Several months ago, our local newspaper presented on two consecutive Sundays, articles on global warming. The first was an AP article critical of global warming and detailing how the scientific results were manipulated to achieve political ends. The second was a rebuttal from several department heads at the University of Illinois, including the Atmospheric Science Department, who are involved in that science. In the first article, several links were presented to scientific results which supported his premise. The links were broken. Of greater concern was the scientific department’s heads rebuttal. Their argument consisted of a statement that Evangelical Christians supported global warming (mitigation efforts); therefore other conservatives should also support them — a kind of reverse ad hominem argument.

On April 18th in the Wall Street Journal, Patrick Michaels wrote an OpEd article detailing how climate data was suffering from several re-baseline efforts. As a result of correcting observations for various effects, the baselines from which the warming trends were extrapolated were lowered. This had the net result of creating warming trends over periods where the original data showed flat or decreasing temperatures. The outcome of this is that several widely publicized global warming indications are the result of data adjustments, not necessarily of true warming trends.

Data vs IPCC Trend

Unfortunately once a study is published, it takes on a life of its own. Critical review and analysis becomes loaded with imputed polticial agendas. Science is no longer performed. Political capital achieved from supporting one side or another obfuscates the picture and inhibits critical thought. The situation becomes worse when politicians in conjunction with industry devise solutions — carbon sequestration, trading carbon credits, and CO2 limits just to name a few. Corporations exist to create profit for shareholders, and when any corporation espouses a system of trading credits for emissions, you would do well to look beneath the covers. It won’t be pretty.

Personally, no matter which side of the debate you fall on, I think it is the epitome of arrogance to take a slice of as complex system as the earth and proclaim that this is the way it should be. Especially when humans inhabit such a trivial slice of geological time. Perhaps Canadians would like an open waterway to their north so they can deliver their now increased wheat production to the desertified islands of Florida.

 

Nonetheless…..

 

My intent in writing this rant is not to take a side although I have one (application of the scientific method and rational thought); but to provide those missing links of data which seem so hard to ferret out so that our readers may at least have a basis for their position. Below are some links and brief commentary on data sources. Feel free to add others as comments.

 

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Synthesis Report provides a framework for analysis and some presentation of data. Note in section 6.0 that “Some key findings may be policy-relevant even though they are associated with large uncertainties. {WGII 20.9}”.

Liang et al., “Regional climate model downscaling of the US Summer Climate and Future Change“, Journal of Geophysical Research Vol III, 2006.

NOAA Radiosonde Atmospheric Temperature Products for Accessing Climate (RATPAC) Homepage. Note included states “The temporal homogeneity of many radiosonde time series is suspect due to historical changes in instruments and measurement practices. Such changes may introduce artificial inhomogeneities to the time series, making them unsuitable for the study of long-term climate variations, such as through trend analysis.”

NOAA “Radiosonde Atmospheric Temperature Products for Assessing Climate
(RATPAC): A new data set of large-area anomaly time series“, Melissa Free, Dian J. Seidel, and James K. Angell (NOAA Air Resources Laboratory, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA), John Lanzante (NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey, USA) & Imke Durre and Thomas C. Peterson (NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina, USA).

Some interesting animations from SPARC (Stratospheric Processes and Their Role in Climate) is found here.

Overview of the Integrated Global Radiosonde Archive“, Durre et al. (National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina).

[Book] Reconciling Observations of Global Temperature Change (2000), Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. “The global-mean temperature at the earth’s surface is estimated to have risen by 0.25 to 0.4 °C during the past 20 years. On the other hand, satellite measurements of radiances indicate that the temperature of the lower to mid-troposphere (the atmospheric layer extending from the earth’s surface up to about 8 km) has exhibited a smaller rise of approximately 0.0 to 0.2 °C during this period. Estimates of the temperature trends of the same atmospheric layer based on balloon-borne observations (i.e., radiosondes) tend to agree with those inferred from the satellite observations.”

Satellite and Surface Temperature Data at Odds?” Reply to John R. Christy and Roy W. Spencer. This is available as PDF from Springerlink for those with access.

The Effect of Diurnal Correction on Satellite-Derived Lower Tropospheric Temperature“, Carl A. Mears and Frank J. Wentz (Remote Sensing Systems, Santa Rosa, CA 94501, USA). “We have derived a diurnal correction that, in the tropics, is of the opposite sign from that previously applied.” i.e., a cooling trend relative to the surface measured temperature.

“Correcting the MSU Middle Tropospheric Temperature for Diurnal Drifts”, Carl A. Mears, Matthias C. Schabel, and Frank J. Wentz (Remote Sensing Systems, 438 First Street, Suite 200, Santa Rosa, CA 95401) & Benjamin D. Santer, Bala Govindasamy (Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, P.O. Box 808, Mail Stop L-264, Livermore, CA 94550). “One of the most important and difficult to characterize sources of long-term drift in the data is due to the evolution of the local observing time due to slow changes in the orbital parameters of each NOAA platform, which can alias diurnal temperature changes into the long-term time series.” Remember your sampling theory and the Nyquist limit?

Another satellite reconciliation presentation [PPT]: “Resolution of Disparities in Tropospheric Temperature Records“, Thomas P. Karl (NOAA).

NASA Satellite Imagery of Anartic Ice Melt. Cycles becoming deeper each year.

A critque of the Warming Island report off Carlsbad Fjord. This observation is a matter of believing that 50 years is an epoch in geological time.

A Brighter Future” — A Response to Don Wuebbles (Climatic Change, vol. 52, no. 4, 2002), James E. Hansen (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY, U.S.A.)

A critique of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Assessment of the claims made by Eric Steig, an earth scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. This has several links to hurricane strength data.

As I stated, these are some data links — some pro and some con. If one is to derive a consensus on global warming, and especially on what we should do about it, with attendant risks to our way-of-life, economy and future, we should at least make an attempt to find out the facts.

As you can tell by reading the comments, my article on hybrids generated a ton of interest and comment. On top of the actual comments, we’ve had a bunch of discussion on our super-secret internal email list. Given the quality of the discussion in the aforementioned article, we’d like to give everyone a chance to continue the conversation.

For those of you who missed the first edition, I basically argued that hybrid automobiles only start to make sense for the typical American driver (as defined by the DOT) when gasoline reaches the economically crippling $10 a gallon. Mere “European” gas prices won’t cut it. Inflation, which is largely driven by gas and commodity prices these days, will not make matters any better as it increases prices across the board. If anything, hybrids are even more screwed.

So what do the 12 Angry Men have to say?

Angry Overeducated Catholic
Right, in fact hybrids in general (even at the SUV level) aren’t yet worth it economically. But they may be worth it for early adopters (who by definition buy such goods before it is economically rational to do so), nerds, and greenies.

Of course it would be far more worth it for the greenies to drive their old, decrepit, smog-producing VW minivan to a rally for greatly increased use of nuclear power, which would do far more to reduce fossil fuel emissions and oil dependencies than any number of hybrids.

But you can’t drive a pro-nuclear rally around to show off to your hippy friends, so that doesn’t work out…

Status good is spot on. (Note: Strictly speaking economists don’t use the term “status good” but such things would be a type of Veblen good.)

Mildly Piqued Academician
Right, in fact hybrids in general (even at the SUV level) aren’t yet worth it economically.

Well, not accounting for externalities. And “worth it” is tricky. It ain’t just gas mileage, or no one would ever get the add-ons to a car… or buy anything but the basic economy vehicle that gets you around.

But they may be worth it for early adopters (who by definition buy such goods before it is economically rational to do so), nerds, and greenies.

Right. If the nerds and greenies (big overlap there, obviously) need to justify their purchase, they can go right ahead. Fundamentally this is no different than the lawyer justifying his purchase of an Infiniti as a sign of having “made it.”As David Brooks has noted, it’s become acceptable to spend lots of money on high end “basics” such as a fancy kitchen among the bobo class, aka the current upper class.

Status good is spot on.

That’s true. But many other goods fall into that camp. Early adopter markets are quite important for the eventual broadening of the market. When fleet vehicles such as taxis, cop cars, etc., end up going hybrid you’ll see a big shift. Third gen hybrid may well push this as it will be cheaper, smaller, and better. In this case, the early adopters did
the rest of the world a big favor. 🙂

Angry Overeducated Catholic
Well, not accounting for externalities. And “worth it” is tricky. It ain’t just gas mileage, or no one would ever get the add-ons to a car… or buy anything but the basic economy vehicle that gets you around.

Right. I meant in simple economic analysis based on fuel efficiency. As you say, very few people buy their car for entirely (or even primarily) economic reasons. Otherwise the Fusion, Milan, and Altima could not all successfully compete—being the same car with different shells and options. Fortunately (for them) external options make a difference.

Right. If the nerds and greenies (big overlap there, obviously) need to justify their purchase, they can go right ahead. Fundamentally thi is no different than the lawyer justifying his purchase of an Infiniti as a sign of having “made it.”

Yes, and there’s nothing wrong with either. Both also signal to one’s peers that one is a member in good standing of the group and agrees with the aims and beliefs of the group, and such signals are of great importance to us naked apes.

As David Brooks has noted, it’s become acceptable to spend lots of money on high end “basics” such as a fancy kitchen among the bobo class.

Yes indeed. Or to spend lots of extra bucks on organic food at faux farmers’ markets like Whole Foods. I suspect part of this a legitimate interest in these things and part is a desire to be able to consume conspicuously without appearing to be a wasteful and evil conspicuous consumer.

That’s true. But many other goods fall into that camp. Early adopter markets are quite important for the eventual broadening of the market.

Yes, and there’s nothing at all wrong with status goods—together with other luxury goods they form a huge component of the economy, after all.

When fleet vehicles such as taxis, cop cars, etc., end up going hybrid you’ll see a big shift. Third gen hybrid may well push this as it will be cheaper, smaller, and better. In this case, the early adopters did the rest of the world a big favor. 🙂

Exactly. If hybrid tech pans out the early adopters will be those who kept it alive long enough to do so. And if it fails, they’re the ones who took the risk (and loss) to give it a try. Entrepreneurs of consumption, as it were… 🙂

Mildly Piqued Academician

Yes, and there’s nothing at all wrong with status goods—together with other luxury goods they form a huge component of the economy, after all.

They always feel a little “dirty” though… Why else would bobos go through so much trouble putting on counter-cultural airs? Why else would people like Richard Nixon famously go on about wife Pat’s “good Republican cloth coat” in the Checkers speech? Honestly I think that the argument that bobo-ism represents nothing more than changing tastes of the upper class is spot on.

Angry New Mexican
So, to paraphrase AOC from the comments of the original article are hybrid car owners
“driving around the block displaying your Goreon commitment to the admiring public,” like the folks who shop at Whole Foods (evidently including Obama… no wonder the wacky left opposes The Clinton Restoration(TM))? Are they really interested in engaging in self-promoting faux-greenery, namely saving the planet without sacrifice (or at least without their sacrifice… the opposition to Tata Motor’s ultra-cheap car betrays this hypocracy)?

Or on the other hand, are folks who buy hybrid just crazy first-adopting geeks (I can relate, I bought a 1st gen Iomega Zip Drive back inthe day), who will eventually help move the technology to the mass market?

Only time will tell… Readers, what’s your call?

WordPress divider

ObFascism Tag: Boboism is nothing new. Adolf Hitler practiced it personally—put on of being a “man of the people” while living in luxury himself—and it’s a part of the denouement of previous romantic movements.

In case you missed my last article detailing my passionate hatred for the latest bit of consumer stupidity, known as hybrid automobiles, I’m back with a sequel piece. Here I’ll be employing the mighty power known as algebra to explain why buying a hybrid automobile makes no economic sense, except in what would be best classified as a nightmare scenario. To illustrate this, I want to compare the Toyota Prius with (in my opinion at least) one of the best inexpensive cars on the market, the Toyota Corolla. The cars are of a similar size and equal seating capacity (5). So what makes the humble Corolla more than a match for the mighty Prius from an economic perspective? The answer is simple: cost.

Consider the following vital stats about the two automobiles:

Car City MPG Highway MPG MSRP Range
2008 Prius 48 45 $21,100 — $23,370
2008 Corolla 28 37 $14,405 — $16,415

According to Uncle Sam, it’s plausible to assume that the average driver puts about 15k miles on a car every year. Likewise, according to the DOT, the average American keeps their car about 4.5 years. That’s not a whole lot of time to recover the cost of the vastly more expensive Prius. But with the price of gas these days, it has to be a good deal, right? Wrong.

Assuming that the cars depreciate at an equal rate (or you just crash them into a tree and get nothing from your insurance company) and that inflation (now pushing 4% per year) drops to zero, here’s where the Prius becomes cheaper as determined by the price of gas (here we only consider the lowest end model of each car):

When the Prius Price of Gasoline (per gallon)
Costs Less $2.00 $3.26 $5.00 $8.00 $10.00
Years 22.8 14.1 9.1 5.7 4.6

So for a Prius to be more economically sensible for the “average” American, gas has to cost $10.00 a gallon. And this is assuming 0% inflation. The numbers get worse when you factor in a 3% inflation rate. Assume that the gas price listed is the price today and that the cost of gas increases inline with the 3% inflation rate (Ben Bernanke and I are both being hopeful). Then the crossover point looks like:

When the Prius Price of Gasoline (per gallon)
Costs Less $2.00 $3.26 $5.00 $8.00 $10.00
Years 36 18 11 6 5

So unless we assume that gas prices are going to head up significantly faster than the inflation rate, it’ll still take $10.00 per gallon gasoline to make the mightly Prius cost-competitive with the humble Corolla. Perhaps that’s something to think about the next time you head to visit the Toyota dealer…

The late Sam Kinison had a routine during the Ethiopian famine of the early to mid ’80s, with the famous punch line:

“YOU LIVE IN A DESERT! YOU LIVE IN A F—ING DESERT! NOTHING GROWS OUT HERE! NOTHING’S GONNA GROW OUT HERE! YOU SEE THIS? HUH? THIS IS SAND. KNOW WHAT IT’S GONNA BE A HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW? IT’S GONNA BE SAND! YOU LIVE IN A F—ING DESERT! GET YOUR STUFF, GET YOUR SH!T, WE’LL MAKE ONE TRIP, WE’LL TAKE YOU TO WHERE THE FOOD IS! WE HAVE DESERTS IN AMERICA — WE JUST DON’T LIVE IN THEM, A$$HOLES!” –From an appearance on Rodney Dangerfield’s “It’s Not Easy Being Me,” 1984.

While I recall the skit being quite funny at the time, Kinison was wrong in two ways:

First of all, and most unjustly, while the Ethiopians he was talking about did live in the desert, for the most part they did not do so willingly. They’d been transported there by the dictatorial government of Ethiopia, led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, who now lives it up in Zimbabwe under the protection of another fine African despot, Robert Mugabe, after being tossed out of Ethiopia in 1991 when his Soviet backers’ support withered and died. Mengistu was attempting to relieve overcrowding in the traditionally populated highland areas that were free of malaria and sleeping sickness by relocating people to the lowlands. Like many other such Third World Marxist schemes based on a combination of bribery and guns—think the low-budget version of the Great Leap Forward—it didn’t work. And of course, Mengistu’s government took the opportunity to transport people they didn’t like to places they were unlikely to return from… ever.

Second of all, a heck of a lot of Americans do live in deserts, among others big areas of Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, Eastern Washington and Oregon, etc. Unlike Ethiopians, who aren’t stupid enough to do so willingly, we choose to live in deserts, and we’re dealing with the consequences of that right now:

  • Regular wildfires in the west, such as what’s going on in Los Angeles right now, as desert foliage—evolved to burn regularly but allowed to overgrow by the intervention of man—burns off. In fact, the Native Americans who lived in the Los Angeles basin before the Spanish referred to it as “Valley of the Smokes” so the problem is far from new;
  • Regular mudslides in the same areas, because the soils cannot handle the drainage when rain does occur;
  • A nearly dry Colorado River, Rio Grande and southeast;
  • Crazy water rights regimes in California and other areas that price agricultural water so low that many farmers let it evaporate in their antiquated irrigation technology
  • Salinated soils

The list goes on. As the planet warms (for whatever reason you wish to ascribe) and fresh water gets more dear, this is only going to become a bigger and costlier problem, unless some big technological breakthroughs, like cheap, i.e., energy-efficient, desalinization, happen.

Thoughts?

That least charismatic of all cult leaders Al Gore is secretly assembling a crack team of slightly more charismatic political consultants in an attempt to repeat their stunningly expensive and embarrassing loss in the 2000 race for President of the United Status. This time they hope to advance that record significantly, mostly by spending more money while still achieving the same result.

Captain’s Quarters has a write-up, following an article in the Telegraph. This same paper, it should be noted, is leading today with an article on the resignation of the lead coroner in the inquest into the autopsy of Princess Diana. This paper is just all about the upbeat.

Under the Climate Caliphate we can expect knee-jerk policies to anything a computer tells us will cause harm to penguins, polar bears, or poor brown people in loincloths on islands that only the rich can afford to visit. Instead of using its military and economy to decisively alter the course of rogue governments, we can expect the US to drive itself bankrupt through policies that decisively alter the course of our own booming economy and job market. That’s the way we once again “join our traditional allies” in Europe and move into the much-ballyhooed “modern age” of transnational global citizenship.

Many in the anti-Hillary camp are looking at Gore with the same hopeful (but unrealistic) gazes which were previously only bestowed upon him by those in the anti-capitalism camp. They’re hoping he’ll step up to do two things:

1) Squash all second-runners like Edwards and Obama.
2) Provide an electable alternative to Clinton who doesn’t have the intense negative baggage that she carries with her.

It’s ironic that Mr. Gore will likely be getting the bigoted vote in the Democratic party who are afraid of electing a woman, a black man, a former Muslim, or a crazy ambulance-chasing lawyer. Given their penchant for categorizing people by insignificant details of their history or genetics, I would imagine there are quite a few soft bigots in the party who will be ecstatic to see an old rich white guy for whom they can comfortably write a check, and tick a box.

Hollywood will likely throw in all of its remaining money into Gore’s pockets as a charitable donation to the Church of Socialism and Climate Change (also known as the “Church of the Restriction of Human Freedom and Liberty” ). This will create an amusing situation where the Democratic party actually has to decide between several bleeding-heart causes during its primary elections.

Part of me is happy that Gore is waiting until later to throw into the race. I’d love to see a return to the sanity of a shorter election cycle. If you stop feeding the political consultants, they might be forced into having a real job in the odd-numbered years.

McCain was trying the same “I’ll wait to announce” tactic, but at the rate he’s going he’ll be announcing his concession and support of Bill Richardson before he actually announces his campaign! The trick, John, is that you need some reason to be in the news despite having no campaign. Gore has his effort to personally contribute to Catastrophic Climate Change, Obama has his smiley-faced cast-of-“The West Wing” charisma, Fred (“Tough on TV Crime”) Thompson has his acting career, Ms. Clinton had her wife’s Presidency. All of these people had a sustained media push before their announcement.

On the conservative Republican front, Newt Gingrich is building steam towards a big set of policy initiatives at the end of September. I’m sure that it’s merely a coincidence that this would give him a massive publicity shot among the conservative political class just as primary season really hits big time. Will this mean he’s looking at a run for 1600? Naturally with his big initiatives he’ll be much too busy giving speeches and debating with the policies of the candidates to worry about such campaign features as… giving speeches and debating the other candidates… hmmm

It looks like there may be more people playing the late game than just Big Al.

How would you like to make small untraceable donations to Al-Qaeda? Interested in supporting Terrorism and helping America’s enemies win? Then you’re in luck my friend! All you have to do is buy an SUV. That’s right, by purchasing a Sports Utility Vehicle, you too can be a terrorist. In the spirit of Regan’s Trickle-down economics, soulless American consumerism has brought you Trickle-down terrorism. Sure everyone needs to drive, and so some money from US oil purchases will end up in the hands of unsavory types, but by buying an SUV, you can ensure that you are funneling your hard earned dollars into terrorist hands even faster!

Before we really begin to dig into the issues here, I want to preface my argument by pointing out that some people need SUVs, or big trucks. Farmers in particular, who use SUVs and trucks as actual workhorses, are blameless, as are disabled individuals for whom sitting in a car causes discomfort or pain. These people are forced into using SUVs because of their jobs, or personal injuries. But these people are the minority. Most of the individuals who drive SUVs do so because they are hip, shiny and cool, and to help them keep up with the Joneses. After all, if your car isn’t as new and pointless as the one Chad and Buffy Jones just parked next door to your coastal McMansion, you might not be invited to the next shallow cocktail party they throw!

Given that over 25% of our daily oil imports come from countries with known or suspected ties to terrorism (and an additional 13% comes from Venezuela, a country none too fond of Western governments), we should be weighing our consciences to see if driving that new Ford Valdez is really worth the price. The average SUV uses 169% of the gas of a sedan does to move the same distance, and 281% of the gas a hybridized car uses. The cost of this useless inefficiency isn’t just to your wallet. The cost is paid by your children too. By wasting money on SUVs instead of the passenger car you really need, more money ends up in the hands of people who hate freedom.

But how much money ends up in the hands of terrorists each time you fuel up your good old SUV? It’s easy to ignore the costs when they’re just abstractions so I am going to tear away the curtain and force you to pay attention to the terrorist behind it. With the current US gas price of $2.87 and roughly 20 gallons in the tank of an average SUV, we’re talking about $57.40 for a full tank. Of that, roughly 45% of your money goes towards the oil producing countries, or $25.83, and of the money that ends up back at the sources 25% of it goes to nations with known or suspected terrorist ties, giving us the final amount of $6.45. Every time you fill up your SUV, you donate $6.45 to Al Qaeda. Based on DOE average yearly gas consumption, the average SUV driver donates more than $240 to Al Qaeda every year.

But $240 isn’t a lot of money right? Wrong. Your yearly donation to Al Qaeda helps to outfit 24 terrorists in Afghanistan with assault rifles. Or perhaps it will be used to buy 10 Improvised Explosive Devices in Iraq? Either way that SUV parked outside of your house right now means more innocent people dead every year. It is time to do our patriotic duty as Americans, and get rid of our SUVs, replacing them with fuel efficient alternatives. Stop trickle-down terrorism today!

-Angry Midwesterner


Clean energy has been an increasing concern for the whole world lately, and it’s a concern which grows by the minute. Unfortunately for the USA, we’re not up to the task yet… or rather some of us aren’t. The poster child for clean energy has long been our good friend born of the atomic age, Nuclear Power. Long decried by hippies, but championed by true environmentalists, nuclear energy is the panacea for our energy needs. While much of the US has embraced nuclear energy as the wonderful solution it is, a major part of the country has ignored it and demonized it. Unsurprisingly this problem segment of the nation is that self-same segment that causes problems with everything it gets its dirty little fingers into, yup you guessed it, the Left Coast.

Only for once, it isn’t just the hippies who are causing the problem. We’re also running into problems from the coal burning inland western survivalist types who are apparently too busy building up their own personal arsenal to care about modernizing their power systems. I guess there is one thing to say about this issue, it’s united the nut-job libertarians with the hippies who are afraid uranium might feel pain while undergoing fission, so in some ways the whole issue has brought more understanding to two portions of our political spectrum that, while insane, are insane in different ways.

Long the bastion of ill informed hippies, backwards “new” age thinking (i.e. crackpot crap), and morally bankrupt ethics, the Left Coast is once again proving to be the cement shoes that join the iron ball of politically and ethically bankrupt libertarianism, working together, dragging us underwater and slowing our ability to solve real problems. I submit the following graphic for your perusal (click to enlarge):


1

As can be easily seen, the West lags the most in nuclear capabilities when compared to the country as a whole. While some of the northeast gets a pass due to small population (Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut have low total Megawatt outputs, and produce less nuclear power than Ohio or Wisconsin), it is still clear that while the South, Northeast, Midwest, and some of the plains states have their priorities straight (and let’s face it, the Dakotas aren’t lagging for lack of trying, but for lack of funds), the West needs to follow the nation into the 21st century.

Right now our West Coast readers are no doubt reaching for their keyboards to bang out an angry response about the “Dangers of Nuclear Power™!!!!”, while our survivalist readers are reaching for their rusty old shotguns, but before you waste our collective times let me clue you guys into a secret. Nuclear power involves less exposure to radioactive materials than does coal-fired plants! Our West Coast friends are, no doubt, now toking on their joint with an aura of suspicion, but with hints of interest poking through their drug induced haze (in all fairness the libertarians are beginning to take aim and won’t be won through logic), so for their benefit let me dispel some common myths.

One of the most common myths which persists is that evil nuclear energy results in a lot of radioactive waste which we don’t know how to deal with. This is a flat out lie. First off, we have to understand that radioactive waste isn’t a problem specific to nuclear power. A 1000MW coal-fired plant (the sort of plant from which the majority of our national and world power is produced) burns about 4,000,000 tons of coal every year2. This coal contains approximately 5.2 tons of Uranium, 12.8 tons of radioactive thorium and 0.22 tons of radioactive potassium-402. Want to take a guess where this waste goes? I’ll give you a hint, it isn’t sequestered in a closed environmentally safe chamber like it would have been in a nuclear reactor.

If instead of blowing this 18.22 tons of radioactive waste out into the environment, had we used it as fuel in a reactor we could have generated 1.47 times as much energy as was generated by the coal which produced this waste2! So by burning coal instead of reacting nuclear materials we have generated the same amount of radioactive waste, but only 68% of the power we could have had, and blown the waste into our environment instead of sequestering it. While sequestering the waste may not seem like the best long term strategy, it is a good deal better than dumping it into the environment!

The second myth I want to dispel is that somehow Nuclear Energy exposes us to the dark and sinister demon of radiation. Exposure to radiation is far greater due to coal-fired plants than nuclear plants. Your average 1000MW coal-fired power plant produces exposures of 4.9 person-sieverts per year, compared to just 0.048 person-sieverts per year from a 1000MW nuclear power plant3. Amazing isn’t it? That coal fire plant in your area is exposing you to 100 times more radiation than an equivalent nuclear plant would.

So with the rabid arguments of the unwashed hippy masses put to rest (and me ready to dodge the hail of bullets from Montana) it is time for the West to start caring about the environment, and the lives and safety of its people. It’s time to look to the South for a role model and modernize the energy holdings in the Left coast, and the rest of the west. Re-open the West to nuclear power, because that is how the West will be won once more.

-Angry Midwesterner

Angry Midwesterner

1 Department of Energy – Energy Information Administration
2 Oak Ridge National Labs
3The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements

One of the few good things about living among the peasants in this strange new land is the startling revelations it provides into the mindset of these strange people, whose heretofore intrusions into the sane public square of the old country were unintelligible.   The social elite here (if you can call them that) have a distinct self-hatred in which they almost totally fail to convince the proletariat to participate with them.   Amongst the hazards of living out here is that many people actually take the Academy Awards seriously.

 

I suppose you could say that this was the first year I know someone who saw the Oscars “live”.   The soon-to-be Mrs. Angry Immigrant saw the spot lights over Hollywood from her apartment.   That’s as close as I’ll let her approach to those kinds of people.

 

This year was the triumph of the Goracle, the King Midas of self-hatred himself.   Everything he touched turned into small golden statues.   Pardon me, statuettes.   They can’t even spring for a whole statue, they only give out a partial one.   Cheapskates.   They must be spending the rest on carbon credits.   A man who spends all of his time telling other people how to live — and then utterly fails to come anywhere close to following his own advice – must have a healthy amount of self-loathing.   I can stand people telling me how to live – as long as they don’t actually expect me to pay any more attention to them as they do to my advice for them.

 

This week started scary, and is ending hilariously.   The Goracle was receiving adulation and worship from the rich line-readers and camera junkies that inhabit the butt-end of the US (the East Coast being much more face-like, and the Midwest being obviously both the brain and the heart).   The reverent silence that overtook the crowds of empty shirts was one of the times I’ve been truly frightened.   I’ve seen crowds of 800,000+ people hanging on every word of the Pope, and even those people were not merely taking his words “as gospel” – even though what he was discussing was literally The Gospel.

 

To see so many people with their ears open and their brains turned off was truly disturbing.   It was like watching credulous retirees on infomercials learning about how they, too, could win billions on the currency markets.   It pissed me off that Americans aren’t smarter than that.   I guess I can take comfort that more and more of the “faces” are foreigners, and therefore they aren’t my fault.

 

Fortunately a brilliant (though perhaps senile) foreigner has provided the true solution to catastrophic anthropogenic climate change (ok, I’ve hit my buzzword quota for this post).   As you’ve know doubt heard from (honorary-ish) Dr. Gore, there’s no way on Earth we can stop producing carbon dioxide fast enough to stop the catastrophe.   No way on Earth.

 

Thank God for aliens!

 

Former Canadian defense minister Paul Hellyer says that governments should be truly responsible and use the alien technology gleaned from covered-up crash sites to revolutionize terrestrial production and transportation within one generation, thus preventing (and reversing) catastrophic climate change!

 

That’s right – green bug-eyed monsters to the rescue.   Cold fusion.   Hyperdrive.   Impulse warp engines. Phasers.   The TARDIS.   Tang.

 

And no one can figure out why the rest of us think these people are crazy.

 

Mr. Gore wants to spend several trillion dollars on unproven ideas to reverse a condition that hasn’t even reliably been predicted, much less counter-acted.   He can’t even reliably bring down his own electric bill, much less the global temperature of the Earth!   He makes the Canadian look downright reasonable.

 

At least Mr. Hellyer wants to spend money on proven technology – his spacemen must have successfully traveled a long long way to get here.   Their propulsion and production tech must be steady as a rock.   Just avoid the landing systems.   Those seem a bit shaky.

 

Maybe we could trade them some Hollywood “faces” for their human zoo.   Those people seem to be taking up most of the resources.   Maybe we’d be a more “green” planet without them.   I think we should really look into Mr. Hellyer’s concept here.   Once he saves the planet he deserves some real recognition.   Maybe I’ll give him a statuette!