in the North Carolina Mountains there was an average of .22 high ozone days per monitor. This covers everything from Boon to Cherokee, including the city of Asheville. The average number of high ozone days per monitor in the LA SMSA was 15 and for the Atlanta SMSA it was 3. This means that Atlanta area ozone was 13 times greater than the NC mountains and LA area ozone was 68 times the NC mountains.

Yep, ozone in the Smokies rivaled LA and Atlanta last year".



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.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005


A recent email from Helen Mahar (

When I was eight, my parents moved from the city to a farm. In my new school I clearly remember being told that farmers had a moral duty to clear the land to grow food to feed a hungry world. It felt good to know that my parents had a valued place in the wider scheme of things. Of course we were just being fed the official government line, to take home to our parents in case they had not got the message. To clear, develop, and increase production. Most farmers, encouraged by tax concessions, got the message. Those who hesitated to clear everything in sight were thought lazy.

I married a farmer, and my children also went to a country school. But the message from the teachers had changed. Farmers had over-cleared, and were to blame for massive environmental degradation. For my children and their friends, their parents were social undesirables. No pride in their parents’ occupation for them.

We got the message, continually. But when you boiled it down, farmers were being blamed for respecting, trusting and listening, to past advisers. And for failing to foresee the environmental consequences those past advisers had not foreseen. Farmers needed to admit their faults and mend their ways - by listening respectfully to a new generation of experts, authorities and advisers.

Many of my children’s generation have left the farms, in part, seeking occupations with higher social esteem. For those who remain, a plethora of conservation laws have reduced property rights and legal rights (right of appeal), making them second class citizens. The effect of these laws has been to shift the cost of community conservation expectations onto landowners.

From these second class citizens a first class conservation effort is now expected, at their own cost (and without encouraging tax concessions). This is not a sustainable arrangement; economically, socially, or environmentally. Guess who will be blamed for the current bunch of experts and authorities’ failure to foresee the consequences of their policies and conduct? Australian conservation laws are founded on blame-shift and cost-shift.


(Post lifted whole from Carpe Bonum)

There is some interesting news about childhood Leukemia. But parents should read the reports very carefully and consult experienced professionals before taking any actions.

Researchers in the UK have completed the world's largest childhood cancer study and have made these findings:

* Leukemia is caused by the combination of two factors: a genetic defect which occurs in one out of 20 children, and an infection which triggers the cancer.
* Leukemia is not caused by power lines or electromagnetic fields
* It is not caused by radiation from nuclear power plants
* Exposure to radon gas does not increase childhood cancer risk
* Leukemia is not caused by vitamin K injections

And very interesting is that it seems to be possible to break the cancer cycle by exposing very young infants to infections. In theory, this strengthens their immune systems and prevents subsequent infections from triggering the cancer. But infections after three months of age do not have the same effect and can even increase the Leukemia risk.

So what should parents do as a result of these reports?

First of all, like any popular media report on scientific findings, there is a lot of room for misinterpretation and inaccuracy. For example, both media reports linked below strongly imply that sending children to day care centers can help save them from Leukemia. This may be true, but only before three months of age. Parents who want to decide for themselves must be sure to read as much of the source material as possible and must not rely solely on popular media reports.

Next, it is very important to let the scientific process play out. Other epidemiologists will look at these studies, their methodologies, data, conclusions and the logic used. They will conduct their own studies to try to duplicate the results. One such study is the Northern California Childhood Leukemia Study. If these conclusions are valid, a consensus will form.

This has not happened yet.

Finally, the public must beware of junk science in all its forms, especially regarding children's health. How many of these to you recognize? How many are true?

* Mercury-based preservatives in vaccines cause autism.
* Power lines cause cancer.
* Cell phones cause brain cancer.
* Oats prevent cancer.
* Chicken-pox parties are a good idea.

Don't get me wrong. This is an important result and could be a huge advance. But let's not get too excited too soon. As Professor Pat Buffler, School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley comments, the real news is:

For the first time in the long history of research into the causes of childhood leukemia we now have the biological and epidemiological foundations to begin a consideration of preventive measures.

So do your own research, read deeply, and check with a professional before you rush off to day care!


* A very brief overview of the UK Childhood Cancer Study
* Press Release from the Institute of Cancer Research

Hat tip to Joe Gandelman, The Moderate Voice, who points to articles in The Independent and Reuters.

Also covering:

* Outside the Beltway: "Hobbsean choice"
* HealthLawProf Blog: "Good news"
* Childcare by Judy Lyden: "Kids need to get dirty"

UPDATE: Betsy Newmark says, "Just do what I do - have a filthy house." Thanks for the link, and welcome Betsy's page readers! Also, welcome Mudville Gazette open post readers!


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.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Monday, April 25, 2005

Email just received from Keith Burgess-Jackson: "I grew up in Michigan. It rarely snowed after my birthday, which is 7 April. You guessed it: It's snowing like mad in Michigan. It must be that global warming the liberals are always warning us about."


How absurd that the world's biggest industrial country has been forced to look overseas for much of the refinery capacity it needs!

Arizona regulators have granted an air permit for a proposed oil refinery that could be the first US plant of its kind built since the 1970s, the company planning to build the plant said Thursday. The permit, which sets emissions limits, was granted by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. The permit was first applied for in 1999. It removes a major obstacle for the proposed $2.5 billion, 150,000 barrels-per-day refinery. Arizona, one of the fastest growing states, has seen gasoline price spikes several times in recent summers, particularly in 2003. It currently relies on California refineries for its fuel supply.

The plant, which would be built by Phoenix-based Arizona Clean Fuels on desert land 100 miles southwest of Phoenix, still must obtain several more permits. "We will now focus on securing the remaining permit necessary in order to begin construction and ultimately begin serving the growing demand for fuel products in the Southwest," Ian Calkins, a spokesman for Arizona Clean Fuels, said in a statement.

The refinery would also need large amounts of water in a dry state and the proposed site may harbor significant Native American archeological remains, according to the science magazine Nature. Arizona Clean Fuels plans supply the plant with Mexican crude oil which would be transported in a yet-to-be-built pipeline to Arizona.



A new MTV series features Hollywood celebrities praising the developing world's primitive lifestyles as earth-friendly -- despite those poor nations' high infant mortality rates and short life expectancies. The eco-tourism show, called "Trippin'," premiered on March 28 and was heavily promoted in the runup to Earth Day. The show encourages environmental awareness and lauds traditional tribal lifestyles, which lack running water, electricity and other basic infrastructure. The MTV series features actress Cameron Diaz and a rotating crew of "her close, personal friends [who] think globally and act globally." They tour developing nations, including Nepal, Bhutan, Tanzania, Honduras and visit remote villages in Chile.

Actress Drew Barrymore, who reportedly earns $15 million a film, told MTV viewers in one episode that after spending time in a primitive, electricity-free Chilean village, "I aspire to be like them more." Barrymore, apparently enthralled by the lack of a modern sanitary facilities, gleefully bragged, "I took a poo in the woods hunched over like an animal. It was awesome." The 32-year-old Diaz, who earns a reported $20-million a movie, boasted that the cow-dung slathered walls of a Nepalese village hut were "beautiful" and "inspiring," and she called the primitive practice of "pounding mud" with sticks to construct a building foundation "the coolest thing." Diaz also criticized the lifestyles of many Americans after visiting an indigenous village in Chile. "It's kinda gotten out of hand how much convenience we think we need," she said.

Despite the celebrities' praise for the primitive life, "Trippin'" shows them flying on multiple airplanes and chartering at least two helicopters and one boat to reach remote locations over the course of the first four episodes. The series also showed the celebrities being chauffeured to the airport in a full-size Chevy SUV -- despite several on-screen, anti-SUV factoids noting how environmentally unfriendly SUVs are. Diaz, who starred in "Charlie's Angel's" and "There's Something About Mary," travels the world "in the name of the Mother Earth" with a host of different celebrities including Barrymore, actresses Eva Mendez and Jessica Alba, rapper Redman, and rocker Kid Rock.

Environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council also are featured in the series, to provide commentary and analysis on environmental issues.

The first four episodes of the MTV series made scant mention of the difficult economic and social conditions of the countries visited. Bhutan, a country that received particular praise from Diaz for its environmental policies, has one of the highest infant mortality rates (103 infant deaths per 1,000 live births) and lowest life expectancies (54 years) in the world. By comparison, the United States, which Diaz described as having too much "convenience," has an infant mortality rate of only 6.6 per 1000 and an average life expectancy of more than 77 years.....

Diaz lauded the Nepalese villagers' practice of slathering cow dung as a form of wall plaster used to coat the walls: "Nothing goes to waste. It is beautiful. It is inspiring," she said. "It is incredible to see how in tune these people are with the environment; they are completely self-sufficient, Diaz added. Daily routines of the local citizenry are featured on the series, including pounding mud with large sticks for hours -- for the foundation of a new monastery in Bhutan. "I am going to go pound some mud, baby! Mmm," Diaz said to the cameras. "It was the coolest thing to be a part of," she added. As video of mud-pounding filled the TV screen, Diaz explained, "They (Nepalese villagers) continue to live in harmony with the world around them. It's a way of living very different than what we are used to. It seems to work."

But MTV viewers were not informed that Nepal has an infant mortality rate of nearly 69 deaths per 1,000 live births, about ten times the infant death rate in the U.S. Nor did they hear that life expectancy in Nepal is 59 years.....

A critic of the environmental movement condemned the new MTV series. "There's something perverse and immoral when multi-millionaire Hollywood celebrities head off on junkets in the jungle - and then preach to us lesser mortals about the joys of the simple life, and how we should protect the Earth, conserve energy, prevent global warming, and help the poorest people on our planet continue 'enjoying' their poverty, malnutrition and premature death," Paul Dreissen, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power/Black Death told Cybercast News Service. "Life in these developing countries is still nasty, brutish and short. And that there is a reason our parents and grandparents worked so hard to create modern homes and hospitals and technologies, so they could leave behind the unsafe water, dung fires, pollution, rotted teeth, infant mortality and life expectancies half or ours," said Driessen.

"This entire MTV series totally glosses over the hardships and premature death that is right before their eyes. Even mentioning these facts would obviously get in the way of their ideological message, and their determination to turn [MTV viewers] into little ventriloquist's dummies for the sustainable development movement," Driessen explained.

More here


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.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Sunday, April 24, 2005


In 1955, then Soviet Premier, Nikita Krushchev ordered April 22nd be designated a day to celebrate Communism. In 1970, it was chosen to be Earth Day by Gaylord Nelson, one of the founders of the event. Those founders had 365 days from which to choose. They chose Lenin's birthday.

When Communism was imposed on Russia in 1917, the first thing it did was to outlaw the ownership of private property. Under Communism, the State owns all property and all natural resources. In recent years in the United States, the Clinton-Gore Administration has declared millions of acres of mineral and oil-rich areas to be national monuments. The U.S.government already owns more than forty percent of the nation's landmass. Individual States own property as well, bringing the total closer to fifty percent. There are measures in Congress right now that would provide a dedicated stream of funding to insure that States will purchase still more property to put off limits to any use or development. The keystone of Capitalism is the ownership of private property. The Founding Fathers felt so strongly about this the Fifth Amendment protects this right, stating that no private property shall be taken for public use without just compensation. Across the nation, however, the government has effectively "taken" private property through such devices as the Endangered Species Act that denies the use of any property on which a listed species is found. Owners of such properties effectively lose them to government control. Wetlands legislation has a similar effect on owners of private property, denying them the use of their property if it is designated a wetland. These are environmental laws.

The similarities between the philosophy and programs advocated by the Greens and totalitarian forms of government are numerous. What better way to undermine the economy of this nation than to deny its citizens the benefits of its natural resources? Even access and use of national parks is being increasingly restricted.

Today, fully a third of all federal laws and regulations are devoted to the so-called "protection of the environment." They impact property ownership and the use of all energy sources. Vast areas of the U.S., despite known, huge reserves of oil and coal, have been put off limits. Virtually no structure can be built without an environmental impact study being undertaken. Right now, there are Administration efforts to destroy dams providing hydroelectric power in the northwest, ostensibly to save salmon. In countless ways, so-called environmental laws impact our lives, even down to the amount of water one can use to flush a toilet!

Leading voices for environmental and related causes express views comparable to the Communist philosophy of total government control. In his book, "Earth in the Balance," Vice President Al Gore, Jr., has written that "Adopting a central organizing principle means embarking on an all-out effort to use every policy and program, every law and institution, every treaty and alliance, every tactic and strategy, every plan and course of action to use, in short, every means to halt the destruction of the environment." He has called for "a wrenching transformation of society" to achieve this goal of total centralized government control, the hallmark of the former Soviet system.

More here


I confess it took me a long time to realize that much of what passes for the environmental movement or environmentalism involves imposing restrictions that (1) destroy economic growth and (2) often destroys lives. A perfect example of both these Green objectives is the utterly vile efforts of the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) that have been directed of late against major financial investment companies such as Citicorp and Bank of America. Both ceded their lending decisions to RAN in 2004.

Their latest target has been J.P. Morgan whose CEO, William Harrison, has been under siege in his home in Greenwich, CT. As Steve Milloy of has noted, "RAN wants to dictate J.P. Morgan Chase's lending policies for the developing world, especially with regard to energy projects and logging. As an extremist group railing against oil, wood, and meat consumption, RAN wants to block lending to projects it claims may contribute to global warming or involve logging in `sensitive' areas."

One of my personal heroes, Niger Innis, the national spokesman for CORE, has said "RAN does not deserve a seat at the table of any bank, and certainly should never been given veto power." He criticized the World Bank, Citigroup, and Bank of America for having "shamefully compromised" their lending policies as the result of RAN's threats. An Ugandan, Diana Koymuhendo, asks, "What right do they have to tell poor people they must settle for whatever crumbs Rainforest Action tosses to them?"

Without an investment in the provision of energy in Third World nations, they are going to remain mired in poverty. Nothing happens in this world until you flip a switch and a light turns out, a water pump starts up, or anything else we associate with the modern world begins to function. Life without electricity condemns people to a life of poverty, disease, and premature death. Would you believe that, worldwide, two billion people still have no electricity? If RAN manages to intimidate J.P. Morgan, that condition will continue because it will elect not to support the changes needed to truly create a global economy. With other banks having already caved in to these outrageous demands, poor Third World countries will have nowhere to turn for financing. Which, of course, is RAN's agenda; for them they will all remain traditional, indigenous, and impoverished, requiring few if the Earth's "finite" resources, and keeping their populations in check through disease, malnutrition, and starvation.

That means 800 million people will be chronically undernourished with 14 million Africans facing starvation in southern Africa alone. More than 230 million children will continue to suffer from Vitamin A Deficiency and a half million of them go blind every year. Two million will continue to die from problems directly related to VAD.

None of this is necessary. Modern biotechnology can save lives while preserving wildlife and habitats. It would let farms grow more food on less land, but RAN and other Greens declared war on biotechnology years ago. They cry out that it requires widespread use of pesticides, but that is just another Green lie. Biotech crops can withstand insects and viruses without heavy use of pesticides. Some crops have been created to grow better in saline and nutrient-poor soils. Others can thrive despite severe droughts. Meanwhile, RAN and its allies spend $35 million a year battling the introduction of biotech crops....

There is something obscene to the opposition of Green organizations to anything that would improve the lives of the very least among us, the poor and the starving masses of the Third World, but that is their objective. Their concern is for wildlife or for forests that anyone knows can replenish themselves. Cutting down a tree does not mean another will not grow in its place, but not cutting down a tree often leaves people without ground on which to grow crops or an income from that tree when sold as lumber....

More here


Note how the "water-polluting gasoline additive" is immediately brought up without the slightest attempt to say HOW polluting or how dangerous the polluting is. I think we can guess why

"The House passed a long-awaited, much-disputed $8.1 billion energy bill Thursday, allowing for drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge and protections for producers of a water-polluting gasoline additive.... The Senate last year voted down a House energy bill that included plans to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, to oil drilling.

The bill also offered multibillion-dollar protections for companies that produce methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE, a water-polluting additive in gasoline that helps it meet clean-air regulations. The new House bill includes both, though Democrats fought hard to have the provisions dropped. According to published reports, some Senate Democrats vowed to filibuster the bill if ANWR was included.

Platts echoed President Bush, who has repeatedly called for a broad energy package, in calling for a comprehensive plan focused on conservation and alternative energy. Like Bush, however, Platts admitted the bill would not curb high gasoline prices right away. "Getting an energy bill done will not change things overnight," he said. "But the longer we wait, the longer we won't get to a solution."

The White House promoted the energy plan despite some initial differences over tax breaks and incentives. The bill grants more than $8 billion in tax breaks to the energy industry over 10 years and calls for $2 billion more for deep-sea drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

More here


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.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Saturday, April 23, 2005


A group of Greenie crooks just printed their own paper certificates and sold them to dupes

But it is the carbon credits, devised for the Kyoto Accord that could be described as the biggest scam of all time that leads to the Canada Free Press lead, "We've been had". The accord may have been engineered in Kyoto, Japan but it was manufactured in sunny Costa Rica. The blueprint can be found in a May 9, 1997 Earth Council media release, First Global Environment Commodity Goes to Market. It happened at Braulio Carillo National Park, Costa Rica and was launched by former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Clinton welcomed Costa Rica's launch of "the world's first formal program to curb global warming through an international market in greenhouse gas emission reductions".

"President Clinton's remarks followed an announcement by Costa Rican President Jose Maria Figueros that his country would be introducing Certifiable Tradable Offsets (CTOs TM) to the international market. Each issued CTO TM represents the halted or reduced emission into the atmosphere of one metric ton of carbon."

Like carnival hucksters, the Earth Council and friends were selling carbon credits that were the equivalent of thin air. Proceeds from CTO TM sales would help finance Costa Rica's further efforts to preserve and regenerate its tropical forests, with the specific intent of offsetting emissions from cars, industry and the burning of forests. According to the Earth Council media release, "a portion of future sales proceeds will also go towards the development of an "Earth Centre" in Costa Rica. A project of the Earth Council, the Earth Centre will be an environmental, education, science and entertainment facility envisioned as a "gateway" to Costa Rica's national parks."

How could this possibly be when the Earth Council took flight from Costa Rica? "The carbon certificates created by the Costa Rican government and U.S. companies provide a new way to finance these investments," President Clinton said. President Figueros saw the carbon certificate scheme as the creation of "the first tradable commodity of global benefit". The CTO TM program was introduced to the market through a strategic alliance between Costa Rica's government, the U.S-based Centre Financial Products Limited and the Earth Council. "To initiate the market today, Centre Financial made the first U.S. purchase of CTOs TM in the amount of 1,000 metre tons of carbon (equaling the average carbon emissions of 900 U.S. cars," stated the Earth Council media release. The CTO TM creators said their credibility would be ensured by "an independent certificate process being developed with technical assistance from the World Bank."

More here

London's 'zero emission' buses

I liked the post below -- lifted from The Commons

I just noticed today that Transport for London is testing fuel cell buses on a certain route (RV1 - Covent Garden to Tower Gateway). The buses visibly advertise "zero emissions" -- right above a tailpipe which is clearly emitting something...

This emission is water vapour, as stated on the TFL website:

The only emission from the fuel cell bus is water, which forms a vapour cloud as it leaves the exhaust and enters the atmosphere.

And we all know, water vapour is one of the most potent greenhouse gases. Perhaps someone should contact the UK's Advertising Standards Agency with regard to the false claims made on these buses...


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.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Today is Lenin's birthday -- a.k.a. "EARTH DAY"

I put up a useful summary to mark the day yesterday.


The fact is, oil is still relatively inexpensive. By one measure tracked by Dow Jones, we are still far from matching an April 1980 spike in US oil prices. The $39.50 per barrel price that month exceeds $90 in today's dollars. We remain a long way from that, with oil easing below the $50 mark in trading Monday.

That's not to say that energy costs aren't hitting families and corporations in the pocketbook. Even as oil prices have softened in recent days, there's been new concern about energy dampening economic growth. But a broader view - looking at oil over a longer period and against other goods and services - puts the impact in a less dire perspective. "Gas is actually cheap right now," says Timothy McMahon, editor of "Up until a year ago, oil was at a historic low, and they were giving this stuff away. And so to go from $20 a barrel to $50 a barrel looks like a big increase in a small period of time. But if it were spread out over those 25 years, nobody would say a thing."

Even with the rising costs, economists say, energy still makes up a small percentage of a family's budget, about 4 percent. That's half what it was in the early 1980s.

Jeff Stepanik, for instance, says gas prices over $2 a gallon have not had any impact on his family's budget (or lack thereof). He is still tinkering around with motorcycles and his wife is still happily hitting the mall. "We don't live any differently than we did before," says the Houston account manager. "It's not like we're going without a meal because of gas prices." But he is considering a life with routinely higher gas prices - as witnessed by his family's most recent purchase.

Three weeks ago, Mr. Stepanik sold his wife's "gas-guzzling" Ford Expedition and bought a hybrid Nissan. "This vehicle made more financial sense, because we are not going to stop driving," he says. He estimates that gas prices would have to exceed $10 a gallon before he considers changing his driving patterns.

That's not an uncommon attitude in the United States. Even during the oil embargo of the 1970s, it took a while before consumers began buying smaller, more fuel-efficient cars or moving closer to where they worked.....

Michael Solomon, consumer behavior expert at Auburn University in Alabama, calls the frenzy over rising gas prices "a tempest in a teapot," considering the amount of money people spend on small indulgences. "The same people who are complaining about gas prices don't blink when they pay $3.50 for a latte," he says. "That's different somehow."

More here


Friday, the D.C. circuit court of appeals hears oral arguments in Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Plaintiffs, who include the attorneys general (AGs) of 12 states, are suing the EPA for rejecting an October 1999 petition by the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) and several other environmental groups to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from motor vehicles. In effect, plaintiffs demand that EPA impose the Kyoto Protocol - a non-ratified treaty - on U.S. automakers. They hope via litigation not only to substitute their will for that of the people's elected representatives, but also to price and regulate millions of Americans out of the market for large, safe, high-performance vehicles.

Carbon dioxide is the inescapable combustion byproduct of gasoline and other carbon-based fuels. Larger, heavier vehicles use more fuel per mile driven, and consequently emit more grams of CO2 per mile. If plaintiffs prevail, EPA will have to require automakers to downsize and/or restrict production of SUVs, large passenger cars, and other high-CO2-emitting vehicles - the very vehicles that are Detroit's biggest sellers. So at a minimum, a victory for plaintiffs will restrict consumer choice and further erode the competitiveness of U.S. automakers.

Even more damaging is the precedent that the plaintiffs hope to set. If the court compels the EPA to classify CO2 as a regulated pollutant, it will unleash a torrent of copycat lawsuits. Future suits will demand that the EPA both curb CO2 emissions from other sectors and continually tighten the controls. Even though President Bush, significant congressional majorities, and most voters oppose the Kyoto treaty, the flood of litigation would establish a national energy-rationing system indistinguishable from Kyoto.

The good news is that plaintiffs are going to lose, because CO2 regulation is patently illegal under both the CAA and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA).

To see why plaintiffs' suit is without merit, it suffices to ask two simple questions: Why was the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act, which seeks to cap CO2 emissions from all U.S. economic sectors, arguably the most controversial piece of legislation to come to a vote in the 108th Congress? And why is the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, which would require more stringent CO2 emission reductions, arguably the most controversial treaty to be debated by U.S. policymakers in the past nine years?

The answer is that both Kyoto and McCain-Lieberman would fundamentally alter U.S. law and regulatory policy on the production and use of energy. The federal government has never regulated CO2 emissions - that is hardly surprising. Carbon dioxide is the intended combustion byproduct of the carbonaceous fuels - coal, oil, and natural gas - that supply roughly 85 percent of all the energy Americans use. The power to restrict CO2 emissions is literally the power to cripple U.S. productivity, competitiveness, and growth.

The Senate preemptively rejected Kyoto as too costly and unfair to the United States when, in July 1997, it passed the Byrd-Hagel resolution by a 95-0 vote. The Senate similarly rejected McCain-Lieberman by 55-43 on October 30, 2003. Yet the AGs and their allies claim that EPA has a mandatory duty to regulate CO2. Their lawsuit implies that Kyoto and McCain-Lieberman, in substance if not detail, are already the law of the land - a preposterous opinion. What the plaintiffs are really trying to do is usurp Congress's lawmaking power. They are attempting, through not-very-clever legalisms, to install an energy-rationing regime that Congress never approved.

More -- much more -- here


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.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Thursday, April 21, 2005


Where can you make $2,000 a day, with no real effort? In San Mateo County, California. Before you start packing your bags to head there, you should know that the average homeowner in San Mateo County saw the value of his property increase by $2,000 a day over the past month. The median price of a single-family home in the county reached $896,000. But, if you don't already own a home in San Mateo County, you don't get the two grand a day.

Someone from outside California might think that people must be building a lot of new mansions in San Mateo County. But, in fact, there is very little building going on there because most of the county is off-limits to building. These bans on building are known by the more politically appealing name of "open space" laws. These housing bans are the reason for rising home prices.

As for mansions, there are very few of those in San Mateo County. There are some nice homes there and many very modest homes. They just cost the kind of money that people pay for mansions elsewhere across the country. Who can afford to live in such a place? Fewer people apparently. The population of the county declined by about 9,000 people over the past four years. Who's leaving -- and who is coming in? By and large, young adults who have not yet reached their peak earnings years are finding it harder to afford housing in San Mateo County and in other such counties up and down the peninsula from San Francisco to San Jose. So they are leaving.

Schools have had to be closed because there are not enough children. The number of children is declining because people young enough to have school children are increasingly unable to afford the sky-high housing prices in communities that ban the building of housing.

People who are sufficiently affluent can afford to move into places with severe restrictions on building. Those who bought their homes years ago, before these housing restrictions were enacted, are able to stay while the value of their homes rise. Among other things, this means that many young adults cannot afford to live near their parents, unless they actually live in their parents' home. This isolates the elderly from their children, which can be a growing problem as the infirmities of age set in and their contemporary friends die off.

None of this just happened. Nor is it a result of market forces. What has happened essentially is that those already inside the castle have pulled up the drawbridge, so that outsiders can't get in. Politically, this selfishness poses as idealism. Much of this exclusionary agenda is pushed by people who inherited great wealth and are using it to buy a sense of importance as deep thinkers and moral leaders protecting the environment. The foundations and movements they spearhead are driving working people out of areas dominated by limousine liberals, who are constantly proclaiming their concern for the poor, the children and minorities.

Meanwhile the poor, the children, and minorities are being increasingly forced out of the vast area of the San Francisco peninsula by astronomical housing prices and are moving out into California's interior valleys. But they are not safe there either. The same wealthy busybodies who have made it an ordeal for less affluent people to try to live on the San Francisco peninsula are now pursuing them out into the interior valleys, where the environmentalist foundations and movements are trying to get the same housing restrictions imposed.

This is not sadism -- at least not in intent. These are green activists buying an artificial significance for themselves that they would never have had as mere inheritors of fortunes earned by others. This is ultimately not about the environment but about egos. As T.S. Eliot said, more than fifty years ago: "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."

From Sowell


Earth Day is nothing more than a propaganda tool used to scare the public. As evidence, CEI cites the following advances, many of which go well beyond the 30-yr. history of "Earth Day."

* There is no "scientific consensus" that global warming will cause damaging climate change. In fact, global average temperature is only about 0.6o higher than a century ago. Outlandish claims that our earth is warming at an extreme rate mischaracterize the scientific research by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Academy of Sciences. The world is not in severe danger from rising sea levels. Research from Nils-Axel Morner of Stockholm University demonstrates that current sea levels are within the range of sea level oscillation over the past 300 years. And extreme weather conditions have no provable link to Global warming. Research by German scientists have demonstrated that the devastating floods in central Europe in 2002 were quite normal. And don't blame climate on the growth of vector-borne diseases such as malaria. World experts agree that "other factors" are more important when it comes to the spread of diseases.

* Alarmists such as Paul Ehrlich made hysterical predictions 30-plus years ago about the world running out of food. However, worldwide, the amount of food produced per acre has doubled over the past 50 years. In the United States alone, more than three times the amount of people are fed on 33 percent less farmland than in 1900. In addition, death from famine dropped during the 20th century, despite the world's population quadrupling. Advances in agricultural technology and liberalization of global trade have had an impact on alleviating the food shortage. In recent years, one very important component of the food supply-fish, has come under attack by scare mongrels that tell us rising levels of mercury in fish are putting people at risk. In fact, according to data taken from the Smithsonian Institute, mercury levels found in fish are no higher today than they were 100 years ago.

* The on-going belief that using pesticides will cause cancer has never been proven and in fact, has led to the spread of serious health risks, including the West Nile Virus and malaria. Both diseases are controllable and have been drastically reduced in communities and countries that allow the spraying of DDT. In addition, credit pesticide use and artificial fertilizers for creating a worldwide boom in the production of food. The word "chemical" instilled fear in many people during the last century. However, according to a researcher, chlorine, used to disinfect drinking water, ranks right up there with the discovery of antibiotics as one of the major public health accomplishments of the 20th century.

* A popular environmental concern warns us that air quality is getting worse and is making us all sick. However, statistics show over the last 20 years, carbon monoxide levels have dropped 58 percent, despite an increase in vehicle miles traveled; ozone concentrations have decreased by 17 percent; and the ambient concentration of lead has plummeted 96 percent.

* "Tree huggers'" claims of mass de-forestation are completely unfounded based on the numbers. In the early part of the twentieth century, people cut down twice as many trees as they planted; now the United States grows 36 percent more trees than it harvests. Some researchers believe tree numbers are larger today than when Columbus arrived in 1492! In fact, less dependence on wood for fuel and construction has led to a decrease in wood consumption by half since 1900. Look to private conservation efforts, not federal government, for the 86 percent increase in reforestation, which helps create habitat for endangered species.

More here

Divided Greenies. Old Left under threat: "One year after failing to win control of the Sierra Club in a bitterly contested election, advocates of stricter immigration limits are back, arguing that the venerable conservation group can best protect the environment by reducing population growth. The club's 750,000 members are voting this month on whether the 113-year-old organization should push for tighter restrictions on immigration, and on five seats on the 15-member board of directors, which sets club policy and commands the $100 million annual budget."


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.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Plans to build luxury homes on a mesa overlooking the Bolsa Chica wetlands in Huntington Beach won approval Thursday from the California Coastal Commission, ending a 30-year battle that saved the salt marsh from development. Hearthside Homes will build 349 houses and a park on 105 acres overlooking the 1,100-acre Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, which is undergoing a $65-million restoration - the largest such undertaking in Southern California. The project - which has been reduced in size and scope over the years - represents what is expected to be the final skirmish over the wetlands after the fight to preserve it and its mesas.

In 1980, developers planned to build at least 5,700 homes, several marinas and hundreds of acres of commercial buildings on the site, regarded then by builders as little more than degraded mudflats that were better off being developed. Meeting here Thursday, the Coastal Commission voted 11 to 1 in favor of the project, adding more than two dozen conditions the developers must follow.

Though the vote was a landmark moment in the preservation battle, some environmentalists were disappointed by the decision to finally allow development in the Bolsa Chica area. "It's a bitter pill to have the proposed development be approved," said Flossie Horgan, a founding member of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust, which fought to preserve the upland areas of the wetlands. "While we're not excited about it, we are proud that we worked so hard with so many people to do what we've done," Horgan said. Environmentalists expect that the decision will also clear the way for the state to buy 103 acres of the mesa and preserve the land as part of the reserve.

Ed Mountford, Hearthside senior vice president, said 96% of Bolsa Chica was now in public hands and set aside as open space. "I've spent 12 years of my life on this, and I'm very gratified to have the commission finally approve a plan, one that we can live with," he said. Twice Hearthside has submitted and withdrawn plans for the mesa. In October, the company took back its proposal after commissioners raised questions about public access to trails and protecting environmentally sensitive habitat for the southern tar plant, the burrowing owl and eucalyptus trees. As a result, Hearthside dropped its proposal for a gated community to allow the public to drive and park on subdivision streets.

Plans for a private recreation center were scrapped in favor of preserving the southern tar plant. The developer also agreed to filter storm water on site rather than build retention basins that would have interfered with burrowing owl habitat. The biggest debate Thursday was over how much buffer space should be required between the planned homes and the ecological reserve. The commission staff had recommended at least 328 feet, but commissioners balked, instead settling for a range of 150 to 382 feet. "There's no point to having habitat if there's no protection of the immediate surroundings," said Dave Carlberg, a retired biologist and past president of Amigos de Bolsa Chica, the original environmental group that fought to preserve the Bolsa Chica.

As part of the plan, Hearthside's parent company - California Coastal Communities - is expected to sell the 103 acres next to the reserve for $65 million. The purchase would be funded by Proposition 50, a 2002 initiative providing $3.4 billion for environmental projects.



A new reconstruction of past changes shows that the level of the oceans varied more dramatically during between ice ages than was previously thought, implying that the global climate during these intervals was not as stable as most scientists think.

One of the best ways to document the rising and falling of the oceans over time is by coral dating. Coral thrives in shallow waters with plenty of sunlight; as sea level rises, however, coral grows in stacks from the murky sea floor, forming terraces to reach the rays nearer the surface. The age of the coral in a terrace is determined by monitoring the rate of decay of radioactive uranium, which is present in the corals, into the element thorium. But coral readily exchanges uranium with seawater, thereby complicating the dating process. To correct for this, William Thompson and Steven Goldstein, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, developed a new method for determining the age of coral to generate a record of past sea levels, which they report in this week's issue of Science..... Using their new dating system, Thompson and Goldstein reassessed past measurements of uranium decay, and reconstructed sea-level changes from between 70,000 and 240,000 years ago. And what they found was very surprising, explains Thompson. "This record shows high-frequency changes that are very consistent and persistent."

"It is the first time that such variability has been accurately dated with so many corals," says Mark Siddall, an oceanographer at the University of Bern, Switzerland.

Large variations in sea level of up to 100 metres are caused by the growth and melting of global ice sheets. These changes are commonly thought to occur on a maximum 100,000-year timescale based on variations in Earth's orbit. Thompson and Goldstein, however, uncovered sea-level changes of as much as 30 metres that occurred at intervals of 3,000-9,000 years - relatively rapid oscillations. "The real punchline is that sea level changes more frequently than has been previously thought," says Thompson. What's more, sea-level change can help to explain the overall climate system. This means that global climate is more variable than has been thought, he adds.

In addition, the time period from 240,000 to 70,000 years ago was an interglacial, or period between ice ages, similar to the one we are currently in. Experts had previously thought that sea level remains constant during such intervals. "This raises the question as to the future stability of sea level during our own interglacial," explains Siddall.

More here

California: Mormons vs. environmentalists in mountains: "Mormons in the tiny Southern California mountain town of Running Springs have been trying for seven years to build a new church, but environmentalists keep putting up roadblocks. The 12,000-square-foot church would be located in a remote area of the San Bernardino Mountains right near Lake Arrowhead. Environmentalists worry it will ruin the scenic views of the area and encourage future growth, possibly threatening the natural habitat of endangered species such as the California spotted owl and the southern rubber boa."


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.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Post lifted from My Aisling

Greenpeace: Brush your teeth, get cancer and die. That's the story proffered in the Brit's Evening Standard. The theory is that triclosan reacts with water to produce chloroform gas. Chloroform gas is, apparently, a known carcinogen.

Here's the first indication of a problem with the reporting: "If inhaled in large enough quantities, chloroform can cause depression, liver problems and, in some cases, cancer." Yeah, so can oxygen - in large enough quantities. Ever see rust? That's caused by oxygen. Oh my. Imagine what it's doing to your lungs!!!

Here's the only other indication of a problem we need: "[The manufacturer of the products] Marks & Spencer confirmed today it was removing products containing triclosan from all its stores and has been working with Greenpeace to develop alternative products." Ahhh, that leading cancer research institute and toothpaste expert organization Greenpeace. I feel so much safer knowing they are on the job. And I was just about to commit Harry Carey (sing baseball songs while brushing) over the prospect of losing my teeth whilst I fretted about inhaling chloroform gas. Whew, that was a close one!! I always get the order mixed up and say "get me some Crack Jack and peanuts" then I just stop singing. Could you imagine doing that with a mouthful of toothpaste and desparately trying to constantly exhale? I would probably choke and die. Greenpeace, thank you!!!

I wish that were all of the bad news, but it get's worse. Artfully hidden among pictures of skin cancer, Heart Spring shares this tidbit: "The U.S. EPA recently stated that 'Due to chlorine and showering, virtually every home in America has a detectable level of chloroform gas in the air.' When chlorine vaporizes in steam, and combines with other organic compounds in the air, it converts to chloroform. Chloroform is a strong respiratory irritant and causes fatigue." So, if I shower and inhale chloroform gas I may get tired and want to go back to bed.

Just to be safe, until these issues are resolved, I am not going to brush my teeth or shower. But wait - that's silly. Although if I stopped writing now, my son would print this out and put it on my bedroom door with the note, "Please read. I agree. Kindly reinstate allowance until further studies are completed, peer reviewed, and published."

Let's learn more about chloroform:

"Chloroform is a clear colorless volatile liquid with an ethereal scent that is nonflammable and does not form explosive mixtures at atmospheric temperatures and pressures. It is miscible with most organic solvents, and is slightly soluble in water. Chloroform evaporates quickly and in its concentrated gaseous form, it will tend to settle to the ground before dispersing." So it won't explode in my mouth and I can reduce my risk if I brush my teeth standing up. That's a good tip.

"Pyrolysis of chloroform vapor occurs at temperatures above 450 oC, producing tetrachloroethylene, hydrogen chloride, and minor amounts of other chlorocarbons." So if you put a lit match to it, it produces something like ethylene. Don't they use that to power cars in California? This may be a whole new industry. Brush your teeth, spit into the gas tank, and drive to work. Think of all those healthy gums as people run out of gas and begin to brush their teeth. It may increase roadside deaths, but it would be a boon to forensic dentistry. Maybe the drool cup industry would be revitalize, too (although I understand that the fad of tongue piercings has had a positive effect).

OK. Enough silly stuff. Here's the meat: "Cancer: No information is available regarding cancer in humans or animals after inhalation exposure to chloroform. Chloroform has been shown to be carcinogenic in animals after oral exposures resulting in kidney and liver tumors. The U.S. EPA has classified chloroform in Group B2: Probable human carcinogen, with a potency value of 2.3 x 10-5 (microgram per cubic meter)-1. The U.S. EPA estimates that if an individual were to breathe air containing chloroform at 0.04 µg/m3, over a lifetime, that person would theoretically have no more than a 1 in 1 million increased chance of developing cancer (U.S. EPA, 1994a). The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified chloroform in Group 2B: Possible carcinogen based on inadequate evidence in humans and sufficient evidence in animals (IARC, 1987a)."

Inadequate evidence. One in one million - in theory.

I have a higher probability of dying in a car wreck (1.62 per million) - and that is actual deaths based upon data.

In fact, when you consider that the overall death rate is 49.16 per million, and the cancer survival rate is ever-increasing (over 50% almost ten years ago!), I think that a one in a million risk sounds pretty good.

I'm gonna go brush my teeth and shower - a long hot shower. Maybe I'll floss, too.


There is a short PDF here from a marine scientist that says climate change can only be understood by taking into account data from very long periods of time. He summarizes the important geohistory data as follows (Note points 5 & 6 particularly):

"1. That 5 million years ago (Ma) planetary temperatures were several degrees warmer than today.

2. A gradual decline in temperature has occurred since. Superimposed on this decline since 2.5 Ma have been substantial glacial and interglacial climate fluctuations. These resulted from the waxing and waning of ice-sheets over high latitudes in both northern and southern hemispheres, the timing of which (20, 41 and ~100 thousand years (ky) spacing - termed Milankovitch frequencies) was controlled by changes in the earth's orbital geometry.

3.. For about the last 0.6 million years, the glacial-interglacial oscillations have occurred on the 100 ky-scale. For more than 90% of that time earth's mean temperature has been cooler, and often much cooler (~5-10 degrees), than today. Warm interglacial periods comprise less than 10% of the time, and on average lasted only ~10 ky. Civilisation and our modern society developed during the most recent warm interglacial period (the Holocene), which has already lasted 10 ky.

4. Superimposed on these longer term climatic cycles are (i) shorter-term cyclic oscillations on all scales between the 11-yr sunspot cycle and ~1, 2 and 5 ky cycles of unknown origin; and (ii) episodes of abrupt climate change, when climate changed across almost the full glacial-interglacial range in a period as short as a few years to a few decades; the causes of abrupt climate change also remain largely unknown.

5. Changes in temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide, which can be measured in ice cores, occur in close parallelism. In detail, however, over both annual and longterm glacial-interglacial periods, changes in temperature PRECEDE changes in carbon dioxide. Thus carbon dioxide cannot be a primary forcing agent for temperature change.

6. Compared with the ancient climate record, and especially that of the last 20 ky glacial to interglacial change, modern temperatures are neither particularly high nor particularly fast-changing. Indeed, temperatures in Antarctica for the three interglacials which precede the Holocene [i.e. last 10,000yrs] were respectively about 5, 4 and 6 degrees warmer than today."


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.

Comments? Email me here. My Home Page is here or here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.