Archive for May, 2014
27 May 2014

The 97% Myth

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ScientificMethod

In the Wall Street Journal, Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer look at the evidence, and find that the oft-repeated claim that “97% of climate scientists” subscribe to a belief in Catastrophist Anthropogenic Warmism is just as empty a claim as the newspaper headlines about melting glacier and Polar icecaps.

Last week Secretary of State John Kerry warned graduating students at Boston College of the “crippling consequences” of climate change. “Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists,” he added, “tell us this is urgent.”

Where did Mr. Kerry get the 97% figure? Perhaps from his boss, President Obama, who tweeted on May 16 that “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” Or maybe from NASA, which posted (in more measured language) on its website, “Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities.”

Yet the assertion that 97% of scientists believe that climate change is a man-made, urgent problem is a fiction. The so-called consensus comes from a handful of surveys and abstract-counting exercises that have been contradicted by more reliable research.

One frequently cited source for the consensus is a 2004 opinion essay published in Science magazine by Naomi Oreskes, a science historian now at Harvard. She claimed to have examined abstracts of 928 articles published in scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and found that 75% supported the view that human activities are responsible for most of the observed warming over the previous 50 years while none directly dissented.

Ms. Oreskes’s definition of consensus covered “man-made” but left out “dangerous”—and scores of articles by prominent scientists such as Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Sherwood Idso and Patrick Michaels, who question the consensus, were excluded. The methodology is also flawed. A study published earlier this year in Nature noted that abstracts of academic papers often contain claims that aren’t substantiated in the papers.

Read the whole thing.

27 May 2014

Dinner Time for the Vautrait de Bannasat Hounds

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René Kleboth, Master of the Vautrait de Banassat, maintains the largest pack of foxhounds (over 400 hounds) in France at his kennels at Chirat-l’Eglise in Allier. But these Poitevin foxhounds hunt wild boar in the forest of Tronçais, not foxes.

26 May 2014

Memorial Day

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WWII Victory Medal

All of my grandparents’ sons and one daughter, now all departed, served.

JoeZincavage1
Joseph Zincavage (1907-1998) Navy
(No wartime photograph available, but he’s sitting on a Henderson Motorcycle in this one.)


William Zincavage (1914-1997) Marine Corps


Edward Zincavage (1917-2002) Marine Corps


Eleanor Zincavage Cichetti (1922-2003) Marine Corps

26 May 2014

My Father’s War

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William G. Zincavage, Fall 1942, after graduating Marine Corps Boot Camp

Military Police, North Carolina, Fall 1942

First Amphibious Corps, Third Marine Division, Special Troops:
Solomon Islands Consolidation (Guadalcanal), Winter-Spring 1943
New Georgia Group Operation (Vella LaVella, Rendova), Summer 1943

Third Amphibious Corps, Third Marine Division, Special Troops:
Marianas Operation (Guam), Summer 1944

Fifth Amphibious Corps, Third Marine Division, Special Troops:
Iwo Jima Operation, February-March 1945 (Navy Unit Commendation)

North American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with Four Bronze Stars
Good Conduct Medal

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While recovering from malaria after the Battle of Iwo Jima, he looked 70 years old.

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But he was back to normal in December of 1945, when this photo was taken shortly before he received his discharge.

25 May 2014

Seconds Before the Big Bang…

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BigBang

From I f*cking love science.

25 May 2014

The American Political Paradox

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PoliticalSystemScrewed

Via Reason.

24 May 2014

Snowball, Music-Loving Cockatoo

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24 May 2014

Click Here

Question_mark

24 May 2014

Dream That Failed

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eugenics

Noemie Emerie describes how the Progressive elite found the champion of their dreams, marched into power, but then wildly overreached.

They had a dream. For almost a hundred years now, the famed academic-artistic-and-punditry industrial complex has dreamed of a government run by their kind of people (i.e., nature’s noblemen), whose intelligence, wit, and refined sensibilities would bring us a heaven on earth. Their keen intellects would cut through the clutter as mere mortals’ couldn’t. They would lift up the wretched, oppressed by cruel forces. Above all, they would counter the greed of the merchants, the limited views of the business community, and the ignorance of the conformist and dim middle class.

Out of sorts and out of office after 1828, when power passed from the Adamses to the children of burghers and immigrants, they had begun to strike back by the 1920s, led by the likes of George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, H. L. Mencken, Herbert Croly, and Sinclair Lewis. Their stock in trade was their belief in themselves, and their contempt for the way the middle class thought, lived, and made and spent money: Commerce was crude, consumption was vulgar, and industry, which employed millions and improved the lives of many more people, too gross and/or grubby for words. “For the American critics of mass culture, it was the good times of the 1920s, not the depression of the 1930s, that proved terrifying,” says Fred Siegel, whose book The Revolt Against the Masses describes and eviscerates this group and its aspirations. In their dream world, “intellectuals, as well as poet-leaders, experts, and social scientists such as themselves would lead the regime,” as Siegel tells us. “It was thus a crucial imperative to constrain the conventional and often corrupt politics of middle-class capitalists so that these far-seeing leaders might obtain the recognition and power that was only their due.” …

[T]he elites had to wait for the man of their dreams.

When they found him, he was a rare breed: a genuine African American (his father was Kenyan) who thought and talked like the academics on both sides of his family, a product of the faculty lounge who dabbled in urban/race politics, a man who could speak to both ends of the liberals’ up-and-down coalition, and a would-be transformer of our public life whose quiet voice and low-key demeanor conveyed “moderation” in all that he spoke and did. Best of all, he was the person whom the two branches of the liberal kingdom—the academics and journalists—wanted to be, a man who shared their sensibilities and their views of the good and the beautiful. This was the chance of a lifetime to shape the world to their measure. He and they were the ones they were waiting for, and with him, they longed for transcendent achievements. But in the event they were undone by the three things Siegel had pegged as their signature weaknesses: They had too much belief in the brilliance of experts, they were completely dismissive of public opinion, and they had a contempt for the great middle class.

From the beginning, they made it clear that the Obama regime would be different from all others that had come before. The damaged economy was the critical issue, but the creation of jobs took a back seat to boutique left-wing causes. The stimulus, costing more than a trillion dollars, came and went leaving nothing behind it, unlike the spending of FDR’s era, which at least for a while gave jobs to real people, and left behind things like bridges and dams and parks. “Climate change” had become an obsession, symbolized by the refusal to act on the Keystone pipeline proposal, which would have created jobs in Middle America, but which Obama’s Hollywood backers denounced as unclean.

But nothing did so much as the historic, transcendent health care proposal to contradict David Brooks’s contention, in the summer of 2009, that the president “sees himself as a Burkean” and “understands complexity and the organic nature of change.” Social Security had been large, but made no change in the structure of government, and the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 (signed by Bill Clinton at the Republicans’ urging) was based on successful experiments at the state level conducted by governors of both parties. The Affordable Care Act looked for advice to academics, not governors, and proposed the state takeover of an industrial complex responsible for one-sixth of the gross national product based not on what had been proved to work through experience, but on what some intellectuals had guessed might work. If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, this camel was a 2,801-page non-bestseller filled with labyrinthine riddles that nobody seemed to know how to solve. To insure approximately 18 million out of 300-plus million Americans (they confessed the plan would still leave 20 million uninsured), they proposed to spend trillions on a reengineering of the entire system that would in time cause 80 to 100 million of the currently insured to lose and to seek new insurance.

Read the whole thing.

24 May 2014

California Then and Now

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Sacramento1850

CA1850

23 May 2014

The Legendary White House Silver Horn

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Presumably President Madison left it behind shortly before the innauguration of James Monroe.

Barack Obama blowing the horn can only result in disaster. Apart from the sincerity curse, it is easy enough to predict that Obama sounding the horn would inevitably produce the angry ghost of Andrew Jackson to take it away, telling Obama:

“Woe to the coward, that ever he was born, who did not draw the sword before he blew the horn!”

Via Vanderleun.

23 May 2014

Quis Custodiet?

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GlennGreenwald

One special bane connected with modern liberal society’s regime of excessive tolerance is the ease with which the sexually inverted neurotic can rise from his knees on the public lavatory floor to ascend his own personal pulpit in order to impersonate the post-menopausal female moral authority figure and social reformer.

Glenn Greenwald, for instance, is a particularly resilient example. Greenwald succesfully survived a scandal which resulted from his exposure for having persistently used “sock puppet” false identities to lavish praise on his own blog postings. He more recently attached himself to the cause of “whistle blowers” like Edward Snowden and acted as go-between between the latter and Establishment newspapers. Pimping US Intelligence secrets to the Guardian and the Times is the kind of thing which, in today’s world, makes one a hero in certain circles, and the next thing you knew Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar was writing a check for $250 million to buy Greenwald his own media organization. Who better to manage such a thing than the man renowned as “the left’s most dishonest blogger?”

Even Michael Kinsley cannot abide Greenwald’s abrasive sanctimony, and Kinsley took the occasion of the publication of Green wald’s recent Snowden book, No Place to Hide, to carpet bomb the scoundrel with a scathing review published, amusingly enough, in the same New York Times.

“My position was straightforward,” Glenn Greenwald writes. “By ordering illegal eavesdropping, the president had committed crimes and should be held accountable for them.” You break the law, you pay the price: It’s that simple.

But it’s not that simple, as Greenwald must know. There are laws against government eavesdropping on American citizens, and there are laws against leaking official government documents. You can’t just choose the laws you like and ignore the ones you don’t like. Or perhaps you can, but you can’t then claim that it’s all very straightforward.

Greenwald was the go-between for Edward Snowden and some of the newspapers that reported on Snowden’s collection of classified documents exposing huge eavesdropping by the National Security Agency, among other scandals. His story is full of journalistic derring-do, mostly set in exotic Hong Kong. It’s a great yarn, which might be more entertaining if Greenwald himself didn’t come across as so unpleasant. Maybe he’s charming and generous in real life. But in “No Place to Hide,” Greenwald seems like a self-righteous sourpuss, convinced that every issue is “straightforward,” and if you don’t agree with him, you’re part of something he calls “the authorities,” who control everything for their own nefarious but never explained purposes.

Reformers tend to be difficult people. But they come in different flavors. There are ascetics, like Henry James’s Miss Birdseye (from “The Bostonians”), “who knew less about her fellow creatures, if possible, after 50 years of humanitary zeal, than on the day she had gone into the field to testify against the iniquity of most arrangements.”

There are narcissists like Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks. These are self-canonized men who feel that, as saints, they are entitled to ignore the rules that constrain ordinary mortals. Greenwald notes indignantly that Assange was being criticized along these lines “well before he was accused of sex crimes by two women in Sweden.” (Two decades ago the British writer Michael Frayn wrote a wonderful novel and play called “Now You Know,” about a character similar to Assange.)

Then there are political romantics, played in this evening’s performance by Edward Snowden, almost 31 years old, with the sweet, innocently conspiratorial worldview of a precocious teenager. He appears to yearn for martyrdom and, according to Greenwald, “exuded an extraordinary equanimity” at the prospect of “spending decades, or life, in a supermax prison.”

And Greenwald? In his mind, he is not a reformer but a ruthless revolutionary — Robespierre, or Trotsky. The ancien régime is corrupt through and through, and he is the man who will topple it. Sounding now like Herbert Marcuse with his once fashionable theory of “repressive tolerance,” Greenwald writes about “the implicit bargain that is offered to citizens: Pose no challenge and you have nothing to worry about. Mind your own business, and support or at least tolerate what we do, and you’ll be fine. Put differently, you must refrain from provoking the authority that wields surveillance powers if you wish to be deemed free of wrongdoing. This is a deal that invites passivity, obedience and conformity.”
Continue reading the main story

Throughout “No Place to Hide,” Greenwald quotes any person or publication taking his side in any argument. If an article or editorial in The Washington Post or The New York Times (which he says “takes direction from the U.S. government about what it should and shouldn’t publish”) endorses his view on some issue, he is sure to cite it as evidence that he is right. If Margaret Sullivan, the public editor (ombudsman, or reader representative) of The Times, agrees with him on some controversy, he is in heaven. He cites at length the results of a poll showing that more people are coming around to his notion that the government’s response to terrorism after 9/11 is more dangerous than the threat it is designed to meet.

Greenwald doesn’t seem to realize that every piece of evidence he musters demonstrating that people agree with him undermines his own argument that “the authorities” brook no dissent. No one is stopping people from criticizing the government or supporting Greenwald in any way. Nobody is preventing the nation’s leading newspaper from publishing a regular column in its own pages dissenting from company or government orthodoxy. If a majority of citizens now agree with Greenwald that dissent is being crushed in this country, and will say so openly to a stranger who rings their doorbell or their phone and says she’s a pollster, how can anyone say that dissent is being crushed? What kind of poor excuse for an authoritarian society are we building in which a Glenn Greenwald, proud enemy of conformity and government oppression, can freely promote this book in all media and sell thousands of copies at airport bookstores surrounded by Homeland Security officers?

Read the whole thing.

22 May 2014

Age-Activated Attention Deficit Disorder

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Baby Boom-era Geezers will recognize the symptoms.

Hat tip to Henry Bernatonis.

22 May 2014

The Current Crisis

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PaulDelvauxCityWorried1941
Paul Delvaux, City Worried, 1941, Private Collection.

“Western civilization at the present day is passing through a crisis which is essentially different from anything that has previously been experienced. Other societies in the past have changed their social institutions or their religious beliefs under the influence of external forces or the slow development of internal growth. But none, like our own, has ever consciously faced the prospect of a fundamental alteration of the beliefs and institutions on which the whole fabric of social life rests.”

—- Christopher Dawson, Enquiries Into Religion and Culture

Via Zerogate.

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