… compared to the technology of the 1960s, when mankind first embarked on a trip to the moon, a space elevator is simple for our modern world to build. In fact, if you took a cellphone back to the Apollo scientists, they’d treat it like a supercomputer and have teams of engineers huddled over it 24 hours a day. With only the addition of the computing technology of one cellphone, we might have shaved a year off the date of the first moon landing.
This piece is about Malthusian panics, with special reference to climate-change panic, but there is a beautiful general-purpose gem of a paragraph buried in the essay:
Perhaps one way to think of humanity is to think of a vast parallel processing computer network. Our species is constantly receiving vast quantities of data and constantly changing our behavior in response to it. When a big problem emerges, affecting us all over a country or the world, millions and billions of us start making changes in our behavior, trying new strategies and dealing with it in various ways. We are constantly monitoring one another as well; when somebody’s coping strategy is working, other people pick it up. When something is failing, we let it go. From moment to moment, all over the world, human beings are processing information, shifting behavior, collecting feedback and rethinking their behavior. A lot of this isn’t conscious; just as baseball pitchers can throw a curve ball without necessarily being able to understand the math that could describe the ball’s flight, so people who have no education or training in formal logic are able to process real world information and make good decisions.
That’s why I like market solutions over government solutions. Via Doing What Comes Naturally – Walter Russell Mead’s Blog – The American Interest.
Following Climategate, when it became known that raw temperature data for CRU’s “HADCRU3″ climate dataset had been destroyed, Phil Jones, CRU’s former director, said the data loss was not important — because there were other independent climate datasets available.
But the emails reveal that at least three of the four datasets were not independent, that NASA GISS was not considered to be accurate, and that these quality issues were known to both top climate scientists and to the mainstream press.
…the IPCC's fundamental conclusions, relating to the allegedly unprecedented warming of the past half-century, are based on bad surface temperature data and are contradicted by more-reliable satellite data and by our knowledge of the earth's climate history. We know for a fact, in short, that the computer models that are the only basis for the AGW theory are wrong: …
Who is the worst killer in the long, ugly history of war and extermination? Hitler? Stalin? Pol Pot? Not even close. A single book called Silent Spring killed far more people than all those fiends put together.
The motivation behind Silent Spring, the suppression of nuclear power, the global-warming scam, and other outbreaks of environmentalist lunacy is the worship of centralized power and authority. The author, Rachel Carson, didn’t set out to kill sixty million people – she was a fanatical believer in the newly formed religion of radical environmentalism, whose body count comes from callousness, rather than blood thirst. The core belief of the environmental religion is the fundamental uncleanliness of human beings. All forms of human activity are bad for the environment…
I feel I’ve been had.
One thing I could not have known in 1996 was that the IPCC’s warming predictions would be wrong. Mean global surface temperatures have not risen since 1998, and, by some measures, have dropped since 2001. The CRU e-mails show scientists trying to hide this decline, to give one detail—I don’t have room in this column to detail the extent of CRU’s shenanigans, nor could I tell the story as well as others, so please read this “Editor’s Page” online for links (see below).
This doesn’t necessarily mean manmade global warming is disproven. But it does deflate the certainty and moral righteousness of the Al Gores and the IPCCs of the world.
* The consensus is not scientific as much as it is political.
What we find out from the emails is that Jones and a number of others were using underhanded manipulations to suppress scientific publications that disagreed with the CO2-caused AGW theory. There is no scientific consensus if all the science isn’t being considered.
* There’s a difference between “global warming,” “anthropogenic (caused by humans) global warming,” and “anthropogenic global warming caused by CO2.”
* The Climategate files don’t call global warming into question, but they make some of the science of anthropogenic global warming more suspect, and they make it clear that “forcings” other than CO2 have not been fairly considered.
* There has clearly been significant warming in the last 400 years — since the “Little Ice Age”. That’s how we know it was the Little Ice Age.
* There is good reason to believe that humans may be accounting for some warming — and some cooling, for that matter. But we don’t know how much.
* The case for all or most of the warming being due to CO2 was not as unquestionable as it was presented to be, and from the Climategate files we know that even that case was being slanted significantly.
* There is more than one “smoking gun” email (see here, here, here, here, here, and more)
* … but the program codes are much more significant than the emails
* … and the program codes will be yielding new surprises for a while to come.
Creationism is growing in the Muslim world, from Turkey to Pakistan to Indonesia, international academics said last month as they gathered here to discuss the topic.
But, they said, young-Earth creationists, who believe God created the universe, Earth and life just a few thousand years ago, are rare, if not nonexistent.
One reason is that although the Koran, the holy text of Islam, says the universe was created in six days, the next line adds that a day, in this instance, is metaphorical: “a thousand years of your reckoning.”
So, ID folks, what disprovable hypothesis might tell us if Allah is the Designer or not?
By tickling young gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans, researchers say they learned that all great apes laugh.
Their findings suggest we inherited our own ability to laugh from the last common ancestor from which humans and great apes evolved, which lived 10 to 16 million years ago.
Click through to hear sounds of ape laughter; I liked the chimp one the best.