Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Commercialism Adds to the Holidays

Onkar has an editorial in this week's US News & World Report. I particularly like the contrast between the attitudes of the puritans vs. those of the men of the 19th century.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

LC Purple Cascade 'Fragrance Princess'


Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Parasites' Feast

To those private workers still among us, next time you're scrimping and saving to make ends meet, or contemplating the extra hours you're working for no extra pay, be sure to take a moment to think of all the federal government bureaucrats, who not only live off our backs, but who make our lives incredibly harder with all their restrictions and regulations. You'll be happy to hear that they're "enjoying an extraordinary boom time" in USA Today's words. (Note that I carefully distinguish those honorable men who are helping the government perform its legitimate function from the bureaucrats whom I characterize as parasites. Indeed, from what I can tell, the brave men and women in the military are underpaid for their valuable services.)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Truck Exhaust in the Middle of the Desert

Although I make no prediction about the price of gold, I found this piece interesting as it shows to what extent environmentalists will oppose any human value production -- and the terrible cost it burdens us all with. Until we challenge the environmentalists' moral position, I doubt we can ever enact the legal reform necessary to thwart their anti-life agenda.
The photo here is of Barrick Gold’s new Cortez Hills mine, which – after ten years and $500 million – has just hit something of a wall. The U.S. Appeals Court in San Francisco ordered the company to “provide injunctive relief” in a case brought by an environmental organization called the Western Mining Action Project, which is using a local Indian band for cover.

The latest hold-up revolves around a claim that Barrick and the Bureau of Land Management, which made Barrick jump through any number of costly hoops in order to permit the mine in the first place, failed to properly evaluate the impact of truck emissions on the air of the barren desert – trucks transporting the mine’s ore 70 miles to a processing facility.

If a mine can be held up, after 10 years and half a billion dollars spent, by a handful of environment activists over such a niggling concern as truck exhaust in the middle of a desert – a desert, it must be pointed out, in one of the world’s most prolific and politically favorable mining jurisdictions – then how can any mining operation expect to succeed?

Any company wishing to build any mine pretty much anywhere now has to be willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars – and a decade or more – before even hoping to start production. And even then, as the Barrick ruling shows, they aren’t safe from rear-guard actions by the environmentalists.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

EPLC Don Herman 'H&R'


Monday, December 07, 2009

Archimedes: "Eureka!"; The Climate 'Scientist' Establishment: "OH F--K THIS"

It's nice to see Mark Steyn was able to publish this pithy column in a major Canadian magazine. (HT Not PC)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

And More Great News

John Stossel has a new show coming out on the Fox Business and News channels.

"The plan is to do a single subject, so it will be a little different than most of what's on cable," he says, of shows that will tackle topics such as Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," a book the libertarian Stossel says predicted 50 years ago the future we're living today.

"I believe in the dignity of the individual and she celebrates that," says Stossel, noting that the "Atlas Shrugged" episode might be the debut episode, with Yaron Brook of the Irvine-based Ayn Rand Institute one of the guests.

Great News

The Ayn Rand Forum is delighted to announce that Dr. Yaron Brook will be speaking in January 2010 at the UK Parliament on the subject of rights.

Thanks to all those who put in the effort to make that possible!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Analyzing HR 3962

Dr. John Lewis has taken the time to go through the latest health care bill (all 1,990 pages of it!) and excerpt relevant passages and summarize their meaning.

Jason Crawford of OActivists offers this summary of Dr. Lewis' post, but make sure to check out the whole thing and pass it along. (Rush Limbaugh had previously read Dr. Lewis' work on HR 3200, so no avenue is too big to try.)
1. Will the plan punish Americans who do not carry the required insurance, or employers who do not provide it?
2. Will the plan make private insurance illegal?
3. Will the plan ration medical care through budgets?
4. Will the plan ration care through waiting lists?
5. Will the plan impose special, higher taxes on Americans who earn more than others?
6. Will the plan levy special taxes and surcharges on medical devices?
7. How will the plan affect health insurance provided by employers?
8. Does the plan allow the government to set fees?
9. Can the government officials audit taxpayers, employers, and insurance plans to enforce compliance?

It also lists "new boards, committees, programs, and other bureaucratic encumbrances" established by the bill.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Degarmoara Hani 'Star of Unicorn'


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Government Intervention Kills Science

Another good editorial from the WSJ: Climategate -- Science is Dying. I think it's becoming more and more apparent that government involvement at all levels of science makes it increasingly politicized, and thus in any conflict between objectivity and politics, politics wins more and more often. To bring science back to Science requires nothing less than free inquiry, and this is only possible in a free market.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Lindzen on Climategate

Richard Lindzen has an excellent editorial showing that the Climate Science Isn't Settled.

I'm not a climate scientist, but from the outset the idea that the earth's atmosphere could provide significant positive feedback has always seemed very counter-intuitive to me. I just couldn't see how it wouldn't "blow up" with the various changes that the Earth has seen in its billions of years. So these paragraphs resonated with me:
The notion that the earth's climate is dominated by positive feedbacks is intuitively implausible, and the history of the earth's climate offers some guidance on this matter. About 2.5 billion years ago, the sun was 20%-30% less bright than now (compare this with the 2% perturbation that a doubling of CO2 would produce), and yet the evidence is that the oceans were unfrozen at the time, and that temperatures might not have been very different from today's. Carl Sagan in the 1970s referred to this as the "Early Faint Sun Paradox."

For more than 30 years there have been attempts to resolve the paradox with greenhouse gases. Some have suggested CO2—but the amount needed was thousands of times greater than present levels and incompatible with geological evidence. Methane also proved unlikely. It turns out that increased thin cirrus cloud coverage in the tropics readily resolves the paradox—but only if the clouds constitute a negative feedback. In present terms this means that they would diminish rather than enhance the impact of CO2.

There are quite a few papers in the literature that also point to the absence of positive feedbacks. The implied low sensitivity is entirely compatible with the small warming that has been observed. So how do models with high sensitivity manage to simulate the currently small response to a forcing that is almost as large as a doubling of CO2? Jeff Kiehl notes in a 2007 article from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the models use another quantity that the IPCC lists as poorly known (namely aerosols) to arbitrarily cancel as much greenhouse warming as needed to match the data, with each model choosing a different degree of cancellation according to the sensitivity of that model.