Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monster's Ball

Upchuck alert. For your viewing pleasure.

Last night Martin Margiela, the most elusive figure in fashion (since he started out in 1988, the designer has never agreed to a single interview or been photographed for any magazine) celebrated the 20th anniversary of his label, Maison Martin Margiela.
The show was in typical surreal style: models' faces were covered either by thick bank-robber stockings (sometimes with a streak of bright lippy), or by long, Cousin Itt wigs.

This circus of the ridiculous bore no aspirations towards anything actually wearable. Think unitards constructed out of plastic bags, a white box caging a model's shoulders and circular leather jackets. For the finale, a three-tiered wedding cake strode down the catwalk, under which protruded the legs of four models.

The performance notes explained, unsurprisingly: 'This fashion show has almost more to do with a performance than a display of garments and outfits.'

Eco town dwellers may be monitored for green habits

How would you like to pay a premium to live in an Eco town? You know, just to make you feel good about your green lifestyle. Sounds like a good idea, right? But guess what goes along with that? You get to be monitored to be sure you comply with "the green lifestyle". Anyway, check out the Guardian article below for some serious hilarity. You won't be disappointed.

Eco town dwellers may be monitored for green habits

Residents of the planned eco towns in England could face strict monitoring of their travel habits, home insulation and even wasted food, to ensure they are truly living a "green" lifestyle.

Experts advising the government on its plans to build up to 10 eco towns by 2020, yesterday called for ministers to toughen environmental standards for the developments with monitoring to ensure their carbon footprint is three times smaller than the British average.

The recommendation is that there should be detailed scrutiny of the number of trips residents make by car, and the types of waste produced by households and businesses. Thermographic cameras should be used to check which homes lose heat, according to the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe).

The monitoring plans are part of the proposed standards for the government's flagship housing programme, which has been criticised for failing to demand the highest levels of sustainability.

Cabe and Bioregional, the company that initiated the low-energy BedZed housing estate in south London, want the government to ensure that the carbon footprint of eco towns is no larger than allowed under principles of "one-planet living".

At present, the average Briton is responsible for almost 12 tonnes of CO2 each year and if everyone in the world consumed as much, three planets would be required to support the human population. The average Chinese person is thought to live a "one-planet" lifestyle.

"If eco towns are to have a fundamental purpose, it must be to show us how we can all achieve one-planet living," said Richard Simmons, chief executive of Cabe. "Eco towns should show us, in a real and measured way, what our sustainable future will look like."

Cabe's proposed rules are stricter than the latest government guidance on eco towns and come in advance of the publication next month of draft planning policy setting out the levels of sustainability and environmental soundness of the new developments.

Techniques for monitoring residents could include checking the ecological footprint of the diet of 100 randomly selected residents, and calculating CO2 emissions from transport movements.

Opponents of eco towns, who have argued that the developments would be little more than standard housing estates, said the proposals would create a "Big Brother" environment.

"We are supposed to be free to live how we want and we don't need the authorities counting the miles we drive or taking thermal images of the draughts in our house," said David Bliss, chairman of Bard, the campaign against the Middle Quinton eco town in Warwickshire. "We have talked about these places becoming like gulags and now we have the monitoring to match."

Cabe is also calling for all homes to be powered by renewable energy with gas supply only available as a backup. It said there should be at least 50 dwellings per hectare (2.5 acres) rising to 100 in the centre, and retailers should provide plenty of products with a low meat and dairy content, in line with studies that showed a significant reduction in animal product meals could cut the ecological footprint of food by 60%. "Consumer goods account for 14% of an individual's ecological footprint and the target should be to halve the impact from this," the report said.

Meat Lovers Alert - Avoid the UK at All Costs

Socialism is on the warpath in Great Britain once more. Check this article out courtesy of that fine Eco rag, The Guardian. MEAT IS BAD!!!!! The Food Climate Research Network has a report out that calls for the reduction in meat (rationing no less) to prevent runaway climate change. Low "nutritional value" treats like chocolate and alcohol are to be avoided. Return to the way of our forefathers says the study and all will be well. The menu at the end of the article is hilarious. Give me a break!

Meat must be rationed to four portions a week, says report on climate change

• Study looks at food impact on greenhouse gases
• Return to old-fashioned cooking habits urged

People will have to be rationed to four modest portions of meat and one litre of milk a week if the world is to avoid run-away climate change, a major new report warns.

The report, by the Food Climate Research Network, based at the University of Surrey, also says total food consumption should be reduced, especially "low nutritional value" treats such as alcohol, sweets and chocolates.

It urges people to return to habits their mothers or grandmothers would have been familiar with: buying locally in-season products, cooking in bulk and in pots with lids or pressure cookers, avoiding waste and walking to the shops - alongside more modern tips such as using the microwave and internet shopping.

The report goes much further than any previous advice after mounting concern about the impact of the livestock industry on greenhouse gases and rising food prices. It follows a four-year study of the impact of food on climate change and is thought to be the most thorough study of its kind.

Tara Garnett, the report's author, warned that campaigns encouraging people to change their habits voluntarily were doomed to fail and urged the government to use caps on greenhouse gas emissions and carbon pricing to ensure changes were made. "Food is important to us in a great many cultural and symbolic ways, and our food choices are affected by cost, time, habit and other influences," the report says. "Study upon study has shown that awareness-raising campaigns alone are unlikely to work, particularly when it comes to more difficult changes."

The report's findings are in line with an investigation by the October edition of the Ecologist magazine, which found that arguments for people to go vegetarian or vegan to stop climate change and reduce pressure on rising food prices were exaggerated and would damage the developing world in particular, where many people depend on animals for essential food, other products such as leather and wool, and for manure and help in tilling fields to grow other crops.

Instead, it recommended cutting meat consumption by at least half and making sure animals were fed as much as possible on grass and food waste which could not be eaten by humans.

"The notion that cows and sheep are four-legged weapons of mass destruction has become something of a distraction from the real issues in both climate change and food production," said Pat Thomas, the Ecologist's editor.

The head of the United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change, Rajendra Pachauri, also sparked global debate this month when he urged people to have at least one meat-free day a week.

The Food Climate Research Network found that measured by production, the UK food sector produces greenhouse gases equivalent to 33m tonnes of carbon. Measured by consumption - including imports - the total rises to 43.3m tonnes. Both figures work out at under one fifth of UK emissions, but they exclude the indirect impacts of actions such as clearing rainforest for cattle and crops, which other studies estimate would add up to 5% to 20% of global emissions.

The report found the meat and dairy sectors together accounted for just over half of those emissions; potatoes, fruit and vegetables for 15%; drinks and other products with sugar for another 15%; and bread, pastry and flour for 13%.

It also revealed which parts of the food chain were the most polluting. Although packaging has had a lot of media and political attention, it only ranked fifth in importance behind agriculture - especially the methane produced by livestock burping - manufacturing, transport, and cooking and refrigeration at home.

The report calls for meat and dairy consumption to be cut in developed countries so that global production remains stable as the population grows to an estimated 9bn by 2050.

At the same time emissions from farms, transport, manufacturing and retail could be cut, with improvements including more efficient use of fertilisers, feed and energy, changed diets for livestock, and more renewable fuels - leading to a total reduction in emissions from the sector of 50% to 67%, it says.

The UN and other bodies recommend that developed countries should reduce total emissions by 80% by 2050.

However, the National Farmers' Union warned that its own study, with other industry players, published last year, found net emissions from agriculture could only be cut by up to 50% if the carbon savings from building renewable energy sources on farms were taken into account.

The NFU also called for government incentives to help farmers make the changes. "Farmers aren't going to do this out of the goodness of their hearts, because farmers don't have that luxury; many of our members are very hard pressed at the moment," said Jonathan Scurlock, the NFU's chief adviser on renewable energy and climate change.

Different diets

The way we eat now (average person in the UK, per week)

1.6kg meat and 4.2 litres of milk, which is equivalent to:

6 sausages (450g)

2 chicken breasts (350g)

4 ham sandwiches (100g)

8 slices of bacon (250g)

3 burgers (450g)

3 litres of milk

100g of cheese and a helping of cream

Future recommended diet (average person, per week)

500g of meat and 1 litre of milk, which is equivalent to:

1 quarter-pound beefburger

2 sausages

3 rashers of bacon

1 chicken breast

1 litre of milk or 100g of cheese

Mobile phones to track carbon footprint

Here's the latest from the UK Guardian. Another great gift idea for the Eco-Warrior on your Christmas list. This one tracks your carbon footprint based on your mode of travel. It claims to be very accurate. Why would you want to do so? I mean its not like we're going to use it to make decisions based on how much carbon we spew. At least I wouldn't. No mention of how much it will cost.

Mobile phones to track carbon footprint

Carbon Diem's mobile phone carbon calculator Carbon Diem's mobile phone carbon calculator

Keeping track of your carbon footprint could become as simple as slipping a mobile phone in your pocket: a London-based start-up company has developed software for mobile phones that uses global positioning satellites to work out automatically whether you are walking, driving or flying and then calculate your impact on the environment.

Carbon Diem's inventors claim that, by using GPS to measure the speed and pattern of movement, their algorithm can identify the mode of transport being used. It can therefore calculate the amount of carbon dioxide that a journey has emitted into the atmosphere – without any need for input from the traveller.

The system's inventor, Andreas Zachariah, a graduate student of the Royal College of Art in London and chief executive of the Carbon Hero company, said that Carbon Diem is the world's first automated carbon calculator.

Because it keeps a constantly updated diary of a person's carbon emissions, Zachariah said that a user can easily track their environmental impact and, if they choose, modify their behaviour to lower-carbon alternatives.

"We're facilitating people to make little changes and allow those changes to be noted and registered and possibly shared," he said. "If lots of people realise we're in this marathon [in tackling climate change] and we're not running alone, then we actually think people will be motivated to stick to changes."

He has tested the software in Nokia and Blackberry phones, using computer algorithms to predict the kind of transport a person is taking. He claims that in tests over the past year, the software was almost 100% accurate in working out when people were on airplanes or trains; it was between 65-75% accurate at guessing when people travelled on buses.

Zachariah said he had the idea for Carbon Diem when he tried to work out his own carbon footprint using the many online calculators available. These usually involve manually entering the details of type of transport and the length of a journey.

"The whole process is so painful," Zachariah said. "That's when I realised it had to be effortless."

Zachariah believes companies could also benefit from the software, as firms committing to reducing their environmental impact may need to collect travel data on their employees. He accepts there could be concerns over privacy but says the software can be used to record only the carbon impact, not the actual routes.

Friends of the Earth's climate campaigner, Robin Webster, said: "Individuals have an important role to play in tackling climate change - and technologies like the Carbon Diem could help people cut their carbon footprint."

The European Space Agency (Esa) gave the Carbon Diem software a regional award last year in its European satellite navigation competition. It will launch commercially in spring next year.

Instead of Bailing Out AIG, An Alternate Solution

Here's a suggestion for the money spent on AIG. This is from my wife's cousin in the St. Louis area. Makes sense to me.

I'm against the $85,000,000,000 bailout of AIG.

Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in

a ''We Deserve It Dividend''.

To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000

bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.

Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman

and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..

So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billon that equals $425,000.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a

'We Deserve It Dividend'.

Of course, it would NOT be tax free.

So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.

Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.

That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.

But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500 in their pocket.

A husband and wife has $595,000.

What would you do with $297,500 to $595,000 in your family?

Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.

Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads

Put away money for college - it'll be there

Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.

Buy a new car - create jobs

Invest in the market - capital drives growth

Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves

Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks

who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company

that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed

If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of
trickling out a puny $1000.00 ('vote buy') economic incentive that is
being proposed by one of our candidates for President.

If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult
U S Citizen 18+!

As for AIG - liquidate it.

Sell off its parts.

Let American General go back to being American General.

Sell off the real estate.

Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.

Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.

Sure it's a crazy idea that can 'never work.'

But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!

How do you spell Economic Boom?

I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion

'We Deserve It Dividend' more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in
Washington DC.

And remember, The Family plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because
$25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.

Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bailout to Pay for the Bailout!!!

This is unbelievable. Of course, I live in Illinois with these idiots (Durbin, Daley, Obambi, Emil Jones, Todd Stroger & Blagojevich) so I should be used to the BS that comes out this bunch of socialist's mouths. But this takes the cake. Bailout of Iraq to Bailout their biggest constituencies (Wall Street and low income voters).

We are stuck with these libtards in Ill-Anoy until the voters rise up and throw the bums out. Little or no chance of that as far as I can see. Click here for the complete article.

Senate Democratic Whip Says End Iraq War to Pay for Bailout
Friday, September 26, 2008
By Tiffany Gabbay, CNSNews.com correspondent

(CNSNews.com) – Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin (Ill.) told CNSNews.com yesterday that one way Congress can pay for the proposed $700 billion bailout of the financial industry is to end the war in Iraq.

When asked whether federal spending should be cut in order to help fund the bailout package, Durbin (D-Ill.) said: “First thing we could do is bring the troops home and stop sending $10 to $15 billion a month into Iraq, a country that already enjoys a very healthy surplus.”

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What does Barack Obama know? What is his vision of America?

Found this over at Cold Fury. It really seemed to sum up my take on Obambi and lays it out much better than I could. See the rest of it here.

What does Barack Obama know? What is his vision of America?

He never experienced his first taste of mainland American until he was already a grown man, and his experience was further indoctrination and immersion in universities with a radical leftist bent. He was further radicalized by 20 years of indoctrination in a Christian cult founded on the teaching of the Black Panthers and Malcolm X, one that taught a self-segregating, blame-casting “black values system” that added spiritual alienation to his pre-existing cultural alienation. He embraced an infamous domestic terrorist as a friend and partner in schemes designed to undermine core American cultural values to push small “c” communism and radicalism, and pissed away the future of a generation of Chicago’s school children as he helped launder $150 million of educational grant money to former terrorists and radicals that sought to indoctrinate, instead of educate.

Barack Obama isn’t anti-American, but he is un-American. Our cultural memory and experiences are something he read about in books, but never lived, and something he cannot feel.

He is not one of us.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rejecting Green Initiatives?

Here's an interesting AGW article again from the Guardian. Its provides insight into the views of UK citizens regarding going green. Just like here in the USA, people favor the concept of protecting the environment (who wouldn't?), but are leery of the costs involved.

Notice the sensitivity to the costs involved. If it wrecks you economy or affects your standard of living, then there is resistance.

British public 'unwilling' to pay for climate change costs

Most people in the UK want more action on the environment, but don't want to pay more taxes to fund it, a new survey has revealed

Public confusion over the environmental agenda appears to be as high as ever, with a majority in the UK calling for more action to tackle climate change while at the same time saying they are not willing to pay more to help.

Nearly two-thirds of people told a poll by Opinium they thought recent government measures to boost energy conservation needed to go much further, and half said they were doing their bit by installing insulation or turning down the thermostat.

However more than seven out of 10 of the nearly 2,000 people questioned said they were unwilling to pay higher taxes to combat environmental issues, and a similar number believed the green agenda had been "hijacked" to increase taxes.

The timing of the survey last week could also have had an impact on willingness to pay higher prices, coming as daily headlines warned about recession, unemployment, rising prices and a collapse in the housing market.

Mark Hodson, Opinium's head of research, said the public had lost faith in both politicians and the energy companies that they blame for huge price hikes in recent months.

"A massive 78% of people think that energy companies profits are unfair," said Hodson.

"Rising energy bills have affected the majority of people in the past year and the public seem to be as disheartened by the recent energy measures as they are by green taxes.

"It is probably due to this fact that [59%] think the government should have gone much further."

Public confusion was also a result of having a debate which was too "narrowly" focused on pitting the environment against economic wealth and other issues, said Tom Compton, change strategist for environmental group WWF.

"We can't rely exclusively on this convergence of economic growth and the business case for sustainable development on the one hand and environmental demands on the other," said Compton.

"There are areas where these things converge, but similarly there are cases where they diverge; at the moment we are failing abjectly to grapple with those areas where they diverge.

"That requires a more fundamental engagement with and understanding of what our collective aspirations are: what's important to us?"

London-based Opinium Research surveyed 1,975 adults by email from a panel of 30,000 regularly used by the company. The results were weighted to match age, sex, geography and other nationally representative criteria.

Green idealists fail to make grade, says study

I monitor the UK quite a bit for their view on AGW. Usually I go to the Guardian since they cover the environment pretty well. I've found them to be quite critical of the US when it comes to AGW and critical of the current administration in particular. They seem to be an AGW advocate most of the time.

However, on this occasion, they are calling out the Greenies on their failure to "walk the walk". I have to hand it to them on this one. Its a great example of reporting the opposite side of the debate. Kudos to the Guardian.

People who believe they have the greenest lifestyles can be seen as some of the main culprits behind global warming, says a team of researchers, who claim that many ideas about sustainable living are a myth.

According to the researchers, people who regularly recycle rubbish and save energy at home are also the most likely to take frequent long-haul flights abroad. The carbon emissions from such flights can swamp the green savings made at home, the researchers claim.

Stewart Barr, of Exeter University, who led the research, said: "Green living is largely something of a myth. There is this middle class environmentalism where being green is part of the desired image. But another part of the desired image is to fly off skiing twice a year. And the carbon savings they make by not driving their kids to school will be obliterated by the pollution from their flights."

Some people even said they deserved such flights as a reward for their green efforts, he added.

Only a very small number of citizens matched their eco-friendly behaviour at home by refusing to fly abroad, Barr told a climate change conference at Exeter University yesterday.

The research team questioned 200 people on their environmental attitudes and split them into three groups, based on a commitment to green living.

They found the longest and the most frequent flights were taken by those who were most aware of environmental issues, including the threat posed by climate change.

Questioned on their heavy use of flying, one respondent said: "I recycle 100% of what I can, there's not one piece of paper goes in my bin, so that makes me feel less guilty about flying as much as I do."

Barr said "green" lifestyles at home and frequent flying were linked to income, with wealthier people more likely to be engaged in both activities.

He said: "The findings indicate that even those people who appear to be very committed to environmental action find it difficult to transfer these behaviours into more problematic contexts."

The team says the research is one of the first attempts to analyse how green intentions alter depending on context. It says the results reveal the scale of the challenge faced by policymakers who are trying to alter public behaviour to help tackle global warming.

The study concludes: "The notion that we can treat what we do in the home differently from what we do on holiday denies the existence of clearly related and complex lifestyle choices and practices. Yet even a focus on lifestyle groups who may be most likely to change their views will require both time and political will. The addiction to cheap flights and holidays will be very difficult to break."

The frequent flyers said they expected new technology to make aviation greener, echoing comments made by Tony Blair last year, who said it was "impractical" to expect people to take holidays closer to home. He said the solution was "to look at how you make air travel more energy-efficient, how you develop the new fuels that will allow us to burn less energy and emit less."

Political Correctness in Iran

Its about time Ken & Barbie were PC'ed for the Iranians. See article below.

Dara and Sara - Iran's Islamic alternative to Ken and Barbie

Meet Dara and Sara, Iran's answer to Ken and Barbie.

The Muslim dolls have been developed by a government agency to promote traditional values, with their modest clothing and pro-family backgrounds.

They are widely seen as an effort to counter the American dolls and accessories that have flooded the Iranian market

Toy seller Masoumeh Rahimi welcomed the dolls, saying Barbie was "foreign to Iran's culture" because some of the buxom, blonde dolls have revealing clothing.

She said young girls who play with Barbie, a doll she sees as wanton, could grow into women who reject Iranian values.

"I think every Barbie doll is more harmful than an American missile," Ms Rahimi said.

Dara and Sara were born as characters in school books and their lives have also grown in stories that are being sold on cassette along with the dolls.

They have been developed and are being marketed by the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, a government agency affiliated with the Ministry of Education.

An Iranian woman looks at the Sara (L) and Dara dolls
Toy sellers are welcoming the new characters

The siblings help each other solve problems and turn to their loving parents for guidance.

The children are supposed to be eight years old, young enough under Islamic law for Sara to appear in public without a headscarf.

But each of the four models of Sara comes with a white scarf to cover her brown or black hair.

Another toy seller, Mehdi Hedayat, said: "Dara and Sara are strategic products to preserve our national identity.

"And of course, it is an answer to Barbie and Ken, which have dominated Iran's toy market."

Some 100,000 dolls have been manufactured - in China - and each will sell for 125,000 rials ($15) compared with 332,000 rials for a genuine Barbie and 25,000 rials for a copy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Brits Declare Climate Deniers Deluded

Well, once again the debate is settled. So the Brits tell us. Yet another study is out that shows the argument is over. This one from the Met (meteorological?) Office. Get this:

The office says average temperatures have continued to rise in the last decade, and that humans are to blame.

And this:

Global warming does not mean that each year will be warmer than the last."

Anyway, here's the article from the Guardian. Its nice to be able to pull another study out of nowhere to prove your point. God save the Queen!!

Met Office says climate change deniers deluded

Climate change sceptics such as Nigel Lawson who argue that global warming has stopped have their "heads in the sand", according to the Met Office.

A recent dip in global temperatures is down to natural changes in weather systems, a new analysis shows, and does not alter the long-term warming trend.

The office says average temperatures have continued to rise in the last decade, and that humans are to blame.

In a statement published on its website, it says: "Anyone who thinks global warming has stopped has their head in the sand. The evidence is clear, the long-term trend in global temperatures is rising, and humans are largely responsible for this rise. Global warming does not mean that each year will be warmer than the last."

The new research confirms that the world has cooled slightly since 2005, but says this is down to a weather phenomena called La Niña, when cold water rises to the surface of the Pacific Ocean. Despite this effect, the office says, 11 of the last 13 years were the warmest ever recorded.

Vicky Pope, of the Met Office, said the research was a response to claims made by Lawson, a former chancellor, and others that the recent cooling showed fears of climate change were overblown, and temperatures were unlikely to rise as high as predicted. She said: "It has confused people. We got a lot of emails asking whether global warming had stopped and it prompted us to look at the data again."

The apparent cooling trend was exaggerated by a record high in 1998 caused by a separate weather event, El Niño, she said. "You could look at what happened in 1998 and say that global warming accelerated, and that's not true either."

Bush administration taps climate change believer

I found this on the Guardian website. Notice how they crow over this choice for the advisory board. Then too, they exhibit scorn over the Administration's reluctance to support their position or stance on AGW.

This appointment of Swackhamer is surprising. She's from Minnesota and has expressed alarm at the effects of AGW on the planet. She says:

One profound change, she said, would be a shift in Minnesota's forests. The deciduous forests — maples, oaks and elms that grace the Twin Cities area — gradually would move north, leaving prairie grasslands to fill in behind. The stately conifers — spruce, fir, tamarack and some pines that define northern Minnesota's beauty — would disappear into Canada.

Expert opinion varies on whether Minnesota would see more or less precipitation in a warmer future. And the precipitation question plays into shifts of forest lines. But there is plenty of expert support for the scenario Swackhamer outlined.

Opposite opinion:

Some climate change is, of course, natural. Climate has been shifting Minnesota's landscape for thousands of years. Peering through microscopes at grains of pollen extracted from muddy lake bottoms and bogs, scientists have seen the evidence that 12,000 years ago spruce trees covered most of Minnesota. About 10,000 years ago, when the glaciers had melted back into Canada, pines, oaks, and other deciduous trees replaced spruce.

Between 8,000 and 5,000 years ago, the summers became warmer and drier, and water levels fell. According to pollen records, prairie plants took root in western Minnesota around this time. Birches and pines moved north as prairie plants pushed eastward into Wisconsin. As the climate began cooling around 6,000 years ago, the trees began migrating south and west again. The prairie-forest border shifted westward and remained fixed from about 500 years ago until 1850, when Euro-Americans arrived with their axes and plows. Agricultural weeds, such as ragweed, become common in the pollen records from this time, while the percentages of forest and prairie species decline.

So, maybe this is a throwaway appointment. Let's hope so. Its disappointing nonetheless.

The US environmental protection agency -- hardly known as a bastion of climate consciousness -- makes an interesting personnel choice

It may be impossible to sum up in words how purposefully the Bush administration has delayed addressing the threat of climate change. The prospect of a new president who is committed to limiting carbon emissions has sparked new hope that the US can come back from the brink of environmental laxity.

And today we see another potential sign of positive change on the horizon.

The US environmental protection agency, the same body that was dragged into court for dragging its feet on climate policy, has named Deborah Swackhamer the new chief of its Science Advisory Board (SAB), the independent panel that gives advice on the impact of government regulations.

Happily, Swackhamer is a strong proponent of sacrifice and conservation to control emissions.

"We can't afford to wait," the University of Minnesota water resources scientist said earlier this year. "We must make these changes now for our children to see an impact."

The SAB was plagued during the first year of the Bush administration by allegations of corruption and conflicts of interest among its ostensibly independent members. Swackhamer's two-year appointment is an encouraging sign -- particularly if the next president and his advisers pay her perspective more heed than that of her predecessor, M Granger Morgan of Carnegie Mellon university, who has long urged the Bush administration to act on climate change.

AGW and Under the Sea

What's the worst AGW gas? CO2? Water vapor? Nope. Its methane. I've posted before on the methane produced by farm animals and how the eco terrorists want us to cut back and then give up meat. It seems that the biggest source of methane are the hydrates on the sea floor.

These are trapped on the coastal shelf. The article below details how movements on the sea floor can release these hydrates into the atmosphere. This has happened in the past and can happen in the future. The potential for AGW greatly increases if this happens. Question. Why all the emphasis on CO2 if these pose a larger problem? Will CO2 even be a factor if the hydrates break loose? See the Guardian article here.

Arctic 'methane chimneys' raise fears of runaway climate change

Researchers say evidence suggests that the frozen seabed is perforated and is starting to leak methane, but other scientists urge caution

Scientists claim to have discovered evidence for large releases of methane into the atmosphere from frozen seabed stores off the northern coast of Siberia.

A large injection of the gas - which is 21 times more potent as an atmospheric heat trap than carbon dioxide - has long been cited by climate scientists as the potential trigger for runaway global warming. The warming caused by the gas could destabilise permafrost further, they fear, leading to yet more methane release.

But climate experts have expressed caution at the claims, which have yet to be published in a peer reviewed scientific journal. Methane release from stores of so-called gas hydrates, that can form on land or under the sea, is not new to researchers. Huge quantities are known to exist in the Arctic, but special circumstances would need to exist for significant releases to occur.

"Methane release has been known for a number of years now," said geologist Dr Lorenz Schwark at the University of Cologne, Germany. "There are various areas around the world that have been studied in detail."

He said the process of methane release from hydrates had been filmed by robotic vehicles off the coast of Vancouver Island in Canada, for example.

"The problem is that in the Russian or in the Siberian Arctic on land and in the sea there is very little coverage by hard data and there are hardly any measurements. And therefore there is a lot of speculation going on."

In most cases, methane released from the sea bed is consumed by micro-organisms as it bubbles up to the surface. But if it is released quickly enough it could make it into the atmosphere.

"The most likely process where this happens - and there is geological evidence that it has happened in the past - is when the methane gas hydrate layer in the sediment destabilises on a slope. And then we have a slope failure, a landslide underwater," Dr Schwark said.

"As long as the scientists in the Siberian Arctic are not able to report very strong increases in submarine landslides and slope failures, I wouldn't expect that the release into the atmosphere is so severe that it is really very serious at the moment," Schwark added.

The scientists who have studied methane levels along Russia's northern coastline are aboard the Russian research ship Jacob Smirnitskyi.

Örjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University in Sweden told the Independent newspaper in an email from the vessel: "An extensive area of intense methane release was found. At earlier sites we had found elevated levels of dissolved methane.

"Yesterday, for the first time, we documented a field where the release was so intense that the methane did not have time to dissolve into the seawater but was rising as methane bubbles to the sea surface. These 'methane chimneys' were documented on echo sounder and with seismic [instrument]."

At some locations he said concentrations of the gas were 100 times the background level. These anomalies were documented in the East Siberian Sea and the Laptev Sea, covering several tens of thousands of square kilometres.

Gustafsson added: "The conventional thought has been that the permafrost 'lid' on the sub-sea sediments on the Siberian shelf should cap and hold the massive reservoirs of shallow methane deposits in place.

"The growing evidence for release of methane in this inaccessible region may suggest that the permafrost lid is starting to get perforated and thus leaking methane."

Estimates for the amount of carbon locked up in the hydrates vary from 500 to 5000 gigatonnes. Scientists predict that warming will release some of these deposits, but modelling the temperature rise that would trigger significant releases has proved extremely difficult.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Preacher to the Rescue of Bristol Palin

Here's one of the best rants I've seen in a long time. If you have time (about 8 minutes) check this out. Its hilarious.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Favorite Aircraft (Death From Above)

Can't post much since I'm working in Wisconsin (from Illinois). So I thought I'd put up a few of my favorite aircraft.

Working Out of State For a Few Days

Sorry, I'm billing up in Wisconsin. May have some posts by Thursday.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New UN AGW Arctic Laws?

Just what we need. More UN involvement in the Arctic environment. The WWF is advocating that the UN get busy churning out new laws and regulations for the melting Arctic. Of course they only want to protect us all from another Valdez oil spill scenario. They absolutely have to save us from ourselves. Forget the fact that none of the countries bordering the Arctic have asked for them to get involved. Let's get all the equatorial nations engaged. WTF?

Thaw of polar regions may need new U.N. laws

Sun Sep 7, 2008 10:13am EDT

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO (Reuters) - A new set of United Nations laws may be needed to regulate new Arctic industries such as shipping and oil exploration as climate change melts the ice around the North Pole, legal experts said on Sunday.

They said existing laws governing everything from fish stocks to bio-prospecting by pharmaceutical companies were inadequate for the polar regions, especially the Arctic, where the area of summer sea ice is now close to a 2007 record low.

"Many experts believe this new rush to the polar regions is not manageable within existing international law," said A.H. Zakri, Director of the U.N. University's Yokohama-based Institute of Advanced Studies.

Fabled shipping passages along the north coast of Russia and Canada, normally clogged by thick ice, have both thawed this summer, raising the possibility of short-cut routes between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Dozens of legal experts are meeting in Iceland from September 7-9 to debate the legal needs of the polar regions. Other threats include a surge in tourism, with 40,000 visitors to Antarctica in 2007 against just 1,000 in 1987.

Many legal specialists believe there is a lack of clarity in existing laws about shipping, mining, sharing of fish stocks drawn northwards by the melting of ice, and standards for clearing up any oil spills far from land.

"Oil in particular and risks of shipping in the Arctic are big issues. It's incredibly difficult to clean up an oil spill on ice," said conference chairman David Leary of the Institute of Advanced Studies, which is organizing the conference with Iceland's University of Akureyri.

"The question is: do we deal with it in terms of the existing laws or move to a new, more global framework for the polar regions?" he told Reuters.


Some experts say the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea is unclear, for instance, when it speaks of the rights of states to impose restrictions -- such as compulsory pilots for ships -- off their coasts in "particularly severe climatic conditions" or when ice covers the sea for "most of the year."

With the ice receding fast, defining what conditions are "particularly severe" could be a problem, said law professor Tullio Scovazzi of the University of Milano-Bicocca.

Leary said the eight nations with Arctic territories -- the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Finland -- have so far preferred to limit discussion to existing international laws.

The WWF environmental group is among those urging a new U.N. convention to protect the Arctic, partly fearing that rising industrial activity will increase the risk of oil spills like the Exxon Valdez accident off Alaska.

"We think there should be new rules, stricter rules. We are proposing a new convention for the protection of the Arctic Ocean," said Tatiana Saksina of the WWF.

Alaska's state governor Sarah Palin, Republican vice presidential candidate in November 4's U.S. election, is an advocate of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

A boom in tourism in Antarctica meanwhile risks the accidental introduction of new species to an environment where the largest land creature is a flightless midge.

Bio-prospecting may also need new rules. Neural stem cells of Arctic squirrels could help treat human strokes, while some Arctic fish species have yielded enzymes that can be used in industrial processes.

Brazil Goes for Obama!!!

Barack Obama is popular in Europe, that much we knew. But how about S. America? The "world citizen" has a large following in Brazil it seems. According to the Guardian UK, politicians in Brazil are running under the messiah's name. Too bad the election isn't being held in Europe and Brazil. The "One" would clean up.

Now for Brazil's Barack Obamas - all six of them

Walk into a polling station in Belford Roxo, an impoverished city on the fringes of Rio de Janiero, on October 5 and you will be faced with an historic choice. You could vote for Alcides Rolim, the Workers' Party mayoral candidate promising a "city for all" or Elizeu Pitorra, a local communist who believes it is "time for a change". Most voters, however, will probably opt for Barack Obama, a 39-year-old Brazilian who, until recently, was known as Claudio Henrique dos Anjos.

Welcome to Obama-mania, Brazil-style. Few countries have embraced the idea of the US's first black president as enthusiastically as Brazil, a country with one of the largest Afro-descendant populations on Earth yet where black faces remain a minority in politics. Obama T-shirts are everywhere while chat shows and newspaper columns are filled with talk of the 47-year-old Illinois senator.

Now even Brazil's politicians are lining up for their piece of the pie. Due to a quirk of Brazilian law, candidates are allowed to run under the name of their choice. As a result, at least six Brazilian politicians have officially renamed themselves "Barack Obama" in a bid to get an edge over their rivals in October's municipal elections.

"In truth it was an accident," says Belford Roxo's Obama, an IT consultant who is bidding to become the city's first black mayor. "I'd been on the television wearing a suit and people thought I looked a bit like him so they started calling me Barack Obama. They'd see me in the street and shout: 'Hey! Barack!" So I decided to register it."

Like his illustrious American counterpart, who has relatives in Kenya, Brazil's Obama also has one foot in Africa. His grandfather was the descendant of slaves.

He admits he has also been looking to his namesake's speeches for inspiration. "I say the same things. I talk about political renewal, change, about transforming the city."

Despite their similarities the two Obamas have yet to meet although the Brazilian Obama says that as mayor he would "extend an invitation" to the real Obama to dine in Belford Roxo. "It would be great if he could come and see our reality," he beams. "Just imagine."

Oil Drops Below $100

Oil dropped below US $100.00 per barrel for the first time since April 2 of this year. After the Feds declared minimal damage resulting from hurricane Ike, the price is dropping on fears of lower demand in the US and Europe.

This should translate into lower gas prices once the refineries in Texas are back online. Couple this with lapsing of the moratorium on offshore drilling, oil and gas prices should fall even further. If the republicans can point to the reduction and claim responsibility, it should help their cause in November. Article below courtesy of CNS News.

Oil Falls Below $97 on Little Damage From Ike
Monday, September 15, 2008
By Louise Watt, Associated Press

London (AP) - Oil prices fell below $97 a barrel on Monday after Hurricane Ike inflicted minimal damage to oil installations on the Texas coast.

Light, sweet crude for October delivery declined $4.39 to $96.79 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by noon in Europe. The contract rose 31 cents on Friday to settle at $101.18 after dropping as low as $99.99 per barrel. Before that, the last time Nymex crude traded below the $100 mark was April 2.

"Now that Ike has come and gone, initial reports indicate no real damage to the oil infrastructure in the Gulf coast area," said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with consultancy Purvin & Gertz in Singapore.

Federal officials said Sunday that the storm destroyed at least 10 oil and gas platforms and damaged pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico -- only a small amount of the 3,800 production platforms in the Gulf. Three years ago, back-to-back hurricanes knocked out more than 100 platforms.

Power outages were slowing efforts to restart the refineries. Valero Energy Corp. said only one of its closed refineries had power, and spokesman Bill Day said he couldn't estimated how long it would take to resume production.

"Hurricane-related problems on the region's electricity grid appear to be the biggest hurdle to a prompt restart of operations," wrote analysts from JBC Energy in Vienna, Austria.

Investors are now turning their attention toward falling oil demand in the U.S., Europe and Japan as slowing economic growth threatens to undermine consumer spending.

"Market sentiment is decidedly bearish, with all these concerns about developed countries going into recession or a serious slowdown impacting oil demand," Shum said.

Oil fell despite reports that militants have launched another attack Nigeria's oil infrastructure in a third day of violence.

Lt. Col. Sagir Musa of the Nigerian military task force in the southern oil delta region said militants in speedboats attacked troops at a Royal Dutch Shell PLC oil-pumping station early Monday. The fighters arrived in about 10 speed boats and detonated dynamite and other explosives during the battle.

Musa said it was possible that the so-called flow station was damaged during the attack. Shell officials said they were investigating reports of attacks on their facilities but could give no further details.

Prices were kept from falling further by a weakening dollar, amid new economic uncertainty on Wall Street, with the 158-year-old Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. saying Monday it intends to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The euro rose to $1.4299 on Monday from $1.4215 late Friday in New York, while the dollar dropped to 105.69 yen from 107.76 on Friday. Usually when the dollar falls, investors buy oil as a hedge against inflation.

In other Nymex trading, heating oil futures fell 13.31 cents to $2.806 a gallon, while gasoline prices dropped 18.01 cents to $2.59 a gallon. Natural gas for October delivery fell 6.8 cents to $7.298 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, October Brent crude fell $4.37 to $93.21 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dems Nervous Over Palin

I love it when the Dem MSM start whining. Its music to my ears. Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell is way upset over Sarah Palin. Mitchell has an itch she just can't scratch. Sarahcuda is under her skin and she's plenty pissed.

Mitchell trots out the troopergate story, per diem questions and accusations of favoritism, giving jobs to lobbyists. Not many bullets in her gun if that's the best she can do. She moans about Palin stealing the messiah's mojo. That's hilarious. Anyway, give this a quick read and enjoy the MSM angst over Palin.

Palin should be laughingstock to all feminists

Instead, this fast talker is a star -- and that scares me

Sarah Palin makes me sick. I hate that she was able to steal Barack Obama's mojo just by showing up wearing rimless glasses and a skirt.

I hate that she makes Joe Biden look like John McCain and John McCain look like the maverick he is not.

I hate that Palin reminds me of Susan Sarandon's feisty character in "Thelma & Louise." I loved Sarandon in that movie, yet I couldn't stand Palin's feistiness at the Republican National Convention.

Sarah Palin makes me sick -- not because she may speak in tongues -- but because she is a fast talker.

Not even ABC's Charlie Gibson can slow Palin's mouth.

I disagree with the people who claim Gibson caught her off guard during her interview when he asked her whether she agreed with the "Bush Doctrine."

"In what respect?" Palin fired back without so much as a stutter.

In fact, it was Gibson doing the sputtering as he pressed Palin to answer a question that he didn't seem to know the answer to himself.

It irks me that Palin is being painted as some kind of "New Age Feminist" by the so-called "elite" media.

She isn't.

Palin is a fresh face on a weary campaign trail, and a jack-in-the-box in this election.

But Palin isn't running against Barack Obama. McCain is, and the media seem to have forgotten that.

'Reform-minded'? That's a stretch

Frankly, Sarah Palin scares me.

How did Cindy McCain put it during her speech at the Republican convention?

"John has picked a reform-minded . . . hockey-mommin' . . . basketball-shootin' . . . moose-huntin' . . . fly-fishin' . . . pistol-packing . . . mother of five for vice president."

The basketball-shootin', moose-huntin', fly-fishin' and pistol-packing might hold up.

But we know that the "reform-minded" is a bit of a stretch. Palin is under investigation for allegedly abusing her power by trying to have her ex-brother-in-law fired.

On Friday, the legislative panel investigating the charges announced it would subpoena Palin's husband, Todd, and a dozen other witnesses.

During the last two weeks, media reports have raised other questions, including:

• • Palin's practice of billing the state for expenses incurred while staying in her own home.

• • Revelations that as mayor of Wasilla, she hired a Washington lobbyist to help her bring $27 million in earmarks to the small town.

• • And according to a profile of Palin that appeared in the Sept. 13 issue of Newsweek, Palin has given her friends jobs and appointed lobbyists to oversee industries they used to represent.

"Her record shows her to be, in many ways, a typical politician who rewards her friends and punishes her enemies," the article said.

Living in a city where political corruption is as common as a cold, I can see how the McCain campaign got away with packaging Palin as a reformer.

As for "hockey-mommin," that's a stretch, too.

Palin is the governor of Alaska. Granted, Alaska is a sparsely populated state, but being governor of any state has to be a full-time job.

Extreme views on abortion, abstinence

Even with a supportive husband, I doubt seriously that Palin has time to be a hockey mom unless she is making a personal appearance on a campaign trail.

And while 7-year-old Piper Palin gave the world a fuzzy moment on stage at the convention when she licked her hand and smoothed her baby brother's hair, and when Bristol, 17 and pregnant, held Trig against her chest while her mother shook the hands of adoring fans, I couldn't help but wonder what it's really like for these kids.

After all, there's no such thing as a superwoman, and children of driven moms make their own sacrifices.

Sarah Palin makes me sick because although black Democrats have been responsible for giving white candidates the boost they needed to beat their Republican opponents in tight races, these voters are now being insulted by feminists who say they will cross over into the McCain camp because of her.

How can that be?

Palin's extreme views on abortion (she once said she would be against her daughter having an abortion even in the case of incest or rape) and her support of abstinence-only programs should make her a laughingstock to feminists.

Instead, she's a star.

That ought to be enough to make any true feminist sick.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Global Warming Causing Ice to Increase in Antarctic

New Scientist again. Notice how they try to spin scientific research they don't like. Using the growth of the sea ice at the south pole since the '70s and attribute it to AGW! More clap trap about models and the UN Climate Panel. Now they're saying they may be only 90% sure. Also the debate is between climate experts and sceptics. Spin and slant. At least there is some mention of theories and possible explanations.

Antarctic sea ice increases despite warming

  • 16:50 12 September 2008
  • NewScientist.com news service
  • New Scientist and Reuters

The amount of sea ice around Antarctica has grown in recent Septembers in what could be an unusual side-effect of global warming, experts say.

In the southern hemisphere winter, when emperor penguins huddle together against the biting cold, ice on the sea around Antarctica has been increasing since the late 1970s, perhaps because climate change means shifts in winds, sea currents or snowfall.

At the other end of the planet, Arctic sea ice is now close to matching a September 2007 record low at the tail end of the northern summer, in a threat to the hunting lifestyles of indigenous peoples and creatures such as polar bears.

"The Antarctic wintertime ice extent increased...at a rate of 0.6% per decade" from 1979 to 2006, says Donald Cavalieri, a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

At 19 million square kilometres, it is still slightly below records from the early 1970s of 20 million, he says. Since 1979 however, the average year-round ice extent has risen too.

Sceptics' delight

Some climate sceptics point to the differing trends at the poles as a sign that worries about climate change are exaggerated, but experts say they can explain the development.

"What's happening is not unexpected...Climate modellers predicted a long time ago that the Arctic would warm fastest and the Antarctic would be stable for a long time," says Ted Maksym, a sea ice specialist at the British Antarctic Survey.

The UN Climate Panel says it is at least 90% sure that people are stoking global warming – mainly by burning fossil fuels. But it says each region will react differently.

A key difference is that Arctic ice floats on an ocean and is warmed by shifting currents and winds from the south. By contrast, Antarctica is an isolated continent bigger than the US that creates its own deep freeze.

"The air temperature in Antarctica has increased very little compared to the Arctic," says Ola Johannessen, director of the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Bergen, Norway. "The reason is you have a huge ocean surrounding the land." Cavalieri says some computer models indicate a reduction in the amount of heat coming up from the ocean around Antarctica as one possible explanation for growing ice.

Hot air

Another theory was that warmer air absorbs more moisture and means more snow and rainfall, he says. That could mean more fresh water at the sea surface around Antarctica – fresh water freezes at a higher temperature than salt water.

"There has been a strengthening of the winds that circumnavigate the Antarctic," says Maksym. That might be linked to a thinning of the ozone layer high above the continent, blamed in turn on human use of chemicals used in refrigerants.

In some places, stronger winds might blow ice out to sea to areas where ice would not naturally form.

Maksym predicted that global warming would eventually warm the southern oceans, and shrink the sea ice around Antarctica. "A lot of the modellers are predicting the turning point to be right about this time," he says.

Coat Tails? Dummycrats Worried

There's an interesting piece posted at Financial Times. Check it out below. The Dems are starting to worry about the messiah's effect on the downline ticket come this November. Oh, the humanity!!!

Democrats on Capitol Hill fear Obama fallout

By Andrew Ward in Washington

Published: September 11 2008 23:30 | Last updated: September 11 2008 23:30

Democratic jitters about the US presidential race have spread to Capitol Hill, where some members of Congress are worried that Barack Obama’s faltering campaign could hurt their chances of re-election.

Party leaders have been hoping to strengthen Democratic control of the House and Senate in November, but John McCain’s jump in the polls has stoked fears of a Republican resurgence.

A Democratic fundraiser for Congressional candidates said some planned to distance themselves from Mr Obama and not attack Mr McCain.

“If people are voting for McCain it could help Republicans all the way down the ticket, even in a year when the Democrats should be sweeping all before us,” said the fundraiser, a former Hillary Clinton supporter.

“There is a growing sense of doom among Democrats I have spoken to . . . People are going crazy, telling the campaign ‘you’ve got to do something’.”

Concern was greatest among first-term representatives who won seats in traditionally Republican districts in the landslide of 2006. “Several of them face a real fight to hold on to those seats,” the fundraiser said.

Tony Podesta, a senior Democratic lobbyist, said members of Congress were “a little nervous” after Mr McCain shook up the race with his choice of Sarah Palin as running mate and intensified attacks on Mr Obama.

“Republicans have been on the offensive for the past two weeks . . . You don’t win elections on the defensive.”

The campaign manager for a first-term Democratic congressman from a blue-collar district in the north-east rejected suggestions that Mr Obama had become a liability. He said his candidate would reach out to Republicans and avoid attacks on Mr McCain.

Baseball Goes Green (at least in Japan)

I found this blurb from AGW headquarters (AP). Its about 6 months old but it brought a chuckle nonetheless. Baseball in Japan is concerned by their contribution to AGW. They're attempting to shorten their games in order to cut down on their carbon footprint. Heh, heh.

What's really at work here is a business that's trying to make their product more appealing to its consumers. Think about it. The games are boring to begin with since there's not enough action to hold fan's attention. So they're trying to speed them up. At the same time they can get some mileage out of appearing concerned about the environment. A good business move if you ask me.

I know you're thinking that QC is anti-baseball. Simply not true. I was a Cubs fan until 1969 when I lost all faith in that franchise. I always was a Sox fan anyway. Still am though I don't watch the games since I still am mad about the strike in August sometime in the 80's. They were in 1st place with a great team but went out on strike. Never forgive, never forget.

Baseball in Japan going Green

As part of the fight against global warming, Japanese professional baseball has come up with a plan to shorten its games and reduce carbon dioxide emissions at stadiums.

Teams will aim to cut playing time by six percent, or 12 minutes, from the average of three hours and 18 minutes per game, Japan pro baseball officials said Tuesday.

Under the plan, teams will be required to spend no more than two minutes and 15 seconds when they change from fielding to batting.

Pitchers will be asked to throw within 15 seconds of receiving the ball from the catcher when no runners are on base.

The proposal to cut playing time was set in accordance with Japan's pledge to cut its emissions of greenhouse gasses by six percent from 1990 levels between 2008 and 2010 under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

Japanese baseball officials said staging games results in a huge amount of carbon dioxides to be discharged through the use of energy to move players and spectators, supply electricity for lighting and other purposes.

Japan is struggling to meet its emissions cuts obligations under the Kyoto pact.

Even before the latest plan, Japanese baseball has been looking for ways to speed up the pace of games.

Natural Gas Will Give You Gas Pains

Slim (T. Boone) Pickens is at it again. I've posted before on his plan to move the US to energy independence through the use of CNG (compressed natural gas) and wind power. His plan to use wind relies heavily on government subsidies. In addition, Stretch Pelosi is a shareholder in the Pickens venture. Hence her reluctance to back drilling offshore and shale oil recovery. Notice how much we would be on the hook for the move to CNG.

Below follows an excellent fact check published by FOX News. His latest ad is somewhat self serving. But you can decide for yourself. God, I loved Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove. Ditto Peter Sellers and Keenan Wynn.

Pickens' Natural-Gas Nonsense

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Get this one," says billionaire T. Boone Pickens in his latest TV ad, "Iran is changing its cars to natural gas and we're not doing a thing here. They're doing this to use less oil and sell it for $120 a barrel. We can switch our cars to natural gas and stop sending our dollars to foreign countries."

Readers of this column know better than to take at face value the marketing of the so-called "Pickens Plan."

So what's the full story behind Iran's move, and what would be the impact of switching our cars to natural gas?

Although Iran is a major oil and gas producer, it lacks oil-refining capacity and must import about 50 percent of its gasoline. To be less vulnerable to international pressure concerning its nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad decided to reduce Iran's reliance on imported gasoline.

He started with rationing in May 2007. But that quickly led to violent social unrest.

Ahmadinejad then decided to convert Iran's new car fleet to natural gas. So 60 percent of Iran's car production this year -- about 429,000 vehicles -- will be dual-fuel-ready, capable of running on both gasoline and natural gas.

But contrary to Pickens assertion, Iran isn't trying to use less oil:; It's trying to use less imported gasoline -- and only to thwart a possible international gasoline embargo.

Though hardly a role model for energy policy, should we nevertheless follow Iran's lead with respect to natural-gas cars? Just what would that mean to you and to our economy?

While the natural gas sold for auto fuel is as much as 50 percent less expensive than gasoline -- at least for now -- the cover charge to get into a natural-gas vehicle can easily erase any savings.

A new natural-gas-powered car, such as the Honda Civic GX, for example, is almost 40 percent more expensive than a conventional Civic ($24,590 versus $17,700).

While tax credits can reduce the cost by thousands, somebody -- either you and/or taxpayers -- will be paying the difference.

If natural gas fuel saved you, say, $2 per gallon, then you'd have to drive 124,020 highway miles or 82,680 city miles to break even on fuel costs against the $6,890 purchase price premium.

You can convert an existing car from gasoline to natural gas, but the costs are daunting.

Converting a car to dual-use (as in Iran) costs between $6,000 to $10,000. Converting a car to run on natural gas only is about half as expensive.

Even so, the conversion has to be done correctly or, in the worst case, you risk leaks that could turn your car into an improvised explosive device. And if your car is altered without proof of EPA certification, you might not get any of the all-important conversion tax credits.

Then there's the inconvenience. Though their fuel tanks are larger -- which, incidentally, reduces trunk space -- natural gas cars have less range.

While a new Honda Civic can go as far as 500 miles on a tank of gasoline, the GX's range is less than half of that -- and, currently, there are only about 1,600 natural-gas refueling stations across the country, compared with 200,000 gasoline stations.

If your home uses natural gas, you could buy a home filling station at a cost of about $2,000 plus installation. While home filling stations can further reduce fuel costs to substantially below $2 per gallon, the devices take about 4 hours to replenish the fuel consumed by only 50 miles of driving. So much for gas-and-go.

Moving past the personal expense and inconvenience, the broader implications of natural-gas cars are worrisome.

The U.S. currently uses about 23 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year. Like all commodities, the price of natural gas is supply-and-demand dependent.

Switching just 10 percent of the U.S. car fleet to natural gas would dramatically increase our consumption of natural gas by about 8 percent (1.9 trillion cubic feet) -- an amount that is slightly less than one-half of all current residential natural gas usage and one-quarter of all industrial usage.

The price ramifications of such a demand spike would likely be significant. The current cost advantage of natural gas over gasoline could easily be reversed. Our move toward energy independence could also be compromised.

Domestic production of natural gas has not kept pace with rapidly increasing demand. Consequently, about 15 percent of our natural gas must now be imported.

Without more domestic gas drilling, additional demand will need to be met with natural gas imported by pipeline and in liquefied form from the very same foreign sources that T. Boone Pickens rails about in the context of oil.

In its most recent annual outlook, the U.S. Department of Energy projects that the U.S. natural-gas market will become more integrated with natural-gas markets worldwide as the U.S. becomes more dependent on imported liquefied natural gas -- causing greater uncertainty in future U.S. natural-gas prices.

The natural-gas supply problem will be additionally magnified if significant greenhouse-gas regulation is enacted.

Here's how: Currently, when natural gas gets too expensive, electric utilities often substitute coal or cheaper fuels for power generation.

Under a greenhouse-gas regulation scheme, however, inexpensive coal might no longer be an alternative because of the significantly greater greenhouse-gas emissions involved with its combustion.

Utilities, and ultimately consumers, could easily find themselves at the mercy of natural-gas barons -- like T. Boone Pickens himself, a large investor in natural gas.

Is that the real "Pickens Plan?"