Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Climate Change?

Climate change?

I went to see a very old friend today. George, he's 97. If there could ever be a human capable of competing with the breadth and depth of knowledge store that google has, it would be him. Among the topics he educated me on today was climate change. Of all the things he has researched, has experience with and is concerned about, this one is the most critical on his list, given his very limited time here.

He pointed out the Keeling curve of CO2 monitoring which shows the steady increase in PPM of CO2 in our atmosphere since he (Charles Keeling) started recording it in 1958 (Keeling worked at the Scripps Institute about the same time George did). When I returned home today, I looked at this curve. There's not doubt that CO2 has accumulated in this period at an alarming rate.

However, the reason CO2 is of such a concern is because it is a "greenhouse gas". The higher the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, the more long wave radiation (heat) stays trapped between the atmosphere and the earth, keeping the earth warm. The CO2 acts similar to the earth as a windshield acts on the dashboard of a car.

I wish I could have spent more time with George today to ask him this: while the accumulation of CO2 maybe increasing steadily in our atmosphere, does that mean it has a linear coupling to the end result of heat build-up on the earth? If the answer is no, then this could be a very good thing or a very bad thing, depending on which end is non-linear.

According to this (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/08/the-logarithmic-effect-of-carbon-dioxide/) it's non-linear but it's on the positive - shew! In summary, to the extent that CO2 can affect the earth's rise in temperature, that effect was maximized long ago (before the Industrial Revolution). The continued addition of CO2 now actually has little impact on any continued warming - if that article is correct.

However, George's concern of the cause of global warming was not in the increase of CO2 alone. He mentioned to me the heat added by our inefficient human activities. Let me illustrate: imagine the earth was inside a glass bottle. And that CO2 was like a silver mirror coating on the outside of the bottle which kept all the radiant heat reflected back to the source (the Earth). Now imagine that the bottle was effectively 95% coated silver. Well, finishing that last 5% of silver coating (adding more CO2) wouldn't really affect things. But what would make them worse at this point was if inside the bottle, the earth itself kept adding heat by burning itself up.

Now, the sun is a HUGE factor because it heats things constantly and in 24 hours puts down radiant heat energy on the surface alone at 527W/M^2 per hour, at the zenith. According to this source (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/08/the-logarithmic-effect-of-carbon-dioxide/) the man made contribution to heat is only about .5% as of 2005. It doesn't sound like much. But I have to admit that I was shocked to see the number that high (0.5%). But the complexities of trying to arrive at those numbers (for man's contributions) are likely fraught with error - it could be more and it's certainly changing fast, 2005 was almost ten years ago and that's a lot of time in today's world where so many nations are rapidly rising from third-world status.

George made the statement that man is incredibly inefficient in his use of energy. And for example, that nuclear power plants are incredibly inefficient. And while they don't throw off toxic fumes, or even CO2, they do heat the environment around them substantially just keeping the temperature of the reactor maintained. And let's suppose that we were able to switch every internal combustion engine over to hydrogen, so that it's burn was clean and pure. Still, 60% of the energy used by that type of engine is wasted in unnecessary heat production thrown off into the environment.

So herein is my next question: are we responsible for releasing more heat than can be radiated off into space at this point due to atmospheric reflectance? My sense for the shear proportions of thus (us on the surface compared to the enormous mass of the earth) is the answer is no. Mr. Sun is the oven burner, and we're the pilot flame. But, could I be wrong?
I normally try to offer solutions to problems here.  But my friends, if I had a solution to this one, it would entail understanding the problem, and I'm just not sure anyone does yet, let alone me.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

ObamaCare and Social Security - Doh!

Many decades ago, our government decided that too many people were not planning for their retirement and forced everyone who was employed to use a plan managed by the government. Many people are grateful that social security was there for them. Although, they never had a chance to divert those funds to anything but that and may have been better or worse, they will never know.

But, no one denies that the government has stolen most of that money and used it as a slush fund which it now repays from borrowed money. And because Social Security is scheduled to be bankrupt, now, honest hardworking people who have paid into social security for most of their lives may never see a penny of that paid back to them. Thus, the government is now deciding to renege on it's promise to pay back everyone who paid in so it can ration what it does have to those who it decides need it.

So, we trusted our government to administer our retirement (but we had no choice - we were forced to pay into it). And now, they've spent our retirement on too many things other than our retirement, giving them an excuse to not honor their contract with everyone they owe.

Fast forward 10, maybe 20 years with Obamacare and ask yourself if there is any reason we should trust the government with the funds we give them to administer for our health care? What has changed that will assure us we can trust them to use our money for just our health care and to manage it wisely? I've seen nothing, from any administration or congress in the last 20 years that shows that government is a wise money manager. 
Just sayin'- something smells fishy to me!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

RE: Zimmerman trial and Racism

I'm not going to comment on the outcome of the Zimmerman trial because I wasn't there in the courtroom.  And to form my opinions based on nothing other than the typical sensationalism pumped media information that's overly available would be like designing a building on bad math.  I knew the media was going to try to make this case into a big racism circus when the first pictures of both Zimmerman and Martin appeared (courtesy of our media).  Zimmerman was shown in his most recent form, and Martin was presented in his form as a 12 year old boy when he was actually 17 years old at the time of the incident.  And this was displayed this way in most stories for days with little or no footnotes about that deception.

Statistically, Native Americans likely have the highest incident per group of alcoholism and drunk driving. Does anyone with a brain honestly believe that it's because they are genetically an "Indian" - and drunkenness is  symptom or predisposition of their actual race? No, it's because we have laws and/or policies which have helped shaped their culture in some of those negative ways causing that behavior to be more predominant in that group. 

Our laws and policies specifically address their race and provide them special considerations.  Similarly, we have laws and policies about other minorities which also create a divisional impact. Most black police officers will admit that if 4 people are suspect of a drug crime and one is black, the black one will get the most scrutiny, even by a black officer. Because, statistically, blacks are caught up in these situations more often.  It's not because they're black that they're statistically the most probable suspects.  It's because we have  policies, laws and considerations for their race which have created and/or maintained a negative social condition for them, leading them to be involved in more crimes.  With multiple generations of children now who are truly color blind, the real racism that remains is what was written into our laws and policies that remains. 

Through the best attempts to make the information about actual differences in performance based on race unavailable because of the uproar such creates ("The Bell Curve") real science about what advantages and disadvantages each race typically has is absent.  But we all still base judgements off empirical data nonetheless.  If you're choosing the students to be on your basketball team, and they're all about the same height and you know nothing else about them, chances are you're going to choose the black students first.  If you're picking team mates for your math team and the choice of students all get about the same grades, you'll probably pick mostly Asians. 

When given a "choice" there has to be some criteria we use to decide or it's not a choice, it's just a random drawing.  Obesity maybe more inherent in one race than another, but if I'm choosing teammates for a Sumo tag team, I'm going to pick the fattest kids.  If most of the fat ones in my group happen to be white, someone could say that I'm being racist but that wasn't the case at all.  If it turns out indeed that whites are statistically the most obese for whatever reason, then the fact that the  results of my choosing would mirror the reality statistics simply on a probability basis.

In my life, on the average, I've found the biggest underachievers in life to be those who were spoiled the most and never had to really try to do anything.  Likewise, the biggest achievers (relative to their starting point) have often had to do it alone, without help from anyone.  In this instance, I consider outside additional support an actual handicap.   

Special considerations based on race, whether those considerations benefit or inhibit those individuals creates a divide in either case.  We can't treat people the same, if our government still doesn't treat them the same.  And if they're not treated the same, we can't expect their groupings to behave the same.  If that difference in behavior is noted, it will then be associated with the race and not the cause.  Racism is still very much alive in our laws and policies. If we truly want to end it once and for all we need to start by ending it there.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The illegal drug racket is alive and well, and it thanks you.

As a father of a beautiful teenage girl who I thought I had lost to drugs, I can tell you now that she is alive and well.  But my heart breaks as I have yet to see her now because she is afraid to come back home.  At 15 years old, she is now afraid to face the police who will now, like thoughtless robots, enforce the tragic train of victimless crimes she will now be charged with.  And while she is trying to better herself, she thinks she must stay on the run for fear of being caught, and then placed side by side with the very tainted people she is now trying to stay away from.  The crime of drugs is the crime.  You can say that drugs make the problem, but they are as inanimate as guns - it takes people with motives to make the problems with them.  

So I wonder, who was motivated first?  The child who used the drugs, or the person who made them available to that child because there was money in it?  I'm going to go with the money – a bet that’s usually never wrong.  And why was there money in it?  Because it's a protected racket.  A baggie of seeds less dangerous than a bottle Jack Daniels sells for 10 times as much!  And not because they’re hard to grow. 

Gangs need and like money.  They're violent, vicious and blunt headed antagonists.  Their best bet for making money?  The highest profit?  Nope, not theft.  Drugs.  Again, not because drugs hard to make.  It's because we make them hard to buy.  The drug cartels in Mexico are big enough to militarily take on their own government.  They don't make that kind of money needed for that power by opening coffee shops and paying taxes.  They don't even make it off producing child pornography, human trafficking, stolen credit cards, or any other modern crimes.  Drugs.  Many people are unaware that covert government operations not approved by congress are often funded from drug money that was made by government operatives in foreign countries - that is how profitable we have made the drug trade!

I have friends in law enforcement.  Most of them are too close to be able to see the bigger picture.  It's easier for them to believe and obey their chain of bosses.  I enjoy their company but I do wish they would long for being called Peace Officers once again instead of the heady, chest puffing title of "law enforcement."  It just says shows how mechanized and heartless their function has become.  My daughter has recovered from the drugs, but she has not recovered from the law.  I only hope that if she encounters "the law" again, she is strong enough and smart enough to stay away from of it, like a drug.

I have no doubt that the filter of the drug conspiracy, which collects so many of the less fortunate people through these deceitful drug prohibition laws, eventually overflowing with a resulting sludge of humanity, is seen as the problem itself by those who have to deal with it every day.  But for many people, falling down is also a "twelve step" process and only the last few steps are taken to blame by most in law enforcement.  Thus, the real culprit, the racket we’ve made the illegal drug industry through prohibitive laws, escapes time after time.  And most every time, the real public servants, who are often persecuted, as they attempt to dispatch this culprit at the ballot box, those people are looked at as kooks - like Ron Paul.  Yet, in the hypocrisy of legal alcohol, we spend billions of dollars every year, destroy millions of lives and families and allow to thrive, violent criminals who are paid very well, by the illegal drug industry.

Monday, February 11, 2013

What if our justice system raised our children?

Our values and morals come from common law and religious moral teachings. The most basic of morals is to treat others as you would treat yourself. But imagine if the values built in to our legal system and conveyed through the judicial system and our penal codes were the values taught to our children as moral priorities.

When I was young, I was taught that murder was the worst crime, cruelty, stealing, lying and adultery followed that up. The world is not black and white, there are levels of severity. In simple examples, given a choice between having to lie about something or steal, I would prefer to lie. Having to steal something versus torture or cruelty (sometimes stealing can be such), I'd rather steal. And having to choose between cruelty and murder, I'd rather be cruel (let's not get into euthanasia here). There was a moral priority established for me and it started with the degree of punishments I received from my parents.

If the severity of the crime was taught to children based on the severity of the punishment as is defined in our laws and practiced in courts, people would be quite different. Downright scary in my view. In America today, the penalties for murder are far less than many other crimes - some of which arguably have no victims! And Hollywood assists in the perversion of moral priorities as well by condoning murders as a means to end (Dexter, CSI, etc).

We categorize people as "good" and "bad" as well by their virtues or lack of, which we compare to our own values. But in our society today, a very good person by moral character and deeds can be found to be a very dangerous criminal by our system of laws. I remember just a few weeks ago hearing on the local news, back to back local stories that went something like this, a man convicted of committing acts of lewdness with a 9 year old girl was sentenced to 70 years without parole. Immediately following that story in almost the same breath was 3 men convicted of beating another man to death who were sentenced to 25 years with possibility of parole.

A 17th century French philosopher, Montesquieu once said "every punishment which does not arise from absolute necessity is tyrannical." If our justice system is now inter-woven with so much tyranny, what sort of sensibility would it make as a map of moral values?

With government getting involved more and more with raising our children, this should be of major concern. Former LAPD officer Chris Dorner, turned murderer, may very well be an example of misplaced moral priorities heavily influenced by our justice system. In his manifesto,  he states his observations of crimes committed by fellow officers and department personnel. Many of these crimes, should they be real, deserve a serious course of action and justice. But do those actions deserve the death sentence of potentially innocent and guilty individuals as he planned to carry out? If murder is a lesser crime than others, then it might be justified in his view.

Attorney Paul Malikowski states that there are nuances in prosecution, "a 'weak' case, despite its heinous nature, often results in a negotiated plea and less punishment than a "strong" case involving less serious behavior."  This further perverts moral priorities by introducing both real and perceived  inconsistencies in sentencing.  This is partly because there are at least two courtrooms for every case, the justice court, and the media court. 

And what of the extreme trend toward incarceration which this country is headlong into? When your dad, mother, brother or people you knew and respected are suddenly locked up, do you question the attributes you respected in those people and reconsider your basic values?

Today in America, everyone is a criminal, the only difference is between those who have been caught and those who haven't. A look at many of our top governmental officials provides no clarity here either. For example, Secretary of Treasury, Timothy Gietner, was convicted of income tax crimes. The list of heroes to help mold our children is a messy one. Thus the only solution I can offer which is practical is, keep home schooling alive!  If the government raises our children as it's doing more and more, expect more and more crime, conflicts and insanity, because populations with different fundamental value systems are incompatible with each other.

I generally try to supply much more supportive evidence of my positions. And, try as I may have, I was going to assemble a list of worst crimes based on their typical punishments. However, this turned out to be a daunting task. For example, this document, tells of typical sentencing, but what's missing in most of these tables is the add-on punishments which typically accompany the situation or crime which can make a 5 year sentence turn into 50. Also, the prosecutorial trends which compound the complexities of sentencing. Some related research I did in an earlier rant   on  child sex hysteria details some perversion of punishment but not to the quantity which needs to be displayed here. Consider this piece, although published, a work-in-process.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

We the people need a label we can use too!

Let's quit beating around the bush. If you believe in the 2nd amendment then you must realize that ultimately, it was included to prevent the advance of tyranny, be it foreign or domestic. Tyranny can be conducted in the course of minutes by individuals who seek a few minutes of complete domination of their victims. Or, it can be conducted over hours, days or weeks by small groups who are somewhat organized and better armed than their intended victims (gangs, corrupted police and governmental departments, organized crime-Mobsters and more). Or..., it can be conducted over decades by an unstoppable government which has grown so greedy and hungry that total domination (tyranny) over its citizens is its last stop to meet its hunger.

In the case of the latter two, those groups are likely to be armed well above a shot gun or a revolver or a gun with a magazine limit of seven rounds. While it is more likely that a conflict in which a firearm would be beneficial to the victim would come from common criminals and those who are not mentally stable, the long standing but less likely threat from the larger groups and governments (including ours) can only be ultimately deterred if the citizens have access to respectable firepower in the same class as that which is likely to be used against them.

It's hard to imagine that anything here in the USA could ever come to that point where armed revolutions start breaking out throughout our union, but it happened here twice, and it happens throughout the world often.

If you have faith that our government will never commit such tyrannical acts against us, then you're short on your history and you're ignoring the daily evidence that it's continuing to lessen the power of the individual in every way - and to what end?

The government's latest tool is to label someone a "terrorist" or something a "terrorist organization". This label is now being used for some of the most ordinary of suspicions because it yields such power. Once this label is applied, you're suddenly not a whole citizen any longer and your rights are fewer, and their powers are far greater. So I propose that we, the citizens of the US, create our own label for those in government who continue to seek to diminish our individual powers, or those who support ideas which reduce our rights and liberties. Those people should be called "tyrannists". And maybe, if that label sticks, it will at least help that person out of their job.