(From Will Alexander)
This requires nothing more than high school science, two long data sets (global air temperatures and sunspot numbers) and Microsoft Excel. If readers have children or grandchildren in their families who are familiar with Excel, I strongly suggest that they encourage the youngsters by offering suitable rewards, to undertake the following tasks and interpret the results. The rest of this challenge is addressed to these budding scientists.
Obtain a copy of the annual global air temperature data from 1850 through to 2006 used in the IPCC reports. Load it into Excel and plot it on a graph.
What do you see? The sharp upward trend since 1980 and the sustained high values during the past six years are very clear. This is the graph that the IPCC relies on for evidence of human causality of global warming. Their argument is that this graph is proof of a causal linkage between increasing greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power stations, heavy industries and transport, and increasing global temperatures.
There are serious problems with this conclusion. Not only has there been no sustained increase in global temperatures since 1998, but during the past year global temperatures have shown a marked decrease. This is causing panic among the climate change fraternity. For reasons that remain a complete mystery, the IPCC failed to take the obvious next step. Could this increase be the consequence of a concurrent increase in solar activity? This is extremely important as the solar linkage has to be eliminated before this temperature increase can be attributed to human activities.
Now that you have got the hang of it, it is a simple matter to produce Excel graphs that show the temperature and sunspot data as well as the corresponding linear trend lines. It is common practice in preliminary time series analyses to split the record into two parts and examine them separately. The year 1913 is the beginning of the first double sunspot cycle during the past century and a convenient point to split the data. Analyze the two split records separately in Excel.
Note that while during the period 1913 to 2006 both the sunspot numbers and the global temperatures show increasing trends, during the earlier period 1850 to 1912 BOTH the global temperatures AND sunspot numbers showed DECREASING trends during this 62-year period. Given the above information, it would be a very brave scientist who continues to claim that there is NO linkage between variations in global temperatures and corresponding variations in sunspot activity. Even more importantly, the IPCC scientists were negligent, bordering on irresponsible, not to carry out these simple analyses that go to the very core of climate change science, and need only a few hours of effort using readily available computer software.
The next task may be difficult to understand and you may need some help. You are required to produce a solar periodicity table that can be used for subsequent analyses. You will have the honour of being among the few people in the world to have produced such a table for this purpose. The years during which the sunspot minima associated with the double sunspot cycle occurred are readily identified in the annual sunspot data. These, together with the number of years between them are as follows. 1843 (24) 1867 (22) 1889 (24) 1913 (20) 1933 (21) 1954 (22) 1976 (20) 1996
It is now possible to produce a solar periodicity table that will allow any time series data to be rearranged and analysed using the solar period as a basic time unit. Produce a table with nine columns and 24 rows. Enter the following numbers in the first row 1, 1843, 1867, 1889, 1913, 1933, 1954, 1976 and 1996. Now enter the following numbers in the second row 2, 1844, 1868, 1890, 1914, 1934, 1955, 1977, and 1997. Can you see what we are doing? The first column is the period year and the other columns are the periods whose lengths vary from 20 to 24 years. Call this Table 1.
Make another periodicity table but leave the years blank. Instead, enter the sunspot numbers for the corresponding years in Table 1. Add another three columns to the table and give them headings lowest, highest and average. Call this Table 2. Analyse the data in the rows one by one in Excel and fill in the values in the last three columns.
Now comes the most important diagram in the whole climate change science. Draw a graph with the period years 1 to 24 on the horizontal axis and the sunspot numbers on the vertical axis. Connect the average values with a continuous line and draw vertical lines connecting the highest and lowest values for each period year from 1 through to 24. Excel will do this for you.
What do you see? These are the two sunspot cycles that make up the double sunspot cycle. Note that they have different shapes. Notice in particular that the second cycle is much less active than the first cycle. We are now in year 13 (see Table 1). This means that the world has just entered a quiet period associated with the second cycle. This is why global temperatures have started cooling. You do not have to be a solar physicist to reach this conclusion.
You have now discovered something that very few scientists in the world have discovered. When you are looking for the evidence of the relationship between solar activity and the world's climate all that you have to do is to create a solar periodicity table, enter the data in the table (for example sunspot numbers, temperature, rainfall and river flow) and then plot the results. If you do this you will find solid evidence (i.e. PROOF) of the linkage between these climatic processes and the double sunspot cycle.
You can now suggest that your parents contact me by email at email@example.com and I will send them a more detailed set of notes on this subject that I presented at a course for practising civil engineers earlier this year. We civil engineers are more interested in facts than in abstract theories that have no practical applications.
GERMANY WARNS THAT HEAVY INDUSTRY MAY FLEE EUROPE
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will press EU leaders meeting in Brussels today and tomorrow to back urgent measures to prevent heavy industries such as cement and steel from fleeing the continent as the bloc debates tighter limits on CO2 emissions after 2012. EU heads of state and government are meeting in Brussels on 13-14 March for their traditional Spring Summit, which is going to focus on climate change and economic issues.
In January, the Commission proposed to tighten the EU emissions trading scheme (EU-ETS) for the period after 2012, a move which it said could lead to a rise in electricity prices of up to 10-15% (EurActiv 23/01/08). But it added that, unless a global climate change agreement is reached, a "compensation mechanism" would be put in place to prevent 'carbon leakage' whereby EU industries covered by the EU-ETS move to other parts of the world, like China or India, where CO2 emissions are not regulated.
Two options are being considered in that event: Granting free emission allowances to industries which are particularly exposed to international competition, or; imposing a "carbon tax" on imports from countries with no CO2 emission constraints. However, the Commission has delayed making a decision over which industries could benefit from the measures.
"The European Council recognises that carbon leakage in energy-intensive sectors exposed to international competition needs to be addressed urgently," according to draft wording that Germany is pushing to be inserted into the summit conclusions. In Germany's view, the matter must be addressed "urgently", before a potential international agreement is struck to replace the Kyoto Protocol. "Until an international agreement is concluded, auctioning of greenhouse gas allowances should not apply to sectors with a significant risk of carbon leakage," according to the text pushed for by German diplomats. "In such sectors, increased electricity prices due to emissions trading need to be taken into account."
Energy-intensive industries such as glass, cement and steel have stepped up warnings about the potential for 'carbon leakage', meaning the relocation of energy intensive factories and jobs beyond the EU's borders. But until now, the Commission has only given them partial assurances, saying they may be given free emission allowances in the post-2012 phase of the EU emissions trading scheme. "It is not in the interest of the European Union that in the future production moves to countries with less strict emissions limits," the EU executive said in a communication in support of the metals sector, presented on 25 February.
However, at the same time, it has also resisted calls for immediate measures, saying the priority should be to conclude an international climate change agreement that would potentially resolve the 'carbon leakage' issue. "The emphasis is of course on the conclusion of an international agreement, which could sort out most of the problems that we are encountering on carbon leakage," said Jos Delbeke, Deputy Director General at the Commission's environment directorate.
Speaking to EurActiv in a recent interview, Delbeke sought to clarify the Commission's approach. "The Commission has said that it would define the sectors in which carbon leakage would continue to exist after the conclusion of an international agreement, and that, in a second step, it would make proposals - at the latest by 2011."
FANTASY POLITICS IN BRUSSELS
Less than a month ago, we were reporting on how the EU member state governments, when confronted with the economic reality of implementing their fantasy 20 percent cut in CO2 emissions, were demurring at the potential costs and seeking ways to reduce their impact. The point was that these self-same governments had agreed those very cuts at the spring European Council the year before. Following that experience, with the next spring council due this Thursday and Friday, you would think they might have learned a lesson or two.
But this is the European Union we are talking about and, to expect rational behaviour is to neglect the effect of the unreal world inhabited by the "colleagues" as they get round the table in Brussels. Thus it is, according to Reuters, that "EU leaders" are this week to call on the EU commission "to draw up a road map for deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, going beyond a unilateral target agreed in the fight against climate change."
Already, a draft final statement has been prepared by the EU's Slovenian presidency. It employs the mind-numbing language that the "colleagues" so love, declaring: "Stepping up to the more ambitious 30 percent reduction target as part of a global and comprehensive agreement needs to be built in explicitly, and in a balanced, transparent and equitable way."
And in a "balanced, transparent and equitable way", EU leaders will put their names to this fantasy document and walk away to collect the headlines. Their civil servants, on the other hand - individually and collectively - will tear their hair out, in full knowledge that the target is unachievable. Not only that, they must be aware that each of the member states governments have no intention whatsoever of even trying.
Nevertheless, Mr Brown will solemnly commend to our local parliament on Monday, in his ritual post council statement, the new targets. So life will go on, with MPs performing their usual role as a captive audience in what can only be described as fantasy politics.
What really gives the game away in this context is that, as Reuters reports, the Slovenian statement does not offer detailed plans on how the EU intends to achieve this deeper cut. Bearing in mind that the current crop of "leaders" have no idea of how they are going to achieve the 20 percent cut already agreed, this is wholly predictable. But it does make you wonder about the sanity of those involved in this process, where reality can be suspended, not only once but again and again and again.
10 questions shaping 21st-century earth science identified
The summary report from the National Research Council below identifies important questions in earth sciences. Note their summary of climate change. They clearly say that the models are not yet up to enabling accurate predictions. They certainly make clear that the science is not "settled"
Ten questions driving the geological and planetary sciences were identified today in a new report by the National Research Council. Aimed at reflecting the major scientific issues facing earth science at the start of the 21st century, the questions represent where the field stands, how it arrived at this point, and where it may be headed.
"With all the advancements over the last 20 years, we can now get a better picture of Earth by looking at it from micro- to macro-perspectives, such as discerning individual atoms in minerals or watching continents drift and mountains grow," said Donald J. DePaolo, professor of geochemistry at the University of California at Berkeley and chair of the committee that wrote the report. "To keep the field moving forward, we have to look to the past and ask deeper fundamental questions, about the origins of the Earth and life, the structure and dynamics of planets, and the connections between life and climate, for example."
The report was requested by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey, and NASA. The committee selected the question topics, without regard to agency-specific issues, and covered a variety of spatial scales -- subatomic to planetary -- and temporal scales -- from the past to the present and beyond.
The committee canvassed the geological community and deliberated at length to arrive at 10 questions. Some of the questions present challenges that scientists may not understand for decades, if ever, while others are more tractable, and significant progress could be made in a matter of years, the report says. The committee did not prioritize the 10 questions -- listed with associated illustrative issues below -- nor did it recommend specific measures for implementing them.
WHAT CAUSES CLIMATE TO CHANGE -- AND HOW MUCH CAN IT CHANGE?
Earth's surface temperature has remained within a relatively narrow range for most of the last 4 billion years, but how does it stay well-regulated in the long run, even though it can change so abruptly" Study of Earth's climate extremes through history -- when climate was extremely cold or hot or changed quickly -- may lead to improved climate models that could enable scientists to predict the magnitude and consequences of climate change.
HOW HAS LIFE SHAPED EARTH -- AND HOW HAS EARTH SHAPED LIFE?
The exact ways in which geology and biology influence each other are still elusive. Scientists are interested in life's role in oxygenating the atmosphere and reshaping the surface through weathering and erosion. They also seek to understand how geological events caused mass extinctions and influenced the course of evolution.
CAN EARTHQUAKES, VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS, AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES BE PREDICTED?
Progress has been made in estimating the probability of future earthquakes, but scientists may never be able to predict the exact time and place an earthquake will strike. Nevertheless, they continue to decipher how fault ruptures start and stop and how much shaking can be expected near large earthquakes. For volcanic eruptions, geologists are moving toward predictive capabilities, but face the challenge of developing a clear picture of the movement of magma, from its sources in the upper mantle, through Earth's crust, to the surface where it erupts.
HOW DO FLUID FLOW AND TRANSPORT AFFECT THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT?
Good management of natural resources and the environment requires knowledge of the behavior of fluids, both below ground and at the surface, and scientists ultimately want to produce mathematical models that can predict the performance of these natural systems. Yet, it remains difficult to determine how subsurface fluids are distributed in heterogeneous rock and soil formations, how fast they flow, how effectively they transport dissolved and suspended materials, and how they are affected by chemical and thermal exchange with the host formations.
A Really Inconvenient Truth
The most inconvenient truth for climate alarmists is the burgeoning number of influential scientists with dissenting opinions on global warming. Al Gore says global warming is an inconvenient truth. "Inconvenient" adds a clever twist to the name of the would-be president's popular documentary and book. But far worthier of scrutiny is the other word in the title: "Truth."
Man-made global warming, says the former politician and a rising sea of climate alarmists, is not just inconvenient, it's an unequivocal, undeniable truth. In fact, the truth about global warming is so convincing, that "debate in the scientific community is over." Says who? Well, the United Nations for starters. February of last year, the United Nations issued a press release highlighting its latest report, which apparently proved "changes in the atmosphere, the oceans and glaciers and ice caps now show unequivocally that the world is warming due to human activities" (emphasis mine throughout). According to Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program (unep), Feb. 2, 2007, will be remembered as the day "where the question mark was removed behind the debate on whether climate change has anything to do with human activity on this planet."
Then in December, at the circus-like Bali conference in Indonesia, an updated version of the report, produced by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ipcc), was embraced by scientists and world leaders alike. Since then, the report-which is riddled with qualifying statements that corrode the report's fundamental premise (that global warming is a man-made crisis)-has been touted by the mainstream press as conclusive proof of climate change. To climate activists, the case is closed on man-made global warming. But is it?
Flinging the word truth around is easy. Convicted criminals claim that the truth is they're innocent; car salesmen say the truth is they can't afford to drop the price further; a child with brownie mix smeared all over his face argues that he's telling the truth when he denies running his tongue round the mixing bowl. The real test of truth is whether or not it conforms with reality and is backed by verified, indisputable facts.
For climate alarmists, the really inconvenient truth is that a burgeoning number of scientists, climate experts and even politicians around the world are discussing facts that clash with the so-called truth that the globe is warming because of human activities. The real truth is that the theory of man-made global warming-despite being virtually canonized in the UN and the minds of a slew of politicians and celebrities, and naturally in the mainstream media-remains one of the most contentious issues in science. That contention was on full display in New York City last week.
Those who depend solely on the mainstream newsmedia to keep them informed might have missed the headlines about the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, sponsored by the Heartland Institute and featuring nearly 100 speakers and 500 attendees skeptical of man-made global warming. The highly successful three-day conference occurred in the wake of recent reports of global cooling and the release of a blockbuster U.S. Senate minority report featuring over 400 prominent scientists disputing the theory of man-made global warming. Last week's conference testified to one towering truth in the world of science: Debate within the scientific community over global warming is far from dead and buried.
The high-water mark of the conference was the presentation of a report produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (nipcc) claiming nature, not human activity, was the cause of climate change. The nipcc is comprised of international scientists and was formed as a counterforce to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
International scientists, climate experts and policymakers at the event listened to lectures and panel discussions exposing the fraud of the global warming "truth," perused studies and reports showing stark division in the scientific community over global warming, and swapped stories about how they'd been "denied tenure, shut out of scientific conferences and rejected by academic journals because no matter how scrupulous their research," their conclusions contradicted the truth espoused by the climate change pharisees (National Post, March 10). Many attendees spoke of colleagues too afraid to attend the conference for fear of losing their jobs.
Many of the details at the conference can be found in this piece from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Those who take the time to investigate the links therein will experience an eye-opening expos‚ of the staggering scale of the global warming scam. Take funding for global warming research, for example. Over the past decade, research intended to prove the veracity of man-made global warming has been funded to the tune of $50 billion, while global warming skeptic research has received a comparatively measly $19 million.
During the conference, the Business and Media Institute (bmi), a division of Media Research Center (America's largest and most respected watchdog group), also released its comprehensive study on how the mainstream media reports on global warming. bmi's analysis of 205 network stories between July 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2007, exposed the mainstream media as the largest propaganda vehicle for global warming crusaders: Global warming proponents overwhelmingly outnumbered those with dissenting opinions. On average, for every skeptic there were nearly 13 proponents featured. abc did a slightly better job with a 7-to-1 ratio, while cbs's ratio was abysmal at nearly 38-to-1. Scientists made up only 15 percent of the global warming proponents shown. The remaining 85 percent included politicians, celebrities, other journalists and even ordinary men and women.
Of the three networks (abc, nbc and cbs), 80 percent of stories (167 out of 205) didn't mention skepticism or anyone at all who dissented from global warming. cbs did the absolute worst job. Ninety-seven percent of its stories ignored other opinions. The lesson: Transforming a lie into truth before an unwitting public is made easier by silencing dissenting opinions. Eighty percent of news stories omitted the opposing view altogether. How fair and objective is that?
Media bias isn't confined to television networks. Read this March 4 article by Juliet Eilperin in the Washington Post on last week's climate conference in New York City. "Sponsored by the Heartland Institute," she writes, "the 2«-day session poses a stark contrast to the near-unanimous chorus of concern expressed by top U.S. politicians and most of the scientific mainstream."
"Stark contrast to the near-unanimous chorus of concern"? Might the perceived "near-unanimous" concern about man-made global warming be a result of the gag-order imposed on thousands of scientists and hundreds of reporters from around the world espousing a dissenting opinion? Any person who watches cbs News or reads the Washington Post would be forgiven for joining the ranks of those who believe global warming is a man-made crisis. Why? Because unanimity is easy when dissenting voices are ignored.
Despite Al Gore and the UN's claim that the case is closed on global warming, there are dissenting voices! Besides last week's conference in New York, besides the 400 skeptical scientists that signed the U.S. Senate minority report released a few months ago, countless other studies show dissent in the scientific community over man's role in global warming. One Canadian survey of 51,000 earth scientists and engineers by the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (apegga), released last week, showed that 68 percent disagreed with the statement that "the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled."
Near-unanimous? Later in the Post piece, Eilperin compares the UN-sponsored ipcc report with the nipcc report, finishing the section with a snappy little jab by saying that some of the authors of the nipcc report "were not scientists." The clear implication is that the nipcc report lacks scientific credibility, which is patently untrue.
But let's address scientific credibility. According to the bmi study mentioned above, just 15 percent of global warming proponents shown on network television are scientists, while the remaining 85 percent are politicians, celebrities and ordinary men and women (whose viewpoints are often shaped by the mainstream press). Clearly, scientific credibility is not a primary concern of the global warming propaganda machine.
Eilperin concluded her piece with a series of quotes from climate alarmists taking potshots at the so-called quacks who attended the New York conference. Because the media and many politicians are now ignoring the climate skeptics, she wrote, quoting Princeton professor Michael Oppenheimer, "They have to get together to talk to each other, because nobody else is talking to them."
Oppenheimer's remark makes for a tidy little soundbite. But in truth, that conference illustrated the rising tide of scientists proving themselves willing to come out and declare man-made global warming to be a giant fraud. The U.S. Senate Commmittee on Environment and Public Works reports: In such nations as Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Russia, Argentina, New Zealand, Portugal and France, groups of scientists have recently spoken out to oppose and debunk man-made climate fears....
In January 2008, environmental scientist professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder and director of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, announced publicly that he considered Co2-related climate fears to be "dangerous nonsense."
In addition, at least one scientist publicly pondered reconsidering his view of man-made climate fears after the Senate report of 400 scientists was released in December. "It (the Senate 400 scientists report) got me thinking: I'm an environmental scientist, but I've never had time to review the `evidence' for the anthropogenic causes of global warming," wrote environmental scientist professor Rami Zurayk of the American University in Beirut on Dec. 27, 2007. "When I said, in my opening speech for the launch of unep's (United Nations Environment Program) Global Environment Outlook-4 in Beirut: `There is now irrevocable evidence that climate change is taking place .' I was reading from a statement prepared by unep. Faith-based science it may be, but who has time to review all the evidence? I'll continue to act on the basis of anthropogenic climate change, but I really need to put some more time into this," Zurayk wrote.
Professor Zurayk's stark admission raises an interesting question: How many scientists on the man-is-the-cause-of-global-warming bandwagon are there simply because they have followed their colleagues, the UN, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, or Bono? How many have proven, scientifically, that global warming has been induced by man?
The collective embrace of man-made global warming as the cause of the growing number of environmental and climate disasters is a globe-encompassing red herring, a giant distraction from the real cause of these natural catastrophes.
Environmental and climate disasters are indeed becoming more common. But the primary and fundamental cause of these problems is not global warming. To learn more about the great global warming hoax, the real causes of environmental and climate disasters, and the solution for these crises, read "The Politics of Global Warming" and "The Cause of Weather Crises."
Cellulosic ethanol: not likely to be viable
The article below is from the Greenie "Gristmill". Occasionally they get it -- when it suits their message of doom
Cellulosic ethanol represents a beacon on the horizon -- the justification cited by wiseguys like Vinod Khosla for dropping billions per year in public cash to prop up corn ethanol production. Corn ethanol, you see, is a bridge to a bright cellulosic future. But the beacon is looking more and more like a mirage, a ghost, a specter; the bridge we're hurtling down may well lead to a chasm. A quiet consensus seems to be forming among people you'd think would know the facts on the ground: cellulosic ethanol, touted as five years away from viability for decades now, may never be viable.
Last fall, a researcher from the USDA -- an agency that has lavished ethanol with research cash since the '70s -- declared that while cellulosic has "some long-term promise" (some?), we shouldn't expect it to contribute significantly to fuel supplies before 2013. Then in January, Colin Peterson -- chair of the House Ag Committee and a long-time friend of agribiz -- let slip that "I'm not sure cellulosic ethanol will ever get off the ground." He muttered something about "a lot bigger problem to overcome here than people realize in terms of the feedstocks."
Now we get a new study (PDF) from a trio of ag economists at Iowa State University. For the record, the authors are conventional ag scholars firmly entrenched within the corporate-dominated research world described so well by Nancy Scola in her recent "Monsanto U." post. Indeed, one of the authors holds the Pioneer Hi-Bred International Chair in Agribusiness. (Pioneer is the genetically modified seed arm of the chemical giant Dupont.) The researchers' patrons -- i.e., the agribiz giants -- benefit from the corn-as-bridge-to-cellulosic myth; it keeps those highly profitable government goodies coming. So it's surprising to see these mainstream economists deliver such a dismal forecast for cellulosic ethanol.
To come up with their forecasts, the authors do their economists' trick of creating a model and plugging in various assumptions. They start by calculating that without the latest round of goodies -- i.e., the fat "Renewable Fuel Standard" of the 2007 Energy Act -- cellulosic ethanol (and biodiesel, too) would have withered away. In that scenario, corn ethanol would keep ramping up from the current level of about 7 billion gallons, pushed by high oil prices and the $0.51/gallon tax credit that's existed for years. Here's what they say would have happened by 2022, if the 2007 Act had never happened (economists lay out their conditional, speculative scenarios in the simple present tense):
The corn ethanol sector expands until total production exceeds 18 billion gallons per year. Biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass are not viable in this scenario. Cellulosic ethanol never expands, and the biodiesel sector contracts so that there are no biodiesel plants operating in the long run.
They add a bit that I found particularly devastating: "These results suggest that [without the 2007 Energy Act], once the opportunity cost of land is taken into account, rational farmers will not grow switchgrass or soybeans for biofuel production, and rational investors will not build these plants." Believe me, that thing about "rational" farmers and investors is strong stuff, coming from conventional economists.
Now, what happens when we account for the 2007 Act's hefty mandate? Current production, almost all from corn, stands at about 7 billion gallons. The act demands 36 billion gallons of biofuel by 2022, of which 15 billion comes from corn, and the other 21 billion gallons comes from cellulosic (and to a much less extent biodiesel).
The authors seriously doubt the cellulosic target can even come close to being met. They reckon that the mandate can inspire "rational" farmers and investors to churn out 4.5 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol by 2022 -- but there's a catch. In order to reach even that level, the government will have to significantly jack up the tax credit awarded to mixers -- from the current 51 cents to $1.55.
The message is this: Even with the fat 2007 Act mandate, cellulosic ethanol can only offset a tiny amount of petroleum use -- and then only if it's borne aloft by titanic amounts of public cash.
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