Thursday, March 27, 2008

That's Tolerance for You

E-mail form for Neal Boortz Show
We never ... and that means NEVER ... open attached files.

All messages with attached files -- and that includes fancy stationery -- are automatically deleted and will not be delivered.

Messages pertaining to abortion, creationism, evolution and homosexuality will not be forwarded to Neal.

Neal has sworn off reading negative emails. So, if you have something negative to say; for instance, how you would like to read that Neal has died in a plane crash, you're wasting your time. Positive emails only.
The attached file and fancy stationary clauses make perfect sense. If you can't say it with words, don't try to couch it in frills. But excluding abortion, creationism, evolution and homosexuality - four massive moral, social and political issues - your e-mail topics? Recently, in passing, I heard Boortz state that if you believe the world was created around 6,000 years ago, you should be committed to a mental institution. It's no wonder with comments like that that he has to insulate himself from critical response, both constructive and vehement.

Global Warming Resources

The following are further recommended resources for exploring the "other side" of the global warming/alarmist/climate change debate.

First and foremost, I recommend "The Great Global Warming Swindle" released by a British channel in response to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". (You have to admit their accents are cooler than Al's.)

You may find them here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project ("ICECAP")


Global Warming News Site (Neither pro nor anti - just a repository for stories about global warming)

Mounting list of phenomena attributed to global warming

Please also see my past entries on global warming

Finally, in the interest of being balanced, I offer two evidences in support of global warming:

A sad testament to the destructive forces of global warming:


Analysis of Public Policy - Presentation on Global Warming

The following is a summary and "works cited" page for my March 25 presentation "A Level-Headed Response to Climate Alarmism."

In determining the answer to the question “are humans the cause of a marked increase in global temperatures”, the question must first be asked, is earth indeed running a temperature? To gauge earth’s temperature effectively (and to say if its climate is truly being altered outside of normal variation) we must look to the past. We find that despite claims to the contrary, present-day temperatures have not beaten the records set in the 1930’s.[1]

Actual, reliable records (not requiring inference through historical analysis) extend only back to around 1850. These records show that we have only risen 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past 100 years.[2]

The second question is, “are humans responsible for causing global temperature increases?” The role of pollution has been a constant factor in the claims of global warming advocacy. But in looking at the trends of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, we see that our concentration has changed only about .000006%.[3]

In fact, in 2006, the amount of CO2 decreased by 1.6%.[4]
Furthermore, various reputable sources have actually claimed pollution helps ward off global warming:

“Pollution May Slow Warming; Cleaner Air May Speed It, Study Says” (NYTimes)
“[Cleaner] Air trends 'amplifying' warming” (BBC)
Does cleaner air make hurricanes worse?” (MSNBC)
Burning Fossil Fuels Has A Measurable Cooling Effect On The Climate” (ScienceDaily)
Pollutants ward off global warming, study finds” (The Guardian)
“Less pollution may boost global warming” (The Seattle Times)

Global warming advocates claim humans are destroying rainforests which are invaluable to the survival of the planet and balance of the biome. But a study released in early 2008 reveals there is no evidence for this claim.[5]

Further research shows trees may have no effect on global warming[6] and could actually increase global warming.[7]

Study: Emission of smog ingredients from trees is increasing rapidly"'No solution' found in more trees"
"Scientists find plants cause global warming" (Original article removed, archived post on Free Republic)
"Nature can help reduce greenhouse gas, but only to a point"
"Models show growing more forests in temperate regions could contribute to global warming"
"Emission of smog ingredients from trees is increasing rapidly
"'No solution' found in more trees"
"Trees Won't Fix Global Warming"
"The Forgotten Methane Source"

The role of the sun has been neglected in our warming and cooling trends. Considering that the sun is the single source of natural warmth for planet earth, its importance cannot be overlooked. In examining its role, we find that various studies show the sun to be at a heightened state of activity. Some show the activity to be at a 1,000-year-high.[8] Others say an 8,000-year-high. [9]

Global warming proponents have claimed that glaciers all over the world have been melting. These reports have neglected the number of glaciers actually on the rise[10]as well as the numbers of glaciers that have been melting for decades prior to alleged climate shifts.

In summary, the scientific underpinnings of alarmist climate change do not stand up to strict scrutiny. Making drastic changes to economic policy would be speculative augmentation at its worst, and cause economic woes far worse than climate woes.

[1] Daily Tech 2007. “Blogger Finds Y2K Bug in NASA Climate Data” (March 24, 2008)

[3] Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center 2004. “Monthly Average Carbon Dioxide Concentration” (March 24, 2008)

[4] Energy Information Administration 2007. “U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Energy Sources” (March 22, 2008)

[5] Science Daily 2008. “No Convincing Evidence For Decline In Tropical Forests” (March 20, 2008)

[6] LiveScience 2008. “Trees Won't Fix Global Warming” (March 20, 2008)

[7] Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 2005. “Models show growing more forests in temperate regions could contribute to global warming” (March 24, 2008)

[8] New Scientist 2003. “Sun more active than for a millennium” (March 20, 2008)

[9] Max Planck Society 2004. "The Sun is More Active Now than Over the Last 8000 Years" 2008, Mar. 24

[10] Sherwood,
Keith and Craig Idso. 2005.”Not All Glaciers Lost Mass Over the Past
” CO2 Science Volume 8, Number 46 (March 25, 2008)


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tally ho! Jolly good! Steady on! (And Other Britishness)

"The British accent is ridiculous. So much so that I'm struggling to keep a straight face talking to you right now. Perhaps you might like to use Closed Captioning. Ahh, that's better."
I've realized that, by chance or by design, I'm slowly becoming more British in my expressions and taste. Not just taste in literature, mind you, but in film and television as well.

There's a style of writing that is inherently archaic in its British prose narrative. I couldn't replicate this effect accurately, but authors like Dickens, Doyle, Lewis and Tolkien - Lewis in particular - have influenced my writing articulation and structure with this style. You have to be careful, though! When Aragorn suggests gathering a "faggot" he means a bundle of wood. When he affirms that Eomer of Rohan is "no niggard" he means someone of mental deficiency. (Those archaic words can be tricky. Did you know "weird" used to mean "fate" or "doom"?)

Meanwhile, a selection of British television and cinema have implanted the infectious British accent so heavily in my mind that I cannot hear a thing being spoken in it without almost immediately launching my own rendition, which I'm told is not half-bad. There's just the slightest worry that I will hear someone talk with an accent and take off in my own, either creating a false impression of mockery or of similar heritage. (I doubt I'm that good.)

The movies and television includes shows such as Robin Hood, Jane Austin films courtesy of my sister (Pride & Prejudice (the BBC version), Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion and Emma), Sherlock Holmes (various versions starring Basil Rathbone, Ronald Howard or Jeremy Brett), Jeeves and Wooster, the very British clay-mation films Chicken Run and Wallace and Grommit, The Chronicles of Narnia, Amazing Grace, and most recently of note, Doctor Who.

Insufferably British expressions and profanity have also been known to appear on my vocabulary. Expressions like those in the title, "steady on," "jolly good" and "I say!" are frequent usages. The "profanity" meanwhile, consists of phrases like "bloody" "dashed" "bugger" and "bullocks", all of which may appear shockingly offensive to the sensibilities of a proper citizen of the United Kingdom, but which hold no such offense to the American. (Loophole!) And as someone who objects strongly to profanity beyond "darn" or perhaps "crap" in extreme circumstances, these words provide a happy substitute. Although I do not use it, I understand that the word "ass" still simply means a doddering fool, and that a certain modification is required in order to shape it into its "proper" vulgar form.

Profanity isn't the only set of words that morphs across the pond. There's a whole slew of alternate vocabulary. For example, "holiday" doesn't mean Christmas or Easter, but a vacation. A flat is an apartment. The lift is an elevator. If you sack someone, you've fired them from the job. A "row" (pronounced "raow") is a fight or altercation. Bum is a crass (but not profane) slang for one's rear end. Cheeky means you have spunk. Blighter is a term for a runt or scoundrel. And if you REALLY want to get British, "Ha ha! The cheeky little blighter was on holiday and had a row at work, so he was sacked. He took the lift up to his flat and fell on his bum!"

Here's some good resources if you're interested in further differences:

The American's guide to speaking British

Understanding the British Vernacular

Further links

I am also of the opinion that British architecture is superior to American - by leaps and bounds. I happened to pass a cottage near a highway one day, and immediately noticed that its shape and appearance differed greatly from most American houses. It was simply a classic (and classy) British cottage. I polled the other passengers in the car as to whether or not British architecture is intrinsically superior, or simply more appealing on a personal level. Everyone agreed, it was intrinsically superior. Likewise, there is a pub in town which is unmistakably British, even flying the British colors. I don't go in for pubs or the like, but it has the coolest structure and appearance of any building I've seen in the area, let alone a pub.

Although the politics of the place are generally more socialist and less liberty-minded, I still wouldn't mind visiting the country sometime. Maybe I'll find out just how well my accent blends in.

Blimey! Frognal cogfosters! by Dave Barry

The following are introductions by the BBC on their American outlet, BBC America:

"Not even British people can follow the British accent 100% of the time., like me, might want to use closed captioning."

"The following program contains accents you would have heard a lot more if you hadn't thrown our tea into Boston Harbor. To find out what on Earth anyone is talking about, please use Closed Captioning."

"I hereby announce that the people of Britain will not be offended if you find their accents too ridiculous and wish to use closed captioning."

"If you find yourself laughing at the British Accent more than understanding it, Closed Captioning might be a good option for you."

Progress for YouTube: Fan Videos and Copyrights

This is a montage I put together to welcome spring, set to the music of one of my favorite groups, Secret Garden. Their ambient instrumentals, and uplifting or poignant songs are of a quality I did not think existed before. I ordered one of their albums from's MP3 service without even previewing the tracks, so high was my confidence that the CD would be more of the same.

Curiously, I got an e-mail from YouTube following the posting of the video:
This is to notify you that your video Serenade to Spring has been identified as containing content that may be owned by someone else. The material identified in your video, the person claiming ownership of the material, and the policy they have designated for its use on YouTube are detailed below.

Copyright Holder: UMG
Policy: Allow
Countries: Everywhere

If the policy listed is "Allow," you do not need to take action. However, if the policy listed is "Block," please visit the Video ID Matches page in your account. Failure to take action may result in the removal of your video from YouTube.
It looks as if certain musical labels are taking the extra step of submitting music identifiers (wave length analysis, I expect) to detect their own audio, and still further to allow fan videos to be posted with that audio. Let the record show that I have purchased at least three or four tracks after hearing the music from a YouTube fan video, so I think it is almost always to the benefit of a music label to allow its music to be posted. You certainly can't make high-quality recordings of a YouTube video for personal use anyway.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Media Appearance 2/26/08 (SCCC)

This was an interview I had with Scott Paulsen and John Steigerwald on KDKA radio out of Pittsburgh.

Since I only had audio with this interview, I threw a few photos together to keep it interesting.

Another news publication took this photo of me for a news article which, I think, managed to make me look decent. I wish I could take photos like this. The link to the article is now defunct, although I did save a copy.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Paving Paradise

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don't know what you’ve got
‘Til it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
I'm not a lunatic environmentalist by any stretch of the imagination. As I write, I have a PowerPoint presentation pending on my computer about how the earth is NOT actually doomed to anthropogenic global warming.

But I'm also balanced. I do believe man has been given a pretty swell planet here (considering the options) and we should be good stewards of its resources. In fact, I once contacted (and heard back from!) conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham about conservation. She was having a hard time watching a lot of trees being ripped down near her house. The sound of them being ripped down, she said, was like the sound of bones being snapped.

Such wreak has come to my neck of the woods. One of the two main roads I take into town used to be very rural, very open farmland with farms, black plank fences, horses or crops, houses...and trees. For some reason, they've begun a widening project to make the road four-lane. Suddenly, not only trees but barns and farms and houses, places that have been static landmarks for more than the fifteen years I've lived here, are disappearing. Massive, aged trees are standing when I drive into town, and toppled when I return. Their bright wooden insides stand out stark against the outer bark, just like the bleached skeleton look Laura Ingraham mentioned. Massive trees with giant fibrous root systems are pulled out. The roots network is taller than me when the tree is on its side.

It makes me identify just a little bit more with J.R.R. Tolkien's Treebeard: "Many of those trees were my friends, creatures I had known from nut and acorn; many had voices of their own that are lost for ever now. And there are waste of stump and bramble where once there were singing groves. ... It must stop!" ... "Knawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning. Destroyers and usurpers!"

I shudder to think what the road will look like if someday I leave and return. Likely, it shall have become an economic strip of businesses and shops, and the rural farmland of my home counties will have disappeared.

Paved over for a parking lot.


Media Appearance: Gary Baumgarten 3/19/08 (SCCC)

Guns On Campus Advocate Addresses Concerns

On Wednesday, March 19th, I was the guest of a live internet talk show on a streaming server known as Paltalk, hosted by Gary Baumgarten. According to his website, Gary was director of news and programming from CNN where he was the radio bureau chief and correspondent in New York for a decade, where he covered, among other things, the 9/11 attacks in New York and Hurricane Katrina.

The format was interesting. The host is on a webcam of sorts, and he chats with people in a virtual audience, and sometimes takes their questions and poses them to me. As well, he can talk to some of the members of the audience, as we did when we took some calls.

The questions were typical. It was astounding how many times I had to reiterate that we already carry elsewhere in the state. These listeners kept freaking out at the concept of "giving kids guns." They're not kids, and no one is given a gun. We carry elsewhere in our respective states, and dare to suggest that letting us carry on campus opens up the opportunities to defend ourselves and others.

At times, I can be my own worst critic, but when representing a cause before so many listening ears, one cannot be too careful. Still, when I re-listened to it, I was happy to hear that some of the times I thought I performed poorly did not sound as bad.

**Edit 3/24/08**
Gary writes (see comment) to clarify that he was New York bureau chief and correspondent at CNN Radio for 10 years, not director of news and programming.


By the Stickers...

If the bumper stickers in my area tell us anything about the way the elections will go down this coming November, here's my unofficial tally:

Hillary Clinton: 3-5
Barak Obama: 10-15
John McCain: 1

Coincidentally, an acquaintance of mine has put together the perfect website to sell stickers for John McCain, called The Reluctant Voter.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

But Seriously, Folks... - Bulletproof Backpacks

Well! It's certainly nice to see someone taking the issue of safety seriously, although some will no doubt balk at the idea of wearing bulletproof equipment to schools.

As one of the campus coordinators and media liaisons for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, I was sent a discount code and promotional information about this company, although I recall hearing about them some time in the past.

I'm certainly not in any hurry to rush out and purchase one of these backpacks. I know that the likelihood of being able to dodge a bullet with one of them is very low, and that they will only help preserve my life for a few minutes, either so I can flee or so another bullet can cut me down by striking outside of the minimal protection zone offered by a backpack. (The thick textbooks inside would probably do the trick anyway.)

But instead of giving me a chance to avoid being shot, how about giving me a chance to take a shot back at the would-be killer, and prevent other students (the ones who weren't fortunate enough to know about or afford the $100+ backpacks) from being shot?

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