Friday, September 11, 2015

Climate Change

Like many of the vox populi I was skeptical of man-caused climate change, but with so many on board the climate train it was hard not to jump on. My brother was even more skeptical than I and in many ways we agreed that the ice cores showed that carbon dioxide levels were higher in the past when it was colder than they are at present.
Recently he bought a copy of “Climate Change: The Facts.” He was so enthusiastic that I borrowed and read it.

The evidence against anthropogenic climate change is vast and unimpeachable. The first part of the Al Gore/pro climate change scientists’ Holy Grail was the “hockey stick” graph that showed a precipitous rise in global temperatures due to fossil fuel burning. In fact the overall energy balance for the earth has not changed for the past seventeen years. So much for that bit of nonsense.

Another bit of science fiction promulgated by those in favor of anthropogenic climate change is the “heat sink” proposal. That is all the heat that must have been generated by the carbon dioxide in the air must be locked up in the ocean. But there is no evidence for that assertion; in fact, the ocean temperature has not varied much more than a fraction of a degree over the same time that the earth was supposed to be warming from all that CO2.

If the evidence weren’t enough there are numerous occasions where the international panel on climate change has manipulated the data to show that their models of man-caused climate change are correct. If this kind of manipulation were discovered in any other professional body the scandal would reverberate from pole to pole and around the Equator. But as some of the authors in the book point out climate science appears to be immune from a thorough investigation of not only the evidence but also the scandalous assertions that are made in the name of the IPCC.

The silver lining in this cloud of obfuscation is that the “undeveloped” countries have balked at having to meet the same carbon reduction criteria that the biggies have to meet (USA, UK, etc.). What that means is that the rush to limit, curtail or eliminate fossil fuel burning, especially coal, is on hold for who knows how long.

All in all the book goes a long way to show that climate is such a complex mix of gases, winds, solar radiation, oceans and other natural elements that have nothing to do with fossil fuel burning that one’s carbon footprint doesn’t loom as large a contributor to a catastrophic end for humanity as before the writers and editor began to analyze exactly what the gloom and doom anthropogenic climate change bloc was all about.

The statistics and charts in the book are explained in plain English so most of the scholarly approach to discussing the evidence is readable. But the book is not a page turner and one wouldn’t expect it to be so since it takes a while to digest the information presented.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


“Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” takes a six disc look at the restoration of magic in merrie olde England.

The story begins with Mr. Segundes attending a meeting of the Yorkshire magicians. They scoff at his desire to restore magic to a reputable place in England. In fact they don’t believe that there is the possibility of anyone performing the kind of magic that went out of style three hundred years before the story begins.

The group of magicians attends a demonstration in one of the local churches. Mr. Norrell is a bookish sort of magician who has been convinced that to restore magic to a respected place he must demonstrate something to the gathering. He uses the device of a metal bowl filled with water and a magic incantation.

At the church the stone figures come to life and scare the bejeesus out of the attendees.

As the story progresses, Jonathan Strange is set upon by his erstwhile love to get an occupation. By chance he receives two spells from an itinerant magician. He is able to make magic with one of them and decides to become a magician as his preferred occupation.

With one problem after another all compounded and related to a fairy that is intent on keeping magic where it has resided for the past three centuries Norrell and Strange find themselves caught up in a struggle to overcome the power of the fairy.

Strange is called upon to aid the army in its struggles on the Iberian Peninsula. He does so and the government is grateful as is one of the ministers whose wife was restored to life by Norrell.

As more complications pile upon the magicians they are forced to confront the fairy in his netherworld of endless dancing.

There is a price to pay for the confrontation and even though Strange regains his wife and the minister his wife, Strange and Norrell are doomed.

In the last scene Strange revisits his wife as a reflection in a fountain in Venice. She wants more, wants him to return to her, but alas he cannot.

The final scene has Norrell’s faithful companion, Childress, pontificating that Strange and Norrell have gone beyond the rain (one of Norrell’s magical devices).

The episodes will keep your interest as will the performances and sets, but by the time you get to disc number four you will probably wish that the BBC production was much, much shorter.”