30 August 2006

"MIT's Inconvenient Scientist"

In the Boston Globe today:

Speech codes are rare in the industrialized, Western democracies. In Germany and Austria, for instance, it is forbidden to proselytize Nazi ideology or trivialize the Holocaust. Given those countries' recent histories, that is a restraint on free expression we can live with.

More curious are our own taboos on the subject of global warming. I sat in a roomful of journalists 10 years ago while Stanford climatologist Stephen Schneider lectured us on a big problem in our profession: soliciting opposing points of view. In the debate over climate change, Schneider said, there simply was no legitimate opposing view to the scientific consensus that man - made carbon emissions drive global warming. To suggest or report otherwise, he said, was irresponsible.


Here's the kind of information the ``scientific consensus" types don't want you to read. MIT's Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology Richard Lindzen recently complained about the ``shrill alarmism" of Gore's movie ``An Inconvenient Truth." Lindzen acknowledges that global warming is real, and he acknowledges that increased carbon emissions might be causing the warming -- but they also might not.

Read the whole thing... it won't convince anybody one way or the other on the question of global warming, but if nothing else it might raise some doubts in folks who are fanatically dedicated to one argument or the other. It really supports the idea I've had for quite some time, that CO2 emissions probably do contribute to climate change, but it's hard to tell the extent of their effect on the environment. Basically, the uncertainty in the climatological measurements is such that at one end of the spectrum, fossil fuels will kill the earth, but at the other, they're all but completely innocuous. Fits right in with the 'one can make statistics say just about anything one wants' idea.

(H/T: Power Line)

29 August 2006

A 'Secret Hold,' Eh?

[Hooh! I'm not dead! :-p]

So. Roundabouts two months ago I posted on a bill being introduced in the Senate that would make publicly available a searchable database of all government spending. I was concerned, though, that those involved in spending that money might not be keen on having people seeing how and on what they're doing that spending. I'll quote myself here, if I may:

I suppose the only problem is that it has to go far in Congress in order to get implemented... :-P Dunno how keen a lot of them are going to be on voting for something that will put a lot of scrutiny on their pet pork projects.

Aaaaand, wouldn't ya know. An as-yet unnamed senator has placed a 'secret hold' on this bill, essentially locking the legislation in the proverbial (or maybe not, I dunno) cabinet for as long as they choose. Shocking! However, the folks at Porkbusters are doing their best to ferret out who it is, here. In conjunction with a couple of other sites, they've contacted as many senators as possible and asked them if they're responsible for the hold. As of this post, there are seven senators who've not denied responsibility for the hold. (Of course, one of the deniers could easily have been lying through his/her teeth, but that would be DUMMMBBB...) Hafta say, it'll be interesting to see what happens when the culprit is finally revealed.

Actually, according to the post on the Corner that linked me over to TPMmuckraker, "within 72 hours the Senate leader reveals who the senator is to the bill's sponsor." While this doesn't mean that the name is automatically released to the public, I expect that the sponsors of the bill will have little reason to keep quiet on the culprit's name, and we'll get to watch the ensuing fireworks.

I'll say it again, I really like the idea of this bill. Here's hoping that this hold gets cleared up and the thing flies through!

Update, 10:30PM: Oop, make that five senators who've not directly denied responsibility. The plot thickens!

01 August 2006

Today's Real Life Comic


Either you get it, or you don't. Explanation would take far too long.