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May 2007

Guess what story didn't make it into the Washington Post yesterday? Nancy Pelosi wants to change a House rule--an 185-year-old House rule--one effect of which would make it possible for House members to increase taxes and spending without a roll-call vote.

My wife has details. My older daughter suggested that perhaps the Post didn't want to run the story because it was too "inside baseball". I pointed out that the Post yesterday ran a story on Chuck Hagel's potential presidentical candidacy. Snore. That wasn't the reason why the Post failed to run the story.

Where's the Post's ombudsman? Will the usually reliable Howie Kurtz pick this up?

Thomas Sowell's "random thoughts on the passing scene" are far better than most people's non-random thoughts.

A review of one of the many environmentalist books says that even if you can’t do all you would like toward “living green,” you can at least “congratulate yourself on taking small steps to improve the planet.” That is what environmentalism — and much else on the political Left’s agenda — is really all about, self congratulation.

I am so old that I can remember a Democrat, at his inauguration as president, say of our enemies: “We dare not tempt them with weakness.”

Your hard drive space problems are over. Portable, external, 7200 rpm, five-star-rated 500 gigabyte Western Digital My Book drives are on sale for $129.35.

Unless you're making first-run Hollywood movies on your PC, 500 gigs should hold you for a while. (Or, hell, buy two.)

Technology is great.

Additional notes related to yesterday's post about global warming.

Here's a link to a paper that supports my point #1, that measuring the "global temperature" may well be impossible. (Link courtesy of Drexel University Professor Bruce McCullough.)

My second point was that my suspicions are raised by the people who state that a "consensus" supports global warming. My third point was that if the world is warming, how do we know that the warming is primarily man-made ("anthropogenic")? British TV Channel 4 recently ran an hour-plus show, "The Great Global Warming Swindle", that showcases critics of the anthropogenic warming "consensus". Via Google video, you can watch the show. The homepage of the show is here. (Links courtesy of reader Mike Koenecke.) A short summary of the show is here.

Another few cracks in the consensus seem to be indicated by Senator Inhofe's list of "prominent scientists" who are now "skeptics".

And Senator Inhofe's press release mentions a recent article published by Der Spiegel (which, correct me if I'm wrong, is not published by the Republican Party or any of its evil anti-science minions). That article is no longer available for free on the Web but thanks to Lexis-Nexis, I can share a few relevant passages with you:

For one thing, the more paleontologists and geologists study the history of the earth's climate, the more clearly do they recognize just how much temperatures have fluctuated in both directions in the past. Even major fluctuations appear to be completely natural phenomena. . . .

Also, more detailed simulations have allowed climate researchers to paint a considerably less dire picture than in the past -- gone is the talk of giant storms, the melting of the Antarctic ice shield and flooding of major cities.

Improved regionalized models also show that climate change can bring not only drawbacks, but also significant benefits, especially in northern regions of the world where it has been too cold and uncomfortable for human activity to flourish in the past. However it is still a taboo to express this idea in public. . . .

Another widespread fear about global warming -- that it will cause super-storms that could devastate towns and villages with unprecedented fury -- also appears to be unfounded. Current long-term simulations, at any rate, do not suggest that such a trend will in fact materialize. . . .

According to another persistent greenhouse legend, massive flooding will strike major coastal cities, raising horrific scenarios of New York, London and Shanghai sinking into the tide. However this horror story is a relic of the late 1980s, when climate simulations were far less precise than they are today. At the time, some experts believed that the Antarctic ice shield could melt, which would in fact lead to a dramatic 60-meter (197-foot) rise in sea levels. The nuclear industry quickly seized upon and publicized the scenario, which it recognized as an argument in favor of its emissions-free power plants.

But it quickly became apparent that the horrific tale of a melting South Pole was nothing but fiction. The average temperature in the Antarctic is -30°C (-22°F). Humanity cannot possibly burn enough oil and coal to melt this giant block of ice. On the contrary, current climate models suggest that the Antarctic will even increase in mass: Global warming will cause more water to evaporate, and part of that moisture will fall as snow over Antarctica, causing the ice shield to grow. As a result, the total rise in sea levels would in fact be reduced by about 5 cm (2 inches).

Readers who would like an entry point into the larger-than-you-have-been-led-to-believe skeptical literature can consult this page by Ross McKitrick. For a fascinating study of a key part of the controversy--the infamous temperature "hockey stick"--see the M&M Project.

Finally, here's a test on global warming (link courtesy of Kathy Michael) and a funny comment about global warming advocate Laurie David.