Friday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. A global warming statement posted, will this mean that liberals will no longer to be fans of Mr Rutan and his wonderful toys?
  2. And, my commenters strenuously object when I point out that in my youth, global cooling was the fear. See, some proof? I remain confused on why increases in the quantity and quality of arable land isn’t a good thing.
  3. Well, Mr Obama will be able to lock up the “please sir, may I have another … (whack)” crowd.
  4. Computational complexity and popular games.
  5. Well, that’s half right. Mormons are not a Protestant sect. Mormons are properly termed a “Christ cult”. Nicene Christian sects are also Christ Cults. Fair or not, Nicene Christians, especially within the context of discussions with Nicene Christians group all Nicene affirming Christ cults as Christian. Got it? It’s really not that hard. Oh, and Protestant sects is the label for those Christ cults that broke from the Roman Catholic church during the reformation.
  6. Hope, change and Libya.
  7. Well, there’s the cutest thing you’ll see all day.
  8. Mr Obama, misleading from the front.
  9. The Serbs and Ms Jolie’s movie. The Serbian members of our church are very nice people, and I wish we’d sing their music more because it’s beautiful. The point is, my contact with Serbs and Serbians has been quite positive.
  10. The third term loophole.

18 Responses to Friday Highlights

  1. And, my commenters strenuously object when I point out that in my youth, global cooling was the fear. See, some proof? I remain confused on why increases in the quantity and quality of arable land isn’t a good thing.

    Global cooling was a hypothesis that made a brief flash in the pan in the 70′s because its sci-fi aspect made it easy for the media to pick it up. The hypothesis never advanced far in the scientific community and its prime causal agent, particulates from soot and other pollution blocking out the sun’s energy, became moot as advances in clean air regulation removed a large portion from the atmosphere.

    As for your confusion, since it’s caused by purposeful ignorance it would seem to be a product of free will, not lack of knowledge that I can help you with.

  2. Re: #5 I generally agree. A Protestant sect should trace its lineage somewhere from Martin Luther’s break with the Roman Church. I wouldn’t trace the Mormon’s from there (although the Book of Mormon borrows very heavily from the Bible and somewhat fantastical beliefs by mainly Protestants of Joesph Smith’s day that Native Americans were somehow related to one of Israel’s tribes, and of course most of Smith’s followers were from the Protestant tradition). That would also mean the Anglican Church, which broke with Rome due to Henry VIII’s divorce desires, would not be a Protestant sect as well, of course, as Mark’s fav. Orthodox Church.

  3. Boonton,

    Global cooling was a hypothesis that made a brief flash in the pan in the 70′s because its sci-fi aspect made it easy for the media to pick it up. The hypothesis never advanced far in the scientific community and its prime causal agent, particulates from soot and other pollution blocking out the sun’s energy, became moot as advances in clean air regulation removed a large portion from the atmosphere.

    Sounds like as China has larger industrial soot and pollutants impacting the environment, that will make a comeback. And I’m sorry, my recollection of your suggestion is wrong. The popular press “picked up on it” because that’ what the environmental scientists were teaching. Why do you think that “global warming” is not a “brief flash in the pan because the sci-fi aspect made it easy for the media to pick up” (and people like Mr Gore and his friends billion(s) of dollars on hyping it … that this is not just another brief flash.

    As for your confusion, since it’s caused by purposeful ignorance it would seem to be a product of free will, not lack of knowledge that I can help you with.

    We discussed this briefly earlier. Your arguments were very weak. Do you have better ones? The primary weakness of your example is that it didn’t include increases in arable land and generally increased crop yields and supposed the climate changes would be far to quick for humans to adapt or move. These are not realistic suppositions. So, we are told there is a problem with finding enough food for the growing human population. Remind me why increases in arable land and crop yield is bad? Seems to me these are unalloyed good things.

  4. Boonton,
    One more thing on the Protestants … not only Lutheran related churches are Protestant. Calvin, Zwingli were also Protestant founders. Cranmer (the Anglican leader) while prompted by political reasons partially aligned himself with doctrines coming out of the protestant movement and took the “via media” (the “middle way”) and the Episcopal church sort of regards itself in the Protestant fold.

  5. The popular press “picked up on it” because that’ what the environmental scientists were teaching. Why do you think that “global warming” is not a “brief flash in the pan because the sci-fi aspect made it easy for the media to pick up” (and people like Mr Gore and his friends billion(s) of dollars on hyping it

    It was a very brief flash in the pan, and even a the time global warming was a serious concern (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling for example, in 1976 the world Meteorological Organization issued a warning that global warming as more probable……and unless Al Gore and his friends had a time machine there was no big money for saying that then).

    If you think not, then cite me something beyone a single Newsweek and Time cover from the 1970′s and account for the fact that even then global warming was even stronger in the scientific literature than the cooling conjecture.

    Sounds like as China has larger industrial soot and pollutants impacting the environment, that will make a comeback

    Well there were two causes presented for the global cooling conjecture. One was a slight tilt to the earth’s orbit, which was believed to generate the ice age cycle. This seems to be a matter of simple confusion, taking the word ‘soon’ used by geologists to mean thousands of years at least to be the same as ‘soon’ in the more sensational press which means like next summer.

    The other cause was aerosols from fossil fuel use. There is a cooling effect with these as they do block some of the sun’s light and form nuclei for cloud formation, unfortunately the warming effect seems much greater.

    Other possible sources of global cooling like massive vulcanic eruptions or nuclear winter haven’t been disproved but they clearly can’t serve as controllable counterbalances to AGW that we could exploit. In other word’s, China’s not going to pollute our way out of global warming.

    The primary weakness of your example is that it didn’t include increases in arable land and generally increased crop yields

    Agriculture is only a portion of the modern economy. It’s not at all clear that we need a special increase in ‘arable land’ to feed more people. The US population has exploded in the last 100 years yet the amount of land has remained exactly the same! As I pointed out earlier, the problem is that you aren’t just talking about an increase but also a decrease. If you made North America into a desert but made North Africa as arable as North America and also increased its arableness by an extra 50%, you’re going to have massive problems even if this shift is gradual over 50-100 years.

  6. and the Episcopal church sort of regards itself in the Protestant fold…

    I’ve been thinking about the old ‘Are Mormon’s Christian’ argument, and one facet that seems to get neglected is the quiet conflict between theologians and regular folk.

    To ‘regular folk’, religion is something done. A Catholic goes to mass, keeps various fasts and Holy Days and such. There’s also a lot of cultural trappings that go with it. When a ‘regular folk’ thinks of Catholicism, they think of this. The theologian, though, sees religion as a system of thought derived from first principles following rigid logical rules. It’s something he can ‘do’ alone in his study.

    Often these two groups are aligned and work together but sometimes the differences in perspectives can be exposed. A relatively minor ‘rule’ for a theologian like don’t eat meat on Friday’s or saying mass in Latin is a very large thing for regular folk and often vice versa. Likewise to the theology minded, an African tribe that converted to Roman Catholicism and sprinkles their masses with ceremonial dance in war paint and costume will appear to be ‘part of the family’ but to a mainstream US Catholic may appear to be quite foreign and strange.

    To the theologically minded, it’s pretty clear there’s a huge chasm between Mormonism and all other mainstream Christian religions. To ‘regular folk’, there seems little difference. Mormon’s dress nice, go to Church on Sunday, take family seriously and so on. They seem to be simply just other Christians who happen to be a bit more straight laced.

    So given this, to my theological mind Protestant means something that originated in some way with the rejection of Rome as the central authority on religion. I wonder, though, if your statement about Episcopalians is made with a ‘folk view’ or a ‘theological view’ in mind?

  7. Boonton,

    If you think not, then cite me something beyone a single Newsweek and Time cover from the 1970′s and account for the fact that even then global warming was even stronger in the scientific literature than the cooling conjecture.

    Look. It’s what I was taught in New Jersey Jr High and High school in the 70s. It’s likely a “statement” made by the global Meteorological Org made didn’t get it into HS texts, seeing as any environmental science in classes would have been in science overviews in Jr High and possibly in Biology in my Freshman year (76). What talk of warming there was, and there was some that I remember, was made in the context that the danger of warming was that the process would then trigger an Ice Age. Premature triggering of an Ice age was the fear. Not the current fear, i.e., we’d get more arable land due to warming.

    The US population has exploded in the last 100 years yet the amount of land has remained exactly the same!

    Yes, and compared to much of the rest of the world, i.e., much of Southeast Asia and Europe, population densities remain very low in the US. Swing again.

    If you made North America into a desert but made North Africa as arable as North America and also increased its arableness by an extra 50%, you’re going to have massive problems even if this shift is gradual over 50-100 years.

    OK. I’ll conceded if you cook the books very closely you can increase world arable land and still make all of North America a desert wasteland. Is this what is expected? Is this your fear? Truly? That if arable land increased globally by 25% because land more northerly is more temperate (note that has to be in the Northern Hemisphere … because the far Southern Hem is all water) that things might fall so that North America somehow becomes desert? You have to get on track with your fellow travelers on the left. Arable land and food production, notwithstanding your protests, is an important concern especially with the growing global population.

    For a better test of the conjecture take it on its face. Move the deserts around and shrink their total area a bit. Then increase the wheat belt northerly and other crop growth belts northward as well. Is that a disaster? In how many situations of your model, shifting and increasing is that the geopolitical crises of the scope you imagine? It seems to me the only problem is the scare line “more arable land” doesn’t fit very well as a disaster mantra.

    You realize the latest Enviro-scare movement has moved away from global warming, first to “climate change”, and then to “more severe storms events” … the latter has the unfortunate feature in which the data doesn’t support that conclusion at all. But hey, increased awareness of large storms for the general public substitutes very well as a proxy for actually having more storms.

  8. Boonton,
    “Regular” Protestants consider Episcopalians Protestant and vice versa (regular Episcopalians consider themselves as both “Catholic lite” and as Protestants).

    To the theologically minded, it’s pretty clear there’s a huge chasm between Mormonism and all other mainstream Christian religions. To ‘regular folk’, there seems little difference. Mormon’s dress nice, go to Church on Sunday, take family seriously and so on. They seem to be simply just other Christians who happen to be a bit more straight laced.

    The Eastern church takes a slightly different view. They view both the outward practices (merely going to church, dressing nice, on Sunday &etc) and the logical confessional differences (which XYZ Confession of Faith you profess to believe). The important thing in the Orthodox view is the liturgy and its practice (what is done and said in services and why those things in particular are done, e.g., why the iconostasis). What the content and forms of your liturgy. That defines our (and their) belief and ultimately their cultic definition.

  9. Look. It’s what I was taught in New Jersey Jr High and High school in the 70s

    Sounds like this is what you remember being taught. And why not, weekly magazines like Newsweek and Time love to do ‘flash in the pan’ cover stories and global cooling has a nice sci-fi edge to it. And teachers love to do little projects to get kids to read newspapers and magazines so I wouldn’t be surprised if you recall it from the 70′s. But I think as you can see by perusing the wikipedia article even then warming had more consensus behind it than cooling.

    It’s likely a “statement” made by the global Meteorological Org made didn’t get it into HS texts,

    Bet you dollars to donuts your 1970′s texts did not have ‘global cooling’.

    OK. I’ll conceded if you cook the books very closely you can increase world arable land and still make all of North America a desert wasteland. Is this what is expected? Is this your fear? Truly? That if arable land increased globally by 25% because land more northerly is more temperate (note that has to be in the Northern Hemisphere…

    In this case then the ‘cost’ of global warming is negative…i.e. its positives outweigh its negatives. Then the price of carbon is still wrong. You should be advocating a negative carbon tax to subsidize the increase emissions of carbon in order to increase arable land.

    But such global tinkering should run up against conservative ideology which should make one skeptical of tinkering with a complex system. My example of turning North America into a desert while giving some other backward area of the world all the increase in arable land is extreme but proves the point. A total or average increase may look good on paper but can still be a net negative on the ground. Boosting US or even the world’s arable land 25% or even 50% would almost certainly not offset the cost of, say, a 25-50% increase in hurricane and flooding hits on the major coastal cities of the world. The world faces no real shortage of arable land, food shortages are almost always caused by poor use of land that is perfectly arable. (I think the nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen observed that no country with a free press ever had a major famine. In other words, famines are more likely to be caused by poor gov’t policies and politicians shielded from scrutiny by a captive or controlled press than a lack of arable land).

    You realize the latest Enviro-scare movement has moved away from global warming, first to “climate change”, and then to “more severe storms events”

    No such move has happened. But then how would you know as your knowledge of various fields seems to be based on the most superficial and random of observations.

  10. 8.Mr Obama, misleading from the front.

    Seems to distort from multiple angles.

    First of all, not developing oil we may have does not ‘make us poorer’. If some region with oil is not developed today, there it sits tomorrow. Since the oil isn’t going anywhere any time soon (it has been there for millions of years after all), not using it today is actually preserving wealth. Unless you have good reasn to think oil is suddenly going to be replaced by something else…but in that case it would be a waste of money to drill expensive wells today if very soon ‘Mr Fusion’ is going to power all cars from bannana peels.

    Second, most areas that are off limits are banned by bi-partisan consensus. The eastern coast of Florida, for example, opposes drilling and both parties have supported that.

    Third, granted the ‘SEC definition’ of reserves limits it to what is legal to drill, no alternative figure is presented than the 2% Obama used. An alternative figure would be kind of sketchy given that there’s really no way to establish reserves in an area without drilling. If you can’t drill then any reserves you claim are down there are just guesses.

    Fourth, the claim that the US has more oil than Saudi Arabia is probably bullshit. Yes maybe if you drill 20 miles deep the US has lots of oil relative to SA where drilling is relatively shallow. But SA doesn’t drill deep because there’s no need too. Drill just a little bit down and you get plenty of easy to pump oil. SA doesn’t drill the way the US drills because they still got plenty of easy to get oil. IF SA started drilling the way the US does, milking every drop even under miles of hard rock, their ‘proven reserves’ figure would certainly increase rapidly too meaning the US still has a tiny portion of world oil reserves.

  11. 9.The Serbs and Ms Jolie’s movie. The Serbian members of our church are very nice people, and I wish we’d sing their music more because it’s beautiful. The point is, my contact with Serbs and Serbians has been quite positive.

    OK I hope you are not using this to judge the Serbian-Bosnian conflict of the 90′s. Kind of like saying the Holocaust couldn’t have happened because that nice old German couple you knew as a neighbor from childhood were just so sweet that you know they’d never hurt anyone.

  12. Boonton,

    Bet you dollars to donuts your 1970′s texts did not have ‘global cooling’.

    That’s right. The term/fear was triggering the onset of an early Ice age.

    In this case then the ‘cost’ of global warming is negative…i.e. its positives outweigh its negatives. Then the price of carbon is still wrong. You should be advocating a negative carbon tax to subsidize the increase emissions of carbon in order to increase arable land.

    Why? Why should I prefer that human engineering, especially of a poorly understood complex system, is something for which government intervention is suggested.

    But such global tinkering should run up against conservative ideology which should make one skeptical of tinkering with a complex system.

    Yep.

    Boosting US or even the world’s arable land 25% or even 50% would almost certainly not offset the cost of, say, a 25-50% increase in hurricane and flooding hits on the major coastal cities of the world.

    You know you could predict sillier things (You do realize that there has been no increase in storm activity in the last century).

  13. Boonton,

    Kind of like saying the Holocaust couldn’t have happened because that nice old German couple you knew as a neighbor from childhood were just so sweet that you know they’d never hurt anyone.

    Uhm, Serbs, as noted elsewhere are the EU approved bigotry. They are Europe’s niggers. I’m just saying my personal experience contradicts that. You can judge whether it colors me “judging” the Serb/Bosnian conflict when I ever do, if I do.

  14. Boonton,
    Nice cover … but a little strained. Let’s see, we use one criteria to judge oil reserves in the US and a completely different one to judge it everywhere else, but you claim that’s honest reporting. Gotcha. You’re starting to sound as honest as Mr Clinton. Are you going to next parse meanings of the word “is”.

  15. Actually I didn’t read that Obama was using the SEC definition of proven reserves which would be used by companies that own oil fields to report their value on their balance sheet versus a geological definition that would simply be the sum total of established reserves in all known oil fields. (And for countries like Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Russia etc. they may or may not use the SEC definition and may or may not be honesty reporting their proven reserves) I read the claim that if you included areas where drilling is banned, the US has more than 2% of the world’s oil reserves, but the claim didn’t back this up and didn’t tell us how much more than 2% so there’s no way to evaluate that claim.

    And I’m not using a different criteria. Amounts of oil are meaningless unless you pair them with the ease of extraction. It’s meaningless to say the US has as much oil as SA if you are counting oil under 20 miles of solid rock while SA is only counting easy to suck oil below soft clay and sand.

  16. Boonton,
    The question of what constitutes an oil reserve can be regarded as a function of the cost of oil and the current extraction technologies. Setting aside oil sands and shales, the US has one of the largest world repositories of natural gas and coal. At some price point conversion to light gasoline from those sources becomes viable … at which point the US is a leading holder of those resources (because we have some of the largest global reserves of NG and coal).

  17. Boonton,

    To continue, putting “price” as a criteria is not in itself a bad thing, as long as the same geological criteria is used worldwide. Using political feasibility of access as a criteria is not a good measure for assessing national reserves.

  18. At some price point conversion to light gasoline from those sources becomes viable

    Only problem the article claimed that the US’s global reserves of oil were much higher than 2% if you added in potential oil in areas off limits to drilling. There’s plenty of coal mining in the US unhampered by ‘off limit areas’.

    Again I’m not seeing any justification of the 2% figure as either deceptive or dramatically different if you counted areas where drilling is illegal.

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