Saturday, March 31, 2007

In A Blink of An Eye: A Lonely World

The question of whether there is extraterrestrial intelligence equal to or greater than Earth's humanity has fascinated me for decades. I am not alone with wonder. There is a whole industry of science fiction books and movies that have captivated the curious since the days of H.G. Wells, not to mention active government and private efforts to find ETI. I must admit to being skeptical and hopeful at the same time. I love a great conspiracy as much as the next guy but when it comes to UFOs, aliens and X-Files I would need to see it with my own eyes before being thoroughly convinced. This may sound odd coming from someone who believes in God. The difference I think lies in the spirit that I KNOW exists in me - this is where my very real connection to God is.

While all this (and that) is ripe for argument I think it is misguided to declare unequivocally that God and or ET does not exist. Allowing that God exists outside/apart from our physical space/time continuum we move on to ET by assuming he shares our physical universe.

In 1961 astronomer Frank Drake developed what became known as the Drake Equation as a way to focus on the factors which determine how many intelligent, communicating civilizations there are in our galaxy. The Drake Equation is: N = N* fp ne fl fi fc fL

fp is the probability that star system will have planets

ne is the number of habitable planets in a star system that has planets

fl is the probability that life evolves on a habitable planet

fi is the probability that intelligent self-aware life evolves on a habitable planet

fc is the probability that intelligent life will attempt interstellar communication within 5 billion years of evolving on a habitable planet.

fL is fraction of the planet's life during which the communicating civilizations live

This formula is as good a place as any to begin. As time and our technology continues to progress the figures used to populate this equation will continue to change. In '61 we had no evidence that planets even existed around any star but our own. Today we have indirectly observed hundreds of planets. So at least that part of the equation can be substantiated as having some semblance of validity. The question of time is the wild card.

Question: For each civilization that does communicate, for what fraction of the planet's life does the civilization survive? How long will we survive?

If modern man (homo sapiens) is anywhere from 40,000 to 250,000 years old it constitutes a mere blink of an eye in Earth's geologic time. Next, consider how fast mankind became technological. Taking the advent of the steam engine as the first high tech wonder that changed everything we are looking at less than two hundred years from the dawn of the age of machines to this computer/Internet I am working on right now. In between we have put an man on the moon and have learned control the atom at the nuclear level - for better or worse. That's pretty remarkable, and pretty quick. The sum of human knowledge is increasing at an exponential rate. Machine knowledge or AI is just in its infancy. Imagine what the next 200 years will bring...

Since it is believed that the Earth is around 5 billion years old and the universe as far as we can perceive it is 13 to 14 billion years old then why would it be inconceivable that hundreds if not thousands of space faring races would have risen - and fallen. We are just one planet in a galaxy of billions of stars and the Milky Way is just one of billions of galaxies, the numbers are mind boggling.

That being said it is hard to imagine that humanity will go on forever, especially if we never leave this planet and colonize others. If humanity ever does develop the technology to visit other star systems in this galaxy I would be surprised if "we" don't come across extinct technological civilizations in the same way we still come across primitive earthly civilizations. By the same token someday ET will come across ours.

The other thing to consider, leaving science fiction behind, is that perhaps traveling faster than the speed of light is impossible and that the great distances between stars and galaxies will forever make it impossible for planet bound intelligences from ever finding each other. Carl Sagan spoke to this very real possibility, and he may have been been right. Are we a lonely planet?


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Iran To World: Never Mind What My Left Hand is Doing...

Look What I Have Here in My Right Hand!

Iran's playing a little slight of hand with the "global community". The taking of 15 British navel personnel from Gulf waters was again a simple distraction ploy. Their nuclear weapons program is attracting too much opposition, time to shift the media's attention. The mullahs, reacting to countless UN votes and Russia's recent statements that it might actually be joining the rest of the civilized world aligned against the terror regime, are counting on a major incident to distract the western media.

Clearly they targeted a British ship as opposed to an American ship - simply put the British didn't start shooting - the Americans, well, what do you think? The mullahs are counting on a weak-kneed Jimmy Carter response from the Brits, and they'll get it.

What worries me is the frustration building up at the arrogant and defiant attitude of this terrorist regime and their best buddy Chavez of Venezuela. Yes, the US needs to stand up with the Brits as the Brits have stood with us. But we need to let Britain take the lead. If we start shooting up the place we could end up solidifying support (due to patriotism alone) of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad is losing popularity in Iran and with a little subversion the top dog in the axis of evil could be defanged by a population that is fed up with hard line theocratic rule. Many pundits have suggested squeezing the Iranian regime by disabling their one and only gasoline refinery and then staging a navel blockage to prevent tankers from bringing in gas. This along with utter isolation by global business interests might work, but at a high cost. Maybe we are willing to pay that cost as in higher gas prices at the pump. We would need our "leaders" to explain this clearly and definitively... Do you really think the media will let this happen?

The traitorous western media would have it's spin machine going on full cycle. The whole damn thing will be Bush's fault and you know what? They would be partially right. But it would also be President Carter's fault, Reagan's, Bush1 and Clinton's as well. None of them stood up to Iran's terror. Bush 2 came the closest by declaring the regime in Tehran as part of the axis of evil and surrounding them on all sides with American troops and and military power.

The question is will Iran blink and let this incident subside like they have every other time they have taken hostages since the 1970's. Or, will this finally escalate into a shooting war? With the British driving I doubt it will be the latter.

Nothing would be better for the world than to see this terror regime fall. We have proven we can deal with al Qaeda and at least for now Pakistan and Iraq are under control but Iran continues to promote and support terrorism with impunity. Subversion tactics and helping to foster a "revolution" inside Iran is the only way to undo the damage of Jimmy Carter's failed foreign policy without bombs and bullets. Let's roll!


Monday, March 26, 2007

Bored to Tears

It is very difficult blogging these days - particularly since what I do is more commentary than real blogging anyway. It's just that the political scene that I love to comment on occasionally is so damn boring these days.

It's just as I thought it would be when the Democrats, who are about as unserious a political movement as there has ever been, took over Washington. They quite are comfortable with doing absolutely nothing worthwhile. They are expending all there energy on "get Bush (Rove, Cheney, Gonzales etc etc etc)" and passing meaningless resolutions. The news media, including and especially FOX, CNN, NBC and the rest of the alphabet networks are neck deep in the 2008 campaign. I am bored to tears.

Newsweek and Time, the so called serious weekly news magazines, continue on week after week with a totally unbalanced view of the world. They seem to have only two topics Iraq, Iran, Iraq, Iran, Iraq, Iran... Typically they paint these elaborate portraits of the the everyday lives of Muslims while simultaneously portraying the West, and Americans especially, as the cause of their miserable plight. For 30 years they've ignored the 800 pound gorilla in the room - Islam itself.

The "Why do they hate us?" mentality permeates every aspect of their reporting. It is really about "why do they hate each other?". This battle is about Islam itself and it is spilling out around the edges. With loose immigration and the ease of global travel the centuries old battle has come to the West. The "Great Satan" and the "Zionist entity" are merely a convenience for their rhetoric and recruitment.

This global battle is also a convenience for radical leftists. Anything that weakens world capitalism is a friend to the global socialist movement. Instead of rallying around the righteousness of the West they aid the enemy at every turn by weakening public will. The leftists actually think that the radical Islamic fascists will give secular socialism a pass once the capitalists pigs in America and Israel are defeated... Ha.

The other news fronts that don't prattle on about Anna Nicole Smith or some other celebrity of the day are equally boring and/or slanted. I have commented enough about the "Climate Change" farce being perpetrated on us. For one thing the climate IS ALWAYS CHANGING, for two, I think it's safe to say the Sun has a more profound affect on the climate of the Earth than anything we puny humans could do.

Take a look at the this picture and tell me different.

Of course, trying talk sensibly about "climate change" is like talking to a brick wall (Al Gore). What, may I ask, is more boring than talking to a know-it-all brick wall?

Bored to tears...


Monday, March 19, 2007

More Global Warming Nonsense

This is too funny...

So, the little Global Warming rally in Boston didn't quite come off as planned. Stupid winter! Well, the unseasonably cold weather didn't stop them, no siree, however, they did look a bit pathetic. The only thing missing was a Polar Bear!

Check out this list. Every item has been linked to Global Warming in one way or another - if you follow the link provided there is actually a link associated with each entry on this list. (I've put my pithy comments in BOLD italics)

Agricultural land increase
Africa devastated
African aid threatened
air pressure changes
Alaska reshaped
allergies increase
Alps melting
Amazon a desert
American dream end
amphibians breeding earlier (or not)
ancient forests dramatically changed
Antarctic grass flourishes
algal blooms
Arctic bogs melt
atmospheric defiance
atmospheric circulation modified
avalanches reduced
avalanches increased
bananas destroyed
bananas grow
bet for $10000
better beer
big melt faster
billion dollar research projects
billions of deaths
bird distributions change
birds return early
blackbirds stop singing
blue mussels return
Britain Siberian
British gardens change
bubonic plague
budget increases
building season extension
business opportunities
business risks
butterflies move north
cardiac arrest
caterpillar biomass shift
challenges and opportunities
civil unrest
cloud increase
cloud stripping
cod go south
cold climate creatures survive
cold spells (Australia)
coral bleaching
coral reefs dying
coral reefs grow
coral reefs shrink
cold spells
cost of trillions
crumbling roads
buildings and sewage systems
cyclones (Australia)
Dengue hemorrhagic fever
desert advance
desert life threatened
desert retreat
destruction of the environment
disappearance of coastal cities
diseases move north
Dolomites collapse
drowning people
ducks and geese decline
dust bowl in the corn belt
early spring
earlier pollen season
Earth biodiversity crisis
Earth dying
Earth even hotter
Earth light dimming
Earth lopsided
Earth melting
Earth morbid fever
Earth on fast track
Earth past point of no return
Earth slowing down
Earth spinning out of control
Earth to explode
earth upside down
Earth wobbling
El NiƱo intensification
emerging infections
Europe simultaneously baking and freezing
evolution accelerating
expansion of university climate groups
extinctions (human civilization, smallest butterfly, cod, ladybirds, bats, pandas, pikas, pigmy possums, gorillas, koalas, walrus, whales, frogs, toads, turtles, orang-utan, elephants, tigers,
plants, salmon, trout, wild flowers, woodlice, penguins, a million species - half of all animals not the least of which is polar bears, and plant species)
experts muzzled
extreme changes to California
famine farmers go under
figurehead sacked
fish catches drop
fish catches rise
fish stocks decline
five million illnesses
Florida economic decline
food poisoning
food prices rise
food security threat (SA)
footpath erosion
forest decline
forest expansion
fungi invasion
genetic diversity decline
gene pools slashed
glacial retreat glacial growth
glacier wrapped
global cooling
global dimming
glowing clouds
Gore omnipresence THIS IS FRIGHTENING
grandstanding SEE ABOVE
grasslands wetter
Great Barrier Reef 95% dead
Great Lakes drop
greening of the North
Gulf Stream failure
habitat loss
Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome
harvest increase
harvest shrinkage
hay fever epidemic
hazardous waste sites breached
heat waves
hibernation ends too soon
hibernation ends too late
high court debates
human fertility reduced
human health improvement
human health risk
hydropower problems
hyperthermia deaths
ice sheet growth
ice sheet shrinkage
inclement weather
infrastructure failure (Canada)
Inuit displacement
Inuit poisoned
Inuit suing
industry threatened
infectious diseases
insurance premium rises
invasion of midges
island disappears
islands sinking
itchier poison ivy THIS IS MY FAVORITE
jellyfish explosion
Kew Gardens taxed
krill decline
lake and stream productivity decline
landslides of ice at 140 mph
lawsuits increase
lawsuit successful
lawyers’ income increased
lightning related insurance claims
little response in the atmosphere
Lyme disease
Maple syrup shortage
marine diseases
marine food chain decimated
marine dead zone
Meaching (end of the world)
methane emissions from plants
methane burps
melting permafrost
Middle Kingdom convulses
migration difficult (birds)
microbes to decompose soil carbon more rapidly
more bad air days NO, NOT BAD HAIR DAYS
more research needed
mountain (Everest) shrinking
mountains break up
mountains taller
next ice age
Nile delta damaged
no effect in India
nuclear plants bloom
oaks move north
ocean acidification
outdoor hockey threatened
oyster diseases
ozone loss
ozone repair slowed
ozone rise
Pacific dead zone
personal carbon rationing
pest outbreaks
pests increase
phenology shifts
plankton blooms
plankton destabilised
plankton loss
plant viruses
plants march north
polar bears aggressive
polar bears cannibalistic
polar bears drowning
polar bears starve
polar tours scrapped
psychosocial disturbances AL GORE??? SEAN PENN???
railroad tracks deformed
rainfall increase
rainfall reduction
reindeer larger
release of ancient frozen viruses
resorts disappear rice yields crash
rift on Capitol Hill C'MON THIS IS GOING TO FAR!
rioting and nuclear war
rivers raised
rivers dry up
rocky peaks crack apart
roof of the world a desert
Ross river disease
salinity reduction
salinity increase
salmon stronger
sea level rise
sea level rise faster
sex change
sharks booming
shrinking ponds
ski resorts threatened
slow death
snowfall increase
snowfall reduction
societal collapse
songbirds change eating habits
sour grapes
spiders invade Scotland
squid population explosion
squirrels reproduce earlier
spectacular orchids
stormwater drains stressed
tectonic plate movement
ticks move northward (Sweden)
tides rise tourism increase
trade winds weakened
tree beetle attacks
tree foliage increase (UK)
tree growth slowed
trees could return to Antarctic
trees less colourful
trees more colourful
tropics expansion
tropopause raised
turtles lay earlier
Venice flooded
volcanic eruptions
walrus pups orphaned
wars over water
water bills double
water supply unreliability
water scarcity (20% of increase)
water stress
weather out of its mind
weather patterns awry
Western aid cancelled out
West Nile fever
whales move north
wheat yields crushed in Australia
white Christmas dream ends
wind shift
wind reduced
wine - harm to Australian industry
wine industry damage (California)
wine industry disaster (US)
wine - more English
wine -German boon
wine - no more French
winters in Britain colder
wolves eat more moose
wolves eat less
workers laid off
world bankruptcy
World in crisis
Yellow fever

This list touches on just about all the problems that the world faces today, especially itchier poison ivy. I just love the ones that contradict each other. Chicken Little has nothing on these guys!


Friday, March 09, 2007

Coming Home to Roost ... err Maul

When will the Global Warming Hysterics Stop? When Will the Lying Stop?

Since the UN's IPCC summary report was released a few weeks back we have been treated to a non-stop avalanche of dire warnings and hysterics. It all came to a head when the soon to be sainted Al Gore won his Oscar for his shockumentary "An Inconvenient Truth". Frankly, he nauseates me with his condescending I'm-smarter-than-you-rubes attitude. He talks down to us little folk... Whatever Al...

But fortunately the counter punches are finally landing. The latest is this article on the poster bear for Catastrophic Global Warming. It reveals that we are simply being lied to. Polar Bear populations worldwide are rising and in fact polar bears are THRIVING. In only two local population "groups" of the twenty plus are their numbers declining. Again the Global Warming alarmists take a slice of the truth - the slice that supports their thesis - and claims it as overwhelming proof.

The soon to be aired TV program (for British audiences only) "The Great Global Warming Scandal" presents an impressive array of experts in climatology, oceanography, meteorology, biogeography and paleoclimatology. Martin Durkin, the program's director, flatly rejects the concept of man-made climate change, calling it "a lie ... the biggest scam of modern times."

The truth, he says, is that global warming "is a multibillion-dollar worldwide industry, created by fanatically anti-industrial environmentalists, supported by scientists peddling scare stories to chase funding, and propped up by compliant politicians and the media."

Of course, Durkin's film will be refuted as propaganda from the Global Warming "deniers". It is a fact that climate science is poorly understood. Due to the sheer complexity of all the factors and the interactions that affect the global climate computer modeling cannot be relied upon as an infallible predictor. But pure numbers don't lie. If the alarmists are using the polar bears as proof that human caused Global Warming is a fact and yet the true numbers show nothing of the sort then who is in denial - who is lying? The "deniers" (including me, I guess) are willing to shout from the roof top that we just don't know it all because it's too complicated to know. Yet the alarmists proclaim loudly that the debate is over - who is in denial - who is lying?

The skeptics for the most part aren't denying that Global Warming "might" be happening, however, we are skeptical that it caused purely by human activity and even more skeptical that it is bad. All the historical evidence regarding the most recent warming period known as the "Medieval Warming Period" indicates that humanity thrived and expanded, that disease and starvation declined precipitously.

And this, friends, is the AHA moment. There is a subset of the liberal socialist agenda that hates humanity and believes there are just too damn many humans. Their agenda would stifle human progress primarily in the developing world by hamstringing rich, capitalist industrial powers from exporting modernity. A world economic depression would result in much human suffering and death - and that is exactly what their draconian proposals to curb C02 emissions will do.

The answer is to let technology develop naturally to address C02 emissions. Stifling human progress will not lead to a cleaner, greener world. People will be forced into burning wood for heat, driving older, less efficient cars, basically resorting to environmentally destructive behavior. Updating/upgrading power plants and energy resources including the much ballyhooed wind and solar solutions will not happen if the economy is trashed by restrictive laws.

As I have said before mankind progresses by using more and more energy. It has always been so and it will always be so.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Render Unto Caesar...

Why Christians Evoke Such Disdain in The Secular Society

Christians are their own worst enemy at times. No one is immune to hypocrisy, even the most righteous, moral, benevolent person you have ever met has been a hypocrite at one time or another. That being said it doesn't mean that a hypocrite is necessarily wrong - but sticking their nose where it doesn't belong while spouting moral certitudes will undoubtedly create a vicious backlash. In some cases the disdain is completely justified and others it is just a knee jerk reflex devoid of rationality.

Case in point: A news story regarding a new vaccination for a devastating disease and a "family group" (read: Christian Fundamentalists) pushing legislators to block it from being grouped in with the mandatory childhood vaccination schedule. I'm talking about the vaccine to prevent HPV in young ladies which is the leading cause of cervical cancer. HPV is generally spread through sexual contact. The family group says making it mandatory will send the "wrong message" to young girls that it will be all right to have casual sex. Even I as a Christian find that to be a ridiculous argument. Cervical cancer a horrible disease and the vaccine is proved and approved - not dispensing it on the grounds that it sends the wrong message is cruel and inhuman.

The only leg a legislator has to stand on in blocking this from becoming part of the mandatory vaccination list is the method by which it is spread. It is not spread through the air like TB, polio or measles. Still, to condemn any number of young women to suffer the devastation of cervical cancer including rendering them incapable of having children based on the moral certainty of these family groups is wrong.

Case in Point #2:
A Time Magazine cover story about those horrible Crisis Pregnancy Centers that are popping up all over the country where they try to help young ladies decide NOT to abort their babies. (sarcasm off). Time asks: When a young girl in crisis seeks counseling is it fair that she is shown what her "baby" looks like and what its heartbeat sounds like? Seriously, has anyone ever ran a cover story about the fairness of Planned Parenthood's and NARAL's tactics.

Simply because these centers are backed and funded by Christian churches and organizations do they instantly become suspects. What these centers do is remarkable and commendable. In many cases they provide all the medical care for free and help support the woman financially for up to year after the baby is born. They help with adoption if that option is chosen.

What they don't do is provide contraception. AHA! Now we begin to see why the distrust and disdain. They are PRO-LIFE! More precisely they are anti-choice! Well, since they don't take money from the government there is no way to hurt these centers economically within the political realm. So, we get articles like this in Time Magazine where they try to portray these angels as anything but. Even when these articles attempt balance the sneer of condescension is laced throughout. In the end the reader is supposed to view these good people as kind hearted Christian kooks.

If anything these Crisis Pregnancy Centers adhere to the concept of “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”. The so-called Family Groups do not. They deserve the disdain they get from the secular community because they intend to foist their moral value judgment on the general population via legislation. The Crisis Pregnancy Centers, while making no noise about morality laws face hostility simply because they displease the secular world. They dare to do their work where they can't be touched. They dare not bow down before the shrine of abortion-rights. They dare to console young people to practice abstinence before marriage (impractical or not) as the only sure fire way to prevent pregnancy and STD's.

They dare to call a fetus a BABY!

So, to follow the logic of the "keep your morals off my body" crowd it is NOT OK to risk a young womens life to HPV due to some moral judgment of certain Christians, but IT IS OK to condemn a private group trying protect and save an unborn child because the group is backed by those horrible Christians.

In the end all one can say is: none of us has a monopoly on truth or moral certainty.