Sunday, August 29, 2010

Questions for the Tea Party

Here are some Qs for your local Tea Party Patriot:
( The first two are from Michael Gerson's Why the Tea Party is toxic for the GOP )
  • Do you believe that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional?

  • Do you believe that American identity is undermined by immigration?

  • Do you believe that corporations should have the same rights as citizens?

  • (added Sept 2)
    With the kind of (smaller & less powerful) government that the Tea Party folks are trying to bring about, how would we effectively go about fighting a global economic externality like climate change?
    (...hypothetically, if human-caused climate change turned out to be real, & as (& as serious a problem as) the climate science community sees it)

Feel free to ask other questions - or, if you're a TPP, to answer some - in the comments.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Contest - Steele's "What do you know about global warming?" quiz post

Local contrarian Russ Steele has a blog post up plugging a "What do you know about global warming?" quiz.

I went through the first few questions, and there's a hole in its logic that you can drive a Prius through.

Can you spot it? First person to do so gets a free coffee (from me) at Java John's.

(to make this one easy, here's a hint)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Kochs and the Tea Party - and the Smithsonian, and global climate destabilization

"...this is a grassroots citizens’ movement brought to you by a bunch of oil billionaires..."
- David Axelrod
There's a wonderful deep piece on Charles and David Koch and the Kochtopus by Jane Mayer in the latest New Yorker, Covert Operations - The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.

The TPP folk do seem blind to the difference between people and corporations; I've spoken with two locals, Stan Meckler being one, and when I asked whether the "people" who needed to take back the government would include corporations, they didn't see it as an issue.
(Stan and J., if I misunderstood, please set me straight.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Acolytes of the Church of Monckton, Nevada County Chapter

Outspoken British public speaker Christopher Monckton is a world-famous colorful character who holds - and holds forth on - eccentric climate and medical science views despite no apparent formal education in either field.

Recently (Utah, Republican, Mormon, science-aligned) BYU geochemistry professor Barry Bickmore, who's been maintaining Lord Monckton’s Rap Sheet to document Monckton's rather wild views and actions, has started a companion page - The Church of Monckton - to document which institutions and national figures appear to consider Monckton a credible source nonetheless.
(This is in anticipation of future furious backtracking.)
"Lord Monckton is a living symbol of the fact that many climate change contrarians will believe anything that seems to support their case, even if it’s coming from a ridiculous crackpot."
By and large, Nevada County folk aren't national figures & so aren't eligible for inclusion on Bickmore's compendium, so this NCFocus post is for listing acolytes of our own local "Church of Monckton" chapter.

Members include two from the Sierra Environmental Studies Foundation board:
  • Russ Steele
    ("When a wiser man than thee speaks, one should listen" (link) - "Viscount Monckton of Brenchley does a superb science based review...finds Obama misinformed on the science...")
  • and George Rebane
    ("Lord Christopher Monckton gave a recent which he warns Americans about the loss of our sovereignty. The leftwing promoters of our socialist future simply ignore all this..."(link)).

Do we have any other local Monckton admirers?

Friday, August 20, 2010

This week: Science opposes reckless-endangerment "CO2 is plant food" talking point

One common talking point from the antiscience folk is that spilling more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere must be good for plants. It seems like common sense, if you're unfamiliar with ecological principles - with ecological forces & constraints, with limiting factors, with predation - and, it appears likely, with reality.

The relevant ecology, in short:
* To the extent that a warming (or destabilized) world helps those who want to eat you (or compete with you), you won't thrive. A longer growing season allows more generations of bark beetles; a warmer winter lets more of them survive until spring. The resultant population flush can have nasty consequences for forests.

* To the extent that a warming (or destabilized) world reduces other resources you need when you need them - like, say, water - you won't thrive.

And today's news on that front - "Drought-Induced Reduction in Global Terrestrial Net Primary Production from 2000 Through 2009", published (link) in Science(*) - is not reassuring:
"Global plant productivity that once was on the rise with warming temperatures and a lengthened growing season is now on the decline because of regional drought according to a new study of NASA satellite data. "
- from the NASA press release, Drought Drives Decade-Long Decline in Plant Growth
The lesson:
"Without good science you have only ideology and public relations, and the disasters those lead to."

For the global climate destabilization firehose, see H.E. Taylor's Another Week of Global Warming News.

Anyone who has a child - and anyone who's not now elderly - has a stake in the future.
And they will be choosing your nursing home...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

NCTV 6pm tonight - Oreskes, Sagan, Hawking, Powell

At 6pm tonight you can treat yourself to a Stanford seminar, 45 minutes of Naomi Oreskes on the history of the global warming denial effort; then 10 minutes of Jim Powell (Exec. Dir, National Physical Science Consortium) with a quick run-through of the evidence for human-caused global warming; and finally a couple of short commentaries on the greenhouse effect by Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan.

It aired yesterday at 7am, and will be shown again next Mon and Wed at 7am.

Admittedly, these 4 airings are a far cry from the 37 times the "Global Warming or Global Governance" crockumentary appeared on NCTV a couple years back, but it's a start.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

KVMR science and the climate threat - calibration

See Aug 20 update below, on meaningful vs. misleading assertions; and Aug 24 update below it, on what sensitivity can't tell us. Also see the Soundings host's response.

KVMR's biweekly science show Soundings has been extremely light on climate coverage, and what coverage it's done has skirted the all-important question, "how serious is climate change likely to get under Business As Usual, and how should we go about deciding what actions to take and when?"

In part this is by design; since the show avoids policy, it won't address the second part of this question.

Friday, August 13, 2010

This week: First it came for Moscow, Pakistan, the Arctic... - and our response

Global climate destabilization.

Closed mouths, thin skins at CABPRO

I have questions about Nevada County's antiregulation lobbying group CABPRO; I haven't been able to get answers via phone to the CABPRO office, via phone to executive director Martin Light, or via phone to founder Kim Janousek.

So I left a comment over on Russ Steele's Aug 10 post on the CABPRO blog:
Russ, how do I get in touch with someone from CABPRO, please?

Posted by: Anna Haynes August 12, 2010 at 12:24 PM
It didn't survive moderation.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Save the Air in Nevada County?

Can someone clue me in, as to what's up with this organization?

Its home page has a "Donate" button & says "Please Help our Education and Research Efforts – Tax Deductible 501 (c)(3)"

So I went looking for its IRS Form 990s on Guidestar, but couldn't find the org. there; checked the IRS "search for charities", couldn't find it there; checked a listing of Nevada County nonprofits, couldn't find it there.

At the time of posting , phone calls to their "Media Relations" people had not yet been returned, and nor had the previous day's inquiry to a founder; but see comments for update.

I'm sure the answer is simple and aboveboard, but I'd like to know what it is.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Cups are flying, over at the Tea Party (as of Aug 1)

This is just a heads-up, to those who might otherwise have missed it (and who care to attend these things) - in the comments on this post at Rebane's blog, there's internecine warfare and shattered porcelain all over.
Names invoked: Mandy Morello, Laura Boatright, Larry Naritelli, Dave Kern, Stan Meckler, Mark Meckler...

(h/t Jeff Pelline, or one of his commenters)

That is all.

Friday, August 06, 2010

This week: Use a climate band-aid, open a can of worms - ounce prevention best

Three links.

1. Three new studies illustrate significant risks and complications with geoengineering climate

Engaging climate contrarians on the science - An experiment

This post - and project - is an exploration into taking a different, "nitty gritty science" path, looking into the science cited as supporting some contrarian climate science claims. The purpose is to see what we find on the journey, and to compare the efficiency & the outcome of two approaches: the "look at the [purported] science" approach, and the "CEO using science" one.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Health of our banks & credit unions, from Mar 2010

Here's how our banks and credit unions (ones that have branches here) rated on their Troubled Asset ratios in March, compared to each other and to the median bank and credit union values.

Another regret, in brief - the spouse, albeit business partner

Having already posted one regret today, might as well add a more recent one - I no longer think my having called out local climate-change denier Russ Steele's spouse and business partner was fair [... (2012-01-09 update)]

Apologies, E.S.
(but do please inform yourself on the topic; not for me, for yourself, since anyone with a child has a stake in the future.)


(I can't add this comment over at Grist where it belongs, so, here it is...)

"The traits of engineers that get them into the most trouble... is that they approach stress in "fix-it" mode and go off half-cocked." - Bruce Salem, 2008

20-20 hindsight is better than nothing, but I sure wish I could have thought ahead.

Distinctions - Science, policy, politics

For local consumption.
Talking with a friend this morning (thanks, friend!), I think the human tendency toward dualism might have sent us talking past each other. Here's how I see the distinctions between science, policy and politics: