Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Light Bulb Ban Loophole

I must note something about the futility of the Edison light bulb ban. There is already available an excluded-from-the-ban version of incandescents from Amazon.com and online bulb sites that only cost about double of already cheap normal bulbs, namely "rough service" bulbs that have beefier filaments and are thus *less* efficient than standard bulbs.

This loophole will be outed soon after the ban takes effect, assuming it does, and just like other types of prohibition will lead to a rebellion against the law, making them cool and popular and resulting in more energy use akin to how vast number of people prefer big beefy SUVs as status symbols in rebellion against green nanny statism. From the bill:

(ii) EXCLUSIONS.—The term ‘general service incandescent lamp’ does not include the following incandescent lamps:


(XII) A rough service lamp.

Search Amazon.com for: 100W rough service.

By email from a reader: -=NikFromNYC=-

Scientists Expose Inside Job Behind Endangered Species Scam

History tells us that listing a critter as an endangered species does little for the species and can do a great deal of harm to the local economies—the spotted owl and the delta smelt are two oft-cited cases. But there is not a big body of evidence showing how these listing decisions were made. It was just assumed that the species plight warranted protection.

But that was before the listing proposal for the dunes sagebrush lizard threatened a large segment of U.S. domestic oil production and the economies of Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas.

Rallies in opposition to the listing have drawn hundreds of irate citizens, hearings on the matter have had overflow crowds, and the public register has pages and pages of public comment. Both ABC and Fox News have done stories on the lizard

Acting on the outrage of his constituents and using his law enforcement background, New Mexico State Representative Dennis Kintigh gathered a group of independent scientists—several from area universities—who have spent the last several months reviewing the science underlying the listing. Their report will be released in a public meeting on Monday, August 15, in Artesia, New Mexico, in a roundtable format with the scientists available for questions.

Combining Kintigh’s FBI skills with the scientists’ expertise, the team is exposing fatal flaws in the proposed rule that should bring every previous listing, and the entire process, into question.

While the complete report will be available online on Monday, I’ve met with Kintigh and have a draft copy.

One of the biggest concerns is the supposedly independent peer review of the science on which the proposed rule is based. The Federal Register states:“It is the policy of the services to incorporate independent peer review in listing and recovery activities.”

To the average citizen, the underlying science may appear to have independent peer review as five different universities are listed as offering review—however, no names of the individuals or their qualifications are provided. The anonymous peer review process is routine in scientific journals, but in such settings, there is an established and trusted editorial board and reviewers are required to disclose any conflicts of interest.

But in Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings, the public should be appalled by the shroud of secrecy. This decision involves public money and has a large potential for direct economic impact on the surrounding communities, and, to a lesser extent, the whole country. At the least, peer review needs to be transparent. Better yet would be a process where advocates from each side can clash openly before independent decision makers.

Due to the Kintigh investigation, it has been discovered that at least two of the “independent” reviewers have conflicts of interest: Dr. Lauren Chan and Dr. Howard Snell—they wrote the foundational studies for the proposal. Is it likely that someone who wrote the study could review the rule and question the accuracy of his or her own work? We can assume that the complimentary reviews were from Chan and Snell.

The unattributed peer reviews of the ESA listing proposal provided online have devastating criticisms from Texas A & M University, questioning the sampling process and finding many unwarranted conclusions. However, nowhere are these criticisms addressed.

In researching the process, it was discovered that for ESA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) doesn’t go through what the science community would call “peer review.” They have an “internal peer review”—FWS checks over FWS’s own work. The agency does not disclose the identity of the report writer or the “peer reviewers.”

We, as citizens, also do not know who wrote the proposed rule—though investigation indicates that it was written by FWS staffer Debra Hill—meaning she has no accountability. Additionally, her husband is the author of some of the research—which brings into question her ability to be independent.

Whoever wrote the proposed rule clearly wanted the lizard listed as the document is filled with contradiction and speculation—but it was issued anyway. In the proposed listing it states: “We do not know the magnitude or imminence of the direct or indirect impacts of competition and climate change on the status of the species at this time. However, we consider exposure to oil and gas pollutants to be a threat to the species throughout its range, both now and continuing into the foreseeable future.” Wait, you, the unknown author, are willing to destroy the regional economy based on “we do not know” and “we consider”? In other cases, the word “likely” is used to describe a population reduction. Elsewhere it is stated that the species is “persisting.” “Could,” “can,” “we believe”…

One example of the contradictions within the listing rule is in reference to the pipelines found in the habitat area and utilized in oil and gas activities. The concluding comments of the pipeline section say that pipelines are a “significant threat,” but earlier it states: “It is not known how dunes sagebrush lizards utilize pipelines.” Additionally, one of the studies the rule is based on indicates that the lizards like pipelines and service roads: “…pipeline cuts and sand roads serve as preferred habitat…”

The report being released on Monday has these comments in the closing: “The committee was surprised by the contradictions the data presented. There is a clear lack of an unequivocal sense about the actual range of the species and habitats preferred. There is surprising information that anthropogenic activities may well enhance habitat preferred by the species. Other examples of inadequate reporting or outright error can be found in the body of the committee report.”

How would you feel if your family lost the farm because the needed water was diverted to save the smelt, or your livelihood was taken away because of the spotted owl, and you discovered that, like the dunes sagebrush lizard, the ESA listing was based on secrecy, speculation, and contradiction? It is imperative that the process be brought out into the open.

As the climategate scandal exposed the secrecy, speculation, and contradiction in the manmade climate change research that precluded opposing viewpoints from being considered, the Kintigh investigation should change the entire ESA process from now on.

In short, the proposed rule plays on fear, uncertainty, and doubt and fails to scientifically show that the lizard is endangered or is negatively impacted by human activity.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Climate Models Not So Good For Crop Prediction

The claim that high CO2 levels and a warmer climate will be bad for crops is howlingly stupid. To put it anthropomorphically, crops LIKE high CO2, more warmth and the higher rainfall that warming would produce. Anybody who says otherwise is a deliberate crook and liar. WCR puts it a bit more diplomatically below -- JR

Many global warming alarmists tout the notion that anthropogenic global warming will result in widespread crop failures as (projected) climate changes increasingly lead to increasingly bad growing conditions (see our article Science Fiction Down on the Farm, for some examples).

Using Al Gore’s lingo, we are quick to call “BS” on that premise, for the simple fact that that is not how things work. Crop scientists and farmers have an economic incentive to improve genetic cultivars and agricultural practices to maximize output given the prevailing environmental conditions. And, they are pretty effective at what they do. Despite the “global warming” and other affiliated and/or non-affiliated climate changes that have occurred over the past 100 years, global crop production just keeps on increasing—see our recent coverage here of this very good news.

We are clearly and demonstrably able to change agricultural practices to keep up with changing climate while increasing yields. So much for the “dumb farmer scenario” that farmers stand by and watch their crops fail as conditions change.

But what about those future climate changes that underlie the scare scenarios? Are climate models really able to predict the climatic factors that are important for agriculture?

A new soon-to-be-published study finds that the models are not so hot, at least over the world’s most productive agro-region, the good-old-US of A. As we shall see, though, the pressures to say the politically correct thing still comes beaming through from the halls of Academia.

A research team led by Adam Terando of Penn State University compared the observed temporal and spatial patterns of three agriculturally important climate indices across North America with the patterns predicted by a collection of climate models.

The three “agro-climate” indices examined by Terando and colleagues were the annual number of frost days (days when the minimum temperature dropped below freezing), the “thermal time” (the amount of time during the growing season that the temperature is within the optimal growth range for a particular crop (in this case corn)), and the “heat stress index” (the amount of time during the growing season that the temperature exceeds a threshold value above which negative impacts to crop production can occur). To assess patterns of change in these agro-climate indices across North America, the indices were compared over two time periods, 1951-1980 and 1981-2010 (Figure 1).

Over this time period which covers the last 60 years, in general, the number of frost days declined (a positive climate change for crops), the “thermal time” increased (another positive change), and heat stress index markedly increased across the southern and western U.S. (where little corn is grown), but decreased in the Midwest and Southeast, which together are the Saudi Arabia of corn.

Terando and colleagues then assessed how well a collection of 17 different climate models did at reproducing these observed changes. They found that the climate models did pretty well at capturing the decline in the number of frost days, and fared a bit worse, but still were largely acceptable in capturing the changes in thermal time, but showed little skill at all in reproducing the observed changes in the heat stress index—with the primary error being that the models predicted a far greater increase in heat stress than actually occurred (that is, the models predicted the heat index to get much worse than it actually did).

The authors summed their findings up this way:

"GCM [climate model] skill, defined as the ability to reproduce observed patterns (i.e. correlation and error) and variability, is highest for frost days and lowest for heat stress patterns. …The lack of agreement between simulated and observed heat stress is relatively robust with respect to how the heuristic is defined and appears to reflect a weakness in the ability of this last generation of GCMs to reproduce this impact-relevant aspect of the climate system. However, it remains a question for future work as to whether the discrepancies between observed and simulated trends primarily reflect fundamental errors in model physics or an incomplete treatment of relevant regional climate forcings."

So what we have is a set of observations that shows that the climate changes that have occurred across much of North America over the past 60 years have been a net benefit to agriculture. Throw in technological changes and a healthy dose of carbon dioxide fertilizer, and the net result is a spectacular increase in crop yields. All the while, climate models would have led us to believe that a fair degree of climate deterioration was going to take place—a change that would have negatively affected crop production.

This does not bode well for climate model-based predictions of what agro-climate changes are to come in the future, a failure which feeds back into the reliability of the apocalyptic proclamations of future crop failures which themselves are already built upon the demonstrably false “dumb farmer” premise. We wonder just how many strikes it takes before a silly concept can be thrown out!

Terando and colleagues are not so quick to agree with us —instead, they warn the reader that their results only apply to the “anomalous conditions seen in North America” and thus “should not be extrapolated to other areas as an indication of how a warming world will impact agriculture.”

Hmmm, they test the models over one the most productive agricultural region in the world and find that they don’t work so well, but still want us to have faith that prognostications based upon the model projections for other parts of the world bear some semblance of reality?

Wonder what phrase Al Gore would use to describe that notion? We agree. And, furthermore, we harrumph that the authors probably had to put the usual global warming clinker in there to keep the powers that be (their bosses) and the powers that let them be (their federal funders) happy.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Democide Is Painless

Meet Ilse Koch, the so-called "Beast of Buchenwald", wife of Karl Otto Koch, Kommandant of that notorious slaughterhouse, and later of Majdanek in Poland. When we were little boys, growing up in the shadow of World War II, my classmates and I, as little boys will, tried to make each other shudder over the gory details of the woman's sadistic cruelties to Jewish concentration camp prisoners. Most infamously, she is the one accused of making lampshades from the preserved skin of her murdered victims. It's said she preferred sections with interesting tattoos.

But what would we do today—and how would the media react—if somebody were to travel around the country delivering passionate, and repulsively well-received speeches in defense of Ilse Koch, demanding that what she did be done again, as a matter of government policy?

You think you know, don't you?

Meet Audrey Tomason. Reportedly Barack Obama's Director for Counterterrorism, the diminutive 30-something Tomason is said by Wikipedia to be "one of the most secretive women in U.S. intelligence circles", so much so that her master's thesis, written while attending Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, is now classified by the U.S. government as top-secret, as reprehensible a violation of academic principles as possible.

It is known that she has authored a report called "The Apocalypse Equation", suggesting that it would be more "humane" for our world—meaning our species—to undergo a "planned and controlled genocide" rather than to see it descend into the abyss of chaos it is now entering.

Note that whenever the power-hungry speak of "chaos", what they are actually referring to is freedom. And that whenever they are doing the most unspeakable things to people—making choices for them that nobody should be allowed to make—it is invariably out of pure kindness.

Making the most out of junk science and garbage arguments like global warming and peak oil, Tomason asserts, without credible support, that the "sustainable population" of this planet (whenever one of these creatures utters the word "sustainable" it's time to empty your shooting hand and unfasten your safety-strap) is only 1.5 billion people, compared to the United Nations' estimate of seven billion, expected to be reached by October 31st of this year—not to mention the figure, even worse, of 10 billion, estimated by the year 2100. The solution, at least according to this intellectual and spiritual descendant of Ilse Koch, is obvious: get rid of five and a half billion individuals now cluttering up her nice, neat, idealistic globe.

The correct word, by the way, is not "genocide", a racist crime, but democide, the indiscriminate slaughter and disposal of men, women, and children, without regard to race, creed, or national origin. When exhaling carbon dioxide becomes Original Sin, democide becomes the Rapture.

The situation is very like—and closely related to—the global warming hoax. Even though the bonnet-bee of overpopulation has been discredited for at least a generation, even though world population growth has been slowing for nearly twenty years, even though the entire population of the Earth could fit into Texas—allowing an acre of land apiece for each individual—and even though the technical means are at hand for as many people to get off the Earth as want to, Tomason's sick fixation is far from unique, in academia, in the establishment media, in the United Nations, and in the Obama regime, each as bloodthirsty and preoccupied with death as the Aztec Empire.

The current excuse doesn't really matter; what's important are the killings.

So what makes Audrey Tomason any different, morally, from Ilse Koch? Is it because her ambitions haven't been realized yet? Or because she has better taste in interior decor? Does it make the act any better if the victims are accorded a decent burial or tidy cremation?

Today, all decent individuals reject the obscene and murderous irrationalities of the Nazis. Regrettably, the world is not controlled by decent individuals. It's controlled by drooling barbarians like Tomason, who want to see some major fraction of the human race—the common call at the U.N. these days is 90 percent—wiped out in some manner most of them are too timorous, as yet, to publicly articulate. Obama's people yearn to initiate a Super-Holocaust, but somehow, in the fevered imaginings of yet another crazed, latterday Nazi, Janet Napolitano, it's we, America's Productive Class, who are potential terrorists.

Some few—I'm sure they'd like to see their names mentioned here—on the excuse that the world isn't ready yet to hear what they believe, tend to give brave speeches at "scientific" conferences where all cameras and recorders have been prohibited. They would like to weaponize the Ebola virus, aerosolize it, and employ the world's huge fleets of strategic bombers to execute everyone they don't approve of in the most excruciating and horrible way imaginable, betraying their actual motivation, a deeply-seated hatred for all of their fellow human beings which finds its origin in an even deeper hatred for themselves.

The milder sort merely want to regiment the population, finally controlling every facet and every moment of our lives in the name of saving energy or cutting carbon emissions, so that we slowly starve to death in overcrowded tenements or die of cold, excessive heat, or despair.

Of course the same restrictions won't apply to them. They'll all be given luxurious dachas in the otherwise deserted countryside as a reward for years of faithful public service. And they'll want to save a few hundred million younger, prettier peasants as hewers of wood, drawers of water, and suckers of—well, I'm sure you get the picture.

There will be some pathetic individuals, reading this, afflicted with a knee-jerk reflex to parrot propaganda mindlessly, who will object to what I've written here as "Argumentum ad Hitlerum", the mere accusation of which is supposed to discredit everything I've said. For them, I have three questions:

First, exactly who do you think gains from that particular kind of censorship? Certainly not those who worry about the rise of another Hitler.

Second, what if the individual I've chosen to discuss really is like Hitler? I would think that anybody who cheerfully advocates the liquidation of a couple of billion individual human beings qualifies in that regard, especially if, as Director for Counterterrorism, they have their would-be bloodsoaked fingers on the levers of government power.

And third, of what use is our vaunted intellectual capability—let alone our memory—if we are forbidden to discuss similarities when they are there, and thereby benefit from the harsh lesson of history?

Which brings us right back around to the question of who benefits. Tomason and her low, vile, disgusting, collectivist ilk have openly announced, in effect, that they fondly aspire to outdo Hitler by at least two orders of magnitude. Maybe the thinkers, in the future, who criticize der Fuehrer, ought to be accused of Argumentum ad Tomason.


Obama Ignores even Internal Dissent on Environmentalist Agenda

President Obama will stop at nothing to pursue his war on coal. He won’t even listen to those within his own administration.

His Small Business Administration advocacy office sent a long and detailed letter regarding the new Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) regulations to EPA Director Lisa Jackson, in which the SBA reported that the “EPA may have significantly understated the burden this rulemaking would impose on small entities.” The law mandates the installment of new filters in energy plant smokestacks, but it also imposes higher energy costs on businesses and consumers as the cost of compliance is passed down.

Despite the EPA’s own admittance that the mandate “is unlikely to substantially affect total risk,” Obama and Jackson remain steadfast in supporting it even though it risks the loss of 251,000 jobs, according to the Unions for Jobs and the Environment.

Actions speak louder than words. With unemployment at 9.2 percent and Obama’s relentless pursuit of a job-killing environmentalist agenda, it’s clear that his cries for “creating jobs” are merely rhetoric. His loyalties do not lie with the American worker, consumer, or businessman nearly as much as they do with “green” groups and the American bureaucrat.


The 'green tax con' that is costing British families £500 as finances are under strain

Every household is paying £500 more than they should in green taxes, researchers claim. Their figures show that environmental taxes hit £41billion last year as family finances came under great strain. They say ministers are using the levies as an excuse to take more money from the taxpayer.

In a hard-hitting book called Let them eat carbon, Matthew Sinclair argues that environmental levies are excessive compared with the harms they are meant to address.

The director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance found that after road levies (£9.2billion) and Air Passenger Duty (£2.1billion) are taken out of the equation, total domestic green taxes were £30billion last year. Yet according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the social cost of greenhouse emissions was £16.9billion.

This means that around £13billion in excess green levies were levied on taxpayers – the equivalent of £500 a family.

Mr Sinclair warned that this figure was likely to be too low because the Government estimate of the social cost per ton of carbon dioxide is itself considered too high.

Mr Sinclair said environmental levies represented a critical new threat to family finances. He claimed that much of the money raised in green taxes goes straight into the pockets of a ‘bewildering range of special interests’ and warned climate change had become ‘big business’.

His book says: ‘Ordinary families are paying a heavy price for the attempts politicians are making to control greenhouse gas emissions. ‘Unfortunately, there is precious little evidence that the various schemes and targets that make up climate change policy are actually an efficient way of cutting emissions.

‘They don’t represent good value and the public are right to be sceptical.’ Energy campaigners say green taxes, which are supposed to help save the planet, make up a fifth of household electricity bills.

The taxes are used to subsidise more wind farms, solar panels and environmentally friendly heating schemes.

Last month, MPs on the environmental audit committee called on the Government to ‘put its money where its mouth is’ and use receipts from fuel and aircraft duties to improve public transport.

A Treasury spokesman said the Government would continue to increase green taxes. ‘The Government is committed to being the greenest ever and will increase the proportion of tax revenue accounted for through environmental taxes,’ she added.

‘But we have also taken action to ease the burden, so taxes on fuel are 6p a litre lower. Diversifying our economy away from imported fossil fuels will also mean greater energy security and be a spur to jobs and growth.’

Motorists have been hit with a record £27billion in fuel duties over the past year. A petition calling for the tax to be frozen is among the most popular on a new Government website.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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