Friday, March 30, 2007

Global warming - naturally

"Much of ...the Arctic warming during the last half century is due to natural change" - Syun-Ichi Akasofu, director of the International Arctic Research Centre, University of Alaska

Lawrence Solomon highlights Dr. Akasofu’s work today in the National Post’s The Deniers - Part XVII:
....over the course of the 20th century, global temperatures increasing by about half a degree Celsius.
...over the course of the 19th century, too, global temperatures again increasing by about a half a degree Celsius.
...over the course of the 18th century, too, global temperatures increasing by about a half a degree Celsius.
...over the course of the latter part of the 17th century as well, global temperatures increasing at the rate of about a half a degree Celsius per century.
Hmmm! Do I detect a pattern here?

These hints come from "ice core data from the Arctic island of Severnaya Zemlya, published just last year" and from "multiple other sources".

Dr. Akasofu, says his work indicates "The Earth may still be recovering from the Little Ice Age."

Furthermore, IPCC climate model ‘hindcasting’ fails to produce results matching the actual observations leading to the conclusion that "arctic warming and cooling is not caused by the greenhouse effect".

More on this by Dr Akasofu:

His guest weblog
Research paper (pdf, 7.9 MB)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

One small step

Good news. Western farmers voted 62 to 38 in favour of ending the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly on barley sales.

That’s a small step in the right direction. Now if the same is done for wheat, eggs, milk ...

Via The Shotgun.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Theft by Lottery Retailers

Lottery ticket retailers have been stealing from their customers. Big surprise!

According to the Globe and Mail, the Ontario Ombudsman’s report on gaming has just been released confirming the obvious and raking the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp over the coals.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. has "turned a blind eye" to crime and cheated money from the pockets of ordinary Canadians for years, says Ontario Ombudsman André Marin.
Anyone with half a clue could see that the system made it easy for retailers to steal winning tickets by blatant theft ("nope it’s not a winner") or substituting a losing or small prize ticket for a large prize winner. Many people don’t bother to check their own tickets and the self-check machines at lottery kiosks only indicated whether a ticket was ‘a winner’ or not. It didn’t say how big the prize was. Many lazy players (I know of some) don’t even bother to do this simple check - they just give their ticket to the retailer to scan.

If theft by retailers is easy, then it’s guaranteed to happen. But government lottery corporations, doing what government monopoly agencies do naturally, took an arrogant, lazy, sloppy, callous attitude and ignored the problem for as long as it could. They deserve every bit of abuse heaped on them by the Ombudsman.

Now I’m expecting the same result for the BC Lottery Corp.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The IPCC’s famous ‘2500 top scientists’

Activists, quacks, flakes and flaks

ell, maybe not all of them fit this description, but Lawrence Solomon’s The Deniers - Part XVI provides some excellent insights into who does.

Given that previous IPCC reports placed such emphasis on the heightened danger, due to global warming, of mosquito-borne malaria one would think the IPCC might consider appointing someone from that field to oversee writing of future report(s). Prof. Paul Reiter, head of the Insects and Infectious Diseases Unit at the Pasteur Institute, was nominated for the job of lead author of the next health chapter. But he was passed over and he’s quoted explaining why:

"I know of no major scientist with any long record in this field who agrees with the pronouncements of the alarmists at the IPCC."

"On the contrary, all of us who work in the field are repeatedly stunned by the IPCC pronouncements. We protest, but are rarely quoted, and if so, usually as a codicil to the scary stuff."

In the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report it was claimed, for example, that global warming could lead to 80 million additional deaths per year world-wide. Prof. Reiter and his colleagues were "dumbfounded" by the "glaring ignorance" of the IPCC scientists. So who were they?

Not one of the lead authors had ever written a research paper on the subject! Moreover, two of the authors, both physicians, had spent their entire career as environmental activists.

"Among the contributing authors there was one .... whose principal interest was the effectiveness of motorcycle crash helmets (plus one paper on the health effects of cellphones)."

And Prof. Reiter raises another very serious complaint against the IPCC - the corruption of the peer-review process. Peer-review is intended to ensure scientific rigor and integrity. Ordinarily peer-reviewers’ names are kept confidential while the deliberations of authors being critiqued are made public. The IPCC reverses this:

"The peer reviewers have to give their names to the authors, but the deliberations of the authors are strictly confidential." In effect, the science is spun, disagreements purged, and results predetermined.

So, the IPCC’s "top scientists" are anything but and they’ve corrupted the process to boot! But I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised - this is the U.N. after all.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


“Well, screw that nonsense.” (Peter Foster)

That pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject too. A day doesn’t pass that we don’t have one control freak or another hounding us about what we should or should not eat, drink, wear, drive, fly or think to fight global warming and ‘preserve the future’ for our children’s children.

As Peter Foster so aptly puts it in his column today:

In reality, such restrictions amount to an attempt to rob our children’s present.
The attempted moralization of most forms of commercial activity is a trend of our times.
The sole exception to this new dogma are the thousands upon thousands .... criss-crossing the skies to attend meetings in exotic locations to promote the new feudalism.
Unless they are vigorously resisted and curbed, all these insane attempts to restrict or otherwise tamper with markets will have dire consequences. Every cut-back in economic activity will inevitably reduce prosperity and jobs - and it’s the poorest that will be hit hardest. Now I know the eco-freaks don’t give a damn about people - the fewer the better. But you’d think the socialist supporters of the eco-fascists’ favourite schemes would worry just a little about their biggest claimed constituencies - ordinary workers and the poor.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The budget

The day after the budget and much sober analysis, H.L. Mencken's view of government seems to fit:

"The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods."

Government - the less of it the better.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Book Review - “State of Fear” by Michael Crichton

"State of Fear" is a thriller that delivers serious lessons on environmental issues, including and especially ‘global warming’. Call it an ‘eco-thriller’. It uses a fast-paced fictional plot to keep your attention while delivering commentary on the science, art and politics of environmentalism. One theme that pervades the book is the harmful consequences of politicizing science.

Though the plot’s a bit flakey and the characters cardboard (like a John Grisham novel) I thought the book worked very well - it keeps your interest as intended. And if you want to skip the fictional part (at the expense of missing some interesting scientific commentary) you can go directly to the back of the book where Crichton summarizes all the serious stuff he wants to impart. As I said before, the back pages are an excellent source of information and ideas and are worth the price of the book by themselves.

If there’s anything I disagree with in Crichton’s ‘messages’ it’s his ideas on relieving world poverty which he thinks is a big cause of environmental distress. He’s vague, because this is a novel and not a social science text book, but it seems his solution involves designing "delivery systems that work". Delivery of what and by whom? On the surface this sounds a bit like the classic socialist delusion that you can solve poverty by redistributing wealth from rich to poor. But this soul destroying exercise only perpetuates the problem. The only permanent solution is for ‘the poor’ to become self sufficient, starting with food supply - in other words to become productive and create wealth for themselves. However, considering the whole book, this is a minor quibble.

The bottom line: excellent book, highly recommended reading.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Because he CAREs...

John Manley climbs Mount Kilimanjaro

According to Manley’s Globe and Mail blog:
Known for its diverse flora and fauna and its spectacular glacier fields, the natural beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro is being threatened by the devastating effects of climate change. As the spokesperson for a team of climbers and for a major CARE Canada fundraising initiative, the Hon. John Manley....[blah, blah, blah].

I guess he didn’t get the memo:
"All ice bodies on Kilimanjaro have retreated drastically between 1912–2003. Despite air temperatures always being below freezing, a real retreat of plateau glaciers is governed mostly by solar radiation induced melt on vertical walls that characterize their north and south margins ...."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Debate - “Global warming is not a crisis”

Given all the hype, propaganda and hysteria surrounding ‘global warming’ it is refreshing to see that there is some actual debate taking place.

Yesterday, an Oxford style debate with the motion "Global warming is not a crisis" was held. For the motion: Michael Crichton, Richard Lindzen and Philip Stott. The affirmative side won. Detailed results:

Note the significant post-debate shift to the affirmative.

Expect the debate to be available online in the near future.

Thanks to "A Dog Named Kyoto" for finding this.

Update: Here's the transcript.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Rebuttal to Al Gore's Convenient Pack of Lies and Distortions

"The Great Global Warming Swindle"

is the title of the documentary which aired recently on Channel 4 in the U.K. It is available for viewing via the blog "A Dog Named Kyoto" where Bill keeps on top of significant events in the global warming debate.

Here's the full documentary; and

A campaign to spread the word to politicians.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Solar variations - chief suspect in global warming

Contrary to widely held opinion - the science is far from settled.

Lawrence Solomon’s ‘The Deniers’ series in the National Post has highlighted the work of several scientists doing work on how changes in solar output influence climate change on earth. Today in ‘Part XIV' of the series he features Sami Solanki, a researcher with the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research. Some very interesting points:

The "science is settled"? Hardly!

Here's Dr. Solanki's presentation on the Sun/climate connection. It's excellent!
Earth hasn't been this hot in 8,000 years and, he predicts, the hot spell will carry on for a few more decades before the sun turns down the heat.
"The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures."
Dr. Solanki gives cold comfort to those who claim that global warming took off with the Industrial almost perfect correlation between solar cycles and air temperatures over the land masses in the Northern hemisphere, going back to the mid 19th century.
He also believes that evidence that greenhouse gases have played a larger role in climate change may some day turn up...however, he hasn't seen anything compelling that undermines his own findings.
Dr. Solanki is especially taken with the work of the Danish National Space
, which demonstrated the dramatic effect that cosmic rays can have on cloud formation, and thus temperatures -- "the mechanism is just too beautiful to ignore..."
Dr. Solanki's recommendation: more research, and lots of it....Until the research is in, he believes, the story of what drives climate change remains unknown.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

ATM Fees - again

Much ado about nothing

Prior entries on this topic argued that federal politicians have no business micro-managing bank fees; and that NDP howling on the subject, prompting sympathetic Tory government posturing, amounts to little more than nuisance populist politics. I may be in the minority but I’m certainly not alone in that opinion.

In two recent columns in the Financial Post, people much more expert than I weighed in. Yesterday Marcel Latouche maintained that more bank competition, not fee regulation are in order. And today Robert Crandall and Hal Singer debunked a Globe and Mail editorial with, of all things, "facts". They observed, for example, that "...Canada has far more ATMs than most countries". More regulation would soon change that fact.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

BlackBerries, Liberals and global socialism

Peter Foster on successful Canadian businessmen dabbling in anti-capitalism.

Interesting! I didn’t know that, courtesy of Paul Martin Jr, Canadian taxpayers donated $30,000,000 towards the promotion of global socialism. BlackBerry maker RIM co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazardis did the same.

Peter Foster follows this trail in his National Post column this morning. The donations went to the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) on whose board sat the shadowy Maurice Strong who is linked to Paul Martin through Paul Desmarais’ Power Corp. Mr. Foster reminds us that Mo Strong is associated with the following lovely ideas:

... economic growth is a "disease"
...[Strong’s] "Earth Charter" .... a "shared positive vision ... for anti-capitalism"

Sounds like Mo subscribes to the Suzuki school of economics. Or is it the other way around?

Louise Frechette, former U.N. deputy secretary-general, was also recruited by CIGI. Frechette, along with Strong, is linked to the U.N. oil-for-food kickback scandal. Mr. Foster notes:

She [Frechette] was described by the Wall Street Journal as "incompetent [at best]."

Yet another prominent Canadian joining CIGI is Liberal "roader" Paul Heinbecker:

....former U.N. ambassador, whose claims to fame include a leading role in negotiating Canada’s disastrous Kyoto commitments.>

Mr. Foster provides some skinny on CIGI via its IGLOO Project website which included documents covering:

... a series of lectures on Marxism.

..."the injustices of global capitalism."

..."Harnessing Globalization"

...a speech by Fidel Castro

Apparently Jim Balsillie is quite enamored by CIGI’s megalomaniacal visions of global governance. Which is not just a little ironic given that he has just been forced to step down as RIM CEO because he failed to comprehend corporate regulations governing stock options.

Peter Foster is rightly disillusioned by the fact that so many businessmen (capitalists in practice) like Balsillie seem to hold a fascination for seriously anti-capitalistic thinking: probaly couldn’t find a businessman to support capitalism. Most
prefer be "educated by their enemies."
Interesting ....and depressing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

ATM Fees - The lunacy continues

As I've observed before the federal government has no business micro-managing bank fees. Even if politicians did have a legitimate role to play, ATM fees would (should) be far down the list of concerns. Having a conservative finance minister continuing to raise the 'issue' with banks is supremely annoying. The Bank of Nova Scotia CEO is right - Flaherty and all other federal politicians should butt-the-hell-out!

This is chickensh*t politics, with the NDP in it's traditional role as chief bank-basher and the Tories pretending to play along because bank-bashing is such a popular sport.

Now PM Harper has weighed in. He says he feels like other Canadians when he 'occaisionaly' 'has to' pay ATM fees. They 'annoy' him. Well, as much as I like and admire our Prime Minister I think his nose is stretching on this one. I demand to see proof that he has ever 'had to' pay an ATM fee. But if he has I seriously doubt that he's thought twice about paying it. And if 'annoyance' is the new gauge for deciding policy, when can we expect to see the GST removed and our income taxes radically cut?

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Michael Crichton - Genius

Ok, 'genius' may be an exaggeration. I really don’t know Michael Crichton well enough to make such a judgement. But based on what I’ve learned up to now, I’ve come to believe at least the man is a marvel!

I’ve just started reading ‘State of Fear‘, Crichton’s 2004 novel - a thriller involving global warming alarmism, scientific folly, eco-villains and media laziness and stupidity. In other words it’s a thriller based on current events.

I’m barely into it, but what has greatly impressed me so far is the material at the back of the book which summarizes Crichton’s research, motivation and conclusions. It includes:
Author’s Message - Crichton’s conclusions - a marvelous collection of short, sharp insights, beginning with:

* We know very little about every aspect of the environment, from its past history, to its present state, to how to conserve and protect it. In every debate, all sides overstate the extent of existing knowledge and its degree of certainty.
Appendix I - Why Politicized Science is Dangerous. An essay documenting some past examples of scientific ‘error’ and the resulting damage. Parallels with current global warming hysteria are relevant.
Appendix II - Sources of Data for Graphs. He uses real data and factual footnotes throughout the novel.
Bibliography. Crichton’s list of readings covering three years of research runs to twenty pages with most entries including a short synopsis or comment on relevance. This is a treasure trove of sources on the science, psychology and politics of environmentalism. Reading it left me with the feeling that by comparison with Crichton, I’ve been wasting my life.
If you read nothing else in ‘State of Fear’ don’t miss reading the back pages. This means you, Al Gore and David Suzuki!!
Michael Crichton’s own web pages for ‘State of Fearinclude links to some of the above as well as to speeches he’s given to learned audiences around the U.S.A. His reputation is such that he’s even been asked to give testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
I repeat, the man’s a marvel!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

David Suzuki Poll - Looking good!

Poll results just after my vote. Cast your vote here.
(credit to sda).
Update: Poll disappeared from Suzuki site this aft (Mar 3rd)

Friday, March 2, 2007

One angry climate scientist

Hendrik Tennekes is a former Professor of Aeronatical Engineering and a retired Director of Research for the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. In other words he’s an eminently qualified climate scientist. Prof. Tennekes was featured recently in Lawrence Solomon’s "The Deniers" series in the National Post as one of many scientists who have ‘run afoul’ of climate change orthodoxy.

Prof. Tennekes published this article last January expressing his deep concern about the lack of "modesty, integrity and balance" in climate science. This sampler gives the flavour:

[my bold]
Seventeen years ago, I wrote ..."I worry about the arrogance of scientists who claim they can help solve the climate problem, provided their research receives massive increases in funding."


...then I was worried, now I am angry. I am angry about the Climate Doomsday hype that politicians and scientists engage in. I am angry at Al Gore, I am angry at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists for resetting its Doomsday clock, I am angry at Lord Martin Rees for using the full weight of the Royal Society in support of the Doomsday hype, .....I am angry at the staff of IPCC for their preoccupation with carbon dioxide emissions, and I am angry at Jim Hansen for his efforts to sell a Greenland Ice Sheet Meltdown Catastrophe.


I agree with IPCC that there is a likely link between fossil fuel consumption and increased temperatures. But this is where the much proclaimed consensus ends.

[...] good friend Denny (Dennis W.) Thomson at Penn deeply concerned about the veracity of "physics-challenged" climate models.


... there is not a beginning of consensus on a theory of the Arctic Oscillation.[...]

...there is not even a rudimentary theory of the Polar Vortex, much less an established relation between rising greenhouse gas concentrations...

[...] is entirely consistent with the IPCC tradition to weasel around such issues.


In the absence of a robust stochastic-dynamic theory of the general circulation, one cannot even check climate simulations against fundamental insights.


At times it seems that no one in this business has learned about Karl Popper’s falsifiability demand. This is why I cringe at WCRP documents ...


I want to lobby for decency, modesty, honesty, integrity and balance in climate research.


We should stop our support for the preoccupation with greenhouse gases our politicians indulge in.


We should not allow politicians to use fake doomsday projections...

It’s a long article and, since it’s written for his fellow climatologists, sometimes a mite esoteric. But it’s well worth reading because it’s very revealing of why no one should blindly accept oft repeated claims of ‘consensus’ and ‘the science is settled’. Again, here’s the whole thing.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Scandal-mongering in Kandahar

Based on this excellent post by Damian Brooks here’s a suggested motto for The Canadian Press and the CBC:
"All the distortion, bias and bullshit unfit to print."

It’s what the Canadian MSM seems to do best when reporting on our military. Must be the natural Left/Lib affection for the troops and what they do.