State of Fear: Author’s Notes

Now, I don’t know if you’ve read the book or not, and if you have you may not have taken the time to read the notes Michael Crichton put in the back of the book. They’re full of wisdom, and they don’t just apply environmentalism, they apply to all sciences and areas that use logic as a tool. (Which is pretty much everything).

I didn’t write these, they are (c) Michael Chrichton, or his estate or whatever.

  • We know astonishing little about every aspect of the environment, from it’s past history, to it’s present state, to how to converse and protect it. In every debate, all sides overstate the extent of existing knowledge and it’s degree of certainty.
  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing, and human activity is the probable cause.
  • We are also in the midst of a natural warming trend that began about 1850, as we emerged from a four-hundred-century cold spell known as the “Little Ice Age.”
  • Nobody knows how much of the present warming trend might be a natural phenomenon.
  • Nobody knows how much of the present  warming trend might be man-made.
  • Nobody knows how much warming will occur in the next century. The computer models vary by 400%, de facto proof that nobody knows. But if I had to guess–the only thing anyone is doing really–I would guess the increase will be 0.812436 degrees C. There is no evidence that my guess about the state of the world one hundred years from now is any better or worse than anyone else’s. (We can’t “assess” the future, nor can we “predict” it. These are euphemisms. We can only guess. An informed guess is just a guess.)
  • I suspect that part of the observed surface warming will ultimately be attributed to human activity. I suspect that the principal human effect will come from land use, and that the atmospheric component will be minor.
  • Before making expensive policy decisions on the basis of climate models, I think it is reasonable to require that those models predict future temperatures accurately for a period of ten years. twenty would be better.
  • I think for anyone to believe in impending resource scarcity, after two hundred years of such false alarms, is kind of weird. I don’t know whether such belief today is best ascribed to ignorance of history, sclerotic dogmatism, unhealthy love of Mathus, or simple pigheadedness, but it is evidently a hardy perennial in calculation.
  • There are many reasons to shift away from fossil fuels, and we will do so in the next century without legislation, financial intensives, carbon-conservation programs, or the interminable yammering of fearmongers. So far as I know, nobody had to ban horse transport in the early twentieth century.
  • I suspect the people of 2100 will be much richer than we are, consume more energy, have a smaller global population, and enjoy more wilderness than we do today. I don’t think we have to worry about them.
  • The current near-hysterical preoccupation with the safety is at best a waste of resources and a crimp on the human spirit, and at worst an invitation to totalitarianism. Public education is desperately needed.
  • I conclude that most environmental “principles” (such as sustainable development or the precautionary principle) have the effect of preserving the economic advantages of the West and thus constitute modern imperialism toward the developing world. It is a nice way of saying, “We got ours and we don’t want you to get yours, because you’ll cause too much pollution.”
  • I believe people are well intentioned. But I have great respect for the corrosive influence of bias, systematic distortions of though, the power of rationalization, the guises of self-interest, and the inevitability of unintended consequences.
  • I have more respect for the people who change their views after acquiring new information than for those who cling to views they held thirty years ago. The world changes. Ideologues and zealots don’t.
  • In the thirty-five-odd years since the environmental movement came into existence, science has undergone a major revolution. This revolution has brought new understanding of our nonlinear dynamics, complex systems, chaos theory, catastrophe theory. It has transformed the way we think about evolution and ecology. Yet these no-longer-new ideas have hardly penetrated the thinking of environmental activists, which seems oddly fixed in the concepts and rhetoric of the 1970s.
  • We haven’t the foggiest notion how to preserve what we term “wilderness,” and we had better study it in the field and learn how to do so. I see no evidence that we are conducting such research in a humble, rational, and systematic way. I therefore hold little hope for wilderness management in the twenty-first century. I blame environmental organizations every bit as much as developers and strip miners. There is no difference in outcomes between greed and incompetence.
  • We need a new environmental movement, with new goals and new organizations. We need more people working in the field, in the actual environment, and fewer people behind computer screens. We need more scientists and many fewer lawyers.
  • We cannot hope to manage a complex system such as the environment through litigation. We can only chane it’s state temporarily–usually by preventing something–with eventual results that we cannot predict and ultimatly cannot control.
  • Nothing is more inherently political than our shared physical environment, and nothing is more ill served by allegiance to a single political party. Precisely because the environment is shared it cannot be managed by one faction according o it’s own economic or aesthetic preferences. Sooner or later, the opposing faction will take power, and previous policies will be reversed. Stable management of the environment requires recognition that all preferences have their place: snowmobilers and fly fishermen, dirt bikers and hikers, developers and preservationists. These preferences are at odds, and their incompatibility cannot be avoided. but resolving incompatible goals is a true function of politics.
  • We desperately need a nonpartisian, blinded funding mechanism to conduct research to determine appropriate policy. Scientists are only too aware whom they are working for. Those who fund research–whether a drug company, a government agency, or an environmental organization–always have a particular outcome in mind research funding is almost never open-ended or open-minded. Scientists know that continued funding depends on delivering the results funders desire. As a result, environmental organization “studies” are every bit as biased and suspect as industry “studies.” Government “studies” are similarly biased according to who is running the department or administration at the time. No faction should be given a free pass.
  • I am certain there is too much certainty in the world.
  • I personally experience a profound pleasure being in nature. My happiest days each year are those I spend in wilderness. I wish natural environments to be preserved in sufficient quantities, or with sufficient skill. I conclude that the “exploiters of the environment” include environmental organizations, government organizations, and big business. All have equally dismal track records.
  • Everyone has an agenda but me.

Ha, that last one is my favorite. These are also very quotable, and if you read these I hope you learned some things.

Why Cutting Trees Isn’t Bad

This is a direct response to all the pseudoscientific tailgate environmentalists and conservationists who go by the ‘we’re doomed, and if you touch the environment you’re evil’ philosophy. These people know the least about the environment, and unfortunately, these are the ones who speak the loudest. And again, unfortunately, the government listens to the loudest voices, so we are continually getting dumb laws passed to save endemic and specialist species that are already on nature’s hit list.

First, let me point out that deforestation cutting trees. Deforestation is the act of permanently removing trees. So, in the case of a rain forest, or possibly taiga, cutting down tress may be synonymous with deforestation, but anywhere in the US this is simply not the case. Our amount of new growth is decreasing because ‘environmentalists’ seem to believe that cutting down old forests is some sort of mortal sin, when just the opposite is true. We’ve found that Indians like the Cherokee used to periodically burn forests down to keep climax communities from developing. Why? Because climax communities have very little biodiversity, meaning they cannot support a large amount of different life forms. The Cherokee wanted new growth as opposed to old growth forests. They wanted this so they could have more animals and plants to live off of.

A question can be raised concerning this, what about before the Indians? The forests must have managed on their own then, right? You may be very surprised to find out that this isn’t true. In fact, the entire forest range of most of North America can be described as a cultivated tree farm. How is this possible? Well, we we’re here before the trees were. According to fossil records humans arrived in the Americas before the last ice age ended. Indians were the people who hunted the woolly mammoth to extinction. But, the fact that they were here means that most of the Americas were covered in glaciers. Guess what happens when glaciers recede? Primary succession happens. The glacier pulls all detritus away with it, and what’s left is bed rock, and very rarely, some vegetation. It takes an exceptionally long time for soil to build back up, but all the while, the Indians began to practice cultivation of the environment, they figured out the way some things worked and influenced them to their own benefit, this is probably the reason temperate forests in the Americas are so sustainable. So, who’s to say what will happen if we stop cutting and burning trees. My theory is climax communities will choke out the rest of the populations, and then very rapidly we will begin to lose species, because climax communities need new growth to choke out, but if it chokes it all out, then everything dies.

You may also find yourself thinking that the environment is delicate and should not be messed with. Well, in most  cases this is true (like the tropical rain forests) but in the case of temperate forests of any kind this is almost universally untrue. Just as an example, the area I live in Georgia, was almost completely clear cut back in the 1900s and 1920s. After this, there were no trees planted, as they decided to let the forest grow back on there own. There is almost no evidence that this clear cutting ever happened.

The US now has more wilderness then we used to, yet people still try to claim that our forests and lands are being destroyed. Environmentalist groups always overexaggerate the amount of data they have, and the certainty of said data, because it doesn’t suit their purposes to state things in bland hypothetical terms, so they either blatantly lie, or twist the truth so much it might as well be one. People don’t check sources and they believe things verbatim if it’s for a ‘good cause’ because they feel bad if they speak out against it or don’t trust the ‘officials’. Animals are not being slaughtered without reason, and the forests are not dissipating. It’s as simple as that.

It may also suit you to know, that despite what environmentalists tell you, the world isn’t ending, and nobody knows what is going to happen in the next century.

Climategate, this is exactly what I’m talking about.

I’ve you’ve read my Trees vs Hemp article (and some of my soon to be posts) then you may know of my detest for the main stream views of environmental science and the idiocy that goes along with it. So, if you’ve been reading the news lately, you might have heard of the ‘climategate‘ scandal. While the evidence was brought about through unorthodox methods (i.e. the illegal hacking of a server) it does not demerit the fact that the evidence exists. The evidence in question, are series of emails between prominent climatologists who are pro global warming (as in, it existing).

The fact here is plain and simple, global warming advocates have lied, and are lying now. This is being called the greatest scam in modern science. These emails have revealed the litigious, secretive nature of some of the most prominent and recognized advocates of pro global warming climatologists.

The nature of these emails includes, but is not limited to; suppression of parts or whole studies providing evidence against global warming, illegal suppression of information, outrage and talk of physical violence against anti-global warming advocates,  glee over the death of one such person, and best of all attempting to squeeze anti-global warming advocates out of the peer reviewing process.

Here are some tid-bits from the emails recovered.

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding
in the real temps to each series for the last 20
years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for
Keith’s to hide the decline.

(This is referring to the fact that the global temperature has been declining)

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack
of warming at the moment and it is a travesty
that we can’t. The CERES data published in the
August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there
should be even more warming: but the data are
surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

(Stubborn stupidity, ignoring the facts, and then suppressing them)

Can you delete any emails you may have had with 
Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in 
at the moment – minor family crisis. Can you also 
email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have 
his new email address. We will be getting Caspar to 
do likewise.

(Attempting to destroy evidence of something)

Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific 
meeting,I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out 
of him.Very tempted.

(Violent fantasies against anti-global warming advocates)

……Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using
about a dozen NH records that fit this category,
and many of which are available nearly 2K back–I
think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, 
rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier 
point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it 
would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, 
even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean 
reconstruction available that far back….

(Discussion of attempts to suppress information opposed to them, specifically the medieval warm period)

“This was the danger of always criticising the
skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed
literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to
that–take over a journal! So what do we do about
this? I think we have to stop considering
“Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed
journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues
in the climate research community to no longer 
submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We 
would also need to consider what we tell or request 
of our morereasonable colleagues who currently sit 
on the editorial board…What do others think?”

“I will be emailing the
journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do 
withit until they rid themselves of this troublesome 
editor.”

“It results from this journal having a number of 
editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known 
skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers through by 
Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with 
Hans von Storch about this, but got nowhere. Another 
thing to discuss in Nice !”

(And finally, discussion of attempts to squelch peer reviews of opposing parties)

There is much more than this. The scary thing, is that this has been going on for a long time, and not just with these people. Environmental science has been fueled by propaganda, misinformation, and half truths for some time now. People have been doing it to drive an agenda that the feel is more important than the truth, ans others do it for money. The more research they do that supports global warming the easier it is to get money for doing more ‘research’. It’s a positive feedback loop, and something like this is just what we needed to stop this reign of tyranny. It’s time that conservationism came away from the pseudoscientifical nonsense that it has turned into.

Lrn2Engineer – Statistics to help your sentry placement in TF2

I recently stumbled up the TF2 Sentry Heatmap Project. I don’t know if you’ve seen any of the recent heat maps that have been circulating around, most of them just generally show where kills happen. But, in this project each official Valve map has three heat maps. One for sentry kills, one for sentry placements, and then a cross section of the two. The cross section is the important one, because the red areas basically mean that if you put a sentry there you’ll generally get kills.

Study them and learn the areas that generate kills, then next time you play Engi, put a sentry in the spot you’ve seen, and watch your kills rack up.
(Just click the hyperlink to go the page, scroll down once you get there to see the maps.)

The Dustbowl Sentry Kill/Placement Heatmap

The Dustbowl Sentry Kill/Placement Heatmap

The Universe – It doesn’t have a big wall

One of the things that continually confounds me is peoples general lack of knowledge. Well, I guess theoretical physics isn’t a field to be complaining about people not knowing anything about. But, it agitates me when people talk about stuff that they know nothing about like they do.

/rant

Anyways, I’m going to outline a simple concept for you. A question could be asked, ‘How big is the universe?’. Well, a conundrum lies within semantics here. How big is the universe? Well, it’s all there is. There is nothing to compare it to in size, but itself. But, a way to imagine and possibly tell how big the universe is to understand the way it works a little better.

Most people do not understand that the universe is a continuum. It doesn’t go, and then suddenly hit some sort of magical wall of nothing. It continues, in a sense, forever.  Now, the reason I said ‘in a sense’ is because it continues forever in the same way that you can start walking on the earth (ignoring basic geography) and never come to an end where there is an impasse. You’d simply walk in a circle indefinitely. Confused as to how this compares to the universe? Well, let’s dumb it down a little.

Instead of 3D beings on a four dimensional plane, well make an analogy out of two dimensional beings. Take some 2D ants for instance, that live on a 3D sphere.  These ants can walk along the surface, measure it with their own system and etc. But they can never physically experience our so called ‘up or down’ in a direct sense (i.e. they do it themselves). It might also be worth noting, that if the ant started to go in one direction, it would eventually reach the same predispositioned spot. However if there is no conceived starting point, you have the ability to circle the sphere ad infinitum.

It may also help to explain the expansion of our universe. From our perspective the heavenly bodies are all moving away from us (except Andromeda, but that’s because it’s within our galaxies gravitational pull). Now, if you take the sphere back, (say it’s a balloon) and put two dots with a sharpie on it. Now, if you blow up this bubble more you’ll see that the two dots get farther and farther from each other, much like our own universe. Only, in our case it’s a 4 dimensional object that is expanding.