Saturday, February 27, 2010

An Open Letter To Global Warming Activists

Dearest Global Warming Activists,
There are some things we need to discuss.  I don't think you've been going about everything the right way.  I know you don't like to listen to dissenting view points; so in an effort to bribe you to hear what I have to say, I'm going to let you know something.  I'm on your team...kind of.

Does that entice you enough to hear me out?  I'll get to why I'm kind of on your team in a minute.  But first we need to talk about the issues I have.  Here they are:  you aren't that into science, your leadership is questionable, you distract people from less controversial (and arguably more important) issues, you want to destroy the economy.

You aren't that into science
I know this one is going to get you real riled up.  That's why I'll explain it first.  You see, climate change believers like to tell the rest of us that we're stupid and that we hate science and all sorts of other ridiculous things.  That kind of gets my knickers in a bunch because I am a big believer in science.  I don't have anything against scientists.  I know that polls show that the majority of scientists believe in global warming.  But those polls try to imply that those scientists all believe in Al Gore's version of global warming.  You see, the data says that since 1995 the earth has been warming at a rate of 0.12C per decade.  Phil Jones, climate scientist, says that is not statistically significant.  His data also says that from the years 1860-1880 the warming was a rate of 0.163C per decade.  This means that global warming was worse from 1860-1880 than it was from 1995 to 2009.

I'm no climate scientist, but I am a thinker.  If there was more global warming before we filled the world with cars and airplanes and other carbon emitting machines, doesn't that say something about the correlation between the two?  Phil Jones does say that even though he doesn't have the data to prove it, he still believes that Anthropogenic (man-made) global warming is real.  I don't have a problem with that.  In science that is called a hypothesis.  The purpose of science is to prove or disprove a hypothesis.  He doesn't have enough data to prove it or disprove it at this point and that is fine with me.  As a bystander, I feel the data points a different way.
I will glady believe in AGW (Anthropogenic global warming) when there is more data to show it.  So when all the believers out there start telling me that they know that AGW is a fact.  Well, how can they know that when the scientists don't?  I understand they have faith in Phil Jones and other scientists.  But saying that you know it to be true based on your faith in what Phil Jones says is no longer science.  Now we are talking about religion.  Science is about empirical evidence.  Religion is about faith.  I'm not going to bash your religion, feel free to believe whatever feels right to you.  But let's call a spade a spade so we're all on the same page.

Your leadership is questionable
Al Gore seems to be the most outspoken AGW believer.  However, his claims just don't seem to jive with what scientists are saying.  A few months ago at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen, Al Gore made a claim that all polar ice caps will be completely melted by the summer of 2014.  He cited Dr Wieslav Maslowski as the source of that information.  That evening Dr. Maslowski told The Times: “It’s unclear to me how this figure was arrived at.  I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this.”

In his movie, Al Gore shows Florida being engulfed by the ocean, up to 100 miles from the current beaches.  The maps he put together would be what would happen if the ocean were to rise 20 feet.  That is a scary future, but scientists don't believe that will happen at all. The United Nations International Panel on Climate Control issued a report in 2007 saying that the ocean could rise up to 15 inches.  That's a little bit less than the scary 20 feet Al Gore predicts. I don't know if Al Gore is deliberately deceiving his audience, or if he just doesn't know how to do research.  I'm also not sure which is worse; but either way, is he someone you want to be following?

You distract people from other issues
A few months ago, there was a horrible inversion in Utah Valley.  Robyn started coughing horribly all the time.  We couldn't see the mountains and there was a yucky smell that wouldn't go away.  To me, that was an important issue.  That was definitely a day I wanted to reduce carbon emissions.  When I think about all those that aren't buying the AGW story.  I think, "why can't we all just agree that smog is stinky?"  If we work to reduce smog, we can be on the same team.

There are other issues that are important to me such as reducing our dependence on foreign oil.  Middle eastern countries aren't generally very friendly to us.  Even if every country we imported oil from were friendly, it would still be better for us to be buying from ourselves.  Can we work together on that issue?

What about deforestation?  Forests across the world turn dangerous Co2 into O2 which is our friend.  I'm not so concerned about Co2 but I would like to preserve habitats of life in the rainforest.  That's right, as much as I am a conservative and a capitalist I still think animals are important.  As a small child I made my family cut up the rings that come around six packs of pop because I saw a picture of a seagull with one of them stuck around his neck.  I've always felt that preserving our natural world was an important thing to do.

As you can see, there are things I believe in that happen to line up with your agenda.  Can we work together?

You want to destroy the economy
This is the main beef I have with your movement.  We agree on a few issues but we disagree with tactics of how to solve it.  One of the main strategies that has been discussed is a cap and trade program that would allow organizations to "trade" in the right to emit carbon.  The idea is that making pollution more expensive will reduce it.  President Obama said, "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."  So your and my bills would "skyrocket" as the President said.  First of all, in a strained economy this one thing could tip some businesses and individuals over the edge into bankruptcy.  The second thing is that if people can't afford to heat their homes, they are going to do something.  There will be alot more fireplaces burning wood.  These won't be coal plants that have spent money maximizing efficiency.  No, these will be average people in average fireplaces who will inefficiently burn that wood and maximize carbon emissions.

I won't get into all the plans that have been proposed that will hurt our economy.  That happens to be the worst one so I'll stop there.

So we've agreed we have some common goals.  But we have some differing priorities as well.  How about we make an agreement?  I'll do what I can to help the environment if you do what you can to preserve our economy and our freedom?  Deal?

There's some things we can do to work on this together.  Here are a few of my thoughts.
Start with yourself - This may sound too simple, but how about doing things in your own home?  Robyn and I put in new insulation and better windows this year in our home.  That increases the efficiency of our home and lowers our carbon output (as well as our bills)  You could do something simple like replace your light bulbs with fluorescent ones.  The U.S. Energy Star Program says that if every American household replaced just one lightbulb with a fluorescent one, it would be the equivalent of removing 800,000 cars from the road.  It's a small drop in the bucket, but it's a start.

Government tax incentives - Robyn and I got a nice tax credit for the home improvements we did.  It was great!  In addition, President Obama actually did something I agree with recently when he proposed a tax credit for buying more fuel efficient cars.  Tax incentives along this line allow the free market to still work while just giving it a little nudge.  (It's debatable whether my favorite economist, F.A. Hayek, would support that kind of incentive, but I'm willing to give a little on this one.)

Invest in new technologies - Bill Gates is funding a company that will be able to create nuclear reactors that run on the waste from existing nuclear plants.  This means he could eliminate the problem of where to put nuclear waste while also making cleaner, cheaper energy.

This brings me to my final idea.
Let the free market work - Why can Bill Gates fund this?  Because the free market allowed him to become a billionaire.  Clean energy means cheap energy.  If we get out of the way of the economy so that the recession can end, there will be people willing to invest in cleaner energy sources.  Nuclear energy is just one idea.  It's amazing the genius that a profit motive can create.  If government gets out of the way, someone will make a lot of money finding a way to help the poorest among us be able to have infinite energy.  In so doing, carbon will decrease and there will be no more stinky smog.  We can all win.  Is that something we can agree on?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The CIA Needs Better Planning

It's time for another chance to reveal more about the world by exposing common Google searches.

First, if you type "dinosaurs were" you discover that dinosaurs were made up by the CIA to discourage time travel.  This is probably true.  Theologians have long debated how dinosaurs would fit into the creation story in the Bible.  Of course, the CIA didn't fully think it through.  What they failed to realize is that Dinosaurs are awesome!  They should have made up something more boring.  Imagine if paleontologists kept digging up the remains of ancient documentary makers.  They could even dig up fossilized video cassettes of really boring documentaries.  I mean, I'm no guru; but that's what I would have made up if I were in charge of the CIA.

Unfortunately for them, due to the awesomeness of dinosaurs I'm gonna buy me a flux capacitor on ebay and go find out for myself.

Of course, there's another possibility.
It could be the dinosaurs are around today and they're just hiding.  It makes sense.  They had 65 million years to practice at hide and go seek.  I bet they're all in their hiding places just laughing at us because we haven't found them yet.  I mean, I've found them but they told me not to say where.  You should be embarrassed that you haven't found them yet.  They are kicking your trash at hide and go seek.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Truly Awesome: Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwiches

Here I am, on President's Day
Searching the kitchen, I'm filled with dismay
The PB is here, that is quite true
I'll also need bread and that is here too

I have here my knife, for spreading on bread
But with nothing to spread, I'll starve and be dead
You see, there's a problem, a problem right here
I can't find the honey, a tragedy clear

Miracle, miracle, honey did appear
My heart fills with joy, my fears disappear
I begin to construct this wonderful snack
the taste warms my body, my stomach, my back

the stickiness oozes, 'tween slices of bread
joy dances like fairies, all through my head
this coupled with milk, in a large and clear glass
helps me scarf down my sandwich and scarf it down fast

satisfaction flows o'er me, and satiates my tummy
grand was the experience, the taste also yummy
I now can move on to the rest of my life
The joys of my home and my wonderful wife

Photo by Robyn Stockett

Okay, so this was my first poem that I ever wrote in... ever. I guess there was the time in high school that I wrote some gibberish that made no sense but it rhymed. My english teacher was really excited. I think he thought it had some deeper meaning. So anyway, to those of you who actually know anything about poetry: I'm sorry if I broke some rule about rhyming or meter or honey. I just wanted to share my love of peanut butter and honey and I hope that my medium of choice was as fun to read as it was to write.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sixteenth Moniversary

Yes, yes, I know I said I wouldn't do any more moniversary posts.  But, as of tomorrow we will have been married 16 months!  That's 1.3333333333 years!  It had to be commemorated with another post.  Plus, there have been some fun things this month.  Yes, we visited Disneyland, and experienced a Costco Miracle; but here are some other events.

If you cough you can't go to Disneyland
When we were in our hotel in Anaheim, we were eating the hotel's continental breakfast and at the table next to us there was a mom with her three young daughters.  There was a little girl maybe 5 or 6 years old who had a bit of a cough.  There was clearly gunk in her lungs because I could hear it.  The mom, however, felt that coughing was not becoming of a girl her age.  She told her that girls who cough can't go to Disneyland.  I felt so bad for this little girl, she was sitting at the table with her head down almost convulsing as she's trying to suppress her coughs.  It made me very cranky; but I did get enjoyment out of making fun of the mom the rest of the day by telling Zack and Delta that if they cough they can't go to Disneyland.

Robyn's powers over the lost and found return
We had a most disturbing disappearance.  My keys had been sitting on the coffee table but somehow they magically vanished.  Robyn and I have two different approaches.  I take the Sherlock Holmes approach.  I'm trying to reconstruct how it happened, and when I figure out all the clues then it is revealed where the item is.  Robyn takes the woman of faith approach.  Her strategy is probably more wise.  She just prays and has it revealed where it is.  Anyway, I had reconstructed what must have happened.  I figured the keys must have fallen off the table and landed on the baby's blanket.  I figured my brother-in-law and his wife must have picked up the blanket and taken the keys with them.  They checked their baby bag and couldn't find it.  I was probably more frustrated by the fact that I couldn't solve the puzzle than the fact that my keys were gone.  Then after Robyn exercised her faith (as well as her mom) they looked in the baby bag again and this time it was easily seen. 

Graham is Folded in two by the children
This story isn't that funny but I was amused by the picture.  Graham(my sister-in-law's boyfriend) was playing with Addie and Ian(my niece and nephew).  He was pretending to be asleep and they were abusing him in all sorts of ways.  They would roll him off the couch, jump on him for a while and then try to put him back  In an attempt to put him back on the couch they put his arms and legs(the only things they could lift) back on the couch, leaving him looking somewhat like a sandwich, though much less delicious.

Robyn shoots me in her sleep
At least I think that's what was happening.  I woke up in the middle of the night to hear her say, "Katoo, katoo" in a high pitched voice.  I can only assume it was some sort of gun sound.  It was pretty good considering her lack of a Y chromosome.  Of course, after the time she shouted "You loser!" or the time she told me to "backup, backup" this was a pleasant surprise.  Sounds are kind of nicer than words.  Maybe that's why we don't say things.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Miracle Returns

Imagine a world where all your desires are instantly fulfilled.  Imagine a place where entire teams of people flurry to feed you as quickly as possible at no cost to you.  My last post was about the happiest place on Earth, but today Costco was the second happiest place on Earth.

A year ago, we experienced a glorious miracle.  My coworkers and I eagerly awaited the return of that very miracle.  Costco is trying to entice us to buy all sorts of foods to celebrate the super bowl.  In order to entice us they give infinite wonderful free samples.  There were pork sandwiches, slices of tri-tip, sports drinks, ice cream, meatballs and every other imaginable delicious item.  It was so much food it was a miracle.

If you don't believe me, here is the Madre, the world's most credible person, sharing some of her experience.

Behold, the Madre has spoken.
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