Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Sun: Masker of the Earth's Deskiny?

It's not easy bein' me
Masker of me own deskiny
And I hates responsibiliky
It's not easy bein' me Popeye
The Sun gives us life-sustaining warmth and light. Yet the sun also bombards our space with deadly x-rays, gamma rays, high energy electrons, and atomic nuclei--which if not for Earth's atmosphere and magnetic field would kill us all. But wait--the sun's solar wind and magnetic field also shields the earth from dangerous radiation coming from outside the solar system. The Sun is clearly up to both good and bad. What else is the sun doing, that we should know about?

Recently, astrophysicists have become aware of the sun's interaction with the "global atmospheric electric current," and have started looking at the weather and climate implications.
Tinsley 2007 ... [demonstrates] the change in the ionospheric coupling from the solar wind that induces changes of the global electrical circuit ...

Reports of a variety of short-term meteorological responses to changes in the global electric circuit associated with a set of disparate inputs are analyzed. The meteorological responses consist of changes in cloud cover, atmospheric temperature, pressure, or dynamics. All of these are found to be responding to changes in a key linking agent, that of the downward current density, Jz, that flows from the ionosphere through the troposphere to the surface (ocean and land). As it flows through layer clouds, Jz generates space charge in conductivity gradients at the upper and lower boundaries, and this electrical charge is capable of affecting the microphysical interactions between droplets and both ice-forming nuclei and condensation nuclei.

...Thus, we propose that mechanisms responding to Jz are a candidate for explanations of sun–weather–climate correlations on multidecadal to millenial timescales, as well as on the day-to-day timescales analyzed here.
Outside the Cube

Scientists from the US, Europe, and other parts of the world are beginning to pay much more attention to the Earth-Sun interaction--and what it may involve.
Convection cells, made of plasma, an ionised and highly variable gas, are found at altitudes of hundreds kilometres over the polar caps. Their behaviour pattern is intimately linked to the response of the Earth’s magnetic environment to solar activity.

Although Earth is largely protected from the hazards of interplanetary space by the magnetosphere and atmosphere, they don't form an isolated bubble.

...One way to monitor this interaction is to study the convection cells. In the region, called the high-latitude ionosphere where they are located, the behaviour of the plasma cells strongly depends on the response of the magnetosphere to the orientation of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF, an extension of the solar magnetic field, carried by the solar wind). This means that the behaviour of polar cap convection cells is a good tracer of the Sun-Earth connection.

Keep in mind that several mechanisms for sun-earth climate interaction are being proposed. These are somewhat different from Svensmark's solar wind/cosmic ray hypothesis on cloud formation. The astrophysicist community within NASA is said to be seriously divided over the question of the extent of solar variability influencing Earth's climatic trends. This could get interesting.

The following links provide some elementary scientific background about the interaction of solar radiation with Earth's global atmospheric electrical current.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The TAO of Oil by Leonardo Maugeri

Only around 2,000 new field wildcats (wells made for exploring the presence of hydrocarbons in the subsoil) have been drilled in the entire Persian Gulf region since the inception of its oil activity, as against more than 1 million in the United States. TAO

Leonardo Maugeri's 2006 book, "The Age of Oil (TAO)," is an indispensable look at the past, present, and future of the role of petroleum. Written in two parts, TAO first looks at the human history of oil along with current events of oil. The second and final section of TAO looks at the question of whether the world is at or near "peak oil."
In April 1977, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) delivered a highly influential report stating that the growth of world oil demand would soon outpace production because of constraints on OPEC potential and the impending peak of Soviet Production. By the 1980s, the report argued, oil would be scarce and very expensive....
Maugeri points to three categories of reserves used when referring to future oil reserves.

  • Proven Reserves---defined as the amount of oil and gas in place in known reservoirs that can be estimated with "reasonable certainty" to be commercially recoverable under current economic conditions....profitable recovery of at least 90 percent.
  • Probable Reserves---the probability of profitable recovery falls to 50 percent
  • Possible Reserves---profitable probability of recovery no less than 10 percent.
Maugeri points out that:
During the last 25 years more than 70% of exploration has taken place in the United States and Canada, mature areas that probably hold only 3% of the world's reserves of crude. The Middle East, on the other hand, has been the scene of only 3% of global exploration, even though it harbors 70% of the earth's reserves. In the Persian Gulf, holding 65% of the region's reserves, fewer than 100 exploration wells were drilled between 1995 and 2004. During the same period, 15,700 such wells were drilled in the U.S. Forbes

Future advances in the technologies of production, and refinement--as well as improved efficiencies of utilisation--have the potential to move reserves from the "possible" and "probable" categories up to the "proven reserves" classification. Future advances in discovery technology have the potential to expand all reserves significantly.

A recent declaration by the International Energy Agency that world petroleum production had peaked in 2006--had passed "peak oil"--was based on an analysis of world petroleum production, without considering either world petroleum reserves or seriously considering the many reasons why world petroleum production might peak from time to time without signaling any type of "peak oil." (Like the IPCC, the part of the IEA that produces reports touching on politics, eg "peak oil," may well have been infiltrated by bureaucrats and contributors with a fixed agenda.)

Maugeri concludes his book with a look at "resource nationalism," the gloomy reality that most of the world's known conventional petroleum resources exist in territories controlled by dictators and autocrats--Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya, etc. For this reason, oil prices are likely to remain quite high--unless market forces arising from new discoveries and production outside the autocratic zone force the dictators of oil to compete once again.

Remember, nationalised resources do not tend to attract the latest technology in discovery, production, and refinement. That means that a lot of resources remain in the ground.
Despite its long history as an oil producing region, the Persian Gulf is still relatively virgin in terms of exploration. Only around 2,000 new field wildcas (wells made for exploring the presence of hydrocarbons in the subsoil) have been drilled in the entire Persian Gulf region since the inception of its oil activity, as against more than 1 million in the United States. p. 221 TAO

More from Maugeri at National Geographic, Forbes, and Foreign Affairs.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Charles Darwin's Neuroplasticity

Thanks to Alvaro at SharpBrains for this fascinating peek into how Charles Darwin's thinking changed over his adult life.
I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the
last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond
it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray,
Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great
pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in
Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also
said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very
great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a
line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and
found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also
almost lost my taste for pictures or music. Music generally sets
me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on,
instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine
scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it
formerly did. On the other hand, novels which are works of the
imagination, though not of a very high order, have been for years
a wonderful relief and pleasure to me, and I often bless all
Darwin's Autobiography

Darwin's own writing style apparently changed over the years--to his own satisfaction.
Formerly I used to think about my sentences before writing them
down; but for several years I have found that it saves time to
scribble in a vile hand whole pages as quickly as I possibly can,
contracting half the words; and then correct deliberately.
Sentences thus scribbled down are often better ones than I could
have written deliberately.

That is a technique that I have found useful as well, even in short comments. The first sentence I write is often useful as a summary, after I work through the ideas a little better. It helps to put the ideas out in the open first for modification and reconstruction.

Darwin's brain experienced neuroplasticity and modification from the "overuse" of some faculties at the expense of other faculties--such as appreciation of poetry and music. His observations of the natural and human worlds may have gained a certain rigour and precision in this process of "selective cultivation" of cortical real estate.

If Darwin had been given the opportunity to relive his life, and thus was able to carry out his plan-in-hindsight of listening to music and reading poetry at least once a week--would his scientific writings have been as clean and precise? An interesting question.

While the neuroplasticity of both motor and sensory cortex following strokes, other denervation, and amputation, are well documented, the neuroplasticity of the associative cortex--prefrontal lobes etc--still requires study to delimit the possibilities. The old saying "you are what you think" is likely to be proven truer than many people would like.

You can find Darwin's works free online here or here.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Mind the Enchantment

The human mind is subject to various forms of enchantment. Not a magical enchantment, but more like a trance, sometimes pleasant, sometimes not.

Because our minds are "self organised", they are subject to falling into distinctly different states, at particular "bifurcations."An illustration of this phenomenan is the "bistability" of particular images. Following the series of images above, can you say exactly where the transition occurs? What if you saw only that one image?

But the deeper you dive into the mechanisms of consciousness, the larger the number of possible mind states, so that bistability becomes tristability and so on. Just the single topic of synaptic plasticity quickly acquires a complexity to confound most scientists.

Hypnosis takes advantage of the inherent ambiguity of consciousness, and "adjusts the weighting" of various competing states of mind. Since mind is inherently a self-organizing, ongoing trance-like process, it is often likened to "riding the wave," or staying on the "bucking bronco." From the moment of waking to the release of sleep, that "blinking cursor" of consciousness compels us to provide answers and solutions, even to unknown or nonexistent problems.

For anyone who is curious about some of the underlying neurophilosophy of consciousness, I suggests looking over this article by Edelman and Tononi--two prolific and respected students of consciousness. Or look over this overview of Models of Consciousness from Scholarpedia.

Understanding human consciousness is difficult enough. But a lot of people wish to create intelligence in machines. This dream goes back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. But since the computer age beginning in the 1940s, multiple generations of ingenious scientists of mind and computation have dashed their skulls against the wall of computational complexity (not to mention a lack of understanding of the complexity of human cognition or intentionality).

Each person experiences a consciousness of an enchanted mind. Not a mind of equations and computations. Rather a mind of metaphor and narrative. An entranced mind where real world expediencies intrude on waking dreams. Complex trances of strange attractors and slippery bistable conscious surfaces.

There would be no point in trying to emulate all of that in a machine. Not unless that is the only way we can find to create a conscious machine. Perhaps it is better to settle for machines that only seem conscious or intelligent, as viewed by a simple Turing test. After all, we are only looking for help in making better decisions and devising a better world for smarter, healthier, longer-lived people.

We may be entranced, but why burden our machines with all of that? It is our trance that we wish to enjoy far into the future, not the trance of a machine.

Originally posted at Al Fin

Friday, June 01, 2007

Last Bastions of Competence: #1 The Military

Regular readers of Al Fin blog are familiar with the concept of psychological neoteny. The societies of western developed nations and particularly North American societies, have adopted a method of child-rearing that results in the perpetual incompetence of an idle adolescence. By age-segregating children in classrooms of indoctrination, by removing children from all responsibility and exposure to the adult world of work, western societies are creating entire generations of incompetent and narcissistic know-nothings and do-nothings.

But there are notable refuges from the world of perpetual incompetence and irrelevance--one of which is the military. In the military there is no escape from responsibility, and no excuse for not developing the competencies of your current rating and assignment. You are thrown in with persons of all ages, backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, and experiences. You are expected to learn how to do your job, and to do it professionally.

The modern military is as much about disaster relief, and providing order for rebuilding a devastated region, as it is about fighting and killing an enemy. Military members are encouraged to improve themselves, and many gain degrees while in the service, through online courses.
Joel, who is stationed in Baghdad with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Stryker Brigade Combat Team, earned his degree through online courses and hopes to be able to watch the ceremony through an online link-up.

"A lot of it has involved slipping in homework in between missions and rest time. But there's always the unforeseen, though," Joel, 36, said Wednesday in a phone interview from Iraq. "Taking courses online gives me a sense of normalcy. ... As one class completes, I'm that much closer to being home."

According to military publications, more than 40,000 soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq have enrolled in online college courses.
Denver Post

By acquiring real world skills in a genuine world atmosphere, while still being able to earn credits and degrees online, members of the military are able to bypass the academic lobotomy that millions of on-campus university students receive every year.

While their home societies are preparing their civilian cohorts for perpetual incompetence, military members are seeing much of the world firsthand, and working side by side with people from other cultures for both peacekeeping, disaster relief, and making war.

Military members who do not make a career of the military often join reserve units or national guard units, to combine their civilian lives with continued service to their country. Career military members often retire by age 38, at which time many of them join city, county, state, or federal agencies of law enforcement or other active civil service agencies that require competent workers.

Competence is rare in a neotenous society. You have to look for it.

Originally published in Abu Al Fin.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Are You Competent for What May Come?

Because, personally, I seriously doubt that you are--if you are a typical psychologically neotenised, academically lobotomised, child of the western world.

You might try the "Jericho Test." If you have not seen the episodes of the doomed television show Jericho, go here and watch at least the first few episodes. Imagine yourself in such a circumstance. Would you be useful. How?

I recall sitting in an insurance office in a new town, transferring my policy to my new location. My young, attractive female agent was processing my paperwork and chatting with two co-workers who had gathered around the desk out of boredom. Somehow they were discussing a collapse of civilisation and what they could do to survive. My agent made the offhand comment, "at least I could work as a whore."

But there is only so much need for whores, and some of the male survivors of a holocaust would not treat their whores very kindly. So the rest of you might start thinking about other possibilities, while you have a little time. Particularly the college professors among you, who--if you pardon me for saying so--are almost certainly particularly useless in an emergency (unless your training is in applied engineering, technology, or biomedical sciences).

Your politics, religion, and ideology will probably be irrelevant, as long as you are not a psychopath. It is your useful skills that will count.

People always assume that things will continue as they are, in a straight line extrapolation of current trends. People are always wrong about that. Most people need shock therapy to acknowledge things that might go wrong, and to be motivated to prepare.

No matter how busy you are, you still have time to take steps to make you and your family more survivable.

Everyone needs a stockpile of clean water, food, and basic hygienic and first aid supplies. If you depend on a medicine such as insulin, you should have extra medication on hand, and rotate it to maintain the expiration date. If your vital medicines require refrigeration, you should have a way to power a small refrigerator off the electrical grid. (generator with fuel, solar panels with batteries, etc.)

There are many important things to think about, in connection with surviving a massive natural or man-made disaster. The Al Fin blog sidebar has an entire section of links dealing with these issues, about three fourths of the way down. As an added one-time-only bonus, here is an online book on surviving a nuclear war.

Watch the first few episodes of Jericho. Think about it.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Colour of Crime: Murder in Black and White

Perhaps you have heard of a horrifying crime that occurred in Wichita, Kansas, in December of 2000. The crime has been labeled "The Wichita Massacre," but the horrific details of the crime must be read to be believed.

Most of you will have never heard of this crime. The level of hatred toward the victims revealed by the methods of the perpetrators, is reminiscent of primitive tribal genocide of Palestinians against Israelis, or actions of other violent third world tribes and clans.

But these crimes were committed by the Carr brothers, seen below, against total strangers, in a small city located in a US state that is known for its strong abolitionist views prior to the US civil war. What was the motive???
I have given this Kansas atrocity some thought, and felt that it was an aberration within developed countries such as the US. So it came as a great shock to me to hear about a fairly recent similar crime committed in the small US city of Knoxville, Tennessee.
The rather average looking couple pictured above were described by family members as a “clean-cut and faithful couple—good kids.” What happened to them was not at all average, and not the least bit expected.

The group of five defendants pictured below reveals nothing in their snapshots to suggest the viciousness that was unleashed upon the above couple, out of the blue.

What was their motive? Again, such violence may be commonplace in third world vendettas, and organised crime vendettas. But these crimes had nothing at all to do with such "rational" mindless violence. No, these were total strangers who were chosen for this debased and inhuman violence.
Actually, the most outrageous thing about these crimes is the conspiracy of silence by the US national press, not to report what had happened.

The entire world knows what happened to James Byrd and Matthew Shepherd. News coverage of these vicious crimes was exhaustive and unrelenting for years, and are still frequently referred to by civil rights and gay rights activists.

One may be excused for believing that a high level of black on white violent crime does not exist in the US, or that blacks are more frequently the victims of interracial crime than whites. Such is hardly the case--although the US media appears to be united in avoiding an exposure of the true magnitude and asymmetry of interracial crime.

But it is not the magnitude of black on white violent crime that worries me the most. It is not even the silence of the media when it should be confronting this urgent and divisive problem that causes me the most unease. No, the thing that worries me the most is something quite obvious, but never stated. I will let you think about it for a while.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Al Gore and Other Dancing Gigolos of the Apocalypse

It used to be that the apocalypse was only popular with evangelical Christians. But for the last few decades, environmentalists have become the foremost apocalyptics in the modern west. CAGW--catastrophic anthropogenic global warming--is custom made for the earnest modern apocalyptic true believer. And there is no better promoter of CAGW than Al Gore, seminary drop-out and political has-been.
Like the Book of Revelation, Gore's vision is an apocalyptic one. Scenes of smoggy skylines, gridlocked traffic and smokestacks are interspersed with crashing glaciers, storm-ravaged cities and Third World refugees fleeing on foot. Computer models predict the submerging of continents and the deaths of millions. Every problem on the planet, including overpopulation, war and infectious diseases, is attributed to global warming. If ever there were a vision of the End Times, this would be it. But instead of God's wrath raining down on the planet, it's human beings that are doing the damage. One might call it apocalyptic environmentalism.

Faith-Based Science?

At the heart of this new religion is planet Earth, photographs of which Gore holds up as if they were objects of worship. In fact, audiences are told in the trailer that they "owe it to the planet to see this movie," which is certainly a novel marketing approach. Then to add just a twist of relationship psychobabble, the question is raised, "Did the planet betray us or did we betray the planet?" Gore provides the answer later, stating matter-of-factly that "our civilization is destroying the planet." So why not just kill ourselves off now and get it over with?

But Al Gore is not the only dancing gigolo of the apocalypse. He is joined by Islamists of both Sunni and Shia sects.
The study of Muslim apocalyptic is absolutely essential to the understanding of modern Islam. Anyone who wishes to understand the huge influence which these groups have on the direction of Muslims will not be able to ignore them. Although the groups are frequently anonymous and unknown until they burst onto the world stage with some action, they cannot be accused of being secretive about their motives orbeliefs. Leaflets, pamphlets, and books are available at every bookstand, and are frequently handed out in mosques. Much research remains to be done to ascertain what is the exact connection between the literature and the action, especially suicide attacks which require a strong ideological imperative.

Both Osama bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad clearly qualify as apocalyptics on a very similar scale as Al Gore.

All else being equal, not many people would prefer to destroy the world. Even faceless corporations, meddling governments, reckless scientists, and other agents of doom, require a world in which to achieve their goals of profit, order, tenure, or other villainies. If our extinction proceeds slowly enough to allow a moment of horrified realization, the doers of the deed will likely be quite taken aback on realizing that they have actually destroyed the world. Therefore I suggest that if the Earth is destroyed, it will probably be by mistake.
Eliezer Yudkowsky of the Singularity Institute.

And Yudkowsky is probably right about most apocalyptics--although probably not the Islamist dancing gigolos. As for Al Gore and his CAGW crusade, one can only observe the apparent excitement displayed at every hurricane or other "sign and portent" of the coming apocalypse, to understand that these people are truly getting into the spirit of their end-of-the-world act.

Modern narcissistic and psychologically neotenous youth in the US are custom made for apocalyptic crusades. Having been left with limited knowledge, skills, and competence by a governmental educational system in decay, they are searching for a meaning and purpose where they can utilise their limited skill set. Political activism is one such purpose, and apocalyptic activism is particularly attractive.

The same type of lack of preparation for the real world is prevalent among the young and burgeoning populations of most muslim countries. Combining a huge surplus of incompetent but passionate youth, with an apocalyptic vision that involves destroying the great enemy of Allah and imperialistic oppressor of Islam, gives many of these youth a purpose that they cannot resist.

Complicating this circus of dancing apocalyptic gigolos, is the very real set of existential risks of the modern world. And see here for a more thorough treatment.

While Al Gore burns large quantities of jet fuel traveling the globe with his apocalyptic message--for fun, profit, and general adoration--bin Laden and Ahmadinejad are in the dancing apocalyptic gigolo routine until the bitter end. Both men actually believe in what they are fomenting, and see the apocalypse as being for the better good of Allah's children.

Science fiction books, films, and television, have long used the apocalyptic theme as a source of ideas. Many of my favourite books and films utilise this very theme. There is no question of whether the apocalypse works. It works very well to grab the attention and stimulate the emotions. But humans do not function well when kept hyper-stimulated continuously.

That is what Karen Hurley tried to get across to fellow environmentalists, with little success. That is what Bjorn Lomborg tried to get across to others who were concerned with the many environmental problems of the world. For that he was soundly demonised by those less competent.

Many muslims have tried to get their fellow religionists to chill out a bit. For their attempt at moderating the mouth-frothing masses, they have been rewarded with death threats, stonings, beheadings, and other signs of typical gratitude that a true believer displays, when he is told to think more broadly.

A true apocalypse is unlikely, except perhaps by collision of the Earth with a large asteroid or comet. But limited nuclear war becomes more likely with each passing day that the current regime in Iran remains in power. A large scale pandemic with mortality approaching 50% could sweep through many of the overcrowded cities of the third world. It is not impossible that the US, Russia, China, and the muslim world could become involved in protracted warfare, resulting in a massive economic collapse and the deaths of hundreds of millions.

Many things can go wrong in a world that is both massively interdependent and marbled with apocalyptic hatred and fear at the same time.

True believers in conspiratorial apocalyptic visions are very dangerous. Yet they become more common as society fails to provide its younger generations with competence and purpose. We can only bypass the incompetence of society for a limited number, if the dancing apocalyptic gigolos finally succeed in creating the disruption and destruction that they appear to be aiming for.

If you depend upon the news media to understand the world, you will probably arrive late and unprepared for the catastrophes that do, in fact, come to pass. Try to be more alert, would you?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Great Global Warming Swindle

Here is Martin Durkin's documentary on the Global Warming movement.

This film was recently shown on Britain's Channel Four. As expected, video savvy internet users wasted no time posting the video on Google Video. Containing interviews with dozens of expert and informed climate heretics, this documentary does what Al Gore could not bring himself to do--tell the truth.

Hat tip to Greenie Watch.

It is unfortunate that the news media is so far skewed politically, to one side of the spectrum. The public gets a very unrepresentative view of reality when that happens.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Will Europeans Learn to Stand?

For many decades, Europe has been treated like a quadriplegic. With the arrival of the mighty EU, Europe was supposed to learn how to stand on its own. Many expected Europe to become intimidating once again. Sadly, that does not seem likely.

Under the proper leadership, Europe might have grown stronger and more successful. But Europe is under a leadership determined to simultaneously treat indigenous Europeans as cripples who must be cared for by the state, AND at the same time open the door to immigrants of a primitive, violent, and bigoted nature. It is the threat from these bloody religious extremists from inside/outside Europe that is most pressing--but the European people would be more able to fend for themselves if the nanny state had not kept them so long disabled in an infantile and dependent state.
Although the EU warns against "Islamophobia," those who live in the real world know that there has been an explosion of violent infidelophobia in Western Europe staged by Muslim immigrants. This wave of violence especially targets Jews, but the attacks against Christians that are going on in the Middle East are increasingly spreading to Europe as well. In more and more cities across the continent, non-Muslims are being harassed, robbed, mugged, raped, stabbed and even killed by Muslims. Native Europeans are slowly becoming second-rate citizens in their own countries.

This violence by Muslims is usually labelled simply as "crime," but I believe it should more accurately be called Jihad. Those who know early Islamic history, as described in books such as The Truth About Muhammad by Robert Spencer, know that looting and stealing the property of non-Muslims has been part and parcel of Jihad from the very beginning. In fact, so much of the behavior of Muhammad himself and the early Muslims could be deemed criminal that it is difficult to know exactly where crime ends and Jihad begins. In the city of Oslo, for instance, it is documented that some of the criminal Muslim gangs also have close ties to radical religious groups at home and abroad. As Dutch Arabist Hans Jansen points out, the Koran is seen by some Muslims as a God-given "hunting licence," granting them the right to assault and even murder non-Muslims. It is hardly accidental that while Muslims make up about 10% of the population in France, they make up an estimated 70% of French prison inmates.

In the city of Antwerp, Belgium, Marij Uijt den Bogaard from 2003 to 2006 worked as a civil servant in the immigrant borough of Berchem. She noted how radical Islamist groups began to take over the immigrant neighbourhoods, but was fired when she warned against this danger in her reports to the authorities:

"Many victims of burglaries in houses and cars, of steaming and other forms of violence, can testify that aggression by Muslims is not directed against brothers and sisters, but against whoever is a kafir, a non-believer. Young Muslims justify their behaviour towards women who do not wear the headscarf, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, by referring to the Salafist teaching which says that these women are whores and should be treated as such. They told me this. I wrote it down in my reports, but the authorities refuse to hear it."

Filmmaker Pierre Rehov tells how a friend of his is a retired chief of police who used to be in charge of the security of a major city in the south of France. According to him, 80% of the rapes in the area were made by Muslim young men. In most cases, the parents would not understand why they would be arrested. The only evil those parents would see, genuinely, was the temptation that the male children had to face from infidel women.

The wave of robberies the increasingly Muslim-dominated city of Malmö is witnessing is part of a "war against Swedes," this according to statements from the immigrant youths themselves. "When we are in the city and robbing, we are waging a war, waging a war against the Swedes." This argument was repeated several times. "Power for me means that Swedes shall look at me, lie down on the ground and kiss my feet."

When a population is taught to let the government do everything for it, the people naturally lose their innate ability to take care of themselves. This creates a weakling people, entire nations of cripples without the inner fortitude that is necessary to prevent outside conquest and inside treachery.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The End of School As We Know It! Report from Da Vinci Institute

The futurist Da Vinci Institute has been working on a detailed report on the future of education for the past 18 months, using several thousand man hours, expert interviews, and other intensive techniques.
“We have identified 12 critical dimensions of the future learning system. However, only the first two need to be in place for the revolution to begin,” says [Thomas] Frey.

The conclusions have been expanded into a 20-page report that will be presented in detail ...[it] will explain the following:

  1. * The dramatic shift will happen outside our existing education systems sometime within the next two years
  2. * It will be greeted by many with open arms, welcomed by most inside our existing education system, but will eventually cause new systems to develop, and schools as we know them today will cease to exist within ten years. Their replacement will be far better
  3. * This new system will be able to unlock the hidden potential within us, creating a new grade of human beings - human beings 2.0.
  4. * It has the potential to increase the speed of learning ten-fold, and many will be able to complete the entire K-12 curriculum within one year.
  5. * People graduating from the equivalent of high school or college in the future will be a factor of ten times smarter than graduates today

Those are extremely optimistic predictions, given the dismal trends in education in the US generally. I cannot help but agree that any improvements that occur will have to come from outside the current system.

Thomas Frey is generally optimistic about the future--not just the future of education. But he does not expect everything to change immediately.
Typically, Frey says, it takes time—a quarter-century or so—for new technology to take hold and be accepted. So it’s likely that the next big thing, whether in medicine, transportation or some other arena, already has been invented.

He notes patents filed with the U.S. Patent Office have reached record numbers in recent years. “Knowing that a certain percentage of those filings are cutting-edge technology, and knowing that it takes an entire generation for this to take off, we’re in for one hell of a ride,” he says.

The new report on Education will be unveiled March 27th in Denver. Contact the Da Vinci Institute for information on attending.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Can It Be True? Interesting "Below the Radar" Story

WARNING: Information in this posting comes from unconfirmed sources. If new informatin shows that this paper by Ernst-Georg Beck is a hoax, that information will be posted as soon as available. The IPCC is already guilty of using bad data (hockey-stick) and cherry picking data. If this paper is true, the accusation of fraud would not be too extreme.

An interesting scientific paper still in peer review is discussed by An Englishman's Castle and Greenie Watch.

Ernst-Georg Beck, of Merian-Schule Freiburg, claims that accurate historical measurements of CO2 levels in the air contradict the IPCC's reports. Instead of a rapidly increasing CO2 level from pre-industrial to modern times, Beck says that:
1. There is no constant exponential rising CO2 -concentration since preindustrial times but a varying CO2-content of air following the climate. E.G. around 1940 there was a
maximum of CO2 of at least 420 ppm, before 1875 there was also a maximum.
2. Historical air analysis by chemical means do not prove a preindustrial CO2 -concentration of 285 ppm (IPCC),as modern climatology postulates. In contrast the average in the 19th century in northern hemisphere is 321 ppm and in the 20th century 338ppm.
3. Todays CO2 value of. 380 ppm, which is considered as threatening has been known several times in the last 200 years, in the 20 th century around 1942 and before 1870 in the 19th century. The maximum CO2 -concentration in the 20th century roses to over 420 pmm in 1942.
4. Accurate measurements of CO2 air gas contents had been done from 1857 by chemical methods with a systematical error of maximal 3%. These results were ignored reconstructing the CO2 concentration of air in modern warm period.
5. Callendar and Keeling were the most important founders of the modern greenhouse theory (IPCC) beside Arrhenius. Literature research confirmed that they ignored a big part of available technical papars and selected only a few values to get a validation of their hypothesis of fuel burning induced rise of CO2 in air. Furthermore these authors discussed and reproduced the few selected historic results by chemical methods in a faulty way and propagated an unfounded view of the quality of these methods, without having dealt with its chemical basis.
6. To reconstruct the modern CO2 concentration of air icecores from Antarctica had been used. The presented reconstructions are obviously not accurate enough to show the several variations of carbon dioxide in northern hemisphere
The above is a summary from a pre-publication copy meant for discussion only. It is from a Google cache from a page at that is not currently available from the original site.

If these listed CO2 levels are indeed from accurate and reliable historical measurements, they represent a potentially serious embarassment for the IPCC.

Beck states that actual historical measurements of atmospheric CO2 levels should be given more credence than ice core air bubble analysis. If the IPCC has indeed swept these historical data under the rug in order to maintain its cover story of exponential CO2 rise--->exponential temperature rise, someone has a lot of 'splainin' to do.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Standing Up

Most modern college students in North America have been sheltered from challenge and responsibility their entire lives. Compared to the upbringing of most children through history, modern college aged youth are pampered, and assured of their own specialness.
Today's college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.

"We need to stop endlessly repeating 'You're special' and having children repeat that back," said the study's lead author, Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego State University. "Kids are self-centered enough already."

Twenge and her colleagues, in findings to be presented at a workshop Tuesday in San Diego on the generation gap, examined the responses of 16,475 college students nationwide who completed an evaluation called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory between 1982 and 2006.

The researchers describe their study as the largest ever of its type and say students' NPI scores have risen steadily since the current test was introduced in 1982. By 2006, they said, two-thirds of the students had above-average scores, 30 percent more than in 1982.

..."Unfortunately, narcissism can also have very negative consequences for society, including the breakdown of close relationships with others," he said.

The study asserts that narcissists "are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors."

Twenge, the author of "Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled - and More Miserable Than Ever Before," said narcissists tend to lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism and favor self-promotion over helping others.

Modern child-rearing in North America lacks meaningful challenges, and rites of passage--to provide a clear demarcation between self-centered childhood and a more competent and responsible adulthood.

In Science Fiction author Alexei Panshin's novel "Rite of Passage", 14 year olds underwent "The Challenge", a necessary rite of transition which some of them did not survive. Of course this idea was drawn from many earth examples of aboriginal and other cultures that require the child to undergo a rite of passage that sometimes results in the child's death.

For boys, the ritual often involved surviving in the wilderness--perhaps hunting a dangerous animal such as a lion. For girls, rites surrounding the onset of menses were common. Certainly giving birth for the first time was a sufficiently life threatening and altering experience to qualify as a rite of passage for girls.

Going to college for many years, and perhaps graduate school for many more, can often be a way to simply avoid one rite of passage--a full time job leading to economic self-sufficiency. If a youth considers himself too "special" to undertake most forms of work, the rite may be postponed indefinitely. For a young woman, school and long preparation for a career can postpone the childbirth rite so late in her life, that the biological clock eventually obviates the issue permanently.

Psychologically neotenous youth are typically narcissistic as well. If they also open themselves to indoctrination at a typical university or college, they have scored the magic hat trick--narcissism, psychological neoteny, and academic lobotomy. When that occurs, there is little reason to expect adult behaviour or responsible attitudes and participation in the society at large.

There are, however, some areas of North American society where the rite of passage occurs in all its historical potency. That would be in much of the military, fire departments, EMS, rescue units, and better trained and disciplined law enforcement personnel.

The idea of a rite of passage is a powerful one, as old as humanity. You can see how easily it is perverted in the muslim culture, where violent murder by martyrdom is too often celebrated as a rite of passage--although a rather grotesque and pointless one in my opinion.

But rites of passage need not be so perverse. An enlightened society has to understand that lifelong pampering and protection from challenge and responsibility is no way to raise productive adults who willingly contribute to their communities in all facets of living. Until North Americans understand the problem they have created for themselves, the ride will be bumpy and more than a little precarious.

Global Warming Threatens Extinction of Antarctic Polar Bear

You cannot help but wonder whether a President Gore might have acted soon enough to save the Antarctic Polar Bear. From the earliest days of human exploration in the Antarctic, Polar Bear sightings there have been extremely uncommon. With the arrival of global warming, antarctic polar bears are now almost completely extinct. The sad appearing antarctic polar bear pictured above may be the last of its breed. The albino bear (most antarctic polar bears have black fur) can be seen attempting to eat a downed weather balloon--certain proof that climate change has devastated the bear's normal food supply.

Soon we will be forced to add this tragic climate-caused extinction to that of the Arctic Emperor Penguin, extincted when its sole island breeding ground near the North Pole was submerged beneath the inexorable sea level rise caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

Yes, skeptics abound--the equivalent of holocaust deniers and evolution deniers! These scoundrels are in the pay of big oil and the Bush White House, but still we cannot stop everyone from taking them seriously.

I strongly recommend doing anything necessary to prevent ordinary people from visiting websites such as this or that. These people claim to be climate scientists, or math-savvy "auditors" of climate scientists, but we know they are in the pay of big oil and the Bush White House--Karl Rove and the neocons!

You must be as thoroughly chagrined as I am by the excessive caution of the most recent IPCC report. Like most environmentalists, I believe that as bad as global warming is--with these extinctions and all--we must exaggerate its effects to the public by at least a factor of one hundred. That is the only way to wake the idiots out of their oil-sotted slumber.

Global warming and peak oil may not seem to be able to coexist. They are said to be mutually exclusive, but as environmentalists we need to ignore such attempts to dampen our enthusiasm for control. As a matter of public stance, we should be saying that global warming is already past the point of no return, so that even after peak oil devastates the world economies, global warming will keep on flooding, extincting, hurricaning, and thermally exhausting the remaining humans on earth.

Pretty grim, eh? We need to make it sound as grim as necessary to bring about the changes we seek. Let's not allow the Antarctic Polar Bear to die in vain, shall we?

Fortunately, the arctic polar bear is in no danger of extinction--its numbers have increased by up to 25% over the past decade! If anything, the arctic polar bear is in danger of overpopulating its habitats due to overbreeding. Perhaps the arctic polar bear has an evolutionary adaptation that allows it to thrive in a climate of global warming?

In fact, that must be true, since in the medieval warm period--when temperatures were even higher than in modern times--the polar bear is said to have thrived.

In spite of that good news, we need to join Al Gore in projecting to the public the idea that all polar bears--not just the antarctic bear--are endangered by anthropogenic climate change. Mr. Gore's thriving carbon credit trading scheme depends on maintaining such public postures. Reality be damned, this is business!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

China--An Uncertain Future

China suffers from a monumental environmental crisis, a crisis in non-performing loans, shoddy construction practices and materials that result in collapsing bridges, highway tunnels, and buildings, etc. At the same time, China's economy is projected to continue its almost 10% per year GDP growth at least until the end of this decade.

Several recent presidents of the US have assumed that by promoting economic modernisation in China, they were also promoting freedom and democracy. That has not been the case, for reasons discussed in this analysis of China's institutional response to massive economic growth.
Certainly, the lack of political progress was not what successive Republican and Democratic administrations promised. In lobbying for continued trade with China, President Bill Clinton predicted in 2000, “We will be unleashing forces no totalitarian operation rooted in last century’s industrial society can control.” President George W. Bush reiterated Clinton’s prediction in 2005: “I believe a whiff of freedom in the marketplace will cause there to be more demand for democracy.” Just how China is to proceed from “a whiff of freedom” to democracy no one knows. Meanwhile, the ccp is determined to show otherwise: It continues to gobble up Western technology, know-how, and capital without relinquishing its monopoly on power.

North American and European approaches to influencing third world authoritarian governments has always been naive. Incisive criticism from Amy Chua, Peter Bauer, Robert Kaplan, Thomas Sowell, Hernando de Soto, Ludwig von Mises, and many others has failed to influence the basic naivete of western governments in their approach to modernising more primitive and authoritarian nations.

Former Hong Kong attorney Gordon Chang has sounded the warning of a coming collapse in China for years now. Chang correctly points out many of the critical problems in China's economic and political infrastructure, which would ordinarily signal the impending collapse--or at least the radical re-structuring--of most nations.

China's government has successfully played the strengths of its human capital against the weaknesses of its organisational infrastructure--by depending upon the wishful thinking and naivete of western governments and business/financial interests. Microsoft felt it was contributing to the liberalisation of China--not to perpetuating the prisoner executions cum human organ factories. Westinghouse thought it was helping democratize China, not promote the brutal suppression of basic freedoms. Google was certain it was opening up the flow of information in China so as to make the citizens freer--not providing the oppressive regime a more powerful tool for spying on more of the people.

Past methods of predicting financial outcomes may not work very well when mega-economies such as that of the US are directly involved. Make no mistake, it is the US economy that is propping up China, just as the US is helping to prop up the EU. As long as US presidents continue to believe that promoting billions of dollars of trade with China is the surest route to changing China from a belligerent regional foe into an ally and friend, China will be able to paint over the inner rot with outer glitz and the appearance of prosperity. Western investors will continue to be thrilled right up to the moment the sandy foundation gives way.

China needs to occupy Taiwan in order to guarantee a free route to the sea for a growing blue water navy. But the moment China attacks Taiwan, it risks the collapse of its economy with the inevitable internal strife that will bring. War with the US over Taiwan would not be nearly as important if not for the fact that trade with the US gives China the cash reserves it craves, and apparent peace with the US reassures investors in other parts of the world that investment in China is safe.

It will not go on forever. China will invade Taiwan, perhaps under cover of a provocation against the US and Japan by North Korea, or a nuclear strike against Israel by Iran. Then all bets are off.

But China will not take the irrevocable step until its Politburo and Supreme Leader determine that China will emerge from the other end of the tunnel as hegemon of Asia. They must believe that the US has served China's purpose long enough as a stupid pack-mule, and that it is now time for China to accept its destiny.

Here is a great video of Gordon Chang and two critics at a Cato Institute gathering. Here is a Gordon Chang article on "the grand wager on China", this is a Ching-tsi Chang article on China's Collapse, and this is an Orville Schell interview on the coming collapse.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Appeasing the Barbarians: The Appalling Cowardice of the Left

The National Book Critics Circle award has become the focus of a furious debate over whether a barbaric culture of bigotry such as Islam--which promises to conquer all of Europe--should be described in print for what it is. Prominent leftists in the publishing industry and the media would prefer that authors "play nice" with the barbarians who want to destroy the tolerant western culture.
“One of the most disgraceful developments of our time is that many Western authors and intellectuals who pride themselves on being liberals have effectively aligned themselves with an outrageously illiberal movement that rejects equal rights for women, that believes gays and Jews should be executed, that supports the coldblooded murder of one’s own children in the name of honor, etc., etc.,” he wrote on his own blog,

....“While Europe Slept” warns that “Europe is at a Weimar moment,” and that “by appeasing a totalitarian ideology” it “was imperiling its liberty.” “Political correctness”, he writes, is keeping Europeans from defending themselves, resulting in Europe’s “self-destructive passivity, its softness towards tyranny, its reflexive inclination to appease.”

Have you ever wondered why so many prominent leftists in the media dance the "softshoe" around Islamic oppression toward women, executions of homosexuals and Jews, and abuse of children?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Study Looking at University Professors by Political Affiliation

Education is meant to instill in the student both the love of learning and the ability to sort through ideas and evidence in order to arrive at the most workable solutions and systems of thought and action. But if the information available to students in university is so skewed toward a particular point of view--excluding the broad spectrum of ideas prevalent in the real world--the university cannot perform its vital function for the student.

This 2005 study by researchers at Smith College, University of Toronto, and Center of Media and Public Affairs, should put to rest the claims by leftist professors that the university is not skewed to the left. Please read the study before commenting.

The study shows that in the arts and social sciences, and soft sciences, the faculty is almost certain to consist of mostly leftists. The proportion of leftist to mainstream is closer to 50:50 in the harder sciences and engineering faculties--where competence must be demonstrated, and where training is more rigorous and demanding.

It is no surprise that leftists tend to flock to areas where competence-testing is rare, and based upon subjective peer appraisal rather than unforgiving objective criteria, as in harder sciences and engineering. This allows them to pretend to be knowledgeable and expert in an area without actually needing to demonstrate any competence--except to other members of their in-group. Circular jerkulating is the rule in those departments of university.

Read the study before commenting, as a favour to others.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Is That a Robot In Your Pocket? (Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?)

Robots are getting smaller--micro-robots, or microbots as they are called. Small and almost invisible, but with good optics. It is not impossible that you are being watched by a robot at this very moment. Especially if you are a terrorist.
Israel is developing a robot the size of a hornet to attack terrorists. And although the prototype will not fly for three years, killer Micro Air Vehicles, or MAVs, are much closer than that.

British Special Forces already use 6-inch MAV aircraft called WASPs for reconnaissance in Afghanistan. The $3,000 WASP is operated with a Gameboy-style controller and is nearly silent, so it can get very close without being detected. A new development will reportedly see the WASP fitted with a C4 explosive warhead for kamikaze attacks on snipers. One newspaper dubbed it "The Talibanator."

Other engineers are developing microbots for exploring difficult to access caves and other planets.
In Phase I, we wanted to focus on robotic units that were small, very numerous (hence expendable), largely autonomous, and that had the mobility that was needed for getting into rugged terrains. Based on Dr. Dubowsky's ongoing work with artificial-muscle-activated robotic motion, we came up with the idea of many, many, tiny little spheres, about the size of tennis balls, that essentially hop, almost like Mexican jumping beans. They store up muscle energy, so to speak, and then they boink themselves off in various directions. That's how they move.

We've calculated that we could probably pack about a thousand of these guys into a payload mass the size of one of the current MERs (Mars Exploration Rovers). That would give us the flexibility to suffer the loss of a large percentage of the units and still have a network that could be doing recon and sensing, imaging, and perhaps even some other science functions.
AM: How do all these little spheres co-ordinate with each other?

PB: They behave as a swarm. They relate to each other using very simple rules, but that produces a great deal of flexibility in their collective behavior that enables them to meet the demands of unpredictable and hazardous terrain. The ultimate product that we're envisioning is a fleet of these little guys being sent to some promising landing site, exiting from the lander and then making their way over to some subsurface or other hazardous terrain, where they deploy themselves as a network. They create a cellular communication network, on a node-to-node basis.

You can find movies of microbots and scholarly papers here.

Here is a report discussing Micro-Air Vehicle research for the US Air Force.

You can read about earlier flying robots, and view a movie of a micro robo-copter flying here. State of the art microbots now are much smaller and potentially more letal.

If you could teach a continuously deformable microbot to fly, there is no end to the amount of mischief such a sneaky little bugger could create.

On Electing a Robot President of the US

Although he seems reticent to discuss some of the more exotic implications of his research, Indiana University Professor Karl MacDorman is bringing a more Asian approach to humanoid robots to the US. After spending five years researching the Japanese approach to lifelike robots, MacDorman is prepared to make IU the Mecca of humanoid robotics in North America.

The team is now so advanced in the skill of developing humanistic androids that a nearly exact double of a person can be created. It was Ishiguro who was robotically cloned.

"Some say it's narcissistic," MacDorman said. "I think they're wrong. If you look at the great artists, all of them have a self portrait."

....MacDorman said the replication of a celebrity is a possibility, but he sees serious legal complications accompanying such an undertaking, not to mention challenges presented by cultural differences.

"Japan actually has a very extensive sex-doll industry," he said. "And sometimes the public does get confused with our androids and their purpose."

While Japan has embraced the sexuality of humanoid dolls and robots without embarrassment, the US is much more prudish about that type of alternative sexuality. Still, if it can be done it will be done.

Which brings up the idea of a robot president. Eventually, humanoid robots will appear identical to humans--even be able to walk, talk, and interact in ways indistinguishable from a human. When robots are able to possess the intelligence of a normal human--hold press conferences, give stump speeches etc.--it will be very tempting for powerful interests from all major parties to create a robot just for the purpose of being president. Some have even suggested that Al Gore is an early prototype of such a robot, gone tragically awry.

And who hasn't wanted to be able to clone himself so as to be able to be two or more places at one time? With a robot clone, you can do exactly that. MacDorman's research seems to suggest that such things will be possible, eventually.

Have you received two or more invitations for speaking engagements on the same night, in different cities? No problem. You can do both. Have you been dreading going on that book-signing tour? Send your robot instead. Do you have multiple families living in different parts of the country who don't know about the others? There's no need for awkward confrontations. Your clones can keep the other beds warm until you get a chance to be there yourself.

MacDorman, although quite coy, is a worldly fellow, and surely understands where his research is leading. The rest of us should stay tuned for further developments.

The Inner Life of the Cell--Longer Version with Narration

Here is the longer version of the Harvard movie on the inner workings of the cell accompanying leukocyte extravasation. It includes a useful narration, that describes what you are seeing. Not as mesmerizing as the video without narration, but perhaps more educational.

Thanks to Snowcrash at Biosingularity.

Mathematical Ability in Men and Women

La Griffe du Lion has a new essay on intelligence guaranteed to burn the thong off any self-respecting professor of Women's Studies. Liz Spelke and Nancy Hopkins may have trouble with occasional dizzy spells if they are unwise enough to read it. Donna Shalala should likewise maintain her distance.

The world of data can be cruel to one's ideological conceits.

Thanks to iSteve.

Update: This article in the Independent goes even further in claiming that there are twice as many men with IQ > 120 than women with IQ > 120.

Dr Paul Irwing is a senior lecturer in organisational psychology at Manchester University. He claims that men are more intelligent than women.

All the research I've done points to a gender difference in general cognitive ability. There is a mean difference of about five IQ points. The further you go up the distribution the more and more skewed it becomes. There are twice as many men with an IQ of 120-plus as there are women, there are 30 times the number of men with an IQ of 170-plus as there are women.

I don't know why this is, all I can say is that we have a huge amount of data.

In my 2005 paper in the British Journal of Psychology we looked at 22 surveys sampling 20,000 university students. In 21 out of the 22 studies males always had an advantage.

Hat tip Fatknowledge Blog.

The above research appears to fit with work by J. Phillippe Rushton, Richard Lynn, and Helmuth Nyborg. In addition, such research should exonerate Larry Summers, if not for the perverse bias caused by radical political correctness in academic circles.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Power of the Sun--Driving Climate Change

The science behind climate change is anything but settled. Just ask Cambridge astrophysicist Nigel Weiss, or astrophysicist and mathematician Habibullo Abdusamatov, head of the space research laboratory at the St. Petersburg-based Pulkovo Observatory.
Typically, sunspots flare up and settle down in cycles of about 11 years. In the last 50 years, we haven't been living in typical times: "If you look back into the sun's past, you find that we live in a period of abnormally high solar activity," Dr. Weiss states.

These hyperactive periods do not last long, "perhaps 50 to 100 years, then you get a crash," says Dr. Weiss. 'It's a boom-bust system, and I would expect a crash soon."

In addition to the 11-year cycle, sunspots almost entirely "crash," or die out, every 200 years or so as solar activity diminishes. When the crash occurs, the Earth can cool dramatically. Dr. Weiss knows because these phenomenon, known as "Grand minima," have recurred over the past 10,000 years, if not longer.

The upper layers of the world's oceans are - much to climatologists' surprise - becoming cooler, which is a clear indication that the Earth has hit its temperature ceiling already, and that solar radiation levels are falling and will eventually lead to a worldwide cold spell, Abdusamatov said.

"Instead of professed global warming, the Earth will be facing a slow decrease in temperatures in 2012-2015. The gradually falling amounts of solar energy, expected to reach their bottom level by 2040, will inevitably lead to a deep freeze around 2055-2060," he said, adding that this period of global freeze will last some 50 years, after which the temperatures will go up again.

"There is no need for the Kyoto Protocol now, and it does not have to come into force until at least a hundred years from now - a global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions," Abdusamatov said.

The rush to reduce CO2 levels is not only massively expensive, but totally unnecessary, according to these learned solar experts. Certainly everyone with any knowledge should understand that global cooling is far more threatening to human life than the mild global warming currently being experienced.

Politicians such as Al Gore have vested monetary interests in exaggerating the climate effects of CO2. Likewise, climatologists such as Michael Mann have achieved fame, prestige, and easy grant money through the use of shoddy research methods. The route to grant money in climate science currently lies through the gate of CAGW--catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Those are the magic words.

Reality is much larger than that. It is foolish to fixate upon one seemingly obvious explanation for cyclic climate behaviour of epochal duration. Many junkies of "global warning" enjoy the thrill of the apocalypse. Others have more mundane motivations, such as going along with the perceived flow.

Regardless, it pays for people who actually want to know what is going on, to keep their eyes and minds open.

You Want a Catastrophe? Here's Your Goddam Catastrophe!

Some people are just catastrophe junkies. It's one thing if they have an imagination, and can dream up their own vivid catastrophes. I can respect that. I'll still give them drugs, if they come to me, but I respect them.

It's the small-minded dweebs who hate a warm, sunny day that I despise. They want every warm pleasant day to be a massive portent of disaster. They thrive on epinephrine, but a peculiar type. They thrive on the epinephrine they get from reading mainstream journalist's portrayals of how other humans are destroying the earth. This makes them feel superior and totally innocent.

They are derivatives-of-derivatives junkies. Third-hand junkies with no crap detectors and no imaginations.

Yes, there are things that could destroy the world. But lame-minded conformists who only know what the propaganda machine tells them, will never know what they are.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Civilisation--How Long?

Demography argues for the decline of western culture, as the defenders of the west are replaced by the defenders of the true faith, Islamofascism. Look at what is happening to Russia:

There are ten million people in Moscow. Do you know how many of them are Muslim? Two and a half million. Or about a quarter of the population. The ethnic Russians are older; the Muslims are younger. The ethnic Russians are already in net population decline; the Muslim population in the country has increased by 40% in the last 15 years. Seven out of ten Russian pregnancies (according to some surveys) are aborted; in some Muslim communities, the fertility rate is ten babies per woman. Russian men have record rates of heart disease, liver disease, drug addiction and Aids; Muslims are the only guys in the country who aren’t face down in the vodka.

Faced with these trends, most experts extrapolate: thus, it’s generally accepted that by mid-century the Russian Federation will be majority Muslim.

As far as the rest of Europe, what to expect?

If Islam is incompatible with democracy, that's not a problem for Iraq, it's a problem for Belgium, you know, because Iraq until, you know, a few months back had no democracy to lose. They can easily adjust to the way it's always been.

For Belgium or for Denmark or for the Netherlands, they've got real democracies and they are likely to lose and as you see, I think that is really the issue here, that when these contradictions are pointed out, Europeans essentially refuse to acknowledge them. Yet at the same time they're making capitulations to the most naked form of political bullying --and that's when Islam is officially a minority of, you know, 10% or so. In those cities it's a lot higher already. What happens when it's 30%? I mean, this is a question they never, ever ask themselves and you're right, they do take a dim view. I think at some level there's something else going on there, too, that a lot of these countries, you know, -- we talk about the Middle East, democratize the Middle East - we forget Spain was a dictatorship 30 years ago, Portugal, a little over 30 years ago, Greece, same 30 years ago.

Italy and Germany and France, you've got to go back half a century, but in essence the idea of living under non-democratic regimes is not foreign to these people and I think they think of themselves, their identities less as Europeans are less bound up with ideas of liberty than it is for the U.S. You know, the U.S. is an ideological project in a way that Italy isn't and so I do think that also accounts for part of the way they look at it.

Science Fiction author Orson Scott Card looks at historical examples of falls of civilisation. He speculates about what will happen when the west falls to the barbarism that is always nipping at its heels:

Our global economic system is a brilliant creation, imperfect of course, but powerful and effective in creating more prosperity for more people than ever in the history of the world. It is a creation of America's military and America's benign government of the world -- so benign they pretend we don't govern it.

Our enemies and most of our "allies" and many of our own citizens are working as hard as possible to bring the whole thing crashing down, though that is not at all what they intend.

They just haven't learned the lessons -- the principles -- of how great economic empires are maintained. They only look at the political dogmas du jour and spout their platitudes. People like me are ridiculed for seeing the big picture and learning the lessons of history.

And if we're lucky, and get out of this intact -- i.e., if we go ahead and continue this war, break the power of Iran and Syria, and inflict crushing defeat on radical, expansionist Islamicists (which will require that Europe do the same with their own increasingly revolutionary Muslim populations, either expelling them or crushing their radical, Saudi-funded leadership) -- then I will still be ridiculed, because there will be no evidence that I would have been right.

Well, I'll be happy to be ridiculed for being such a doomsayer, if we are able to avoid collapse. I want to be wrong.

A global economic system is something of a house of cards. It wouldn't exist without the protecting power that guarantees global trade and shipping from piracy. Without the use of force to protect economic activity, the world descends into piracy, brigandry, and warlordism.