Sunday, January 31, 2010

Taliban leader dies from International Community's lack of nuanced understanding of Root Causes ....

... but mostly from a Predator Drone strike. Have a nice dirt nap, scumbag.

Hat tip: JayG, who knows a scumbag needing a dirt nap when he sees one.

Hot Climatologist-on-Climatologist Action!

The UN's climate science organization, the IPCC, is headed by Dr. Rajendra Pachauri. We've seen him before, in the middle of allegations of financial corruption.

But that is unimaginative malfeasance. As it turns out, he's also your man for a (ahem) spicier sort of eye-opener:

As the UN's climate change chief, Dr Rajendra Pachauri has spent his career writing only the driest of academic articles. But the latest offering from the chairman of the UN’s climate change panel is an altogether racier tome.

Some might even suggest Dr Pachauri’s first novel is frankly smutty.

Return to Almora, published in Dr Pachauri’s native India earlier this month, tells the story of Sanjay Nath, an academic in his 60s reminiscing on his "spiritual journey" through India, Peru and the US.

On the way he encounters, among others, Shirley MacLaine, the actress, who appears as a character in the book. While relations between Sanjay and MacLaine remain platonic, he enjoys sex – a lot of sex – with a lot of women.

Just when you think that this whole Global Warming Thermageddon thing can't get stranger, reality doubles down.

And people who think things are getting warmer think that I'm the kook?

Obligatory snark: I guess if they can make up all the warming, they can make up lots of situations where Climatologists get to have sex, too.

Via The Dog Ate My Data, where Charles brings his own snark:
No doubt there will be many budding climatologists enrolling in Obfuscation 101 to get in on the hot action before it is too late.

UPDATE 31 January 2010 13:05: Steve McIntyre also brings the snark. That'll leave a mark:
In breaking news, Vivid Entertainment has bought the film rights to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. They plan to give new meaning to the terms Working Group 1, Working Group 2 and Working Group 3. They promise to give “peer review” an entirely new interpretation.
Heh. He said "peer review" ...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quote of the Day

First Charlton Heston, then TJIC:

Seriously, though, I love this: a guy is complaining that he might be denounced.

’cause that is exactly what my grandfather, a Marine in the Pacific Campaign, worried about. Being denounced by some chick at the school bake sale.

Well, that and Japanese infantry.

Actually, no, I think it was mostly Japanese infantry that concerned him.

As a matter of fact, in between killing fascists, being an iron worker 40 stories above the streets of Manhattan, and raising a family of four kids, he probably didn’t take two milliseconds to give a rat’s ass about what anyone thought of him.

That man's simply hurtful. Must be something about ironworking, or something - he knows where to hit so it will leave a mark ....

The awesomeist thingI've seen all day

Constructed from 100% pure, unadulterated Made Of Win.

Via Billll, who has video of the race.

Even more on life, and how to live it

There sure are som smart folks out there. Yesterday it was DiveMedic; today's must-read is from Red Hill Kudzu, thinking about starting over:
I reached in my pocket and pulled out a couple sawbucks to give get a 'God bless you' as the truck pulled out and I followed.

As I pulled away heading about a mile north to AirGas to pick up a set of new regulators for my torch I caught myself doing a little mental ass kicking....both wondering if she was just a moocher or if I should have done more like call my buddy who's tied into the local shelters and churches which might have been of a little more help to her.

I decided to make my return trip go past the intersection to stop and ask her if she wanted me to contact my friend........but, she was no longer there. Perhaps the $20 was all she needed to get her next hit or she'd gone down to the convenience store to warm up with some coffee, or maybe something warmer at the package store next door.

Whatever.....I wish her well. But the incident made me think of how close we've been to that same scenario and of all the people in the country right now who are in the same boat or only one paycheck away.

It can be hard to start over.......or it can be a very liberating experience. One can literally put everything but your thoughts behind you and strike out to stand or fall by your own efforts........or perhaps the charity of others.......
As with all truly deep thinking, the question is far more important than the answer. RTWT.

Free speech isn't the right to be free from criticism

Shamelessly stolen from MaddMedic, who's on the blogroll now - both of his places. His second blog (I'm in awe - the only explanation for how he has the time must be that he has Calvin's duplicator box from Calvin & Hobbs) brings the skinny on the wonderful government run healthcare system in the UK:
It began with a stern lecture from the receptionist for not following the rules. The NHS requires patients to be formally registered with the practice before the doctor sees them. Appointments must be made in the morning for the same day only. In addition, you cannot make phone appointments but must visit the surgery in person. This particular rule appears to have been established by the practice itself to sidestep confusion with the Appointments Line – an NHS telephone booking system so complicated that it requires an 18-page user guide!
Well worth your time.

Cathy Maguire - Who Knew

What's the "real" Country Music? Some choose "classic" Country, and despise the "New" Nashville, which reciprocates.

My feeling is that Country is less a style, than a state of mind, which makes me a "big tent" sort of guy. Let the circle be unbroken, and that sort of thing. After all, Country originally came from the Scots-Irish hill country music, and who better to carry that tradition than a young lass from Ireland?

Cathy Maguire grew up immersed in her Country's musical traditions. Following her muse, she moved to Nashville as a songwriter, and found herself working with old Country legends and sitting in on Johnny Cash's last recording session.

This isn't your "classic" Country music, with its string orchestra instead of steel guitar and banjo. But the feeling - bitter sweet memories of faded dreams, of days when everything seemed possible - would be right at home at an old time Medicine Show. Or Carnegie Hall. Big tent stuff: the circle, unbroken indeed.

Her album Portrait was released last year on the Celtic Collections label. Her web site has not only a collection of songs to listen to, but the photographs of days gone by that led her to write the songs.

Who Knew (Songwriters: Cathy Maguire/Roger Cook/John Goodwin)
There is a green hill far away
Beyond the city walls
That’s a song I used to sing in the old assembly hall
When the winters seemed so long
And the summers flew by fast
Before the seeds of innocence
Were buried in my past

When everything was possible
and no dreams were un-dreamable
And the future lay before me like a shining silver road
And I fell in love with you
And thought it would last forever
Who knew?

Walking down the street
Past my old school today
I heard small voices singing about a green hill far away
Standing very still with a smile upon my face
The music took me back again to a long forgotten place

Where everything was possible
and no dreams were un-dreamable
And the future lay before me like a shining silver road
And I fell in love with you
And thought it would last forever

But in this life only memories come true
Who Knew?
UPDATE 30 January 2010 11:37: Steve in the comments makes two interesting points.

(1) This song skates very close indeed to the edge of what is Country music. Taken by itself, there's some justice in this. In the context of the entire album, it highlights the broad range of sound that can find a home in Country Music. For example, the title track of the album, Portrait is much more of a traditionally-sounding Country Ballad (you can listen to it at her web site). I personally find the breadth of music to be something that attracted me back to Country from Rock, which in my opinion became excessively segmented into sub-markets where all the music sounded like all the rest. But that's just me; your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, do not remove tag on pain of law.

(2) Her voice does indeed sound a lot like Kathy Mattea, who has not (yet) been featured here. Where Have You Been? is one of my favorite songs, but you know that I get a little sentimental sometimes.

Friday, January 29, 2010

More on life, and how to live it

Congratulations to Paladin on his 22nd anniversary. And double congratulations to Mrs. Paladin. ;-)

And this sounds apropos:
I've had people ask me if there's a secret to a long happy marriage. I don't know. I do know we appreciate each other. We actually like each other, in addition to the love. We'd rather spend time together than with anyone else - but we don't smother each other. We share many of the same interests, but we both have things that interest us that the other couldn't care less about.
Maybe if we ask nicely he'll post about getting Mrs. Paladin out to the range.

If you're not following him, you're missing out on his weekly Girl Friday series, which is the single best think to be found on Al Gore's Intarwebz. Instead of the typical modern Hollywood Cheesecake, he features smart, classy dames from the golden age of film.

Today's must-read post on life and living

DiveMedic hits it out of the park, with a beautiful tribute to his father. I'd excerpt some of it, but why bother?

That's one powerful lot of respect and wisdom, compressed into that one post. Wow.

If I were fifteen, I would so want one of these

Of course, you can't get one in Massachusetts. Not only is it not on the "Approved Penny-Shooter Roster", but it has a high capacity magazine.

The TSA's new logo

Bruce Schneier is having a contest to create a logo for them. Polish up your Photoshop-fu and send yours in today! Or just mosey on over for some top-shelf snark.

Blogroll Additions

A Trainwreck In Maxwell needs no introduction to most readers. He has a similar traffic pattern to mine, it seems:
I posted a pic of a p1ssed off shaved cat about a year ago and my sitemeter is showing about 10% of my hits are searches looking for that PO'd cat.
I'm amazed at what Google will stick up near the top of the list, leading folks here.

My Tumultuous Adventure is another gunnie, who's been blogging much longer than I. Interesting technical stuff over his way - the Magpul videos he posted (The Art of the Tactical Carbine and The Art of the Dynamic Handgun) look pretty interesting.

Also adding a like to Kevin Baker at The Smallest Minority (so he now has 427,956 people linking to him, not 427,955). I have an awful lot of his posts bookmarked, and so should you.

Welcome to the Borepatch Blogroll, y'all! Your hit counter's fixin' to spin - or double your money back! If anyone esle has blogrolled me but I haven't added you here, please leave a comment or email me at borepatch at gmail dot com.

UPDATE 29 January 2010 12:45: Merlin emails to inform me that not only does he have a new blog up, but that we're blog brothers. And he doesn't like car payments any more than I do, and keeps his running as long as I do:
Long story short? Cash is king, and I have (newly) found aversion to debt. It's amazing how much money is left over at the end of the month when you're not sending it all off to the banks. I like it much better than having too much month left at the end of the money. Instead of taking on more debt, I'll get the engine work done now (~$800) and in a month or two I'll get the oil pan gasket fixed. If I time it right, I'll just do that instead of the next scheduled oil change, and kill two birds with one stone :)
Welcome to blogging, Merlin!

On this day in history

Queen Victoria authorizes introduction of a new decoration for valor under arms, the Victoria Cross. In the century and a half since then, only 1,353 have been awarded, most recently to Corporal Bryan Budd in the Afghanistan war.

Astonishingly, three people have been awarded the VC twice.

The Victoria Cross is the equivalent of the US Medal of Honor - in fact, there was a mutual exchange of these decorations by Britain and the United States at the end of World War I, where each awarded their honor to the other's Unknown Soldier.

Since the award is only presented for actions taken under extreme danger and in the face of the enemy, it is usually awarded posthumously, and anyone who survives to receive it is treated as a separate breed, due extreme honor and deference.

Usually. Tul Bahadur Pun received the Victoria Cross for single handedly taking a Japanese bunker, after all his comrades had been killed or wounded, charging the position with a Bren gun firing from his hip. In 2006, old and sick, he applied for a visa to move to the UK. The Foreign Office turned him down, saying "failed to demonstrate strong ties with the UK".

Fortunately, saner heads pointed out (after much controversy) that this was bollox, and Mr. Pun was allowed to move to Mer Majesty's Scepter'd Isle. Fittingly, he was met at Heathrow airport by an Honour Guard. One hopes that the Foreign Office chaps have learned a little about "strong ties to the UK" and all that.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The President's Speechwriters, revealed

Yes, it's trite, cheap, and unimaginative. So was the speech.

UPDATE 29 January 2010 14:58: Welcome visitors from The Smallest Minority. Thanks for the link, Kevin! While you're here, take a look around. I specialize in trite, cheap, and unimaginative.

UPDATE 29 January 2010 18:02: Perlhaqr in the comments points out spelling Fail in the post title. Fixed.

UPDATE 30 January 2010 10:56: JP asks the Question di tutti questions: I wonder if Clippy automatically pushes his content to the teleprompters? Heh.

IMPORTANT: Microsoft Internet Explorer emergency patch available

It's very unusual for Microsoft to release a patch out-of-cycle (i.e. not on Patch Tuesday). This is for all versions of Internet Explorer, even IE8, so if you still run IE run-don't-walk to Microsoft for some security goodness.
This security update resolves seven privately reported vulnerabilities and one publicly disclosed vulnerability in Internet Explorer. The more severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted Web page using Internet Explorer.
This has been exploited for a month or so. I haven't posted much on it, because there really wasn't much you could do. Now there's a patch, so you'll want to get patching. Or switch to Firefox, which is a lot faster to get fixes out.

Give us your tired, your poor ...

... your huddled masses yearning to home school their childrem:

A US judge has granted ­political asylum to a German family who said they had fled the country to avoid persecution for home schooling their children.

In the first reported case of its kind, Tennessee immigration judge Lawrence Burman ruled that the family of seven have a legitimate fear of prosecution for their beliefs. Germany requires parents to enrol their children in school in most cases and has levied fines against those who ­educate their children at home.

Christians Uwe Romeike, a piano teacher, and his wife, Hannelore, moved to Morristown, Tennessee, in 2008 after ­German authorities fined them thousands of euros for keeping their children out of school and sent police to escort them to classes, Romeike said. They had been holding classes in their home.

Remind me again, why is it precisely that we should be more like Europe?

Carbon Offset Markets in freefall

One of the key mechanisms of Cap-and-Trade - the way that Carbon Dioxide emissions will supposedly be rolled back, in fact - are Carbon Offsets. Essentially these are credits from the government to companies that reduce their emissions, that companies can sell on an exchange (sort of like stocks).

Well, not only are existing carbon markets notoriously corrupt, the bloom's off the rose:

Banks and investors are pulling out of the carbon market after the failure to make progress at Copenhagen on reaching new emissions targets after 2012.

Carbon financiers have already begun leaving banks in London because of the lack of activity and the drop-off in investment demand. The Guardian has been told that backers have this month pulled out of a large planned clean-energy project in the developing world because of the expected fall in emissions credits after 2012.

Let's see: a government Rube Goldberg financial contraption that nobody would want, other than for the government mandate, in trouble due to perceived lack of government mandate? Yup, that's about it.

0.1% is some deficit reduction

So the President has proposed a $15B cut, in the name of being "fiscally responsible." Color me unimpressed.

The CBO says that the deficit next year will be $1.35T, or about 1000 times more than these cuts. That's not the budget, that's the deficit. So "fiscally responsibility" means cutting the deficit by 0.1%. In a couple weeks, we're heading from Boston to Myrtle Beach. To put the cuts in perspective, 0.1% of the trip doesn't even get me out of town.

Let me just say that the President is an idiot. I come to this conclusion because he clearly thinks that I'm dumb enough to think that this is fiscal responsibility.

Explains a lot, actually

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Worst. Product. Name. Ever.

Complete, total, spectacular Marketing Fail.

From a comment by Breda to a post at Alan's.

Apple pwned itself. I was going to Photoshop something, but chickened out.

UPDATE 28 January 2010 06:47: All things come to he who procrastinates ...

UPDATE 29 January 2010 18:09: The Volgi finds that Hitler is not impressed, either. "Nothing manly about it!" Heh.

The Devil's Climate Dictionary v2.0

After posting my first poor attempt at a Climate Devil's Dictionary, I had a nightmare where I was visited by the ghost of Ambrose Bierce. He was not pleased at the lack of snark, and suggested that I try again.

Or else.

So here's what you really need to know about Global Warming. Some of this is inside baseball, so feel free to check the previous version for a Cliff's Notes explanation.

n. The difference between the measured temperature as reported by weather station thermometers, and the global temperature as reported in NASA's press releases. The global temperature anomaly has been increasing over the past 50 years, as shown in the following diagram:
Confidence Interval
n. A statistical measurement of the period between publication of a peer-reviewed climate article and a response on Steve McIntyre's blog.
Decadal Oscillation
n. 1. The period of the shift from zomg-it's-getting-hotter-we're-all-gonna-die!!!1!! as reported by scientists to the media, to zomg-it's-getting-colder-we're-all-gonna-die!!!1!! as reported by scientists to the media. 2. The period between government funding of Global Warming studies, and government funding of Global Cooling studies.
n. The feeling experienced by a reporter for the New York Times on hearing that the head of the UN IPCC is making tons of money from companies investing in Carbon Trading schemes. After all, they thought that he was On The Side Of The Angels.
n. The act of a reporter writing an article critical of the Global Warming scare.
n. What is done to the raw temperature data to make it show warming.
adv. The pace at which the Main Stream Media has started to honestly report on climate change.
n. A computer programming process to simplify forcing (q.v.) by Climate Scientists. No, they didn't tell us how they did it, but don't worry - it's been peer-reviewed (q.v.)!
Hockey Stick
n. The shape of all climate trend graphs. Srlsy, it's been peer-reviewed (q.v.).
n. Another computer programming process to simplify forcing (q.v.) by Climate Scientists. It's not documented either, but don't worry - it's been peer-reviewed (q.v.), too.
n. A computer program that takes garbage input and produces peer-reviewed (q.v.) output.

v. What hockey stick (q.v.) cheesecake does for the Main Stream Media.
n. 1. A rigorous scientific analysis of our scientific articles, similar in scope to a financial audit by Bernie Maddox and Sons, LLC. 2. A rigorous scientific analysis of our enemy's scientific articles, similar in scope to an interview by the Spanish Inquisition. 3. What are you, some sort of denier? Get the heck off my lawn!
n. 1. A treemometer. 2. A substitute measurement for temperature that is entirely inaccurate during the last 50 years (as it contradicts increasing temperature as measured by thermometers), but which is absolutely reliable over the prior 1000 years, especially that bit from Michael Mann that gets rid of the Medieval Warm Period.
Surface Record
n. 1. A sufficiently spectacular result of forcing (q.v.) that causes the press to return our phone calls. 2. More broadly, all of the events described in the first definition, collectively.
n. The process of taking a temperature measurement. syn. Cooling.
n. A localized condition unrelated to global climate. Compare to climate (n): anything that proves the theory of Global Warming.

Global Temperature databases "seriously flawed and can no longer be trusted"

Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That and Joe D'Aleo of ICECAP released a comprehensive review of the historical Surface Temperature databases. Their assessment is that the data has been systematically cooked:
1. Instrumental temperature data for the pre-satellite era (1850-1980) have been so widely, systematically, and unidirectionally tampered with that it cannot be credibly asserted there has been any significant “global warming” in the 20th century.

2. All terrestrial surface-temperature databases exhibit very serious problems that render them useless for determining accurate long-term temperature trends.

3. All of the problems have skewed the data so as greatly to overstate observed warming both regionally and globally.

4. Global terrestrial temperature data are gravely compromised because more than three-quarters of the 6,000 stations that once existed are no longer reporting.

5. There has been a severe bias towards removing higher-altitude, higher-latitude, and rural stations, leading to a further serious overstatement of warming.

6. Contamination by urbanization, changes in land use, improper siting, and inadequately-calibrated instrument upgrades further overstates warming.

7. Numerous peer-reviewed papers in recent years have shown the overstatement of observed longer term warming is 30-50% from heat-island contamination alone.

8. Cherry-picking of observing sites combined with interpolation to vacant data grids may make heat-island bias greater than 50% of 20th-century warming.

9. In the oceans, data are missing and uncertainties are substantial. Comprehensive coverage has only been available since 2003, and shows no warming.

10. Satellite temperature monitoring has provided an alternative to terrestrial stations in compiling the global lower-troposphere temperature record. Their findings are increasingly diverging from the station-based constructions in a manner consistent with evidence of a warm bias in the surface temperature record.
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

This is 100 pages, and so is not a quick read. Much of this will be familiar to long time readers, and documents the numerous - and disturbing - problems with the historical climate databases. It's almost like someone was trying to manufacture a scientific consensus, or something.

With the recent complete unraveling of the last IPCC report (AR4), NASA had better hope that the Republicans don't gain control of one or both houses of Congress in the November elections. This paper is a primer for hours of photogenic, embarrassing questions from a Coal-State politician.

About right

This is about right, too:

Via Theo Spark.

It's tough being dumb

The Stupid - it burns!

That's now they roll, down at the Panzerkaserne

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You fail at FAIL

This just cracks me up.

No, I insist - after you!

And since that much Made-Of-Win deserves some more:

The Devil's Climate Dictionary

At the dawn of the twentieth century, Ambrose Bierce published The Devil's Dictionary, a satiric (some say caustic) puncturing of much that needed puncturing. For example:
SENATE, n. A body of elderly gentlemen charged with high duties and misdemeanors.
I'm firmly of a mind that the whole Anthropogenic Global Warming oh noes Thermageddon business is firmly in need of puncturing. Sadly, my level of caustic snark is nowhere in Mr. Bierce's league, so instead I offer here some words and phrases that are absolutely central to the scientific discussions, but which you will never see in the Mastodon Main Stream Media. Feel free to leave your own caustic snark in the comments. [UPDATE: OK, snark is here.]

When you see discussions about temperature, you're almost never seeing the actual temperature. Rather, you're seeing the "anomaly". This is the difference between the temperature and the average temperature. While this is actually scientifically useful, "average" introduces all manner of opportunity for error, either intentional or not.

The best way to detect the error in this calculation is to look at the long term raw temperature data; trends will be clearly seen, and the long term view will give you context as to whether the current reported period is unusual or what you would expect. For example, here is the unmodified (raw) temperature from the 88 Siberian weather stations in the GHCN temperature data set:
Flat to maybe falling over 130 years. Here's the anomalies (the difference between these temperatures and the "average" temperatures) from the same stations over the same period.
FAIL. Something is out of whack with the adjustment process. How it's done is terribly important for you to know whether things are getting warmer or colder.
Decadal Oscillation
The Oceans are a massive heat sink, much, much more significant than the atmosphere. We've learned a fair amount about climate cycles in ocean temperatures, for example the El Nino warmings that we see periodically. I hear more about the Pacific Decadal Oscillation than the Atlantic one.

The "oscillation" refers to alternating cycles of warmer and cooler ocean water, and approximately 30 year intervals. The warming that was observed during warm PDO cycles matches warming periods in the twentieth century precisely (e.g. 1905-1947, 1977-1998), and the cold PDO cycles match the cooling periods in the twentieth century.
When the raw temperature is homogenized and gridded, the computer algorithms look for situations where the temperature shows sudden, unexpected changes. For example, if a weather station were moved to a different site, you might suddenly see the station reporting warmer or cooler temperatures. This is a discontinuity, and artificial modification to the temperature record.

The computer algorithms adjust temperature data when they find a discontinuity, to eliminate it. This is done automatically by machine, though, so it's very important that reported discontinuities are due to modifications to the instruments, and not an actual sudden change in temperature.

People are now investigating the weather service's computer programs that do this. Shockingly, it seems that these programs are misidentifying very large numbers of actual temperature changes as instrumental adjustment, and applying "corrections" to the temperature data. Even more shockingly, this adjustment causes older data to be adjusted downwards (made cooler) and newer data adjusted upwards (warmer). This process has amplified the reported warming over the twentieth century by a factor of four.
The whole debate about AGW is uninteresting if we only look at the last 100 years - we wouldn't know whether we were in the realm of normal variation or not. To me meaningful, we need to look at thousand-year climate variations, and to do that, we can't use thermometers (which were invented around 1600). Instead, we use "proxies" such as tree rings that give us a sort of view into what temperatures likely were back in the day.

The "hockey stick" pictures that you've all seen rely on tree ring proxy data stretching back a thousand years or more. These pictures usually switch to thermometer data once it's available (starting around 1850 for a decent part of the earth's surface).

But there's a problem: the reported thermometer data say that the temperature has been going up, up, up over the last 50 years; tree ring proxy data says that the temperature has been going down, down, down for the same period. This difference is called divergence, and is probably the most important scientific discussion going on today. "Hide the decline" refers to this.
What's the average temperature of the world? We have a bunch of theremometers measuring temperature at different locations - so how do you average them? Gridding is the process of breaking up the earth's surface into identically-sized (or as close as you can get) areas, so you can measure the temperature in each area. Then all the areas are averaged. Voila!

Except there are 8000-odd grids, and there are only 1000 thermometers. So what do you do? The software massages the data, interpolating results from surrounding grids where there are thermometers.

Lately, it's come to light that interpolation is being performed for locations where there are actually weather stations that are reporting data - data that is not being used. Shockingly, the interpolation uses data from much hotter grids to produce an estimated temperature that is much higher than the raw data shows - for example, record reported heat in mountainous Bolivia when there have been no actual measurements in Bolivia (in the data sets, anyway) since 1990.
Discontinuities make a long term data set "inhomogeneous". Computer algorithms manipulate the data to make the data sets long term homogeneous. However, this modification is poorly documented and introduces errors, like in Darwin, Australia, where the process changed a 0.7° decline over the course of the 20th Century into a 1.2° increase over the same period. While there were discontinuities in the data, Darwin had five separate stations recording temperature data, and all five agreed very closely with each other. None of them agreed with the 1.2° "homogenized" result.
There you go - you now know more about the scientific debate than 99% of world, and 98% of the media. Next time you hear someone mutter "the science is settled", these are the terms to toss out there to make him squirm. Specifically, here are some questions that he won't be able to answer:

"Why are the reported anomalies from Siberia increasing, while the temperature there is not?"

"Why do the tree ring proxies used in the IPCC AR4 report show declining temperatures after 1960, while the reported thermometer data show increasing temperatures? Are the proxies wrong now, or were they wrong in the past, or were they always wrong? How do you reconcile the different errors?"

"Why has the number of thermometers in the data sets fallen from 8000 to 1000? Does it make sense to homogenize data from stations located close to each other with data from stations a thousand miles away?"

Actually, I lied - he will be able to reply: You must be one of those Deniers. Git the heck off my lawn.

Dude, you shouldn't have a lawn. Don't you want to do your part against Global Warming?

Rip up your lawn to save Mother Gaia

Oh, good grief:
Turfgrass lawns help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store it as organic carbon in soil, making them important "carbon sinks." However, greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer production, mowing, leaf blowing and other lawn management practices are four times greater than the amount of carbon stored by ornamental grass in parks, a UC Irvine study shows.
Can I just say that this will be Exhibit A in the case of "The People v. UC Irvine's Research Budget"?

First, they came for the dogs, but I'm a cat lover. Then they came for the kids, but mine are almost grown. Now they're coming for my fescue. Perhaps we can convince the kooks to get rid of all the Climate Scientists?

Via Heliogenic Climate Change.

The Racist roots of Gun Control

Here's an excellent introduction to where gun control laws came from, and what motivated them. Massachusetts gun laws are prominently featured - not surprising if you know just how racist Boston really is.

I'd never heard of the Deacons for Defense. Quite a story. The Second Amendment Sisters is prominent in this video, and is an exact analogue. And the War on Drugs is directly - correctly, in my view* - compared to Prohibition.

The comments at Youtube are illuminating, although you'll want to take a shower afterwards.

* You can learn everything you need to know about the War on Drugs by reading the text of the Twenty First Amendment.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ruger Youtube series, "History of the Gun"

It looks like Ruger put some well done short videos up on Youtube at the beginning of the year. Hopefully they will continue this past the Flintlock era.

Outstanding introduction to Global Warming

This is a superb overview of the whole debate, although fair warning demands that I tell you that it's even longer than what I create. What you get with that is that it goes into even more depth than mine.

Catastrophe Denied: The Science of the Skeptics Position (studio version) from Warren Meyer on Vimeo.

From Climate Skeptic.


At the corner of Gun Nuts Ave and Psychiatry St.


Farce The Music has one of the funniest sites on Al Gore's Intarwebz (thanks, Al!). This is their mashup of Country music's Lady Antebellum and Lady Gaga.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Block Chord



Portland (OR) has a new commuter rail service, built at fabulous expense, and 60% over the projected cost. But don't think of the cost, think of the value:
TriMet’s $166 million “Westside Express Service” (WES) commuter rail is a miserable failure. After going 60 percent over budget, it is carrying only about 600 round trips per day. The amortized value of the capital cost alone is enough to buy every one of those commuters a brand-new Toyota Prius every year for the next 30 years. Those Priuses would be cleaner than the WES too.
Underestimated costs? Overestimated benefits? Sounds like Cap-and-Trade ...

But this is an outlier, right? Oh, wait:
“Norfolk leaders want an audit to figure out why its light rail project has gone $108 million over budget,” reports the Associated Press. The city don’t need to spend money on an audit. The reason for the overrun is obvious: It’s a rail-transit construction project.
The Antiplanner keeps his fingers on the pulse of public transportation projects, so you don't have to. Sure wish we had him bere in Boston when they were building the Big Dig.

Congratulations, Devil Dogs

Thank you for a job well done:
The U.S. Marine Corps wrapped nearly seven years in Iraq on Saturday, handing over duties to the Army and signaling the beginning of an accelerated withdrawal of American troops as the U.S. turns its focus away from the waning Iraqi war to a growing one in Afghanistan.
One down, one to go. Come home safe, and soon, and victorious.

Hope for geeks everywhere

Nice wedding cake. Does the bride's bouquet look like a controller?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Why aren't the people rising up and saying 'We are the people, and these politicians and Public Servants are our servants?'"

It is day 46 in Australian farmer Peter Spencer's hunger strike against his government's uncompensated taking of his property rights, which financially ruined him. A quick recap:
  • The Oz.Gov agreed to carbon emission reductions under the Kyoto Protocol. Suckers.
  • Not wanting to bankrupt their major political supporters, they allowed favored companies (like energy and transportation) to increase emmissions.
  • Facing big fines from the UN for violating Kyoto (suckers!), they passed a law preventing farmers from clearing their land. See, vegetation is a "carbon sink" and offsets emmissions from the Oz.Gov's big business supporters.
  • It was too expensive to compensate the farmers for the billions of dollars of value forcibly extracted under the new law.
  • Since the farmers couldn't use their land, they all started going out of business.
Peter Spencer decided that he'd had enough. After years of not being able to get the courts to listen to his complaint, and being ignored by his government, he went on a hunger strike.

So far, the Oz.Gov is refusing to meet with Spencer, saying he should go through the courts. Of course, the courts refused to hear his case.

Infinite Loop. (n) See Loop, Infinite.

And note the approving comments from the University Professor on the theft by the Oz.Gov. Omelets, eggs, whatever. I'm sure she'd be horrified if the Oz.Gov had to make other changes to save money - oh, I don't know, maybe eliminating her department at the University?

Good luck, Mr. Spencer. Sadly, we've seen this sort of thing before, and it doesn't end well.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Quote of the day

From TJIC, who knows how to bring the snark:
... it seems that when women unnaturally alter their body chemistry, they’re attracted to Democrats.

…and, interestingly, when they go off the pill to try to conceive with their nancy-boy husbands…they may find themselves suddenly attracted to real men again.

Funny, but you have to be careful with these findings. After all, this is peer-reviewed science, and you know what that can mean.

A theme song for the BATF

'Puter has it.

I have to say, it's not every day that you see a lyric about hollow points.

Lori McKenna - Unglamorous

This song is about me.

For me one of the draws of Country music is that the songs are often about things that happen in my life, or my friend's lives. Particularly as I've gotten older, the Rock 'N Roll rebellion of my teens has gotten less relevant. Kids, a mortgage, a minivan (sigh), and life in the suburbs has replaced the late night club scene.

And frankly, that's OK. I'm not 17 anymore. Fortunately, people like Lori McKenna write songs about me.

I've been listening to Country for decades, and writing this Saturday Redneck feature for over a year and a half now, so there are nearly 100 posts there. I've prided myself on being pretty wired into the Country scene. So how on earth did I miss Lori McKenna?

She's a mother of five from Stoughton, Massachusetts, probably less than 50 miles from Chez Borepatch. Married to a plumber. Just a normal lady - with astonishing talent.

In her spare time while the kids took naps, she would write songs. Like all good songwriters, she wrote about what she knows. Her songs attracted the eye of Faith Hill, who recorded three of them on Hill's double platinum album Fireflies. If you've heard the song "Stealing Kisses", you've heard McKenna's work.

Unglamorous is the title track from her latest CD, produced by Hill's husband Tim McGraw. Frankly, they're songs about me, and my life, written by someone like me. Just like me, in fact, only with amazing talent.


Lori McKenna | MySpace Music Videos

Unglamorous (Songwriter: Lori McKenna)
Understated, overrated site - carnival ride
Curtains faded, thread bare rugs real nice -the baby stayed up all night

How wonderful rhinestones on black satin shoes
How beautiful the one's I never get to use
No frills, no fuss, perfectly us - unglamorous

Frozen dinner, jelly glass of wine - tastes just fine
Two bread winners, five kids in short time -with eyes just like mine

How wonderful crowded dinners at the kitchen table
How beautiful one TV set - no cable
No frills, no fuss, perfectly us - unglamorous

No diamonds in our bathtub reams
Peanut butter on everything
No frills, no fuss - unglamorous

How wonderful a gravel road leading to a front door
How beautiful old wool socks on a bedroom floor
No frills, no fuss, perfectly us -unglamorous

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Folly: Don't pester the natives

The attitude that Europeans often take towards America is a never-ending source of amusement. Convinced that they are smarter and more sophisticated than we are, they get them into all sorts of hot water, requiring us to periodically rebuild their economies or give old Jerry a proper thrashing. You'd think that this would instill a certain amount of self-awareness in the continent's educated elite.

Sadly, you'd be wrong.

I have to say that I love the BBC show Top Gear, shown here in the Colonies on BBC America. I've posted about them before, approvingly. However, they recently fell into the euro-sneer trap, in an episode where they set out to intentionally antagonize the locals. The locals were suitably antagonized, and the Top Gear team found - to their astonishment - that they had to run for the hills.

Err, mission accomplished, guys.

Let's see: set out to be as antagonistic to the locals as they could? Check. Underestimate the local's level of initiative when antagonized? Check. Overestimated their ability to sweet talk the loals who they intentionally antagonized? Check.

What's funniest about this - funnier even than the panic so clear in the video - is the sense that these guys are absolutely certain that they're smarter than anyone in Alabama. Where I'm from, thay don't look very smart. Or polite.

Via #1 Son, who knows a thing or two about smart. And polite.

The voices of Johannes Brahms and Florence Nightengale

Today is all video, all the time (sorry, Doubletrouble!). Here are two astonishing recordings from the late 19th centuries. Johannes Brahms speaks and plays the piano:

Also, Florence Nightingale speaks, in 1890:

Less bandwidth-intensive posts tomorrow, but it was kind of fun to have an all-video day.

The Minie Ball

If you read about the Civil War, what's striking is how terrible the gunshot wounds were. While other wars had horrific carnage (mostly from industrial-scale killing technology like machine guns, artillery, and bombing), we don't get the repeated, shocked descriptions of the result of small arms fire.

They were so terrible, in fact, that bullets like the Minié ball were banned by the Hague Conventions in 1899. The reason for the destructive impact, and for the ban is understandable if you consider this ammunition to essentially be a .58 caliber (15mm) hollow point round.

You can see the hollow base of most of these, which was one of the key parts of the design. The thin lead walls at the base of bullet were forced outwards by the force of the burning charge. This was the part of the bullet that grabbed the rifling of the barrel, imparting spin to the bullet. The bullet wasn't jacketed, so that the lead could (and did) massively deform under pressure, both at the point of ignition and the point of impact.

Instead of a clean .3 inch exit hole, the wound may have been an inch or more in diameter.

This video compares the results of the Minié ball to modern .30-06 FMJ. The results are illuminating and - if you use some imagination to cast yourself back to Pickett's Charge - horrifying.

And while we're looking at old film footage ...

How about the funeral of the oldest war veteran? From the War of 1812:

Hiram Cronk was 12 years old when he joined the New York State militia during the War of 1812. He was 105 when he died in 1905. This is film from his funeral procession in New York City from May, 1905. The troops that march past first are Rough Riders; the ones who march past accompanying the hearse are Civil War veterans.

Teddy Roosevelt: on liberty, in his own voice

Recorded in 1916, but as timely today as it was then.

This recording is very similar to this speech:
THE great fundamental issue now before the Republican party and before our people can be stated briefly. It is: Are the American people fit to govern themselves, to rule themselves, to control themselves? I believe they are. My opponents do not. I believe in the right of the people to rule. I believe the majority of the plain people of the United States will, day in and day out, make fewer mistakes in governing themselves than any smaller class or body of men, no matter what their training, will make in trying to govern them. I believe, again, that the American people are, as a whole, capable of self-control and of learning by their mistakes. Our opponents pay lip-loyalty to this doctrine; but they show their real beliefs by the way in which they champion every device to make the nominal rule of the people a sham.
If you go read the entire speech, and substitute "special interest lobbies" for "monopolies and trusts", the hair on the back of your neck will stand up. Srlsy.
No sane man who has been familiar with the government of this country for the last twenty years will complain that we have had too much of the rule of the majority. The trouble has been a far different one that, at many times and in many localities, there have held public office in the States and in the nation men who have, in fact, served not the whole people, but some special class or special interest. I am not thinking only of those special interests which by grosser methods, by bribery and crime, have stolen from the people. I am thinking as much of their respectable allies and figureheads, who have ruled and legislated and decided as if in some way the vested rights of privilege had a first mortgage on the whole United States, while the rights of all the people were merely an unsecured debt. Am I overstating the case? Have our political leaders always, or generally, recognized their duty to the people as anything more than a duty to disperse the mob, see that the ashes are taken away, and distribute patronage?
Not in Massachusetts. Welcome to the New Revolution. It's actually an Old Revolution that's been forgotten.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tactical Kitteh

Well, not specifically kittehs. Pants, actually. A, err, "behind the seams" look at Law Enforcement and Public Safety. With a sense of humor that you'll be unsurprised to find appeals to me. They have a pretty interesting post on tactical iPhone apps for police and EMS.

And this is a Borepatch first - someone actually emailed me asking to be blogrolled (rather than making me do the work of finding them via trackback logs)! Welcome to the blogroll!

Quote of the Day

From Adam Shostack, on the Supreme's ruling that portions of McCain-Feingold are unconstitutional infringements on the first amendment:
I'm hopeful that soon the Supreme Court will recognize that people are people too, and have the same free speech rights as corporations.

Maybe, too, the Court will recognize that Congress may not limit the right of people to freely associate, and perhaps even pool their money in support of ideas or candidates they like.

Wow, maybe people will be able to keep and bear arms, and be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. Well, I can dream, can't I?

More "peer review"

So what happens when peer review is ignored?
So not only did the IPCC AR4 WGII egregiously misrepresent the science of disasters and climate change, but when questions were raised about that section by at least one expert reviewer, it simply made up a misleading and false response about my views. Not good.
With Climate Science, remember - it's sentence first, then the trial. RTWT. The "science is settled" because the science has been suppressed.

The Renaissance is being blogged

I received a very nice email today from someone working with Aisling Kavanagh, who had noticed my recent Saturday Redneck post about her. That led me to her MySpace page, which led me to her list of MySpace Friends, which led me right down the Internet music rabbit hole.

There is an explosion of popular culture going on right now, where creation and distribution of content is direct from the artist to the consumer. Where this ends is anybody's guess, but the world has never seen anything like it. The Long Tail is getting longer by the day. Suddenly (and unexpectedly), I have a month of Saturday Redneck material, and I've only scratched the surface.

I also found a bunch of non-Redneck* stuff that's well worth your time. As you'd expect, Miss Kavanagh is pretty wired into the Irish music scene, and while there's an astonishing amount of Country music over there, there's even more from other genres, including traditional Celtic music.

The Blacksmith

Maura O'Connell | MySpace Music Videos

There are also new distribution channels, like Balcony TV, where local artists from Dublin, London, and Hamburg get viral on the Internetz. There's so much content, in fact, that the problem is not is there anything I want to watch, it's how do I find what I like?

Err, other than following Saturday Redneck here, of course.

And that, of course, is the answer. You find people that recommend stuff that you like, as I did with Miss
Kavanagh's friends page, or you may do here. This Renaissance is being blogged, for your convenience.

* For anyone new to my ramblings,"redneck" is a term of endearment here, or a badge of honor.

Dyslexics of the World, untie!

To Old To Work, Too Young To Retire emails to let me know that I've been delinquent in passing on the latest Global Warming innumeracy. Remember the Himalayan glaciers and how they're disappearing? From the IPCC report (AR4):
Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world ... and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high ...
ZOMG!!1!! Thermageddon!!!!1!one!!

Oh, wait:
THE peak UN body on climate change has been dealt another humiliating blow to its credibility after it was revealed a central claim of one of its benchmark reports - that most of the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 because of global warming - was based on a "speculative" claim by an obscure Indian scientist.
That's some righteous peer-review right there, Scooter.

But it gets worse. The data was given to the IPCC by the World Wildlife Foundation, an environmental lobbying organization. Anyone check for possible bias in the source? Because there was an interesting mistake.

It wasn't 2035. It was 2350. And that was still with a bunch of speculative assumptions.

In other news from the "we have the science wrong" department, Australia's "Warmest Summer EVAH" is so warm, they're getting snow:
CANBERRA, Australia – Australia is following its second-hottest year on record with extraordinary snow flurries in its southeastern alpine region, where some towns have recorded their first-ever summer snowfalls.
Who you going to believe - the Australian Weather Service scientists, or your lying eyes? I mean, it's not like the temperature data is being manipulated or anything. Oh, wait.

UPDATE 21 January 2010 15:43: Holy cow - Roger Pielke Jr. says that the IPCC knew that the Himalayan glacier part of the report was wrong but published it anyway!
Is it really the case that IPCC scientists would have continued to sit on a known error with important policy implications in complete silence until their hand was forced by the focus of public opinion? Really?!
Wow. Maybe I need a new tag. "Junk Science" simply doesn't begin to cover this. Maybe "Fraudulent Science?"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Well look what the cat dragged in ...

That second item right there - I've gotten maybe 60 or 70 visits from Google today from folks looking for "scott brown dirt" or some variation. All revolutions have counter-revolutionaries; the New Revolution is no different.

The Drink of the New Revolution

In honor of Scott Brown (R - Mass)*, here's a drink for The New Revolution: Boston Harbour Tea. As it turns out, Britain's oldest team company - Davison, Newman & Co Ltd - was the company whose team was so famously steeped in the waters of Boston Harbor in 1773. The company is still operating today (!), and offers Boston Harbour Tea, in honor honour of those revolutionaries of old. As their box says:
On December 16, 1773 a group of American patriots boarded three English ships in Boston Harbour and threw the tea aboard into the water, in protest against the duty imposed on tea by the Government of King George III. Three months later, on March 7, 1774, at a second Boston Tea Party, 16 chests of tea from the Davison Newman & Co., were also dumped in the Harbour. This was the prelude to the American War of Independence. No duty is payable now.

By Davison, Newman & Company Ltd. founded in the Year of Our Lord 1650, and whose Fine Tea was thrown into the water of Boston Harbour by Persons disguised as Indians in defiance of the Policies of His late Majesty King George III.
Seen at The Tea Leaf in Waltham, Mass.

Seems like the drink for a latter day Tea Party. Or for those who prefer something stronger (or need a boost to screw their courage to the Sticking Point), you could try the "Senator Brown's Revolution":
  • Two Parts Bombay or Beefeater Gin
  • Two parts chilled Boston Harbour Tea
  • A squeeze of lemon
  • Garnish with a copy of the Tenth Amendment slice of lime
* Makes me want to giggle, typing that. Even if he is a member of the Stupid Party.

New Windows vulnerability announced

Sometimes it takes people a while to discover security bugs. Like 17 years:
The vulnerability resides in a feature known as the Virtual DOS Machine, which Microsoft introduced in 1993 with Windows NT, according to this writeup penned by Tavis Ormandy of Google. Using code written for the VDM, an unprivileged user can inject code of his choosing directly into the system's kernel, making it possible to make changes to highly sensitive parts of the operating system.
"Inject code of his choosing directly into the system's kernel" means "GAME OVER."

But seventeen years? Wow. That's a record.

Backwards compatibility is a great source of security fail. It's terribly important - one of the biggest problems with Vista was that a lot of XP code didn't run on it, and Microsoft never really recovered from that. Nobody does backwards compatibility as well as Microsoft: the reason for the length of their development cycle is regression testing. But all this means that you keep porting old bugs forward into the new OS versions. Hackers love to attack old code, because it's not frequently used, so it doesn't get a lot of attention.

So this one is bad:
The vulnerability exists in all 32-bit versions of Microsoft OSes released since 1993, and proof-of-concept code works on the XP, Server 2003, Vista, Server 2008, and 7 versions of Windows, Ormandy reported. Presumably, Windows 2000 is also susceptible. Immunity, a Miami-based company that makes auditing software for security professionals, has already added a module exploiting the vulnerability to its product called Canvas. The exploit has been tested on all versions of Windows except for 3.1.
Automated testing scripts mean this is coming Real Soon Now to a Bad Guy near you. The researchers recommend turning off the DOS subsystems, which is a really, really good idea. Here's how for XP:

"I'll have to give back my Nobel."

Is there nothing that this scene can't do?

This Is Diversity

Somehow, someone noticed this little corner of Al Gore's Intarwebz. I got an email from the folks at This Is Diversity, a new media venture, asking if I wanted to contribute.

Well, I write plenty here, and would hate to keep my best stuff from all y'all, so I posted a link to my Should You Be A Global Warming Skeptic post from a month ago. I was surprised to see they published it. And that people commented on it.

So you might want to go check it out. Interesting site - you can find out all about Aeroflot's new Terminal B (it's more interesting than you may think).

Dewey Coakley defeats Truman Brown

Oh, wait ...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blog Talk Radio just dumped core?

I blame Scott Brown and the Republicans for taking Teddy Kennedy's Senate seat ....

And welcome visitors from Say Uncle - indeed, the "Scott heard 'round the world". Welcome to a New Revolution!

Dignity and Honesty

In all the excitement of the current political race, life still speaks - sometimes in its Outdoors Voice. Judi Chamberlin blogged her last struggle, at Life As A Hospice. Her last post is here.

It's so easy to get caught up in the here and now, and forget what's here and now. Requiescet in Pace, Judi. Everyone else, go hug your family.

How You Live (Turn Up The Music) (Songwriter: Cindy Morgan)
Wake up to the sunlight
With your windows open
Don't hold in your anger or leave things unspoken
Wear your red dress
Use your good dishes
Make a big mess and make lots of wishes
Have what you want
But want what you have
And don't spend your life lookin' back

Turn up the music
Turn it up loud
Take a few chances
Let it all out
You won't regret it
Lookin' back from where you have been
Cuz it's not who you knew
And it's not what you did
It's how you live

So go to the ballgames
And go to the ballet
And go see your folks more than just on the holidays
Kiss all your children
Dance with your wife
Tell your husband you love him every night
Don't run from the truth
'Cause you can't get away
Just face it and you'll be okay

Turn up the music
Turn it up loud
Take a few chances
Let it all out
You won't regret it
Lookin' back from where you have been
'Cause it's not who you knew
And it's not what you did
It's how you live

Oh wherever you are and wherever you've been
Now is the time to begin

So give to the needy
And pray for the grieving
E'en when you don't think that you can
'Cause all that you do is bound to come back to you
So think of your fellow man
Make peace with God and make peace with yourself
'Cause in the end there's nobody else

Turn up the music
Turn it up loud
Take a few chances
Let it all out
'Cause you won't regret it
Lookin' back from where you have been
'Cause it's not who you knew
And it's not what you did
It's how you live

'Cause it's not who you knew
And it's not what you did
It's how you live

Via Stephany, who knows dignity and honesty.

Driver shoots himself out of submerged car

Driver gets startled by a cell phone ring, swerves off the road and into a river. Finding himself in 8 feet of water in a Chappaquiddick situation, he takes out his handgun, shoots out the window, and swims to safety.

No harm done, except to the car.

Via Don in an email, who sends 100% cool stuff. For example, you know how far a Light Year is. So how far is a Light Leap Year? (Hint: one three hundred and sixty fifth longer than a Light Year).