Competitive Transcendalists

Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 10:07 | Category : Books
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From Thoreau’s entry of 30 January:

“I doubt if Emerson could trundle a wheelbarrow through the streets, because it would be out of character. One needs to have a comprehensive character.”

This just strikes me as hysterical.

Just Stuff

Monday, 29 January 2007, 9:13 | Category : Walks
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I oftentimes find interesting things when I’m walking. Some things are curious – one shoe, not old, not battered, on the side of the road. A half-eaten hamburger. Various small electronic gadgets. A bra – you gotta wonder what was going on inside that car. But if you get off the beaten path just a little, you find the really interesting stuff:

Did it just become so untuneable? It had to have taken some effort, “especially when you be movin’ a piano”.

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The Weather Channel Meterologist Controversy

Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 12:04 | Category : Environment
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Lots of chatter about this. I decided to see what actually was said. Dr. Heidi Cullen was reacting to a blog interview with a DC-area TV meteorologist, Brian van de Graaf, who had this to say about global warming:

“The subject of global warming definitely makes headlines in the media and is a topic of much debate. I try to read up on the subject to have a better understanding, but it is complex. Often, it is so politicized and those on both sides don’t always appear to have their facts straight. History has taught us that weather patterns are cyclical and although we have noticed a warming pattern in recent time, I don’t know what generalizations came be made from this with the lack of long-term scientific data. That’s all I will say about this.”

Dr. Cullen then noted a later entry on that same blog (Capitalweather.com) which responded to van de Graaf’s statement:

“”If that were a question on a climate science exam, van de Graaf better hope for partial credit. Sure, there are cyclical patterns of climate change and weather patterns, but he misses the more important point about trends in long-term data.

The global surface thermometer record only stretches back to the 1800s, but reliable traces of the planet’s temperature can be made stretching back thousands of years using ice cores, tree ring records, ocean sediments and other “proxy” methods. Together, these records have showed a stark warming trend during the past century, particularly the last 30 years, that is out of step with previous shifts.

Scientists have identified human emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, as the most likely culprit for the warming. This is the opinion of most climate scientists, and van de Graaf and others should know this and communicate this to the public….

Van de Graaf and his colleagues can look to the American Meteorological Society, which awards them their television “seals of approval” and hence their legitimacy as TV meteorologists, for a nonpartisan scientific view on climate change.

More than three years ago the AMS issued a statement on climate change that said: “There is convincing evidence that since the industrial revolution, human activities, resulting in increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and other trace constituents in the atmosphere, have become a major agent of climate change.”

Perhaps AMS members should be required to read the organization’s statements and consider getting on board with the group’s new emphasis on becoming station scientists. Either that, or continue to be left out of covering the biggest weather story of all time.”

Dr. Cullen referred to that blog post, and went on to say:

“”I’d like to take that suggestion a step further. If a meteorologist has an AMS Seal of Approval, which is used to confer legitimacy to TV meteorologists, then meteorologists have a responsibility to truly educate themselves on the science of global warming… Meteorologists are among the few people trained in the sciences who are permitted regular access to our living rooms. And in that sense, they owe it to their audience to distinguish between solid, peer-reviewed science and junk political controversy. If a meteorologist can’t speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn’t give them a Seal of Approval”.

So – not quite as extreme a statement as this Alabama broadcast meteorologist would have you believe. Also – Spann makes the statement that “Billions of dollars of grant money is flowing into the pockets of those on the man-made global warming bandwagon”. I can’t find anything close to that. The Federal government spent a few hundred million dollars on climate research in 2005, the latest year for which I could find figures. Here’s the link for that. That amount will buy you a few days of war in Iraq, by the way. I doubt that private sources are covering the remaining billions Spann claims. On the other hand, ExxonMobil is spending millions to convince people that the science behind global warming isn’t legitimate. I don’t claim to know for sure whether we’re causing some of the problem. With all the data that’s accumulating indicating we are, I’m inclined to believe that there’s some fire under all that smoke, and if we can put some of it out, we should.

Dr. Cullen’s original blog post is here, followed by this post.

Spam Block Spam

Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 21:07 | Category : Geek Stuff
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I tried to send an email to someone tonight, someone I know but wouldn’t consider a close friend. I got this back:

I apologize for this automatic reply to your email.

To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand.

If you would like to be added to my list of approved senders, please fill out the short request form (see link below). Once I approve you, I will receive your original message in my inbox. You do not need to resend your message. I apologize for this one-time inconvenience.

Click the link below to fill out the request:

Needless to say, I didn’t fill out the short request form, and therefore won’t be approved. And therefore, he won’t receive my email. I don’t know many people who use those spam-blockers,fortunately, because I really don’t like the implication that somehow I’m not worthy to send emails. What really bothers me is when people on mailing lists turn these things on – as a listowner, when I encounter someone doing this, I block them from the list. I hate spam as much as the next person, but this isn’t the way to handle it.

Changing the subject, I think the President is giving a pretty good speech tonight. A much different tone than his previous speeches. I’d give him a B+. Not that I agree with everything he said, but it was a good speech nonetheless.

Interesting – on the way out, the President walked right past Senator Lott. Shook hands before and after him, but not Trent’s.

Over The Rainbow

Monday, 22 January 2007, 21:21 | Category : Music
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Just because I like the song, and these versions…

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