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Enlightenment

Journal: There is no "consensus" on Anthropogenic Global Warming...

Journal by LynnwoodRooster
A review of the last few years of published climate change papers show that just 7% - seven percent! - of the 528 published papers explicitly support AGW. A nearly equal 6% explicitly DENOUCE AGW. And in fact, the vast majority of actual climate scientists are neutral - not sure if global warming is caused by man or not!

We need to take a LONG HARD LOOK at the whole pro-AGW cartel. And I use that word cartel appropriately - they are pushing to use laws, under the guise of "helping the environment", to mandate a massive transfer of wealth via carbon offsets, mandatory funding of new technologies and the like. Billions of dollars are being dedicated to AGW-mania with apparently little confidence by the scientists.

Apparently, Al Gore's "The Science is Settled!" is far from reality...

User Journal

Journal: Fun with GDP Figures... 2

Journal by LynnwoodRooster
Much has been made of the Wikipedia entries showing relative GDP per capita; many point to the high GDP of Ireland and Norway as indicative that the the US economic engine really isn't that good and that a socialist approach is inherently superior.  However, I believe that rating really isn't worth much.  Making a lot is one thing; GETTING a lot is another!

Rather than just look at the GDP, or GDP per capita, I think a better index is what I call the Prosperity Index - factoring in purchasing power with that GDP.  It's one thing to make a ton of cash; it's another to pay very little.  I've seen this effect first-hand, when a friend left his $80K/year engineering job here in Seattle for a $145K/year job in San Jose.  His actual cost of living more than doubled, and after two years he moved back.  Why?  He actually keeps more by living here, paying less!

There's a VERY convenient measure of purchasing power: the Economist magazine's Big Mac Index - the BMI (see http://www.economist.com/markets/indicators/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8649005).  This index uses the price of a Big Mac to equalize the purchasing power of a dollar throughout the world.  It's been used for many years, and is actually a pretty good indicator of the cost of living throughout the world.

Taking that into account, we can divide the GDP per capita by the BMI and end up with the Prosperity Index - a measure of the buying power (essentially relative effective income) per person.

Without further ado, here's the table for selected countries (significant political/development countries where I could find individual ratings for both GDP and the BMI):

Country        GDP        BMI   Prosperity
-------     ----------   -----  -----------
Japan       $34,188.00   $2.31  14800.00000
USA         $44,190.00   $3.22  13723.60248
Australia   $36,553.00   $2.67  13690.26217
Canada      $38,951.00   $3.08  12646.42857
Norway      $72,306.00   $6.63  10905.88235
Denmark     $50,965.00   $4.84  10529.95868
Switzerland $51,771.00   $5.05  10251.68317
Britain     $39,213.00   $3.90  10054.61538
Sweden      $42,383.00   $4.59   9233.76906
EU          $29,476.00   $3.82   7716.23036
Iceland     $54,858.00   $7.44   7373.38709
South Korea $18,392.00   $3.08   5971.42857
Russia       $6,856.00   $1.85   3705.94594
Malaysia     $5,718.00   $1.57   3642.03821
Chile        $8,864.00   $3.07   2887.29641
China        $2,001.00   $1.41   1419.14893

Of interest is that Japan leads the way; the Yen is really quite strong, and the GDP is quite healthy.

The US comes in at number 2, probably not a shock to many.

What will be shocking is that the EU and European countries in general fall so far.  Well down the list, well past Canada and Australia.  For example, Norway - mighty in the GDP ratings - tumbles to nearly 21% below the US, and 14% below Canada.  So that high GDP really doesn't bring a lot of economic purchasing power; it simply takes more money to live in Norway.
User Journal

Journal: The myth of Anthropogenic Global Warming 1

Journal by LynnwoodRooster
or How I learned to stop worrying and understand it's the big Mr. Fusion in the sky.

The current "consensus" is that climate change - what used to be known as Global Warming, until it was found that the globe, in fact, was not warming - is a result of man. Our use of fossil fuels is the problem. Our use of electricity via hydro/wind/solar is the problem. Our mere existence is the problem. As Dave Forman, founder of Earth First! states: Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental. Or, a Pogo put it, we have met the enemy and he is us .

So I got to thinking. I took a stroll outside one day, and as I leaned back in the grass, a bright idea popped into my head. Maybe the Sun, that Mr. Fusion in the sky, is really the source of the problem?

So I went looking, and lo and behold found out this little nugget: the Sun's output has increased by 0.05% per decade since the late 1970s.

Now, that may not sound like a lot; in fact, a 0.05% change is downright tiny! But being the engineer that I am, and having some free time with my ancient-but-functional HP28S calculator, I started to figure out some numbers (follow along with the RPN calculations).

For starters, how much output does the Sun really give to the Earth? Well, apparently the Sun puts out about 1400W per square meter here on this ball we call home. Meaning an increase of 0.05% per decade amounts to (1400 0.05 100 / *) 0.7W per square meter additional over that decade. Not much, eh?

Well, let's see what that is when spread over the entire Earth. How big is that? Well, the surface are of the Earth is about 510 million square kilometers. But of course we DO have night, so that at any time half of that is radiated by the sun. Meaning we have (510 2 /) 255 million square kilometers of surface that's irradiated by the Sun. Oh, and there are 1 million square meters per square kilometer (a kilometer being 1000 meters, a square kilometer is 1000 meters long by 1000 meters wide - (1000 1000 *).

So, we have 1 million square meters per square kilometer. And we have 0.7W more output per decade per square meter. Meaning we have (0.7 1000 1000 * *) 700 kW more output per square kilometer per decade. Note that this is about the same as 700 US households. Or to use a more interesting reference, about 35 Goreholds.

Now, take that 0.7 MW of power increase per square kilometer, and multiply it by the 255 million square kilometers illuminated by the sun. We end up with (0.7 1000000 255 1000000 * * *) about 1.8 million Mega Watts of additional power; this is actually 1.8 Tera Watts of power, a rather rarely used prefix for a REALLY BIG NUMBER. For those in the Pacific Northwest, this is about 285 Grand Coulee Dams (with the dam doing 6300 MW peak output). That's a LOT of extra power.

And of course, that increase has happened for the last three decades, meaning that what we're receiving now is about 5.4 Tera Watts more power than we received in the late 1970s. Suddenly that little 0.05% change doesn't seem so innocuous, does it?

But how does that shape up compared to what the Evil Homo sapiens do? Surely we're a LOT worse! I mean, 5.4 TW is a lot of power, so how do we rate? Well, apparently not as good... Even with 6 billion of us doing our thing, we only consumed an average of 1.7 TW of power in 2001, meaning we're about 30% of what the Sun puts out. Oh, and that's TOTAL ELECTRICAL USAGE of the WORLD.

So apparently the Sun's small increase just over the last three decades has more than TRIPLED the total power delivered to the Earth than the evil Mankind uses. And note that there was considerable electrical usage prior to 1975 as well, so our actual increase since 1975 is a LOT less than what the Sun's done.

So leaning back on the grass as the warm rays of the Mr. Fusion in the sky fell on my pasty white skin (I am an engineer, after all), it became pretty clear to me. I guess we can argue about the CO2 belching cars or volcanoes or the number of termite farts, be my guest, but me? I think I'll just sit here and enjoy the extra output from the Sun right now and feel a little bit more at ease knowing that, barring some evil billionaire's attempts to block out the sun, it's that Mr. Fusion up there, and there's not much we can do about it.

User Journal

Journal: Thoughts on the Middle East conflict 2

Journal by LynnwoodRooster
The current "conventional wisdom" is that the whole Middle East issue is the fault of the US. We created it, we're the source of the Arab/Israeli conflict, we're the creator of Al Qaeda, we're the fountainhead of all ills in that troubled region. Any action on our part can do nothing but further foment hatred toward the US.

In essence, we're damned if we do, we're damned if we don't.

We're hated for not continuing support of the Afghanistan government after the threat of the USSR went away, letting a civil war erupt.

We're hated because we're still in Iraq at the behest of their government to try to avoid a civil war.

We're hated for letting Saddam invade Kuwait and threaten Saudi Arabia.

We're hated for staying in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait after the first Gulf War to protect from Saddam repeating his invasion of Kuwait.

We're hated for having an official policy of regime change in Iraq.

We're hated for not helping the locals change the regime in Iraq.

We're hated for finally executing regime change in Iraq.

Damned if we do, damned if we don't.

Seems to me that no matter what we do we're hated. That's the central thread we're dealing with - irrational hatred of anything "Western" or "non-Arabic Muslim". And when we abide by the customs of their country - women covered up, no alcohol, stop work 5 times a day, no images of people, even leaving Bibles at home - we're still hated as infidels and invaders.

As far as the whole Israel/Palestine conflict goes, why isn't the hatred directed at the UN? They set up Israel, and didn't follow through on setting up an Arab state of Palestine. Israel would NOT EVEN EXIST if it wasn't for the UN's resolutions. So why not direct their hatred at the UN, rather than Israel, or the US?

For example, when Ehud Barak offered as a STARTING POINT a full 95% of what the Palestinian appologists demanded, the PLO, Hamas, and most Arab states STILL REFUSED to even ACKNOWLEDGE the existence of Israel. One side is talking about leaving most of the disputed territories immediately, and complete withdrawals over a short time, going back to the pre-1967 borders, and the other side doesn't even acknowledge the existence of the first.

I think the wishful thinking that "if the US would just leave the Middle East all would be good!" is seriously flawed. We're hated for interfering by protecting mulsims in Bosnia and Somalia, and hated for not protecting muslims in Iraq or Kuwait.

Damned if we do, damned if we don't.

Essentially, we're hated for not what we've done, but for what we are - we're not muslim. We have different values and a different culture. We have tolerance. We allow individual freedoms. We believe ALL men AND women - of every race and creed - are created equal. We represent what they despise. It's not our actions, it's our very NATURE that is the source of their hatred. The very freedoms that we take for granted - and are used every day by those protesting the US' current involvement in the Middle East - are the source of the hatred against the US.

Here we have parades celebrating the gay lifestyle. They stone not just gays, but if you're even raped by a gay man you're sentenced to that grisly death.

We allow people to live together ourside of marriage. They will stone a woman for simply talking to a man.

We have women heading up some of our largest corporations, leading countries. They forbid women from even opening a book.

We encourage families to share their values and go to church together - they force families apart, even in worship.

We allow you to choose your own path to spiritual enlightenment, even if that means no path. They will behead you if you do not submit to every written word of Mohammed.

We will let you make a movie criticizing religions, governments, companies, cultural values, even the legal system. They will kill you for simply drawing an image of Mohammed.

We protect and honor religious and cultural shrines, artwork, and buildings because of the history and knowledge they provide. They blow up anything from a different culture or religion.

We allow political dissent, free speech, and provide the right to a trial by a jury of your peers. They summarily execute any who speak against the leadership, and your right to trial is a right to have a cleric decide whether you're shot, hung, or stoned.

In light of this we might as well just do what the heck we want strictly for our own interests, because whatever we do it's obviously not going to change the radical Arab-muslim's view of the US.

Because we're damned if we do, and we're damned if we don't.

The only thing cheaper than hardware is talk.

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