Friday, June 30, 2006

Blind or Deliberate?

What's the difference between advocacy and admonition or warning? Some people seem blind to the distinction. Others seem to cultivate that blindness.

People are still defaming Pianka. Some, I believe, do it knowing full well what they are doing but justifying the means with their end. Others are just, well, they do it for other reasons. I'm not sure whether this piece if from the deliberate or the other camp.

Allow widespread disease to eradicate at least 90 percent of the earth's population, ASAP! AIDS, [Pianka] believes, is too slow. His disease of choice is the Ebola virus which kills in days. And luckily, Ebola is airborne-transmittable! Never mind the horrific deaths of those who succumb as their internal organs liquefy inside them. Pianka also says bird flu is "good" for the job. And, yes, he's willing to sacrifice himself.
And some of the "smartest smart" ones want to kill off 90 percent of their own species.

Want to. Right. Oh well...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

No, I will not support Greenpeace

Chernobyl certificate No 000358 | Greenpeace International

Part of me wants to support Greenpeace. I'm with them on whaling, and their stances on timber, the oceans and so on makes some sense to me.

Greenpeace's stance on nuclear energy, though, doesn't follow. They assert that we don't need nuclear energy because we can meet all our energy needs with safe and efficient renewable energy technologies. Maybe so, but I think almost certainly not for reasons ranging from intermittence to NIMBY to unintended consequences (such as bird kill due to wind energy extraction, shorline erosion due to wave energy extraction or algae blooms due to ocean thermal energy conversion).

I resent Greenpeace raising the spectre of Chernobyl, as if Chernobyl represented the technology of future nuclear energy.

As for inherent danger, life is inherently dangerous, less so on some paths than others. All things considered, the no-nuke path is much more dangerous than the pro-nuke path.

Energy not available from new nuclear energy will come mostly from new combustion of fossil fuel, not from safe and renewable green sources. What is more inherently dangerous than the accelerated increase of the atmosphere's CO2 burden?

Energy available from new nuclear sources will decrease the likelihood of resource wars by some number. What's more inherently dangerous than war?

What's more inherently dangerous than steady growth against limits? There is zero probability of humanity limiting its numbers except by the four horsemen on the one hand, or good standards of living for everyone on the other. I don't think we'll avoid the four horsemen without the energy of the atom.

The globe needs massive amounts of new nuclear energy along with every other safe and renewable source. When Greenpeace changes their anti-nuke stance I'll reconside support.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Manufacturing Doubt

Yesterday I came across this piece in the Canada Free Press, "Scientists respond to Gore's warnings of climate catastrophe - "The Inconvenient Truth" is indeed inconvenient to alarmists" by Tom Harris. I thought I'd better read it because, though I have not yet seen Gore's flick, from what I have seen and read I think Gore is highly credible on the topic of human-caused climate change. Maybe I shouldn't so credulous?

My first reaction to Harris' piece was actually to the brilliant red-white-and-blue theme of the web site. Rightly or wrongly, I've come to associate a high likelihood of bullshit with red-white-and-blue themed web sites. It's not the colors themselves, which still look great on the US flag; rather, my reaction is to what I perceive as an intent to bolster propaganda within. (Yes, I know it's a Canadian web site.)

My next reaction was to the word "alarmists" in the subtitle. I'm sensitive to that word because it's another of those focus-grouped and endlessly repeated words flagged by master compliance professionals for their manipulative effectiveness.

Then I learned that the Earth had actually been frozen while CO2 levels were ten times higher than today. Wow!
Appearing before the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development last year, Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, "There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth's temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years." Patterson asked the committee, "On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century's modest warming?"
Well, I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they are both happening in the blink of a geological eye as we un-do many tens of millions of years worth of natural carbon sequestration? Maybe it has something to do with having a small feel for feedback?

Carter does not pull his punches about Gore's activism, "The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science."
Oh. OK.

So who is this author anyway? I've never heard of Tom Harris.

Looking around, I see Harris also wrote a piece called "The gods are laughing", that says
Gore repeatedly labels carbon dioxide as "global warming pollution" when, in reality, it is no more pollution than is oxygen. CO2 is plant food, an ingredient essential for photosynthesis without which Earth would be a lifeless, frozen ice ball. The hypothesis that human release of CO2 is a major contributor to global warming is just that -- an unproven hypothesis, against which evidence is increasingly mounting.
He goes on to say the ice is thicker, the polar bear populations healthier, that mountain pine beetle infestation is due to poor forest management, and that there is no "alarming" sea level rise going on.

He probably just forgot to mention thawing permafrost and increasing ocean acidity. I suppose both must be due to natural cycles (or not happening at all).

Well, all of this is certainly counter to the image I have of what is going on in the world. Who is this guy, anyway?

As I tried to answer that question, I came upon a new addition to my collection of blogs: DeSmogBlog: exists to blow off the public relations pollution that clouds climate change.

The blog does NOT exist to argue climate science; we leave that to highly reputable science sites that have already spoken on that issue (see the links under: Is Climate Change Real?). Rather, the DeSmogBlog's mission is to debunk the climate change deniers who use suspect science and a host of public relations trickery to confuse and mislead the public on this critical issue.

So far, I like what DeSmogBlog's Jim Hoggan has to say.
There is a line between public relations and propaganda - or there should be.

And there is a difference between using your skills, in good faith, to help rescue a battered reputation and using them to twist the truth - to sow confusion and doubt on an issue that is critical to human survival.

And it is infuriating - as a public relations professional - to watch my colleagues use their skills, their training and their considerable intellect to poison the international debate on climate change.

Oh yeah:

Tom Harris is mechanical engineer and Ottawa Director of High Park Group, a public affairs and public policy company.

Oh yeah yeah:

The High Park Group (HPG) is a public affairs and policy consulting firm, with offices in Toronto and Ottawa. We work in a broad range of areas, with core practices in energy, environment, and ethics.

Our dedicated team of advisors is committed to providing timely, customized services that provide maximum value to our clients.

Sounds like "hired guns" to me.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Pro-life abortion cancer


Focus on the Family:
Major women's health groups that focuses on breast-cancer research continue to contribute money to Planned Parenthood, in spite of scientific evidence that indicates a link between abortion and breast cancer.

National Institutes of Health - National Cancer Institute:
[H]aving an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.

Planned Parenthood:
Undaunted by the absence of compelling evidence, anti-choice extremists insist on making the connection anyway. Once more they are using misinformation as a weapon in their campaign against safe, legal abortion.

I think pro-lifers will say anything. On the one hand they rail against Planned Parenthood's "abortion business", but on the other they object to donations to Planned Parenthood by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation on the grounds that the donations free up money to pay for more abortions.

Reading the crap put out by pro-lifers (I have a Google Alert set on "Planned Parenthood" that generates 95% pro-life propaganda) is a real chore.

Friday, June 09, 2006


They wag their fingers in the air.
Authoritative. Doctrinaire.
Persuading folks they do not lie.
I wish they'd all fuck off and die.


Sunday, June 04, 2006


Last night I watched a Gordon Lightfoot DVD. I've seen Gordon Lightfoot in concert at least half a dozen times over the past 35 years or so, and I love a lot of his music.

Yesterday I made a post about a young group of rockers called Damone, about how much I was enjoying their work. Whereas I implied that I favor speedy rock music over all other, I really don't. I listen to rock more than other kinds of music, but I like a little of almost anything, and I love some non-rock music. If I could only save one piece of music from my burning house it just might be my old Telefunken Das Alte Werk LP recording of Concentus musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting, Rotraud Mansmann (Soprano), Kurt Equiluz (Tenor) and Max von Egmond (Bass). I have heard other renditions of the Peasant and Coffee Cantatas, but the old LP I picked up at Kaufhalle in Pirmasens back in 1977 just takes my breath away. I really should rip it to the computer one of these days.

(I lifted the past few lines from a post I made back in February. I've been putting off ripping it to the computer since before then. I guess I'll procrastinate soon.)

Joan Baez, Marty Robbins, Inti Ilimani, Melanie Safka, Simon and Garfunkel, Cyndi Lauper, Emmylou Harris, Sandy Denny, Merle Haggard, Roger Whitaker, Sons of the Pioneers... Each of them has moved me. I don't necessarily like everything they've done, but they are all among my favorites.

Kind of dates me, I guess. Oh, well...

OK, no more posts about music. I'll only slight more great artists by not mentioning them.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


I've gotten really, really tired of worrying about the world, being pissed off at religionists and drug warriors and polluters and breeders and Hummers and whalers and NIMBYs and pro-lifers and controllers and wars and climate and energy and racists and sexists and thin-skinned people and on and on and on. Nothing but intractable problems.

To hell with them all. At least for a while.

When it comes to music I tend to favor rock and roll, the harder and faster the better. For the past 40 or more years, when I listen to some good, speedy, heavy type music I find myself separated from all the bullshit the world has to offer. It all comes back, of course, but there's a little break available from time to time. (I was raised by classical music and opera buffs, and I enjoy a good bit of that sometimes, too, but rock me any time.)

Lately, iTunes offered a free download by a band called Damone. It was a hard, speedy tune called "Out Here All Night". I enjoyed it a lot, and wound up buying the whole album, which I've been enjoying a lot, too. Somebody called it "power pop", which seems like a good description to me.

If you like that sort of music, check out Damone's MySpace site. They have the song posted in three flavors, 1) a commercial, MTV-type video, 2) a live acoustic version, and 3) a live powered version.

I've noticed that some of my fellow rock fans don't seem to like bands with female singers for some reason. Different strokes, I guess, but I think some of them are terrific. I love Avril Lavigne, for example, and one of the most memorable performances I've ever seen on the tube was Pat Benatar and Martina McBride doing "Independence Day" on the CMT Crossroads program. Absolutely spectacular performance! I guess someone might argue that "Independence Day" is country not rock. I guess someone could argue that Avril and Damone are pop not rock. I don't care - it's great stuff. Whatever.

Anyway, great success to the young band Damone. Maybe they'll come to Phoenix some day so I can think about seeing them live.

"Out Here All Night" - Damone

Summer's coming too fast,
Winter's been here too long
If we keep wasting our days,
Pretty soon they'll be gone

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah

I've been out here all night,
I've been out here all day
With my eyes open wide
Hoping that you will stay
Everything is all right
We can be happy too
If you look out for me
The way I looked out for you

People take what they need
Then they tell you "get lost"
Kindly leading you on
While they're ripping you off

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah

I've been out here all night
I've been out here all day
With my eyes open wide
Hoping that you will stay
Everything is all right
We can be happy too
If you look out for me
The way I looked out for you

If I sounded insecure
It's because I wasn't sure
You were really there

I've been out here all night
I've been out here all day
With my eyes open wide
Hoping that you will stay
Everything is all right
We can be happy too
If you look out for me
The way I looked out for you

You can stand there all night
You can stand there all day
You can do what you like
It doesn't matter to me

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah