Monday, April 23, 2007

Next Book??

I saw Hitchens' review of this book today.

The book is The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace by Ali A. Allawi.

This could be interesting. Hitchens' conclusion is that the problems in Iraq were inevitable. He thinks the US would have been drawn in at some point.

I think it's much easier in hindsight to see the signs of decay in the country. I knew there were problems in infrastructure and some ethinic tensions, but I certainly didn't appreciate the depth before the invasion.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Too Early?

Maybe it is too early to discuss whether Bush is the worst US president ever, but the board has been a little quiet lately, so I will throw it up here. I say "yes" and here are some reasons.

-Using 9-11 to mislead people into invading Iraq.
-Using other means to mislead people into supporting the Iraq invasion (yellowcake, Feith's office, his Poland "we found them(WMD's)" statement).
-Performing too little preparation work for the Iraq occupation.
-Failing to establish police services during the early occupation (failing to create a "free society" as Sharansky might say).
-Failing to put sufficient military forces in Afghanistan.
-Failing to persuade other countries to put more military forces in Afghanistan.
-Failing to fire Rumsfeld and Gonzales for far too long (his PR person's "no wrongdoing" statement).
-Implying that people who criticize him are not patriotic.
-Using the extra-territorial status of Gitmo and secret prisons to avoid proper judicial controls (habeas corpus, access to representation).
-Apparently using torture frequently and lying about it.
-Failing to build more oil independence (his PR person's early "That's a big no." statement).
-Hiring people who intimidate scientists and distort science reports.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Page From the Pro Global Disaster Crowd

In the spirit of those who argue that global warming is a severe threat and is caused by man, here is one anecdotal case the proves the earth is cooling.

I know one piece of evidence does not prove a theory, but thats never stopped the scientifically illiterate from globbing on (see the stupid stories linking Katrina to global warming).

Thursday, April 19, 2007

More Pushing a Rock Up A Hill

More on my lonely jihad against the jihad against scientific reason, patients, and common sense.

I'm not sure why I have been posting so much about global warming recently. I guess I never thought or read much about it until recently. I think I am a skeptic at heart and when I see a sudden change in the conventional wisdom in a short period of time it sets off the alarms in my head. All of a sudden, in the past 6 months or so, the debate over global warming and the causes of it have been declared over. I have read enough that I am skeptical that the science is that solid. I haven't seen convincing proof that man's actions are causing warming. We don't know enough about the climate and how it works to say one way or another. The earth has been through warm periods before and no one blames man for those. I think when we discussed "Big Fat Liars" someone said that correlation does not prove causation to tear the book apart. I think this applies to what we know today with global warming.

The debate has become so political that the science is being obscured and even distorted. Scientist who question the orthodoxy get attacked and have funding pulled. The far left and radical environmentalists that are pushing this view have their own agenda that these scare stories advance (America's wealth is destroying the earth, the evil oil companies are destroying the earth, etc.)

I don't doubt the sincerity of most people who believe global warming is caused by man. Most people are not scientists and only know what is on the network news or the newspaper. Hell, I could feel really stupid in 10 or 20 years if this is proved to be true. My main point is we don't know enough today to say one way or another. I think its a mistake to assume we do and take potentially crippling costs to contain something we don't know is a threat.

Anyway, another article I found that I found interesting.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More on Causes of Global Warming???

An interesting article in Newsweek.

Look at the credentials of the author, he's not some energy industry hack.

Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has always been funded exclusively by the U.S. government. He receives no funding from any energy companies.

One great point among several:

Many of the most alarming studies rely on long-range predictions using inherently untrustworthy climate models, similar to those that cannot accurately forecast the weather a week from now.

I can speak from personal experience how difficult it is to have accurate models of complex systems. I have personally modeled thermal systems with 5 or 6 variables. I have seen the large impact a small mistake or bad assumption can have on the output. The climate has hundreds of variables, many of which scientists don't understand (like effect of water vapor in the air). It's impossible to to characterize a variable for a model if you don't understand it.

I hope nobody hurt themselves digging out from out April snow.

Also, was another book chosen and a date set for the next meeting. I was in Asia for the last meeting. What was the conclusion on Chomskey? Are we revoking his citizenship?